THE LITTLE WAY
"For having nothing, I shall receive everything from God"
The Birth of our Messiah! It is a climactic moment in the history of humankind!
/St. John Paul II/
On behalf of the “Little Way” editorial team, we wish you our dear readers, a profound Advent experience in the manner of Our Lady.
May her attitude of deep humility before the Lord help you discover the meaning behind the Mystery of the Incarnation in your lives.
And I hope that the graces afforded by this Christmas season will lead you to a closer relationship with the saving love of the Child Jesus, our only hope.
For the coming New Year - we wish you many loving friendships, peace in your hearts, joy, and patience in building our parish community.
In these difficult times, caused by the covid-19 pandemic, we want to propagate Christian values through our actions, and support the moral development of adults, youths, and children via various forms of evangelization. In this spirit came the idea and impetus behind the formation of our parish magazine. The latest edition we give to you in the time of Advent, as we await the fulfillment of God’s promise in our lives.
As always, we invite you to cooperate, co-create, edit, translate, and correct the articles. We also welcome photographers and artists.
The magazine will be separated into several different sections.
We hope that our text will be a place where you will encounter an exchange of thoughts, perspectives, and experiences that will solidify and develop our parish into a cohesive community that accompanies each and every one of us on our path to heaven.
We present to you the Advent-special edition of the “Little Way” magazine. In this edition, we explore recent events that took place in our parish (24-hour adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrament, confirmation). Among many articles you will also find an exemplary discussion on the meaning of fatherhood based on the example set by St. Ludwig Martin – the father St. Teresa of the Child Jesus, an article regarding the continuation of our parish’s history, and some interesting reading proposals. We would also like to bring our readers closer to the teachings of the Catholic Church and the thoughts of our patrons – John Paul II, and St. Theresa.
For many, the upcoming season is a time of revitalizing relationships with our neighbors and peers; however, this particular year might be different. Due to extenuating circumstances, it might be a time of deepening loneliness and fear. Nonetheless, the holidays are a time of grace. God, who yearns for unity with humanity, is born into the Earthly world – as noted by one of our authors – “through the back door.” God reaches deep into our hearts, where under a guise of normalcy and outward happiness, we often hide our fears, failures, and complexes. In the helplessness and anxiety that accompanies current events, will we discover what Jesus really came into this world for?
Enjoy the magazine!
The editorial board of “Little Way”
EMMANUEL means God is with us
In all His activities, Jesus reveals to us the Love of God: “God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him” (1John 4:9). St. Matthew tells us: “They shall name him Emmanuel” (Mt 1:23). St. Matthew was clearly aware that Mary and Joseph did not name their child Emmanuel. However, he sees the meaning of the name Emmanuel - “God is with us”- as being perfectly fulfilled (Is. 7:14) in the fact that Jesus is the presence of God. The Lord promises us “I will always be with you, until the end of the age” (Mt 28, 20). This promise became reality when He gave us Himself in the sacrament of Eucharist. God’s infinite love comes to us in the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is a gift, grace and mystery. The Eucharist is the real presence of God. Jesus is with us until the end of time. As we experience unprecedented and uncertain times, we must not forget that God is with us always and that He loves us no matter what happens in the world.
The coronavirus came upon us like a tornado, completely disturbing our plans. When the whole world was suddenly shut down, our schedules were suddenly cleared up. We simply had nowhere to go. Overnight we could not worship God in the churches as they were locked up. While we all certainly developed personal ways to commune with Jesus, it became a reality that most of us could not gather and receive the Eucharist or the sacraments for months. We were all surrounded by the great uncertainty of the future. We found ourselves helpless and powerless. It has been a time of quarantine and isolation. Thru this secluded isolation we saw ourselves for who we really are. We saw our own limitations. It shook us up and changed so much of our lives. Who would have thought that in our lifetime, we would have to face this situation? Is God waking us up? Can we see that we are not self-sufficient, that we don’t need so much stuff? Can we admit that without God we are not able of accomplishing anything? Did we realize that what we really need is God in our hearts and lives? Perhaps amid the confusing world and times, our loving God is whispering: “I’m with you. I have a plan. Trust me”. Do we hear His voice?
We have a powerful example in St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus who struggled with, and eventually, died from tuberculosis. Because of her tuberculosis, she was isolated from her entire community and placed in an infirmary. For many months she did not experience real connection or consolation from the presence of God. She lived through times of darkness, fear, disconnection and panic. About three months before her death, the chaplain and religious superior of the Carmelite community told St. Thérèse that she could no longer receive the Body of Christ. She was denied Holy Communion because she couldn’t keep it down. It was her deepest darkness! Thru this experience, she learned to trust God in the darkness and silence. She had to learn to accept each moment as a gift from God and to grow from the disappointments.
In the very absolute desolation, St Thérèse shared her deepest teaching, “Everything is grace!” She learned to trust God more, even when what was happening did not make sense. She came to understand the revelation that God is present within every breath, experience, joy, sorrow, pain, fulfillment, and disappointment. Her reflection is remarkable because it gives us tremendous hope and reminds us that God is always with us. There are many parallels of St. Thérèse’s experience to our experience during the last several months with the COVID-19, “social distancing” and shutdowns. We can follow the example of St. Thérèse by uniting ourselves with the Lord like she did. She never gave up her trust and confidence in the Lord. St. Thérèse would tell us, no matter life’s circumstances, and indeed, sometimes in spite of life circumstances, we are called to trust the Lord. St. Thérèse was clear; reach out to Him, let Him hold your hand in moments of fear and He will hold it tight.
As the coronavirus was spreading, many people felt the fear of death. It is natural to feel this; after all we are made for life. But Jesus came to release us from our fear of death. The Catholic Church’s catechism teaches us: “Because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain…” What is essentially new about Christian death is this: through Baptism, the Christian has already "died with Christ" sacramentally, in order to live a new life; and if we die in Christ's grace, physical death completes this "dying with Christ" and so completes our incorporation into him in his redeeming act” (CCC 1010). The Catholic Church encourages us to hope and pray for all those we have lost and to never presume that anyone has gone straight to heaven or hell, but rather petition God with loving confidence on their behalf. Our prayers and sacrifices for loved ones who have gone away before us can bring not only comfort and consolation to those suffering from the purification that comes in purgatory, but also bring comfort to those who are left behind.
In the First Letter to the Thessalonians, St. Paul tells Christians that they were not to “grieve as others do who have no hope” (4:13). He didn’t tell them not to grieve. Grief is a normal, natural, human emotion. But when we grieve, we grieve with hope. We grieve and we hope our loved ones clung to Christ until the last moment. We grieve, hoping that our prayers can assist them on their journey home to the Father’s house. No prayer is more powerful than the Mass, and there is no greater way to show our love for our dead than to have Masses offered for them.
Through Jesus, death is not an end. It is the beginning of an everlasting life, joy, and communion with the One we love. This is the hope anchored in God that drives our fear away. We must never lose hope in this life, for Christ said to us: “I will always be with you, until the end of the age.”
