Monthly Archives: May 2018

The Mystery & Majesty of the Holy Trinity Is Calling You

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Blog Holy Trinity

From the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity

Even though the Holy Trinity is a mystery beyond our understanding, it is the means God has chosen to unite himself to those who chose to believe what he has revealed to us through the Scriptures and the Church. We do not have to understand in order to believe, as a matter-of-fact, the opposite is true. Much of what God has revealed to us is mysterious, and yet these mysteries touch our lives in such a profound way that it is possible for us to live in a supernatural relationship with Almighty God.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans he reminds them that if they are children of God, they are also heirs with Christ, “…if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” Rms 8:17 Being a child of God does not make us immune to suffering. However, when we unite our suffering with Christ he gives us the grace we need to persevere and even at times to experience joy during our trials.

At Baptism

We have been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Our purpose for being on this earth is to bring to completion the good work that was begun in us at our baptism. God has a great plan for humanity that can only be realized in relationship with him. It is for this reason he has given us the Church and the sacraments. We must remember that in our humanity we inherited a fallen nature and often we are tempted to want to live for ourselves at the expense of others. God has made it possible for us to overcome these temptations that lead to sadness and even hopelessness. He desires to pour his grace into the hearts of those who believe in him. We need God; he created us to be in relationship with him. For this reason Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Apart from me you can do nothing.

The only way we can discover God’s plan for us that will allow us to reach our potential for happiness and peace in this life is by being connected to Our Lord through fervent prayer, faithfulness to what he has revealed to us through the Church and the Scriptures and living the sacramental life.

Be Disciples

In the last paragraph of the last chapter of the Gospel of Matthew it states, “When they (the Apostles) all saw him (Jesus) they worshiped but they doubted.” What was it they doubted? I believe they doubted in themselves to continue the mission of Jesus once he left them. However, Jesus didn’t doubt in them. He said, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you until the end of the age.”

The doubt that the Apostles had about themselves was removed at Pentecost when they received the Holy Spirit. What Jesus expected the Apostles to do did not so much depend upon them, but on their cooperation with the Holy Spirit.

And so it is with us. When we are confronted with challenges and trials we may be tempted to doubt our ability to preserver, but when we turn to the Lord and ask for the help of the Holy Spirit we can be confident he will give us the grace we need, even if it is for one moment at a time. He may not give us everything we want, but he will give us what we need. That is his promise.

Be Transformed In the Eucharist

It would be good for us to make note of the promises that God has given us in the Scripture. One of those promises is a mystery of our faith. Through the prayers and actions of a priest, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ himself changes the bread and wine into his own Body and Blood during the Holy Mass. He loves us so much that he gives himself, body, blood soul and divinity to those who believe in him and are properly disposed. It is no casual thing that we receive this true and real presence of Jesus into our body and soul. Jesus wants us to cooperate with his presence and be transformed so that we can be his faithful disciples and experience the peace, joy and happiness reserved for those who remain close to him.

Share Your Belief

Faith is a gift from God, but believing is a choice. If we truly believe, we will live our faith and share it with others. That is the basic message of the Gospel and our purpose for being on this earth.

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What Does Judas Iscariot Teach Us About Hope?

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Juda isolated

We All Can Be Redeemed, Never Lose Hope

During a homily, a priest reflected on Jesus and his relationship with his Apostles. Father asked us why we think Jesus called Judas friend even as Judas was betraying him with a kiss? (Matthew 26:50) He answered that it is because Jesus, who is God, never changes.  Jesus was a friend to Judas and Father said nothing Judas or we do changes who Jesus is to us.

At first, Father’s words brought great consolation but as I reflected on it deeper, it became a conviction. I pondered, ‘So Jesus is my friend no matter what, which is wonderful, but it says nothing about who I am to Him. I may receive many blessings from God, but that does not assure my holiness. I receive blessings because God is good, not because I am.’  This reality frightened me!

What are we to do when we face the reality of who we are?

Judas chose to turn from Jesus and into isolation leaving him wide open for despair to hunt him down.

