Letters from a Pastor to His People

Letters from a Pastor to His People

The Order of Elijah

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 9, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

One cannot think of Elijah without thinking about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Elijah was the first contemplative monk. He lived atop Mount Carmel in prayer and asceticism. He drew others to follow him. It was said when he prophesied rain to relieve Israel in the midst of a terrible drought, he saw a cloud in the shape of a foot rising from the sea. He understood this as the sign that the drought would end, but more importantly that the Messiah would come. Elijah saw this foot as the foot of the Virgin Woman, who would be the mother of the Messiah. She, the immaculate cloud, would rise from the blue sea of humanity.

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When In Trouble, Run To God!

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 2, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

To quote Michael Jordan, "I'm back."  (No, I'm not comparing myself to Michael Jordan.  If anything I'm like Jud Buechler...at best--no disrespect to Jud.) I have returned from my 30-Day silent retreat.  Thank you all for your understanding and support, and thank you especially to Father Emanuel and the parish staff who kept the place running.

            Speaking of staff, I would like to welcome again the new principal of Saint Juliana School, Ms. Cathie Scotkovsky.  Cathie started July 1st and has been hard at work getting ready for the new school year.  She is an SJS alum herself and we are very excited for her leadership of our school!

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The Best Journey of Your Life

Letters from a Pastor to His People- July 26, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Like I wrote a month ago before I left for the 30-Day Retreat, Jesus is the love of my life and I seek to follow him with all my heart. I have surrendered everything for him, and happily so. While spending 30 days in silence with God on retreat might seem like madness, to me it is not. I actually enjoy it, for it is what I truly want: to be with God.

The Gospel parables therefore very much resonate with me. "The kingdom of heaven," says Jesus, "is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field" (Matthew 13:44).

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Are You Wheat or A Weed?

Letters from a Pastor to His People- July 19, 2020


Dear Parishioners,


I am currently in the "Third Week" of my 30-Day Retreat according to the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Though I wrote this bulletin article back in June before departing, I know that what I am about to say is true: I have been praying for you all and for your intentions.

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Take a 30-Day Retreat With Me

Letters from a Pastor to His People- July 12, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Just a reminder, I am away currently and will be for the entire month of July making a 30-Day Retreat.  I wrote this week’s letter, and the upcoming letters, ahead of time, just to offer a little spiritual reflection on the readings.  I would also, however, like to provide some wisdom from St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Perhaps you could do a little "30-Day Retreat" with me.

Jesus provides in our Gospel this week the classic parable of the Sower.  We are the ground.  Jesus sows his grace and his word upon us.  The question is, what kind of ground are we?  Are we a path, rocky ground, a field with thorn bushes, or rich soil?

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The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius

Letters from a Pastor to His People- July 5, 2020

 

Dear Parishioners,

If you missed my bulletin letter from last week, I explained how I am away currently and will be for the entire month of July making a 30-Day Retreat.  Just a reminder, I will not respond to any messages, so if there is an emergency, please contact the parish office or Father Emanuel. I wrote this week’s letter, and the upcoming letters, ahead of time, just to offer a little spiritual reflection on the readings.  I would also, however, like to provide some wisdom from St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Perhaps you could do a little "30-Day Retreat" with me.

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My Modus Vivendi

Letters from a Pastor to His People- June 28, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

As a priest, I have taken to heart the Lord's words from the Gospel, "whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 10:39). This is my modus vivendi, if you will; my philosophy, my operating procedure, my ethic. I love God more than anything in the world and have been called by him to completely follow him, abandoning everything for him. I seek to lose my life, so I can live for God. As John the Baptist said, "I must decrease, he must increase" (John 3:30). Or, in the words of Saint Paul, "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).

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"Fear no one and fear no thing", says Jesus

Letters from a Pastor to His People- June 21, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Wow, another incredibly fitting set of readings this weekend.  Amazing how the Spirit of God is moving in a particular way with our Liturgy and the Lectionary, providing for us great words to meditate upon in these times and encourage us.  There are times when I need to do a little digging and use my creativity to find a relevant message from the Mass readings.  Not this weekend!

I'm focusing, in particular, on the Gospel.  Our Lord provides a great, laconic exhortation: "Fear no one" (Matthew 10:26).  Go ahead and tape that one up on your bathroom mirror.

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Thanks Be To God

Letters from a Pastor to His People- June 14, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Boy oh boy. I think we all can really appreciate this year's Feast of Corpus Christi more than ever.

We celebrate in a particular way today the importance of the Eucharist, the Mass, our Lord's Body and Blood. For several months, as you don't need me to remind you, you all were unable to receive Communion! And, as of writing this letter and submitting it in advance for the bulletin publishing deadline, I'm not even sure if you'll be able to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus today. It'd be like not being able to have a tree, give gifts, and recognize the baby Jesus on Christmas...times ten.

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The Book of Exodus

Letters from a Pastor to His People- June 7, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

It's really important that we read and reread this short first reading from the Book of Exodus.  Let it form our mind.  Let it help our understanding of God.  We need this proper knowledge of the Lord if we are going to navigate the complexities of our moral and spiritual life.

Moses returns up to Mount Sinai and Yahweh reveals another title by which he can be called: Lord.  I don't know about you, but I like using this title, Lord, for God.  Yes, I certainly use other titles when I pray and when I'm in relationship with God: Jesus, Father, friend, brother, Spirit.  'Lord' doesn't give me a sense of fear or servility in a bad way.  I like 'Lord' because it emphasizes for me that God is the one in control, not me.  He is guiding my life, he has a plan for me—a plan that is better than anything I could concoct—and that it is to my advantage to simply surrender to him.  Remember that "Surrender Novena" we prayed a few months ago?  The title 'Lord' is all wrapped up in that.

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Prayer of Patient Trust

Letters from a Pastor to His People- May 31, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

A priest friend of mine recently shared with me Teilhard de Chardin's Prayer of Patient Trust. Let me share it with you here. It is fitting both for the celebration of Pentecost, which is this weekend, and for the COVID crisis.


Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.

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Pillow-y White Clouds

Letters from a Pastor to His People- May 24, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Clouds are mentioned quite a bit in Sacred Scripture. In the Old Testament, God was manifested in a cloud. We read in the Book of Exodus, "And as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud" (Exodus 16:10). A column of cloud led the Israelites through the desert (cf. Exodus 13:21) and then the shekinah was like a cloud or light that was in the temple of Jerusalem, signifying God's dwelling.

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