top of page

Confraternity of Penitents Newsletter

July 2023

SPIRITUAL GUARDIAN’S REFLECTION: SERIES ON SAINT FRANCIS’ WRITINGS ON THE EUCHARIST

 

In response to the Eucharistic Revival called for by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, our Spiritual Guardian Fr. Joseph Tuscan recommended that we share, in several issues of the newsletter, Saint Francis’ words on the Eucharist.

 

Exhortations to the Clergy (Letters to the Clergy): Earlier Edition FA:ED,

vol. 1, pages 52-53:

 

Let all of us, clergymen, consider the great sin and the ignorance some have toward the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and His most holy names and written words that consecrate His Body. We know It cannot be His Body without first being consecrated by word. For we have and see nothing bodily of the Most High in this world except His Body and Blood, His names and words through which we have been made and redeemed from death to life [1 Jn 3:14]. 

Let all those who administer such most holy mysteries, however, especially those who administer them illicitly, consider how very dirty are the chalices, corporals and altar-linens upon which HIS Body and Blood are sacrificed. It is placed and left in many dirty places, carried about unbecomingly, received unworthily, and administered to others without discernment. Even His written names and words are at times left to be trampled under foot; for the carnal person does not perceive the things of God [1 Cor 2:14]. 

Are we not moved by piety at these things when the pious Lord puts Himself into our hands and we touch Him and receive Him daily with our mouth? Let us, therefore, amend our ways quickly and firmly in these and all other matters. Wherever the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ has been illicitly placed and left, let It be moved from there, placed in a precious place and locked up. Likewise, wherever the names and written words of the Lord may be found in unclean places, let them be gathered up and put in a becoming place. All the clergy are forever bound to observe all these things above everything else. And whoever does not do so, let him know he must render an accounting on the day of judgment before our Lord Jesus Christ [Mt 12:36]. 

Let those who make copies of this writing in order that it might be better observed, know they have been blessed by the Lord. 

Exhortations to the Clergy (Letters to the Clergy): Earlier Edition FA:ED, vol. 1, pages 52-53 

COMMENTARY: Saint Francis was a deacon. Hence, his use of the words “us” and “we.” He is numbering himself among the clergy, some of them quite lax. Francis expected not only the consecrated Body and Blood to be treated with respect and reverence but also the written words used to affect the transubstantiation. From this circular letter to the clergy, we can surmise that irreverence toward the Blessed Sacrament was prevalent. When we see the Blessed Sacrament and the Mass itself treated with disinterest and disrespect, let’s remember that Saint Francis was aware of the same problems. How did he deal with this? By gentle instruction. By prayer. And by his own example of reverence. 

cleansing.jpg
NO GREATER LOVE: THE LORD’S CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE 

 

Soon after the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, recount His cleansing of the Jerusalem Temple. (Mt 21:12-13, Mk 11:15-17, Lk 19:45-46) 

He drove out the buyers and sellers and overturned their tables. He said, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” (Mk 11:17) He did this in the part of the Temple called the Court of the Gentiles. This was the largest outermost part of the Temple which both Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles) could enter. There were also inner parts of the Temple which only Israelites could enter such as the Court of the Women, the Court of Israel, the Court of Priests, and the Sanhedrin. Finally, there was the Holy of Holies to which access was very limited. This is where the Angel Gabriel told the priest Zechariah that his barren wife, Elizabeth, would bear a son. (Lk 1:5-25) 

 

Why was there a Court of the Gentiles in the Jerusalem Temple? Israel was the chosen people of God, but they were chosen for a purpose. God said to Abraham “All the tribes of the earth shall bless themselves by you.” (Gen 12:3) God is not just the God of one nation or of one aspect of life. He is the God over all. Gentiles had to be admitted to the Jerusalem Temple since it was God’s Temple, and He is the God over the Gentiles also. We need to note that the Lord prefaces his explanation of His Cleansing of the Temple with the words “Is it not written”. He was backing up His Cleansing of the Temple with scripture. We read in the Book of Isaiah, “Foreigners who have attached themselves to Yahweh to serve him and to love his name and be his servants---all who observe the sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant---these I will bring to my holy mountain. I will make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their holocausts and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” (Is 56:6-7) The Temple of God is not for one nation but for all who love the Lord.

