Monthly Archives: December 2014

Pastor’s Notes – December 28, 2014

Father Shea

Father Shea

From the Deskof.
Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss. R

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Another new year! Another New Year’s resolution! Will this year’s resolution have anything to do with dieting? If so, there’s a new garlic diet around. You don’t lose weight, but you look thinner from a distance.

A very large boned woman got on a crowded bus in Atlanta. Wanting to sit down, she looked up and down the aisle. There wasn’t an empty seat in sight. Appearing quite disgusted, she said,
“Isn’t there a kind gentleman on this bus who would give a woman a seat? Up jumps a very thin man at the back of the bus. He looks at the large boned woman and shouts, “I’d be glad to make a contribution!”

In the book, Family Holidays Around the World, it is written that the people of Korea have a fascinating New Year’s custom. They celebrate Forgetting Year. As the year begins the folks are
anxious to forget repulsive things in their lives and are ready to make a fresh start. Each person determines what bad habits he or she would like to eliminate and what past deeds they want forgiven.

On New Year’s Day some Koreans write the names of these evil things upon a kite. Then they fly the kite high in the air. When it is almost out of sight, they cut the String. As the ‘paper bird’
disappears from sight. they believe that all their faults and previous transgressions are forever removed.

In a few days we will be standing at the crossroads of our lives, between 2014 and 2015. We will reflect on the past and dream of the future. We want to forget some unpleasant happenings of the past. We hope for a better tomorrow.

Yesterday cannot be changed. Tomorrow does not yet exist. However, God has taken care of the past and the future. He has forgiven the past. And He shields the future from us. The present is all we have. Therefore, God calls us to make the most of the present moment – so, let’s have a MTC day – Make Today Count.

Looking back upon our past journeys, we recall the frightening valleys of darkness and the bright meadows of delight; the cool shade of relaxation and the glorious mountaintops of ecstasy.

We remember the busy streets. the shopping centers, the dangerous alleys, the noisy factories, and the quiet offices.

We have walked lonely roads. We have rubbed shoulders on crowded sidewalks. We have driven down busy highways. We have glided through the friendly skies.

We remember the banter in the kitchen, the peace in the family room, the fun in the back yard and the food on the dining room table.

We have shivered 1.0 the cold and sweltered in the sun. We have marveled at the sunsets and
gazed at the moon. We have seen the mountains and the oceans.

In addition, we dream of what will be.  We dream and dream.  We dream of traveling to a land of bliss.  Sure, we can dream dreams, but our priceless gifts are kept in the sacred chambers of our hearts. They cannot be measured by  by money, power or status. They are gifts to be protected and preserved. The gift of friendship. The gift of marital commitment. Courage in a moment of crisis. Faith in the midst of turmoil. A word of encouragement when all is
hopeless. A moment of laughter. A quiet time with God. A time to share our love for one another.

So many of our dreams are tinged with the hope that tomorrow will be different. Yet, we are living today. Yesterday has it memories. Tomorrow its dreams. Only today is offered to each of us to fill it with good or evil. So. Make Today Count.

Clowns have a delightful prayer: Lord, as I stumble through this life, help me create more laughter than tears, dispense more happiness than gloom. and spread more cheer than despair. Never let me grow so big that I fail to see the wonder in the eyes of a child, or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.

Never let me forget that I am a clown, that my work is to cheer people up, make them happy, make them laugh, and make them forget momentarily all the unpleasant things in their lives. Never let me acquire financial success to the point where I will fail to call upon my Creator in the hour of need, or thank him in the hour of plenty.

And in my final moment. O Lord, may I hear you whisper in my ear: “when you made MY people smile, you made ME smile.”

Chances are that we will hear the song Auld Lang Syne. It means “old long since”, or, “long, long ago” or…days gone by” or “old times”. Those words appeared in a poem written by Robert Burns back in 1788. As we sing that song on New Year’s Eve we can loosely translate those
words, “Thanks For the Good Times…”

And finally, “May we get it all together before we fall apart.”

