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Rise!

Rise!

I don’t know what it is, but there is something so powerful about hearing the prayers of the women who are currently incarcerated at the local correctional facility. Their faith strengthens mine, and their reflections enlighten me.

Today we shared our thoughts about Lazarus.

Today’s Gospel read:

“Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” – John 11: 25-27

The faith sharing ended up going in the direction of talking about the times in our lives when we recognized that God said, “Rise!” to us.  And we talked about what it was like to hear that voice and now looking back, seeing what God’s intentions were for us. All for good and all for life.

Today was indeed a grace. These women blessed my life today!

As I walked out of the facility, I saw one of the inmates breastfeed her baby while her other visitor waited outside in the visitors area. I paused and lifted that moment in prayer.

Amigos

Amigos

I will forever be grateful for my experiences to Nicaragua…even though the visits are emotionally, physically, and mentally demanding, especially when you are in charge of your students in a foreign country, I am grateful to accompany students on these encounters with Christ.

Today, I was reminded of how much beauty there is on these trips! Really challenging, but looking back, my heart is full of gratitude.

Please keep us in our prayers, as our Nicaragua trip is coming up as well!

Here’s a video from one of my first experiences with organization, Amigos for Christ:

Let It Be Done Unto Me…

Let It Be Done Unto Me…

Above: One of my favorite pictures of the Annunciation entitled: The Annunciation, (1898), Henry Ossawa Tanner. (Courtesy the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1899)

On this Feast of the Annunciation, here is a beautiful reflection on our “YES!” and the struggle that comes with it too.

Here is a song by Danielle Rose, Let It Be Done Unto Me, that always comes to mind on this special feast day:

The Lord sent me to Mary
As she was praying in the sun.
I said, “Hail Mary, favored one,
The Lord is with you. Mary it is true.”
She did not understand.
She said, “Shall I touch the sky
With these small hands?”
A peasant girl from Galilee
Destined to become the Queen of Peace.

[Pre-chorus]
And all the heavens and the earth
Stand still in silence,
Waiting for her soul to reply.
She is free to choose:
God will never abuse
The sacred Yes she cannot be denied.

[Chorus]
“Let it be done unto me!
With one small yes the world will be redeemed.
What was impossible is now a possibility.
Let it be done unto me!”

“Mary, do not be afraid.
Behold, you will conceive a son
Through whom the world is saved.
Humility will be your throne,
And in your womb our God,
Our God will find a home.”
“O Lord, how can this be?
I have not given any man my body’s purity!”
“The Spirit will come down,
Like once-barren Elizabeth
Can now with child be found!”

[Pre-chorus]
And all the heavens and the earth
Stand still in silence,
Waiting for her soul to reply.
She is free to choose:
God will never abuse
The sacred Yes she cannot be denied.

[Chorus]
“Let it be done unto me!
With one small yes the world will be redeemed.
What was impossible is now a possibility.
Let it be done unto me!”

She said Yes to the Father,
Yes to the unknown,
Yes with all her strength,
Yes to God alone.
The first Holy Communion
Took place that blessed day.
Christ came into her body
When Mary chose to say
When Mary chose to say…

[Chorus (x2)]
“Let it be done unto me!
With one small yes the world will be redeemed.
What was impossible is now a possibility.
Let it be done unto me!”

Let it be done unto me [x3]

L’Arche: A Place of Grace

L’Arche: A Place of Grace

Today, my student caught me off-guard as she comes into my office, stands in front of me, and says, “Ms. Catalan, can we talk about something?” I say, “Sure, of course! Aren’t you in class right now?” “Yes,” she answered, “but it’s for class, so my teacher said it was OK.” I asked her what she needed help with and she replied, “I need to process our L’Arche trip for my project.” Here we go!!

The topic: Grace. Wow – not an easy topic, but in some ways, not a difficult topic either – rather, a topic that causes pause, reflection, and contemplation when explored deeply.

In that moment, we reminisced about the trip, shared highlights and unpacked them a bit more. Why does that moment stick out to you? What did you learn in that moment? What is challenging about what you encountered? How will you allow that experience to affect your future interactions with others or affect the way you view the world?  A couple of kleenex later, the connections started to be made between the dots, and shortly after, she came back to ask follow-up questions.

Some of us will never be able to go inwards and reflect on deeply moving encounters and experiences. For high school students to take this upon themselves and acknowledge the need to process experiences…wow – I am moved. I am grateful that my workplace cares about our students enough and so values the education found in immersion trips, that these trips are ingrained within our school’s values. I am grateful that I can talk faith topics and social justice topics with students, and these conversations are encouraged. I am also grateful to be a part of immersion trip experiences that I am confident will stay with my students and perhaps shape them in amazing ways for the rest of their lives. That in itself is pure gift!

What a beautiful day this was!

Right Relationship [ethical trade]

Right Relationship [ethical trade]

When placed in the right company, my adrenaline will rush, my excitement level will increase, and I am ready to get to work! That’s exactly what happened tonight, as our Global Solidarity Team discussed our upcoming Ethical Trade Workshop that will launch the Ethical Trade initiative in the Diocese. Catholic Relief Services has recently shifted their “Fair Trade” component to “Ethical Trade” and our Ethical Trade Ambassadors are ready to showcase this in a month. I’m so excited about it!

Rather than simply focusing on how to determine what is considered “ethical trade,” or “fair trade,” this Workshop will focus on what it means to be in right relationship with others, and how this is directly related to our decisions as consumers. What is the connection between us and the earth? How can we be in right relationship with others, while being conscious of our choices in this world?

I saw God today in the energy and enthusiasm in the room for these things that are so important. In a culture that is always seeking the most recent updated product, seeking the most flashiest, coolest, most cutting edge product(s), learning about ethical trade has drastically changed the way I view things.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

In this Lenten season, I am brought back to reflect on my needs vs. wants. I am brought back to think about the very hands that make the items I wear. While I don’t think it is prudent of me to dispose of all of my clothes which are not ethically made (probably an upwards of 90%+ of the items I own), I can certainly limit the amount of purchases I make, especially if it is not essential.

I am a work in progress, aren’t we all?! Learning more about ethical trade is so interesting to me, and I am looking forward to hosting an awesome workshop for our Diocese. More to come!