Program 3 in a photogallery

June 17, 2015 5:18 pm

(1) The whole Program 3 had been offered to Our Lady long before it began

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(2) Just before hour zero

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(3) Topic 1: “Culture Invited Home”

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(4) Workshop summary

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(5) Though we talk in foreign languages, the problems are not foreign at all

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(6) Paul John, the youngest Coach in this Program

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(7) Matthew Spielberg-Cuarón was shooting a film about the Program

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(8) Meal time (Marychu & Juan Manuel,  Agnieszka on the far right, first row: Pepe and Armin)

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(9) Song of songs festival 😉

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(10) Workshop in the English-speaking group

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(11) Think-tank with the Coaches of the Polish group – Dosia and  Jarek – before Workshop 6

 

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(12) Workshop-workout: Yes, we can!

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(13) Take your time to prepare a good strategy for this one!

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(14) The Programs Co-Author, Agnieszka Rogalska, arrived from Warsaw for the Holy Mass

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(15) The Mass with the Renewal of Marriage Vows – celebrated by a “Befriended Priest from Poland”

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(16) We were joined by our Friends – the Graduates of Programs from Wrocław

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(17) Renewed in love

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(18) And they lived long and happily ever after

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Photos: Małgorzata Rybak (1), (3) and (6), Danusia Opala (16), (17), (18), Beatriz Gonzalez – the remaining ones

Program 3: OUR FAMILY + SOCIETY

June 13, 2015 11:42 am

So this has happened at last – we are so happy to be the hosts of the international Program 3 in Poland, near the metropoly of Wroclaw, in a small village named “Krzydlina Mała”, at the retreat center of the Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We started today with the Mass on the Feast of Her Immaculate Heart, hoping and believing she is taking us all under her tender and maternal protection: the ones present here, the ones who had enrolled but could not come, the participants and the organizers, and those joining us remotely in their prayers, for which we are so very grateful.

It is also a very special time for me. As a person involved in the “overseas” activity of the Foundation, I have known many of our allies only from correspondence. To meet them in person is a wonderful thing – to which I’d been looking so much forward.

The Program is running in the double, bilingual version: one for the Polish-speaking group, and the other for the English-speaking one. A tough task for Fr. Jay: giving a lecture by lecture, switching languages, with less than one hour break between them (if any). It is also a challenge for my and Andrew’s four-month old son, who is among the youngest coaches of Love and Life Programs 😉

The couples made the effort to come here from Scotland (our Foundation’s IT Team), England, Belgium, and Mexico – and of course Poland. Among nationalities we have also Venezuela and Colombia. It’s so great to see that God works in people’s hearts in such distant parts of the world, and living by the grace of the Programs becomes an everyday reality for so many. When we share our experience during the workshop part, it turns out that our ups and downs, and problems to deal with are the same – like protecting your children in the era of technological revolution or balancing life and work.

We are asking for your support in prayers and offering your acts of love for this event and for all us involved – we count on you as part of the “global parish”, as Beatriz Gonzalez (who coordinates Programs in Latin America) says. Thank you so much for being with us.

Margaret

P3ENG

Happy Anniversary!

December 4, 2014 8:55 am

It was one year ago when Fr. Jay started writing his short homilies, and said after a couple of days: “Maybe I could continue like that for a year”. As this coincided with his one-year trip away from Poland, his homeland where he is missed much while away, I thought to myself: “Well, what an an excellent idea! No matter what place the Providence throws him in, there will be a message to lean on.” It was also a good challenge for a marathon runner, who had proved so many times that he was capable of making a long-term commitment.

Ever since then the homilies have continued to appear each day. If there were any breaks in the process, they were due only to technical website problems.

We have all sorts of meditations on the Word of God published in lots of places, but what is so wonderful about Fr. Jay’s homilies is that they always rely on the positives. On the faith of God in humanity, on His love, on His infinite proximity and support for us. They never present a crude examination of the Reader’s conscience–as this type of writing sometimes does–but always offer a gentle, loving, father-like assistance instead of “preaching”.

Bearing in mind the Father’s missionary life of a traveller among families on more than one continent, the stories behind those homilies could probably make a separate book of places visited, including most bizarre hot spots where internet was available. All the more, we’re grateful that those short texts continue to flow in and shed light on our daily concerns, offering encouragement and calming down restless hearts.

Happy Anniversary, Fr. Jay! And keep on writing 🙂

Margaret,

The Familty Support Foundation’s Blog Editor in Chief

You can subscribe the homilies to your mailbox using the subscription box on the right side of the blog page.

if You had been here

April 6, 2014 10:44 am

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (J 11:21)

Both Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, greet Jesus with the same words. If You had been here.

