TAKE A LONG VIEW

I stumbled across the reflection on this page and found great inspiration it.  It was written by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw in memory of Oscar Romero (1917–1980) for his Beatification two years ago.

Oscar Romero was born to a very poor El Salvadoran family in 1917, received only a third grade education, but was later accepted into a seminary.   He returned to his home country, serving first as a parish priest and eventually the Archbishop of San Salvador.

Archbishop Romero turned the facilities at the cathedral into a space for people to come for relief, food and medical assistance.  He also began hearing the stories of countless Salvadorans who told him how their family members were tortured and killed, or just disappeared.  He quickly began to speak out on behalf of the poor and powerless.  His weekly sermons, broadcast throughout El Salvador by radio, cited human rights violations by the government.  His life was threatened on several occasions, to which he responded: “I have frequently been threatened with death. I must say that, as a Christian, I do not believe in death, but in the resurrection. If they kill me, I shall rise again in the Salvadoran people.”

On March 24, 1980, as he was celebrating Mass in the chapel of the Carmelite Sisters’ hospital for cancer patients, where he lived, he was shot to death.  Pope Francis quoted him: “We must all be willing to die for our faith even if the Lord does not grant us this honor.”

At this time, I challenge you to read the reflection.  I think the line that speaks to me the most is: “We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing this.  This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.”    I have to remind myself of this on a regular basis. I can give much greater glory to God by offering a few things done really well instead of being known as the person who does everything.    Read the reflection a second time, find the passage that speaks to take, and take it to prayer, asking God for guidance and direction.

 

A STEP ALONG THE WAY

It helps now and then to step back and take a long view.

The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,

it is beyond our vision.

 

We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction

of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.

Nothing we do is complete, which is another way

of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection,

no pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

 

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water the seeds already planted

knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces effects

far beyond our capabilities.

 

We cannot do everything,

and there is a sense of liberation in realizing this.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,

a step along the way,

an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,

but that is the difference between the master builder

and the worker.

 

We are workers, not master builders,

ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

 

 

Written by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw in memory of Oscar Romero (1917–1980)

 

Thank You! Gracias! Mahaol Nui Loa!

To each and every one of you for your prayers and kindness. Lady Alice and I are grateful for the gift cards and Mass cards. Thanks to the Ladies of the Altar Society and the Knights of Columbus Council for their prayerful support of Priests and deacons.

Most importantly, thank you ALL for your prayers and for forming our consciences over the years. Thank YOU for being part of our journey in life.

Please know that you will always be in our prayers. Come visit us in Nashville Diocese.

Dcn. C. J. and Lady Alice

MAKE GIVING PART OF YOUR SUMMER PLAN

The following article was taken from the newsletter of the ICSC (International Catholic Stewardship Council).

The month of May means summer is right around the corner after plenty of chilly weather and rain. Flowers are blooming and trees are budding. And Christian stewards are reminding themselves that stewardship continues as we head into the days of vacation, barbecues, summer reading lists, family reunions and trips to the beach.

We need to be especially mindful of our commitment to giving to our parish and our local church, the diocese. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that November and December are the biggest months for giving in the United States. But for those lazy days of summer? Not so much. Just think about the giving impetus during the holiday season.   Every school classroom has a charitable project, youth groups take a turn working at the local soup kitchen. Offices sprout “giving trees” and shelters are inundated with food and donations. The Christmas spirit inspires us to share the bounty.  Cold weather brings out our desire to make sure others are sheltered from storm.

But often, charities tell us that the shelves are not quite so full in the summer, even though people are still hungry. Agencies scramble to fill the roster of helpers who are out on vacation, and sometimes people forget to call and ask how they might fill a need. Even parishes turn to electronic giving programs to make sure that financial donations continue during the summer weeks.

Christian stewards are well aware of summer needs, as well as being aware of their own need to give throughout the year. For the Christian steward, the spirituality of gratitude to God is part of their everyday lives and motivates their generous heart.

On a practical level, this can mean involving your whole family in a summer project at a shelter or soup kitchen. With kids out of school, there’s a great opportunity to fill some idle hours with some eye-opening charitable ventures to a part of town they’ve never seen, or an agency they’ve never visited.

