Confraternity of Penitents Monthly Newsletter: January 2015
Blessings of 2014
A blessed New Year to you all. This year God has graced the Confraternity of Penitents in many ways, ten of which are:
1. Two of our life pledged members have gone on to be with the Lord (Ameil 'Doc' Klein - br. Philip Julius and William 'Bill' Eddy - br. Anthony) where we trust they will intercede for all of us. Keeping one's pledge to live a Rule of Life approved by the Church promises eternal life to the one making the pledge.
2. Tim has come to live on the property to work in the CFP office, gift shop, and on the grounds.
3. The CFP, with God's help, initiated a Repair God's House Renovation project to raise needed funds to build a handicapped accessible bathroom (state mandated) in the Gift Shop and Office area, to create a house for live in, on site volunteers, and to make the hermitage usable for guests.
4. Sandra Lewis pledged to live the CFP Rule for a year. Lucy Fernandez and Aimee Fleming pledged to live the CFP Rule for life. William Clifford (br. John of the Cross) pledged and privately vowed to live the CFP Rule for life.
5. Several new members have inquired and many enter formation.
6. The CFP Handbook was republished with the Imprimatur of Bishop Kevin Rhoades. It came out in a standard and large print edition.
7. The Confraternity acquired two wooded non-buildable lots adjacent to the Diocesan owned property where the CFP resides. These will be used for a Marian grotto and prayer walk with Stations of the Cross.
8. The hermitage was re-roofed.
9. The first southern retreat for the CFP was held in TN in November.
10. One of our novices in formation entered the Franciscan Sisters Minor to live as a religious sister (Sister Almania Arice).
Trusting in God's Message
There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren and had borne no children. An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Though you are barren and have had no children, yet you will conceive and bear a son. Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink and to eat nothing unclean. As for the son you will conceive and bear, no razor shall touch his head, for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb. It is he who will begin the deliverance of Israel from the power of the Philistines.”
The woman went and told her husband, “A man of God came to me; he had the appearance of an angel of God, terrible indeed. I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. But he said to me, ‘You will be with child and will bear a son. So take neither wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall be consecrated to God from the womb, until the day of his death.’”
The woman bore a son and named him Samson. The boy grew up and the LORD blessed him; the Spirit of the LORD stirred him. (Judges 13: 2-7, 24-25A)
In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah;
his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years.
Once when he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God, according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”
Then Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”
And the angel said to him in reply, “I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”
Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but remained mute.
Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home. After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying, “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.” (Luke 1: 5-25)
What is the meaning of these Scripture passages? Don't tick off an angel, right? If you do, it's not going to go well for you, is it? We might get that message from these passages, but that is not their meaning.
Ultimately these passages are about trust. You can receive the message of God with faith or doubt. Look at Manoah's wife. We don't even have her name! We don't know where she was when this messenger appeared. She was probably baking bread or sweeping the house. She receives the message. And she says to her husband, "This man of God came to me. I don't know his name or where he came from, but we're doing it!"
Contrast her with Zechariah. Where did Zechariah minister? In the Temple. He ministered in the Temple all his life. He was at the altar of incense, offering expensive incense to the Lord and burning it up as an offering to God and trusting that God would receive the offering. What was Zechariah praying for as he offered the incense in the presence of God? The angel tells us. "Your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear a son." Did Zechariah trust in God to Whom he was praying for a son and offering incense? No. He was going through the motions. Maybe he prayed this prayer so many times and for so long at time that there was no meaning to it anymore. It was something he said mindlessly.
The angel tells Zechariah that his prayer is heard. Zechariah asks how is he going to know that it has been heard. His question is different from the Blessed Mother's question. She did not ask how she would know if this happened. She asked how would it happen since she had committed herself to perpetual virginity for love of God. And the angel told her. But Zechariah is asking, "What can you show me so that I'll believe you?"
