March 1, 2023
Into the Desert
By: Dcn. Michael DiPietro
How’s it going, Newman Center?
In last Sunday’s gospel, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, where he was tempted by the devil. And since we are called to follow after Him, this means that we too must follow Him into the desert.
So how’s that going? We are about a week into Lent. Perhaps the excitement of penances has faded (kind of normal), or it’s possible that you haven’t even noticed them (which means you should probably do a bit more than your “no chocolate” penance), or maybe you’ve already given up (after week 1? Seriously? Alright… time to talk to your spiritual director…). In any case, it’s probably time to step up and get into the game desert. So here’s a few pointers on how to get your mindset right in order to get the most out of your Lent:
And so my last bit of advice? Pray the rosary every day this Lent. Mary is the model of humility for us. And by that humility, she overcame the world, the flesh, and the devil. She was the one who crushed the head of the serpent. And so, if we allow her to help us, she will take our offerings to God this Lent, purify them, make them greater, purify us in the process, and (most importantly) bring us ever closer to her Son, Jesus Christ, Who must be the end and the goal of all that we do.
February 1, 2023
Happy 1st Birthday Newman!
By: Krista Corbello
What a year it’s been! Last year, (on my 30th birthday) we had our grand opening with Archbishop Gomez. The budding excitement in the first few weeks was electric and tangible. Since then, with the guidance of Fr. John, Fr. Tony, and Nicole Tobin, we were able to bring a beautiful community together. I love being able to know so many of you through your impromptu visits during the day, our colorful socials, and our thought-provoking discussions. Encountering you and your hearts is an illustration of the creative, magnanimous, and good heart of the Father.
Our Newman News usually only includes the reflections of the writer, but this time I would like to share some of the beautiful testimonies from our students and young adults over the last year. Many of these were shared over coffee, meals, in the Church, and from your hearts. And I’ve kept these in my heart, especially on days when (inevitably), the burdens of carrying out the mission of the Newman Center feel heavy. Your numerous encounters with the Lord through the Sacraments, our clergy and staff, and one another are like a reservoir from which I draw courage, inspiration, and contemplation in my own prayer life.
“When I moved to Pasadena, I was worried that I wouldn’t find a strong Catholic community. The Newman Center has served as an excellent venue to deepen my faith and get to know other young adult Catholics.”
“Thank you for giving us a safe, beautiful, warm place to grow in our faith!”
“The Newman Center events have brought me closer to so many quality friends…especially after being isolated during COVID lockdowns.”
“Spiritual direction with Fr. Nicholas will be very helpful for my continued formation. I’m very thankful for the gift of the presence of priests and religious in this community.”
“Newman is a place where people encounter authenticity and the joy and love of Jesus, too.”
Lastly, I would like to share a special thanks for the support and presence of the rest of the ministry team, and everyone who has helped Newman flourish. Know of our diligent prayers for you! Here’s to another year of the joy of the Gospel and falling more deeply in love with our Lord.
In the Heart of the Father,
January 1, 2023
Seek First the Kingdom of God in this New Year
By: Jerome Resurreccion
Happy New Year Newman Pasadena family! I want to share with you what God is placing on my heart as we enter this season of new beginnings. Every January 1st people write down new goals and resolutions that they want to accomplish over the next 12 months (i.e., lose weight, exercise more, get organized, break a bad habit, learn a new skill, meet new friends, etc.) Many people add prayer and prioritizing God as the main part of their new year’s resolution. This is great! I know that his been on the top of my list every year.
In previous years, I thought about Jesus' words that we should not worry about our lives and our bodies, what we should eat or drink, and even what we should wear. Instead, Jesus told us to, “…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:25-31). And as good Catholic-Christian that is what I tried to do! I wrote down my many spiritual goals such as completing the Bible in a Year with Fr. Mike Schmitz and weekly adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. I would pick a daily spiritual reading from the writings of the Saints and resolve to pray the Rosary every day. After the first week I started piling on more books and Rosaries and other devotions and novenas as well! My goals would grow into a marathon of daily prayers and spiritual exercises that I just could not keep up with.