The Catholic Church teaches us to love, sacrifice, serve and pray so that tomorrow we might live - live eternal life. It encourages us to prepare ourselves for the hour of our death (CCC 1014). Each moment or experience we get can be used to prepare for the hour of our death. The worst thing that can happen is not the physical death but rather a spiritual death – a death in state of mortal sin as “those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell" (CCC 1035). Jesus gives hope for the everlasting life and resurrection. The worst thing that can happen to us is the God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. (CCC 1037). Shouldn’t we then aim for an avoidance of mortal sin and repent? Isn’t this a good time to reflect and work on our relationship with God? Maybe it is a time for the birth of Jesus in our hearts and lives? This unique time of isolation can be a time of renewed life and expanding growth of our faith. Perhaps we should see God as loving father who takes care of us? Maybe we need to transform our lives and allow God to embrace us with the mystery of His presence and to form and refine us through love and suffering. Maybe it is an awakening to our true mission – a mission of continuing to be a light of God’s presence in our world.
St. Thérèse told us that everything is a grace. Hence this is a time of grace. Grace to deepen our relationship with God and to come closer to Him. How do we do that? First, seek the kingdom of God - seek the Lord. Do not first seek things from the Lord. As you seek the Lord, you will become more deeply aware that He is your loving Father and you are His beloved child. Then tell Him that you want to know how to love and serve Him more. Focus just on Him and His love for you. Just be present to Him as He is always present to you.
During this time of isolation, we could not gather or celebrate the Eucharist or receive the Sacraments - the ways in which God’s Presence is revealed and shared with us. Some of us could not be there with our loved ones who died or were in the hospital. Some of us where in nursing homes for months without any visitors. Many had gone through very difficult times in isolation without any human help or consolation. But God was with each of us the entire time. The Lord tells us not to fear, because He is with us to protect us (Jeremiah 1: 8). It reminds us of St. Thérèse and her isolation, when for 18 months she experienced terrifying darkness and emptiness. She experienced the “absence of God” with no consolation. Rather than rebel, she went inward to “the inner recesses of the soul.” She turned to prayer. She said: “Lifting our hearts and souls – including the cracks and crevices themselves, which reveal our brokenness – is what the Lord asks of us.” St. Thérèse admitted that she had no words to pray. When asked what she said to Jesus amid this paralyzing darkness, she simply sighed: “I say nothing to Jesus; I suffer and I simply love Him.” It became a wordless, contemplative communion in God.
God did not abandon us. God is truly and really present – Jesus is Emmanuel. Yes, we lost the ability to gather as a Church and became limited with the things we can do. However, we have not lost access to God who is always present and who is inviting us to deeper relationship with Him. Jesus’ teaching on prayer, recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, says clearly: “When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door and pray to your Father in private” (Mt. 6:6-7). It is simply a matter being quiet, communing with and listening to God already dwelling deep within us. It opens the eyes of the “inner recesses of our soul,” as the Little Flower described it. We should listen more to God revealing, alluring, and loving us. This time during the pandemic was not to break or squeeze us, but rather to expand us and give us opportunity to show God that we trust and love Him no matter what. God spoke to Moses “I AM,” which means that Jesus is always with us.
We must not forget that we are immersed in and permeated by Christ. He was born in the lowliest of circumstances, in coldness and without any worldly possessions. He brought us hope and opened gates of heaven for us out of his infinite love for us. Nothing and no one can change God’s love for us. Coronavirus doesn’t change the fundamental truth: God doesn’t just love – He IS love and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him (1 John 4:16). Emmanuel – God with us until the end of the age.
THE MYSTERIES OF JESUS' INFANCY AND HIDDEN LIFE
The Catechism of Catholic Church
522 The coming of God's Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries. He makes everything converge on Christ: all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the "First Covenant".195 He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming.
523 St. John the Baptist is the Lord's immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way.196 "Prophet of the Most High", John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last.197 He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother's womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being "the friend of the bridegroom", whom he points out as "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world".198 Going before Jesus "in the spirit and power of Elijah", John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.199
524 When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Saviour's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.200 By celebrating the precursor's birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: "He must increase, but I must decrease."201
The Christmas mystery
525 Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family.202 Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven's glory was made manifest.203 The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night:
The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal
and the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.
The angels and shepherds praise him
and the magi advance with the star,
For you are born for us,
Little Child, God eternal!204
526 To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom.205 For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become "children of God" we must be "born from above" or "born of God".206 Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us.207 Christmas is the mystery of this "marvellous exchange":
O marvellous exchange! Man's Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity.208
The mysteries of Jesus' infancy
527 Jesus' circumcision, on the eighth day after his birth,209 is the sign of his incorporation into Abraham's descendants, into the people of the covenant. It is the sign of his submission to the Law210 and his deputation to Israel's worship, in which he will participate throughout his life. This sign prefigures that "circumcision of Christ" which is Baptism.211
528 The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Saviour of the world. the great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee.212 In the magi, representatives of the neighbouring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. the magi's coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations.213 Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Saviour of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament.214 The Epiphany shows that "the full number of the nations" now takes its "place in the family of the patriarchs", and acquires Israelitica dignitas215 (is made "worthy of the heritage of Israel").
529 The presentation of Jesus in the temple shows him to be the firstborn Son who belongs to the Lord.216 With Simeon and Anna, all Israel awaits its encounter with the Saviour - the name given to this event in the Byzantine tradition. Jesus is recognized as the long-expected Messiah, the "light to the nations" and the "glory of Israel", but also "a sign that is spoken against". the sword of sorrow predicted for Mary announces Christ's perfect and unique oblation on the cross that will impart the salvation God had "prepared in the presence of all peoples".
530 The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents217 make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: "He came to his own home, and his own people received him not."218 Christ's whole life was lived under the sign of persecution. His own share it with him.219 Jesus' departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and presents him as the definitive liberator of God's people.220
by. Fr. Zack Swantek
All men are called to become fathers, just as all women are called to become mothers. Some are called to be physical fathers or mothers, but all are called to become spiritual parents – to continually grow in their capacity to give spiritual life to others. As Pope Francis said, “all the baptized, even though in a different way, are called to be a father or a mother” (June 15, 2015).
Fatherhood appears to be under attack. I can think of numerous movies and television shows in which fathers are depicted as dumb, incompetent, oblivious, harmful and/or irrelevant. Studies show that fathers depicted on television are eight times more likely to be portrayed negatively as mothers.
In the U.S., 19.7 million children grow up without a father in their home. In 1950 only 6% of children were born into unmarried homes. Today that number has grown to 41%! While many mothers heroically raise their children on their own, there is something lacking when a father is not present to his children. Studies show that children who grow up without a father have much higher rates of poverty, dropping out of school, arrests, drug and alcohol abuse, physical abuse, suicide, sexual promiscuity and out-of-wedlock births. Fathers are essential to their children and their families.
I believe that this attack on fatherhood, as well as the lack of men willing to take responsibility for their children, stems from a more general rejection of authority that has pervaded our society over the past 50 years. Culture exalts the autonomous self as the ideal, free from any attachments or obligations. From this there has arisen a disdain for fathers, leading many young men to lack confidence and direction. It has also led to an increase in male narcissism, in which many men remain in a perpetual adolescence, incapable or unwilling to grow in maturity and responsibility.
