Goodbye Omaha, Buenas tardes Mexico

October 26, 2013 12:33 pm

Time passed so quickly! I arrived lat at night on October, 9 and now the new stage of this journey is about to begin. The flight is scheduled for 6:00. Which means I should leave before 4 o’clock. A two hours’ flight to Houston, TX, and there I’ll have to wait two hours and a half for the final part of the trip – to Mexico. From Omaha, with 400,000 inhabitants, I’ll be moving to Mexico City with population of 22,000,000. What’s interesting, as far as territory is concerned, Poland is similar to the state of New Mexico (USA), and Mexico, which is my destination, is 6 times as large as Poland.

It’s my third trip to Mexico – however, for the first time for such a long time. Until now my stays used to last about a week. I’ve heard some place is being prepared for me, but the emotions which encompany this journey are great, of course. Which is normal, I guess. All the more so, I hope to be supported with your prayers.

And I surround you with my prayer,

on the move

Fr. Jay / Padre Jota

Pope Paul VI Institute

October 24, 2013 10:38 am

– is the place where I mostly spend the days of this week. In a large portion on confessing and conversations. It turns out that not only the EP students need  a chaplain. So does the staff.

Thanks to my ministry I can also hear the hidden and so far unknown life of the Institute. Like for example the phone system equipped with loud speakers, through which different information is shared (the Mass in five minutes, lunch for all in a quarter of an hour or that it is time to say goodbye to our Maureen, who is retiring).

I also heard a short prayer flowing from te speaker. For all that is happening in the Institute, for staff, and for patients. A small reminder that we are not alone, that our work is a service and that God is lovingly watching over us – and it is Him that we serve.

Maybe we shouldn’t naively expect that we’ll be able to have the same sound system in our workplace or at home, but it is good to find something in the usual pace of the day which will remind me of the sense of my life and my work. It used to be the bells, tolling three times a day to encourage us to pray Angelus. But today in many mobile phones you’ll hear the alert reminding of Angelus, the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy or Rosary.

Whatever it is, it’s got its role – to tell me I’m a part of a larger project: God loves me infinitely and wants me to be with Him. In giving His love to the others.

With heartfelt prayer,

Fr. Jay

Halloween

October 23, 2013 8:42 pm

There are still two weeks to go and America does not think about anything else. We could see Halloween decorations many days ago. In all public places like shops and restaurants Halloween elements are exposed. When I ask people about it, they find it strange that I find it strange. It is their tradition!

I’m trying to remain unbiased.

I remember the performance of “Forefathers’ Eve” (“Dziady”) by Adam Mickiewicz in our high school. There was the Sorcier and the invoked and I also played a significant part.

For Americans Halloween is such a natural part of the year that it’s difficult to discuss. Of course they believe in the communion of saints and they know that it is the All Saint’s Day. But there is also the tradition of Halloween – the awful masks, skeletons, hideous decorations…

One man`s meat is another man`s poison, we say. They have their Halloween their Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving Day when you have to eat turkey… Perhaps we are irritated by import? The indiscriminate import of everything.

We sprinkle our heads with ash on Ash Wednesday. Americans put the cross on their foreheads with ash mingled with oil so that it is there for a long time. And you can see people with crosses on their foreheads at work and in the street.

Still from Omaha

Fr. Jay

John Paul

October 23, 2013 10:46 am

October 22nd is the day the Church remembers Blessed John Paul II, whom Pope Francis will soon (April 27, 2014) declare Saint. 

John+Paul. Tha Apostle of love and Evangelizer. For me, his most distinctive feature is respect for another human being, shown in his eyes, gesture and words. His whole personality expressed the conviction that “In reality, the name for that deep amazement at man’s worth and dignity is the Gospel, that is to say: the Good News. It is also called Christianity.”*

Fiancées, married couples and families owe him so much. Love and Responsibility, Man and Woman He Created Them, and Familiaris consortio – just to name the most famous titles  which were the point of departure for the Programs for the Development of Marital Relations. Does not “gentleness”, so much present in the Programs – this “pause” and taking a break before we let our despotic  “I” take the other person into its rule – stem out from the necessity to protect the dignity of the other?

