In Our Prayers: Fr. James Mukalel, Priest Slain in India

Fr. James Mulakel
Born: June 13, 1950
Ordained: March 17, 1979
Died: July 29, 2009

Sometimes we forget how good we have it. Nope, make that most times. We may live in a country where political differences create heated discussions and divisions, where they have in fact invaded the unity of our Church, but for now, we remain fairly safe in our assumption that we shall not be slain for our faith. Not ours...for now.

In so many places throughout the world, that is simply not the case. A 2002 article at showed that 65%* of all Christian martyrs were made so in the 20th century according to a study presented by journalist Antonio Socci. The places identified with the highest threat were Molucca Islands of Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, East Timor, Cuba, the former Soviet republics, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries, Vietnam, China and others.

So today, we mourn the loss of this priest, beloved by his community, and pray for all those who continue to be persecuted for the sake of Christ. May they find their reward at the gates of Heaven.

Full story on

*Total number is estimated at 70 million. The 20th century saw some 45.5 million Christians slain for their faith.

Morning Prayer Reflection: Are we ever still enough to hear the voice of God?

"I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts. They shall be my people and I shall be their God." Jeremiah 31:33 (NAB)

"In the silence of the heart, God speaks." These are the wise words of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. The mystics in the Church throughout the years can tell of the sheer ecstasy achieved when that contemplative union with God is reached in stillness. Yet, for most of us, even if we can still our bodies long enough to sit and pray, our minds are near impossible to silence. Henri Nouwen writes of the challenge to work through the infinte soundtracks of our minds and hearts, plagued with worries and thoughts, to reach that place where only the voice of God remains. It is not achieved in a day, but through a persistent practice of prayer (say THAT 10 times quickly!) where we invite the Holy Spirit to take from us all the cares of the world and allow us into that sanctuary within us where Christ resides, to do nothing but be with Him and listen to that voice of God that resides within us.

Are we so desperate for God that we seek that kind of prayer? Do we allow ourselves to be still - mind, body and soul? It is a perfect time as the weekend approaches to take that challenge - be still with God.

WYD 2011 Logo Revealed

The new logo for WYD 2011 in Madrid has been revealed!
The logo designer, José Gil-Nogués, explained that the image symbolizes "youth of the whole world united to celebrate their faith together with the Pope, at the foot of the cross, and they form the crown of Our Lady of Almudena, patron of Madrid. "The crown, Gil-Nogués added, forms the "M" of Mary and of Madrid. And the cross, symbol of Christianity, presides over the event.

For the full story, check out the article at ZENIT:

Morning Prayer Reflection: Do we seek the will of Christ or our own?

In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the one who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. Ephesians 1:11-12 (NAB)

It was the horror of childhood - to be the last one standing as people were choosing teams. No one wanted to be that kid! Truth be told, I think even as adults we have some of that lasting anxiety. We want to be #1...or at least not the last. Here's the good news (and I mean Good News!) - Christ has chosen us. He has sacrficed his earthly life to open the gates of heaven...for us. How do we repay that sacrifice?
We are so bombarded with the idea that life should be exactly as we want it to be these days, that the thought of living it according to someone else's rules is shocking. The word "obedience" conjures up some medieval images, no? Yet, we have a Savior who has only our best at heart, what is truly for our best. Today's little Magnificat reflection before the morning Psalm says, "Obedience to God's designs in itself is an act of worship. Worship without obedience is hollow flattery. Yet both worship and obedience are less than Christian if they do not spring from the one root, love of God."
As we go about our daily business, do we pay attention to what God has instructed us to do, to BE? Or are we acting merely according to our own desires?

News Flash: Eternal Rest Grant Unto Them...

Our prayers go out to the family of Fr. Richard Repsys and his nephew and to Divine Providence Parish in Southfield. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. Amen.