In the Bible, we see this in the Original Sin of Adam and Eve. They reject God’s authority and commands, trying to find the fulness of life on their own, without God. St. John Paul II calls this “the key for interpreting reality…Original sin attempts to abolish fatherhood…placing in doubt the truth about God who is love” (Crossing the Threshold of Hope, 228). Satan continues to deceive humanity by convincing us that God does not love us, but wants to control us. We must renounce our reliance on God and find happiness on our own. Satan also attempts to destroy human fatherhood, because it is harder to understand God’s love as “Our Father,” if children have never known the love of their own fathers.
Jesus revealed that God is more than the Creator of all things, but a loving Father who wishes to be in relationship with us. As the Second Vatican Council tells us, Christ, “by the revelation of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear” (Gaudium et Spes, 22). It is in our experience of being loved by God the Father that our life makes sense and our direction becomes clear. Like Jesus, we need to first be children who receive everything from God the Father. Then we can grow in holiness and fulfill our calling to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48). Holiness comes from living in relationship with God, who gives us the gift of sharing in His divinity—His fatherhood.
St. John Paul II encourages fathers to find their mission “in revealing and reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God” (Familiaris Consortio, 25). This should give men confidence to embrace their calling as fathers. Many young men are afraid of assuming the responsibility of fatherhood, fearing that they are not mature enough or that being a father will rob them of their freedom and happiness. But since fatherhood means participating in God’s fatherhood, fathers are never alone, but embrace their calling with the help of God. As St. Paul says, “I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every fatherhood, in heaven or on earth, takes its name” (Eph 3:14-15).
Unlike mothers, who become intimately connected with their children already in pregnancy, men tend to be less connected with their children until they are born. But once the child is born, the joy of fatherhood overwhelms the father, transforming him into a different person. The child draws a man out of himself, leading him to put off individualistic concerns for the good of his child and family. The more a father learns to give himself for the good of his children and their mother (his wife), the more he comes to find fulfillment. Fatherhood is the perfection of masculinity.
A father not only gives natural life to his children, but helps to perfect that new life through upbringing and education. This involves providing for his family, protecting them from harm, applying discipline, and communicating values. He helps his children to grow in knowledge, maturity and responsibility, so that they can become adults and parents themselves one day. Ultimately, a father’s goal is to help his family get to heaven—to be saints.
A father continually gives life to his family in and through his daily sacrifices. Through his prayer life, a father shows that God’s love is at the center of the family. Through his love and care for his children, a father witnesses to God’s own merciful love. Through his love for his wife, the father witnesses to his family the way that Christ loves the Church. He teaches them the way that women should be loved, treated and respected, and reveals the complementarity that exists between men and women.
Priests are also rightly called fathers, because they participate in and reveal the fatherhood of God through their ministry and vocation. In offering Christ’s sacrifice, the priest becomes united with the Father, the Source of all fatherhood, and brings spiritual life to the Church in the order of grace.
A priest not only gives life to spiritual children in the Church, but continually nourishes them through the sacraments, helps them mature in their faith through catechesis and preaching, and leads them to full maturity as saints in heaven.
Fr. Pablo Gadenz, a Scripture professor at Seton Hall’s Immaculate Conception Seminary, says that he lives his priestly fatherhood especially through the sacraments. “Through Baptism, I bring about the birth of new children of God by water and the Spirit (Jn 3:5). Through the Eucharist, I nourish the children with the Bread of Life (Mt 7:9). Through Confession, I forgive the sins of the children so that through discipline they may grow in righteousness (Heb 12:7-11). Through the Anointing of the Sick, I lay my hands on the sick children and pray that they may be saved (Jas. 5:14-15). Through my preaching, I instruct the children in the law of God (Mal. 2:7).”
The attack on fatherhood is linked to the crisis in the priesthood. Young men should be encouraged to find fulfillment not by remaining in perpetual adolescence and bachelorhood, but in embracing a vocation to fatherhood—whether as a natural father or a priestly father. All men are called to seek maturity by growing in their capacity to give of themselves in a way that is life-giving to others. The world desperately needs the witness of fathers, grandfathers, priestly fathers and godfathers. Let us pray that our fathers will be strengthened by the love of Our Heavenly Father, “revealing and reliving” that fatherhood for their children and their families.
Louis Martin - Holy Father of Saint Theresa
Motherhood (...) is an expression of fatherhood.
One must always return to the father, to take everything from him,
that is expressed.
This relies on radiating fatherhood.
One returns to the father through the child.
And the child, in turn, brings back the bridegroom to us.
It is very simple and ordinary. The whole world is full of it.
One has to enter the radiation of fatherhood,
only in it everything becomes a full reality (...)
Do not separate love. As it is one.
Karol Wojtyla-“Radiation of Fatherhood”
Today's world, contaminated by many diseases of the soul and body, is slowly losing sight of what is good or bad. On all sides, we are manipulated and attacked by patterns that really have little in common with the values that our parents and grandparents instilled in us. This causes spiritual ambivalence, especially in the youngest generation, which, full of youthful enthusiasm, with a natural need to do good, enter adult life. At some point, their view of the world in accordance with natural law, because inscribed by the Creator in the essence of humanity, on every side encounters the negation of this instinctive sense of themselves, the other person and the surrounding world.
In the heat of broadly understood freedom, basic values such as love, friendship, goodness, family, marriage, motherhood and fatherhood are increasingly lost. In this spiritual chaos, saints come to help us, who chose God's reality above all the tempting attractions of this world. Now, as never before, evil attacks the institution of the family, mocking the value of motherhood in the person of a woman and the value of fatherhood in the person of a man, promoting the confusion of their roles and people.
Fortunately, and thank God, we have saints to whom we can always refer to. It is they who can be a model for us, young and old, how not to get lost in this tangled world. Undoubtedly, the saint for today's hard times is St. Louis Martin, who, along with his wife, Zelia - also a saint- gave life to St. Theresa of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.
The fragment from the mystery of Karol Wojtyła, as quoted above, how aptly it reflects the essence of mutual relations in this family, which gave the world three holy people. The holy couple - Zelia and Louis Martin and their daughter St. Theresa of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face is a sacred triangle, radiating and infecting with love, perfect (according to our humanity) motherhood, fatherhood and childhood.
Louis Martin was born in France, on August 22, 1823. During his baptism, an accidentally passing bishop in the cathedral approached the little Louis, blessed him and said to his parents: “Rejoice! This child is chosen!” Louis thought about religious life from an early age. Unfortunately, he was not accepted into the congregation because he did not know Latin. Finally, under the pressure of his mother, he started a family. His wife, Zelenia Guerin, was also chosen by his mother. It is interesting that Zelia also thought about religious life. Unfortunately, due to poor health, like her future husband, she was not admitted to the order. So, in 1858 the couple got married.
