Why Priesthood in 2018?

Above is a picture taken in June after the first Mass of Fr. Patrick Moser. Fr. Moser spent a summer as a transition deacon at Sacred Heart Parish. It was a joy for me and my brother priest to welcome him to the priesthood and celebrate with his family.

In this continuing time of confusion, error, neglect, and abuse within in the Church it’s fair to ask: why would a man say yes to this in 2018? The answer may appear difficult to find but in reality it’s not that complicated.

Jesus made certain promises:

    • That he would never leave His Church
    • That he would give shepherds through whom he would watch over and feed the flock
    • That he would give bread that would feed us on our journey to the Kingdom by transforming us bit by bit into his likeness

Any priest worth his salt will tell you he is not worthy of the vocation to which he has been called. That aside, he has a moral certainty that Jesus will not fail his Church and that the grace of the Sacrament of Holy Orders is more than powerful enough to make Jesus present wherever God chooses to send him.

These are excruciatingly painful times for the lay faithful and priests who strive to be faithful and sacrificial. Why do these horrible things continue to happen by men whose very job is to KNOW BETTER about good and evil?! We can try to apply a diagnosis but, in my opinion, it really comes down to men living authentically as men. There can be no more excuses. Priests accept Holy Orders and the celibacy FREELY, and though living it out is difficult, the grace of God makes it not only possible but JOYFUL!

This week Archbishop Lucas will be gathering with the bishops of the United States to discern a way ahead. He is asking for our prayers. This is a pivotal moment in the life of the Church not only in the United States but across the world. I pray that a prophet will rise up among the bishops to speak truth where all too often there has been bureaucratic double speak and empty promises. I pray that they make the decision as a group to become fathers instead of CEO’s. I’m begging the Holy Spirit to make them humble and BOLD in proclaiming the essential message of salvation instead of watering it down. I’m asking the Father to convict their hearts to be men rooted in truth, goodness, and love and that this would diffuse to all priests throughout the world.

The priesthood is beautiful and through it all, even in this dark time, I’m profoundly grateful to serve God in this way. Jesus is giving us all the opportunity to repent – turn away from our sins and receive his forgiveness. My need for this repentance puts me at the top of the list. Lord, turn our hearts to you! NOW IS THE TIME!

Why priesthood in 2018? Because God is faithful and he will never abandon his people. Jesus, bring healing to all victims. Jesus heal your Church. Jesus, heal the priesthood. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, gives us more shepherds with your heart.

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Going Out – Festival 2018

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In church world we talk a lot about “going out” for one reason: Jesus told us to (Matthew 28:20). The problem is that it’s so easy think that we’re doing this when we’re actually not.

As pastor, I’m in no way exempt. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to run a large church – meetings, homily prep, sacraments. All of these are well and good but too much of it happens in the office or behind a desk.

No, to “go out” we actually have to physically go out. Recently a few of us on staff have been making an effort to reverse this trend. Someone generously donated money to our festival raffle but they didn’t want the tickets. So, we went out to the community to give them away.

At first people think there is a catch: “What do I have to buy? What do you really want?” The answer this time was that we just wanted to bless them and invite them to come to our festival. I decided to stop by the fire station nearby to thank Norfolk’s finest for what they do and to offer them a small gift. It was a lot of fun and they appreciated it.

Small actions aren’t small but too often we’re so busy that we fill our time with other things. Imagine what our festival would be like if people sponsored the ticket purchase themselves and then went out, gave the tickets away, and invited people to come to our festival? Maybe they would receive an invitation to Discovering Christ. Who knows, they may come to know Jesus in a personal way.

I look forward to our Parish Festival tomorrow – Sunday, September 9th. We welcome any guests who plan to join us. Thank you for sharing life with us. God bless you.

Come Away & Rest

The Links of Fr. Andrews – July 22, 2018

His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. ~ Mark 6:34

Grace to pray for this week: To hear the instruction of the Master Teacher

Dear Friends,

We extend a warm welcome to anyone visiting our church this weekend. Your presence means a lot to us. If you are passing through we wish you safe travels. Perhaps you are new to Norfolk and are looking for a church to call home. Stop by our Information Desk at Church. We’re honored to assist you in any way possible.

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The Gospel this weekend is a perfect fit for summer. Jesus invites his followers to “come away…to a deserted place and rest a while.” In a world where technology is consistently present, more and more people are looking for an escape. There’s a big difference between reading about the world second hand through a screen and encountering life personally.

Human beings have an amazing capacity to receive input via the senses. Life becomes multi-dimensional and vibrant when we allow every sense to be engaged. Sometimes it can be difficult to detach from the internet because it affords such quick stimulus. However, deep down I believe we know that we’re missing out living this way.

Suggestion: live local. The world is a big place filled with billions of people but we can’t live everywhere. An abundant life means blooming where we are planted. Every day we can be fully alive through encounters with our family and community. Books are better than screens. Sharing stories verbally breeds life. Exercise is its own reward. Cooking fresh food gives health to the body. Prayer brings peace to the soul.

Psalm 23 comes between the readings this weekend. You’ve heard it many times, but I invite you to pray with it this week. Give the Lord a chance to show you the place of peace he wants to lead you to. Let’s not accept any substitutes for the real life God offers.

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It’s never too early to hear about our next Discovering Christ (DC) course. DC is an easy way to hear the message of the Gospel in a casual atmosphere. Please visit our website for more details. We’d love to have you join us and I think you’ll be glad you did.