Have a happy and joyful New Year.

Fr. Jim Shea

Pastor’s Notes – December 21, 2014

Father Shea

Father Shea

From the Desk of:
Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss. R

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Christmas was only a few days off. A woman had not sent a single Christmas card. Feeling a bit under pressure, she rushed into a Hallmark store and bought a package of 50 cards. She
never checked the message within the card. She quickly signed each card, still not reading the verse within. She sent 49 cards to her family, friends and neighbors. A few days later she happened to notice the left-over card lying on the table. She glanced at it closely. only to discover to her dismay, the following verse: “This card is just to say a little gift is on the way.”  She nearly fainted. Some 49 people were waiting to receive gifts that would never come.

The late Bishop Boland, the Bishop in Kansas City when I was stationed there, wrote a prayer for postal employees during the Christmas rush. He composed this prayer for overloaded
workers and impatient postal customers during the Christmas season.

God, Our Father, may everything we do be first class. Imprint your own Loving Zip Code upon our hearts so that we may never go astray. Provide your gracious Providence, special
handling for those of us who are fragile and keep Its in one piece. We have been signed, scouted, stamped and delivered in your image and Iikeness. We beg you to keep us in your care as we go about our appointed rounds. And when our days draw to a close and we are marked “Return to Sender “, may you be there to greet us at Heaven’s door so that nobody may every
say, “Unknown at this Address “. Amen.

The pastor of a church in a small town ordered a sign for their outdoor manger scene. The company needed to know the dimensions and verbiage of the sign. The next day a Western
Union employee was shocked to see this message come across the wire: “For unto us a child is born. 8 feet long, 3 feet wide.”

Mary Hollingsworth said, “What would I give you if it were within my power? I would pray a blessing for you on each of the twelve days of Christmas:”

ONE faithful friend to help carry your load.
TWO cups of Chrt.stmas cheer one to savor, one to share.
THREE special gifts for you to give away “one to show love, one to make peace and one to bring joy. ”
FOUR hours of quiet solitude in which to dream your fondest dreams for the coming year.
FIVE glorious sunsets unmarred by clouds or crowds.
SIX happy songs to sing of Christmas warmth and gladness.
SEVEN golden threads to run through your Iife: faith, virtue, knowledge, patience, godliness, kindness and love.
EIGHT precious memories of long ago to keep you young forever.
NINE words of hope to calm your troubled heard: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
TEN minutes of creativity at its height.
ELEVEN smiles from strangers to renew your faith in people.
TWELVE tranquil months of peace and love.

The readings for our Masses on Christmas come from the gospel of St. John. The message about the birth of Christ is so simple and clear. What do you suppose a gospel written by the IRS might sound like today?

Dr. Eugene Brice wrote this: Once there was an adult male named Joseph, a self-employed carpenter with two dependents, Mary, who was an unemployed housekeeper, and a minor son named Jesus. Jesus was born six days before December ended, and this provided
Joseph with a full deduction for the entire year. Jesus was born in Bethlehem while Joseph and Mary were on a business-related trip, which could not be deducted. The family received considerable assets of gold, frankincense, and myrrh while in Bethlehem. A ruling has not yet been made on whether this increase in net worth should be reported as income on line 12, page 2.

And so, we the staff at St. Gerard extend our Christmas greetings to all parishioners and friends in this bulletin. I applaud all parishioners and friends of St. Gerard. Wonderful things are happening because of your great spirit of generosity and volunteerism. Last Saturday
evening and Sunday morning we celebrated our parish Christmas party. The Social Events Committee worked many hours in decorating the cafeteria, purchasing the food, cooking the meal, serving the meal and finally, cleaning up. I thank you and applaud you.

