Be Holy, Be Happy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Kay remembers the Pope in USA!

Christ, Our Hope!
The Pope's Travels
USA and Australia!
As I reflect on the wonderful opportunity I had to be at the Papal Mass in Yankee Stadium, it is hard for me to separate it from the context of my overall visit to New York City. (The only other time I’d been to NY was about 10 years ago when we had a 4 hour layover on our way to Medjugorje. My sister, Michele, picked us up from the airport and brought us to her apartment in Manhattan for a quick lunch and glimpse of the city.) This trip, however, was a gift from many members of my family who committed themselves to making sure it was to be a memory to last a lifetime.
I’ve been told that those who love you most know the dreams of your heart and yearn to make those dreams come true. I’ve experienced that over and over in my life and once again, through this pilgrimage. It began with my son, Brendan, who cashed in all his frequent flyer miles to surprise me at Christmas with a round trip ticket for the week the Pope would be in New York. My son, my own Augustine, who has strayed from the faith he was nurtured in, sacrificed his own vacation miles to enable me to be with our Holy Father. What love! My “Monica heart” dedicated the pilgrimage to him. In addition to Brendan’s sacrifice, my beautiful Gallagher family chipped in to give me the gift of an experiential visit to New York that would include all that the city has to offer, like a Broadway show (my dream of 30 years ago as an undergrad Theatre major), sights like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, beautiful Central Park (which bloomed its most vibrant colors and fragrant scents in honor of Our Papa), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and much, much more! I had the most caring and knowledgeable tour guides in my dear sister, Jenna, her husband, Brian, and my sister, Michele—all of whom sacrificed time from busy jobs and schedules to treat me like a VIP. What love! Back home, my dear Rob kept the home fires burning, the carpool running, and the blood sugars steady. Mum and Dad gave my family dinner and kept constant vigil for me. My Monday night prayer group, Paula, Julie, and Liz, offered their prayers; my Pro Sanctity family offered their prayers; the CEC community offered their prayers. What love!
The Vicar of Christ came to us also in a spirit of love, embodying the words of his first encyclical, God is Love and the impact of his visit was an enduring sense of HOPE! He confounded the secular media, who expected stern rhetoric and admonition, and instead offered us words of healing, guidance, and promise. His countenance was one of genuine care, devotion, joy, and warmth.
What made the greatest impression on me, was observing the tremendous effect his visit had on US! Love demands a response, whether it be rejection, reciprocity or something in between. I marvel at the whole-hearted response of Americans. We have not become so jaded that we scoff or dismiss an extended hand, instead, we responded like little children delighting in the loving attention of our Father.
I especially rejoiced in the receptivity of New Yorkers. Benedict’s visit was like a soothing balm to weary souls. My brother-in-law, Brian, (who is also a military brat and therefore well-traveled) commented on living in New York by saying that, “Everything is harder here.” I thought his words summed up my own observations very well, with all due respect to my family and friends who live there; life is not easy in NYC. Most apparent is the incredible expense of everything. In Nebraska, we would never think to stand in line for TWO HOURS (no exaggeration) for a hamburger as we did at the Shake Shack but that is exactly what we and many, many others did because “cheap and cheerful” restaurants are hard to find in Manhattan. (It was delicious, by the way, and I have to admit their French fries even rivaled those of Runza!) To go anywhere, one usually must navigate public transportation (private vehicles are expensive to park, if you can find a space—Brian’s was stolen the second day after he moved to the city). The subways are filthy and the gypsy cabs are often driven by people who have no knowledge of the city. Once arriving at your subway stop, you can usually count on a long walk still to get to your destination. People move like herds through the streets and waiting in long lines is typical. I was surprised to see how many New Yorkers owned dogs—but their life isn’t easy either. I walked my sister’s dog around the block, expecting to find a small patch of grass for him (none) and desperately tried to keep his little paws off broken glass but shards were everywhere. New York is an amazingly dazzling place to visit but it would be difficult to live there. How appropriate that the theme of this visit would be hope!
