By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
It was the annual baseball game between the townsfolk and the in
mates of the local prison. When his turn at bat came up, the leading hitter of the prison team took a vicious swing and sent the ball zooming into the far reaches of the outfield. He rounded first. He rounded second. He rounded third and headed for home. They finally caught him between third base and the Mexican border.
There will be two important events taking place this week. The first event is called “Discovering our Faith.” On Tuesday evening, September 26th, Archbishop Gustavo will be here at St. Gerard, talking about discovering our faith. The program will be televised. Father Pat O’Brien will be the moderator. The first part of the program will be focused on Catholic teaching as it affects the events in the world around us. The second part of the program will be about Archdiocesan events. And the final part of the program will be about our parish ministries. Everyone is invited to this evening of ‘Discovering our Faith.’ We would like to have a full house to be the audience of this program. So, plan to be with us on Tuesday evening.
The second event this week is called ‘V Encuentro.’ The Bishops of America have introduced a new program to help us welcome and understand people coming into our Archdiocese from around the world, especially from Mexico. The ‘V’ stands for ‘fifth’. ‘Encuentro’ means ‘encountering others.’ Over the years this is the 5th program to help people understand different cultures and listen to what is happening in the lives of fellow parishioners. The bishops asked each diocese to include this program in their ministries. The heart of this program is gathering people into small groups after a presentation. The presenter gives them a question. Then those present will form small groups and share their experiences in relation to the question.
On Saturday, in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center there will be many presentations about V Encuentro. People will meet other people. The doors open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m. And the best part of this event – ‘It’s FREE.’
Finally, on Saturday, November 4th, 2017, the people of the Archdiocese are invited to ‘ASSEMBLY 2017’ at St. Mary’s University. There will be keynote addresses, short workshops, religious booths, many friends and plenty of food. So, plan to attend this important event as we are being called to become Missionary Disciples.
With these three programs, we hope to deepen our faith. As time goes on we will be explaining more about ‘V Encuentro.’
A Lutheran pastor visited a friend of his in Ireland. The pastor noticed a small plaque on his friend’s desk. On the plaque were two words – “But God.” Of course, the pastor was curious. What was the significance of “But God?”
His friend explained the meaning of ‘But God.’ The pastor was impressed. Upon returning home he designed a plaque of his own. He inscribed just two words on it – “But God.”
Whenever someone would enter the pastor’s office they would comment on the plaque. And they too would inquire about its meaning. So, the pastor explained that in the hour of deepest need he would say, “But God will help!” In the moment of utter despair he could say to himself, “But God will give me hope.” In the moment of loneliness he could affirm, “God is with me.” When he felt insignificant and unwanted it would help to repeat, “But God loves me.” That always turned the scale from despair to hope, defeat to victory, from sin to salvation. “But God! But God! But God!”
What if God had voice mail? Of course, we’ve all experienced voice mail when telephoning someone. Let’s imagine that God is receiving so many prayer requests that he decided to install voice mail. This might be what you would hear:
“Thank you for calling Your Father’s House. Please select one of the following options: Press 1 for requests. Press 2 for thanksgivings. Press 3 for complaints. Press 4 for all other inquiries. Or perhaps God would use this familiar excuse…”All the angels are helping customers right now. Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line. Your call is important to us. It will be answered in the order it was received.”
Or imagine getting these kinds of responses when you call upon God in prayer!! For the Archangels press 1. For Gabriel, press 2; For Michael, press 3; For Raphael, press 4. If you’d like to hear King David sing a Psalm while you are on hold, Press 5. If you would like to know if a loved one has reached heaven, press 9 for heaven’s complete personnel directory. And the final dagger is: This office is closed for the weekend. Please call again on Monday after 9:00 a.m.
Friday, we honor the Archangels – Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. We call upon Michael’s intercession for protection from evil; Gabriel to deliver good news; Raphael to bring healing of all kinds.
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.