Thursday, December 27, 2012

Young adults: Four days left to RSVP for Theophany Weekend

Theophany Young Adult Weekend
Friday, January 4 – Sunday, January 6, 2013

Young Adults age 18-35 are invited to spend all or part of the weekend of the Feast of the Theophany at the monastery to experience the full liturgical celebration of this feast, including Matins, Royal Hours, Vespers and the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil, the Great Blessing of Water and Great Compline on the vigil (Jan. 5) and the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom on the feast (Jan. 6). We will also enjoy the traditional vigil supper (similar to the Velija supper on Christmas Eve) and participate in the tradition of blessing the nearest body of water (our pond!). Young women are welcome to spend the night at the monastery. Please RSVP by Monday, December 31, by phone (440-834-0290) or email (  The event is also on Facebook.


Friday, January 4
4:45 p.m. Jesus Prayer and Vespers
6:30 p.m. Dinner
9:00 p.m. Compline

Saturday, January 5
6:00 a.m. Matins
8:00 a.m. Personal time for prayer
9:00 a.m. 1st & 3rd Royal Hours
11:00 a.m. Brunch (a fasting meal of soup and bread, etc.)
12:00 p.m. 6th & 9th Royal Hours
2:00 p.m. Great Vespers, Divine Liturgy of St. Basil, Great Blessing of Water (including the blessing of our pond!)
6:30 p.m. Vigil Supper
9:30 p.m. Great Compline

Sunday, January 6
Feast of Theophany
8:00 a.m. Matins
10:00 a.m. Personal time for prayer
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
1:00 p.m. Brunch

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Merry Christmas from the nuns of Christ the Bridegroom Monastery!

"I contemplate a divine and marvelous mystery: heaven has become a cave; the throne of Cherubim, a Virgin; and the manger, an honorable place in which lies Christ God, the Incomprehensible.  Let us praise and extol Him" (Irmos of the Nativity).

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Clothed in our mortal nature"

Scout "helping" with gift wrapping
At the end of the Divine Liturgy this morning, a new set of habits (sewn by Sr. Cecilia's mom, Darlene Hritz) and belts (thanks to Fr. Peter Tomas) were blessed--in time to wear them for the first time for the Feast of the Nativity!  As I listened to the prayer of blessing, I realized how appropriate it is that this blessing would take place near the Feast of the Nativity.  See if you can figure it out: (but I'll give you some help below).
Lord Jesus Christ, Who condescended to clothe Yourself in our mortal nature, we beg You in Your boundless goodness to bless this clothing which the holy Fathers have sanctioned as the garb for monastics, in token of the innocence and humility which should be theirs.  Laying aside the vanity of secular garb, may these servants of Yours, who are to wear this clothing, likewise put on You, and be recognized as women dedicated to Your service.  May this garb also serve as a sermon to the people, reminding them that there is a God, that life is short, death certain, a judgment forthcoming, and that only through good works will they attain to everlasting life: For to You is due all glory, honor, and worship, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever. Amen.

Did you come up with something?  Well, here are my thoughts.

In this Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, we celebrate His incarnation.  In a beautiful hymn from vespers a few days ago we prayed:
"He will take on our likeness * by clothing Himself in the flesh of the virgin Handmaid of God. * He is coming to be born; * He who is unapproachable by nature, * is approachable to me."
By celebrating the incarnation we are celebrating the fact that God clothed Himself "in our mortal nature," as the prayer of blessing of habits says.  Our habits can remind us of this mind-blowing reality, while also reminding us that through our baptism we have been "clothed with Christ" (Gal 3:27), and as all Christians, we are called, and actually given the grace, to become transformed into Christ!

The prayer of blessing also says that our habits are a sign of the "innocence and humility" which should be ours.  The greatest example of innocence and humility is Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself so completely to come into the world as a a little cave...  What joy we have, to share in these things with Christ!
"O ineffable Begotten One of the Unbegotten Father, * You have come in the appearance of my likeness. * You come in order to enrich the human race * which is afflicted with the poverty that You took upon Yourself. * We praise Your compassion, O Lord." (Stichera of Vespers, Dec. 22)
We pray that you have a very blessed, joyful, prayerful Christmas!

(Now I need to get back to the kitchen to help prepare for the Christmas Eve Velija Supper!  Don't cry Sr. Gabriella...every onion in the monastery has been chopped!)

Monday, December 17, 2012

LIVE from Mumford Rd: Episode 1!

It's a whole new blogging perspective!  We hope that our first video blog makes you laugh and gives you something to reflect on in this last week before Christmas!

