Saturday, August 26, 2006
So I headed out to the mill. And lo-and-behold. No abortions. This really stumped the regular pray-ers there. We even saw the doctor drive up, smoke a cigarette, get back in his car, and then leave. He didn't even go inside. Kinda weird? I don't know, but hopefully they weren't doing them later today and trying to trick us. Guess we'll find out next week.
In Christ and St. Dominic.
Friday, August 25, 2006
The two of us were hungry after a day of planning
youth ministry and wanted to find a local dive where we could eat. (We have quite an entertaining tradition of tracking down the most bizarre eateries around.) After some searching and a few U-turns, we found the "Pollo Loco" (Spanish for Crazy Chicken), and pulled into its almost vacant parking lot. There was a large shop with blackened windows next to the restaurant, and noticing the signs for the different media- videos, magazines,
etc.-for seemingly cheap prices, I peeked in the
opened door. I didn't see a lot- just the covers of two videos-but it was enough to understand what the place really was-a pornography shop. I found myself saddened by the grotesque pictures I saw of women overtly exposing themselves, knowing how much it destroyed their true dignity.
After our (very interesting) meal, Shannon and I decided that we should say a few prayers in front of the shop. Both she and I could sense the evil of the place, just being so near to the shop. We went in front of Late Night Video and said the St. Michael prayer, as well as prayers to Our Blessed Mother. Then we blessed the outside door with holy water (people on the other side must have been very puzzled), hung a rosary from the door handle, and left some Missionaries of the Eucharist literature on a ledge nearby. We left with somewhat heavy hearts as we saw more men pull up to the place.
However, as we were pulling away in our cars, two men exited from the shop. One was wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a bikini clad women on it. Both looked sad, their shoulders sagging as they walked. We noticed that one of the men picked up the Missionaries literature, which made us hopeful. Then something beautiful happened. Shannon parked her car behind their big white van and approached them. One of the men saw her and gave her a double-take, even though she wasn't aware of it. I think he thought she was coming over to give her a piece of her mind, since they undoubtedly had seen us from inside the store, placing the rosary and brochures there.
However, Shannon, just extended her hand with a gift
of a rosary she had found for the young man, and said, "Sir, would you like a rosary? He looked at her with surprise and quietly said, "Yes," and took it. Shannon got back in her car and we both drove away, knowing that Mary only needs the smallest "in" to overwhelm the someone with her love and bring them to her son. Prayerfully, we hope that this small act will indeed lead to the seeking of true love found in Our Lord, through Our Blessed Mother.
I am writing this so that many may join in our prayers
to first and foremost spread the Theology of the
Body, but also more specifically, to end all
pornography and close Late Night Video, the porn shop
in Woodbridge, VA.
Please join in our efforts!!! May God Bless all who
seek the truth, may He bless the Missionaries of the
Eucharist, and may Our Blessed Mother help us to understand what true love truly is!
Towards the end of the summer, as we traveled through more urban areas, we were blessed to pass many Catholic churches. Even when we were pressed for time, we tried to make a brief stop to pray. “Two minutes,” I’d suggest to the group, “How about it? Just two minutes.” As “Missionaries to Eucharist,” how could we not pause to salute our Blessed Sacrament?
Not all of the churches had open doors. It was sad to think of Jesus being locked inside of His church. But it was encouraging to think that pastors would be treasuring Him in the Eucharist enough to take the care to protect Him.
If the doors were locked, we’d simply kneel on the outside. The sidewalk was as close as we were going to get. How mind-boggling it is to think that the Savior of the World is on the other side of those bricks!
Sometimes, the church doors would be open. Praise God! We liked the air conditioning. We liked breathing in the holy privilege of being so close to Christ.
What to pray during only a few minutes in church? I’d pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for my family. Sometimes, I’d pray for our group members by name. I’d ask the church’s patron to pray for us. I’d pray for the people of that parish.
Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, right there – wow. I’d scrunch my nose and do a double-take. What does His Presence mean to me? The Theology of the Body teaches us how Jesus’ gift of His Body shows us what it means to give. “Jesus, teach me how to give.” Pressing my forehead as if it would help me to better comprehend, whispering, slowly: “Jesus, teach me how to give.”
As we’d be on our way, often, I’d still squint forward and shake my head. How much I have left to understand!
On hot days, rainy days, grumpy days, joyful days, God would strengthen us with the mystery of His Eucharistic Presence to go and try to spread His Truth.
