Rome Update #3 from Ralph Martin

Anne and I with Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the Preacher to the Papal Household, during our recent visit with him.
Anne and I with Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the Preacher to the Papal Household, during our recent visit with him.

The really busy time that I asked you to pray for in the last update went well. Thank you. The presentation at the Colloquium, the retreat to the North American seminarians and the doctoral seminar presentation all seemed to go well. After the Colloquium Dr. Mary Healy was able to spend some time with us and it was good visiting with someone from “home” (Michigan) and a colleague at the seminary in Detroit where we both teach. We’ve also continued to have guests. Anne’s sister and brother-in-law from Norway visited for ten days. Our youngest daughter–her husband and friends offered to take care of her two-year old–was able to visit for five days. This coming Saturday another daughter is arriving for ten days.

On the dissertation front I handed in my final chapter last week and now prayers are needed for my dissertation moderator, Fr. Robert Christian, that he has time to get back to me with needed corrections and improvements so I can implement them all and hand in a finished copy before Easter. He has an amazingly busy schedule and this week is in Detroit supervising special pontifical exams that some of our seminarians are taking. The “final” copy needs to be handed in before Easter so a Second Reader can be appointed and given time to read it and offer any corrections he thinks is necessary. Then, I will revise it again and a really “final” copy will be handed in. At this point, a doctoral defense will be scheduled. Lots of steps!

In anticipation of all this happening, Anne and I are planning to accept an invitation from Sr. Emmanuel to spend Easter in Medjugorje, which we are looking forward to as our first “break” since we’ve been here. We also find ourselves pondering the message that one of the visionaries received this past month:

“Dear Children! My Motherly Heart suffers tremendously as I look at my children who persistently put what is human before what is of God, at my children who, despite everything that surrounds them and despite all the signs that are sent to them, think that they can walk without my Son. They cannot! They are walking to eternal perdition. That is why I am gathering you, who are ready to open your heart to me, you who are ready to be apostles of my love, to help me; so that by living God’s love you may be an example to those who do not know it. May fasting and prayer give you strength in that, and I bless you with the Motherly blessing in the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit. Thank you.”
Along with hosting guests and working on the dissertation there have been an amazing number of “providential” meetings with key people here in Rome. Just this past week, for example we had time with both Fr. Wojciech Giertych, the Papal Theologian, and Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the Papal Preacher, whom many of you know, as well as other Vatican officials and key people in Rome. This provides valuable perspective that can help us shape the work of Renewal Ministries to be maximally helpful to the Church. It also allows us to offer encouragement, etc. where needed.

A photo from our visit with Fr. Wojciech Giertych, the Papal Theologian
A photo from our visit with Fr. Wojciech Giertych, the Papal Theologian

Many people do ask about the dissertation and my topic and seem quite interested in what I am coming up with. Our May and June newsletters will carry a two part article I’ve written on the topic I’m working on. So watch for the newsletter when it comes in the mail. We also upload our newsletter to our web site, so you can always find recent copies of the newsletter there. Thank you for your continued prayers that the writing I’m doing can be useful for the Church and for sensitivity to the Spirit as he leads us in various encounters with people here.
Thanks for your ongoing support for all the work of Renewal Ministries.
Ralph Martin
Renewal Ministries

P.S. I know that if we were back in North America right now, we would be complaining about the high gasoline prices. Well, take heart, gas is about $9.00 a gallon here in Italy!