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May 22, 2008 Edition

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Word to Life
This week's readings
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Prayer to St. Raphael

We are one body in Christ

Word to Life 

By Jean Denton 

We sat at the Easter Vigil Mass valiantly trying to stay awake. My friends Tom and Leah, their teenage daughter, Michelle, and I had arrived in this remote Haitian village in the late afternoon after traveling 12 hours. But it was midnight before the Mass began.

We weren't a bit tired when we first got there because of the excitement of being reunited with our friends. Our church community in Virginia and the parish in Cabestor, Haiti, have had a partnership for a dozen years. Guided by Tom and Haitian pastor Father Hermann, the parishes together have built three schools and developed several other projects there. In the process, our friendship has become very personal and close. So when we get together, it's like a family reunion.

May 25, 2008
The Most Holy Body
and Blood of Christ
Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14b-16a
Psalm: 147:12-15, 19-20
1 Corinthians 10:16-17
John 6:51-58

Every time a group from our parish visits, our Haitian friends ask by name about members of our church whom they know - even if they only spent a few days with them years ago. The Virginia parishioners have come to know the Haitians from stories and photos and from Father Hermann's periodic visits to our church.

There is a palpable sense of oneness among the people of both communities, largely because our relationship is based on our shared faith in Jesus - something we continuously talk about and celebrate openly together.

We understand, experientially, this weekend's reading from Corinthians that says we, though many, are one body because we all partake of the same life of Christ.

Whenever I go to Haiti, I am blessed by intense experiences of Jesus, both through old friends and new people I meet each time. We are nourished by his real presence in each other.

In that late Easter watch, we were crowded in among our Haitian brothers and sisters, our skin touching theirs. When Father Hermann offered the eucharistic prayer, he movingly, lovingly reminded us how the blood of Christ flows through his body.

For reflection:

• How have you experienced being many, but one body in Christ?

• How do you - or will you - allow your life to flow into another as nourishment?

Holding the cup aloft he said, "He took the cup. He remembered Tom, he remembered Leah, he remembered Michelle, he remembered Jean, and he remembered all of us. Again he gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples and said, take this, all of you, and drink from it, this is the cup of my blood."

This column is offered in cooperation with the North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.

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This week's readings

Week of May 25 - 31, 2008

Sunday, May 25, 2008
Solemnity of the Most Holy Body
and Blood of Christ

Reading I: Dt 8:2-3, 14b-16a
Reading II: 1 Cor 10:16-17
Gospel: Jn 6:51-58

Monday, May 26, 2008
Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, priest
Reading I: 1 Pt 1:3-9
Gospel: Mk 10:17-27

Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Reading I: 1 Pt 1:10-16
Gospel: Mk 10:28-31

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Reading I: 1 Pt 1:18-25
Gospel: Mk 10:32-45

Thursday, May 29, 2008
Reading I: 1 Pt 2:2-5, 9-12
Gospel: Mk 10:46-52

Friday, May 30, 2008
Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Reading I: Dt 7:6-11
Reading II: 1 Jn 4:7-16
Gospel: Mt 11:25-30

Saturday, May 31, 2008
Feast of the Visitation
of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reading I: Zep 3:14-18a or Rom 12:9-16
Gospel: Lk 1:39-56

Pope's Prayer Intentions

May General Intention

Human Dignity. That Christians may use literature, art, and mass media to create a culture which defends and promotes the values of the human person.

May Mission Intention

Mary's guidance. That the Virgin Mary, Star of evangelization and Queen of the Apostles, may still guide missionaries with maternal affection, just as she accompanied the Apostles in the early stages of the Church.

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Prayer to St. Raphael

photo of Pilgrim Icon of St. Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.

We beg you, assist us in all our needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the "medicine of God" we humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of our souls and the ills that afflict our bodies.

We especially ask your guidance of our diocese as we journey toward the rebuilding of a cathedral bearing your name, and the great grace of purity to prepare us to be temples of the Holy Spirit. As our intercessor, beg the Blessed Trinity to prosper the work of our hands and, above all, to bring us, face-to-face, into their Holy presence.


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