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The Election of a New Government and a Surprise Visit

Father Scottston Brentwood - Saturday, June 06, 2015

The following is a continuation of the highlights of the Provincial Chapter in Nemi, Italy. The Chapter began May 30 and concludes June 6th.

 

DAY 4:

 

COMMUNICATION OF 2 JUNE 2015

This day began with Mass in honor of our Holy Father Peter Nolasco, in this year especially dedicated to him on our journey towards the Jubilee of 2018.

 

The particular prayer intention was for the Mercedarian Superiors and the whole Mercedarian Family. At 9.15 am we began the session by continuing the reading of the reports. It was time for India, and the report was read by the community Edacochin. Then followed Elantikara and Cuddapah.

 

After the questions, there was a pause, and we returned at 11 am.

Information was presented regarding the communities of Munnar, Patlur, and Eraviputhenthurai. Then came some information about the vocational-formative work in the Mission of India.

 

Before lunch, there was an unplanned event: there was the singing of the National Anthem of Italy, given today, as it is the feast of the anniversary of the Republic of Italy.

 

In the afternoon we entered into the programming phase, for which, after the methodology of the work was given, we were divided into 4 groups formed by 8-9 Religious composed of those from Italy, USA, and India.

 

It was a good way to experience the diverse sensibilities and perceptions, and to understand the various languages, cultures, ages, etc. that can be gained from the lessons and examples that help to increase communion in the Roman Province.

 

At the end of the work by the work groups, we returned to the Assembly where the various secretaries of the groups gave a synthesis of what was said in their respective groups regarding the first area, the fraternal life of the community.

 

The path that was traced that will help us follow a journey which will bring us closer to the goal that we ourselves will travel for the next triennium: The first witness is that the Religious offer to the world is their own consecration, lived in fraternity in the local and provincial community.

 

DAY 5:

 

COMMUNICATION OF 3 JUNE 2015


At 7:30 am, the day began with the Liturgy of the Hours (the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer) and the communitarian prayers.

 

Afterwards, we returned to the Assembly for the reading of the Verbale and the vote on the group work in the area of Religious Life.

 

A very touching moment of this day was the visit of the Archbishop of Erbil (in Iraq), Mashar Warda, who was present in Rome for a few obligations and accepted the invitation to visit the Chapter Assembly.

 

In the presence of all the Capitulars, Archbishop Warda gave information that very clearly “provoked” us: the Christians of Iraq are fleeing because of the continual persecution. In 2003, there were nearly 1.2 million Christians in Iraq, now in 2014, it was reduced to 300,000: in ten years they were reduced by 25% of what they were before, and the persecution continues.

 

There is a real sale of Christian slaves, especially women and children, that they take to sell in markets.

We then returned in time to that which regards the Islamic violence confronting the Christians that do not have many possibilities to flee: either they convert to Islam, or they pay a tax, or they leave. Many times, however, they are killed.

 

For us Mercedarians the Archbishop asked of us:

- Prayer above all else

- To spread information to others about this theme

- Economic support

- To support the social-educative services, and bring them forward.

 

The Diocese of Erbil is, in fact, welcoming thousands of families fleeing persecution.

 

The Roman Province has “twinned” itself with the Diocese of Erbil, and now, has remembered it in prayer and in the donation of several thousand Euro.

 

We continued our group-work for programming the next three years, and the evening ended with Mass and the recitation of Vespers in honor of St. Charles Lwanga and Company, martyrs, while the intention of the prayer was for the dead, especially those of the last triennium.

 

DAY 6

 

COMMUNICATION OF 4 JUNE 2015

The day began with the Holy Mass and Morning Prayer celebrated according to the ordinary intention: for vocations and their formation.

 

The first gathering of the assembly was dedicated to the vote of the program, prepared by the Commission and then discussed in some cases, which was worked on in the four work groups.

