Social Justice and Peace: Doing Our Part to Save the Planet

Social Justice and Peace: Doing Our Part to Save the Planet

Social Justice and Peace: Doing Our Part to Save the Planet

Members of the Social Justice and Peace Commission, a ministry of Our Lady of Hope, finds ways to share stories, along with content on relevant issues in our community – and world. One of the focus areas of these parish volunteers is Caring for Our Common Home – the planet. If you’re a frequent bulletin reader, you’ll recognize the graphic here, and even the message about “unplugging.”

Each month they offer an idea that puts Catholic Social Teaching to work in meaningful ways.

Sometimes those ideas are related to people’s well-being, sometimes to the environment. Most times there’s a connection between the two.

This month, they’ve been reading about the issue of homelessness, and the challenges and heartache that brings to people with no homes and the communities in which they find themselves. This article in Commonweal is one that they are reading and discussing currently. We invite you to read it as well, and join the conversation at their meeting in February, on the third Thursday at 7 pm in the Hall.

And, after you read it online, perhaps take a look at the devices (or charging cords) and small appliances you have plugged in at home when not in use. Unplugging saves energy and money. That’s good for everyone.

Be With Us in Caring

Be With Us in Caring

Be With Us in Caring

This parish-wide initiative lines up beautifully with the worldwide work of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).

In a recent letter to all Jesuits, Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Jesuits quoted the most recent General Congregation – or GC36 –  (the highest governing body in the Jesuits – there have been 36 since the order’s founding in 1540). Both documents describe a transforming encounter with the mercy of God as being at the heart of Ignatian spirituality This encounter with the mercy of God moves us to a generous personal response. “The experience of the merciful gaze of God on our weakness and sinfulness humbles us and fills us with gratitude, helping us to become compassionate ministers to all. Filled with the fire of Christ’s mercy, we can inflame those we meet.” (GC 36, Degree 1, paragraph 19).

As with all ministries of the Society of Jesus, Our Lady of Hope Parish seeks to be a place where everyone can encounter the profound mercy of God and where all will be moved to act with compassion in the world.

How do we show this care and compassion?

We do so by “Living the Eucharist, and Becoming a Beacon of Hope.” In the brochure that we recently sent out, we describe three activities that help us to show this care and compassion:
1. Coming to Know Jesus as a Friend
2. Celebrating God’s Love For Us
3. Feeding, Connecting, Healing.

In inviting others to come to know Jesus as a friend or to deepen that friendship, we hope to invite everyone to a transformative encounter with God’s mercy. We celebrate that transformative encounter throughout our lives – from 39 baptisms to over 80 services for those who have died. The twenty-seven ministries, close to 100 liturgical ministers, the many donations to charity and the service provided through organizations like the Knights of Columbus give evidence that the encounter with the merciful love of God has elicited a generous response from many in our parish. In the Society of Jesus we often describe these ministries as cura personalis – translated care of the whole person.

On the fourth page on the inside of that brochure we include information on income and expenses. Very often people think that issues like dollars and sense are secondary to the work of cura personalis. In the Society of Jesus, this fourth page is a part of what we call cura apostolica – translated care of the organization or apostolate. The Jesuits see Our Lady of Hope Parish as an apostolate.

Care for Mission: People, Communities, and Organizations

In 2020, Arturo Sosa, SJ, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, wrote a letter to the whole Society entitled “Care in the governance of the life-mission of the Society in this era of change.” In this letter, Fr. Sosa emphasized the need for unity between cura personalis and cura apostolica. Fr. Sosa traces both our care for one another and our founding institutions to that transformational encounter with God’s mercy described in the GC36. From the very founding of the Society of Jesus by Ignatius Loyola, we have had one single cura that is care for our mission. This care for mission focuses on persons, communities, and works. Care for the whole person and care of the organization must be united for us to carry out the mission.

We invite you to be with us in encountering the merciful love of God. We invite you to be with us in a generous response to that encounter. We invite you to be with us in living the Eucharist and becoming a beacon of hope. We invite you to join us in caring for one another (cura personalis) and caring for Our Lady of Hope Parish that helps to facilitate this encounter and to make this encounter available to all (cura apostolica).

Fr. Brian Conley, S.J.

Be With Us in Caring

Living the Eucharist, Becoming a Beacon of Hope

Living the Eucharist, Becoming a Beacon of Hope

Registered members of the parish recently received a brochure in the mail that highlights the good works that are going on throughout Our Lady of Hope – and beyond – into the greater Portland community. Through this brochure we seek to tell the story “by the numbers” and the ministries behind those numbers. These ministries extend our welcome, to have people feel a true sense of belonging.

We are inviting you to “Be with Us” – in prayer, service, financial support – building our parish community together.

Beyond sharing our story, this brochure is designed to invite you to prayerfully consider your participation in parish life. You might be able to serve in a ministry that:
– helps to reduce hunger (both physical and spiritual), feeding body and soul
– helps to build connection for people who are lonely or excluded so that they are less isolated
– helps to offer healing

Let us know how you’d like to be involved by mailing the “Be with Us” reply card or dropping it in the collection basket at Mass. If you’d like to give a gift online, you can do that through WeShare here.

Thank you for all you do!

