The PATHWAYS of PAUL Pilgrimage, Sept. 18-28, 2019 -- Information

 
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Healing and hope: Newtown's Catholic parish two years after shooting

By MARY REZAC

Newtown, Conn., Dec 14, 2014 / 05:22 am (CNA/EWTN News) - It was two years ago that Monsignor Robert Weiss rushed to the scene of the Sandy Hook elementary shooting, where nine of his littlest parishioners lost their lives, along with 11 of their schoolmates and six staff members.

And although the healing process is far from over, there have been some signs of hope and recovery at St. Rose of Lima parish in the tight-knit community in Newtown, Conn.

“The trauma is still certainly there, the awareness of the tragedy is certainly very present in our lives,” Msgr. Weiss told CNA. “For the families every day is December 14 so their friends, their neighbors, are very in tune with that.”

But the positive reaction of the victim’s families, Msgr. Weiss added, has set the tone for others’ responses.

“I think the fact that many of the victims’ families have established foundations and are doing really positive things has been a real blessing for the community, and a lot of us take our cues from those families,” he said. “To see many of them engaging in these really positive programs to benefit others has given us a real sense of purpose and hope.”

Some of the families have been involved in outreach across the country, others have created scholarships in honor of their children and one family is providing camps for children with autism, Msgr. Weiss said. The parish, too, has seen new growth from the tragedy.

“Several new ministries developed during that time, particularly for our men and for our women,” Msgr. Weiss said, “and a lot of the focus has been on dealing with stress, walking through life with a stronger purpose, and some of the psychological dimensions of this tragedy.”
Celeste Vodola, the child care coordinator for a new women’s ministry at the parish called Walking with Purpose, said the program was a way to reach out to people who might be trying to connect with their faith after the shooting.

“We were looking for something for people who might have returned to the church, even briefly following the events of December 14, that they would have something they could come to and feel spiritually safe sharing their knowledge or lack of knowledge about the faith in fellowship with other women,” Vodola told CNA.

The ministry is a national program which was just brought to Newtown in October, and already the parish is seeing women of all ages responding each week. Vodola said the advertisement for the program has been largely word-of-mouth.

“We have to find a way to reach out to individuals,” she said. “There are dozens of ways to reach out in the 21st century, and there’s always someone who slips through the cracks.”

Rodd Blessey, the high school youth minister with St. Rose of Lima parish, said he has seen an increase in numbers and in sincerity in those who attend youth programs at the Church.

“I see a yearning for Confession, an excitement about Mass and Adoration and about community,” he said. “They have a unique understanding that they are preparing for eternal life with their God and that He has a plan for them.”

His goal for helping his youth groups to heal, Blessey said, is to do what he’s always known is best for them – lead them into a deeper relationship with God.

“All I know is that our call in life is to lead each other to Christ…to the only one who loves us unconditionally, the only one who can heal our hearts, the only one who can make good come from something so evil,” he said. “So we will continue to turn to the Sacraments for our strength, reach out to our neighbors and friends in kindness and witness to the good news that is our God.”

Different age groups had different reactions to the tragedy, Msgr. Weiss observed. At the high school level, many students had strong emotional reactions. There have even been a few who went away to college and decided to come back home to be closer to family.

At the seventh and eighth grade level, Msrg. Weiss noted, the kids are asking the tough questions about faith.

“We’ve seen the questions like, ‘Why does God allow things like this to happen?’” he observed. “Most recently we’ve had a lot of questions about heaven, hell, purgatory and death, from that age group. They’re preparing for the sacrament of confirmation, so they’re focusing a lot on faith questions.”

“There’s not that kind of ‘why do I have to be here’ attitude, there’s a real listening that’s going on,” he added. “People are just looking anywhere they can to find some peace and hope.”

On the day of the tragedy, Msgr. Weiss had the heartbreaking task of informing families that they had lost a child in the shooting. He’s been told it could take around 10 years for the community to really heal. He’s been asked multiple times if he’s considered transferring away from St. Rose of Lima, which has been home for him for 15 years now.

