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Video: How Ave Maria Became the Town with a Catholic Heart – Architect Discusses Town’s Catholic-Inspired Design

She was there in the beginning, so her words are an important part of the historical chronicle of the town of Ave Maria. Architect Elisabeth Perreault, Vice President at Cannon Design, delivered a detailed presentation about Town Planning and the Oratory at Ave Maria, Florida, at Judson University’s James Didier Symposium on Christ & Architecture.

This video is a great piece of history, and is “must see TV” for anyone who has more than a passing interest in the town. Ms. Perrault, who was integral in the master plan of the town, recounts what her clients hired her firm to create.

In the video she reveals that in fact her job was to design a “Catholic town” – meaning the very design of the town was intended to evoke, represent and encourage the Catholic culture of the town. That is NOT to say that it was ever intended to be a town just for Catholics, of course. However, Ms. Perrault’s words underscore the faith-based historical inspiration and genesis of the town, which remain the key reason so many people choose to live in Ave Maria.

Some interesting highlights:

  1. Client Barron Collier Companies thought there was a market for a Catholic community;
  2. Her firm understood they were being asked to design an ideal Catholic community;
  3. There was a Catholic faith-based foundation for the community;
  4. To come up with the plan, she and her colleagues looked back to a time in Italy when church and state weren’t divorced;
  5. The Oratory church was intentionally designed as the center and cultural heart of the town;
  6. They were designing a town whose identity was to be Catholic;
  7. The Church was front and center as a landmark and symbolic heart of the community;
  8. The church was placed and designed so that it would literally shout to everyone, day and night: “this is what we are all about as a community”;
  9. The church was designed so a person approaching  the town sees the towering oratory from miles away and immediately discovers the faith based origin of the community.

After watching this video, we can be even more confident when we describe Ave Maria, Florida, as “the town with a Catholic heart.”™©. And the town where all persons of good will are welcome.

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Wow: this is what growth in SW Florida’s top community looks like

Ave Maria’s boom-town status is now undeniable, as it moves to the top of the list of single family communities in the red hot Naples-Fort Myers market (based on number of home sales).

So hot, in fact, that there’s a new fire station coming to Ave Maria.

These two aerial photos taken in 2014 and 2015 show the growth in just one of the booming areas of town where the Hampton Village and Maple Ridge neighborhoods are located.

Sales 2014

These are the sales in Ave Maria’s Maple Ridge & Hampton Village in 2014

Sales 2015

These are the sales in Ave Maria’s Maple Ridge & Hampton Village in 2015

Robb Klucik has lived with his family in Ave Maria since it opened in 2007. In addition to running his law practice in Ave Maria, Robb edits this blog, administers a Facebook forum for 1000 Ave Maria residents, serves as a director of the West Point Society of Naples, and enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

McTeigue: The Annunciation is our icon of what our lives should look like

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Annunciation by Ave Maria artist Cornelius Sullivan.

When was the Culture of Life first proclaimed against the culture of death? It could be said that the Culture of Life began with John Paul’s encyclical, “Evangelium Vitae,” promulgated in 1995. It could also be said that the Culture of Life began in 1973, in response to the Supreme Court ruling on Roe vs. Wade. It might even be said that the Culture of Life was inaugurated by Pope Paul VI in 1968, with his encyclical “Humanae Vitae.” You could make a good case for any one of those claims.

Here’s an easier question: When was Ave Maria University founded? Well, depending upon how one counts such things, we can say that Ave Maria University is looking forward to soon celebrating its twelfth anniversary. That is true, but it is not quite correct.

I think that Ave Maria University, and the Culture of Life which it serves, were both inaugurated at the Annunciation, the great solemnity we are celebrating today. At that moment, when the Providence of God met the humility of Mary, human life was given an identity, a dignity and a destiny that the pagans of the ancient world could not have imagined, and which the modern world cannot match or even comprehend. In that moment, in the “fiat,” in the “yes” with which Mary responded to the Archangel Gabriel, the horrifying power of sin and the culture of death it spawned, began to be broken.

Consider this lovely image from Saint Irenaeus. He wrote: “Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it“. Our Blessed Mother, by her love, trust and obedience, cooperated with God so that within her very body, the seed of the Culture of Life took root.

We here at Ave Maria, love and serve the Culture of Life begun at the Annunciation; we here at Ave Maria, in opposition to the culture of death which is devouring both human bodies and human souls, wish to imitate the love, trust and obedience of Mary. In imitation of our Blessed Mother, we too wish to cooperate with the saving plan of God. We want to say “yes” to what God would do with us, body and soul. That is why this glorious Solemnity of the Annunciation, a cause of joy for all Catholics, is held especially dear to us here at Ave Maria. The Annunciation is for us here at Ave Maria our icon, our charter and our measure.

Márton Váró’s iconic Annunciation relief in Ave Maria, Florida.

The Annunciation is our icon, for it helps us to see what our lives should look like—a humble, grateful and fruitful trusting of God’s Power and Providence. The Annunciation is our charter, for Mary’s “fiat”, her “yes” to the work of God must be echoed and implemented by us here. And the Annunciation is our measure, for we can only judge our success or failure by our obedience to the call of God.

Today, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the patronal feast of Ave Maria University, let’s pray for three graces, three special blessings. Let’s pray to be alert—alert to the promptings of the divine messengers sent our way, as Mary was. Let’s pray to be obedient—obedient to the workings of Divine Providence, as Mary was. And let’s pray to be fruitful—fruitful stewards of the amazing grace entrusted to our care. If we do that, if we pray and live to be alert, obedient and fruitful, then we can both echo and imitate Mary at the inauguration of the Culture of Life and say, “May it be done to me according to your word.”

Ave Maria University’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily during Mass for the Solemnity of the Feast of the Annunciation, which is the patronal feast of the town of Ave Maria, the parish of Ave Maria Oratory, and Ave Maria University. Father McTeigue is currently finishing a collection of homilies and essays on preaching entitled, I Have Someone to Tell You: A Jesuit Heralds the Gospel. He recently began writing a weekly column. Father McTeigue earnestly seeks your prayers that his life and work be to God’s greater glory.

The Annunciation – Cornelius Sullivan on Márton Váró’s magnum opus

The Annunciation, with Sculptor Márton Váró, Ave Maria, Florida

Ave Maria, FL, March 25, 2015 – The Blessed Virgin Mary strides forward breaking the confines of the sculptural relief format. That is only one original aspect of this Annunciation.

Márton Váró  is a figurative sculptor who understands beauty and he is experienced in showing the beauty of women.

The scene is a break from the traditional Virgin figures who are shown passively reading or praying. Often she would be shown surprised. Here, her pose indicates that this may be after her fiat, after her yes. Váró’s Virgin is a substantial figure who is strong and active. We may read her expression not as surprised but as inspired.

The Archangel Gabriel kneels respectfully before the Virgin Mary. We may imagine that as Gabriel left on his mission he may have asked, “Should I kneel?” Perhaps God responded, “Artists might show you kneeling, or on your toes, or in the air. Don’t worry you will know what to do.”

Sometimes Artists compress time to tell a complete narrative. Gabriel is speaking and Mary has already said yes. It is in the nature of relationships on earth, that there must be a back and forth, and therefore there is always waiting. We may guess that there was a moment when heaven and earth waited for her yes.

The two other innovative qualities of this sculpture are, first that the sculptor is a Direct Carver and every inch of the marble relief was touched by his hands.

Secondly, the work was completed on site and the whole community became a part of the creative process.

The normal procedure for a project of this magnitude would be for a small two foot model of the design be sent to Carrara or Pietrasanta, Italy where it would be enlarged and carved by artisans. With some luck you could have it resembling the model in a general way in a few years. There would be no guarantee that what looked good at two feet would work at thirty five feet. In Ave Maria the sculptor alone began and completed this sculpture and he also supervised the installation.

The church is in the center of the town of Ave Maria in Florida. It dominates the main piazza like a European Cathedral, a Duomo, and it faces Ave Maria University. The church, the town, and the university are all dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Annunciation takes up a very large proportion of the “cathedral”, the Oratory. The art is both traditional and innovative and it signifies that the building is a Roman Catholic Church.

