Fr. Suglia is a Parochial Vicar at the Parish of Saints Cyril and Methodius, located in Deer Park, New York in the Diocese of Rockville Centre drvc.org. One of his passions is the implementation of the "New Evangelization". He has several blogs, one of which specifically promotes Adult Catechisis and is entitled,
Friday, January 3, 2014
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Monday, April 25, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
You may remember that he made a video presentation for us in America to kick off his papal visit in April of 2008. Then on the plane ride here, he fielded questions and addressed the recent scandal in the Church with heartfelt sympathy. He then met with some of the victims themselves, showing all the pastors of the Church what we must do in order to forge reconciliation.
The thing that is also very inspirational about his pastoral way is his candor. He has done something unprecedented recently, granting a full length interview to a member of the German media, Peter Seewald. It is the subject of his most recent book, Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times . If nothing else then, this Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, is anything but shrouded in "secrecy" or guiding our Church from the lofty confines of an "ivory tower." Instead, he is as his motto suggests, "Just a humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord, a co-worker in the Truth."*
Click here to "peruse" at Amazon.com
He truly is a humble man who is actually very "shy". Peter Seewald commented to Catholic News Agency this about the Pope, "The first misunderstanding is the idea that Joseph Ratzinger is a Pope who is conservative, harsh, too strict, a man who likes power. None of these characteristics truly reflect the personality of him, a man who is one of the great minds of the Catholic Church." Click here for full interview (short)
*Benedict's papal (episcopal) motto is "Co-worker in the Truth." This is the same as his motto from the time he was first ordained Bishop in 1977. Among the first words he said as Pope, upon the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica after the conclave was, "I am just a humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord."
Monday, January 10, 2011
The first one was nerve wracking. Yesterday, not so much, it seemed much more natural. It was a wonderful opportunity to explain to all who attended, especially the immediate family of the importance of baptism. It is a true gift to bring these children to Christ, to mark them forever with his seal. It is a great joy to operate in this sacramental grace, in Holy Orders, and to be an instrument of salvation, according to God's will. I am forever blessed.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Permit me to suggest that we spend our meditation this morning on three images: two statues and a bell. Images can be important signs that point to something greater than us. And on this day, our Mother’s day, we cherish her profound presence among us as she guides us ultimately to Him the son and savior of mankind for all eternity.
We are so blessed to have such a remarkable raredos (rar-ra-dus) in this simple Chapel. In fact some might say that this chapel is starkly simple, save for the incredible centerpiece in the front of the sanctuary. One component of it is the statue of Mary, off to the side of her crucified son, pointing to him.
Down below our chapel stands a bell in an unlikely place. Just outside the Crypt Chapel, affixed to the iron grill is our Chapel Bell. But unlike most chapel bells, this one never tolls; in fact it does not even possess a clapper.
About 80 years ago the bell was received by Archbishop Molloy as a gift from Europe. It had been the bell of a cloistered monastery in Spain. Although it never reached its intended place on our roof to toll chimes and call the house to prayer, it brought with it the inscription, “Behold the Virgin Immaculate”. Never to be rung on our shores, but possessing the words which ring out in our hearts on this day. These words that were forged on the bell hundreds of years before Pius the 9ths infallible decree in 1854 stating Mary as the Immaculate Virgin, preserved from original sin.
Finally, our third image, above us, standing silently is a “black Madonna”. Rising in our rafters we see a small statuette of our lady that is hardly noticed but looks over us as we enter and leave the chapel. She reminds us that we are never alone here, even though we may come in solitude.
Why can these images of silence be so profound? Why is Mary Immaculate also Our Lady of Silence?
For an answer, we turn to the mystic Catherine Dougherty, for some spiritual insight.
Wrapped in Silence
“Just think about that strange, incredible, unbelievable faith of a young girl. At fourteen years old she became the Mother of God and the Mother of men. She knew full well that people would not understand that she had conceived by the Holy Spirit. For a long time after her marriage to Joseph she must have been the talk of the town. In those days the women used to wash their linens in ponds. When she brought her linen I'm sure people began to whisper about her. I can just see those gossipy women. But Our Lady never said anything. She was the woman wrapped in silence.”
You see Catherine is saying that Mary doesn’t want to speak, or need to speak. She knows that the “stage” is for Our Lord. She could never do anything beyond her incredible fiat but silently point us to him. What a remarkable witness to her incredible and perfect grace received not at the Annunciation, but instead at her flawless conception.
But what she does instead is point us, silently to him. She asks us to fall silently into her arms, so she may take us to him. She embraces us, and in fact lifts us up as any loving Mother would do and brings us directly to him.
In just a few hours my friends these images will, of course, remain silent. At least, as liturgy coordinator, I hope so. Don’t need nor want any surprises!
