Monthly Archives: February 2016

Pastor’s Notes – February 28, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Two old men are sitting on a park bench in the Danish countryside. A car stops. The driver steps out, approaches the men and politely asks in German, for assistance. The men shrug and shake their heads. The drive asks again, this time in French. No answer. He asks a third time in English. Still no answer. Frustrated, the man drives away.

After a while, one old-timer says to the other, “I wish I could speak a second language.” “What for?” chuckled his friend. “That guy spoke three languages, and it didn’t help him oen single bit.”

The body language of a smile. The power of a smile. A smile at the check-out counter. A smile at an intersection. A smile in the classroom. A smile in church. What happens in return? Oh, the powerful grace of a smile. A smile filled with hope.

On a cold winter morning a husband took his wife and son to McDonalds for breakfast. The three of them were standing in line, waiting to place their order, when suddenly, several people groaned and stepped out of line. As the wife was checking the menu on the wall she wondered why the commotion. Just then she smelled a foul body odor. She turned and standing directly behind her were two poor homeless men. One was short,, with dky blue eyes. The taller man gazed off in the distance. but both had a bright smile on their lips. The shorter man greeted the woman with  “Good day.” The woman responded with a polite “Oh, Hello.”

The short man began counting a few coins in his hand. The other man, stood behind his friend, wringing his hands. Both men were cold and were hoping to warm up with a cup of coffee.

The two men took their coffee to the back of the restaurant. They sat in the last booth. The woman at the counter, waiting to receive her order. looked around the restaurant. It seemed everyone was now watching her. Probably wondering what she would do. The woman smiled at all the patrons, then turned to the young girl behind the counter and ordered two more breakfasts on separate trays.

She carried two trays to the two men, placed them in front of them, padded the hands of both men and said, “Enjoy.” The short man looked up with tears in his eyes, said, “Thank you madam.” The woman leaned over and said “Don’t thank me. Rather, thank God, for God is here working through me to give you hope.”

The husband had watched his wife’s every move. When she returned to their booth, her husband smiled and said, “That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope.”

During the month of March we will direct our attention to Catholic Worker House on Nolan Street. Many homeless men, like those in the story above, visit Catholic House each day. There they find acceptance, dignity and respect with a smile.

The Catholic Worker House is not associated with the Archdiocese of San Antonio nor with the Catholic Charities. The Catholic Worker House and Movement was founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in 1933. Its aim is to “live in accordance with the justice and charity of Jesus Christ. When Pope Francis visited Philadelphia he mentioned four great people who worked for justice: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

One of its guiding principles is hospitality towards those on the margin of society. To this end, the movement claims over 213 local Catholic Worker communities providing social services. Each house has a different mission, going about the work of social justice in its own way, suited to its local region.

The Catholic Worker House has been in San Antonio since 1985. the house welcomes homeless men. Men only. It operates on the good will of so many people as they volunteer and make donations. The mission of the Catholic Worker House is: ‘Home, Hope and Hospitality Of The Heart  To Those In Need.’

Since 2012, Dr. Chris Plauche has been the director of Catholic Worker House San Antonio. Each morning you can find Dr. Chris participating a Holy Mass in St. Gerard’s chapel. She, along with eight full time volunteers (No one is paid at Catholic Worker House) provide a daily ministry to homeless men. College students provide part time help. A few adult volunteers help out with the shopping, preparing meals, servind and washing dishes. Adult volunteers are always welcome.

Each day the Catholic Worker House feeds approximatedly 250 homeless men. Much of the food is donated by many restaurants around town.

During March we welcome donations to help with the ministry at Catholic Worker House. At the back of the church you will find ‘Catholic Worker’ boxes. We are inviting parishioners to donate some of the basic toiletries, detergents and sanitizers, clothes and paper products that these men need.

And, whenever you pass Catholic Worker House on Nolan, stop in for a visit. You will see what these people are doing for the homeless in our community.

Some people have so much insomnia these days they can’t even sleep on the job.

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

Face Painting at Knights of Columbus Breakfast for CFF Students

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Photographs by Genny Kraus

Pastor’s Notes – February 21, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

By: Father E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends<

Immediately after the sermon the minister invited his church board to come forward to pray over the congregation. As board members approached the altar, the minister noticed a man, whom he had not seen before, coming to the front of the church. To keep from embarrassing a newcomer, the minister whipered to the stranger, “This is only for the board,”

The man answered in all sincerity, ” If anyone in this place is more bored than me, I’d like to meet them,”

I remember one of our retreat masters. He claimed that his feet were sore whenever he would stand. Consequently, he sat in a chair as he presented his talks. Most of the seminarians were totally bored as this priest droned on and on in a monotone.

On Tuesday we will be celebrating an unusual feast in the Catholic Church. Most of the time we celebrate the feast days of Jesus, Mary, the apostles and other saints. Occasionally we celebrate the dedication of a basilica. The feast on Tuesday calls our attention to a chair, the “Chair of St. Peter.” Imagine that. A chair. Why would we give attention to a chair.

Well, down through the centuries popes would give official announcements from a chair. Today we speak of ‘chairs’ in universities.

The “Chair of Saint Peter” is an ancient chair, also known as the ‘Throne of Saint Peter.’ It is a relic conserved in St. Peter’s Basilica, enclosed in a sculpted gilt bronze casing. We don’t know whether St. Peter sat in the chair or not. However, the chair also has a spiritual significance.