Official release from the Archdiocese of Detroit
Issued: July 29, 2009
Contact: Ned McGrath, / (313) 237-5943

According to the Macomb County Sheriff, Father Ricardas Repsys (REP-shees), the 59-year-old administrator of Divine Providence Lithuanian Parish in Southfield, and his 13-year-old nephew, Toutvydays Skudas (TOUT-vee-dus SKOO-dus), both drowned while boating July 28 on Lake Saint Clair. The police report stated that Father was with his two nephews, who were visiting from Lithuania, and a fourth person. When Toutvydays encountered trouble swimming, Father dove into the water to help, but neither of them were able to make it back to the boat.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, leader of the Detroit area's 1.4 million Catholics, made the following comment regarding Father's death: "The sudden loss of Father Repsys is a great tragedy, as is the loss of his young nephew, Toutvydays Skudas. I certainly offer my sincerest condolences to and prayers for all of their family members and friends, as well as all of the people of Divine Providence Parish. I hope it is some comfort during this very difficult time that the last act of Father Repsys was a heroic one. And now we commend the victims and all who mourn their losses to the God of compassion and mercy."

Monsignor John P. Zenz, episcopal vicar for the northwest region of the Detroit Archdiocese and pastor of Holy Name Parish in Birmingham, added the following: "Father Repsys was a dedicated, compassionate and generous priest who loved the Lord and His people – those in his native land of Lithuania and those he was serving in America. Father Repsys had a huge heart and a firm faith and trust in the Lord. I remember him telling me stories of the risks and dangers and loneliness he endured during the early years of his priestly ministry while taking the train to minister to Lithuanians in Siberia; these were the darkest days of Communism. It is not surprising that Father Repsys would die literally trying to save a drowning person; he was truly Christ-like. I know the Lithuanian community and our Detroit presbyterate will miss him. He had truly made a home with us here in the Archdiocese of Detroit."

Information on Father Repsys and his service to the Catholic church: Father Repsys, 59, was born in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1950 and ordained a priest for the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary religious order in 1981. He later became a priest for the Archdiocese of Kaunas. At the request of his archbishop in Lithuania, Father Repsys came to the United States and began ministry to the Detroit area's Lithuanian Catholics. He has been serving as administrator of Divine Providence Parish in Southfield since April 2004. He was granted permanent legal residency in the United States in March of 2008.

One Step at a Time

Someone just sent me an article on a six-week journey taken by four young men preparing to take their lifelong vows as Franciscan friars (accompanied by two current friars). They answered the call Jesus gave his disciples long ago - take nothing with you, but depend on the kindness of those you meet. Their story is fascinating - read the whole story from the Washington Post!

Morning Prayer Reflection: Is our life lived in love?

Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God. We have come to know and believe in the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love, remains in God and God in him. 1 John 4:15-16

Today is the memorial of St. Martha. You remember her - she did all the work while her sister lounged at the feet of the Lord, and she was none too happy about it! Yet, it was her sister who the Lord said had made the better choice. I've always wondered about that, being a bit of a Martha myself. Here she was, breaking her back working to serve the Lord, but it was Mary who got the praise - how could that be fair? In today's Psalm reflection in the Magnificat, I finally got an answer that made sense. It wasn't that Jesus was displeased that Martha was working to prepare everything. Rather, it was that in the details of the work, Martha had let her love be lost.

Jesus doesn't call all of us to just sit at his feet, though some he does. In our work, as in the rest of our lives, we are called by the Lord to remain in love, especially in service of Him.

Are we so lost in the "what" that we forget the heart of the "why," which is Love himself?

Morning Prayer Reflection: Do our words bless or curse?

I will give you glory, O God my King, I will bless your name forever...
Let me speak the praise of the Lord, let all mankind bless his holy name.

Psalm 145:1, 21

It's a daily struggle to live out the lesson learned in kindergarten - if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. We didn't know then that it was more than a rule for childhood. This is direct instruction from our Lord. On numerous occassions we are encouraged to build each other up, but more than that, to first give praise and glory to God in all things. Yet, I know I can go through an entire day and not realize the praise I owe Him, or the glory of His works throughout my day. What's worse, I can go through longer periods of time not realizing that when my words and actions do nothing to build up those around me, when we gossip and mock, that we inflict that onto our Lord.

At the end of the day, have your words been those of blessing today, given praise and glory to God? If you struggle with this, you may consider starting a 'blessings journal' to help you. At the end of the day, reflect on where God was present and how your were blessed. Even on your worst day, pray that just one blessing might be revealed. In time, see how God changes your heart.

Be blessed!!

Future Sisters of America!