He knew so much about family, because he was with them and for them. Also today – he is close to us, our cares, difficulties and struggles, ready to take them into his powerful and loving prayer of intercession.

M

*Redemptor Hominis

papiezwkajaku

JP2.2

JP2

say that more often to me

October 21, 2013 11:34 am

Our 10-year-old daughter stubbornly says “no” to my right and just request. It doesn’t help when I point to the generations of traditions of children listening to parents, or when I remind her of many parental “graces” granted on that day. Neither does the lifted brow, nor the list of consequences. It’s late, both parties are tired, we hit the wall – escalation is there. Two women of such different age, shouting out towards each other the sentences that hurt.

Later she cuddles up to me, all composed of worry and sense of guilt, and I tell her” “My beloved Daughter.” “Say that more often to me,” she answers. “Do I say that too rarely?” “Yes”.

And I wonder what a great Pedagogue He is. In our anger, shame, regret, sense of guilt and injustice tangled into each other – and in all our mission statements of “I’m never going to trust anyone” – He comes with the words: “My beloved Child”. He enters the trench we’re hiding in, the dark wardrobe of doubt and resentment, and He takes the grenade and the gun away from our hands, and wipes away the war paint of mistrust from our face. He disarms with His love. He encourages with His forgiveness. A gentle and patient Parent, who does not resonate the storm which takes us into possession. I would like to be able to act the same way. And I ask Him, please, say that more often to me, so that I was able to do the same.

Margaret

 

The grand epilogue

October 20, 2013 9:36 pm

This is always a great moment when an intensive week comes to an end – after we had study, exercises and lectures but also prayers and meetings. I heard so often from the participants that they found it an extraordinary meeting and place, that those people were so different. They represent so many countries, cultures and languages and yet we experienced such a deep unity.

When I heard each one presenting themselves, I heard about the life stories of all of them. Now I know many of them, many of them told me their stories and I am full of gratitude for everything that has happened.

Today is the mission Sunday. Let us pray for the missionaries. And today a new group of people are going to their homes, towns and circles – with a mission to proclaim the Good News about life and love. They are equipped with new tools and new knowledge. They will meet the married couples that need this meeting most. They will come again here in a few months’ time, in April, to report and to deepen their knowledge.

And I picture those stories they will bring with them, and the meetings, when the Good News will reach the homes that hoped for so long that their prayers would be heard.
Some time ago a student from the previous year wrote to me that five couples were celebrating the conception of their children, only because he’d made an effort to come here for the necessary knowledge. Joy has come to so many homes and will come to so many more. We just must rejoice!

We heard that the Holy Scripture was inspired by God and that the first man was created by God’s breath. When we read the Scripture, this life-giving breath is present there. We started every day with the Holy Mass, hearing God’s Word and eating the Eucharist. Now, strong with Him, we can carry the Spirit of Life to others.

With my prayers for them and for all of you

Fr. Jay

Catholic Bible Study – Seeking Truth

October 18, 2013 9:07 pm

I have used the opportunity to attend the Bible Study meeting. This is a local initiative of the Omaha diocese – so that as many people as possible can deepen their knowledge of the Holy Scripture in the Year of Faith.

Every week in the evening about 200 meet to analyse together another fragment of the Bible. The main lecturer is Sharon Doran, the wife of Stefan (a doctor-neurologist who records all he meetings of Catholic Bible Study and puts them in the internet for the users). They have 5 sons. Sharon has been struggling against cancer for over 10 years, she has had many operations. She is trained to be a teacher and Bible specialist.

After the introduction into the subject of conversion, delivered by the deacon, everyone goes to small rooms for group meetings (women only, men only or mixed groups), so as to report on the preparations for todays’ meeting, based on the materials. Today it is Acts, chapter 9 – the conversion of St. Paul. After an hourly meeting we come back to the main hall, where Sharon introduces us into the theology of this fragment with passion and skill.

