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  • February 27, 2018 8:21 PM | Cursillo Communications (Administrator)

    De Colores!

     This February our parish had the privilege of hosting two Cursillo weekends. As my pastor and I attended the men’s clausura, I was brought back to my own Cursillo experience two years ago as a seminarian. What an amazing thing to hear how men’s lives have been changed forever thanks to an encounter with Jesus Christ and His Church. As we know, that encounter is made real by the overwhelming outpouring of love that is shown to the retreatants. The love of Jesus Christ has the power to transform the world, if only we allow it to flow through our lives and actions.

     In one of the Gospel readings from daily Mass in Lent, Jesus describes the Last Judgment, when God will separate the sheep from the goats. The basis for each man’s verdict is summarized in five words: “YOU DID IT TO ME.” When we gave a drink to the thirsty, we did it to Him. When we failed to show love to our neighbor, we failed to do it to Him. Everything we do in life is counted as if done directly to God.

     I want to encourage all of you who volunteer your time and resources for the sake of Cursillo. Remember always that it is not merely for the sake of “paying it forward” that you do what you do. It is not merely to share the wonderful experience of fraternity and love that you received from your first Cursillo with a new generation of men and women. When you make sacrifices to serve retreatants on their first Cursillo, you are doing it for love of Jesus. That is the primary reason why Cursillo is so effective, and why your sacrifices have an eternal impact.

     As Cursillo continues to touch lives, may Jesus remain at its center, and may all our efforts be devoted to bringing souls into friendship with Him through an active sacramental life in the Catholic Church.

     May God continue to bless you! And in all that you do, remember Jesus’ words: You did it to me.

    -Fr Paul Haverstock

    Parochial vicar

    Parish of Saints Joachim and Anne 

  • January 24, 2018 8:25 PM | Cursillo Communications (Administrator)

    After any cold and harsh winter of our soul, when darkness dominates over the light, a “springtime” or “longer daylight” as most root meanings of the word Lent point, is indeed welcome. Lent beckons each of us on a 40 day journey, as a reminder of the 40 year journey in the desert by the people of Israel, to spend time discerning, defining, and refining what we are called to become, what comes after any thawing of the soul. Along the way, we are to face that we are the tempted and the tempter, calling us back to Jesus’ 40 day reckoning with the temptation laid before him. Israel became a faith filled nation on their journey only after facing the worst within themselves. Jesus only became the light after facing the darkness available to himself. Our soul cannot thaw until we allow warmth and light to shine on the most harsh and frozen elements of our soul.

    Our baptism and repentance lie at the center of Lent. In Hebrew Scripture references, this penitence has to do with our sin and sorrow, while the Christian scriptures increasingly add the word “metanoia,” the element of transformational change of mind, attitude, and life direction. It is a turning away from something to something else; a thawing of the soul so that it can bring forth life. Therefore, during Lent, we are called to renew our baptismal vow, to turn away from that which lessens us toward that which gives life, as the Israelites and Jesus did in their sojourning into the desert as well.

    Quite a juxtaposition this year, with Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day falling on the same day. I leave it up to each of you to comment on the rewards or challenges of that coincidence. The 40 days of Lent, by most accounts, begins with Ash Wednesday and ends at Holy Thursday. Some savvy readers know, or by counting on a calendar realize, that consecutively the time span is more than 40 days. The Sundays are not counted because the theme of Sunday is focused not on ourselves but on Jesus, not on our thawing souls but on the warmth and light of Jesus’ resurrection. May these special 40 days allow you to discern and reflect on your life as a means of turning toward a better version of yourself, the better self that is your call in Baptism; and along the way, especially on Sundays, turn and celebrate the triumph we all find in Jesus.

    Oh, by the way, this year Easter and April Fools Day fall on the same day too...

    Dn Mick Humbert 

  • December 28, 2017 5:05 PM | Cursillo Communications (Administrator)

    “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

    It truly seems right to thank God for all that occurs in our lives and the lives of those we love. But as in most things in life, we have the best intentions, but from time to time we fall short.

    As I reflect on the past year and a half this reading from Thessalonians has special significance for me and my family.

