Jesus Crucified and Forsaken

Dear Parishioners,

The eighth point in our spirituality-of-communion discussion ties in well with Holy Week—it is “Jesus crucified and forsaken.” This and the seven previous points can be found in Called to be community: a guide to living a spirituality of communion, which is a publication of Living City of the Focolare Movement.

When our Lord hung upon the cross, he felt forsaken by the Father (cf. Mk 15:34). It is ironic that his feeling of forsakenness is what led to our reunification with the Father. Only his passion and death can redeem us. Still, we can unite our sufferings with his for our own good and the good of the world. We can also imitate Christ’s self-gift on the cross by doing our best to love him whenever we see him crucified and forsaken in our neighbor. Such a love fosters a spirituality of communion.

I was living at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck on August 29, 2005. I thought the storm was the worst part; then came the floodwater. It slowly filled the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans to a height of about four feet. People who had one-story homes started coming to St. Anthony seeking shelter, since we had multistory buildings. At first, I was wary of letting strangers into the school and priory, thinking they might loot or cause a fire. But I quickly changed my mind, saying it was the only humane thing to do. Some of those that we, the Dominican friars, took in needed medical attention. Fortunately, a nurse was among those we took in, who helped look after those needing medical attention. We took in twenty-eight people in all. Another friar made dinner for everyone that night. The next day, boats arrived and ferried people to safety. We got everyone out safe and sound. Looking back, I am happy I was able to love Jesus crucified and forsaken in my neighbor.

Name a time when you tried to love Jesus crucified and forsaken in your neighbor as a gift to him. Share that experience with others.

Brother Ian

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Give Thanks for Friends

Last weekend I had the opportunity to spend a few days in New York City with my friend fr. François Pouliot, O.P. Many of you will remember fr. François spent about three years living with us at Holy Rosary while working in the Ethics Department at MD Anderson (2009-2013). It was during that time that we shared our love for opera and went to several performances in town.

So, last October, fr. François planned this trip. Our main goal was to see superstar Peruvian tenor, Juan Diego Flórez, performing the role of Uberto/ King James in Rossini’s La Donna del Lago at the Met. Well, this past Saturday, March 11, our dream came through at the 1 p.m. matinée. Many ovations for different arias during the performance and a standing one at the end were proof that we were in the right place at the right time. Since his return to Quebec City, with both of us in full time ministry, we simply needed to plan ahead in order to enjoy a couple of days together. He planned well and was perfect company for this trip.

While there, we stayed at St. Vincent Ferrer Priory at 65th and Lexington and enjoyed the hospitality of our New York Dominican brothers. The Church is magnificent and I recommend you pay a visit the next time you’re in the Big Apple. As I concelebrated the Eucharist on Sunday, seeing the church from the presider’s angle was also stunning. The pastor, fr. Walter Wagner, O.P., is doing a great job of preserving this jewel of a building and, more importantly, maintaining this sacred space for the Upper East Side. Many people simply enter it for a few minutes to feel closer to God as they walk by; I know it makes all the difference.

As we continue this Lent, we give God thanks for the friends that he has given us as we walk our Christian journey. May the Lord continue to bless us with energy to keep in touch with friends and give us the gift of new relationships.

In Christ,

fr. Juan

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