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Spiritual Director – June 2018

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“Be doers of the word and not hearers only…”  James 1:22

We will soon celebrate Independence Day.   A day we give special thanks for the courage and commitment of our founding fathers for the cause of liberty, and to all who have died in defense of that cause.   Our founders understood that an important tenant of a well-ordered and just society would be the freedom of its citizens to express their belief in God and to put that faith into practice in the everyday circumstances of life.   How blessed we are to live in these United States of America where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness matter.

The Church continues to ask us to remain vigilant in the protection of one of our most cherished, and dare I say threatened, liberties-religious freedom.  The Catholic Bishops of the United States have asked that we reflect on what we may often take for granted—the freedom to express our faith without fear of persecution.  But regrettably, we see far too many instances of a gradual erosion of this precious and protected gift.  And in parts of the world we see painful images of an all-out assault on Christians, for no other reason than their faith in Christ, our Brother and Savior.

The Second Vatican Council document Dignitatis humanae, the Declaration on Religious Liberty, declares, “that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such ways that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.   The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. “ (DH #2)

St. James teaches us to be “doers” of the Word.  This requires us to have the courage to put our faith into everyday ACTION.  We can do so by expressing that faith though our system of government.  In letting our voice be heard, voting our conscience, writing to our elected officials, and standing up for the poor and vulnerable we show the impact of our Christian values on a confused and often misled culture.  These are all ways we can bring our faith to the public square for the common good and the good of all of God’s creation.

Let us pray always for those persecuted for their walk with Christ, stand firm in our faith, and embrace the truth as revealed by God.  We are called to live our faith in all facets of life-to hear the word of God and live it by our Piety, Study and Action.  In these we are “doers” of the Word.

To learn more about how to stay informed on the issues and be engaged with our elected officials, I recommend you take a look at the Catholic Conference of Illinois Website at https://www.ilcatholic.org.

De Colores

Deacon Wayne Weiler

School of Leaders – March 2018

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The School  . . . of Fish?

In Cursillo, as in our Christian faith, to be a Leader means to be a true and authentic Follower.  To be a Follower means to be a true and natural Leader.  The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. Our Lord Jesus became as a slave and washed his Disciples’ dirty, smelly feet.  He commanded them to do likewise.

When He began his public ministry, He promised those Disciples that they would become fishers of men.  He taught them in the Faith and offered them the Sacraments as visible signs of His ever-lasting presence and love.  They became the followers who, by sharing His love in those Sacraments, would lead their friends and family in their Movable Square Yards to become His followers.  Those followers then became leaders, who would lead their friends to Christ.  In an unbroken line of leaders and followers, Christ has been building His Kingdom one person at a time, the followers becoming leaders.

This makes perfect sense: the fish become the fishermen – – the followers become the leaders.  There is security in numbers, and the school of fish lives for the greater good of the others.  Sounds like the School of Leaders!

Our School of Leaders will meet on April 10, at 7 pm in the Parish Center of St. Joseph’s Parish in Freeburg, IL.  We meet on the second Tuesday of each month, May 8, June 12, and July 10, at locations to be announced in the 4th Day Prayer chain.  Our 4th Day gained 34 friends this year!  Please join the Leaders!

Romans 1: 12:What I mean is that both you and I will be helped at the same time, you by my faith and I by yours.”

De Colores and Peace!

John I Schaberg

Lay Director – March 2018

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The Cursillo Weekends were held at Adorers of the Blood of Christ Motherhouse in Ruma, Illinois, on March 8-11 and March 15-18, 2018.  Garry Range, Margie Reaka and their Cursillo teams delivered two wonderful Cursillo Weekends for our newest members of the 4th Day Community.  Both the men’s and women’s Cursillo hosted the maximum number of candidates.  There were more applications from women than we had lodging; so, for the first time in recent memory, we have a short waiting list which gives us a potential head start on next year’s women candidates.

A major turnover in the Cursillo Secretariat has taken place over the past month.  We now have a full Secretariat in position to guide our Cursillo Movement over the next few years.  Thanks to all the outgoing members for doing a great job.

As many of you are aware, Nick Lang passed to the “5th Day” on January 7, 2018.  Nick was a long-time proponent of Cursillo who served in many different ministries at St. Peter’s Cathedral and in Cursillo, his primary apostolate.  In addition to many other positions in Cursillo, Nick was Lay Director for Cursillo twice; the second term ending only several months before he went in the hospital.

De Colores!

Bob Mc Cormack

Spiritual Director – March 2018

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Dear Brothers and Sisters of the 4th Day,

On this Easter Day, for just a moment, reflect on these words from the Gospel of Matthew.

Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples.”  (Matthew 28:8)

What devastating emotion the women must have felt upon hearing from the angel that Jesus was not in the tomb, where they had personally laid him to rest.  They most surely were afraid of what His missing body meant, while at the same time being overwhelmed by the possibility that what He had promised may have actually happened.  They are in a time between fear and joy, in a time between uncertainty and answers.

We experience these times also, don’t we?  When we get news too hard to handle on our own, when our doubt overtakes our faith, or when our frustrations get the better of our joy.

