Young Adults of St Francis

Archive for March 2011

SFYA Parish Lenten Poster
(In PDF Format)

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We look forward to seeing you all there!
-SFYA Leadership Team


“One thing is certain about human nature…we’re born talkers.   Our urge to communicate is universal. And now with modern technology we can meet anybody… anywhere… at anytime.”

There was an episode on CNBC that was premiered back in January, yet was shown again this month; pertaining to technology and especially the usage of our cell phones. It’s called “Crackberry’d: The Truth about Information Overload.” I’ll confess that I’m a huge technology user and supporter. I was the type of user that my cell phone was literally attached to my body, at all times! Ironically, before I even viewed the CNBC episode, I’d noticed my “addiction” to my cell phone (none other then the Iphone) and lectured myself on my own usage! So my question to you is: how frequently do you use technology?

“Today our means for communication are endless: twelve billion text messages are sent worldwide every day…And the number of personal computers in use around the globe is expected to double in the next four years. But is all this access to technology actually making our lives better?”


“That the emphasis is shifting from deep thinking to getting superficial knowledge fast and that despite what we think, we’re not very good at multi-tasking with all those devices.  Our brains simply can’t keep up with all the modern demands for our attention.”

Once looking at it/reading about it, you can begin to understand why it’s an enlightening episode and I’ll admit, even hard to swallow…

Yours truly,

A College Student

“Peace is defined as harmony among those who are divided. When, therefore, we end the civil war within our nature and cultivate peace within ourselves, we become at peace.”

-St. Gregory of Nyssa-

“War should belong to the tragic past, to history: it should find no place on humanity’s agenda for the future.”

-Pope John Paul II-

It’s amazing to see how much turmoil and destruction (even if some are done by nature) there is in the world today. We see it in every means of communication whether it’s on TV, the internet, via email, or even Twitter/Facebook. All we see is one dreadful story after another.

Across the great waters of the world we have sadness and concern in Japan…a continuing civil war in Egypt…violence among Palestinians and Israeli…ongoing violence in Afghan…and the most recent news of destruction in Libyan…But why go so far, when we have a near by concern just across our American border.

Two things that have recently caught attention: an article published and posted about four journalists held captive in Libya. (Because of information in the article, the link to the article has been listed for you instead of being posted on here… ) The second, being an episode on CNBC about the Drug War in Mexico. (Because of such graphic images in the video, the link has been provided for your viewing: Since the video is on YouTube, you’ll have to make sure to click/view all four parts of the episode.) It gives a dangerous glimpse of reality-just outside our nation’s southern borders…

Maybe our society has gotten to the point where they don’t want to dwell/view/listen/read such depressing news…and its understandable, yet during these “dark times” in our world, is when our prayers are needed most…

So please take a moment out of your day to give thanks for all that our Lord has provided you; especially for living in a nation where “freedom of speech” is possible and where many possibilities are achievable In America, in particular, a sense of security…

Prayer for the Immaculate Queen of Peace

Most holy and immaculate Virgin, Mother of Jesus and our loving Mother, being his Mother, you shared in his universal kingship. The prophets and angels proclaimed him King of peace. With loving fervor in our hearts we salute and honor you as Queen of peace.

We pray that your intercession may protect us and all people from hated and discord, and direct our hearts into the ways of peace and justice which your Son taught and exemplified. We ask your maternal care for our Holy Father who works to reconcile the nations in peace. We seek your guidance for our President and other leaders as they strive for world peace.

Glorious Queen of peace, grant us peace in our hearts, harmony in our families and concord throughout the world. Immaculate Mother, as patroness of our beloved country, watch over us and protect us with your motherly love. Amen.

Yours truly,

A College Student

If you’re anything like me, you’re struggling to balance family responsibilities, a job (or two!), friends, social life, and time for yourself. The danger in trying to do it all is that you risk things falling through the cracks. This can be especially true for women in school or trying to go back to school.

The good news is that there are ways to make it work. I recently spoke with life and career coach Meredith Haberfeld, founder of Meredith Haberfeld Coaching. She had a lot to share about how to balance school with work, family, and life.

Tip #1 – Set attainable goals.

Pick realistic goals and focus on accomplishing them. Every success will give you more confidence to tackle the next goal.

If you can only manage to fit one business class into your busy schedule, for example, then just take one class and give it your full attention.

“When a goal seems big and daunting, one of the smartest places to start is to break it into the different pieces that will build toward the goal,” says Haberfeld. “When you break it into smaller bits, each bit is more manageable.”

Tip #2 – Make a schedule.

Ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done? Try sitting down with your schedule to get a handle on how much time you actually have. Look for the pockets of time between your professional and family obligations and see where you can plan in the time you need for homework.

“That small amount of planning makes the experience of dealing with a full life profoundly more manageable and fulfilling,” says Haberfeld.