Was the angel ticked off at the question? We don't know. But he did give Zechariah a pretty evident sign, didn't he? The last words Zechariah said before John's birth were, "How shall I know this?" He got his proof in his being made mute. Every time he would try to talk and no words would come, he would remember the sign God gave him.
My friends, there is a difference between doing what God wants--our normal routine of prayer, attending Mass, doing good to others, giving alms, and so on--and being open to what God wants to do.
What is the purpose of a life in God? What is the purpose of prayer if not to prepare us for doing what God wants and for being open to what God wants to do? To know is one thing. To hear the voice of God is another thing. But to act on what we hear, to follow the direction God wants--that is something else. We have to live our love for God if we want to stand before God. Don't let your vow of faith be shallow and lifeless. Don't listen to the predominant culture. Let us be fed by God, not by what is going on around us. Let us be open to the motion of the Holy Spirit in our lives Who is God speaking to us. May we respond differently than Zechariah, we who presume to desire a relationship with God. Let us listen to God's words and, when we hear them, put them into practice. What God produces is lovely. So let us pray to God and trust Him so that when He speaks, whether or not through an angel, whether or not it is what we expect to hear, our heart will respond with belief and action.
--Father Jacob Meyer, Visitor, Confraternity of Penitents
No Greater Love
In Memory of Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR
This letter was circulated by the Confraternity of Penitents to its friends and members on October 4, 2014.
We received word today, during the after Mass celebration for the Feast of St. Francis, that Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, passed away at 11 pm on the Vigil of Saint Francis' Feast Day. October 4, 2014
Several years ago, Fr. Benedict bequeathed the continuance of the Oratory of Divine Love, which he refounded following St. Catherine of Bologna's initiative, to the Confraternity of Penitents which has continued the weekly Bible reflections, originally written by Fr. Benedict and now written by Fr. Michael Sisco, our previous Confraternity of Penitents Visitor when the CFP was headquartered in Rhode Island, USA.
Father Benedict also gave the Confraternity of Penitents his blessing at an Oratory of Divine Love Retreat held several years ago in New York and then again at various Days of Recollection which he gave in Connecticut. He received our newsletter each month and we know he has held the CFP in his prayers. Let us hold his soul in our prayers so that the Lord may welcome him with gracious and open arms, saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Now enter into the joy of Your Master."+
God bless you all!
--Madeline Pecora Nugent, CFP
Monthly Letter to All Penitents
This month's monthly letter are thoughts shared from two of those in the Confraternity of Penitents Allesandro Prison Ministry.
There is nothing more dear to me -- after God, his Church, and my family -- than my being able to be a member of the CFP. I am so fortunate to be able to be a part of something that honors and follows the teaching of the Magisterium. I had been looking for a Third Order for about two years before finding you.
I wish I could financially help the Confraternity more. We inmates tend to be destitute. I happen to be at an institution where they have not cut professional work programming, namely UNICOR. I am blessed to be able to work there, and send little amounts home to my family (usually in the form of multi-page, painted card-stories for my kids), to you, and to our local parish. On average, I make a little less than $200 per month. So after I do the math, I use the rest for email, phone calls, postage, and the rest gets used for hygiene, medicine, and incidental food items (coffee, etc.)
If I could give more, I would.
May God Bless and Keep You,
Eric Welch, Allesandro Ministry
December arrived in [our prison] like most of the country. We had rain and cold where most of the country had snow then rain. For me, it could be a time of depression, remembering the joys of Christmas past and other good times outside the wire. I have learned to transfer the joys of the birth of my daughters into the anticipation of the birth of the Baby Jesus. The joy that I felt the first time I held each of my newborn daughters. Along with the rest of the Church, I anticipate the second coming of Jesus with the same joy.
