Monthly Archives: March 2017

Pastor’s Notes – March 26, 2017

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

A few years back the British Broadcasting Corporation aired a three minute story on current affairs during their “Panorama’ program. It was about the annual spaghetti harvest, filmed in a Swiss-Italian spaghetti orchard.

Since some folks believed that spaghetti grew on trees, the BBC decided to confirm their beliefs. The clip showed young girls climbing ladders with baskets in their hands. They were picking spaghetti from the branches of Laurel trees. While playing guitar music, the broadcaster said, “We have this marvelous festival. The first harvest of spaghetti. And now, we the jubilant folks of the Spaghetti Festival say goodnight on this first day of April.”

Next Saturday is April Fool day, a day for practical jokes. But, how did this day come about? Well, for centuries in the late Middle Ages, in much of Western Europe, March 25th, the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was New Year’s Day. The people celebrated for eight days. When the calendar was reformed and January 1st was restored as New Year’s Day, the folks who refused to change were called “April Fools.” Since the, anyone who will not change is an “April Fool.’

As we prepare for Easter the story of Solomon, adapted from ‘Visions of Mary’ can bring comfort, solace and inspiration to believers.

Around 1830, in Bretagne, France, there lived a kind old man named Solomon. He was a bit strange. He never associated with anyone in the town. The people thought him a weak-minded individual. So they called him by the name ‘Solomon the idiot.’

As he walked through town some folks jeered at him. Others turned away. Little kids would chase after him and call him names. Yet, his only response to the kids or adults was to say “Ave Maria.”

Then Fall came and Winter followed. Every evening Solomon stood outside the church listening to hymns. Dressed in mere rags he stood on the steps of the church during blizzards or ice storms. Yet, one night Solomon was not standing in front of the church. The people searched for him. They found him buried under a pile of snow. When the people reached down to help him he looked up with glassy eyes and said, “Ave Maria.” Those were his final words as he closed his eyes and passed away.

Solomon was buried in a lonely field, near an old oak tree. No one thought his body was worthy of burial in the church graveyard, or even in some consecrated ground. No stone or cross marked the spot. In death he remained as lonely as he was in life.

When Spring came and the snows melted away, a person happened to be walking past the field where Solomon was buried. He noticed that a single snow white lily, more beautiful than could be imagined, was growing out of the grave. As this person walked closer to the grave he noticed that something was written on the lily’s petals. He bent down and saw the words, written in gold, “Ave Maria.”

New spread and soon all the towns folks gathered at the grave site. No one had a clue who might have planted the lily. And no one could explain how the words “Ave Maria” appeared on the petals.

The news spread throughout the neighboring towns. Eventually the bishop heard about the lone lily. The bishop journeyed to the town to see for himself. The bishop began by gathering the people in church as he celebrated the Mass. Then, they formed a procession to Solomon’s grave. The bishop led the people in prayer. The he instructed the people to open the grave. As they opened the casket the people saw a miracle indeed. For out of Solomon’s heart the lily grew.

In years to come the people would call upon Solomon whenever tragedy struck or whenever the folks fell upon hard times. As time went on the town’s folks raised money to build a chapel. They built the chapel directly over Solomon’s grave. The altar in the chapel was located on a spot where Solomon would nap under the old oak tree during the summer months. Nearby was a fountain. The waters of the fountain brought healing to many wounded or diseased people.

The church was known as the Chapel of Folgoat. To everyone the chapel was a reminder that no matter how humble we are in life, if we go about with “Ave Maria” on our lips, there is no telling what glories will be ours when we enter the glorified kingdom of heaven.

“He must increase. I must decrease.”

Remember the mission. Father Peter Schavitz will preach the mission at 6:30 each night. The prayer service and sermon will last one hour and fifteen minutes. Surely we all can spare 1 1/2 hours to nourish our souls with living waters of God’s grace.