…Finally, after the first two weeks I would find myself struggling just as if it were any other new year’s goal. I would break all commitments and run backwards toward spiritual laziness! I thought to myself, “Why is it so hard to put God first?” and “Didn’t I make great goals?”
I had to ask the question, what is the kingdom of God? I found my answer in the words of Saint Paul: “…the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
During these past few months, I felt God reminding me that “…seeking first the kingdom of God” is not about doing something for God, but about receiving what God has done for us. The kingdom of God is not something we earn, but something that was earned for us through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Through prayer we receive the finished work of Christ through the Holy Spirit.
Prayer is more about receiving than doing! Receiving the ability to be righteous, to have joy, and to have peace through and in the Holy Spirit. There was nothing wrong with my goals, but with my mindset. I was trying to gain the kingdom and virtue through a checklist of good works and holy prayers, but Christ wanted me to see prayer as a place of receiving His kingdom rather than earning it.
As we begin this new year, I invite you to focus on receiving from God. Focus on quality time with the Lord rather than the quantity or types of prayers you should be doing for Him. Focus on what will draw you into the Love of God to receive His peace, righteousness, and joy— to receive His kingdom in you. You can choose one or two means of sitting before the face and heart of God, focusing every day on abiding in His presence for at least 20 minutes, and receiving His Love for you. This next year I invite you to make room for what God is trying to do in your life.
“…And he has made us kingdoms for our God”
Note: The Bible in a Year, weekly adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, spiritual readings, and a daily rosary are all great options! However, I suggest choosing one or two in the beginning and focusing on building quality time with God around it. You can also sign up for spiritual direction with Fr. John and Fr. Nicholas if you want more help discerning how to build a rhythm of life centered on God.
December 1, 2022
Advent, Week 2
By: Jerome Resurreccion
During this advent and Christmas season, “silence” is probably the last thing that is on your mind. With all the noise from Christmas shopping, family gatherings, and mental to do lists, it can be hard to notice the silence within our soul.
Each and every one of us has a silence within us… a silence that is longing for God. Yet, we are not always aware of this silence. It is the deepest part of us that is hungry and thirsty, waiting for Christ. At times we run from this silence because it brings us before our misery and brokenness. We hide from it by doing a great many things to avoid the uncomfortable parts of ourselves and reality. At other times we run from this silence because we are too busy chasing what is in front of us, trying to build our kingdom instead of God’s. Let us be still. Christ says, “…the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). To seek God is to first be still, to be silent, and then to be honest before God. During advent, are we becoming more aware of the silence within us?
Jesus tells Saint Faustina, “Strive for a life of recollection so that you can hear My voice, which is so soft that only recollected souls can hear it.”
Recollection means an inner silence while resting on His love and presence by faith. During this advent season, Jesus is asking us all to rest in His presence and pay attention. Here he asks us to listen to his still small voice. In the midst of all the noise in the world, during advent turn your attention to the child conceived in the silence of Mary’s womb, within the silence of your heart. Listen to the child called Emmanuel which means “God is with us.”
November 1, 2022
Reflection from Fr. Nicholas Sheehy, Associate Chaplain
By: Fr. Nicholas Sheehy
Pasadena and Persevering Prayer
St. Paul exhorts us to pray always. But how is that even possible? What he actually says is “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1Th. 5:16-18)
What does it even look like to pray always? They tell a story about St. John Mary Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. When still working on the family farm, he was already a devout young man. He had a statue of Mary that he would throw ahead on the row he was working. Then, he would work quickly to arrive to the statue and say a prayer. It was a way for him to pray continually. For us in Pasadena, I think stoplights give us a similar opportunity.
How do you use stoplights?
