Reflections for the Holy Week by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

By Fr. Ray Diesbourg, MSC

(New York Community)

Greetings from a very quiet rectory at 139 N. Kanady (Cape Vincent, NY).  Still…the sun rises, the birds sing and the crows caw, the sun sets in a flurry of colors. And we will soon celebrate that the Son has truly risen.

It seemed to me that a letter might be a good way to keep in touch with many of you during this time of coronavirus physical distancing. I like the idea I’ve heard about it being “physical distancing” rather than “social distancing.” We do need to maintain our social interactions, whether by phone, email, skype, Facebook, letter, etc.

As I’ve been reflecting on what has been going on the last few weeks, I was reminded of Jesus in the desert for 40 days (1st Sunday Lent Gospel). We are having our own desert experience. And like Jesus, we need to keep communicating with our God.

Thank you one and all; God bless you.

Dear friend,

I understand your frustration and all the emotions you might be having right now. Like you, I am also frustrated. This morning when I looked at the parking space, it was very empty. Today, I am going to celebrate the Mass without the community that I dearly love. I could not imagine that it would happen and I would have to experience that on any given Sunday in my priestly ministry.

However we are in a different situation. The enemy is unseen. We are fighting a different war that even the most powerful country in the world is trying to figure out how to defeat. During this moment that we have to be vigilant, the devil will try to use this opportunity to break us, to divide us and to weaken our faith. Jesus’ temptation on the mountain is an example of how the devil would try all his power to deceive anyone, even the Son of God. We are all in this war together. Remember those soldiers in the field who sacrificed their lives to give us our freedom to express and practice our faith in God. This is that moment. We all have to make a sacrifice so that others may live. We are all in this together.

I am praying for you and thank you for voicing out your feelings. But let not despair defeat you. Pray to increase your faith in this trying moment. At the end of the tunnel, light will be seen and joy will wipe all our fears, frustrations and anger. We will see that God is with us, in this very moment that we need Him most.

Your friend in the Lord,

Fr. Jun.

Reflections for the Holy Week by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

By Fr. Steve Boland, MSC

(Pennsylvania Community)

Once again we enter into Holy Week. We remember the events that even now continue to give us hope for salvation, the life-giving death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This year we enter into these days while we are in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis. Just as the disciples of Jesus were filled with fear and with doubt when confronted with Jesus’ crucifixion, many people have these same feelings today. Many people mourn the loss of loved ones because of the virus, just as the disciples mourned the loss of Jesus. We pray for all of these people. The shadow of the cross continues to fall on us all. Yet we believe that the cross ultimately leads to new life. Jesus entered fully into our lives, not sparing himself from any of the misfortunes that befall us. It is in union with Him that we have hope even at this time of fear and pain. When Jesus rose from the dead, he still had the mark of his wounds visible on his glorified body. May he help us to see that our wounds, when united to His, do not lead us to darkness, but to the new light of life. As we carry the cross with Him, let us pray for courage and faith. By His wounds we are healed.

By Fr. Frank J. Timar, MSC

There are times and situations in all our lives when Jesus could easily say to us as he said to Judas, “Friend, do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” We might wonder, too, why we haven’t learned the lesson Jesus worked so hard to teach us, to love one another as He loves us. We look for someone else to blame. But, like it or not, we were there on the hill of Calvary, and we didn’t lift a finger to help Jesus.

Fr. Frank J. Timar, MSC (Pennsylvania Community)

Father Frank professed his first vows on September 14, 1952 and was ordained on July 13, 1958. He is in residence at our Sacred Heart Villa in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.

fr. hugo update from colombia how the msc community is copping with covid-19

Dear Friends,

Well, I hope everything is ok, knowing we are all committed to following what is truly important during difficult times. 

I want to share news from Colombia: We are doing fine. Everyone is healthy so far. Today we started a 19-day lockdown. We are all confined. The numbers of people with the Coronavirus are growing-every single day we have new cases. Yesterday we had about 300 people infected; today we have more than 400 infected and 4 have died due to the virus. Things in the country don’t look good and the prognosis is not good. It seems to be getting worse as the days pass.  

Here at Santa Margarita where I am living with Dario and two students, things are ok. We dedicate time for cooking, praying, and mass — resting since we have lots of extra time, and working as well. The students are attending online classes. It is a peaceful time at home, given everything. The other people at the seminary and Sacred Heart Parish are doing fine — no bad news or problems; we hope everything continues to be stable.  

We are all united in prayer. Life is very demanding worldwide but the Spirit is still at work.  

Thank you very much for your attention and support. We continue our journey united in prayer.  

Hugo Leon Londoño, MSC

Bogotá, Colombia.

Blessings

 

By Fr. Frank J. Timar, MSC

The Gospel for the fifth Sunday of Lent is the story about Jesus’ friend Lazarus being raised from the dead after being in his grave for four days. Jesus knew that what He was about to do would cost Him His life, but that didn’t stop Him from raising Lazarus from the dead. This miracle triggered the events of that first holy week. And true enough, from then on, the Pharisees and other critics of Jesus put their plan in motion to have Jesus executed.

Fr. Frank J. Timar, MSC (Pennsylvania Community)

Father Frank professed his first vows on September 14, 1952 and was ordained on July 13, 1958. He is in residence at our Sacred Heart Villa in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.