And to all, a Merry Christmas. God bless you.
Fr. Jim Shea CSsR

Pastor’s Notes – December 14, 2014

Father Shea

Father Shea

From the Desk of:
Fr. James E. Shea, CSs.R

Some time ago the following article appeared in a mid-western newspaper:

Police were called today to help restore order at the Presbyterian Home for the Aged – the scene of a week-long revolt. Three militant octogenarians were arrested after a scuffle in the north parlor. They were identified as leaders in an activist group that seized control of the parlor three days ago and locked the matron in the closet. The eighty-year-old spokesman for the activists told reporters the demonstration was staged to enforce demands that the old folks be given more of a role in management. “We have a bunch of young whipper-snappers running things around here,” he said, “and we don’t trust anybody under sixty-five.” Another one of the activists commented, “What is the sense of living a long time if some fifty year old kid is going to tell you what to do.”

The Presbyterians called their institution: “Home for the Aged.” Other organizations call their institutions: “Nursing Home.” We Redemptorists have an institution which we call:
“St. Clement Health Care Center. Our institution is not simply a home where our aged priests and brothers live. Nor is it a nursing home where only the infirmed live. Rather, for us
Redemptorist we have a center which is a home where a Redemptorist community lives. In that home we extend our loving care to those among us who are sick and elderly.

St. Clement Health Care Center is located at Liguori, Missouri, approximately 30 miles south of St. Louis. Nearly eighty years ago the Redemptorists bought a farm in the foothills of the
Ozarks. At that time this farm was far out in the country. Today it is surrounded by residential neighborhoods. Over the years the Redemptorists built a monastery, a publication house. a
convent for the Redemptoristine nuns, a Health Care Center and a cemetery on this property.

St. Clement Health Care Center was built in 1989. Since then many of our Redemptorist confreres lived at St. Clement. They received loving health care, both physically and spiritually.
Some confreres were in need of long term health care. They Iived their sunset years at St. Clement. Other confreres needed a time for rehabilitation. After they regained their health they
returned to active duty.

The Redemptorists own and operate this Center. However, the Redemptorists hire full-time professional people in the medical and health care fields. These professionals, men and women, are present, 24-7, to care for resident Redemptorists. The Redemptorists on staff handle the administrative duties as well as providing spiritual enrichment for the residents.

Last summer Father Monroe Perrier decided that the time has come for him to take up residence at St. Clement. Our provincial superior honored Fr. Monie’s request, On January 12th. Fr, Morrie will leave St, Gerard and begin living at St. Clement Health Care Center in
Liguori. He will join a couple of his classmates and friends who are presently living at St Clement.

Back in the early 1930’s a babe was born in the Irish Channel of New Orleans. He was the last of seven children. His parents named him Monroe, after the name of the doctor, his father’s friend, who delivered all seven children. However, throughout his life. especially amongst the Redemptorists, he was affectionately known as Monie.

Monie’s father died when he was a very young boy. The loving presence of his mother left a lasting impression on Fr. Monie. His mom attended daily Mass. She was a prayerful woman, who invited Monie to join her at Mass and prayers. At some time, Monie probably dreamt of
the day when he would be the priest at the altar, celebrating those Masses and leading people in prayer.

Monie attended St. Alphonsus elementary school in New Orleans. After graduation, Monie pursued his dream by attending the Redemptorist seminary high school, St. Joseph Preparatory College, in Kirkwood, Missouri. Monie continued his graduate studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary, located on the beautiful shores of Lac Labelle in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. There he studied philosophy and theology. In 1958, he was ordained. From then on he was known as Father Monie.

Many southerners tremble at the thought of freezing temperatures and knee deep snow banks. Not for Fr. Monie. He enjoyed the cold weather and the ground blanketed with snow. During his seminary days he was frequently seen playing hockey on Lac Labelle or cruising around the lake on speed skates or even tobogganing the hills of Wisconsin. He loved it.

After ordination he was assigned to the Redemptorist seminary high school in Lacomb, Louisiana. There he taught French and Latin to the seminarians. Fr. Monie dedicated eight years as a professor. He then embraced parish ministry. He was assigned to Redemptorist parishes in Baton Rouge, Corpus Christi and Houston. After many years in parish ministry, Fr. Mortie joined a mission team, traveling from parish to parish preaching the Good News.