The sculpture saves the odd Post Modern building that kids call a space ship and that has been compared to an airplane hanger. Its silhouette, front and back, resembles a Bishop’s mitre. The architectural vocabulary of the Oratory, employing both masonry and steel, is a mixed metaphor, not having a particular style. The project did not have an architect, it was the vision of a businessman executed by engineers with no regard to the cannons of traditional Catholic Church architecture with its vocabulary of arches and domes and religious art designed for the inside of the church as well as the outside. It is recognizable now as a church because of The Annunciation sculpture.

A parishioner objected to my characterization of the Oratory as an odd Post Modern building. In teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the School of Architecture, I was required to define terms and understand movements such as Post Modernism.  That does not mean that I don’t love the church. It is my church too. Sacraments are lived there.

In The Annunciation the beauty of the message and the beauty of the sculptural form are one and work together.

Lest anyone think that art like this is extravagant I remind them of a sentence by Pope Benedict that proclaims the truth that art is essential to the Church.

The only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely, the saints the Church has produced and the art which has grown in her womb. – Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, The Ratzinger Report, Messori, 1988.

On any given day you can see small groups of people in the remote location on the edge of the Florida Everglades taking pictures of The Annunciation of The Blessed Virgin Mary. Those photographs will subsequently go around the world.

Annunciation sculptor Marton Varo

Márton Váró  worked for long hours each day in public before the whole community. Covered with white marble dust, (and “looking like a baker” as Leonardo da Vinci said of Michelangelo) he would stop and answer questions for students and pilgrims. When asked at a discussion forum, when the work was nearing completion, if the Virgin Mary had communicated anything special to him, he responded, “Yes, she said keep working.”

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Click here to see an image of the unfinished side angels and to read more about the Ave Maria Oratory and The Annunciation.

Artist--1Cornelius Sullivan, MFA, is a prolific writer, painter, engraver, sculptor, art historian and lecturer whose work  – even his non-religious work – reflects his Catholic faith. He has taught at several universities including the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and currently is an adjunct at Ave Maria University. For years Cornelius has been part of the fabric of life in Ave Maria. His art and writing can be discovered at www.SullivanArt.com

Ave Maria opens 2015 with one new home closing each day during the first 2 months

During the first 59 days of 2015, there were 54 new home closings in Ave Maria. That’s almost one home sold every day during January and February (to be precise it’s one closing every 1.09 days).

Maple Ridge continues to be popular with new home buyers, logging in 33 sales, despite repeated price increases totaling as much as 19 percent over what the first buyers paid when they closed in early 2014. There were 17 new home sales in Del Webb Naples in Ave Maria. There were 3 new homes sold in Hampton Village, where only 30 lots are unsold and only one lot along Ave Maria Boulevard is available. There was just 1 new home sold in Emerson Park, with people in town wondering why Pulte Homes doesn’t seem interested in selling homes there. These figures include only actual closings of new homes purchased directly from builders and recorded in January and February of 2015.

In other news, at the end of January a company called CC Ave Maria Estates LLC (the company was known as CC Maple Ridge Reserve, LLC, until its name was changed in January) purchased more than 128 acres in Ave Maria for more than $6 million in two transactions. The new owner has the same mailing address as CC Devco Homes, which is no surprise. This land is apparently slated for what has been called Maple Ridge Estates, a neighborhood immediately south of Ave Maria University (and on the west side of Ave Maria Boulevard) that has not yet been officially announced by the developers of Maple Ridge. 

Meanwhile (also in January) over by the far northeast edge of Hampton Village, three lots in what will be Phase 4 or 5 of Maple Ridge have been re-platted to accommodate “Maple Ridge Estates Model Lots”.

model lots

“Maple Ridge Estates Model Lots”

Robb Klucik has lived with his family in Ave Maria since it opened in 2007. In addition to running his law practice in Ave Maria, Robb edits this blog, administers a facebook forum for 1000 Ave Maria residents, serves as the President of the West Point Society of Naples, and enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

Patience and Feasting: Annunciation milestones in Ave Maria

It takes time. And God has all the time in the world. Just look at Barcelona’s Sagrada Família Basilica Church, which remains unfinished more than a century after construction commenced in March of 1882.

As Ave Maria prepares to celebrate the town’s patronal feast day, the Feast of the Annunciation, on March 25, it is fitting to recall the milestone events that have occurred on Annunciation days in the history of the still unfinished Ave Maria Oratory:

–  In 2006, the Oratory’s cornerstone was laid prior to the town’s construction.

– In 2008, the Oratory was dedicated by Bishop Dewane on the town’s first Annunciation day celebration.

– In 2011, Márton Váró’s magnum opus Annunciation sculpture was unveiled.

– In 2013, the annual Grand Annunciation Feast celebrations were inaugurated by Ave Maria University, during which the university and the townspeople celebrate with Mass, procession, wine, food, song and dancing, under the backdrop of the magnificent Annunciation.

One future milestone will be the installation of the two side sculptures planned to accompany Váró’s Annunciation. We don’t know when that might be – and in fact there is no plan for the completion of these sculptures. But that is how it is with churches – it takes time and patience. When these sculptures are completed, their blessing and unveiling will be another great way to mark the town’s feast day.

This year the Annunciation celebrations will fall on Wednesday, March 25.

Ave Maria Oratory with side angels by Marton Varo - Photo courtesy of Marton Varo

Rendering of the Ave Maria Oratory with side angels by Márton Váró – Photo courtesy of Márton Váró

Ave Maria Oratory left side maquette by Marton Varo - Photo courtesy of Marton Varo

Ave Maria Oratory left side maquette by Márton Váró – Photo courtesy of Márton Váró

Ave Maria Oratory right side maquette by Marton Varo - Photo courtesy of Marton Varo

Ave Maria Oratory right side maquette by Márton Váró – Photo courtesy of Márton Váró

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Scythian delights a dancing crowd at the Grand Annunciation Feast in 2013

Robb Klucik has lived with his family in Ave Maria since it opened in 2007. In addition to running his law practice in Ave Maria, Robb edits this blog, administers a facebook forum for 1000 Ave Maria residents, serves as the President of the West Point Society of Naples, and enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

No Surprise: Ave Maria is a rapidly growing traditional college town with a Catholic heart

 

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Those who haven’t been paying attention might not realize just how nice Ave Maria is and why it has attracted several hundreds of homebuyers in the past two years. The latest video about the town is very well done. It hits all the points. The tag line is: “Ave Maria. Life. Made Simple.”

And it’s all true. Ave Maria is a rapidly growing traditional college town with something for all ages and for everyone who loves family, friends, faith, sports, art, education and old fashioned hometown values. And one drive or stroll through town will help you see that Ave Maria is the town with a Catholic heart. And, as the video reminds us, Ave Maria has 100 miles of trails!

Ave Maria is the home of Ave Maria University, the Donohue Catholic prep school, the Ave Maria Montessori School and a homeschool co-op. The town is also home to Arthrex‘s large (and expanding) medical device factory, as well as many other businesses including a Publix grocery store.  Five health care providers offer services in town: the Braden Clinic offers primary care physician appointments onsite five days a week and can also make house calls, Ave Maria Chiropractic provides services in town, physical therapy is offered by ResultsCare, dental and orthodontic services are offered by Ave Maria Dentistry, and massage therapy is offered 5 days a week via house call or at the Oasis Club by Ave Maria Massage.

Recently Ave Maria was named one of the top 50 master planned communities in the country, and was also named one of the top 20 communities for those who are retiring.

Robb Klucik has lived with his family in Ave Maria since it opened in 2007. In addition to running his law practice in Ave Maria, Robb edits this blog, administers a facebook forum for 1000 Ave Maria residents, serves as the President of the West Point Society of Naples, and enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

Sizzling Boomtown: every 1.5 days a new home closes in Ave Maria, Florida

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Aerial view of the town of Ave Maria, Florida, taken in 2014

During the last 7 weeks of  2014, every 1.5 days a new home closed in Ave Maria, Florida. During the last three quarters of 2014, every 1.8 days a new home closed; that’s more than 16.25 closings every month. That figure doesn’t include the many re-sales of existing homes in Ave Maria.

