Living Our Faith Why Catholic? Training on Life in Christ
Sr. Maureen with participants at the January 2011 WC? training at Murphy Canyon in San Diego.
January 2011 Murphy Canyon Chapel Center San Diego, CA
San Diego participants at Murphy Canyon and
Naval Base San Diego hosted their final Why Catholic? training weekend in January of this year. We are most grateful for their service to the Why Catholic? teams from across the nation. The weekends spent in San Diego have been delightful! We had a great training in January with 30 participants. There were six bases present: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, San Diego Naval Base, Murphy Canyon Chapel Community, Pendleton USMC, Davis-Monthan, and Ft. Meade. There are ten
active small communities with about 100 people involved who have completed the Life in Christ book. All the bases reported that their groups are doing very well. Naval Base San Diego reported that their numbers increased from 13 to 28 during their last period of faith sharing. They also had 30 attend their Life in Christ retreat including two chaplains. One group started a Why Catholic? Prayer Chain which has increased the confidence of members in both asking for prayer and in sharing about answered prayer. One participant shared that the prayer in the faith sharing session was like â€œan espresso shot of Jesusâ€? for her spiritual life. One base promoted a specific outreach to new parents and this has resulted in more members for the Why Catholic? small communities.
Styles and Methods of Praying
Saint John of the Cross called contemplation “silent love.” Saint Teresa of Avila describes contemplative prayer as “nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us” [CCC 2709]. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila reached heights of contemplation that few of us will attain. However, this is not just a form of prayer for great saints. Since contemplation is time alone with God, we need to cultivate a positive sense of solitude; and it is a prayer that depends on silence.
Centering prayer is a form of personal prayer that does not focus upon mental pictures, a reasoning process, and, for the most part, conversation with God. Rather it is simply being in God’s presence by moving to the center of one’s being where God is to be found. The method of centering prayer includes four steps: 1. Quieting and settling your body and then moving in faith to God dwelling at the center of your being. This beginning to centering prayer often includes making a short act of faith in God’s presence. 2. Choosing a single, simple word that expresses God’s presence—for example, “Jesus,” “God,” “love”—and then repeating this sacred word within one’s being. This repetition is a way of reducing distractions and enabling you to move to an 2
We need to begin by eliminating some of the “noise” in our lives (TV, radio, loud music) so that we can hear the voice of God within. We also need to find interior silence: calm the rush of words, ideas and thoughts that everyday life thrusts upon us. We need to learn to appreciate time spent alone. This can be anywhere: an ordinary room, parked car, park, beach . . . Practice silence and solitude, and learn to love them. They are a source of physical and spiritual rest, and the gateways to contemplation.
awareness of God’s presence at the center of your being. Accept the sacred word in whatever form it arises within you. 3. Thinking the sacred word until it becomes a vague impulse or even gives way to pure awareness of God’s presence. Returning to the word whenever the mind wanders or is distracted. In centering prayer some people experience pure interior silence. Others reach a peace and a calm accompanied by a “trickle” of thoughts. Still others may experience neither and remain with their sacred word. All are forms of interior quiet and resting with God. 4. Easing out of prayer. After a period of time (often fifteen to twenty minutes), come out of centering prayer by mentally praying a particular prayer—for example, the Our Father. On the Pastoral Front (August 2011)
Invitation Successes and Challenges Sr. Maureen at the training in Wiesbaden, Germany
Participants at the May 2011 WC? training in Wiesbaden, Germany
• Timing and location can be obstacles to group meetings – some have only one hour • Chaplains who are “all over it” re: recruiting see the best results • Table set up in the vestibule with Why Catholic? information for several weeks before and during the sessions • Pulpit announcements at the end of Mass • Welcome Kit – for new chapel members includes information about Why Catholic? • Stations of the Cross during Lent followed by soup and Why Catholic? • Single soldiers in the barracks – special targeted invitation – one group brings home cooked meal/bags of cookies/BBQ – at this event you can talk to them one on one • Bulletin inserts • Family Readiness Center – special outreach to deployed spouses • Movie theatre advertisements
Del San Jose, Mike Ripberger, Maureen Barnes in San Diego
Wiesbaden Chapel Center, site of May 2011 training
On the Pastoral Front (August 2011)
Why Catholic? Growing in Germany May 2011 Wiesbaden Chapel Center Wiesbaden, Germany
This was our second visit to Germany for the three
already signed bases – Heidelberg, Wiesbaden and Ansbach/Illesheim. The community at Wiesbaden did a superb job hosting us – thank you again! This trip provided an opportunity for a visit to Grafenwoehr/Vilseck/Hohenfels as well as to be on-site at Heidelberg and Ansbach. We are happy to welcome to the Why Catholic? family Ramstein AFB who attended the training and also Grafenwoehr/ Vilseck/Hohenfels. During this visit we had the training for Life in Christ as well as hosting the retreat for Celebrating the Christian Mystery on the Beatitudes. There were 126 people present for all the events. The three bases that have completed one book thus far have a total of 11 small communities with 138 members. We are grateful to Bishop Rick Spencer for his on-going support and dream that Why Catholic? will extend throughout all the military communities in Europe!
Christian Prayer How the Church Prays
Ansbach/Illesheim Retreat participants
Sr. Maureen and youngest retreatant at Wiesbaden
Our next training will help us look more deeply at our relationship with God and how we nurture that relationship in prayer. Schedule of trainings: • for U.S. Bases September 9-10, 2011 Joint Base Lewis-McChord Steilacoom, WA • for Bases in Germany January, 2012 (date tba) Wiesbaden Chapel Center Wiesbaden, Germany Do you know of any bases in your area that would like to do Why Catholic? Can you help us sign up more bases? Please contact: Sr. Maureen Colleary, FSP - email@example.com for more information. Thanks for your help. 4
Celebrating at Barnes’ home in San Diego All content (text, photographs, and design) of this Newsletter © 2011 RENEW International. For further information about the Why Catholic? process for the Military, please contact Sr. Maureen Colleary, FSP at: RENEW International 1232 George Street, Plainfield, NJ 07062-1717 Tel: 908-769-5400 x 121 Fax: 908-769-5660 Email: MaureenC@renewintl.org
On the Pastoral Front (August 2011)