 

As the vote was rather quick, we divided into geographic groups (one for India, one for the USA, and two for Italy) to integrate, if it was needed, the various areas of the program with initiatives and instruments of a more “local” flavor.

 

These initiatives were then presented in the Assembly and approved.

The election phase began in the afternoon with all of the Superiors giving their envelopes containing the verbale and the ballots with the votes for the new Provincial Government.

 

These ballots were opened by the scrutinizers, who counted the votes, and after the formal verification of the correct number, we proceeded to the scrutiny of the vote, at the end of which, Fr. General announced the candidates for Provincial and the Provincial Council.

After a break, we returned to the Chapel for a penitential service with the exposition of the Eucharist. Fr. Giovannino Tolu gave the Capitular Fathers a reflection on three biblical themes: the Transfiguration, the perfume of Mary that she used to anoint the feet of Jesus, and the raised hands of Moses.


The cry of joy of Peter in the Transfiguration is our cry: it is good that we are here! We want to tell the world that we do not know any other joy than to share the tent where Jesus dwells, brighter than the sun.


Mary at Bethany loves without calculating and evaluation. For many, the Consecrated Life is a waste and Religious are wasting this life. However, we choose to waste it only for Jesus, and for the captives. Only with charity to the captives, the oppressed, the imprisoned, and the least of society can we feel the fragrance of God’s love.


Moses on mountain was supported in a way that kept his hands raised.

It is a mystery, the strength of raised hands.

Who prays is like one who has hands on the wheel of history.

Without prayer you go off the road, you do not get to where you want to go.

 

DAY 7:

 

COMMUNICATION OF 5 JUNE 2015

With the Holy Mass of the Holy Spirit, presided over by the Master General Pablo Ordone, we opened the day dedicated to the election of the new Provincial Government.

 

The General, in his reflective homily, spoke of the Holy Spirit as a door to peace in the hearts of the community to help facilitate dialogue. A real dialogue, without closures and fictions that makes us consider ourselves all-important within this Mercedarian community that God has dreamed up for redemptive mission.

 

The Spirit helps us in our discernment to lead us into a profound and existential friendship with Him; a friendship crossed by the Love of loves, able to say it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

 

The Holy Spirit opens us to the frontier mission, invited to go outside of ourselves, of our presence, of that which “was always this way.”

 

At 9:30 am, the Chapter Assembly, after fulfilling the rites, proceeded to elect our Fr. Provincial: the result was that Fr. Francesco Podda was reelected, and he accepted the grave obligation.

He then took the oath and gave the profession of faith.

 

After a break given by the President of the Assembly, we began the vote for the election of the Provincial Councilors.

 

These were elected:

- Eugenio Caramia - Samuele Salis - Stefano Defraia - Efisio Schirru

 

These, after the election, took the oath.

 

The Religious shared fraternal greetings of peace and well wishes with those elected.

XXXII Provincial Chapter of the Roman Province 

 

General Government Website

 

 

XXXII Provincial Chapter of the Roman Province

Father Scottston Brentwood - Tuesday, June 02, 2015

 

The Provincial Chapter occurs every 3 years. Superiors and those chosen as representatives “examine the state of the province and to foster its progress in all aspects…” It is also a time to “verify common work and seek together the signs of the will of God, with a great sense of responsibility in regard to the community that they represent (CO 242).” To keep all of our 3rd Order, friends and benefactors informed, we offer this short summary of the proceedings:


DAY 1

On 30 May 2015 at 9am, with the Holy Mass in honor of our Most Holy Mother, we began the 32nd Chapter of the Roman Province that includes 13 Italian communities, 6 from the USA, and 6 from India.

Present were all 38 Capitular Fathers; Fr. General spoke of Mary as a model of our Consecrated Life, and Inspirer of every Mercedarian work.

At 10:30 am, the Capitular Asslembly opened with the prayers prescribed by the Ritual, and the greeting of Fr. General which, making reference to the teachings of the Holy Father Francis, invited all to fall in love with the Mother of Mercy, keeping in our hearts attention to the peripheries of freedom.