The most recent addition to Ave Maria, Maple Ridge builder CC Ave Maria, closed on 92 homes in 2014; that is over 10 homes each month because they didn’t start holding closings until April.  The average closing price for those 92 sold homes has been slightly over $313,000. Maple Ridge has expanded its lineup and has started building many of its new smaller Coquina homes for buyers under contract; in 2015 the builder also has plans to offer larger homes on larger lots in Ave Maria.

During the period April 1 to December 31, 2014, there were 46 new home closings in Del Webb at Ave Maria, with an average price of almost $287,000. During the same period, there were 149 new home closings in all of Ave Maria, at an average sales price of just over $299,000. In Hampton Village about 75% of the homes have closed, and seven more are under construction. The developer has sold the last of the Residences at La Piazza condominiums at the center of town.

A recap of these sales numbers for the period April 1 through December 31, 2014:

  • 149 total new home closings in all of Ave Maria at an average sales price of $299,000;
  • 92 Maple Ridge new home closings at an average sales price of about $308,000;
  • 46 Del Webb Naples new home closings at an average sales price almost $287,000;
  • 2 Emerson Park new home closing at a sales price of $227,000;
  • 5 Hampton Village new home closings at a sales price of about $292,000;
  • 4 LaPiazza new condominium closings at an average sales price of $160,000.

These figures include only new home sales from the various builders to the public. April is used as a starting point because that is the first month that Maple Ridge began selling homes. Figures are based on a search of the official land records of the Collier County Clerk.

Robb Klucik has lived with his family in Ave Maria since it opened in 2007. In addition to running his law practice in Ave Maria, Robb edits this blog, administers a facebook forum for 1000 Ave Maria residents, serves as the President of the West Point Society of Naples, and enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

McTeigue: Goals, resources and allies in the battle to restore the male soul (all present in Ave Maria)

 

In his latest column, Father Robert McTeigue “identif[ies] assets both spiritual and natural that we can bring to bear in this great struggle for men.” Father sent AveMariaLiving.com a note requesting that we link readers to it because in it he favorably mentions the town of Ave Maria, Florida. This is the second of three columns in which McTeigue addresses the cultural and spiritual battle for the male soul. The first column described “some of the academic, legal, social, cultural and economic forces arrayed against men as men, and pointed to [the battle’s] spiritual root.” In the upcoming third column he will “describe a concrete plan of life for the cultivation of authentic masculinity, addressing a man’s role as pilgrim, warrior and king.” The fourth column will discuss distinctively Christian friendship among men.

UPDATE:
1st column in this series: Modern culture has declared war on masculinity.
2nd column in this series: Goals, resources and allies in the battle to restore the male soul.
3rd column in this series: Male role models from Scripture, not GQ.
4th column in this series: Distinctively Christian friendship among men.

High School Rugby in Ave Maria - Papists

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ave maria wrestling may 2014

Alex of Ave Maria - Alex Klucik

Saint Josephs Day Ave Maria

Dewane procession

Brewing IPA in Ave Maria

Shamrock football awards houde vega scanlon scheck

Mt Jefferson

Papist Rugby

Father Mayer with Bishop Dewane

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Capital campaign underway for Oratory parish center (link to give online)

Capital campaign brochure (1)_Page_2

Recently Father Cory Mayer, Parish Administrator of the Ave Maria Quasi-Parish, announced a new capital campaign to establish a parish center on Annunciation Circle next to the Oratory. The goal is to raise $250,000.00, and at this point the parish is about $62,000.00 short of that goal.  According to the campaign brochure:

By providing a place for fellowship, faith formation classes and presentations, parish group meetings and more, we can better fulfill our mission to build the kingdom of God in and through our Parish Community.

The projected Parish Center will have 1,716 square feet of space and include a main hall, accommodating 100, a reception area, lavatories and storage. It will have a serving section, tables and chairs, but no food preparation facilities.

The parish has established a link where donations to the capital campaign can be made online: https://avemariaoratory.weshareonline.org/

Capital campaign brochure (1)_Page_1

 

McTeigue: Rejoice because “You are worth my Son”

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Well, we have a problem. In our liturgical calendar, this Sunday is known as “Gaudete Sunday”, which may be very loosely translated as “Rejoicing Sunday.” In my copy of the Roman Catholic Daily Missal, I read that, “On this day the Church urges us to gladness in the middle of this time of expectation and penance.”

Now, those who know me can tell you that I am not prone to spontaneous outbursts of rejoicing and gladness, and achieving rejoicing and gladness on a schedule, even a liturgical one, would take a significant act of the will on my part. And while I do frequently experience expectation, what I most often expect is best not spoken of in the presence of impressionable young children such as we have here among us this morning.

Now, in fairness, I must say that I think that I and those like me—we have earned our gloom. Some among the chronically gloomy would say that they have earned their gloom by making the effort to keep abreast of what’s going on in politics near and far. Some such folks have concluded that the rule of law is in tatters in this country and beyond whatever borders may still be said to remain. They remind us that the veneer of law that covers underlying lawlessness, sooner or later, inevitably fades away. Lawlessness, as both history and headlines teach us—for those who care to learn—they teach us that lawlessness and the tyranny that precedes it do not protect the vulnerable, promote the common good, or secure the rights of the Church.

Other folks say that they have earned their gloom as they observe the present state of the Church’s life. These folks call “apostasy” what one prominent Catholic described as “miscues” during the recently-concluded Extraordinary Synod on the Family. These same folks also use the word “persecution” as they look at those circling the Church around the world and closer to home. Beheadings abroad and local legislation show that nowadays those with access to either to power or force tend to have no love for Holy Mother Church.

So, for those who are more inclined to count clouds during the day rather than count stars at night, Gaudete Sunday seems a bit…incongruous.

Nonetheless, duty calls. Saint Paul exhorts us with these words: “Rejoice in the Lord always: again, I say, rejoice!” Saint Paul is right, and whatever dark, brooding, Irish melancholics you may know, and those like him, are wrong. Let me explain why.

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McTeigue: Do we think of Ave Maria as the Hobbits thought of the Shire?

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“Consider, as you watch the movie, whether we think of Ave Maria as the Hobbits thought of their hometown of the Shire.”

What do you think of when I say the words, “Oil Well Road”? Well, if you have spent any time here in Ave Maria, you know that Oil Well Road is the link to the city of Naples and to the great world beyond. If you have been around for more than just a few couple of years, you probably know that Oil Well Road has been expanded by a massive construction project. And you know that the project of widening, straightening and leveling Oil Well Road took a lot of time, effort and money.

I mention the construction project at Oil Well Road because of what we read about John the Baptist in Mark’s gospel this afternoon. Borrowing from the prophet Isaiah, the Baptist calls upon his hearers to, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” Well, gosh—how hard can that be? I mean, if the Lord wants to go somewhere, it should not be difficult for Him to get the roads He wants. I mean, He is God, after all….He just needs to snap His fingers and “POOF!” Instant 12-lane superhighway! Right? Well…no….

The way of the Lord that John the Baptist spoke of, the way of the Lord Who is coming into the world, is the way into our hearts. And that road is a mess. About the human heart the prophet Jeremiah said, “More tortuous than anything is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?” To which I would add, “Amen!” We know he is right. The road into our hearts is crooked, with plenty of detours, dead ends, littered with the debris of idols and cratered by sin.

But the reason that the season of Advent is a season of hope is because the Church proclaims that our Lord will walk into our hearts if the way is prepared for Him. Yes, yes, I know—easier said than done. I am reminded now of a friend whose little boy spilled grape juice on a white carpet. As his mother gasped in horror, he said, “Don’t worry Mommy! I’ll just magic it away!” We cannot have recourse to magic or to wishful thinking to make straight the way of the Lord into our hearts. So, how shall it be done? How about by prayer? The short answer to that question is, “Yes and No.”

