MAGNIFICAT, Baton Rouge, LA

“Family Stories of Faith in Times of Crisis”
A Louisiana Catholic woman finds her place in the New Evangelization by sharing family stories of Faith, Hope and Love, particularly during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

Written by Connie Anderson
REGISTERED WITH THE WGA EAST, 04/22/2012
Copyright 2012 by QuickHelp Productions. All Rights Reserved.

EXCEPT: THE YEAR OF FAITH: POPE BENEDICT, THE MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY, AND THE BATON ROUGE ZOO

A LITTLE EARLIER IN MY FAITH WITNESS, I BRIEFLY MENTIONED THE YEAR OF FAITH, WHICH POPE BENEDICT PROCLAIMED FOR THIS COMING YEAR. THIS SPECIAL OBSERVANCE BEGINS OCTOBER 11TH OF THIS YEAR, AND IT ENDS ON NOVEMBER 24, 2013, THE SOLEMNITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, UNIVERSAL KING.

IT MARKS THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OPENING OF THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, AND THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROMULGATION OF THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. IT ALSO MARKS THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS.

THE UPCOMING SYNOD’S PREPARATION DOCUMENT (THE NEW EVANGELIZATION FOR THE TRANSMISSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH) RE-EMPHASIZES “THE ABSOLUTE CENTRALITY OF THE TASK OF EVANGELIZATION FOR THE CHURCH – TODAY.”

IT ALSO ISSUES A SOBER WARNING:
“THE WORDS OF THE DISCIPLES ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS ILLUSTRATE THAT PROCLAIMING CHRIST IS OPEN TO FAILURE; THEIR WORDS WERE INCAPABLE OF TRANSMITTING LIFE. IN RECOUNTING THEIR FRUSTRATION AND – LOSS OF HOPE -, THE TWO DISCIPLES PROCLAIMED SOMEONE WHO WAS DEAD. FOR THE CHURCH IN EVERY AGE, THEIR WORDS SPEAK OF THE POSSIBILITY OF A PROCLAMATION WHICH, INSTEAD OF GIVING LIFE, KEEPS BOTH THOSE WHO PROCLAIM AND THOSE WHO HEAR BOUND IN THE DEATH OF THE CHRIST PROCLAIMED…“

THE DOCUMENT GOES ON TO SAY, “PERHAPS IN THIS WAY THE PROBLEM OF UNFRUITFULNESS IN EVANGELIZATION AND CATECHESIS TODAY CAN BE SEEN AS AN ECCLESIOLOGICAL PROBLEM WHICH CONCERNS THE CHURCH’S CAPACITY, MORE OR LESS, OF BECOMING A REAL COMMUNITY, A TRUE FRATERNITY AND A LIVING BODY, AND NOT A MECHANICAL THING OR ENTERPRISE.”

(READ MORE: HTTP://WWW.VATICAN.VA/ROMAN_CURIA/SYNOD/DOCUMENTS/RC_SYNOD_DOC_20110202_LINEAMENTA-XIII-ASSEMBLY_EN.HTML)

I WOULD LIKE TO CONCLUDE MY TESTIMONY TODAY, PONDERING OUT LOUD HOW WE AS ORDINARY WOMEN (AND MEN) FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE CAN ANSWER POPE BENEDICT’S CALL TO THE NEW EVANGELIZATION. ALTHOUGH SOME OF US MAY HAVE HAD THE MISFORTUNE OF EXPERIENCING THE CHURCH AS “A MECHANICAL THING OR ENTERPRISE,” MOST OF US IN THIS ROOM STILL EXPERIENCE CHURCH IN THE WAY WE FIRST DID AS CHILDREN. JUST AS THE FICTIONAL STORYTELLER RUTH, AND THE VERY REAL ZECHARIAH, ELIZABETH, JOSEPH AND MARY IN THE NATIVITY STORY, WE EXPERIENCED THE CHURCH FIRST AS FAMILY.

I HAVE ONE LAST FAMILY STORY I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOU, THE ONE JUST FOR FUN. BUT IT ALSO HELPS ILLUSTRATE CHURCH DEFINITELY AS A LIVING, BREATHING FAMILY, AND CERTAINLY NOT AS A MECHANICAL THING OR ENTERPRISE.

AROUND FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, I WAS AT A VERY LOW POINT IN MY PERSONAL AND FAMILY LIFE. FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS, I BEGAN TO DO VOLUNTEER WORK WITH OUR LOCAL MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY. COMING FROM A BACKGROUND AS STRUCTURED AS MINE, IT WAS ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DEGREES OPPOSITE OF WHAT I WAS USED TO DOING, ESPECIALLY WITH REGARDS TO “CHURCH WORK.”

THE MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY IN BATON ROUGE WERE, AND CONTINUE TO BE, THE MOST SPONTANEOUS PEOPLE I HAVE EVER MET. THE RESULT SOMETIMES OF “GOING IN HASTE” TO SERVE GOD AND THEIR NEIGHBOR PROMPTED ONE OF MY GOOD FRIENDS TO REFER TO THEM AFFECTIONATELY AS THE “MISSIONARIES OF CONFUSION.”

