Worth Revisiting: Contemplating St. Michael

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.


Currently : Contemplating St. Michael

Currently,
St. Michael (Boston College- Gasson Hall)

Currently,  I am thinking today about the feast of St. Michael the Archangel also known as Michaelmas. This feast is shared with the angels Gabriel, and Raphael. Michael is first mentioned  in the Old Testament book of Daniel in strengthening and promising to help Daniel after he has a vision of things to come for the people of Israel. (10:13-21) Then again in Daniel 12 ,when Michael is noted as a “great prince” and protector of God’s people. In the New Testament, in the book of Jude, Michael first “argued with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses” (Jude 1:9). Then in Revelation, Michael is shown triumphantly leading the forces of heaven to defeating the fallen angels following Lucifer. (Rev 12:7-9) Michael is considered the patron saint of the Church on earth, for a holy death, police, soldiers, paramedics, travelers by sea, and sickness.

While science has been so helpful in explaining so many things in our world, there remain these beautiful reminders that God is always seeking to communicate (Gabriel), to guide (Rafael), and to protect (Michael) his faithful[1].  How grateful I am to know that we have this heavenly assistance in battling the evil in this world.

Prayer of St. Michael: St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who wander throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Thankful for//  the gift of the “Tiny Saint” Michael necklace by my friend for my son Thomas. For any of you that are unfamiliar with this company they carry a large product line of these tiny saints on charms, bracelets, rosaries and necklaces. Each features either a biblical reference or description for the saint with the item. Thomas has been sleeping with it under his pillow since he received it last Friday.

Enjoying// God’s gift of beautiful weather this weekend! In New England, we have to cherish these gifts of warm, almost summer like weather, in the fall because we know the cooler weather is on the horizon. So, Saturday we headed out with beach towels, snacks, drinks and a football to Long Beach on the Plymouth, MA coastline. How amazing it was for this mom to close her eyes, soak up the sun, and simply listen to the ocean and the laughter in the background. I couldn’t help being inspired though, and snapping a few photos!

 

 

 

IMG_0720

Loving// my new Loyola Institute of Pastoral Studies t-shirt! As some of you might know, I am a graduate student of Loyola Chicago’s Pastoral Studies Program. How can I do this living in Massachusetts?  Well, as you may have guessed, the majority of my work is through their phenomenal and engaging online program. Utilizing interactive programs like Sakai, Adobe Connect, and Voice Thread, students are challenged to read, reflect, collaborate, write and engage one another through virtual classrooms. It leaves nothing absent from the traditional classroom, except for maybe the commuting, parking and study sessions in the college library. If you have ever considered going back to college, and wonder if you could fit in, Loyola Chicago might be for you! It has been such a positive experience that I am now serving on the Student Engagement Committee as a liaison between faculty and students.

Speaking of which, I am… Excited about// my upcoming trip to Chicago in a couple of weeks for the Alpha Sigma Nu Induction ceremony at the Lakeshore Campus in Chicago. How awesome that my roomie from Rome, also a Loyola student, has so graciously offered to be my roommate again! What an honor to be considered among  those committed to  the Jesuit mission and ideals of scholarship, loyalty and service.  What began with my own passion for learning and faith development has evolved into a yearning to share and awaken the faith in others. Through my experience at Loyola, I have gained both knowledge, and the tools to critically explore and embrace the faith, as well as, endless creative ways to engage and connect.  Ignited within is a faithfulness to continued collaboration and spiritual formation and a life of service.

Today, may you too feel strengthened and encouraged, on this feast of St. Michael , to learn, grow and boldly serve in your own community  knowing God is with you.   Signature


[1] http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1153

Coming Home: Loyola Chicago

Just a little over a week ago I was in Chicago- amidst its tree lined enclaves, diversity of Devon Avenue, beauty of its Gardens and splendor of Holy Name. Striding comfortably through Loyola’s historic Water Tower and Lake Shore campuses, I felt less like one of this city’s many tourists and more as if I had come home. Strange to say, perhaps, as this was only my second trip to the windy city. Yet, the family I have found in the students, professors and staff at Loyola University over the last three years is the full embodiment of Christian community. Commencement itself was just the icing on the cake!

