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A Message from the Lay and Spiritual Advisors of the Toledo Cursillo Movement.

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Dear friends,

2020 is edging toward completion; nature’s cycle has once more come to maturity and plentitude. Our fields, gardens and countryside have yielded food for our bodies and beauty for our souls. Twilight comes earlier and already the first frost has reminded us that all of life here on earth is temporary. Autumn is a time for long, quiet walks through fallen leaves; it is a time for discovering the meaning in all our labors; it is a time for reverencing the rhythm of the seasons and giving thanks.

There is a certain poignancy about autumn, a mixture of sadness and gratitude, an experience of harvest and fruitfulness juxtaposed to loss and letting go. If a loved one has died this past year we know this duel experience most keenly. At any given moment, quite outside our control, when we’re feeling the loss so sharply, we may suddenly be overwhelmed with a profound gratitude for their life, their goodness, humor, generosity, idiosyncrasies, and unique lovableness. How lucky we are to have been influenced and loved by them!

Of all life’s manifold forms we humans are the only species, as far as we know, aware of our mortality. Now, it’s true that many of us don’t like to think about dying (or at least not yet, we say!) Still, I believe that we will not become truly grateful people until we have embraced the mystery of autumn, i.e., at any given age a life comes to fullness and then lets go. A person who has a close brush with death discovers a new gratitude about being alive. A cataract removed makes one appreciate sight. A terminally ill cancer patient celebrates the first flower of spring or a bird’s song in a way he or she never before did. A grateful heart develops, in large part, from this experience of temporariness.

It is good to ponder death, not because we’re morbid, not because we see it as an escape from the difficulties of life, not even to frighten us into conversion. It is good to be reminded that life with its multitude of blessings and loves should never be taken for granted. Brother David Steindl-rast believes that gratefulness is the heart of prayer. We come closest to God, are most at peace and overflow with a quiet joy when we are simply aware of life around us. Gratitude wells up in us like living water. Our senses become alert to our surroundings, thus enabling us to drink in beauty previously unappreciated. Because we are aware of the temporality of childhood, we take time to play with our children while they are young. Because people grow up, move away, and eventually die, we pause now, while they are still with us to notice their goodness, their thirst for life, their efforts for the common good, and we love them anew with hearts full of gratitude.

November begins with an invitation to ponder death and those who have died. November comes to an end with Thanksgiving. We have seen so much loss in 2020. In the depths of those losses may we find the seeds of gratitude that will bear fruit in greater wisdom, compassion, and empathy, and a greater love for those who share our earthly journey – for as long as we accompany one another here.


A Blessed Thanksgiving!

Sister Edna

From Our Lay Directors:


Recently, the well-known reading from Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 that starts, “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for everything under the heavens…” was read at a daily Mass. It struck me how I forget about those words from Scripture when I am adjusting to the different way of life I am experiencing now, not necessarily viewing that this is the appointed time for these events. I have been enjoying immensely a daily reflection book named, “Balaam’s Donkey” by Michael Casey, OSCO. [The purpose of the title reflects that “God can use any channel to communicate a message - and that includes Balaam’s donkey”.] One of the reflections, aptly named “Seasons”, says, “As the famous reading from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes reminds us, there is a season for everything under the sun. This is more than mere poetry; it is reality, and we had better get used to it. Everything changes.” Not that everything may change, but that everything does change. And the reflection continues,” There are seasons in our life. What was appropriate in youth may not be suitable for mellower years. If we are wise, we will not allow ourselves to adhere to attitudes and practices that have passed their use-by date.” (Bold by me.) I look at this term of “use-by date” to not only referencing age appropriate behavior, but also faith appropriate behavior. As ongoing conversion in my relationship with God continues, and I work to reflect that growth in my actions, the hope is that I will see more opportunities for positive change, and take those opportunities, large or small. Sending a card. Calling someone who I know needs to be called. Making a meal for a family struggling for whatever reason. Holding my tongue when it isn’t necessary to speak. Being gracious in traffic and in the lines in stores, especially with those who are not being gracious. Speaking of Christ to someone who is thirsting for hope amid all the uncertainty of the world. For those of us blessed to be in a relationship with Our Lord, it is always the season for taking those opportunities for kindness, for thoughtfulness, for generosity, for affirmation, for accompanying each other in love and truth.


