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Meeting Date [2010-01-30]

Fr Pawel lead our meeting this past Saturday, speaking mainly about the grace of God.

Before we got started there was a brief discussion about Haiti. One observation was the ‘goodness’ wrought by having the world’s attention drawn to Haiti to remind the world of the destitute poverty in Haiti (and too many other third world countries), a condition every present and independent of a disaster. The hurricane that devastated Haiti a few short years ago brought another acute relief effort, but too soon after addressing the immediate crisis, the world again seemed to forget Haiti. Could such tragedies be God’s way of bringing our attention to the day-to-day suffering of His children in such countries that the developed countries otherwise only pay minor attention? [Good topic for a blogiscussion on the Men of Emmaus website….as per the recent advice of the Pope.]

Disclaimer: As always, my recaps of Men of Emmaus talks are based on sloppy notes and feeble minded recollections of things said, thus, anything I attribute to Fr. Pawel below, which is wrong, is most likely an error of my own recollection.

Fr. Pawel heavily referenced the Catechism of the Catholic Church (beginning at paragraph 1996) for his talk. He talked about grace being the very life force we receive from God and about the transformative power of grace, e.g., the conversion of St. Paul.

Grace is favor from God, dependent on His initiative, free and undeserved by us, surpassing the power of human intellect to understand. Grace sanctifies our souls and deifies us. [Note: Christian = other Christ; Saint = one who lives in heaven]

A sub-theme of Fr. Pawel’s talk was the lesson that it is not enough to follow the ten commandments, we also need to transform our hearts to be able to adopt the mind of Christ to express the love of God. This takes time and effort on our part.

Fr. Pawel mentioned he has done a lot of reading on exorcisms and learned a common occurrence reported by exorcists, when they offer to satan that he can seek God’s forgiveness and perhaps return to heaven, is satan’s reply that ‘he was not kicked out of heaven he chose to leave.’ Pride keeps the devil from returning to heaven and pride keeps mankind from fully embracing God’s love. [Another good blog topic for a Men of Emmaus blogiscussion, i.e., can the devil be saved and should we pray for forgiveness for that bad boy?]

Fr. Pawel also mentioned that St. Paul was apparently a difficult and demanding person to travel with as evidenced by several of his traveling companions baling on him at different times. Coincidentally, I had recently been reading Acts and became aware of this character attribute of Paul (see Acts 16:36-39). Fr. Pawel suggested this character attribute may have been ‘the thorn in my side’ that Paul fervently prayed about.

Fr. Pawel also pointed us to Romans Chap 8 as another key to understanding grace, participation in life of God, and an introduction to Trinitarian love.

Fr. Pawel mentioned the Sign of the Cross as a tool to help understand the Trinity, we point to our heads for the Father (symbolizing the creative power of the brain), to our heart for the Son (symbolizing the pump that sustains life and expresses love), and to our shoulders for the Holy Spirit (symbolizing the strength for our actions).

Fr. Pawel mentioned the important notion that there is no ability to store up grace for future use. Also, if we try to solve serious problems on our own, God leaves us to our own devices, and often to poor resolutions of problems. God often chooses the weak to demonstrate that our strength is dependent on God. Fr. Pawel mentioned a number of saints that epitomize how God demonstrates the power of His grace by His giving an abundance of grace to individuals, who in earthly terms, are weak, but He empowers them to amazing acts of faith and courage, e.g., 1) the courage and conviction of faith displayed by Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, young North African Christian women who were sacrificed to wild beasts in the year 203, even though they had many opportunities to save themselves be renouncing their faith. 2) St. Joseph of Cupertino, the 17th century Italian saint and mystic of ‘moronic’ intellect, who through extraordinary circumstances, became a much sought after and revered priest. Part of becoming a priest at the time was to recite a random passage of scripture asked during an examination. He was able to memorize one short passage and prayed to God that the examiner would ask for that passage, which the examiner did. 3) St. John Vianney, the early19th century priest, who overcame significant obstacles to become the patron saint of priests. He became internationally known for his priestly and pastoral work in his parish because of the radical spiritual transformation of the community and its surroundings.

Fr. Pawel mentioned a frequent difference between Western and Eastern mentality towards mystical things. He pointed to Aristotle being the influence on the West, requiring that everything needs to be understood and explained by reasoning; as opposed to Plato being the influence on the East, allowing for the mystical is a reality and that we can be led to imagine ultimate truths about faith, thus giving Eastern faiths a greater ability to accept the Word of God without question or requirement of conclusive, scientific proofs.

Fr. Pawel pointed out how the media influences our minds with stories of things that cause us fear, but that knowledge of God’s love can keep us happy under any conditions.

Fr. Pawel also mentioned the difficulty of dealing with silence. Although valuable for prayer, it is also a time when the devil will battle for control of our thoughts.