Never at a loss for great food, engaging conversation or things to do while staying with my close friend Paula,  here are a few quick takes from Commencement week at Loyola Chicago.

With all of the excitement to come, how needed was this walk through the incredibly beautiful Botanic Gardens of Chicago! On this early morning, we were greeted with the songs of red winged blackbirds  and mourning doves who didn’t seem to mind at all that we were there. Among the tulips, hyacinths, and bluebells I felt at peace, an amazingly small witness to the splendor of God’s creation.  So easily I could picture myself as a child playing hide and seek in the walled garden and the sound of my shoes on the bridges. Truly a respite for the soul, this pause is a much needed time for us all to reconnect with who and whose we are.

 

One glance of the streets of Chicago and you vividly see the juxtaposition of old and new, cathedrals and skyscrapers, sari shops and Hasidic Jewish temples. Roads that have even been diverted so as to preserve the rich history of Chicago’s iconic structures. As an international relations undergraduate major, and religious education graduate what a sight!

 

This too is evidenced in the national Cathedral of Holy Name which was rebuilt in 1871 after the Great Chicago Fire. Home to some 6,700 families and newly appointed Archbishop Cupich, it is a vibrant Catholic parish surrounded by an amass of magnificent Gothic architecture. Inside, as well, are the caps of previous cardinals along with a memorial to beloved Cardinal George. How important to remember our shepherds, who continuously dedicate the breadth of their lives to the tending of the flock. May the Holy Spirit guide each one of them as they seek to lead us as a Church in the world.

Last but not least, were the Institute of Pastoral Studies Commissioning and Commencement ceremonies from Loyola Chicago. A long standing tradition held on the night before Commencement, students, family, alumnae, and professors from the Institute of Pastoral Studies gather to celebrate, pray and send forth the candidates for graduation. No sooner in the door, I was warmly hugged by fellow friends and classmates from the IPS Summer in Rome excursion. As many of us have kept in touch, it felt as if no time had passed since we were back in Rome sipping cappuccinos and limoncello. Others I have spoken with, emailed, and written back and forth for classwork yet had never met face to face. Remember when I said that Loyola is like a family? Well, it was truly one amazing reunion!

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 :

Peace,

Signature

Worth Revisiting: Currently, Chicago Edition

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

With my upcoming trip for commencement in less than two weeks, I am excitedly awaiting all the sights, sounds and tastes of Chicago! Not to mention, catching up with close friends, colleagues and the esteemed faculty at Loyola. Thankfully this time will not be as short- since Chicago has so much to offer!


Currently, Catching My Breath and the Spirit

(Originally posted October 13, 2014)

Currently (1)

giving thanks and praise for // A safe journey and the company of good friends with my whirlwind trip to Loyola Chicago’s beautiful Madonna della Strada Chapel on their Lake Shore Campus! Consisting of less than 24 hours, this trip was certainly not long enough to see all of Chicago or to visit with everyone that I had wanted to but it was an incredible experience.

Staying with my former roommate while in Rome, I was welcomed with Chicago deep dish pizza, Italian pizzelle cookies, wine and the best of late night conversations.

The next morning, we attended the 7:30 mass led by Fr. Mike Solazzo at St. Tarcissus on Ardmore Avenue. The interior of this beautiful church constructed in 1927 is filled with marble, stained glass, statues and pieta. As graduate pastoral studies students, Paula and I both remarked how engaging and on target Fr. Solazzo’s homily was with what we have been studying.

Reminiscing//

the brunch that followed with Paula, her daughter Katie and boyfriend, our friend Art and his wife Madeline at Mia Figlia in the Northside of Chicago. Not only was the food scrumptious, an ample serving of sunny side eggs and polenta, but once again the conversation was a true joy! What a blessing to be able to meet the family of my two close friends and fellow colleagues, putting faces and embraces to the people I have heard so much about.

Humbled by//

the whole experience of being nominated and selected for inclusion into Alpha Sigma Nu with such an amazing group of students dedicated to both academic excellence and service. Spanning ethnicities, and continents they embody God’s incredible diversity and gifts of the Spirit at work in the world today. Through them, I experience community and recognize the consequences of my faith to work for peace and justice, trusting in the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. How appreciative I am for those who have continually challenged and inspired me to reach deeper and go further in my faith.

