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Month: December 2012

jeans and sneakers.

jeans and sneakers.

something to think about… 🙂 
WE NEED SAINTS
by Pope John Paul II

We need saints without veil or cassock.
We need saints who wear jeans and sneakers.
We need saints who go to the movies, listen to music and hang out with friends.
We need saints who put God in first place, but who let go of their power.
We need saints who have time everyday to pray and who know how to date in purity and chastity, or who consecrate their chastity.
We need modern saints, Saints of the 21st century with a spirituality that is part of our time.
We need saints committed to the poor and the necessary social changes.
We need saints who live in the world and who are sanctified in the world, who are not afraid to live in the world.
We need saints who drink Coke and eat hot dogs, who wear jeans, who are Internet-savvy, who listen to CDs.
We need saints who passionately love the Eucharist and who are not ashamed to drink a soda or eat pizza on weekends with friends.
We need saints who like movies, the theater, music, dance, sports.
We need saints who are social, open, normal, friendly, happy and who are good companions.
We need saints who are in the world and know how to taste the pure and nice things of the world but who aren’t of the world.

Courtesy of: 10th Palo Archdiocesan Summer Youth Camp

Population [more than me]

Population [more than me]

May we be challenged this Advent season, to look outside of our comfortable, wrapped up world, and seek something or someone greater than ourselves.

“My Own Little World” – Matthew West

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I’ve never gone hungry or always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket shoes on my feet
In my own little world
Population me
I try to stay awake through the Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give ’til it hurts
and I turn off the news when I don’t like what I see
it’s easy to do when it’s
population me
What if there’s a bigger picture
What if I’m missing out
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world
Stopped at the red light, looked out my window
Outside the car, saw a sign, said “Help this homeless widow”
Just above this sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, “God, what have I been doing?”
So I rolled down my window and I looked her in the eye
Oh how many times have I just passed her by
I gave her some money then I drove on through
in my own little world there’s
Population two
What if there’s a bigger picture
What if I’m missing out
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world

Start breaking my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me
 
freshmen 101 keepin’ it real

freshmen 101 keepin’ it real

Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to attend the launch of two social justice/communication sites of a freshman communications course here at Cabrini College. Taught by Dr. Jerry Zurek, from the Comm department, one of the most inspiring mentors and educators that I have had (and he was never even my teacher! – clearly, i’m not saying this for a grade!), I left the class motivated and even more affirmed with the work that I was doing. Moreso, it made me even more hopeful for the upcoming generations! There is great work being done out there, but unfortunately the media does not highlight that “good stuff” as much.

BUT – this class of Comm 101 freshmen are heading in a GREAT direction.

The longer I am here at the college, the more I am impressed by the curriculum that engages students in issues of justice right off the bat – beginning in freshman year. Jerry’s part in this? He integrates his course work with social justice issues, and provides students with the opportunity to explore different ways of using communication (esp via social media) to promote awareness and raise consciousness about these perpetual societal problems.
Awesome? um, YES! Cabrini College also holds a course called, “Photography for Social Change.” Unreal!

Conflict-Free Minerals

One of the groups developed a Facebook page, Clean Cabrini, which raised issues about conflict-minerals, which are defined as: “Minerals used in cell-phones that cause conflict between human rights groups and cell-phone companies.” Perhaps you have heard of conflict diamonds…same sort of thing. If you have ever seen Blood Diamond, then you may have captured a Hollywood glimpse of what really happens behind the diamonds that so many people wear (unknowing of the lives that suffered as a result of the rock on your finger. something to think about!)
This group has the goal of making Cabrini College a conflict-free campus, and to influence other colleges to make the same choice. The Congo is the #1 poorest country in the world, and with the number of mines that are in the area, many in the population work in these conditions, receiving unjust wage and treatment.
Food Justice
The second group developed a blog entitled, Cabrini Food Justice, again, to educate and promote awareness of this issue that may not be at the forefront of our lives. We all need food live, but how many of us are really conscious of what makes up our intake? Fair treatment for the worker, the consumer, and the planet – that is food justice. What does this look like for Cabrini, and how can we as a community take the right steps towards healthier, more just food options on campus?
This group did a great job with their presentation, as well as with their audio-visual material, really emphasizing the climate of the food industry in poor conditions. You can check out the video here.
In listening to these presentations, something I jotted down in my notes was, “hearing about these issues (re: conflict minerals) make me lose my appetite. as if there’s a pit in my stomach somewhere…–> we must do something about it!” For me, I find that it is those thoughts that give me indicators as to where I want to go with my future actions and with how I live my life. If there is something that moves me, that causes a shift in my emotion, affecting me in some way, I need to pay attention to that. No matter what that is. Definitely takes time to explore, but it is something to pay attention to.
In this case, it’s issues of social justice. I think the beautiful part of this specifically, is integrating the academics of communication and joining it together with social justice. What are the ways that we can use our majors/areas of study to create positive social change? to start movements? to think differently of what could be?

Call it what you want – I was inspired and also challenged to take more socially-conscious steps in doing my small part towards creating a more just society.