 

The Lord also quotes the prophet Jeremiah who was writing just before the first Temple built by Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BC. “Yet here you are, trusting in delusive words, to no purpose! Steal, would you, murder, commit adultery, perjure yourselves, burn incense to Baal, follow alien gods that you do not know? ---and then come presenting yourselves in this temple that bears my name saying: Now we are safe---safe to go on committing all these abominations! Do you take this Temple that bears my name for a robbers’ den? I, at any rate, am not blind---it is Yahweh who speaks.” (Jr 7:8-11) This quote from Jeremiah refers to the buying and selling going on, “the robbers’ den”, but also those who offer worship to God without obeying His Commandments. Like Jeremiah, Jesus also emphasizes that obedience must go with worship. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (Jn 14:15) Here as in other places, Jesus puts the authority of Sacred Scripture behind his words and actions. 

 

If all Jesus was doing was correcting an abuse, it would not be that controversial. What He was doing was supported by the scriptures which most Jews recognized as authoritative. There probably were many Pharisees who wished they had the guts to do what the “Prophet from Galilee” did. He was doing more than that. He was also prefiguring the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple by the Romans in 70 AD. During the ministry of the prophet Jeremiah, many Jews thought that the Temple would protect them from the Babylonian armies. However, Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in 587 BC. Yet, after the Persians under Cyrus allowed the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, the Temple was rebuilt and the animal sacrifices could continue. When the second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, the Temple was never rebuilt and thus there were no more animal sacrifices. Judaism has continued through the synagogue worship which was in place during the time of Jesus and has continued to the present. Jesus did not destroy the Jerusalem Temple and animal sacrifices and neither did the Christians. He did fulfill the purpose of Jerusalem Temple. When Jesus was speaking with the Samaritan woman, who did not worship in the Jerusalem Temple but instead worshipped on Mount Gerizim in Samaria, he said “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. (Jn 4:21-23) Jesus was telling the Samaritan woman that a new worship and a new Temple was coming. What was this worship “in spirit and truth” He talking about? 

 

St. John’s Gospel also records Jesus’s Cleansing of the Temple. (Jn 2:13-25) The Synoptic Gospels’ cleansing account takes place right after the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem during Holy Week. John’s Gospel does not contain that cleansing, but it does record an earlier cleansing which occurred during one of the Lord’s early trips to Jerusalem. When the Jews asked him for a sign (miracle) to prove His authority, He answered “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews then said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he spoke of the temple of his body.” (Jn 2:19-21) St. Mark’s Gospel records this same saying though the mouth of a false witness during the Lord’s trial before the council. “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands’” (Mk 14:58) St. John tells us that He was speaking of His own body which was to be crucified and raised in three days rather than the Jerusalem Temple. In Part Two of Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedicts gives us the true meaning of this saying and the Cleansing of the Jerusalem Temple. Yet this saying has an even deeper significance. As John rightly says, the disciples understood it in its full depth only after the Resurrection, in their memory---in the collective memory of the community of disciples enlightened by the Holy Spirit, that is, the Church. 

 

The rejection and crucifixion of Jesus means at the same time the end of this Temple. The era of the Temple is over. A new worship is being introduced, in a Temple not built by human hands. This Temple is his body, the Risen One, who gathers the peoples and unites them in the sacrament of his body and blood. He himself is the new Temple of humanity. The crucifixion of Jesus is at the same time the destruction of the old Temple. With his Resurrection, a new way of worshipping God begins, no longer on this or that mountain, but "in spirit and truth" (Jn 4:23). 