The answer is “No” if we think that prayer will allow us to “magic away” what separates us from God. For example, if I think that all I need to do is to say my prayers and then, presto-change-o, abracadabra, hocus-pocus, all my attachments to sin will simply disappear, and then the Lord can just sprint into my heart and there begin His reign, then the answer is surely “No.” Prayer does not work that way. We all know that. And we all know that because we have all tried it.

So, I will ask again: Can we prepare the way of the Lord by prayer? The answer is surely, “Yes,” if we understand prayer properly. We must understand that prayer is the fuel for the engine of our discipleship, which means that prayer is the power behind apostolic action. Filling up the tank and then leaving the car in the garage gets us nowhere.

Prayer gives disciples the fuel needed to begin the necessary and hard work of reforming our lives. Prayer gives us the desire and energy we need to remove the obstacles of sin that keep our Lord from entering our hearts and from exercising His authority over our lives. To make straight the way of the Lord is a project that requires prayer, and then reform, which is a clearing away of whatever impedes to progress of God into our lives.

Today, I will mention just one impediment, one great obstacle that keeps God from realizing His reign over our lives. That obstacle is the illusion, the subtle and persistent illusion that we believe we ought to be allowed to take for granted, because we have deserve it, an ordinary life of routine, comfort and plenty.

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Next week, the third movie installment of Tolkien’s great novel, “The Hobbit” will be in the theaters. I am sure that many folks here will see the movie; I will probably see it myself. While you are watching that movie, I would like you to

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McTeigue: John Paul the Great and the Gospel of the Family

Familiaris Consortio

Sometimes, a homilist feels like a DJ at a wedding reception. He always knows that some people will leave disappointed because they didn’t hear what they were hoping to hear that day.

Today’s feast day is in honor of Saint John Paul 2, and so one might reasonably expect a homily that waxes eloquent in praise of that great saint.

We have just marked the end of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, of which John Paul should have been the patron. That synod did not leave the Church in a state of serene clarity, and so one might reasonably expect a homily that applies the wisdom of John Paul to the synod.

And today we have a disturbing passage from the Gospel of Luke, wherein Jesus describes the blessings of faithful servants and the doom of unfaithful servants. We tell ourselves we are one and fear that we are the other, and so one might reasonably expect a homily that helps us to take this painful parable to heart.

But why should we settle for reasonable expectations? Let’s try to do it all in the short time that God has given us!

The parable we heard today warns us that we do not know the day or the hour when our Lord might return to us in His glory, or when death might carry us off to Him. We would do well to be ready for either event. But that observation is as facile as it is banal, and by itself, it isn’t likely to do us much good.

The parable reminds us, and John Paul would surely agree, that the Lord comes to us day by day, moment by moment, in Word and Sacrament, in our neighbor, and in mundane events. Are we ready to greet our Lord hidden within the ordinary and the familiar? Do we see ourselves as serving our Lord’s hunger as we prepare yet another meal? Do we see ourselves as honoring our Lord’s wisdom as we write another essay? Do we see ourselves as reverencing our Lord’s innocence as we dry a child’s tears? These familiar acts, John Paul would tell us are truly familiar—that is, they are the acts of family. The family is an altar upon which are placed loving acts of praise, sacrifice and care—sometimes dramatically, sometimes quietly, and, please God, always with great love, regardless the cost.

The Synod on the Family would agree that the families entrusted to our care deserve, as their birthright, Capture“faithful and prudent” stewards. It is right, then, as disciples of Christ, to have an examination of conscience regarding our stewardship of the families entrusted to our care. Our Lord Himself resides in each member of our family, and we would do well to attend to His needs and the gifts He brings.

I fear that we often misunderstand these words of Our Blessed Lord: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” Many seem to think that what Jesus means is this: “Well, if you’ve been given lot of resources and blessings, expect a lot of accountability. And if you’ve been given a whole lot of resources and blessings, expect a whole lot of accountability.” If that were a correct interpretation, one would almost be inclined not to be very blessed.

I think that’s a misunderstanding of the gospel. I think Jesus is saying this: “Look, if you’ve been entrusted with responsibilities, expect to give an account before God of your stewardship. And if you’ve been entrusted with responsibility for creatures made in the image of God and redeemed by my Precious Blood—if you have been entrusted with the care of family—then expect to give an exacting account before God of your stewardship.”

Frightening? Maybe. But it is also wonderful news! God gives not just His love but also gives us those whom He loves! He gives us the vocation of loving as He does—freely, fully, faithfully and fruitfully. God calls us to become like Himself, He Who is Love, and He gives us the family as a great school of love. That’s why the family must be cherished and protected and guarded most vigilantly—because without proper stewardship of family, we will fail, each of us and all of us, at our human vocation to become love by loving as God loves.

Let’s pray today for the intercession of Saint John Paul, that great apostle of the family, to bless the work of the synods and our family life, so that, like him, we may be faithful in love, even unto death. Then with him we can echo the words of the psalmist and say, “God indeed is my savior. I am confident and unafraid.”

May God’s Holy Name be praised now and forever.

Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily on the feast of Pope Saint John Paul the Great last Wednesday. Father McTeigue is currently finishing a collection of homilies and essays on preaching entitled, I Have Someone to Tell You: A Jesuit Heralds the Gospel. He recently began writing a weekly column, which this week focuses on what he would want the Synod Fathers to know about his long-suffering divorced friend, Pete. Father McTeigue earnestly seeks your prayers that his life and work be to God’s greater glory – and he invites your comments.

McTeigue: Christ wants a radically welcoming and inclusive Church

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Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily at Mass last Friday:

We were created for the praise of God’s glory. What is God’s glory? God’s glory is the shining forth of His truth.

In these days, when people tell us that we must be a “welcoming” Church and an inclusive “Church”, I think we must ask, “Can we be the Church that welcomes and includes the truth of God that God Himself has revealed?”

Can we welcome and include the truth of God’s wisdom? The wisdom that made us male and female and for each other as male and female? Can we be such a welcoming and inclusive Church?

Can we welcome and include the truth of God’s goodness? The absolute goodness that cannot abide any evil or lie? Can we be such a welcoming and inclusive Church?

Can we welcome and include the truth of God’s mercy? The mercy that allows us to embrace the justice of God which names good as good and evil as evil? Can we be such a welcoming and inclusive Church?

It is for such as these that we were made, we who were made for the praise of God’s glory. And at this moment, when we are being called upon to welcome and include what dishonors God, that we must decide whom we shall worship? Shall we worship the living God Who has revealed Himself to us through His only-begotten Son, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life? Or shall we worship an idol of our own making?

If we make our choice well, then we will know the truth of the psalm we heard today: “Exult, you just, in the LORD; praise from the upright is fitting.”

May God’s Holy Name be praised now and forever.

Father McTeigue is currently finishing a collection of homilies and essays on preaching entitled, I Have Someone to Tell You: A Jesuit Heralds the Gospel. He recently began writing a weekly column, topicwhich this week focuses on what he would want the Synod Fathers to know about his long-suffering divorced friend, Pete. Father McTeigue earnestly seeks your prayers that his life and work be to God’s greater glory – and he invites your comments.

Years ago, a founding Ave Marian dressed as Saint Francis for All Hallows Eve – circa 1992, somewhere in Bavaria

McTeigue: What happens when we lack proper priorities?

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Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached a wonderful homily at Mass this past Sunday. If you’ve been following the synod this week, you will likely want to send this homily to every synod father – yes, it is that good and it touches on the most difficult issues:

Do you want to hear a story? When I was a newly-ordained priest, I was invited to go abroad to attend a conference of Catholic ecumenists. I was told that there I would learn how to enter into dialogue with the world’s religions. The two-week trip to southern Italy appealed to me as well.