Louis worked in his own watch and jewelry factory, and Zelia worked with lace. The spouses lived with each other very harmoniously, respecting each other. Their highest value was always God. Zelia wrote to her brother: “Louis is a holy man. I wish every woman such a husband.”
The Martins had nine children: seven girls and two boys who, in their parents’ wishes, were to become priests. Unfortunately, two daughters and the boys died in childhood. The parents were left with 5 daughters. When their youngest child, Maria Francis Theresa (later St. Theresa), was 4.5 years old, her mother, Zelia, died. After her death, St. Theresa’s father took care of the daughters.
Louis, before the wedding, bought a garden with a small gazebo, where, with a love of monastery life, he wrote on its walls important sentences: “God is looking at me”, “Eternity is approaching”. With his love for the Mother of God, he also placed her figurine there. He often spent time alone in the gazebo. As mentioned in her book, memories of her father, daughter Celina (who lived until 1959) - in Louis there was a great love of silence and loneliness. His piety was not limited to prayer but was generous and giving. Every day he attended Holy Mass, and after receiving Holy Communion on the way back home, walking with his daughters, he remained silent because he was still talking with his Lord in his soul.
Louis' everyday life was intertwined with caring for his daughters, with a deep inner life and help for those in need. Louis visited the Blessed Sacrament every day, took part in night adorations, taking the most tiring hours, participated in closed retreats, and read religious readings. He supported his wife in everything - he even sold his plant to help her lace. And although they were doing well, he was not attached to wealth. His marriage and family life was imbued in the Christian spirit.
Together with his wife, they often talked about eternity, obeyed fasting, and taught their children this. They actively participated in parish life and financially supported the parish. Louis offered a considerable amount of money for the main altar in the cathedral in his hometown Lisieux. They lived through the commandments; he did not open his plant on Sunday, although others urged him to do so and did not make purchases on that day. His wife wrote about her husband to his sister-in-law in this way: “The prosperity of his business can only assign a special blessing of which is the fruit of faithful observance of Sunday.”
According to his daughter Celina, his main attribute was service, mercy and openness to his neighbor. Once, when a poor man came to them for help - Louis fed him, allowed him to wash and ... asked him for a blessing, kneeling in front of him with his daughters.
He never judged others, rather tried to explain them; he endured situations that irritated others with patience and self-control. He didn't complain about anything, he apologized for everything, he had a lot of humility, and the tendency to mortification and humiliation grew in him with age. He always remembered mass intentions for the dead - his zeal for their souls surprised his loved ones; he often undertook various penances. As an officer's son, he was a model of integrity, courage, perseverance and endurance. He had a lot of enthusiasm and energy.
Loius' faith and trust boiled down to the statement: "God in everything, God above everything, everything for God's Glory." All this was watched by the girls and they grew up in such God's atmosphere ...
After the death of his wife, Louis gave up his paid work and took up raising his children, who from an early age recognized him as an ideal man. One of the daughters wrote about him in her diary: “Dad was a very beautiful man and had rare natural distinction”. A family friend said about him: “He has the appearance of a knight”.
The youngest, Theresa, was his "apple of the eye", he called her his princess, though he did not spoil her; he loved her very tenderly, but at the same time he was firm with her. Theresa, staring at her father, called him her king, she felt his immense fatherly love, which she could not describe in words. In the manuscript dictated by the eldest sister, she writes: “(...) there are things that the heart feels, but which neither the word nor the thought can even express”. Little Theresa was delighted with everything. Staring at her earthly father, she couldn't help but love her Heavenly Father ... “If the earthly father is so wonderful, so perfect, then how good God must be?” - She asked herself.
The foundation of upbringing in the Martin family was always piety, which Louis did not even have to teach his daughters; they naturally drew this piety from their father when he took them to Mass, adorations, when he prayed with them, talked to them about God. He was a model for them in every respect, but he was also a friend - warm, inventive and cheerful. “It was enough that we were alone, we didn't need to look for entertainment outside,” wrote Celina. The girls said among themselves that God probably is as good as Dad.
Louis has always supported his daughters in their desire to devote themselves to God. One by one he bid them farewell, escorting Maria, Paulina, Francis Theresa (future Saint Teresa) and Celina to the doorstep of Carmel. Leonia joined the congregation of Visiting Sisters. When the last of them, his princess, he escorted to the enclosed gate, knelt down and weeping, blessed her. He agreed with God's Will to the end, although it hurt humanly - God slowly stripped him of everything that was dearest to him, but gave him a hundred times more in return. Louis was aware of this. On the clothing of another daughter, Paulina, hugging her to himself, full of gratitude, he said: “Who am I, that God gives me such honors, really, I am the happiest of fathers!” When he learned that his third daughter wanted to join Carmel, he wanted to withdraw from secular life and live like a hermit. God's desire for self-destruction continued to increase.
At the end of Louis’ life, he suffered a disease. Despite several attacks of paralysis, he was patient in his physical pain, did not cry, did not rebel in illness. After a brain hemorrhage, he repeated: “I needed this test. This is an opportunity to become an apostle. How many need conversion!”
One day, during a meeting with his Carmelite daughters in a parlor, he said: “Yes, I'm too happy, and you can't go to Heaven like that. I want to suffer for you. And I offered myself ...” Louis did not dare finish this sentence in the presence of his daughters, but they still understood the enormity of the sacrifice of their greatest earthly father. In the hardest times of illness, he constantly asked them to pray to St. Joseph to let him die like a saint. Louis Martin had a desire for greater and greater sacrifice all his life.
At the time of death, Celina who was present next to him, heard him say: “Jesus, Mary, Joseph, please, let me die peacefully in Your Holy Society,” Louis opened his eyes and looked at her with gratitude and great love. His face was full of calmness and joy that his longing for eternal life was finally fulfilled. His wife's brother, present with him in the last moments of his life, said that he had never seen such a peaceful death. Only a saint dies this way!
Zelia’s sister-in-law wrote to Theresa: "Theresa, your parents are those who can be called saints and who deserve holy children."
Louis Martin died on July 29, 1894, surviving 71 years. The youngest of Martin's daughters wrote: "Good God gave me a Father and a Mother who were more worthy of Heaven than earth." Could there be a more beautiful praise of parents?
After Louis’ death, the room in which he died was transformed into a chapel, and later a tuberculosis sanatorium was made of the entire estate. One physician working there in 1937 stated: “I have the impression of being in the house of a saint”.
And so he was, Louis Martin, already in life. He showed the world that holiness is also possible in marriage and family life, that holiness is also possible in fatherhood. And the spiritual fruits of his holiness were given to his daughters and everyone who had ever met him in full: "The fruit of the spirit is: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. There are no laws against such virtues (Gal 5: 22-23). Louis and Zelia Martin were canonized on October 18, 2015 by Pope Francis.
Homeschooling: Madness or a Blessing?
by Katarzyna Citkowski
God has called each of us to a different vocation. Only sometimes it is difficult to see this calling in the daily intensity of life. Almost 20 years after my wedding, having four children, I didn't really think about it. Despite this, one day, I remember it exactly when I was in the kitchen and preparing Easter dishes, the thought stubborn as a fly, did not give me peace. In the end, I shared this thought with my husband, completely without expecting that something further would result from it. And yet a few months later, at the encouragement of Fr. Ireneusz, we decided to change this thought into action.
