Wednesday, January 26, 2011

March for Life

A celebration of life:

Our preparation for the 2011 March of Life began early last year, the evening before the 2010 March of Life to be precise, after attending a Rally for Life at Holy Spirit Church. At the time, our children were attending a public school and we were beginning to see that they were under a tremendous pressure (peer) to behave and to adopt certain view points which is not very Christianlike from stories that they told after coming home from school. As concerned parents we would prayed for ways to provide them with as strong as a catholic formation as we could possibly can. God blessed us by providing opportunity for all of them to attend Catholic School this past year, but even that was no enough. Thru prayers, we see that attending Catholic School was not enough, but we have to do more. Surrounding our children with God's words and friends who come from family that share similar faith and church teaching was critical, it is a way to let our children know that it is okay to be different from other at school; that they are not alone with it comes to upholding the church teaching.

As the day for the 2011 march for life drew near, we were faced with many temptations. Temptation to not attend entirely due to the forecast weather. The temptation to keep the children in school and away from the rally because of the weather was not far behind. I brought both issues into my conversation with God. The toughest part for me was patiently waiting and allowing God to speak. God's answer came, not as a bolt of lightning, not as a loud voice over the loud speaker, but just gentle feeling of assurance and a gently invitation to trust. I feel a very gentle sense of assurance that things would be okay and just to push on with our plan to attend the March with the Children.

Attending Youth Rally Mass always bring me many consolations and this year was not an exception. Surrounded by youths, it brings me hope of a brighter future. Surround by many religious, especially the young ones, give me great hope for the church. Hearing many young people (some well known such as Maddy Curtis of American Idol fame) sharing their experiences about faith and about their love and respect for life, reaffirm my belief in the one true God. As far as our children, having them there was a great joy for me. Having them asking questions about various aspects of the rally, and of mass brought smiles to my face and soothe my spirit.

We were not alone yesterday. Besides the 30,000 screaming youths at the Verizon Center and the Station Armory, and an estimated crowd of 200,000 people marching, I knew that I have all of Donghanh CLC praying and accompanying us there. I knew the Pope was with us as well, thru the presence of the Papal Nuncio and the reading a Papal letter and blessing from His Holiness Pope Benedict XIV. I felt the bond with our community, I felt the prayer and the support from each individual of our community. I felt them all. I offered all to God and to our Blessed Mother as we prayed the rosary yesterday.

March for Life was definitely a life giving event for me. I cherished each and every face that I meet. I embraced each feeling and emotion that I experience. I thank God and offer them all to God.

God bless,

more pictures:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Spirit of Prayer - 1

An inescapable characteristic of the human spirit is its persistent restlessness, its insatiable searching: "You have made us for yourself alone, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you." Complete personal fulfillment can be attained only in consummate loving union with God in himself.

This restlessness initially manifests itself to our consciousness in an obscure pull towards something more in life something more than what actually is: something beyond the status quo. Upon deeper examination, however, we discover that this quest is not actually a desire for some-thing at all. It is rather the manifestation of a mysterious yearning for some-One, for Him Who Is. This "something more" which irresistibly draws us is ultimately the fullness of transformation in Christ: Our "innermost being is consumed with longing" for God (Jb 19:27).

Nemeck & Coombs

Monday, January 3, 2011

Koinonia - A transforming Grace

After accepting and registering to attend for Koinonia, I was still not sure what it was that I was signing up for. There were many voices that kept asking of why I should even go if I don't know what I will get out of it. Despite the unknown, despite all the negative voices around me, there was something stirred deep within me asking me to let go and trust. In the end, what remained was the desire to go and leave the rest to God. Having a supportive wife in this case was truly a God send.
The day finally arrived for me to head to the airport, I felt a anxious and happy as I looked forward to flying out to California. It was funny reflecting back, I was so afraid of missing my flight that I could hardly sleep that evening. I arrived at the airport early that morning and thinking forward to all the logistic planning that had to have happen for Koinonia to happen, I thank God and gave thanks to all those who are involved.
The flight was uneventful and I arrived at LAX without any problem. Upon arrival the logistic team lead by Peter took really good care of out of towners such as me. Do I expect anything less from donghanh hotel and hospitality team? Nah. Thank you Peter, anh Dung, anh Quang, Chau and Nhi and Phi and the list goes on and on.... you really made me feel at home and welcome.
Koinonia kicked off with Taize. Taize really provided me with an opportunity to quiet my soul and to prepare for what was to come. Koinonia process and program were new. The lack of specific program and specific schedule really challenge my view and experience of previous donghanh gathering. Having experience a little bit of the open space process, I was not as taken back as much as some of our younger friends. Having said that, when the booklet/program was distributed, I was a little surprise to find the book to be blanked, with just page heading. But at the end of the weekend, I really appreciated the fact that the booklet was blank. We were not mere spectators but were invited to actively contribute to the contents and graces for the weekend.
After 2 weeks, what remains with me was a sense of peace. Peace because I know now that I am not alone in many of my dream. A sense of peace to allow me time and space to bring everything into conversation, with God and with others. Trusting because I know that everyone in my circle of prayer, and of discernment has Christ as his/her center. Trusting because I know with God as a center, there is no personal agenda to advance, no personal gain to be had but only God’s desire for us and we God. Many of the dreams that were shared still dances around in my head with no answer.
The energy that I see among the Koinonians after the events is really transforming. There is Dong Hanh Village beginning to take shape. There is media hub as in viva Koinonia on facebook. The eagerness of the folks remaining behind wanting to know the transformation that is Koinonia. The continued pondering of many on how to bring the transformative energy/nature of Koinonia back to the cluster and to the local community. All these bring me tremendous consolation. Even though I too ponder of how to bring the spirit of Koinonia back to the community, I am completely at peace with letting God take the rein. It does not mean that I am passively waiting for God or other to do all the work, but I am open and trust in His timing and plan.
Viva Koinonia,