In Matthew 25, Jesus writes "I was in prison and you visited me". Everyone can visit us behind the wire. Some do so in person by bringing us communion services, RICA and other programs at great personal inconvenience to themselves, but everyone can meet this challenge. A card (especially at Christmas) is just as much a visit as a personal appearance. A short note letting us know that we are not forgotten means more than most can imagine any time of the year. Prayer is number one on the list of what we need and one of the only things we can give others. We can do little but pray for those on the outside. Prayers are a constant reminder, before God, that we care and that we are indeed in need and vulnerable in this time.
We will have a special Christmas meal and receive a "Seasonal Bag" of goodies from the Commissary. Voters never fear, we, the prisons pay for these as we pay for Televisions, Newspapers, Recreational Equipment and almost everything we have outside the VERY basic necessities. These are paid for by our Trust Fund [profits from the items that we buy at high prices from the Commissary (prisoner store)]. If prisoners have no outside source of income, these bags, etc., mean a lot to them and may be the only special thing they receive this year. Most inmates, those that have a job, make about 12-cents [the cents symbol is so low that it is not even on the current keyboard] per hour. I am lucky, I average about 44-cents per hour when I work (about 40 hours a month).
Thank you for listening and for caring. Please pray for us.
Walter Cooksey, Allesandro Ministry
Letter from One Who Serves the CFP
JESUS CHRIST, TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN, OR NOT?
In the Creed, Jesus Christ is considered to be “true God and true Man”. In part II of Introduction to Christianity, Professor Joseph Ratzinger considers what this means and what many modern Catholics think it means. We had established that the Christian Yes to Jesus affirms that he is the Christ, that is, the one in whom person and work are identical. He goes on to say: We could accordingly summarize the whole in the formula, “Christian faith is not centered on ideas but on a person, an ‘I’, and on one that is defined as ‘word’ and ‘son’, that is, as ‘total openness’.”
Professor Ratzinger goes on to ask: Is Jesus, the Son of God, not then himself God? Is it not true that “the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1)? But the opposite question also arises, so that we must say: If this man is all he does, if he stands behind all he says, if he is all for others and yet in such self-abandonment still completely with himself; if he is the one who in losing himself has found himself (cf. Mk 8:35), is he not the most human of men, the fulfillment of the whole concept of humanity?...Ought it be possible for the most radical humanism and faith in the God who reveals himself to meet and even merge here? Christianity simultaneously asserts that the One anointed by God to be the Christ was Jesus and this Jesus was fully God and fully Man.
Of course, we must understand that this doctrine of Jesus Christ as True God and true Man was formulated in the first five centuries of the Church. Is this a product of a pre-scientific and pre-critical world view? Professor Ratzinger puts it this way. But yet again a question arises. Even if one must admit the soundness of the argument just expounded and thus simply recognize the intrinsic logic of the dogma, there yet remains the all-important step of looking at the facts. Have we not perhaps raised ourselves aloft on a splendid system of ideas but left reality behind us, so that the indisputable coherence of the system is of no use to us because the foundation is missing? In other words, we must ask whether the findings of the Bible and its critical illumination of the facts empower us to conceive the Sonship of Jesus in the way we have just done and in the way Christological dogma does. Today the answer usually given to this question is an ever more decided and self-evident No; to many people the Yes seems to have sunk to a pre-critical position hardly worth noting any more.
