Friday, July 13, 2018

Jesus My Everything: On Adoration

I wrote today's #BISblog for Blessed Is She​, Jesus My Everything: On Adoration. May you all find comfort in the quiet of your own hearts spending time alone with Jesus.

https://blessedisshe.net/jesus-adoration/


Friday, May 25, 2018

5 Religious Brothers to Follow on Twitter


















Do you already follow awesome accounts of some priests and religious sisters? How about adding the tweets of religious brothers to your Twitter feed? Check out the accounts of consecrated men living the fraternal common life.

 
1. Brother James Reiter





















Br. James Reiter is a Conventual Franciscan Brother who has previously taught high school and is a former Reserve Police Officer and Police Chaplain. He is currently the director of Development for the St. Joseph of Cupertino Province. Br. James shares inspirational tweets that will help you deepen your own faith.



2. Brother Martin

















Br. Martin is an Augustinian Friar who promotes the message of being counter-cultural in today's world and helps to spread the truth about the Catholic faith. He tweets about current happenings in
the Church community and takes part in insightful and serious theological discussion. Br. Martin plays the guitar and during the holiday season has shared videos of himself playing several familiar Christmas songs.



3. Brother Dave Brokke
 
















 

Br. Dave Brokke is a graduate seminarian at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and a member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. He is originally from Baltimore and loves the Catholic news. Br. Dave's Twitter account shares the missionary volunteer experiences of SOLT and helps others to have a better understanding of what it means to be a missionary in the world today.


4. Brother Damien Rappuhn




















Br. Damien Rappuhn is a young, "highly caffeinated" Benedictine Monk of St. Martin's Abbey in Lacey, Washington.  Br. Damien's Twitter account is a blend of monastic musings and the Catholic faith. He has taken part in #HolyOrdinary and #PierogiTwitter, the most recent top trendy hashtags on #CatholicTwitter. 


5. Brother André Marie
 




















 

Br. Andre Marie is a religious brother with the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and is the Prior of St. Benedict Center. He is an author at Catholicism.org, has a Catholic radio program, and has various publications online. He tweets informative articles about the Catholic faith and is striving towards the conversion of America.  





 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Celebrating the Priesthood and Religious Life

"Peace is the best thing about following God's will".
-Sr. Theresa Marie, PVMI

It was a blessed experience to not only be able to organize and implement a priestly and religious vocations event, but to also look around the room the other night and see the fruits of our labor; an event that our faith sharing group, the Sons and Daughters of Mary, had been planning since last September. How did we get here? Can this really be happening that high school teens who are discerning the priesthood and religious life are before me and are publicly admitting their interest in discerning such vocations without fear? I sat there as I watched these excited teens beaming with a smile from ear to ear as they listened to every word of the priests and religious sisters on the panel, and I thought, "Be not afraid," the infamous quote of St. Pope John Paul II. There was a joy that simply radiated around the room.

Rewind back to last July I was volunteering at a Goretti Group event at a parish, and these two older gentleman from another parish approached myself and a friend to ask us if we could accompany them on their journey of planning a vocation event to encourage young people to consider a vocation to the priesthood and to the religious life.  I was quite hesitant to jump into an effort that involved promoting such vocations since in the past the vocation events I had been a part of  had such few attendees. I saw all of the effort that the organizers had put into the planning an event only to be incredibly disappointed when hardly anyone showed up; that was the truth of the matter. There was something stirring inside of me though that kept nudging me to go for it; to use my experience to help especially young women, to not only discern, but to respond to that call, and to find a healthy religious community that of which I was on that same journey myself.  My doubts turned to excitement and motivation, and from agreeing to only help in the background to plan the event to taking a front row seat in the planning process. There were challenges along the way, but I experienced a community within a Church working together for a common cause; promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life. There were times of disagreement and disappointments, but overall we built each other up; we worked together, and we became a spiritual family. Not even being a member of their Church, I felt welcomed, and inspired, and even though they probably do not even realize it at that time I need them much more than they needed me. 

