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Winter Edition
Volume 12  Issue 14

Jesus is coming! Make His paths straight! Advent is an ideal time for us to look within to assess our openness to Jesus and to make any needed changes. Taking time to smooth out the path for Jesus to be born more fully in our lives is a worthwhile undertaking. And when Christmas Day comes, we can all say together: "Come Lord Jesus!" 

Wishing you peace and joy this Christmas season!

Blessings,  
Kathy MacInnis, Coordinator
Central Service Team


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In This Issue
Holy Father's Monthly Intentions
O Holy Night ( A Christmas Meditation)
Central Service Team Annual "Visitation" Meeting
The Pope's 10 Tips for a Happier Life
Thoughts from the Bishop of Oakland
Official Facebook Page
Liturgy of the Hours
Fr. Kevin's Korner
Metairie's 33 yr. Anniversary Meal - In the Will of God is your Power
Magnificat Prayer Booklet
Water from the Rock...
Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapter of North San Diego
Praise Report


   For more Conference 2015 information     including schedules, costs, registration, and frequently asked questions (FAQ), 
 
Note: Deposit deadline has been extended to Feb.15th but register soon to save your spot! 
Holy Father's Monthly Intentions
 
December:
Universal: Experiencing God's mercy 
That all may experience the mercy of God, who never tires of forgiving.

Evangelization: Families
That families, especially those who suffer, may find in the birth of Jesus a sign of certain hope.

January:
Universal: Peace
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.

Evangelization: Consecrated life
That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.

February
Universal: Prisoners
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.

Evangelization: Separated spouses
That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.

O HOLY NIGHT
(A Christmas Meditation) 
By Joan Lococo, CST Advisory Team Member


"FIAT", she had replied to the heavenly emissary, "may it be done to me as you say" (Lk. 1:38). How heaven must have rejoiced as this humble act of obedience by one who called herself the maidservant of the Lord loosed the knot of disobedience tied by Eve so many centuries before.

And now the maidservant Mary was holding in her arms and gazing in rapt wonder at the Divine Child she had agreed to carry in her virginal womb. LOVE had taken flesh from her and entered into the world. Joseph, her chaste spouse, knelt by her side, his head spinning in awed amazement. They would call Him Jesus, as the angel had directed. For a long time the holy couple remained speechless before the overwhelming presence of God that surrounded and filled the stark, bare cave.

Soon they would be visited by simple shepherds, drawn from the nearby hills as if by a powerful magnet as an angelic choir announced in glorious song the birth of a Savior and peace on earth. They would doff their shepherd's caps and worship the adorable Shepherd King on the radiant mother's lap. Wise men from far distant lands would also come to Bethlehem, following the light of a brilliant star to pay homage to the King of Kings and bring precious gifts to the great GIFT of God.

In later years Mother Mary would reveal to waiters at a wedding feast in Cana (and to all of us as well) the secret of her holiness. "Do whatever He tells you," (Jn. 2:5) she would simply say. And this Divine Son would teach His disciples how to pray, "Our Father...Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Mt. 6:10) So simple - so profound! However, their lives would not be spared trials and sorrows. Dark threads would accompany lighter threads representing moments of joy in the tapestry of their lives, but the dark threads would only lend contrast to highlight the golden threads of fiat and trusting obedience to the Father's will.

In fact the Son of this highly favored daughter would give His life for the salvation of all mankind in the most cruel and diabolically conceived death perpetrated by the very men He came to redeem. Before He expired He would bequeath future generations to the maternal care of His own precious mother, who would be suffering spiritually all of the mental and physical anguish of the Son; the cold steel sword that would pierce the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the cross would just as surely pierce her own Immaculate Heart.

But, thanks be to God, that would not be the end. Oh, no, - Jesus would triumph! He would rise victorious from the grave, conquering death and sin in a glorious resurrection. He would ascend to heaven to take His place at the right hand of God the Father. He would send God the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. Mary herself would be assumed body and soul into heaven to reign forever as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Yes, all of that was off into the future.

Mary would one day be called the first tabernacle of the Body of Christ, but her greatness was not due to her giving Him birth - but rather to her being His first and model disciple (Mt. 12:50; Lk11:28). And therein we discover the path she points out to us: complete acceptance of God's plan for our lives, unshakeable belief in His personal love for each of us, total reliance on His promises to those who follow Him. Fiat. May it be done to me as you say.

