Thursday, January 10, 2008

Poem: "The Gifts of the King's Children Three"

A poem, this, I offer
From the several gifts in my coffer,
With thanks for cookies sent to me
By the Williams children three.

Created and signed, these, cards of greeting
That their sentiments with me might find happy meeting;
And to celebrate the Lord's birth and joy to others bring,
Baked they cookies to mark the birth-feast of the King.

They rolled, cut and decorated with care
And, in a package to Iraq through the air,
These cookies mailed with prayers and glee
To all the folks deployed with Father "C".

Away the sweets went, o'er sea and land they flew,
A sign of love hidden away until revealed anew,
When into the receipt of Father "C" they were given,
A reminder of the care for all in Heaven.

After Mass these delights were shared with the many
Of those who praised the Lord on Epiphany Sunday.
Yet again, the next morn, Father enjoyed them with his latte coffee
And gave one as a gift to a Baghdad Iraqi.

Finally, when none more of these treats remained but a few,
One was conferred, aloft, upon a member of the Osprey crew.

And, too, a Marine would thank these Williams children three
For their Christmas cookies sent far by air, land and sea.

And for sending these signs, from America, of love-
Give we thanks and remember you in our prayers to God above
-- ((((..))))

"Lord, Every Nation on Earth Will Adore You"

Francis Twindomugisha and Johnathan Waigumbulizi of Uganda (above left), Silmi Mod of Sri Lanka (left), Specialist Colon at COP Akashat (below left), and John Bosko Byamukama of Kampala, Uganda, are some of the many voices and hearts raised in worship of the Lord throughout His Mystical Body, the one Church on earth.

"Every tongue should acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2: 11). The Lord's will that His Church be truly catholic, or universal, impels the priest to reach out to everyone and, first, to fellow members of the household of believers. No one is excluded from the service of the Church through which Christ desires to embrace the whole world in love, for He wills "that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth." The Church from the day of Pentecost has been called to serve men and women "from every nation under heaven" (cf. Acts 2: 5)

Ugandans serve as security personnel on bases throughout west Anbar and fulfill these words of Scripture. Sri Lankans, Indians, Filippinos and others work in roles of service in food, cleanliness, physical plant and transportation and also share in the Faith. They come some of the many nations on earth whose people share today in the communio of the Church and are a sign that all nations are called to adore the Lord.

The prayers of the Church rise like incense before the Lord, in every tongue and tribe and people and nation, as the sacred liturgy is celebrated everywhere under the sun. Francis Twindomugisha will go forth as a "leaven in the world" to encourage his brothers and sisters in the Church from Uganda to "adore the Lord" in the proclamation of the Word and prayer in common on the Lord's Day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

"Remain in My love" at Korean Village and COP Akashat

We remain in His love (John 15:9-17) as we keep His commandment to "Do this in memory of me" (1 Cor: 11:23-26) every time we celebrate the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Ugandan friends together with CDR Gilbert, HM3 Bondi who is preparing for first confession and holy Communion, LCDR Lettiere, Francis Twindomugisha of Uganda and Father Cusick.
Our military are often "like sheep without a shepherd" while deployed and can fall away from the habit of prayer without a priest among them. A convoy to COP Akashat yielded fruitful opportunity to fan into flames the gift of the Spirit among the flock already present there but unaware they were not alone. The priest serves as a "pontifex", or bridge builder, so that the members of Jesus' Mystical Body can recognize in each other, as they come together to pray the liturgy, fellow sheep of the Lord's one universal Flock, living stones of His Church.
Wherever we go, the Church awaits us - is sent ahead of us and accompanies us- as a gift from the Lord. He provides for us, keeping His promise: "I will be with you always." We come into deeper communion with Him as we persevere together in living the way of the Church.

Friday, January 4, 2008

"Behold the Lamb of God" at Al Qa'im

Upon the Cross, where the Son gives everything for us, we behold Him as John invites us, the "Lamb" of sacrifice for our sins.

We behold the Lamb, truly meeting Him in every holy Mass where He gives Himself anew. New friendships are discovered as we are brought into a unity through our ancient Faith. LCDR Beasley played guitar, Lcpl Garza, Joseph Abboud, Russ Tate, SSgt Gomes, Capt Gerdes, LCDR McGinnis, Catholic lay leader Vince Heningberg, "Ricky".

As Lcpl Garza says, "Jesus has my back." The crucified One goes on every convoy, His image affixed to this Marine's flack vest.

One evening while chatting with Vince I saw the chapel door open very slightly and then close quickly. I stepped outside and invited "Ricky" (name withheld) to come in. He is Iraqi, Muslim and from Baghdad. He expressed an interest in learning about our Faith and so I invited him to pray with us the following evening at Mass.

While pacing slowly in the sunshine to pray the breviary, the next day, I stopped Joseph Abboud to chat and learned he is from Lebanon and a Maronite Christian. I invited him to join us for Mass also. While visiting elsewhere on the base and chatting with Sailors, Russ heard my voice and recognized me from Mayport, Florida, where he met me while serving as a lay leader aboard ship before 2006. He joined us as well. The Church is a gathering always of friends both old and new.

"Ricky" joined us for the liturgy and remained after for catechesis. As I handed on in English the message of the kerygma, or proclamation of Christ's Passion, Death and Resurrection, Joseph translated into Arabic for "Ricky" who listened with sincerity, patience and interest. We shared with "Ricky" that he must exercise his free will and choose for himself to walk through the door of Faith and thus enter the communio of Jesus in His Church. We assured him of our commitment in prayer and active help to accompany and support him on his path. Joseph will continue to provide instruction.

The "traditio", or handing on of the Faith, is taking place before our very eyes, and in our own voices, as each of us accept our vocation to be witnesses of the Lord in word and action.
Posted by MCITL at 9:47 AM

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