Archive for August, 2008

August 23, 2008 – As Time Goes By

August 23, 2008

First things first – I was asked to give a shoutout to the summer crew who helped with the Monday lunch at the K of C while school was out – Bonnie, Rachael, Trenton, Noah, and anyone else that I may have missed.  Great job, everyone!  Please be patient with Kathy.  You will still get your water or tea (eventually, ha ha).

I talked a couple of weeks ago about beginning a page on our website devoted to our parish history.  I have done a little initial work on it, though I have to admit that I haven’t gotten as much done as I had hoped at this point.  Hopefully I will get to tackle it more this coming week and over the long holiday weekend coming up.  I went through some of the old photos at my house and found some school class photos, etc. that I hadn’t looked at in a while.  I also have a photo from the late ’20’s or early ’30’s of church during a 40-hour devotion.  Can you imagine in our fast-paced world keeping church open for 40 hours straight and having someone there at all times for devotion?  My Mom also told me that many years ago on Good Friday you were expected to be in church from 12:00 – 3:00PM and that you kneeled for the entire 3 hours.  Now people complain when Mass eclipses the 1-hour mark!  Definitely a different world that we live in now.

Looking through old photos and reading articles from the past makes one think about how quickly time passes.  I wonder if people who lived 50, 75, 100 years ago felt the same way about time going by so fast.  We all have so many things now that eat away at our time.  I’m a single dude, and at times between work, meetings, webmaster duties, etc., I wish there were a couple more hours in the day.  I can only imagine the demands of time on families who are keeping up a home, taking the kids here and there, and all of the other duties that come with being parents.  I think that is a big reason why time seems to go so fast – sometimes every minute of the day is occupied with something.  I cant help but think that in the days of yesteryear, in the “simpler times”, that time would have went a little slower, and that the years gone by wouldn’t have been such a “blur”.

It is ironic that when we are kids, time cannot go fast enough – we cannot wait to grow taller, or get a driver’s license.  Then when we reach adulthood, we want time to slow down or stop.  No matter if we are a kid or an adult, we need to savor our time here on earth.  Country singer Kenny Chesney had a song out about a year ago that talked about this very subject called “Don’t Blink”.  This is the refrain of the song:

“Don’t blink – just like that you’re six years old and you take a nap, and you wake up and you’re 25 and you’re high school sweetheart becomes you’re wife.

So don’t blink – you just might miss you’re babies growing like mine did, turning into moms and dads and next thing you know, you’re better half of 50 years is there in bed, and you pray that God takes you instead.  Trust me friend, a hundred years goes faster than you think, so don’t blink.”

Perhaps over the coming holiday weekend, or whenever we can find the time, we can stop “blinking” for a little while and savor our time here on earth, because as we all know, it won’t last forever.

Well, next weekend is a holiday weekend, so I do not plan to blog at that time unless there is some breaking news.  We thank God for our ability to work and that our work is productive, and we pray that those looking for work find employment.  Have a happy and safe weekend, and hopefully by the end of next weekend, the history of St. Mary’s will be on the world wide web for all to see (keep your fingers crossed).

Peace. 

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August 16, 2008 – More of Brian’s “Bits”

August 16, 2008

This seemed like one of those times again that I would just give a few random thoughts on what is floating in my head (protect the women and children! Ha, ha).

I have to admit that I have been paying a little more attention to the Olympics than I thought I would.  I certainly have not watched every minute of it, but I have been going to my trusty computer to check out some of the results and watch some of the highlights.  As with every Olympics, there are some stories that develop that draw one’s interest.  The most captivating moment for me so far was the women’s gymnastics team event when the U.S. gymnast fell off the balance beam and then fell on the floor exercise – perhaps costing the team a gold medal.  I can’t imagine the pressure of such a situation, being in your late teens or early 20’s and having to hit each maneuver perfectly.  I hope that the blame is not put squarely on her shoulders, and that this doesn’t haunt her life going forward.  It is after all, just sports!?!?

There was a discussion on the radio the other day about whether God really cares about the outcome of a sporting event or game, and that if someone prayed to God to win a game or to make a big play, if this would really have an impact on things.  For example, when the Rams had their Super Bowl years, Kurt Warner was very outspoken about his Christian faith and prayer life.  Would God favor him over the other team, or is the game played out on its own?  I can certainly see someone praying to stay safe during a game, and to pray to do their best, but does this really impact the outcome? Does God really favor the Cardinals over the Cubs?  One of life’s mysteries.  Can you imagine if the Cardinals get the wild card birth and the Cardinals played the Cubs in the playoffs?  Oh, the novenas that would be going on then!

