houses a truly beautiful Chapel on the last storey, actually in the attic. Next to the Chapel there is a meeting room with a library, and from there you can also participate in the Holy Mass. But this happens very seldom. Because the opportunity to take part in a Mass is rare here. There is a daily Service, for years faithfully celebrated by Deacon Tom. Traditionally, while I’m in Omaha, there is the Eucharist for all the staff.
Today we also had the Mass and then the visits to all the departments, with prayer over each staff member, together with blessing the Institute. Everyone here is very moved by the good things which have happened here and they all know it is a gift of God’s Love. And they ask for prayer, for God’s protection over the Institute, over their families and themselves. They too know that in all the places where good things happen – also the difficulties and hardships come along. As anywhere else.
It was good to be here.
Tomorrow I’ll have to be on the move again. It’s time for a “sentimental journey.” But I’ll tell you about that – tomorrow…
there has been no such thing in the history of Omaha Eductaion Programs.
The final hours which remain till the Holy Mass closing EP I and the official farewell, are filled with activities, meetings – also those very personal ones with the merciful heart of Lord Jesus.
The time passed by so quickly, but so much has changed in the participants and we have experienced so many good things. I’m carrying all those meetings within: people’s stories, struggles and victories, drama and Divine Mercy. There are still several hours to be together, and the moment of saying goodbye is very near. We’ll part for several months to meet again very soon and listen about the great things the Lord has done during that time.
is so neccessary to let go of everything which is redundant, accidental, not worthy to be taken to eternity. And the other way round. In the silence of the Adoration you may express and re-collect all that is especially dear to the heart and valuable.
Fortunately, in the close proximity of our hotel where the first part of the NaProTechnology Programs takes place (called here in short EP1, Education Phase 1), there is a church with the chapel of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. It’s such a joy to discover that so many share the same longing for staying in His presence, who treasure those moments as necessary and important. I’ve counted as many as 5 such places in the vicinity.
That is not so in Poland, you can hardly find a place where you can adore the Holy Sacrament during the day, not to mention the night. Here, in the US, being a catholic is not so obvious as for the Poles (98% of the society declare to be catholic). Here you become a catholic, catholicism is a choice.
– that is: “The Door of Faith.” Pope Benedict XVI, with his Apostolic Letter under that title, proclaimed yesterday a Year of Faith. So – the year of special grace has just begun.
We have welcomed it with a great joy. For some of the doctors, the discovery of the beauty and harmony of human sexuality was essentialy linked with the acceptance of the gift of faith and a conscious return to the Catholic Church – or even joining its community for the first time. They know exactly, what the term “gift of faith” means. But also those, who have enjoyed that gift for a long time, know very well, how important it is to nurture that grace and to let it grow.
Each day we begin the Education Program with the Holy Mass. And so any people turn up so early to pray, so many people ask for a meeting, a prayer, confession or counsel. And so genuine is the gift of faith in that environment. It is so important not only to keep that gift, but also to let it grow.
in the final part of Love & Life Unlimited Conference.
Each of the participats prepares their own presentation covering the subjects discussed during the conference. And it’s extremely interesting what each of the 10 persons noticed, experienced, what he or she would like to share. I was amazed with the rich variety of perspectives, great presentation skills, the igenious use of materials – but also the practical approach of the conference Organizers.
How to check if the participants made a good use of the lectures? Of course you can test them, but you can also listen to them and check if they managed to gain some practical knowledge, which they further could share with the others.
With such an approach, it is difficult to follow the rule of “MPF” – “memorize, pass the test, forget.”
Love and Life Unlimited Conference usually accompanies Creighton Model Allied Health Education Programs which train Fertility Care Practitioners and NaProTechnology doctors. That conference is addressed mainly to the people who want to support the Civilization of Love and Life. That’s why among the participants there are priests, people active in pastoral family care in their parishes, and marriage cunsellors.
The group of students present in this edition of LLUC is rather international: USA, Mexico and United Kingdom. Three periests, three members of the Pope Paul VI Institute staff, two PhD students, two marriage counsellors and two medical doctors. In our group we also have the eldest son of Sue and Thomas Hilgers – Paul, who grew up together with the Institute.
My task was to acquaint the participants with theology of the body according to Blessed John Paul II, during 4 meetings. The task would be delightful in itself, the only difficulty was that the language of the lectures was still – English. And this very obstacle would have been enough to make me quite unable to overcome the challenge, if it hadn’t been for the irreplacable Team, who are there to help in similar situations.
Tomorrow each LLUC participant is going to give an 8-minute presentation, as a fruit of the conference considerations. We keep our fingers crossed.
Note from the Editors: Love & Life Unlimited Conference will also be held in Łomianki near Warsaw, Poland, February 11-15 lutego 2013.
