Holy Thursday Altar of Repose Pilgrimage 2017

On Holy Thursday, after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at Saint John the Evangelist in Indianapolis, Indiana many pilgrims set out on a pilgrimage. Pastor, Fr. Rick Nagel led the 7th annual ancient practice of visiting seven churches. Each of the churches has an Altar of Repose of the Blessed Sacrament varying from simple to elaborate. Personally, I have a deep appreciation for the liturgy and sacred decorum of this holy night having led the preparations at my parish for many years.

While most of the world went to sleep as usual, many Catholic pilgrims ventured out by foot, car or bus to keep Jesus company on the eve of his Crucifixion. The Blessed Sacrament is usually taken on a procession through the Church after Mass and reposed in the tabernacle until midnight or until the Good Friday Communion service.

Our group was not small. We tried to enter each Church as reverently as any large group of pilgrims can, in order to pray. Ater a few minutes of kneeling, Fr. Rick Nagel began to sing in order to facilitate a smooth departure. Pilgrims joined in: “Stay with me, remain here with me, watch and pray.”

We visited the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul and the churches of Saint Mary, Saint Michael, Saint Patrick, Holy Rosary and Sacred Heart before returning to Saint John the Evangelist to pray. In between each stop, we prayed a decade of the rosary focusing our attention on the virtues.

I was moved by the entire evening from start to finish. Being in the presence of Our Lord and kneeling seven times is profound. There is no denying it. It is a time for intense devotion for the Most Holy Sacrament, prayer and adoration as we enter into the Triduum.

One of the most moving moments was upon entering Saint Patrick’s Church. It is an enormous very old gothic church and seemingly run down. History has it that it was supposed to be torn down due to lack of funds and attendance but was saved when a Spanish congregation moved in. The Altar of Repose was adorned in beautifully depicted Spanish woven tapestries with Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego situated close by. A parishioner was singing lovely hymns in Spanish and instrumentalists accompanied her heartfelt lyrics. I could not understand a word she was singing but I felt the incredible presence of Our Lord in her tears. What was completly clear to me was the universal church of prayer was joined together at this place and moment in time.

The history of this ancient tradition dates back to the earliest days of Christianity. The annual Lenten pilgrimage to dozens of Rome’s most striking churches is a sacred tradition that still stands today. Each time I participate year in and year out, I understand more and more and feel called to share this beautiful tradition with others. Visiting the Altar of Repose originally stems from pilgrims visiting seven churches as a form of penance including Saint Peter’s Basilica, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran, St. Laurence Outside the Walls, Holy Cross in Jerusalem and the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love.

There was one scripture that resonated within me. It kept coming back to me over and over again, each time I kneeled down. Matthew 18:20-22. “For wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them.” Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Hail Mary…

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When Our Lady of Fatima Spoke to Me

Photo: Sacred Art by Religious Sculptor, Frederick Charles Shrady (obit: NY Times Jan. 22, 1990) of New York.

Pope Francis declared 2017 the Year of Fatima to coincide with the 100 Year Anniversary of the Apparitions. The Apparitions are when Our Lady appeared to 3 young children 100 years ago in Fatima, Portugal. The Fatima secrets are fascinating and there are many great books written about Fatima including one by Fr. Andrew Apostoli with a foreward by Raymond Cardinal Burke, that I am currently reading.

There is sequential history behind my personal faith journey that is relevant. My maternal grandmother, Ouida Noelle Bundschuh was baptized as an adult (after raising her seven children Catholic) she went through Sacramental preparation with Father Fulton Sheen at her home in order to receive the Sacraments at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. My grandmother carried gold filled rosary beads that day, that later were made into bracelets by her daughters, the crucifix was given to me!

In 1966, I was born Kerin Noelle on the feast day of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.

After years of prayer and reflection, God called me to create a timeline to form some semblance of order in my life.

In 1975, after my grandmothers came into the Catholic faith, my grandfather bequeathed the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton modern day bronze triptych sculpture altar with candles designed by Frederick Shrady (1907-1990) to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, in New York. The altar was the brainchild of Father Fulton Sheen and dedicated to the first American Saint in the United States, consecrated by Terrance Cardinal Cooke.