But there will also be a profound silence among our five brothers as they first move from standing to bending, then kneeling and finally lying prostrate on this very chapel floor. At that moment they will lie silent as we invoke the Litany of Saints. And as you, and I, and Bishops and priests, and family and friends pray over these men, we will also be joined, in silence.
For here heaven and earth will be joined with a cloud of witnesses; (names of Saints the Deac.Candidates choose), and Michael, Gabriel and Raphael along with the Servants of God Catherine and Fulton Sheen and John Paul II. But allow me to suggest the most profound silent witness will be Mary Immaculate, Queen Mother and chief intercessor, co-redemtrix and patroness of this very house and this very republic.
She watches silently but never without cause (direction) because she simply points to her Son and directs us to Him. He who is the way and the truth and the life. Jesus the Christ, the Son of God who today, especially for Alonzo and Henry and David and John and Nixon, calls you by name.
And one day soon my brothers it will be our turn too. But first, I hope, that we will come to her also. In silence, our protectress, so that she may do her work, and point us to him who frees us from death and allows us, especially, to be formed to Him so that we may act in His person.
I have called you by name, and you are mine, says the Prophet.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Monday, June 1, 2009
These are the lyrics to the new (June 1, 2009) U2 song “Moment of Surrender” with my comments in bold. I believe, and have read, that Paul Hewson (“Bono”) has undergone a profound conversion or reversion back to the Catholic Church. He is approaching his 50th birthday in less than a year. I would also say that he was formed in the faith as a young man through solid catechisis. His wife of 25 or 30 years is named Alison or “Ally”.
Moment Of Surrender lyrics
By Paul David Hewson (born 10 May 1960)
Commentary 2009 D.A. Suglia firstname.lastname@example.org
I tied myself with wire
To let the horses roam free (reference to heroin)
Playing with the fire (sinfulness)
Until the fire played with me (Satan’s temptation to surrender his own soul, and those who he can influence)
The stone was semi-precious (the engagement ring)
We were barely conscious (he and Ally, his wife were drunk on their wedding day)
Two souls too smart to be (self-righteous)
In the realm of certainty (at the altar of God)
Even on our wedding day (a Sacrament of J.Christ)
We set ourselves on fire (habitual sin)
Oh God, do not deny her (sorry for dragging wife into sin)
It’s not if I believe in love (God is Love)
If love believes in me (God’s Mercy)
Oh, believe in me (a repentant’s plea)
At the moment of surrender (to God’s will)
I folded to my knees (in supplication)
I did not notice the passers-by (was out of body in prayer)
And they did not notice me (the secular ignorance to the spiritual realm of prayer)
I’ve been in every black hole (places where sin abounds)
At the altar of the dark star (Satan’s “den”)
My body’s (vessel of the heart and soul) now a begging bowl (a humble and contrite heart)
That’s begging to get back, begging to get back
To my heart (where truth resides)
To the rhythm of my soul (where God’s natural law is imprinted)
To the rhythm of my unconsciousness (deep spiritual prayer)
To the rhythm that yearns (openness to God)
To be released from control (submission to the divine will and suppression of selfish will)
I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine (mindless action)
I could see in the reflection
A face staring back at me (his face reflected by ATM mirror)
At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility (vision- prolonged awareness, visibility- just plain sight)
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me
I was speeding on the subway
Through the stations of the cross (devotional prayer)
Every eye looking every other way (indifference)
Counting down ’til the train would stop (profound indifference)
At the moment of surrender
Of vision of over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Check out this clip of him with Ken Wilbur discussing "The Supreme Identity" of who is God, I Am Who Am.
Wayne's short explanation using stunning visuals is very much on the mark, so much that you will get chills!
More on Wayne, the Christian monk in a contemporary spirit of Bede Griffiths, where Eastern and Western asceticism intersect, to follow.............................
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Reflections from the great Catherine de Hueck Doherty's legacy, Madonna House Apostalate, still going strong 23 years after the "Servant of God's" death in 1985.
I had the privilege of joining the community, as hundreds of others do every summer, as a "working guest" from July 26 through August 6, 2008. As a veteran of many retreats (preached, private, silent, communal, singular and directed), there were many differences in this experience, the most obvious one being that you are welcomed as a "working guest". Hence, this was a very different retreat experience.
Retreat, yes, in that you are away from what you normally might be doing, and engaged in a prayerful, spiritually rich experience based on the spiritual insights of "Servant of God" Catherine Doherty. Her "Little Mandate" is loosely based on St. Francis of Assisi's doctrine of Christian brotherhood through radical poverty and, as she professed, was given to her by none other than our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Here it is, as follows:
This is the center of the Madonna House Apostolate and is lived out by its members through the Sobornost, or way to the heart. The "B", as she is fondly remembered and short for her unofficial title of Russian Baroness, liked to use Russian words from her Eastern Orthodox roots.
