A Welcome into the Life of the Church and our Parish

A Welcome into the Life of the Church and our Parish

A Welcome into the Life of the Church and our Parish

Are you thinking about joining the Catholic Church or looking to explore that question? Are you a baptized person who has not yet received First Eucharist or been Confirmed?

We invite you to join us in a journey that will help you answer those questions and, if you choose, prepare you to be welcomed fully into the Catholic community.

Meetings take place following the Sunday 5 PM Mass for about an hour most weeks. If you have questions, please contact Fr Paul at the Parish Office (797-7026).

Our first meeting will be Sunday Oct 2, starting at 6:15 PM.

Welcome Back to Campus Reception

Welcome Back to Campus Reception

Welcome Back to Campus Reception

Welcome! As is often the case, the summer has flown by and here we are, looking at a new academic year – which often feels like a new year.

We’re celebrating the return of those dedicated humans studying in their chosen fields – sure to make the world a better place – also known as students! The 5:00pm Sunday Mass at St. Joseph on Stevens Avenue seems to be a popular option for students. So, the Welcoming Ministry here at Our Lady of Hope Parish is hosting an outdoor (weather permitting) reception after Mass on Sunday, September 11th. All are invited – and welcome – to join in conversation while enjoying some light fare from about 6-7 pm.

Of course, you’re always welcome at other Masses at Our Lady of Hope, too. Weekend Masses are at 7:30 on Sunday mornings at St. Joseph Church, as well at 4:30 pm Saturdays and 9:30 am Sundays at St Pius X Church on Ocean Avenue (across from Payson Park).

Our Lady of Hope is a Jesuit ministry and is part of the Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine.

You may wish to check out an upcoming reflection that Fr. Brian Conley, S.J. is offering on September 17th, Talking with Others about our Faith – a topic that is always relevant. It will be held in the Parish Hall on Ocean Avenue.

19th Annotation Ignatian Retreat

19th Annotation Ignatian Retreat

19th Annotation Ignatian Retreat

The Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine is offering a retreat that aims to offer a “blueprint” for prayer to help people discern God’s presence in their lives. This 19th Annotation Ignatian Retreat will be offered virtually via Zoom starting this October and running through June 2023. Established in 2018, The Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine is designed to assist anyone interested in sharing and promoting the Ignatian spiritual vision. Members of the partnership include the Jesuit Community of Maine (Cheverus High School, Our Lady of Hope Parish), the Sisters of St. Joseph in Winslow, the Sisters of the Presentation in Biddeford (Marie Joseph Spiritual Center), the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, and the Maine Ignatian Volunteer Corps, clergy and lay people of serveral Christian traditions who have been trained in Ignatian Spirituality.

Also known as the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life, the heart of this retreat is daily prayer. Participants need to make a commitment to praying daily with the retreat materials for about 30 minutes each day, attending a virtual Zoom meeting with the whole group on the first Wednesday evening of each month, and attending a monthly meeting with a spiritual director/prayer guide either in person or via Zoom.

“This retreat is designed for people who have had some experience praying with Scripture, and who have had experience talking with someone about their prayer,” notes Fr. Paul Sullivan, SJ, one of the retreat prayer guides and pastor of Our Lady of Hope. “The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola can be transformational.”

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In four stages, referred to as “weeks,” participants contemplate various aspects of their lives, as well as the Life, Passion, and Resurrection of Jesus. Leading and encouraging women and men to make the journey of the Exercises is a key priority of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) globally and for its partners in mission today. “God continues to invite each of us into a deepening relationship, to ongoing conversion. We belive that by embracing this invitation, we embrace our God who calls us to act in new, bold ways that reconcile our world – bringing about justice, peace, and compassion,” states Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, superior general of the Society of Jesus.

Jane Hartwell, Partnership member and co-coordinator of the retreat, notes that 2022-2023 will be the fourth time time we have offered this opportunity for retreat. “We have over 50 women and men, from Frenchville to the New Hampshire border who have now shared this experience. We hope that you might join us this year.”

Space is limited, for a most fruitful experience for participants. So if you’d like more information or to register for this retreat, visit ignatianme.org. Once registered, organizers will arrange for an in-person or online meeting to talk more about the retreat and pair you with a spiritual director/guide.

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

We have an opportunity for you to learn more about the Spiritual Exercises, and deepen your own spiritual journey.  The Spiritual Exercises are a compilation of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices developed by St. Ignatius Loyola to help people deepen their relationship with God. For centuries, the Exercises were most commonly given as a “long retreat” of about 30 days in solitude and silence.