If your day still feels too hectic, consider going to sleep and getting up earlier. You might be surprised at what you can accomplish in the hour or two before the rest of the house wakes up.

Tip #3 – Stay organized.

“A place for everything and everything in its place” may sound simplistic, but the benefits of keeping your physical space organized go far beyond simply knowing where your car keys are hiding.

“Having our physical space organized makes thinking easier… When our physical space is hectic, our thoughts are more hectic,” says Haberfeld.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, Haberfeld suggests spending fifteen minutes to organize one small area in your home or office. It might be just the thing you need to bring order to your thoughts as well.

Another tip: Don’t forget to keep your calendar updated. If you can see deadlines coming, you’re more likely to prepare ahead of time and save yourself from pulling an all-nighter to finish a project or cram for a test.

Tip #4 – Take breaks when you need them.

Going to school/back to school is a big commitment – whether you’re in a one-year medical assisting certificate program or a four-year bachelor’s degree in business.

Feel yourself getting overwhelmed? Give yourself permission to take a break. That might mean closing the books to go for a quick walk – or taking a night off from studying altogether.

If you find yourself burning the midnight oil for weeks on end, Haberfeld suggests working downtime into your schedule. “It’s important to plan time to relax,” she says, “or you become less effective.”

Tip #5 – Stay focused.

When you’re at school, really try to keep your thoughts on school. Don’t think about the bills you have to pay at home, or who’s going to take the kids to soccer practice.

Likewise, when you’re with family, enjoy being with family. You can help keep these areas of your life separate by planning study time into your schedule – and making sure you use that time to study.

For moms going back to school, it might feel wrong to focus so much energy on class – but remember that if more training helps you land a better paying or more flexible job, it’s helping the whole family.

Tip #6 – Keep your eyes on the prize.

Trying to balance school with everything else in your life might be tough, so always try to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. A little sacrifice and effort in school now can pay big dividends when you’re taking that shiny new diploma on the job hunt with you.

It might help to write out your academic goals. How many courses do you need to take? What is your time line? Tracking your progress can be great motivation to keep moving forward.

Still feeling discouraged? Don’t worry – it’s natural to feel doubt when you’re struggling to juggle so many things. Just try to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Tip #7 – Don’t expect perfection.

Last but not least: Remember that as much as you may want things to go exactly according to plan, life often has a way of changing those plans for us. So maybe you don’t cross off every single item on your daily to-do list. Do what you can do, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Tomorrow is a new day.


“You were buried with him in baptism,
in which you were also raised with him.”
(cf. Col 2: 12)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Lenten period, which leads us to the celebration of Holy Easter, is for the Church a most valuable and important liturgical time, in view of which I am pleased to offer a specific word in order that it may be lived with due diligence. As she awaits the definitive encounter with her Spouse in the eternal Easter, the Church community, assiduous in prayer and charitable works, intensifies her journey in purifying the spirit, so as to draw more abundantly from the Mystery of Redemption the new life in Christ the Lord (cf. Preface I of Lent).

1. This very life was already bestowed upon us on the day of our Baptism, when we “become sharers in Christ’s death and Resurrection”, and there began for us “the joyful and exulting adventure of his disciples” (Homily on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, 10 January, 2010). In his Letters, St. Paul repeatedly insists on the singular communion with the Son of God that this washing brings about. The fact that, in most cases, Baptism is received in infancy highlights how it is a gift of God: no one earns eternal life through their own efforts. The mercy of God, which cancels sin and, at the same time, allows us to experience in our lives “the mind of Christ Jesus” (Phil 2: 5), is given to men and women freely. The Apostle to the Gentiles, in the Letter to the Philippians, expresses the meaning of the transformation that takes place through participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, pointing to its goal: that “I may come to know him and the power of his resurrection, and partake of his sufferings by being molded to the pattern of his death, striving towards the goal of resurrection from the dead” (Phil 3: 10-11). Hence, Baptism is not a rite from the past, but the encounter with Christ, which informs the entire existence of the baptized, imparting divine life and calling for sincere conversion; initiated and supported by Grace, it permits the baptized to reach the adult stature of Christ.

A particular connection binds Baptism to Lent as the favorable time to experience this saving Grace. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council exhorted all of the Church’s Pastors to make greater use “of the baptismal features proper to the Lenten liturgy” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum concilium, n. 109). In fact, the Church has always associated the Easter Vigil with the celebration of Baptism: this Sacrament realizes the great mystery in which man dies to sin, is made a sharer in the new life of the Risen Christ and receives the same Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead (cf. Rm 8: 11). This free gift must always be rekindled in each one of us, and Lent offers us a path like that of the catechumenate, which, for the Christians of the early Church, just as for catechumens today, is an irreplaceable school of faith and Christian life. Truly, they live their Baptism as an act that shapes their entire existence.

