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Four Men enter the Novitiate

Four Men enter the Novitiate

Brothers clothed on the Vigil of the Solemnity of St. Joseph

On March 18, 2017  the Carmelite community of Mount St. Joseph in San Jose, CA clothed four postulants with the Carmelite habit.  These novices now have begun their year-long novitiate as new Carmelite brothers in the Province.  

In the picture above from left to right: Bro. Colin Livingston, Bro. Matthew Knight, Bro. Frank Sharma and Bro. Dustin Vu.

We ask you to keep all these men in your prayers, as well as our other friars in formation.

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Third Sunday of Lent - March 19

Third Sunday of Lent - March 19

Sunday Angelus at St. Peter's Square Rome

“Perhaps we have not yet encountered Jesus personally,” Pope Francis said in his Angelus address on Sunday. “Perhaps we have not recognized Him as our Saviour.”

The Holy Father was commenting on the day’s Gospel, which relates the “dialogue” between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Because of the great respect Jesus shows her — despite her being a Samaritan, and despite her disordered life — she is open to the words of Christ, when He speaks to her about the true faith. She recognizes Him as a prophet, and intuits that He could be the Messiah, and Jesus tells her plainly that He is, in fact, the Messiah — something that happens very rarely in the Gospels, the Pope said.

“Dear brothers,” Pope Francis continued, “the water that gives eternal life was poured out in our hearts on the day of our Baptism;” on that day, “God transformed us and filled us with His grace.” However, the Pope said, we sometimes forget about the grace of our Baptism, or treat it merely as a piece of biographical data. When that happens we go looking for “wells” filled with water that cannot quench our thirst. “And so this Gospel is for us!” the Pope said, “not just for the Samaritan woman.”

Lent, he said, is a good opportunity for us “to draw near” to Jesus, “to encounter Him in prayer in a heart-to-heart dialogue… to see His face in the face of a brother or a sister who is suffering.” In this way, the Pope said, “we can renew within ourselves the grace of Baptism, quenching our thirst at the font of the Word of God and of the Holy Spirit; and thereby discovering, too, the joy of becoming artisans of reconciliation and instruments of peace in our daily lives."

Source: Radio Vaticana

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Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

Preparing for Lent

Ash Wednesday

At the beginning of Lent, on Ash Wednesday, ashes are blessed during Mass, after the homily. The blessed ashes are then "imposed" on the faithful as a sign of conversion, penance, fasting and human mortality. The ashes are blessed at least during the first Mass of the day, but they may also be imposed during all the Masses of the day, after the homily, and even outside the time of Mass to meet the needs of the faithful. Priests or deacons normally impart this sacramental, but instituted acolytes, other extraordinary ministers or designated lay people may be delegated to impart ashes, if the bishop judges that this is necessary. The ashes are made from the palms used at the previous Passion Sunday ceremonies.

The act of putting on ashes symbolizes fragility and mortality, and the need to be redeemed by the mercy of God. Far from being a merely external act, the Church has retained the use of ashes to symbolize that attitude of internal penance to which all the baptized are called during Lent. — Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy

From the very early times the commemoration of the approach of Christ's passion and death was observed by a period of self-denial. St. Athanasius in the year 339 enjoined upon the people of Alexandria the 40 days' fast he saw practiced in Rome and elsewhere, "to the end that while all the world is fasting, we who are in Egypt should not become a laughing stock as the only people who do not fast but take our pleasure in those days." On Ash Wednesday in the early days, the Pope went barefoot to St. Sabina's in Rome "to begin with holy fasts the exercises of Christian warfare, that as we do battle with the spirits of evil, we may be protected by the help of self-denial."

Things to Do:

Go with your family to receive ashes at Mass today. Leave them on your forehead as a witness to your faith. If you have children, you may want to share this with them in terms that they can understand.

Today parents should encourage their children to reflect upon what regular penances they will perform throughout this season of Lent. Ideally, each member of the family should choose his own personal penance as well as some good act that he will perform (daily spiritual reading, daily Mass, extra prayers, almsgiving, volunteer work, housecleaning, etc.), and the whole family may wish to give up one thing together (TV, movies, desserts) or do something extra (family rosary, Holy Hour, Lenten Alms Jar).

