Archive for January, 2008

January 26, 2008 – The Joy of a Meeting?

January 26, 2008

When I started this blog, my fear was that I would run out of things to talk about, and as I sit here at my computer, I’m starting to kind of realize that fear – there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot going through my mind right now, although some of my friends would claim that this is not an unusual occurrence.  So I’m just pretty much “winging it” as I type this entry.  Let’s see how it goes …

The week started with our retreat for our Confirmation candidates on Monday.  Being the 7th/8th grade teacher for PSR, this is an event that I kind of have to be at, but even if not, I think I would volunteer to be there.  It’s always a neat experience, not just for the students and their sponsors, but for me as well.  It is a nice change of pace day – no phones ringing or other distractions to keep our minds off course.  It was worth missing the fried chicken at the K of C hall for lunch (Bernice’s chili made up for that.  Thanks, Bernice!).

Gretchen Morgan, a youth minister from Mount Vernon, conducts our retreat and she does a fabulous job.  You can view photos from the retreat by clicking the link on the home page of www.maryhoc.org.  One of the activities we do is a “meditation prayer.”  The group sits in silence as Gretchen leads us in meditation.  My first thought was “when was the last time I had a chance to do this?”, just to be with myself and my thoughts.  Pretty cool.  One of the things I’m going to try to do this Lent is to remind myself that no matter what is going on or what else is on my mind, that I will take a few minutes each day to just be alone with the Lord.

On Wednesday evening we had our Parish Council meeting.  In my different roles in the parish and Diocese I go to plenty of meetings, and I must admit that there are some that I look forward to more than others.  Our Parish Council meetings are ones that I look forward to the most.  We are a group that first and foremost prays for the well-being of the parish community, and we also deliberate many issues that affect our parish and church as a whole.  It is a group with a wonderful spirit that truly enjoys each other’s company.  If you haven’t served on our council before or if it has been some years since you have, I encourage you to do so when the time comes to select new members.  It is one of those rare committees that I can say it is a true joy to be a part of.

Much of our discussion on Wednesday was about the upcoming Lenten season, which begins February 6.  If you think this is rather early for Lent to begin, you are right!  This is one of the earliest dates for Lent to begin.  As in the past, the parish is publishing a guide that will contain everything you need to know about Lent, but if you would like to start marking your calendar now, many of the Lenten happenings have been posted on the monthly calendar on our website.  I have noticed over the last couple of weeks with the Super Bowl coming up, that there are a lot of new snack items in the stores.  I am going to have to devour them quickly or I will be in big trouble when Ash Wednesday rolls around! 

Finally, as I’m sure most of you are aware of, this coming week is Catholic Schools Week in our nation, and of course here in our community.  I hope you get the opportunity to take advantage of some of the special activities that are taking place.  Our school has many activities planned to show their appreciation to everyone for supporting our school.  I would like to reciprocate by thanking everyone who works so hard in our school and helps to support it and continue to make it the best school it can be.  Great job, everyone!

Well, for not knowing what to talk about I guess I have blabbed enough.  Enjoy the warmer weather!  Peace.

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January 19, 2008 – You Know That You’re Getting Older….

January 19, 2008

Thanks to all of you who continue to read my blog.  I didn’t have any idea when I first started this if anyone would bother to read my ramblings, so again, thanks.

I know that 38 years old is not really “old” yet.  I have found this out because it seems that any time I mention getting older, someone says something to the effect of “Good grief! 38!  You’re still a pup!  What I wouldn’t give to be 38 again!”.  OK, I get the point.  I just mention it because it seems that besides the obvious physical signs of getting older – the receeding hairline, the expanding girth, the need for more than 4 or 5 hours of sleep, etc., I’ve noticed that my views of things have been changing also.  For example, when I was younger I so much looked forward to winter, especially when the forecast called for snow – time for snowball fights, jumping into the drifts, riding the sleds, and all of the other fun stuff.  Now, when the forecast calls for snow or ice, my reaction is the complete opposite – will I be able to make it out of my driveway?  Will it be slick?  How cold is it going to be?  Definite sign of getting older.

Of course, getting older has many rewards also.  I continue to learn new things.  I see the amazing growth of technology and wonder what will be available to us 5 years from now.  I don’t think I sweat the small stuff as much as I used to.  So getting older is certainly a blessing, though I find myself saying OW! more than I have before!

I am definitely grateful for the opportunity to have the chance to become older.  As we approach January 22, the aniversary of Roe v. Wade, my thoughts turn to those who never had the chance to experience life on this earth at all, let alone experience the opportunity to become older.  As Catholics, our prayers go to those who are journeying to Washington, D.C. to mark this anniversary, and of course to those women who are struggling with the decision of whether to carry out the huge responsibility of raising a child, the tough but admirable choice of adoption, or being pressured by those around them and by society of terminating a pregnancy.

There is good news: According to an article by Catholic News Service, abortions in our country are at a 30-year low.  Hopefully this trend will continue and that women will continue to make the responsible choice.  If you haven’t checked out the Catholic News Service (www.catholicnews.com), it is a good web site with a lot of pertinent information for Catholics.