At the conference, I learned that there wasn’t going to be much dialogue. In fact, I was told that now it was time for the Church to “learn how to sit in silence at the feet of the world’s religions.” I stood up and pointed out that as a freshly-minted priest in his mid-30s, I was by far the newest and youngest priest in the group. If this venture were to have a future, it may well have to take me along with it. Here is the challenge I posed to them. I said, “Fathers, let us grant, for now, that I will take up your mandate to ‘learn how to sit in silence at the feet of the world’s religions’. But is there any one thing that you want me to say to them before I fall silent? As I go out the door to receive my tutelage from the world’s religions, will any of you jump up and say, ‘Hey! Bob McTeigue! Whatever you do, don’t forget to tell them…’ What would that one thing be, Fathers? What would that one thing be that you insist that I tell the world’s religions before I fall silent before them?” They couldn’t think of anything. I didn’t pay much attention to the proceedings of the conference after that, but I did enjoy having Nutella for breakfast every morning with freshly-baked Italian bread made by real Italians. That was the high point of the conference for me.

I think of that story as I try to bring together our selection from the epistle of Saint Paul and our passage from Matthew’s gospel. Today’s readings have a great deal to teach us about proper priorities and what happens when you lack them. Here’s a hint of what I have in mind: When you don’t have proper priorities, you end up telling newly-ordained priests to sit in silence at the feet of the world’s religions.

Click below to read the rest of the homily.

Father McTeigue is currently finishing a collection of homilies and essays on preaching entitled, I Have Someone to Tell You: A Jesuit Heralds the Gospel. He recently began writing a weekly column. He earnestly seeks your prayers that his life and work be to God’s greater glory – and he invites your comments.

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Pics from Around Town

And what a beautiful town it is.

MapleRidgeHometown

Sorry we haven’t been able to post so much lately. We have been super busy showing homes and writing new contracts! Both new construction and some resales. It’s been beautiful weather(a little on the hot side) but I won’t complain too much. We have been having awesome sunsets! Hope you can come visit us! There is a home football game for both Donahue Catholic on Friday night and Ave Maria University on Saturday. Should be a great weekend of football!

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Cardinal Newman Society lauds 2 Ave Maria institutions

AMU logo Seal from Admissions - Smaller2015 Newman Guide Seal CMYK 300 dpi

The Cardinal Newman Society issues the annual “go to” guides for parents and students who are interested in attending a high school, college or university that has a solid commitment to offering an education in a context that is in accord with the Catholic faith. Each year the The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College is published – and each year Ave Maria University makes the cut. Likewise, each year the Shonor rollociety honors select high schools by including them on its Catholic Education Honor Roll, and once again the Rhodora J. Donahue Academy of Ave Maria is a School of Excellence.

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McTeigue: Are we exempt from the blindness that has ruined other communities?

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Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached a wonderful homily at Mass on the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time:

Do you think that God has a sense of humor?  I think that He at least has a sense of irony.  After all, He has a city boy like me regularly preach about wheat, seeds, sheep and fish—all things I’ve not spent a lot of time with.  And now, I, whose experience in construction does not extend beyond nailing two boards together, have to preach to you about why buildings fall down.

Jesus said, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”  The cornerstone is the first element of a building’s foundation.  The rest of the foundation flows from the cornerstone.  In other words, if you mess with the cornerstone, the whole building will come crashing down around your ears.

We have to sound the alarm.  We have to offer alternatives.  We have to offer shelter to those who may be fleeing the collapse.  And…we have to look in the mirror.

Here in our little home of Ave Maria—in our schools, our town, our parish, our neighborhoods and families, and within our own souls—we have to ask ourselves:  “Is Christ the true cornerstone?  Are we faithful and fruitful stewards of God’s gifts and God’s favor?  Are we exempt from the blindness that has ruined other communities, nations and even civilizations?”

These hard questions have to start within the sanctuary of each soul here. And then with humility and charity we need to begin to have that conversation with one another.

Click below to read the entire homily.

Father McTeigue is currently finishing a collection of homilies and essays on preaching entitled, I Have Someone to Tell You: A Jesuit Heralds the Gospel. He recently began writing a weekly column. He earnestly seeks your prayers that his life and work be to God’s greater glory – and he invites your comments.

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Roger Scruton at Ave Maria: Neurononsense

Lectures, such as this one, are one of the many benefits of living in a university town.

Ave Maria Community Alliance Announces the Creation of the Ave Maria Business Council

Ave Maria Community Alliance, Inc.

The purpose of the Business Council is to identify and promote types of economic development in Ave Maria which are most consistent with its original plan and with its being a university town.  Over time the Business Council aims to work with Ave Maria Development and local government to put in place specific economic incentives for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and telecommuters to relocate to Ave Maria — on account of its community life, its beauty, its appeal for raising a family, and its suitability for doing business.

Dr. Pakaluk asks all interested residents to contact him at info@avemariacommunityalliance.org.  He particularly welcomes the participation of retired residents of Dell Webb and Bellera.  “There are lots of programs where retired businesspersons contribute their expertise to help the local community.   Retirees who serve on the Business Council can have confidence that their efforts will contribute to a successful and flourishing Ave Maria community for generations to come.”

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Roger Scruton at Ave Maria: Un Uomo Universale

McTeigue: Why we say “Ave Crux Spes Unica!”

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Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily today for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (the Epistle and Gospel for the Mass came from Philippians 2:5-11 and John 12:31-36):

When you look at the cross, what do you see? Do you see an accessory, or do you see a necessity? I ask this question because it seems to me that much of our culture, in both secular and Christian circles, sees the cross only as an accessory. I say that because it seems to me that very many people, both secular folks and self-identified Christians, seem to be unable to come to terms with intractable evil. What do I mean by that?

I call intractable evil the kind of evil that cannot be reasoned with, that cannot be explained by human motivation alone, and that stubbornly endures even while it seeks to spread. It’s like the mold you get in your basement that you can never quite seem to get rid of. Even after you scrub and repaint, the smell remains, and the mold inevitably comes back.

Many spokesmen for our times, both secular and self-identified Christian alike, seem to suggest…

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Icons of Christ: extolling the deep meaning of every mother’s suffering

Catherine Pakaluk is our neighbor, friend, and a professor at Ave Maria University. She is a mother, and this week that is the focus of her column:

…But I think we should talk more about the negatives. Not to be dour, of course, but to help people understand the fundamental meaning of the Christian vocation, a message that is central to Mulieris Dignitatem and the Second Vatican Council. You just can’t advance these majestic teachings on a cartoon image of the pregnant woman that sweeps away hardships. People do not want to escape from sufferings. They want to know that their sufferings have meaning…

This is my favorite line from the column: “And just like pregnancy—Christianity seems to make sense and be cool for a while at the beginning, right up to the point when you realize, and you always do, that running the race to the finish calls for laying down your life.”

This Madonna and Child shows them pausing during the flight into Egypt – see Caravaggio’s original painting for the full scene. This painting is by Cornelius Sullivan, a member of the Ave Maria community.

That’s what every mom MUST do while pregnant and usually does after the child is born. That is what is so compellingly beautiful about every mom. That is why motherhood is the best icon of Christ – and that is precisely why motherhood is rejected by so many. According to Catherine, maybe talking about it more will help more women understand the meaning of that suffering instead of simply dreading it.

Thank you to all the mothers in Ave Maria. Thank you for your witness – for being icons.

McTeigue: How could you not give yourself completely to a miracle when it is offered to you?

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Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily at today’s Mass:

Do you want to hear a story?  When I taught at another university, one that identified itself as “Catholic”, I all too frequently had the following conversation with students.

“Do you practice any particular religion?”

“Well, I’m Catholic…I guess…”

That always struck me as odd.  How can one not be sure about whether or not one is a disciple of a crucified God?  If you asked someone about his profession, would you expect to hear, “Well, I’m a brain surgeon…I guess…I mean, sometimes I practice brain surgery, but not a lot and not recently, because, well, like…I don’t really get much out of it, but I know that my mother would like me to do it more often…”

My late mentor in philosophy, the great Paul Weiss, was an agnostic Jewish metaphysician…

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McTeigue reveals St. Ignatius’s cure for blindness

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As promised, in the second installment of his new weekly column our very own Father Robert McTeigue, SJ, offers us a cure for blindness. Here is a snippet:

We open our eyes on Sunday morning and we think about getting ready to go to Mass and then we blink and it’s Saturday night and we have no idea about how we spent the intervening days of the week. We are too rushed, too busy, too unobservant—too spiritually blind—to take note of what’s happened to us, in us or through us. As a result, we overlook graces offered, and graces received; we overlook near and actual occasions of sin; patterns of sin and grace may be taking root in us and we don’t know how, where, or why. Who can live like that? We do. Who should live like that? No one. Is there an alternative? Yes—thanks to Saint Ignatius Loyola.