My visit included seeing the many sights New York has to offer and one of my favorite experiences was touring Ellis Island. What a remarkable awareness-raiser that was to the plight of the immigrant! As a Cooperative Apostolic Oblate, we have been studying Pope Benedict’s first encyclical, God is Love, throughout the year. We ended the year with our last few sessions devoted to viewing a current world issue (it was Immigration!) through the lens of our Holy Father’s teaching. My Ellis Island visit has come to mind in many hours of reflection since my trip.
I was SO impressed by the extraordinary effort of the Archdiocese of New York, the New York City Police Department and the many, many people who went above and beyond to accommodate the pilgrims who had traveled to the city to see the Holy Father. We certainly felt welcome! There were funny moments, too, like when seeing the jumbo-tron screens on the interstate that read: “Heavy Traffic to Yankee Stadium expected for Sunday. Use Mass Transit.” I can just see the Dept. of Roads workers who came up with that one chuckling amongst themselves!
While walking through Battery Park with my sisters, I was stunned to see friends, Kim and Emily Becker, from Omaha pass by. Who would expect that in a city of over 8 million people, I’d run into someone that I knew! Kim and Emily were with a small group from the Intercessors of the Lamb.
Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the U.S. was closely followed by many and the response to his addresses has been very positive. My sister and I visited the Apostolic Oblates at the Bethany in Brooklyn and, of course, they were all gathered around the T.V. Sue Miller quipped, “It’s been like this since the Pope landed in America. It’s like the Super Bowl for Apostolic Oblates!” After attending the Mass at Yankee Stadium, I joined my New York family and friends for a dinner at Michele’s and had the opportunity to talk to those who were unable to be at the Mass but were glued to the T.V. They were so happy to have the Holy Father in their midst! In the weeks since my visit, I’ve had many friends who have poured over his talks while in the U. S. and they are filled with fresh insights. I’m sure that careful study of the Pope’s words while in the states will yield fruit for years to come.
The coverage afforded by the media actually gave those watching from home a better view than those of us whose seats were in the extreme corner of the left field line on the highest tier. ;-) But I was there!!!
While at the Mass, I offered prayers for each special person in my life (all the dears mentioned above plus many, many more like my sisters in the Institute of Apostolic Oblates; my patient spiritual director, Teresa; our dedicated PS board; friends who mentor and challenge me, like Rita, Bernadette and Jean; priests, like Msgr. Vaccari, Fr. Joe Hannefeldt, Fr. Carl Zoucha, Fr. Frank Jindra, the late Msgr. Kenny who have helped me find my Way; My entire extended family but especially my Aunt Lorraine, whose witness about unconditional love for family shaped me; every apostolate close to my heart (like Pro Sanctity, KVSS, the Pro Life Movement, Ave Maria’s Institute for Pastoral Theology, The Institute for Priestly Formation, OCBS, etc.); my former hair stylist, Jill (who is like a modern day Pierre Toussaint) and many, many more! I prayed for a lifetime of people in my community who have loved me through good times and bad and have inspired me by their own lives to try each day to be more Christ-like.
My trip to New York will long be remembered for so many wonderful sights, delights and insights! I continue to reflect on the many graces received through this experience and my heart is filled with gratitude. It truly was amazing!
Kay Parlor, Local Pro Sanctity Board President, Nebraska
Kay reminds us to pray for Marcus Knecht, our Board member who has been at World Youth Day in Australia!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Let's pray for the Pope in Australia!! BBQ with the Pope!