One of our children, instead of going to kindergarten in public school, started home schooling. It was a jump into deep water, just to test (that’s how I explained it to myself). Although I had many fears, I honestly entrusted myself to God. I was sure that although it is an unknown path, it is our path. Of course I also had a lot of doubts. Now, after four years, in retrospect I can say that this is my late-discovered calling. Although I am not a teacher by profession, nor do I have special experience in this field, teaching at home has become my everyday life and the most beautiful experience. When people find out that our children are learning at home, the reactions are very different. However, most unfortunately not very positive.
That is why I would like to encourage you to learn about the topic that, after all, still is associated with negative stereotypes.
No, we do not keep our children hidden away from reality, we do not take their childhood from them, we do not forbid contact with peers. On the contrary. We laugh sometimes that they have so many different extra activities that they would not have enough time for ordinary school.
So what has changed in our lives? First of all, our day slowed down: we have time for joint meals, conversations - on ordinary and more difficult topics, and this has changed our mutual relationships for the better. What is important is the fact that I have the opportunity to consciously choose what our children will learn (the so-called curriculum), I also have the opportunity to decide when is the best time to introduce something: for example, one child learns to read within five years, other seven; later in adulthood it doesn't matter much, but in primary school it is a source of unnecessary stress.
The worldview we convey to children is very different from the one that is ubiquitous in schools. Praying together before meals or evening reading of the Gospel is something completely normal for children.
With home schooling, we save ourselves a lot of negative experiences related to the so-called peer pressure: children have time to enjoy their childhood peacefully, they do not have to put on make-up like other friends, at the age of 11 years old, or go on dates (when writing this, I mean, unfortunately, specific people). Also, the brand name of clothing doesn't matter , or the technology needed to be cool. Also, our children don't spend hours on their iPads or iPhones, for a simple reason: because they don't have them. I don’t think they are necessary.
"School", which is part of a purely academic day, takes us about two or three hours a day. Thanks to this, we can afford additional activities, such as sports or developing other interests, e.g. cooking, painting, dancing, skating, ball, gymnastics, instruments, etc., or ordinary hiking with other homeschoolers.
Children, wanting or not, also help a lot in everyday chores at home, while learning independence and responsibility.
Due to the fact that, for the time being, I do not assess, test or compare them, learning is for them the most interesting activity. Well, maybe not grammar, but geography or mathematics do not have to be boring subjects.
Do our children have enough interaction with peers? This is another frequently asked question. It is probably less quantitatively compared to children learning at school, but it is probably better qualitatively, because when they meet other children every day, they have more opportunities to talk, have fun, get to know each other and slowly build friendships. I am not an extremely patient person, but after 4 years of teaching at home, I can say from experience that I teach my children because I care about their education and development more than anyone else. I respect the work of teachers very much and I can only guess how difficult it is today when the system does not give much support.
Do I have enough? Phew! At least once a week, I'm really fed up, but fortunately I can always count on my husband's support, who, despite my work, helps me every day. In addition, the joy and enthusiasm that children find in learning new things is contagious. This is not an easy way and certainly requires a lot more time and dedication, but the effects and relationship with a child that is slowly being born is the best reward for this effort. And then the matter of costs. It is known that this venture costs, because our state of NJ does not financially support home learning. However, there are plenty of free or really inexpensive sources that you can use: a library, classes in the city, online programs or Youtube.
What about studies? Of course you can study! Studying at home is the same if you are not better prepared for your dream field of study. Most universities are increasingly eager to accept candidates who have acquired their previous education at home. Statistics show that these students have much higher results, e.g. SAT, and get to such Universities as Harvard or MIT.
If anyone would like to learn more about home teaching, please visit: FB Everyday Learning.
Confirmation … 5 months late
by Nicole Ciuba
Confirmation is one of the most important events in the life of a Catholic. On October 8, 2020, I was confirmed.
Along with the other candidates, I impatiently waited for this moment all year. When I found out that our confirmation was going to be moved to an unknown date because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was very upset. I was prepared for accepting the sacrament and I didn’t know when the official event would be. However, after 5 months (from May 2020), I was finally confirmed.
Father Tomasz Koszalka prepared the candidates fantastically for the celebration. He taught us that confirmation was the “sacrament of maturity.” He told us that from that moment, we were responsible for upholding our faith through frequent confession and attending Sunday Masses. During the confirmation mass, these words rang in my ears.
On confirmation day, the candidates gathered in the hall in the Karol Wojtyla Polish School to get dressed in our red togas. We were each given a blessed, blue cross on a thin, leather string as a souvenir from that special day. After a long time of preparation, we walked into the church in the traditional procession.
I had never seen my friends more concentrated than during that Mass. We all carefully listened to the readings, the Gospel, and Father Ireneusz Pierzchala’s sermon. Father Ireneusz gave us a beautiful homily, penetrating our hearts. His words, “Do not be afraid to come to Jesus Christ,” will stick in my memory forever. Before the Holy Communion, Father Ireneusz confirmed us. All the candidates stood together with their sponsor, their right hands laying on our right shoulders. In order, we walked up to the pastor and he anointed us with the holy oil. I vividly remember immediately feeling an unbelievable sense of joy and warmth as I walked away from the altar. Our chest with the gifts of the Holy Spirit - wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord - was finally opened!
During the celebration, several representatives of the confirmed candidates took part in specific elements of the Mass: I sang the Psalm; Emily Kunikowski and Alex Romej read the Prayer of the Faithful; Karina Borysiak and two other candidates thanked the priests; Kacper Hapun and Jakub Szulimowski gave them flowers.
After the mass, the candidates gathered by the altar for a group photo with the priests and Sister Irene. The sacrament of confirmation was a very important event in my life and I can say that it was worth the wait. This sacrament strengthened my love and faith in God, which will cultivate forever.
24-hours of Christ’s Passion
by Fr. Kamil Belling
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed …” (Is 53:5)
In our life, we may be disappointed in several things. We could certainly be disappointed in people’s attitudes and our political systems led by those who were elected to represent us and our moral values. Unfortunately, they often lose our trust. After all, perhaps the most strongly, the turmoil associated with the Church (rock) affects us. where we hear voices that undermine our confidence in his infallibility; we constantly struggle to not lose our faith and trust.
In the world, however, is only one absolute, perfect and unattainable model on which foundation you may successfully build not only your temporal, but also your eternal life. This foundation is Jesus Christ, the remedy for our ills and problems that can be found in the reflection on Jesus Passion, death and Resurrection.
Following Christ, however, is constant dying and resurrection for oneself. In the image of the suffering servant of Yahweh, who is already mentioned in the Old Testament song, proclaimed by the prophet Isaiah, clearly and descriptively we touch the mystery of our Savior's Cross. On the sixteenth day of October this year, in the parish of Saint Teresa of child Jesus in Linden, take place a devotion of the twentieth-century Italian mystic and handmaid of God, Luisa Piccarreta.
