SISTER PATRICIA BRUNO
FATHER JUDE SICILIANO
"You are my companion and must walk with me. For if we hold together no earthly power can withstand us."
Sister Patricia has made it her life work through the grace of God to fashion inseparable connections between her work as a preacher, the beauty of God’s presence in the Word and Sacraments, and her expression of God’s love for all of creation through her work in Social Justice.
Sister Patricia shared what she learned from a protestant homilitician Fred Kravic. She cited the example of Rabbis teaching about Genesis who ask what was God doing before He created? He was keeping the silence.
Sister Patricia encourages preachers to enter the Word by first keeping the silence. Then when it is time to create… like the Words in Genesis – break the silence – and, “Let there be light.”
ACTION TO TAKE: Renew your commitment to make a space of silence.
How can you reinforce and strengthen your practices to make a space of silence?
How is the Holy Spirit leading you to adopt any new habits that will increase and enhance your experience of encountering God’s Word in silence and then creatively break it through your preaching?
Sister Patricia’s and Father Jude’s ministry has taken them all over the country leading parish missions and retreats. They use rituals outside of the scope of Mass to help people encounter the Trinity in a personal and communal way. These rituals use simple symbols like candles, crosses, or water. They look for symbols that align with the liturgical time of year, support the theme of their retreats and that relates to the scriptures being used in their retreats.
ACTIONS TO TAKE:
1. Select a time when you will be preaching at an event other than a mass. For example, it could be an RCIA rite that is not going to be done as part of a regular Sunday liturgy or maybe it’s a communal service of reconciliation.
2. Reflect on the scripture or prayers that will be a part of this event.
3. Identify a simple object that is related to the scriptures or prayers.
4. Imagine how you will use this symbol during the event. What will you ask people to do with it? Will there be something people do individually? Will there be something people do as a group?
For example, if you were leading a session on grief you might adopt a beautiful Jewish tradition of giving family members of the deceased a small strip of black cloth to wear that is ripped by the person before the funeral service. It signifies that often the pain of grief cannot been seen exteriorly by others.
Father Jude talks about the, “circle of preachers,” and the importance of laiety and women as preachers witnessing the Word of God. Sister Patricia and Father Jude are excellent role models of the power of preaching as team.
ACTION TO TAKE: Think about an upcoming mass and event. Commit to bringing the voices of one or more people to the reflection of the Word. Consider what you will you need to do to guide them to be successful?
Are you interested in more ideas of how to integrate Social Justice seamlessly into the Word and your preaching?
Consider taking a few minutes and review the rich set of resources offered to preachers by Father Jude on his website: htps://www.preacherexchange.com/