Super Moon meeting in Lethbridge!

For our February evening meeting, a huge harvest-like moon hanging low in the sky served to direct us as we made our way to the Retreat Center situated on that ‘holy hill.’

Kathy Gillis used her book SACRED SPACE thoughtfully leading us in chapel prayer. Caroline followed to shepherd discussion on the third chapter of Pope Francis’ document, GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE (Rejoice and Be Glad.) This one dealt with the Beatitudes, and in the Pope’s own words, is a “Christian’s identity card.” To quote further from the document, Pope Francis writes, “Jesus explained with great simplicity what it means to be holy when he gave us the Beatitudes.” I think we all agreed that within that chapter’s nineteen pages, there was much to ponder and pray over, to guide and challenge everyone of us.

For our March meeting, we will be graced by the visit of Julia Townsend from Antigonish. We are all looking forward to her message of inspiration as well as her generous happy spirit. Romano will be our leader of prayer while Sharon and Caroline have volunteered to provide snacks. Our April meeting will be moved a week ahead to the 11th.


INDIA COMES TO VISIT! SYDNEY MARTHA ASSOCIATES SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2019

On Sunday, February 10, 2019, during our regular monthly meeting, the Sydney Martha Associates welcomed three students from India who are studying at Cape Breton University. One of the students, Stephy, is also the house guest of Anne and Terry Campbell, both Martha Associates. What a lovely way to show Gospel Hospitality!! Stephy shared a little with our group of going to Church in India.

Stephy attends Holy Family Church in Nazareth, India. Her Church has 6 Masses on Sunday. There is standing room only at each Mass, in fact, many people stand outside the Church, if there is no room to sit on the floor of the Church!!! There are at least 1500 children enrolled in the Catechism program! The children range in age from four, up until 18!! Every Catechism teacher must take a 5 day preparatory course to teach religion! Stephy was herself, a Catechism teacher in India! She expressed her surprise at how few young people there are at our Sunday Masses!!

Our Associate group was also blessed to welcome Stephy’s friends, Rajshree and Jay. Both are Hindu. Raj spoke a little about the traditions of her Hindu Faith. First, Raj told us a little about India. It has a population of 1.3 billion people and is the largest democracy in the world! India is very diverse. While there are at least 22 different languages spoken in India, the official language is (surprisingly!), English, although most people speak Hindi! There are several faith groups in India: Hindu, Christianity, Jainism, Sikkism, Islam, Buddhism. The number one faith tradition is Hindu, followed by Christianity.

Raj explained the Hindu greeting of “Namaste”, recognizing the Spirit within yourself and in another. She also told us that at the core of the Hindu beliefs is LOVE! Jay also helped in some of the explanation of the Hindu faith. It was wonderful to learn something about a faith tradition that was different from our own beliefs, yet anchored in LOVE!! It was all about love. Listening and learning about another faith tradition is a wonderful way to show respect and love for others who may have different beliefs and traditions. It is one way to live Gospel Hospitality!!

Presentation by Father Varghese Puthuparampil

Father Varghese is a religious priest and a member of the Indian Mission Society (IMS).  He spent most of his time in the Seminary teaching and guiding the Seminarians.  Teaching them the Synoptic Gospels.

Some words of wisdom from Father Varghese on the Synoptic Gospels.  Our first call is to serve and follow Jesus.  Our call is not to worship Jesus.  We are call to come together as a community weekly at Mass.  We are to deny ourselves and carry the cross and accept the suffering.

Jesus love for us is unconditional.  Our suffering is unconditional love for him.  We need to empty ourselves by giving up and loving unconditionally.

Jesus identity.  What was his Mission?  Why was he born.  Jesus was born to give us fullness of life and unconditional love.  He didn’t come to die he came to live.  Jesus was about good news to the poor.  Isaiah – God of the Bible – preference was given to the poor.  The poor need God and depend on God.  The rich want God and want God’s blessings.

In the new testament there is no mention of Jesus as a Priest.  He came to challenge the rich and question their value system.  Nothing is mention in the NT about the commands of Jesus.

Why did Jesus become to be the Messiah?  The Messiah came to change society.  He couldn’t change society.  He came to save us. The mighty deeds of Jesus and his healings.  Healings is a fundamental aspect of God’s reign.

Jesus never came to establish a religion.  Christianity is always the way.  It is not an organization.  Jesus never came to give us teachings or exhortations.  He never gave us a charter of Christian life.  He gave us the Good News of the Gospel.  The Good News is that someone loves us.  Jesus never ask us to Love God.  The commandment love God is not of Jesus.  The good news is that God loves me.

Most Christians are busy loving God. 

In Canada most are involved in loving others.  We worship God once a week.  Loving your neighbour is what Jesus is all about.  Jesus only gave us the good news to love one another.  Good news to the poor. 

1 Samuel Chapter 17 verse 34 & 35

Pastoral Ministry – Meaning of Pastoral (Shepherd) lay your life down. Meaning of Ministry (Service) – method of priesthood.  One who risk his or her life to save the sheep.  Risk your life to give service to others.  Method was service.  Not to be served but to serve. 

We are trying to be Christian.  Travelling to become more Christians.

Disciples – always failed him.  They denied him and abandon him.  He always forgave them and called them back.

We all have God’s DNA.  I am a child of God.  You are a child of God.  I make mistakes and you make mistakes.  We are God’s children.  This is the good news.

