Download the St. Gerard Weekly Bulletin for May 31, 2015.
From Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
For the first time in many years the Archbishop was coming to their little country parish. He was coming to confirm the children. Oh, the children were excited. All year long they had been preparing for confirmation. On confirmation day they dressed in their finest clothes. They were well prepared to welcome the Archbishop.
During the Confirmation ceremony the Archbishop walked up and down the aisle asking the children questions about the sacraments. He approached one fidgety young girl and asked her, “What is matrimony?”
Shaking nervously, the little girl rattled off what she memorized from her catechism, “It is a state of terrible torment which those who enter are compelled to undergo for a time to prepare them for a brighter and better world ahead.”
The pastor quickly interupted, shouting, “No! No! That isn’t matrimony. That’s the definition of purgatory!”
“Leave her alone,” said the Archbishop. “Maybe she is right. Besides, what do you and I know about marriage?”
This Sunday we welcome Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Seller. He will be conferring the sacrament of confirmation on 32 people. And, if Archbishop asks “What is Matrimony,” I guarantee that our candidates will not be shouting out the definition of purgatory. Shirley Jones, Joe Forman, Deacon Jose Ocampo, Melissa Rodriguez, Cherryl Sagan and Rosemary Davila have prepared our candidates well. They know exactly what is Confirmation as well as Matrimony and purgatory.
We’re looking ahead for many great events. On June 13-14, I will be celebrating my 50th anniversary of priesthood. My classmate, Fr. Tom Fransiscus will be preaching at all the Masses. On the weekend of August, 15-16, Father Ghengham, representing the Diocese of Kumbo, Cameroon will be preaching at all the Masses. Each year a missionary, representing a religious order or a diocese, visits most churches in this Archdiocese. They preach about their Mission in Third World countries. This program is called the “Mission Cooperative Plan.”
On the weekend of July 25-26, I will present a financial report of our parish. We have used Faith Direct for the past five years. Many parishioners contributre electronically through Faith Direct. I will invite the rest of our parishioners to sign up for Faith Direct…a program that eliminates a lot of extra work for the money counters and saves a lot of time for the people posting the donations. Think about it. Let’s become a more efficient parish in this age of modern technology.
On Saturday, November 7, 2015, from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., there will eb an Archdiocesian wide asssembly at St. Mary’s University. At this gathering there will be clergy, religious and laity from all ministries across the Archdiocese, coming together to encounter Christ. The theme of the gathering is ‘Encountering Christ.’ There will be workshops and programs, concluding with a Mass in the evening. Archbishop Gustavo has encouraged all the priests in the Archdiocese to concelebrate with him. He hopes there will be more than 4,000 people attending this assembly. So, save the date.
Last year Archbishop Gustavo preached at the first annual assembly. It took place on the Cathedral Plaza. The Archbishop announced the Pastoral Priorities for our Mutually Shared Vision. This year there will be two keynote speakers – Dr. Scott Hahn and our Redemptorist confrere. Archbishop Joseph Tobin CSs.R. Archbishop Tobin served as our Superior General before being ordained an Archbishop. Currently, he is the Archbishop of Indianapolis.
As soon as we get our front doors of our church working properly, we will be finished with our Church’s restoration. Unfortunately, with all this humid weather, our wooden doors seem to swell. They expand and contract with. (We really should not complain too much. We prayed for rain during our seven year drought. But does the Lord have to make up for the drought with two weeks of rain?) We also need to adjust the door closers.
Knowing that our church is restored, what’s next? Two weeks ago our Restoration Committee gathered to discuss areas of concern. There were four areas we addressed. First, the school building. Second the portables on the south end of the parking lot. Third, the parking lot and sidewalks. Fourth the Parish Center.
Most of the discussion revolved around the school building. it was built in 1912, according to the 1912 code. Since then, the code has dramatically changed. And the building is far out of code. To begin restoring any part of the building will require an exorbitant amount of money, not only to fix the building for our purpose but also to bring the entire building up to code. And so we ask, “Is it worth the expenditure?”
The committee asked, “How are we currently using the building?” Well, we use the building for two purposes: each Sunday during the school year we use the classrooms for the Catholic Faith Formation – religioius education for the youth, or as we recall from years back, for CCD; and we use the cafeteria for parish gatherings. Occasionally the N/A groups use the cafeteria or classrooms. Then we asked, “Can these two programs be housed in the Parish Center?”
