Category Archives: Spiritual Director

Spiritual Director – September 2017

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Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Fourth Day,

I hope this finds you well and in good spirits! I begin this message by offering sincere gratitude for the leadership and direction Nick Lang has brought to the Belleville Cursillo in Christianity Movement during his tenure as Lay Director. Nick has been a stalwart advocate for ensuring the mission, method and practices of the Cursillo are in place that we may experience an even closer walk with Our Lord and Savior. Nick, we thank you for your friendship, and your unwavering witness and Christian example. We also congratulate Bob McCormack, our new Lay Director. Bob, please be assured of our prayers and support.

“The Cursillo wants to accomplish, and by the Grace of our Lord it does, the Evangelical message – the Good News. Good for everybody and always new because it renews us.”

These are the words of Cursillo in Christianity founder Eduardo Bonnín Aguiló on the importance of reaching out to others. In doing so we hear Jesus’ great commission to, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19)

We have so many opportunities to bring that rejuvenating message of love we find in the Gospel–The Good News–to others. We share this evangelical message in simple and ordinary, as well as demanding and complicated times—whether in our homes, within our families, at the worksite, or the office.

We need not look too hard to find these opportunities, in fact we need not look at all, as they will find us. They will most likely find us when we least expect, and when we feel least prepared; at the end of a long day, in the midst of a busy situation, or in the times when you think you have nothing to give.

But therein lies the beauty and the wisdom of our call as Christians, that God gives us these moments to be Good News, to be Christ to others, to be renewed in our commitment to live out our baptismal call in charity to others.   These are gifts for which we never know the time or place of their offering.

I have personally been lifted up by Grace in the moments with Christ that I simply didn’t see coming. Or when I had to push myself to carry out His mission. Without exception I’ve come away from these moments with a new sense of purpose and a renewed spirit.

Our rich Catholic faith offers us countless opportunities to experience the Love, Joy and Peace that flows so readily from the Good News of Christ. Our task is to stay open for these opportunities whenever we’re ready, but more so when we are not. “Go, and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”

De Colores!

Deacon Wayne

Spiritual Director – June 2017

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Dear Brothers and Sisters of the 4th Day,

As I begin this message, I would like to first offer gratitude to Father Gary Gummersheimer for his service and faithful dedication to the Belleville Cursillo Movement for these past six years. Father Gary has inspired and guided us in faith by his words and reflections. We are grateful for his priesthood and witness to our Lord and Savior. May we assure him of our continued prayers for his ministry!

Happy Birthday! Yes, Happy Birthday to the Church. It is hard to imagine, but we find ourselves at the great day of Pentecost. The day which sent forth, and released, the power of the Holy Spirit on the early Church. This day gave us yet another example of how, throughout the ages, God has kept and continues to keep His promise. The promise of His unfailing, unending, and undeserved gifts of the Holy Spirit. The prophet Isaiah foretold them (Is 11:1-2); Jesus announces and asserts them in the coming of the Advocate (Jn 14:15-20); God Himself sends them in the driving winds and tongues of fire (Acts 2:1-4).

Our Cursillo Movement helps us to see more clearly the impact these gifts have on the world around us and the environments in which we find ourselves. I suppose the question we should ask ourselves is how have we allowed them to affect our relationships? Our relationship with neighbor, with nature, and most importantly, with God.

We’ve been given these great gifts to make a difference in a troubled, divided, and confused world.   As much as we may want to, and try as we may, it is difficult to escape the noise of mistrust, anger, and discontent we’re bombarded with on a daily basis. But we CAN, by our witness to Christ and by our acceptance of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, show our culture another way to address its many challenges. We have answers to provide, love to give, hope to offer, and faith to share. And in doing so we can restore joy to a misguided or broken soul—one person at a time.

A daunting task, well maybe, but one well worth our time and effort. We can take comfort in knowing that we have a constant companion as our guide. The world needs to see us, and these precious seven gifts in action!

Let us continue the process of Christian initiation by praying for, encouraging, and supporting our newly confirmed members and those new members of the Church received at the Easter Vigil.

So, Happy Birthday Church! May you continue and always “kindle in us the fire of your love.”

De Colores!

Deacon Wayne

Spiritual Director – March 2017

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To the Members of the Belleville Diocesan Cursillo Community:

For the past several years, it has been my good fortune and honor to serve as the Spiritual Director for the Diocesan Secretariat. As I write this, I just received notification that Bishop Braxton has appointed Deacon Wayne Weiler as the new Spiritual Director. I wish Deacon Weiler success and good fortune in this endeavor and promise him, the Secretariat, and the Cursillo Community my continued prayer for the success of bringing friends to Christ.

As we prepare to celebrate the great feast of Easter, may we all take some time and remember that we have all been baptized into Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. May we strive and work to bring peace, mercy, and love to all of our communities.

Again, I wish to express my gratitude and thanks to all the members of the Belleville Diocesan Cursillo community for their prayer and support over these past years, especially the good people with whom I served on the Diocesan Secretariat.

May God bless and keep all of you close to His heart and grant you His love and peace.

De Colores,

Fr. Gary

Spiritual Director – December 2016

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As we prepare to bring to a close our liturgical year (Feast of Christ the King) and begin a new one (First Sunday of Advent), we find the readings pointing us to the end times. These remind us of the frailty of human life; we all will, at some time, transition to a new way of living in a kingdom that will last forever.

Jesus made it very clear that the only one to know when life will end is the Father and he did not even share that information with the Son. So, what do we do during this time of waiting?  That is the important question of the Advent Season, how do we wait? Recalling the anticipation of our Hebrew ancestors, waiting for the coming of the Messiah, the Church challenges us to use this Advent as a time to learn patience as we await the celebration of Christmas.

This is a tough call as we are already celebrating christmas (using small “c” as it has NOTHING to do with the birth of Christ). Advertisements are already using the theme of “Black Friday” the customary day after Thanksgiving when the christmas shopping season begins. Decorations, gift ideas and the like are already being pushed in stores and catalogs and it has begun this year BEFORE Thanksgiving! (As I write this I have in the last two weeks received about a dozen catalogs suggesting what I need to buy to give as christmas gifts.)

Why are we in such a hurry? A sad commentary is that even in Catholic realms, this rush to the season is a reality. The beauty of the Advent Season, is the call to be patient, to wait, to be a people of anticipation. We rush through our lives, often at break-neck speed, failing to pause and wait, to reflect and rejoice on the giftedness we have been given. What will we gain by being in such a hurry? Will the anticipated celebration be better because we got there so quickly? Or, will it have more meaning if a period of anticipation allows us to better understand the beauty of what we are preparing to celebrate? Please, take some time this Advent, to truly celebrate it, stepping back, slowing down and reflecting on the anticipated birth of our Savior and Redeemer.

One other thought…  We have just finished one of the most contentious election seasons I can recall in my voting life. Pray that the partisanship that so defined this election cycle can and will be replaced with an attitude that gives rise to conciliation and compromise.

I pray that your Thanksgiving was a time to reflect and give thanks for family, friends and the blessings you have received.

May this Advent teach you the beauty of anticipation and waiting, and may the coming of the Word made flesh that dwelt among us, bless you with happiness and peace in the coming New Year.

With prayers and love,

De Colores,

Fr. Gary

Spiritual Director – September 2016

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We just celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption, honoring our Blessed Mother, believing that God raised her body and soul into the Kingdom thus avoiding the corruption of the grave. As I compose this missive, I have just finished celebrating the first school Mass of the year, welcoming and praying that God’s Holy Spirit might be with teachers and students in this new school year. So, in theory the hot and humid days of summer should be drawing to a close. But then we live in Southern Illinois and anything weather-wise is possible.