Driving around Pasadena the past few months, I have been fascinated by the phenomenon of the stoplight. The yellow light seems longer than in other areas of the country. And it is certainly treated as an extension of the green light. I have been surprised by how many people follow a yellow light into a red in order to make a left-hand turn. Maybe this comes from frustration of driving through city traffic. What I have seen encourages me to look both ways before taking off when the light turns green. I have no desire to enter into a collision with a driver who takes the yellow a bit liberally.
How do you use stoplights? Whenever we go out driving, we spend a good amount of time at stoplights. Waiting on red… Do you ever reflect on your existence? As you wait for the red light to turn green, you become aware about how external, arbitrary forces decide what you do during a significant portion of your life. Resistance seems futile, as to buck the system would be to risk your own life. It hardly seems worth it.
Do you get upset at stoplights?
Maybe, there should be a greater effort to coordinate the stoplights. I am always curious about how if I am going straight and following the speed limit, why I am stopped at nearly every traffic signal. What is the point? Would synchronizing the traffic lights not be a great way of motivating people to travel the proper speed? It would save on brakes and reduce driving frustration.
Can you pray at stoplights?
There are different types of prayer for different circumstances in life. If you are driving the car, don’t close your eyes, obviously. It may not have the same depth and recollection of a thanksgiving time after communion, but it can be a quick time to lift your mind up to God. Taking advantage of the stoplights, you can integrate a spirit of continual prayer in your daily commute.
What do you think about at stoplights?
What if we used that time at the stoplight to think about God? If we raised up our minds and hearts to God during that time, we would be much more aware of God’s presence in our lives. It might also give us a reason for enjoying the stoplights, or at least stem the frustration. “3…2…1… I am thankful for…” The stoplight would become a constant reminder to lift our minds up to God and thank him for his gifts. How different might the commute be if instead of focusing on delays and frustrations, we could focus on the gift of being alive and mobile.
St. Paul tells us to pray always. Beyond our morning prayer and time of adoration, quick prayers at stoplights just might get us the rest of the way. Pray always and drive safe.
October 1, 2022
Reflection from Nicole Tobin
By: Nicole Tobin
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” - Ecclesiastes 3:1
Dear NCP Friends & Family,
It has been a labor of love to start and build this Newman Center with you here at St. Philip the Apostle. I have enjoyed every moment of dreaming with God in hope of what this place could be for the students of surrounding colleges, as well as for the Young Adults in our region. My heart was full of expectant hope as we opened our doors in February with the support and blessing of our Archbishop Jose Gomez. I have loved seeing the space being utilized with students and young adults, who come through these doors and are able to feel at home here, filling it up with life and faith. And now, it comes time for me to step down and serve the Lord in another way, as Director of Encounter Ministries Los Angeles Campus here at St. Philip’s as well as spend more time with my two small children, Noah & Ava. I still plan on being a friendly face, and hopefully will get the chance to lead some bible studies and do some spiritual accompaniment at the Newman Center - so you will definitely be seeing me around. I will also be chairing the Newman Board with a group of people who are passionately championing the mission of what God is doing here.
I’m so excited that we have a brand new Campus Ministry team this year, led by Krista Corbello, who are dedicated and committed to serving you and bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to all those whom they encounter. Make sure to look out for our next Newman Center update where they will be introducing themselves to you. Or better yet, stop by during our drop in hours, or come to one of our events to meet them yourself!
My friends, this is just the beginning of something so beautiful that the Lord has in store for all of you - for this place to truly be a sanctuary for all of you to come and experience true Christian community, and to become your Catholic home. My prayer for each of you is that you continue to make the Lord Jesus Christ the center of your lives, that you devote your hearts to Him in prayer, and that the Holy Spirit fills you and makes you a light to this world! I pray that Blessed Mother is always with you along with all the angels and Saints, interceding for you in all your needs, that the Sacraments be a continued source of nourishment for you, and that you fall deeply in love with Scripture, as it truly is the powerful, life-changing & transformative Word of God!
It has been a joy to see what God has started, He is so faithful, so I know that this is only the beginning of great harvest that is yet to come.
