By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
Back in the early 1980’s Tommy Lasorda managed the Los Angeles Dodgers while John McNamara managed the Cincinnati Reds. Tommy was a faithful Catholic. Weekly Mass was important to him. Even when he was traveling with the team he managed to attend Mass each Sunday.
One weekend the Cincinnati Reds were hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers for a weekend series. On this particular Sunday Tommy managed to attend Mass at a church in downtown Cincinnati. Tommy was sitting in a pew in the front of church when John McNamara, the Cincinnati Reds’ manager, happened to enter the church. John immediately spotted Tommy up front. John stayed in a pew near the back, but he kept an eye on Tommy. When Mass was over, all the parishioners headed toward the exits. Tommy took a detour to the shrine of the Blessed Virgin. He paused for a few private prayers, then lit a candle and walked out. The Reds manager, lurking in the shadows behind a pillar, watched every move that Lasorda made. When Tommy lit the candle, the Reds manager became a bit uneasy. He assumed that Tommy was trying to take advantage of some divine power in regards to the crucial game they were going to play that afternoon. As soon as Tommy left the church the Reds manager casually walked up to the votive light stand and blew out the candle that Tommy had just lit.
Why do people light candles in church? In nearly every church, there are candles for people to light. Shrines around the world have countless candles burning. Have you ever noticed how children love to light candles? There is something fascinating about candles. A burning candle is so warm, so comforting and so consoling. Any burning light is a reminder of Christ, the Light of the World. As the candle burns itself out and is consumed in giving its light and service to people, it is a sign of sacrifice and sacrificial love.
When Archbishop Gustavo became the Archbishop of San Antonio he introduced a ceremony called ‘Lumen Gentium.’ It is the Latin for ‘Light of Nations.’ In the ceremony Archbishop Gustavo presents a small plaque to one or two people from every parish. The plaque represents the good work and ministry that person given to his or hers parish.
Each year Archbishop Gustavo asks the pastors to name one or two parishioners who have ministered well in the parish. Then, during a prayer service Archbishop thanks the people for their ministry, presents the plaque and gives the recipient one of Archbishop’s famous hugs.
We at St. Gerard have selected Kevin and Mitzi Clark to receive the ‘Lumen Genium’ award. On Thursday, February 1, 2018 Kevin and Mitzi will gather at St. Dominic church with people from all parishes across the Archdiocese to receive the Lumen Gentium award. Congratulations Kevin and Mitzi!
A wealthy banker died. Of course everyone in his family was anxious to find out how the banker’s money would be distributed. The family gathered in the lawyer’s office for the reading of the will. He left $50,000 to his wife, $75,000 to each of his children and $10,000 to each of his brothers and sisters. The the will read, “and to my nephew Ralph, who has not worked a day in his life and who always wanted to be mentioned in my will, I say, ‘HELLO RALPH.'”
Those people who keep statistics tell us that only 40 percent of the people who die have wills. That leaves 60 percent of the people without wills. The government is quite happy about this percentage. If a person dies without a will, a generous portion of the estate goes to the government.
Over the years parishioners of St. Gerard have been very thoughtful, to not only mention our parish in their wills, but also leave a generous legacy to the church. These folks are part of the 40% who have wills. To which category do you belong – 40% or 60%? And when you make your will may I suggest that you remember St. Gerard.
I received a nice letter from Archbishop Gustavo telling us that we, the parishioners of St. Gerard have exceeded our 2017 Archbishops Annual Appeal goal. In fact, we have received a rebate in the amount of $882.00. One half of the money in excess of our goal is returned to the parish. Thank you congratulations parishioners! Now we are into the 2018 appeal. We thank Viola Martinez for taking leadership of the appeal this year.
A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk I have a workstation. Well, work has not stopped regarding the rebuilding of the sacristy. We are nearing the end. Not only are we nearly completed, but as best that I know, all the invoices have gone to the insurance company. I have not seen an invoice…not yet!!!
March is only a month away. In March our parish has been scheduled to participate in the Archbishop’s Capital Campaign. The Consulting Firm will be coming to our parish as we kick off this campaign. Remember, 40% of the money given to the campaign is returned back to the parish. I have submitted a plan to restore our school building for multiple uses to the Archdiocese. I await some kind of response from them.
A teacher asked a highly intelligent but rebellious student: “Timothy, what is the difference between ignorance and indifference?” Timothy shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
In the Redeeming Christ,
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.