We Always Have A Choice

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

Dear Parishioners,

All the priests of the Archdiocese gathered together with the Cardinal a couple weeks ago for an all-day seminar.  We do this about three times a year.  In the afternoon we heard a talk on forming good habits, and the speaker mentioned "mindfulness training." Basically, if you can pause mentally when you are in the midst of a certain habit (smoking, eating, compulsively checking your texts, etc.), be mindful of what you are feeling and experiencing (something that is actually not that satisfying), you'll begin the neural re-networking process to break the bad habit.

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We Are Salt & Light

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

Dear Parishioners,

Jesus, when he calls us salt and light, is saying that we are necessary. He doesn't call us honey; he doesn't call us a neon light—things that are nice, but not necessary.  Salt and light are necessary for the world to function.  There is no life without light (think about how the dinosaurs died) and salt, especially back in Jesus' time, was essential to preserve food.

Now, when I say the Lord needs us, what I'm really saying is that he relies on us to spread the faith.  (By the way, in baptism, we give the newly baptized a candle and say, "receive the light of Christ." In the old ritual, salt was sometimes put into the person's mouth and salt was also sprinkled in water.) Christ has us evangelize: that is, introduce people to God and bring them into Catholicism.

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The Presentation of the Lord

Father James with children at the Catholic Schools Week Mass. Congratulations to Joe and Anne Cisneroz, recipients of the 2020 Sr. Remy Schaul Service Award.

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

Dear Parishioners,

I came across "The Surrender Novena" a few weeks ago, prayed it, was impacted by it, and wanted to share it with you. 

If you're not familiar with it, a novena is when we pray a particular prayer or set of prayers for nine straight days to obtain graces.  This novena was given directly from Jesus to an Italian priest named Father Don Dolindo Ruotolo, who lived from 1882-1970.  The “special” grace from this novena is to be able to trust in God more completely. 

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We Are the Galilee of the Gentiles...

With the 7th graders. Happy Catholic Schools Week!

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

 

Dear Parishioners,

 

"He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali..." 

 

Galilee was a sort of melting pot, kind of like Chicago, I imagine.  Think about the people whom Jesus would encounter: fishermen, farmers, tax collectors, Roman soldiers (pagan), Jewish synagogue officials, beggars, rich landowners, Greeks, Syrians, etc.  Only in Galilee could have had the assortment of spiritual experiences.

 

Pope Francis made this comment in an Angelus address several years back:

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Called to Be Holy


Thank you to the church sacristans for their good work preparing for Mass

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

 

Dear Parishioners,

 

Called to be holy.  That is what Saint Paul says in our second reading from First Corinthians.  He tells the people they have been sanctified in Christ Jesus and are called to be holy.  What does holiness mean?

 

Let me answer by giving you what some folks, far holier and smarter than I, have said about the topic.  By the way, in my reading whenever I come across a definition or description of holiness, I write it down.  This is from my catalogue...

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The Baptism of the Lord


Talking with the pre-school students about baptism

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

 

Dear Parishioners,

 

On this feast of the Baptism of the Lord, a quote by Saint John Henry Newman comes to mind.  I used this quote recently in a homily at a wedding on New Year’s Eve, thinking of ends and beginnings.  "Fear not that thy life shall come to an end," says Newman, "but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning."

 

The Sacrament of Baptism, like Marriage, is both an end and an beginning.  It's the end of a former way of life; the beginning of a new life in God's grace. 

 

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