Archive for July, 2008

July 26, 2008 – Seeking Inspiration

July 26, 2008

Hello again,

Well I have been doing this blogging thing for about 7 months now.  At first I didn’t know how often I would write an entry, or what the entries would be about, or how long I would even continue the blog, or if anyone would bother reading it – you get the drift.  As time has gone along, it appears that at least a few people are taking a couple of minutes out of their week to read my thoughts (you poor saps, ha ha), and I have kind of gotten into the routine of making an entry each Saturday.  As I have shared with you before, my fear is that one of these days I will sit down at my laptop and nothing will come to mind.  I thought this morning about what I could write about, and really nothing popped into my mind.  So as I sit and begin to type, I am still looking for some type of “inspiration”.

Well, let’s see: I don’t want to talk about the Cardinals (too depressing after this week), so I go and scope the news headlines.  I figured the top headline would be something about the economy or politics, but no – the top headline is: “Formerly Pregnant Man Shows Off New Baby.”  OK, moving on then.  I now tap my fingers on my desk and wonder where to turn next.  I turn to the left and next to my desk is my bookshelf, and I think to myself that a lot of these books have been sitting on the shelf for quite some time.  In our technology-filled world, it is so easy to log on to the internet and find virtually everything we need.  I admittedly do not take the time that I should to grab one of my dust-covered books and do some hardcore reflection.

One of my books gives a brief reflection of the Sunday readings, and as I turned to this Sunday, the focus is on the first line of the second reading: “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love God, who are called according to the divine purpose.”  This really sums up our mission as Catholic Christians, doesn’t it?  We are asked to work for good along with God. and God has given us the gifts to fulfill this mission.  I have been asked in the past why I take on things like teaching PSR, parish council, and for the last year or so keeping up our website.  Sometimes it is a difficult question to answer, but this line from Scripture I think makes the answer more clear – it is my way of working with God (not for God, but with God) in spreading the message of His Good News.  Is what I am doing enough?  Well, only God knows that, but that is what having faith is about, believing that our sacrifices are enough and that we will receive God’s eternal reward.

When I do teach religion classes, one thing I try to stress is to open the Bible and listen to the Scripture readings at Mass, and try to grasp God’s message.  We will interpret His message differently than others, which is OK, because God made all of us unique.  My challenge is to pry myself away from the internet and my other electronic gadgest on occasion and  pick up my Bible or other book, and spend some quailty time with my God.  Maybe this is a challenge we all need to work on.

But of course, there is much usefulness on our world wide web, and when used properly, can be a great tool for all of us.  I again say thank you to those who continue to come up to me and compliment our website, maryhoc.org.  It means a lot to me, and hopefully it is a small way of working with and through God to fulfill His mission of spreading the good news.  Now if He could just spread a little good news on the Cardinals’ bullpen!?

Have a great week ahead.  Peace. 

Advertisements

July 19, 2008 – Hope Changes Everything

July 19, 2008

By the time you read this I’m sure you will have heard of the passing of Fr. Gene’s Dad, Mr. Frank Wojcik Sr.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Fr. Gene and his entire family.  It has been a difficult time for them the last few months with both of Fr. Gene’s parents dealing with health issues, and additionally with the 15 year old son of Fr. Gene’s cousin being involved in a serious motorcycle accident.  Again, we lift our prayers to God for them and for everyone in our parish who is dealing with hardships.

We have all had to deal with the loss of loved ones, and it is never easy, no matter what the circumstances.  Even if our loved one has lived a full life and has graced us here on earth for many years, it still leaves a void, and we still need the support of those around us – our family, our friends, and of course our God.  It is during the difficult times that I wonder how people who do not believe in God make it through – where do they go to find hope?  Where do they turn for guidance?  This past Monday the home run derby was held as part of the All-Star Game festivities in New York.  Josh Hamilton, who plays for the Texas Rangers, put on a record performance, belting 28 home runs in the first round.  Just a couple of years ago, he was not even playing in the major leagues because he was addicted to illegal drugs and was getting into trouble on a regular basis.  However, he appears to have turned his life around, and he credits it to his wife who steered him toward a Christian lifestyle.  One of the commentators on the broadcast said that “it is a bad night to be an athiest.”  I would argue that there is never a good time for that, and that the hope God gives us springs eternal.

