To Priests/Deacons/Seminarians

I address this to priests/deacons/seminarians of my Diocese to express my support and trust in you and my love for my Catholic faith.  Being a Catholic all of my 66 years, I was taught to treat our parish priest with respect.  Priests were holy men who deserved our full attention and obedience – similar to what we were taught about God.  I trusted all of you to always teach me to right way to live my life and how to treat others.  Like Jesus, you were the example to follow and to my young eyes, would do no serious wrong

The purpose of this writing is to communicate to you how much I, and I believe everyone in the pews, need your unwavering faithfulness to your vocation as our shepherd, pastor and spiritual leader.  I would ask that each of you look at where you in your own walk with the Lord and discern if you have strayed from your call or are being tempted beyond your ability to resist.  Please do not allow the false spirit to rob you of your faith or by means of your weakness, of ours.  The crisis we are finding in the church today will no doubt shake the faith of some people.  As for me and my family, we know full well who we serve – Jesus and no other.  However, we do need good, faithful spiritual leaders to guide us and keep us strong in standing faithful to the gospel.

I want you to know that I am praying for you and your vocation; that it remain pure and not be tainted by any temptation.  If you have fallen prey to sin by the false spirit, pray for forgiveness and remove yourself from the pulpit.  The healing process needs to begin and continue until our church is whole.  I believe that God is calling for a renewed conversion of everyone in the church today, for those in the pew and especially for you who stand at the pulpit.  To those of you who have not sinned, keep yourself safely in God’s protective embrace and do not stray from it.

To the young priests and seminarians; the faith of my grandchildren is in your hands.  When you baptize them, you must be able to stand true to the baptismal promises you ask us to make.  I don’t want them to experience the disappointment, sadness and even anger I feel during these times of crisis.  So, I would ask you to discern carefully your motive in answering a call to the priesthood.  Is it truly a call from God or a pursuit to a worldly lifestyle you might be attracted to?

I have been a Spiritual Director for the past 13 years.  Never have I heard of such pain, sadness and disappointment in some of our shepherds who have fallen prey to sin, whether proven or otherwise.  You may be unaware of how much your parishioners look to you and observe your behavior.  You really do set the example and when you fail to live up to the gospel message you preach to us, it is difficult to reconcile and feels very hypocritical.  You must stand faithful if you are to be true to your vocation.  I offer these words to you in a spirit of love and spiritual admonition.

We need our priests to be true disciples and good models of Jesus.

Malachi 2:7  For the lips of the priest are to keep knowledge, and instruction is to be sought from his mouth because he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts. 

I will always remain true to my Catholic faith.  I choose to stand faithful and pray big for each of you during these times of cleansing and healing in our church.  I also pledge my prayers and support to you who are true to your vocation and never lose sight of it.

God Bless You!

 

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Prayer Only for Today

I came across this beautiful prayer several days ago in the Magnificat Year of Mercy Companion book.  I’ve been praying it and would like to offer it for your reflection.

Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.

Only for today, I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behavior; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.

Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.

Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.

Only for today, I will devote ten minutes to some good reading, for good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.

Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.

Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.

Only for today, I will make a plan for myself; I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.

Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.

Only for today, I will have no fears.  In particular, i will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness.

(Pope John XXIII)

 

You and Advent – Make it personal.

In the spirit of Ignatian imaginative contemplation I would like to offer a reflection for Advent.  It is a deeply personal experience of mine while on a 12 day retreat in Azpeitia, Spain in 2008.  This experience has has a profound affect on  my spirituality.  The Retreat Center we stayed at was the birthplace of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  He began the Jesuit Order and was the first Spiritual Director.  Much of what we do as  Spiritual Directors is modeled after his teachings, the Spiritual Exercises.

nativityReflect on the biblical scene of Mary and Joseph riding up to the inn, asking for a room.  You might read the nativity story in Scripture.  Put yourself in this scene as the inkeeper’s wife.  You hear the innkeeper tell them that there is no room, but they can have the stable.  This is upsetting to you, as the woman is obviously close to delivering her baby.  You go to the woman, carrying your best linens and offer to help her.

This special night, you help mid-wife the woman to deliver her baby.  Think about the conversation you might have with her.  She is very young.  She has been riding the donkey for a long time and is tired and no doubt, in a lot of pain.  She is probably very frightened.  However, you notice how peaceful she is – where does it come from?  How can she be so calm in the face of delivering her first child, in a dark, dingy stable so far from home.   Where does this strong faith come from in a girl so young?  You ask her about it.  What does she tell you?

As you spend the night with this young woman and her husband – you notice their love and concern for each other.  Do you have relationships that look similar to theirs?  What does the husband say to you?  What is he like?  Is his faith as strong as hers?  As him about his faith?

When morning comes and Mary is holding her child, she looks at you and thanks you for your assistance.  Then she leans forward and extends her baby to you.  Pause here for a moment, and ponder – do you immediately take and receive this child  – or is there any sort of hesitation.baby jesus

As we all know, Mary will always lead us to her son.  And here she is offering him to you.  Do you accept and receive him in your arms, in your heart, in your life?  An important question.  If you accept this  invitation, you life will change forever.  You may be required to change old sinful ways in order to fully accept and hold this infant in your heart.  As you look into the eyes of this child, you know that he is looking right into your soul.  What does he see?

We’ll look at what he sees during Lent…………

For now, ponder and enjoy the wonder of this night!!!

Rosary CD’s are in – Let the praying begin!!

My CDs have arrived and they look great…Rosary in English and FRENCH; and “Reflections of a Broken Heart” -This CD is particularly helpful for those grieving loss, it’s filled with spoken words of healing and inspiration to continue doing “the work” of grieving our losses.

You can get them at Crossroads Bookstore in Lafayette, The  Rosary House in New Iberia, Cades Grocery and  Company  Beauty Salon in St. Martinville.  You can also order directly from me,  mail check or money order to 107  Beacon Drive, Youngsville, LA 70592 (please add $5.00 for shipping).

English Rosary $15       French Rosary (2 cds) $20      Reflections $15

Here are a couple of comments I have received on the CD “Reflections of a Broken Heart”

“Joan offers her down-to-earth “Reflections of a Broken Heart” to those who are searching for understanding and hope as they grieve.  She poured her pain over her husband Brad’s illness and death into poetry and prayer. As Joan relates her growth through suffering and healing into a deeper spirituality, she reaches into the hearts of others and calls them to respond to their grief with grace and courage, or as she puts it, “with grace and guts.”       

MaryLahey, LPC, LMFT,  Director of Bereavement Services, The Center for Loss and Transition, Hospice of Acadiana, Inc.

“Joan, you have put into words, quite effectively, the sentiments of one who has endured the pain of losing their beloved. Your unfailing devotion and dedication to John, as well as your steadfast faith resonates profoundly through the CD. It is inspirational. My congratulations to you on putting this recording together and I wish you great success in marketing and promoting its distribution.”  

Kelly Cahill, Jr., M.D., Family Medicine

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