Every three years the Redemptorists would elect a confrere to be the Vice-Provincial Superior. In 1990, Fr. Monie was elected Vice-Provincial of the New Orleans Vice Province. For nine years he was the superior of Redemptorists in south central United States.

Following his Vice-Provincial days, Fr. Mortie came to San Antonio. He was given the role of Formation Director for college seminarians. The seminarians lived in Liguori House,
the former home of the Sisters of Notre Dame, which is now known as, St. Gerard Catholic Church Office and Center.

During the past couple of years Fr. Monie has been in residence at St. Gerard. During this time he regularly celebrated Masses for the folks at St. Joseph’s downtown and for the Sisters of the
Holy Spirit. Occasionally, he would celebrate Mass at St. Gerard. Other pastors also invited him to celebrate Mass or hear confessions in their parishes.

Many, many people have been touched by Fr. Monie’s gentle and understanding spirit. He loved his priestly vocation. He loved to minister to people. He was always available to those in
need. We have been blessed at St. Gerard with Fr. Monte’s presence.

We will celebrate with Father Monie on Saturday, January 10, 2015. At 5:00 pm, all of us Redemptorists, along with parishioners and friends, will gather with Fr. Monie to celebrate
a Mass. Monsignor Doug Fater. a close friend of Fr. Monie, will preach the sermon. Immediately after the Mass we will invite all the people in the parish, along with Fr. Monie’s family and
friends, to come to our cafeteria for a time to chat. We’ll enjoy our time together with refreshments and a delicious meal. So, mark your calendars, January 10. 2015 at 5:00 pm.

On Monday, January 12th, Fr. Monie and I will be driving to Liguori. About a month ago Father Monie’s classmate and friend, Father Gerry Siebold moved to St. Clement Health Care Center. Father Gerry, along with some of Fr. Monte’s very dear Redemptorist friends will be there to welcome him.

Christmas is just 12 days away. Our Christmas Mass schedule will be: Wednesday, December 24th, 5:00 pm and Thursday, December 25th, 9:00 am. The New Year’s Mass schedule is
the same: Wednesday, December 31st, 5:00 pm and Thursday, January 1st, 9:00 am. Just two Masses for Christmas and two Masses for New Year’s.

A woman volunteered to deliver meals to elderly shut-ins. Occasionally, she would bring along her four year old daughter. The little girl was intrigued with the various appliances of old
age; the canes, the crutches, the walkers, and wheelchairs.

One day she noticed her daughter staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. A few moments later the little girI looked up and whispered, “The tooth fairy will never believe this!”

Fr. Monie’s farewell message to us is: “Let us pray for each other.”

Father Jim Shea, CSsR.

Pastor’s Notes – December 7, 2014

Father Shea

Father Shea

From the Desk of
Fr. James E. Shea, C.SS. R

Betsy met a wonderful young man. He asked her for a date. Betsy accepted. On their first two dates he treated her to meals at Wendy’s and Whataburger. For their third date he promised
to take her to the finest restaurant in town.

Betsy was looking forward to an enjoyable evening. She wanted to look her best. So, she curled her hair. She carefully put on her makeup. She put on her finest outfit. Then she anxiously waited for her date to arrive.

She waited and waited. He didn’t show. After waiting an hour and a half she figured she had been jilted. She angrily gave up. So, she changed into her pajamas, washed off her makeup,
grabbed some junk food and settled into the sofa for an evening of television. Just then, the doorbell rang. It was her handsome date, decked out in a classy suit and standing on the doorstep. He stared at his date, dressed in pajamas, and said, “I’m two hours late, and you’re still not ready!”

A procrastinator is a person who always puts things off, like work, chores, even a date. There are many Christmas procrastinators, putting Christmas chores off til the last minute.
Procrastinators will say: “I’m just not ready for Christmas.”

