Monthly Archives: August 2015

Pastor’s Notes – August 30, 2015

Father Shea

Father Shea

By: Father James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.,

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Abe owned a hair salon in a small town. He enjoyed a whopping business because he was the only salon in town. He was responsible for cutting and styling the hair of just about every resident. Because of his profitable business he and his family enjoyed a comfortable life.

Unfortunately, as the population grew, another salon came to town. It was franchise salon, with full-service. This salon built a new building directly across the street. Abe’s business dried up.

Desperate, he hired a consultant. “I’m finished,” he cried. “It’s impossible for me, little me, to compete with a franchise.”

The consultant squinted his eyes at the salon across the street. “Not just yet, not just yet,” the consultant said. With that he picked up the phone and dialed the town’s only billboard company and ordered a billboard to be installed above Abe’s empty salon.

The next day a billboard appeared above the lonely salon. In bright letters it read: “WE FIX $10.00 HAIRCUTS!”

Each Sunday you pick up a St. Gerard bulletin. You browse through the pages. You read the pastor’s column. You look for the joke or funny story. You check to see if there are exciting events happening in the parish. You look to see who is sick and who died. and then you toss the bulletin aside.

Did you ever take a moment to read the page and one half of advertisements in the back pages of the bulletin? The people who advertise are varied. Some mention a loved one or a number of loved ones who have died. Others are in appreciation of peoples’ lives. And then there  are service being offered.

Businesses advertise in our bulletin to attract customers. Restaurants advertise. Craftsmen advertise.  Companies advertise. It is important for all of us to check the advertisers in our bulletin whenever we need a carpenter, electrician, a painter or a plumber. You might need an expert to fix your A/C or heating element. And then some kid tosses a ball through your window you will know where to buy the perfect glass that fits the frame. Or, perhaps you’d like a new countertop for your kitchen. And then, when the termites are enjoying a tasty meal in your house, you’ll know where to find a bug man. Or there might be a near-by restaurant you’d like to frequent. And there’s a trustworthy day care in the neighborhood. When you use their services, it is good to let them know that you saw their ad in our bulletin.

Trinity Publication print our bulletin. It is printed in Austin. Deadline for events to be published in our bulletin is Tuesday morning. Tuesday evening we wire the bulletin to Austin. Normally, on Thursday our bulletin is delivered to our office.

A representative from Trinity visits our parish once a year and recruits people or companies to advertise in our bulletin. The money they collect from these advertisements goes directly to Trinity Publications. No advertising money is given to the parish.

Trinity prints a colorful bulletin. Normally, the front cover of our bulletin shows the church. At times we have a different and colorful front page commemorating a feast day.

You also notice the water print above the church That is the stained glass window of St. Gerard which is located above the organ pipes. The church, the window, the bushes and trees have a variety of colors. To print a bulletin of so many colors becomes a bit costly. Trinity covers the entire cost of the bulletin. The church pays no money to Trinity.

In a few weeks we will be telling you about a new service that Trinity is offering. it is an ‘app’ service that you can find on your smart phone. Using that service you will be able to find a lot of information about St. Gerard. So, stay tuned. You will be hearing more about ‘My Parish’ in your smart phone apps.

Is advertising really effective? Ask the plant manager who advertised for a night watchman in Monday’s paper. On Monday night, the plant was burglarized.

In the Redeeming Christ,

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.


Pastor’s Notes – August 16, 2015

Father Shea

Father Shea

By: Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.,

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

A wealthy businessman invited his entire sales force to tour his extravagant estate. On his property was a pool filled with alligators. As he stood at the poolside, he pointed to the alligators and said, “This is what business is all about. Alligators are a lot like the challenges you’ll face in your career. They can crush you. They can drown you. They can consume you. However, if you have courage, commitment, and determination, you’ll be able to tackle the ‘alligators’ on your road to success.”

Then he said with a smirk on his face, “I want to extend to you a challenge. I dare anyone to swim across this pool. And, if you make it across the pool alive, I promise to award the daredevil a new car, or many acres of land or a substantial amount of money. Just name whatever you want. Now, I just want you to know that no one has ever accepted my challenge.”

The guests laughed at this outrageous proposal. As they turned their backs and headed up to the mansion, they heard a loud splash. They quickly turned around to see man churning up the water. He was swimming for his life as alligators snapped at his heels. He reached the far end of the pool, climbed safely out and gasped for air. The billionaire said, “My good man! You are truly a courageous man, or should I say a foolish man. No one has ever attempted the feat which you just accomplished. Now, I am a man of my word. You can have anything you want. Just name it.”

With fire in his eyes, the brave swimmer angrily shouted, “There’s only one thing I want. I wanna know who the idiot was who pushed me!!!”

This weekend our scripture readings tell us about serving God and following the Lord. Whom will we serve? The true God or the false gods. In the gospel Jesus challenges his disciples to believe that He is the true Son of God, come down from heaven. For some of the disciples, this was too much. They turned and went back to their old ways of living.

Next Sunday is the final ‘Bread of Life’ series. For five weeks we heard about the manna come down from heaven; about the multiplication of the loaves; about the true bread from heaven. Jesus tells his disciples that he came down from heaven, and that he is the true bread unlike anything else. Plus, who eats that bread will live forever.