Where did the summer go?  School starts Tuesday!  Is it just me, or does school start earlier each year?  I went to Perryville yesterday, and I kept passing by school buses, and I thought “what in the world is going on here?”.  Then I remembered that their schools started already on Thursday.  Wow!  At least we are getting a break in the weather at the start of school here.  Normally it feels like a sauna when school starts, but we are still in the 80’s!  Thanks be to God!  Let’s offer our prayers to all of our students and teachers and staff as they gear up for another year.

Us Catholics are mostly creatures of habit, I think.  We like to go to Mass and have everything the same as it always has been, the same familiar songs, the same prayers that we know in our head.  Well creatures of habit, in a few years your world will be officially “rocked”.  There are revisions in the Order of the Mass that have been officially approved, and will certainly affect what the priest says and how we respond during Mass.  These changes will nt take effect until at least 2011, but us creatures of habit will certainly need an adjustment period.  I’ve just begun to read more about this, but my understanding is that this new translation is more accurate to the Latin text, and also invokes more closely the images presented in the Bible.  Here are a couple of examples of the new translation: At points of the Mass when we respond “and also with you,” we will now have to respond “and with your spirit.”  The Penitential Act, Gloria and Nicene Creed will also be revised.  Also, when we sing the Sanctus, instead on singing “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of power and might,” we will sing “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts.”  These are just some of the many changes taking place.  If you would like to read about it, here is a link to the page on the USCCB website:

www.usccb.org/liturgy/missalformation/index.shtml

We will certainly be talking more about this as time goes on.

Be sure to keep checking out our website also, www.maryhoc.org.  Many more items have been added to the monthly calendar, and I will be putting some new items on the bulletin board later today. If you have an item you would like me to publish on our website, let me know and I am happy to do it.

Have a great first week of school.  Peace.

August 9, 2008 – Priorities, Priorities

August 9, 2008

What glorious weather for the month of August!  I can’t remember being in this time of year and everything still looking so green and fresh.  We’ll enjoy it while it lasts, as I’m sure we’ll still have some hot days ahead before summer ends.

Yesterday as I was looking ahead to the weekend I thought about things that I needed to remember to do.  Here was how my list came out: 1) Saturday afternoon – Cards/Cubs gasme on TV, 2) Sunday night – Cards/Cubs game on TV, 3) Saturday night – Rams preseason game on TV, 4) PGA Tournament golf on TV, 5) in between all of this, catch some of the Olympics, 6) Saturday – write blog and scan bulletin to website, 7) Oh, Mass on Saturday evening, and 8) well, maybe squeeze something else in that is actually constructive!

As I stepped back and examined this “list”, I thought to myself “My gosh, are your priorities screwed up or what!”.  So I think about ways to modify my list.  Well, somewhere in this couch potato marathon I could pray the rosary with Mother Angelica on EWTN (ha ha).  Not that this would be a bad thing, but I think I need to go a little more outside the box.  The truth is that I won’t be watching every minute of the baseball and football games or the golf tournament or the Olympics, and I’ll get some things done.  But I also admit that my priorities do sometimes get out of whack, and that is something that I need to work on (constantly).

I do not just question my own priorities, but every time I watch the news or see another campaign ad, I wonder if we really have our priorities in line.  I read that just for the opening ceremony for the Olympics the cost was $300 million, which is ten times the amount spent 4 years ago.  This is at the same time that many citizens of China are trying to survive on about 2 bucks per day.  The opening ceremony was certainly impressive, but would it really have lessened the Olympic “experience” if it was not quite so extravagent?

Of course, when I think of priorities, I can’t help but turn to our political system and our election process.  We are very fortunate to live in a democratic society with a free election process.  But does it really have to take 1 1/2 to 2 years to elect a President?  And does it require the tens and tens of millions of dollars that are spent to get this accomplished?  After watching all of these ads and speeches, I still don’t think that I am 100% clear on where the candidates stand on the issues.  With all of the means of communication that we have at our disposal (TV, computer, etc.), can’t there be some type of forum where the candidate can just present himself or herself and say “My name is ________________, and this is my view on healthcare, or abortion, etc.  Instead, staggring amounts of money are spent with the purpose of trying to convince us that the other candidate is not worthy of our vote.  Could you imagine if just part of this money was invested in workig for justice?  What a difference it would make!