The Christian steward can offer to pick up the slack for a day or two when an agency is short on helpers. Remember to make that special monetary gift that equals our holiday giving. We can use spring housecleaning, not as an excuse to spend a day running a garage sale, but instead as a chance to visit a charity with our surplus and spend the day helping.

We should, of course, not forget our parish when we go away on vacation. Make sure to increase your gifts to make up for those weekend Masses you will not attend at your parish.

Also, many diocesan appeals take place in the spring and summer. Giving to the diocesan annual appeal is an excellent way to support the ministries of the local church that no single parish could undertake by itself.   Coincidentally, you are being reminded this weekend to complete a pledge to the Annual Catholic Appeal that supports the education and outreach programs in the Diocese of San Diego.

Summer offers a chance to have fun and adventures. Your summer stewardship plan can be as unique and beneficial as the season itself

 

St. Mary Star of the Sea Elementary and Middle School Enrollment

Come see how a Catholic education at St. Mary, Star of the Sea School can make a difference for your child and family!

St. Mary, Star of the Sea Elementary and Middle School is currently enrolling students in our Kindergarten through Eighth Grade for the 2017-18 school year.

St. Mary’s offers an affordable educational experience where we nurture the spiritual, physical, emotional, moral, and intellectual development necessary for your children to reach the fullness of their God-given potential. In addition to core subjects, we offer physical education, technology, music, art, and advanced mathematics—all taught in a fully Catholic environment.

Please call 760.722.7259 or email dshapiro@stmarystars.com to set up an appointment to visit our campus for a tour and meet our caring professional staff.

St. Mary Star of the Sea School

 

Happy Mothers Day

For Mothers’ Day, I would like to share with you a poem that I wrote for my mom on Mothers’ Day 1988.   I had a four-year old daughter and a two-year old son and I had the revelation that I understood my mother so much more now that I was a mother myself.

A few weeks ago I wrote about setting a good example because people are watching.  Most importantly, your children are watching.  And whether they are two, or twenty, or forty…trust me, they are watching and listening.

I tried very consciously to be a good parent.  I know I did a lot of things “right” and I know I failed at others.

But I can tell you that, with my children finally having “grown up” (thirty-one and thirty-two), I often hear my words come back to me.  The advice that I gave them or the example I gave sat dormant for awhile, but never left them. Now, as mature adults, they can draw on the prior exposure.

We all try to do something special for our moms on Mothers’ Day.  I challenge you to do something special more often.  A call, a hug, a card, a prayer.  If you are still lucky enough that your mom is still living, cherish every moment you have with her.  Your children will see your example and it will come back to bless you as well.

 

Gentle memories of you

            fill my thoughts and my heart.

I remember

            warm vanilla pudding, homemade pies,

            and recipes being passed on from generations gone by.

I remember

            coming home from school, bursting with urgent news

            …and always finding you there, ready to listen.

I remember

            learning to sew and to cook

            from a patient master.

I remember

            summer mornings

            with fresh-cut peaches for breakfast.

 

By your example

I learned

            right from wrong

            and values to last a lifetime.

I learned

            how to be a real lady

            and at the same time how to take care of myself.

I learned

            that it’s okay to be an individual

            – not always part of the crowd.

I learned

            self-confidence;

            that I could achieve whatever I desired in life.

I remember

            loving you very much.

 

I was my mother’s child, but now I’m my child’s mother

And I love you in ways I never could before.

 

Treasures from our Tradition

The fact that many monastic churches do not have a prominent tabernacle shapes the patterns of liturgical prayer. Monastic communities often protect the ancient value of “receiving from the same sacrfice,” meaning that the communicants are assured that what they eat and drink in the Holy Mysteries actually comes from the same celebration. It surprises many to learn that the Church does not foresee, nor does it provide for, Communion of the faithful from the reserved Sacrament. Liturgical laws have long defended your right to receive from the same sacrifice, the same Mass, that you attend.

At one time, of course, the bread for the Eucharist was the ordinary bread of the day, except unleavened, probably pre- pared at home. It was broken and distributed to the faithful. Early on the loaf itself was referred to as the hostia in Latin, meaning the “sacrifice,” the same word for the sacrificial animal in Jewish worship, and for Jesus as the Lamb of God. By giving his life on the cross, Jesus became the hostia for us. To this day in the Greek Church, one of the tasks of the priest’s wife is to bake the bread for the Divine Liturgy, sometimes in a bakery oven dedicated to that purpose and called a “Bethlehem.”

