Mary Ellen Robinson
Chief Operating Officer
The Christophers celebrate the beatification of Pope Paul VI, which took place at Saint Peter’s Basilica, on World Mission Sunday, at the close of the two-week synod on the family. In his homily, Pope Francis said, “Before the advent of a secularized and hostile society, he was able to hold fast, with farsightedness and wisdom – and at times alone – to the helm of the Barque of Peter, while never losing his joy and his trust in the Lord.” Let us pray for the intercession of Pope Paul VI as the leaders of the Church deliberate on Catholic family life ahead of their follow-up synod next year.
We can also pray for the intercession of Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, a Sister of Charity of Saint Elizabeth from Bayonne, NJ, who became the first person ever beatified on American soil when she was raised to the altars on October 4 at the Cathedral-Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ. She was a nun for only two years before she died in 1927 at the age of 26. Reporting on the ceremony for the National Catholic Register, Joseph Pronechen wrote that the packed Cathedral of nearly 2,000 people, with dozens more standing out in the rain to attend the mass, witnessed, “a visibly moved Michael Mencer lead a short procession, as he carried Sister Miriam Teresa’s relic encased in a gold-cross reliquary to a place of honor before the raised pulpit. As a young boy, Mencer was miraculously cured of irreversible juvenile macular degeneration after prayers through her intercession.”
In her short time in religious life, Sister Miriam Teresa wrote 26 conferences for the novitiate at the request of her spiritual director. After her death, these writings were published as a book entitled “Greater Perfection,” a collection that has earned her comparisons to Saint Therese of Lisieux for her down-to-earth wisdom and the beautiful vision she presents of holiness as a path for everyone to follow. Such spiritual texts have the ability to inspire us all to pursue a deeper relation to God in service to others and we hope her beatification will draw attention to her wonderful writings.
It brings us great joy to highlight Father Jonathan Morris’ recently published book on spirituality entitled “The Way of Serenity: Finding Peace and Happiness in the Serenity Prayer.” His meditations are inspired by the famous line, “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Tony Rossi, our Director of Communications, recently interviewed Father Morris about his popular new book, and Father Morris offered great advice in that conversation on finding spiritual peace while dealing with life’s many challenges. Please stay tuned to our “Christopher Closeup” blog where the interview will soon be posted, and be sure to pick up a copy of Father Morris’ book.
Please also be sure to have a look at Father Morris’ video series featured here on our website. His recent video on “Family Drama” contains advice that might be particularly helpful during the upcoming holiday season. He notes that the closeness of families can bring about much good in our lives but the intimate knowledge we have of one another can also lead to conflict. As always, Father Morris provides concrete advice on how to relate to those closest to us even when we have our differences.
The Christophers recently launched a new workshop, “Relighting the Candle,” designed solely for graduates of the Christopher Leadership Course. The one-day leadership workshop was beta-tested with a small group of graduates in October at Saint Anastasia Church in Troy, Michigan. Those who participated in this trial had the opportunity to hone their communication skills, revisit techniques they found helpful in previous classes, and explore new approaches to complex real world situations. We’re confident that many of our graduates will find this program enjoyable and enlightening, and we hope everyone will spread the word about this opportunity.
Lastly, we just sent out our call for entries for the 66th annual Christopher Awards, which will be presented in New York City in the spring of 2015. We ask all our supporters to pray for the success of our mission to highlight books, films and television programs that affirm the highest values of the human spirit. The world is in such need of great media arts, and we hope this coming year affords us the opportunity to honor some truly exceptional work that is worthy of recommendation to those looking for inspiration in their lives.
We wish everyone a joyous Thanksgiving season, and a holy start of Advent, when we call to mind the expectation of the coming of Christ. These are times to draw close to our loved ones, give thanks for the gifts bestowed upon us, and remember those most in need. To be a Christopher is to respond to these calls of the heart with courage and compassion. It is an exciting time to carry Christ into the world. It is an exciting time to be a Christopher.
Mary Ellen Robinson