The Vocation Summit was such a blessed success, and to see the teens connecting instantly with the young men and women of the priesthood and religious life was beautiful, and I am confident that although next year I will no longer be around to be a part of the event physically since I am entering religious life myself come September, I will definitely be there on a spiritual level by praying for everyone involved with supporting the priesthood and religious life. Young people often do not get support from their parents at home, as I discovered even just talking with several of the teens at the event and from my own experience, so it is important that Catholic schools and parishes need to be that support system; to let these young people know to "Be not afraid". God is surely calling young people to answer His call, but it is up to us to help them to respond to that call. We need to encourage them to spend time in the silence and listen to the quiet of their own hearts, and to allow the Holy Spirit to work within them. I ask all of you reading this to please pray for these holy vocations even if the priesthood or religious life is not your vocation:


LORD of the Harvest,
BLESS young people with the gift of courage to respond to your call.
Open their hearts to great ideals, to great things.
INSPIRE all of your disciples to mutual love and giving—
for vocations blossom in the
good soil of faithful people.
INSTILL those in religious life, parish
ministries, and families with the confidence
and grace to invite others to embrace
the bold and noble path of a life
consecrated to you.
UNITE us to Jesus through prayer and sacrament,
so that we may cooperate
with you in building your reign of mercy
and truth, of justice and peace. Amen.
— Pope Francis

Adapted from the Message on the 51st World Day
of Prayer for Vocations.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

At the Foot of the Cross

As the Triduum is approaching us I find myself reflecting on the most solemn day of the liturgical year, Good Friday. We meditate on the Passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ; our Savior who redeemed the world by making the ultimate sacrifice on the cross by giving His own life to save us from our sins. I find myself thinking about Our Lady, and what she must have been pondering in her mind and in her heart. While she watched her Son hang on the cross with hands and feet pierced although no words spoke from her lips we know that she understood then the words of Simeon, "This child is destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed - and a sword will pierce your own soul too" (Luke 2:34-35).It is not simple imagery to place Mary at the foot of the cross watching her Son die, knowing that He chose to be nailed and placed up on that cross because it was the will of His Father. In her intense grief from the death and suffering of her only Son this sword of grief pierced her soul.

There were few words exchanged between Jesus and His mother in scripture, but we know that their emotional bond as mother and Son was so strong and powerful that there were not many words that needed to be said. A precious relationship between a mother and a child is so intimate in nature that it is difficult to even describe in such a way that captivates its true essence. 

The relationship of Mary as the Mother of God first begins when the angel, Gabriel, visits her and she responds with the words, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." (Luke 1:38). Then at the Wedding at Cana we see that Mary tells Jesus simply, "They have no wine" (John 2:3), which shows her trust in Jesus, as the Son of God to be able to do something to remedy the situation, and then her words to the servants "Whatever He says to you, do it" (John 2:5) again shows her relationship with God in knowing that whatever Jesus does will be according to the Father's will. It was in in that moment at the foot of the cross when Jesus said to the Blessed Mother, "Woman, behold your son" that Mary understood the words of Jesus in which she became the spiritual mother to all of Christ's disciples; she became the Mother of the Church.

I know on Good Friday this year while I spend time in the silence that I will focus on trying to be more like Our Lady in trusting her Son even through times when it can be difficult or even times when things may seem hopeless. Jesus is always there in the mist of our sorrow and our woe. He is with us when we are grieving and when we feel as if the entire world is laying upon our shoulders. He is with us through persecution and suffering. I hope that all of you this Good Friday can take the time to stand at the foot of  the cross and try to give all of your burdens to Christ so that He may give you rest. Christ died for us, and He wants us to turn to Him in times of need as well as times when we are thankful. The bottom line is Christ has been and always will be there for us, and by giving His own life for us He has shown us that He is the way, the truth, and the life.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Article in Catholic New York "A Culture of Vocations"

I wrote a Letter to the Editor for the Archdiocese of New York Newspaper, Catholic New York, and my article, "A Culture of Vocations" was chosen to be published in the March 15, 2018 paper; XXXVII. NO. 14. The article is in response to Fr. Christopher Argano's announcement of his new column for vocations that he discusses in "Vocation's Are Everyone's Business" from the previous issue of Catholic New York.