Today’s familiar individual hosts first appeared in the eleventh century at about the time when tabernacles were coming into use. The turn away from “bready” bread allowed the hosts to be reserved since they did not spoil like regular bread, and made the annual “Easter duty” counts easier.

—Rev. James Field, Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.

Always Set a Good Example

 

My mother used to read to me every day when I was a child.  She was also an example to me by reading the newspaper every day and devouring the Newsweek Magazine when it arrived on Tuesdays.

When I had my children, it was imperative to me that I continue the reading tradition.   My children had separate rooms.   At bedtime, I would start in my son’s room, read two books with him, turn off his light, and then visit my daughter.  I would read two books with her and  then turn out the light.  More often than not, her little voice would come to me from the darkness.  “Mom?”  “Can I talk to you for a minute?”  I soon learned that she felt safest under the cloak of darkness. I would come back in her room and listen to her most private thoughts and concerns.

So, while my mother did most things really well, I didn’t think she excelled at listening.   I made a vow that I would be the best listener ever!  So, when my daughter wanted to talk at the most inopportune times, I always said YES.  When she wouldn’t stop talking, I always encouraged her to say everything on her mind.  And I promised not to judge or preach, but rather mentor her decisions.

Don’t get me wrong. I always reserved the right to share my opinion.  I would make it clear if I did not think she was making the right decision, but it was she who had to learn to live with the consequences of her choices.

One time my daughter came into my room around midnight.  (I had gone to bed around 9:00 and was enjoying some great REM sleep.)  “Mom?”  “I’ve been on the phone with my friend and he’s talking about committing suicide.  What can we do?”  I called his parents.  Woke them up.  Potentially saved the life of their teenage son.

Both my parents smoked when I was a child.  I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I knew it was something I wanted to avoid and I vowed that I would never have anything to do with it.  Sally felt the same as I, but our oldest sister smoked in college (a combination of peer pressure and “how bad can it be if my parents are doing it?”) Good or bad, we were influenced by our parents’ example.

In every thing we do and every thing we say, we are an example to those around us.  Whether it is a good example or a bad one, people are watching.

We have power and influence without even knowing it.    Don’t you have a teacher who made a difference in your life?  Or an adult neighbor?  Or a priest?

Share your good example, including the example of how to live as an Engaged Catholic.   Remember, not only are “people” watching…GOD is watching!

 

 

Because next week is Mothers Day, I would like to share a little poem I wrote about my son when he was 2.  At the end of the poem, I thought about how all-consuming young parenthood is, and how transient.   I knew it would be gone all too soon and that I would miss those days…

 

From the corner of my eye I spy

a little golden head.

Who can it be

playing peek-a-boo with me?

All I can see is a little golden head.

Then I hear a giggle, and see a wiggle.

There are lots of toes, and a nose,

and a little golden head.

I wake now to find

my dreams left behind;

I am caught in fond memories

of a little golden head.

 

 

Treasures from Our Tradition

Some monks and nuns trace their community origins back a thousand years or so, before it became customary to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in tabernacles. In their rules of life, which evolved from the life- style and prayer of their predecessors, the core experience of Christ’s presence is at the altar itself, and in the symbol of assembly for prayer. To this day, when the monks or nuns file into their church in procession, they march two by two, and then bow profoundly to the altar before turning and bowing in reverence toward the brother or sister at their side. It is probably more difficult, in practice, to revere the presence of Christ in a person who irks you by taking the car keys, shirking a work duty, or burning the toast!

We can trace in these religious orders’ enduring customs the ancient appreciation for the altar as the center of the church building, and of the community of the faithful as the Body of Christ. Usually, a monastery today will reserve the Blessed Sacrament in some quiet corner of the monastic church, in a fairly small space, more suitable for private prayer than for the gathering of the whole community. In a cloister, the architecture may allow the public limited access to this space. Liturgical law tells us, in both monasteries and parish churches, that there is no need for more than a few hosts in the place of reservation, just enough for viaticum, the “food for the journey” that is the final sacramental celebration for a dying Christian.

—Rev. James Field, Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.