In 1982, Pope John Paul II commissioned the very same artist from New York, Frederick Shrady, who is the first American artist ever to be commissioned by a Pope to design religious inspired sacred art for the Vatican Gardens. Shrady designed Our Lady of Fatima in the Vatican Gardens for JPII.

In 1984, I received the Sacrament of Confirmation. It was through the power of the Holy Spirit that I choose my grandmothers name, Ouida, as the perfect role model and companion in my life. I was then that I was gifted my grandmothers gold rosary crucifix that she carried on her Baptism day, blessed by Father Fulton Sheen. I wear the crucifix today as a sign of my Catholic faith.

[Side note. From 2007-2012, God called me to an instrumental leadership role at St Louis de Montfort Parish in Fishers, Indinana. I had the great pleasure to oversee various Sacred Art projects initally the 1.8 Million dollar renovation and enhancement of the church. The project is summarized in Evangelization through Sacred Art and the Altar Dedication by Bishop Timothy Doherty. It was my Pastoral Project publication for completion of a Masters in Pastoral Theology at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in Terre Haute, Indiana, in 2012. “In every church building, art and architecture become the joint work of the Holy Spirit and the local community, in preparing a place to receive God’s Word and to enter more fully into communion with him. In these guidelines, approved in 2000, the bishops of the United States offer instruction on how to design places of worship that are dignified, beautiful, and “suited to sacred celebrations.” USCCB. Built of Living Stones-Art, Architecture and Worship.

Subsequently, I would oversee additional Sacred Art projects at Saint Louis de Montfort in 2013 for the renovation of the Youth Ministry Center; a new rectory in 2015; and a new processional cross in 2017. “Sacred art is true and beautiful when its form corresponds to its particular vocation: evoking and glorifying, in faith and adoration, the transcendent mystery of God—the surpassing invisible beauty of truth and love visible in Christ, who “reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature,” in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” This spiritual beauty of God is reflected in the most holy Virgin Mother of God, the angels, and saints. Genuine sacred art draws man to adoration, to prayer, and to the love of God, Creator and Savior, the Holy One and Sanctifier.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2502].

In 2016, my husband and I were fortunate enough to receive a 25th Wedding Anniversary blessing on our Anniversary and on the feast of Saint Faustina, by Pope Francis. The day before the audience with Pope Francis, we spent time walking and praying in the Vatican Gardens with fellow pilgrims. It is a spectacular sacred space, magnificent beyond words, breathtaking to say the least. I always wanted to see the Vatican Gardens, especially the sacred art bronze sculpture of Our Lady of Fatima created by Frederick Shrady commissioned by Saint Pope John Paul II.

It has been said, that Saint Pope John Paul II prayed the rosary daily at this particular Marian modern day Our Lady of Fatima sculpture. In fact, I learned over time that JPII dedicated his entire pontificate to Our Blessed Mother, Mary. The apostolic motto of  JPII was Totus Tuus a Latin phrase that means “totally thine” taken from the Mariology writing of Saint Louis de Montfort. JPII expressed his Total Consecration to Mary based on the spiritual works of Saint Louis de Montfort.

As providence would have it, God choose Saint Louis de Montfort School and Parish in Fishers, Indiana for our family for over 17 years. In that time I completed a Total Consecration to Mary and renewal annually (author Michael Gaitley) through Saint JPII and Saint Louis de Montfort.

The paradox is that while we were in Italy on the first inaugural Peace Love Pilgrimage International journey, I knew for certain Our Lady of Fatima was speaking to me. From the moment my eyes gazed upon her, my knees began to buckle, totally cognoscente that my feet were standing in the footsteps of Saint Pope John Paul II. It was an incredibly mystical experience. I don’t know why but I touched the gold crucifix that I was wearing to Our Lady of Fatima. I tried to share the prominence of my story with fellow pilgrims but could barely get the words out of my mouth as they continued to walk on the most beautiful path lined with stones and meticuously edged green grass. I knew for certain that my feet were unapologetically stuck like glue to the holy ground beneath me.

