This blog is by the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity , a community of apostolic women religious and our way of carrying out our little piece of the mission of God. There are posts by members of the Missionary Cenacle Family (Laity, brothers, priests and sisters)
Our chief effort is to develop a missionary spirit in the laity, with the goal that every Catholic be an apostle. Learn more about us at www.msbt.org
We are part of a family in the Church, the Missionary Cenacle Family.
Testimony to Christ's charity, through works of justice,
peace, and development, is part and parcel of evangelization... Benedict XVI -
Caritas in Vertitate
Between evangelization and human advancement - development
and liberation - there are in fact profound links. Paul VI - EvangeliiNuntiandi
" And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say
to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for
me.' " Matthew 25:40
The necessary link between human advancement and
evangelization spoken of by Paul VI is reiterated in Benedict XVFs latest
encyclical. He reminds us that we are not only responsible for our own personal
growth, but also for giving testimony to Christ in works of love and for
helping others - family, friends, fellow parishioners, members of the Cenacle
family, neighbors, fellow citizens of our country, and even people all around
the globe. A particular emphasis of this love is the preferential option for
the poor "which requires that the [needy], the marginalized and in all
cases those whose living conditions interfere with their proper growth should
be the focus of particular concern." (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of
the Church - 182). These deeds of charity, which show this special concern, are
traditionally referred to as the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
Father Judge not only undertook these works of mercy in
traditional ways, but looked for ways to do them in the particular
circumstances of early 20th North America. To mention 2 such efforts: he led
the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity to staff the settlement
house which the Rev. Dr. White was developing in Brooklyn - Gold Street - to counteract
the influence of the Protestant institutions and to care for recent Catholic
immigrants. It was a center, not only of apostolate, but also of the social
work outreach that was soon to grow in Catholic circles. Father also made it
possible for members of the clergy who battled with alcoholism to serve as
chaplains at various Cenacle missions, since before Alcoholics Anonymous, there
was not suitable help for these men. And the Cenacle family has continued these
works of mercy and many others, in institutional ways and particularly as
individuals in the providence of everyday life.
It is a happy paradox that in helping others - giving of
ourselves - we often receive a gift of developing latent talents and in turn
being helped by those we aim to help. Each of us needs to think about what we
are currently doing to care for the needs of others, how we can improve the
service that we offer, and how we can get others involved in this work. It
could be that we could volunteer with groups that manage soup kitchens and food
pantries; perhaps it is to develop professional skills so that people in need
have access to clean water or to instruct people who are illiterate, etc.;
maybe, for the laity especially, it is to take an active role in civic affairs,
and advocate for measures that meet the pressing needs in our local
communities, home countries, and in international hotspots. However, we need to
keep in mind, that no government structures can replace the personal contact
and concern of individuals and local groups that are right on the ground in
areas in want.
Perhaps it is time to question ourselves, knowing that each
of us needs to personalize this examen:
How am I providing for the material and spiritual needs of those Our Lord has placed around me? What more could I be doing ?
Am I familiar with the Church's social doctrine and do I help others understand the power of these principles?
Is my prayer narrow and concerned only with my own and local needs? Or does it reach to global concerns?
Do stories of want in the media move me to pray for those involved? And to get involved myself in alleviating the sufferings of others? Theresa Panzera Ad Hoc Committee for the New Evangelization
Missionary Cenacle Family - Reflection for New
Evangelization: #2 WITNESS OF LIFE
We know that the primary actor in the New Evangelization is
the Holy Spirit, and that in the first place, we must pray for this intention.
But we also know that although God could carry out the spread of His Kingdom
directly, He has chosen to use each of us baptized faithful as His instruments
to spread the Gospel.
Martyrdom is the supreme act of witness, and an old saying
tells us that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. There are
many stories of the onlookers to the sufferings of the early martyrs being
converted. One such story took place in what is now Turkey. Forty Christian
Roman soldiers were sentenced to death by exposure on a frozen lake. They
prayed that as forty would suffer, there would be forty crowns of victory. As
the ordeal dragged on, one of them weakened and went to offer pagan worship.
Then one of the non-Christians guarding the group, moved by the courage of his Christian
comrades, took the place of the one who left and 40 crowns were earned!
John Paul II reminded us that more Christians were martyred
in the 20th century than in all the others combined. Even today there are
Christians in many parts of the world being imprisoned, tortured, and even
killed for their faith. It is unlikely that any of us will be martyred. But in
a society which is growing ever more secular, we can seem old-fashioned and
unenlightened, and perhaps suffer social and/or economic discrimination because
of our beliefs.