"LIVE from Mumford Rd" takes you inside Christ the Bridegroom Monastery in Burton, Ohio, with your hosts Sr. Cecilia and Sr. Gabriella, LIVE in the eternal time of the Kingdom of God!

In this first episode, we introduce our new "LIVE show," take a look in the "Ask the Nuns" box, talk about the Philip's Fast and upcoming events at the monastery and end with a reflection from St. Athanasius.

In future monthly episodes, we will bring you interviews with special guests and take you "on location" to places we travel outside the monastery (such as the March for Life)!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

O Christmas Tree...

We cut down a Christmas tree for our monastery for the first time!  We hope you enjoy these photos from our little adventure!

This one's pretty, but too big!

Yes, that is smaller but that is not a tree...that is Sr. Cecilia

Ah, Mother finds the perfect one!  And we name him Brucey the Sprucey!

Sr. Gabriella cuts him down


He fit in our trunk!

All "spruced" up!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Incarnation Moments": A Reflection for the Nativity Fast

Sr. Cecilia was invited by the communications office of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland to write a reflection from her perspective as a nun for the season of Advent, in the context of the Year of Faith.  (She was an intern with the communications office for a summer while in college.)

You can view the article on the Diocese of Cleveland website here, or read below:

“Are you a nun?” someone will often ask me at the grocery store. “Yes!” I’ll reply. The conversation usually continues with a reminiscing of this person’s days in Catholic school when he or she was taught by nuns, or a remark of surprise that nuns still exist (especially young ones!). I am often surprised myself by the excitement that I see in the eyes of people I meet. What is it about this encounter with a nun that causes these reactions?

Let’s take a look at faith for a minute. By now you have probably realized that the “Year of Faith” called for by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, is well underway. Faith consists of a real encounter—a real falling-in-love—with God, as well as a knowledge about this One we love and His Church. Is it a problem then, that “No one has ever seen God” (Jn 1:18)? If we finish this verse, however, we read that “the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known.”

I also help to make God known. As a nun, I incarnate God’s love (I make it visible in the flesh), like Jesus did by taking on a human body. Within me there is a union with God, similar to the union of God and Man in the body of Jesus, and this is made visible in various ways. When people see me in the grocery store, I doubt that they think to themselves, “Wow! That woman incarnates God’s love!” but I do, however, believe that they intuitively know this, whether or not they could articulate it. As an example of this, people often stop me to ask for my prayers for particular intentions. They must understand, to some degree, the special closeness to God that I enjoy, in order to entrust me with these important desires of their hearts.

My habit is a sign of God's grace working in a particular way in me, transforming me into love—into Himself. When people see me, they know that I am a woman consecrated solely to God, and hopefully this reality causes them to ask themselves, “How can I be more devoted to God?” Each time I meet someone, it's an “incarnation moment.” It's not only the clothes I wear, but also my joy, smile, patience in the check-out line, etc. that allow me to make God's love manifest. Everything about me has to be transformed. This is a work in progress—just ask my Sisters! This is also a work in progress in each Christian's life.  Blessed John Paul II said that monastics are the “reference point for all baptized Christians” (Orientale Lumen), but he didn’t say that we do all the work for all baptized Christians!

The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord is an opportunity for each of us to evaluate how well we are incarnating God’s love. If we find that we are not the perfect image of God (that would be all of us!), then we must ask ourselves, “In what ways do I need to allow God to transform me into His image?” The answer usually falls into one of these three categories: fasting (making room for God), prayer (inviting Him in) and almsgiving (offering the blessings I receive—and myself—in love). This is why the Church wisely appoints this time in the liturgical year as a penitential period. In the Roman Catholic Church this time is called Advent, beginning on the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Andrew (November 30), and in the Eastern Catholic Churches it is called the Philip’s Fast or the Nativity Fast, beginning on November 15 (40 days before the Nativity). At times in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, fasting was prescribed during Advent, and it continues to be prescribed in the Eastern Catholic Churches with fasting from meat and dairy products—nearly as strictly as during Lent. In whatever way we observe this liturgical season, the important thing is to ensure that it is a time of preparation. We need to make room for God in order for Him to abide in us and transform us into Himself. In this way, we can each incarnate God’s love for all those we encounter.

If faith consists, in part, of a real encounter with God, then by making Him known through our own beings, we are bringing into the world the opportunity for faith. Jesus was born into the world in a stable—the most common and ordinary of places. We can bring Him into the world in the most ordinary of places too, such as a grocery store.