Finally, I know that there has been a lot of press this past week concerning our Bishop and possible misguided expenditures.  I certainly do not condone his actions if he indeed used monies that were specifically intended for other purposes.  However, I think it would also be a mistake for us to turn away from our church and to cease supporting our church for this reason.  We as church have experienced flaws in our leadership in the past – the recent sexual abuse scandal being at the top of the list.  One way or another, these matters are resolved, though perhaps not as quickly as we would like sometimes.  It is in these instances that our faith is more important than ever – to have faith in the advisory committees of the Diocese that they will be able to get to the bottom of the situation, to have faith that our leaders learn from their errors and govern more effectively, and of course faith in God that he continue to guide our church on the right path and that he gives us the strength to continue to carry out his message.  It is the message, after all, that the church is built on.

Enjoy the winter weather (ugh!).  Peace.

January 12, 2008 – We Walk Not Alone

January 12, 2008

Pardon me first of all if this entry has some typing errors, or things that don’t sound right.  I’m writing this at the same time that I’m following the Jaguars-Patriots football game, so it may be a little tough to concentrate.  I admit that I am a football junkie, and I have already thought about how depressing that weekend after the Super Bowl will be when there is NO MORE FOOTBALL!  Geez, I need to get a life.

A couple things I wanted to post about today.  This morning I attended a meeting of the West Deanery Reflection Group in Evansville.  I’ve been a part of this group for about 12 years now.  This is a group where folks from different parishes in our deanery gather to talk about issues in our diocese, deanery, and our parishes, and to share ideas.  We certainly face our share of challenges in our own parish – keeping our school afloat, maintaining a base of parishioners when there doesn’t appear to be a lot of growth of population in our town, etc.  But we can take solace in the fact that we are not alone in facing challenges.

These challenges are wide-ranging: Parishes such as Ss. Peter and Paul in Waterloo and Immaculate Conception in Columbia are dealing with a “growing” problem – planning to build to accomodate the continuing influx of new parishioners.  Smaller parishes, however, are dealing with a “shrinking” problem –  trying to keep their parishes viable as their congregations decrease, resources are limited, and the clergy cotinues to decrease in numbers and increase in age.  One person made the statement that “It sure is hard to be a Catholic nowadays.”  However, there was not one among us that said that we were “giving up”, or crawling into a shell.  I know for me personally, I don’t know what I would do without my faith, and what I would do without being able to come to my familiar place of worship with a lot of wonderful, dedicated people.

With the season of Lent coming up, it is tradition to make some sort of sacrifice – giving up that favorite dessert, or giving something extra to a charity, etc.  Perhaps this Lent, we could also make a pledge to be proud of our Catholic faith, and to be witnesses of that faith to those around us – not just by wolfing down grilled cheese sandwiches on Fridays, but to spread the good news that is going on in our parish and our church as a whole.  It is quite a challenge, but a worthwhile one. 

I would be remiss to end without wishing a very Happy Birthday to Bertha Mae Blechle who is turning 80 years young.  Everyone who knows Bertha Mae knows what an amazing woman she is and the many things she does for our parish and our community; she one of those people that always seems to be there anytime you need her, which is quite often!  God Bless You on this happy occasion and may you enjoy many more years among us.

You can of course always find Bertha Mae at the K of C hall preparing the Monday luncheon, which is served from 11:00-1:00. If you haven’t tried it, you should!  Just $6.00 for all you can eat, including drink, dessert, and of course Kathy Albrecht’s thoughts on St. Louis sports.

Until next time, Peace.

January 4, 2008 – Getting Back Into the Groove

January 4, 2008

Hello Again!

Thanks to all of you who viewed the first entry to my blog.  I also was negligent in not thanking all of you who supported our church website this past year.  I hope you have found it useful, and will continue to use it often in this coming year.  Please also tell your friends and family who are out of the area about our website, so they can follow all of the happenings at St. Mary’s.

The last few days have been a time of “getting back into the groove.”  The holidays were a festive time and a nice change of pace, but they also threw off my sense of timing.  Wednesday seemed like Monday, Thursday seemed like Tuesday, etc.  So even though in a way it’s a shame to see the holidays come to an end, on the other hand it will be nice to get back into the normal routine.  God does truly know what is best for us, I believe.

I will be the first one to admit that I probably spend way too much time at my desktop computer (and my laptop computer, and my work computer, you get the idea).  But the internet, as much as we are offended by some of the material and influences we find, can also be a great thing.  One thing I have started to do is to coorespond with Sr. Anne Irose by e-mail when she is in Bolivia.  Today I received a thank you message from her to share with the parish, which I have posted a link for on our home page, www.maryhoc.org.  I also have posted a couple of new links on our links page, including the link to the website for the annual braggin’ rights basketball game, and a link to a website called Catholic Culture, which has a lot of good information.  Particularly, it has a liturgical calendar which I found very interesting.

Finally, as promised, here are some more of my favorite sayings from “Church Signs Across America”:

–  Don’t wait for the hearse to take you to church!

–  Wal Mart isn’t the only saving place in town.

–  Be fishers of men – You catch them, God will clean them.

–  Fire protection policy available inside.

–  Keep using my name in vain, I’ll make rush hour longer – God.

–  Swallow your pride – it contains no calories.

–  Afterlifetime guarantee!

Until next time, Peace.