Fr. Steve Krupa, S.J. professor of Christian Spirituality and Ignatian Spiritual Direction at Loyola Chicago.
My friends Art Blumberg and Paula Kowalkowski

Reading//

The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis (Loyola Press Publishing) on my flight to and from Chicago. What a truly engaging and motivating “vision for the Church” is presented in this collection of homilies, addresses, and excerpts taken from Evangelii gaudium, Lumen Fidei and Regina Coeli. Led by a deep sense of mission to care for the poor, welcome the lost, and renew the faithful Pope Francis’s message is a humble but passionate invitation to transformation. This renewal and change is to occur within through attentive listening and “abiding in Jesus”.

Yet, there is also the necessity of “leaving ourselves behind and going out to encounter others” in service with courage and creativity.

This is not accomplished alone, but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we as faithful are called to respond to the “cry of justice” and the need for “harmony in our families, parish and communities”. This mission, however, is not reserved for the clergy  but is to be taken up by each one of us in our discipleship. In accepting the unique gifts that God has entrusted to each one of us,  we are compelled to also undertake this mission of evangelization and reconciliation in living out the Good News of the Gospel. This is a must read, I believe, for each Christian seeking to understand the path necessary to move forward as a people of God in our world today.

So, in this busy, messy, beautiful world that we live in..how do you Currently, find the Holy Spirit guiding you in your little part of the world today?  

                                         In Peace and Joy,

Signature

Currently, catching my breath and the Spirit!

Currently (1)

giving thanks and praise for // A safe journey and the company of good friends with my whirlwind trip to Loyola Chicago’s beautiful Madonna della Strada Chapel on their Lake Shore Campus! Consisting of less than 24 hours, this trip was certainly not long enough to see all of Chicago or to visit with everyone that I had wanted to but it was an incredible experience. 🙂

YUMMY!

Staying with my former roommate while in Rome, I was welcomed with Chicago deep dish pizza, Italian pizzelle cookies, wine and the best of late night conversations. The next morning at 7:30 am we attended mass led by Fr. Mike Solazzo at St. Tarcissus on Ardmore Avenue. The interior of this beautiful church constructed in 1927 is filled with marble, stained glass, statues and pieta. As graduate pastoral studies students, Paula and I both remarked how engaging and on target Fr. Solazzo’s homily was with what we have been studying.

Reminiscing//

the brunch that followed with Paula, her daughter Katie and boyfriend, our friend Art and his wife Madeline at Mia Figlia in the Northside of Chicago. Not only was the food scrumptious, a serving of sunny side eggs and polenta, but once again the conversation was a true joy! What a blessing to be able to meet the family of my two close friends and fellow colleagues, putting faces and embraces to the people I have heard so much about.

Humbled by//

the whole experience of being nominated and selected for inclusion into Alpha Sigma Nu with such an amazing group of students dedicated to both academic excellence and service. Spanning ethnicities, and continents they embody God’s incredible diversity and gifts of the Spirit at work in the world today. Through them, I experience community and recognize the consequences of my faith to work for peace and justice, trusting in the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. How appreciative I am for those who have continually challenged and inspired me to reach deeper and go further in my faith.

Fr. Steve Krupa, S.J. professor of Christian Spirituality and Ignatian Spiritual Direction at Loyola Chicago.
My friends Art Blumberg and Paula Kowalkowski.

Reading//

The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis (Loyola Press Publishing) on my flight to and from Chicago. What a truly engaging and motivating “vision for the Church” is presented in this collection of homilies, addresses, and excerpts taken from Evangelii gaudium, Lumen Fidei and Regina Coeli. Led by a deep sense of mission to care for the poor, welcome the lost, and renew the faithful Pope Francis’s message is a humble but passionate invitation to transformation. This renewal and change is to occur within through attentive listening and “abiding in Jesus”.

Yet, there is also the necessity of “leaving ourselves behind and going out to encounter others” in service with courage and creativity.