2/1-Mary Rathbun, Plainfield, IL – $502/2-Mike Fitzgerald, Cedar Rapids, IA – $502/3-Daniel Reischuck, South Wales, NY – $502/4-Larry Schabath, Indianapolis, IN – $502/5-Patricia Oziem, Plainfield, IL – $1002/6-James Hauser, Rockton, IL – $502/7-Elaine Bombal, Palatine, IL – $502/8-Kathy Sakasitz, Nazareth, PA – $502/9-Mary Mead, Genoa, IL – $502/10-Frances Miesegaes, Lakewood, NJ – $502/11-Kevin Milauskas, La…

A Very Special Lent

Update from the MSC General House in Rome, Italy

By Fr. Mike Miller, MSC

Dear friends,

I thought I would give you an update about what is going on here in Rome with the CoVid-19 situation. Since I do not use Facebook, I am sending you this.

I am doing well here with the other 7 MSC in the General House. We have been on lockdown since March 10. It has become stricter since the March 14 weekend with the police checking papers on the roads. We do not go out.

Of the other 4 MSC who usually live here, two are stuck in Rio de Janeiro and one is in Belgium and one in the Netherlands. They too are now under lockdown. Who knows for how long? The original lockdown date in Italy is April 3, but there is talk of extending it, probably beyond Easter.

We are discovering that we have some men with fine culinary skills who are preparing some delicious meals, with other cultural flavors. It is really quite good. The Indonesians are going easy on the hot sauce, which they must have on everything. Not in my taste range at all!

We are all pitching in with the other house needs like cleaning, washing, etc. Fortunately, we have enough supplies like food, bottled water, and toilet paper.

Health-wise, we are well, trying to get some exercise, either in our small gymnasium or walking around our property compound. I have been feeling better since I started using our new Christmas gift gym equipment, elliptical bike, treadmill, and a weight machine.

We can pray Mass, Stations of the cross and daily prayers, etc. together, keeping our distance of course. We have enough hosts and altar wine. “We are praying for you, the families and victims of the diseases and all the health care workers, etc. who are on the front lines in this global fight. We are all well aware of the many difficulties that this is causing many people, in the USA and around the world, especially in the poorer countries that do not have the health infrastructure.” We pray for them all.

“We are praying for you, the families and victims of the diseases and all the health care workers, etc. who are on the front lines in this global fight. We are all well aware of the many difficulties that this is causing many people, in the USA and around the world, especially in the poorer countries that do not have the health infrastructure.”

Since we still have WIFI connections, we can still get most of our office work done. So yes, we are working from home! We sent our employees home when the lockdown started.

We are fortunate to not be cramped up in an apartment like many of our neighbors. We have a big house and some grounds to walk around. I am sure you have heard already about all the cancellations and closings of almost everything, except grocery stores and pharmacies. The 24 hours stores are now restricted to around 8 am to 7:30 pm. People are allowed to go food shopping but with a one-meter separation. Fortunately, we have most of the food delivered by suppliers. People were allowed to individually exercise in the local parks, but recently they were closed as people would congregate there. Most people are respecting the social distancing and wearing masks and gloves where needed and when they have them. A heavy fine is handed out for those who are not at home without one of the three reasons: work, medical or health needs, or food shopping. One must carry a self-declaration of this to police when asked.

“During this Lent, it helps us to put life in proper perspective. We all have to do our part in this sacrifice.”

We are living in trying times now. “During this Lent, it helps us to put life in proper perspective. We all have to do our part in this sacrifice.” We know the situation here in Italy is serious and many are concerned, which we all should be, but at the same time we need to remain calm and levelheaded. You probably saw the high number of deaths here in Italy the last week, over 600+ a day. We pray for them and their families. This is mainly in the four provinces in the northern part of Italy. This occurred because people did not heed the warnings. If the whole world, literally, takes this seriously, we will recover sooner. If not, who knows? It seems that it goes in cycles. China is counting more cases again as people enter the country from outside. It seems to be another sign that we are all in it together to help save our planet.

God seems to be speaking to us all through this crisis. Let’s put our trust in the Lord and follow the experts’ advice, pray and do our part to live more simply.

I have been keeping up with what is happening in the USA through all the media. I know what all the major news feeds are saying, plus other sources here that are a bit more comprehensive.

The weather here has been beautiful, sunshine in the lower 60’s by day and 40’s at night. But today a northerly wind started blowing and temps have dropped. Tonight, the forecast is in the 30’s.

I was planning on vacation in the USA this summer, but whether I travel or not remains to be seen. I am not sure about whether it will be possible or not. That decision is farther down the road. So, we are all well here, hoping that this will end soon.

I wish you all the blessings of the Lord during Lent and the Easter season.

Greetings of Peace in the risen Lord Jesus Christ!

Fr. Mike, MSC

By Fr. Frank J. Timar, MSC

In making His choice for the next king of Israel, the Lord didn’t look at any of the leaders of Israel. Instead the Lord turned His gaze on a simple shepherd boy with no pretensions to greatness and no qualifications to be a king except that the Lord looked at the heart of David. Amazingly, David became the greatest of all the kings of Israel!

Fr. Frank J. Timar, MSC (Pennsylvania Community)

Father Frank professed his first vows on September 14, 1952 and was ordained on July 13, 1958. He is in residence at our Sacred Heart Villa in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.

By Fr. Frank J. Timar, MSC

Do we feel comfortable in His presence? As Jesus looks at us, would we be able to open ourselves fully without fear of being condemned? Nothing is more important than to open up to Jesus, because He  accepts us as we are.

Fr. Frank J. Timar, MSC (Pennsylvania Community)

Father Frank professed his first vows on September 14, 1952 and was ordained on July 13, 1958. He is in residence at our Sacred Heart Villa in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.

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