If you are still reading, Fr. Pawel made mention of The Didache, one of the earliest Christian community writings, believed to date back to the late first or early second century. [It is an anonymous work written as a pastoral manual "that reveals more about how Jewish-Christians saw themselves and how they adapted their Judaism for gentiles than any other book in the Christian Scriptures." The text, parts of which may have constituted the first written catechism, has three main sections dealing with Christian lessons, rituals such as baptism and Eucharist, and Church organization.]…Caution: the preceding bracketed text from Wikipedia.

Finally Fr. Pawel suggested repetition of Gospel reading as an excellent to solidify one’s faith and convert our hearts to the love of God.

Next week, we will kick off a structured study of scripture, Old and New Testament, using a book by theologian Scott Hahn as our guide. Ty Roach will summarize Chapter 1. Come prepared by visiting the Men of Emmaus website for specific scriptural references.

As a reminder, we will try to maintain a regular schedule of the last Saturday of each month being a meeting lead by one of our priests or deacons. Next month we hope to have Deacon Bill Vita as our meeting leader. We will also continue to have guest speakers on an ad hoc basis. Hopefully some of you will be guest speakers on some topic of faith.

If you are a subscriber to the Sunday Washington Post, you may have received the offer for a free ½ pound bag of Millstone coffee…..this would make a great contribution to the Men of Emmaus coffee fund and upgrade the quality of coffee served.

Meeting Date [2010-01-23]

This morning we were visited by Mark Zimmermann, a man of many consonants and editor of the Catholic Standard (CS) newspaper. Mark was there to hear our opinions on how to make the CS more attractive to Washington area Catholics, and hear opinions on the best ways to migrate to electronic media outlets. The group, of course, had plenty of opinions which we hope were of some use to Mark.

Mark asks us all to please go the CS website and complete the short survey on the CS. Please go to www.cathstan.org and look for the survey link at the top of the right side vertical menu bar.

We learned that the CS staff are very few and with a huge task to get the paper published each week. One of the more interesting ideas that came up during our discussion was to somehow get parishes and individuals to provide unsolicited stories/articles, thereby expanding Mark’s ‘reporting’ staff, without additional expense.

I urge everyone who is not already a subscriber to the CS to become one, if for nothing else than to support Catholic communications.

Next Saturday we will have a talk given by Fr. Pawel.

Meeting Date [2010-01-02]

Read the January 3rd Mass readings for the Feast of the Epiphany (Appearance).

We noted how the readings related,

  1. Isaiah’s prophecy, in the 8th century B.C., of a Savior,
  2. Paul’s recognition that the Savior came for the Gentiles as well as the Jews, and
  3. Matthew’s story of the gentile Magi travelling from afar in search of the newborn Jewish king.

We discussed how the Magi might have known to come looking for a newborn Jewish king and came up with

  1. divine revelation
  2. their own studies of Jewish writings
  3. they were told by some local Jews
  4. all of the above

We discussed the importance of Christmas being the Incarnation. We learned about two philosophies of the Incarnation,

  1. God’s act of love for our salvation and
  2. always part of God’s plan, which would have been brought about in another way, had we not needed salvation.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paraphrasing):

  1. For Salvation – God’s way to reconcile our broken relationship caused by our sins
  2. For Love – the Word became flesh so we could better know and appreciate God’s love for us
  3. For Example – God’s way of giving us a material example of how to be holy children of God
  4. For Sharing – God’s way of allowing us to participate in His divine life

We discussed the origins of Christmas and learned of one ancient belief that the month and day of a person’s death is pre-determined to be the same as the month and day of a person’s conception. Thus the month and day of Christmas was determined based on the date of Easter, specifically, Good Friday.

We discussed the concept of Papal infallibility [enacted very infrequently and only on matters of faith and morals; and perhaps the best reason for separation of church and state, i.e., you want an organization guided by the Holy Spirit handling such issues, not an earthly government; also see Matthew 16:17-19 and John 20:21-23]; and we discussed the reasons for accepting what the Church teaches as ‘true’, without question [simple answer: the Church does allow her teachings to be questioned and she has had some of the best minds of all of history working on the question of ‘What is truth?’ for approximately 2000 years, not too mention divine revelation].

Meeting Date [2009-10-31]

Today we did a bit of reading from the Catholic Standard regarding recent special arrangements setup by the Vatican to accommodate Anglican Churches that are looking to assimilate back into the Roman Catholic Church. We then read Scripture for this coming Sunday, and lastly we read more from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We didn’t get too far in the catechism because what we read led to good discussion on our own culpability for Jesus’ suffering on the cross in that He suffered for all the sins of mankind, past-present-future.

I learned that the meeting report for last week, which I sent yesterday as an attachment, was a problem for many not being able to open the attachment, so I include it below because it mentions upcoming meeting speakers.

Meeting Date [2009-08-29]

At yesterday’s Men of Emmaus meeting we started reading the Pope’s latest encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth). We managed to get through the entire first two paragraphs of the introduction. I believe we reached a consensus that the ‘Truth’ cited in the document is the truth of the reality of God, and that the charity we practice needs to be because of that truth, i.e., charity in the name of God. In fact, if one substitutes the holy name of ‘God’ for the Word ‘truth’ in the opening paragraphs of the document, it still reads quite well.

