Friday, February 16, 2007

Pre-Lenten Retreat with the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament

The time has come for what usually works out to be my bi-annual retreat. I am leaving Saturday for Albuquerque to make my retreat at St. Charles Borromeo Parish (pictured to the right), right off the campus of UNM. My hosts, as always, will be the fathers and brothers of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, to which my Spiritual Director, who is also pastor at St. Charles, belongs. He is also one of the most beloved people in my life, a person who shows me Christ by knowing, truly, everything about me and loving me (inexplicably) anyway. I am most grateful for the Congregation's hospitality and on-going goodness to me. Over the years I have been so very blessed by this wonderful religious community, beginning with the man who was my first Spiritual Director, the late Fr. Maurice Prefontaine, SSS, a tireless confessor, who exemplified all a priest should be, he was a priest through-and-through. I am happy to be able to go on retreat just before Lent.

I look forward to renewing acquaintances and strengthening bonds of friendship, as well as undergoing some self-examination and reflection, which, after a busy season of ministry, I really need. I also plan to relax and enjoy some great food, companionship, and at least one film, and perhaps a side trip to Santa Fe, one of my favorite places on earth. So, I humbly ask for your prayers as I approach these three days. Of course, there will be no blogging during the weekend. Given my recent flurry of activity, it will give readers a chance to get caught up. So, until at least next Tuesday, via con Dios- Go with God.

Please, plan and prepare to observe the holy season of Lent. Upon my return next week, I look forward to observing Ash Wednesday at the Cathedral. Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, along with Good Friday, is the only obligatory day of fasting and abstinence our Holy Mother, the Church, levies on us. Then, on Thursday, in lieu of the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, I look forward to celebrating the Solemnity of the Dedication of the Cathedral, which we celebrate on the date of the re-dedication of our lovely Madeleine, which occurred 21 February 1993, not 15 August, the date of the Cathedral's initial dedication- in liturgical law, a solemnity trumps a feast, but it is only a solemnity at the Cathedral. Due to Ash Wednesday, this year it is pushed back a day to 22 February. Besides, 15 August is the Solemnity of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother, Mary.

Holy Mary, Mother of God - pray for us
St. Stephen - pray for us
St. Martin of Tours- pray for us
St. Francis of Assisi- pray for us
St. Clare- pray for us
St. Thérèse of Lisieux- pray for us
St. Peter Julian Eymard- pray for us
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta- pray for us
All holy men and women- pray for us

Writing of St. Peter Julian Eymard, founder of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, John Thomas Lane, SSS, Pastor of Saint Charles, and the Blessed Sacrament Community in Alubuquerque "wanted to create a tribute to the memory and honor of Fr. Normand Falardeau, SSS, who was a member of the SSS Albuquerque Community for 25 years. He died June 2, 2004. In tribute to him, who was a teacher and faithful disciple of the founder of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, Saint Peter Julian Eymard, SSS, eight stations around the life of St. Peter Julian were envisioned. The feast of Saint Peter Julian Eymard is celebrated August 2. (A smaller version of plaques hang in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at Corpus Christi Church, Houston, Texas.)

"The eight images are done by a local and nationally known artist, Ruben Gallegos, in the New Mexican 'santos/retablos' style. Each icon, or Station of Eymard, is one of a kind, made out of wood, carved and painted artistically in the New Mexican style, and approximately two feet by two feet in size. The White House has honored Ruben, for his other works and again this year, will be sharing his talent with another project."

Station 3
"Tomorrow will be too Late: Peter Julian with his sisters, leaving them to do ministry, donated by Consuelo & State Rep. Fred Luna of Los Lunas, NM (Completed May 20, 2005) In the background, is the Tome, New Mexico, and this sacred hill. Peter Julian would visit his sisters in Le Mure, France between preaching and other assignments. His sisters would request for him to stay longer. He would tell them that he needed to do ministry for the Lord. 'God calls me now, tomorrow will be too Late.' The Luna family has a ranch in Los Lunas, New Mexico (the city is named after the family) where they have many animals, especially horses on their farm."

It was St. Peter Julian who said, writing about the disciplines of the Christian life: "People are afraid to be powerless and so are off their path. We are neither natural nor supernatural. What can we do? Follow grace. Let the mind become accustomed to the truth which God’s grace is offering. It takes a week or two for a truth to become natural and habitual, but we must make it the center of our piety and let everything converge toward it." Like our beloved Bishop Scanlan, St. Peter Julian endured hardships of both body and spirit that most of us in our day, age, and culture simply would not bear.


  1. This sounds so wonderful. I pray for you, a weekend of refreshment. And for your safe return next week.

    God bless you, Deacon Scott! Have a great time!

  2. Thank you, Tami. I appreciate your prayers and thoughts.