This is not accomplished alone, but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we as faithful are called to respond to the “cry of justice” and the need for “harmony in our families, parish and communities”. This mission, however, is not reserved for the clergy  but is to be taken up by each one of us in our discipleship. In accepting the unique gifts that God has entrusted to each one of us,  we are compelled to also undertake this mission of evangelization and reconciliation in living out the Good News of the Gospel. This is a must read, I believe, for each Christian seeking to understand the path necessary to move forward as a people of God in our world today.

So, in this busy, messy, beautiful world that we live in..how do you Currently, meet and join the Holy Spirit in your own community and journey of faith? 

                                         In Peace and Joy,

Signature

Currently : Contemplating St. Michael

Currently,
St. Michael (Boston College- Gasson Hall)

Currently,  I am thinking today about the feast of St. Michael the Archangel also known as Michaelmas. This feast is shared with the angels Gabriel, and Raphael. Michael is first mentioned  in the Old Testament book of Daniel in strengthening and promising to help Daniel after he has a vision of things to come for the people of Israel. (10:13-21) Then again in Daniel 12 ,when Michael is noted as a “great prince” and protector of God’s people. In the New Testament, in the book of Jude, Michael first “argued with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses” (Jude 1:9). Then in Revelation, Michael is shown triumphantly leading the forces of heaven to defeating the fallen angels following Lucifer. (Rev 12:7-9) Michael is considered the patron saint of the Church on earth, for a holy death, police, soldiers, paramedics, travelers by sea, and sickness.

While science has been so helpful in explaining so many things in our world, there remain these beautiful reminders that God is always seeking to communicate (Gabriel), to guide (Rafael), and to protect (Michael) his faithful[1].  How grateful I am to know that we have this heavenly assistance in battling the evil in this world.

Prayer of St. Michael: St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who wander throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Thankful for//  the gift of the “Tiny Saint” Michael necklace by my friend for my son Thomas. For any of you that are unfamiliar with this company they carry a large product line of these tiny saints on charms, bracelets, rosaries and necklaces. Each features either a biblical reference or description for the saint with the item. Thomas has been sleeping with it under his pillow since he received it last Friday.

Enjoying// God’s gift of beautiful weather this weekend! In New England, we have to cherish these gifts of warm, almost summer like weather, in the fall because we know the cooler weather is on the horizon. So, Saturday we headed out with beach towels, snacks, drinks and a football to Long Beach on the Plymouth, MA coastline. How amazing it was for this mom to close her eyes, soak up the sun, and simply listen to the ocean and the laughter in the background. I couldn’t help being inspired though, and snapping a few photos!

IMG_0720

Loving// my new Loyola Institute of Pastoral Studies t-shirt! As some of you might know, I am a graduate student of Loyola Chicago’s Pastoral Studies Program. How can I do this living in Massachusetts?  Well, as you may have guessed, the majority of my work is through their phenomenal and engaging online program. Utilizing interactive programs like Sakai, Adobe Connect, and Voice Thread, students are challenged to read, reflect, collaborate, write and engage one another through virtual classrooms. It leaves nothing absent from the traditional classroom, except for maybe the commuting, parking and study sessions in the college library. If you have ever considered going back to college, and wonder if you could fit in, Loyola Chicago might be for you! It has been such a positive experience that I am now serving on the Student Engagement Committee as a liaison between faculty and students.

Speaking of which, I am… Excited about// my upcoming trip to Chicago in a couple of weeks for the Alpha Sigma Nu Induction ceremony at the Lakeshore Campus in Chicago. How awesome that my roomie from Rome, also a Loyola student, has so graciously offered to be my roommate again! What an honor to be considered among  those committed to  the Jesuit mission and ideals of scholarship, loyalty and service.  What began with my own passion for learning and faith development has evolved into a yearning to share and awaken the faith in others. Through my experience at Loyola, I have gained both knowledge, and the tools to critically explore and embrace the faith, as well as, endless creative ways to engage and connect.  Ignited within is a faithfulness to continued collaboration and spiritual formation and a life of service.

Today, may you too feel strengthened and encouraged, on this feast of St. Michael , to learn, grow and boldly serve in your own community  knowing God is with you.   Signature

[1] http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1153