Monthly Archives: August 2009

Why a Catholic Women’s Conference?

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After reading an article in Canticle Magazine titled “The Vocation of Holy Womanhood” by Amy Love; I was convinced that every woman needed to learn about the beauty of their vocation as woman. The article was encouraging, inspirational, educational and exciting. In sharing my excitement with my husband, Tom, he suggested I organize a Woman’s Conference. My immediate response was ‘no, I am already too busy!’. However, the Holy Spirit had already planted a seed in my heart with a yearning to share with other women the beauty of our vocation as woman. And so it began – the first Catholic Women’s Conference was held in 2001. Anbd it has continued each year. Thanks to a Steering Committee of 14 women; the Committee meets throughout the year planning this annual event reaching to all women.

There is a great need for a Catholic Woman’s Conference:
–To renew families and society by enriching women’s relationship with God, fostering appreciation for the personal dignity of women and inspiring women to use their feminine gifts for the good of all.
–To educate on the very nature and dignity of woman.
–The dignity, role and sometimes the rights of womanhood has been diminished in many ways.
–There is an increased number of single mothers, higher rate of divorce even among Catholics.
–An increasing fear among many due to economical stress, war, the confusion and turmoil among some youth.
–Lack of proper stewardship of time to spend for oneself (for prayer, for meditation, for spiritual growth, for physical exercise, for a healthy balance)!

Seems that I am presenting a bleak picture…but it is a cause for us to face reality to grow in faith and in hope.
The Good News is that God never changes and He is always present in all situations. God’s Mercy is available…but how many know it is available if only they ask?
God’s forgiveness is available…but how many know how to receive it?
God’s presence is apparent…but how many have been introduced to an experience with God…with His peace…to Jesus?

The Catholic Women’s Conference (CWC) is an opportunity to invite women to learn, to be healed, to be encouraged and to be given spiritual tools.

The CWC is like a “spiritual haven” or perhaps for some a “spiritual hospital”…a time to remove all the junk, heartaches from our lives (at least a beginning process) and to be touched by the Divine Healer, Jesus our Lord.

And for those who serve as volunteers, as “CWC partners” during the Conference, it can be a time of fraternal charity and service to the hundred of women who will come with open hearts, in search for a deeper faith and hope to live on!

If one woman is led to Christ and renewed in her faith and hope in the Truth, she then affects many – her family, friends, co-workers, the community!

I invite you to make an effort to attend the Catholic Women’s Conference on September 11-12, 2009 at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, I can assure you will receive many blessings when you come with an open heart.

For details call us at 210-521-3377.

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The Pilgrimage Continues

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by Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox

The 34 pilgrims returned home filled with immense joy, peace, contentment and inspiration. They expressed how difficult they think it will be to share what they experienced as they traveled through the Holy Land. So now, we both have a few extra days in Jerusalem to renew relationships, to film the mysteries of the Rosary, to record brief reflections at some Holy sites and to meet with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
We are staying at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem; the Vatican’s hotel. It is located across the street from the ancient city of Jerusalem and offers a warm Middle-Eastern Christian hospitality. Built in limestone, like all buildings in Jerusalem, there is a large statue of Our Lady holding the infant Jesus on the top of the building along with the Vatican flag. Upon entering the lobby, a large painting of Pope Benedict XVI can be seen on the wall as well as a large painting of the image of Divine Mercy. The 2nd floor has a very simple and yet beautiful large chapel called “Queen of Peace”. To the left of the sanctuary is an olive carved crucifix that is around 10 feet high. The main sanctuary has a stone altar and a large statue of Mary holding infant Jesus, his arms extended open as if He is welcoming you to His home. To the right is the Tabernacle, donated by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the Holy Land in May 2009. The employees are Palestinian Christian and most speak at least 3-5 languages. This place is really a great place for pilgrims! Our pilgrim groups really enjoy staying in this Pilgrim hotel. It is managed by the Legionaries of Christ. We both consider it to be our home in Jerusalem.

Spiritual Pilgrimage Day 13: Depart Jerusalem

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August 6 – DEPART JERUSALEM – Although the pilgrims return to their homes, their pilgrimage continues…it never ends. It is the same with each one of us; our journey in life is a pilgrimage to the House of the Father. Our destination is the Heavenly Jerusalem.

