Tuesday, August 31, 2010

8-Day Contemplative Pilgrimage to Franciscan Hermitages around Assisi, Italy

This pilgrimage was born in my heart last Sept. 2009, the orginal pilgrimage plan was to attend a meeting in Jerusalem sponsored by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Office in Rome. The conferenece was changed to Assisi, Italy for unknown reasons. I wanted to visit the Holy Land.But I guess that is for another time in my life. But even though I had been to Assisi 4 years previously, I felt like I was being called and invited by St. Francis himself to make this Contemplative Pilgrimage to the Franciscan Hermitages around Assisi and environs plus the timing was right- September can be a month when Italy is winding down from hot summers and the weather becomes more moderate. It did prove to be just that. It was sunny and bright with temperatures in the upper 80's with nice soft breezes in the daytime. The whole trip of 22 days was marred by a couple of days of rain (including one large thunderstorm with lots of rain).

I should mention that this tour company was pointed out to me by a common friend. As I explored the StFrancisPilgrimages website and started a Google Chat with the owner. I discovered a nice fit, and also, that he is a Secular Franciscan and that our paths have the same curves/directions.

This pilgrimage to Francicsan hermitages in Italy came after a year of spending 3 consecutive days a month in prayer,silence and seeking solitude at some small Franciscan hermitages owned by the Franciscan Sisters in my area (actually a 7 mile drive). I have been answering a "call" to live 'Desert Spirituality' in Franciscan forms, listening and sharing with my Franciscan spiritual director.

I believe this contemplative side of me has been 'marinading' there for years, and now with retirement and consent of my spouse, I can experience this stage of my life and a deeper union with God.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Father of Mercy Chapel * Franciscan Sisters TOR

This day will be memorable for the friends, family, and the Sisters of the Penance of the Sorrowful Mother, Franciscan Sisters,Third Order Regular (religious). Our wonderful Father God, provided a great sunnyday, moderate temperatures, having been through some hot weather these past weeks.
The chapel at the motherhouse was started August 2009 and completed this year 2010.

A Solemn Blessing of the Father of Mercy Chapel and the Altar consecrated took place at 11:00 am. Three bishops con-celebrated this event and Mass. Our Bishop, Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon, Bishop of Steubenville, Ohio, presided with Bishop Emeritus of Steubenville, Most Reverend Gilbert Sheldon and Bishop David A. Zubik, Bishop of Pittsburgh, PA.

Bishop Conlon blessed the chapel with the Sprinkling of Holy water,then followed the Prayer of Dedication and the Anointing of the Altar. Within the prayer of Dedication, we were reminded how Noah after the Flood built an altar in God's name and the Lord was appeased by his fragrant offering and God's rainbow bore witness to a Covenant refounded in love. Further Abraham, our father in faith, constructed and altar to slay Isaac, his only son. But God stayed his hand and provided a ram for the offering. Moses, mediator of the old law, built an altar on which was cast the blood of a lamb:so prefiguring the altar of the cross.

The dedication proceeded with the Mass, with a spectacular Luncheon after.

Videos of the Dedication of the new Father Mercy Chapel and First Profession - visit online www.torsisters.org/communitynews.shtml