Happy New Year 2022

Celebrating the Solemnity of the Epiphany grabs our attention and focuses us on the kingship and divinity of the Christ Child. The Magi from the East, who are not believers like the Israelites, come to not just “pay their respects” to a neighboring “newborn king of the Jews” but to even “do him homage.” They have more respect to offer than King Herod and the Jewish elites. They even offer gifts of not just respect for a king such as gold, but also, frankincense and myrrh to, in part, symbolize worshiping with a sacrificial offering, now that’s homage! St. John Chrysostom suggested they even worshiped Jesus as God!

The Magi, as “outsiders,” provide an incredible witness of duty, honor, respect, adoration, and worship for the sacred newborn King! This should cause us to take pause and reflect on whether we are doing at least the same for Jesus in the midst of our lives and in our sacred spaces such as our churches and most importantly, in oursanctuaries where Jesus comes to us through Sacred Liturgy and gives Himself to us in the Most Holy Eucharist and is reserved for us in our tabernacles.

For this reason and many others, Sacred Liturgy is extremely important to me, Bishop DeGrood, and the Church. It is strictly regulated by the Church and overseen by our bishop. Bishop DeGrood is calling on our clergy to review how we celebrate the Sacred Liturgy in our diocese, bring more uniformity to it, and improve upon it.

When I arrived, I took the time necessary to learn how the liturgical norms are practiced in our parishes, reviewed them, and formulated the changes necessary while trying to respect certain customs and traditions where I can. Since Altarservers are intimately involved in Sacred Liturgy, I began with training present and new Altar servers and will retrain them during Youth Faith Formation (YFF) to help them get used to the changes. I really appreciate their openness to change and their efforts to adopt them. Also, we are adding interested adults to supplement and provide for serving roles as needed, such as serving funerals when school is in session. Please contact me to volunteer.

May we make it our personal priority and commitment to give the Christ Child the homage due Him with respect, praise, adoration and worship! We need to make a firm resolution for ourselves individually and to support one another in this lofty endeavor and journey of Faith in our parishes and in our Church.

Liturgical Correction: As I announced last Sunday at Masses, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is a Holy Day, but not a Holy Day of Obligation this year. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) specifies this on their website www.usccb.org. I made a mistake in following my planner instead of checking official sources. 

Christmas 2021

Greetings in Christ & Merry Christmas!

This Advent we reflected and prayed for the grace to prepare for the coming of the Lord into our lives and hearts through the Mother of Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary. This Christmas we celebrate God visiting His People, becoming one like us, a baby born into a human family, the Holy Family, so that He can save us according to His Will. This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) and the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. As Scott Hahn reflects in his column for this Sunday on the second column of this page, God the Father has done all of this so that we all may belong to His Family. He is our God and we are His sons and daughters. Thanks be to God! We belong to Him through Holy Mother Mary and through Holy Mother Church! May we all find true meaning for our lives and familiesin the ultimate Family of God’s Love & Life in Jesus’ Father’s House, the Church.

My first Christmas here, I am trying to respect each parish’s traditions to the extent possible but also to improve upon them. A church document says clearly that we are not to ever “obstruct” the Altar. It says this because, as I taught the Altar Servers, it is an Altar, not a table to set something on. It is actually a symbol of Jesus Christ Himself. He is the Altar of Sacrifice! We had room to easily make the necessary modifications in Sacred Heart Church. Hopefully, our first try at this works. We are much more limited for space in St. Pius X Church. It will take much more planning and work next year to try to remain faithful to the Church on this matter. I do not tell people “no” unless I have to. Obedience to the Church is important to me. I hope it is for you too. Thank you for your understanding.

December 18, 2021

This Fourth Sunday of Advent Cycle C has us looking forward to Christmas in a very distinctively Pro-Life way. It is the Visitation Joyful Mystery of the Most Holy Rosary. The Blessed Virgin Mary went in haste to the hill country to help her elderly cousin Elizabeth in her last three months of pregnancy with John the Baptist. The Gospel proclamation (Luke 1:39-45) gives us the account. The infant in the womb of Elizabeth, John the Baptist, leaped when he sensed the presence of Jesus as an unborn human baby in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Both mother’s recognized this as confirmations of the Real Presence of Jesus as brought into Elizabeth’s presence by Jesus’ Mother Mary. We can pray that we too receive a grace of confirmation in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle which, like a womb, contains Jesus as the Blessed Sacrament. This will help us to look forward to celebrating Christmas, Christ really coming among us at Mass, because, by first coming among humanity as a human, Jesus offers his human flesh and blood for us to eat in the Eucharist for our salvation to this day until the end of time at Mass in memory of Him!

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Published on  August 29th, 2023

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