“It’s like a marriage, the good times and the bad, the sickness and the health. I’m committed to this community, so I don’t see a need for me to leave,” he said. “We had some (people leave), so it created a little bit of instability for people.”

“It’s not that I’m trying to be a hero or tough it out, I just think the stability is important, and as of right now I just think this is the place where God wants me to be.”

Msrg. Weiss says he and the whole community have been grateful for the support they’ve seen since the shooting.

“We’re still deeply impacted by it, so we’re still very appreciative for the prayers and the concern and support we’re receiving, it’s really helped.”

When asked what others can do to help, Vodola said the most important thing people can do is to strengthen their own communities.

“At the time of the event, so much (material support) came into our town that it was overwhelming, and we’re grateful for it,” she said, “but since then, people need to reach out to their own community, instead of saying we’re going to send these things to these people in need who are far away.”

“It doesn’t matter how well put together you look on the outside, everyone has struggles, so it’s really important that people are reaching out to those who are right around them,” she said. “That’s how people can most help make our world a closer community.”

 

Past Issues

Dec. 9, 2018

Nov. 25, 2018

Nov. 11, 2018

Oct. 28, 2018

Oct. 14, 2018

Sept. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2018 Golf Classic; student athletes; physically challenged; Leonard Stegman; Lesson in forgiveness; Sending us on a mission

Sept. 2, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Priest crisis; Scandal; Opioid addictions; Seeds of Suicide; Leightons; St. Anne; Vincke; seminarians; Dominican Sisters; Stewardship Conference; Dead Sea Scrolls; PSR programs; Roe V. Wade

 

August 12, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Prayer and Action; Totus Tuus; Janee Bernal; Diana Ramirez; Heidy Ramirez; Bishop Gilmore honored for 20 years ministry; suicide; contraception and abortion; Dead Sea Scrolls; Humanae Vitae; certification in youth ministry; Chuck Weber; Cathedral rectory chapel; Sister Viola Heichelbech; Adam Urban

July 15, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Immigration Protest/Rally; Faith and Light Fiesta; Seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls; Corpus Christi procession; Prayers for priests; Sisters turn 100; Michael Brungardt; Gerald Vincke; Massacre in San Salvador; Action for Alex 

 

June 3, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Parish Pray for Priestly Vocations; Appeal reaches $10 million; Gangs; Seminarians; Pam Willis; Why I like being a priest; Happy Father's Day; Patricia Lujan; Tyler and Rachel Bennett; Adoption Protection Act.

May 20, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation

May 6, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Archbishop Romero; Seeing, Touching, Tasting; Exhortation; Father Patrick Conroy; Happy Mother's Day; A child on your doorstep; Vibrant Ministries Grant; From the heart of a young father; Love Gives Life; Roman Holiday; Smartphone; retirement
Fossil Hunting

 

April 15, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; Angelica Village; Colorado woman; The art of anger; Cimarron Couple; Staats; Adoption; 

Father Ultan Murphy anniversary; Coughlan; Spiritual Advisor to Hoodlums; Woman of Courage; Oration contest; Darcy Feist  

 

April 1, 2018

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Defending Adoption; Led by the Spirit; Knights; ABC Pregnancy Center;
Memorial of Mary; Homeless; Relics; Down syndrome abortion; Chrism Mass

 

March 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Aleksandr Men; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; Uganda; School for deaf; Rannah Evetts; Oberle; Rachel and Doug Trombley; Oscar Romero; Paul VI; DACA

 

 

March 4, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Fasting for priestly vocations; Father Juan; Fasting and prayer;
Quest Weekend 2018; DACA; With God, anything is possible; Homelessness in our communities; Rhubarb, Kansas;
What's the point of fasting; Rite of Election; same-sex couples

 

Feb. 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; Rachel Doll; Ellinwood; Great Bend; Garden City; Ness City; Dodge City; Sister Rita Schwarzenberger; Nigeria; Bishop Hermes; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; World Day for Consecrated Life; 50th Anniversary St. Dominic School; What will life be like in 50 years?