The disciples of Jesus heard about the true bread. For five weeks we heard about the true bread. And for the past five weeks we hear the Israelites and the Jews murmuring. The Lord was fed up with their complaints. So he shouted back at the disbelieving people, “Stop your murmuring.” Finally Jesus challenges them to make a choice – either believe and follow, or be a disbeliever and depart. Many departed.

It seems that the same is happening today. There are those who find it difficult to accept Jesus and the Son of god. There are those who find it difficult to accept the Eucharist or the bread as really the body of Christ. We believers accept the transubstantiation. That is a big word. It means that we believe that the true body of Christ is contained within the host when the priest consecrates the host. And we believe that the wine is no longer wine but now the blood of Christ.

Yes we must make a leap of faith. The bread still looks like bread and the wine looks like wine. But our faith tells us that the wafer is no longer bread but the body of Christ and the wine is no longer wine but the blood of Christ.

On the weekend of August 29-30, Father Gary will be celebrating all the Masses and giving his ‘good-by’ speech. He is presently on vacation, attending meetings and making a retreat. He will return for the weekend of August 29-30.

Fr. Gary has been a real blessing during the past year and one half. He added a touch of class to our ministry at St. Gerard, as he introduced devotions and programs in the parish. He was a true gardener as he planted flowers and grass around the campus. Not only did he plant, but he watered what he planted. As someone said, “Sure can tell that Fr. Gary is not here as the grass is drying up and the plants are dying.”

But now, out of obedience to our provincial superior, he will be heading north to Kansas City to be the Pastor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help ‘Redemptorist’ parish. He will also be the superior of the Redemptorist community.

On August 29th, after the 5 pm Mass, our Social Events Committee will have a sit down dinner in the cafeteria in gratitude for all that he has done for us a St.Gerard. All are welcome.

the wings of hope carry us, soaring high above the driving winds of life.

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – August 2, 2015

Father Shea

Father Shea

By: Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.,

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Henry James said, “There are three things in human life that are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”

This week I am sharing two touching stories about ‘kindness.’ The first was written by Judi (Smith) Robbins; the second by Rabbi Bernard S. Raskas.

“I was very shy in my youth. When called upon in class I would get hot flashes, and my face would turn bright red. When the teacher started at one end of the room and had the students recite or read aloud, I would count the paragraphs ahead to find what I would be asked to read. Sometimes she would call on us alphabetically by our last names. If she didn’t finish the first day she would carry over, alphabetically the next day. Since my name was Smith, my anxiety would haunt me through the night and into the next day until she finally got to the letter “S”.

I remember having to memorize a poem. We had to stand by our desks and recite the poem. As usual, I had my panic attack. When my turn came, I stood and read teh poem, making my way through the ordeal.

As I finished and sat down, Jim Murphy, who sat in front of me, said, “You did good!” Now he wasn’t interested in me in a romantic way. He was just kind enough to make that comment – not something you would find in a whole lot of freshmen boys.

I never forgot that incident, and even though it happened 40 years ago, I longed for the opportunity to thank Jim.

Then one day the opportunity I had long awaited for arrived. Jim and his wife attended a class reunion. I took them aside and thanked Jim for his kindness toward a shy, trembling freshman girl. He didn’t remember the incident and had no idea what an impact he had made in my life.

But Jim’s words of encouragement reminded me that every day, each one of us has an opportunity, by our words and our deeds, to “make or break” someone else. It’s a great reminder of the responsibility we have to our families, coworkers, friends, and fellow humans. Three simple words…What a difference each one of us could make if we would all remember to be as kind to others as Jim was to me.”

Samuel Hanagid, an 11th century Spanish Jewish poet, who was the prime minister to the king of Granada was once insulted by an enemy in the presence of the king. The king was so anagered that he ordered his prime minister to punish the offender by cutting out his tongue. Contrary to the king’s mandate, Samuel treated his enemy with the utmost kindness. When the king learned that his order had not been carried out, he was greatly astonished.

Samuel was ready with a pleasant answer. He said, “I have carried out your order. Your Majesty, I have cut out his evil tongue and have given him a kindly tongue.”

Often we are caught in the snare of the old adage that we must fight fire with fire. We retaliated against hate with hate, and we answer anger with anger. All we really succeed in doing is magnifying the problem, for by increasing a fire, all we simply do is intensify the head.

The true way to extinguish a fire is with cool water. Likewise, the effective way to quench quarrel is with cool and soothing words. Most arguments are rooted in irrational hate; before reason can get applied to relationships, hate must be dispelled. This can only be done when the voice is soft, the temper is low, and the regard for others is gentle. The real antidote to anger is, obviously, pleasantness,

Blessed Mother Teresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

A salesman was out on the road for two long weeks. One day he was totally frustrated, depressed and exhausted. He stopped at a nice restaurant, looking forward to a satisfying meal. After browsing through the menu, he said to the waiter, “All I want is a pot roast and some kind words.”

The waiter quietly took the man’s order, turned and walked away. The salesman shouted after him, “Hey, how about some kind words!” The waiter came back, put his hand on the man’s shoulder and said, “The kindest words I have, are, “Don’t order the pot roast!”

The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.

In the Redeeming Christ,

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.