The past few years Sacred Heart Parish has been seeking, and finding, new paths to unity in Christ with our two predominant language communities – English and Spanish.
We are already one becaus of our Baptism but language continues to be an obstacle. The good news is that food isn’t an obstacle – everybody loves it! We saw that in full force this past Sunday at the annual Kermes Festival that was held on our campus for the first time. It was so beautiful to see our parish celebrating life in Jesus together. Kudos to the Kermes leaders for taking this step.
This pairs up wonderfully with our Fall Festival, which is also all about good food and fellowship. All of this gives us encouragement to keep taking steps to eliminate barriers and cross bridges to deeper unity.
So, parishioners, what’s next for us?
Viva Cristo Rey!
Long live Christ the King!
We talk a lot about giving within the context of parish life. But gratitude is not just some message to be marketed. No, gratitude flows directly (and constantly) from ones awareness of the gift Jesus has given them. What’s the gift? Salvation from my sins and freedom to live for Him and in Him as a beloved son or daughter.
We are invited to give all the time. The Lord doesn’t expect us to support every event or financial plea but each time we are called upon it will reveal the level of gratitude in a person’s heart. If someone asks you for help what do you notice in your heart? Anger, resentment, fear? Or maybe you’re grateful to be asked; happy for the opportunity to discern God’s will in this moment.
A few years ago we recognized the need to fund tuition assistance to families enrolled in our parish school on an annual basis. Previous to this we just borrowed the money. This is what the FUND for NC is all about – paying forward the gift that has been given to us. Having progressed all my life through Catholic schools I am indebted to the countless disciples who sacrificed so that I could have the opportunity. I’ll never be able to thank them in this life. But, I can do the same thing for others.
As a priest I don’t have kids in the parish school but yet I consider the FUND for NC to be a vital part of my sacrificial gift to my parish. Many people have enthusiastically joined us in this effort but many more have not. There seems to be sentiment that ones involvement in parish life is directly related to what the children of the family will receive. This sounds more like parish as a place to do business transactions – I’ll give but only if I get something in return. Disciples of Jesus are called to embrace a different attitude, one that acknowledges that he never held anything back from us. Again, this is not about having to respond to each and every request. It’s about being constantly aware of the attitude of my heart.
We have many needs as a parish but God has given us abundant resources. They will be released inasmuch as our hearts are centered in humility on the gifts has given (and want to give) to us.
Our Alive in Christ Family Discussions are wrapping up next weekend with a final presentation of what we have shared, discovered, and dreamed over the last few months. Now is the time for us to come before our God and King and ask him where we can best use our gifts and how He would have us carry out His work.
Today’s gospel reading reminded me of just that. That first and foremost, He asks us to imitate his life and live the greatest commandments that He gave to his chosen people thousands of years ago. They ring true as Jesus answers the scribe in the gospel reading and still for us today, as we strive also to be a faithful disciple.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Quoting from the daily meditation posted at Regnumchristi.org today, Jesus asks us to put ourselves aside and live for Him and one another. The full meditation can be found at the link below, but these points stuck out to me as I prayed with the Gospel this morning and asked the Lord to show us His plan for our parish and where He can work through me. http://www.regnumchristi.org/en/daily-meditation/
“Christianity is not strictly a me-and-Jesus affair…. Jesus wants us to be his arms and legs and voice in the world. Am I content to say prayers and make weekly Mass ― but to do little else? Might God be asking me to get more involved in the parish? In the school? In some kind of charity work?”
“The Gift of Self is the Greatest Gift we can offer….. Burnt offerings are something external to us. We let go of things (money, used clothes, old furniture) much faster than we let go of our time, our way of thinking. We give things but not ourselves….Why?”
“Christ wanted them to give of themselves…that´s what Jesus himself gave. He gave himself up to a cross to confound our self-love. What is Jesus asking of me that makes me uneasy?”
Truly, one of the greatest gifts that I have experienced over the last few months has been the time and space that Alive in Christ has afforded us to get to know each other better. Although some discussions seemed “uneasy”, they have given me another opportunity to give myself to others and be Christ to them. I pray it has been fruitful for you as well.
These final presentations are the beginning of the “outcome” from Alive in Christ. They can help us focus our attention on where our hearts are being moved and how the Holy Spirit is awakening us to God’s plan for his work. Please try to attend one of the sessions and hear what Jesus may be asking of you.
- Sunday, June 12th; 2:00 – 3:30 pm – Sacred Heart Church (Bilingual)
- Sunday, June 12th; 6:30 – 8:00 pm – St. Mary’s Church (Child Care available)
- Tuesday, June 14th; 6:30 – 8:00 pm – St. Mary’s Church (Child Care available)
The gift of your time and yourself to show God’s love to your neighbor is priceless….there is no greater gift.
Today is the 15th anniversary of my ordination as a Catholic priest. It’s something I’ll never fully understand in this lifetime – why did God choose me? Plenty of more qualified men. Nonetheless I am so very grateful and humbled. The Almighty has truly done great things for me in pouring out much needed mercy, forgiveness, and strength. Please pray that I can allow Him evermore to have his way with me so that Jesus’ presence in this sacrament can be felt. Below are some pictures from the big day.
Archbishop Elden F. Curtiss ordained me. Thank you Archbishop Curtiss. This is the moment the bishop presents the paten and chalice to the new priest, which he will take over and over again to make sacrificial offerings on behalf of God’s people. (I had more hair then!)
After ordination many people seek a blessing from the new priests. Beside me is my classmate, Fr. Jim Keiter.
Ordination evening my family hosted a nice reception. I love this picture. All of these people are alums of Benedictine College. They came in great number to celebrate with me. Go Ravens!
My father was with us in spirit in those days. Here is a picture with my mom and 5 older siblings. My family is a tremendous gift.
My first Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated on Pentecost Sunday at my home parish, Mary Our Queen. Many bother priests and deacons were in attendance. My two oldest nephews served at the altar.
Most important in all of this are my parents, Dick and Shirley. They introduced me to Jesus and His Church. None of this happens without them. In the old rite of the Church the priests hands were tied together after they were anointed. The priest would wipe the oil from his hands and present the cloth to his mother. The mother is buried with this cloth in her hands. At her judgement, God will ask what she did with her life. She will answer: “I gave your Church a priest.”
Though the rite has changed the practice still remains as a custom. Here, I present the cloth (cut from her wedding dress) to my mom.
Encourage young men to be priests. Contrary to what many think, it’s a great life. What better way to use your gifts than to bring the sacraments to God’s people. More often than not, young men will respond to an invitation.
Ss. Marcellinus and Peter, pray for me.