I keep going back to that monumental moment in my mind and in my heart. It was a feeling of complete oneness in communion with God. On that day, it was as clear to me as the sky is blue and the day is long that God was calling me to orchestrate a pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal. This was way before I ever knew anything about the 100 Year Anniversary of Fatima!

My hope remains steadfast that I will someday take as many Bishops and priests to Fatima as possible not only to kneel and to pray but to allow the Holy Spirit to affirm their vocation.

The real irony is that my beautiful seventy-seven year old mom and God-mother to her own Mom who was Baptised by Father Fulton Sheen was the very first pilgrim to register for the Fatima inaugural pilgrimage with me!

You see, God clearly interceded and granted our family more time with my mother through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother. My dear mother was robbed, beaten, strangled and left to die by an intruder in the home where we all grew up, located in the northern suburbs of Chicago. The intruder was caught many weeks later trying to flee the country and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole for attempted murder, burglary and one other count.

When I arrived at the hospital in the middle of the night, mom was unrecognizable, unresponsive and intubated. When I drove my car down I-65 for three hours, I don’t recall the actual drive because I imagined the road to be the aisle at church, never wavering from side to side, my eyes glared straight at the crucifix of Jesus on the cross.

Immediately, I held my mom’s hand and prayed a Hail Mary softly in her ear. She could not respond verbally but she did squeeze my hand! That response was miraculous to me and I attribute it only to Our Blessed Mother, Mary. By God’s Grace, Mom learned how to walk and talk again after many months of rehabilitation and moving in and out of my sisters homes and my brother’s home for a month at a time.

Miraculously, I learned more and more details from mom in her recovery that I had never know before. It became so clear to me that Our beautiful blessed Mother had a hand in weaving it all together so perfectly. There were details pertaining to my mom’s Mother’s conversion to Catholicism, conversations with Father Fulton Sheen over dinner regularly at their home, and the conversion of an incredibly Sacred and world renown artist that all came to the forefront like it never had before.

My own faith journey heightened to a whole new level as a result of the recovery that God granted my mom on this earthly pilgrimage. When our grown children traveled from Indiana to visit my mom after she was settled into her new condominium with full security, mom was quick to show a DVD of Fulton Sheen so they (born in 1998 and 2001) could learn more about a future Saint in the making. I told our kids that by the grace of God, someday we might be able to attend the canonization of Fulton Sheen in Rome!

So, the story lives on!

Guided by the Holy Spirit, I am excited to lead Peace Love Pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal on June 16-24, 2017 with Fr Travis Stephens. Fatima, Portugal will be followed by a student Pilgrimage to Washington DC that was inspired by the new Saint John Paul II National Shrine. The idea came from God, that a school trip to DC should be faitfilled especially with a Catholic School named St Louis de Montfort. So the journey will be a replica of past years only this trip will be on steroids for the faith with prayer, the Saints and the Sacraments first and foremost.

Many have found spiritual graces that come only through pilgrimages and coming into contact with holy sites. When we go to these holy sites where the Holy Spirit has worked so powerfully through the faith of people we open ourselves to God, and we can come to a profound encounter with Him that could not have otherwise been realized in another place or another kind of situation.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Saint John Paul II, pray for us.

Saint Louis de Montfort, pray for us!

Holy Door Pilgrimage to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Lafayette, Indiana

imageThe Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana announced the Ordination of: Mr. John Nguyen, Mr. Cole Daily, Mr. Michael Bower and Mr. Coady Owens from St Louis de Montfort Parish, to the Sacred Order of Deacons on Saturday, May 28 at 11:00am.

The pilgrimage from Saint Louis de Montfort in Fishers, IN to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was two fold. Pilgrims experienced crossing the threshold of the Holy Door during the Extradorinary Jubilee of Mercy AND celebrated the Diaconal Ordination Mass.

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The ordination for deacons took place during the Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Lafayette IN, after the Gospel was proclaimed. The ceremony began with the presentation of the candidates. Each one was called forth by name, and he stood up and answer, “Present.”

