Category Archives: Spirituality

liturgical treasures

Liturgical Treasures in the Month of June

Have you ever thought about the Liturgical Year – the calendar that the Church follows each year to celebrate feasts and saints and seasons? There are two main seasons of anticipation, Advent and Lent, and two seasons of celebration, Christmas and Easter. Then there are some intervening weeks called Ordinary Time. The Liturgical Year presents us, over and over, with the life of Christ, and invites us, through prayer and liturgy, to walk with him.

Now, as of June 2, 2019, we have just concluded the six-week-long celebration of Easter. What comes next is that curious “season” called Ordinary Time, but hidden in Ordinary Time, especially on the Sundays of June, are feasts of extraordinary beauty.

Hidden in Ordinary Time, especially on the Sundays of June, are feasts of extraordinary beauty. Click To Tweet

This year, June 9th is the great Solemnity of Pentecost. Pentecost means “the 50th day.” Sunday is the fiftieth day of the Easter celebration, and its conclusion. On Pentecost, we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, and the Spirit’s abiding presence with each of us in our own lives, just as Jesus promised. Perhaps we can find a few moments on this great feast to recall the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and to appreciate the ways in which the Spirit is active in our lives. The Spirit’s gifts are wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord.

Then, June 16th we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity or Trinity Sunday. This celebration focuses our attention on a core mystery of our faith; the three divine persons of the One God. We are baptized in the name of the Trinity. We profess our faith in the Trinity with every Sign of the Cross, with every proclamation of the Creed at Mass, with every recitation of “Glory be to the Father….” Most especially, at every Mass we proclaim our faith in the Trinity with our response to the doxology recited by the priest at the conclusion of each Eucharistic Prayer, “Through Him and with Him and in Him, O God Almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours forever and ever.” Amen!

On June 23rd we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Our hearts and minds are turned to another unfathomable mystery at the core of our faith, the Eucharist. The abiding presence of Christ with us, the Real Presence, and the incomprehensible gift which has been given to us in Christ. In the readings for this day, we hear St. Paul telling the Corinthians, and us: “As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (1Cor.11:26). On this great solemnity, perhaps we can find the time to consider what the Eucharist means to us, and how we are different or should be because we are a Eucharistic people.

There are two other great liturgical treasures at the end of June, on June 28th, the Feast of the Sacred Heart and on June 29th the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. The first calls us to rely on the great love of Jesus for us, and the second calls us to rely on the foundations of our faith.

After these great celebrations of June, the Liturgical Calendar continues on for the next few months with Ordinary Time, concluding with the Feast of Christ the King in November. Then it will be Advent again, and we prepare once more to walk with Jesus through his life’s journey and ours.

~ Sister Elissa Rinere, CP

how do we talk to one another

How Do We Talk to One Another

We can’t let difference come between us. Our country has never been more divided – even within our own families. How do we get past the fear of people who are different? How do we talk about the issues that separate us?

Embracing the Other: Let’s Talk about Difference and Connection

Sunday, October 28, 2018, 2:30-5:30 PM
Our Lady of Calvary Retreat Center
#1 Colton Street, Farmington CT 06032

You’ll get inspiration:
First, these faith leaders will lead a fascinating conversation on Embracing the Other”

Embracing the Other: Let's Talk about Difference and Connection

Deacon Art Miller
St. Mary’s Church, Simsbury

Rabbi Debra Cantor
B’nai Tikvoh Shalom, Bloomfield

Imam Safwan Shaikh
Imam and Youth Minister at the Farmington Valley American Muslim Center

You’ll get training:
Then everyone will join in a workshop on “Contemplative Dialogue” –
proven techniques to discuss differences without anger, acrimony or intimidation.

Limited seating: Call (860) 677-8519 or register online at Embracing the Other: Let’s talk about Difference and Connection

The Many Meanings of Peace

As summer begins and our retreat season draws to a close, here is a look back at our retreat theme this year, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace, through our keynote video.

We hope you enjoy this reflection on The Many Meanings of Peace. This video was shared with our retreatants at the opening of our women's retreats during the 2017-2018 retreat season.

We would love to hear how you have worked for and been instruments of the peace of Christ in your families and communities this year. Remember the mustard seed! Every small act of kindness, inclusivity, and justice is a seed of the Reign of God, a seed whose growth can never be eradicated! So remember, be that pernicious weed!

Please keep our retreat team in your prayers as we discern the retreat them for 2018-2019.

happy holidays

Happy Holidays?

Every December the angry debate rages again. Should we wish others a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? Popular rhetoric sets this issue up as a battle between Religious Freedom vs. Political Correctness and claims that Christmas is under attack. Why is this such a hot-button issue?  Have we thought it through? If you are trying to figure this out, here are some ideas to consider.

It’s important to note that the word holiday is derived from holy day. The Oxford dictionary says the word holiday comes from the Old English hāligdæg. So, when you say Happy Holidays you are really wishing the other person happy holy days.

In the posts I have seen about “the war on Christmas,” the writer’s attitude is pretty much, “too bad if we give offense, wishing others a Merry Christmas is an American tradition and our right – part of our freedom of religion.” Actually, for more than one hundred years of American history, Christmas was not celebrated, so it’s a bit of a stretch to claim that saying Merry Christmas is an old American tradition. The best American tradition, based on our nation’s founding documents is to protect and honor the religious beliefs of all our citizens. The issue is not about our right to express our own beliefs, but our deeper Christian obligation to be sensitive and loving to all our brothers and sisters of every faith.

With this in mind let’s think about when we should say Merry Christmas and when should we say Happy Holidays.

Obviously, it is perfectly appropriate to wish someone we know is Christian a Merry Christmas. I am sure that most of us wish our Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah. But . . . what if we know that the person we are speaking to is not Christian, or we don’t know what, if any, religious tradition they are part of.  Should we say Merry Christmas? In these cases, wouldn’t it be more sensitive and more loving to wish them Happy Holy Days, by saying Happy Holidays?

This year at Our Lady of Calvary we are reflecting on peacemaking. We are praying,

Lord make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred let me sow love.”

This Christmas let’s try not to get caught up in belligerent debates over words. Instead, let’s try to be bearers of the peace Christmas promises.

Sister Mary Ann Strain, CP