In the twenty four-hour adoration and reflection of the Lord's Passion, that covered the events of the Holy Thursday and Good Friday, we stated our reflection by the Eucharistic sacrifice, that began at three o'clock, symbolizing the death of Jesus on the Cross.
Then, hour by hour, we were reflecting on Jesus Passion that introduced us to the enormity of Jesus' sufferings, along with detailed moments involving His deep feelings, thoughts and desires of heart.
The climax of that service was, as well as at the very beginning, the sacrifice of the Holy Mass, in which the Passion of Jesus on the Cross, his laying to the tomb and his Resurrection were fully revealed.
Piccarreta's descriptions are saturated with a loving relationship to our Savior. Luiz's tenderness to Jesus carries deep mystical experiences rooted in an intimate love relationship with Redeemer. Everyone who meditating on these fragments realizes his littleness, sinfulness and limitation, as well as the need to constantly call on the Savior for conversion and a hotter love for Him.
This devotion not only gathered around Jesus a large number of believers from other parishes, but also many priests. They, as beloved sons of Jesus, undertook the readiness to be vigilant before the Eucharistic Christ, being able to experience the mysterious fruits of the grace that comes from remembering the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As a priest, the hour-by-hour change of the guard before Blessed Sacrament also reminded me of the constant need to be vigilant, so as not to sleep through the time of Christ second coming. Every reflection of Luiz in some hidden way began to speak to me. In this service I also realized the enormous need to enter into the mystery of the Lord's Passion, as my dying to sin and myself. This time undoubtedly became a time of great grace, in who’s Cross we could find our solace. Christ began to speak to us louder, and the unity of Jesus' Cross and our little crosses, opened before each one of us an inexhaustible treasury of grace, from which we could draw abundant fruits.
Let the storms that torment us in our families or life of individual or problems due to the loss of faith of our loved ones, let the mystery of Christ Passion will be for us the firm answer for our struggles. The vessel of the Lord’s Passion is still open for us, in this vessel God wants to pour out upon us the springs of His life and His healing love. Let us enter boldly as often as possible in this vessel of life of the Cross of our Savior, whether in our worries or joys, that we may walk the straight path towards the joyful morning of the Resurrection together with our Redeemer.
As the vicar priest of the parish of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, I bless all of you.
We are Waiting for You
Can Parish meetings be a chance for real conversation?
by Bogusław Kukliński and Regina Dąbrowska
There is no further discussion of the fact that there exists a fear of direct contact with another individual. Yes, we still communicate frequently but nowadays that interaction is mostly through our electronic devices. Communication devices, such as mobile phones, with unlimited access to satellite antennas enable us to communicate in real time - with anyone and with anything in the world.
We follow our friends and see the achievements of our enemies. We establish contacts with people we will never meet and never verify the authenticity of their messages. It does not bother anyone that: we are observers in private places, we do not have to make any decisions, we feel comfort because we have control of the interaction at all times; we can end the connection with the press of a button. Face-to-face contact starts to frighten people. The need to make friends in the "real world" is a source of stress for many, and the compromises and efforts that need to be made to maintain the relationship seem to be an attempt to limit our freedom.
I am writing about fear and difficulties in making new contacts, because I am aware of the fears Mrs. Regina from our parish might have had when she came to me with her proposal - and we didn't know each other at all. Our meeting took place during the Christmas “Opłatek” in 2018. "Opłatek" is an old Polish custom, about sharing thoughts and well wishes with one another, and afterwards enjoying a thin piece of wafer.
Mrs. Regina approached me, and without exaggerated introductions, offered a proposal of cooperation to write about her unique experience. After a few sentences I realized that what I heard is fascinating and very important. This story - like most - begins very innocently. It is the early 1960s in Poland; at a mountain river in the forest, where a group of teenagers decided to spend a hot summer day. The girls entered the river and then ... Let us now give voice to Mrs. Regina, because she will tell us her story: "We got into the river and then our friends came. They decided to make a joke - they took our clothes and ran to the forest, provoking us to get out of the river without any clothes. We were fourteen, and incomplete swimwear effectively "kept" us in the icy water. We were very cold. It wasn't until the evening that we overcame the shame and escaped to the nearby forester's lodge, where we were helped. Unfortunately, we got sick quickly. From that moment on I was sick constantly. Seven years of incessant hospitalization and more than twenty surgical procedures are the result of that memorable bathing in the river and our friends' ridiculous joke.
A military hospital in Wroclaw became my second and only home. I lived there, studied and was subjected to further treatments. I was led by the head of this hospital - a military captain. The captain was a man who bravely professed his faith, which of course strongly interfered with the socialist view of the then political system of the state. As he claimed, every morning on the way to work he went to church for Holy Mass and received Communion, being aware that it could cause him to lose his life.
After my last surgery, I often fainted and didn’t feel good, so I decided to check in my files what the real state of my health was. After reading them I was shocked - it was like a death sentence! I was young, 21 years old, all of life ahead of me. There were no possible areas in the face where a transplant could be done, and the rot that "ate" all the bones in my face had already taken over my eye sockets. The doctor explained to me that the reason for my current situation was because of my first surgery. This operation was also the first operation of a doctor, a woman, who in this way won the title of surgeon. Due to distraction or stress, the operating doctor left a filter on my face, a piece of bandage, which caused a continuous decaying process. My doctor explained to me, that death could occur at any moment, and the only way to delay it is ... PRAYER!
It was nothing new to me, since prayer in my household was always first. We always prayed together, children and parents, and even with visiting guests. One night I left the hospital. I walked through the streets of Wrocław to the church at Mickiewicz Street. I approached the tall doors. I pushed them with all my strength, and they opened very slowly. They only opened so much that I could just barely enter through them. When I was inside, I understood why the door wouldn't open. They were being stopped by a giant ... CROSS! Yes, it was a CROSS! Bright, shining like the sun. It reached from the door to the altar. I stood at its base, and behind its end, at the altar, stood... JESUS! Yes, it was JESUS! There was no one in the church but JESUS and I, and the CROSS between us.
What an amazing view! Jesus was dressed in a long white robe and stood with his hands spread as if to greet, as if showing a cross. In a gentle male voice, JESUS said to me: "This is your CROSS, take it with you." My answer was immediate: "How should I take it, when it is so heavy?" The size of the cross showed his great power. JESUS answered me, "Do not be afraid, take it, I will help you, take it to where I will lead you." Then I opened my eyes and... I layed alone in a white confined room, without a door. I knew this room well because I knew the whole hospital and its procedures well. We called this room the death room. Patients kept alive in other rooms would not sleep here. It was the last room in the patient's life.
I jumped out of bed, and made noise; a nurse ran in and set off the alarm. Then others and my doctor ran into the room. I was taken for an examination. It turned out that for three weeks I lay unconscious in this room in a coma, with disconnected life support, and suddenly I got up - contrary to the assumptions - full of energy, with a good heart rate and blood pressure. Of course, I realized that going to church at night was just a dream. A dream, but how real and beautiful.