Have an attitude of gratitude.  Put positive energy out there. 

ST. CLARE ASSOCIATES GATHERING

FEBRUARY 6, 2019

December and January were cancelled because of weather and other engagements for members.

February meeting took place Wednesday February 6, 2019 at 2:30pm. with 13 members present. Following welcome by Coordinator Lola Tobin the meeting opened with a prayer by Georgie Edwards.

A memorial service for our deceased members then took place. As each deceased member was called one of the Associates lit a candle and placed it on the table by the deceased member’s name. We concluded by all singing the hymn… May the Blessing of the Lord be upon You…

New Business: Next meeting will be held Wednesday March 6, 2019. At 1:pm. The guest speaker will be our Associate Director, Julia Townsend. She will give her Director’s presentation and annual report.

Our guest speaker today is Father Varghese Puthuparampil, a religious priest and a member of India Mission Society (IMS) He spoke on the Synoptic Gospels and the Discipleship of Jesus. (summary attached).He was most interesting, informative and presented the group with new insights on Jesus, his mission and our mission as followers of “the Way”. Sister Maria Lawrence thanked him and presented Father with an appreciation gift. Meeting closed with the Associate prayer and Father said grace. A delicious meal (belated Christmas meal) was enjoyed by all during a social hour

FIRST ASSOCIATES MEETING OF THE NEW YEAR, JANUARY 17, 2019

Icy and foggy, sleety and smoggy, snowy, blowy and bone-chilly-nasty.  All these elements coupled with that warm and gracious welcome by the Sisters could not keep twenty three people from attending our third Thursday of the month Associates meeting held at the Retreat Center.

Gathering together in Chapel, Irene and Harry deftly guided us along through prayer, petition and song. Moving into the big room we then heard from our guest James Spiess, high school teacher from Lethbridge Catholic Central, who articulated his gratitude for our donations directed towards their hamper project which gifted sixty nine needy families at Christmas time. Clearly everyone benefited from this blessed Yuletide event of love, generosity and support.

JESUS, LIGHT OF THE WORLD, MAY OUR LIGHT SHINE IN UNION WITH YOU AND WITH ONE ANOTHER.

Having read Chapter Two from the Holy Father’s document Rejoice and Be Glad, Caroline took charge of the discussion which included topics like Pelagianism, Gnosticism, God’ s grace and gifts and our life long progress along the path to holiness. And by acclamation, Miss Caroline will also lead next month’s discussion on Chapter Three!

Meeting concluded with savory snacks provided by Mary Frances and Mary Ann.

For our February meeting, Kathy Gillis will provide chapel prayer and Joan and Romano, Karen and Peter are in charge of lunch.

Sydney Martha Associates

Greetings from the Sydney group!  We just ended another good year and again we wonder where the time went.  It seems like we just got started.  But it was a good year that began with the retreat in September and sped right by October into November where we met and listened to our coordinator Julia Townsend tell us (and show us) of her travels to workshops in the US (Cincinnati, Ohio), and to the Martha Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta.  And then we were enjoying our Christmas supper in December at HERS in Sydney.  The name HERS stands for “Hands Earning Respect for Self”. It is a project of the Every Woman’s Centre. At HERS, women living on a low income are provided with the opportunity to work together in a non-traditional work environment to help: Increase social connections and support, Improve quality of life, Increase employability skills, earn income in the form of goods and services, and work in a community kitchen.  The setting is homey and the food delish!  We had a fine meal for the second Christmas in a row there.

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Glace Bay and Area Martha Associates May 2018 Meeting

Our May Meeting opened at the home of David and Paula Nearing. Special guest for the session was Father Ray Huntley. Father Ray opened with a scriptural passage which we contemplated and discussed which then led our discussion on L’Arche and the early works of Jean Vanier.

From left to right; Ken MacAdam, Linda MacNeil, Sr. Claudette Gallant, Joanna Crosby, Sylvia Chiasson, Fr. Ray Huntley, David Nearing.

Father Ray spoke of his upbringing in the Town of Sydney Mines, stating that parents made sure that he and his siblings were aware of people experiencing poverty, disabilities, or culturally differences,  highlighting that we are all children of God and share in His love..  Through these differences, they began to see many treasures…

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Martha Associates Meeting – May 9, 2018

We started the meeting with a check-in from everyone.  On the whole we’re all good –knock on wood.

Terry led the group in saying the Rosary as our opening prayer and afterwards Sister Dorothy sang a beautiful rendition of Ave Maria in Mi’kmaq.

Then we moved on to business matters and decided to donate the social justice fund to Mass for Shut-Ins.  And we talked about our then upcoming appearance on Mass for Shut-Ins on May 16 (which went wonderfully).

We talked about the annual retreat coming up September 15th at the new Martha Place, where Sr. Jovita MacPherson will give the retreat whose theme will be “Embraced in Love: the many faces of hospitality.”

Julia gave a report from Martha Place and distributed pictures of the scene at the new chapel there, which is a divided painting of a scene as it would look outside the building onto the landscape beyond the building.  As though one were looking through a set of windows.

Julia brought beads and holy water from Lourds, France and we all were able to bless ourselves with it.

After this we watched an interesting YouTube video of Fr. James Martin talking about Lourds and St. Bernadette.