Holy Father's Monthly Intentions
Respect for Women. That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations. That many young people may accept the Lord's invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Ecology and Justice.
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.
Media. That the media may be instruments in the service of truth and peace.
Mary's Guidance. That Mary, Star of Evangelization, may guide the Church in proclaiming Christ to all nations.
The Visitation Experience
By Paulette Renaudin, CST
Since our ministry is founded on The Visitation, which is when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, hastened to visit her cousin Elizabeth to serve her as a humble handmaid with Elizabeth's pregnancy. It was in her meeting with Elizabeth that the most sublime canticle, the Magnificat, came to be. "My soul magnifies the Lord" (Luke 1:46). We can sanctify our experiences of visitation too, as we are open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in our own lives. Most mysteries can be hidden in the everyday life. Mary was the first evangelist and we are all called to be evangelists too.
I would like to share a few of my own "visitation" experiences to prompt you to reflect on your own encounters and encourage you to joyfully share your experiences in the future with our Magnificat newsletter readers.
A profound visitation experience the Lord presented me with five years ago came as such a surprise. It was a case of the older woman,' me', going to care for the younger woman, my daughter- in- law Kristin, who had just given birth. The day we went to meet our first grandchild in San Francisco, the lady across the street came over to see if my son knew anyone who wanted to rent their apartment that had just been vacated. My husband and I discussed it and I actually stayed nine months to care for our new grandchild, and to help our daughter- in- law take care of baby Mackenzie and transition back to work. It was an incredible experience on many levels.
The Missionaries of Charity Novitiate is in my son's neighborhood, and I immediately befriended the Sisters. Right away, the first Saturday I was there, I joined the Sisters in working in the Soup Kitchen that Mother Teresa founded 40 years ago. The visitation experience continues every time I am in San Francisco visiting my three grandchildren, as I am able to return to daily Mass at the Novitiate.
The visitation experience has become a reality for my grandchildren as the Sisters come to visit them in their home and pray and sing with them. My oldest granddaughter Mackenzie now attends the bi-annual Profession of Vows with me and her younger sister Zoe will be able to attend this year.
|Sr. Dina, M.C. & MacKenzie|
Another visitation experience was at the cleaners a few months ago. The customer in front of me was berating the young girl behind the counter about her order. The young girl handled the complaint with an incredible amount of grace. After the customer left, I complimented the young girl for her tact under pressure and told her she handled the situation far better than any adult could have. My conversation with her totally diffused the entire stressful situation and she thanked me for it. An ordinary visitation became an extraordinary one.
The last vignette visitation experience occurred last year while on my daily swim early in the morning. I met a young female petroleum engineer in the lane next to me. After a few days she told me she was working online on her Masters in Theology at Loyola University. We have become good friends, lunch and dinner buddies. I play a role in her life as friend/mentor. The other day she told me, "We can literally talk about any subject." An ordinary experience became an extraordinary visitation that will continue, possibly, for a life time.
I am sure you can reflect on the many opportunities Our Lord has given you to turn moments of visitations into grace filled experiences. If the Holy Spirit leads you to share some of your visitation experiences in the newsletter, please send them to Newsletter@magnificat-ministry.net About 200 words per article would be fine. Thank you.
From Secular Anchor to
By Judy Roberts, Huron, Ohio Chapter
|Judy Roberts and Teresa Tomeo|
Catholic radio superstar Teresa Tomeo was in the midst of a stellar career in television news in Detroit when God took her into the wilderness to get her attention.
Tomeo told more than 175 women in Fremont, OH., Sept. 28 at Our Lady of the Lake Chapter's quarterly breakfast how God led her back to her Catholic faith. It was a record turnout for the chapter, breaking the previous record of 160 for the group's first breakfast in 2007, when Donna Jones, wife of former Pentecostal preacher Alex Jones, spoke.
Born and raised Catholic, Tomeo said she had stopped going to Mass in college. Later, when she married fellow Catholic Dominick Pastore, they would go to church, but eventually became "Christmas and Easter Catholics." "We were sacramentalized," Tomeo said, "but not catechized or evangelized."
As Tomeo and her husband pursued their respective careers, their marriage began to suffer. When a promotion required that Tomeo work nights, they both thought they could handle their demanding and very different schedules, but they began to drift apart and into bitterness and bickering. With lives centered on their jobs, money, and their house, Tomeo said they became little more than "married singles."
