Tuesday, April 16, 2019


Prayer Alive!

               Does  personal prayer sometimes seem dull, dry.  Prayer can make us  sleepy, or alive! It can feel nourishing, or awesome.   Prayer, the lifting of the mind to God, can be any of these. Each one has its time and occasion. Other times  it seems God just wants to let us rest and enjoy that all embracing love.  Sometimes, God quiets us down, lets us discover that consoling, comforting, embracing  Presence.     These are all precious moments when we discover and experience God’s faithfulness.
               However, sometimes, that feeling of distance, of longing finds us pleading for God to come closer. We know in Faith that  God is close, but we feel dry and  distanced.
               That is a great time to attempt an exercise I learned many years ago from a Spanish theologian.  His name was Rev.Guillermo Mújica. I was living in a small community. We asked him to help us evaluate our community life.
               As this priest guided us through the evaluation, he questioned us about prayer, in common and personally.
               He asked very casually, that we speak of how and where we had encountered Christ that day?
We stuttered some answers  --  “in the Eucharist, in prayer,” et cetera, but he probed.  What about his prophetic presence, the presence where we see Jesus present and fulfilling His Mission? WHERE had we encountered Him? And how did we respond?
               Little by little, he insisted we examine, how we had seen Christ in the people we met, in each other, in the events of the day. He encouraged us to practice this form of prayer. Over the years I have discovered that it is truly “alive” prayer.
Mújica challenged us to examine our common beliefs. We tell people we meet, and we teach the children that Christ is  present. So, how, where, when is God present?
               About the same time as our evaluation, the Latin American Bishops held a continent wide meeting in Puebla, Mexico. In their documents, I discovered that they were urging us, “to see the Face of Christ in the poor.”  Mujica was teaching us how to do that.
               It is a wonderful help in getting to know Jesus present in our daily lives! I began to practice looking at people and events and marveling at God’s Action. Over the years, some of those moments of prayer became engraved in my heart, to remind me again and again that Jesus lives! They enable me to see the Gospel words come alive.
               A few years after the evaluation, on the other side of the world, I was serving in a homeless shelter, in Hawaii. I was on duty on Good Friday Morning. My task was to sit at the desk and answer requests and keep an eye on the room where needy people rested on mattresses, sat chatting, or alone musing on their plight or plans for the day.
This prayer method took me right into Jesus’ Passion and what that awful morning after the scourging and the Crown of Thorns must have been like. I saw so much I had never seen so well before.
               As I looked for His presence in that room, I saw an elderly homeless woman, lying sick and soiled on a mat on the floor. A young man, a recovering drug addict, some confused men and women, mentally ill, alcoholic, or simply jobless. Some looked better today after a shower and clean clothes, a haircut and/ or a shave. Others looked like they had been beaten and abused.
               I spent a while just watching the young man. He looked at the elderly woman. He brought soap water, a facecloth  and a towel. He knelt down beside her and  cleansed her face and hands.  I saw the face of Christ suffering in the woman. I saw  Him suffering that Good Friday morning in the woman, and I saw Him healing the elderly sick woman, comforting the wounded!
 comforting the wounded..
Jesus, present in the young man, was healing the sick right there in front of me. The “Face of Christ,” there it was, Jesus suffering in the woman, Jesus healing through the young man. We can see God”s Action  in our world, if we only look.
               But we don’t have to be in a Homeless Shelter. The other day, my grand niece put a photo of her baby on Facebook. That baby looking so happy, her eyes so bright with joy, smiling at me. God is with us! Jesus lives in us. He is present, if we will only recognize Him.
               And when we see evil, violence, cruelty, hatred? We must recognize that we are in that same world Jesus faced and where the Risen Christ is Present!  That is our world, the same one God does not give up on!  Because God sent His Son, Jesus, who has risen and  is TRULY here! HAPPY EASTER! 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Help a child choose good friends!

For ages  8 to 12
FROM FRIENDS TO SAINTS presents the stories of five Saints. Each one knew how to make friends. Some were  born to biracial parents.  Some were born in one country, and served in another.  Among them, some were well off; others were poor. One was an orphan, one a lawyer, one a barber, another a soldier. Some were immigrants.   Some had exciting travel experiences, others loved to dance and sing and play the guitar. All of them loved God and the poor.  Read the stories and discover where they found their friends.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Saturday, March 3, 2018


Boys and girls from 2 to 8 will delight in the pictures and antics of Elephant Joan and her adventures with a cell phone. The story by Elizabeth V. Roach and the illustrations by Peggy Dawson combine to provide a child with early experience of respect for the environment and its inhabitants.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Gift for America


