Category Archives: Gospel Roads

Walking Gospel Roads

The homily at mass today was about continuing to walk the Gospel Roads in our lives and standing up for our beliefs.  If we aren’t practicing what we believe and facing resentment from others then why do we believe what we do?
When I was leaving to go to a Jesuit university everyone kept telling me how liberal the Jesuits are. After graduating from there and continuing to grow in my faith I’ve realized there are some aspects I love as well as aspects that didn’t help me as much.  After this week with the Salesians I’ve begun to really understand the differences in how things are done.  I love them both equally, but as a Salesian, everyone can be included and the community is more conservative which is nice while we are standing up for what we believe.
All that being said, I think it’s time for me to drop the pseudonym and take a step confidently in my faith by introducing myself to you all.
My name is Juli, I recently turned 24 and I am a conservative Catholic who just wants to work with youth and young adults and spread God’s Love.
God Bless and thank you to all my new Salesian friends,
*JuLi*

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Is there any way you could say no to this Man?

Today, unfortunately, was our last full day of service.  We went to a soup kitchen and served others and it was a great experience. When we came back we did these partner walks and answered discussion questions.  This was great because it allowed my partner and I to open up to each other and have an amazing conversation about our week and our lives. I was especially happy with who I ended up with because I had already had a conversation with the individual earlier in the week and I was able to open up and trust him.  We talked about God’s Will and discernment which are things I don’t really think about or talk about enough I suppose.
After mass we had a picnic and my two best friends came up (one of which surprised me) and another friend came as well! It was such a great way to have my last night and felt so perfect.
We had large group discussion and then I got to talk further with a friend about the power of the Holy Spirit when He speaks or acts through you and how sharing is about giving it up to what God wants and what others in the room potentially need.
The night (and day) was so successful and I really feel so close to everyone here and don’t want to leave but I know that we need to go forth and set the world on fire (except, the Salesian way? Am I allowed to do that?) in our own lives while still having our connections to lean on.
Jesus was present a whole lot this week and I really hope I’ve made that clear through my blogging and hopefully have touched some readers out there.  If my writing isn’t so profound, maybe my artwork is…

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God Bless, *JuLi*

True Friendship

I really can’t even begin to describe my experiences today.  It started out with toddlers and infants showing me God’s love in the ways of a child and just being all around amazing loving children.  After lunch we painted an apartment.  I was with two males from the group and we had such a good experience and true teamwork going on.  It was so calming and soothing for me to be painting (and singing) and getting to know the people I was working with.  After mass and dinner though, I had an emotional breakdown.
Lately I’ve been struggling to discern where God is calling me to and today things began to build up in me and I was able to talk to one person in particular and build on a connection that had already been forming over the week.  The person has been there for me to lean on and I was somehow able to open up today when I wasn’t sure I could.  Our friendship has now grown and I am so grateful for that individual for letting me fall a little bit and ALWAYS saying what I need to hear, whether it be in private, large group, etc.  I also opened up a bit to two other people that I trusted who joined us a little later.
We then distributed sandwiches to the homeless around Penn Station Newark which was an amazing experience as well.  We split into two groups and really feel like there was an impact made.  I was so touched that we were able to hopefully touch these people and large group sharing allowed me to open up and just spit out some inspiring things (all God working through me of course) that I can’t begin to remember now.  One thing I would like though, is for anyone who is willing, to offer up a Hail Mary for the homeless and hungry that they may be comforted and watched over by our Lord and mother Mary tonight and every night.
My picture today depicts the friends reaching out for me, acting as Christ and loving me truly for who I am.  We all have our struggles and this is for those who pick us up when we’re feeling down.

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God Bless,
*JuLi*

Fan the Flame

Today was a different day and I had an amazing time.  I say that like every day, I know, but that’s just how my week has been.  Today I spent the day cleaning walls and mopping a hallway which might not seem like the funnest of days, and trust me, it had its hardships, but I enjoyed the time I spent with my new friend there and the two of us had a conversation that made me realize something.  I always wish people I just met knew my background more so they would accept me as I am for who I am without judging certain choices I make or things I do.  This leads to me talking way too much and probably scaring them away anyway.  I started realizing (1) that I need to work on judging people before I know them (wow like the Gospel the other day!) and (2) that I have real issues being myself with people.  Number 2 (or should I say 2.0? Lol) is particularly challenging because I’ve tried to share myself with people a lot but it takes a lot for me to trust someone enough to see the me underneath everything else that I just say to cover up what is inside. Thinking about that made me go deeper to try and understand why that is so difficult for me and why I barely ever open myself up to others.  After talking to my friend, I realized that I am trying to protect myself from being hurt because the hurt that I’ve felt never really went away when I did open myself up and had my heart broken.  So for the rest of this trip I really need to rise above the barriers and let myself shine and remain open to other things that put me outside my comfort zone.
Later on in the day, during another task, I had a great conversation with another new friend where I was able to vent and really share my struggles and he likewise.  This also taught me a few things as far as judging others is concerned.  We never know what anyone has been through until they tell us so we need to look for the positives in everyone which I try to do, but probably not enough.  I lost patience a little bit today, so please say a Hail Mary for me to remain patient throughout the rest of this trip.  Don’t get me wrong, I love everyone here, but sometimes we really need to put God back into everything, a point my friend and I conversed about in my second conversation and then again later.  If we are about God, and serving in His Name, we need to respect Him and exemplify Him.
Tonight we also had a bonfire which brought to mind this oldie but goodie:
Light the fire…
…Light the fire
In my soul…
…In my weary soul
Fan the flames…
…Fan the flames
Make me whole…
…Make my spirit whole
Lord, you know…
…Lord, you know
Where I’ve been…
…Where I’ve been
So light the fire in my heart again

