On the Road

Spreading the Message of His Mercy and Love

Written by: Denise Serafini on Thursday, March 23, 2017

We made a 3rd annual visit for our presentation of the relics to the National Shrine of Divine Mercy on Saturday, March 18. Although I would never have believed that Saturday mornings would be an optimum time to present a program such as ours, it turns out that it’s the best time. We had full house attendance for a 10:00 AM event. The program was simulcast to the lower level to support a full chapel and conference room. Father Anthony Gramlich, rector of the shrine, presided over the event and there was a full complement of shrine staff to direct the pilgrims. Members of the staff also participated in helping us to hold the individual relics for veneration and for that we are most grateful. I was touched by the number of individuals, men, women and children alike, that came forward to venerate the relics with tears in their eyes. Not only that, but the pilgrims that joined us that day had a sense of faithfulness that prompted them to spend extra time in venerating the relics with true devotion and respect for the sufferings of Jesus in His Passion. Because of the size of the crowd we ran over our allotted time and finished some three and half hours after we began. What a blessing! I am of the belief that the divine plan includes creating multiple sources to spread the message of His Divine Love and once we are touched by that love we reflect it. If what we witnessed in the reverence coupled with the tearful encounter the pilgrims had with Christ’s Passion as they approached the relics at the Divine Mercy Shrine this past weekend is any indication, I’d say the message of God’s love and mercy truly touched many hearts. The evidence was reflected in their faces.

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​ We’re All Members of Christ’s Family

Written by: Denise Serafini on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

On Friday March 17, we presented at the Church of the Holy Family in Hebron, Connecticut. It was a wonderful event with significant attendance. Father Brian Romanowski joined us to preside over the event and we were blessed with a full contingent of the Knights of Columbus Color Guard. As we were traveling I gave some thought to the Holy Family and their travels. Obviously the Holy Family is always depicted with St. Joseph, Mary and Jesus together and we generally think about them living out relatively simple lives in the little house in Nazareth. However, there was so much more to the reality of living out their role as the holiest of families and we only occasionally think of the Holy Family bound together in perilous circumstances and the consistency they must have applied in coming together in prayer to the Father and Holy Spirit for their safety and the fulfillment of their role here on earth. We too are on a perilous journey, the journey of life. We have to consistently be mindful of the perils of sin and keeping ourselves aligned with the principles upon which the Holy Family lived out their daily life. Unlike the Holy Family, we have issues with running our lives according to our own dictates and not necessarily keeping ourselves in check to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Family did, we need to keep ourselves rooted in prayer to assure that we consistently choose the right path to fulfill our mission here on earth. We can be individuals, members of the Holy Family Parish, part of an apostolate or any other Christian group. Regardless, we are all members of Christ’s Holy Family. We have a shared responsibility to pray for one another in imitation of the Holy Family and proceed through the perils of life with our “yes” to the Father and depending on the Holy Spirit for guidance. We also have the opportunity, as Our Lady did, to bind our prayers and sufferings in this life to Passion of Our Savior for our benefit and for the benefit of those for whom we pray. The greater circle of pray

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St. Mary’s Church

Written by: Denise Serafini on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

St. Mary’s Church in Portland, CT graciously hosted our presentation on Sunday, March 12. This is the first church we presented to this year where we could display all eight of our backdrops. They contain the artwork of James Tissot, an eighteenth century French painter and illustrator, depicting the Passion of Christ. We are especially pleased to have them since they present the struggles, sorrows, anguish and emotional perspective of the individuals depicted in each scene as well as the gruesome nature of His Passion. The artwork in Tissot’s illustrations depict something that is far beyond the nature of what is traditionally seen in the standard Stations of the Cross. They also set the tone for the context of the meditations, visually helping the faithful to connect to the various stops on the road to Calvary. The current pastor, Reverend Paul Boudreau presided over the event to expose the Blessed Sacrament and participate in the readings during the meditative portion of our program. This church is actually dedicated under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe. How fitting for us in that she was the one that brought about the conversion of millions as a result of her apparitions on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico so many centuries ago. As part of our mission, we pray for conversions. Our prayers are focused on the conversion of hearts similar to the experience of St. Longinus when he pierced the side of Jesus and declared “Truly this was the Son of God.” We also ask Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to help each of us, even the faithful, in our daily conversion as members of His Church. Obviously we could never have the impact of millions of conversions as Our Lady of Guadalupe did in 1536, but if we can help to bring Jesus closer to even one heart we will have made progress in helping her in her mission to convert and save all souls for Her Son.

