Letters From a Pastor to His People

  • 27 September 2020 | By

    Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 27, 2020

    Dear Parishioners,

    "That's not fair!" How many times have we heard that from a toddler? Or from a NFL player complaining about a flag (or no flag)?  Or maybe a spouse saying "that's not fair!" to his/her partner?  Or a priest saying that to his bishop?  Or an associate pastor or seminarian saying that to his pastor (never here, of course, at Saint Juliana!)?

    Or us saying that to God?

    We might not know we're complaining internally to God.  We can usually tell by our "spiritual mood."  Are you more prone to distraction in prayer? Do you find yourself brooding in prayer or anxious in prayer? Is there a glaring division between your prayer life and moral life? That is, you seem to be praying okay or experiencing peace at Mass, but then as soon as you see your family or walk out to the parking lot you're angry?

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Spiritually Whining

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 27, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

"That's not fair!" How many times have we heard that from a toddler? Or from a NFL player complaining about a flag (or no flag)?  Or maybe a spouse saying "that's not fair!" to his/her partner?  Or a priest saying that to his bishop?  Or an associate pastor or seminarian saying that to his pastor (never here, of course, at Saint Juliana!)?

Or us saying that to God?

We might not know we're complaining internally to God.  We can usually tell by our "spiritual mood."  Are you more prone to distraction in prayer? Do you find yourself brooding in prayer or anxious in prayer? Is there a glaring division between your prayer life and moral life? That is, you seem to be praying okay or experiencing peace at Mass, but then as soon as you see your family or walk out to the parking lot you're angry?

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Christ Will Be Magnified In My Body

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 20, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

I do my best to exercise regularly.  When the gym to which I belong closed during Covid I began to jog outside.  In fact, you might have seen me (and my apologies, if you have).  Well, by some inspiration of the Holy Spirit, when I returned from my 30-Day Retreat I began running through St. Adalbert Cemetery.  I mentioned this on a recent Chi-Bro podcast.  I very much enjoy 'running amongst the tombstones' because (no, I haven't lost my mind) the grounds are beautiful and quiet and full of religious symbols to keep me focused on Jesus.  Also because I'm confronted, when I do so, with my own mortality.  Sure, I'm healthy and young now, able to run and exercise, but death is chasing me and will eventually catch me.  I won't live forever and I certainly won't be healthy forever.  I am dust and unto dust I shall return.

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Forgiveness Is Our Rest

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 13, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

When you get hurt playing sports or exercising, the best thing to do is rest.  I think of spraining an ankle.  If you keep running on the ankle, it won't properly heal and you'll never be playing at one hundred percent. 

Now, there are some exceptional athletes where the team is better off with the individual playing at less than one hundred percent than sitting out altogether.  But, for most of us peons where our "100%" is still not really that great, it is more advantageous to us let the injury completely heal. 

I have this image in mind when I read the line from our first reading, "Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the LORD?" (Sirach 28:3). 

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Moderation and Temperance

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 30, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

When I first started seminary in the fall of 2007 right after graduating college, I remember going to the gym downstairs in the seminary basement to work out. On the wall by the bench press was this quote from today's second reading: "offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1).

Yo, bro, you lift?

I heard Jesus say that to me. Just kidding.

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St. Peter

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 23, 2020

I love Saint Peter. He has to be my favorite saint. I know I joke with the daily Mass crowd often in my homilies about how I have hundreds of "favorite saints"; how my "top five" list of saints contains about 50. But this I really mean, and I really mean that. Beside the Blessed Mother, Saint Peter is my favorite. The kids in school often ask me who my favorite saint is, and my response is always Peter.

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The Canaanite Women

 

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 16, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Have you asked or hoped for something recently and not received? Then you are in company with the Canaanite woman from the Gospel.

Let me quote at length words from Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, who is the preacher of the papal household.

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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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