After this event, I was discharged from the hospital so that I could … die among my relatives, at home. After a few days I asked my mother to take me to the church from my dream. During the journey I didn’t feel good. We got off the train. I leaned across the barrier of the bridge where we stood, and a multi-colored green-red-brown and terribly foul-smelling snot spewed from my nose. It was so abundant and so dense that its undissolved stain lazily flowed along the river's current. My head was spinning and I was close to fainting, but I was still determined to make it to my "dream" church. When we got home, I just wanted to rest. So, I went to the bathroom to wash myself before bed and during the washing of my face I realized that my face felt firm. For the past seven years of visiting hospitals and having surgeries (over twenty) which removed all my cheekbones, my face was soft and I would avoid putting pressure due to the intense pain. I started shouting loudly then. The family came together, and everyone touched my face, like St. Thomas the Apostle, to make sure the bones really appeared in it. Yes, they were there! And yes, they are still there today!
The next day I immediately went to the hospital. Multiple x-rays were done. The new X-rays were radically different from those of my recent past. Old photos showed an empty face without many bones with failed transplants, and new photos showed the face and bones of a normal, healthy 21-year-old girl. I wanted to live. I entered my adult life without distortion or pain. And I lived!
And what does my doctor- the captain say? When he wiped away his tears, he told me that when I told my dream of JESUS and THE CROSS, he was sure of a happy end, but he honestly did not think it would be such a spectacular MIRACLE. "
This concludes the incredible story and powerful testimony of Mrs. Regina. When I heard this story for the first time, I couldn't hide my emotion. So much suffering, so much youthful life taken away by a small - by volume, but so great in the art of surgery - mistake. A mistake that cost the life of a young person, because staying in a white death hall in a coma is an irrevocable verdict. And yet, throughout this long period of illness, Mrs. Regina and her whole family have never lost faith, hope and love. Throughout this time, the prayer, together and alone, was the most important moment of every day and is still the same to this day.
Finally, a reflection: a man destroys, cuts, throws away; he makes sure nothing is left; he is sure that the bones will not grow back, because they have no right, because it is not their nature, and suddenly what happens? X-rays do not lie! The original photographs were presented by Mrs. Regina to the episcopal curia in Opole as proof for posterity. I started by discussing omnipotent electronics that disrupt and limit our interactions with others today, especially those we don't know. Were it not for the meeting in the parish, and I did not have to be there, neither I nor my dear reader would have known this fascinating and mystical story. And what message would I like to get across with this article? Please, let us participate in parish events. Let's take part in parish actions. Let us belong to parish groups. Be an active parishioner and then these are the stories and testimonies you can hear about. You can also tell them yourself! Do not sit alone at home with your "online" friends! Do not be afraid! Do you want to meet people and talk to them realistically? Come! The parish is waiting for YOU! Others are waiting for YOU! We are waiting for YOU!
"Do not be afraid, go out into the deep."
These words have accompanied me since I was a child.
by Natalia Falkowski
I was 12 years old when St. John Paul II passed away. When the news broke, I was at a family wedding in Poland during the Easter holidays; and I remember, the world ground to a halt. In a moment's notice, the faithful filled the churches, throughout the day and night. Amidst a somber silence, candles adorned the center square of Bialystok, where a statue of the pope stood. Wherever one went, whoever one spoke to, people remembered the influence and deeds of John Paul II. I came to realize- a great and holy man had passed.
Afterwards, the phrase “Do not be afraid” was ingrained in my spirit and attitudes. Whenever I encountered challenges or was faced with tough decisions, I called out those words and prayed to St. John Paul II for guidance and inspiration.
As a young adult, I attended three World Youth Days. Each WYD I attended was different and unique. However they all had one common characteristic. At each WYD, I gained knowledge that allowed me to deepen my faith and understand my role as a layperson in the Catholic Church. My experiences were possible due to the tireless work that St. John Paul II devoted to the youth. In fact, WYD was first established by St. John Paul II. With a fatherly love for young persons, he aptly often stated that they are the future of the Church.
I am grateful that I lived in a time when John Paul II was still here with us, and that I was able to come across his teachings back then. I am still rediscovering those same wise words to this day. Ultimately, the insights and guidance of our Pope is relevant and helpful to me in my everyday life.
The History of our Parish Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus
by Katarzyna Matlosz
On November 5, 1995 Father Kozlowski, Father Miodowski and Father Miller celebrated the first mass for the faithful parishioners in the new Saint Theresa’s Church. This information was refrenced to in the number 3/2018 “The Little Way”.
The year 1956 brought another important event. Priestly ordination was received by Father Raymond Lukenda, a parishioner, one of the leading students of St. Theresa. The first mass celebrated by Father Lukenda took place on May 27, 1956. September 16, 1959 turned out be a sad day for the parish. Parishioners plunged into mourning when parish priest Edward S. Kozlowski- the founder of the parish passed away. He was buried in the area adjacent to the church on September 16, 1961 with a monument of St. Theresa as an expression of gratitude for priestly work, dedication, achievements and leadership of the parish.
On November 29, 1959 Archbishop Thomas A. Boland appointed Father Stanley Stachowiak as successor to Father Kozlowski. He was in Rome at the canonization ceremony of St Theresa of the Child Jesus, however, he never thought he would become the Pastor of the parish St. Theresa. In 1961 another parishioner, Fr Thomas Piechocinski celebrated his first mass.
Returning to the ministry of Father Stachowiak and thanks to his committed involvement in the year 1962-1965, many construction and renovation works were carried out in the church and building. In 1962, air conditioning was installed in the church, in 1965 the interior of the church was repainted, and the side altars of the Mother of God and the heart of Jesus were lined with sandstone tiles. Father Stachowiak devoted a large part of his life as a teacher of children and youth. He was proud of the achievements of each of the students. He supported all undertakings and tried to insure that the conditions at school were as good as possible. Classrooms were expanded in the building and a school library was opened. In 1964 the school corridors, the auditorium and the dining room were renovated. The work, effort and sacrifice of Father Stachowiak was emphasized on May 4, 1966 in the Cathedral of Warmia in Poland. He was awarded the title of a book, and on January 26, 1969 a festive dinner was celebrated for payment of the loan for construction of the church and enormous effort of the parishioners.
On June 1, 1969 another priest from the parish of St. Theresa, Father Robert Babulski celebrated his first mass. A year later on May 30, 1970 his first mass in the church of Saint Theresa was celebrated by Father Jozef Bajgrowicz. In October 1970 new organs were purchased, which were damaged as result of a fire on November 25, 1970. They needed to be disassembled, cleaned and reassembled. The church also needed repainting. In 1971 priest Stachowiak became a retired parish priest. For the next 5 years he lived in the parish, serving as a priest. Pastor Stanislaw Stachowiak died on May 12, 1976. For 12 years he was the parish priest of St. Theresa of Jesus in Linden. He is remembered as a priest devoted to the whole heart of the parish, loving young people, teaching respect and love.
The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Carmel of Mary Immaculate and Saint Mary Magdalen
Every July 16th, Catholics around the world celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelite Order. There are many commemorations of Our Lady in the Church’s universal calendar that are associated with different places, such as Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Most Catholics are familiar with these apparitions of Mary as well as the messages and miraculous events that occurred there. But what is the significance of Our Lady of Mount Carmel?
