Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ryan Bilodeau Weight of the Cross

In many ways Christianity can be seen as a sort of paradox. And its effects on the souls of men are best embodied by people like St. Lawrence, a martyred Deacon who told his captors to “turn him over” as they grilled him alive. Christianity is always best manifested when its faithful members have internalized their beliefs to the degree that they can mock the world and the peace it offers.
Recall our history. Our early members were among those meeting lions in the Colosseum armed only with faith. And our present ones clash daily with a culture that inundates us with all that is antithetical to our beliefs. We are called close-minded, and our own government sometimes attempts to prevent us from practicing our faith. Nonetheless our Bishops carry us forward, back into the Colosseum, where we again confront people who oppose our beliefs.
These members of the early church, who “walked by faith and not by sight,” had only the light of faith to illuminate their way. Which of the apostles on Good Friday knew the glory that was to come on Easter Sunday? Did our martyrs go to their death knowing the profound effect of their witness? And yet God is a sort of master chess player, bringing order out of chaos and love out of hatred. Consider the Roman soldiers who tortured Jesus on his path to Calvary. God uses even the most violent of men to bring peace to the world. With our faith there is always assurance; there is always hope.
And although our faith may be a sort of paradox, its truth is also seen quite clearly in each person’s path to holiness. This is why we understand and believe Jesus when He tells us “[His] yoke is easy, and [His] burden light.” Even under the seemingly heavy burden of the cross, we still find rest in our encounter with the Lord. On the heels of Holy Week, it’s applicable to say that we are all Simon of Cyrene, helping Christ carry His cross as we ourselves all venture to Calvary. And we are all Mary Magdalene, discovering in the empty tomb that Jesus is risen and experiencing daily the sacramental graces flowing from this reality.
So we enter Easter season swimming upstream in the world’s many currents. Amidst our struggles we notice the now light weight of the cross, which has been conquered. In living out our faith we like St. Lawrence mock the world while embracing the peace that God gives us. We hold fast to a faith experienced so powerfully during Holy Week. And we move forward as a Church of resurrection with trust in our God. As it turns out Jesus was right. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Friday, May 3, 2013

One Seminary's Loss is One Diocese's Gain

Father Michael Barber, S.J. has been named Bishop of Oakland. He has served us well, and remains an inspiration to us all.

From Rector Monsignor James P. Moroney's Blog:

This morning it was announced that Pope Francis has appointed Father Michael Barber, S.J. as Bishop of Oakland in California. Father Michael Barber, S.J. has served as Director of Spiritual Formation at Saint John’s Seminary in Boston since June of 2010.

Fr. Barber has a storied priesthood:

The bishop-designate entered the Jesuits in 1973 and was ordained a priest in 1985.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and history at Gonzaga University in 1978, completed his theological studies at Regis College at the University of Toronto in 1985, and obtained an ecclesiastical license in dogmatic theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1989.

At 59 years-old, Bishop-designate Barber has served in numerous capacities, including as a missionary in Western Samoa, an assistant professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, a tutor and chaplain at the University of Oxford, and as chaplain for the U.S. Navy Reserve.

During his time at the Gregorian, he taught dogmatic theology and conducted research on unpublished manuscripts of sermons by Blessed John Henry Newman.

His time as a military chaplain included being called to active duty in 2003 to serve the 6,000 troops in the 4th Marine Air Wing who participated in the invasion of Iraq.

He speaks English, Italian, Spanish and Latin.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pope Benedict

It can be argued that Pope Emeritus Benedict defined at home what Blessed Pope John Paul II preached abroad: the “New Evangelization.” For Benedict, all evangelization flows from the Mass properly understood and celebrated. At a time when the secular articulates progress as synonymous with reinvention, Benedict instead sought renewal. He showed us that the “New Evangelization” lied not in the adaptation of dogma, but rather in the increase of beauty and objectivity in the words of the Mass. None should be surprised that the closing public words of the 265th papacy were “let us return to prayer.”

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Papam. And his name is Francis.

From his first homily: "I would like that all of us, after these days of grace, might have the courage - the courage - to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Cross of the Lord: to build the Church on the Blood of the Lord, which is ...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Seeking the priesthood through prayer

From an article I wrote years ago:

This time last year I entered Our Lady of Providence Seminary (OLP) on Mount Pleasant Avenue with a heart that was heavy and a backpack that was light. In an effort to determine whether or not the strings of my heart were pulling me toward the priesthood, I agreed to attend the annual Bishop’s discernment overnight retreat. I returned to the same retreat one year later with a peaceful heart and no bag at all, for now I am a seminarian and OLP is my home.