On this incredible night of nights Mary and Joseph were not concerned with what awaited them as their lives would enfold. For tonight, this unforgettable holy night, when LOVE became Incarnate and dwelt among us, Mary and Joseph would hold in their arms a vulnerable Child and rejoice in God's magnificent Gift to them and to mankind. These blessed parents beckon us to the lowly manger and invite us to share their unbounded joy, contemplating this Divine Child. Our task now is to conceive Him in our hearts and bring Him forth to the world around us - a world that is in such desperate need of Him. Fiat!

Come, let us adore Him! Christ, the Lord!

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Central Service Team Annual 
"Visitation" Meeting
By Paulette Renaudin, CST
L to R: Diane Bates, Kathy MacInnis, Nancy Skok Paulette Renaudin, Donna Ross
Orlando, FL was the backdrop city this year for the CST's annual "Visitation" of chapters. Since last year's "visitation" was so successful in Palm Desert, CA, the CST looked for the best time to meet after we were gifted with a time-share condominium in Orlando, Florida to use as our home base. With four active chapters and one chapter in formation located nearby, the plans were made. Realizing Magnificat's Spiritual Advisor, Fr. Kevin Scallon, C.M. also lives in close proximity and friends of the ministry such as Sr. Briege McKenna, O.C.S., EWTN's Johnnette Benkovic, and Diane Brown of the Marian Servants School of Spirituality who were available for a visit with us, our week filled up quickly. 

We drove from Orlando to our West Palm Beach Chapter and also met with our newest (100th) Chapter in Broward County, Tampa, and St. Petersburg Chapters. We even met with the future service team of the Chapter in Formation in Kissimmee, FL. Our lunches and dinners were very animated with the excitement of meeting and sharing with new Magnificat sisters. 

We couldn't resist having our picture taken with Pope Francis in the Basilica Bookstore! 
Magnificat is all about relationships forming over shared meals and that is exactly what we did every day! The good Lord continues to bring many talented women into the ministry. Several are retiring from their professions and are finding a new home within our ministry. They are very gifted and imbued with a new sense of purpose and enthusiasm to serve in the ministry. Our weekly CST theme song is from Zephaniah 3: 17, "Lord, we are amazed by You!" We have even remarked that Our Lord and Our Blessed Lady are spoiling us! Each new project we have, He places the right, qualified person in our path to help us bring the project to completion.

Fr. Kevin Scallon and the CST
There is a beautiful Basilica in Orlando five minutes from where we were staying. It is the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. We were blessed to be able to attend daily Mass there either in the Basilica or in the daily Mass chapel. The stained glass windows in the daily Mass chapel depict the night sky and there is a beautiful mosaic of Our Lady of Guadalupe with Juan Diego. Located behind the main altar is an Adoration Chapel. We could feel the blessings the Lord had for us and for the ministry. It reminded us of the explosion of grace Mary had when she visited Elizabeth. There was much excitement and joy each time we met with a chapter in their own city. The Lord even surprised us with passes to enjoy a day in the Magic Kingdom of EPCOT, complete with dinner and fireworks! And if that wasn't enough, our random parking space was "Amaze #37" and the most fun ride was called "Soarin", where you "flew" all over the state of California. We felt like we were "soaring" all week.

We had the opportunity to meet with Felice Gerwitz, a Magnificat sister, who happens to be our publishing advisor for our book to be debuted at the Conference in Washington, D.C. The Lord also provided another workshop with Cathy Fletcher, a leadership and training consultant from CA, who just "happened" to be in Orlando when we were there. Last year she gave us a study on "Decision Making 101" and this year she conducted a special workshop on "Resilience."

From this week long travel journal, you can easily see why we can sing, "Lord, we are amazed by YOU!"

The Pope's 10 Tips for a Happier Life
 
1."Live and let live." Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, "Move forward and let others do the same."

2. "Be giving of yourself to others." People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because "if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid."

3. "Proceed calmly" in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist - gaucho Don Segundo Sombra - looks back on how he lived his life.

4. A healthy sense of leisure. The Pope said "consumerism has brought us anxiety", and told parents to set aside time to play with their children and turn of the TV when they sit down to eat.

5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because "Sunday is for family," he said.

6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. "We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs" and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said.

7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation "is one of the biggest challenges we have," he said. "I think a question that we're not asking ourselves is: 'Isn't humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?'"

8. Stop being negative. "Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, 'I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,'" the Pope said. "Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy."

9. Don't proselytise; respect others' beliefs. "We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyses: 'I am talking with you in order to persuade you,' No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytising," the Pope said.