Along with our reading we had lively discussions which topics included the role of government in social justice, the kingdom of God, kings of earth, God’s plan for each of us, free will vs pre-destination…….

Planning for Future Men of Emmaus meetings:

We are getting commitments from our priests and deacons to visit with us at least once per month for special presentations. They have asked for suggested topics. I ask that you, the Men of Emmaus, send me some suggested topics. We have the following so far:

  • Any saint (John Vinney, Catherine of Sienna, Peter, Paul…)
  • The Trinity (suggested by Deacon Ron)
  • God’s Plan for Mankind and for each of us personally
  • The Mass (perhaps as a series of talks)
  • Social justice
  • Any encyclical
  • Early Church fathers
  • ….other suggestions from the Men of Emmaus

Special Event

  • Oct 3rd – Eucharistic procession to Montgomery County Offices in Rockville. Rich McKay (mckayfamily1@verizon.net) is seeking help in organizing and promoting this event. The first hurdle is to get a commitments from priests of Montgomery County parishes to participate (Rose of Lima, Mother Seton, Nazareth, St. Francis, St. Mary, St. Raphael, St. Elizabeth, St. Jude, St. Patrick, St. Peter, St. John the Baptist, St. Camillus, Resurrection, ??????....please contact Rich if you can help.
  • Oct 4th – Life Chain
Meeting Date [2009-08-22]

This past Saturday Fr. Pawel made his inaugural visit to the MoE. He told us a wonderful story of his life journey from a childhood that included open persecution of Catholics by a then communist Polish government, then the change to a democratic government in his teen years, then struggles with his faith during his rebellious teen and young adult years under a ‘communism’ of sin and despair, then renewal of faith through the grace of God including the fulfillment of a long abandon childhood inkling of a desire to be a priest. He spoke of his renewal unfolding through the intercession of friends and a priest as key instruments of God. In his own words, ‘No case is too difficult for God.’

The biggest human influence in his life….pope John Paul II, not because of his polish heritage but because of JPII’s difficult life and perseverance of faith, and his obvious joy for life.

Fr. Pawel mentioned the beautiful affirmation of his vocation given him by God in that his ordination took place on his birthday and the feast day of his patron saint.

Fr. Pawel then taught us using the Gospel of John (Chap 6). He spoke of how maintaining one’s faith, especially in difficult times, makes us much stronger. He talked about our Catholic Faith being exciting due to the mystical drama of anticipating and facing challenges to our faith and overcoming those challenges. He mentioned as examples, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis of Assisi, St Theresa of Avila.

He pointed to the Incarnation as the source of understanding suffering while at the same time the means of bringing heaven to earth.

He also discussed how faith and reason work together and encouraged us to read John Paul II’s encyclical FIDES ET RATI.

Other recommended reading, How to Profit from Sin, by St. Francis de Sales (an oldie but goodie).

Finally, check the MoE website for the more on the heresy of transmutation (versus Transubstantiation).

Meeting Date [2009-07-18]

Fr. Philip Scott’s talk - Discernment of Spirits Fr. Philip’s talk was about discerning the origin of our day-to-day thoughts and ‘movements of the soul’, i.e., are they from 1) God via His angels, 2) our own thoughts derived from natural (earthly) desires and our own will, or 3) from the devil. Fr. Philip cited the reality of the devil in 1Peter 5:8…”Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour.” The devil is ever active, very clever, and knows our weaknesses very well. Fr. Philip mentioned St. Teresa of Avila’s account of Jesus showing her the place in hell that the devil had reserved for her.

Fr. Philip talked about spiritual consolation vs natural consolation and described the ‘conversion’ account of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who, while recovering from soldiering injuries, was converted to a strong devotion to God by reading the Lives of the Saints among other spiritual books. St. Ignatius talked about the strong spiritual consolation he received from these books, while other secular books, even those about chivalry, left him feeling desolate. St. Ignatius responded to this spiritual consolation and went on to found the Jesuit Order of priests. He studied and wrote prolifically on the concept of spiritual consolation vs natural (emotional) consolation; and the converse of both, spiritual desolation.

Fr. Philip pointed out spiritual consolation is introduced to our thoughts via an infusion of grace by the Holy Spirit assisted by our guardian angel(s) influencing our thoughts according to God’s will.

But what about spiritual desolation?
How the devil influences:
The devil influences a person living in a constant state of mortal sin by producing apparent pleasures in the person’s mind attached to the sin, making it at least temporarily exciting. (concerning mortal sin: 1John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray.)

The devil influences a person striving to serve God by producing obstacles leading to doubt, anxiety and sadness that produce false reasoning and disturbs the soul.

The devil tends to ignore those people living lives of indifference to God, “going happy-go-lucky to hell.”

How the Lord works:
For a person living in mortal sin, the Lord works on their reasoning powers, and sometimes their emotions, to see the truth about the sin being committed and become revolted by it.

Fr. Philip mentioned a theory that our five human senses, plus our reasoning power, only enable us to perceive 10% of reality….that reality including things of a spiritual nature.