Speaking about the “Chair of St. Peter” which represents the authority of the Pope, Pope Benedict said:

This is a very ancient tradition, proven to have existed in Rome since the fourth century. On it we give thanks to God for the mission he entrusted to the Apostle Peter and his Successors. “Cathedra” (the Latin for chair) literally means the established seat of the Bishop, placed in the mother church of a diocese which for this reason is known as a “cathedral;” it is the symbol of the Bishop’s authority and in particular, of his “magisterium”, that is, the evangelical teaching which, as a successor of the Apostles, he is called to safeguard and to transmit to the Christian Community…

The See of rome, after St. Peter’s travels, thus came to be recognized as teh See of the Successor of Peter, and its Bishop’s “cathedra” represented the mission entrusted to him by Christ to tend his entire flock…

Celebrating the “Chair” of Peter, therefore, as we are doing today, means attributing a strong spiritual significance to it and recognizing it as a privileged sign of the love of God, the eternal Good Shepherd, who wanted to gather his whole Church and lead her on the path of salvation [General Audience, Feb. 22, 2006].

A minister cynically wrote abou this parishioners finding excuses for skipping church. “Last Sunday we had a lot of folks absent from the church because of sickness and other reasons. but we prayed for the sick ones at home, and I want to share with you what I saw when I rode around town Sunday afternoon.

I saw Hezekiah. He was deathly sick that very morning and coudn’t come to church. However he rallied and was riding down the highway with his fishing poles. A miracle! Then there was Roberta’s brother-in-law. She had requested prayer for him that morning because he might have to have an operation on his back. Well, prayer works because at two o’ clock I saw him at the driving range hitting golf balls.

But what made me really happy was to see so many shut-ins out riding and enjoying the world. Fran’s Pa, who can’t stand crowds (and doesn’t attend church for that reason) was headed for the jockey lot. Tony’s Mom, who was too weak to get out of the house was uptown window shopping. Omega’s older sister, who can’t come to the church on account of her kidneys, stood in line for two hours to get into a movie theater. Yep, It really thrilled my heart to see what I saw. I ought to have a packed house next Sunday with all my folks being healed and shut-ins set free. I just hope they don’t overdo themselves next Sunday and have a relaplse.” Your beloved pastor.

At the close of a rather tumultuous board meeting at a church, a wise old man was aksed to close the meeting with a prayer. He stood and prayed, “Dear God, forgive us for being enthusiastically wrong! Amen”.

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – February 7, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

The legendary Bronco Nagurski grew up on a Minnesota farm. As a football player he was All American at Minnesota. All pro for the Chicago Bears and a charter member of the Football Hall of Fame. Some say that he was the toughest man to play the game. Multiple stories circulate about this invincible man who seemed to know no pain.

One day Bronco was horsing around witho a teammate in a second-story hotel room. During the scuffle Bronco accidentally fell out the window. A crowd gathered on the sidewalk below. Soon a policeman showed up, asking, “What’s going on here?” Jumping up on his feet and brushing the dust off his pants, Bronco said, “I don’t know. I just got here myself.”

Wednesday – Ash Wednesday – begins our Lenten journey. We are reminded that there will be some pain involved as we fast, pray and give alms. The pain will be good pain. Pain, that will remind usof God’s presence in our lives, as our stomach growls. Pain as we spend a little more time to pray. Pain as we make a sacrifice by giving up something that comforts and pleases us.

A man went to his doctor for a physical. The doctor said, “You are going to have to change your whole lifestyle: no  smoking, no drinking, no late hours, no activity that will over-excite you. Moreover, I’m putting you on a strict diet.” The man asked, “Will this make me live longer?” The doctor said, “No, but it certainly will seem longer.”

Our Lenten practices might feel like a life time. They are practices that help us focus on God, no on ourselves. So, let us jump up on our feet, brush off some of our bad habits and strt rightnow to make this lent the best lent possible.

It has been tradition and custom in the Catholic Church that the “Alleluia” is not sung during lent. St. Augustine said about the alleluia, “We say goodbye fondly, like parting friends.” In the middle ages the custom was to bury the alleluia just before Ash Wednesday and then resurrect the alleluia on Easter Sunday. We will not be burying the alleluia, just wishing it farewell until Easter.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week there will be several Redemptorist priests and brothers in town. Some will be staying with us on Iowa Street. Others will be staying at Oblate.

All of them will be attending  a workshop at Oblate. The workshop is called ‘Praesidium.’ It is aout protecting God’s Children.

Praesidium was started more than 20 years ago. It was in response to a request from a youth-serving organization that was reeling from an incident of child sexual abuse. At that time, little was known about how abuse occurred in organizations and what could be done to stop it.

After two decades of research and experience with more than 4,000 youth and vulnerable adult serving organizations, Praesidium knows who’s at risk, what types of programs are the most dangerous, and where and under what circumstances incidents and false allegations are most likely to occur.

‘Our church or ministry may be the last place one would expect sexual abuse to occur. But molesters often exploit the trusting environment of faith-based organizations. They count on the church or ministry to embrace them with little scrutiny and to automatically assume the best-even when such assumptions are not warranted.’

Every organization that puts one person in charge of another runs the risk that a child or vulnerable adult will be sexually abused by an employee, a volunteer, a member of the clergy, or by another program prticipant. Ath the workshop, Praesidium experts will help us detect telltale signs of child or vulnerable adult abuse. They will give us the proper approach to address the person.

As members of a Relligious Organization – Redemptorists – we are mandated for insurance purposes, to attend this workshop. After the workshop we must sign a document saying that we have been informed about child and vulnerable adult abuse. We must state that we are not going to allow ourselves to be perpetrators of this vicious crime. Plus, if ther is any indication that children or vulnerable adults are being abused, we must properly report the matter to the authorities.

The little first grade girl was giving herself a last minute ‘once-over’ in the mirror before going to school. She made a few extra twists, gave herself a more scrutinizing look than usual, then said to her mother, “Did God really make me out of dust?” Rather startled, her mother answered, “Well, yes, in a way he did.” To which Sharla perkily replied, “He sure did a good job, didn’t he?”

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.