What do you think would have happened, if instead, he joined his brother Apostles?

GOD

He would have found all but one, trembling together in fear, far away from their Lord and feeling as guilty as him. In Peter, he would have seen the eyes of the denier of Jesus looking back. Judas would have discovered he is not alone, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) as, St. Paul, another great sinner turned saint would soon discover.

And . . . like his brother Apostles, would have encountered the Resurrected Jesus and witnessed the extremes that Mercy wills to go to forgive and redeem.

No Matter What, Turn To Jesus Our Forever Friend

Judas teaches me what not to do! In Judas we see how hope dies when we turn from God and others, and this isolation makes us vulnerable to despair.

In Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis teaches us about the joy of living as a missionary disciple. To be a missionary disciple means we do not need to be perfect to begin anew, nor do we have to ‘know everything’ about our faith before we share it. Our faith calls us to be missionary disciples; women and men who ‘go out’ to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, as we personally allow him to draw us and to perfect us in holiness.  A missionary disciple is one who seeks to be a friend of Jesus by turning to Him always and sharing His friendship with others.

At Pilgrim Center of Hope, we have taken this message to the heart of our ministry. We believe that the best way to live this joy of the missionary disciple is through the message of hope; to be a Missionary of Hope.

So many people have lost hope and struggle to find it, or even doubt it exists.  So many people have left themselves vulnerable to despair, like Judas, by turning from God.

Pilgrim Center of Hope is responding to the urgent need for hope that we are seeing today, by providing a variety of events, pilgrimages and evangelization outreach opportunities to encounter our friend, Jesus Christ, and to share His love for us to all.

We are in the final phase of building a New Evangelization Center that will provide even more opportunities for people to encounter Christ through multimedia, interactive, educational, and personal experiences.

We invite you to join with us and spread hope!  We are staff, prayer intercessors, benefactors and volunteers; a pilgrim people journeying arm-in-arm who, “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer!” (Romans 12:12)

Mary – She Is Your Mother Too!

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During May, which is the month of Mary, it is important to remind everyone that she is mother to us all and that we need to go to her. We are blessed to have several ways to acknowledge, celebrate, and honor the Mother of God.

Experience A Marian Pilgrimage

As a pilgrimage group leader, Mary Jane Fox, Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope, has had the opportunity to lead pilgrimages to two destinations where Mary has appeared. They are Fatima in Portugal and Lourdes in France, considered to be the two most popular in the world. By spending time in these two places here is what Mary Jane experienced:

I encountered the Mother of God through prayer, by reading about her message to the world through the children, walking with others from all over the world in the evening Rosary processions, and experiencing a deep sense of peace and purpose.

Visiting Our Lady at Fatima

Fatima is located around 70 miles north of Lisbon. Today it is a large town built around the sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary, which is the title given to Mary in Fatima. Mary appeared to three shepherd children from May 1917 to October 1917.

Our Lady of Fatima told the three children in one of her apparitions: “Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world. And after each decade say the following prayer:

Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.

The sanctuary covers a large area including:

  • The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary – the tombs of the three visionaries, Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta are located here.
  • The Chapel of Apparitions – built over the area where Our Lady appeared in 1917 from March through October.
  • The Shrine of the Holy Trinity – the recently built church is the largest in Portugal and possibly the fourth largest in the world.
  • The Angel of Peace Chapel – Eucharistic Adoration is offered here.
  • Religious store – books about Fatima (in various languages), rosaries and other sacramentals are available.
  • Candle area – where candles are brought by all the pilgrims and visitors.

While at the Chapel of Apparitions, here is what Mary Jane experienced:

I remember kneeling where today, a beautiful statue of Our Lady stands. A deep sense of peace came over me while at the same time, feeling like her child, imploring her maternal attention. Also, as I knelt at the tombs of the children who saw her – Jacinta and Francisco – who died at a very young age, there was an urgent sense of asking their prayers for those who need conversion. As our pilgrim group drove away on our last day in Fatima, I waved toward the Chapel of Apparitions, waving as a child to a mother, knowing and trusting her love remains with me.

