By: Father James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
A ten year old boy returned home from religious class. His mother asked him what he learned. “Well,” he said, “the teacher told us about the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. They were being held captive by the Egyptians, so God sent Moses behind the enemy lines to rescue them. When they got to the Red Sea, Moses ordered the engineers to build a pontoon bridge. Then, after they crossed over, they looked back and saw the Egyptian tanks coming. Quick-as-a-flash, Moses picked up his walkie-talkie and asked the Air Force to send bombers to blow up the bridge so the Egyptians couldn’t catch up.” At this point the boy’s mother exclaimed, “Wait, wait, Bobby, is that really the way the teacher told the story?” “Well, not exactly,” Bobby admitted, “but if I told it her way, you’d never believe it.”
Within ten days, Lent will be upon us. We will be hearing the Old Testament stories. There might be times that we would chime in with Bobby…” You’ll never believe what was written about Noah and Moses!”
There is a small wooded bird called the ‘Floogie Bird.’ Perhaps you have seen that bird. If so, you would notice that around the Floogie Bird’s neck is a label reading, “I fly backwards. I don’t care where I am going. I just want to see where I’ve been.” Well, we’ve spent enough time looking backwards to where we have been. Now, we want to look forward to discover the many opportunities that await us.
About three weeks ago five energetic folks, three women and two men, approached us at St. Gerard, telling us that they were interested in working with young people. They asked if we would be interested in having them become involved with the youth of St. Gerard.
Well, we took a quick look backwards like the Floogie Bird did and saw years of struggle trying to get something going with the youth. Nothing materialized. Then, along come fie people saying, “Can we help?” Was this a ‘God Send,’ having five people approach us, wanting to help us look into the future to see what can happen with the youth of the parish?
We checked with the Archdiocese. We conducted a background check. All was positive. We invited them to attend the mission where they met a number of people. Last Sunday Shirley invited them to visit the CFF classrooms where the young folks welcomed them. We have asked them to gradually make themselves known around the parish at different functions. On March 4th there will be a ‘meet and greet’ event. During the Mass we will introduce them to the parish. After Mass our parishioners will have an opportunity to chat with them.
At this time they are volunteering themselves as they get involved with the parishioners, especially the youth. Between now and this summer we will observe their relationship with the youth and with the parish at large. This summer we will evaluate what is happening and determine what the future holds.
The names of the five people are Anna Martinez, Veronica Montez, Marisa Garza, Samuel Ruiz and Estevan Ruiz. They have gainful employment. But in their free time they want to minister to the youth. Their ages range from early twenties to early forties. In the past they have been involved with youth retreats, ACTS retreats and days of recollection.
Back in 1981 Mother Teresa spoke at a cathedral in a very poor neighborhood in Washington, D.C. All the politicians and press turned out to see her. Reporters surrounded Mother Teresa after she talked, to ask about the reason for her visit. To the question, “What do you hope to accomplish here?” Mother Teresa replied, “The Joy of loving and being loved.” To a cynical press, this answer sounded suspicious. She must have some kind of political agenda. The next question was, “That takes a lot of money, doesn’t it?” Mother Teresa answered directly, “No, it takes a lot of sacrifice.”
Sally explained why she married Tom instead of Bill. “When I was with Bill I thought he was one of the most charming, witty and delightful people I’d ever met.”
“Then why didn’t you marry him?” she was asked.
“Because when I’m with Tom, he makes me feel like I’m the most charming, witty and delightful person he’s ever met”
A group of researchers went door to door requesting donations for the American Cancer Society. They introduced themselves and then asked, “Would you be willing to help by giving us a donation?”
Half the time they stopped there, the rest of the time they added this additional thought, “Even a penny will help.”
Analyzing the results, the researchers found that residents who were asked to donate ‘even if it’s just a penny’ were more likely to make a donation and the size of the donation was significantly larger than the donors in the first group.
So – ask what you need – on a small scale. You might be pleasantly surprised.
In the Redeeming Christ,
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.