Summary of today’s show: Fr. Rick Martignetti grew up in the North End of Boston before becoming a Franciscan priest of the Order of Friars Minor. The Lord has returned him to his old neighborhood where he serves at St. Leonard’s Parish among the people he grew up with. Scot Landry and Fr. Matt Williams talk with Fr. Rick, who was at St. Joseph’s in Wakefield where he was preparing to speak on the third night of the 2012 God of This City Tour. They discussed how to discern God’s call in our lives and how we can best respond in love and faithfulness.
Listen to the show:
Watch the show via live video streaming or a recording later: BostonCatholicLive.com
Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Fr. Matt Williams
Today’s guest(s): Fr. Rick Martignetti, OFM
Links from today’s show:
- Fr. Rick’s website
- St. Leonard Parish, Boston
- Franciscan Friars, Immaculate Conception Province
- God of This City Tour
Today’s topics: Fr. Rick Martignetti, OFM
1st segment: Scot Landry wished everyone a happy feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Scot welcomed Fr. Matt from St. Joseph Parish in Wakefield where they’re preparing for the third night of the God of This City Tour. He said they will be having Mass at St. Joseph’s for the feast tonight. For him, Our Lady reminds him of the dignity and humanity of the unborn. He noted that in that miraculous image, Our Lady is pregnant with Jesus. He said Our Lady has been the protagonist for his priestly ministry. Scot noted that Cardinal Sean published a rare non-Friday message on his blog today about this feast and also gave a major address in Spanish in Rome today at a conference on the Church in the Americas.
12-12-12 is an interesting date, as it represents the last time in this century that the month, day and year will all match. But December 12 for Catholics, during this Year of Faith, is also a very important day.
First, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI (@pontifex), begins his tweeting ministry, symbolizing in a new way the Church’s embrace of technology and tools of communication as a way to share the eternal and saving Truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The other reason for the day’s importance, and one of the factors in Pope Benedict’s choosing of this day to launch his newest communication initiative, is that it is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who we revere as the Mother of the New Evangelization and the Patroness of all the Americas (North, South and Central). After Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego 481 years ago, one of the most rapid periods of evangelization in the history of the Church began.
During this Year of Faith, I ask all Catholics to study the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego. Our Catholic brothers and sisters from Mexico and in Central and South American countries are devoted to her motherly care, but many Catholics raised in the United States are not as aware of what happened in December of 1531 as I hope they soon will be. Now is a great time for this connection with Our Lady of Guadalupe to be established, renewed or deepened. We can begin by attending Mass and praying a family Rosary on December 12.
Scot asked Fr. Matt how the first two nights of the tour have gone. Fr. Matt said the first two nights were in Framingham and Marshfield. The focus of the first night was the meaning of the word “revelation”, which literally means lifting the veil. He used as an example a scene from the movie Elf where the main character meets a fake Santa and is able to tell the difference between the real Santa and the fake because he knows him. The second night featured Jason Deramo speaking on being called.
2nd segment: Scot welcomed Fr. Rick to the show. He posed to him and Fr. Matt the questions that Pope Benedict have answered on his twitter account today. First was How we can celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives. Fr. Rick said anything that moves us closer to Jesus is good. For some it might be going to Mass more than Sundays. It’s a way to say the Lord that I’m here not just for obligation, but because I love you.
Scot posed this one to Fr. Matt: “How can faith in Jesus be lived in a world without hope?” Fr. Matt quoted the Holy Father’s response: “We can be certain that a believer is never alone. God is the solid rock upon which we build our lives and his love is always faithful.” The third question was “Any suggestions on how to be more prayerful when we are so busy with the demands of work, families and the world?” Fr. Rick said we’re all so busy, but we don’t have to run 24/7. Sometimes we need to push back for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. Slowing down is an art which takes practice.
Scot’s sense that the questions the Holy Father will answer from the hashtag #askpontifex will be the bigger questions of life.
Scot asked Fr. Rick about his background. Fr. Rick said he’s from Boston originally and it’s been 16 years since he’s lived here. For the last four years he was at Franciscan University of Steubenville, which has about 2,500 students all on fire for their faith. He said he grew up knowing the friars at his home parish of St. Leonard’s Parish and Christopher COlumbus high School in the North End. He got away from the faith in college and a pilgrimage got him back into his faith and the friars were there for him at 23 years old when he was asking the big questions of life. It was an experience of coming home in coming back to the friars. Fr. Rick said he is with the Order of Friars Minor and he is in the Immaculate Conception Province. St. Leonard’s is their formation house for young men discerning whether they are called to the order. From there, they could become novices with the order.
Fr. Rick was struck by the friars as men of prayer, who made Our Lady part of their lives and spent time in daily prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Daily prayer has become more important than food or oxygen. The Holy Spirit does the real work. All we have to do is lead people to Christ and set up a structure for them to hear him daily. In time, Jesus will reveal to the young men and young women where they are called to be.
Fr. Matt asked how he responds to the question, How do I know? Fr. Rick said young people often want to know everything immediately. He encourages them to go slowly and begin a life of discernment, not just a program of discernment. We start to take steps based on hunches. He was drawn to the Franciscans and spent time with them and the Lord confirmed this as the months went by as he felt more and more at home with these men.
