Archive for May, 2009

May 30, 2009 – Happy 2nd Anniversary

May 30, 2009

Well as I begin typing it appears the clouds are rolling in again.  I must have missed the news bulletin that we have now become part of Seattle.  Obviously the weather is putting our farmers under the gun as they need to get their crops out, get hay put up, etc.  Pray that we finally see an end to this pattern.

As you see in the title I am celebrating an anniversary – no, not my own (you didn’t miss anything).  Actually, I should say that our parish is celebrating an anniversary.  Now you are probably really confused!  OK, I’ll end the suspense.  It was 2 years ago on June 3 that our church website, www.maryhoc.org, went online for the world to see.  I didn’t think 2 years ago that I would even be mentioning the day that a website went online.  I wasn’t even sure 2 years ago that our website would still be in existence.  But alas, here we are 2 years later, and our website is still going strong – well, at least it’s still going, and I know at least a few people are using it.

I want to sincerely thank you for first of all using our website, secondly for supporting our website, and finally for spreading the word about our website.  I can still remember from my days in school that when I had a paper to write or a project to do that the hardest part for me was always how to get started.  I would stare at a blank piece of paper for hours trying to come up with that first line or paragraph.  But then once I figured out how to begin, the rest just seemed to flow out.  It was a similar experience for me when I first began to try to figure out how to approach designing this website.  I had never designed a website before – and I have not designed any since – it’s like a fashion designer original, you make one outfit and you burn the pattern!  So I did a LOT of research and finally came up with a plan – do what everyone else is doing!

I did look at other church websites and saw what they were including on theirs and thought OK, we’ll have a little site where people can maybe read the weekly bulletin, maybe post a few photos, have a monthly calendar, maybe one or two other things.  Well, looking back 2 years later on this Pentecost weekend, I can say that the Holy Spirit had much more in mind.  I don’t say this to brag on myself but just as an observation – I look at our website now and think to myself “HOLY BLEEP- THERE’S A LOT OF BLEEPING STUFF ON HERE!  HOW IN THE BLEEP DID I EVER PULL THIS OFF!”.  Well as I said, thanks to the Spirit and the ideas and support of everyone, I’m not afraid to say that our website is a very good one.  There are of course a lot of good church websites out there, but I think ours is at least on par with many of the others.

I realize that in the grand scheme of things that keeping up a website is pretty low on the pecking order.  There are so many people in our parish doing so much great and hard work to minister to everyone, to raise money, to keep our buildings in shape, and doing so many other vital functions.  But we are given different gifts and talents, and at the end of the day, if we utilize those talents to the best of our ability for the glory of God, then we have held up our end of the bargain.  And the reality is that the internet is a part of our world that is not going away.   In fact it becomes more prominent every day.  If you go to our homepage, there is a link to an article from our former Bishop, now Archbishop Wilton Gregory, talking about how the internet can be used to spread God’s message.

As if I hadn’t talked enough about our website, I just wanted to point out a new feature that we have.  You may have heard of something called Twitter, or maybe you haven’t.  When I mentioned Twitter at our parish council meeting the other night, a lot of the folks looked at me like I was nuts (or come to think of it, that’s the look I usually get).  Anyway, Twitter is a service in which anyone can post brief updates about anything.  What is nice about it is that you can be at any computer, log in and post anything you want about what you are doing at the time, etc.  Our website now has its own Twitter account, and when someone posts  something, the lingo is that they “tweeted.”  So if you hear me sounding like a bird, there is no need to call the local mental institution.  Here is the link to our Twitter page:

www.twitter.com/maryhoc

What is nice about it is that I can be at any computer and if there is something I need to post –  a funeral, a cancellation, a last-minute news item, or just a random thought, I can do it very quickly on our Twitter page.  So check our “tweets” often.

Again, thanks for all of the support you have given me and our website the last 2 years.  As always, if you have any information to post, or any photos from parish events, I would love to include it.  Keep spreading the word about our website.   And I promise I will talk about something else next week!  Have a blessed Pentecost.  Peace.

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May 23, 2009 – Back at the Blog

May 23, 2009

I’m back after my one-week “weather imposed” hiatus.  About 10:30 last Friday night there was a lot of lightning and a loud pop.  The electricity flashed off briefly but I didn’t think anything was damaged.  However, the next day I noticed that the phone by my computer was not working, and as I explored further I discovered that pretty much all of my internet stuff had been knocked out.  Talk about throwing a webmaster into a panic!  But after the initial shock I thought you know, we’ve survived for thousands of years without computers and internet and cell phones – I think I’ll manage for a few days.  So I got the replacement parts and by Monday evening, all was right with the world again.  It could have been much worse – my computer, printer, monitor, etc. were all fine.  Thanks again for your patience.  I actually had a couple of people ask if something was wrong, or if I was sick.  Well, I can’t speak for my mental health, but physically I was fine.  So we’re back in the groove again.

