RAHWAY—On the evenings of Oct. 19, 20, and 21, following the 7 p.m. Mass, St. Mary’s and St. Mark’s parishes in Rahway will present a unique program centering on the life and times of Blessed Charles of Austria.
Following the Mass there will be a special focus each evening designed to enhance the cultural, spiritual and family life of those present. Beatified in 2004, Charles and his family represent a very contemporary model of the Holy Family. From him we can understand the struggles of raising children, losing a job and even enduring ridicule for our political or religious beliefs.
Born into a wealthy and devoted Catholic family, Charles was given an extensive religious education and began to develop a deep devotion to the Holy Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart. He married Princess Zita of Bourbon and Parma in 1911 and eventually they had eight children. When Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914 and World War 1 was underway, Charles became heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Two years later when Emperor Francis Joseph died, Charles became Emperor of Austria. He was committed to establishing peace in Europe, but after a series of political machinations, Charles and his family were exiled to the island of Madeira. There, he and his family were reduced to living in poverty and hunger. On his deathbed in 1922, Charles forgave all who conspired against him and offered his sufferings for peace and Christian social justice.
On Monday, Oct. 19, the program will feature an evening of cultural experiences consisting of German –Austrian desserts and music and fellowship. The second evening, Tuesday, Oct. 20, will discuss the life of Blessed Charles and will focus on strategies that can help us to improve our own personal spirituality.
On Wednesday, Oct. 21, the final evening of the program, the topic will be Growing Strong Catholic Families In Weak Catholic Times. A presenter will facilitate a discussion about some realities of modern family life and how a strong Catholic faith can help in times of difficulties.
The public is invited to join us for one, two or all three days for this one of a kind program. The Blessed Charles event is free and will take place in St. Mark’s Church on Hamilton Street in Rahway. For more information, call 1-732-382-0082.
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