With that, I will ask: “Have you thanked God today for all the priests in Ave Maria?”

Patrick Cassidy, composer of “Calvary” soundtrack, visits Ave Maria

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It is not very often that a film with an overtly Catholic theme portrays people of orthodox faith in a positive light, portrays them realistically and without saccharine, and offers the viewer an experience of truth, beauty, and goodness. Rarer still do both critics and audiences laud such a film (see National Catholic Register’s Steven Greydanus, First Things, Roger Ebert, New York TimesPatheos, The New Yorker, and Rotten Tomatoes).

That film, Calvary, is currently playing in theaters here in the Naples area and throughout the United States. You can view the trailer here. You can listen to the soundtrack here and here.

This week, the man who composed Calvary’s soundtrack and score, Patrick Cassidy, and the producer of the soundtrack, his brother Frank Cassidy, have been visiting Ave Maria, Florida. Patrick and Frank CassidyHailing from Ireland but now living in Los Angeles, Patrick’s artistic accomplishments speak for themselves. People in town might recall that Patrick wrote the “Ave Maria” that was played during the unveiling of Marton Varo’s magnum opus, the “Annunciation” sculpture that graces the façade of the Oratory (click video to listen).

AMD plans to explain 2 of its county planning commission petitions

Residents in town recently received a notice from the Collier County Planning Commission. The notice is rather technical and even a thorough reading of it does not clarify exactly what proposals the commission is considering for implementation.

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According to Ave Maria Development executive Cee Cee Marinelli, AMD will host a community presentation on Thursday, August 21st at 5:00 PM in the Community Room on Annunciation Circle. Ms. Marinelli also explained that the “main elements to the DRI SRA amendment” will do the following:

  • Rescind the Ave Maria DRI since by Florida Statute, SRAs are not required to be DRIs.
  • Revise the Ave Maria SRA Master Plan to reflect the increase to the area of Town Center 2b along Oil Well Road by 155 acres.
  • Add 600,000 square feet of light industrial uses within the Ave Maria SRA.
  • Modify the Pedestrian Network Map to allow for sidewalks on one side of the street on future low volume roads.
  • Add single family detached “Z-lots” as an approved lot configuration (for Coquina).
  • Change Root Barrier requirements within the Ave Maria SRA.

 

Birdseye view of Ave Maria

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This aerial image of Ave Maria was taken in late July by the friend of some town residents.

Maple Ridge expands: 5 new Coquina models offered near Middlebrooke

UPDATE 8/20/2014: Check out the new site plan – very nice – perhaps the value of townhomes in Middlebrooke just went up in value!
coquina at maple ridge ave maria

Wow – 5 more models offered by Maple Ridge. A 5-bedroom, 1-car garage, 2250 square foot home starting at around $240k. Ave Maria resident realtors Bob and Erin Campbell have the story (below). And here is another link to 15 floor plans including the 5 brand new plans just released this week.

The Encinitas model is a 5-bedroom home starting at around $240k.

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CC DEVCO will now be building two communities in Ave. Coquina at Maple Ridge will be built in the area of Middlebrooke in Ave Maria. All homes are two stories with features similar to the Maple Ridge homes. Starting just under 190K and 1,971+ sqft  for the smallest home of 3 beds up to the largest 4 bedroom home at 2,635+ sqft.

Interested in the new Coquina community? Did you know it does not cost you one single penny to have a Realtor watch out for your interests in a new build transaction? Why not protect your interests and negotiate the best deal possible! Whether you have interest in buying in this new community or any other new build community, be sure to contact a John R. Wood Agent to assist! (Like Bob or me)  239-281-6571 or email Ecampbell@johnrwood.com

 

 

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Synod on Family and Evangelization highlights what Ave Maria must guard against

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Does anyone remember this request for input? Those questions were geared toward the Church’s Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that will discuss The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization, to be held in October.

In late June the Vatican published the working document (instrumentum laboris) for this synod. The entire document is worth reading. Among its 159 paragraphs are two that people in Ave Maria (her founders, leaders, residents and parishioners) might find interesting because they seem to re-state some of the criticisms that have been aimed at Ave Maria. These are the two paragraphs:

Support for a Familial Spirituality

58. Many bishops’ conferences recount how particular Churches render support to a familial spirituality in their pastoral activity. In our time, spiritual movements make a special contribution to promoting an authentic, effective pastoral programme for the family. Christian communities are characterized by a variety of ecclesial situations and approaches aimed at specific individuals. Clearly, local Churches should be able to find that this richness is a real resource for not only promoting various initiatives on behalf of couples intending marriage but devising ways to provide suitable pastoral care for families today. Some respondents recount that many dioceses foster specific endeavours and formation for couples who can then provide support to other couples and sustain a series of initiatives to promote a true familial spirituality. Some argue that sometimes local communities, movements, groups and religious associations can be exclusive and too restrictive in the life of a parish. This situation illustrates the importance of their being fully engaged with the whole Church in an authentic sense of mission so as to avoid the danger of excessively looking inward. Families belonging to these communities exercise a vibrant apostolate and, judging from the past, are instrumental in the evangelization of many families. Their members offer a credible witness with their lives of fidelity in marriage, mutual respect, unity and openness to life.

Counter-Witness in the Church

75. Responses from almost every part of the world frequently refer to the sexual scandals within the Church (pedophilia, in particular) and, in general, to a negative experience with the clergy and other persons. Sex scandals significantly weaken the Church’s moral credibility, above all in North America and northern Europe. In addition, a conspicuously lavish lifestyle by some of the clergy shows an inconsistency between their teaching and their conduct. Some lay faithful live and practice their faith in a “showy manner,” failing to display the truth and humility required by the Gospel spirit. The responses lament that persons who are separated, divorced or single parents sometimes feel unwelcome in some parish communities, that some clergy are uncompromising and insensitive in their behavior; and, generally speaking, that the Church, in many ways, is perceived as exclusive, and not sufficiently present and supportive. In this sense, an open and positive pastoral approach is needed, one which can restore confidence in the institution through a credible witness by all her members.

While perception is not always reality, it is true that perception can be an impediment to winning people over for Christ. If we are not careful, without us realizing it the project of Ave Maria might overshadow the reason for the project, that is Christ.* If we love this reason and wish to serve Him and lead others to know Him, it seems we will at least keep these things in mind, and perhaps take the occasion of this Synod to come up with ways our community can address these concerns.

Undated handout photo of Argentine Cardinal Bergoglio and family members

Before he was pope: Fr. Bergoglio with his family.

*See Msgr. Lorenzo Albecete, “A Presence, Not Utopia,” Traces, No. 11, December 1,  2007.

Missionary Fundraising

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One of the FOCUS missionaries who will be newly serving here at Ave Maria University has 4 weeks left to raise at least another $763/month in order to cover his mission and living expenses, etc. Perhaps you will feel called to help him meet his goal.

TIP: Go to his blog to see an amazing photo taken in front of the Oratory.

Missionary Impossible

To be honest  there isn’t a ton of big stuff to report on last week. It was pretty slow all around but the good stuff was really good and the okay stuff was just okay. Now I’m entering into the last 4 weeks I have before I need to head back to Ave Maria.