I suppose it is in the midst of these times, between fear and joy, when we must put our trust in God the most.  Because isn’t this where we come to know His immense love, where our faith grows stronger, and where our hope in Him is found?  For in that hope we rise from the tomb of anxiety and despair and all that gets in the way of our joy.

Our wonderful weekend themes this year help us to see the true joy which comes from “Trusting in Jesus” and “Letting God” take hold of those times in our lives when we struggle for answers or wonder what is coming next.

The Cursillo Journey is one of faith, enhanced by our piety, study, and action.  It is also an experience of resurrection, of sharing our own dying and rising in the real and concrete circumstances of daily living.  This is why we need one another, all of us, to help carry one another’s burdens and share in our joys.

Then Jesus said to them, do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (Matthew 28:10)

So by the light of the Risen Christ, let us march onward, Ultreya, to our own Galilee, our own environments and beyond.  Then like those who first encountered the empty tomb, “Do not be afraid to run and announce what you have heard and seen.”

Blessed Eastertide to all, and De Colores!

Deacon Wayne

 

School of Leaders – December 2017

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And Upon this [School of] Rock. . .

As we like to say, we are not an Organization, we are a Movement.  We did not join an organization, but we did set out on our 4th Day Journey, a movement toward Christ with those we encounter.  We have no membership dues, no mandatory meetings, no rituals, no ranks or offices, no awards for “Cursillista of the Year.”

What we do have, however, is the Friendship Group, which gives life to our Movement.  Everyone in our Friendship Groups is equal in status, free to speak their minds, and committed to the good of the others in the group.  We all have equal responsibility to each other, to Christ and His Church, and to use our time, talent and treasure for the good of those near to us – – and to those far away.

But wait, you might say:  What about this “School of Leaders?”  Isn’t the Secretariat an “Organization?”  Don’t we have Committees and Chair people who have to go to meetings?  Don’t we have monthly Ultreyas that someone has to organize and run?

Yes, but these are simply larger “friendship groups,” which only exist to encourage and facilitate the forming of Friendships in Christ.  In the School of Leaders these past few months, we have been discussing and learning the meaning and effect of “Friendship” in the PreCursillo, Cursillo, and PostCursillo.  We have been studying the articles from the National Cursillo website and answering the question of what it means to “make a friend, be a friend, and bring your friend to Christ.”

Cursillo is not about adding up numbers of Candidates for the Weekends, it’s about developing friendships in Christ.  If you only have one friend, that friend may have two friends, and each one has more friends.  That’s the way God created us, and that’s the natural and authentic way we can share the Gospel, the Good News, that we are all loved, we can all receive forgiveness, and we are all friends in the Body of Christ.  See?  No mention of meetings, dues or committees –Cursillo is all about friendships, not about numbers, structures, fund-raising, or hierarchy.

The School of Leaders will be on “Christmas Vacation” until after the 2018 Weekends.  Our next meeting will be April 10, 2018, at 7:00 pm at St. Joseph’s Parish Center.  I wish all of you, your families and friends a warm and happy Christmas season!  Welcome the homeless, infant Christ into your home, and introduce your family and friends to Him.

Romans 1: 12:What I mean is that both you and I will be helped at the same time, you by my faith and I by yours.”

De Colores and Peace!

John I Schaberg

Lay Director – December 2017

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As the newly selected Lay Director for Cursillo, I would like to thank Nick Lang for his Stewardship as the Lay Director for the past three years.   He has done a great job of guiding the Cursillo Movement in the Belleville Diocese.   Nick gave me a great turn over with a well-organized set of Cursillo records and has been available to answer my question since then. In addition to Nick, I would also like to thank everyone who has served in the Secretariat positions as well as those in the Sub Committee chairs for their Cursillo work.  We will need replacements for some positions: Evangelizer, Post-Cursillo, Cursillo and the Secretary whose terms of service have ended or are ending soon.  Thanks especially to Chris Leja for assembling the Evangelizer, getting our web site working and handling the 4th Day emails, to Julie Weber for handling the Secretary position,  to Tony and Sharon Gugliotta  for their work as the Post-Cursillo Chair and to Ann Haubrich, and Bob and Katie Emge for all the work they did on the Cursillo Chair.

My first action as Lay Director was to attend the Region IV Fall Cursillo Encounter which was held at the Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center in Cincinnati, OH on 13-15 October.  I was pleasantly surprised with the talks and the way the encounter was organized and run.  Many of the attendees did not speak English so the talks were conducted in English but simultaneously translated to Spanish for the Hispanic community.  The Mass was also conducted in both English and Spanish.

In my term as the Lay Director for the Belleville Diocese, I would like to continue providing great weekends for our candidates and I would like to move ahead with the selection of Parish Representatives for Cursillo which was started by Nick Lang.   To be realistic, we are not going to get representatives for all the parishes in the diocese but I would like to start the effort with some of our more active parishes.  This will also contribute to a second goal which is to improve the awareness of Cursillo in the Catholic Community.  I would like to improve coverage of Cursillo in Diocesan publications and I would like to see more of the 4th-Day community wearing shirts with “Cursillo” or “De Colores” logos.  Other ideas that will make the Cursillo better known in our Catholic Community are welcomed.   De Colores

Bob McCormack