2. In order to undertake more seriously our journey towards Easter and prepare ourselves to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord – the most joyous and solemn feast of the entire liturgical year – what could be more appropriate than allowing ourselves to be guided by the Word of God? For this reason, the Church, in the Gospel texts of the Sundays of Lent, leads us to a particularly intense encounter with the Lord, calling us to retrace the steps of Christian initiation: for catechumens, in preparation for receiving the Sacrament of rebirth; for the baptized, in light of the new and decisive steps to be taken in the sequela Christi and a fuller giving of oneself to him.

The First Sunday of the Lenten journey reveals our condition as human beings here on earth. The victorious battle against temptation, the starting point of Jesus’ mission, is an invitation to become aware of our own fragility in order to accept the Grace that frees from sin and infuses new strength in Christ – the way, the truth and the life (cf. Ordo Initiationis Christianae Adultorum, n. 25). It is a powerful reminder that Christian faith implies, following the example of Jesus and in union with him, a battle “against the ruling forces who are masters of the darkness in this world” (Eph 6: 12), in which the devil is at work and never tires – even today – of tempting whoever wishes to draw close to the Lord: Christ emerges victorious to open also our hearts to hope and guide us in overcoming the seductions of evil.

The Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord puts before our eyes the glory of Christ, which anticipates the resurrection and announces the divinization of man. The Christian community becomes aware that Jesus leads it, like the Apostles Peter, James and John “up a high mountain by themselves” (Mt 17: 1), to receive once again in Christ, as sons and daughters in the Son, the gift of the Grace of God: “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favor. Listen to him” (Mt 17: 5). It is the invitation to take a distance from the noisiness of everyday life in order to immerse oneself in God’s presence. He desires to hand down to us, each day, a Word that penetrates the depths of our spirit, where we discern good from evil (cf. Heb 4:12), reinforcing our will to follow the Lord.

The question that Jesus puts to the Samaritan woman: “Give me a drink” (Jn 4: 7), is presented to us in the liturgy of the third Sunday; it expresses the passion of God for every man and woman, and wishes to awaken in our hearts the desire for the gift of “a spring of water within, welling up for eternal life” (Jn 4: 14): this is the gift of the Holy Spirit, who transforms Christians into “true worshipers,” capable of praying to the Father “in spirit and truth” (Jn 4: 23). Only this water can extinguish our thirst for goodness, truth and beauty! Only this water, given to us by the Son, can irrigate the deserts of our restless and unsatisfied soul, until it “finds rest in God”, as per the famous words of St. Augustine.

The Sunday of the man born blind presents Christ as the light of the world. The Gospel confronts each one of us with the question: “Do you believe in the Son of man?” “Lord, I believe!” (Jn 9: 35. 38), the man born blind joyfully exclaims, giving voice to all believers. The miracle of this healing is a sign that Christ wants not only to give us sight, but also open our interior vision, so that our faith may become ever deeper and we may recognize him as our only Savior. He illuminates all that is dark in life and leads men and women to live as “children of the light”.

On the fifth Sunday, when the resurrection of Lazarus is proclaimed, we are faced with the ultimate mystery of our existence: “I am the resurrection and the life… Do you believe this?” (Jn 11: 25-26). For the Christian community, it is the moment to place with sincerity – together with Martha – all of our hopes in Jesus of Nazareth: “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world” (Jn 11: 27). Communion with Christ in this life prepares us to overcome the barrier of death, so that we may live eternally with him. Faith in the resurrection of the dead and hope in eternal life open our eyes to the ultimate meaning of our existence: God created men and women for resurrection and life, and this truth gives an authentic and definitive meaning to human history, to the personal and social lives of men and women, to culture, politics and the economy. Without the light of faith, the entire universe finishes shut within a tomb devoid of any future, any hope.

The Lenten journey finds its fulfillment in the Paschal Triduum, especially in the Great Vigil of the Holy Night: renewing our baptismal promises, we reaffirm that Christ is the Lord of our life, that life which God bestowed upon us when we were reborn of “water and Holy Spirit”, and we profess again our firm commitment to respond to the action of the Grace in order to be his disciples.