If You had been here, we wouldn’t have lost man, our trust, our good name. If You had been here, there would be no reason for tears now. If You had been here, we’d follow the old ways, the happy ways. If You had been here, we wouldn’t have learned that we love in vain, because we can always lose a “brother”.

But Jesus is also weeping after the loss of a friend. He, God, who wouldn’t need to be attached to anyone – in order never to feel the loss. And yet He himself loves us always, and loses us all the time – whenever we don’t believe Him. And He never stops loving. Abandonned, batrayed, alone. He is waiting.

And even in the worst secanrio, He says: I was here. I am now. Everything makes sense. The good which is to reveal itself here – has not shown yet, but it will. Now it’s the pain, but hope already precedes the joy of what is yet to come: “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe” (J 11:15).

Only some can do it and their presence can’t be overestimated. When all fails, they’re already looking forward to some greater good coming. “In the end, everything is going to be all right. If it’s not all right, it is not the end.”

Margaret

He saw

November 25, 2013 5:53 pm

He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.

Luke 21:2

He noticed her with no effort, he found her with the eyes of the heart. His heart ran out to her and recognized her in what is most important but hidden from the eyes. Even though St. Luke calls her “a poor widow”, one of many others, for Jesus she was not anonymous. She wasn’t poor, either. He delighted in her as if he’d found a pearl.

His sight is so surprising, so out of fashion. It’s a good news for us, too. Even if we tend to feel ignored, set aside, alone, maybe even disrespected and on the margin of the world-changing matters, His eyes, so abundant in peace, rest on us. And He can notice each impulse of the heart, each crumb of love – also when it seems to us we are so poor that we don’t really have much to offer.

Margaret

JC and I

November 13, 2013 3:53 pm

Our legendary priest from Wawrzyny Student’s Chaplaincy, nicknamed “Walnut” (Fr. Stanisław Orzechowski), from time to time shared with us his idea for a special day spent together with our Lord Jesus, and he encouraged us to try the same. This was a day when he would invite Jesus to be together with him throughout the subsequent ordinary and simple activities of the day, in the dialogue between two loving hearts of most intimate friends. But Fr. Stanisław also suggested to express this “togetherness” by some gestures – for example, to lay the table for two, even if you’re having your meal “alone”.

Our life style, mostly full to the brim with people and scheduled meetings, usually does not give us the opportunity to spend the whole day like that. And yet we have at our disposal at least some more quiet portions of it. On that special day you might try not putting your handbag on the passenger seat in the car, in order to have a greater sense of His presence travelling next to you (surely, we need those gestures more than probably He does 🙂 ). When you remember Him to be near, you can show Him quite honestly your first reactions to different situations – and try to look at them with His eyes. You’ll react to events and people on that day in a little bit different way, too – if you let Him lead you, hour after hour, with His love.

Even if your day was to start with a trip to the hairdresser’s, as mine did yesterday. And indeed – it was no ordinary day.

Margaret

“JC and I” was the title of one of the talks during the QUEST program for teenagers,, which we held many years ago in our city of Wrocław, Poland.

 

under protection

November 11, 2013 2:39 pm

You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me.

(Psalm 139:5)

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The way we touch God  is often a gesture of testing, checking on Him, putting our fingers into His side, and into His wounds. It is so difficult to believe in good intentions, in the promise, the love which does not dictate any initial conditions. On our part – there’s so much doubt, mistrust, and anxiety.

And yet He lets us do all that, remembering, who we are. And He does let us touch and find Him. But His gestures are so different from ours. He doesn’t check on us, He is not suspicious, He doesn’t keep the distance. “You lay Your hand upon me…” It’s the same gesture with which we calm down our children and express our proximity. Infinite acceptance and the desire to protect them – just because they are there.

Margaret

Photograph: source

help me unpack

November 9, 2013 12:18 pm

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Each of us lands in marriage with a suitcase. We unpack it first unconsciously – we show off the rich assortment of responses to situations, habits, values. In this personal luggage we also carry  the incidents of humiliation, labels slapped on us, hurtful words and unfulfilled dreams. The list could be expanded with many items by you and me for sure.

If the unpacking goes together with second thoughts, you can try to do the periodic stocktaking. Happy is the one who can unpack their bundle feeling the safety of being loved – with this luggage, too.  It’s impossible to sort oneself out without love.

The measure of maturity: to create the conditions for the other to unpack, at their own pace – without hurrying them up and judgement. Our stories of pain and hope make us most vulnerable, but also – at the same time – the closest to each other, entrusted to mutual goodwill.

Margaret

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

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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

 

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