Catholic New York is one of America's largest Catholic newspapers, and I am excited that another piece that I have submitted for publication for the paper has been accepted by them. The piece that I wrote is a positive reflection on creating a culture of vocations and to promote the priesthood and religious life. I hope that young adult Catholic men and women will read this piece from the Letter to the Editors because often articles that focus on the positive aspect of something are overlooked, and instead articles with a negative spin or gossipy edge are shared throughout social media.  

Here is an excerpt from my piece:

God is still calling men and women to the priesthood and religious life, but because of a culture that does not promote vocations they are not responding to His call. Father Christopher Argano, in his new column, sums it up when he says, “Most people do not really know what is involved in someone pursuing a call to the priesthood. Even fewer have a good sense of how they can discern, or figure out, whether or not God is calling them to follow Him in the priesthood or religious life.” (CNY, View on Vocations, March 1).  

Read the rest by clicking HERE 


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Write Out Loud

 "Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words".
-Robert Frost

I have been writing for what seems like forever and a day. I remember in pre-school and elementary school writing short stories about everything and anything, such as the seasons, my family, friends, and nature with lots of drawings. There wasn't much to them back then, they were simple and to the point based on my observations of the world around me.

As a freshman in high school I began writing more poetry about my life experiences and the words captivated the challenges of being a teenager who rejected the cultural norms and immoral behaviors of majority of high school students that walked the very same halls as me. It was in high school that the love I have for my faith blossomed and I just couldn't get enough of it. I remember looking forward each week to Fridays where our parish youth group would get together and we would do faith-sharing and volunteer activities to help the vulnerable in our neighborhood most in need. On Sundays I looked forward to seeing my friends at mass, and I remember when we would see each other in our public school on the staircase or in the hallways we would smile to one another because we had that Catholic connection that brought us all together even in our non-parochial school. My poetry reflected the beautiful experiences of that time, and throughout my life even in tough times because of my faith I have been able to allow the words to flow out of not only my mind, but from my heart.

I continued to write poetry in college and when I started discerning the consecrated life as a religious sister the words could not get out fast enough onto the page. The Holy Spirit has truly been an inspiration in my life, and has given me the strength and courage to speak the words necessary that shares the emotions that I feel within me. I have been asked a number of times, "Christina, when are you publishing your poetry". I would answer with a smile because I was not sure if I wanted to share my poetry with everyone, and the thought of humility kept popping into my mind. How can someone aim to publish a book and still have humility? 

Well, as a writer I have learned that it requires much humility because time and time again your work gets rejected, and it takes a lot of submissions before something you wrote is accepted to be published. And by being rejected at times it is encouraging to be able to look at the work of others and to learn from them. I cannot tell you how much inspiration I have received simply by reading the poetry of others. Especially, poems I have read about spirituality and faith that truly touched my heart and gave me the motivation and encouragement to open up my laptop and begin typing on the page.

Now that I have finally had my book published I am humbled that I have received so much support from family, friends, and even my followers on social media. We need to encourage one another to follow our hearts and to let the Holy Spirit guide us. 

Looking at them, Jesus *said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
-Mark 10:27

The book, Called to Love A Listening Heart - A Book of Catholic Poetry on faith and discernment can be purchased here:

Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1388811766/sr=8-1/qid=152104057 /ref=olp_product_details?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=1521040579&sr=8-1

Blurb
http://www.blurb.com/b/8592843-called-to-love-a-listening-heart

Barnes and Noble
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/called-to-love-a-listening-heart-christina-m-sorrentino/1128116196?ean=9781388811761

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

NEW BOOK NOW AVAILABLE!!!

EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT! I am thrilled to say that my new book, Called to Love A Listening Heart - A Book of Catholic Poetry on faith and discernment has officially been released and is now available on Amazon, Blurb Online Bookstore, and Barnes and Noble Online Bookstore. Here are the links to check it out:

Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Called-Listening-Heart-Christina-Sorrentino/dp/1388811766/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520452989&sr=8-1&keywords=Christina+M.+Sorrentino

Blurb
http://www.blurb.com/b/8592843-called-to-love-a-listening-heart

Barnes and Noble
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/called-to-love-a-listening-heart-christina-m-sorrentino/1128116196?ean=9781388811761