Go To Her In Prayer

She is YOUR mother too! Go to Mary! Say, “Hail Mary, Mother of God take me into your arms, may your Immaculate heart, grant me your maternal guidance. Pray for me!”

Want to learn more about Mary, about Fatima? Pilgrim Center of Hope offers pilgrimages to various Marian Shrines, as well as mini-Marian conferences called Evenings With Mary brought to groups, organizations and parishes.

Do You Believe In Hope?

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HopeThe answer to that question is going to be prompted by the things you do repeatedly, because those things determine your character, destiny, and your outlook or perspective on life.

Before you can believe in something, you have to know what it is. So, let’s take a look at hope in terms of what the Church says it is.

“Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1817)

Pope Francis – About Hope

In his Catechesis on Hope, actually a series of General Audiences, Pope Francis offers a wonderful explanation on hope. As he reflects on Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians, he writes:

Paul, before the fears and perplexity of the community, urges it to wear firmly on the head like a helmet, “the hope of salvation”, especially in the trials and most difficult times of our life. It is a helmet. This is what Christian hope is.

When we speak about hope we can be led to interpret it according to the common meaning of the term, that is, in reference to something beautiful that we desire, but which may or may not be attained. We hope it will happen; it is as a desire. People say, for example: “I hope there will be good weather tomorrow!”; but we know that there might be bad weather the following day…. Christian hope is not like this. Christian hope is the expectation of something that has already been fulfilled; the door is there, and I hope to reach the door.

What do I have to do? Walk toward the door! I am certain that I will reach the door. This is how Christian hope is: having the certainty that I am walking toward something that is, not something that I hope may be.

…Our resurrection too, and that of our departed loved ones, therefore, is not something that may or may not happen, but is a certain reality, because it is rooted in the event of Christ’s Resurrection. Thus, to hope means to learn how to live in expectation. Learn how to live in expectation and find life.
(Catechesis on Hope; The helmet of hope, 1 Thes. 5: 4-11)

Hope Brings Blessings To You And Those Around You

Recently we interviewed a woman who had been on an international pilgrimage with Pilgrim Center of Hope. She not only believes in hope, but she also received special blessings as a result of that hope.

Terri Espinoza – Holy Land Pilgrimage
Hope and the sense of God’s love is what Terri Espinoza experienced while visiting all the holy sites where Jesus Christ actually walked and lived. Holding back tears, Terri said, “How grateful to have a merciful Jesus, who through his suffering, gives us everlasting life, and to think that because of his death, there will be a reunion with our loved ones we have already sent off to heaven.

Terri went on to say, “He lives in our daily lives, if we just open our lives to him, and make him part of our daily lives. He is there waiting. When we do (let Him in) we have less anxiety and life is more peaceful”.

Our Mission

Those that live lives of deep faith, hope and trust in God’s mercy, know and believe that if we remain in Him, whatever we ask of Him, He shall grant. (cf.  John 15: 1-8)

Whether you are in search of hope or wish to deepen your relationship with Jesus Christ, Pilgrim Center of Hope is here for you. Our mission: Answering Christ’s call, we guide people to encounter Him as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.

Please explore our website to learn about the various ways this ministry can serve you and especially those you know who may be in need of hope.

Hope Makes All the Difference

Imagine being an abused wife, being widowed after a tragedy, and losing your only two sons to illness. That’s exactly what happened to St. Rita of Cascia. Yet in spite of and in the midst of all these trials, Rita managed to maintain hope and trust in God’s mercy. Throughout her life St. Rita prayed regularly and developed a strong relationship with Jesus Christ. Today she is recognized as the patron of lost and impossible causes.

You are invited to share in a Day & Evening of Hope, happening on May 10th at Pilgrim Center of Hope. Spiritual activities include morning Mass, St. Rita of Cascia; her story & relic presentation, plus a presentation on hope (click on the link above for the full schedule).