Then, the Chapter passed to concrete aspects:

 

- Fr. General nominated Fr's. Nunzio Masiello and Matthew Phelan as moderators

 

- He then nominated Fr's. Aristotle Franco Wellesly and Sergio Girau as Scrutinizers

 

- The Assembly voted for the election of the Secretary of the Chapter: Fr. Stefano Defraia was elected, and Fr's. Eugenio Caramia and Francesco Podda will assist him in his work

 

- The Liturgical Commission - for the animation of the celebrations will be composed of Fr's. Pasquale Agostino, David Spencer, and Martin Naduvilezuthaikal

 

- The Commission in charge of Communications was formed with Fr's. Sundar Raj Madalaimuthu, Scottston Brentwood, and Efisio Schirru

 

- The responsibility of the "Convocator" at various points was given to Fr. Justin Freeman

 

In the afternoon, at 4 pm, Fr. Sandro Barlone proposed to the Assembly a reflection on the Chapter as a time of dicernment, leaving some points for personal prayer and meditation.

 

At 6 pm, the Assembly held a session of listening and dialogue.

At the conclusion of the day, all prayed Vespers together, and celebrated the Saturday Mercedarian Devotions.


DAY 2


Today, in the Universal Church we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, which overrides the Feast of the Visitation, the titular feast of the Roman Province, which, however, we still wanted to remember.

At 7:30 am, we all returned to the renovated chapel for the celebration of the Office of Readings and Morning Prayers.

 

Special booklets were prepared for the liturgy with the texts in both Italian and English, as our Province embraces brothers of the two languages. This is why the liturgy was today, as well in the coming days, will have this diversity of languages, in a communion that goes beyond words and finds unity in prayer.

 

After the prayers, and a moment for breakfast, we returned in the Capitular Hall for the second session which began the Informative Phase.

The first to speak was Fr. Francesco Podda who, as Provincial, presented the report on the state of the Province and of the triennium which just ended.

We were given some information: as of 30 May 2015, the provincial community was composed of 110 in Solemn Vows, of which 96 are priests, 4 are non-clerical brothers, and 10 are Solemnly Professed and on their way to becoming priests, 6 of which are already ordained Deacons. The Religious are distributed among 25 communities, of which 13 are in Italy, 6 in the USA, and 6 in India.

 

At the moment, there are 18 Simply Professed in the Province, of which 2 are in the USA, and 16 in India.

There are no Novices, however, there are 17 Postulants, of which 2 are in Italy, and 15 in India.

 

Next followed the reports of the Vicar of the USA, Fr. Kenneth Breen, and of the Delegate of India, Fr. Vincenzo Pennella, who gave information on the actual situation in the USA and in the Mission of the India.

 

In the afternoon, it was possible to ask the three speakers questions, and then, as time permitted, we began to hear the reports of the local communities. We began with Alghero, followed by Cagliari.

 

At 7 pm, the Holy Mass and Vespers were celebrated.


DAY 3

The intention of the prayer today is for the oppressed and persecuted, while the liturgy reminds us of St. Justin Martyr: a beautiful event since two of the Capitular Fathers celebrate their name day. They are the Fr’s. Justin Freeman of the USA and Justin Alex of India.

 

After the celebration of the Office of Readings, Morning Prayers, the community prayers and breakfast, at 9:15 am, we had the session of the Chapter which took up with the reading of the reports of individual houses for those related to Italy. We began with Carpignano, followed by Florence, Naples, Nemi, Orvieto, and Padova.

There were some relative questions to be answered and clarified, then there was a break.

 

At 11 am, we continued with the other reports: Palermo, S. Maria della Mercede - Rome, and the Studentato (St. Peter Nolasco).

In the afternoon we took up the reading of the reports of San Cataldo, San Vito dei Normanni, and with these, we concluded the part related to Italy.

