Monthly Archives: November 2016

Pastor’s Notes – November 27, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

The teacher informed her students that there were four weeks before Christmas. This was the time we called Advent. It was a time of waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ. It was a time to practice loving-kindness. A little boy jumped up and said, “Well, if I was hungry and someone gave me a piece of bread – that would be kindness. But if they put a little jam on it, that would be loving-kindness.

We who believe in the Most Holy Trinity believe that the Father sent His Son, Jesus to earth to redeem us from our sins. There happened to be a professor, teaching a college class who was a professed atheist. He told his students that he was going to prove that there was no God. Raising his eyes heavenward he shouted, “God if you are real, I dare you to knock me off this platform. I’ll give you 15 minutes!”

Ten minutes went by. Nothing happened. So, shouted louder. “Here I am, God; I am still waiting.” He got down to the last couple of minutes when a muscular football player, all 240 pounds, happened to walk past the classroom door. He heard the professor shouting – “Here I am God, knock me off this platform.” The football player never cared for that professor. So, he stepped into the classroom approached the platform and threw a punch into the professor’s mid-section.

The professor went sprawling across the floor. Totally stunned, he looked up at the football player, saying, “Where did you come from, and why did you do that?” The football player calmly replied, “God was busy; He sent me!”

We don’t know how busy God was, but we do know that He did not send a husky football player to handle the redemption of sin. Rather, He send His Son, Jesus Christ.

We are beginning the season of Advent. This is a season of waiting, waiting for the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a time of anticipation. The excitement mounts as we decorate our homes, play Christmas music and buy presents for our loved ones. In our liturgical celebrations, our attention centers upon a theme of expectation.

For centuries the Jewish people waited for a Messiah. They were a people filled with expectation. During Advent, we too attempt to capture that expectant feeling as we look forward to the coming of Christ.

We use many symbols during this season to portray our waiting. We use an Advent wreath with four candles, representing the four weeks of Advent. In making an Advent wreath we use evergreen branches. We place them in a circle with four candles. Three of the candles are purple, one is rose.

The circle reminds us that the beginning and end of our journey is God. Like the Celtic interlace, there is no beginning and no ending. The interlace weaves above and below. It is the circle of life and the circle of love. The evergreens represent the unchanging love of God. The four candles represent the four stages of our Advent journey. The second candle represents the time of transition when all seems dark and we feel like we are making little progress. The third candle portrays the stirring of joy when we realize that we are approaching our destination. And the fourth candle reminds us that we have nearly arrived.

There are three purple candles and one rose candle. The purple candles remind us of Christ’s royal dignity or our need for changing our lives as we wait, watch and prepare to meet our King. The rose or pink candle reminds of our the joy as we are well on our way in our Advent journey.

Each week we light an additional candle. This reminds us of the way Jesus changed the darkness of hatred and evil into the light of joy and love.

An advent wreath in the home will often shed calmness over the adults and children. A candle’s glow eases tension. At Christmas time children and grandchildren become quite anxious. With the electric lights turned off at dinner time, the lighting of an Advent wreath will bring a calming effect upon everyone. We gaze into the glow of the candle. We feel the warmth and see the beauty in the flickering flames. We anxiously await the birth of Christ.

Every week many people gather in St. Gerard chapel to spend an hour in prayer. This is called a Holy Hour. Sometimes we have the Blessed Sacrament exposed. We place the consecrated host, the Body of Christ, in a monstrance and place it upon the altar. Other times we just gather to pray privately, or read from a spiritual book, or say the rosary or just sit back and listem to God speak to us as he puts thoughts into our minds and hearts. We invite everyone to join us. Come spend some time with the Lord and let the Lord surprise you. He always does.

During the Christmas rush in a department store a little boy got lost. He stood in the aisle way calling for his mother. As sympathetic shoppers walked past the kid they handed him dimes, quarters,even dollar bills, hoping to pacify his cries.

Finally, a store clerk walked up to the little boy and said, “I know where your mommy is.” The little boy answered, “I know too. But don’t tell anybody…”

Have a blessed Advent.

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

 

 

Pastor’s Notes – November 20, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

A few days before Thanksgiving an elderly man in Phoenix calls his son in New York. He says, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and i are getting a divorce. Forty-five years of pure misery is enough” His son screams back, “Pop, what are you talking about?” The old man interrupts his son, saying, “We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer. We’re sick of each other and, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you can call your sister in Chicago and tell her the news. Goodbye!” The old man hangs up.

The son calls his sister. He tells her the shocking news. She explodes on the phone, shouting “What do you mean they’re getting divorced! I’m going to call them right now. I’m going to put some sense in their heads.” She calls her father screaming at the old man, “You are NOT getting divorced! Do you hear me! No divorce! So you sit tight! Don’t do a thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother. We’ll be there in three days. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME? DON’T DO A THING!!!” The old man hangs up and turns to his wife. “Okay, honey” he says, “The kids are coming for Thanksgiving and they’re paying their own airfares.”