ONE OF MY FIRST TASKS WITH THEM WAS TO ARRANGE THE SUMMER CAMPERS’ VISIT TO THE BATON ROUGE ZOO. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DO NOT KNOW BATON ROUGE IN THE DEAD HEAT AND HUMIDITY OF JULY, IT CAN BE STIFLING. THE MISSIONARIES, THE CHILDREN, THE VOLUNTEERS AND I WERE ABOUT HALF-WAY THROUGH THE PARK, WHEN A CLOUD BURST BROKE, AND WE WENT RUNNING FOR COVER UNDER A MAKE-SHIFT SHELTER, WHICH WAS BASICALLY A TIN ROOF SUPPORTED BY A FEW WOODEN POLES. AS WE TOOK SHELTER, I WAS SURPRISED TO DISCOVER ONE OF ST. THOMAS MORE SCHOOL’S TEACHERS, SYLVIA KRESS, AND HER TWO CHILDREN ALSO THERE. FROM THE LOOK ON SYLVIA’S FACE, IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT SHE WAS JUST AS SURPRISED TO SEE ME THERE TOO, ESPECIALLY WITH THE MISSIONARIES AND ALL THESE LITTLE KIDS FROM THE ST. AGNES AREA.

WELL, THE RAIN KEPT COMING DOWN AND WAS EVEN GETTING STRONGER. YOU CAN IMAGINE THAT BY THIS TIME THE KIDS WERE GETTING PRETTY SQUIRMY. SO, SR. JOHN JANET, WHOM MOTHER TERESA HAD DISCOVERED AS A VOLUNTEER IN ONE OF MOTHER’S SUMMER CAMPS, BEGAN SINGING THAT WONDERFUL OLD SONG, FATHER ABRAHAM, GETTING THE KIDS AND US TO SING ALONG AND TO CLAP, VIGOROUSLY. YOU CAN IMAGINE THE LOOKS NOW ON SYLVIA’S AND HER CHILDREN’S FACES.

MEANWHILE, AS THE RAIN IS ALMOST COVERING OUR FEET, I CAN SEE IN THE DISTANCE OVER THE HEADS OF THE SISTERS AND THE CHILDREN THE CHIMPANZEE CAGE. AND I BEGAN TO SEE THE CHIMPS CRANING THEIR NECKS TO FIGURE OUT “WHAT’S ALL THIS NOISE?” SUDDENLY, IT HIT ME THAT, LIKE THE CARTOON I HAD SEEN IN LOOK MAGAZINE MANY YEARS BEFORE, THE MISSIONARIES, THE CHILDREN, THE VOLUNTEERS AND I HAD BECOME ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE MONKEYS!

AFTER THE RAIN SUBSIDED, WE ALL WENT TO SEE THE CHIMPS, AND FOUND TWO OF THEM WALKING ARM AND ARM, AROUND AND AROUND THEIR GROTTO. SR. AQUINA, WHO HAD RECENTLY ARRIVED IN BATON ROUGE AS THE NEW SUPERIOR OF THE LOCAL CONVENT, THEN GAVE ME THE BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED, NOT ONLY FOR MY OWN LIFE, BUT ALSO FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN WORKING FOR THE NEW EVANGELIZATION. AFTER LOOKING AT THE CHIMPS, SR. ACQUINA LOOKED AT ME, SMILED AND SAID, “THEY MAKE GOOD MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY. THEY GO TWO BY TWO!”

I ENCOURAGE YOU TO SHARE YOUR OWN FAMILY STORIES OF FAITH. YOU DON’T NEED ANY SPECIAL DEGREES OR ANY SPECIAL TECHNOLOGY. LIKE THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES, YOUR FAMILY STORIES DO NOT HAVE TO BE ABOUT PERFECT PEOPLE. THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE TO BE DRAMATIC. RATHER YOUR STORIES NEED TO BE YOUR OWN HONEST TESTIMONY TO THE GOODNESS OF PEOPLE YOU HAVE KNOWN AND LOVED, BECAUSE OF THEIR ENCOUNTERS WITH OUR RISEN LORD, JESUS CHRIST.

YOU DON’T NEED A ROOM FULL OF PEOPLE TO SHARE YOUR GOOD NEWS EITHER. LIKE THE MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY AND THOSE CHIMPS AT THE BATON ROUGE ZOO, YOU ONLY NEED TO GO ARM IN ARM AND “TWO BY TWO.”

