Monthly Archives: June 2016

Pastor’s Notes – June 26, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

A judge was interviewing a woman regarding her pending divorce. He asked her, “What are the grounds for your divorce?” She replied, “About four acres and a nice little home in the middle of the property with a stream running by.”

“No, no,” the judge said, “I mean what is the foundation of this case?” “It is made of concrete, brick and mortar,” she responded. The judge said, “Let me address the issue this way. Do you have a real grudge?” “No,” she replied, “We have a two car carports and have never really needed one.” “Please,” he tried again, “Is there any infidelity in your marriage?” “Yes, both my son and daughter have stereo sets. We don’t necessarily like the music, but the answer to your question is ‘yes.'”

“Ma’am, does your husband ever beat you up?” “Yes,” she responded, “about twice a week he gets up earlier than I do.” Finally, in frustration, the judge asked, “Lady, why do you want a divorce?” “Oh, I don’t want a divorce,” she replied. “I’ve never wanted a divorce. My husband does. He said he can’t communicate with me.”

‘Make her known!’ One hundred and fifty years ago Pope Pius IX entrusted the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to the Redemptorists. His words to the Redemptorists were, ‘Make her known.’ Since that time the Redemptorists have had a special devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Wherever the Redemptorists staff a parish, we welcome the parishioners to join us as we pray the Perpetual Help novena. When we Redemptorists preach a mission or novena we always include the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Redemptorists of the Denver Province will celebrate this anniversary in a special way on Monday evening, June 27th. Now the Denver Province stretches from the mid-west states to the west coast. People from many of our parishes will be attending the grand celebration at St. Alphonsus ‘Rock’ Church in St. Louis, Missouri.

The ‘Rock’ Church has a unique history and a fine reputation. It was known as the ‘Rock’ church because it was the first church in St. Louis that was built our of rock, During WW II the Perpetual Help novena became most popular. Many novena services were held every Tuesday. A special trolley, known as ‘The Novena Trolley’ was activated on Tuesdays to bring people from around the city to the Rock Church. Many a parent knelt before the icon praying for the safety of their sons and daughters in the military.

For many years the Redemptorist provincial headquarters was located at the Rock Church. During those days we were known as the Redemptorists of the St. Louis Province. In 1996 the mid-west and western provinces merged. We selected the name ‘Denver Province’ and re-located our headquarters in Denver.

The Rock Church was one of the first churches in St. Louis, and possibly in the country to be integrated. For many years St. Alphonsus Rock Church was for the white people. The black people attended St. Clement Church, located a few blocks away. Father James Higgins, C.Ss.R. was pastor of both St. Alphonsus and St. Clement churches. One Sunday morning in 1945 Father arrived at St. Clement Churchy and instructed the people to follow him. Father Higgins walked the few blocks to St. Alphonsus Church with the black people close behind. He entered the Rock Church, walked down the center aisle and directed the people to take the front pews. He then turned to the entire congregation and announced, “Now we are one church.”

The celebration of the 150 years of the Perpetual Help icon being entrusted to the Redemptorists is a sold out event. However, we can watch the celebration on T.V. It will be televised on EWTN – 7:00 to 9:00 pm on Monday, June 27.

Kevin Clark will be recording the event. Then, on Saturday evening, July 2nd, he will be showing the highlights of the celebration immediately after the 5:00 p.m. Mass. Following the highlights we will enjoy some refreshments and snacks.

The children at religion class were discussing ‘prayer.’ “Does anyone know what ‘amen’ means?” the teacher asked. There was a long silence. Then one little boy piped up, with an appropriate computer-age answer. He said, “Well, I think it means, like, ‘Send.'”

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – June 19, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

By” Jr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

It was a Sunday morning. He was relaxing in his rocking chair when his 12 year old son, Billy, along with his friend, bolted through the front door. Billy shouted, “Hey Dad, have you met the new neighbors?” “Not yet” answered his father. “Well, come on Dad, you have to meet them.” “Some time later, son. Right now I’m busy.”

“No, no, Dad. You have to meet them right now.” From the urgency in Billy’s voice the father assumed that the neighbors were waiting at the front door. So, he put down the newspaper and went to the front door. No one was there.  “Where are they?” he asked.

“Well. Dad,” explained Billy, “We haven’t met them either, but our baseball is in their living room!”

We celebrate Father’s Day this Sunday. We hold our Dads up in honor and love. Many folks remember the wonderful things their fathers have done. They remember how courageous their dads were…even when they retrieved our errant baseballs and even when they paid for broken living room windows. How blest are those who can trust that dad will always be there.