Fr. Philip emphasized the importance of knowing that ‘heaven’ is on our side with constant help available from the Holy Spirit and our guardian angel(s). Fr. Philip encouraged us to establish a relationship with our guardian angel(s). He mentioned we can send our guardian angel on missions on our behalf and that angels can work together at our request.

Fr. Philip further describe spiritual consolation as an interior movement inflamed by the love of God inspiring us to goodness, sorrow for sin and even physical manifestations such as tears. It is something which comes from God and cannot be produced by our own will or desire.

Spiritual desolation, influenced by the devil, was described as a turning inward, a reliance on self, a lack of trust in God and a gravitating towards an attitude of despair. Fr. Philip briefly discussed the despair of a clinical depression, caused by a chemical imbalance in the body, making normal reasoning outside a person’s control and making them unable to function normally; where as the despair of spiritual desolation is fueled by false reasoning brought on by lack of trust and hope in God.

There were some questions about saints (and many others) who experienced what Mother Theresa referred to as the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’, a sort of desolation marked by an absence of feeling God’s presence, a type of despair. But these people trusted God and used true reasoning to persevere. Fr. Philip said that such hard times can be the work of God, e.g., a form of purification to keep the person holy and humble. He talked about the greatest work of God is invisible to us.

Why do we suffer spiritual desolation?

  1. Original sin makes us slothful, tepid and vulnerable to the devil
  2. It is a way for God to let us know we need Him
  3. It is a way for God to lead us to greater devotion to Him. (see Sr. Faustina)
What do the saints advise in times of spiritual desolation?
  1. Don’t make quick choices or decisions
  2. Examine your thoughts to determine are they from God, yourself or the devil
  3. Consciously intensify your resolve to do God’s will
  4. Pray for guidance and trust God to answer your prayers
  5. Seek God’s will through the sacrament of reconciliation

Recommended Books

  1. The Spiritual Combat, by Lorenzo Scupoli
  2. The Temperament God Gave You, by Art & Laraine Bennett

Meeting Date [2009-07-04]

This past Saturday we did a bit of 8th Grade catechism review and had a very good discussion about the challenges of teaching catechism, particularly to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.

We read the next section of the catechism (595 – 596) about the many Pharisees who did believe in Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah, but not the most powerful of the Pharisees, the Chief Priest Caiaphas, who was the strongest opponent of Jesus, perhaps out of fear, perhaps envy, perhaps pride….likely a mix of all three. We also read about St. James’ amazement at the thousands of Jews, zealous for the Law, who professed belief in Jesus shortly after the ascension, and at great risk to themselves. We have to ask ourselves, “Are we ready to proclaim our belief at great risk, or even just inconvenience, to ourselves?”

We also discussed the importance of living a life of true Christian love at all times, especially in the world at large and in the presence of non-Catholics.

SUGGESTION BOX

  • Each of the Men of Emmaus prepares a talk about our confirmation saint, why we choose the saint and what we remember about our confirmation. (Pete Geiling)
  • Ask our priests to conduct a lecture series on the Mass. (Karl Mondoa)
  • Volunteer to help prepare single class lectures (facts, bible citations, images, word games) on the teachings of the Church for the 8th grade confirmation class, e.g., Trinity, sacraments, ten commandments, prayer, Lent, Advent, Christmas, Easter, angels, Eucharist, hierarchy, saints, etc….. as covered in the attached 8th grade test. (Patrick Burke)

Meeting Date [2009-06-27]
This past Saturday the Men of Emmaus met as usual. The meeting evolved into two major topics of discussion; first was a discussion about Archdiocese of Washington programs to support Priests in a special way during the Year of Priests sanction by the Vatican. Three activities were mentioned,
  1. a group meets in the Church Hall, Friday mornings after the 6:30am Mass to pray for priests
  2. St. Martin’s bulletin is listing the names of seven Archdiocese priests each week so that we can pray for these priests during the week
  3. The Men of Emmaus is sponsoring a prayer program for Archdiocese priests on the website.

The second discussion was about the Mass and covered a wide range of topics such as: modest apparel for Mass and proper liturgical practices, e.g., quiet time after communion reception, catechesis opportunities during Mass, explanation of the ‘intentions’ for each Mass, better preparation for reading of the Antiphon at daily Mass, etc.

There was a suggestion for a general parish lecture series on the Mass and for the development of a Mass ‘etiquette’ pamphlet.

Ty Roach offered to bring some of the ideas to the Liturgy Committee for their consideration beginning with the introduction of the Roman Missal and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal as guideline documents for the Committee.

I hope to see many of you for a July 4th meeting. If I can get my proverbial act together, I will introduce the 8th grade CCD exam so we can try the new game “Are You Better Formed in Your Faith then an 8th Grader?”.

Weekly Recommendations

  • Recommended Book -- Pope Fiction, by Patrick Madrid
  • Recommended weekly Pro-Life action: Saturday, 10am, rosary recitation near the local abortion mill on Comprint Dr.