Arise — go! Sell all you possess. Give it directly, personally to the poor. Take up My cross (their cross) and follow Me, going to the poor, being poor, being one with them, one with Me.
Little — be always little! Be simple, poor, childlike.
Preach the Gospel with your life — without compromise! Listen to the Spirit. He will lead you.
Do little things exceedingly well for love of Me.
Love... love... love, never counting the cost.
Go into the marketplace and stay with Me. Pray, fast. Pray always, fast.
Be hidden. Be a light to your neighbour’s feet. Go without fear into the depth of men’s hearts. I shall be with you.
Pray always. I will be your rest.
Sobornost is simply the unity of heart and mind. As it has been said, the longest journey we "westerners" have to make in our life is the 12 inches from our head to our heart. Unfortunately, some or most, never successfully navigate this distance while in our mortal state. This may resonate with those of us who engage the "world" and our culture on a regular basis.
The people at Madonna House are simply fabulous and, to borrow an overused term during this election year, true mavericks. The Apostolate has yet to be defined or formally approved canonically because of the nature of its community: lay and clerical living side by side in community. However the Church hierarchy, the Roman Curia, has given implicit approval to this work. The only other widely popular community, that I know of, that is similarly constructed, but vastly different in nature is the Papal Prelature Opus Dei (www.opusdei.org). However, Opus Dei was canonically approved in 1982. It differs from the Madonna House Apostalate by its nature, only some members live in community; and all members interact with society freely, bringing God to whatever they do. Whereas at Madonna House the community's mission is to the larger community as a whole, usually the poor, as apostles to the poor.
Why is it so unique? Well primarily because you have lay men, lay women (the B's canonical status) and ordained Roman and Eastern Rite priests and deacons living in community together.
How can this work? First and foremost, everyone abides by the Evangelical Counsels of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. Everyone, including the "working guests" must sign off on these precepts (literally) voluntarily, that he/she will abide by this rule of life, while in the community.
Why does it work? Because it does. The B was asked if she thought Madonna House would still exist years after her death. Her answer-- IF it is God's will, that it will continue. If it is not, than no. An atitude, a personal disposition that any and all can learn from.
Specifically what is notable, is the unconditional love poured out among its members outwardly to all who they come in contact with. Love for the Church, love for the least of us, love for the community (avowed and guests) and love for simplicity in spirit (The Little Mandate). I couldn't help but feel washed over by this spirit among those I encountered while there. It was especially obvious among the avowed members (finally professed) of the community. And the "B" is very much spiritually present, this is undeniable (as many of the Saints in our great Church as participants in the Communion of Saints come to us in our daily lives).
Author Lorene Hanley Duquin wrote an official biography of Catherine, entitled They Called Her the Baroness. Ms. Duquin remarks there that when she arrived and Madonna House she expected a great deal of sexual tension, but instead found the opposite. I agree. I think it's because there is uninhibited self giving love without the opportunity for sinful companionship between the sexes that creates a emotionally safe, spiritually nourishing environment. It's a great lesson for us living celibacy and also for the advocates of abstinence.
What do you do while there? You work, pray and socialize communally. The men, women and priests live in seperate dorms at the sprawling campus located in the very rural Combermere, Ontario. While I was there I worked in an office environment doing clerical skills for a few days, on a farm for a few days (weeding the organic vegetable patches, tossing hay bails and harvesting garlic) and spent 1 day doing maintenance and preparing "Cana Colony" (a family retreat experience) for the arriving guests (5 or so families, a priest and lay member).
How is this a powerful witness to the Faith? It is, as Catherine said, living out the Gospel as life. You live prayer, instead of perhaps just saying prayers. The liturgies (Hours, Mass) are beautiful and although perfectly Roman, also have a Eastern dimension (hard to capture in words, you must witness).
Finally, I would reccomend Madonna House to anyone: the summer traveler, the vocational discerner, the aspiring sabbatical searcher and just about everyone else. If you beleive that St. Benedict was on to something with his rule of work and pray, pray and work, then you will find Madonna House as a great contemporary example of living the Gospel in this simple way.
Dennis Anthony Suglia
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
My Day with the Holy Father
by Seminarian Dennis Anthony Suglia
As I recall the events of this Saturday April 20 at St. Joseph's Seminary in Dunwoodie, NY, one moment stands out among the rest. I recall seeing the pope-mobile, descending down upon the stage, at the outskirts of the lower field. Among the throng of the gathered assembly, tens of thousands strong, was this 81 year old man riding in the back of a supped up golf cart. But he was no ordinary man; he is the Vicar of Christ on earth.
And the thought crossed my mind……..no other person who walks on the face of the earth can do this to energize the masses. No one can ride in a vehicle, at nearly any venue in the world, and have tens of thousands cheering his arrival! But not because of who he is, but because of who he points us to: Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!