 

The old Jerusalem Temple of stone is replaced by the new Temple, the Body of Christ. The old Temple contained God in the Holy of Holies. The new Temple, Jesus Christ, is God. Not only that, He also gives us God living within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. He gave the Holy Spirit to the Church on Pentecost Sunday. Through the Church the Lord gives us the Holy Spirit through the sacraments. St. Paul teaches that, since we have the Holy Spirit living in us, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are.” (1 Cor 3:16-17)

 

What St. Paul says here is not just a beautiful poetic image. It has a very practical application for all of us here and now. In the same letter to the Corinthians, St Paul tells us: Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Cor 6:18-20) Modern Western society totally contradicts what St. Paul says here. It tells us that our bodies belong to us and we can do with them what we want. Our bodies are not a sacred gift to us from God. We can use our bodies as we please and change them as we please just as we would do to an automobile which eventually ends up in the junkyard. 

 

Christ’s body (Temple) was not marred by sin. Yet it was mutilated and disfigured by sinners during His Passion and Crucifixion. Yet a new Temple came in three days which could not be disfigured by sinners at His Resurrection. The same applies to us. Our bodies, just like the old Jerusalem Temple, will fall apart. However, if the Holy Spirit dwells in us, that temple will be restored never to crumble again. “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Rom 8:11) The temple of our bodies must be ready for this. We need to ask the Lord to cleanse our temples just as he did for the Jerusalem Temple. –Jim Nugent, CfP

HUMOR

 

·         Do you know you have the right to remain silent even when you're not being arrested?

·         Apparently, there are two types of flu: the harmless one that women and children get and the "near death" version men get.

·         I asked the librarian if she had any books about paranoia. She whispered, "They're right behind you."

·         If there was a pill to cure procrastination, I would probably take it tomorrow.

·         When I was young, I was poor. But after years of hard work, I am no longer young.

·         If you're sitting in a public place and a stranger takes the seat next to you, just stare straight ahead and say, "Did you bring the money?"

·         When I see ads on TV with smiling, happy housewives using a new cleaning product the only thing I want to buy is the medication they must be on.

·         My neighbor asked if he could use my lawn mower. I said, "Sure. Just don't it out of the yard."

HISTORY OF CATHOLICISM IN THE UNITED STATES

On Saturday, March 25, 1634, passengers disembarked from the Ark and the Dove which had anchored at St. Clement’s Island in Chesapeake Bay. Soon thereafter a Mass was said by Fr. Andrew White giving thanks for a safe passage across the Atlantic. The first English-speaking Catholics had landed in Maryland. In the ensuing two centuries, Catholics – and especially Maryland Catholics – played a vital role in the development of the U.S.

The story of the early days of English-speaking Catholicism is a story of courage and perseverance.

The Ark and the Dove had been built by George Calvert, the first Baron Baltimore, a convert to Catholicism at a time when that act required real courage in England. Calvert wanted to establish a colony that would be a haven for Catholics in the New World. At the time, religious intolerance was the order of the day; Catholics were not permitted in the Calvinist colony of Massachusetts, the Dutch colony of New York , the Swedish settlement of Delaware, or the Anglican colony of Virginia.

The charter for the new colony was granted to Cecil Calvert, George having died, by King Charles I. The king named the new colony Maryland for his wife, Henrietta Marie, not for the Blessed Mother.

After a short time, the settlers moved to St. Mary’s City from St. Clement’s Island. St Mary’s City became the first capitol of Maryland. Unlike the other colonies, the Catholics of Maryland permitted religious freedom to others, and, as a result, Protestants gained control of the colony. The English church was then established, and Catholics were denied the right to vote. Denied the right to participate in politics, Maryland Catholics turned to making money and practicing their faith. In that, the Carroll family of Maryland was typical of Catholics in Maryland and Pennsylvania, which also did not persecute Catholics.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton was the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Fitzsimmons and Daniel Carroll were the Catholics who signed the Articles of Confederation. Charles Carroll was heir to the largest fortune in colonial Maryland. His persistent effort to promote and establish the concept of religious tolerance was embodied in the founding documents and laws of our country.