The use of Sacrifice Beans may help children to keep track of their Lenten penances. Some families begin this activity (with undyed beans!) on Ash Wednesday and then use the collected beans to cook a penitential bean dish for Good Friday at the end of Lent.

About the Season of Lent

The time has now come in the Church year for the solemn observance of the great central act of history, the redemption of the human race by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In the Roman Rite, the beginning of the forty days of penance is marked with the austere symbol of ashes which is used in today's liturgy. The use of ashes is a survival from an ancient rite according to which converted sinners submitted themselves to canonical penance. The Alleluia and the Gloria are suppressed until Easter.

Abstinence from eating meat is to be observed on all Fridays during Lent. This applies to all persons 14 and older. The law of fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday applies to all Catholics from age 18 through age 59.

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Vocation Day at St. Therese Parish

Vocation Day at St. Therese Parish

Bishop O'Connell speaks to youth

Members from 15 different religious orders “rapped” about how much they loved Jesus in front of nearly 500 sixth-grade Catholic school students from the San Gabriel Region during a rally at the inaugural Focus 11 Vocation Day. The event was held Feb. 7 at St. Therese Church in conjunction with the Carmelite Sisters’ St. Joseph Center in Alhambra.

Sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Vocations and the Department of Catholic Schools, the rally kicking off the first Focus 11 was intended to help open students’ hearts and minds to vocations with a mix of fun and enthusiasm. Father Samuel Ward, associate director of Vocations, rapped, “My name is Father Sam and my rapping is atrocious, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

The St. Joseph Center erupted with laughter.

The jovial sixth-graders were the focus of the vocation day activities. Research indicates that most children are especially open to a priestly or religious calling at 11 years of age or in 11th grade.

“It is never too early to sow the seeds of a priestly or religious vocation in our students and to foster a new culture of vocations in the Church,” said Father Ward.

Members of NET (National Evangelization Teams) Ministries, young adults who teach youth ministry to high school students, taught the priests and religious how to rap for the opening rally and a skit that they presented before adoration. WAL — also known as We Are Loved, a music group led by brothers Matthew Leon and Michael Paul Leon — performed uplifting worship music.

“It was great for the students to see that there are exciting and rewarding ministries available for young adults to serve in the Church,” said Father Ward.

Father Jon Meyer, associate pastor at St. John the Baptist Church in Baldwin Park, and Sister Joanna Strouse, vocations director for the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, were the emcees for the day and presented most of the opening remarks.

Auxiliary Bishop David G. O’Connell, episcopal vicar for the San Gabriel Pastoral Region, celebrated Mass with the youths, and recounted his own calling to the priesthood during his homily. Growing up on a small farm in Ireland, Bishop O’Connell had to walk to school in a village three miles away. He frequently got jumped. For help, he prayed the rosary as he walked to and from school.

“It was Mary that put into my heart to be a priest even though I was getting into trouble all of the time,” said Bishop O’Connell.

Bishop O’Connell shared with the children that he has “loved being a priest.” He encouraged the sixth-graders to get into a “relationship with Jesus and a friendship with Mary.”

“You need to discern what Jesus wants for you to have a blessed life,” said Bishop O’Connell. 

Following Mass, members of priestly and religious orders set up booths providing information about their orders for the students. Sister Strouse created a passport book for the students to take with them as they went from booth to booth. Each child received a sticker for every question they asked at the booths. Questions ranged from, “When did you enter your religious order?” to “Do you play a musical instrument?”

“It’s cool we get to come here. I learned more about vocations and I didn’t really know about them before,” said David Mendoza, who is in sixth grade at San Gabriel Mission. 

Students had another chance to interact with and get to know priests and religious during the vocations panel. During the question-and-answer session, novices, seminarians, priests and sisters answered questions asked by the grade-schoolers. 

“I learned about the different vocations and how they learned how they wanted to be a priest or a sister. I was inspired,” said Janna Yap, who is a sixth-grader at St. Andrews School.  

Focus 11 ended with a Holy Hour at St. Therese Church. Students took home with them the knowledge that there are many callings in life, from being single to married to religious life.

“This is like a new Pentecost. They all look so inspired and energetic. They truly look open to the Holy Spirit,” said Sister Madonna-Joseph, who is a Carmelite Sister.

By Julie Schnieders, Angelus, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, CA

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Eight ways you can be part of our Carmelite Family

  1. Send us your prayer or Mass offering request
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