 

 

Feb. 4, 2018

 

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: March for Life; Tracy and Ross Smith; Adoption; Vibrant Ministries; Faith and Light;
Pro-Life; Mortal sin to discard elderly; DACA; Abortion; Dreamers; Human Trafficking

 

Jan. 21, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Louise Korbe; Anne Frank; Miep Gies; Home Heat; Father Solanus

 

Jan. 7, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Good news and kingdom living; dreamers; Sister Teresa Orozco; Infant Adoption; Elderly; a moral conundrum; seminarian; feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

Dec. 17, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Celebrate Christmas 'unplugged'; Msgr. Matthew Smith; Klan; Catholic Charities Annual Appeal; Fr. Larry Rosebaugh; A Guadalupe Encounter; Laci and Joe Salazar; A Christmas Wish; Adoption; Confession; Advent; EWTN; Christmas Blues; Tilma; Pittsburgh; PSR

 

Dec. 3, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2017 NCYC; Wheel of Balance; Marita Rother; Stanley Rother; slavery; trafficking; Windthorst water damage; martyred priests; confession; reconciliation; How to go to confession; recipe for codfish cakes; Catholic schools; appeal

 

Nov. 19, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Saints; Father Kola; Black Elk; Giving Tuesday; velvet Elvis; a Slice of Time; Dani Sandoval; Mexican Village; Father Tim Hickey; New faces at chancery; priests share thoughts on confession; Wheel of Balance

 

Nov. 5, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Matrimony Anniversary Mass, 2017; Riebel; Faith and Light; Scripture Day; Sex in the Bible; Quilt, Mexican Village Story; Finance; Fatima pilgrimage; Fowler church window renovation; Medicare; Crazy Glue


Oct. 15, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Father Francis Jordan; Sister Renee Kirmer; Father Rother beatified; religious liberty; RCIA Kansas; V Encuentro; Bishop Weisenburger; Daughters of Isabella; Bishop Gerber Science Center


Oct. 1, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: De Colores; Rebein; Dreamer; Pies; Kellner; Code Quilts; Sister Crucita; Feezor; Formed.org; Sin and pain

 

 Sept. 17, 2017

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Sister Lucy Fidelis; Underground Railroad; Sister Irene Hartman; DACA; new priests; teachers; Volunteer of the Year; Golf Classic; St. Francis Xavier; St. Nicholas Parish Center, Kinsley; seminarians; Knights Lite; Stewardship Day 2017

Sept. 3, 2017

Aug. 13, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Coronado Cross; Masada; Moody Gardens; Elders; Rother; undocumented children; cages; year of mercy; Kumi; Hollywood makeup artist; New Mexico; refugee women.

July 16, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Summer camp; tithing and almsgiving; Bill Baalmann; Nathan Schaller; Jubilarian Sisters; Sister Hortencia Rodriguez; Sister Petrona Stockemer; Sister Denise Sevart; Convocation of Catholic Leaders; Mother talks about her son entering seminary; Arcoiris; Youth group travels to Colorado Springs; Major Phillip Roth

June 11, 2017 (Updated)

Ordination; Mark Brantley; Jacob Schneider; Father's Day; Thanks, Dad!; Appeal; Sister Mary Martin Weaver; Bishop Maralit; Budget; Trafficked women; Deacon Michael Brungardt; Dead Sea Scrolls; softball; Father Urban retirement; Sister Kravec retirement; Father Mazouch retirement; Authentic Joy; Pris Climate Accord; Jack Schramm; Pieta.