Meeting Date [2009-05-30]

This past Saturday Lionel Rodricks gave us his first in a series of talks on the history of the Popes. He will give 4-5 talks over the next 4-5 months. It was clear that Peter was recognized by the first Christians as the first Vicar of Christ. As a consequence of Peter having established himself as the Bishop of Rome, the seat of world power of the time and for the next several hundred years, a tradition was established that each new Bishop of Rome became the successor of Peter and the new head of the Church (although this condition was challenged from time-to-time by a number of individuals well into the middle ages). One of many factors supporting this tradition is the fact that the Apostle John, the last surviving of the Twelve Apostles, was never recognized as one of our Popes.

This coming Saturday we will be watching a DVD on St. Peter.

THIS FRIDAY = FIRST FRIDAY – JUNE 5 - St. Martin's Church will be open all night long for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. We encourage guys to participate in the wee hours of the night to pray before the Lord…and provide some security. Please go to the Men of Emmaus website (www.menofemmaus.org) to check our Adoration Scheduler (click here to see it). To help us know what hours need coverage:

  1. Register an account with the MoE site. Note: this is separate from the MoE mailing list.
  2. Login
  3. Go to the Adoration Schedule page and select the hour(s) you are able to provide security while in adoration of our Lord.
    • Note: you can hold the <ctrl> key down and select more than one hour if you desire.
  4. If you are already registered on the MoE website, skip Step #1 above.

Meeting Date [2009-05-09]

This past Saturday we began learning about the major Vatican II documents in earnest with a talk by Bob Christopher on the DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH, LUMEN GENTIUM, SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS, POPE PAUL VI ON NOVEMBER 21, 1964

Tomorrow we continue with Don DeLash giving a talk on another of the Vatican II documents.

Bob gave a brief background for Vatican II, i.e., Pope John XXIII succeeded Pope Pius XII in 1958. He saw that the Catholic Church had much to offer the world, but was somewhat insular and buffeted by changing times. He wanted to give the Church a unified sense of self and emphasize the mystical aspects of our Church. He wanted to reach out and reveal the Church to the world. He says he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to call the Council, which he did within 10 weeks of his election.

A couple of things which caught my attention: 23 women were invited to participate in the Council and several non-Christians were invited to witness the Council’s proceedings.

Some key messages of the Council mentioned by Bob:

  1. The Church is first of all the ‘whole people of God’ not just the clergy.
  2. Jesus subsists in the Catholic Church in a special way, i.e., in the fullness and completeness of truth, but parts of that truth can be found in other faiths as well.

Bob gave highlights of the eight chapters of the document, Lumin Gentium, which is considered the crowning achievement of Vatican II. See http://www.vatican.va for the complete document. I try to get to writing to highlights next week.

 

CHAPTER I - THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH

CHAPTER II - ON THE PEOPLE OF GOD

CHAPTER III - ON THE HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURE OF THE CHURCH

AND IN PARTICULAR ON THE EPISCOPATE

CHAPTER IV - THE LAITY

CHAPTER V - THE UNIVERSAL CALL TO HOLINESS IN THE CHURCH

CHAPTER VI – RELIGIOUS

CHAPTER VII - THE ESCHATOLOGICAL NATURE OF THE PILGRIM CHURCH

AND ITS UNION WITH THE CHURCH IN HEAVEN

CHAPTER VIII - THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, MOTHER OF GOD

IN THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST AND THE CHURCH
Meeting Date [2009-04-18]

Yesterday we read and discussed the following section of the CCC:

571-630 ARTICLE 4: "JESUS CHRIST SUFFERED UNDER PONTIUS PILATE, WAS CRUCIFIED, DIED, AND WAS BURIED"

574-594 Paragraph 1. Jesus and Israel

577-582 I. Jesus and the Law

583-586 II. Jesus and the Temple

587-591 III. Jesus and Israel's Faith in the One God and Savior

The Catechism reading affirmed Deacon Ron’s message of last week, i.e., the Paschal Mystery is the central event of our faith.

Part of our discussion concerned the Pharisees. Many of us were brought up thinking of all Pharisees as really bad guys, but they weren’t all bad guys, e.g., Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (among many others ref. Acts 6:7; 15:5; 21:20). The Pharisees were trying to live holy lives, but they were subject to sin….judgmental, jealous, prideful, hypocritical, etc. We look at ourselves in the context of being modern day Pharisees…..people of God trying to live holy lives, sometimes doing a good job, but sometimes being too judgmental, jealous, prideful…etc.

Become a reporter for the good……We touched on the kernel of an idea, i.e., to make efforts to get good news about the Catholic Church into the public media through press releases. Anyone can email a story to a news media outlet at the cost of your time. Email your story to media editors and see what happens, if not getting printed you will at least start to change the hearts of editors in need of a change of heart.

There was confirmation that at least one of you actually reads these weekly reports. Unfortunately for me, that guy is a Wiz in his knowledge of the faith and he found numerous errors in last week’s report (my apologies to Deacon Ron for misrepresenting parts of his teaching). Please see the end of this email for corrections…….If anyone else is of a mind to send corrections, I say….BRING IT ON!