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St. Rita of Cascia – Saint of the Impossible

Written by: Denise Serafini on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Our event at St. Rita’s Church brought in a sizable crowd and we had 18 or 19 Color Guard members from the Knights of Columbus joining us. Father Sharkey joined us for the supporting prayers associated with each meditation and he did a wonderful job of reading Jesus’ message from the Cross for us. I also had the opportunity to reconnect with valued colleagues that I worked with while I was employed at the Knights of Columbus Supreme Offices in New Haven. That was a special added treat. St. Rita has a great reputation of being the saint of the impossible and St. Francis teaches us to walk alongside Jesus, bearing our crosses with patience and humility. Sometimes I look on our travel schedule and wonder how is it that two women, pretty well advanced in years, can simply leave the comforts of their home for extended periods to drive across the country with this program and all of its supporting equipment. In some ways it seems like an impossible mission to get everything scheduled and aligned correctly to make the trip progress logically from city to city within a state and then across states. The details of overcoming the issues to keep the progression of our travels organized seems almost impossible at times. While that’s one aspect of the process, we also have to recognize that our mission is focused on Christ’s Passion and handle our own little crosses inherent in the problems and issues that creep up along the way. We have had presentations in close succession at churches named in honor of saints that had great devotion to Jesus on the Cross. I am hoping that we can depend on St. Francis and St. Rita’s intercession and the merits of all their sufferings and prayers for those that came to those events and to help us maintain our stamina. I also hope that they will join us in our prayers for all those that will encounter the Relics of the Passion as we make our way to the many churches we will visit along the way on our 2017 tour.

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Our Lady in the Sorrowful Mysteries

Written by: Denise Serafini on Saturday, March 11, 2017

​One of the members of the Knights of Columbus Color Guard here in Connecticut had said to me in a couple of events in past years that he wanted to bring one of our presentations to his church in East Haven. He said, “When you come to my church I promise that you will present to a filled church.” Well true to his word, the Church of Our Lady of Pompeii was filled almost to capacity on Wednesday, March 8 with married couples, young families and CCD students. I was genuinely touched to see such a large group of people gathered to walk with Jesus in His Passion. We also had the pleasure of having the president of our Apostolate in attendance, something that is very rare since our presentation arrangements and his work schedule never seemed to align for him to attend. Presiding over the event was the pastor’s assistant, who filled in for the pastor who had been called to tend to another pastoral commitment. Pastoral Assistant Pat set the tone for the entire event in carrying the Relic of the True Cross on high during the opening procession to bring everyone’s focus of attention to the Cross of Salvation. What a wonderful beginning to a truly touching event. Each of the meditations for this year contain a perspective on what Our Lady was experiencing as she walked alongside her Son during His Passion. The context of those moments highlighted within the readings, seemed to move a number of the people (men and women alike) in the congregation to tears, witnessing to their sharing in Mary’s sorrows, particularly during the depiction of the crucifixion and the piercing of the side of Jesus.

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Imitating the Virtues of Christ in His Passion

