Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Apr
  • 12

Spirit in the City, A confirmation journey

Posted By April 12, 2012 | 11:30 am | Featured Article #4, Local

Watch clip of Conversation With  Bishop McManus here

Conversation With Bishop McManus will begin airing Saturday, March 31

Charter Communications 29 cities/towns that carry WCTR TV3 on their system:

Saturday, March 31 at 6 p.m. Rebroadcast on the following: Sundays at 6 a.m.

& Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. after the Daily Mass

SPAC TV28 (Shrewsbury): Sunday, April 1 at 7:30 a.m., 5 p.m. and on Monday,

April 2 at 7:30 a.m.

Clinton area Community Cable TV 8: Sunday, April 2 at 8:30 a.m.

WCCA TV13 (Worcester only): Tuesday, April 3 at 8 p.m.

Fitchburg TV 8 Thursday, April 5 at 9:30 a.m., 5 p.m.

Leominster LATV Mondays at 2 am; Wednesdays at 6 pm; Thursdays at 4 pm;

Sundays at 9 am

Athol/Orange Cable Access: Mondays at 1 pm; Tuesdays at 1 am

Grafton Cable Access: Sundays at 10:30 a.m

By Tanya Connor

Seeds planted at the Mustard Seed were starting to grow as confirmation students returned to Christ the King Church in Worcester Saturday.
But that’s the end of the story (for now). Join the journey for the bigger picture.

It’s about 9 a.m. March 10. Twenty-seven teenagers and three adult leaders who just attended Mass at Christ the King Church in Worcester are hearing from the pastor, Msgr. Thomas J. Sullivan, about today’s confirmation retreat: “The Spirit in the City.”
“When you think about confirmation, you’re thinking about the descent of the Holy Spirit in our lives,” Msgr. Sullivan says. The Holy Spirit “causes us to live our Christian life. We’re a religion of action.
“The Catholic Church is the oldest Church. It’s the largest Church. We’re involved in helping more people in the world than any other organization.”
Today they will see some things the Church does locally.

The first stop is Shrewsbury Media Connection Studios. There Raymond L. Delisle, director of the diocesan Office of Communications, tells them of the diocesan newspaper and television ministry.
Eight students have been selected for “A Conversation with Bishop McManus,” moderated by Mr. Delisle, to air on local cable television beginning March 31.
This time confirmation students ask the bishop questions.
“What signs from God help you maintain your faith?” wonders Wesley Allain. The bishop talks about people allowing priests to enter their lives on deep levels, and about saintly people.
Mr. Delisle asks if young people believe in miracles.
Wesley says he thinks they do, but don’t expect to see them, and the bishop quips that the students are on television. Karli Kazanovicz says she believes in miracles, and thinks many youth want to see them.
Matt Baker asks about the most important thing to do to be confirmed. The bishop talks about reflecting on faith and recognizing that God loves us so much he gives us what we need to be his witnesses.
“The four of you sitting at the table – from all eternity, God has a plan for you,” he says.
Afterwards, Bishop McManus tells the students, “We’ll see you on May 4” – confirmation day.         Tanner Gagnon says he liked the questions and learned a lot from the bishop’s answers.

The second stop is St. Vincent Hospital, where Msgr. Peter R. Beaulieu, director of Mission Integration and Pastoral Care, talks about hospitals and St. Vincent de Paul.
When the only hospital in town wouldn’t accept Catholic patients or physicians, the Sisters of Providence were recruited to provide care, he says. The Church continues to give spiritual and moral direction to St. Vincent, the Catholic hospital formed from their service.
Msgr. Beaulieu talks briefly about his ministry and bioethical issues, and shows a video and a replica of the first hospital’s bell in the atrium. (The original is on the roof.) The group also visits the chapel.
Next they meet Dr. Dimitrios Angelis, an interventional cardiologist and a member of St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Worcester.
He asks if the students are interested in medicine.
“We need you,” he says. “Whatever you do in life, you have to serve God,” whether as a doctor, like he wanted to be, or a factory worker like his mother.
He explains a heart catheterization procedure, using Cameron Blondin as his “patient.”
“Before every case … I actually cross myself,” Dr. Angelis says. “You’re a vehicle for Christ. … God helps the patient; the doctor gets the check.”
He counsels against smoking – “the one thing you can control” for your health and mentions an icon displayed nearby, which he gave the hospital.
“Never be shy of your faith,” he says. “Never become too politically correct.”
Allie Buckley, who’s thinking of becoming a physician’s assistant, says she liked the heart catheterization demonstration.
“He showed how he applied God literally right into his job,” she says of Dr. Angelis. “I hadn’t thought about that. … You have that feeling: Someone is with you; you’re not alone.”
Wesley says it was a good experience being on television.
“It was also cool to go into the medical room,” he says. “And how the guy used God in his work, God as his guidance.”
“I thought it was really cool learning what’s behind making a TV show and meeting a surgeon and the bishop,” says Megan D’Elia. “They’re really nice people. You think they’re going to be reserved, but really they’re down to earth, helping people.”

