Monthly Archives: October 2015

Pator’s Notes – October 25, 2015

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

There once was a frog who talked two friendly geese into flying him down to Florida for the winter. The frog prepared for the trip by tying the ends of a long, stout cord to each of the geese. With his strong jaws, he grabbed onto the cord. “What a grand idea” thought the frog, “I get a free ride to Florida.”

And then, the geese took off. The frog clamped its teeth to the cord. Half way to Florida someone on the ground looked up and saw the unusual flight formation. “Hey, that’s terrific,” the astonished spectator shouted. “I wonder whose idea that was.” Wanting to take full credit for this ingenious arrangement, the proud frog opened his mouth and shouted back, “Mine!” ….and thta night, the man on the ground had frog legs for dinner.

A little bit of boastful pride will go a long way to self-destruction. Like the frog, whenever we open our mouths to brag about ourselves, we could be headed toward disaster.

A Brahmin converted to Christianity. He began to live at the ashram – a spiritual hermitage or a monastery. Everyone was expeced to participate in the community chores, including the cleaning of latrines. At that task, the former Brahmin stopped short, claiming the job was beneath him. The superior of the monastery insisted that in Christ there were no tasks unsuitable for humble people. Besides, those converted to the Lord should have no trouble cleaning latrines. The Brahmin responded, “Brother Superior, I’m converted, but not that far.”

Next Sunday we will be celebrating the lives of people who knew how to live humble lives. They were ordinary people like ourselves. They were kings and queens, peasants and paupers. They were the talented and the unskilled. They were young and old. Above all, they were humble people who recognized their gifts from God and used them to serve God’s people. They did not claim these gifts as crowns fo their own efforts, boasting that they were a notch above others. Rather, they quietly went about their daily works as a servant of servants. We bunch all these wonderful people together, honoring them with a special day, ‘All Saints Day.’

In our grand Christian tradition, we frequently celebrate the eve of famous feast days. All Saints Day is no different. We celebrate the evening of his hallowed day. We call it Halloween. Over the years, the eve of All Saints has evolved into ghostly and ghastly experiences. Since we are people who enjoy spooking others, and telling frightening stories, we have turned a hallowed evening into a ghost-fest. In some quarters there are people who see the evening as pagan or satanic. The entertainment and retail industries have capitalized on the day.

However, if we return to its original meaning, we discover that Halloween is a sacred evening.

Then, on Monday, we remember all the people who have gone to the other side of life. In Catholic theology we teach a doctrine called, ‘the Mystical Body.’ All believers are united into the Body of Christ. That includes those who are living and those who have died. In our theilogy we bellieve that death does not bring an end to life, rather life is changed. Those who have gone before us are united with us in the Body of Christ. We set one day aside to remind ourselves of the many people whose lives have changed. We remember their love and good works. We also remember that these people are spiritually united with us. We call the day All Souls Day.

Many cultures have special festivities to honor the deceased. In the Mexican tradition, the people visit the gravesite of their loved one. There they celebrate a picnic, enjoying the favorite food and drink of the deceased. The call it the ‘Day of the Dead.’

One day a young man asked Muhammad Ali for advice. He said, “Stay in college, get the knowledge and stay there until you are through. If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, then they can sure make something out of you.”

Many senior citizens worry, that Social Security might not be sufficient for their old age. One old duffer said, “I have enough money to take care of myself until I die, providing I die within theree weeks.”

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – October 18, 2015

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parisnioners and Friends,

It happened in ancient Greece. In those days idiot statesmen would try to pass stupid laws. In order o prevent those unreasonable laws to be livied upon the common folks, a new procedure was introduced to protect people from foolish laws.

Whenever a new law was about to be voted upon, the lawmakers were required to stand on a platform with a rope around their neck. If the law passed, the rope was removed. If it failed, the platform was removed. It’s amazing how well this procedure worked.

Well, I am going to introduce some new thinking in our parish. God forbid that I stand on a platform with a rope around my neck.

The subject is our buildings. The school building which is more than 100 years old, needs a lot of restoration. It is a classic old building with lots of history and plenty of nostalgia. It was build according to the building code of that time. However, the code has changed over the years. Now, to bring the building up to code would require a major overhaul.

The building is being used for Sunday morning Catholic Faith Formation. The cafeteria is frequently used as our social hall; and some Narcotics Anonymous meetings are held in the evenings. Most of the time the building stands idle.

The Restoration Committe met and asked the question, “Should we restore the school building?” The next question was, “If we did not restore the building are there other options?” Let me present to you the options that the committee surfaced.

First, we need a building with clasrooms in which we teach religion to our young folks. Secondly, we need a social gathering space.

The committee suggested three options which would fulfill these needs: 1) restore the school building; 2) redesigned the pastoral center; 3) build a new building across the street.

We then approaced Jim Heck, an architect with Fisher Heck Architects. Jim, along with a building contractor examined the school building and the parish center.  They put together a list of pros and cons for the school, the parish center and a new building. Below are the pros and cons they came up with. Perhaps you can add to the lists.

Parish Center ( the former convent)
Pros:

  • Existing buiding is structurally sound. Very good foundation system.
  • Building is non-combustible construction
  • Use of courtyard allows for expansion without having to take additional site area.
  • Existing building area is approximately 19,580 SF (14,756 SF on 1st floor. 4,824 SF on 2nd floor Enclosing of courtyard will add another 5,640 SF to the 1st floor.
  • ADA/TAS will not require an elevator since the building is only 2 stories.

Cons:

  • Access to inner courtyard will add a premium to construction cost.
  • Renovation may need to be done in phases.
  • Building will need to be retrofitted with a fire sprinkler system throughout.

New Building
Pros:

  • Can be built whatever size is needed.
  • Can be built without interrupting activity in other buidings.

Cons:

  • Site likely will require re-zoning.
  • Significant percent of street parking will be lost.

School Building
Pros:

  • Building has significatnt architectural character.
  • Existing floor area is approximately 17,755 SF.
  • Ample floor to ceiling heights.
  • Large windows provide ample natural light.

Cons:

  • Lack of ground level access
  • Elevator willbe required.
  • City will require bringing building up to code.
  • Exterior of building needs restoraation.
  • Floor and roof structure is wood.
  • Sprinkler system will be required.
  • Windows to be replaced.
  • Stairways need to be re-constructed to code.
  • New HVAC system required.

In addition to Jim Heck’s study, Tommy Pawly has developed a plan which includes a new building, wiht the use of the island between Dilworth and Iowa, and the sale of the school building. After Jim Heck’s presentation, Tommy will present his plan.

On November 15, 2015, there will be a town hall meeting in the school cafeteria. The meeting will be at ¬†12:00 p.m., immediately after the 10:30 Mass. We will discuss these otions. Jim Heck will present the three options along with a price tag for each. After im’s presentation, Tommy Pawley will present his idea along with drawings.

Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty – they merely move it from their faces into their hearts.

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.

 

Pastor’s Notes – October 4, 2015

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old sond asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, “God is good, God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all! Amen!”

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby I heard a woman remark, “That’s what’s wrong with this country. Kids today don’t even know how to pray. Asking God for ice-cream! Why, I never!” Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, “Did I do wrong? Is God mad at me?”

As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific fob and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked at my son and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer.” “Really?” my son asked. “Cross my heart.” Then in thatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), “Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.” Naturally, I bought my kid’s ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will remember for the rest of my life. He picked up his sundae an dwithout a word walked over ahd placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, “Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes and my soul is good already.”

On her 85th birthday, someone asked Nadine Starr of Louisville, Kentucky, what she would do if she had her life to live over again.

“I’d make more mistakes next time,” she said. “I’d relax, I would limber up I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take a fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

“You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly and safely hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. Ive been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, and a raincoat. If I had to do it over again, I would travel lighter than I have.

“If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.”

If each of us had our lives to live over again, how would we live? Would we change anything Would we pick more daisies?

Today is ‘Respect Life’ Sunday. Throughout the world the Catholic Church is calling you to respect the live of everyone. Each of us is a precious gift from God. Each has rights. By our very creation, each demands respect from others.

George Sheehan said, “I am – just as you are – a unique, never-to-be-replaced event in this universe. Therefore, I have – just as you have – a unique never-to-be-repeated role in this world.” Each of us is called to honor others as they fulfill that role in the world. No one has the right to dishonor another. We are all created by God and children of God. All have rights. All rights must be honored.

Nearly every human being was appalled by the atrocities of 9-11. Thousands of lives were ruthlessly extinguished. The Day of Terror brought many to their senses. We saw how vulnerable we are. We saw how cold blooded others can be. We quickly turned to God. We were quickly awakened to the sanctity of life.

Yet, in our cities and villages, the culture of death has raged in the past and most likely will continue to rage in the future. We see this rampage on life in the abortion of innocent life, in the murder of innocent victims, in the assaults upon the helpless, in the abuse of children in the battering of spouses. Pope John Paul II wrote, “Human life cannot be seen as an object to do with as we please, but as the most sacred and inviolable earthly reality. There can be no peace when this most basic good is not protected. It is not possible to invoke peace and destroy life.” The Pope also wrote, ‘A culture which no longer has a point of reference in God loses its way, becoming a culture of death.’

As we celebrate ‘Respect Life Sunday’ may we all realize that life is the most precious gift we have. Honor life. Respect life. Love life. And may we demand that everyone in our church, in our government, in our society, and in our world, respect the life of each other.

When Kelli said her bedtime prayers, she would bless every family member, every friend, and every animal (current and past). For several weeks, Kelli would say, as she finished her night prayers, “And all girls.” This soon became part of her nightly routine, to include this closing. Her dad’s curiosity got the best of him and he asked her, “Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?” Her response, “Because everybody else always finish their prayers by saying ‘All Men’!”

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.