After all the candidates were called, Bishop Timothy L Doherty ensured that the candidates were suitable for ordination. Then, the “election” took place: the bishop declared that he has chosen the candidates to be ordained. The congregation begins applauding to show that they agree with the decision. This is reminiscent of the first “election” by the early Christian community when they chose the first seven deacons. The bishop then preached a homily on the Gospel.

When he was finished, the candidates made their promise of celibacy. This was followed by the “examination”—a series of questions, which includes the promise of prayer.

Then, each candidate went individually to the bishop to make the promise of obedience. He kneeled before him and placeed his joined hands between the hands of the bishop while making the promise.

After all the diaconal candidates made the promise of obedience, the bishop invited the people to pray that the “Father will mercifully pour out his blessings on these servants whom, in his kindness, he raises to the sacred Order of the diaconate.” In one of the more dramatic moments in the liturgy, all the diaconal candidates lay prostrate on the floor, while everyone else joined them kneeling in prayer.

While everyone was kneeling, the litany of the saints was sung. This calls to mind the fact that not only those faithful on earth, but also the entire Church in heaven is praying during this important moment. We invoke Mary and Joseph, the saints from the Gospels and the heroic martyrs of the early Church, some of the humblest saints and some of the most influential teachers of the Church, as well as the founders of the great religious orders, and ask them for their prayers.

The bishop then extended his hands over the candidates. This begins the most important part of the ceremony—the ordination itself. At this point, he began the prayer of consecration. The prayer asks God to draw near and recalls the gift of the first deacons. The bishop continues, “Send forth upon them, Lord, we pray, the Holy Spirit, that they may be strengthened by the gift of your sevenfold grace for the faithful carrying out of the work of the ministry.” He then intercedes for them, asking the Lord to grant them growth in holiness.

After this, each candidate went to the bishop and knelt before him. The bishop laid his hands on the candidate’s head, in silence. This is the “laying on of hands” found in the first ordination. The man is ordained a deacon.

After the candidates have been ordained, assisting deacons or priests help the new deacons put on first a deacon’s stole and then a vestment called the dalmatic.

Each newly ordained deacon then goes to the bishop and kneels before him. The bishop places the Book of the Gospels in the hands of the newly ordained, saying, “Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.” Finally, the bishop stands and gives the kiss of peace to each new deacon. The Celebration of the Eucharist then continued as usual

Many parishioners from Saint Louis de Montfort Parish joined in prayer at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on May 28, 2016 for Coady Owens. The next day, Coady was warmly welcomed back home at the parish where he grew up, St. Louis de Montfort.  On the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ Coady preached his first homily at each of the Sunday liturgies. Fr. Pat and Fr. Janko presented Coady with a large pix from the Parish.

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St. Louis de Montfort, pray for us!

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Divine Mercy

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Saint Louis de Montfort Catholic Community in Fishers, Indiana

What is Divine Mercy you ask? It is pretty deep, like the ocean. In a couple sentences, Mercy is the fact that God LOVES us unconditionally! Divine Mercy is the fact that no sin can out weigh God’s love and forgiveness.

This weekend is the Second Sunday of Easter called Divine Mercy in the liturgy. Pope John Paul II not only died on the eve of this prominent feast day but actually declared the feast and dedicated his life work to it. Divine Mercy is the ability to gather God’s graces! If you do one thing this weekend, find a church and step inside! I know I will, many miles away from our home town parish.

Saint Faustina Kowalska was declared a Saint in the year 2000 by Pope Saint John Paul II. The feast day of Saint Faustina is celebrated on October 5 the same day my husband and I were married in 1991. It is also the same day my parents were engaged to be married, many years prior. I vividly recall my mom mentioning the prominence of that date every year as we celebrate our sacramental wedding anniversary. For that reason, I have a profound connection to Saint Faustina, the first Saint that ever wrote about Divine Mercy.

Today, I explained to our daughter the prominence of the Divine Mercy image. It is entirely providence that while we were sitting by the ocean the sun was shining with beaming rays. In the Divine Mercy image the ray of red represents the blood of Jesus and light blue represents the water that He shed when He died for our sins. His love is truly deeper than the ocean and it was then that I realized, we were sitting by the ocean of God’s unfathomable love!! There was no denying it.