I definitely feel like I’ve hit a wall with fundraising. It is kind of scary but I’m trying not to panic. The week before last was a great week for MPD with my trip to Fort Collins being very successful. This past week…not so much. I felt a little burnt out. Looking at my list of contacts I thought I still had plenty of people I could ask to join my support team. However, going through them I’ve realized that I’ve pretty much reached out to the majority of people on that list in some one…

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Ave Herald publishers say goodbye to town’s iconic cat, Monty

Please click to read about Monty, cat of Ave Maria.
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New home sales in Ave Maria: Hampton highest average price, Maple Ridge most sales

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Map from county website showing Ave Maria home sales in 2014

In the four-month period April 1 through July 28, 2014, there were 51 new home sales in Ave Maria at an average price of  just over $277,000 (according to a database search of the official records of Collier County). Meanwhile new construction continues apace in Maple Ridge

While Hampton Village had the highest average new home price, Maple Ridge sold the most homes, followed closely by Del Webb. Also noteworthy is that Ave Maria Development has no more condominiums listed for sale at La Piazza in the heart of town. These figures include only new home sales from the various builders to the public:

  • 23 Maple Ridge new home closings at an average sales price of about $284,000;
  • 22 Del Webb Naples new home closings at an average sales price just under $276,000;
  • 3 Hampton Village new home closings at an average sales price of about $298,000;
  • 2 LaPiazza condo new home closings at an average sales price of $170,000; and
  • 1 Emerson Park new home closing at a sales price of $290,000.

 

 

 

Comments, Chronology & Video: Ave Maria University President Towey reacts to Hobby Lobby decision

Today’s Supreme Court news in the Hobby Lobby HHS contraception mandate case reverberated in Ave Maria rather loudly. While the impact the decision will have on lawsuits by non-profits such as AMU is not clear, AMU president Jim Towey (an attorney) sees today’s decision as a good development. AMU is represented by the Becket Fund, the same  law firm that prevailed in today’s Hobby Lobby case. The Ave Herald’s coverage is here.

AMU APPLAUDS US SUPREME COURT DECISION 6-30-2014 final AVE MARIA UNIVERSITY LAWSUITS Chronology

 

 

Hobby Lobby case of great interest to Ave Maria

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The Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby HHS mandate case was today’s big news. The court held that closely held corporations (ones without a lot of shareholders) have religious freedom to refuse to pay for abortion and birth control for their employees due to the religious beliefs of those who control the corporation. Many residents, students, faculty and others associated with the Ave Maria projects and Ave Maria, Florida, are closely following the outcome. These are some of the cases that will be impacted by today’s decision (although the impact on non-profit corporations is still not clear):

For Profit:

  • Legatus/Weingartz Supply Co. (E.D. Mich. Dec. 20, 2013) – Legatus was founded by Ave Maria founder Tom Monaghan and its headquarters is located in Ave Maria, Florida.
  • Domino’s Farms (E.D. Mich. Mar. 14, 2013) – Domino’s Farms was built and is owned by Ave Maria founder Tom Monaghan.
  • Mersino Management (E.D. Mich. July 11, 2013) – Attorney is Ave Maria School of Law alumna Erin Mersino, whose parents-in-law are the plaintiffs. Law firm is Thomas More Law Center, which was founded by Ave Maria founder Tom Monaghan.
  • Mersino Dewatering (E.D. Mich.filed Dec. 13, 2013) – Attorney is Ave Maria School of Law alumna Erin Mersino, whose parents-in-law are the plaintiffs. Law firm is Thomas More Law Center, which was founded by Ave Maria founder Tom Monaghan.

Non-profit:

  • Ave Maria University (M.D. Fla. filed Aug. 29, 2013)
  • Ave Maria School of Law (M.D. Fla. filed Nov. 12, 2013)
  • Ave Maria Foundation (E.D. Mich. Jan. 13, 2014)
  • FOCUS (D. Colo. Apr. 23, 2014) – Fellowship of Catholic University Students is a lay ministry movement that has recently been holding its annual summer training in Ave Maria and has a missionary team on campus (FOCUS is independent and is not otherwise associated with Ave Maria).  
  • Franciscan University (S.D. Ohio Mar. 22, 2013) – Many of the people who founded Ave Maria College and University had ties to FSU, including Tom Monaghan and Nick Healy. Many alumni and friends of FSU are also part of the Ave Maria projects.

As a side note, one of the foremost commentators on the HHS mandate and religious liberty issues is Matt Bowman, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund who is an alumnus of Ave Maria School of Law.

Our neighbor Novak’s deft reply to New York Times’ attempt to pit Pope Francis against Pope Saint John Paul II

Queerly, the New York Times seems to be advocating that papal pronouncements ought to influence culture and public policy, and in that vein has posed this question and then published five responses:

Jesus drove money changers out of the Temple, calling them “a den of thieves.” Of the profit-centric world view, Pope Francis warned, “We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market,” to provide economic justice. Others call Christianity and capitalism inextricable. Is contemporary capitalism compatible with Christian values?

Novak presents shirt reading “Centisimus Annus” to Pope Saint John Paul II – click to see it and other photos at Novak’s website

Interestingly, that setup by the Times ignores how Pope Saint John Paul II described capitalism in the magisterial encyclical Centisumus Annus:

… an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector … circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality.

But Michael Novak did not let the Times get away with that omission (or the Times’ lame attempt to pit Pope Francis against his canonized predecessor John Paul); Novak’s is one of the five published responses, and it begins with the saint’s definition and discusses why capitalism is the most moral of the economic systems. It is worth reading.

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Back from Calcutta, President Towey says heart of AMU education is “learning about your faith and putting your faith in action”

Mother Teresa continues to influence the Ave Maria University campus. In this video, AMU students discuss their experience travelling to Calcutta on a recent trip with with AMU president Jim Towey.

According to Towey, “at the heart of what Ave Maria’s education experience is all about is learning about your faith and putting your faith in action.”

McTeigue: on lust, nursing babies, serving 2 masters, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga’s example of purity

Aloysius Gonzaga

St. Aloysius Gonzaga’s example of caring for plague victims resulted in his being adopted as the patron of those who have AIDS and their caregivers

Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily on the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. He is currently finishing a collection of homilies and essays on preaching entitled, I Have Someone to Tell You: A Jesuit Heralds the Gospel.

Why should we care about Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, who was a young Jesuit saint who died at the age of 22 in 1591?  Well, he’s long been known as a “patron of youth”, which is a fine thing, because your youth today need plenty of patrons, but I suspect some people may find Saint Aloysius difficult to market to today’s youth.  After all, he doesn’t have a cool street name like others admired by young folks today, such as “Jay Z” or “Righteous B.”  We don’t have photos of him looking like an Italian fashion model, as we do of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.  And to make Saint Aloysius a reall hard sell in today’s world, he’s known as a patron of youthful purity.

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The stickers are here: iLoveAveMaria.com

Long ago, those oval decals (that are still very utilitarian in Europe) became just bumpAve Stickers - ordered June 2014er stickers over on this side of the pond. People put them on their cars to indicate what is important to them – often places that are special to the owner in some way (the first local variant I recall seeing was “OBX” for the Outer Banks in North Carolina). If Ave Maria is special to you, now several merchant’s have stickers just for you. But hurry – the supply is limited. The new web address iLoveAveMaria.com is easy to remember and will always bring people here to AveMariaLiving.com.

McTeigue: Jesus tells us, “Do not make an idol or an instrument of people made beautiful by God.”

Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily today for the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua. The scripture readings are here. Please pray for Father as he works towards completing a collection of homilies and essays on preaching entitled, I Have Someone to Tell You: A Jesuit Heralds the Gospel. 

Adam and Eve before the Fall on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo’s naked Adam and Eve just before the Fall, on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. According to Ave Maria University’s Dr. Michael Waldstein, a renowned scholar on Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body: “Some [naked] images push us to concupiscence, others do not. . . . Going to the Sistine Chapel and looking at the naked women on the ceiling is for this reason a very different experience than watching a pornographic movie. It is not presumption, but the experience of many men, that one can look with purity at Michelangelo’s nudes and take delight in their beauty. Michelangelo himself must have looked at his naked models in a pure way in order to be able to paint nudes in that pure way. . . . Of course, if one does feel a slide into concupiscence when looking at Michelangelo’s nudes, it is a good idea to look away. That need to look away should also be a trumpet blast for recognizing . . . that one is in need of a serious transformation.”