    Spots on lung, biopsy, partial lung removal, diagnosis, Ewing’s Sarcoma, chemo therapy and all that goes with that.

    Cancer, the dreaded disease, has invaded my body. Feelings of anger, uncertainty, helplessness, dread, worry, fear, and of course, “why me”? Fear of death, oh yeah! Fear of what will happen to my loved ones, absolutely.

    It’s a tumult of emotions, it feels like quicksand and it’s hard to get your footing.

    If only halfheartedly, I did pray and asked God to heal me. I don’t think it was a crisis of faith, but it did test it.

    To my surprise it didn’t take long for God to speak to me. Soon after my diagnosis I was walking with Susan in a nature area near our house. It was a sunny day and we had stopped for a rest. I asked Susan, “do you think I am going to die”? She didn’t miss a beat, and as I recall she looked at me like I had two heads, and said an emphatic NO. Well, she’s my wife, what else could she say? Soon after my sister Sharon told me that she had been praying for me and God told her that it would all end up good. Then my brother-in-law David, a retired pulmonologist, and my sister Jan came for a visit. He offered me good advice, “don’t fight the treatment, keep your faith.”

    I put my skepticism aside and chose to believe that God was speaking to me through these two lovely women and man in my life. From that point on it became easier to deal with what was coming up.

    My prayer to God was different. I still whined to Him but my whining was filled with hope.

    A year and one half after my diagnosis and chemo, and many bumps in the road, I still have hope that I will continue to heal.

    It has brought me closer to God than I thought was possible. At some point, I began to thank God for this life challenge because it brings me closer to Him and those whom I love.

    Most days I have no fear of death. I truly believe that if I live or die through this experience I come out a winner. There are bumps on that road too. At times my conviction waivers. Usually it comes about as family gathers. My fear of what will happen to Susan and the gang if I die gives me pause.

    When that happens a dear wise deacon friend’s wisdom brings me back to reality. He said, they are God’s children and he will take care of them. What a wonderful, comforting, piece of wisdom that is – thank you Deacon John.

    My last scan was cancer free. I suppose I will always dread the CT scan, human nature I guess.

    I no longer think “why me,” but rather “why not me.” Who am I that I should be so special that God would spare me from this disease?

    God has blessed me with many people who have prayed for me, continue to pray for me, send me cards, and offer me hope. My family has been loving, encouraging and supportive. It has truly made the difference. I am humbled and grateful.

    Praise God!

    Dn Rod Palmer

  • November 30, 2017 7:43 PM | Cursillo Communications (Administrator)

    Advent is a preparatory season, an adventure of sorts.

    Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The word 'Advent' is from the Latin 'Adventus,' which means 'coming.'

    We are called to discern and to celebrate a threefold anticipation of God in our lives:

    • We prepare to celebrate the anniversary of the incarnate God of love coming into the world in Jesus.
    • We prepare ourselves, our souls, for becoming the indwelling of the Holy Spirit more and more.
    • And thereby we increasingly prepare ourselves to become worthy of our eternal home; the God of joy and love eagerly awaiting our return.

    Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year (in the Western churches), and encompasses the span of time from the fourth Sunday before Christmas, until the Nativity of Our Lord is celebrated. The first Sunday of Advent is the Sunday nearest the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (which is November 30th), and so it will always fall somewhere between November 27th at the earliest and December 3rd at the latest.

    While the earliest traditions around the Advent Season were mainly penitential, similar to that of Lent, today we prepare for the coming of our Lord’s anniversary historically, into our lives personally, and of our final destiny with God to come.

    During Liturgy, traditional purple vestments are worn, although deep blue/indigo has emerged in recent decades. Purple is the color of discernment and preparation, while indigo is the color of the winter sky at sunrise, and thereby a color signifying Jesus’ life, mission, and legacy rising into our lives historically, personally, and forever more.

    In Cursillo-speak, you may wish to contemplate the three-legged stool this Advent season. Feel Jesus coming into your life personally through piety. Ponder the coming anniversary of Jesus in history in your study. Finally, know that Jesus’ legacy will live on forever more through your actions on behalf of others. Indeed, this holy season can be an adventure.