Our Lord Himself told us that we are to be the light of the
world (Mt.5:14) and to make sure that our good deeds are done with rectitude
of intention. This is a moral obligation related to the 8th commandment. Our
way of living, speaking, etc. must be in keeping with the fact that we profess
to be Christians.
We do not only need to give witness; we have need to receive
the witness of others. Many times we are edified by the virtues of those around
us, Christians and even non-Christians. Religious families in the Church serve
precisely this purpose: to provide mutual support and good example. We are
helped by being a member of a parish, a prayer group, the MCF ...
At Baptism and Confirmation, we are given the name(s) of (a)
member(s) of the heavenly "cloud of witnesses" to serve as examples
and as intercessors for us. Fr. Judge, Mother Boniface, and Dr. Healy are
special witnesses for us as to how we are to live the Spirit of the Cenacle,
and the customs and practices we have grew out of the early experiences of
Father Judge and the first members. Father Judge said:... Our communities have
been trained to be neighborly, to go out of their way to do a service, ... and
never to get into any kind of contention, to be peaceful even though they have
to suffer a trespass ... Fr. Judge (Archives 12939)
The Catholic Catechism and recent papal documents describe
the peculiar characteristics of the witness demanded by contemporary society:
people follow witnesses more readily than teachers. In the history of the
Church, there have always been situations were the apostolate of witness was
the only one feasible. In the early days of the Cenacle in eastern Alabama,
where anti-Catholicism was rampant, this was the case. Fr. Judge encouraged the
first associates who went South to be involved with enterprises which would put
them in contact with people in every day situations, and they even ran a dairy!
In the flu pandemic at the end of World War I, the Cenacle members assisted the
doctors in caring for the sick, preparing healthy meals, etc. The help extended
to the Sisters by neighbors when their motherhouse burnt down, and they
literally possessed only the clothes on their backs, shows that the witness of Sisters'
charitable lives worked to combat the prejudice they faced.
Each of us has to give this witness in "the providence
of one's everyday life". And Paul VI spoke of a situation that is part of
the lives of many in the Cenacle family - the immigrant experience. He said that
migrants need to be conscious of the witness they bear to their beliefs in
their host countries. And we can add that people of host countries need to
strive to bear witness by their hospitality, concern for justice for new
Our witness is not that of outsiders in our communities - we
need to share in all that is good and noble in our cultures and strive to
correct and elevate it when the standards of our societies are not truly Christian,
nor even fully human.
As we continue to consider different aspects of the New
Evangelization perhaps we can think about and consider in prayer the following
Do I have a good grasp of Catholic doctrine and morals so
that I can bear true witness in my own life?
Do I receive the Eucharist frequently and do I make regular
use of the sacrament of Reconciliation so that I may have the grace necessary
to live an authentically Catholic life?
Do I try to purify my intentions so that my thoughts, words,
and actions truly glorify God and edify my neighbors?
As far as I am able, do I try to become familiar with the
lives of the founders of the Cenacle family so that I may grow in understanding
of the Cenacle spirit and can apply it in the "providence of my every day
Am I familiar with the life/lives and virtues of the special
patron(s) given me at Baptism/Confirmation and do I ask for their intercession?
Do I realize that I need the witness given by those around
me (as well as ongoing formation), especially those in the MCF? Does this move
me to be faithful to Cenacle meetings, retreats, days of reflections, etc.
Do I take an active part in civic, parish, family and
cultural life in keeping with the time I have available, the talents, education
and training that I have received, and the treasure that I have at my disposal
so that I can bear witness - be the leaven - in the society where I live?
Theresa Panzera Ad Hoc Committee for the New Evangelization
Renewing our personal and communal devotion to the Holy Spirit
Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you
will." Mark 11: 24
"...Collaboration with the mission of Christ and the Holy
Spirit, which is now the mission of the Church, is the object of the prayer of the apostolic community....
By prayer every baptized
person works for the coming of the Kingdom." The Catechism of
the Catholic Church #2642
"Evangelization will never be possible without the action of
the Holy Spirit... It is in the consolation of the Holy Spirit that the Church increases." EN
"It must be said that the Holy Spirit is the principal agent
of evangelization; it is He Who impels each individual to proclaim the Gospel and
it is He Who in the depths of conscience causes the word of salvation to be accepted
and understood.... The faithful [ought] to pray without ceasing to the Holy
Spirit... and let themselves be prudently guided by Him as the decisive
inspirer of their plans, their initiatives, and their evangelizing
activity." EN # 75
"Our prayer should not be narrow, personal prayer; it should
reach to the throne of God only after having touched the farthest bounds of
God's creation and mourned in every human misery, and rejoiced in God's
goodness to men. We should pray for the Church, the Holy Father... We should pray
... that the reign of the Holy Spirit will come in the hearts of men ..."