So I contacted the Archdiocese, the owner of both the school and Parish Center. I asked, “Is it possible for us to explore the possibility of converting the Parish Center into classrooms and a space for social events?” The answer was “Yes, check things out. But before you do any restoration work or conversion work you must get permission from the Archbishop.”
Then I asked what happens to the old school building. The Archdiocese informed me that some parishes adapt old buildings for other parish needs – storage etc. Others lease the buildings to other schools (Charter) or to companies. So I asked if the Archdiocese would ever consider selling the building. The answer, “It is possible with the Archbishop’s permission.”
We do know that the Parish Center is extremely underused. We use the rooms in the front of the building for parish administration. We use the Seelos Room, the dining room and the chapel in the back of the building. In between are 12 bedrooms which the School Sisters of Notre Dame used when they taught in our grade and high school. These rooms stand empty. The 10 rooms on the second floor stand empty.
The committee suggested that we explore the possibility of converting the bedrooms into classrooms by removing the partitions between rooms. The committee also suggested that we investigate the possibility of enclosing the courtyard with some kind of atrium roof to accommodate our social gatherings. First, we needed a design person.
I asked the Archdiocese for a list of names of architects/designers. One of the names given was Jim Heck. I met Jim a couple of years ago. Jim was on our feasibility committee as we were preparing for the Cristo Rey High School. So I called Jim. He graciously stopped by. We walked through the building. It is too early to determine whether classrooms and an atrium are possible. Presently, Jim is studying the blueprints. In a few weeks he hopes to present a proposal. Then, we will welcome your ideas and suggestions.
I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders…
Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.
Download the St. Gerard Weekly Bulletin for May 24, 2015.
From Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
The Japanese people eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The French eat lots of fat. They too suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The Italians drink lots of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. And so, we conclude that you can eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.
There is an organization called ‘WellCare Health Plans, INC.’ The following is what they say this organization does: ‘It provides managed care services targeted to government-sponsored health care programs, focusing on Medicaid and Medicare. it offers a variety of health plans for famlies, children and the aged, blind and disabled, as well as prescription drug plans.’
Breaking that statement down to street language, workers for WellCare visit with people to explain how Medicaid and Medicare and any government program can help these folks. There is no cost for their service. WellCare does not sell anything. It simply tries to explain the best way the Medicaid,, Medicare and the other government programs can help.
Anyone in the parish is welcome to stop by and hear how government programs can benefit you. Remember, there is no charge and no sales pitch These government programs are in existence to serve the people. We simply need to know how best to utilize them.
We celebrate Pentecost today. Before jesus ascended into heaven, to the right hand of God the Father, he promised to send an advocate, a helper. The helper is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Blessed Trinity. When the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, they went out amongst the people, speaking different languages. Many people from different countries were gathered in the market place. These folks could understand the apostles in their native language.
Late one night mother mouse was taking her three children for a stroll through the dining room. Suddenly they came face to face with a vicious looking cat. Mother mouse stopped in her tracks, raised up as high as she could and shouted, “Woof! Woof!” The cat immediately turned and scampered away. Mother mouse then turned to her little ones and said, “Now, my children, do you understand the importance of knowing a second language?”
At last count the Bible, which could mean Basic Information Before Leaving Earth, has been written into 2,508 languages. Yet, at last count there are some 6,909 languages presently known around the world. It is reported that there are 165 indigenous languages spoken in North America.
See what effect the tower of Babel has had on the people of the world. The folks in the Bible wanted to build a tower to heaven. At a certain height the tower fell over, spreading people throughout the world. Lone and behold, they were all speaking different languages. Well, the Holy Spirit took care of that problem on Pentecost.
Someone remarked that a person speaking three languages is referred to as tri-lingual. A person speaking two languages is bi-lingual. A person speaking one language is American.
Some folks think that all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn’t a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out they are invisible.
Monday, we celebrate Memorial Day. It was originally called Decoration Day, from the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags. On this day we remember those who have died in service to our country. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868 to commemorate the sacrifices of the Civil War soldiers. In 1873, New York was the first state to designate Memorial Day as a legal holiday. In the years to follow, more states declared it a holiday.
Then, in 1971, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act and established that Memorial Day was to be celebrated on the last Monday of May.
Have a blessed Pentecost and a memorable Memorial Day. Oh, say can you explain to me why when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this column I end it?
Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.
Download the St. Gerard Weekly Bulletin for May 17, 2015.
From Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.,
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
One of the strangest plays in baseball took place many years ago in Brooklyn, New York. The Dodgers were playing in Ebbets Field. The Dodgers had men on first and second. No outs. the batter hit a towering fly ball to right center. The runners on first and second stayed close to their bags, thinking that the ball would be caught. The batter forgot about the man on first base. He charged around first base heading for second. The man on first yelled for the runner to stop. He couldn’t allow the batter to pass him on the base path or he would automatically be out. The batter never heard him. He kept running.
At that moment the center fielder dropped the ball. Seeing the ball roll off the center fielder’s glove, all three men began running. The center fielder retrieved the ball and pegged it to home plate. At that moment all three runners arrived at third baseman. The runners were so confused that they did not know who had the right to be on third base. So they all stepped back from the bag. the third baseman simply tagged each of the players for three outs. It was the most bizarre unassisted triple play in the history of baseball.
We can imagine howhow those three Dodgers felt ast they returned to the dugout. Certainly the most embarrasing moment in their baseball career. About all they could say was “I was confused.”
We all seem to suffer ‘confusion attacks’ at sometime in our lives. And we say to ourselves, “How did I ever get myself into this situation?” Perhaps the 11 apostles felt totally confused when Christ gathered them together, gave them a mission and left them as he ascended into heaven.
Today we celebrated the solemnity of the Ascension. Actually, last Thursday was the official day of the Ascension…forty days after Easter. According to our tradition, we always celebrated the Ascension on Thursday.
Most of the Bishops throughout our country have agreed to celebrate this special day on the Sunday following Ascension Thursday. It is such a special feast that they wanted all the faithful to participate in this celebration. (they are aware that many people do not attend Mass on Holy Days of obligation.)
After the resurrection from the dead, Jesus spent forty days mingling with his apostles and disciples. He warned them that he was going to depart from them. But, he would not leave them as orphans. He would send the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort them. He gave them a mission to accomplish, he said ‘good-by,’ and then ascended into heaven.
The apostles were stunned. They looked skyward. Jesus had disappeared. He had ascended into heaven, leaving the apostles afraid and confused.
The Lord had given them a mission to “go out to all peoples, teach all peoples and baptize them.” How could they possibly fulfill that mission? In the midst of their fear and confusion they went into hiding. They didn’t dare walk the streets of Jerusalem.
For three years they had followed Jesus. Then he was killed. Three days later he rose from the dead. The apostles could hardly believe their eyes. But Jesus convinced them that ‘yes, he was the same person, but now he was glorified.’ And now, Jesus leaves them a second time. The apostles probably thought they were going insane. Or were they fools to follow this person called Jesus?
After many days of confusion and depression, the Holy Spirit arrived. Next Sunday we celebrate Pentecost Sunday. The Holy Spirit descends upon May and the apostles. It is an amazing day. A day when our hearts leap with joy. A day which dispels confusion. We welcome the Spirit with excitement, wonderment and love.
At last!!! Finally at last!!! We can hear what is being spoken in church. Thanks be to God!!!
And here is how it all happened. About five years ago South West Sound installed a new sound system under the direction of Jim Dillon. That system worked fine because we had carpet on the floor, absorbing the sound waves and reducing the echo. Then we tried to improve the aesthetics of the church by installing ceramic wood plank. the church looked beautiful with the new pews, the stone tiles in the sanctuary and ceramic wood plank on the floor but the beauty created another problem…too much echo.
We contacted a sound consultant. He completed a thorough evaluation of the space and suggested that we install a computerized speaker system. He alerted us that it would be expensive.
Shortly after the consultant recommended the computerized system a former parishioner happened to attend Mass. After Mass he remarked how difficult it was to hear. I told him about the computerized system. He immediately offered to help purchase the system.
With our anonymous donor’s gift we immediately set out to install the new system. It is a finely tuned system. All the sound ocmes from the panel on the pillar next to the tabernacle. The ten speakers on the pillars on both sides of the church are dead. They will be removed.
There are 32 speakers within the white panel on the pillar. There is a computer at the base of the panel. The speakers are pointed to different areas of the church. In the old system there were many speakers around the church, all set at the same sound level. Consequently, the folks up front would be blasted with sound while the folks in the back could hardly hear. In this new system, with the 32 speakers pointed to different sections of the church, the sound level up front will be the same as sound level in the back of the church. No one should be blasted and no one should be straining to hear. All should be the same.
This new unit has an Assisted Learning System. ALS provides a unit and ear phones so that the individuals can set their own private volume level. We are fixing to install this unit.
After attending a revivial meeting a woman said that she got religion. “I can feel the Holy Spirit. I have a brother-in-law whom I hate. I said that I would never attend his funeral. Now, I will be happy to go to his funeral any time.”