In His Peace and Unfailing Love,
“I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” - Phil 1:6
September 1, 2022
Reflection from a Student, Alejandro R.
By: Alejandro R.
For those that I did not have the pleasure of meeting this summer, I’m Alejandro, a senior undergraduate aerospace engineering major at the University of Texas at Austin! I had the immense privilege to live in the Los Angeles area for ten weeks as I interned at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. During that time, I made my home at Newman Pasadena.
In a lot of ways, the world has gotten bigger for me the past couple months. Throughout my travels and time in California I have found it such an important thing to just sit and witness. Some people know the phrase about being too busy: “we are human beings, not human doings.” We shouldn’t be worried all the time about outputting and producing, as school and jobs often would like us to do. But I think our time just “being” shouldn’t mean to just lay around and do nothing as we rest – we can still approach “being” with a more active role. We should not just “be,” but instead we should “witness."
Our Lord has given us many ways to sense the world around us, we mustn’t let it go to waste. We must strive to witness all the truth, beauty, and goodness in the world and in those who inhabit it. What is the use of outputting and producing so much when we never are inputting and receiving all the creation around us? My friends, I have found so much joy these past couple months in hearing the laugher of Honduran children learning to play Duck Duck Goose, in feeling the searing 115 degree heat of the Nevada sun on my skin, in wafting the salty air of the Pacific North West, and tasting the same taste of Little Caesar’s pizza at the Newman Center as which always comforted me back home in Houston. It is such a gift from above to be able to sense the world around us, and I think it’s a gift that we use too little. We must remember to not just exist in the world, but to witness it! Even just one sense has so much beauty to receive. I think a life would be well spent if it was full of simply appreciating His beautiful work.
And then too add the ability to witness all of our beautiful Church! My travels have allowed me to celebrate mass in full buildings with the young adults of Pasadena and the “lolas” in Seattle, but too in the smallest and most distant places with the children in Honduras and the residents of Sheffield. Our faith is truly Catholic, or universal. It is a wide faith. Witnessing both the physical body of Christ as the Eucharist and the mystical body of Christ as all these baptized Catholics everywhere really just sat me down. And sitting down, I was able to see and appreciate Him better and shed a happy tear because His presence and fingerprints are everywhere. Despite the hustle and bustle of all the traveling, I’ve been able to witness Him, His beautiful works, and His beautiful people, and that has made all the difference.
Thank you for being part of my journey this summer! Y’all have a special place in my Heart and in His Heart too.
Alejandro. D. Rincón
August 1, 2022
Reflection from a Parishioner & Graduate Student, Maria C.
By: Maria C.
Hello friends, my name is Maria Camarca and I am a parishioner at St. Philips. Currently, I am in my third year of graduate school at Caltech, where I am studying planetary science.
You may have seen in the news recently that NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) released its first images to the public. Launched this past Christmas Day on December 25, 2021, the JWST was sent into space to serve, in a sense, as the scientific successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. Over the course of its mission, the Hubble has shaped our imagination and understanding of the cosmos with landmark images such as the Pillars of Creation and the Bubble nebula. Now with better mirrors and more sensitive instruments to capture light from distant celestial objects, the JWST is ushering in an exciting and new era of astronomy, and the new images from the release bear no lack of beauty or grandiosity.
Out of the first JWST images, my favorite is the Carina Nebula. The picture showcases enormous dust and gas clouds decorated with starlight. Sometimes when I look at images like the Carina nebula (even the name of this object has a lyrical quality to it), I am reminded of the passage from Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
It’s a common theme when connecting astronomy and faith to reflect on how the beauty of the cosmos reflects the Divine grandness and the beauty of our Savior. Often, we feel that images like this remind us how small a space we occupy in the universe.