This weekend we pay honor to our future and our past.  We recognize all who are graduating this weekend from grade school and high school and wish them well in their future endeavors.  I can vividly remember my own graduations and the mixed emotions that they brought – they were exciting because of what was accomplished and the new opportunities that were up ahead, but there was also a sadness because I knew we were leaving friends behind and because of the uncertainty of what was ahead.  So we pray for our graduates that they be safe in their celebrations and wish them all of the best in the future.

We of course also this weekend honor our past and recognize those in the military who died so that we could live as a free and prosperous country.  We also remember our veterans who served so generously, and of course we continue to pray for those who remain in harm’s way.  Since we have been at war now for over 7 years straight, I think we almost become numb to the reports we see on the news that there are still soldiers that are being killed, and that there is still a great deal of hostility that is brewing in our world.  We are asked as a nation on Monday at 3:00PM local time to observe a National Moment of Rememberance to in our own way pause to remember our fallen heroes.  So in ther midst of the barbecues, etc. we should not forget the reason for this Memorial Day.

In the midst of all of this activity it is easy to forget that our liturgical calendar tells us that we observe the Ascension of the Lord this weekend.  This  Holy Day of Obligation as you recall used to be celebrated on a Thursday until several years ago when the celebration in our Diocese was moved to the following Sunday.  In doing a little web searching on Holy Days of Obligation, I came across something that I’m sure I learned in my religion classes somewhere along the line but something that I haven’t thought about for a long time – the Precepts of the Catholic Church.   These are basically a description of the minimum actions required of us Catholics.  Do you remember what they are?

1) You shall attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation and rest from servile labor.

2) You shall confess youre sins at least once per year.

3) You shall receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.

4) You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the church.

5) You shall help to provide for the needs of the church.

I found this and a lot of other information on a website called Beginning Catholic.  It appears to be a good site for someone who is interested in finding out more about the Catholic faith, and it also can be a good review for us long-time Catholics as well.  Here is a link to it:

www.beginningcatholic.com

I hope you enjoy the remainder of your holiday weekend, and if you see a Cub fan offer them a word of sympathy, and then when they are out your sight, have a good laugh about the Cardinals sweeping them earlier in the week!  All in good-natured fun of course?!

Peace.

May 18, 2009 – Be Back Saturday!

May 18, 2009

The lightning from the storms on Friday night took out my internet service, and I did not get back online until Monday evening.  I’ll be back to the blog this coming weekend.  My apologies, and thanks for your patience and understanding.

May 9, 2009 – “The Sacrificers”

May 9, 2009

I hope you were able to stay on both feet during yesterday’s storms.  The more I drove around town this morning, the more trees, limbs, poles, etc. I saw down, but all in all I still think our neck of the woods came out in pretty good shape compared to others south of us.  Pray that the tree trimmers, electric lineman, and others who are cleaning up be safe in their work.  When you hear on the radio that there are hurricane force winds coming, your first reaction is “yeah, right” but we are reminded once again that we should never under-estimate mother nature.

This past Wednesday we met with Fr. Pete Schavitz who will be preaching our mission in September.  If you have not met Fr. Pete or have not heard him speak, he is a very impressive presenter – he has a great sense of humor and is a dynamic preacher.  I can assure you that our mission will be a great event.  There will be a lot of work to plan things before the mission, but it will be more than worth it in the end.  I thank everyone who has volunteered to help us in the different areas such as transportation, child care and refreshments during the mission week, and with mailings and such prior to the mission.  We can always use more folks to help us which would be greatly appreciated – but there is something everyone can do that doesn’t require a lot of effort that will enhance our mission experience – invite, invite, invite.

Do you have a family member, friend or neighbor who is Catholic but hasn’t attended church for a while?  Invite them to the mission. Do you know someone who is not Catholic but has expresed interest in our faith?  Invite them.  Do you know someone who you just feel would enjoy a preaching event?  Invite them.

Granted, the mission is still over 4 months away, but it’s not too early to make plans to be there – you know how quickly our calendars can fill up.  Here’s a suggestion: when you invite someone you don’t have to invite them for all 5 evenings.  Invite them to one evening, perhaps the Sunday evening on the 27th of September.  Stress to them that ths is an extraordinary event.  I think if we can get a good crowd on the first night, it will carry over to the rest of the week.  As Fr. Pete told us, it is our job to get the people there the first night – it is his job to get them there the next night.  We will be finalizing our mission schedule in the next week or two, and mailings will start going out probably in late June or early July, so much more info to come.