The significane of Divine Mercy this weekend is not by chance. I guess I am a visual person! I needed the ocean. I personally gave to God all that weighed on my heart. And, it was then that He provided! God always has something far greater in mind when we let go of whatever it is that we hold onto. Why not let your test become your testimony? My prayer is that the world will know the LOVE of God as deep and as wide as the ocean. Say it: Jesus, I trust in you.

Amen.

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The sunrise in southern Florida with rays piercing over the ocean of God’s love. April 2, 2016.

 

Mary’s Mercy Multiply’s

Seeing is believing! Saint Louis de Montfort was the pioneer of Mariology and the motto of the parish comes from his writing “to Jesus through Mary.”

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SACRED ARTISTS: Steve Grusak is an expert woodworker sharing the gift of craftsmanship.  Mireille Wannemuehler is an art teacher and expert in mosaic art. (Photographed by Kerin Buntin on March 25, 2016).
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Father Pat Click, Pastor at Saint Louis de Montfort Parish in Fishers, Indiana was at the installation of the mosaic on March 25, 2016.

Good Friday (3.25.16) was a symbolic day for the new sacred art mosaic to be installed in the Eucharistic Perpetual Adorarion Chapel. Fr. Pat prayed over the the hands of the artists and blessed them for their hard work and dedication to the project. The mosaic triptych piece was designed not only to transform the sacred space but the lives of those who encounter it.

The feast of the Annunciation (normally celebrated on 3.25) of the Lord celebrates the angel Gabriel’s appearance to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-38), his announcement that the Blessed Virgin had been chosen to be the Mother of Our Lord, and Mary’s fiat, her willing acceptance of God’s holy plan.

[Note: March 25 is the date of Annunciation unless that date falls on a Sunday in Lent, at any time during Holy Week, or at any time in the octave of Easter (from Easter Sunday through Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday after Easter). In that case, the celebration is transferred either to the following Monday or to the Monday after Divine Mercy Sunday.]

Pope Francis challenged us to live out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy by entrusting a whole year to Our Mother of Mercy.

Of Mary’s many titles, her role is to take us to her Son.  For this reason, almost every Pope has consecrated his life to Mary. However, consecration is not limited to priests and religious, alone. Consecration to Mary is for EVERYONE! (Reverend Michael R. Gaitley author of 33 Days to Morning Glory).

“It is fitting that a new sacred art mosaic would adorn Mary, Our Mother of Mercy in this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, just in time for Easter! Alleluia! It took many months of prayer and discernment for the perfect sacred art design and colors to come to life of course through the power of the Holy Spirit,” said Father Pat Click. Church documents dictate “the integrity and energy of a piece of art, produced individually by the labor of a artist, is always to be preferred above objects that are mass produced.” (147 Built of Living Stones).

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The planning stage started in August 2015.

It all began in 1994 when the idea of a Eucharistic Adoration Chapel at Saint Louis de Montfort Church in Fishers, Indiana was conceived by Reverend Donald Eder, the pastor. Since then, every day, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, many parishioners and non-parishioners alike, pray in silence before the monstrance of Jesus made visible in the Body of Christ. Scripture says, “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27).

Hundreds of people, beyond scheduled adorers come in and out of the Chapel throughout the day, everyday for many reasons.  It is a sacred place where people can hear God speak to them. People leave their prayers at the feet of Jesus when they depart from the busy world to sit or kneel, alone with Jesus. The scripture, “Be still and know that I am God”(Psalm 146) is a gentle reminder depicted on the wall as you enter.

The side altar with candles is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, Our Mother of Mercy. The side altar was reconstructed from the former main altar in church by parishioner, Mr. Steve Grusak. Grusak also helped to construct the current altar in church that was dedicated by the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana Bishop, Timothy L. Doherty, in 2011.

“We are blessed beyond words to have the artistic expertise of Mrs. Mireille Wannemuehler, the Saint Louis de Montfort School art teacher and a parishioner that generously shared her gifts and talents in constructing the sacred mosaic for our Adoration Chapel” said Reverend Joshua Janko. “And, it will add to the holy and sacred atmosphere of the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel where you can light a candle for yourself or someone else.” Scripture says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). Mireille turned hours of weeks and months into prayer over each tiny mosaic piece.