The early American Indians had a unique practice of training young braves. On the night on a boy’s 13th birthday, after learning hunting, scouting, and fishing skills, he was put to one final test. He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone. Until then he had never been away from the security of the family and tribe.

But on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away. When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of a thick woods. He was terrified. Every time a twig snapped, he knew for sure that a wild animal was lurking behind a tree, ready to pounce on him.

After what seemed like an eternity, dawn broke and the first rays of sunlight splashed upon the leaves. The birds welcomed the morning with song. A gentle wind swept through the forest. The young boy could see a path leading deeper into the forest. And then, to his astonishment, he noticed a figure stepping behind a tree. He was armed with a bow and arrow. As the young boy looked closer, he saw that the armed warrior was his father. His father had been protecting his son throughout the night.

No one of us has ever seen God . As the scriptures say, “I long to see the face of God.” Well, that will never happen while we are still living in our earthly bodies. Yet, we try to conjure up images of God. Many folks use the many beautiful qualities of their parents, magnify these qualities millions of times, and imagine that to be God. We transfer to God feelings and reactions that come from our human parents.

However, there are those who find it difficult to formulate an image of God. George Bernard Shaw had difficulty with God because his father had been a scoundrel, an absentee father who cared mostly about cricket and pubs. He was confident that God was nothing like his father.

Likewise, C.S. Lewis struggled to overcome the emotional scares, left by his own father. His father was a harsh man who would resort to quoting Cicero to his children when scolding them. Rudyard Kipling had a miserable childhood. He was sent away to a boarding school. The woman in charge would beat him and even locked him in the cellar. Even though his parents were not healthy images for him to understand God, Rudyard Kipling dedicated himself to be the best father he could be.

Now let’s look ahead to June 27th. That is the day when the Redemptorists and friends of the Redemptorists from around the nation will gather at St. Alphonsus ‘Rock’ Church in St. Louis to honor Our Mother of Perpetual Help. For it was 150 years ago when Pope Pius IX entrusted the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to the Redemptorists. Pope Pius instructed the Redemptorists to “Make her known.”

Although everyone is invited to attend this celebration, only a few from St. Gerard will be making the trip. However, the rest of us can watch the celebration on EWTN.

A young Jewish lad entered Notre Dame to play football. When he returned back home his Rabbi met him at the airport. The Rabbi asked, “Are they trying to convert you at South Bend?” The youngster replied, “Of course not, Father.”

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – June 11, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

An archaeologist was digging in the Negev Desert when he came upon a sarcophagus containing a mummy. After examining it, he called the manager of a prestigious museum, saying “I just discovered a 3,000 year old mummy of a man who died of heart failure!” The manager said, “Bring him in. We’ll check it out.”

A week later the amazed manager called the archaeologist. “You were right about the mummy’s age and cause of death. How in the world did you know?” “Easy,” said the archaeologist. “There was a piece of paper in his hand that said, ‘10,000 Shekels on Goliath.'”

Our readings this week focus on forgiveness. God forgave David. St. Paul speaks about God living within him. And our gospel speaks about a woman who washed Jesus’ feet, wiped them with her hair and anointed the Lord’s head with oil. The Lord says, “Her many sins have been forgiven, because she has shown great love.”

In his book ‘Forgive and Forget’ Lewis Smedes explains how human beings forgive. “We hurt, we hate, we heal. We hurt: that is, we allow ourselves to feel the depth of an injury that has been dealt to us. We don’t minimize it, or try to sweep it under the rug. We hate: that is we blame the one who has hurt us. We don’t condone or excuse the offense. Finally, when we are ready, we heal: we let go of the pain that is binding us to the past, and move on. That is how we human beings forgive.”

Jeff Madison told about a unique prayer request at his Bible Study. One member of the Bible Study had been ministering at a local women’s prison. She met a young inmate who had recently been baptized. This young woman grew up in a violent home where her father physically and sexually abused her. Now she was praying that her father would receive Christ as well. She asked if someone from the Bible Study could visit her father.

Jeff and his wife volunteered to visit the man. They found him in a V.A. hospital. He was close to death. Jeff told the man about Jesus’ love of him. They prayed with him. But the man was so weak he probably did not realize what was happening.

A few days later Jeff received a call from the V.A. hospital. It was the doctor calling to inform Jeff that the man had undergone a miraculous recovery. They released him that day. Later, Jeff heard that his daughter was released from jail.