For many centuries the Church has been aware of procrastinators. There are so many people who wait until the last moment to get things done. In order to get ready for Christmas, the church introduced the Advent Season. ‘Advent’ comes from the Latin, meaning ‘coming to.’ We are coming to the birth of Christ. In our culture we celebrate four weeks of preparation for the coming of the Lord. Some cultures spend six weeks, or forty days in preparation. Today, we begin the second week of Advent.

During the next three weeks the Church invites us to prepare ourselves for the birth of Christ in a spiritual way. Sure, we will be caught up with Christmas decorations, gift buying and
holiday parties. But Christ is the reason for the season. Receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation is a wonderful way to prepare for Christmas. Remember: Monday evening, after
the Mass of the Immaculate Conception, we will be hearing confessions.

As we light the second candle in our Advent wreath we are reminded that Christmas is only three weeks away. The Advent wreath originated with the Lutherans of eastern Germany a few
hundred years ago. The custom of the lighting of the wreath during the four weeks preceding Christmas took place only in the homes of believers. Catholics honored the custom from
the Lutherans and introduced it into our churches. Each week a candle is lit. These candles remind us that Christ is coming to dispel the darkness of sin.

Many of us send Christmas greetings to loved ones and friends. For many of us it is a way to connect with one another once a year. It seems that the years fly by and we never get a chance to visit these people. So, a Christmas card is a way to say, I`m thinking of you.
Or, I love you.

The late Mike Royko of the Chicago Tribune. tells of a salesman who detested receiving Christmas cards with just a short note or no note at all. He decided to send out prank cards to his friends. If the guy was in service he wrote, ‘Hi, Joe, old buddy. Got your address from
Jim Scallion (you remember. the old barracks moocher). Me and the wife and kids are going to be passing through Chicago during the Christmas holidays. Thought we’d stop by and spend a night or two with you. We can sip a few brews and rehash our days in the old outfit.’ Then, he signed the card with a phony name ‘Your old pal, Wilbur Crull.’

Since he was driving down South on a sales trip he mailed the cards from small Southern towns. When the people received these cards, they were dumbfounded. Wives were yelling, ‘Who is this guy? No way will they move in with us during Christmas?!’ Husbands were saying. ‘I knew a hundred yokels in the Army. He could be any one of them!’ Many couples panicked. One couple almost got a divorce. Some wouldn’t answer the door bell around Christmas. Well, so much for those crank cards.

Smack dab in the middle of Advent comes some important remembrances, feast days or celebrations. This Sunday is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Monday, December 8th is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, a holy day of obligation. Tuesday is the Memorial of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. Friday is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor is a marble memorial built over the sunken USS Arizona, which was dedicated in 1962. The memorial remembers all military personnel who were killed in the Pearl Harbor attack.

The Immaculate Conception is the doctrine that God preserved the Virgin Mary from the taint of original sin from the moment. she was conceived. In 1854. Pius IX solemnly proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception: “… We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which asserts that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, was preserved free from every stain of original sin is a doctrine revealed by God and for this reason, must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful.”

On Wednesday, July 31, 2002, Pope John Paul II canonized Juan Diego. Juan Diego wasn’t a king. He wasn’t a bishop or a missionary or a conquistador. StilI, he remains in the hearts and
minds of his Mexican people, centuries after his death. Who was Juan Diego? He was a wise and venerable Indian, a tiller of the soil, the Virgin Mary’s messenger and an early evangelizer,
who helped shepherd thousands into Christianity.
The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe commemorates her appearance to Juan Diego. She appeared as one of his own people. It was a powerful reminder that Mary, and God who
sent her, accepts all people. While a number of people converted to Catholicism before the apparition, they now came in droves. Our Lady of Guadalupe cries out to us that God has
a profound love for the poor.

A young mother was having one of her most discouraging days of her life. It was the week before Christmas. She hadn’t begun her shopping. The washing machine broke down. The
sewers were backing up. The mail man delivered a bundle of bills. Her head was pounding. Almost to the breaking point she lifted her one year old into his high chair, then leaned her head on the tray and began to cry. Without a word, the one year old took his pacifier out of his own mouth and stuck it in his mother’s mouth.

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.