Things began to change when Pastore accepted an invitation to an evangelical Protestant Bible study and soon recognized the Catholic Church in scripture. He told his wife that they needed to get back to a relationship with Jesus.
But it wasn't until Tomeo lost her job that God got her full attention. Although she blamed God when her contract was not renewed, after six months, when she had received no responses to her job applications, she invited Him back into her life. A few weeks later, she got an offer from a Detroit television station.
In the meantime, Tomeo and Pastore went to a Marriage Encounter and recommitted themselves to their marriage and to Christ.
Eventually, Tomeo began to notice changes in the media and, after hearing God tell her He could no longer use her there, she left and started her own communications company. She then began doing a talk show at a Detroit Christian radio station, where she was forced to learn to defend her faith while working alongside evangelical Christians. Her opportunity to go into Catholic radio came when Al Kresta contacted her about doing a morning talk show on a Catholic station he was starting in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Tomeo's "Catholic Connection" program is now syndicated on 250 stations in the U.S. "God is my executive producer and news director," she said.
If anyone had told Tomeo she would be traveling the country and the world doing what she now does in the service of the Church, she said she would have responded, "You're a few sandwiches short of a picnic." She said she once thought she would be in the news business for her entire life, but she knows now that when it nearly consumed her, God was there to pull her out and, through her husband, bring her back to the Church.
A Quote from Pope Francis on the Visitation
Preaching on the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, the Pope compared the Church to Mary. He said: "The Church is not a shop, she is not a humanitarian agency, the Church is not a non-government organization. The Church is sent to bring Christ and his Gospel to all. She does not bring herself-whether small or great, strong or weak, the Church carries Jesus and should be like Mary when she went to visit Elizabeth. What did Mary take to her? Jesus. The Church brings Jesus: this is the center of the Church, to carry Jesus! If, as a hypothesis, the Church were not to bring Jesus, she would be a dead Church. The Church must bring Jesus, the love of Jesus, the charity of Jesus."
The Almighty is Doing Great Things for Us, Holy is His Name!
By Antoniette Pace
Toronto, Cause of our Joy Chapter
Spirit-filled and life giving. These words sum up well the 33rd Magnificat Breakfast of our Toronto Cause of our Joy Chapter. Held on November 2, the morning fittingly opened with the praying of the 1st Glorious mystery of the rosary with intercessory reflections for our beloved deceased. Led by Angie Galka, the team's newest member in the role of Assistant Coordinator, each table passed a lighted candle from one woman to another with the recitation of each Hail Mary. With every prayer, the beloved deceased of each woman was prayed for reminding us of the awesome communion we share with those who have gone before us.
|Sr. Kateri of the Sisters of Life with Sandra and our youngest guest|
Typical of our breakfasts, our nearly 300 guest represented a cross-section of ages and cultures.
Our Greeters- Melissa & Emily
Five month old Joy captured the heart of Fr. Occhio, himself, 90 years young. Several high-school and university age youth assisted as Youth Helpers. Mothers came with daughters, women came with colleagues, friends came with friends. Some women came on their own and left with many new friends in Christ. They came from local parishes and neighboring cities. Some women, in town visiting relatives, shared about their first Magnificat in much farther places they call home: Philippines, Singapore and Chile.
For many faithful friends of Magnificat these breakfasts are a 'spiritual oasis'. Maria, who had missed a number of breakfasts, "felt she had come to a wonderful homecoming". Daniela expressed that, "Each time we come together at Magnificat to reflect, to listen to God, to allow our hearts to be open to God's Word and healing, we grow closer to God, Jesus, Mother Mary and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit helps us in our weakness."
Mariel (top left) with family and friends
In a similar way, Mariel says that "to be among women, strong in their faith, welcoming women who share a love for God gives me strength in my faith." First-time guest, Dina, tells of her experience, "I sense a strong and welcoming coming together of women for a very special purpose, the highest purpose!"
Both Aleksandra (left) and Andrea (right) have been with the ministry since its beginning. They were eager to assist as youth greeters at each breakfast. Over the years, they have finished school, gotten married and became new 'moms.' In December, Andrea gave birth to twins and Aleksandra gave birth in January.