Another blessing came through the generosity of a parishioner who has dedicated much of his life to Mary. David and Judy Kinder traveled with the late Fr. Donald Eder and many parishioners to Marian shrines all over the world. He is also an intrical part in the construction at Mother of the Redeemer Retreat Center in Bloomington, Indiana where a street sign on the property is named to honor him. When it was time to highlight Mary’s new mosaic, the sacred art committee knew exactly who to turn to. Kinder proposed blue, glass blown pendants on either side of Mary for consideration.

Appropriately, there are many interesting observations in the Bible about the color blue. Mary is clothed in blue signifying stability, trust, tranquility, and purity. Blue can also represent transcendence with its connection to the sky.

The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy illustrate ways we can show Mercy toward others like praying for the living and the dead, through the intercession of Mary.  We all can minister to others for God’s love and mercy to move us but we can’t talk about it if we are not doing something for God’s glory.

The crown depicted on the mosaic above Mary’s head is a symbol attributed to Mary because she was the perfect follower of Christ; she journeyed on the pilgrimage of faith; and, she is the Mother of the Son of God, who is the messianic King.  Mary won the “crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:8) the “crown of life,” (James 1:12) and the “crown of glory” (Peter 5:4) that is promised to those who follow Christ.

The “A” intertwined with the “M” symbolizes the Latin term “Auspice Maria” which means “Under the Protection of Mary.” Praying the Rosary is always under the protection of Mary and Jesus because Mary always leads us to her Son. We deepen our devotion to Jesus AND Mary by praying specifically, the Rosary.

A lot of people don’t realize the rosary is actually based on scripture. Each mystery has a name but you don’t have to memorize or know each name in order to pray the rosary. Each mystery depicts a specific event in the life of Christ. There is a virtue that correlates with each event. The virtue fosters meditation throughout the repetition of the “Hail Mary” prayers.

Did you know? Totus Tuus was the apostolic motto of Saint Pope John Paul II. The meaning is Latin for “Totally yours, O Mary.” It is a term for devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary that came from the writings of this parish patron Saint Louis de Montfort, who said:

“When the Holy Rosary is said well, it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and is more meritorious than any other prayer.”

Let us embrace the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis by multiplying acts of mercy.

• Mercy is the bridge between God and man.
• Divine Mercy is the fact that God loves us. Nothing can change that. God’s mercy is greater than any sin and is always available to us.

Saint Louis de Montfort, pray for us!

Before                                  After

What is a HOLY DOOR?

Recently, the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia hosted thousands of tour operators and representatives from sacred destinations. It was an opportunity for each of us to collaborate with members of the National Travel Exchange and Faith Travel Association. The organizations came together to create strategic partnerships world wide.

There were many monumental moments but one thing for sure that keeps flooding back. It was the Holy Door. The undeniable “Designated Holy Door” at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. When I opened the balcony door of where I was staying I stepped outside only to find the Basilica smack dab in front of me. Evidently, I was exactly where God wanted me to be.

As Providence would have it, another blessing was to witness the Bishop bless the Holy Door of Mercy on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. It was a profound moment filled with signs and symbols rich in Catholic tradition. Many passerbys including the local television station, were strewn into the street to catch a glimpse of what was happening outside the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Holy Doors throughout the world are normally sealed by mortar and bricks from the inside, so that they can be made holy during Extraordinary Jubilee Year’s marked by the Pope, every 25 years.

After the ceremonious opening of the Holy Door was the Mass, a most beautiful liturgy comprised of the Pastor as cantor! The homily instituted an invitation to “open the door into our own hearts.” It literally felt like I was opening an engraved invitation. The Bishop said, “God wants to see the wounds of our hearts so he can touch and heel them.” The Bishop said, “Mercy is Love. The most important door is the door to your own heart” and he challenged the people packed in the pews as he concluded with these words, “let your eyes be the Doors of Mercy.”

