Happy Solemnity of the Annunciation. Today we celebrate the Word made Flesh! The two painting below are by the 15th C. Dominican artist Fra Angelico. The first is one of several Altarpieces he completed on the theme. It is in the Medieval collection of the Prado and I was blessed to contemplate its beauty during 2 different visits to Madrid in 2015. The other is a fresco inside a cell at the Convento di San Marco in Florence. I have also visited there on two occasions and been blessed to contemplate this beautiful painting.
The 2 pictures below are from the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. They are built on what is thought to be the ruins of the house of the Virgin Mary wherein she received the Messenger of God. The Latin on the altar translate "HERE (hic) the Word was made Flesh"
In the Calendar of the Roman Catholic Church, February 14th is the Memorial of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, the pair of brothers who took the Gospel to the peoples of Eastern Europe. You can learn more about the "Apostles to the Slavs" here.
During my three years in Antioch, California, I became acquainted with an organization called Pan de Vida Retreats. Because many of the teens from Holy Rosary Parish participated in Pan de Vida, I was called upon to hear confessions and/or celebrate Mass during the annual retreat at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Brentwood. I was impressed by the Pan de Vida program from the beginning. Aiming to help young people have a closer relationship with Jesus, the entire retreat takes place in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament sitting atop a wooden structure, alight with candles, styled "the burning bush." The creators of the Pan de Vida Retreat borrowed the format from the creators of the Youth 2000 Retreats with a desire to bring it to the young people of Northern California. Working primarily with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs), they built the retreat around a series of talks (given by priests and/or religious) intended to lead the young participants to a deeper understanding of their faith and an awareness of the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The model is simple - harness young energy and get them excited about the Church's teachings and liturgy.
Since I joined Western Dominican Preaching, I have been blessed to offer my services to Pan de Vida. Part of the success of the Retreat is the presence of a number of priests throughout the weekend to hear confessions. I have worked with the Franciscan Friars to split duty for teaching, preaching, and sacraments at retreats all over NorCal. In addition to the youth retreats, Pan de Vida also operates a marriage retreat called "Couples in Cana," following a similar format with the talks being focused on the theology of marriage. It has been enjoyable to participate in full weekends for both youth and couples.
Last weekend, more than 300 young people participated in Pan de Vida in Brentwood. Once again, it was a great blessing to work with a great Pan de Vida Team and 3 Franciscan Friars to provide a quality Retreat experience for those teens. You can learn more about Pan de Vida Retreats (including inquire about bringing it to your NorCal parish) here.
This is the Viacruces in a prayer garden behind Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Brentwood, CA. I don't have any info about the artist, but will update this post when I am able to get the info.
“Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!”
-St. Josrphine Bakhita
read more about St. Joseohine, "the Daughter of Darfur," here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephine_Bakhita?wprov=sfla1
I had the pleasure today of baptizing Crosby Roland Richards, the son of my dear friends Evan and Ashley Richards at Holy Spirit Church in Fremont.
January has been an odd "in-between" time. While I have had some ministry opportunities during weekends, I have not preached any missions or retreats. I have been working on a lot of administrative and preparation activities for things that are happening in the future - including getting this website up and running. I will be busy with retreats during February and my Lenten calendar is full of Missions all over Northern California (You can see my Calendar here). I also have been working on details for my upcoming pilgrimages and working on editing not 1, but 3 books that I hope to see published this year. So it has been a busy month, but I am ready to get back out on the road...
Between September 2018 and January 2019, I visited all 21 of the California Missions. In each, I spent a some time in prayer and then spent time taking pictures. As I develop my page of "Virtual Pilgrimages," the Missions will be my first subject. If you are not from California or are not aware of the Colonial Mission System, you can read more about them on Wikipedia. Here is a foretaste of what is to come...
The Joyful Friar
These are the everyday musings and reflections from the life of Father Bart Hutcherson, OP, a Catholic Priest and Dominican Friar from the Western United States. I toyed with the idea of using the title "Ordinary Time" for this blog, but was afraid that people might be looking for deep liturgical reflections under that title. Nothing so sublime here - just the day-to-day. My friend, Carrie Rehak, suggested the title "The Everyday Mysteries." I love it. it captures my understanding of the everyday. God makes himself known in the everyday. I hope he reveals himself in some of these reflections too.