Monday, June 29, 2009

St. Paul and Religious Life: Holy Cross Sisters: Kensington, MD; June 21 - 26, 2009

June 29, 2009

The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Peace and Good,

This past week I was in Kensington, MD, just outside of the Washington Beltway, giving a retreat to the Holy Cross Sisters. This is a residence for retired sisters who can care for themselves. They were all a bit older than I am. As I have said before, I am always so grateful when I can share my scripture learning with priests and religious who did not have the opportunity to have the scriptural background that I did. I feel privileged.

Typical of retreats on St. Paul throughout this year, the sisters walked away with a slightly different view on him. The first time one reads his letters, one can get the impression that he is arrogant. That is not really the case. There is no question that he is opinionated. But many of the angry passages in his letters are really about protecting his spiritual children from the dangers of heresy. He fears that if they were to listen to the false teachers, then they would lose something precious that God had given them. Like any good parents who sees their children endangered, he is forceful in his response.

The sisters watched a series of religious video tapes in the evening. It was a nice relaxing way to spend the evenings for them. One of their favorites was the Assisi Underground which tells the story of how friars and sisters in Assisi hid and saved many, many Jewish people during the war.

I finished a book entitled Rise to Rebellion by Jeff Shaara. He and his father have written a series of fictional history books about American history. They create dialogues for their historic characters. This book was about the period that led up to the American Revolution. It was quite entertaining.

Sunday I had Mass at Relay, a lay run community. Priests come in for sacramental purposes, but the lay boards run the life of the community. When one wishes to become part of the community, one receives a mentor family for a period of six months. At the end of the trial, one can sign up, but one is expected to serve on one of the community's committee (e.g. liturgy, social action, catechesis, etc.) When I say community, I don't mean that they live together. The focal point of their community is the church building (an old Presbyterian Church which they bought). They have one liturgy each Sunday (so that they can remain united as a faith community). I always enjoy celebrating there. People are very involved in music and preparation of the liturgy. There is a real spirit of joy and camaraderie.


fr. Jude


  1. Dear Friar Jude, It has been a month since I could last listen to the CDs--that was my last long car trip, but I have another one Wednesday and I'm looking forward to listening to this series--Isaiah. Thanks so much for making the talks available on cds. From St Thomas More in Cherry Hill, New Jersey

  2. Peace and Good,
    Thanks so much for the encouragement. I love listening to books and courses on tape. It makes the journey so much more enjoyable. The only problem is when you get there before you finish the tape/CD and you find youself sitting in the car for an extra half hour just to finish off the recording.
    God bless and Shalom
    fr. Jude