Professor Ratzinger maintains that as Christians we must say “Yes” to the doctrine of Christ formulated by the early Church councils. First, however, he gives us the modern stock idea of the “historical Jesus”, the Jesus who is supposed to have “really” existed after we strip away all the doctrinal and metaphysical baggage which had arisen in the early centuries of the Church. We must proceed slowly. Who was Jesus of Nazareth really? What view did he take of himself? According to the stock idea, which today, as the vulgarized form of modern theology, is beginning to gain wide currency, things happened like this. This historical Jesus is to be visualized as a sort of prophetic teacher who appeared on the scene in the eschatologically overheated atmosphere of the late Judaism of his time and preached, in accordance with this eschatologically pregnant situation, the proximity of the Kingdom of God. This had been at first an assertion to be understood in an entirely temporal sense: The Kingdom of God, the end of the world, was now coming very soon. But the “now” had received so much emphasis in Jesus’ words that, for anyone who looked deeper, the element of “future” could no longer be regarded as the essential one, which seemed rather to reside---even if Jesus himself was thinking of a future, of a Kingdom of God---in the call to make a decision: Man’s whole duty was to the “now” that thrust itself upon him at any particular time. In this way of thinking, the “real” Jesus was expecting the Kingdom of God to arrive very soon. He expected his hearers to make a decision for this coming Kingdom now. From this idea of Jesus preaching the coming of a “better world” or a utopia, the Kingdom of God, came the idea that our duty consists in building this better world even if we have to do it without God. This seems to be the root of the secular orientation of many Christians who are very willing to set aside traditional morality and doctrine to build up the”Kingdom”.
How, however, did we get to the traditional formulation of Jesus Christ as true God and true Man? Professor Ratzinger explains: Let us not pause to wonder how such an empty message, which is alleged to reflect a better understanding of Jesus than he had himself, could have ever meant anything to anyone. Let us rather hear what is supposed to have happened next. For reasons that can no longer be properly established, Jesus was condemned to death and died a failure. Afterward, in a way that can no longer be clearly perceived, the belief in a Resurrection arose, the notion that he lived on or at any rate still signified something. Gradually this belief increased, and the idea developed---an idea that can be shown to have arisen in other places in a similar way--- that Jesus would return in the future as the Son of Man, Messiah. The next step was finally to project this hope back on the historical Jesus, put it on his own lips, and reinterpret him accordingly. The picture was now rearranged to make it look as if Jesus had proclaimed himself as the coming Son of Man or Messiah. Very quickly---according to our stock idea---the tidings passed over from the Semitic world into the Hellenistic world. This had the following consequences. In the Jewish world Jesus had been explained along Jewish lines (Son of Man, Messiah). In the Hellenistic area these categories were incomprehensible, and consequently Hellenistic patterns of thought were pressed into service. The Semitic notions, Son of Man and Messiah, were replaced by the Hellenistic idea of the “divine person” or “God-man” and the figure of Jesus was thus rendered comprehensible.
But the “God-man” in the Hellenistic sense was characterized chiefly by two qualities: he was a miracle worker, and he was of divine origin. The latter idea means that in some way or other God is his Father; it is precisely his half-divine, half-human origin that makes him a God-man, a divine man. The consequence of the utilization of the category of divine man was that the attributes just described above had also to be transferred to Jesus. So people now began to portray him as a miracle worker; the “myth” of the Virgin birth was created for the same reason. The latter, for its part, led afresh to the description of Jesus as the Son of God, since God now appeared in mythical style as his Father. In this fashion the Hellenistic interpretation of Jesus as a “divine man”, together with the inevitable accompanying phenomena, finally transformed the phenomenon of proximity to God, which had been characteristic of Jesus, into the “ontological” notion of descent from God. The faith of the early Church then advanced along these mythical lines up to the final ratification of the whole in the dogma of Chalcedon, with its concept of the ontological Divine Sonship. With the ontological origin of Jesus from God, the myth was turned by this Council into dogma and surrounded with so much abstruse learning that in the end it was raised to the status of shibboleth of orthodoxy; the starting point was thus finally stood on its head.
Professor Ratzinger has outlined for us the alleged process by which the “historical” Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet of the coming Kingdom of God, was transformed to the Christ of faith who was true God and true Man. He concludes this section by stating: for my part I must confess that, quite apart from the Christian faith and simply from my acquaintance with history, I find it preferable and easier to believe that God became man than that such a conglomeration of hypotheses represents the truth. It is easy to see why Professor Ratzinger is so skeptical about the story of Christianity which he related above. It is rather surprising that a series of questionable hypotheses could be strung together to form a conclusion which has been uncritically accepted by many. These ideas have penetrated among Catholics and other Christians in the United States. We can see the results of these ideas in priests who consider themselves to be social workers and CCD programs which are afraid to tell children about who Jesus Christ was and what He expects of us. It is easy to see why so many have left the Christian Faith. If Jesus was just a man who was close to God, why should we give our lives to Him when there have been many other persons in history who also have been close to God? If so much of what Jesus said and did is just the theological embellishments projected on Him by the early Church, what relevance does he have for us after almost 2000 years? In our atheistic culture, if we do not guard the faith, it will be lost.