Next Week: Tentatively….Bob Christopher will give us an overview of the history of Vatican II in preparation for our coming study of the docuemtns of Vatican II

NEAR TERM SERVICE NEEDS
We have some near term pressing need for your time and muscle. These requests came to me specifically for the attention of the Men of Emmaus.

  1. Thursday, May 7th – collecting donated items destined for our sister parish, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Togo Africa (Fr. Bill Ryan’s parish)
    Meet at Fr. Meyers House at 1:30; 2-3 hours; transport donated items stored at various locations to Fr. Meyers House…Paul Prendergast driving the truck…yikes!
  2. Friday, May 8th – loading donated items stored at Fr. Meyers House to a shipping container destined for Togo
    Meet at Fr. Meyers House at 9:00am; 2-3 hours; more details to follow
  3. May 9th – annual Post Office food collection donation for St. Martin’s Food Pantry; help needed carrying food baskets to storage in Annex and garage; service hours available for kids, high school seniors okay unaccompanied, lower grades must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
    Meet at Annex building behind the Church at 3:00. Help will be needed up to ~6:30pm
    1. FINAL COLLECTION OF ITEMS NEEDED FOR TOGO
      Please see the attachment which lists items requested by Fr. Ryan as needed by his mission parish in Togo. Your donations (only things on the list) will be much appreciated. Please deliver donated items to Fr. Meyers House on the next two Saturday: · Saturday 4/25 between 10:00am - 2:00pm · Saturday 5/2 between 10:00am - 2:00pm

Meeting Date [2009-04-11]

Deacon Ron Meyer - The Eucharist (making present, or moving to the present what is in eternity)

Deacon Ron started his talk by mentioning St. Martin’s Men of Emmaus gathering on Holy Saturday morning trying to understand the meaning of the Eucharist being a beautiful metaphor for the original Men of Emmaus on that first Holy Saturday discussing what had just happened to their Lord the day before.

Deacon Ron touched on the fact of the Last Supper being the institution of the Eucharist (and Priesthood).

Deacon Ron referenced 3 documents for his talk: 1.

  • Encyclical letter, ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA – by JOHN PAUL II 2.
  • The Seven Secrets of the Eucharist – by Vinny Flynn <
  • Holy Bible

The Church is based on the Paschal mystery, i.e., the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. JPII called Christ’s hour in the garden of Gethsemane the first Holy Hour.

7 Secrets of Eucharist

  1. Christ is alive in the Eucharist
  2. When we receive Christ, He is not alone – we are receiving the Trinity – Christ’s human nature died but not His spirit – we share in Christ’s divinity as He shared in our humanity – each person of the Trinity is consubstantial with the other – Christ remains until bread ceases to be bread.
  3. There is only one Mass – God lives in the eternal NOW - at Mass we are being exposed to that single crucifixion (ref Thomas Aquinas) – we are spiritually lifted out of time and into eternity – the priest becomes a surrogate Christ
  4. The Eucharist is not just one miracle – contains all supernatural mysteries – bread and wine still exist but are also the body and blood of Christ (trans-substantiation) - after consecration, the bread and wine are an ‘accidental appearance’
  5. We don’t just receive Christ, Christ also receives us – in scripture Jesus always says “Come to Me” – communion = common union, analogous to marriage
  6. Every reception is different – how you receive affects what you receive - in a ‘false’ person, i.e., non-believer, the sacrament has no affect - make sure we are prepared and don’t receive as an ‘after-thought’ – communion is a good time for heart to heart with God - Do we act is if we believe in the real presence during reception of the Eucharist?
  7. No limit to the number of times we can receive Christ – although non-priests are supposed to limit the physical reception of the Eucharist to twice per day, we can spiritually receive communion (asked to be united with Him) unlimited times per day
The Disciples didn’t pickup on Christ’s message about His need to die on the cross; not until the breaking of the bread with Christ after the resurrection did they start to understand

A Communion Prayer : Dear Lord thank You for this great sacrifice of Your suffering and death for our salvation, With this Eucharist infuse my flesh and blood with Your flesh and blood so that I may have the strength to follow Your will. With this Eucharist infuse me with Your spirit so that I may know Your will for me. With this Eucharist infuse me with Your love so that I may love all of Your creation unconditionally.

Meeting Date [2009-04-04]

This past Saturday we read and discussed the Pope’s February Lenten message on the importance of increasing prayer, fasting, and alms giving during the Lenten season, with a special emphasis on fasting. With fasting we suppress our physical desires to better our ability to conform to God’s will. Emptying ourselves through fasting we are more open to the presence of God. (I am sorely tempted to eat right now, God help me). Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35).

Fasting: one full meal per day and two smaller ‘meals’ together equaling less than one full meal.

Lent - Ash Wednesday and Good Friday

Abstinence: no meat, mammal or fowl origin (fish okay)

Lent - All Fridays (except solemnity days)

Other - Abstinence is called for on all Fridays of the year unless substituted by some other penitential or charitable act on Fridays when meat is eaten.