Our speaker, Nancy Kelly, shared her compelling testimony describing her journey to the culture of life. During her 18 years in journalism with her work appearing in Flare, Fashion and Chatelaine, Nancy described herself as a committed pro-abortion advocate. Picketed by pro-lifers for columns she wrote promoting abortion, this encounter would be a significant event in Nancy's personal conversion story. In the course of her journey to the culture of life, Nancy also discovered the transforming effects of the power of prayer. She began to develop a personal relationship with God which eventually led her to the Roman Catholic Church. In one woman's words, "this testimony gave me hope for my own life."
|Magnificat Team with Spiritual Advisor L-R: Camela Acri, Vicky Sutton, Angie Galka,Fr. Mike Pace, SDB, Antoniette Pace, Clara Wu, Louisa Amato|
Once again, our gathering was blessed with many priests. Fr. Derek Ali, a diocesan priest and friend of Magnificat, came with women from his Unionville parish, St. Justin Martyr. Also present were our beloved Saleisan priests, Fr. Mike Pace, our spiritual advisor, and several of his confreres, Fr. John Puntino, Fr. Joseph Occhio, Fr. Frank Kelly and Fr. Enzo Trigatti. Several women availed themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, one of which was moved to make her first confession that day!
|Service Team Member Vicky Sutton (2nd Left) and faithful friends of Magnificat |
Whether it's the first breakfast or the thirty-third breakfast, the same Spirit has prevailed bringing refreshment to weary women, healing to wounded hearts, joy through laughter and song, hope for restored relationships, and an ever deepened love for Jesus through Mary.
|Rosa, Grazia and Rose marching in the light of Christ|
The Almighty is doing great things for us, holy is His name!
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Liturgy of the Hours
Office of Readings
From the decree on the missionary activity of the Church of the Second Vatican Council
We must boldly proclaim the mystery of Christ
Every disciple of Christ is responsible in his own measure for the spread of the faith, but Christ the Lord is always calling from among his followers those whom he wills, so that they may be with him and be sent by him to preach to the nations.
Through the Holy Spirit, who distributes gifts as he wills for the good of all, Christ implants in the hearts of individuals the vocation to be a missionary, and at the same time he raises up the Church institutes which make their own task of spreading the Gospel that belongs to the whole Church.
A special vocation marks out those priests, religious and lay people who are prepared to undertake the missionary task in their own country or abroad, and have the right natural disposition for it, with suitable gifts and talents. Sent by lawful authority, they go out in obedience and faith to those who are far from Christ. They have been set apart for the task to which they have been called as ministers of the Gospel, to make the Gentiles an acceptable offering, sanctified in the Holy Spirit.
Those whom God calls must answer his call in such a way that, without regard for purely human counsel, they may devote themselves wholly to the work of the Gospel. This response cannot be given except with the inspiration and strength of the Holy Spirit.
The person who is sent enters into the life and mission of him who emptied himself, taking the nature of a slave. He must be ready therefore to be true to his vocation for life, to deny himself, renouncing all that he had before, and to become all things to all men.
In preaching the Gospel to the nations he must boldly proclaim the mystery of Christ, whose ambassador he is, so that in Christ he may have the courage to speak as he ought, and not be ashamed of the scandal of the cross. He must follow in the footsteps of his Master, who was gentle and humble of heart, and to reveal to others that his yoke is easy and his burden light.
By a life that is truly according to the Gospel, by much endurance, by forbearance, by kindness and sincere love, he must bear witness to his Lord, even, if need be, by the shedding of his blood.
He will pray to God for strength and courage, so that he may come to see that for one who experiences great hardship and extreme poverty there can be abundant joy.
Fr. Kevin's Korner
Magnificat CST Spiritual Advisor
Fr. Kevin Scallon, C.M.
In the Breaking of Bread
When I was in the seminary, my professor of speech and homiletics had never preached a retreat and knew little about homiletics, and I learned everything I needed to know about voice production in two minutes from an actor from the Abbey Theater. In those days, priesthood was a qualification that fitted everything. His direction to us was to type out your homily, learn it by heart, and deliver it like a Victorian Shakespearian actor. I did this, not the actor however, for my first six months after ordination until one Sunday morning after two sentences, I forgot my text and was faced with one of those "what do I do now" moments. Do I come down in shame or continue brazenly? I decided on the latter course, and proceeded to give a really dreadful homily. After Mass I was skulking my way out of the church when at the door a young man came over to me and said, "Father, I have never heard such a homily in all my life." I was wondering what he meant by that, when he added, "Your words have moved me to tears. Would you kindly hear my confession?" It was not what I expected. It did teach me however an important lesson about the ordained ministry and the proclamation of the Word of God; namely, that it is Jesus who speaks through us.