Afterwards we followed with information from the Vicariate of the USA: beginning with Mt. Carmel in Cleveland, and followed by St. Rocco (also in Cleveland) and Our Lady of Lourdes in Philadelphia.

 

After a break, we continued with reports from the Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy in Philadelphia, Le Roy, the Nolasco House in St. Petersburg FL, and the report of the Formators in Italy. The one responsible for formation in the USA combined the data of this area to the report of the local community.

 

After dinner there was a time of celebration in honor of the Community and of the brothers who were celebrating their name day, and we spend some time in healthy leisure.

 


Living the Spirit of Redemption in Florida

Father Scottston Brentwood - Sunday, February 15, 2015

 

Fr Tony tell us again about your local community. Which friars live there? What is their apostolates?

Fr. James works full time at St. Jude Cathedral which is with-in walking distance from our Casa Nolasco. The rector of St Jude’s is Fr Joseph Waters. Together they take care of all the Sacramental life of the Parish and School with 350 students of so Fr James visits the kids from time to time. He also teaches Bible classes twice a week for adults. He is chaplain of the Knights of Columbus. Fr James does hospital and nursing homes visitation from time to time. All of it is done very much with a great Mercedarian spirit of much dedication and love for the least ones.... Fr. Scott works full time at another Parish, the Church of Sacred Heart in Pinellas Park. This parish is about 15 minutes from our Community. Likewise with the Pastor Fr. Anthony Coppola (another diocesan priest), Fr Scott takes great care of the people of God. Sacred Heart has about 2,000 families with many Latinos in the same vicinity. The sacramental life is very alive at this parish. Once a week, Fr Scott has a well-attended Bible class with about 60 people or so. By the same token being Canon Lawyer he helps out 3 Dioceses in some of their Canonical Cases: St.Pete, Orlando and Venice!Fr. Mike Perry is part time chaplain at Maria Manor which is a Roman Catholic nursing home and assistant living. He celebrates Mass and the Anointing of the Sick from time to time. Fr Mike is also part time chaplain at Bay Front Hospital and All Children Hospital (Friday to Sunday). He is also chaplain of the Ancient Order of Hibernian Brothers and Sisters. Fr. Oscar has a full-time job with the Latinos in St. Peter and the vicinity. He celebrates masses on the weekends at Holy Cross, St. Michael, Sacred Heart and St. Cecilia in Clearwater. Fr. Anthony helps out from time to time at St. Jude, Transfiguration, and Blessed Trinity.He celebrates the Italian Mass once a month at St. Jude.Fr Tony is also chaplain of the 4th degree of Knights of Columbus (a once a month prayer meeting at St. Jude). He also is involved in Marriage Encounter with 2 meetings every month. Lastly, Fr Tony is the Mercedarian Third Order moderator with one monthly meeting with Sue Tambasco (president).


What is the average day like at St Peter Nolasco Residence?

We do pray together twice a day at 7:00 am for 30 minutes, at 4:00 for another hour. The only meal we do share together is at 5:00 pm. During this time we talk about our day nicely with much sharing of information about our ministries. Once a month, we have a house meeting for about 90 minutes or so. Likewise once a month, we do have a short Day of

Recollection with Revision of Live from 2:30am to 5:00 PM. The rest of the day it is up to each friar use to use our free time accordingly: ministries, visitations, physical exercises, and rest, if so our body requires from time to time. We try to live as good brothers with “one mind and one heart (Rule of St Augustine)”, according to the spirit and charism of St. Peter Nolasco, our Founder and Model.


Fr Tony, tell us, what are some of the special events that have occurred for your local community this past year?