Special: some other charitable or penitential act

Ty – no internet usage on all Sundays of Lent (except working on the Men of Emmaus web site)

We also read a reflection on the Caiaphas Principle based on the High Priest Caiaphas’ argument to the Sanhedrin (the Jewish communities ‘judicial/executive’ authority in Jerusalem) that Jesus’ actions and popularity could cause a revolt against the Roman authorities leading to increased repression of the Jews by the Romans, and therefore Jesus should be eliminated to protect the Jewish community…..in other words, perpetrate of an evil act to achieve a future good. A modern day parallel was made to the current Iraq war…...the evil act = start a war…...the future good = establish a foothold of democracy in the Arab world. [Note: that last bit is my own interpretation of events which are still debatable]

Hope to see you all Saturday.

Meeting Date [2009-03-14]

This morning we were blessed with a talk by Fr. Avelino. He used a Scriptural reference, “Jacob’s Dream” (Genesis 28; see Chap 27 and 28 at the end of this report), to address the need for each of us to take stock of “Where we are in life”…..the first question God asked of Man in the Garden of Eden [Genesis 3:9 The LORD God then called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?"]

Jacob, after having sinned against his older brother Esau and father Isaac, found himself exiled in a foreign place away from family, community and possessions, and in a state of sin. Yet God came to Jacob in this deserted place in a dream to reaffirm His fidelity to Jacob and His plan for Jacob. Although God was displeased with Jacob’s sin, and Jacob had to pay a price, God was pleased with Jacob’s continued faithfulness and thus ready to give him another chance.

Father Avelino recommended a yearly retreat (at a minimum) to take account of “where we are”, to try to understand God’s plan for us and to reorder our lives according to God’s plan for us. I was reminded of the confirmation retreat I attended last Saturday (for 8th graders) at which the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit were presented to the kids in terms of seeking one’s vocation. Of particular significance were the gifts of:

  • Knowledge – knowing God’s plan for me
  • Wisdom – following God’s plan for me
There was a lot more enlightenment in Father Avelino’s talk, but my brain is a sieve.

The Men of Emmaus web site will start listing upcoming retreat opportunities on a regular basis.

Meeting Date [2009-03-07]

We had a great talk by Fr. Greg Shaffer yesterday. He spoke on the seven deadly sins and the corollary seven holy virtues. The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, are a classification of the most objectionable vices that were originally used in early Christian teachings to educate and instruct followers concerning fallen man's tendency to sin.

A key point was the concept that there is no ‘private’ sin that only hurts the sinner. Sin is a force just as Grace is a force that can spread beyond the source.

Seven Deadly Sins:

  1. lust
  2. gluttony
  3. greed
  4. sloth
  5. wrath
  6. envy
  7. pride (sin of the devil)

Seven Holy Virtues:

  1. chastity
  2. temperance
  3. charity
  4. diligence
  5. patience
  6. kindness
  7. humility

March for Life MD reminder………tomorrow afternoon (3:30pm) carpooling from St. Martin’s to Annapolis.

Meeting Date [2009-02-28]

Our Lenten Speaker Series got off to a good start today with Fr. Brennan speaking on "Why Lent?" He gave us some history of the practice of Lent from the time of the apostles with the practice of fasting a couple of weeks before Easter and its gradual evolution to the 40 Day 'sacred time' that we now follow in the practice in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar in imitation of Christ's 40 days fast before beginning His mission of salvation. Later penance became incorporated as an extension of fasting. And finally alms giving was incorporated as a tradition of Lent.

Today the Church emphasizes 1) fasting, 20 alms giving and 3) prayer as means to better become 'one' with Christ.

Fasting suggestions - besides food, also consider other pleasures, and your most common sin(s)/fault(s)...sensuality, pride, contempt, anger. Identify your sin and develop a habit of immediate contrition and prayer when the sin occurs or the temptation arises

Alms giving - Archbishop's Appeal, food pantry donations, additional time with family, intercessory prayers

Prayer - increase frequency; try new prayer practices: rosary, centering prayer, adoration, ecclesiastical reading; pray in a quite place with no distractions to become more aware of God's presence

Meeting Date [2009-02-14]

This Saturday we will meet as usual to read scripture, the catechism and discuss both. The following Saturday, Feb 28, begins our Lenten Speaker series. I''m looking for volunteers to make an announcement from the pulpit, assuming I can get that arranged with Fr. Mark.

This past Saturday we read and discussed Sunday''s scripture (Feb 15) and read more of the catechism. From the scriptures we were reminded of the importance of faith. Jesus often awaited a sign the faith from persons before granting them a requested healing. We discussed the Apostle''s faith being support by signs from Jesus and then by the Holy Spirit. We also discussed the need of us all to be obedient to God through the guidance of the Church, be prepared to sacrifice and persevere.

We had a suggestion to get the Vatican II documents to add to our group study materials. The suggestion was well received; now to get our hands on the documents.

