Behind the Scenes

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January 4, 2013 A.D.
 

Passing from the old year to the New Year is a holy event for the Caritas Community and is full of traditional activities that have evolved over the years in the “way of life” of Our Lady as She has taught us through Her messages. Many beautiful poignant moments and reflections are interlaced with the fun of just being together in the days between Christmas and New Year’s when we break from our normal routine, and rest from our normal vigorous schedule that the mission always entails.

 

New Years with the Community of Caritas

While many throughout the world ring in the New Year without a thought of God, our founder from the beginning of the community, placed our thoughts upon Our Lady in remembering the blessings from the previous year, and in looking towards the New Year asking for Our Lady’s help and guidance for whatever is heading our way. An altar is created anew each year for the moment of midnight, when we pray our first Rosary of the New Year in a peace that fills not only the room, but each heart. It is a treasured moment for all.


New Years with the Community of Caritas
In order to remember our most recent blessings, photo albums of the past year’s events are placed on tables that are visited frequently throughout not only during New Year’s eve and day, but also for several weeks, to give everyone the opportunity of reflection on the goodness of God and Our Lady in the life of our community. It is a joy to remember back on so many special moments, to remember them together, sharing memories and being reminded of events that had “escaped” our memories. We are often humbled at seeing before us so many blessings from Our Lady’s hand. It fosters in us all deep gratitude to our Heavenly Father.


New Years with the Community of Caritas
The activities of the community are full of interaction between the adults, the youth and children of the community. If adults do not involve themselves in the lives of their children, children and the youth will separate themselves from the influence of the adults becoming cliques among themselves that destroy “community.” Whatever we do in community, our children are always made a part of it, and though they separately play with each other at times together, it is always within the vicinity of watching adults who will often join in on their fun. There is nothing like a spontaneous rousing game of musical chairs to bring joy.


New Years with the Community of Caritas
The antics of the Caritas kids bring ready smiles from community members who take a momentary break from sifting through a few hundred pictures picked out of thousands that were taken last year. Simple joys, simple fun, simple life.


New Years with the Community of Caritas
Most of the time, we do not plan the events of our gatherings. They more or less evolve or spontaneously happen on the spur of the moment. When the adults get involved it can become pretty cow-boyish and cow-girlish. In other words—pretty tough. Going to see who the last to be standing, what could you expect from guys and gals who handle cows, hogs and horses?


New Years with the Community of Caritas
Here are three community girls from three different families working out a problem together, as they see daily examples of in our community life. What happens when you can’t quite reach? Call an adult? Call 911?


New Years with the Community of Caritas
No….you think out your problem and the possibilities in what will bring about a solution. In our community, our founder has always cautioned the adults not to jump in too quickly with a helping hand for their children’s dilemmas. The satisfaction of solving their own problems brings joy to the heart. Much of today’s youth have lost the kind of life that teaches common sense. Hands-on experience is a constant teacher.


New Years with the Community of Caritas
On New Year’s Day, every individual goes before the community and presents their greatest lesson and joy of the previous years. Young Luke is helped by his father in sharing his greatest lesson of 2012: Learning not to hit his baby brother, James. Luke has an amazing gift of words for such a small age and we often break up in laughter by what he says.


New Years with the Community of Caritas
Always so hard to pin down “just one” joy and lesson, many of the community will come with a written list scribbled on a napkin. Though we share many of the same joys, from different perspectives, there are always a few that escape our collective memory that one community member will remind us of.


New Years with the Community of Caritas
And as far as lessons go, hearing of how Our Lady and the Holy Spirit are working on each of our hearts, hearing of the various spiritual victories—or at least improvement, is a great strengthening for the whole community in our daily walk as we carry our own crosses.


New Years with the Community of Caritas
Little Lucy has no iota what she is doing nor why. But children learn from the witness of adults and also, babies learn from children. A trickle-down theory? What parents tolerate, children embrace. “It’s your witness, it’s your witness, it’s your witness.”


New Years with the Community of Caritas
The year 2012 marked the deaths of three beloved souls of the community: 27-year-old Andrea Pipp who was a young community wife and mother of three small children, her little four month old baby who died in her womb, and Papa Tony, the father of our founder, and much loved grandfather of not only his children, but all the children of the community. Their pictures graced our altar this year, along with our other beloved souls who are laid to rest in the community cemetery. Their pictures and their spiritual presence brought home to our hearts the meaning of our lives, and our ultimate goal of leaving this world to live eternally in Heaven with God. They are our community saints that we pray to daily for their intercession. The message accompanying their pictures on the altar was from Our Lady’s “Christmas Day” December 25, 2012, message given to Medjugorje visionary Jakov:
 

“…give the gift of your life to me and completely surrender to me…I desire to receive each of you into my heart and to give a gift of your lives to my Son…”
 


New Years with the Community of Caritas
Above Baby Jesus are three special relics with Vatican papers of authenticity that were given to the community many years ago in which a piece of Our Lady’s veil, a thread of St. Joseph’s cloak, and a splinter of the manger Jesus laid in are all contained within the single reliquary. These relics are brought out only during our annual 5-day retreat in December and during the week of Christmas. During the New Year Eve Rosary that was prayed before this nativity, which has been blessed in the presence of Our Lady’s apparitions at Caritas, a message is picked at random before each decade and recorded. Doing this year after year, it evolved into a novena that we begin on New Year’s Day each year. The community begins a Rosary novena meditating on the messages picked between each decade from the night before. Our Lady’s intentions for the Caritas Community and mission for the New Year are offered each day of the novena. This first rosary of the novena is prayed at the end of New Year’s Day, after the joys and lessons of the community are completed, going until January 9. We are spiritually “full” by the end of New Year’s Day.




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