May 28, 2017 (Updated)

 

Grateful Hearts; MSFS Provincial; Reddy; Reif; Opossum; Dead Sea Scrolls; Our Lady of Fatima; Jorge Herrera, Jr.; Cursillo; Kough; First Communion; Confirmation

May 14, 2017

Esteban Hernandez; citizen; Lilly Ann Rein, Amberly Jimenez, Mother's Day; peacock; Quattrocchi; President Kennedy; Teen Moms; Junior High Youth Rally; Encounter With God's Call; granny/nanny; seniors' contributions; tornado anniversary; harvest; healthcare; Mr. Brown; Store-bought teeth; Louis and Zelie Martin; Father John Sullivan; Irish priest whose prayers could heal; Mexican beauty queen; Esmaralda Gonzalez; religious life

April 30, 2017

   KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; bully; TEC; Father Marvin Reif; Bet'sie; What makes a hero?; St. Mary of the Plains; tornado

Easter, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Honorable courtship; footsteps of migrants; CHRISM Mass 2017; honoring priests; Encuentro Cross blessed; Daughters of Isabella State Convention; Fatima pilgrim statue; Mary Sharon Moore interview; Senate advances pro-life measures; love must be at the core of family life; Father John Forkuoh's car story; Confirmations; Sisters of Concordia; CNN hero Father Khalil Jaar

March 26, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: From the heart; kidney; Rother; Friar Carmelo; Schnauzer; Lauren Seachris; Lauren's Treat; fire; Guatemala; immigration; Lenten Regulations 1888; Hot Cross Buns; budget; Trump; Forkuoh; Seiwert; South Sudan; hot ashes

March 12, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Refugees; immigrants; Gilbert Herrman; When you give alms'; Lent; Call to Continuing Conversion, Rite of Election; Charell and Jeremy Owings; adoption; Our Growing Church; Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia; water; creation; Sudan; Darlow Lampe

Feb 26, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Night to shine; Immigration; immigrants; Knights of Columbus; Pete Gomez; this foreign mission; Creole; Robin Doll; Eagle Scout; Quest

Feb 12, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; March for Life; Pro-life; Executive Order; Secular Franciscan Order; teachers; Down Syndrome; Eagle Scout; Bronze Pelican

Jan. 29, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Thank you, religious; SEEK 2017; homeless man to priest; Fourth Sunday; Secret Service to Sacred Heart; Dr. Gerard Brungardt; Martin Luther King; 110 year old nun; Toddler miracle; Letter from undocumented immigrant; health care; immigration

Jan. 15, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Mary helps us share; Tighe donates home to Birthright; Pro-life billboard; Theobald Hattrup; Helen and Steve Eck; Pearl Harbor; Reigning Grace

Dec. 18, 2017

KEYWORDS: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 2016; Pope Francis Christmas schedule; 2016 high school youth rally; Aerospace engineer; Father Stanley Rother; Radio station; Dying girl's letter; Scout nominations; 12 days of Christmas

Dec. 4, 2016

KEYWORDS: Vocations Day; Pope Advent advice; Ex-prostitute; Spearville mission; Pilgrims v. Zombies; Face of God; Mission bazaar; Ness City fall festival; Rural health care; Archbishop Gomez; Bishops congratulate Trump

Nov. 20, 2016

Nov. 6, 2016

Oct. 23, 2016

Oct. 9, 2016


Sept. 25, 2016


Sept. 11, 2016

 
Aug. 7, 2016

July 10, 2016

June 12, 2016

May 29, 2016

May 8, 2016


 April 24, 2016

 April 10, 2016

 March 27, 2016

March 13, 2016

Feb. 28, 2016

 

Feb. 14, 2016


Jan. 31 , 2016

Jan. 17, 2016

Dec. 20, 2015

Dec. 6, 2015

Nov. 15, 2015

Nov. 1, 2015

Oct. 18, 2015

Oct. 4, 2015

Sept. 20, 2015

Sept. 6, 2015

August 9, 2015

July 12, 2015

Jun 14, 2015

May 17, 2015

May 3, 2015

April 19, 2015

Easter, 2015

 

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