10. Work for peace. "We are living in a time of many wars," he said, and "the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive" and dynamic.

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  Happy Immaculate Conception 
Feast Day!
December 8, 2014


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 Thoughts from the Bishop of Oakland
 By Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ 

Dear Friends,

Saturday morning I attended the Magnificat Prayer Breakfast in Concord. There were about 500 Catholic women present, along with some spouses, priests and seminarians. We sang and prayed, and then I was invited, not to give a lecture, but to "share my testimony." There is a big difference. I spoke about the "Cross and Resurrection" in my life - actually more like "crosses and resurrections" :
L to R: Fr. Jerry Brown, Veronica Brown, Kathleen Beckman, Mary Johnstone, Bishop Michael Barber, S.J., Arcilla Petersen, Marilyn Ann Bayer
I hesitate to talk about myself publicly. Doesn't scripture say "Not to us Lord, not to us, but to Your Name give the glory"? But we do need to share with others the story of God's love and grace, and how He has always been present in our lives - even in times of trial. I found the Magnificat members refreshing. They take their spiritual lives seriously and - happily - they are providing the means for many women to grow closer to Our Lord through the Holy Spirit. I highly recommend the Magnificat ministry.



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beautiful conversation about our Ministry with your friends.

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Liturgy of the Hours

Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

Office of Readings

Second Reading

From the book on Virginity by Saint Ambrose, bishop

You light up your grace of body with your splendor of soul

You are one of God's people, of God's family, a virgin among virgins; you light up your grace of body with your splendor of soul. More than others you can be compared to the Church. When you are in your room, then, at night, think always on Christ, and wait for his coming at every moment. 

This is the person Christ has loved in loving you, the person he has chosen in choosing you. He enters by the open door; he has promised to come in, and he cannot deceive. Embrace him, the one you have sought; turn to him and be enlightened; hold him fast, ask him not to go in haste, beg him not to leave you. The Word of God moves swiftly; he is not won by the lukewarm, nor held fast by the negligent. Let your soul be attentive to his word; follow carefully the path God tells you to take, for he is swift in his passing. 

What does his bride say? I sought him, and did not find him; I called him and he did not hear me. Do not imagine that you are displeasing to him although you have called him, asked him, opened the door to him, and that this is the reason why he has gone so quickly; no, for he allows us to be constantly tested. When the crowds press him to say, what does he say in the Gospel? I must preach the word of God to other cities, because I have been sent for that. But even if it seems to you that he has left you, go out and seek him once more.

Who but holy Church is to teach you how to hold Christ fast? Indeed, she has already told you, if you only understood her words in Scripture: How short a time it was when I left them before I found whom my soul has loved. I held him fast, and I will not let him go.

How do we hold him fast? Not by restraining chains or knotted ropes but by bonds of love, by spiritual reins, by the longing of the soul.

If you also, like the bride, wish to hold him fast, seek him and be fearless of suffering. It is often easier to find him in the midst of bodily torments, in the very hands of persecutors. 

His bride says: How short a time it was after I left them. In a little space, after a brief moment, when you have escaped from the hands of your persecutors without yielding to the powers of this world, Christ will come to you, and he will not allow you to be tested for long.

Whoever seeks Christ in this way, and finds him, can say: I held him fast, and I will not let him go before I bring him into my mother's house, into the room of her who conceived me. What is this "house," this "room," but the deep and secret places of your heart?

Maintain this house, sweep out its secret recesses until it becomes immaculate and rises as a spiritual temple for a holy priesthood, firmly secured by Christ, the cornerstone, so that the Holy Spirit may dwell in it.

Whoever seeks Christ in this way, whoever prays to Christ in this way, is not abandoned by him; on the contrary, Christ comes again and again to visit such a person, for he is with us until the end of the world.
 

Fr. Kevin's Korner 
Magnificat CST Spiritual Advisor  
Fr. Kevin Scallon, C.M.


St. Catherine of Genoa on Purgatory

 

It is a bit late in November to talk about Purgatory or the need to pray for the Holy Souls. However, I do so because I recently read an amazingly beautiful and consoling Treatise on Purgatory written by St. Catherine of Genoa. I had never read it before and came across it while surfing the web, iPieta to be precise.