My hope is that these students will not lose hope, but that they will continue to use their passion to drive them forward, and bring others along board with them. Sometimes people just don’t know about these issues around the world. I certainly didn’t know a lot of the details and information that they shared with me and the class, and so I was grateful! So many issues out there to explore and get involved with, and it’s nice to see what happens when faithful people come together to bring about positive change.
I believe that having information holds responsibility and sometimes, many times, it is meant to be shared, especially with regards to these issues. What I mean by that is, because of research about different issues, especially about the horrendous situation of human trafficking, the stories, hard facts, perhaps that is what has stirred up emotion and passion for others in wanting to join in bringing an end to this atrocity. If we are aware of situations of human trafficking going on, we need to bring that to attention. So many times we don’t want to step on anybody’s toes in sharing information with them – things we found interesting in class, or super informative websites that we happened to stumble upon, for fear of what others may think of us (what? he/she’s totally talking about something other than college drama?)…but – dialogue and sharing of information is key – especially when these things relate to the global community.
and seriously though, what better way to do that, than through social media? 🙂

Living Martyrdom

Living Martyrdom

Today in my “Give Us This Day”  book of daily readings and reflections, the following write-up on Maura Clarke and Companions was included for today, Dec. 4, 2012:

Christ of Maryknoll by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM
Check out the meaning of the “Christ of Maryknoll”

Blessed Among Us

Maura Clarke and Companions
Martyrs of El Salvador (d. 1980)

On a December morning in 1980 a small assembly gathered in a cow pasture in El Salvador to witness the exhumation of four North American women. One by one their broken and disheveled bodies were dragged from the shallow grave: Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, both Maryknoll Sisters; Dorothy Kazel, an Ursuline Sister; and Jean Donovan, a lay missioner. They had been killed on December 2 by Salvadoran soldiers, who had taken them to a secluded spot, raped two of them, and then shot them in the head.

Each woman had followed a different path: Maura and Ita, with many years in mission in Nicaragua and Chile; Dorothy, the longest in El Salvador; Jean Donovan, only twenty-seven, who had wrestled with the possibility of marriage and a lucrative career before choosing, instead, to remain in El Salvador. But for each one, called by Christ to live out her faith in solidarity with the poor, the path had led to the same cow pasture.

In these nightmare years in El Salvador, thousands of civilians were killed by security forces on suspicion of “subversion.” Representatives of the Church who embraced the “option for the poor,” including these women, shared the same fate. Witnesses to the cross, they joined a long line of witnesses to the resurrection.

“Several times I have decided to leave—I almost could except for the children. . . . Who would care for them? Whose heart would be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and loneliness? Not mine.” – Jean Donovan
 —

These four women were living mission, so much that they died on mission. Every time I read accounts on this tragedy in El Salvador among well-intentioned, commissioned and blessed women, I get the chills at the conditions of their martyrdom, and at the same time, I also feel boldly motivated to continue making steps in the area of my passions.

The martyrdom of these women is truly an inspiration in that they pursued their work, with their keystone being, they were called by Christ. The life of a missioner is not easy – no life is, but it is certainly a grace to experience and be given the strength and perseverance to keep going, one day at a time, especially when living and working with the “poorest of the poor.” I have always believed that while God loves all His children, He especially is close to the poor. And for that, it is those who choose to join Him in his work by comforting the poor, serving them, being with them, and loving them, that they will experience Christ in a radical, life-changing, and very real way.

Lastly, two of my friends, Marc and Lexie Adams, will soon be embarking on their new adventure as Maryknoll Lay Missioners to Cochabamba, Bolivia. With hearts so full of love and service, they will be having their send-off ceremony next week, along with the other MLMs who will be serving all over the globe. Please keep them in your prayers, as well as the communities that will be receiving them, that the Holy Spirit may guide their mission, and that there may be comfort in knowing that Jesus will be walking always before them. Check out their blog to learn more and to be inspired. Gifted and talented as individuals, and when joined together, what a beautiful, blessed couple indeed! What grace!

Work on the missions demands that you undergo a martyrdom- if not a real one, at least a living one. – Maryknoll Pole at the Maryknoll Museum of Living Mission, Ossining NY (another Maryknoll-related blog post here)

mission everyday!

mission everyday!

Today is the feast day of one of my most favorite saints,
St. Francis Xavier, SJ, the patron saint of foreign missions.

www.happysaints.com

 Co-founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), bff of Ignatius of Loyola, and super influential figure of inspiration to Mother Cabrini…today is his feast day! St. Francis Xavier died on Dec. 3, 1552. His body was incorrupt, was re-buried at various sites (dang, missionary life never ends!), and his right forearm – that which he used to bless and baptize the people whom he served on mission, was detached and preserved as a relic.

The dangers to which I am exposed and the tasks I undertake for God are springs of spiritual joy, so much so that these islands are the places in all the world for a man to lose his sight by excess of weeping; but they are tears of joy. – St. Francis Xavier, SJ

i know at least for me, Sister T and I looked to St. Francis Xavier a bunch during our days on mission in baguio city. i would recall how Sister T and I prepared families with knowledge and awareness of the sacrament of baptism at least a month or two prior to them actually receiving the sacrament and really emphasizing the importance of it, making sure they understood what they were doing. that it wasn’t just an act with no meaning…well, we tried our best! and of course, come baptism day, those people came to receive the sacrament, as well as others from the community (some who we never met before!)….it was then that Sr. T and I would look at each other, and be like, “welp! what are you gonna do? let’s just baptize em all!” our priest then did the duty, and we would just be smiling and uplifted the whole time! who are we to refuse Jesus to anyone? by no means are we gatekeepers, but we certainly had to grow into more faithful prayer warriors that the Holy Spirit would fill in the blanks and translate our english and broken tagalog into their ilokano and ibaloi dialect. 🙂

Today, may we wake up the bold and vigilant spirit inside of us to serve and love others in the most complete and fullest ways that we are able. there’s no time to lose – there’s a great world out there.

on praying to the saints:

as Timothy Cardinal Dolan said, “In prayer, we always go to Jesus. Sometimes we bring friends with us.”