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God Bless, *JuLi*

Hail Mary…

Today was great. We visited New Community and stayed at the Adult Extended Care center to get to know some residents.  I was part of the group that went to the Alzheimer’s and Dementia floor and interacted with a woman who we will call “Ms. H”.  Ms. H went blind and was in the beginning stages of dementia.  She liked to talk though so I sat with her for quite a bit.  Some of what she said didn’t make much sense but we talked about animals and her family.  All the residents in the room were in wheel chairs though and if they stood up, it caused a buzzer to go off.  Well Ms. H stood up quite a few times and every time the workers would holler at her to sit down.  Well, about half way through my time with her, Ms. H leans over to me and said, “when I stand up they’re going to yell at me ‘H!’ ” and right after she said that she proceeded to stand up and the staff yelled “Ms. H! Sit down!” It was probably the highlight of my time there and made a bunch of my new friends laugh as well.  She is clearly functioning highly enough that she knew exactly what she was doing.
Anyway, when it got dark we did a candle light Rosary.  It wasn’t the walking Rosary that we did in the Students for Life group in undergrad where everyone got a candle and we prayed, it was different, but just as awesome.  The candles were layed out, sort of Search Agape at our sister school like, but in a Rosary instead of a cross and we lit them as we said the Rosary.  I absolutely love the Rosary and was looking forward to it since they told me about it the night before.  Although, I didn’t expect the candles, they made the experience so much more awesome.  That is why my picture tonight is Rosary themed.

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Hail Mary,
Full of grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women
And Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners
Now and at the hour of our death
Amen

God Bless, *JuLi*

Angels of the Streets

Today we volunteered at Covenant House which basically takes in homeless 18-21 year olds and helps them to learn to live independently by getting employment and saving their money, etc.  It was so amazing and they help so many people that it was truly inspiring.  Our project for the day (aside from making 106 bag lunches to be delivered to people on the streets) was to clean out a closet that is full of donated clothes that the young adults could wear for interviews and jobs.  The closet was a huge mess and we needed to not only sort through, organize, and hang/fold it, but also weed out the clothes that looked unprofessional and that we would never wear to an interview.  I don’t think I ever would have expected to use my experiences from both of my part time jobs in one task ever, but that was exactly how this felt.  Working in HR, I know what is and is not appropriate to wear on a job interview.  At the same time, my retail experience in women’s clothing gives me good background in folding, which I did a whole lot of today.  It was so awesome and even though we didn’t get to work directly with the youth, we maintained these closets and brought them to a level of cleanliness that they could potentially incur more dignity from rather than sifting through a pile of rumpled shirts.
My picture from today is an angel, sort of a guardian angel inspired by the workers of Covenant House and how they look after these young people and help them to get on and stay on the right path.  Also, Covenant House was started by a Catholic priest so it has a faith based mission and identity.

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God Bless, *JuLi*

Accepted

Today on Gospel Roads II was amazing.  Mass this morning was great and then we went to participate in a fundraiser for Wounded Warrior Project.  The fundraiser was an event where teams had to pull a tank that was on a tractor trailer a certain amount of feet in a small amount of time.  Only 20 people per team.  We got to do it twice.  (Pictures to come) Aside from it being a great cause, I think it was some really awesome team building as well.  We really came together and cheered each other on which was fun.  To tell you the truth though, it has really been a great group from the start with everyone greeting me with hugs and meeting such inviting people it’s been a wonderful two days already and I’m already not ever wanting to go home 🙂
Then we went to this AMAZING Basilica and there are really not enough words to describe that experience.  I had at least one awesome experience there where I felt a great connection.
At home we played whiffle ball for free time and then tonight was the cherry on top of the day.  We had Eucharistic Adoration and Confessions!  It was so freeing to be rid of all my sins so close to the beginning of this trip in order to allow myself to grow closer to God. It opened my eyes to what I should be doing and led me to my word of the day…accepted. I wanted to name it forgiveness, but after praying on it, accepted was much more appropriate.  Not only have I been accepted into this wonderful group of (confident) Catholic young adults, but Jesus has accepted me and accepted my apologies for my sins.
The drawing I did today, “Accepted”, is based on the experience of the Eucharistic Adoration as well as depicts Jesus reaching out from the cross for us.  Love you all!

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God Bless, *JuLi*

“Receive”

Today began Gospel Roads II and I am enjoying it so much so far.  I’ve met some awesome people and I am feeling that this is exactly the right place to be.  Earlier we were asked to reflect on a few questions and after journaling I opened my sketch book to draw since I was feeling a bit inspired.  I called the sketch “Receive” in anticipation of what God is sending down for us to receive from this Salesian service retreat this week. Hopefully I will have many more sketches to come from this week 🙂

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God Bless,
*JuLi*