Missionary Cenacle Meditations: Wednesday Fifth Week of Easter
In 1976, Paul VI wrote EN following up on the bishops' synod on
evangelization. As the Church
prepares for another bishops' synod to be held in October, 2012
dealing with the New Evangelization, we can use EV as a sure guide as we study, pray,
and plan so that each of us in the MCF can take an active part in this new
What makes this the NEW evangelization? Following up on the thoughts
of Paul VI, John Paul II and our present pope, Benedict XVI, point out
circumstances in our modem world which call for
different approaches. Not only does the Church in this age
continue her mission ad gentes - to those who have never known of Jesus
Christ, but she is especially concerned with
- people of age-old Christian countries like those in Europe and
North America where radical secularism, consumerism, etc. are eating at the soul of cultures,
and where knowledge and
practice of the faith is way down;- and people of traditionally Catholic countries like those in
Central and South America where non-catholic groups are growing exponentially, as many baptized
Catholics who have had little opportunity for learning more about the faith and often infrequent
chances to attend Mass and receive the sacraments, find a welcome among these other
Evangelization is both a supernatural and human undertaking. And
while not underestimating the human means needed - religious and cultural studies, catechesis,
preaching, lives of Catholic witness, etc. - the primary means employed will be
the supernatural means, especially prayer and acts of self sacrifice (mortification)
which some authors refer to as " prayer of the body". Perhaps the importance
of these means is shown by the Church's naming St. Therese of Lisieux, the
Little Flower to whom Fr. Judge has great devotion, a young woman who lived a
short and cloistered life, as the patron of her mission! along with St. Francis
Xavier who went to the farthest ends of the earth to spread the Good News.
As we ponder the quotes cited at the beginning of this note, we
can ask ourselves
1. How and when do I pray for the coming of the Kingdom? Certainly
each time I say the Our Father, but is this an intention that I include when I celebrate
or assist at the Mass?
2. Do I ask the Holy Spirit for His aid as I attempt
to be an apostle, an evangelizer in the providence of my every day life as a member of the MCF, whatever
branch I am part of and whatever my position in life?
3. Do I make use of the Cenacle's customary prayers to the Holy
Spirit - the novena and the litany to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity - in asking for
His gifts especially wisdom and fortitude?
4. If I am not now using these prayers, can I incorporate
one or the other or both of them into my day, and if I do recite them daily, can I take
them to my personal prayer so as to
deepen my "devotional knowledge" and love for the Holy
5. Can I concretize my efforts to take part in this New
Evangelization by asking the Holy Spirit to help me formulate a specific plan for each day -
be it prayer, self-sacrifice,
speaking to a friend, reading or preaching from one of the sources
suggested to the MCF during this time before the Synod of Bishops, teaching catechism,
etc. depending upon my
Let us ask Mary, the Queen of the Missionary Cenacle, to help us
with the efforts we will make for the preservation of the faith and to think with the Church as
the Church concentrates on the
This past year we published a small booklet of our Missionary Methods.
These have been the ways and means of carrying out our ministries since our beginnings.
By our lives as Missionary Servants we seek first to glorify the Triune God.
We follow in the footsteps of the Apostles who, filled with the Holy Spirit, went forth from the Cenacle to spread everywhere the knowledge and love of Jesus.
We live and work that God’s name may be hallowed, that his kingdom come,
that his holy will be done. Rule of Life, article 3
Practice of Taking Council
We invite people to share in the mission of the Church by taking counsel with them about ways and means to bring God into the lives of the people.
We determine the needs of an area and a population by listening to the people, the ministers, the leaders of the community and seeking their counsel before creating any plan of action. After prayer and council, we attempt to respond to the needs brought to light by using any means appropriate.
(See Taking Council available from the Missionary Cenacle Press. See also Building a Life-giving Parish: The Gift of Counsel in the Modern World by Sister Brenda Hermann, MSBT and Msgr. James Gaston, MA, STL.)
Every Catholic a Missionary
We work with the Cenacle Family to bring about in all Catholics a missionary spirit. We encourage Catholics, especially young people, to be involved with local parish programs such as Renew, RCIA, and evangelization projects.
