“Do-Overs” A poem by John Goddard

Our parish has added poetry classes in our artistic and spiritual search for faith and meaning. We are finishing our second series of four classes learning about various forms of poetry. More importantly, learning about and feeling our own experiences. We hold up our disappointments and insights to the light of one another’s lives, admitting our vulnerable hearts. I experience in our classes the profound struggles of ordinary people and the deep faith that gets us all through life. What joy. What hope.

Here is a poem by John Goddard, a new student of poetry.

CLICK here to listen to John Goddard’s poem, “Do-Overs”. 

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: Matthew 5: 38-48

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“Wisdom Matters” Drawing: Ronald Raab, CSC

Click here for complete parish bulletin

Dear Followers of Jesus,

In today’s gospel (Matthew 5:38-48), Jesus invites us into the non-violent and compassionate love of the Father. Jesus challenges us to live in the perfection of the Father. This perfection means that we strive to live out the characteristics of the Father such as forgiveness, love, kindness, tenderness and fidelity. This is our model of conversion, our change of heart toward God. This perfection is not our human notion of living without mistakes or error or chaos. Jesus tells us that faith is a path, not a quick solution. Faith is a journey, not a fast answer. Faith is living in the heart of God. We move toward the perfection of the Father in love and faithfulness.

We are not perfect, and we each know and experience that in our daily lives. We make mistakes, we see other’s errors, and we are often caught up in chaos. Sometimes it feels like chaos is our constant state of life. We are so busy with what we have to do and accomplish that we don’t take the time to experience the beauty that is around us, in the warmth of people we encounter each day, in the serenity of the amber hues of a sunset over the mountains, or in the caring touch of comfort from a loved one.

As a parish, we are working to take small steps on our faith journey to experience the beauty around us. And to do that, we have begun hosting dinners with small gatherings of parishioners. We are seeking your often unspoken thoughts and your honest feedback on how we are fulfilling our mission “As a prayerful Catholic community of service following Jesus’ message of hope and salvation, we make God known, loved, and served.” You have told us about the things we do that you value and about the things we do that frustrate you. This week and next, I’d like to share with you some of the feedback we have received and some of the things that we will be doing in response to that feedback.

We start our dinner conversations by asking people to introduce themselves and their connection to the parish, and one theme rises to the top. People are connected with our parish because of the sense of community they feel in our churches. Whether attending Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, or Holy Rosary, people feel as if they are a part of a family. Our parishioners value the relationships they have developed, sometimes over years and sometimes only over months, with the people sitting near them in church. We can count on the friendships we have developed through our churches.

Yet many parishioners feel we are not as welcoming as we could be. As one dinner participant questioned, “We welcome the poor, but do we welcome each other?” We have wonderful greeters who offer a smile, a warm hand of welcome, or an uplifting embrace as we enter the church. But once we sit down, we sit with people we know, we talk with people we know, and we socialize with people we know. We greet people as Mass begins, but do we engage with them? Perhaps to create a truly welcoming environment, we could ask the names of people we don’t know, we could inquire about their families, and we could invite them to join us after Mass for conversation, or for coffee and donuts.

In addition to getting to know each other, several parishioners have suggested that we educate each other on our many ministries. We have dozens of ministries supported by a vast cadre of volunteers. But do you know much about those ministries? Most people don’t. Several parishioners who have participated in our Tuesday dinners suggested that at the end of each Mass, we regularly feature a parishioner who is involved in one of our ministries.

Following on that suggestion, in the coming weeks you will see parishioners from each of our ministries presenting at Sunday Mass. They will talk about the important work of the ministry and how we, as parishioners, can get involved. What a wonderful communication tool this will be, and what a wonderful way to showcase the positive work we are doing to help make our church and our community better for all those who come to pray with us and all those who come to us for service. Consider participating in one of the many ministries we offer, and consider inviting one of your fellow parishioners to join you in that ministry.

Jesus is calling us to accept the reality that faith is a journey, not a fast answer. As a parish community we are walking the path of our faith journey together. That path is not always a straight line, and it often has challenging hills and rough terrain. But if we take our time to find the solutions in our path of faith, we will be able to maneuver the path’s hairpin turns, and we will cherish and appreciate the beautiful vistas that open before us as we crest a hill or reach level ground.

Our faith journey is only as rich and as deep as you allow it to be. So next time you see someone at Mass who you don’t know, take some time to talk to them and make them feel welcome. And when you find yourself with a little extra time on your hands, think about helping support one of the many parish ministries – you’ll know more about those ministries from your fellow parishioners who share their passion at Mass.

Please continue to share your thoughts, your praises, and your concerns with us. As we pursue our mission, as we worship together, and as we serve our community, we will stumble. But by open, honest, respectful conversation, we will pick ourselves up and move toward the perfection of the Father in love and faithfulness.

Blessings,

Fr. Ron

Mark 8:34-9:1 “Follow Me”

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“Follow Me” Painting with utensils: Ronald Raab, CSC

MK 8:34—9:1

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

“For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?

“Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

Mark 8: 27-33 “You are the Christ”

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“You are the Christ” Painting: Ronald Raab, CSC

Gospel Mk 8:27-33

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.

Mark 8:22-26 Blind Man

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“Blind Man” Charcoal: Ronald Raab, CSC

MK 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida, people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?”

And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.”

Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Then he sent him away to his home, saying, “Do not even go into the village.”

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Matthew 5: 17-37

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“We speak a wisdom to those who are mature, not a wisdom of this age…1 Cor 2:6-10    Finger Painting: Ronald Raab, CSC

CLICK HERE for this weekend’s parish bulletin

Dear Followers of Jesus,

Today’s gospel (Matthew 5:17-37) challenges us beyond measure. The themes given to us in this text explore the hands-on way our faith is lived in the world. Jesus gives us another step beyond what was expected of people in this age. This text is also easily ignored as ultra-pious and unattainable in our day. Integrity, forgiveness, relationships and righteousness are not easy to discover and to live in our modern world.

One of the key reasons why Jesus came among us was to show us the compassion and forgiving love of the Father. This image of God totally changes people’s understanding of who God is and what is expected of us.

Forgiveness is at the heart of Jesus’ mission. Relationships based on such integrity and forgiveness are key to finding Jesus’ love. He desires healthy and loving relationships for people in poverty, for those who ache for justice, for people whose rights are wronged, for people who have been put down, degraded and abused.

Forgiveness and restored relationships reveal to us the true and lasting mission of Christ Jesus within the Church. Jesus goes beyond the commandment of thou shall not kill. He tells us even those who are angry with their brothers are going against his love. Forgiveness is key to following the true message of Christ. We all seek the grace from God to learn how to forgive. This is a lesson that is not learned in the classroom or through our intellectual pursuits. We cannot just wish for forgiveness. We must do something. Forgiveness changes our lives and reinforces our reliance on God. The first relationship that always needs to be restored is our relationship with God. This requires conversion of heart, attitudes, minds and actions. Forgiveness is next to Godliness.

Perhaps this week we can find some quiet time to reflect on our lives and sort out what forgiveness means. I discover in my ministry that many people hold hatred, anger and revenge for many years. Hatred towards another eats away our own love, hope and optimism. Hatred is poison. Un-forgiveness is slow death.

Here are some statements and thoughts to consider:

 As I reflect on my past, the areas of hurt and lack of forgiveness that remain are….

 The person I always wanted to forgive but never have is….

 Today, I ask Jesus to show me a new path towards forgiveness because….

 I hold so many grudges I can hardly count, so today I want to let go of….

 My first reaction to difference is often anger, so I pray that I may….

Blessings,

Fr. Ron