The great events every year are the ones dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy and St. Peter Nolasco...On these occasions, all of us Mercedarians have a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist at St. Jude cathedral with due permission of the Rector. Our third Order members, about 17 of them are there to support us during these days. We all attend Mass in Church and then we come together in our Community for a little get together with them and friends of the Community. We, of course, live to have pizza, from Govanni pizza place (pizza della nonna is very much liked) and wines and of course nice dessert! The get-together will last for a good of couple of hours with much love and friendship, according to the spirit of the Order, based upon fraternal love and much charity for one another.During these occasions other people will ask us to be members of our Third Order, which is becoming very active socially and otherwise. They are doing great things like visitations of some nearby Nursing Homes and alike....


As the local superior, how would you say your community lives out our Redemptive Spirit in St. Petersburg, FL?

I am just reading now the message of Papa Francesco to us Religious people: to wake up the world and go the outskirts of the cities (periphery) like here at St. Pete. I am personally trying to figure that out for us Mercedarians living here and now in central Florida what this means. That means that we are going to have to get busy in the near future and do more for the least ones of our society! Some how we have to figure that out in our Community. For instances, trying to get into the prison ministry once again, since we did it for years in the past at Maximum SecurityPrison System. Another way to do so according to the spirit of the Mercedarian spirit, visit for Masses on Sundays and bringing the Gospel message to the poor people at Pinellas Hope who have nothing for themselves, not even a place where they can rest at night time...The least ones should be on our list, in a very special way...Our working together with our Third Order, might be a great idea for more presence of us Mercedarians in the local community of St. Pete and vicinity...We hope and pray that will be our special way to free our brothers and sisters who happen to be in some kind ofpresent captivity...May St. Peter Nolasco be our guide and model in this work of Redemption of ours....Amen to that..........ciao,to you all

*____________________________________________________________________Sincerely

yours in Jesus and Our Lady of Mercy,Fr. Anthony M. Fortunato, O. de

M.*

 

http://cathedralalive.org/

http://pinellashope.org/

http://www.sacredheartpinellaspark.com/


Ordained to the Service of Christ

Father Scottston Brentwood - Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It was a cold rainy day in Western New York. Certainly, not a day to delight in, much less to travel. Despite these unfavorable conditions Mercedarian friars, sisters, and third order traveled for miles to witness one of our own ordained to the Transitional Diaconate. Br. Daniel Bowen, O. de M. had been preparing himself for many years to receive this most precious Sacrament.

 

That evening in the church of Our Lady of Mercy, our brother was called by the Church to be conformed to the service of Christ. After the Gospel, Deacon David stated "Let Br. Daniel Andrew Bowen, O. de M. who is to be ordained deacon please come forward." These simple words were the culmination of many years of formation. The Church was indeed calling Br. Daniel.

 

In a beautiful homily, Bishop Edward Grosz summed up to honor to be bestowed saying, "He will make himself a servant to all. As a minister of the altar he will proclaim the Gospel, prepare the sacrifice, and give the Lord's body and blood to the community of believers. It will also be his duty...to bring God's word to believer and unbeliever alike, to preside over public prayer, to baptize, to assist at marriages and bless them, to give viaticum to the dying, and to lead the rites of burial."

 

As the Mass continued, Br Daniel affirmed his own free decision to commit his life to the service of Christ. Then, in a profoundly symbolic gesture, the future deacon lay prostrate in front of  the bishop and the community of believers. Together as one, we united our voices in a litany evoking the intercession of all the Angels and Saints for our chosen brother. 

 

Invigorated with the approval of the Church and the intercession of the Heavenly Host, the candidate was called forth to receive the "indelible mark" upon his soul. Kneeling before at the foot of the sanctuary, the bishop laid his hands upon Br. Daniel's head. This simple gesture constituted the "matter" of the Sacrament. Then, standing, the bishop stretched out his hands over candidate using the ritual prayer of ordination. This prayer constituted the "form" of the Sacrament.

