Monthly Archives: August 2016

Pastor’s Notes – August 28, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

The little kid was studying evolution. He said, to his buddy, “It wouldn’t make any difference to me if my grandfather had been a monkey.” His buddy, a sharp little kid, said, “I’m sure that would have made a big difference to your grandmother.”

Our scripture readings this weekend speak to us about humility. Humility is honesty. Humility is happiness. Humility is hospitality.

The story is told of two mountain goats who approached one another on a narrow ledge. Realizing that there was no room to pass, they reared and bucked, but neither budged. They backed up and charged. They locked horns. But each held his ground. Again, they parted and charged. However, like the Rock of Gibraltar they stood unmovable. Finally, the sensible goat knelt down, and let the other one climb over him. Then, they both went merrily on their way. Sometimes we too must be humble enough to let people have their way. They might even walk over us. We must remember – love is magnanimous.

The late Commodore John W. Chaunce, the master of the original Queen Elizabeth, kept a framed copy of an old player in his quarters. This prayer applies to all:

“Lord, thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I am wanting a few friends at the end.

“Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare to ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others’ pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

“I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and lessening cock-sureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

“Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a saint – some of them are so hard to live with – but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places and talents in unexpected people. And give me, Lord, the grace to tell them so. Amen.”

Humility is honesty. The late Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias is remembered as one of the most talented female athletes in America. On the golf course she surpassed everyone.

During a tournament she happened to drive her tee shot into the rough. Immediately after she hit her second shot out of the rough she realized that she had hit the wrong ball. She reported her mistake to the officials. Someone asked Babe why she reported the mistake to the official. No one else knew that she hit the wrong ball. Babe said, “But I knew I hit the wrong ball. I knew at that moment that I could not claim victory if I mistakenly hit the wrong ball.”

Humility is happiness:
Not what you have, but what you see;
Not what you see, but what you choose;
Not what seems fair, but what is true;
Not what you dream, but what you do;
Not what you take but what you give:
Not what you pray, but as you live.

These are the things that mar or bless the sum of human happiness.

Humility is hospitality. The Benedictine monks around the world are known for their hospitality. In Collegeville, Minnesota, the Benedictines have a monastery. The monks are well known for offering a delicious meal to visitors. Everyone who visits the monastery will always remember the tasty bread the monks bake. The bread is widely known as ‘Johnny Bread.’

Although the following paragraph contains the spirit of Benedictine hospitality, the last sentence was an ‘add on.’ ‘If any pilgrim monk come from distant parts, with wish as a guest to dwell in the monastery, and will be content with the customs which he finds in the place, and do not perchance by his lavishness disturb the monastery, but is simply content with what he finds, he shall be received, for as long a time as he desires.  If, indeed, he find fault with anything, or expose it, reasonable, and with the humility of charity, the Abbot shall discuss it prudently, lest perchance God has sent him for his very thing. But if he has been found gossipy and contumacious in the time of his sojourn as guest, not only ought he not to be joined to the body of monastery, but also it shall be said to him, honestly, that he must depart. If he does not go, let two stout monks, in the name of God, explain the matter to him.’

We definitely don’t want to imitate Ted Turner who said, “If only I had a little more humility, I would be perfect.”

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.


Pastor’s Notes – August 21, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

An Irishman, an Italian, and a Mexican were chatting with each other about being mistaken for someone else. O’Malley, the Irishman said he was walking along the streets of Dublin when somebody yelled at him, “Hey, St. Patrick! Where are you going?”

“That’s nothing,” said Cassini, the Italian. “I was standing on a street corner in Rome when somebody screamed, Hey! Isn’t that St. Peter?”

“I have an incident better than both of yours,” said the Mexican. “I was walking near the Alamo in San Antonio when a policeman yelled at me, “Jesus Christ, get off the grass.”

A young man and woman had just gotten engaged. One evening the girl’s father was chatting with his future son-in-law. The father asked the young man, “Do you have a job?” The young man said, “No. But God will provide.” So, the girl’s father asked, “Do you have a car?” The future son-in-law answered, “No, but God will provide.” A bit uneasy, the father asked, “Do you own a house?” “No, But God will provide.”

Later that day the girl’s mother asked her husband, “How did the chat with our future son-on-law go?” “Well,” said the future father-in-law, “I discovered that he doesn’t have a job. He doesn’t have a car. He doesn’t own a house. And the way things sound, he thinks I am God.”

We have closed our books for the fiscal year 2015-2016. We will publish a condensed version of our annual statement, in next weeks bulletin.

There used to be a practice amongst chicken farmers in gathering eggs. They would always leave one egg in the nest. It was called the ‘nest egg.’ The farmer left the ‘nest egg’ in the nest, believing that it gave the hen an incentive to lay more eggs. Many artificial eggs were manufactured to us as nest eggs. The practice is no longer common, but the figurative expression ‘nest egg’ still has wide usage. It means something put aside – usually money – as a saving for a special purpose. We have put aside our ‘nest egg’ for the future. We have invested the money with Catholic Community Foundation. All investments are strictly guided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) statement.

The Catholic Community Foundation is an autonomous pious foundation formed under Canon Law sections 1303, § 1,1 and 114, §2 and incorporated as a nonprofit entity in the State of Texas. It was organized in 2006 under the ecclesial authority of the Metropolitan Archbishop of San Antonio. All investments are fully compliable with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

A Presbyterian church was holding a Sunday evening service. When the offering plate came forward, there were several pieces of paper currency and three pennies. The pastor looked into the plate and chuckled. “Ha! Ha!” he said, “I see we have a Scotchman here with us tonight.” A voice from the balcony said, “Hoot, man, there are three of us.”

