Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Madonna House Apostolate

This month I have the privilege of living with the "Family" of the Madonna House Apostolate in Combermere, Ontario, Canada, where they began May 17, 1947 when their foundress Catherine de Hueck Doherty moved here from Chicago with her husband Eddie Doherty, and where they now also have their Training Center. You can check it out on their website: www.madonnahouse.org

A month long immersion from mid-December to mid-January encompassed me in our rich traditions of both West and East for Advent and the Christmas Season, from the days of decorating, baking, praying, singing, and hearing "Donkey Bells" to the awe and wonder of celebrating the Nativity of the Son of God in Bethlehem at the Liturgy of the Hours, at daily Mass, at the occasional Divine Liturgy, at festive meals, and family after-dinner recitals....

Now it is the end of the Season of Lent with penitential prayers, fasting, penance, personal reflection, and acts of repentance; as we prepare for Holy Week and walking with the Lord Jesus into his Passion, Death, and Resurrection....

It was my birthday yesterday and it was delightful to be included by the "kitchen crew" with 2 others also born on this day, a staff worker and a guest, in the singing of "Happy Birthday".... In the afternoon there was a moment of "holy hilarity" when first one "birthday baby" was prayed for at the prayers of the faithful, then a second, and then... a pregnant moment of silence... broken by the presiding priest who mentioned the third, me... and there was a spontaneous eruption of blessed laughter.... Then in the evening, the brother priests sharing Vianney House Priests' Guesthouse broke out the snacks and they helped me give thanks to God for the gift of my life....

"O Lord how good it is for us to be here...." "How good it is for brothers to live and pray together... it is like the oil flowing down from the head of Aaron onto his beard and the collar of his robes...."