On April 19, 2008, along with 25,000 other of the youth, seminarians, priests, sisters and brothers of the Dioceses of metropolitan New York and across the United States and beyond, I attended the Papal youth rally at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. I came with my brother seminarians here in the Diocese of Rockville Centre who are studying for the priesthood at the Seminary of Immaculate Conception in
When we arrived at about , the grounds were nearly full. There was a festival area around the back of the Seminary complex that featured merchandize and refreshments. Down below the festival area was a massive stage, not unlike one you would encounter at a stadium concert. It featured a large performance area in the middle for the many acts that would entertain us before the expected arrival of Pope Benedict XVI at .
As seminarians, we were given special tickets that enabled us to congregate around the front section of the stage, a real bonus! I was able to gradually make my way to near the front of stage right, where, as on stage left, there was an extended wing so that the Holy Father could get close to the gathered faithful if he wished.
While waiting for the rally to begin, we were entertained by various musical acts, entertainers and local media personalities. These kept things moving very swiftly.
At sharp we could see the papal motorcade arrive at the front of the seminary on the two “jumbo-tron” monitors on the sides of the stage. The first event was held inside the chapel. There the Holy Father blessed several children suffering with severe disabilities and their caregivers. It was a moving service which provided a glimpse of what we might expect when we had our opportunity to be graced by his Holiness’ presence. Pope Benedict XVI showed a side of him that few have seen. He was deeply moved by the children and their afflictions. He slowly walked around the chapel, taking his time to greet, bless and embrace the children.
At sharp (he is German, you know) the pope-mobile picked up His Holiness in front of the chapel for the short ride to the lower field. The crowd, now 25,000 strong yelled and shouted with excitement as this remarkable man closed in on the stage. He circled the perimeter of the field in his vehicle, waving and blessing all he encountered.
Just a few minutes later, as the organist played a moving prelude the Holy Father appeared, emerging from the rear of stage left to the roaring of the assembled. We all waved our yellow or white hankies (the colors of the Catholic flag) and he held his wide arms in a welcoming gesture. Here is where the Holy Father improvised from the script.
The crowd was so raucous and excited to see and eventually hear from him that he could not sit down. Instead he came down the stage and moved out on the two wings of the stage getting up close and personal to the throng assembled. It was an incredible moment. To me (and I’m sure most others) the Holy Father expressed his love for us as he slowly moved along the outskirts of the stage, waving, smiling and resonating his joy.
Once he made it back to his magnificent throne specially made for the event, he was serenaded with song and presentations by representatives of the youth gathered at the assembly. Again he went off script, choosing to rise and embrace all of the youth who spoke or appeared on stage. It was a moving moment and many tears were shed as His Holiness genuine love for humanity, especially the young, beamed through.
About half way through the two-hour event, His Holiness gave a reflection. His talk focused on how the saints exemplify what it means to be Disciples of Christ. How Jesus Christ is the truth and should inspire us all to proclaim Him as the way, the truth and the light of salvation to all we encounter. He warned against false ideologies, including moral relativism and materialism. He especially exhorted the young people to pursue prayer and silent dialogue with the Lord. Pope Benedict assured us that with a disciplined life of prayer we could regularly enter into meaningful dialogue with our Lord Jesus Christ.
He made a strong statement about relativism. He defined it as “a false truth which alleges that everything has an indiscriminate value and claims to assure freedom and liberate conscience.” The Pope stated correctly that this flawed ideal instead can mislead us into despair and addiction. He proclaimed “truth is not an imposition, or a set of rules, instead it is the discovery of the One who never fails us; the One who we can always trust. The truth is a person: Jesus Christ.” At this moment, the great silence that fell upon the thousands gathered when His Holiness began to speak changed into an affirmative roar of applause and vocal affirmation!
After the Pope finished his remarks, we sang the Litany of the Saints, in tribute to the community in heaven the surrounds us in prayer. Soon the rally would be over.
Before imparting the Apostolic Blessing, the Pope had one more impulsive action in him. He again came down the ramps on either side of the stage to greet the crowds. This time he really paused and slowly moved around the wings to greet us. At this time I was able to look into his eyes for a good while. His smile resonated joy and his eyes expressed the love that is deep within his heart for all of us: the flock he shepherds. It was a moving moment that I will never forget.
Pope Benedict waved goodbye and blessed us from the throne. The pope-mobile took him back to the front of the seminary after he again circled the outskirts of the field. It was the completion of a memorable day of joyful hope and anticipation of a most excellent visit from the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, the successor of St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ on earth. Our Holy Father did not disappoint!
For more information, follow this link to video streams of all the Papal events:
Or for the text of his homilies and speeches:
Interview with Newsday, republished by AARP
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Yours in Christ,
Dennis Anthony Suglia