--Jim Nugent, CFP
Following Francis, Following Christ
Avoiding the Sin of Envy
Saint Francis wrote or dictated his Admonitions to the friars to help them in their spiritual lives. The Admonitions speak to everyone, however, not just to the friars. Consider Admonition 8:
The Apostle affirms that "no man can say the Lord Jesus but by the Holy Ghost," and "there is none that doth good, no not one." Whosoever, therefore, envies his brother on account of the good which the Lord says or does in him, commits a sin akin to blasphemy, because he envies the Most High Himself who says and does all that is good.
You can't be much more straight forward. Saint Francis is saying several things very concisely. First, we are all sinners and cannot do good on our own. The only good we do is in God. It therefore follows that all good that we see in what we or others say or do has its origin in God, not in the human heart. When we envy someone because of the good that they do, this is a blasphemy because we are attributing that good to the human person and not to God. We should rejoice to see goodness, holiness, achievement in others because that is God's work being made clear in the actions and words of the other person. We do not envy them because God chose to give them these graces. We thank God that He chose to give them these graces. God will give and does give us grace, too. We must always acknowledge that they are from God and not from us because none of us can do any good without God. All the good we do is His.
--Madeline Pecora Nugent, CFP
Reflection on the Rule
24. In addition, every year, for the welfare of the brothers and sisters living and dead, each priest is to say three Masses, each member knowing the Psalter is to recite it, and the rest shall say one hundred Our Fathers with the Requiem aeternam at the end of each.
24. In keeping with section 24 of the Rule:
24a. In addition, every year, for the welfare of the brothers and sisters living and dead, each priest must say three Masses and the other Chapter or Circle members are to recite the entire Psalter from the Bible. The Psalter may be recited all at once, in sections throughout the year, or by praying one psalm or section of psalm daily.
24b. Those who cannot read shall say one hundred Our Father's with the words "May the souls of the faithful departed through the Mercy of God rest in peace" after each Our Father. These may be said all at once or throughout the year.
"It is a good and holy thought to pray for the dead." The Confraternity of Penitents Rule and Constitutions spell out how we are to pray for the dead. This is good because it gives penitents a clear way to pray. And it is also good because it assures penitents that, when they die, they will be prayed for by other penitents. The easiest way to pray the entire Psalter yearly for the deceased is to pray one psalm or part of a psalm (about 18-25 verses) daily. Put a slip of paper into the Psalter and write on it the psalm or portion of psalm which you pray each day. This way you will progress through the Psalter in less than a year's time and you can start all over again at Psalm 1. May the Lord hear our prayers for the dead and bring them to eternal life.
Affiliates are not bound to pray the Psalter yearly for deceased penitents, but they are bound to offer one Mass per year for the Confraternity and its members and intentions. This would include the deceased members. In addition, they may wish to pray daily for the dead, if not a psalm, then perhaps a prayer for the dead. These can be found in prayer books and on line. It is certainly permissible to pray for the deceased by name as well as generally. May God reward you for these prayers.
Virtues Portrayed in the San Damiano Crucifix
One quick look at the San Damiano Crucifix will immediately show how vibrant are its colors. Is vibrancy a virtue? Not in natural color, of course, but it can be a virtue in the spiritual life. Do people see a vibrant faith when they see us? Do we attract others by the beautiful way we life our belief in Jesus? Would the San Damiano Crucifix be so appealing if the colors were dull and lifeless? In the same way, our faith is much less appealing if we exhibit it in dull and lifeless ways. Just as the San Damiano Crucifix seems to be dancing with energy and life, so must our faith dance for joy in God's love. How vibrant is your faith?