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – March 19, 2017

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

The solemn feast of St. Joseph is universally celebrated on the 19th of March. However, when St. Joseph’s day fails on a Sunday, the solemnity is transferred to Monday. There is a long standing tradition of having a St. Joseph’s Table.

A minister was called to a church in a small town. The day after the minister and his family moved into the parsonage., a woman in the neighborhood welcomed them with homemade pie. The pie turned out to be a disaster. It tasted horrible. No one in the family could eat it. They tossed it into the garbage. But now, how could the minister’s wife thank the neighbor and at the same time be truthful.

After much thought, she wrote this letter: “Dear Mrs. Abernathy, I am so grateful to you for baking a pie for our family. You are so kind and thoughtful. I can assure you that a pie like yours never lasts long in our house!”

And so it is with food. Some is delicious. And then, other food won’t last long in any house. Not so with the food which graces the St. Joseph Table. St. Joseph is the patron saint of the universe. But the Italians have adopted him as they religiously turn to him in the time of dire need. In the middle ages a drought and famine devastated Sicily. They prayed to St. Joseph. Then the rains finally came and the crops prospered. Their prayers were answered. They gave credit to St. Joseph for interceding for them. In thanksgiving, the community made offerings to St. Joseph. The greatest offering they could present was food. They introduced the St. Joseph’s Altar which is also known as the St. Joseph’s Table.

Every year the Italians erect a lovely altar with three levels. The levels reflect the Holy Trinity. They drape the altar with a white altar cloth and adorn it with flowers. With the decorations they thank God for a safe return from war: health; happiness; success in studies or business and whatever blessing God sends their way. They also want to share their gifts with the less fortunate.

This custom and devotion continues unto the present day. Families spend weeks cooking and baking. They bake bread in many shapes which symbolize a wreath, a crown of thorns, a heart a chalice or a monstrance. And, of course, cookies are everyone’s favorite at the St. Joseph’s Table.

In addition to all the wheat products, there is a delightful variety of fruits, vegetables, cheeses and seafood. Of course Pasta Milanese is the leading entree. The green fava bean is also served. When dried, roasted and blessed, the ┬ábean becomes the popular ‘Lucky Bean.’ Legend has it that you will never be broke as long as you carry three fava beans.

Everyone looks forward to the children playacting the holy family, coming to eat. Sometimes the angels and saints accompany them.

This sign appeared in the window of a business of London: “We have been established for over one hundred years and have been pleasing and displeasing customers ever since. We have made money and lost money. We suffered from high taxes, government control and bad payers. We have been cussed and discussed, messed about, lied to, held up, robbed, and swindled. We’re still in business just to see what happens next.”

Almost sounds like the Catholic Church. Many folks are anxious to see what happens next to our Church. But all of us know that the best is yet to come. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Christ came to redeem the world. He then opened the doors to heaven and invites his faithful followers to enter. it doesn’t get any better than that.

For centuries, March 25th has been celebrated by Catholics as the “Feast of the Anunciation.” Mary’s fiat – “I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say” – brought our Savior into the world. As the first disciple of Christ, Mary shows us that we must listen to and do God’s will.

Doing God’s will is not always easy. We usually have our own plans for our lives. It is good to have plans, but never at the expense of our growth in relationship to God. Like Mary, we must trust that God’s will is the best for us and our world. Let us follow the example of Mary and call upon her to help us open our hearts to say “yes” to God!

A dietician was addressing a number of elderly folks about harmful foods. Toward the end of his presentation he said, “There is one food which most people have eaten or will eat, that will bring pain and suffering for the rest of their lives. Does anyone know what food that might be?” An outspoken woman in back of the room shouted, “Yes! I know. Wedding cake!”

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – March 12, 2017

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

A Dublin television channel selected three young Irish kids to participate in a religious talk show. The three little kids were given one question, “Who is the greatest person who ever walked on earth.” Whichever kid answered correctly would receive a scholarship of $500. One kid was Catholic; another was Lutheran and the third Jewish.