In recent years, there has been a renewed emphasis on the Spiritual Exercises as a program for laypeople. The most common way of going through the Exercises now is a “retreat in daily life,” which involves a monthslong program of daily prayer and meetings with a spiritual director. The Exercises have also been adapted in many other ways to meet the needs of modern people. Over the past three years, the Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine has accompanied more than 50 people here in Maine in this spiritual journey.

Consider joining other men and women from Maine in “making the Exercises” this year. The priests here at Our Lady of Hope welcome the chance to speak with you about it. You can also find helpful information at the Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine’s website. Our parish and the Jesuit Community are members of the Partnership). Applications for this year’s retreat, which runs from October 2022 – June 2023, are now available here.

In Times of Stress and Worry

In Times of Stress and Worry

In Times of Stress and Worry

We know that not every day in life is easy.

There are times of struggle or uncertainty or fear. A recent weekday Gospel dealt with such times.

The friends of Jesus were in a boat out on the lake and the winds got strong, the boat was rocking and they felt they might sink. Jesus was, somehow in all this commotion, asleep, and they cried out to him in fear. The story tells us Jesus awoke and calmed the seas and winds and told his friends, do not be afraid.

“Who is this man? The story asks, that he has such power.” This story may have happened as the Gospel writer tells us, but it is also meant to be about us.

Sometimes life gets rough, and we are filled with fear or grief. What to do? As friends of Jesus we can do what his friends did in that boat. We can speak with Jesus (or the Holy Spirit or the Father), and in all honesty, tell God our fears. Not so much describe the problem (“my boat is sinking”) but tell God what is in your heart (“I am scared to death”).  Find those words that really say how it is with you. Speak them.

And then listen.

Jesus does not claim to be a magician, always making things “right” in our lives. He promises always to be with us, even, maybe especially, in times of stress, danger, fear, or grief.

As Bishop Desmond Tutu put it “Victory is Ours. Goodness is stronger than evil; Love is stronger than hate; Light is stronger than darkness; Life is stronger than death; Victory is ours through Him who loves us.” This is the Christian proclamation of faith.

Ignatius invites us to speak with Jesus as you would speak with your closest friend.

Fr. Paul SJ

Summer Reading: The What, How, and Why of Prayer

Summer Reading: The What, How, and Why of Prayer

Summer Reading: The What, How, and Why of Prayer

If you are looking to explore prayer you might try one or more of these links. What is Ignatian prayer? How can I pray? Why do we pray? These questions all speak to a desire to grow closer to God.

If you are looking to explore approaches to Ignatian prayer you might enjoy one or more of these essays and article, which are linked at the end of the descriptions. 

Why Do We Pray? By William A. Barry, SJ 
“We pray, then, at our deepest level, because we are drawn by the bonds of love. We pray because we love, and not just for utilitarian purposes.” The Ignatian Spirituality website has a beautiful article by Fr. Barry, which you can find here.

A Short Course on Prayer By J.J. O’Leary, SJ
Fr. O’Leary explains that prayer begins with reality. Some of the comments and questions are directed specifically to students or teachers, but the full article is relevant to anyone seeking a prayer life that touches the inner core based on an awareness of self. A link to the full article is here.

What Prayer Is By Thomas H. Green, SJ 
This chapter from Fr. Green’s Opening to God provides a basic description of prayer. It’s a meaty essay, that provides theological, historical context for those of us who have not deeply studied this; Green discusses the effects of semi-Pelagianism (Fr. Green explains what that means) on our traditional concepts of prayer and goes on to describe prayer as the opening of our hearts and minds to God. Fr. Green’s article is found here.

Praying with Scripture By Douglas J. Leonhardt, SJ
Fr. Leonhardt explains Lectio Divina and Gospel Contemplation, two ways to pray with Scripture. His essay is here.

Distractions in Prayer By Kevin O’Brien, SJ
Fr. O’Brien encourages those who are experiencing distractions in prayer. His article can be found here.

Experiences of Boredom or Dryness in Prayer By Kevin O’Brien, SJ
Fr. O’Brien counsels careful discernment of feelings of boredom or dryness in prayer. Like all interior movements, they can tell us something. Read his article here .

Review Prayer by Keeping a Journal By Kevin O’Brien, SJ
Fr. O’Brien offers some questions to ask after a period of prayer that might be helpful to consider while journaling. You can read his article here.

Prayer: A Personal Response to God’s Presence By Armand M. Nigro, SJ
A straightforward description of prayer as a loving response to God’s presence. Fr. Nigro describes the 5 “P’s” of prayer and ends with a suggestion for group or family prayer in an article found here.

Hopefully one or more of these essays spark your interest during this summer season.  May it be a season of renewed prayer for each of us.  And, as always if you’ve found something you’d like to talk over, drop us a line, or give us a call!

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