When he was 10, he was sent with his cousin John Carroll (pictured) to study at a secret school run by Jesuits in Cecil County, after which he was sent to study at St. Omers in French Flanders. When he returned to Maryland in 1765, Charles Carroll was given a 10,000-acre tract called Carrollton in Frederick County. He never lived there but added “of Carrollton” to his signature to distinguish himself from other Charles Carrolls. Following the Revolutionary War, he became actively involved in business. He became the last survivor of the Declaration of Independence, with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson having both died on July 4, 1826. Carroll died Nov. 14, 1832. He was 95 years old.

His cousin John, with whom he had studied, became a priest and then the first American Catholic bishop. He initiated the custom of public prayers for the president and the government. He was a founder of Georgetown University as well as Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, along with academies for girls.

In 1806, Bishop John Carroll confirmed Elizabeth Ann Seton in New York. Her conversion made her an outcast from New York society, and she left New York for Maryland. Carroll encouraged her to start a school for Catholic girls in Baltimore. In March 1809, he permitted her to take vows, but insisted she accept a dispensation from complete poverty so that she might provide for her five children. Mother Seton’s first years as superior of the small community in Emmitsburg were difficult, but she had the complete support of Bishop Carroll. The small community became the Sisters of Charity in the U.S.

When Archbishop Carroll died in 1808 at age 81, there were 200,000 Catholics in the U.S. He is credited with being the founder of the Catholic Church in the United States. –Joel Whitaker, CfP

CfP Photo Album: Ben and Kristen Rinaldo and Daughters

rINALDOS AT ZOO.jpg

In addition to parenting their two daughters, working full time, and preparing to pledge to live the CfP Rule for Life, the Rinaldo’s also volunteer a few hours per week at the CfP headquarters in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Kristen has taken over the CfP files and mailing list. Ben helps with the CfP gift shop and has been handcrafting rosaries and chaplets sold through the shop. Both of them together edit and write the reflections for the Oratory of Divine Love (www.OratoryDivineLove.com) Ben and Kristen are active members of Our Lady of Good Hope Parish, Fort Wayne IN. Ben is Grand Knight of the parish Knights of Columbus Council while Kristen sings in a choir at Saint John the Baptist Church, Fort Wayne.

HOW WE LIVE THE CFP RULE: BEN AND KRISTEN RINALDO

Living the 1221 Rule at first seems like it could be a daunting task, especially with a young family. By following the formation process and adding on a little more each month, we found that it was not daunting or even that much of an inconvenience. We had heard about the CfP and acquired a handbook years before we inquired. At that time, it seemed like the rule was asking too much and, honestly, we were intimidated by it and maybe a bit fearful of changing our lifestyle in what at the time seemed like a drastic manner. Our names are Benjamin and Kristen Rinaldo and we have both completed our formation and are hoping to Life Pledge this year. We have two daughters, age 6 and 8, and have been married for 22 years.

We live out the rule of prayer, fasting, and detachment from worldly things in a household with two active girls. Prayer time can be a little challenging, especially when we are at home during the day and not at work, and we often joke that it is “just like being in a monastery” when the kids are shouting or fighting while we pray together in the living room. For us, a typical day of prayer looks like this: In the morning we pray the CfP prayers, Office of Readings and Morning Prayer before getting out of bed. We both work full time, so the daytime prayers are prayed throughout the day at work.  When we get home, we say Evening Prayer before putting the kids to bed. After the kids are in bed, we pray about 20 minutes of mental prayer. Just before heading up to bed, we pray Night Prayer and CfP prayers.

For our meals we have breakfast together every morning at the dining room table. We make that our main meal of the day that we eat as a family. We eat lunch at work and for dinner we feed the kids and we might have something very small to eat at the same time. This works out well for us because we do not typically have a lot of time in the evenings between homework and prepping for the next day. Abstinence from eating meat is not an issue because we typically do not eat meat nor do we serve it in our home, so the children did not have to adjust to that, nor do we have to cook them separate meals.