Spokesman: Pope Ready for Youth Day Sends 2nd Text Message to Pilgrims SYDNEY, Australia, JULY 16, 2008 (

Benedict XVI is rested and ready to preside at the World Youth Day events this week in Sydney, says a Vatican Spokesman.Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told a press conference today that the Pope is well rested, and that the objective of the three days of rest in the center has been achieved.The Pontiff left the Kenthurst Study Center in Sydney where he spent the first days of his trip to Australia resting.From the center the Pope was taken by car to St. Mary's Cathedral House in Sydney, his residence until the end of his apostolic visit, which officially begins tomorrow with the welcoming ceremony at the Government House.

The Holy Father will preside over the events of World Youth Day in Sydney this week. The international gathering will culminate Sunday with an open-air Mass at Randwick Racecourse.Before leaving the Kenthurst center, the Pontiff thanked the directors and staff with a farewell gift of a replica of the mosaic "Mater Ecclesiae." He also blessed the cornerstone of the Kenthurst youth center."The Pope has been very happy in this center. He has been very well," said Father Lombardi.

Before leaving the center, Benedict XVI sent out his daily text message: "the Holy Spirit gave the Apostles & gives u the power boldly 2 proclaim that Christ is risen!

– BXVI"BarbecueAround Sydney, pilgrims got a real Australian treat with the Big Aussie Barbecue. Taking place in over 200 venues, over 220,000 slices of Tip Top "Daily Bread" were served with sausages and tomato sauce. World Youth Day ambassador Jared Crouch grabbed the tongs today and served up sausages to pilgrims at the University of Notre Dame, Broadway. If all the 220,000 slices of bread were lined up end to end they would cross the Sydney Harbor Bridge 21 times.

Tomorrow will be "Super Holy Thursday," when the Pope will visit the shrine of Mary MacKillop and then travel down Sydney harbor on a Boat-a-cade, before being welcomed at Barangaroo.

His last event will be an official motorcade from Barangaroo to St. Mary's Cathedral House.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008


News from USA West

We just finished a short but great visit with Don Antonio Ciamei and Fr. Mathew Vellanickal.
Dave and Kay Moynahan took them to Downtown LA, where their visited the new cathedral. Our Pastor Fr. David joined us for dinner., and on Tuesday we borrowed a minivan and we all went to visit Father Mike Murphy in San Diego. There the priests had time to meet and discuss their needs and we Oblates prayed and walked around. After a nice meal at Il Fornanio we headed back home. Father Jude and Msgr. Sullivan joined us for lunch. We had time to stop at the Prince of Peace monastery and Oceanside. They have redone the small chapel and it is nice… The last day, Thankamma invited the Indian priests and friends. We had a great meal and made new friends. Now they are visiting Nebraska, and later New York. Let us keep Don Antonio and Fr. Mathew and all the Sodales in our prayers.

On Sunday, August 3, in the afternoon, we will have Pro Sanctity Picnic.
On Saturday, August 9 at 10:30 a.m. we will have the Ceremony of Promises as Cooperative Oblates of Maria Fontana and Karen Fugate and beginning of formation of Pam Baca, Nikki Cordero, Bernette Garza, Lori Shifflet and Cynthia Urquides.
On Saturday, August 16, we will have a Day of Formation for all the Pro Sanctity Board members, Cooperatives, Oblates, and other Pro Sanctity Members involved in core groups and committees.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Benvenuti Fr. Antonio and Fr. Mathew!

The Midwest Pro Sanctity Movement warmly welcomes Fr. Antonio Ciamei, the First General Brother of the Apostolic Sodales from Italy and Fr. Mathew Vellanickal, Apostolic Sodales from India! We are honored to have them with us and invite everyone to accompany them in their visit with your prayers as they visit with the Apostolic Sodales and the Pro Sanctity members in the next few days.

On July 4, 2008, some of our Apostolic Sodales gathered in Monsignor Peter Dunne's home and celebrated a beautiful Mass together. In his homily, Monsignor Dunne reminded us that "Holiness is for everyone! The Apostolic Sodales, however, are called to be particular witnesses of holiness and the priesthood." After Mass, the priests had a joyful lunch where they shared stories, jokes, and insights. Filled with gratitude for both the vocation of the priesthood and the brotherhood that these men share, we are reminded of our own duty and participation that we owe to the Church as members of the Pro Sanctity Movement and the Body of Christ.

In 1982, Bishop Giaquinta gave this reminder:

"What is our duty, our responsibility, especially toward the Priests? To teach this idea of the maximalism is not enough - we must do something for the Priests. First of all, we must PRAY. Through prayer, miracles can happen, situations may change. Secondly, we must help Priest become aware of the principles of the Cenacle, so that they may be helped understand the call that comes from the Cenacle and through this feel a greater love for their priesthood."

Thank you dear priests for your tireless self-giving; for giving us your time, your passion, your gifts, and most importantly the sacraments, especially Jesus in the Eucharist! May God bless you abundantly, Mary, Mother of Trust watch over you, and Servant of God, Bishop Giaquinta intercede for you.

O, Jesus raise up holy priests who spread the message of the Cenacle, who are devoted to your Church and are a leaven of unity for all their brothers.