So Jeff arranged for the father and daughter to meet. The first words the father said to his father was, “I am so very sorry. Please, please forgive me.” That day the father and daughter reconciled. It was a joyful reunion. Three weeks later, the father passed away.

A little boy, being asked what forgiveness is, gave this practical image: “It is the odor that flowers breathe when they are trampled upon.” Surely the odor of flowers could be smelt when father and daughter reconciled.

What keeps us from forgiving? We make lots of excuses. We try to convince ourselves that eventually it will go away. We try to protect ourselves from being hurt again.

Here’s a list of excuses, reasons, rationalizations, for not forgiving. The offense was too great. He/she won’t accept responsibility for the offense. He/she is not truly sorry. He/she never asked to be forgiven. He/she will do it again. I don’t like him/her. He/she did it deliberately. If I forgive, I’ll have to treat the offender well. Someone has to punish him/her. Something keeps me from forgiving. I’ll be a hypocrite if I forgive because I don’t feel like forgiving. I’ll forgive, but I won’t ever forget.

Abraham Lincoln spoke these words at his second inaugural address. “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

A young priest was assigned to a very conservative parish. Wanting to make confession as convenient as possible he installed a drive-thru confession. The old Monsignor approved the drive-thru confessional but asked the young priest to remove the sign above the ‘drive-thru’ which read: : “Toot and Tell or Go to Hell.”

Let us forgive one another. Let us love one another. Amen!

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

 

Pastor’s Notes – April 5, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Will Rogers gave us some astute advice when he said: “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”

In a small mountain town there lived a reprobate. He was rude to his wife; he had neglected his children; he never darkened the door of a church; and he was sober hardly a day in his life. When he died the town folks held a graveside service.

In this community, the sage of the town, who knew everyone, would always say a few words about the deceased. The town folks gathered at the graveside. They wondered how the sage could say anything good about this old reprobate. To everyone’s surprise they heard the sage said: “Well, now, my beloved, you know he wasn’t as bad all the time as he was most of the time.”

Today we hear about the miracle of life. Three miracles are recounted in today’s readings. Elijah revives the widow’s dead son. Paul speaks about his past – going from killing Christians to becoming one of them. Jesus raises to life the son of the widow of Nain.

A great miracle has happened to all of us. We were created as a human being, a child of God. We were given the gift of life.

To those who have children, whether they are your own, your grandchildren, your nieces or nephews, or even students…here is something to make you chuckle. Whenever your children are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God’s omnipotence did not extend to His own children. After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve.

And the first thing God said was “DON’T!” “Don’t what?” Adam asked. “Don’t eat the forbidden fruit,” God replied. “Forbidden fruit? We have forbidden fruit?” said Adam. Then Adam shouted to Eve, “Hey Eve, we have forbidden fruit!!!” “No way!” said Eve. “Believe me we have forbidden fruit!” replied Adam.

“Do NOT eat the fruit!” said God. “Why?” asked Adam. “Because I am your Father and I said so!” God replied, wondering why He hadn’t cancel creation after making the elephants. A few minutes later God saw his children having an apple break and He was ticked! “Didn’t I tell you not to eat the fruit?” God asked. “Uh huh,” Adam replied. “Then why did you?” said the Father. “Don’t know,” said Eve. Then Adam said, “She started it!” “Did not,” said Eve. “DID TOO!” bellowed Adam. “DID NOT!” cried Eve.

Having had it with the two of them, God’s punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus the pattern was set and it has never changed. So, God created us…mothers, fathers, teachers, children, and students.

For many students it is graduation time. It is a time to say thanks for the education received and to look forward to a new way of life. Students in public schools are not able to thank God for the past nor pray to God for the future. By law, God cannot be invoked in the graduation ceremonies.

In preparing for graduation the principal cautioned the students to abode by the law and refrain from calling upon God. Several students gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked God’s blessings on the graduates, their families, not their future pursuits.

Then came the final speech. A graduate deliberately walked to the microphone. He stood still. He looked over the assembly. He lowered his head and then, it happened, as was pre-planned. All the graduates, every single one of them in unison, forced a SNEEZE!!!! The student at the microphone looked up, quickly scanned the audience and said, “GOD BLESS YOU!” He then walked off the stage to a thunderous applause.

The graduating class had found a unique way to invoke God’s blessing on their future with or without the court’s approval.

The seven ages of human: spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills, wills.

God bless you – graduates, parents and families.

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.