This is Thanksgiving week. Thursday, we celebrate our national holiday. We not only thank God for the many gifts to our nation, but I would like to thank God for the gifts to our parish.

Let me begin with the Men’s ACTS retreat. As the team prepared for the retreat, and during the retreat itself we often sang ‘How great is our God.’ Our great God blessed us in so many ways. First, we want to thank our director – Danny Reyes. Danny offered to be the director of this retreat. And what a great director he was. God was in control and Danny was right there partnering with the Lord, leading his team as they prepared for the retreat. Right next to Danny were his co-directors – James Cazares and Javier Martinez. And next to them were sixteen men, each one participating in a special way during the retreat. I thank you all.

We also want to thank the men who made the weekend retreat. After completing the retreat we proudly refer to them as our brothers, our ACTS brothers. The Holy Spirit came upon them during the retreat. The Spirit turned their hearts and now they are fired up to serve the Lord.

Next, I must sing the praises of the members of the Altar/Holy Name Society. They sponsored the turkey dinner and bingo last Sunday. The Altar/Holy Name Society president, Janilla Kilborn, along with all the members, worked many hours preparing for this event. What an event it was! Food! Bingo! Door Prizes! Raffle Prizes! Plus drinks and snacks provided by our Youth Group. People came from near and far. It was standing room only. We thank everyone who had a hand in our traditional Thanksgiving Turkey/Bingo celebration.

Byrl Shaver wrote this ‘Lord, Thank You’ prayer. Some things in life do not appear as a blessing. As least not at first. But on second glance, we see that they were truly a blessing.

Lord, thank you for this sink of dirty dishes; we have plenty of food to eat.

Thank you for this pile of dirty, stinky laundry; we have plenty of nice clothes to wear.

Thank you, Lord, for those unmade beds; they were so warm and comfortable last night. I know that many people sleep on the floor.

My thanks to you, Lord, for this bathroom, complete with all the spattered mess, soggy, grimy towels and dirty lavatory; it is so convenient.

Thank you for this finger-smudged refrigerator that needs defrosting so badly; it has served us faithfully for many years. It is full of cold drinks and enough leftovers for two or three meals.

Thank you Lord, for this oven that absolutely must be cleaned today; it has baked so many delightful meals over the years.

The whole family is grateful for that tall grass that needs mowing, the lawn that needs raking; it really is beautiful and we all enjoy the fun times in the yard.

Thank you, Lord, even for that slamming screen door. My kids are healthy and able to run and play.

Lord, the presence of all these chores that await me says that You have richly blessed my family. I shall do them cheerfully, and I shall do them gratefully.

And all God’s people say together…THANK YOU! AMEN!

As families gather together that week to say “Thanks”; as individuals say “Thanks” for all the blessings they have received; as churches across the nation proclaim their gratefulness; and as a nation gives thanks – let us as a parish family give our united thanks to God. On Thanksgiving morning we will gather in church at 9:00 a.m. for our annual Thanksgiving Mass. You and I have received countless favors. So let’s join our voices and thank our God. Let’s give thanks together on Thursday at the 9:00 a.m. Mass.

Today, we come to the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The holy door at St. Peter’s Basilica closes, as well as the holy doors throughout the Archdiocese. These doors might be closed, but mercy in our hearts must always remain open.

During a railroad strike in England, a volunteer engineer on the London-Liverpool Express performed the remarkable feat of bringing the train into the Liverpool station 25 minutes ahead of time.

All the passengers approached the volunteer engineer to thank him for the early arrival. With a bit of relief in his voice and a pale expression on his face, the volunteer engineer said, “Don’t thank me. Thank God. I finally discovered how to stop this engine ten minutes ago!

Happy Thanksgiving…Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R

 

 

Pastor’s Notes – November 13, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

A young man owned a bakery in a small town. Every week he would purchase butter from a nearby farmer. One day the baker suspected that he was being short changed. He questioned whether each brick of butter was a full pound.

For several days he weighed each brick. Sure enough! Each brick were short an ounce and a half. So, the baker sued the farmer.

At the trial the judge said to the farmer, “I presume that you have a scale to weigh the butter.” “No, your honor I do not.” “Well, then, how do you manage to weigh the butter yourself?”

“Well, your honor, I have a balance scale. One one side I place the butter. On the other side I place a one pound loaf of bread that I buy from the baker.” (Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God.)

Mr. Elmer Kelen, a Budapest millionaire, commissioned a young Hungarian artist, Arpad Sebesy, to paint his portrait. Mr. Kelen spent only a few minutes posing for the artist. Sebesy had to paint from memory. Sebesy actually thought that the painting was quite good.