Source: http://corproject.com/authentic-art-vs-pornography/

May I ask you a question?  What if someone came to you and said this:  “Oh! I just did a terrible thing!  I was in an art museum, and I noticed that the paintings were beautiful!”  You would think that a rather strange statement, would you not?  Suppose your troubled friend went on to say:  “And after I noticed that the paintings were beautiful, I praised the artists who painted them!”  You would know right away that your friend is obviously quite confused.  Going to an art museum, enjoying the beauty of the paintings, and then praising the painters—well, in terms of a purpose of a museum—it just doesn’t get any better than that.

But what if your friend says this:  “Oh! I went to the art museum, and I saw the beautiful paintings, and I stole them!”  Then you would know that your poor friend is more than just confused.  And what if your friend said:  “I went to the art museum, slashed the beautiful paintings, and used the shredded paintings to shine my shoes.”  Then you would know for sure that your confused friend is very sick.

Now, let me ask you another question.  What does this little parable of mine have to do with today’s gospel reading?

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Ave Maria new home closings recorded April 1 through June 12, 2014

home prices in ave maria

A snapshot from Trulia. Figures below are from the Collier County Clerk’s online records.

There are reportedly over 100 homes currently under construction in Ave Maria. According to a database search of the official records of Collier County covering the 73-day period April 1 through June 12, in Ave Maria there were:

  • 31 new home closings in all of Ave Maria at an average sales price of about $278,000;
  • 10 Maple Ridge new home closings at an average sales price of about $271,000;
  • 18 Del Webb Naples new home closings at an average sales price just under $287,000;
  • 1 Emerson Park new home closing at a sales price of $290,000;
  • 1 Hampton Village new home closing at a sales price of about$284,000;
  • 1 LaPiazza condo new home closing at a sales price of $175,000.

These figures include only new home sales from the various builders to the public.

 

POLL: In what Catholic groups or movements are you involved here in Ave Maria?

movementsPlease take the poll, which closes after one week. You can add groups if yours isn’t listed. If you would like a group or movement to start meeting in Ave Maria, please list that in the comments.

Craft brew: Two Ave Maria IPAs win accolades

beer-tasting-eventTwo of the men of Ave Maria – Hampton Village to be precise – entered their own home-brewed India Pale Ales (IPA) in a beer tasting contest held at Hurricane Grill & Wings in Estero, Florida. The contest included both professional and amateur brewers. Chris Buccheri’s IPA earned 3rd place overall and Darryl Klein’s brew came in 2nd place overall!

Micro-brewing in the United States has rapidly

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8 things to click: a click-worthy Ave Maria update

It’s May June. We’re all so busy. Here is a quick and dirty mash-up of things of note for Ave Marians (and those who love us):

Surmanski Flyer1. For the past few years, Sister Albert Marie, OP, DSMME, has been a graduate Theology student at AMU. On Friday she will present her doctoral thesis. All are invited. Click the flyer for details.

Shamrocks spring football 20142. On Friday the Donahue Catholic Shamrock 8-man football team played a spring game. This was the first game since losing in the Florida state title game, and the first game playing without 12 seniors who were on that team. The boys won 20 to 14.

3. Our former neighbor and friend, the always compelling Joseph Pearce, gave a lecture in the UK on the delicious things about which he always writes and talks. AMU Classics and Philosophy professor Joseph Yarbrough was kind enough to draw my attention to the podcast of it. Pearce talks about the Second Spring, a reference to the Traditional Latin Mass, which he explains through a chain of references to Coleridge, Newman, Hopkins, Wilde, Chesterton, Belloc, Greene, Waugh, Lewis and Tolkein (are you hungry yet?).

sisters4. The joy of having the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist here in town is temporarily tempered by the farewells that inevitably come each June when the Sisters depart for summer assignments. For some, the departure also marks the end of their assignment in Ave Maria, as it does this year for Sister Teresa Benedicta and Sister Mary Martha, who have been teaching at Donahue Catholic. Sister Teresa Benedicta has been teaching high school theology for the past five years, and next year she will be at a high school in San Francisco. Sister Mary Martha has been teaching in the grammar school for just one year, and next year she will be teaching in Peoria. Make sure you say goodbye and wish them well in their new assignments.

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Fr. McTeigue: Invite God’s Providence & Accept His Paternal Authority

in-god-we-trustAve Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily for the 5th Sunday after Easter according to the calendar of the Traditional Latin Mass. The Epistle was James 1:22-27, and the Gospel was John 16:23-30. Please pray for Father as he works towards completing a collection of homilies and essays on preaching entitled, I Have Someone to Tell You: A Jesuit Heralds the Gospel.

Did you ever wonder—what would the world look like if there were no fathers?  Now, if you are biologically minded you might object and say, “‘No fathers’ = ‘no babies’” so a world without fathers would not last very long.  True enough.  But I am not talking about being a simple donor of genetic material; I am talking about being a true father. What would a world without true fathers look like?

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Ave Maria new home closings recorded in April and May 2014

There are reportedly about 100 homes currently under construction in Ave Maria. According to a database search of the official records of Collier County for the period April 1 through May 24, in Ave Maria there were apparently:

  • 7 Maple Ridge new home closings at an average sales price of slightly above  $262,000;
  • 6 Del Webb Naples new home closings at an average sales price just under $260,000;
  • 1 Emerson Park new home closing (Lot 168) at a sales price of $290,000; and
  • No Hampton Village new home closings recorded during that period.

May 2014 home sales and prices in Ave Maria Florida

Grapplers’ hard work on display at first Ave Maria tournament

wrestling may 2014 ave maria

The Shamrock Wrestling Club held its first tournament on May 24. Pictured are the wrestlers and their coaches, Bob Klucik, Lon Juricic, and Joe Chmielowski.

On Saturday morning, parents and friends got to see the hard work of the Shamrock Wrestling Club pay off. The club has  been practicing twice each week for the past two months at Donahue Catholic. The program was led by Ave Maria town resident Bob Klucik, who has a wealth of experience coaching youth and high school wrestling.

According to Tim Donohue, the Shamrock father who spearheaded the idea, the club plans to run more clinic and competition programs in the near future.  The interest in wrestling was sparked when several families in town began participating in a different youth wrestling club that held practices all winter at Palmetto Ridge High School. The goal is to develop the boys’ skills so that eventually they can feed into a school team at Donahue Catholic.

More photos here => Read the rest of this entry »

11 facts about Florida’s new VA Nursing Home site selection: And then there was 1?

VeteransWhile the Veterans Administration scandal boils on the President’s desk, there is some pleasant VA news connected to Ave Maria. The VA is planning to build a VA nursing home in southern Florida and several counties have submitted site proposals to the state’s site selection committee.

We learned last month that Collier County was proposing 2 sites, both in Ave Maria. Today we learned a few more things. Here is a summary:

1. The nursing home cannot be in a hurricane evacuation zone.

2. Lee County did not have any project-ready land available that was not in a hurricane evacuation zone, so they didn’t submit a proposal.

3. Previously the state VA identified Collier and Lee counties as those most in need of a nursing home (that means we’re the only such county still in the running).

4. The site selection committee will visit Ave Maria on June 23.

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Smalltown USA: Little League Champs, Knights of Columbus, Memorial Day Picnic at the Water Park

KofC memorial day

Knights of Columbus poster from WW I

UPDATE: Here are some photos and a report about the party.

While Ave Maria has an obvious Catholic flavor, it’s really a rebirth of small town USA. This post honors several American traditions.

Ave Maria’s first rate little league fields in North Park now have a first rate Little League championship team to match. The Minor B Ave Maria Twins capped an undefeated season with a sweep through their league’s championship tournament. The story is at the Ave Herald.

You can congratulate the boys and their dads when you see them at the town’s Memorial Day party at the Water Park sponsored by the always patriotic Knights of Columbus – free admission and hot dogs! As we enjoy the long weekend, we can take some time to remember those who have given their lives to defend our God-given freedoms.

 

 

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