 

Catherine of Genoa was a 15th Century mystic of a noble Italian family who became a Canoness of St. Augustine. During her life she had a profoundly mystical encounter with Our Lord Jesus. It was in one of these mystical ecstasies that Jesus revealed to her the state of souls in Purgatory. It is fascinating to read this work in which the Lord allowed her to have insights into Purgatory and how it is experienced by the Holy Souls. I will quote here from the fifth chapter to give you a flavor of St. Catherine's mystical insights. Keep in mind that what she has written is not holy writ, but a private revelation. The fact that it is the experience of such a great mystical daughter of the Church, who is a canonized Saint, gives it a credence that it might not otherwise have. 

 

So here is what she has written in Chapter 5:   

The souls in Purgatory have wills accordant in all things with the will of God, who therefore sheds on them His goodness, and they, as far as their will goes, are happy and cleansed of all their sin. As for guilt, these cleansed souls are as they were when God created them, for God forgives their guilt immediately who have passed from this life ill content with their sins, having confessed all they have committed and having the will to commit no more. Only the rust of sin is left them and from this they cleanse themselves by pain in the fire. Thus cleansed of all guilt and united in will to God, they see Him clearly in the degree in which He makes Himself known to them, and see too how much it imports to enjoy Him and that souls have been created for this end. Moreover, they are brought to so uniting a conformity with God, and are drawn to Him in such wise, His natural instinct towards souls working in them, that neither arguments nor figures nor examples can make the thing clear as the mind knows it to be in effect and as by inner feeling it is understood to be. I will, however, make one comparison which comes to my mind.

 

I would recommend that you read this Treatise in its entirety which you can easily google. If you can, you should acquire the app "iPieta" which contains many of the great spiritual classics as well as a plethora of other things that will amaze you.

 

St. Catherine's writing on Purgatory I find to be very enlightening and very consoling. As for the increasing number of people now-a-days who deny the existence of Purgatory, it would be a good thing to remind them that the existence of Purgatory is a defined dogma of our faith; to deny it therefore would make one a heretic.

 

May the Lord grant you a blessed Advent, a mystical Christmas, and growth in holiness in 2015. I will be praying for you and offering the Holy Eucharist for you on Christmas morning.                           


God bless you all,

Fr. Kevin, C.M.

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IN THE WILL OF GOD IS YOUR POWER 
Metairie's 33 year Anniversary Meal!
By Jackie Ghawaly, Metairie, LA Chapter

Sister Dulce spoke to 400 attendees at the Metairie Prayer Breakfast in October. Her faith witness is about how God called her to be a healer. "The Lord began to do miracle, after miracle, after miracle," said Sr. Dulce, a Mercedarian Sister of the Blessed Sacrament for over 50 years. "What am I supposed to have ... two heads?" wondered Sr. Dulce as a priest whom God had sent peered at her, exclaiming, "She looks 'normal!'" She began her ministry in her living room, praying and healing; currently she ministers (with 72 prayer partners) to over 14,000 people in 72 countries. "Legs grew, scoliosis was healed, blindness was healed, hearing healed. And everyone got a lollipop when they left," she said. Sister also experiences the gift of sharing the sufferings of those to whom she ministers. "When God does something, he does it well," she added. "It is God's power that does all things. In the will of God is your power." 

She has a loving relationship with God to whom she gives the name "Papa," and God lovingly calls her "Sweetpea." The love exchange begins when she awakens and entrusts her day to God, praising Him for another day. "You cannot give what you don't have," said Sister "so you must know the Lord." Daily she listens with her soul, mind, and body. "If you cannot trust Papa then you cannot trust yourself," she teaches, "and if we live our lives loving God and truly loving ourselves, then we can love our neighbor."

Humility is another pearl to seek for holiness. "Humility is the truth. It's knowing yourself and still loving you because God loves you. Without humility there is no true love of God," remarked Sister. "Serving and loving are my job ... God doesn't want us to be a shining star or a marquee on every parish. He wants us to shine for his eyes only," Sister said. 

Contact Sister Dulce Maria at 
Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer Center
17560 George Oneal Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70817
(225) 752-8480
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Every subscription to this lovely Mass and prayer guide directly benefits our Ministry domestically and worldwide. 
  
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Water from the Rock - The Importance of Obedience
By Kay Burkot, Pittsburgh Chapter

Did you ever wonder why God did not allow Moses to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land just because he struck a rock instead of spoke to it? (See Numbers, chapter 20). I mean, Moses is the great Old Testament prophet whom God appeared to in the burning bush, the one who led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, the lawgiver who received the Ten Commandments from God, and who saw God face to face! One tiny disobedience - and Moses was not allowed into the Promised Land? Really? There must be more to the story.