“Good  Morning, Christopher!” the tutor in a Catholic school said.
Christopher was a new student, six years old, in First Grade. He needed help with English, his second language. This was his first meeting with the tutor.
Christopher didn’t answer the tutor. He looked unhappy.
The tutor greeted him in Spanish.  .
When he still didn’t answer, the teacher asked if something was the matter.
“Don’t you feel well?  Are you sick?  Does something hurt?” She asked in English and in Spanish.
Christopher’s bottom lip trembled. He tried hard to hold back the tears.
At last, the words burst out.
 “The teacher screamed at me because I can’t read,” he said. The teacher was not his regular teacher, but a  substitute who came occasionally.
Now, the new tutor promised she would never scream at him. Together they did the lesson. He seemed happier when she took him back to his classroom.
Each day, Christopher and the new tutor met. His English improved rapidly.
Then, one day, Christopher, didn’t seem to want to begin the class. He looked pensive.
The tutor asked, “Is something the matter?”
Christopher struggled to say  all the words correctly.  “You know that teacher who yelled at me? She doesn’t yell anymore, because I can read. I asked jesus to help me, and he did!”
As the tutor got to know Christopher, she came to love him. He was such a thoughtful six year old. 
One day, Christopher came to the class with a puzzled look on his little face. He had just come from Religion Class.  He looked up at the tutor and asked, “What was before God?”
The tutor tried to answer, but she was amazed at the profound question six-year-old Christopher asked.
When she got home that night, she had supper with her family.
She told them about Christopher and his question. 
Her husband said,  “How fortunate we are that so many people from other countries come to America. Christopher is a gift. If he can ask questions like this at six, imagine what he will contribute to our country as he learns more and more.
“We have a deep thinker in this little child. We need to give thanks to God that he has led him here.” 
The tutor’s children bowed their heads as their father and mother prayed and gave thanks for Christopher and the gifts immigrants bring to America.
Then, they played a game to see who could name famous immigrants who have been gifts to America. 

They named scientists, doctors, statespersons and many others.  Can you name some?

Leoh Ming Pei: architect of East Wing of National Gallery, Washinton DC
Madeline Albright, Secretary of State
Albert Einstein,  Physicist
John Muir,  Naturalist
Joseph Pulitzer,  newspaper publisher

Felix Frankfurter, Supreme Court Justice

©photo & story Elizabeth V Roach 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017

What Peace Looks Like

The following story was first published in The Maryknoll Classroom Program, a service for teachers. Programs for K-12 are available free to teachers who request them from Maryknoll Magazine. www.Maryknoll.org
 What Peace Looks Like
      Aron was taking turns with other children jumping over a large water jug. He was having fun, but missed the toys he had left back home especially his green bike.

     Aron and his family had left their home in Syria about a year ago, when he was 7. A war had started there, and his parents and grandparents decided it was not safe to stay. They could bring only the most important things. It was a long trip before they could stop. And they stopped here at a refugee camp. Now they lived in a tent, among hundreds of other tents and people. They had all left their homes because of the war. They were waiting to find out when they could leave the camp and where they could go.

     "Here comes the art lady!" shouted Aron's sister Estes.  She was pointing to Sister Rosemarie.
Sister Rosemarie took the children to another part of the camp.

     Soon they reached the art group. The children were all from Syria. The adults were from different countries, Canada, Poland and the United States.

     "We are a peace team," Sister Rosemarie explained. "All around the world, people are looking for peace. What does peace look like to you?"

     "Peace looks like me sitting with my family, all together,"  said Este.

     "Peace is being safe with no tanks and no rockets!" said Muhammad.

     Reza said, "Peace is playing outside by my home."

     Pile added, "And going to school!"

     "Peace means flowers and birds," Miriam said. "And trees, I miss trees."

     Aron looked around. There were so many tents, but he could see no trees.

     "Aron?" asked Sister Rosemarie. "Do you have a picture of peace?"

     "Riding my green bike, and going fast and laughing--and not feeling afraid at all!" he said.

      Sister Rosemarie smiled. "These are wonderful ideas,: she said. "Now let's all draw these pictures of peace."

     Muhammad painted circles and lines in yellows, oranges, and blues, colors that made him happy.

     Miriam drew trees, flowers and birds.

     Pile and Reza drew a school with children playing outside
     Este painted lots of people holding hands.

     Aron couldn't draw a bike, so he took the green paint, the color of his bike, and made big swoops of green.

     Every one shared ideas and became friends 'they wee happy because they were thinking about making peace.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Elizabeth V Roach
Discover why Benny wonders why the tree is crying.
 Thomas hears a "little sound."  What is it?
Benabab meets three basket makers. What happens?
What is the new custom from another land that
Peter and Marisa try?
New book available online in paperback and e-book.