For me, it was transformation. Just like that of the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist that nourishes each of our souls. My heart was changed and my mind was filled with a sense of peace and love that only God can give. The Catholic Church teaching is steeped in scripture that peace and love do not come without a price. (Acts 16:22-25). Paul says it again and again. We must be willing to deny our self and take up our cross by virtue of patience and follow Him by virtue of perseverance. It reminds me of the 4th and 5th Sorrowful Mysteries and virtues of the Holy Rosary. God tells us that the benefits far outweigh any cost of taking up our cross.

While I had previously crossed the threshold of a Holy Door at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois along with 27 family members on the Feast of the Holy Family; I surmised that each and every Holy Door will be completely different.

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Why is it different? Maybe because my heart was changed or my eyes fervently became the doors of mercy. Either way, I experienced a deep connection with God that affirmed my vocation as wife and mother first and then to bring pilgrims on the journey to Him by passing through the Holy Doors. Just as God has a specific purpose (Jeremiah 29:11) or plan for each one of us while on this earth, my special task assigned by God has become more and more clear with each new day. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s graces keep overflowing. Scripture says, “I am the door.” (John 10) We must open our hearts to Him and strive for holiness.

Pope Francis has declared a whole liturgical Year of Mercy on forgiveness. The significance lies in the fact that Cathedral doors throughout the world have been Designated Holy Doors by local Bishops. The doors are for pilgrims to pass through to find a place of forgiveness in their hearts thereby actually entering into the mystery and “being” Christ to others. I found that you can start by being Christ to those closest to you. The most beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation is tied to a plenary indulgence granted by performing actions like passing through a Holy Door on a pilgrimage. The graces are given only by God. Pope Francis said, “the door finds meaning only when the believer associates the door with Christ.”

Amen? Amen. Holy Doors are powerful. The beauty is when you are still enough, then you might begin to realize what God has ready for those who love Him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

May the grace and peace and love of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always.

Saint John Paul II, pray for us!

Come! Experience PEACE LOVE PILGRIMAGE because “There is a time for everything!” Ecclesiastes 3

 

St. Louis de Montfort Catholic Community Welcomes SoulCore

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SoulCore

SoulCore is a contemporary core workout that pairs exercise with the prayers of the rosary. It is a sensory experience that combines candlelight, music, reflections and movement to nourish your body, mind & soul and encourage deeper meditation on the mysteries and virtues of the rosary.

SoulCore is a new world wide movement steeped in Catholicism. Each position is an invitation for your sacred body to ignite core strengthening, stretching and isometric exercises. Soulcore is not yoga, nor are yoga poses or Sanskrit referenced at any time. In fact, SoulCore is not a response to any other practices, but rather a “Yes” to an inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The SoulCore leadership process includes a retreat weekend and discerning the call to be a leader upon completion of the Marian Consecration book by Father Michael E. Gaitley’s 33 Days to Morning Glory.

Various leaders are offering SoulCore classes in churches throughout the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana and beyond.

Saint Louis de Montfort (SLDM) Catholic Community in Fishers, Indiana is blessed to have parishioner, wife and mother, Marie Povlinski a certified leader for SoulCore. She will offer weekly classes every Wednesday in the All Saints Room in the Youth Ministry Center from 7:00-8pm. You can contact Marie for more information at: marie.povlinski@gmail.com

Marie and her husband Bryan have been married for 5 years. She enjoys being active and playing games with family and friends. She loves staying home with her two boys and prays that God will bless them with more children in the near future. Marie and her family are members of St. Louis de Montfort and she is actively involved with the Mothers of Young Children and Christ Renews His Parish ministries. Marie is excited to bring the ministry of SoulCore to SLDM. Marie knew she was being called to become a SoulCore leader when she first met Colleen Scariano, co-founder of SoulCore. Colleen’s story was the inspiration behind SoulCore and it was an invitation for Marie to learn more about becoming a certified leader for SoulCore. Marie is passionate about her Catholic faith; drawn to learning and growing more in the studies of the Theology of the Body; and, cultivating a deeper devotion to Mary.

A FEW OF MARIE’S FAVORITE SCRIPTURE VERSES: Romans 12:2, Phillipians 2:13

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SoulCore rosary