Fr. Jim Shea, S.Ss.R.
Dowload the St. Gerard Weekly Bulletin for May 10, 2015.
From Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
A minister entered a pet store. He said to the clerk, “I want to place an order for 50 mice, 2,000 ants and 30 cockroaches.” The clerk was a bit miffed. She shook her head and said, “Now, that’s a very unusual order. Give me three days and I’ll do my best to fulfill your order.”
As the minister turned to walk out of the store, the clerk said, “Sir, excuse me for asking but I am curious. What in the world will you be doing with mice, ants an cockroaches?” “Well,” the minister said, “I have been called to another church. Last night I met with the board of directors. They made it very clear to me that I leave the parsonage in exactly the way I wanted it.”
I believe it was our mothers who taught us some fundamental lessons in life: if you drop it, pick it up; if you spill it, clean it up; if you open it, close it; if you borrow it, return it; if you dirty it, clean it; if you break it, fix it, and if you use it return it and leave it the way you found it.
Today is Mother’s Day. A day to honor our moms, for being the greatest mom in the world. A day to remember all the wonderful lessons that mom taught. A day to treat mom as Queen for the Day… of course she should be treated that way every day throughout the year.
There are many ways we can remember our mothers. A Mother’s Day card. Breakfast in bed. Taking mom out to dinner. A lovely gift. A tender hug and a warm kiss. Many of our moms are in heaven. We’ll always remember their warm love, their sweet smile, their comforting voice, and their grateful expressions.
Some kids were asked, “If you could change on thing about your mother, what would that be?” One kid said, “I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes in the back of her head!” Another kid said, “I’d make my mom a whole lot smarter. Then she would know my sister did it, not me!”
Here are a few beatitudes for all you moms: Blessed is the mother who wears her baby’s orange and blue construction paper corsage on her best dress when her family takes her out to Mother’s Day brunch – for though her older children will pretend they don’t know her, her youngest will be oh-so-proud.
Blessed is the mother who forces herself to remain in bed and ignore the loud shreiks, burning smells, and her own hunger pangs while her children excitedly prepare her a special breakfast – for her children may learn a little about cooking, and a lot about giving.
Blessed is the mother who (after allowing a reasonable amount of time for her children to work it out) steps in and tells the neighborhood bully to bug off – for her children will know she will always be their champion during the rough times.
Blessed is the mother who pardons all shortcomings (after gently commenting on them, of course) – for her children will probably pardon hers, as well.
Blessed is the mother who says, “I love you” when she is feeling less-than-loving – for, even if her children spot the insincerity, they may learn the value of repeating the words when they, too, are feeling hostile.
Blessed is the mother who takes time to joke with the clerks in the stores she visits even though it may humiliate her teenagers – for they will learn that it’s all right to be friendly to strangers.
Blessed is the mother who shows enthusiasm for attending school concerts, softball games, volleyball games, piano recitals, hockey practices, swim meets, carnivals, circuses and even rock concerts – for children may remember one day and take her to lunch and the symphony.
Blessed is the mother who doesn’t make the beds after her children – even if they made a deplorable job of it at first – for they will learn to do a better job after a few uncomfortable nights of tossing and turning.
Blessed is the mother who, in spite of it all, genuinely enjoys motherhood, and is not afraid to say so – for her children will know that they are loved, and so, regardless of all present evidence to the contrary, may grow to one day be blessed mothers.
Blessed is the mother who knows that her son peeled a price tag off a toy, added man, many numbers to the original price tag, stuck it on his forehead and then presented himself to his mom. And mom said, “Oh, honey, you are worth much, much, much, much more than that to me. I wouldn’t sell you for all the money in the world” as she gives her son a big hug.
It was the first day of school. the kidergarten teacher asked the children what they wanted to be when they grew up. One kid blurted out, “When I grow up, I’m gonna be a lion tamer. I’ll have lots of lions and tigers and I’ll walk into the cage and …” Then he paused. He thought for a moment and said, “But of course, I’ll have my mother with me.”
Our moms are the most beautiful people in the world. The beauty of our moms must be seen in her eyes. Those eyes are the doorway to her heart, the place where her love resides.
The beauty of our moms is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she freely shows.
Happy Mother’s Day to the most beautiful women in the world – our moms.
Fr. Jim Shea C.SsR.
Download the St. Gerard Weekly Bulletin for May 3, 2015.
Download the St. Gerard Weekly Bulletin for April 26, 2015.