Monday, August 21, 2006
When you think about the story of Job, it is almost shocking that God would permit Satan to have some power over Job and to try to break him.
Consider also the vision of Pope Leo XIII where God allowed Satan to have "free reign" for 100 years.
Then you also have the case where God the Father allowed the humanity of His Son to be tested by Satan.
One premise a person could get from this is that God allows Satan to work, but it is always on His terms knowing full well that He has given us all we need to fight the attacks of the rascally one.
That being said, I find the story of our van remarkable.
We had to drive out to Denver to drop of TJ and Leslee as well as drop of the trailer that Mr. Simms graciously donated to us. I drove because I have family in Denver that I wanted to visit. Another friend came with because his family is in Denver as well and another friend came just to get out of town.
Now this van has a lot of personality. The biggest mark of strong character is the roof that is covered with holy cards. But there are other mechanical quirks that keep everyone praying. However, our van, which is called "Fides" (the trailer hitch is called "Et" and the trailer is called "Ratio") lasted the whole summer. We dropped off TJ after eating as much as we could at a great Lincoln buffet. We dropped off Et, Ratio, and Leslee with the Simms family. The Fides also made a trip up near Wyoming so a good friend could go on a nun run with some Benedictines.
There was also the matter of my mother. She has been unemployed for a long time. Also, it looks like I am going to be in the DC/VA area for quite some time. There is no other family out in Denver for her. I proposed that she come out to Virginia to look for a job and housing. Praise God, at the last minute, she was able to line up a couple job interviews and decided to pack her bag a couple hours before we left. Her most promising interview was Tuesday at 2pm.
We left for Kansas City Saturday afternoon. We got a hotel so the ladies could get a good night sleep and shower (while I slept in the van) because of my moms interview and my friend was visiting yet another religious order Sunday morning. After that we headed to Saint Louis to stay with the lovely Flanagan family. They rock! There were 14 grandkids under 7 years-old visiting their grandparents and Aunt Shannon.
We headed out for DC after breakfast on Monday.
(Preface: a car was donated to us in Denver that we picked up and drove back to DC. I was leading an drove 5 miles under the speed limit because my mom could not seem to catch up. She later told me to speed up, and I said I would if she could keep up. Then she said she does not need to be riding my bumper because we were taking I-70 all the way back.)
I was driving the donated car. I noticed that my mom was a few cars back in the van. Then a big semi got between us and I could no longer see her. A few minutes passed and I could still not see her. I decided to pull to the shoulder and see if she was just behind. She never came. Then I turned around and started to drive back. There she was, pulled off the road, smoking a cigarette. I turned around to go investigate. Sure enough, the van would start fine, but would not drive. The transmission was shot.
A sheriff came to help. He called a road-side assistance team that assessed the damage. He said the transmission was totally gone and that it created several other problems. The sheriff also appointed us Catholic chaplain to help us with whatever we needed. That is pretty sweet!
It was 8pm by this point and we still had about 10 more hours to drive.
We could do nothing at this point. Every place was closed. In fact, for some reason, we did not have any of the vans information. We made some calls and made the decision that it is not a wise fiscal decision to worry about fixing up the van. We then piled everything from the van into the 2 door car with three people in it(needless to say, it was rather cramped).
We drove to DC. It was about 2am and I could not drive any further. I asked my friend if she would like to learn how to drive a stick-shift. We has our lesson in a gas station. She drove until daylight and we made it back just in time for 9am Mass.
My mother made her job interview and got the job! Praise God!!
Satan was at work that trip. However, it was on God's terms and the Lord came out victorious!
I let the Missionaries know about this and just about every reaction was somthing like, "you have to go save that roof".
PS: The next day, my neighbors towed my van. It was not worth the fees to get it out as it also required about 2G's worth of repairs. The Missionaries are now van-less.
Monday, August 14, 2006
MOE has a strong tie with Crossroads being that we base a good deal of our summer walk on their style of walking. A few of our founding members are also Crossroads veterans. They need prayers as they continue to work through the school year in preparation for the March For Life, Spring Break evangelization, and next summer's walks. Know that they are in our prayers too. If you would like more info, please check out their website at www.crossroadswalk.com.
Above, left to right : Crossroads Central Walk Leader - Dave, MOE Walk Leader - Pat, Crossroads "Captain" - Martha
Below: MOE walking with Crossroads for the last leg of their walk from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (where we finished our walk) to the Capitol Building in the center of DC.