Saint of the Month
Saint Amato Ronconi (1225-May 8, 1292)
Saint Amato Ronconi was born in a castle at Saludecio, in northern Italy, of a rich family, the father being Felice Ronconi and his mother Santa Marchini, commonly called Santucci. Orphaned at a young age, he spent his youth with his older brother Giacomo, then moved into a house on Monte Orciaro with his sister Clara. Having learned about the penitential life from the Franciscan friars at the small monastery of Monte Formosion, Amato soon became a penitent who lived the Rule of 1221 which St. Francis had given to the penitents. At Mount Orciaro he built a hospice, dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here the poor and pilgrims could find needed shelter and rest. Amato worked as a laborer for nearby farmers to earn funds to support the hospice. When his brother Giacomo, who had inherited the family estates, gave him part of the patrimony, Amato secretly donated the proceeds to support the hospice.
Amato's quiet penitential life consisted of a vegetable diet and other mortifications. His fellow citizens, who knew his wealthy background, considered him to be a fool. Amato’s relative Lansberg thought otherwise, however, and arranged to have his sister Agnes wed Amato. However, Amato wished to remain in permanent celibacy. Agnes was so upset that she accused Amato of incest with his sister Clara. There was no documentation of this accusation and the innocence and holiness of Amato soon proved this to be the libel that it was.
Amato, following the example of St. Francis and other saints before him, went on a few pilgrimages. One was to Rimini, Italy, to visit the relics of holy Bishop Gaudenzio. Another was to Monte Titano to visit the cave of the holy deacon Marino. He also went four times to the famous shrine of St. James the Apostle (Santiago) in Compostela, Spain, a pilgrimage which St. Francis had also undertaken.
His garb on these pilgrimages was that of all pilgrims--a tunic with a leather belt, a cloak to cover the shoulders, and sturdy shoes or sandals. He carried a shoulder bag for personal belongings and bread which he received as alms. Around his neck he wore a cockle shell which identified pilgrims to Compostela. This emblem gave great respect to all who wore it.
Receiving a premonition of his impending death, Amato crafted a will in January 1292, leaving the hospice and chapel he had built to Benedictine monks with the stipulation that these continue to be used for the poor. He also requested burial in the chapel. When Amato died in his very impoverished bed on May 8, 1292, he was sixty six years old. The Benedictines still care for the hospice which today is the Blessed Amato Ronconi Rest Home.
Saint Amato, pray for us.
Quote from Scripture
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)
Jesus reminds us, in the Sermon on the Mount, that we are blessed, happy, if we are insulted, accused, persecuted, slandered for love of Him. Saint Amato wished to live a celibate life and so was accused of incest, a totally unsubstantiated claim that was proven false. Imagine the humility of this holy man as he endured this smirch on his character. Our actions can prove our innocence should false accusations rise against us. In Amato's case, the mindset of his accuser says more about her than about him. Let us pray for those who persecute and accuse us, as Jesus told us to pray for them. May God have mercy on them.
Quote from a Saint
Though the path is plain and smooth for men of good will, he who walks it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty, if he does not have good feet: that is, courage and a persevering spirit.--St. John of the Cross.
We are all pilgrims in the spiritual sense of making our way through life to our eternal home with the Lord in heaven. St. Amato was also a walking pilgrim on this earth as he made his way to holy shrines. We can be both by visiting holy places either in person or via books, the media, or the internet and also by realizing that this life is a journey and we have not yet arrived at our destination. St. John of the Cross points out two virtues which Saint Amato Ronconi exemplified—courage and a persevering spirit. He needed them while walking the dusty roads of Europe and he needed them in his day to day experiences there in his home area. May God grant us these two qualities as well as we journey to our heavenly homeland.