But one thing is now going to take place.  Now that school has started, parishes will again begin gearing up for the many activities that occur during these next months. Youth groups will ramp up many activities, religious education will go into full swing and most parishes will again be looking seriously at inviting folks to join us in the Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. The downtime of summer is being replaced with excitement of this “new year.”
So, what are you going to do at this time of year to increase your Piety, Study and Action? Is it maybe time to start grouping after having been away for a while? How about going to the School of Leaders to learn more about the Cursillo Movement? If my parish, or a neighboring one, offers some form of adult continuing education, will I work at fitting it into my schedule? Will I take a serious and prayerful look at making a retreat? Will I join others at Adoration or a Rosary or a Divine Mercy prayer group? Will I look to the Church or some other charitable organization at which I could volunteer some time to be of service? Piety, Study and Action were not just talks you heard on the Cursillo weekend. If you add generosity to that list you have the four pillars that Matthew Kelly says are necessary to be a dynamic Catholic.

And a big issue that faces us this fall will be the election of our next President. Are you prayerfully seeking God’s help and the insight of the Holy Spirit in making your decision?

So, this becomes a busy time of year following the lazy days of summer.  It is my hope and prayer that your summer gave you some time for relaxation – a time to recharge batteries. Now I pray that our good and gracious God of Mercy will bless you with the grace you need to live out your call to be a child of God – a disciple of Jesus Christ.

De Colores,

Fr. Gary

Spiritual Director – June 2016

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When this is read we will be past the season of Confirmation and Graduation, a time of new beginnings.

Confirmation challenges us to “go forth and proclaim the Gospel,” to use well the gifts of the Spirit to make a difference in our Church and world.

Graduation challenges us to observe and learn from the past, look to the future while we work in the present, beginning a new chapter in our lives.

Neither of these events should be seen as an ending, rather beginning a new phase of being who God has called us to be.

Way back when I was a junior in high school, I served as a junior marshal for the class ahead of me for their graduation. The theme that they chose for the event was: “When you are through learning; you are through.” For some reason that has stuck with me all these years and I have used it often in the classroom when I taught and in speaking to students on various occasions. Think about what it challenges us to do. It calls us to realize that we have much to learn, to study; as we will never know all that there is to know about the world, our profession, how to deal with people or how to be in relationship with our God.

If we study the Scriptures, the Lives of the Saints, we will glean from each the realization that our relationship with God and the Church is a living thing, a reality that ebbs and flows, it is not nor should it be stagnant. It is only in our commitment to prayer and study that we will grow and deepen our relationship with God and our fellow travelers on the pilgrimage to the Kingdom.

The biggest task that comes to all of us who have been Baptized and Confirmed is to strengthen our relationship with Christ, to share it with others; to live the call of the Cursillo weekend, “make a friend, be a friend and bring that friend to Christ.”

May you have a peace-filled and glorious summer!

With prayers and blessings,

De Colores, Fr. Gary

Spiritual Director – March 2016

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Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia!!

He has Risen as He said, Alleluia!!

Greetings and a Blessed Easter Season to one and all. We enter these fifty days of celebration and rejoicing, realizing that the Son of God, the Christ, the Messiah who came into the world as one like us, has offered Himself for us. He who is the Mercy of the Father was given up to death that He might rise to bring us life, life to its fullest, life in the Kingdom.

I hope that your Lenten Season was one that gave you new or renewed insight into the mercy of our God. I pray that it was a time for you to once again find, for yourselves, what it means to be a Baptized follower of Jesus Christ. A time to deepen your relationship with Christ: Piety. A time to come to know more fully your relationship with Christ: Study. A time to share the beauty of your relationship with Christ with others: Action.

Now as the springtime of this year opens to us in its fullness, may you blossom in your faith and love of our God, sharing the beauty of this Holy Year of Mercy with all those whom you love.

