Sunday, August 30, 2015

"Time to Say Goodbye" - and shameless self-promotion from Rae

Today's blog post, the first in months, is by guest blogger Sr. Margaret Joseph Obrovac, FSP. It marks a transition in her life and in mine. It is also both an act of self-promotion and a statement of intent to resume blogging on my part. This article is the last one Sr. Margaret Joseph will write as editor of the Pauline Laity blog. I am assuming her editorial duties starting now. I encourage you to put Association of Pauline Cooperators -- -- on your radar, your blog list and your subscriptions. Find out what the Pauline charism is all about. I look forward to resuming my lifelong passion for communicating through that most beautiful of human systems for conveying thought and emotion: language.

“Time To Say Goodbye”

When Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman sang this English rendition of his song, “Con te partirĂ²” almost twenty years ago, it topped the Billboard Classical Crossover chart for 35 solid week just in the United States, selling almost a million-and-a-half copies. That’s not why I remember it, though. In 2001, I had been studying Italian in Rome for only three months, when a group of American Daughters of St. Paul came on the first FSP pilgrimage in years. Before returning to the States, they sang this song to the community. I bawled.

Now I’m the one saying goodbye. Earlier this month I accepted a transfer to Rome to write and do editorial work in English. If all goes as planned I’ll leave at the end of September, not knowing when I’ll be back, but certain only that Jesus will be waiting for me…and for you…because “Con te partirĂ²”—I’m leaving with you. Or as Mother Thecla used to write, “I carry you in my heart.”

You may remember that a Pauline pilgrimage to Rome and Piedmont, Oct. 19-30, is in the works, spearheaded by Brian Reilly from Staten Island, a seasoned organizer of tours and pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Greece, Turkey, and Italy. I’ll be able to join up with the pilgrims as spiritual and cultural guide, together with another FSP from Rome, Sr. Maria Grazia Gabelli, who will accompany us to Piedmont in the foothills of the Alps. I can vouch that the other 13 of us in the group are in for a Spirit-filled experience with her in the land of our Founder and of other “Paulines of the first hour.” Peter and Paul await us all in Rome, while Sts. Francis and Clare promise to welcome us to Assisi on our way north.

The trip is still on in spite of the fewer than 20 originally required. That’s because Bove Travel, the agent in Brooklyn, is not taking any commission for the work involved, and accommodations for both Sr. Maria Grazia and the chaplain, Fr. Michael Goonan, SSP, are being sponsored by donors. Pray for them all!

Rae edits blog article for Association of Pauline Cooperators
Here at home, this blog will also continue. With the approval of the provincial director of the Pauline Cooperators, Sr. Patricia M. Maresca, Cooperator Rae Stabosz from Delaware has generously agreed to manage it from now on. Christine Dufresne, a Cooperator from Massachusetts, is her collaborator and back-up. Every Wednesday you will continue to receive an insightful and well crafted post by one of 12 bloggers from five branches of the Pauline Family, who have you in mind as they research, pray, and write. The Writers’ Guidelines for the Cooperator blog describes their mission this way:
“The blog is intended to be both formational and informational:
1.    to familiarize Pauline Cooperators with the charism of the Pauline Family—its story, spirituality, and mission—and to serve as a lively, practical, and trustworthy resource for them in living that charism themselves, as they share the Good News with others.
2.    to provide a news forum connected to other Pauline social media services, to inform Cooperators about Pauline events and initiatives, leading them to feel a sense of belonging to this Family and providing them with a means to reach out to other Cooperators.
3.    to invite others to explore a membership in the Association of Pauline Cooperators and so, share in its dedication to personal holiness and its witness to Jesus, Way, Truth, and Life, in the spirit of St. Paul the Apostle.”
Do you notice the emphasis on sharing the articles with others? Evangelizing, in other words? That’s where you come in. As a former administrator, I can tell you that in the weeks when you share the blog on social media, readership really spikes. Even if you just post it on your Facebook timeline either from the blog itself or from the Cooperator Facebook page, a whole new audience is exposed to the thought of Jesus, Paul, the Church’s pastors, and the Pauline Family—all in a way they never were before. Your cut? Apostleship, increase, and in the end: “Those who lead the many to justice will shine like the stars forever” (Daniel 12:3).

So when I sing, “Con te partirĂ²,” I’m thinking not only of your friendship, which I will always treasure, but kinship—in spirit and mission:
“I know you are with me, with me,
Building bridges over land and sea….
With you, I will go.”

Margaret J. Obrovac, FSP, originally from San Francisco, has been a Pauline evangelizer since 1973 and has worked in various phases of the mission of the Daughters of St. Paul. After attending the Pauline Family’s nine-month Charism Course in Rome in 2012-2013, she served on the provincial Cooperator Team in Boston in the area of ongoing formation. This fall, she will begin carrying out English language editorial work in Rome.