It is just as rare for a woman to be chaste and modest,
as it is to see a man cry.
This is rare, indeed, I think.
But what more likelihood it is to make a man cry, than such true beauty.
Flesh of his flesh. Bone of his bone.
Or, for the greater beauty of community...Consecrated family.
Nothing so likely to make a man desire to be a man. Honorable. Noble.
Nothing like it.
Nothing so powerful than a woman who is humble in this way,
Who keeps the fire in the fireplace.
The cradle of life.
To care for life, a family, a community.
Nothing that destroys more lives, than when we take the fire out of the fireplace.
"Our Bodies, Our Selves"...Our homes, Our lives, burned to the ground.
By this fire untamed by chastity.
When a man cries,
His life is burning for something, for something worth dying for,
For everyone else.
--Eric Welch, Allesandro Ministry
A HORSE STORY:
A man contracted with a farmer to buy a horse. He gave him $250.00 payment and said he would soon be around to pick it up. The farmer called the man a few days later and said the horse had died, and he would return his $250.00.
The man said, “No, I’ll take the horse anyway.”
The farmer was startled. “What will you do with a dead horse?”
“I’m raffling him off,” said the man. So he came and picked up the dead horse from the farmer.
Full of curiosity, the farmer called the man several weeks later and asked how everything went.
“Wonderful,” the man replied. “I sold a thousand raffle tickets for five dollars each, and made a profit of $4,745.00.”
“You sold a dead horse! What were they thinking?” asked the farmer.
“Oh, I only told the winner of the raffle the horse had died, and then returned his five dollars.”
Confraternity Photo Album
We wish our life pledged and privately vowed brother Bill Eddy (br. Anthony) eternal rest in the heart of God. Born June 13, 1941, Bill (br. Anthony) died on December 6, 2014. Bill (br. Anthony) was a humble, gentle man with no family. The Confraternity of Penitents has claimed his remains and, following a funeral Mass, buried them in the Catholic Cemetery, Fort Wayne IN where his grave can be tended by members of Our Lady, Cause of Our Joy, Chapter of the Confraternity of Penitents. We share some photos of our dear, courteous, faithful, and kind brother. Bill (br. Anthony), do pray for us as we pray for you.
Bill Eddy as Postulant at Confraternity of Penitents Retreat 2005
Bill (br. Anthony) in his apartment 2011
Bill Eddy making his life pledge and private vow to Father Michael Corriveau, 2008 Confraternity of Penitents Retreat
Last photo we have of Bill (br. Anthony). Taken with Madeline Pecora Nugent, CFP, October 2014
Happy Birthday to:
Teresa K 1/8
Sarah M 1/10
Linda R 1/15
Roger B 1/16
Anna-Lena S 1/17
William W 1/1
Karen S 1/2
Jason H 1/2
Charlotte C 1/6
Mathew R 1/7
Cyndie K 1/17
Ed M 1/19
Diane L 1/20
DeAnne R 1/24
Featured Items CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop
January is observed as Respect Life month in the United States. The following prolife items and many others are available through the prolife link on the Confraternity of Penitents Holy Angels Gift Shop website. All proceeds from the sale of these items go to support the Confraternity of Penitents. May you promote the cause of protection of human life this month and always
Prayer for Children Who Died Unloved. One of over a dozen different prolife prayers. This one 50c each. Other prayers 10c, 25c, 50c.
Precious Feet Lapel Pins. Exact size replica of unborn baby's feet at 10 weeks after conception. Each comes with card tastefully explaining prenatal development. $1 each. Bulk prices available
My Child, My Gift: A Positive Response to Serious Prenatal Diagnosis. Self help book for parents who receive an adverse prenatal diagnosis for their unborn baby. Supports them through life giving options. Many personal stories. 4.95 each. Bulk prices available for pregnancy centers, dioceses, colleges.