Arpad Sebesy contacted Mr. Kelen to view his portrait. When Kelen looked at it, he shouted, “That’s a rotten portrait, and I refuse to pay for it.” Kelen charged out of the studio, cursing Arpad Sebesy for such a disgraceful portrait.

Sebesy followed Kelen down the street shouting, “Wait a minute, sir. Wait a minute.” Kelen stopped in his tracks. Sebesy begged him, “Sir, will you give me a letter saying that you refused the portrait because it didn’t resemble you?” Kelen gladly complied.

A few months later the Society of Hungarian Artists opened an exhibition at the Gallery of Fine Arts in Budapest. Arpad Sebesy displayed some of his art work at the gallery.

It didn’t take long before Kelen received a phone call from a friend. The friend told him that there was a painting hanging in the gallery that very much resembled him. Kelen rushed to the gallery and head for the wing where Sebesy’s paintings were on display. Sure, enough, there hung the painting that he had commissioned and rejected.

He glanced at the title of the painting and became furious. He stormed into the office of the gallery manager. He demanded that the portrait be removed at once. The manager explained quietly that all the paintings were under contract. Each painting must remain in the gallery for the six-week duration of the exhibit.

Kelen became unglued. He angrily shouted at the manager that the painting will make him the laughing stock of Budapest. He said, “It’s libelous. I’ll sue.”

“Just a moment,” said the manager as he opened the letter which Kelen had written at Sebesy’s request. “Since you yourself admitted that the painting does not resemble you, you have no jurisdiction over its fate.”

Kelen admitted he wrote the letter in which he claimed that the painting had no resemblance to him. Now he was anxious to buy the painting. However, he discovered that the current price was ten times that of the original figure. He regretfully paid the inflated price hoping to salvage his reputation.

Not only did Sebesy sell the rejected portrait to the man who had commissioned it, but he achieved his revenge simply by exhibiting it with the title: ‘Portrait of a Thief.’

(Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God.)

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R

Exemplification Ceremony at Holy Trinity Church

Father Jim Shea,  Sir Knight Javier Martinez, Sir Knight Matthew KrausSir Knight Javier Martinez and Sir Knight Matthew Kraus

Photographs by Genny Kraus

Pastor’s Notes – November 6, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

Before World War II, H.V. Kaltenborn broadcasted the daily news on radio. H.V. always began his newscast with these words, “Well, we’ve got good news today!”

We as Christians have Good News every day. It is the Good News of Jesus Christ. But a young mother in South Dakota heard a different version of ‘good news.’

Her pre-school son was suffering from a severe case of constipation. The doctor had suggested the usual remedies of prunes, mineral oil, and enemas. Nothing worked until he drank a glass of saline solution.

After visiting the bathroom the kid rushed into the kitchen shouting to his mother, “Mom, Mom, I’ve got good news! I’ve got good news!” Good news became his phrase to signal a successful bowel movement.

The following Sunday, during the children’s Mass, the priest asked the kids, “Does anyone know what ‘Good News’ means.” This young kid quickly raised his hand. And now you know the rest of the story.

On Wednesday, November 9th, we Redemptorist priests and brothers will celebrate good news. It is the birth date of the ‘Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.’ That is the official title for the Congregation that we Redemptorist priests and brothers belong to.

On November 8, 1732, St. Alphonsus said goodbye to his family and friends in Naples, Italy. Clad in a threadbare cassock and seated on a lowly donkey, he traveled to the poor and humble village of Scala. Many uneducated shepherds lived in this area. Alphonsus had a big heart for these shepherds. When Alphonsus visited this area a year or two earlier, he was saddened to discover that shepherds had never heard of Jesus Christ. After prayerful discernment he decided to form a congregation to bring the Good News to the abandoned and forgotten people, especially shepherds out in the country.

On November 9th, 1732, St. Alphonsus, along with a few men who agreed to join this new congregation, gathered with Bishop Falcoia in the cathedral of Scala. There they founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer with a mission of preaching the Good News to the poor and most abandoned. The men who belong to this congregation are affectionately known as Redemptorists. After their names are the letters C.Ss.R. which means ‘Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.’ In Latin: Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris – C.Ss.R.

Over the years many men have joined this Congregation. Throughout the world there are approximately 5,00 Redemptorists ministering in 77 countries. Four have been elevated to sainthood – St. Alphonsus, St. Gerard Majella, St. Clement Hofbauer and St. John Neumann. A few others are in route to becoming saints. They are referred to as blessed. One of them is Blessed Francis Seelos.

The motto of our Congregation is “Copiosa Apud Eum Redemptio” which means “With Him there is Plentiful Redemption.” This motto is painted high above the arch of our church.