The Catholic kid said that it was St. Patrick. The interviewing host said that was a good answer, but not the correct one. The Lutheran kid said that surely it was Martin Luther. Again the host said it was a very good answer, but not the correct one. Finally the Jewish kid said that it was Jesus Christ. The host was taken back with that answer from a Jewish kid. So the host said, “I am surprised that a young man of your religious background would say Jesus Christ and not Moses. The young boy responded, “Well, in my heart I knew it was Moses, but business is business.”

‘Abstinence’ means abstaining from meat. Each Friday during Lent everyone over the age of 14 is strongly encouraged to abstain from meat. Many Americans enjoy a delicious meal with meat. The Church wants us to remember Christ who died for us on a Friday. By denying ourselves on Fridays of a favorite food, especially meat, we will be more apt to remember our Savior who gave His life out of love for us.

This year the feast day of St. Patrick falls on a Friday. Does that mean ‘no corn beef and cabbage’ on Patrick’s feast day? I guess so. When I was living in Kansas City our bishop was an F.B.I. – Foreign Born Irishman. With a little pressure coming from the Irish of Kansas City, Bishop Boland granted a dispension from meat on St. Pat’s day. So,we all enjoyed corn beef and Irish stew.

In the middle of March we celebrate the feast days of three great saints who walked the earth: St. Clement Hofbauer C.Ss.R., Wednesday, March 15th, St. Patrick – Friday, March 17th; St.Joseph – Sunday, March 19th.

Clement Hofbauer was born in Moravia which is now known as the Czech Republic. He was the 9th of 12 children. Clement wanted to be a priest. But, with so many mouths to feed, there wasn’t any money available for education. So, Clement went to work as a baker in a monastery. One day, after serving Mass in the Cathedral, Clement met two ladies. Since it was raining, the ladies were waiting for the rain to pass. Clement politely offered to call a carriage for them. While waiting for the carriage the ladies learned that Clement, along with a friend of his, wanted to be a priest but neither had money for a seminary education. The generous ladies offered to pay for his education as well as the education of his friend Thaddeus.

The two freaks went to Rome where they met the Redemptorists. Both friends were deeply interested in the Redemptorist mission. They joined the Redemptorists. Shortly after ordination the two of them were sent over the Alps to Vienna. They were met with religious opposition and persecution, so they traveled on to Warsaw Poland. There they were given the church of St. Benno.

At St. Benno they opened an orphanage for boys. The two friends had to beg for money to support the orphanage. On one occasion Clement went into a local tavern, asking the customers for a donation. One fellow, a bit intoxicated, leaned over and spat in Clement’s face. Clement took out his handkerchief, wiped the spittle off his face, turned to the culprit and said, “That was for me. Now, do you have something for my boys?” It is reported that the customer gave a donation to Clement.

Clement attracted many young people to the Redemptorist life. Over the years Clement sent Redemptorist  missionaries to Poland, Germany and Switzerland. And from Germany, the Redemptorists came to America.

On Saturday, March 17th, we will be celebrating the feast day of St. Patrick. St. Patrick is the patron said of Ireland. He is certainly one of Christianity’s most widely known figures. But, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are probably a bit farfetched. As you know, the Irish have a knack for telling stories, even exaggerating at times.

Then, in the 19th of March we celebrate the feast day of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that Joseph was a ‘just’ man. Being just means that Joseph was completely open to God’s will for him. He became holy by being obedient to God.

Three great saints – Clement from Moravia, Patrick from Ireland and Joseph from Israel. Each of them filled with the faith in Jesus Christ. St. Clement, St. Patrick and St. Joseph pray for us.

Last weekend I announced that we would publish the dates and places where the Penance services will be. Our church encourages us to receive the sacrament of reconciliation during Lent.