Monday, August 07, 2006
** STORY OF THE WEEK **
“Lift high the Cross, The love of Christ proclaim, Till all the world adore His Sacred Name.” Block by block, all eleven of us, marched in song down Washington DC’s Monroe Street, closer and closer to the conclusion of our journey.
It was a blisteringly hot day, but seeing the spire and dome of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception brought the joyful peace of a goal nearly achieved.
Each step renewed the Theology of the Body theme of our summer. The prayer of our souls was joined by the prayer of the actions of our body.
We climbed the Shrine’s stairs in unison. What a sight we must have been, clad in our matching blue shirts (in honor of our Blessed Mother), kneeling in thanksgiving at the top! Our Vatican flag billowed in the breeze. We held our crucifix high. It was a quiet moment. We did it!
How far had we come? What difference had we made? How many people had been a part of our mission with their help along the way? How much had God been doing in our own lives?
“Tantum ergo sacramentum,” we sang, as we had in front of so many church doors. Praise God for His gift of His Body, Soul, Blood, and Divinity – a gift of Himself – in the Eucharist. Here, He has shown us how to give – showing us the meaning of our bodies and the meaning of our summer.
** THANKS TO OUR DONORS **
Three months ago, this journey still seemed improbable. Without God working through your generosity, we never could have made it. But with Him, all things are possible!
Specifically, through your contributions, we’ve been able to recently get:
- 400 Rosaries and How-to-pray-the-Rosary pamphlets (over the summer, we’ve given away thousands to folks that we meet on the streets!)
- Bags of ice to keep donated food from spoiling
- Our van’s flat tire fixed after we ran over a screw
Thanks so much for everything.
** PLEASE PRAY **
Even more than material support, your prayers keep our organization going:
Please join us in praying the Divine Mercy chaplet, which opens with this prayer.
“O blood and water which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in You.”
God’s mercy – explained as “God’s love in the face of our weakness” by Cardinal Rigali – is intended for all of us to embrace. We pray that the sight of us praying in front of abortion clinics may serve as an invitation to moms and dads considering or hurt by abortion to embrace His mercy too.
Moreover, may we never forget the power of Jesus’ blood: “They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:11).
** WHERE WE’VE BEEN **
July 23: In between Masses and a youth group visit in Linwood, NJ, we play Frisbee on the beach and take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean.
July 24: Philadelphia’s Cardinal Justin Rigali is very welcoming and encouraging during our almost hour-long meeting.
July 26: Our swing dancing keeps getting better. We use it to explain the Theology of the Body to the youth group at St. John’s in Westminster, MD.
July 28: Jess, Josh, and Phil talk about the summer walk and Theology of the Body on Philadelphia’s Holy Spirit radio.
July 29: Maryland state senator Andy Harris, his wife Cookie, and their family host us for the weekend.
July 30: Maeve, Lacy, and Pat give the feature presentation at Baltimore's Theology on Tap. Earlier, we chat with the folks after Masses at St. Joseph’s in Cockeysville, MD.
July 31: As temperatures exceed 100 degrees, a family pulls over on their way home from the grocery store to give us the box of popsicles that they’ve just bought.
August 1: Our second day-long meeting with Theology of the Body expert Christopher West affords a good chance for reflection on the summer.
August 2: While treated to a bright sunrise, we cross the Severna River into Annapolis.
August 3: We climb the steps of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC, marking the conclusion of our nine-week, eleven-state, 1000-mile walk. We did it! Our spiritual director (and University of Maryland chaplain) Fr. Bill Byrne celebrates Mass for us in the Shrine’s Our Lady of the Missions chapel.
** WHAT’S AHEAD **
- Upcoming plans include a youth group visit in Maryland in September and an overnight youth retreat in Princeton, NJ, in November.
- Upon returning to our families and schools, many of us will likely give presentations to our local parishes.
- Bishops and priests along the way have offered many ideas, ranging from setting up local chapters to founding our own religious order.
- Preparations are already under way for next summer’s walk (or walks).
Please pray that we will be open to the Holy Spirit and His wisdom as we plan for the future.
** CATECHETICAL REFLECTION **
Happy Feast of the Transfiguration! (August 6) For us, this feast marks the official end of the Missionaries of the Eucharist summer project. More importantly, in this feast, Jesus shows us the glory for which we were intended: Body and soul so perfectly united that His glory can be physically seen. “We await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil 3:21).
+++ REAL LOVE REJECTS ABORTION +++
Who we are?
Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.
We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.