 

And just like that..the Church had a new deacon. Deacon Daniel was invested in the stole and dalmatic by Deacon David. Immediately, the newly ordained began his service by preparing the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

 

On a rainy cold day up north, the Holy Spirit warmed the hearts of us all. We have a new Deacon. Jesus tells us in Mt 20:28 that he, "...did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Every deacon is ordained to follow in Christ service.

 

Congratulations Deacon Daniel Bowen, O. de M. ! May the Lord be your strength and you serve his flock!

 

Diaconate USCCB

Wikipedia Deacon

Br Daniel's Solemn Vows



 

 

 

A Reflection on Fraternal Life in the Rule of St Augustine

Father Scottston Brentwood - Friday, September 05, 2014

The following is a homily based on the readings from the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. It delves into the wisdom of the Rule of St Augustine followed by the Order for almost 800 years.


Just a year ago, Pope Francis made a special announcement to the whole Church. This was that November 2014-November 2015 would be the Year of Consecrated Life. Unfortunately, many may not have known about this special announcement. Some may think that it is just for those who are religious priests, brothers, and sisters. However this way of radically imitating Jesus has an effect on the whole Church. How many of us have been blessed by the example of sisters, brothers, and religious priests? Their life teaches us about how to strive to live in community with a total desire to serve Christ.

 

Each one of these religious communities follows a rule of life, which gives guidance to their consecration and communal living. One of the most famous of these rules is the Rule of St Augustine. This tiny rule written in 400 AD is followed by thousands of religious. One of the more interesting passages is found in section 8:

 

“If you brother, for example, were suffering a bodily wound that he wanted to hide for fear of undergoing treatment, would it not be cruel of you to remain silent and a mercy on your part to make this known? How much greater then is your obligation to make his condition known lest he continue to suffer a more deadly wound of the soul.”

 

By these words St Augustine challenges communities, families, and friends to live true charity. We hear in the second reading that the greatest commandment is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” “Love does no evil to one’s neighbor.” We also could say that love allows no evil to befall a neighbor. How can we say we love our brother, if we allow them to remain with a serious wound which could otherwise be treatable? What if we say nothing as the wound becomes infected and threatens the person’s health or even life? To most of us we can see how obviously wrong it is to do such a thing.

 

It becomes less clear when we, like St Augustine, are speaking of a spiritual wound. When our loved one is caught up in a life of sin. In such cases, the normal response today is to say, “It is none of my business” or “I shouldn’t judge.” Yet, the spiritual wound is just as deadly, maybe worse, than a physical one. The physical wound effects the body while it doesn’t normally influence the person’s relationships. The spiritual wound, however, harms not only the person but their relationships. This is because the soul has such an intense effect on the whole person. The relationships to family and friends are often strained. The wounded person unconsciously turns away from those who support and love him or her the most.

 

Even more unfortunate is the damage caused to the person’s relationship to God their Father and Creator. Sin is a lack of love and necessarily has a profound effect on our relationship to God who is Love. Anyone who has a faith-life knows the importance of our relationship with the Lord. He is our shelter in the storm. He is our lighthouse through the darkness. God is not a distant figure who began the world only to “let it go”. No…the Lord holds all things in being, gives us our next breath, and lovingly walks with those who invite Him into their life. To lose our relationship with God is a deep loss which is experienced at every level of the person’s existence.

 

Let us not be mistaken. It is cruel to remain silent when family, friends, or even acquaintances are dying inside from a serious spiritual wound. In great love, we have a responsibility help them. Following the Gospel, we can do so with words and others assistance. Yet, the most

 powerful way remains prayer, sacrifice, and true signs of our affection for them.

 

We show them that they are still loved by us and, most importantly by, God. The door remains open for them to return to the Father’s House. They will receive the healing that they need to become whole again. Love is respectful, but it is also truthful. It never minimizes the wounds of others, but always seeks their healing. May we have the same love for our neighbor as Christ has for us.

 

Rule of St Augustine

Rejoice!! A letter to consecrated men and women.

Year of Consecrated Life


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