To all who made the weekends this year graced moments of God’s mercy and love, thank you for your prayer, work, and witness that was shared with our newest Cursillistas. To those newest members of our Cursillo, welcome and may you continue to grow in your relationship with our Christ, the Son of our Loving and Merciful God.

De Colores,

Fr. Gary

Spiritual Director – December 2015

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Advent and Christmas is a time to prepare and to celebrate the coming of Christ into the world, the Word made Flesh.

But what does that mean to us who seem so caught up on things like “Black Friday” that is now happening almost a week before. Or, how about the stores that are getting the jump by opening at 6pm on Thanksgiving night, is that the type of preparation and anticipation that we should be celebrating?

You all know the answer to that, so why do we in the Church take this time of Advent, to anticipate, to prepare? What we are doing is recalling the patience of our spiritual ancestors, who looked forward to the coming of God’s anointed One, the Christ.

So, what are you doing to make this time special for family? Perhaps taking some time to tell the stories of past Christmases in which you, maybe not so patiently, waited for the gathering of family or on a more basic level, the anticipation of coming gifts.

Take some time to recall what it is that we are waiting to celebrate, and how we can make that celebration a true encounter with our Christ, by the encounter we will have with family and friends.

So as we begin this new Church year, let us make just one resolution, to deepen our encounter with Christ, as we encounter his sisters and brothers in the Church. This would be a good time to also, in those encounters, practice the gift of Mercy. Remember, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has established a Holy Year of Mercy, beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, to run until the Solemnity of Christ the King in 2016. In what ways can you make the year of 2016 more profound by your practicing of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy?

May you and all those you love have a spirit-filled Advent, a joyful Christmas, and a New Year filled with peace, joy and love.

De Colores,

Fr. Gary

Spiritual Director – September 2015

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We have entered into another school year, a time for many young people to try to gear up once again, for the task of studying that we hope leads to learning.

Studying, one of those three legs on which Cursillo is built and maintained. How is your study going? Spending time getting to know better what Cursillo is about? Attending the School of Leaders? Reading about the movement? How about something spiritual like what helps you to better understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? What Church teaching do you need to better understand? How about Pope Francis’ new encyclical on the use and care of our home we call Earth?

So, as the teachers and students return to the classroom, let us remember them in prayer, and let us come to know how important study is for all of us who experience and try to live Cursillo.

I hope everyone had a good summer, and that this beautiful weather we have been having the last couple of days is a taste of good things to be experienced this Autumn.

Blessings to you all,

De Colores, Fr. Gary

Spiritual Director – June 2015

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From Fr. Gary Gummersheimer:

Since the last time I penned a missive for this newsletter several very interesting things have taken place. The first is a two-part interview of the national leadership of Cursillo that aired on EWTN. You can watch what aired on the National Cursillo Web page (www.Cursillo.org) under the “resources” section of the Web page. They reminded us of the importance that Cursillo can and does play in the Church’s call for a “new” evangelization. I would encourage you to go and take a look at it.

The second is that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has called for a Holy Year to be celebrated: an “Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.” This Holy Year will open on 8 December 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and will close on 20 November 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King.

Pope Francis, in calling this special time in the Church, said: “We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. The word, mercy, reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity; the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us; the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life and the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to a hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.”

So we have a unique and wonderful time ahead of us in the Church. The Bishops will meet this fall to continue the discussion of the role of the family in society and the Church in this time of strained understanding of what it means to be family and Church.  Let us pray that the gift of the Spirit of God may guide them in their discussions.

We are reminded, time and again, by our Holy Father that the ultimate gift of God’s love and mercy are what calls each of us to be children of God. It is also what calls each of us, in the gift of the Holy Spirit in our initiation, to become the disciples that Christ calls us to be. Make a friend, be a friend, and bring that friend to Christ.

As I write this in the week before the Solemnity of Pentecost, my prayer for all of you as we enter this summer season, is that the Spirit of Christ may be with you to guide you and keep you always in the love and mercy of God.

De Colores, Fr. Gary