Written by: Denise Serafini on Saturday, March 11, 2017

Presenting “Call from the Crucified Heart” in St. Francis of Assisi Church in Torrington, CT on March 5 gave us the opportunity to consider the message Christ has for us in manifesting the visible evidence with the associated pain and suffering of His crucifixion in the poor and humble Franciscan from Assisi. In order to do that we have to look more carefully inside, to the interior life of a Christian disciple who wished nothing more than to follow in the footprints of Christ. The very essence of the physical stigmata that appeared externally on Francis's body was reflective of his interior conformity to the lived example of Jesus Christ. He was consistently meditating on the life and Passion of Christ. It has been said that no one else in history was as dedicated as Francis to imitate the life, and carry out the work of Christ, in Christ’s own way. The “Call from the Crucified Heart” is a meditative experience that leads you through each step Christ’s Passion. It calls each of us to consider the great love that the Father has for us in sending His Only Son to suffer and die for our salvation. Moreover, it challenges us to look within, see how each of us does or does not bear the marks of Christ in our thoughts, words, and deeds. As we progress in the meditations through each element of His Passion in our program, we can see all the virtues Jesus exemplified in praising the Father, forgiving his enemies and literally pouring himself out for our salvation. We are expected to imitate all the virtues Christ demonstrated in his crucifixion just as St. Francis did.

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Rediscovering St. Anthony

Written by: Denise Serafini on Friday, March 10, 2017

​While St. Anthony of Padua is commonly known as the patron saint for finding lost articles, I think we found St. Anthony in our event in the Church named in his honor in New Bedford, MA on March 3rd. I could never have imagined the grandeur of what was inside. This church is more than 100 years old, and to say it has an awe-inspiring architecture is a true understatement. The Stations of the Cross were almost life size on the walls and the wall behind the main altar features the vision of St. Anthony with a cross that has to be at least 15-18 feet high. The main sacristy of the church was so large that when I first came in that side door and walked to the center aisle, I found myself literally frozen in place trying to take it all in. The overwhelming grandeur of this church is certainly matched in the commitment of the faithful that make up this parish. We delivered our program alternating the meditations in English and Spanish with Father Cortez presiding over the event and a postulant of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate for the translation. Veneration was amazing in that the sisters took the lead for recitation of the rosary. Each individual took their time to proceed through the long veneration line and the rosary made all the difference in maintaining a sense of holiness throughout the process. We had a wonderful experience with a group of genuinely faith-filled, charitable and gracious people that exemplify the virtues of St. Anthony. We were privileged to find a bit of St. Anthony reflected in each of them.

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Shared Missions and Principles

Written by: Denise Serafini on Friday, March 10, 2017

On Saturday, February 11 we had the privilege of kicking off our 2017 tour season in a private event with members of the Legion of Mary at St. Thomas Church in Thomaston, CT. Because of their status as an apostolate dedicated to Jesus through Mary and our dedication of this year’s activities in honor of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima, we felt it appropriate to ask them to serve as the first group of the prayerful faithful for our inaugural presentation of “Call from the Crucified Heart: A program with Relics of the Passion”. The similarities exemplified in the principles upon which the the Legion carries out its mission turned out to be significantly similar to the principles built into the prayers and meditations we have for our general program. That concept drove the decision to launch our inaugural event in consort with them. We are indeed grateful to the Litchfield Curia members of the Legion of Mary for allowing us to share our program with them in a prayerful event that sets the tone for all of the events we will have in 2017. We ask the Legion of Mary members to remember us in their prayers and offer sacrifice for the successful promotion of Christ’s Passion and Our Lady sorrows in the most significant event that marks the roots of our faith. We plan to do the same for the Legion of Mary as each of the members of our respective organizations press on in faith to do his will.

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A New Year - A New program

Written by: Denise Serafini on Friday, January 20, 2017

The Year of Mercy was certainly a year full of wonderful events that were hosted at many parishes, retreat centers, shrines and convents. More than 30,000 people had the opportunity to engage in our meditative program and venerate our Relics of the Passion collection in our travels across 15 states. More than 10,000 individuals added our program of meditations on Christ’s road to Calvary to their collection of prayers for ongoing devotion to His Passion. We couldn’t have been more blessed. Our new program for 2017 is entitled, "Call from the Crucified Heart". It is designed to highlight a facet of what we believe Christ’s message is to us from various scenes during His Passion. We have also made exposition of the Holy Eucharist a required part of the meditative portion of our presentation, to underscore that time-transcending gift that connects us from His Passion to His Presence with us today. As a tribute to Our Lady of Sorrows, and in honor of the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima, our program also highlights a perspective on Mary as she accompanied Jesus on the path to Calvary.

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