    Dn Mick Humbert

  • October 26, 2017 8:09 PM | Cursillo Communications (Administrator)

    During the month of November we are called in a special way to “… remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the peace of Christ.” (Eucharistic Prayer II) In response to that prayer we inscribe in a book of remembrance in our own parish the name(s) of our loved one(s) to be remembered in prayer this month.

    The loss of a loved one is a unique experience for the person going through it. As such, it demands that we listen carefully and have a compassionate presence. I don’t think the human person could survive the loss of a loved one without memories. It would be too great a shock to the human psyche and soul. We need to be able to remember the many fine experiences and values that the person stood for.

    In its ancient wisdom the Church has rituals and feast days that celebrate the memory of those whom we have lost through death. In our Catholic Tradition we have the feasts of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. It is a way in which we honor our loved ones and those who have gone before us. It is a way of witnessing the Communion of Saints. It is a way of saying that we are a part of a greater whole; the mystical body of Christ. Death has no hold over this reality. It transcends death.

    On All Saints Day we commemorate all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. This is the “church triumphant.” On All Souls Day we commemorate the faithful departed who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. This is the “church penitent.” Catholics celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those who have died and those who are living, the “church militant.”

    On All Souls’ Day we remember all those who have passed from this world and especially those we knew and loved. We recall them with a deep love and loss, but time has helped to heal the hurt and we can now see from a better perspective. As the book of life is thrown open, it helps us to think ahead to our own eternal departure time. At death the whole of our life is revealed to us and at an unexpected depth. We realize that the future is not ours and we must rely on others to fulfill the things that we were not able to complete.

    Death ends a life but not a relationship. Our spouses, children, family and friends who have died before us are still in relationship with us. We join them in our spiritual bond to the person of Christ. We memorialize what they stood for. In prayer we communicate with them and finish all the conversations and reconciliations left undone. That is truly the “Communion of Saints.”

    In support groups, journalizing, visits to the grave, memorial services and other rituals, we cope with the loss and enhance the relationship. We believe in the communion of saints. Through faith we are offered immortality with Christ and all the communion of saints. Yes, we echo that ancient phrase, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”

    Fr. Al Backmann

  • September 28, 2017 7:55 PM | Cursillo Communications (Administrator)

    Change is the essence, and I will add, essential component of not only life, but that of discipleship in Jesus. Though essential, I am not saying change is easy. While it is the drumbeat of life and discipleship, my main question for what follows is: are we listening to that drumbeat and willing to dance? If you look up the word change in the dictionary you will see French, Latin, and Celtic references to root meanings such as "to substitute one for another,” to “alter; exchange, switch," to "bend, crook;” and from the Irish reference to “prisoner” meaning "to take off clothes and put on other ones.”

    In church-speak, the topic would be repentance, transformation, and reformation of one’s life to which Jesus dedicated His ministry. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe in the good news!” (Mark 1:15) Repent comes from two sources: Hebrew for “to feel sorrow” and Greek word Metanoia meaning to “change of mind and heart.”

    There is the human temptation to stay in the unchanging and sorrow filled state of our brokenness by either rationalizing it away or wallow-ing in it. But the essence of change, of repentance, of metanoia is that there is an after, an alteration, a reformation of self through the grace of God.

    Ok, so much for the academic discourse. My question for you to ponder: are you listening and willing to dance with change? Consider some of the following:

    That your baptism is more than you becoming a member of the Christian club, but membership comes with an anointing to be a disciple in the environments of your life.

    That your confirmation was not a graduation of understanding in a moment, but the beginning of your standing with your God in all things of your life.

    That marriage is more than a wedding day of happy ever afters, but a sign and symbol of God’s grace amidst the changes that occur within a life-long relationship.

    That a Cursillo weekend is not the “it,” but an opportunity to become closer to Christ and accountable for one’s discipleship through Group Reunions.

    That Group Reunions are not to be closed minded, but an eager willingness to not only change over time by adding apostolic actions externally but also welcoming new members internally.