He was surprised and excited to be back in Boston at this time. He loves what Fr. Matt and Office for the New Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults are doing. He thinks the faith is taking root in Boston again among young people looking for Christ. This wasn’t going on when he left 16 years ago.
Scot said it’s uncommon for a priest, religious or diocesan, to be given the task of pastoral care of the community that nurtured him. He said it’s been fun coming back to his roots. He could have ended up anywhere but it’s a beautiful gift to be called back to Boston and the Italian community in the North End with the festivals. He grew up doing that.
Scot said the Church looks to Franciscan University for the way it conducts ministry for young people. He asked what Fr. Rick has learned. He said the summer conferences get the most attention. They are based on the belief that young people can meet Jesus, have fun, and receive fulfilment. They have wonderful speakers, great music, and the sacraments. They lead them to Jesus and let Him do the rest. To speak to young people today, you have to be into modern technology and music.
Fr. Matt agreed that music plays a huge role. We were created to worship God and that includes singing. It’s how God has wired us. It’s important for people to learn the Church’s music, from chant to modern hymns and even Christian music in popular genres. He’s also learned that large event gatherings—like conferences, World Youth Day, the March for Life—they learn they are not alone and they see the Church on the national or international level. In those gatherings you see priests in habits and collars and religious in their habits.
All of this is meant to help young people come to a personal encounter with Jesus in his Church. Franciscan University packages these dynamic practices together and offer them in a weekend format.
Scot asked about people who don’t see how Christian rap or heavy metal can lead young people to God. Fr. Rick said the Lord transcends culture and taste. The Lord is everywhere; how do we express our love for him best. The trouble comes from trying to put Jesus in a box. Jesus is for everyone an he came to set us free. When we take our need to worship and bring it to Jesus, we discover our purpose.
3rd segment: This week’s benefactor card raffle winner is Denise Sherman from Lakeville
She wins two CD’s from Michael John Poirier: “The Voice of A Child: Advent” and “The Voice of a Child: Christmas”.
If you would like to be eligible to win in an upcoming week, please visit WQOM.org. For a one-time $30 donation, you’ll receive the Station of the Cross benefactor card and key tag, making you eligible for WQOM’s weekly raffle of books, DVDs, CDs and religious items. We’ll be announcing the winner each Wednesday during “The Good Catholic Life” program.
4th segment: Scot asked why Fr. Rick is speaking on the third night of the tour. He noted that it’s Prince Spaghetti Day (a reference for older folks who remember the old TV commercials). He said he will talk to tonight about how God equips those he calls. They will look at the story of Jonah who finds himself in the belly of a fish, realizing he needs to rethink his life. He is a model for going in the right direction and having the courage to be a voice for God.
Fr. Rick said St. Francis has a beautiful story with some key turning points. One is when he encounters a man suffering from leprosy. He’d avoided people like that his whole life, but he feels the movement of God in his life so much he embraces and holds the man. He later said that’s when everything in his life changed. The Lord led him to the people with leprosy and everything changed. What he’d been avoiding his whole life was actually the means of salvation. From then on, he lived among them.
Fr. Rick said his experience is that ministry is called out of him; other people sometimes call you to something. He feels more comfortable that something is of God when others ask him to do it. He used to be terrified of public speaking and being called to the priesthood, he tried it and met God there. When Fr. Rick thought of teaching he was terrified, but when he thought of it as faith sharing that became do-able. Before he preaches he looks for the personal message in the Scripture and then share it with others, inviting them to a space where they can hear something. Once the focus shifted from him to Jesus, it got a lot easier.
Scot said beyond the music and speaker, at God of This City, people take concerns on their minds and bring them to the Lord. Fr. Rick said where the Church is alive and being renewed you find Eucharistic adoration. People don’t know the power of just being in the presence of Jesus. Scot asked him why Eucharistic adoration is so important to him. Fr. Rick said the vows he takes of poverty, chastity and obedience only make sense when he meets Jesus in the Eucharist. Jesus offered his body on the cross, but it makes offering of the body for celibacy seems a natural response.
Scot said another aspect of tonight will be confessions. When people pray in an intense way before the Eucharist, they feel the call to the sacrament of confession. Fr. Rick said he was away from the sacraments in college and when he finally back after 7 years. He found receiving Christ through his priest felt welcoming and an experience of coming home. He said the Lord stands with his arms wide open waiting to embrace you. Of St. Anthony Shrine, he said it’s a beautiful ministry and it’s beautiful to see people stop in all day long to hear confessions. He talked about taking people on pilgrimages to Assisi and how permeated by the spirit of St. Francis it is.
Fr. Rick said they try to keep St. Leonard’s open all night long for the sake of the people visiting the North End. He said about once per month the Office for the New Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults also does Jesus in the North End for college students and young adults. He said it’s a haven for those in a busy neighborhood needing a place to be quiet for a few moments, which is just as important as finding a good cannoli.
Scot said you can see the amazing photos from the God of This City events at http://www.BostonCatholicPhotos.com or at the Archdiocese of Boston’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BostonCatholic.