Well, here's a possible explanation. Limestone is a very prominent rock type in the Middle East. Limestone is very porous, and is subject to "leaching", which means that water can seep through the rock, dissolve the minerals, and leave behind large gaping holes or empty spaces in the rock. In fact, most caves such as Carlsbad Caverns and Mammoth Caves are huge caverns within limestone rock. It is not unheard of to have running water or underground rivers inside some of these huge cavernous limestone formations.

Let's take this information to the scenario with Moses and the rock. Suppose this rock outcrop happens to be limestone, and suppose there is running water within the rock. The local people would be familiar with their surroundings and would be aware of such a situation. If Moses happens to hit the rock in a place where it is fairly thin, and the water behind it comes rushing out, there is nothing supernatural about that. It is a totally natural event. When the Israelites witnessed this, they recognized Moses as their provider of water. They learned to trust in Moses. 

However, had Moses been obedient to God and spoke to the rock rather than strike the rock, and water would have come out of the rock as a result, that would have been an obvious supernatural event. The people would have realized that God, not Moses, provided them with water. They would have learned to trust in God. 

When it came time to enter the Promised Land, the people were filled with fear. Had the people seen a supernatural event at the rock, and learned to trust in God who gave them water from the rock, they would have been able to follow Moses' lead into the Promised Land. But alas, they had come to trust in Moses, not God, and in the people's eye, the task was too big even for Moses. Therefore, because of his disobedience, by striking the rock instead of speaking to it, effecting an event that appeared natural rather than supernatural, Moses was not able to be used by God in leading the people into the Promised Land.

The lesson of this story is that our obedience to God is so important. If we are disobedient, even in the smallest way, it can affect the faith of others, and diminish God's ability to use us.

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Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapter of North San Diego, CA celebrates their 20th Anniversary! 
By Rosemary Geiger, Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapter, North San Diego

This year marked the 20th Anniversary of the North San Diego, Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapter and we are sincerely thankful and proud to be a part of this beautiful ministry. Magnificat has blessed us and the countless Catholic women who have attended the meals. We wish to thank our past Central Service Team and present Central Service Team for their love and support these past 20 years. We are an awesome group of women of God exemplifying the Mother of Jesus in our daily routine each with a different gift and different fragrance complimenting the garden of Magnificat.

Our Chapter is blessed to offer a Mass before the breakfast for attendees of the meal. On this particular day, our Spiritual Advisor, Fr. John Struzzo, concelebrated with our speaker, Fr. Donald Calloway. Holy Mass was the beginning of a very beautiful, spirit-filled morning. 

Fr. Donald Calloway, M.I.C. is a convert to Catholicism and is a member of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. He is a well- known Marian priest, who exhibits an unmistakable zeal for the priesthood and devotion to Our Lady. He is a popular conference speaker on Divine Mercy and the Blessed Virgin Mary. He spoke passionately about these topics in his conversion story. The women attending the meal came away with a rekindled love and devotion to Our Blessed Mother and with Jesus Christ. 

We are looking forward to the 2015 International Conference in Washington, D.C. to rekindle old friendships with our Magnificat sisters from all over the world and to praise, worship, pray and feel the Presence of our most awesome God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus Our Redeemer, and Our Mother Mary.

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Year of the Consecrated Life     
 Nov. 30, 2014 - Feb. 2, 2015 

 
Wherever consecrated people are
 there is always joy!
                                                Pope Francis



It came to our attention that six women from Texas, who have never heard of Magnificat, but found our website and read about the conference ... and ... drum-roll ... are registered to come to our International Conference. WOW!! Very exciting. We will probably have a new Chapter in Formation after the conference. The Holy Spirit is out on the digital seas with Magnificat!

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"Magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name forever!" 
Psalm 34:3


Come to the 13th International Leaders' Conference and feel the joy of being together celebrating our shared mission and commitment to Magnify the Lord! This conference is in a new format and a new location in Washington, D.C. "See I am doing something new!" Isaiah 43:19  Magnificat is a Ministry of Evangelization, Praise, Prayer, Fellowship, and Teamwork. Be encouraged and amazed with us!

For more Conference 2015 information including schedules, costs, registration and frequently asked questions (FAQ), 
click on  



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This Newsletter is brought  to you by the Magnificat Central Service Team 

Paulette Renaudin, Editor 
Elise Botch, Layout Page Designer 
CST Communications Ministry