After lunch at St. Vincent, it’s off to the College of the Holy Cross, where Jesuit Father John Gavin, who teaches in the religious studies department and is hockey chaplain, talks about Catholic education, breaks a “secret code,” and solicits prayers for his team.
The Church got involved in education because of the relationship between faith and reason, for God’s glory, to help others (especially those in need) and for evangelization, he says. The Jesuits’ founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola, realized one of the best ways to glorify God was through education, he says.
Father Gavin gives a tour of the college’s St. Joseph’s Memorial Chapel, pointing out “the code” to identify saints depicted in stained glass windows: “They all have emblems … signs of who they are.”
Why are windows of martyrs and doctors of the Church here?
“Evangelization,” says Father Gavin. “The way that we teach … above all by giving witness – the ones who shed their blood … they are the ones we turn to again and again. There are still Christians shedding their blood. I don’t know if you will be doctors of the Church, but I hope you will all be martyrs, if not in blood” in witnessing to the faith. (Martyr means witness.)

The students depart to meet someone some may consider a present-day martyr: Donna Domiziano, director of the Mustard Seed Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen in Worcester, who tells them a mustard seed is tiny.
“You don’t see what happens until it starts blooming,” she says, likening this to the Catholic Worker movement founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, advocates for the poor.
The Mustard Seed has a food pantry and a free daily meal, usually provided by groups that take turns serving it. Ms. Domiziano tells of when food was needed – and donated unexpectedly. Even now, a telephone call just announced grinders being sent.
Msgr. Sullivan notes that this morning they talked about miracles and asks if students would find it scary to live alone here in a small bedroom, as Ms. Domiziano does.
“It is very, very freeing to be poor,” Ms. Domiziano says. She asserts that no one will hurt her, but tells of a threat by authorities.
“We were going to get closed down,” she says. “I misplaced my money for the licensing thing. … I said, ‘Come on down and lock the doors; we’ll bring the food outside.’” The man said, “We should be paying you for doing this.”
Ms. Domiziano tells students that some of the people who come here are their age.
“They’re not clients,” she says of everyone. “This is my home. Everybody here is my guest, our guest.”
God just sent them a big donation from someone’s estate, she says.
“I love giving money away and I love spending it,” she raves. “I just ordered 10 new picnic tables. We’re going to fill up our freezer with meat for them.”
She tells how her ministry changed over the years, according to needs. Children who attended her after-school program are now grown up. One former camp week participant wrote her from jail, the Mustard Seed helped him with tuition for culinary school and now he’s working, she says.
Msgr. Sullivan concludes the retreat with a prayer for Ms. Domiziano’s work.
“I feel like she’s such an amazing woman,” Alexis Packard says as the group heads back to Christ the King. “Not a lot of people can look past judging them. It takes a lot to show compassion for the people who come.”
“I had a good time today,” says Steve Olson. “I learned how good I have it,” by visiting the Mustard Seed. “I’ve got to realize some of my problems I think are big are really minuscule. I’d like to come back and help volunteer.”
“I liked the Mustard Seed because I wait at my job,” says Daniel LaPointe. The waiter says they discard unused food; he’ll inquire about donating it to the Mustard Seed.