OK, enough soapbox for one day.  Just to finish up with a couple of St. Mary’s items.  I want to give another plug for the Monday lunch at the K of C Hall.  From 11 to 1 each Monday, all you can eat (including dessert) for just $6.00.  It’s always a good meal, so pick up a friend and stop in.  Bill won’t mind doing a few more dishes.

Finally, with summer drawing to a close, activities in the parish will pick up the pace.  Many items have been added to the monthly calendar on our website.  Go to www.maryhoc.org, and click on the “Monthly Calendar” link at the top of the page.  You will find the calendar for not just August, but for September, October, and beyond.  Check it often as we are always adding new dates.

Time to go get my priorities straight again.  Peace.

August 2, 2008 – Thank A Teacher

August 2, 2008

I start once again by thanking you for continuing to support and use our website, www.maryhoc.org.  As you may have seen on our homepage, we set another record last month for the number of pages viewed with a final total of 1210.  FANTASTIC!  I was reading the other day about the website for Chester High School, which has been online for 10 years, and how it basically started as one page with some sports information, but has continued to grow and grow into one of the most impressive school sites around.  Now I’m not claiming that the work I have done on our website is necessarily “impressive”, but it has certainly morphed into a much larger project than I ever dreamed it would be.  I thought at first we would have a little site where people could read the bulletin, see a monthly calendar and the other schedules, and maybe post a few photos.  I didn’t dream that in a little over a year’s time it would become what it is today.  I credit Fr. Gene for feeding me information and ideas, our parishioners for their ideas and encouragement, and of course God for the inspiration He provides me.

I am starting to toss around one more idea in my head for the website.  We have a very rich 166 year history here at St. Mary’s, and I am thinking about starting a page that would provide a brief history of our parish, and could also include some photos from the past.  There may also be a section with some St. Mary’s trivia questions.  As always, your suggestions are welcomed and encouraged.

Last week I talked about ways I try to find inspiration.  As we have turned the calendar to August and school is about to begin, I thought about the inspiration I was given over my childhood years by my teachers.  I was blessed to have many wonderful teachers in my life, beginning in grade school here at St. Mary’s.  Sr. Mary Edna was one of the last breed of the “old-time” nuns that many of us experienced in our school days.  She had a yardstick named “Sammy” and I think all of us in class became close to Sammy at one time or another.  But she also deeply cared about her students and knew what buttons to push to get her students to do their best.  Two of my other grade school teachers are still members of our parish.  Diane Kerkhover was my 4th grade teacher.  Diane had a great sense of humor and could make even the most mundane subjects fun and interesting.  Danny Miller was one of my teachers in the upper grades.  Danny related so well to us kids because well, in many ways he was like a kid himself – and I mean that in the best way.  He just had that knack of being able to express things on our level, and he treated us as his friends, not just his students.

The best teachers are those that you can look back on 10 or 20 years later, and you find yourself in situations when you say to yourself – “I remember when I learned that from” him or her.  I had one of those types of teachers in high school, Sr. Elaine Freund.  Sr. Elaine taught composition.  I can vividly remember the first class I had with her.  She said that your goal in class shouldn’t be to make an A or B.  Your goal in this class should be that when you walk out of here on the last day of the year, that you will be a better writer than you are today.  Did I ever take those words to heart!  In college, when you write your final thesis paper, you then have to “defend” your thesis – you get stuck in a room with several old, gruff professors and they basically tear apart everything that you have written.  However, when I walked into mine, the first comment was: “I just want to say that I think this was very well written.”  My first thought was – Sr. Elaine!  Really, in anything I write, I think back to those things Sr. Elaine taught me.

I had a professor in college that also taught me a valuable lesson.  It actually had nothing to do with the subject matter of the class – it was really an off-hand comment, but a comment I have found to be very true – “If you really want to learn something, teach it.”  Teaching something really does force you to dig deep into a subject and learn all you can so you, well, basically so you don’t look like an idiot.  I know that having taught religion for almost 10 years now that I have learned more about my church and my faith than I ever had before.

Our teachers are true heroes.  Besides our God and our parents, I don’t think there are people more important in shaping the person we become than our teachers.  Our best teachers are more than instructors, they are mentors.  Please pray for all of our teachers as another school year begins.  Pray also for a break in the hot weather before school begins!

Stay cool this week.  Peace.