Prayer: We pray, Lord, stay with us. Mary, pray for us to remain faithful. St. Joseph, be our guardian in the faith and protect our families! Our Father…..Hail Mary…..Glory Be to the Father……

Spiritual Pilgrimage Day 12: Emmaus

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August 5 – EMMAUS – This morning we visit Emmaus. The ancient Roman road the two disciples and the Lord used as they walked is still there…one can walk this same road and contemplate our faith in the Lord. Mass today is in the Church of Emmaus where our Lord broke bread with the two disciples…and “their eyes were opened!” Then we will visit a small village of Ein Karem, where the birthplace of St. John is located. It is here where the Virgin Mary visited Elizabeth, her cousin. Elizabeth’s baby leapt in her womb, that baby was John the Baptist.

Prayer: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life! Bestow upon us a desire to have your Word burn in our hearts and in our minds. Open our eyes, Lord, that we may see you in every Eucharistic celebration. Come, Holy Spirit, renew our faith and help us in our daily walk with Jesus!

Spiritual Pilgrimage Day 11: Jerusalem

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August 4 – JERUSALEM – Today, we spend the entire day on the Mt. of Olives. Beginning at the top where our Lord ascended, walking down to Dominus Flevit where He wept over Jerusalem, ending in the Garden of Gethsemani, spending time with Jesus in silent prayer, praying for God’s will in our lives. Mass today will be in the Basilica of Agony, the site where the rock upon which our Lord spent his Hour of Agony is located.

Prayer: How many times Lord do we cry out: “What is life about? Or, in which direction shall I go?” Lord, by your example of praying for the Father’s will, give us the courage and patience to persevere in our pilgrimage of life. We ask forgiveness for the many times we have failed to reconcile with others or have failed to love!

Spiritual Pilgrimage Day 10: Jerusalem (Ancient City)

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August 3 – JERUSALEM (Ancient City) – Early in the morning, the pilgrim group will walk the Via Dolorosa, carrying a large wooden cross, ending with Mass in the Tomb of Christ located in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. After breakfast and a rest, the group will spend time at an area called St. Peter Gallicantu where Jesus spent Holy Thursday evening in prison, awaiting the trial of Good Friday.

This afternoon a panel of three women representing the three faiths of the Holy Land will speak to the group. An Israeli Jew, a Palestinian Catholic, and a Palestinian Muslim will speak on their experience living in this land that is appreciated by all three monotheistic faiths.

Prayer: Lord of Life, we are Easter Christians and Alleluia is our song! May the light of your Resurrection shine through us! He is truly risen! Alleluia!

Spiritual Pilgrimage Day 9: Jerusalem

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August 2 – JERUSALEM (Ancient City) – The morning will be spent visiting the Chapel of Flagellation and the Palace of Pontius Pilate, today called the Lithrostos (stone pavement). It is here where our Lord was scourged by the Roman soldiers. Today, a Chapel is built over this area and the group will have Mass at this holy site. Nearby is the Church of St. Ann, built over the Birthplace of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In the afternoon, the pilgrims will visit the sites of the Upper Room where Pentecost occurred and Dormition Abbey (a beautiful Benedictine church to commemorate Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption); then, a visit at the Western Wall, near the area where the Temple once stood.

Prayer: Jesus, you came to tell us of the Father’s love, have mercy on us! We pray for all the spiritual renewal of all our families and for the sanctity of life. Thank you for the gift of salvatio;, we pray that many will experience a desire to know you and love you.

Spiritual Pilgrimage Day 8: Bethlehem

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August 1 – BETHLEHEM – The day will begin with Mass at Shepherd’s Field near the birthplace of our Lord. It is here where the angel appeared to the shepherds and announced the news that a “..a Savior was has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” (Luke 2:11).

The remainder of the morning will be meeting with Palestinian Catholic men and women who are the descendants of the ‘early Church’. Lunch will be at a locally owned Christian restaurant, serving delicious Middle Eastern cuisine! We proceed to visit a Carmelite Monastery in Bethlehem, burial site of Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified. Also called “Little Arab”; Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified was a Palestinian from Galilee who later became a Carmelite nun.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your ‘messengers’ – the angels announcing your birth to the shepherds and for men and women living heroic lives in faith, hope and charity. They are testimonies of your love and your presence among mankind. May they be given the strength and hope to continue to be messengers of hope and peace to all in the Holy Land.