… has finally constituted itself. As usual, during the EP in Omaha, there is a couple of dinners “on our own,” meaning: everyone has to take care of themselves. As it used to be during the previous EP editions, also this time I invited all the gentlemen to eat out. We went to the “Anthony’s”, a nearby restaurant which serves delicious steaks.
But of course we didn’t go there just to have a steak. Each of us could introduce himself to the rest and get to know the other men. We were the Twelve Rightous altogether. It was great to get a glimpse of the amazing stories each of them had to tell about their lives. For some of them the road to NaProTechnology was at the same time the path of the discovery of the Catholic Church. And for some – the path against the mainstream ideas of their firends, colleagues, bosses…
From Porto Rico through Mexico to the Philippines, from Florida, through Luisiana, to Illinois. They meet here and talk with great emotion about the witnesses of life they encountered on their way, who inspired them. Just to think how much good they will pass forward?
How good it is to have a place you may call “home”. Even if you are able to feel at home everywhere you are 😉 , it’s good to have such point on the map. When your Home is giving you support, you have the sense of living together with them anywhere you go. And you are not alone in hardships. And you don’t even need Skype to ask for prayer, because it is obvious that your family will keep in their everyday prayer each person who has some special task to do outside. My “family” take part in one-hour adoration and community Eucharist each day, through which we stay deeply “connected” with all the Home members.
The homeward journey took loooong. Of course there were those typical adventures as: the car that was to have taken us to the airport broke down, so we had to get a taxi, some mechanical failure of the plane we were to have flown by (in the end, they replaced it with some other one), some error in the baggage hadling system, so our suitcases didn’t fly in with us, and waiting a very long time for a plane in Amsterdam, because our scheduled plane hadn’t waited for us and departed in due time. So we had to wait for another – and last possible – flight to Warsaw.
That’s very good the journey took so long, because I could take time to thank for all the goodness I could experience. I could also share – with the people unnknown to me before, but so close because of their faith – the experience of faith and God’ love. I could be not only a teacher or shepherd, as usual, but also a brother, who can admire the way the others are able to believe God and fight to stay faithful in their lives. “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever”!
But also in Amsterdam I could feel at home – in quite a diferent sense, though. I could hear this familiar comment from someone seeing a priest in a cassock: “I’m leaving, I’m allergic to a dog collar”. Which reminds me of the universal truth that “nemo prophet in patria sua”. Which does not mean you should leave your country more often. There’s simply still a lot to be done here, too. That’s why I’ve been lecturing today since 8 a.m.
I don’t know how about elsewhere in Poland, but in Wrocław it’s windy. This is good, because we may hope Fr. Jay has been blown back to the country. We were so happy to read what he shared with us as an overseas correspondent. Thanks to that we could be a bit there, in the heart of the “happening” of things that were not quite ordinary. And we are so grateful to Mrs Sue Hilgers for her post – shining with the break of the day – in which we can see so clearly that the Holy Family chooses most surprising and beautiful places to receive guests – their loved children. Right in the middle of a highway!
No less extraordinary did it feel to greet among our Readers the Organizers and Participants of the Educational Program at the Pope Paul VI in Omaha. It is our great wish that you could feel in the Harbour completely at home. We would like you to find here a place of taking a rest before getting back to your chores – a place you can always return to.
We would like all the Readers to feel invited to share your experience and words of encouragement with others. We’re looking forward to the “postcards” from the places – near or far away – where you can live by faith. We’re waiting for your texts which we could post in The Harbour. Please, mail them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each state in the United States has a slogan that represents their state. The slogan for Nebraska is “The Good Life!”. Nebraska is an excellent state to raise a family. It is not a very large state. In fact, there are more cows than people who live here!
Fr. Jay left Nebraska today for his home in Poland. During his time here he was the spiritual shepherd for 100 students from 16 countries and 29 states in the United Stateswho attended our advanced training in FertilityCare and NaProTechnology. These students greatly appreciated his participation as a spiritual father to them.
This is the first time in over 30 years of conducting our education programs that we had a priest as a fulltime Faculty member. The Pope Paul VI Institute Faculty and Staff were very grateful that Fr. Jay could come to Nebraska to assist us.
Our program concluded late Saturday evening. This morning, I drove from Omaha to Lincoln, Nebraska and took this photo of the Chapel of the Holy Family* that serves the travelers along interstate 80 that connects much of the United States east to west.
For each of us, we want to live the “Good Life” but, even more importantly, a better life! Certainly, with a focus on faith and family, this will happen! Fr. Jay, and his love of the Lord and sharing with us during his stay here, indeed helped us focus on leading lives that will be not just “good” but better and better.
Thank you, Fr. Jay!
Sue Hilgers, Omaha, April 23, 2012
*More impressions from the Holy Family shrine at the outskirts of Omaha, Nebraska: