Monthly Archives: September 2015

Pastor’s Notes September 27, 2015

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

As two elderly women were enjoying the warm breeze in the park, they began fussing about their husbands. One woman said, “I do wish my Harry would stop biting his nails. That makes me terribly nervous!”

“Oh, my Elmer used to do the same thing,” the other woman commented. “But I broke him of that habit real quick.”

“Tell me,” said the other woman, “what did you do?” With a sheepish grin she said, “I hid his false teeth.”

The older we get the more we realize that the people who want to help themselves can only do so by helping others. It’s a basic law of success. This law comes to us right out of the bible, “Whatsoever you do for the least of my brethren you do for me.” “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” “I’ve come to serve not to be served.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

One of the most successful men who has used this principle was James Cash Penney. Mr. Penney started with a small general merchandise store in Kemmerer, Wyoming, in 1902. From tht store he bult a multimillion-dollar business empire on one simple principle: The Golden Rule.

For years the Penney stores were called “The Golden Rule Stores.” And it was Mr. Penney’s faith in the Golden Rule principle – always treating a customer as he himself would want to be treated – that made him grow and prosper.

But perhaps even more importantly was Mr. Penney’s attitude toward his employees. In the first place he did not like the word ’employee.’ He treated everyone like a partner. Rather than referring to his hired helpers as ’employees’ he referred to them as ‘associates.’ And he devoted himself to treating them as he would want to be treated. Most of all he knew that by helping them make money, his own success would be assured.

“No man is an island,” wrote John Donne. Yet, so many of us still fear the loss of self through serving others. Actually, serving others is the only way to find oneself.

During World War I a Protestant chaplain with the American troops in Italy became a friend of a local Roman Catholic priest. In time the chaplain moved on with his unit and was killed. The priest heard of his death and asked military authorities if the chaplain could be buried in the cemetery behind his church. Permission was granted.

But the priest ran into a problem with the chancery office. The bishop was sympathetic, but he said that he would not approve the burial of a non-Catholic in a Catholic cemetery. So, the priest buried his friend just outside the cemetery fence.

Years later, a war veteran who knew the story of the Bishop and the Pastor, returned to Italy and visited the old priest. The visiting veteran asked the priest to see the chaplain’s grave. To his surprise, he found the grave inside the fence.

‘Oh,” he said, “I see that you got permission to move the body.” “No,” said the priest. “They told me where I couldn’t bury the body. But nobody ever told me I couldn’t move the fence,”

I wonder what God thinks when he watches us humans making laws and establishing policies. Jesus had but two laws – love God and love neighbor…whether you are boss, employee or associate,…or whether you are inside the fence or outside.

Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes September 20, 2015

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Mark Twain said that he spent a lot of money tracing his family tree. After he found out who the people were in his family, he spent twice as much money trying to keep it a secret!

Have you heard of the famiily that wanted its history written? So they hired a professional biographer. The family warned him about their Uncle George. His reputation was questionable. Uncle George murdered a man. He was arrested, tried, convicted and then he was executed in an electric chair. The family worried that the truth would taint their family name.

The biographer assured the family that he would handle that situation most delicately. When the book was published, the family read: “Uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution. He was attached to his position by the strongest of ties and his death came as a real shock”

From September 22 to 27, there will be a ‘World Meeting of Families’ in Philadelphia. Pope Francis is expected to come from New York and arrive in Philadelphia on September 26th. Then, at 4:00 p.m., Pope Francis will celebrate a Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Saint Pope John Paul II introduced the ‘World Meeting of Families.’ This is the 8th year of meeting. It was his vision to strengthen the bond of families worldwide. Each year the meeting has a theme. This year the theme is: “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.”

Approximately a million people from around the globe will gather in Philadelphia for six days. They will be meeting new people, bonding with one another and sharing their family values.

The city of Philadelphia is an appropriate city to celebrate the meeting of families. It was William Penn who named the city – ‘Philadelphia’. The name he gave his city combined the Greek workds for love (phileo) and brother (adelphos), setting up the affectionate nickname: the City of Brotherly Love.

A man returning from a business trip was greeted by his family in the baggage claim area of the airport. He reached for his younger son and gave hima ┬áloving hug. “I missed you so much,” he said to the boy. “Look at how big you are.”

“I missed you too,” the boy said holding on to his father. An older boy approached the two, hugged them both and said, “So much has happened while you were away, Dad. I can’t wait to tell you everything.”

“I can’t wait to hear about it!” the father said. “I know you took care of things while I was gone.” The man hugged his sons again, and then looked upon the smiling face of his wife.

“Welcome back, honey” she said as she gave him a lengthy and loving kiss.

A stranger who was watching the family interchange, was very touched with the genuine affection of this family. He asked, “You have such a beautiful family. How long have you been married?” “Twelve years,” the man said as he looked lovingly into the eyes of his wife.

“Have you been gone a long time?” asked the stranger. “About two days,” the man said. “Two Days!! Wow!” said the stranger. “I hope that someday when I get married I will still feel that passionate after 12 years.

The smile faded from the man’s face. He looked the stranger in the eye and said, “Don’t hope, my friend, Decide.”

He smiled once again and picked up a bag from the carousel. Before he walked away with his family, he looked back nodded to the stranger and repeated, “Decide.”

If a child lives with criticism – he learns to condemn
If a child lives with hostility – he learns to fight
If a child lives with ridicule – he learns to be shy
If a child lives with shame – he learns to feel guilty
If a child lives with tolerance – he learns to be patient
If a child lives with encouragement – he learns confidence
If a child lives with praise – he learns to appreciate
If a child lives with fairness – he learns justice
If a child lives with security – he learns to have faith
If a child lives with approval – he learns to like himself. If a child lives with acceptance and fellowship – he learns to find love.

There was a little girl who was misbehaving. She was sent to her bedroom to think things over. After a while she emerged all smiles and said, “I thought and I prayed.” “Fine,” said her mother, “I hope that your prayer will help you to remain good.” “Oh,” the little girl said, “I didn’t aske God to help me to be good. I asked God to help me put up with you.”

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R

Pastor’s Notes – September 13, 2015

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

Father Shea

Father Shea

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

After a few months at college, Susan found herself short of cash. She wrote a subtle letter, hoping her mom would get the hint and send money. She wrote:

Dear Mom, $chool i$ really great. I am making lot$ of friend$ and $tudying very hard. With all my $tuff, I $imply can’t think of anything I need. $o if you would like, you can ju$t $end me a card, a$ I would love to hear from you. Love, $u$an. P.S. Thank$ for $ending the $weater.

Her mother wrote back: Dear Susam I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics, and oceaNOgraphy are eNOugh to keep even an hoNOr student busy. Do NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task, and you can never study eNOugh. Love, Mom. P,S, Thanks for your NOtice.

On Tuesday we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows was formerly known as the Seven Sorrows of Mary. In 168 the Servite Friars began a devotion to the suffering Virgin Mary. In 1814, Pius VII extended the devotion to the whole Western Church.

The Seven Sorrows (or Dolors) are events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which are a popular devotion and are frequently depicted in art.

It is a common devotion for Catholics to say daily one Our Father and seven Hail Marys for each.

1, The Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34-35) or the Circumcision of Christ

2. The Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13)

3. The loss of the child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:3-45)

4. Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary.

5. Jesus dies on the cross. (John 19:25)

6. The piercing of the side of Jesus, and Mary’s receiving the body of Jesus in her arms. (Matthew 27:57-59)

7. The body of Jesus is placed in the tomb. (John 19:40-42)

On Monday, we celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. According to a legend, teh True Cross on which Jesus was crucified, was discovered in 326 by Saint Helena. St. Helena, the mother of the Roman emperor Constatine, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. After she discovered the cross, Constantine ordered a church to be built on that site. The church was given the name ‘The Church of the Holy Sepulcher.’

The cross immediately suggests there is a suffering involved. Father Gerald O’Collins speaks aout sufferings. ‘Our sufferings (which are always in one way or another connected with our bodies) thrust a great challenge at us. Are we willing to set them alongside Jess in his passion? His cross was not an isolated cross; he died between two other men. Those two other cricified with him represent the whole history of human suffering. According to St. Luke, one criminal turned to our Lord with a prayer, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The other criminal taunted Jesus. That is our challenge when we suffer. Will we turn to our brother Jesus crucified alongside us? In the classic phrase of Blaise Pascal, “Jesus will be in agony to the end of the world. We must not sleep during that time.”

Oftentimes the elderly are the ones who suffer. We admire those people who accept suffering and unite themselves with Christ on the Cross. Below is a list of ten ‘Beatitudes for Friends of the Aged” by Esther Mary Walker. Putting these beatitudes into practice is a wonderful way to better understand the elderly.

  • Blessed are they who understand my faltering step and palsied hand.
  • Blessed are they who know that my ears today must strain to catch the things they say.
  • Blessed are they who seem to know that my eyes are dim and my wits are slow.
  • Blessed are they who looked away when coffee spilled at table today
  • Blessed are they with a cheery smile who stop to chat for a little while.
  • Blessed are they who never say, “You’ve told that story twice today.”
  • Blessed are they who know the ways to bring back memories of yesterdays.
  • Blessed are they who make it known that I’m loved, respected and not alone.
  • Blessed are they who know I am at a loss to find the strength to carry the cross.
  • Blessed are they who ease the days on my journey Home in loving ways.

And as Satchel Paige said, “Age is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.


Pastor’s Notes – September 6, 2015

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

A young man applied for a job in a small factory. The owner said to the young man, “I believe we have a sufficient number of workers. In fact, I don’t think we have enough work to keep another employee busy.” The applicant replied, “Sir, you have no idea what a little bit of work it takes to keep me busy.”

In many Amish colonies the farmers harvest wheat the old fashion way. They have a machine called a grain binder. Two horses pull the binder through the field. It cuts the wheat stalks, then binds the stalks of wheat into small bundles called sheaves. The sheaves drop into a basket attached to the side of the grain binder. When the basket is full, the operator trips a lever and the basket empties, leaving the sheaves in a pile. Later the farmers walk the fields and shock the grain.

Shocking means that the farmers stack eight or ten sheaves leaning together in an upright position. The grains will dry out when the sheaves are upright. As soon as the grains dry the men manually pitch the sheaves onto a wagon and haul them to the threshing machine where the machine separates the grains from the chaff and stalks. This is a laborious process. (Nothing like the modern day combines.)

During one harvest season two young men worked in an Amish settlement. All the Amish men spoke German. the hired hands spoke English. But, hard labor, hungry appetites and exhaustion, shared together, are universal languages. Hard and meaningful work will always develop an appreciation for the sacredness of work.

The young men worked from dawn to twilight. The days were the longest in the year. The bundles of grain were heavy. Their arms were raw from handling the sheaves. The sun was radiant hot, burning their skin. Their backs ached. They ate strange food which was doctored with unfamiliar spices. They drank from the creeks. They slept on hard planks in the bunkhouse.

But, at the end of the day the strangely spiced food tasted oh so good. The unpurified water from the stream was so refreshing. Even the unpurified water from the stream was so refreshing. Even the hard planks were so welcoming at bed time. It was then that these two young men understood the phrase, “The sleep of a laboring man is so sweet.” That phrase comes from the book of Ecclesiastes 5:12.

Monday, we celebrate Labor day. A day we acknowledge the sacredness of our labors. In fact, it is a day during which many people do not labor. They take a day off from their routine work. But it is a day we reflect on the work we do. It is a day to examine how we approach work in our lives. Is work a painful grind in the salt mines of our life? A day when we hate going to work? Or is it a day filled with joy and fulfillment? And at the end of our day we can enjoy a ‘sweet sleep.’

Kahlil Gibran said, “If you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.”

A study was taken with 2,300 people who attended 50 top business schools. The study revealed that women were willing to take a 10% reduction in salary in order to work with a company that had values similar with their own. For the men, their number one criteria was financial compensation, followed by values similar to their own.

After ten years in the work world the women were looking for balance and fulfillment outside work…which meant time with family. After ten years the men wanted meaningful work.

Studs Terkel said, “I think most of us are looking for a calling, not a job. Most of us, like the assembly line worker, have jobs that are too small for our spirit. Jobs are not big enough for people.”

A woman wrote: ‘Last year, when the lawn mower broke down, I kept hinting to my husband that he ought to get it fixed. Somehow the message never sank in. Finally I thought of a clever way to make to make the point. When my husband arrived home that day, he found me seated in the tall grass, busily sniping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. He watched silently for a short time, and then went into the house. He was gone only a few moments when he came out again. He handed me a tooth brush, saying, “When you finish cutting the grass you might as well sweep the sidewalks.'”

The doctors say that he will probably live, but it will be many months before the casts come off.

Sign in an aerospace research and development lab: This is a Laboratory…Let’s have more Labor and less Oratory.

Happy Labor Day

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.