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Our Spiritual Advisor

Ark Spiritual Director’s Article from Fr Jim Brown


Happy Holydays dear sisters and brothers in Christ, I say that greeting not to mimic the secular culture going on around us. A culture that relegates to two events during the “Winter Holidays”, Thanksgiving Day, focused on overeating and football on T.V. and the one day of December 24/25th with a focus on material stuff exchange. Oh there might be a slight religious expression given to thanksgiving and Christmas spirit, family gatherings and sharing memories, but that is about all a secular culture can offer.


I remember many years ago, I wanted to spend Advent and Christmas locked away in a quiet monastery somewhere hidden in the hills. Then I realized that God sent His Son into the very cacophony of the world that is our secular culture. So I decided to make the most of our own holi holy Days.


Our “HolyDays” span two months, from the four weeks of Advent, to the Christmas Octave, to the Season of Epiphany to the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple on February 2nd. Plus a string of holy days as well. Following the Advent Season we have Christmas tide, Epiphany of the Lord, and the conclusion of the Christmas Season (not on December 26th) on February second.


As we anticipate Christmas, we first must prepare ourselves to be open to what God wants to do in our own lives. This year, Cycle B - from Mark’s Gospel, Advent is the shortest Season because the Fourth Week is only a few hours long instead of a week. No matter, we still celebrate four Sundays of Advent.


Each of the four weeks have their own violet candle, representing a period of time (centuries) that God prepared for the Birth of His Son, Jesus, except the third week which is rose color called Gaudete Sunday. I am using a book by Fr. Mark Toups called “Rejoice!, An Advent Pilgrimage into the Heart of Scripture.” from Ascension Press. (YEAR B). His reflections for each week as well as each day of the week. The first week centers on the HEAR, the second week: SPEAK; the third: HEAL; and the fourth: ENTER IN. This year we are following Mary and Joseph on their Advent Journey.


Always during Advent we celebrate several very import feast days, December 6th St Nicholas Day (the authentic St Nick not the imposter); December 8th the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (a Holy Day of Opportunity read obligation); December 12th the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Also our Jewish brothers and sisters will celebrate the eight days of Hanukkah from December 8-15th.


The Christmas Season then begins on Christmas Eve, December 24 and continues for the twelve days until The Feast of Epiphany. Within those days we celebrate January First, The Feast of the Mary’s Motherhood of God and the Day Dedicated for Prayer for Peace as the new calendar years begins.


Epiphany runs to the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus and then to the Presentation (40 days) from His birth, on February 2nd.


What a blessing we have in celebrating not just a few days, but several seasons during these Winter Holidays. It’s even better than something Hallmark Christmas movies can produce.


The real blessing is that we don’t have to do much in preparation but to open our hearts and our lives and surrender to what the Lord wants to do for us. I do hope you can share some of my thoughts with others and witness our faith life in the true meaning of what Christmas is really all about…God’s tremendous love for you and me.


Enjoy! And Happy Holy Days!

Fr Jim Brown


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Our Lay Directors

Ark Lay Director’s Article


Friends, We pray that you all had a blessed Thanksgiving Day with family and/or friends. Sharing what God has given to you. We are so blessed to have you as friends and family in this Cursillo Movement. It is such a joy to be able to come together and share on the weekends or Saturday at Holy Hour & Serenade, Closings, Focus days, Reunion Ultreya, School of Leaders, Picnic, Grouping or….whenever we can get together. I echo what St Paul said, “I continually give thanks to God for you...”. So many times I see you, yes you, step up and do what is needed! God sees you too! May He shower you with many abundant blessings! It takes many to keep this movement going. With so many wonderful ideas and thoughts. I see God continuing to bless us as we continue to strive to follow Him. We work so good together bringing in new people, new friends to meet our friend Jesus. Let’s continue that path and strive to bring many more to Christ. Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ.


And then we turn the corner and Advent and Christmas are here! Time seems to fly by. And what a precious gift God has given us; Jesus! O come O come Emanuel! Let us ready our hearts and souls this Advent by doing what God calls each of us individually and as a family to do; listen to His calling. Then following what He asks of us. May each one of us step out of our comfort zones and step to the beat of Christ’s drum. Let us really listen to Him and try to hear what He asks of us. The world can be so noisy! Take time to quiet ourselves daily, whether in a chapel or a space at home, and listen to the still quiet whisper of God. You won’t be sorry. Come Lord Jesus Come!! Fill our hearts with your love to overflowing that we may bring more souls to you! May it be with living our daily lives that others will see our love for You. May we be a light for others to see, dispelling the darkness of the world we live in and bring Joy to the World. Hark the Herald Angels Sing Glory to the New Born King!!!

Yours in Christ

John Lyons Kathy Otermat


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Our Spiritual Advisor


We begin a great month of celebrating the Lord’s gifts to us and sharing our faith to grow ourselves better and help our families and friends and workmates also grow themselves. We start with the celebration of All Saints and can share the precious stories of our favorite saints like our first name and Confirmation choice and the happenings and occasions in our lives that have brought a saint or several into our ways of life.


I may have shared this before, but I love sharing the story of my connection with St. Anthony the Patron of lost articles. I’ve needed him quite a few times in my life and learned the value of the friendship with him from my dad with whom I worked a lot in the summers of my youth. My dad was a marble contractor – installing marble sills for windows, and hearths and mantels for fireplaces in homes AND altars and communion rails in quite a few churches around Toledo (including Michigan) and other places in Ohio. Dad shared with me that St. Anthony is a great help in finding things that get lost. The older I’m getting, the more I need to pray to St. Anthony, and it is absolutely amazing how often that prayer works! My sense is that it’s working 100% right now. I catch myself chuckling and smiling and thanking God for faith!!!


My first name is Edward, middle is John, and I chose Joseph as my Confirmation Saint because I had a brother born right after me whom my parents named Joseph and he died of leukemia while still very young. I wanted to honor him (and them) by choosing Joseph as my Confirmation name and I’m still very happy with that move because I see St. Joseph, spouse of Mary the Mother of Jesus as a tremendous helper to make “family” so important a part of our human condition designed by God to save the world…


This is pretty long already, and I’ve only mentioned two of my favorite saints. All Souls’ Day and Thanksgiving are important too – to remember those who have already died and are very hopefully in heaven as we pray for them (part of our LARGE family, right?); and the holiday of Thanksgiving celebrates the first coming together of pilgrims and native Americans in the New World in 1621. That’s a good sign of our ancestors praising God and forming a nation doing it! Faith is a bedrock to keep building on, eh?


Have a great November and share your stories…..!

Fr Skip (story behind this too)


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