 

 

Extending Gratitude and Welcome

Extending Gratitude and Welcome

Extending Gratitude and Welcome

Our Parish Pastoral Council is an important ministry of leadership and discernment — “seeking God’s Spirit” — in our community of faith. Typically, individuals serve for a three-year term and then rotate off. This year four members have rotated off the Council. Much gratitude goes to outgoing Council members Dermot Bostock, Kathy Eliscu, Estelle Lavoie, and Peter Rickett for their faith-filled service.

Paying attention to the movements of the Holy Spirit

During the weekend Masses of the Easter season, we have been praying for men and women to step forward with willingness to serve our parish as member of the Council. While we prayed for four individuals to hear and answer the call, we were delighted that six men and women took action. Four names were drawn by individuals participating in one of the daily Masses after Pentecost. And, with further reflection, we realized that the size of the Council could accommodate all six of the candidates!

Giving thanks

So, we celebrate the spirit of the council — their energy and enthusiasm for our ministries and the opportunities for growth that are known and, as yet, unknown to us. New members are:

Megan Arguelles
Cynthia Murray-Beliveau
Bryan Green
Richard Niles
Terry O’Brien
Cathy Roak

They join Scott Dalton, Tonya Heskett, James McCarthy, Jesse Senore, Paul Tyson, and Karen Welch. Led by Fr. Paul, working together and with staff, they offer their skills, talents, and hearts. Together we continue strive evermore earnestly to live the Gospel Message. AMDG.

Acute and Chronic Stress: Tools to get Relief

Acute and Chronic Stress: Tools to get Relief

Acute and Chronic Stress: Tools to get Relief

Imagine Yourself in this Situation

You are driving to Mass and the traffic light for Ocean Ave has turned green. As you turn onto Ocean Ave, from the corner of your eye you see a young girl riding her bike into the crosswalk. You slam on the brakes and barely avoid hitting her! Your heart is racing, and your hands are sweaty and shaking. Once you park in the St. Pius lot you think about what just happened and get angry at the young girl. However, as you start to recover a bit you now see this as a grace from God that allowed you to prevent a tragic accident. You have just been through a bout of acute stress.

Situational Stress and De-Stressing from it

Most species experience stress and also have systems for “de-stress” . Stress can be physical or emotional, but either type releases a chemical from your brain called acetylcholine, which in turn causes release of adrenaline from your adrenal glands (brain/body connection). This activates the fight/flight response of increased heart rate and increased blood flow. Acute stress in certain situations can be good, since it activates your immune system for fighting infections. However, in the above situation of avoiding hitting the young girl on her bike, we need a way to stop the stress response. The fastest way has been demonstrated to occur when you do a double inhale through your nose followed by a vigorous exhale through pursed lips. Repeating this 4-5 times should bring your stress under control by causing the release of serotonin which induces a feeling of calmness.

Chronic Stress is Different

Chronic stress is a more serious problem. It can last for months or even years. This type of stress has been linked to depression, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and the development of certain types of cancer.

A lack of social connections, not virtual, but in person, stimulates chronic stress and reinforces its longevity. The major instigator is the release of cortisol, a steroid hormone. Bringing chronic stress under control is a more difficult proposition. One route is to try some natural compounds. My sources for this column are listed at the end so you can get more information if you wish. (It’s always a good idea to check with your health care provider to avoid anything that could be counterproductive to any other treatment.)

Another approach for chronic stress is trying meditation and self-awareness. If you are unaware of the thoughts from your mind, they will own you! You cannot stop these negative thoughts so just notice them and move on. This is called self-awareness and the more you practice this type of meditation the better you get. You can ask God and Jesus to help you in this practice. At the end of your day think about the most vivid negative emotion you had that day. Say what you thought out loud and analyze your feelings. Then say: “I am alive and well. I will not waste my time on this thought. Tomorrow I will show love to other people in the name of Jesus”.

Thanks to Dick Niles, one of our leaders for RCIA and Emeritus Professor and former Associate Dean of Biomedical Sciences at the Joan C Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University. The intent of these columns is to provide information about how to improve your life by addressing physical and spiritual situations that might be impeding your peace, happiness and sense of fulfillment. Also, there will be useful tips on achieving academic success for undergrads and grad students at our local Universities.

Sources

1. Huberman Lab podcast, March 8, 2021 “Master Stress: Tools for Managing Stress and Anxiety”

2. On Purpose-Jay Shetty podcast, Oct 23, 2020 “Techniques to Cope with Anxiety and Feel More Centered throughout Your Day

3. How to Build a Happy Life Oct 5, 2021 Arthur Brooks “How to be Self-Aware” podcast the neuroscience of emotional management.

Mass and Mingle

Mass and Mingle

Mass and Mingle

Have you caught up with friends, old and new, after Mass at one of our Mass and Mingle events? Each month following one of the Masses, we have some light refreshments and a chance to mingle — building faith and friendship — as a parish community. These events rotate each month, so that each Mass has 3-4 throughout the calendar year. In April, we’ll be gathering after 7:30 Mass in St. Joseph’s Church on the 16th. In May we’ll be outside (weather permitting) of St. Joseph’s after the 5pm Mass on the 21st. Happy Easter Season. He is Risen – there’s so much for us to rejoice about together!
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