Living a more detached and simplified life is still a work in progress. We have acquired a lot of things over our 22 years of marriage and with having children our collection of things has only grown bigger. It is easier to say no to ourselves than to our children, but being less detached from material things is something that we are trying to instill in our children. They certainly are not deprived, but we try to help them to want less stuff. The kids know that we only wear certain colors since they saw us get rid of our other clothes. 

Living out the Rule of the Confraternity of Penitents as a family allows us to raise our children with the values that we want to instill in them. We hope that when they see these principles lived out and how they bring us closer to God that it will help them in their own spiritual journey. When they see us spending time on Godly things, that shows them that we think those things are important. When they see us go to confession every two weeks, that is an example that we hope that they will follow. We will not force them into these practices, but we do hope to lead by example. Being in the CfP as parents and spouses leads to better family relationships and a better relationship with God. –Ben and Kristen Rinaldo, Preparing to Pledge

ANOTHER SALAD DRESSING RECIPE SHARED BY MARIAH DRAGOLICH, CFP

Maple Mustard Vinaigrette—Combine all in small bowl, then store in refrigerator

  • 4 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 2 Tablespoons water

  • 1 teaspoon tahini

  • 1 to 3 teaspoons organic maple syrup *

  • 2 teaspoons miso *

  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion flakes

  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt (+/- to taste) *

  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

BOOK BY CFP MEMBER AWARDED FIRST PLACE FOR CATHOLIC BIOGRAPHIES

Francesco.jpg

Francesco, a Biography of Saint Francis of Assisi, researched and written by CfP Member Madeline Pecora Nugent wins First Place for Biographies for 2023 Catholic Media Book Awards.

God bless all of you who prayed so many years and so fervently for this work! This award has happened only by the grace of God, effective through your prayers. Thank you.

Here is the email sent to the author from the Publicist at Pauline Books and Media, publishers of Francesco and the other two books in this Early Franciscan History Trilogy:

Madeline. I am so happy to tell you that Francesco won first place in Biographies at the CMA conference last week. This is really wonderful news. Thank you for the hard work, time, and love for all things St. Francis which you invested in this series. I am sending along a link that announces the award.

https://www.catholicmediaconference.org/books  Scroll down to B14 on this link. : ) (copy and paste link into browser if it does not work)

Peace of Christ, Sr Regina Dick, Publicist, Pauline Books & Media/Daughters of St. Paul, 50 Saint Paul Avenue, Boston, MA 02130. publicist@paulinemedia.com

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit ... and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith... Ephesians 3:14-21

Franceso, and the other two books in this trilogy (Antonio about Saint Anthony of Padua and Chiara about Saint Clare of Assisi) are available at a discounted price through the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop at www.cfpholyangels.com or by writing to CfP Holy Angels Gift Shop, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803 USA. Phone 260-739-6882. $20.95 per volume (discounted price) plus shipping. Also available on Amazon or in bookstores, but price is higher.

Thomas.jpg
STAY CONNECTED

A Nigerian priest visiting friends in Fort Wayne, Indiana, gave a homily on the Gospel for the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle (July 3).

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 2-: 24-29)

The priest told a story of a young man named Daniel who had strong faith and who was an altar server in the priest’s parish. The priest moved to another parish, but he returned after several years to visit former parishioners. Daniel’s mother met him with distressing news. Daniel had become a medical doctor (his life’s dream) but had left the Church. Could the priest speak to him?

“Why did you leave?” the priest asked. Danial shared two reasons. The injustice and hypocrisy he saw in the Church and priestly scandals. How could he believe with these in play? So he walked away.

The priest had two words for the young man. “Stay connected.” He used the example of St. Thomas who also doubted. Thomas didn’t leave the other apostles. He stayed connected so he was present when Jesus appeared again. God works through the Church and the people in it, the priest emphasized. Had Thomas left, he never would have met the resurrected Christ.

To those with doubts, and to those who are ministering to those with doubts, “Stay connected! Stay connected with your doubts. You meet Jesus in the Church, in prayer, in Adoration. Doubt but don’t depart.    Question but don’t quit. Stay connected where God can meet you. –Madeline Pecora Nugent, CfP

bottom of page