To go beyond those common reflections, I encourage us to look at these images and be reminded of the gift of life and the gift of the mind that God has given us. As beautiful and colorful as all the stars are and as powerful and complex as all the physical processes are that sculpted the stars are, not a single atom of these celestial landscapes are aware of themselves. The Carina Nebula knows not the number of stars in its possession nor the way its dust and gas is swept away by outflows, yet the human mind is equipped with the faculties to know these truths about this wonderful nebula and the human heart is uniquely disposed to enjoy its beauty. From Genesis we know that the world was good even before human rationality could perceive it, so we ought to remember that even the parts of the universe that will forever remain inaccessible to the human eye or any telescope we can construct is still good and beautiful because God made it. The fact there is currently beauty in our universe in excess of what the human intellect is able to detect gives us the slightest taste of what Heaven might be like, namely a place where beauty in excess of what the human heart and mind can even hope to fully contemplate abounds.
July 1, 2022
Reflection from Krista Corbello
By: Krista Corbello
As the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus comes to a close, I pray that the Lord blesses you with His infinite mercy and compassion!
A week ago, I was in Philadelphia when I found out about the Supreme Court decision which overturned Roe. On Monday, I went to Washington, D.C. to share my story in front of SCOTUS, holding a sign that read, "I mourn my sibling lost to abortion."
When my immigrant mother found out she was pregnant with me, she was met with hostility from my biological father as well as her parents back home in the Philippines. They tried to coerce her into having an abortion, but she chose life for me. I didn't meet my biological father until I was 22 years old, but it was not until years after that he revealed to me I had a sibling who died by abortion. It's difficult to describe the complicated grief I experienced the years following, but survivor's guilt, existential doom, and depression were a large part of it.
My whole-life advocacy as a Catholic is rooted on these three points:
To conclude, I'd like to share a portion of the Sisters of Life statement. Their work and service is deeply inspiring!
"Today as we renew our commitment to love, we invite all others to step with us into this new era of greater protection for the unborn with even greater generosity, courage and dedication.
Let us together pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our nation for peace, healing and conversion of heart—that all may believe in the sacredness of every human life."
June 1, 2022
Reflection from Jacob Meza: Waiting on God’s timing through Prayer
By: Jacob Meza
My name is Jacob Meza, I am a young Adult at St.Philip the Apostle. I am new to the Catholic faith, and I was an atheist growing up who had no understanding of Christianity. I had a beautiful and intense conversion ten months ago. This conversion led to being baptized at this year's Easter Vigil and ultimately to finding salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Waiting on God's timing through prayer is something every Christian struggles with. Whether you are a cradle Catholic or newly baptized like me, we all live in time and space that we don’t have control over, and we are always on the go. We want to accomplish our tasks and move on to the next one. We think we can do it all by ourselves, and we go to prayer with God and tell Him what we desire and what we are waiting for.
In the story of King David, God tells Samuel the prophet to anoint young David so that he will be the future King of Israel. God promised David this wonderful future achievement, but David has to go through a long and painful time of waiting before he can become the further King of Israel. After being chased and my times almost killed my jealous King Saul, Eventually through his praying as we see in the Psalms and his patience in waiting, He becomes King of Israel.
Now we all have some deep desire in our hearts that we come to God in prayer, if you are like me is every day! God has also promised something to us as well. We're sometimes just not ready for want God wants to give us and we ourselves have to go through a time of waiting. Saint Augustine says that God will sometimes delay in answering prayers becomes He wants the heart of the person who is praying to grow. We all pray for something and we expect it now, but through waiting and patience, the heart dilates and grows so it can be able to take in what God ultimately wants to give you.
Now if you are like me, you don’t like to wait, so how do we find a solution to this? Bishop Robert Barron recommends praying the Rosary. By praying the Rosary it compels you to slow down and go in a slow meditative prayer. What I like about it also is that you can’t rush the Rosary. It's a great way to pray especially if you are in a season of waiting like we all eventually find ourselves in.
In addition to the Rosary, there are many other ways to pray in times of waiting like going to Adoration and praying the psalms. The most important thing in prayer is ultimately being honest with God, trusting in where he wants to take you and what he wants to give you.
May our Lord be with you always,