Seek the Sacred this summer

By Linda Andrade Rodrigues, Anchor Correspondent

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Grow and deepen your faith by going on pilgrimage in the Diocese of Fall River this summer.

Worship in our spectacular churches

Be awed and humbled by the grandeur of St. Anne’s Church and Shrine, 818 Middle Street, Fall River. One of the most striking features of the Romanesque architecture is its gallery of large statues that line the interior. Gaze at the statues above and around the sanctuary that portray Christ’s 12 Apostles, along with St. Paul, St. Augustine of Hippo, and St. Joachim, the husband of St. Anne. Smaller statues of angels overlook the saints.

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A peaceful place for pilgrims to reconcile with God through prayer, the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, 947 Park Street, Attleboro, offers daily Mass and retreats. Walk the beautiful grounds, which include the shrine church, retreat center, Chapel of Light, welcome center and monastery.

The sanctuary of St. Anthony of Padua Church, 1359 Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford, is a masterpiece of architecture. Eighteen-feet-high angels top each of the pillars, and 5,000 lights cast an ethereal glow. Join the countless faithful who have felt the Divine Presence in this holy place.

Thirty miles out to sea on the island of Nantucket is St. Mary-Our Lady of the Isle Church, 3 Federal Street. The simple beauty of the sanctuary with its lovely stained glass window of the Blessed Mother draws faithful from all over the world.

Delve into wisdom writings

Spend a Sacred hour reading on a quiet beach or in your own backyard.

Pope Francis is the first pontiff from the Jesuit order, and his manner of plain speaking, modest lifestyle and emphasis on education are all informed by the Jesuit experience. To learn more about the Society of Jesus, read “The Jesuit Guide To Almost Everything — A Spirituality of Real Life” by Father James Martin, S.J.

“We all feel that restlessness, the nagging feeling that there must be something more to life than our day-to-day existence,” said Father Martin. “The longing is a sign of the longing of the human heart for God. It is one of the most profound ways that God has of calling us. In the echoes of our restlessness, we hear God’s voice.”

Catholic author Matthew Kelly offers his thoughts on how to lead a life filled with passion and purpose in “The Rhythm of Life.” 

“Simplify your life and you will find the inner peace that the poets and saints of every age have coveted more than any possession,” Kelly said.

A devout Catholic, J.R.R. Tolkien shared his faith and worldview in his fantasy stories “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” In “The Christian World of The Hobbit,” author Devin Brown examines the Christian dimension of Tolkien’s first book.

“Tolkien’s Christian understanding of the nature of the world was fundamental to his thinking and to his major fiction,” said Tolkien biographer Charles Mosley. “Neither propaganda nor allegory, at its root lies the Christian model of a world loved into being by a Creator, whose creatures have the free will to turn away from the harmony of that love to seek their own will and desires, rather than seeking to give themselves in love to others.”

Come let us adore Him 

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was once asked, “What will convert America and save the world?” “My answer is prayer,” the saint said. “Come before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in the holy hours of prayer.”

Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration takes place 24 hours a day, seven days a week in East Sandwich at Corpus Christi Parish Perpetual Eucharistic Chapel, 324 Quaker Meeting House Road; in New Bedford at Our Lady’s Chapel, 600 Pleasant Street; in Seekonk at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, 984 Taunton Avenue; and in West Harwich at Our Lady of Life Perpetual Adoration Chapel at Holy Trinity Parish, 246 Main Street. 

Twenty-eight parishes across the diocese also offer Eucharistic Adoration.

Observe our Marian feasts 

Marian piety is part of the roots of the Church, according to Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister in “The Liturgical Year — The Spriraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life.” 

“It is not only part of the most ancient devotions in the Church; it has a continuing and present power,” she said.

This summer we will venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16; at the Dedication of St. Mary Major, August 5; on the Solemnity of the Assumption, August 15; at the Queenship of Mary, August 22; and on the feast of the Birth of Mary, September 8. 

Pray the Rosary

Participate in the fifth annual Global Rosary Relay for Priests on June 27, by praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary at the Father Peyton Center, 518 Washington Street, North Easton, beginning at 11:15 a.m. In support of priests worldwide, Holy Cross Family Ministries will join 84 shrines in 46 countries around the world in the 24-hour period to pray the Rosary. 

Go on retreat

La Salette Retreat and Conference Center will host Preached and Silent Retreats from July 11 through July 17. 

The Preached Retreat will provide time and space for the participants as they walk silently with the Lord. The theme is assimilating reconciliation — becoming one with self, with others, and most especially with our God of love. There also will be a focus on the message of Our Lady of La Salette. Presentations, prayer, personal reflection and daily Eucharist will be part of each day’s schedule.

The six-day Silent Retreat is open to adults choosing to meet daily with a director for the purpose of sharing God’s movement experienced in life and prayer. Participants spend each day in a personally designed schedule of personal prayer and reflection focused primarily on Scripture.

On August 1-3, Holy Cross Family Ministries is also offering a Weekend Retreat for Families: “Pray, Play and Spend Time Together,” a weekend to totally dedicate time with the family and with God. Enjoy a candle-light procession, beautiful Liturgies, enriching presentations on prayer, fun recreational activities and more. Housing and meals are provided. For more info on the Notre Dame Summer Retreat visit www.FamilyRosary.org/Events or call 800-299-7729.

Take time for reflection

Father Matt Malone, S.J., editor-in-chief of “America” magazine, will discuss “The First Year of Pope Francis,” kicking off the Summer Catholic Reflections Series at Christ the King Parish, The Commons, Mashpee, on June 26 at 7 p.m. The 2014 series is also sponsored by Our Lady of Victory Parish in Centerville, Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Osterville and St. Patrick’s Parish in Falmouth. 

© 2017 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing  †  Fall River, Massachusetts