Click here for Rusty Kern’s article on the Dedication of Sacred Heart Church in the Catholic Herald newspaper.
Dear Believers in Christ,
There are many summer days I miss the dark, rich Midwestern soil upon which I grew up. I reflect back in my mind and view the rows of corn across acres and acres not far from the lake on which our family made our home. I see in my mind’s eye the mighty oak trees and the everblooming, lush plants, flowers, and bushes nestled against the homes and ivy growing on the old buildings.
It is easy for me to listen to this gospel text, Mark 4:26-34, and feel the summer rains and thick humidity on my skin. Planting and harvesting in the Corn Belt is a way of life. Even speaking about sweet corn was a family project while driving along the highway. As my grandparents used to say, the corn must be “knee high by the 4th of July.” The corn and other summer vegetables and fruit were also important for my family’s livelihood since my parents and brother owned a grocery store for 45 years. Summer crops were so important for our business and for our own table.
Conversations in our home often revolved around our waiting for the first crop of strawberries so my mother could bake homemade shortcake. Our favorite family pastime was anticipating fresh peaches from our local farmers. Homemade peach cobbler or rich, flakey peach pie was like Christmas in August. There were only certain times for certain foods, and the crops were not only anticipated but we watched over and over again for the correct amounts of rain and temperate days. Tornadoes in our area could destroy the long awaited crops of the bushel baskets of perfectly ripened peaches or large ears of sweet corn or boxes of strawberries or blueberries or raspberries that would be delivered to the back door of our grocery store.
The gospel invites us into patient waiting for God’s Kingdom. We wait for the ripened world where hope will live beyond a certain shelf life. We wait for the redemption of the world like waiting for the harvest of apples in the Midwest. I am not sure most people know what to wait for anymore.
We are now a very impatient people. Not only do we purchase our vegetables and fruit from other countries throughout the year, (which are tasteless by the way), but we also have little patience waiting for God. We have grown into a people who think life is all in our command. We have little dependency on God unlike the farmers living close to the earth. We think we know everything and everything is under our thumb. We have little to wait for.
I believe we need to read this gospel again. There are many things about which we need to wait. We should be humbled by the shootings of our teens as we wait for a harvest when mental illness and guns are somehow resolved. We need to take stock of not only the tornadoes that destroy the land, but also review the remedies for depression and loneliness that contributes to our ever-growing suicide rate in the US. When shall we see the true hungers of our people? Our children, believe it or not, are malnourished in many parts of the US, while others face growing isolation and despair from their technology. Many Catholics have narrowed the eternal harvest down to one or two areas in life. However, there are many weeds in the fields and many places in which we need to view the coming of God’s Kingdom on earth. I pray for the patience to examine all of life so that we can be together under the shade of God’s Kingdom right here today, in this summertime and in our world. Love after all, creates the deepest shadows on summer days.
Rusty Kern produced this video from the Dedication of Sacred Heart Church, Wednesday May 23, 2018. CLICK HERE to view the 2-hour video.
Dear Believers in Christ,
I wrote this litany to be sung during the communion procession for our Dedication on May 23, 2018. Pray this for our parish, for all of us who long to live in the house of the Lord.
Litany for Dedication of Sacred Heart Church
Response: I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
I rest my weariness in the heart of the Lord.
I find solace in the embrace of the Shepherd.
I abide in his kindness and healing grace.
I relax in the hope of my salvation. Response
I discover my spirit revived in the Heart of Jesus.
I lay my failure down by his soothing words.
I empty my frustrations at the feet of the Shepherd.
I sleep under the protection of his staff. Response
I ask for his abundant mercy and kindness.
I seek his face and his tender embrace.
I know his gentle ways and rich blessings.
I ache for his voice and his hope for me. Response
I know he desires the best for me.
I collect his words of hope in my silence.
I live his commands and he listens to my story.
I request his forgiveness and he gives me courage. Response
We bring our wounds into his presence.
We celebrate his vitality and strength.
We embrace the healing message of our Shepherd.
We enter the mystery of our Risen Savior. Response
We offer the next generation his forgiveness and healing.
We baptize in the message of Jesus, Risen from the dead.
We open our hearts to the consolation of the Holy Spirit.
We pray for our future under the protection of our Shepherd. Response
We abide in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
We enter into the mystery of his loving Church.
We fall into the healing embrace of Jesus, the Sacred Heart.
We capture his message in our fragile hearts and souls. Response
We follow His pastures of forgiveness and peace.
We fear no evil when we turn to the Tender Shepherd.
We feast at the Table of Heaven here on earth.
We adore the face of the Sacred Heart in the Eucharist. Response
We walk with blameless hearts into a fragile world.
We encounter his peace in his gospel and hope among his people.
We give others the love we receive in our common worship.
We praise the gift of our salvation in the House of the Lord. Response
Under his roof we find our home in love.
Under his roof we give praise well beyond our pain.
Under his roof we mark our bodies with the sign of salvation.
Under his roof we sing the praise of God. Response
Under his roof we long for His peace in our world.
Under his roof we praise his glorious presence.
Under his roof we seek his tenderness and sweetness.
Under his roof we pray in sheer delight. Response
Under his roof we prepare for our future.
Under his roof we pray as one family.