De Colores!

Kathy Otermat


From the desk of Fr. Jim,


My beloved sisters and brothers in Christ, who are in the Church of Christ Jesus, which is in Toledo, for those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus through the Cursillo Movement and who are called to be saints; and for those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


I give thanks to God, always for you because of the grace of God which has been given to you in Christ Jesus… (adapted from 1st Corinthians.)


In spite of the Covid thing we begin September, the ninth month of the year in the modern-day Gregorian calendar and its predecessor, the Julian calendar. The month kept its original name from the Roman calendar where it was the seventh month. September means “seven” in Latin. The Romans began their calendar with March that is how September becomes the ‘seventh’ month.


For many families, September also means the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. Many schools are trying to reopen with students present while still maintaining on-line learning from home or some hybrid model.


Perhaps this is a good time then to look at our own STUDY, the second leg of our Cursillo methodology. These days offer us both time and a plethora of possibilities to study our faith. The St Augustine Institute’s FORUM has so much available for us. Bishop Barron’s WORD on FIRE also offers courses on-line. Matter of fact, there is so much available to us, one hardly knows where to begin. So, as the school year begins develop a plan or curriculum for yourself. Some courses are eight of ten sessions. If you do one a week, that takes care of two months.


Maybe pick a Book of the Bible to read and study. Many Bibles have and introduction to the particular Book at the beginning.


Perhaps the life of a saint. There are a number of them during the month of September: St Gregory the Great (3rd); the Nativity of Mary (8th) and Her Holy Name (12th); Peter Claver (9th); the Exultation of the Holy Cross (14th and Our Lady of Sorrows (15th); Corneilius and Cyprian (16th); Robert Bellarmine (17th); St Januarius (19th) Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist (21st); Padre Pio (23rd); Cosmos and Damian 26th); St Wenceslaus and St Lawrence Ruiz and Companions (28th); Michael, Gabriel and Raphael -the Archangels(29th). An impressive list to learn about.


Our own School of Leaders on Saturday, the 19th of September from 9 am till noon. It is a ZOOM meeting on-line so there is no limit to the number of participants. Come join us again for the first time. One of our studies is the Book His Way by David Knight. It’s an oldy but goodie and will good for all of us to (re) - read. His book is about knowing Jesus Christ: a complete but simple plan for making the person of Jesus Christ a living reality in your life, in your family, in the world you live and work in. “if laypersons ever began to bear witness to Christ in everything they do, regardless of the risk, then the Kingdom will really be at hand.” Fr Knight.


I leave you with a little prayer from the Christophers.


Dear God, help me to focus on the good in others; to find the positive qualities in my neighbor, my family, my community, my church and even in myself. Help me to focus more on the good in life and in Your power than on what seems wrong in our world.

Help me to trust that as I focus on the good, I can more easily connect to Your hope and joy, and be inspired with solutions to change things for the better, God, help me to focus on the good that I might be a greater channel of Your light and peace in our world.


Amen.


What are some of the qualities of your life for which you are grateful? I thank God for…..

“God saw everything that He had made, and indeed, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)


May you all be blessed and BE a blessing to all you meet.

Fr Jim

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CURSILLO!  Pronounced (kur-see-yo) is a Spanish word for "short course" (in Christianity).

The weekend begins on a Thursday evening and ends on Sunday. During these three days those attending live and work together, listening to talks given by clergy, sisters, brothers, and people like yourself who make faith come alive in fresh ways. We also pray, attend mass, and share the Eucharist.

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Please be advised the old website toledocursillo.org is no longer affiliated with the Cursillo Movement of the Diocese of Toledo.

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