We take every opportunity to encourage and collaborate with the laity, encouraging co-workers and volunteers to participate in our ministries. We engage the participation of parishioners in various aspects of serving people in
We encourage all to become involved in strengthening the faith of Catholics who are in danger of losing their faith; of demonstrating by their personal witness the care of the Church for those in need; MSBT Constitution article 5.1
Sentire Cum Ecclesia
We strive to make the Church a welcoming place for adults as well as youth and children.
We make it a practice to be aware of Church teachings and to remain current about local issues affecting the Church.
We read the local diocesan newspaper to keep current.
We stay aware of Church documents as they become available from Diocesan offices and from local Catholic book stores (if one is available)
We are aware of Catholic Social Teaching by reading documents as they come out, ex: A Place at the Table, Faithful Citizenship, etc.
We actively participate in Ecumenical efforts to serve the needy and to take part in prayerful opportunities to work for peace, justice and Christian unity.
Home visiting is a long standing custom, no matter the particular work. Prayer to the Holy Spirit precedes any home visit.
We are used to making ourselves available to people according to their schedules, including evenings and on week-ends.
We work to create a non-judgmental attitude, taking people as they are.
By means of home visitation we seek to discover the needs of individuals and families and then locate appropriate programs to respond to these needs.
We “work out of the trunk of our cars” and thus take our programs to the people rather than waiting for people to come to us.
We make no promises to people at the time of a home visit, except perhaps the promise to return if needs be.
The Providence of everyday life.
In order to learn about the “providence of the everyday lives” of the people we serve, we take care to learn about the culture, customs and history of the area. We consult the local newspapers for items of interest regarding the
people and the locale.
We do this before making missionary plans. This is in conjunction with the idea of
taking council with people.
We share our Gospel spirit. Our approach always includes devotion to the Holy Spirit.
We encourage the people we serve to create opportunities to be a Gospel presence within the providence of their everyday lives.
We take opportunities to reflect on the Gospel with people as a means of “following in the footsteps of Jesus.”
We communicate to people that where they are, their families, their neighborhoods, their local communities, their work environment, IS the providence of their everyday lives and that is where they are called to be
Save the Child / Concern for Families
The family is the “domestic Church.” We set up programs to guide families in Christian values. We strive to create
an atmosphere for people to see the Church as the center for their activities.
We strive to bring families, youth and children to a knowledge of the Holy Trinity and the love that God has for them.
We participate with other groups and agencies serving the same people in an area so that our collaboration and creative effort may better serve the people and that they may discover the fullness of Christian living.
We make connections between families with needs and people with the skills or means to respond to these needs.
We develop thrift shops, food pantries, etc., following on the principle that we do whatever is required to respond to the needs of people.
We strive to be open to youth and children, listening to them, becoming friends with them, and respecting them, not as the “Church of the future” but as the Young Church today.
Devotions and Virtues the bedrock of our methodology
There is an individual piety... and there is a... community spirit... A community spirit is very distinctive...
Our spirit is taken from the practice of our devotions. There is nothing comparable to these devotions. What is comparable to the Mystery of the Holy Trinity? What is
comparable to the Mystery of the Incarnation, to the abiding of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in the souls of the faithful? What is comparable to the Mental Sorrows of Jesus?
We are to have a particular devotion to the angels, the Apostles. We are to be noted for a particular loyalty to the Holy Father. The Church has not anything more
wonderful than the Mystery of the Holy Trinity.
Everything in our holy faith is taprooted in that Mystery, all the Christ mysteries, all the Mary mysteries are in it. If you take over these devotions you will have a certain spirit... You will have the Cenacle spirit.
You are to practice virtues, the virtues of simplicity, prudence, humility, charity, sacrifice, patience and the virtue of self-denial. You cannot practice these virtues,
you cannot give yourself over to these devotions without producing a distinct type in the Church of God...