3. By immersing ourselves into the death and resurrection of Christ through the Sacrament of Baptism, we are moved to free our hearts every day from the burden of material things, from a self-centered relationship with the “world” that impoverishes us and prevents us from being available and open to God and our neighbor. In Christ, God revealed himself as Love (cf. 1Jn 4: 7-10). The Cross of Christ, the “word of the Cross”, manifests God’s saving power (cf. 1Cor 1: 18), that is given to raise men and women anew and bring them salvation: it is love in its most extreme form (cf. Encyclical Deus caritas est, n. 12). Through the traditional practices of fasting, almsgiving and prayer, which are an expression of our commitment to conversion, Lent teaches us how to live the love of Christ in an ever more radical way. Fasting, which can have various motivations, takes on a profoundly religious significance for the Christian: by rendering our table poorer, we learn to overcome selfishness in order to live in the logic of gift and love; by bearing some form of deprivation – and not just what is in excess – we learn to look away from our “ego”, to discover Someone close to us and to recognize God in the face of so many brothers and sisters. For Christians, fasting, far from being depressing, opens us ever more to God and to the needs of others, thus allowing love of God to become also love of our neighbor (cf. Mk 12: 31).

In our journey, we are often faced with the temptation of accumulating and love of money that undermine God’s primacy in our lives. The greed of possession leads to violence, exploitation and death; for this, the Church, especially during the Lenten period, reminds us to practice almsgiving – which is the capacity to share. The idolatry of goods, on the other hand, not only causes us to drift away from others, but divests man, making him unhappy, deceiving him, deluding him without fulfilling its promises, since it puts materialistic goods in the place of God, the only source of life. How can we understand God’s paternal goodness, if our heart is full of egoism and our own projects, deceiving us that our future is guaranteed? The temptation is to think, just like the rich man in the parable: “My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come…”. We are all aware of the Lord’s judgment: “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul…” (Lk 12: 19-20). The practice of almsgiving is a reminder of God’s primacy and turns our attention towards others, so that we may rediscover how good our Father is, and receive his mercy.

During the entire Lenten period, the Church offers us God’s Word with particular abundance. By meditating and internalizing the Word in order to live it every day, we learn a precious and irreplaceable form of prayer; by attentively listening to God, who continues to speak to our hearts, we nourish the itinerary of faith initiated on the day of our Baptism. Prayer also allows us to gain a new concept of time: without the perspective of eternity and transcendence, in fact, time simply directs our steps towards a horizon without a future. Instead, when we pray, we find time for God, to understand that his “words will not pass away” (cf. Mk 13: 31), to enter into that intimate communion with Him “that no one shall take from you” (Jn 16: 22), opening us to the hope that does not disappoint, eternal life.

In synthesis, the Lenten journey, in which we are invited to contemplate the Mystery of the Cross, is meant to reproduce within us “the pattern of his death” (Ph 3: 10), so as to effect a deep conversion in our lives; that we may be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit, like St. Paul on the road to Damascus; that we may firmly orient our existence according to the will of God; that we may be freed of our egoism, overcoming the instinct to dominate others and opening us to the love of Christ. The Lenten period is a favorable time to recognize our weakness and to accept, through a sincere inventory of our life, the renewing Grace of the Sacrament of Penance, and walk resolutely towards Christ.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, through the personal encounter with our Redeemer and through fasting, almsgiving and prayer, the journey of conversion towards Easter leads us to rediscover our Baptism. This Lent, let us renew our acceptance of the Grace that God bestowed upon us at that moment, so that it may illuminate and guide all of our actions. What the Sacrament signifies and realizes, we are called to experience every day by following Christ in an ever more generous and authentic manner. In this our itinerary, let us entrust ourselves to the Virgin Mary, who generated the Word of God in faith and in the flesh, so that we may immerse ourselves – just as she did – in the death and resurrection of her Son Jesus, and possess eternal life.

From the Vatican, 4 November, 2010


The SFYA Married Ministry is excited to host Monica Ashour from the Theology of the Body Evangelization Team (TOBET) on Thursday, March 24th from 7-9:00 at St. Francis.
The ‘Theology of the Body’ is Pope John Paul II’s integrated vision of the human person – body, soul, and spirit.  Learning more from Pope John Paul II’s 129 Wednesday reflections from 1979 to 1984 reveals answers to fundamental questions about us and our lives:
  • Is there a real purpose to life and if so, what is it?
  • Why were we created male and female?  Does it really matter if we are one sex or another?
  • Why were man and woman called to communion from the beginning?  What does the marital union of a man and woman say to us about God and his plan for our lives?
  • What is the purpose of the married and celibate vocations?
  • What exactly is “Love”?
  • Is it truly possible to be pure of heart?
Thursday night, we will focus on the last two questions as we discover “True Love in a World of Lies.”  To find out more about TOBET, visit:

“If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples; even though some of them still look down on me.”

-St. Patrick-

Feastday: March 17
Patron of Ireland
b. 387 d.461

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world’s most popular saints.

Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461.
Along with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, the secular world shares our love of these saints. This is also a day when everyone’s Irish.

There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his story.

Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.

As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.

During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote

“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same.” “I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”

Patrick’s captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.

He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him “We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.”

He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.

Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.

Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick’s message.

Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.

Why a shamrock? Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time.

In His Footsteps: Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission.

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