Under his roof we lift up our hearts in the Heart of Jesus.
Under his roof we remain at home in his Word. Response
Under his roof we celebrate with Bread and Wine.
Under his roof we form our children in faith and integrity.
Under his roof we bury our dead. Under his roof we baptize our children. Response
Under his roof we pray for the end of war.
Under his roof we accept his peace and comfort.
Under his roof we learn to feed the hungry.
Under his roof we raise up our lives in worship and praise. Response
Under his roof we make God known, loved and served.
Under his roof we live life only in gratitude and justice.
Under his roof we bend our knees in humility and prayer.
Under his roof we pray at home with one another. Response
This image was recently published in AIM Magazine from World Library, Chicago, IL.
This reflection is published today in FaithND from the University of Notre Dame. View on website here
The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
June 8, 2018
Father Ron Raab, CSC
In today’s Gospel, a soldier recognizes the death of Jesus and thrusts a sword into his side. Water and blood flows from Jesus’ body. This image began the centuries old devotion to the heart of Jesus, the divine love flowing toward all humanity to heal heartbreak and suffering. The Sacred Heart of Jesus sustains hope for many believers today.
My heart carries a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart. In high school, a widow handed me a Sacred Heart prayer card. She told me to offer that prayer daily. The prayer led me to my vocation, as I found my way to the priests of the Congregation of Holy Cross, who are dedicated to the Sacred Heart. I carried the mangled card in my wallet for more than 30 years.
Just before ordination, I asked a priest to teach me to pray. He told me to surrender and ask Jesus for an exchange of hearts. I could not comprehend such a command. Now, I understand in my years of priesthood and entering into the suffering of people’s lives the true gift of this exchange. Mercy and love flow abundantly when we surrender to love alone. I find my heart’s home in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the rich exchange of human and divine.
I am now pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Colorado Springs. In my longing for healing and integrity among our people, I pray daily for a heart of hope. I see the mystery of this devotion flow through our people when they first recognize the love of God. Only then are they willing to offer love to people who live in poverty or welcome people with disabilities or broken marriages. Together, we find consolation flowing through our lives from the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Reading 1 2 Tm 1:1-3, 6-12
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.
He saved us and called us to a holy life,
not according to our works
but according to his own design
and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but now made manifest
through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,
who destroyed death and brought life and immortality
to light through the Gospel,
for which I was appointed preacher and Apostle and teacher.
On this account I am suffering these things;
but I am not ashamed,
for I know him in whom I have believed
and am confident that he is able to guard
what has been entrusted to me until that day.
Dear Followers of Jesus,
Every time we gather for Mass, we celebrate our true identity in God. Now today, we reflect on the gift of the Eucharist itself. At Sacred Heart, these past Sundays of Pentecost, Holy Trinity and now the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, show us why we restored our church building. The building only helps us to internalize our true identity in Christ, revealing to us that we become on earth the Real Presence of Christ.
On Wednesday May 23, 2018, we celebrated the Eucharist in the newly restored Sacred Heart Church. I want to reflect on some of the aspects of that celebration. I will be offering much reflection and many tours as the summer progresses, but here are a couple of the details that formed our first Eucharist back in the church.
The relic of Saint André Bessette: I had the privilege of carrying the relic of Saint André in procession as we began the Mass. With two parishioners carrying candles along side, I carried the second -class relic to the altar. The relic is a piece of clothing of Saint André who died in 1937 at the age of 92 in Montreal, Canada. Brother André Bessette was a Holy Cross Brother who became a healer after being assigned to be the porter, a doorkeeper, at our college in Montreal. He had an enduring devotion to Saint Joseph and began what is now Saint Joseph’s Oratory, the largest shrine to Saint Joseph in the world.
Brother André was a healer. Many people with physical, emotional and spiritual pain came to the college to seek him out, to have him listen to them or to have him touch their wounds. He would see up to 600 people a day and then stay up most of the night praying for the people he encountered during the day. He slept only one or two hours a day. Holy Cross considered him a nuisance because of all the poor people that landed on the doorstep. The priests and brothers really did not know what to do with him because he did not fit easily into the mission of education. God had other plans for him.
I am deeply humbled to have Saint André’s relic in our altar. I pray every day that God will raise up healing in our community, so that we too may more fully understand that healing, hospitality and hope may reside not only from our altar but more deeply in our hearts. André died on January 6, 1937. Over one million people attended his funeral in the bitter cold of Montreal. That was a miracle itself. André’s legacy rests securely within our community now.
The relic is housed in a holy water bottle from 1897. This bottle was part of a home Mass kit for the sick that belonged to my grandmother’s family. I am honored to pass along this bottle to house the relic of André within the altar on which we celebrate the Eucharist.
The chalice donated from Father Nicholas Ayo, CSC: Bishop Sheridan used a chalice for the first time at Sacred Heart that belonged to our first novice master here in Cascade. Father Ayo was my novice master and he began the Novitiate here in 1978. I am so grateful to make this connection with Holy Cross here in the parish. Fr. Ayo is in active retirement at the University of Notre Dame. This chalice also means a great deal to me since he taught me many aspects of the spiritual life. The chalice will remain the property of Sacred Heart Church.
Photos by: Fred Nelson and Rusty Kern