Letters From a Pastor to His People

  • 10 November 2019 | By

    Saint Juliana School recently went to Feed My Starving Children to pack meals for the poor.

    Letters from a Pastor to His People- November 10, 2019

    Dear Parishioners,

    Why would the seven brothers, along with their mother, undergo horrible tortures unto their death?  Because they love God.

    Why would some people, as our Lord says in today's Gospel, "neither marry nor be given in marriage?"  Same answer.  Because they love God. 

    Now, I know our Lord is describing the afterlife.  That is, he is saying we will not be married to our spouse anymore when we are in Heaven.  In Heaven we are all "married."  We are all swept up in love in the communion of saints, and that love is greater than any love we could ever experience on this earth. 

    Read more...

Because We Love God!

Saint Juliana School recently went to Feed My Starving Children to pack meals for the poor.

Letters from a Pastor to His People- November 10, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

Why would the seven brothers, along with their mother, undergo horrible tortures unto their death?  Because they love God.

Why would some people, as our Lord says in today's Gospel, "neither marry nor be given in marriage?"  Same answer.  Because they love God. 

Now, I know our Lord is describing the afterlife.  That is, he is saying we will not be married to our spouse anymore when we are in Heaven.  In Heaven we are all "married."  We are all swept up in love in the communion of saints, and that love is greater than any love we could ever experience on this earth. 

Read more...

Confronted By Jericho

Congratulations SJS athletics on good fall seasons

Letters from a Pastor to His People- November 3, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

We have been reading for several weeks now the "travel narrative"—Jesus' journey towards Jerusalem after the conclusion of his Galilean ministry.  This week we read about his stop in Jericho, a town about twenty miles outside Jerusalem. 

Herod the Great had built up Jericho and Herod's son, Archelaus, erected a massive palace and was currently living in it.  Jericho was, therefore, somewhat of an abject city.  Proof of this is that the chief tax collector of the entire region, Zacchaeus, made his residence there.  Zacchaeus was fairly immoral.  Tax collectors were generally dishonest, and Zacchaeus even more so.  Ironically, the name Zacchaeus meant "pure."  I'm sure tax payers and even fellow tax collectors scoffed whenever they saw the short man and heard his name.

Read more...

Cor Ad Cor Loquitur

Fr. James with a toddler in a Baby Priest Halloween costume
 

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 27, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

John Henry Newman was canonized a saint two weekends ago by Pope Francis.  Newman was an English priest from the 19th Century.  Originally an Anglican, he converted to Catholicism and was later in life made a Cardinal in the Church.  He was (and still is) an intellectual giant, writing very influential texts such as Essay on the Grammar of Assent and his spiritual autobiography called Apologia Pro Vita Sua.  For a few years he was rector of the Catholic University of Ireland, which led him to write The Idea of a University.  Catholic student centers at various universities around the country are called "Newman Centers" because of this.  I'll be forever grateful to the Newman Center of my alma mater, which helped my faith and ultimately led me to the priesthood.

Read more...

Prayer is a Battle

Father James at Regina High School with the SJS alumni

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 20, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

The Old Testament has so many great images of prayer, and particularly military images, which I like since I enjoy studying military history.  The Books of Joshua and Judges are particularly interesting.  For instance, there is Joshua's defeat of Jericho, which is done simply by having his army march around the outer walls seven times on seven consecutive days and then finally blowing a trumpet (cf. Joshua 6).  Or the story of Gideon, who, with only three hundred soldiers carrying empty jars with torches inside them, defeats the Midianite army that was "as numerous as locusts" (Judges 7:12).  In the first reading this Sunday we have the conquest of the Amalekites because Moses, overlooking the battle from a mountaintop, keeps his arms literally raised in the air.

Read more...

Stir into Flame the Gift of God

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 6, 2019

Dear Parishioners, 

Praying is my favorite activity.  Yes, more than watching sports.  When I see, hear, or read something that even comes close to the topic of prayer, I want to discuss it.  These readings, in my opinion, can be connected to prayer.

The first reading from the prophet Habakkuk is itself a prayer, and a beautiful one at that.  The author is in a difficult situation and authentically calling out to God for help.  The Lord answers him, basically telling him to hang tight and trust.

Read more...

I've gone to Mass...maybe now I'll win the Queen of Hearts

Fr. James with the SPRED group.  SPRED will be serving Mass this Sunday at 11am

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 29, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

One message in this haunting story of the rich man (sometimes called 'Dives') and Lazarus is misfortune.  By the way, this isn't technically classified as a parable, since many think it was a true story (parables are fictional accounts).

Read more...

When we pray...

Father James and Kevin Matthews, Award Recipient of the John McDonough Humanitarian Award 

wirh Dcn Hank Lyon & Sem Kevin Gregus at the 2nd Annual St Juliana Emerald City Gala

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 22, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

Saint Paul says this to Timothy: "It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument" (1 Timothy 2:8).  Of all the things Paul could have expressed, prayer is what he mentions.  Paul wants people to pray.  Prayer is so important, so fundamental; arguably more fundamental than the Sacraments. 

Read more...

Compunction

Father James opening prayer at Theology on Tap at Mo' Dailey's

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 15, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

Compunction is a virtue we don't hear about too much anymore.  The only time it is mentioned in the Liturgy (to my knowledge) is on Ash Wednesday.  The priest says this prayer over the people at the end of the Mass:

Pour out a spirit of compunction, O God,

on those who bow before your majesty,

and by your mercy may they merit the rewards you promise

to those who do penance.

Read more...

Renounce and Detach

Father James with Blackhawks CEO, John McDonough at the 2018 Emerald City Gala

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 8, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

When I decided to say yes to God's call to become a priest when I was in college, I remember one of the impositions of the priesthood that gave me some excitement was poverty.  Whereas I may have been a little afraid or at least uncertain of celibacy or obedience, I looked forward to renouncing the life of wealth and comfort.  And it hasn't disappointed seven years into priesthood.

Read more...

The Virtue of Humility by Cardinal Merry de Val

Father James going back to school? First day of school.

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 1, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

In the crypt of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome are the tombs of many popes, including the first and greatest pope himself.  There is one tomb, however, that is unique.  Just to the right of St. Peter is a marble sarcophagus with the name etched in: Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val.  Yes, cardinals are important, but why this cardinal, among all the thousands in the history of the Church, in this preeminent spot?  Because Cardinal Merry del Val possessed the preeminent virtue: humility.

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed