He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.
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.
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.
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.
The deliberations of the American Academy of FertilityCare Professionals culminated in an accent that was very pleasant for us. The late Janina Filipczuk was honoured with an award that will be transferred to her family. The person that presented her achievements stressed very much her involvement in making NaPro known in Poland.
I still remember vividly her stay in Łomianki and our meetings, full of plans and projects. It is thanks to her that I have come to Omaha and that the extraordinary friendship with the Institute of the Pope Paul VI began.
Now both the institutes, the one in Omaha and the one in Łomianki, are bound by official cooperation and still we are so much more united by the desire to spread the good news about marriage and family. The beginnings of this fiendship go back to Janina. It is so good tat the organisers remembered this person who always acted with dynamism, enthusiasm and warmth, wherever she went.
We recommend Janina to God’s mercy but also we entrust to her care further developments around NaPro in our home country.
Still from New Orleans
Today we have been celebrating Doctor Hilgers’ 70th birthday. This is thanks to him that we are all here. If it had not been for his reading of “Humanae vitae” by the Pope Paul VI, we would have neither the Creighton model, nor NaProTechnology, nor the yearly meetings. So everybody wanted to celebrate this occasion in a special way.
Dr Hilgers has spent the last moments of the day with his nearest and dearest: among others, with the youngest of the family, Matthew, with his only daughter Teresa, who is also obstetrician, and with his eldest son Paul. The other sons: Steven and Mike, celebrated this birthday with their own families, but in telephone contact. n the same day 30 years ago also the daughter of Ann Prebil, the co-creator of the Creighton model, was born, too, so we celebrated altogether their 100th birthday. 🙂
I am happy to have been able to witness this family event. We owe so much to Thomas Hilgers. We pray for him and ask God to keep him for many years to come.
With my prayers and wishes of many happy returns for Doctor Hilgers.
Those were exceptional days. With several other persons (Sr Ewa, The Sister of Mercy of St Charles Borrmeo, and Margaret from our editorial team) we assisted Sue Hilgers during her meetings in Wrocław and Częstochowa.
It’s not the first time that I’ve been under the great impression of her devotion, her service and extraordinary enthusiasm which she brings into anything she does. For each person she met, she had her full attention. She noticed everyone, she had a good word for each of them, and found a unique personal gift of each person she spoke with. No matter if it was during a radio interview, or a meeting with a large group, or individual conversations. Someone who has served the culture of life and love for all of her life will be like that in all that she does.
Even though we were travelling across a large portion of Poland, from meeting to meeting, she never complained of being tired. Simple words, full of humor and respect for each single individual. No matter if it was a small baby, or an elderly lady, or a researcher with many degrees – all that is important is this very moment of the meeting and the good that can be brought about by it.
There was very little time for sleep, or for taking a rest, but the exhaustion is filled with joy that we were able to see so much good.
Today it’s the farewell time. For all of us the subsequent days will be filled with meetings and catching up on work. And in all that we’ll have new enthusiasm and the same mission – to see the beauty in each person we meet.
May today and tomorrow will be a gift for us. May our meetings bring into the lives of the others the joy of life which is God’s gift.
With prayer for each of you
I certainly had to meet people whom I got to know, for the most part, in Omaha at EP 1 or EP 2 or Love&Life Unlimited Conference. 16 people came to the meeting and this was an opportunity to get to know each other, share experiences and make a short speech.
In the second part of the meeting we were joined by Bishop Carlos Briseno, bishop suffragan of the diocese of Mexico, reponsible for Vicario Episcopal, II Vicaria. In this administractive district pf Mexico 1.5 million people live and 250 are there to help.
Bishop Briseno is a great support for the development of NaProTechnology. His Bishop’s House has become a place for meetings and discussion. That’s why he’s invited us again for the meeting.
During this meeting and the following one, in a smaller group. I was able to present the assumptions of our Programmes. The Bishop liked very much the idea of permanent training for married couples and he decided to visit us during our TU+YO=NOSOTROS what you could read about in the entry after the Programme.
With my prayers,
Today I had one-of-a-kind opportunity to spend the whole afternoon with one of the couples who had taken part in the first edition of the I+YOU=WE Program in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s Katie and Rick Brennan from St. Louis, MO. I met Rick during EP1 in Omaha several years ago, and Katie – first only via e-mail. Later we met again in person during the couple retreat for NaProTechnology doctors.
Rick, whom I nicknamed Rick the Rock from the very start, is an obstetrician-gynecologist and an exceptional man. He’s a father to two daughters and two sons, a wonderful husband and one of three doctors who are entirely at the service of life here in St Louis. He doesn’t prescribe contraceptives, is a NaPro doctor and… completely isolated in his environment. But happy. We always have a choice. With our Lord Jesus things may be more difficult, because the disciple is not above his Master, but with Him you have blessing and joy, and the peace of conscience which te world is not able to understand, but is surely envious of it.
In their home you feel as part of family. They’ve been my hosts during my stay in St Louis, but until today we had no time to be together due to my schedule, packed full. So we were left only with late night hours. Today, finally, we could meet at daylight.
We’re planning the I+YOU=WE retreat in St Louis, some time next year. And they will be the coach couple.
We could go on talking infinitely. So many stories to tell, so many experiences to share. Their friends joined us, too.
A wonderful family. Their son is a seminarian. Goodness multiplies itself and it attracts goodness.
For the last time from St. Louis,
This moment will always stay in the consciousness of Darek and ours. At this time Bishop Marian Błażej Kruszyłowicz, bishop suffragan in the Archdiocese of Szczecin and Kamień Pomorski, gave Father Dariusz the sign of peace, which completed the ceremony of his ordination. Our new Brother in priesthood stood at the alter right afterwards and concelebrated the Eucharist. At the end Father Dariusz thanked everyone. It was difficult to hold back tears.
When I passed the tables in the dining room in the seminary, where all guests gathered, when I saw so many people from our Groups, I thought about his future. How many people are waiting for his ministry, how many confessions he will hear, how many couples he will unite.
This is Christ’s ministry in human hands. A fifth priest is joining us today. Finally we can work in a stronger team. And perhaps it is not yet the end?