    While you take an opportunity this fall to change your clothes, to listen to the rustling in the trees, and dance at least once in a pile of leaves, may you ponder more deeply the drumbeat of change that Jesus is calling you to each day of your life.

    Dn Mick Humbert

  • August 31, 2017 8:44 PM | Cursillo Communications (Administrator)

    As Back to School sales have been in full swing since the 5th of July, it feels like summer is beginning to transition into autumn. We can almost feel the summertime slowness begin to transition into the stress, tension, and frenzy of fall.

    My invitation to you this Fall is we take a slice of summer slowness with you into August and September. And I need to follow my own advice!

    I recently read two articles in the Minneapolis newspaper, one in Janu-ary, and the other in June on the same theme: one on “The Slow Move-ment” and the other on “Slow Art Day”, an international event on the first Saturday of April each year. “The Slow Movement, once only about food is also about slow travel, slow books, slow cities, slow crafts, slow money, slow coffee.” Canadian Journalist Carl Honoré writes in his book, “In Praise of Slow” these telling words: “Fast is busy, controlling, aggres-sive, hurried, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, active, quantity-over-quality. Slow is the opposite: calm, careful, receptive, still, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality-over-quantity.”

    Those last nine words sound awfully contemplative to me. It describes the right brain, affective versus effective experience of life.

    Your homework? Something you can discuss in your small groups? For the “rest of the summer” and beyond, practice slowing down, that is, giving your activity full attention at the moment in order to be trained to receive the gift of God’s grace when his grace shows up in your life:

    Do slow hobbies:

    knitting, painting, woodworking, bird watching, gardening, baking, etc,.

    Try slow travel:

    stay in one place or do a staycation rather than going on a complicated vacation and getting stressed trying to see too many things.

    Slow relationships and parenting:

    savor and deepen with your family and friends; take time to “encounter” the other by going on a date night with your spouse or go to a local park and just be.

    Sunday is Christian Slow Day par excellence:

    practice your slow hobbies on this day which should be filled with contemplative leisure.

    Slow Fine Arts (Music, Dance, Visual Arts, Film):

    Guess how long the average person spends with beholding one of the world’s most famous paintings, the Mona Lisa? About 15 seconds. Yes, I know the painting is a lot smaller than you thought it would be and there are 1,000 other people taking pictures but 15 seconds? Go to the MIA and don’t try to see every thing. Concentrate on enjoying fewer works of art at a slower pace. Meditating on the masterpieces of Scripture or the Mass are not boring in themselves! It’s just that our attention spans are so short and we do not delve into them with suitable depth. Slow Nature: A brother priest once told me that Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that that we ought to “adopt the pace of nature.” It takes a while for flowers to grow and for wheat to be ripened for harvest. Nature is reality as it is without man embellishing it or making it better somehow. Enjoy what is already there—trying not adding music of media or superficial conversation, but just be effortlessly affected by reality.

    Watch the movie:

    “Into Great Silence” which evokes a powerful re- sponse of impatience in the viewer.

    I guarantee you that these human skills will help prepare you to be effective receivers of the Gift of God’s Grace. Prayer and spiritual direction are truly slow activities! Sometimes agonizingly slow for me and for many. But practicing, noticing, and staying with and receiving, and gazing are all essential skills for detecting God’s presence and action in your life. These skills will greatly help make your prayer much more interactive and attentive to the voice of the Lord when he speaks in your life. I can still hear echoing in my soul my professor for my Spiritual Direction post-Practicum class at Creighton saying in her fine Jersey accent, “Slow!” Prayer is less about productivity as it is about receptivity -active receptivity-to the Grace of God, in whatever form it takes, to encourage us and strengthen us in our spiritual journey.

    Fr Rolf Tollefson

  • July 26, 2017 7:12 AM | Lois Vold (Administrator)

    Great, great, great….Uncle Ben gives us a nourishing motto for Twin Cities Cursillo; and I’m not thinking of Rice-a-roni. I am thinking of a portion of scripture by the prophetic writer Ben Sira of the second century c.e. He was the Jewish spiritual philosopher who gave us the book of Ecclesiasticus, also known as Sirach (look between the books of Wisdom and Isaiah). This past Men’s Cursillo weekend, rector Jim Martin gave the following verses for me to ponder and focus on in giving my reflection at Clausura.

    Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure.

    Not the only treasure or shelter in life, but the description fits; I think most fourth dayers engaged in Cursillo would agree.

    Faithful friends are beyond price, no amount can balance their worth.

    Could you put a price on such friendship? In looking at it from the other side, I think many, if not most of us could say that one or more friends in Christ would show up at “our side” in prayer and/or presence no matter what was going on in our life at a moment’s notice. I certainly benefitted in my recent medical challenge from the Cursillo support that spread like wildfire.

    Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; those who fear God will find them.

    Now “fear” in these last verses is more accurately translated as “awe and wonder.” If I needed support, counsel, or presence, I would take the “pill” of a fellow Cursillista over a good movie or Facebook hands down. When you need the awe and wonder of God’s love, Cursillo hopefully is a key place where we can find it.

    Those who fear the Lord enjoy stable friendship, for as they are, so will their neighbors be.

    We are to be in awe and wonder of the Son, Jesus, sacrificial love personified. For those who are, and base their life around agape love, guess what, that type of love will find you as well.

    So I close this reflection acknowledging the “ear worms” of not only Cursillo music but also Rollos, witnessing, and Eucharistic celebrations on steroids that are ringing in my ears.

    Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ, or if looking for a scripture reference, Uncle Ben can help (Sirach 6:14-17).

    Dn Mick Humbert

  • June 29, 2017 9:00 PM | Cursillo Communications (Administrator)

    In mid-June, we celebrated the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. This is always one of the most beautiful and at the same time, awe-inspiring festivals of the Roman Catholic Church. It is awe-inspiring because it brings about what Jesus said at the Last Supper, “This is my body. This is my blood.” We know from the Gospels that when Jesus said something, it happened. “Come out of the grave! Be healed! Get up and walk again. Demons come out.” If these things happened because Jesus said words that make them happen, then Jesus is the Son of God. What he said regarding the bread and wine is pretty awesome as well.

    It is beautiful to me in terms of revealing how much God loves us. I have used the image of mom giving me chicken soup when I am sick. I get the soup because I am sick. I do not get the soup because I am well and deserve it. So, in Communion I get the food to help me become well, not because I am already well. I hear Pope Francis struggling with this as he would like to have everyone receive, while at the same time knowing the people must realize how sinful they are before they approach the altar. No person is holy enough to deserve communion. We receive it because it is God’s gift to us.

    The question of how does it change from bread to Body and wine to Blood has changed over the centuries. In earliest times people tended to believe that what God has said, happens the way God says it is going to happen. Later in church history folks asked at what part of the Mass did this happen? Today we tend to get more technical. How come I can look at this under a microscope and it looks, tastes and feels the same after the consecration as before? Maybe our questions today are the reason there are so many Eucharistic miracles all over the world.

    In some of those miracles the Bread starts bleeding. Scientists analyze the blood type and discover that all of the miracles where there is blood, it is all the same type. They analyze the DNA of the blood and discover it is all the same DNA. They look at the host and discover it is real body part that all come from the same portion of the same heart. It is stunning to realize that there are so many miracles concerning the host all over the world.They all seem to prove the same thing: this IS the Body of Jesus.

    Scripturally we find that the manna, which the Israelites received while spending 40 years in the desert, is a foretaste of the Eucharist. The ritual around celebrating that food, at the Passover, is the foundation of our Eucharistic celebration. In the Book of Revelation we get another picture of this same fabulous meal taking place in Heaven. The miracles of the multiplication of fish and bread is another example of how Jesus is slowly trying to open the minds of his followers so that when they get to the Last Supper they can begin to understand what the Eucharist is for us as Christians.