March 24 – Holy Name – 5:30 pm

March 27, Youth – Mission San Francisco (Espada) – 6:30-8 pm

March 28, Spanish-Mission San Francisco (Espada) – 6:30-8 pm

March 29, English-Mission San Francisco (Espada) – 6:30-8 pm

March 18, Spanish – Senyor Santo Nino de Cebu 9 am – 3 pm

March 18, English – Senyor Santo Nino de Cebu 9 am – 3 pm

March 18, St. Benedict 10 am

April 5 , St. Benedict 7 pm

April 4 , St. Gerard 6:30 pm

March 21, St. Michael 7 pm

April 4, St. Jerome 7 pm

April 5, St. Margaret Mary 7 pm

March 29, St. Philip of Jesus 7 pm

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

 

Father Rob’s 50th Anniversary

Father Rob's MassThe Cake!Father Rob's Party and Christmas Celebration

Photographs by Genny Kraus

Pastor’s Notes – March 5, 2017

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

The late George Burns tells about the time he went to Kansas State University to see a multi-lingual computer. He learned that a person could input information in any language and the computer would translate the statement into another language.

George was interested in the Portuguese to English – English to Portuguese. He wanted to see how well the computer could handle this scripture passage: “The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

The electronic brain in this marvelous computer immediately delivered an answer: “The whiskey is good, but the meat is spoiled.”

This is the weekend when we hear about temptation. Christ was out in the desert. He was spending time in prayer. Along comes Satan. Now Satan is a clever creature. He attacks the weakness of a person.

Christ was fasting. He was probably famished. So the devil tempted Christ’s appetite with bread, saying “make these stones turn into bread.” Then the devil tempted the Lord with Adventure by telling Christ to “throw himself down and trust God.” Finally the Devil appealed to Ambition – “Worship me, and I will give you all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.”

Temptation to sin always appears in many different guises. It has a way of persuading us that the sinful behavior will bring about an abundance of happiness. It will quiet our nerves. It will soothe our anxieties. it will bring pleasure to our bodies. The devil is a clever motivator. He promises the world. The he delivers the worst. And then, look what follows: guilt pervades our minds. Our conscience becomes raw. We are restless. We hope no one discovers what we did. We want to go into hiding. We end up being miserable.

When temptation attacks, there are two ways to get rid of it. We can give in or we can counter-attack. Christ counter-attacked the temptations. He drove Satan away. Christ used the power from God to dispel these temptations. We too have that power. It comes to us in prayer. Whenever temptation surfaces, we can turn to prayer. In prayer we discover a new energy and a new power. With that grace we can say “no” to Satan. “Get behind me Satan.”

When Satan tempted Christ there were no witnesses to tell the story. So, Christ himself must have reported the story to his apostles. For some reason he must have felt obliged to disclose to his disciples this moment of struggle and personal weakness. The same tempter who had found a fatal spot of vulnerability in Adam and Eve aimed his thrust against Jesus with deadly accuracy. But Christ rejected that evil and sinful spear.

One Sunday a preacher was expounding on the evils of watching T.V. He encouraged his parishioners to do what he and his family did for Lent. He said, “We put your T.V. in the closet throughout Lent.” The pastor’s wife leaned over and whispered to her best friend, “My husband is right. And I want you to know that it gets awfully crowded and hot in there!”

Last month I wrote to Archbishop Gustavo. Since the Archbishop owns the former convent I wanted him to know that seminarians would be living in the building which was formerly used as the convent. I also asked for his permission to begin exploring possibilities for the relocation of the parish offices.

I received a letter from Archbishop Gustavo. He gave us permission to begin looking at possible locations for our parish offices. He reminded us that we must follow protocol of going through the various departments in the chancery office. When all departs stamp their approval on our project, Archbishop Gustavo will give his permission.

We have gathered the restoration building committee to identify and explore the various options. Throughout this process I will give you weekly updates.

On a mountain climbing expedition the Swiss guide warned an American tourist, “Be especially careful not to fall – it’s a dangerous place. But if you do fall,” he added nonchalantly, “remember to look to the right – the view is breathtaking.”

A blessed Lent to all

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.