By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
A kid was “acting up” at Mass. He was out of control. The parents did their best to quiet him down. Nothing worked. The folks in the nearby pews were mumbling “get him out of here.” Finally, the father grabbed that kid, threw him over his shoulder and marched down the aisle toward the front door. The kid began to cry. He knew he was in big trouble. Just as they reached the church door the kid looked back and shouted to the congregation, “Pray for me! Pray for me!”
Pope Francis wrote an encyclical letter entitled ‘Laudato Si.’ He spoke about our common home – the earth. Pope Francis asked that Friday, September 1st, be devoted to ‘The World day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.’ This is the day that the Catholic Christian world will join together in pray for the preservation of our common home – the earth. As Pope Francis says, “Christians are called to ‘an ecological conversion’ whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them.”
This annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will remind us that we are all called to keep air clean and breathable, our water clean and drinkable, our rain forests protected, our swamps and everglades preserved. There is so much beauty in God’s creation that we do not want to dishonor it and destroy it. We must never forget to thank our God for the wonderful handiwork He has created and handed down to us humans. It is up to us to keep our common home looking good for generations to come.
Prayer to Protect and Heal God’s Creation
“We have come to renew our covenant with God and with one another in Christ Jesus, our Lord. We have come to help protect God’s creation. We have come as followers of Jesus to commit ourselves anew to one another and to heal injustice and poverty.
We have come to stand together against all threats to life. We have come to discover some new beauty every day in God’s creation the sunrise and the sunset, birds, flowers and trees, rainbows in the sky, the stars, the many forms of life in the forest. We have come to listen to the “music of the universe” – water flowing over rocks, the wind, trees bending in the wind, raindrops pattering on the roof. We will remember always that God speaks to us through the beauty of his creation, and we will try our best to answer God’s call to reverence all that he has created. Amen.”
During the Redemptorist convocation a few years back a suggestion was made that we Redemptorists ought to have some kind of a renewal program. We were looking for a way to energize ourselves. We were expecting to add a new spirit amongst us; and to build a stronger bond between us. One might say that we would be putting new wine into new wineskins.
A group of Redemptorists were asked to put together a program. They did. They called it ‘Renewed Hope, Renewed Hearts, Renewed Structure for Mission.’ This program was scheduled to be repeated at four different times and locations to accommodate all the Redemptorists of our province. Those who attended the program raved about it, so much so that those in charge added a fifth session for those who were hesitant to register early.
Communication is vital in this experience. Each day there is a presentation regarding our spiritual and community life. Then, a great part of each day is devoted to round table discussions of sharing: Sharing ones experience. Sharing one’s faith. Sharing ones hopes and dreams. Of course this means lots of listening to one another. ‘Shared Spirituality is the Heart of Change.’ So, we hope to bring that faith sharing experience into our conversations in our communities.
Everyone in our province was expected to attend. Fathers Carr, Ruhnke, Francis and Bob have already experienced the program. I am the last in line to attend. I will be attending this program at the Redemptorist Picture Rocks Renewal Center in Tuscon, Arizona from September 4th to September 18th. I look forward to the renewal program and hope to return spiritually refreshed.
Father Bob Lindsey will be handling the day to day duties. Father Lamar Patin, our Redemptorist vocation director, who is well known in our parish, will be helping with Masses and other duties. And of course Father Peter Hill and Father Mick Fleming will also be helping with Masses as they continue their responsibilities as formators for the theology students.
Without sunscreen the hot summer sun can burn and blister human skin. The sun can also burn and blister our church doors that face to the south. Stan Guza built those doors. He applied the best sunscreen sealant available. The time has come to re-seal those doors. Stan asked his wife Beata and his sister Binaca – who is on vacation from Poland – to clean and re-seal those doors. Great job! Thanks Beata and Binaca.
A religion teacher asked her students to memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible – Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters one month to learn the Psalm. Little Rick was excited about the task – but he had difficulty remembering the words. He practiced and practiced. He simply could not remember all the words. On the day when Ricky was scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, he was a bundle of nerves. He stepped up to the microphone and shouted: “The Lord is my Shepherd, and that’s all I need to know.”
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R,