    What about us today? Are we looking at the Eucharist as something that we need scientific proof to believe that what Jesus said is true? Are we looking for a time during the Mass when we see it change from bread to Body? A continuing miracle is that when the person is giving us the Host they say, “The Body of Christ”. The wording indicates that the Host is truly the Body of Christ. But so is the person who is receiving the Body of Christ. Jesus repeatedly stresses to his followers that everyone we meet has Christ within them. We are called to see Christ in everyone.

    With the introduction of the Tabernacle where Jesus is kept for delivery to those who are homebound or in the hospital, we seem to stress now that Jesus is in that spot. We have relegated Christ in the other person to second place. Jesus kept them on an equal basis. Perhaps we need to find a way to restore our understanding of Christ in people as well as in the Sacred Species.

    Perhaps during these summer months we can make a conscious decision to look for Christ in those we know the best. Do we become a better person because Christ comes to visit us in the form of our spouse, our child, our parents, another Cursillista? If we see Christ in them, can we tell them? What a wonderful affirmation to another person to say, “I see Christ in you when ….” My experience is the more we do that, the more the individual strives to do the same thing repeatedly. The early disciples built one another up by proclaiming Christ in each other. Today you would think that those who are involved in Curisillo would be able to see Christ more clearly and more often in others after their experience on a weekend. For those who made their Cursillo years ago, we have the opportunity to be the leaders in daily life by telling more people how we see Christ in others.

    When we do this regularly then the Eucharist will move from the Church building to the world as a whole. Will you be part of the movement that brings Christ to the world?

    Fr Mike Sullivan

  • May 25, 2017 5:42 PM | Cursillo Communications (Administrator)

    The Easter season always invites us to reflect on the life, learning and beginnings of the early Church. I hope each of us relates to the events written of in the Acts of the Apostles, in which Jesus, lovingly surprises His friends and is always seen inviting new people to join the adventure!

    The apostles were very curious about Him, they felt both dumbfounded and hopeful because He had really risen from the dead! They had lots of questions and wanted to discuss and sort out what had happened, all as they were being moved by the Spirit to find direction and answers and form Christian community.

    One message I have been meditating on is that Jesus sends messengers to the apostles, and those messengers were mostly women! These women listened with the heart and stayed well connected to Jesus, He must have known and trusted they really understood what He was saying.

    There were many eye opening events for the apostles that took place at the Sea of Galilee, like Jesus calming the storm or preparing breakfast after the abundant catch of fish. Jesus participated in ordinary everyday events that created new awakening moments for those that were with Him. He wanted to be with them to share something in common. These were things they liked to do and He used the opportunity to reveal Himself or speak a special word or life changing message to them.

    Jesus often expressed His desire to be with them by simply saying to Peter and others “let’s go fishing”. He was skillful at engaging people where they were at and He really enjoyed what they enjoyed doing. Then in the midst of sharing the event, they would open up to Jesus and be willing to explore more about their hopes, dreams and fears, this expanded their ideas and revealed God in their daily living. Jesus always respected people and took them just as they were, putting them at ease and letting them know in a deep way, they were understood.

    As I reflect on all my wonderful years of being involved with Cursillo, I think we have so often been just like Jesus and the apostles and that we have said to each other “let’s go fishing”. Now, fishing may not be your highest priority, but we all have something that we really like doing, maybe it is shopping or sharing a walk or it might be a golf game or just telling the stories of our lives. We can be present to others and like Jesus, share these graced moments and let people be themselves and be free to respond and be present as Jesus was. We are free to tell our stories and experience these awakening, freeing moments just to be and to embrace that we are blessed.

    This is the heart of evangelization that goes on with family and friends in fact, with any person we meet. This is the plan of Cursillo to prepare a team to be present to those invited into the process of enjoying what everyone has in common and be open enough to learn from each other and be led by the Spirit. For Jesus, (and us) it was, and is, simple, in fact, Jesus, in the Spirit, continues this personal invitation to each one of us.

    The simple message is “let’s go fishing", this frees us from having to change people or fix them, rather, it respects and accepts people as they are, allowing them to be invited into exploring, questioning, sharing and knowing the risen Jesus, the One whom we model our life after.

    Happy fishing, happy Easter season!

    Fr. Martin Shallbetter

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