Let’s see, there is something else going on this weekend … hmmm, let me check my calendar … oh yeah, Mother’s Day.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers and godmothers.  It would be easy for a blogger to go find a prayer or reflection and throw it in as a tribute to our moms, but this blogger’s conscience won’t allow me to do that (besides, I did that last year already!), so here’s my best shot at a tribute:

Mothers are the true “sacrificers” (is that a word?  It is now.)  Before we are even born they sacrifice their bodies – enduring the morning sickness and weight gain in order to provide us the nourishment that we need to be strong enough to enter the world.  They sacrifice their strength during the birthing process in order to safely bring us into the world.  They sacrifice their work and of course their sleep when we are newborns to make sure that we are fed and cleaned.  As we become toddlers, they share their care and knowledge in teaching us how to walk, talk, and keeping us away from things that may harm us.

They sacrifice some of the bond that they developed with us when they drop us off at school for the first time, and they hope that the sacrifices they made to that point will help us excel.  They sacrifice time that they could have had for themselves in order to help us with our homework, attend sporting events, work at school fund-raisers, and so many other things that do not allow them to stay in one place for very long.  They fear hurting our feelings when they have to tell us that we can’t stay out too late, or that we can’t date at such a young age, or grounding us when we do something wrong.  But they know they have to do it because it is for our own good and it will help us to become more responsible adults.

When we are grown up and go out on our own, the duties of a mother do not end.  They are giving us those “loans” when we are short on cash that really aren’t loans, they are helping us move into a new home, and of course giving us all of the free advice that we ask for.  Then when they become grandmothers, they are there to offer their support because well, they know the sacrifices it takes to be a mother.

Mothers are the true “sacrificers” because once someone becomes a mother, they will always be a mother, whether their kids are 6 months old or 60 years old.  So this weekend our thanks and praise goes to our moms for always being moms – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Thanks again for reading.  Hope and pray for dry weather (again!).  Maybe an extra buck or two thrown the pastor’s way will help (it’s worth a shot).

 Peace.

May 2, 2009 – We Need Not Fear

May 2, 2009

Reporting to you proud to say that I’m still free of the swine flu.  Of course any strain of flu is serious, but I think there are signs that this might not be the imminent end of the world that the media has portrayed it to be.

Well I think it is safe to say that the drought is over.  I know that the old wives’ tale says that if it rains on Easter Sunday, that there would be rain for the next seven Sundays.  It didn’t mention anything about the rest of the week!  Pray that there is a break in the rain soon so that the farmers and gardeners can get their needed planting done.

I have said before that I try to keep the topics of this little blog on a positive tone, so when I tell you that over the last few days I have been thinking about our mortality and our limited time here on earth, you might wonder “My gosh, Brian, what’s going on?!”.  Well nothing specifically – I’m not planning on turning in my key for some time, but a couple of things I have heard and read kind of jarred my brain down this path.  First I had an aunt who passed away a couple of weeks ago.  Then I was saddened to hear of the passing of Melissa Reiman, daughter of our former organist/choir director Sue Reiman, who herself passed away about a year and a half ago.  Though Melissa was about my age, we went to different schools so I did not know her well.  But when someone who grew up in your community who is about your age passes on, it gives you pause to think – what if for whatever reason my time would be coming near – have I done enough to merit being welcomed into the heavenly kingdom?  Are there any wrongs I have committed that I need to make right?  Are there things in my life I need to change?

Finally, I read an article yesterday about a study headed by a surgeon in Pittsburgh – it showed that those who go to church on a regular basis can have a life expectancy of up to 2 – 2 1/2 years longer than those who don’t attend.  There were various factors that were mentioned as to why this may be the case – the article talked about things such as that people who go to church are more affluent and have access to better healthcare, that people who go to church have a more extensive social network for support, and that those who go to church have a more positive outlook.  It of course did not mention the power of prayer and living out the message of Jesus.  I would suggest that the surgeon visit his local convent and get their thoughts as to why the data in the study came out the way it did.

So what does all of this mean in the end analysis?  Well if we lived in fear of our death, that would not be much of a life.  Do we need to prepare for our death in spiritual and practical ways?  Absolutely yes, but we should not fear it.  The core belief of a Christian is that if we live by the example Jesus gave us, that we will be rewarded with eternal life with Him.  There was a country song that came out about a year ago – the main line of the song was that “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go now.”  We grieve those around us who have passed on, but if we are confident that they lived in the way Jesus wanted them too, then we have reason to be thankful, also.  They are much better off than any of us here.

Just a couple of wrap-up notes:  Congratulations to our Kindergarten class who is having their graduation ceremony this evening.  Thank you to Mrs. Jany and our school staff for the wonderful job they continue to do with our young prodigies.

Also please keep in mind our meeting this Wednesday from 6:30-8:00PM in the parish house as we begin to prepare for our Parish Mission.  If you can help us with things such as stuffing envelopes, making a few phone calls, etc., please come and find out what it’s all about.  More folks will make for a better mission experience.

And of course I have to mention that the Cardinals had their best record in the month of April since 1944!  There is some sun peeking through the clouds!  Have a good week.  Peace.