Each one of you too is confronted by the challenge of giving full meaning to your life, the one life you are given to live. You are young and you want to live. But you must live fully and with a purpose. You must live for God, you must live for others. And no one can live this life for you. The future is yours, but the future is above all a call and a challenge to "keep" your life by giving it up, by "losing" it-as the Gospel has reminded us-by sharing it through loving service of others. You are called to be witnesses of the paradox that Christ proposes. "He who loves his life loses it, he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (Jn 12:25). And the measure of your success will be the measure of your generosity.

If one wishes to change the world, it is necessary first of all to change man's heart.

The experience of a vocation is unique and indescribable, and is only perceived as a gentle breeze of the clarifying touch of grace. The vocation is a breathing of the Holy Spirit, who, at the same time as he genuinely shapes our fragile human reality, shines a new light into our hearts. He instills an extraordinary power that merges our existence into the divine enterprise.
- Pope John Paul II

Our prayers go out to those young women (and men) who have answered God's call to enter the priesthood or a religious vocation. Here are four young women from the Oakland County area who will be entering a variety of orders in the coming month.

Morning Prayer Reflection: Why, and what, do we try to hide from God?

If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night," even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139:11-12

It began in the garden. Hiding ourselves from God, or parts of ourselves that we aren't sure are quite ready for Him. I should say, pretending to hide ourselves, since there is no hiding from God. I don't mean that in the fear provoking "God sees what you're doing!" sense. Rather it's meant to invoke laughter at our own silliness in thinking we can ever hide anything from the Almighty. Sure, we all have things we would rather God not see, either because we're embarrassed, or we'd rather just do our own thing, but in the end, well, He does. And we should take comfort in knowing that He didn't wait for us to be perfect to offer us redemption through Jesus Christ (cf. Rom 5:8). God's not waiting for us to be perfect - He's just waiting on our love.

So...why (and what) do you hide? Lay it before the Lord today and see how his light transforms it...

Mass Prep: We, though many, are one body, through one bread.

Because the loaf of bread is one we though many are one body for we all partake of one loaf. 1 Corinthians 10:17

The central image for the Mass this weekend is that of bread. A simple image in secular terms, yet those going hungry know the life-giving value of such a simple object. Jesus came as the Bread of Life, to give us life in a way we had never known since Eden. As you reflect on the readings for Sunday, let your heart illuminate the Word with that knowledge. Jesus is the Bread of Life. As you take in the Eucharist and carry Christ within you, invite the Holy Spirit to reveal the depth of that action. Through that one bread, we are one body. How do we live that out? How can we overcome obstacles (both personal and beyond) that keep us from living that out with the charity of Christ?

It's a lot to ponder. Come Holy Spirit!

Question of the Day: Are we an imitation of Christ?

Question of the Day: Jesus is compassionate, faithful, loving and has freed us to be joyful. Are we all those things?

I know in my own life, I'd like to think I am many of those things, but I routinely forget amdist the trials of the day. We are free from our tribulations if we turn our lives over to Jesus - Christ has freed us to be joyful. That doesn't mean we won't have our struggles, but in joy, we know the promises he's made, and that the end will be glorious - now that's something to give thanks and praise for, isn't it?

How about you? What saps your joy?

Question of the Day: What occupies your mind?

If there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phillippians 4:8

Truth be told, God pops into my mind periodically through the day, but how often I purposefully dedicate my thoughts to Him...well, that's another story altogether. It's plenty easy to get distracted, and that's the honest truth from my end!

What occupies your mind? Leave the honest truth here - you can be anonymous if you like... :)

A Place for Your Thoughts!

It's occurred to me that Genesis Ministries sure does disseminate a lot of information. What we don't do as often is find out what is going on in your lives. Well, no more!

This space is for you. Sure, we'll pipe in with questions and thoughts for reflection pretty regularly, but it's really a place for you to respond, to share, to inspire ... or to vent, if that's where life has led you at the moment.

Got questions about the Catholic faith? Ask us!
Have prayers you want to share? Post them!
Inspired by a brilliant thought or picture? Share them!
(you can email photos to, subject "blog photo")

This is for you, with a little nudge from us.

Hope to "see" you here soon!!

Peace and blessings in Christ,