In the United States, the Redemptorists are divided into two provinces – Denver and Baltimore. There are two vice provinces – Richmond and Vietnam. A province is self-sufficient. The vice province of Richmond is dependent upon the mother province – Baltimore. The Vietnam Vice Province was specifically created to work with Catholic Vietnamese and Japanese who fled to the United States after the fall of Saigon in 1975. The Redemptorist headquarters for the Vietnam Vice Province is located in Houston. It is financially self-sufficient and staffed with sufficient priests and brothers to do the work entrusted to it.

The Denver Province was established in June of 1996 when the former St. Louis Province (established in 1875) and Oakland Province (established in 1952) merged to form one Province, later joined by the Vice-Province of New Orleans (established in 1952) in 2005. Over the years foreign missions had been established in Brazil (1943), in Thailand (1949), and in Nigeria (1987). In 2012 Thailand became an independent Province.

The Denver Province encompasses most of the continental United States stretching from Michigan to the West Coast. Members of the Providence staff some 13 parishes and maintain 3 retreat centers, a publishing house (Liguori Publication), a health care center (St. Clement, where our elderly and infirm Redemptorists reside), and the Blessed Francis Seelos Shrine. Nearly 250 Redemptorist priests, brothers, and seminarians make up the Denver Province.

Archbishop Joseph Tobin is a Redemptorist of the Denver Province. Pope Benedict XIII chose him to be the Archbishop of Indianapolis, Indiana. On October 9, 2016 Pope Francis name Archbishop Tobin a Cardinal. This is the first time that the Archdiocese of Indianapolis has been represented in the College of Cardinals

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – October 30, 2016

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

Once there was an old priest who lived out in the country. He was the shepherd of a poor parish. His people could hardly pay his salary. One year he decided to raise watermelons, and hopefully sell them to supplement his income.

His watermelon enterprise became quite successful. People came from great distances to buy watermelons. The priest was making a great profit.

However, he was disturbed by some local kids who would sneak into his watermelon patch at night and eat his watermelons. He had to put a stop to this thievery. He finally came up with a novel idea.

He made up a sign and posted it in the field. The next day, when the kids showed up, they saw the sign which read, “Warning! One of the watermelons in this field has been injected with cyanide.”

The kids didn’t dare pick a watermelon that night. The priest was delighted. He finally scared the rascals off.

However, the next night the kids returned. They had made their own sign. They posted their sign next to the priest’s sign, and then hustled our of the watermelon patch.

The next morning the priest checked the watermelon patch and noticed the new sign next to his. He stepped close to read what was written. To his dismay, the sign read: “Now there are two.”

Now we have two special days this week. Tuesday is All Saints Day and Wednesday is All Souls day.

In ancient times two men were arrested and convicted for stealing sheep. The magistrate sent both of them to prison for several years. To warn every one of the crimes they committed the magistrate decreed that the letter ‘S’ be branded on their foreheads.

After the men served their prison terms one of them left the area, never to be heard of again. The other man was deeply sorrowful for the crime he committed. He remained in the community and dedicated his life to serve his God and the people.

As the years passed, this man had touched everyone. He helped the poor. He visited the sick. He found work for the unemployed. The people grew to love this man. Soon, no one remembered his crime of stealing sheep.

Many years later two small boys were sitting on the front steps of their home when this man passed by. The boys never heard about the crime the man committed. But they noticed the ‘S’ on his forehead. One boy asked the other, “Why do you think he has an ‘S’ on his forehead?” The other boys replied, “I’m not sure but from what my mom says about him, I think it must mean ‘Saint’.”

Monday, October 31st is Halloween. On the eve of Halloween, children traditionally canvass the neighborhoods ‘trick or treating.’ They wear weird customs of Dracula, devils, saints or other creative outfits with represent a fictitious or real creature of the past. Halloween started out to be a Christian celebration. ‘Hallow” in Old English means ‘holy’ or ‘sacred.’ Therefore “Hallows Eve,” means ‘the evening of holy persons’ and refers to the evening before All Saints Day. Tuesday, November 1st, is All Saints Day.

In the early history of the Church many Christians were martyred for their faith. Rome was the site for Christians to be thrown to the lions. So the Church set aside two special days to honor these people – All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

In the year 607 Emperor Phocas turned the beautiful Roman Pantheon temple over to the Pope. The pope quickly removed the statues of Jupiter and the pagan gods and consecrated the Pantheon to all the saints who died from Roman persecutions during the first three centuries. The bones of the martyrs were exhumed from various graves and placed in the Pantheon church.

In the 8th century Pope Gregory III decreed that November 1st would be ‘All Saints’ Day. In the 10th century Abbot Odela of the Cluny monastery declared that November 2nd would be ‘All Souls Day’ to honor all Christians who have died.

The conversion of the soul is the miracle of the moment; the manufacture of a saint is the task of a lifetime. – Alan Redpath

We are not saints because of what we do; we are saints because we belong to God.

The way of the world is to praise dead saints and to persecute living ones – Nathanial Howe.

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.