To reply to that question, let us go back in time and visit the Holy Land. We are in the early 13th century, looking out over the vast deep blue Mediterranean Sea from a particularly beautiful mountain summit. The area, noted for its fertile soil and lush vegetation, is known by its Hebrew name of Carmel, which means woodland. There are hermits living on this mountain, men who have renounced even the good things the world has to offer, in order to devote themselves entirely to a life of prayer. Their clothing is simple: a rough tunic, a belt, and an apron that covers the body, front and back, suspended by a strap over each shoulder. It is called a scapular. The splendor of their surroundings reminds them of Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God, and they have built a small Church in her honor and dedicated themselves to her service.
Now, fast forward about 40 years.
It is 1251. The group of hermits has grown into a religious Order and extended to Europe. It is governed by a saintly Englishman named Simon Stock, and he is facing many difficulties. The Carmelites, as they are called, who remained in the Holy Land are increasingly in danger of Muslim attacks. Many are eventually martyred. Those who moved West are encountering numerous challenges as they adjust to European society, so unlike the rustic environment to which they had been accustomed. Will the Carmelite Order survive? Simon begs Our Lady for a sign of her protection. His prayers are answered. Mary appears to him in heavenly glory, holding in her hand the humble brown Carmelite scapular. She says, “Whoever dies clothed in this shall not suffer eternal fire.” Thus what had originally been a mere garment for the protection of outward apparel became the promise of Our Lady’s motherly protection throughout our lives and especially at the hour of our death.
By the late 14th century, a miniature form of the scapular was made available to the lay faithful so they could also benefit from the scapular promise. Any Catholic can receive enrollment in the brown scapular from a priest. Like the larger scapular worn by Carmelite friars and nuns, the smaller version is intended to be a sign of our commitment to live in a spirit of prayerfulness and self-denial and to practice chastity according to one’s state, married or single. Trusting in Mary’s loving care, all who devoutly wear the brown scapular may be confident of her powerful intercession. She will guide her sons and daughters in the way of true holiness and lead our souls to the everlasting embrace of God.
Down through the ages, the Catholic Church has repeatedly expressed approval of the brown scapular. As recently as 2001, for the 750th anniversary of the scapular vision, St. John Paul II wrote:
"Two truths are evoked by the sign of the scapular: on the one hand, the constant protection of the Blessed Virgin, not only on life’s journey, but also at the moment of passing into the fullness of eternal glory; on the other, the awareness that devotion to her cannot be limited to prayers and tributes in her honor on certain occasions, but must become a “habit,” that is, a permanent orientation of one’s own Christian conduct, woven of prayer and interior life, through frequent reception of the sacraments and the concrete practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy"
The holy pontiff also confessed:
“I too have worn the scapular of Carmel over my heart for a long time!”
May our wearing of the brown scapular be a sincere pledge of love for our Blessed Mother and a promise to do all we can, with the help of God’s grace, to reflect her luminous virtues in our lives.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us!
Need is the Mother of Invention
Wojciech Piziak speaks with Iwona Kud
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Iwona Kud and I was born in Gdynia in 1973. I finished primary school and high school there. When I was 18, my parents moved to Gdańsk and I graduated from the then two-year medical school in the field of dental technician. I got a job right after the exam. I worked for 12 years at one company. In the meantime, I got married and gave birth to a son, got divorced and remarried. I moved in with my husband in Gryfice, and then again to the USA. And so, the time flew by quickly, that it's been seven years since I’ve come to the States. I've been working at the local Aldi for five of those.
You create various interesting artworks and jewelry. What inspired you to pursue this occupation?
I have always been fascinated by handicrafts. The times of my childhood in Poland were the times of communism, and at that time nobody in my family had a high social status. When someone had a name day or birthday, I would make all the presents and cards myself. I liked to create very much, and this is how it started. When I see something interesting, a new bead or a color, I get a new idea to create something original. I usually make a single piece with a unique design in order to make them stand out. When it comes to jewelry, it's well known that it costs a lot. That's why I make jewelry myself, which is unique and cannot be found anywhere else. I like to be original and stand out. While living in difficult conditions, in communism, I looked for various pastimes, so I started to create. The need for something is the mother of invention.
Did you want to have an education in the arts?
Once, during the communist era, I wanted to get to the art high school in Gdynia. I passed all the exams with excellent marks, but because I didn't have a high social status and money, of course I didn't get in. And although this desire did not come true, art has been my hobby since childhood.
Where can we buy your creations?
Until now, I have made jewelry and art for friends and family as gifts. I recently thought about selling it. The A.C. Moore Marketplace opened two weeks ago, and so I will exhibit my creations on there for sale. And it all began with a bazaar that was organized at the church. I also must say that I can't sell online, I have no patience for it at all.
How do you develop new designs and ideas for your work?
I love the HSM shopping channel. One or two days of the program are intended for craftsmen. Sara Davis, who is the founder of the Crafter’s Companion in Great Britain, shows off her various designs, machines and thousands of different things to stimulate creativity. I also use websites; Pinterest, YouTube and many others from which I draw inspiration and learn.
What new artistic movements interest you?
Recently, I became interested in water painting and I am beginning to use it to create my artwork. It is a technique that can be either very simple or very difficult. Is one of those that is very difficult to master.
Thank you for your time.
Youth Retreat 2020
This past October 23rd to 25th, the Little Servant Sisters of Immaculate Conception were able to organize the first youth retreat of the year at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The main facilitators of the weekend were Sister Magda, Sister Bogusia, Sister Ania, and our very own Father Tomasz. Youth from all over New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut came.
We arrived on the first day in the evening and got situated in our rooms at the Ave Maria Retreat House. After supper, we spent some time getting to know one another and ended the evening with some singing and prayers. Early the next morning at 7am, following with traditions, the Sisters marched up and down the halls ringing the morning bell, playing music and knocking on the doors to wake us all up. We then went out into the brisk morning to participate in our early morning prayer and exercises, led by Sister Ania. Our favorite morning exercise was definitely the “Happy Day” dance which we continued to sing throughout the day. Breakfast was something we were all looking forward to, so we all made our way to the cafeteria, where Father Tomasz explained to us the importance of starting and ending breakfast together as a group.
The theme for the retreat was “Purity”. During the day, we spent a lot of time together praying, dancing, singing, and having group discussions about purity. On Sunday, after Holy Mass we had to, unfortunately, say goodbye to our newly made friends. Everyone continues to bring up memories from that weekend, and we all cannot wait for the next ones. Although we can't see each other in person very often, because of distance, we keep good contact through our snapchat group chat. We are very thankful to the Sisters, Father Tomasz, and the other chaperones for a great weekend, as well as helping us to grow in our relationship with God. I think that all of us were able to learn a lot not only about the church, but also about ourselves. But most importantly, we would like to thank the kitchen staff for providing us with such scrumptious meals every day. Or as Father Tomasz said, “Heaven in our mouths!”