Fr. Mark visited us in time to offer an official explanation of the practice of having both men and women participating in the ''optional'' Washing of the Feet ceremony during Holy Thursday Mass.

I failed to give a report on our meeting of two Saturday''s ago. I see from my notes there was a suggestion that we ask Fr. Mark to encourage the congregation at all Masses to be patient and supportive of families who bring children to Mass, especially when the kids are having a tough time behaving.

Something read or said brought forth the reflection that the 12 apostles were very average guys of their time, like most of us, but they were transformed through faith and the grace of God.

There was a suggestion to have one of our priests give a talk on the Church''s position regarding the Men Only priesthood.

Recommended website: www.priestsforlife.org

Meeting Date [2009-02-05]

This Saturday we will likely be continuing with our Catechism review.

Last Saturday we started this week's meeting with Don DeLash providing an overview of a multi-media product to help with understanding and reading the bible (see below).

We then resumed our reading of the Catechism paragraph 547 - 550, The Signs of the Kingdom of God. This led to discussion about miracles and apologetics regarding the existence of God. Part of the discussion was a recommendation of the movie documentary 'Expelled' by Ben Stein in which he travels the globe to speak with supporters of evolution and creation, pondering the reasons why believing in a higher power has seemingly become a massive taboo in the eyes of educators and the media.

Don's bible study info:

Bible Study Resource (Price: ~ 3.5 cases of Yuengling)

Web site for The Great Adventure Timeline Learning System

Volunteers for this coming First Friday - Protect Revere Adoration Yes

Anyone else who can help with any of these hours (also the hours leading up to midnight) will be appreciated.

  • Midnight to 1:00 - Jim Hall
  • 1:00am to 2:00 - Paul Prendergast
  • 2:00 to 3:00 - Wes
  • 3:00 to 4:00 - Ty
  • 4:00 to 5:00 - John
  • 5:00 to 6:00 - Bob Janello
  • 6:00 to 7:00 - Dale and Bob Christopher

Lenten Speaker Series from St. Martin's Men of Emmaus and Friends

The Men of Emmaus is hosting a Lenten speaker series on the six Saturday's of Lent: Feb 28, Mar 7, Mar 14, Mar 21, Mar 28, Apr 4. All men of the parish are encouraged to join us for this special Lenten observance for ongoing faith formation. We gather at the 'sacrificial' time of 7:30am in the Church for opening prayer, and each presentation will begin around 7:50am in the Church Hall. Coffee provided. Also see www.menofemmaus.org

Meeting Date [2009-01-24]

I neglected to thank and commend Al Smith on his presentation at our Jan 17th meeting. Al taught us about St John Fisher's "Exposition on the Seven Penitential Psalms" and related those to relevant sections of the Catechism. It was a most enjoyable presentation and right in line with our program of human formation, combining spiritual and intellectual formation.

At yesterday's meeting we had some reports on the March for Life and then spent time reading and discussing the Catechism. Of special interest top me were the discussions about what it means to 'enter into the mystery' of a sacrament and guardian angel stuff.

Deacon Ron has agreed to give us a talk on the Eucharist sometime soon. I just need to give him a couple of weeks notice.

We are recruiting our three priests to be part of a special six Saturdays of Lent speaker series. Other speakers are also being sought.

Meeting Date [2009-01-10]
Before the meeting recap we have two very time sensitive requests for help:
  1. Chuck Smith is in need of help with a food delivery expected this very afternoon (Jan 10) around 2:00pm. If you can help, call Chuck at C 301-208-1858
  2. Paul Prendergast is in need of some volunteers to help setup a Prolife display in the Church Hall this evening (Jan10) beginning at 7:00pm
  3. Jim Hall requests special prayers for infant Julia Love Morgan who is in the hospital struggling to survive a serious pneumonia
Summary

Today we read and reflected on the Jan 11th Scripture readings. Our discussion was dominated by the topic of the words of St. Peter in the second reading for Jan 11, "In truth, I see that God shows no partiality, rather, in every nation whoever fears Him and acts uprightly is acceptable to Him." The discussion got started with a question from "The Don" concerning (paraphrasing Don's words).. 'what need is there to be part of the Church, if one acts uprightly?'. Any of you who know Don understand the question was one intended to illicit discussion.and so it did for the rest of the hour. The discussion turned to the topic of evangelization and a mini-debate arguing the best way to evangelize, i.e., through actions or words. As the unofficial judge of the debate, and recognizing that both sides agreed that both actions and words are important, the supporters of 'actions foremost' won this round. It was suggested that it is incumbent on us, as Catholics, to 1) know our faith, 2) express it in our Christian actions and good works, and 3) be prepared to explain the source of our Christian way of living (our Catholic Faith) when asked.

It occurs to me as I write this that St. Peter was not talking about the need to be part of the newly forming Church (or not to be part), but rather, who could be a member of the Church, i.e., not just Jews but also Gentiles.

My favorite insight of the day goes to Dale S..(paraphrasing Dale's words).'the incarnation is an example of the Word being made concrete..same as faith being affirmed by good works'.