This past Sunday Fr. Jeff Moore celebrated his first Mass here in his native parish.  It was a great day – the weather was beautiful, the church was full, and a wonderful brunch was provided by Bertha Mae and her crew.  It was also great to hear our choir once again.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can go to the home page or photos page on our website and click on Fr. Jeff Moore’s page, where you can view photos and video (yes, video) of the day.  Many thanks to all who helped prepare for and participate in the day, Bishop Schlarman, Fr. Maes. Fr. Gene, and of course Fr. Moore.

Our Vacation Bible School also took place this past week (see photo above).  I had the chance to visit last night and shoot some pictures and video.  Hopefully by this evening I will have these up on our website.  This is always a great event for our parish.  There were as many as 55 kids participating on a given night.  That is fantastic!  As you can imagine, it takes the hard work of many people to pull something like this off.  Special thanks goes to our DRE, Cheryl Gross, who spends hours upon hours getting things organized and set up, and of course thanks to the many wonderful volunteers.  There are many great things happening in our parish, which is one of the reasons we began our website – to let everyone know what we are about and the pride we take in our parish.  Spread the good news of St. Mary’s!

Finally, it is hard to believe that final registration for school is this Tuesday!  Was there really a summer vacation!?  It is a great tribute to our teachers and staff that they continue to sign back on year after year and continue to make our school such a source of pride for our parish.  We pray for our best year ever in 2008-2009, and let us support our school in any way we can!

Peace.

July 12, 2008 – Do You Believe In Fate?

July 12, 2008

I’m back to the blog after a one-week hiatus.  I hope you had a good holiday weekend last weekend.  As with every summer it seems, this one is going very fast.  A little over a month from now and school will be back in session!  Hard to believe.

In my last blog I talked about making a few changes to our website, including re-designing the home page, which is how I spent part of my holiday weekend.  Hopefully you will find it a little easier to navigate around to the various pages.  You will also notice that the “bulletin board” that used to be on the home page is now on a separate page.  I saw another website that had done this, and thought it would be a good idea for ours also.  Now there is more room to post information on it.  If you have an event or somethig else you would like to advertise on our bulletin board, even if it may not be church related, let me know and I am happy to post it.  One little way I can help the economy – FREE ADVERTISING!

This weekend is a special one for our parish as one of our native sons, Fr. Jeff Moore, celebrates his first Mass in his home parish, and also because our other native sons who are priests are returning.  When events such as this come around, I think back to my past and some of the decisions I have made along the way.  There was a time years ago when I was considering entering the seminary.  I even went and stayed at a seminary over a weekend to check it out.  However, it seemed almost from the very second that I walked in the door, something was telling me that this was not the place for me, that my full heart and soul just wasn’t in for this, and if there is a job where your full heart and soul better be in it fully, it is a priest.  I feel guilty at times because we need priests so badly, but I am a believer in fate, and I think fate has put me where I am supposed to be.  I’m sure all of us, no matter what our profession or situation, can look back and second guess some of our decisions, and wonder what would have happened if I had done this, or didn’t do that.  I very much enjoy my little role in the church, and am glad to have the time and ability to do it.  Lay leadership is becoming more and more important as the landscape of our Catholic church changes, and ultimately lay people will be the ones who will be responsible for the future viability of our parishes.

Well, despite the best efforts of our beloved Redbirds, the Cubs continue to lead the race in the central division.  But of course, all Cardinals fans know what CUBS stands for – Completely Useless by September!  Not sure if that will hold true this year, but the joy of being a baseball fan is to hold on to hope – something Cubs fans have held on to for a long, long, long time (ha, ha).

Keep those people of our parish in your prayers who need them the most, and also pray for the success of our Vacation Bible School this week.  Peace.