God love you!

  • Less noise often leads to hearing God’s voice.

The Fruit of Trust

It’s been a couple of months since our parish moved into a weekly bilingual (English/Spanish) Mass. I’m so proud of the way people have embraced the change and navigated the difficulties inherent in a bold move like this. It would have been a lot easier to keep doing what we were doing but as a parish we chose to respond to Jesus and “step out of the boat”. (Matthew 14:29)

I want to share a brief exchange I had with one of our spanish speaking parishioners. The weekend of July 15th we hosted a missionary from India. At the 11:30 Sunday Mass, Fr. Joseph gave a brief homily in english and I followed him by reading a Spanish translation. I only had time to read over the text a couple of times and, let’s just say, my words were not flowing very well.

Well, after Mass this gentleman approached me and said: “Your Spanish has gotten much better. Now, I want to learn more English.”

Over the past 8 years I have grown in my ability to pray the Mass in Spanish but am by no stretch of the imagination fluent. I’ve put forth the effort because it stretches me and lets people know that they are important to me. It would mean a lot of someone were to try to learn my language. I think of this in embarrassing moments when I know my Spanish sounds foolish.

This, friends, is what it’s all about. When we put ourselves out there into uncomfortable or unfamiliar territory Jesus makes really great things happen! Where once there was not much of a bridge between cultures, a small one has been established. Add up many new bridges and you’ll find a stronger community than ever.

The lesson? Don’t be afraid to get out of the boat. Walking on water is exciting!

Missionaries, Pilgrims, & You

The Links of Fr. Andrews – July 15, 2018

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.  In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of God’s grace that he granted us in the beloved. ~ Ephesians 1:3-6

Grace to pray for this week: To embrace my place in the mission of Jesus.

Special Guest: Fr. Joseph Arackal, Vincentian Congregation

Haga clic aquí para el p. Mensaje de Andrews en español en la página 2

Dear Friends,

Each year our parish hosts a missionary to talk about a way in which the mercy of Christ is extended throughout the world. This weekend we are honored to welcome Fr. Jospeh Arackal of the Vincentian Congregation. The Vincentian Congregation was founded in Kerala, India, and is founded after the Congregation of the Mission founded by St. Vincent de Paul. Members of this religious order, all natives of India, are engaged in mission work in all parts of India and several countries in Africa.

Please join me in welcoming Fr. Vincent. I know you will be moved to support him with your prayers and financial sacrifices.

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This weekend a large group of teens and adults is attending the Steubenville Youth Conference in Springfield, Missouri. The Steubenville Conference is a dynamic experience of the faith held across the country at numerous locations throughout the summer.

As a ministry of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, the conferences allow teens to encounter Christ and experience the Holy Spirit in a powerful way. Many people say that the their experience at one of these conferences was the catalyst for accepting a personal faith. Please pray for all those attending and for their safe travel. Come Holy Spirit.

Steubenville 2018

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Never to early to hear about our next Discovering Christ (DC) course. DC is an easy way to hear the message of the Gospel in a casual atmosphere. Please visit our website for more details. We’d love to have you join us and I think you’ll be glad you did.

God love you!

Fr. Dan Andrews

  • Less noise often leads to hearing God’s voice.

The Links of Fr. Andrews

Haga clic aquí para el p. Mensaje de Andrews en español en la página 2

I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Grace to pray for this week: To believe in the saving power Christ gives through his Church.

Dear Friends in Christ,

Welcome to Sacred Heart. The mission of our Church is to walk with each person to meet Jesus Christ. You are important to us. Thank you for being here.

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July is high vacation time for many people. Perhaps you are getting away for some rest and relaxation. Though things never fully come to a halt in our parish, summer brings a needed change of pace in our schedule.

So what does the parish staff do during the summer? We spend this time doing heavy planning for the coming year. Once things ramp up in the fall it’s too late to prepare for the ministries that have the potential to bring people deeper into relationship with Jesus.

I don’t say it enough publicly but I’m so grateful for the team that I serve. They are the most dedicated, diligent, and hard-working folks I’ve worked with. The Parish ministry teams have a huge heart for God and you, the people of God. Each and every day they live out our mission: Walking With You to Meet Jesus.

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This Wednesday, with the help of our Enkindle Ministry team,  I am hosting a family Rosary in the courtyard right next to Sacred Heart Church. We’ll gather at 7:00 pm for a simple time of prayer and song. All families are welcome! Please don’t worry about what you’re wearing or how crazy your kids might be. That’s family life and it’s more than okay. Bring blankets and lawn chairs and we’ll have some fun activities and snacks. Restrooms will be available in the church and parish office if needed.

God love you!

Fr. Dan Andrews

Happy 4th of July

Happy Independence Day!

Better known as the 4th of July these days,  Independence Day began in 1777, just one year after the Declaration of Independence was signed, as a time set aside to celebrate the birth of our nation rooted in certain founding truths.  Despite a multitude of cultures, it’s become a day for everyone in our country to come together and celebrate as One Nation, Under God.

What a fitting model for us to reflect on as we try to live out our pastoral priority of One Church, One People.  There are many beautiful examples of this happening, from our Kermes Celebration last weekend to our 11:30 Bilingual Mass each weekend over the past month.

I’d like to extend the following thank you and encouragement to everyone in our parish in helping us come together more as One People.

*Just a quick reminder that this weekend we will celebrate Mass in Spanish at 1 pm at Sacred Heart Church.