Pray that you may persevere in these qualities and that you may possess all that will make you more useful to the honor and glory of God and the good of the Church. (Missionary Cenacle Meditations, p. 314)
After a long hiatus I have decided to resume this blog. There have been just too many interesting things not to share them. The first thing I'd like to share is that this summer I had the privilege of a lifetime experience, a thirty day retreat at a beautiful Jesuit retreat house overlooking the Atlantic in Gloucester, Massachusetts. As one friend said to me, "you couldn't have found a better to place to hang out with God"! This is definitely true. The timing was perfect. This has been a year of "running": from Columbia to Costa Rica, to Mexico (several times!) as well as various parts of the U.S. The good news is that we have young women from Latin America who are interested in joining us. So my co-worker, Sister Olivia and I have been looking for a house in Mexico where they can live with us and discern their vocation. I am grateful to have had this retreat opportunity before beginning the next "phase". Back to the retreat. It was the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, a tried and true method for encounter with God that has been in existence over 400 years. One thing St. Ignatius wants people to understand is God's unconditional love for us, so gazing over the Atlantic certainly reinforced the knowledge of God's unfathomable love. Besides basking in God's love, we pondered the life of Christ in the Gospels during 5 different daily prayer periods. I came to understand why this retreat is called the "Exercises". It truly was an exercise in spiritual growth. This was such an impressionable experience that I'm sure I'll be sharing more as time goes on. In the meantime to see some photos of this beautiful place, click the following link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22016325@N05/sets/72157631202173366/show/ Please know you were all in my prayers during the retreat. God's love is reflected to us in all those people who love us and share their lives with us. Thank you for that.
We are part of a family in the Church, the Missionary
Cenacle family. There are four branches, the Missionary Cenacle Apostalate, the
Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, the Blessed Trinity Missionary
Institute and we the Sisters the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed
Our gift to the Church has always been that of preservation
of the faith so the call to the New Evangelization is a perfect fit for us. As
a family we are planning together to prepare for the Synod on the New
Evangelization. This is being done through prayer, reflection, dialogue and
action. Our Plan is detailed below:
Plan for the Missionary Cenacle Family to prepare for the
Synod on the New Evangelization - October 2012.
1. Prayer: Each member of the Missionary Cenacle Family will
make a renewed effort to live out our devotion to the Holy Spirit.
To pray the traditional Novena and Litany of the Holy
Spirit, or any of the other Novena Prayers personally and with others.
To renew our efforts to make the Holy Spirit part of our
2. Reflection: In all of the various ways that Cenacle
people gather; Missionary Cenacle meetings, Local Councils, Family Area
Councils, etc - to make every effort that each gathering take time to reflect
on the Holy Spirit and our evangelizing efforts, using the writings from
Scripture, the Church and Father Judge. The following documents on
Evangelization are proposed as resources.
Also, many other documents and articles are available online
in both English and Spanish. "Google" New Evangelization and you will
be surprised at the number of resources there are.
Upcoming Reflections on "how" evangelization takes
a. Witness of life (EN 41; RM 42)
b. Preaching (EN 42-43; RM 20)
c. Catechesis (EN 55; RM 73)
Media (EN 45)
Sacraments (EN 47)
f. Popular Piety (EN 48)
g. Solidarity with the Poor (EN 31; RM 60)
Comunidades eclesiales de base (RM51)
Each month a reflection on one of the above will be sent out
to keep us focused on the New Evangelization throughout the coming year.
To share with your group how evangelization has a place in
the providence of YOUR everyday life. To set and share PERSONAL goals regarding
To set and share goals regarding evangelization with the
Cenacle group with
which you take council.
To share the Gospel values inherent in your living out of
your Catholic faith. To share those values which are inherent in humanity and
could provide a foundation for Gospel values.
To set out to learn how others incorporate different customs
into their expression of faith.
Prepare a response from your group based on the dialogues
you have held and return these to the Committee members for creating a final
report to the Missionary Cenacle Family. These may be returned at any time, but
prior to September 2012.
Create an action plan for implementing some aspect of the
"New Evangelization" in your Cenacle group or in your place of
ministry and share this with the Committee as per the above. These may be
returned at any time, but prior to September 2012.
In 2007 we adopted "...a power for good" In our community as part of our trade mark along with our pin/emblem. In our in our Religious Family, the Missionary Cenacle Family, this saying is used all the time a a guideline, an inspiration and a reminder.
One of our brothers Br. Steve, ST was able to find a letter, from our founder Fr. Thomas Judge, in which we think the saying originated.
... a power for good
Our founder Fr. Thomas A. Judge, CM said,”
throw yourself confidingly, generously into the hands of Divine
Providence and never worry about tomorrow. You will always find then,
that your program is God’s plan. Leave home with only this thought, “I wish to be good; I wish to do good; I wish to become a power for good.”
Although our sisters are trained in many professions and
active in many types of ministries what is important is not the type of
ministry we do but how we do it. The way we are in prayer, in ministry
and with others needs to reflect our personal love of God our Father,
of his son Jesus and of the Holy Spirit who abides with us.
"Our specific mission is the preservation of the faith in
those areas and among those people who are spiritually neglected and
abandoned, especially the poor. Our chief effort is to develop a
missionary spirit in the laity, with the goal that every Catholic be an apostle." MSBT Rule of Life #5