Our hot summer days will soon be behind us. Many families had the opportunity to vacation our of town. Summer time is a time for rest, relax and refresh oneself before we enter into a new school year.

During the summer we noticed many empty pews during Sunday Masses. Not only were there empty pews but the collection also took a dip during the summer months. We hope that families are attending other churches and contributing to those churches. However, that is an unfounded hope. All pastors report that their parishes take a dip during the summer.

It is statistically proven that, on the average, parishioners will not be in attendance in their parish church 10 to 15 weekends a year. It is also statistically proven that most of the people who are absent 10 to 15 weekends, never go back and cover those weekends with contributions. So, for the church, those are lost weekends. However, with ‘automatic transfers’ – transferring money from a person’s bank account to the church, or with ‘Electronic Funds Transfer’ which debits your checking account on the dates and for the amounts you specify, or with a service such as ‘Faith Direct,’ there are no lost weekends. Automatic withdrawal, Electronic Funds Transfer or Faith Direct makes automatic transfers 52 weeks of the year.

At St. Gerard we us the service of ‘Faith Direct.’ There is a difference between automatic withdrawal from the bank to the church, Electronic Funds Transfers and a service such as Faith Direct. Automatic withdrawal automatically withdraws money from a person’s account to the church account. EFT debits one’s checking account. A service like Faith Direct not only withdraws money from a person’s bank account and transfers it to the church account, but it also handles a substantial amount of the secretarial work.

The traditional way of using envelopes becomes labor intensive. Someone has to open the envelope, take out the money, unfold the check or bill (how often people fold their money for whatever reason), put the money in the appropriate denominations, count the money, prepare a deposit, take the money to the bank, give credit to the donor by posting the amount, and finally send a statement at the end of the year. ‘Faith Direct’ handles all those steps. We figure that Faith Direct eliminates about twelve steps that traditional envelopes require.

Faith Direct is here to stay at St. Gerard. Most families are attending Mass in their home parish during the months of September, October and November. One weekend during each of those months, our fellow parishioners will be speaking about ‘Faith Direct.’ Our hope is that everyone will use Faith Direct.

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – August 14, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

When an elderly Florida woman finished her shopping she returned to her car. She was shocked when she found four young men in her car, about to drive away. She dropped her shopping bags, reached into her purse, pulled out a handgun and screamed at the top of her voice, “I have a gun and know how to use it! Get out of my car, you scumbags!”

Those young men scrambled out of the car and raced across the parking lot. The elderly lady, a but shaken, proceeded to load her shopping bags into the back of the car. Then she slipped into the driver’s seat.

She was so upset that she could not get the key into the ignition. She tried and tried. Finally she realized what was wrong. A few minutes later she found her car a few places down the line. She put her bags into her own car and drove directly to the police station.

The woman related her story to the sergeant behind the counter. He started laughing. Nearly crying. He pointed to the end of the counter. There stood four terrified young men reporting a carjacking by a crazed elderly woman carrying a gun. Amazing! No charges were filed.

Throughout the jubilee year Pope Francis calls Mary our “Mother of Mercy.” Referring to her Son, Jesus, Pope Francis calls him “Mercy made flesh.”

That elderly woman discovered what mercy really is. You’d almost think that she would have been arrested for carjacking a vehicle by threatening the four young men at gun point. But no, the sergeant had a good belly laugh and sent the woman away with heart-filled mercy.

We celebrate the feast of the Assumption this Monday, August 15th. Normally, the feast of the Assumption is a holy day of obligation. However, in the United States and other countries, the bishops have received permission from the Vatican to abrogate (temporarily waive) the requirement for Catholics to attend Mass on certain Holy Days of Obligation, when those Holy Days fall on either Saturday or Monday. Therefore, this year, Catholics are not obligated to attend Mass on Monday, August 15th, the feast of the Assumption. You are not obligated but, as always you are welcomed to join us every day at the 6:30 am Mass.

The scriptures tell us nothing about Mary in her later life. We do not know exactly where she lived. We don’t know where she was when she died.

The stories of the people, which were passed down through the centuries, tell us that she lived in a house near Ephesus. Tradition tells us that, at the age of 64, she fell asleep and was taken body and soul to heaven. The first Christian church ever built for the Virgin Mary is located in Ephesus. The first Christian council meeting about the role of the Virgin Mary was held in this building in 431.

In 1967, Pope Paul VI paid a visit to the house of Mary. Later John II visited the house and confirmed again the significance of the house. Recently, thousands of tourists visit the house every year.

The Blessed Virgin Mary has appeared to people throughout the world. Some apparitions are approved by Rome after a thorough investigation. Some people claim that the Blessed Virgin has appeared to them. Perhaps it might be true. Nevertheless, there must be a thorough investigation and then, a pronouncement from the Pope.

During the month of June we focused upon the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. On June 27th, many Redemptorists in St. Louis celebrated the 150th anniversary of the icon being entrusted to the Redemptorist and mandated by the pope to “Make her known.” At that celebration it was announced that the icon would become a traveling icon. It would visit all the communities of the Redemptorists throughout the Denver providence.

The icon will be coming to St. Gerard in the first week of April, 2017. During that first week of April Father Peter Schavitz will be preaching a mission at St. Gerard. So during the mission, we will be honored to have the icon of Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help in our church.

When the subway train stopped at Grand Central Terminal, two people, a man and a woman, got on. Apparently they were strangers. The man said to the woman, “I never expected to find one on the subway.” No one knew what he meant. The the train pulled into the next station. A passenger was about to step off the train. The woman who had just recently boarded, was also departing. As she was heading out the door she turned and gave the man a big bright smile. The man returned a beautiful smile. The woman then looked back at the man she boarded with and said, “See, there’s another one!”

“Smile. Someone is waiting for your big bright smile.”

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.