Recently, while reading paragraph 7 of the "Vatican Council: Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy" I was struck again on how beautifully the paragraph describes the various presences of Jesus during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist: how He is present in the Word proclaimed during the liturgy, how He is present uniquely in the Sacred Species which we receive at Communion, how He is present in his people gathered together in His name, and how He is present in the person of the priest. During the celebration of the Eucharist over the last few weeks, the Lord gave me a spiritual inspiration concerning His presence at Mass, and that, given the opportunity, I ought to speak about it more often. As a result of this, I wrote the following prayer/poem:
"I Know That It Is You"
Lord, You are at the door to greet me; that feeling
I get is You.
I know that it is You.
Your prayer lifts me.
I hear Your presence
in the Word proclaimed.
I know that it is You.
I offer your peace
to those around me,
it is You who catch my eye.
I know that it is You.
And the bread that is not bread,
and the wine that is not wine,
now Your Paschal self;
fresh from supper table,
and empty tomb.
I know that it is You.
You bless me
with the hands of your priest
and send me forth;
no longer me,
but You in me.
I know that it is You.
[cf. Vatican Council: Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy #7]
I hope you like it and I hope you will feel free to use and reproduce it, but not change it. We in Magnificat should become more and more aware of everything that will help us to come to a deeper understanding of the mystery of Christ's presence in the Sacred Liturgy, and particularly the sacraments. What the Vatican Council teaches about the presence of Jesus during the Eucharist has brought us to a more profound understanding of this central mystery of our faith. May I wish you every blessing during this year, and especially during the holy season of Lent and Easter.
PS. May I recommend the following books:
Dangers to the Faith: Recognizing Catholicism's 21st Century Opponents by Al Kresta published by Our Sunday Visitor
A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor published by MacmillanUSA
Advisory Team Meeting - February 2014
Montserrat Retreat Center
By Paulette Renaudin, CST
|Fr. Kevin Scallon at the Montserrat frozen fountain|
The Montserrat Jesuit retreat House on Lake Dallas provided the beautiful, pastoral, setting for our CST Advisory Team Meeting. Yes, we did perceive the Lord doing something new, directing us there after the Cenacle Retreat House in Metairie, LA was closed after housing us for years. The excitement was felt by everyone!
The CST's theme song this past year has been "Lord, We are Amazed by You." The Lord is directing us in building the second layer of the Magnificat "cake." From Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals."
Kathy MacInnis welcomed everyone and her words set the tone for the entire meeting. She introduced three new Advisors, Patricia Mitchell, Susan Shaw, and Diane Dudenhoefer. Fr. Kevin Scallon, C.M., our Spiritual Advisor, shared words of wisdom and prophecy in his homilies and also with his comments. One morning we awakened to the newness of freshly, fallen snow which continued all day! The fountain on the property looked like a winter wonderland frozen in place.
The CST showed the Advisors presentations from our CST Planning Session last summer and went into more presentations on Finances, Communications,
Formation/Chapters, Leadership, and a final presentation featuring our next International Conference which will be held in Washington, D.C. April 23-26, 2015 during Cherry Blossom Season. The slides were breathtaking!
The meetings were framed with holy Mass, the Rosary, Praise and Worship led by Susan Potvin, and Evening Prayer. Each night, after prayers, we shared a Visitation time renewing friendships and ensuring the new members felt like family.
We all left affirmed, strengthened, encouraged, restored, and empowered by the Lord to return to our respective "patches" in Our Lady's garden of Magnificat to continue serving. Someone said the Advisory Team Meeting was business at its finest, but also contained the elements of an inner healing retreat!
|CST & Advisory Team at the Montserrat Retreat Center 2014|
The Grapevine Chapter "Texas Cowgirls"
Upon our arrival to Dallas, the Grapevine ladies welcomed us by putting on a skit for the CST and singing "Deep in the Heart of Texas". We thank them for their warm hospitality to CST, Regional Reps, and Advisory Team members. A special thank you for providing all the attendees with airport transportation to and from the Advisory Team Meeting. It was a wonderful visitation!