BECAUSE TODAY IS THE FEAST OF ST. LOUIS MARIE DE MONTFORT, I NOW INVITE YOU TO SHOW TRUE DEVOTION TO MARY AND CALL UPON HER, ESPECIALLY UNDER HER TITLE OF OUR LADY OF PROMPT SUCCOR. AS PATRONESS OF OUR STATE AND OUR SPECIAL MOTHER, OUR LADY OF PROMPT SUCCOR FIRST CAME TO FRENCH COLONIAL LOUISIANA WITH THE URSULINE NUNS IN 1727, ABOUT TEN YEARS AFTER ST. LOUIS MARIE’S DEATH IN FRANCE. I KNOW OF NO BETTER EXAMPLE OF TRUE DEVOTION TO MARY IN LOUISIANA THAN THAT SHOWN EARLY IN THE LAST CENTURY BY THE URSULINE MOTHER SUPERIOR, WHO GAVE OUR LADY HER AFFECTIONATE NICKNAME, “SWEETHEART,” BECAUSE SHE ANSWERED SO MANY PRAYERS! PLEASE TAKE HOME THE PRAYER CARDS, AND SHARE THIS DEVOTION, WHICH IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR LOUISIANA CATHOLIC FAMILY HERITAGE.

AS I REACH THE END OF MY WITNESS, I WANT THANK YOU FOR BEING SUCH GOOD AND SUPPORTIVE LISTENERS. DURING OUR LAST FEW MINUTES TOGETHER, LET US SAVOR WHAT REMAINS OF THIS JOYFUL EASTER SEASON. LET US PREPARE OUR HEARTS AND MINDS FOR THE GLORIOUS WEEKS AHEAD, SO THAT AFTER OUR LORD RETURNS TO HIS HEAVENLY FATHER ON ASCENSION THURSDAY, WE WILL BE OPEN TO RECEIVE A GREATER OUTPOURING OF HIS HOLY SPIRIT, PARTICULARLY A RENEWAL OF THE THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES OF FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE.

PLEASE JOIN ME NOW IN RENEWING THE CONSECRATION OF OUR FAMILIES TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS, PRAYING THAT WE WILL BE FERTILE SOIL TO HELP SPREAD TRUE DEVOTION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY, THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS AND THE DIVINE MERCY:

SACRED HEART OF JESUS, YOU MADE CLEAR TO SAINT MARGARET MARY YOUR DESIRE OF BEING KING IN CHRISTIAN FAMILIES. WE TODAY WISH TO PROCLAIM YOUR MOST COMPLETE KINGLY DOMINION OVER OUR OWN FAMILY. WE WANT TO LIVE IN THE FUTURE WITH YOUR LIFE. WE WANT TO CAUSE TO FLOURISH IN OUR MIDST THOSE VIRTUES TO WHICH YOU HAVE PROMISED PEACE HERE BELOW. WE WANT TO BANISH FAR FROM US THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD WHICH YOU HAVE CURSED. YOU SHALL BE KING OVER OUR MINDS IN THE SIMPLICITY OF OUR FAITH, AND OVER OUR HEARTS BY THE WHOLEHEARTED LOVE WITH WHICH THEY SHALL BURN FOR YOU, THE FLAME OF WHICH WE WILL KEEP ALIVE BY THE FREQUENT RECEPTION OF YOUR DIVINE EUCHARIST. BE SO KIND, O DIVINE HEART, AS TO PRESIDE OVER OUR ASSEMBLINGS, TO BLESS OUR ENTERPRISES, BOTH SPIRITUAL AND TEMPORAL, TO DISPEL OUR CARES, TO SANCTIFY OUR JOYS, AND TO ALLEVIATE OUR SUFFERINGS. IF EVER ONE OR OTHER OF US SHOULD HAVE THE MISFORTUNE TO AFFLICT YOU, REMIND HIM, O HEART OF JESUS, THAT YOU ARE GOOD AND MERCIFUL TO THE PENITENT SINNER. AND WHEN THE HOUR OF SEPARATION STRIKES, WHEN DEATH SHALL COME TO CAST MOURNING INTO OUR MIDST, WE WILL ALL, BOTH THOSE WHO GO AND THOSE WHO STAY, BE SUBMISSIVE TO YOUR ETERNAL DECREES. WE SHALL CONSOLE OURSELVES WITH THE THOUGHT THAT A DAY WILL COME WHEN THE ENTIRE FAMILY, REUNITED IN HEAVEN, CAN SING FOREVER YOUR GLORIES AND YOUR MERCIES. MAY THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY AND THE GLORIOUS PATRIARCH SAINT JOSEPH PRESENT THIS CONSECRATION TO YOU, AND KEEP IT IN OUR MINDS ALL THE DAYS OF OUR LIFE. ALL GLORY TO THE HEART OF JESUS, OUR KING AND OUR FATHER!

(Read more: HTTP://WWW.EWTN.COM/FAITH/TEACHINGS/INCAB3B.HTM)

THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME TO SHARE MY FAMILY STORIES WITH YOU TODAY. AND MAY YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES CELEBRATE OUR CHURCH’S UPCOMING YEAR OF FAITH AS “A REAL COMMUNITY, A TRUE FRATERNITY AND (PART OF THE) LIVING BODY” OF OUR LORD, JESUS CHRIST. AMEN. ALLELUIA!

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