I admire everything here. The hall full of people. In each group a leader who knows what it’s all about. And everything is organised by lay people. I am so happy to see the talents so well used and I remember all the Programmes recently run – there were so many talents used to serve others.

It’s so good to be in the Church, among the truth seekers. We seek truth about ourselves and our calling.

From Omaha

Fr. Jay

Huskers

October 16, 2013 1:33 pm

Dr Hilgers is known for being a fan of University of Nebraska-Lincoln fotball team – the famous Huskers. This time the lectures coincided with an important game. Therefore, it didn’t surprise anyone  when Dr Hilgers asked his wife to keep him updated about the match results when possible.

For us, Poles, the emotions linked with sport in America go far beyond our imagination. Even though we had our Euro (European Football Championships) and we have games in other sport disciplines, the American ones are quite complicated for us: they have their football (not to be confused with our soccer), in which you hold the ball under your arm and run about the whole football pitch, baseball, in which you hit the ball with a baseball bat, or rugby which we are a bit familiar with, not to mention golf and wrestling. Each state has got its famous team and stadiums, both for football and baseball.

What won my heart was that the Huskers team always pray before the game in the pitch, kneeling on one knee on the grass.

Nobody feels offended or shocked, or surprised. In Poland we can sometimes catch the glimpse of a player furtively making the sign of the cross. And here the whole team is praying. Strange country.

This prayer is also known to every Huskers fan:

The Husker Prayer  

Dear Lord, the battles we go through life,
We ask for a chance that’s fair
A chance to equal our stride,
A chance to do or dare

If we should win, let it be by the code,
Faith and Honor held high

If we should lose, we’ll stand by the road,
And cheer as the winners go by

Day by Day, we get better and better!
Til’ we can’t be beat…
WON’T BE BEAT!

from Omaha,

Fr. Jay

525a097718444.preview-620

More pictures: HERE

The Brussels Sparkle

October 15, 2013 9:29 am

On October 13th, when Pope Francis consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a small group of the Holy Family met for the first time in Brussels. It is yet to early to call it a real Group and other conditions must also be met so it is at the moment more like a small sparkle that will hopefully turn into a real flame.

We hosted here Father Wiesław and this was the only professional element of the whole undertaking – the rest was a more or less spontaneous improvisation. The room we rented turned out to have been rented before by someone else, so has the church, so we wandered through the convent building in a joyful pilgrimage. To have the feeling of a meal together, we ordered in Pizza Hut 18 pizzas that were duly blessed by Father Wiesław. But it was as usual: what really happened turned out to be better than our plans – we could have our Mass in peace and did not need to hurry (which would have been the case if we had organised it in the church – there was another Mass coming).

Please pray for us so that we can continue and welcome to the group as many people as possible.

Agnieszka

The first moments with the new class

October 13, 2013 3:57 pm

I’m travelling to the opening of the Program a bit later. It used to be 6:30, today it is enough to arrive at 8:45. The first moments are devoted to the Program overview and giving basic information to the participants. Now we know that we’ll host 82 students from 33 countries and 33 states.

When I look at all of them and listen to their short introductions (name, country and which Program they selected), I’m thinking about the stories they have brought with them. Not only their personal stories, but also the stories of the people they serve to. One doctor who came here with his wife is a father of 6 born and 6 unbron children. Another doctor is a mum of a 5-week-old daughter. Another one is the first doctor to be willing to take on NaProTechnology training in her country. There is also one participant who said “yes” to the request from the bishop of her diocese, who had been looking for doctors interested in NaProTechnology, but one after another refused. She’s a doctor and mother of 6 children.

It all reminds me of the title of the pastoral constitution – “Gaudium et spes” (Joy and Hope). The joy that there are still people willing to serve the others in the matter so essential for humanity, and the hope that their service will bring good fruit for so many.

Each of them is surrounded by the prayers from their families, friends, parishes. There is also one doctor from Poland. Let us support the participants, too.

With prayer and memory of all of you

Fr. Jay

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 72 other subscribers