MAGNIFICAT PRAYER BOOKLET
Magnificat has been a daily companion to thousands on their spiritual journey, enriching their prayer life and helping them grow in love and knowledge of Christ and the Church.
Every subscription to this lovely Mass and prayer guide directly benefits our Ministry domestically and worldwide.
Regular Edition: first subscription $44.95; second subscription $35; and subsequent subscriptions $29; Large Print Edition: first subscription $64.95; second subscription $55; and subsequent subscriptions $49.
These US prices are a considerable discount and only available in the USA until March 31, 2014. This offer is available by mail (see address below) - but not on the website.
P. O. Box 822
Yonkers, NY 10702
Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, has an
official Facebook Page! It was launched on
Tuesday, January 22nd. Please "Like" our page
and don't forget to get the word out to all your Facebook friends by posting
a wonderful opportunity to attract many who have never heard of our ministry, just as Mary continues to direct us all towards her son, our Lord Jesus.
our link on your profile. This will be
by Pope Francis on December 8, 2013
Virgin most holy and immaculate,
To you, the honor of our people, and the loving protector of our city, do we turn with loving trust.
You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
In you there is no sin.
Awaken in all of us a renewed desire for holiness:
May the splendor of truth shine forth in our words, the song of charity resound in our works, purity and chastity abide in our hearts and bodies, and the full beauty of the Gospel be evident in our lives.
You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
In you the word became flesh.
Help us always to heed the Lord's voice:
May we never be indifferent to the cry of the poor,
Or untouched by the sufferings of the sick and those in need;
May we be sensitive to the loneliness of the elderly and the vulnerability of children,
And always love and cherish the life of every human being.
You are all -beautiful, O Mary!
In you is the fullness of joy born of life with God.
Help us never to forget the meaning of our earthly journey:
May the kindly light of faith illumine our days,
The comforting power of hope direct our steps,
The contagious warmth of love stir our hearts;
And may our gaze be fixed on God, in whom true joy is found.
You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
Hear our prayer, graciously hear our plea:
May the beauty of God's merciful love in Jesus abide in our hearts,
May this divine beauty save us, our city and the
entire world. Amen.
March For Life 2014
By Kay Burkot, Asst. Coordinator, Pittsburgh, PA Chapter
We began the day with Mass, said by a young (2 years ordained) priest, who had such love and adoration for Jesus that was evident as he held up the host during the consecration. The reading was about David and Goliath, which was appropriate, as we felt like we were facing our own Goliath. On the bus, we prayed the Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries of the Rosary. We also prayed, and then sang, the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Before praying the chaplet, the bus organizer shared how this prayer brought him back to the Catholic faith. While we prayed, a peace seemed to descend upon us.
We arrived at the rally, and noticed that we were surrounded by young people. Over the 18 years that I've been going to Washington, I've watched the transition of the crowd from my generation to the next generation. These young people bring such energy and enthusiasm, with their chanting, singing, praising, and dancing in the streets. It seems to boggle the mind of the secular media that these young people are so actively engaged in the pro-life issue.
At Union Station, we ran into and had a chance to speak briefly to Archbishop Aymond of New Orleans. On the Metro train, I talked with a young professional from DC who told me that she was a "survivor" of an attempted abortion. She had been raised by her grandparents, but has reunited with and is now very close to her mother.
This was the 40th March for Life. Even though we feel like David fighting against Goliath, we continue to persevere, for we know how the story ends. David, with God's help, was victorious, and we know that as we face our own giant, God will have the ultimate victory.
Rallying for Life
By Mary Powell, Southern Regional Rep
Baton Rouge, LA - In advance of the National Right to Life March in Washington D.C., 2,500 pro-life advocates marched to the State Capitol January 18th to decry the proposed construction of a regional Planned Parenthood abortion facility in New Orleans and to promote the Life-giving option of adoption.
When I hear confessions after each Magnificat Meal, there is always something that was said or done during the Meal that touched the person in the audience so much that they were inspired to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation afterwards. It's beautiful to see how the Lord is working through the Magnificat Meals to bring both wisdom and healing to the women in attendance. Fr. Pacheco