God’s Doorkeeper: Saint Andre of Montreal (Video from 2010) Salt and Light Media, Canada

This is the first time I have seen the full video available online. I was part of this tribute to Saint Andre Bessette when I was in Portland, OR. This video was created by Salt and Light Media for his canonization in 2010. Saint Andre is the first saint in the Congregation of Holy Cross. CLICK HERE TO WATCH the complete hour-long tribute to this holy man. The anniversary of his canonization is October 17.

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C, Prayers of the Faithful/Reflection

Sunday September 25, 2022

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Let us pray for the nameless poor who cross our paths every day. For the poor widow in the grocery store parking lot unable to lift her purchases or carry her inner loneliness. For the nameless elderly man on the bench who cannot raise his head even to ask for money or food. For the toothless woman in the drugstore who cannot pay for medications to keep her alive. For the people unnoticed. For the nameless ones whose names we will never know or speak on our lips

 We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for the strangers at the door of our nation. For the desperate ones who have traveled on foot to better their children’s lives. For people who do not speak the language of the land or the language of power or influence. For people who have walked in flipflops to access housing, education, and food. For people determined to simply live and whose stories of abuse, poverty, and injustice, we will never know or even imagine.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people who enter our church doors longing for a morsal of hope. For the young woman about to go to prison who shares with anyone who will listen that she was abused as a girl and to this day no one will help her face the consequences of such tragedy or even spend the time to help her see beyond her grief and shame. For people such as her. May we become more interested in knowing the experiences of people in poverty.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for the people in mass graves in Ukraine. For the end of war and violence and hatred. For people who have fought to hold on to their country, their histories, and their lives. For people who died in fright. For the people buried one on top of another and who are nameless in silent mass graves. For people in unforms and in civilian clothes covered in dirt in large holes in the ground whom we will never know or hear their voices.  May their names be written in bold in heaven.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our elderly poor. For our grandparents whose bodies are covered in bedsores in filthy nursing homes. May the names of our poor ones be known to us. May their needs not be diminished in urine-soaked beds. For the elderly woman who can no longer speak up because of dementia. For the bent over man who shuffles down the hall bearing the facemask of Parkinson’s. For the names we will never know, even though they are written by hand on the doors of their nursing home rooms. For the stories of love that will be silenced among the adult diapers and bibs in the stale and stinky rooms of someone’s grandparents.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people whose lips are parched, those who long for a taste of nourishment. For those who live in the great chasm of poverty on this side of the grave. For those who thirst because they live in food deserts in our inner cities. For those who thirst for inner peace because they only know street violence and mass shootings. For those who cannot feast on justice because they stare at a prison wall every day. For those who thirst for hope but have no one to listen to their stories. For those whose lips are dry because they speak only lies.  

We pray to the Lord.

For people who bear the blisters of poverty on their bodies and within their hearts. For those who will never recover from surgery simply because of their depression. For those who bleed in the nighttime from skin cancer received in sunlight. For people without insurance or financial support. For people whose bodies are swollen from diabetes and heart disease. For people who will not go to a hospital for any reason because of the cost.

We pray to the Lord.  

Let us pray for those who wear purple and those who survive in rags. For the ultimate rich and desperate poor. For those clothed in wealth and those clothed in tattered hand-me-downs. For the names of our loved ones at our doors that will be known only by God. May the Lord shout out their names for all eternity when they knock on heaven’s door.

We pray to the Lord.

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C: September 18, 2022, Prayers of the Faithful

September 18, 2022

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

For our Church across every nation and land. That we may be accountable to God for every good as we reach beyond our selfishness and embrace the marginalized and sinner.

We pray to the Lord.

For the right use of our gifts, talents and energy. That we may not squander our inheritance of God’s love as we live and work for justice and peace.

We pray to the Lord.

For a new awareness of our children’s lives, their growing talents and their generous spirits. That God may help us embrace every aspect of our children’s gifts with great joy.

We pray to the Lord.

For our loved ones in nursing homes, healthcare facilities and those living their last days in home hospice. That we may welcome healing when frustrations and worries consume us.

We pray to the Lord.

For the right use of our earthly resources. That we make work to help heal our planet so to prepare for our next generation of believers. May hope grow upon the ground we walk upon.

We pray to the Lord.

For the dignity of our loves who face death and for those who have died. That God may offer them the peace and rest of our heavenly home. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.

Memorial of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows 2022, Reflection, Art

Our Lady of Sorrows. Painting by Ronald Raab, CSC 2021

Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, you stood near the cross of your Son, Jesus. You stood next to him in each moment of his suffering. Mary, you could not change his suffering. You could not fix him or control the outcome of his pain. Mary, your presence taught you how to be patient for healing and to wait for his promise of eternal life. Mary, your posture toward suffering ultimately brought joy to the world. In the Cross of Christ, we find our eternal home.

Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, stand among us, the suffering Body of Christ on earth. Hold the dying, the weary, the lost, the outcast, the prisoner, the bereft, the lovelorn, the mentally ill, the undiagnosed, and the immigrant. Stand among us who weep. Stand among us torn apart by dissension and rebellion. Stand among us to hold tight to control, pride, and ego-centric ways. Stand among us who circle the wagons of our institutions and claim only the past as our home. Stand among us when our voices grow scratchy from shouting outrage against injustice. Stand among us when wars rage and indifference is our food. Stand among us when our memories dim from the chaos we experience from natural disasters, unspeakable moments of abuse and the threats of global violence. Stand among us when addictions threaten our futures. Stand among us in our anguish. Stand among us when grief overwhelms us and we become weak with guilt and shame. Stand among us when we bury a loved one. Stand among us when we take our final breath.

Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us

Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, is the Patroness of the Congregation of Holy Cross. She speaks of our posture to stand among people who suffer.

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 2022

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 14, 2022

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

Because by your Cross you have redeemed the world.

Jesus surrendered his life to the Father’s will. His death gave way to new life. His suffering opened the way to salvation. Jesus surrendered for the good of all who follow him.

We surrender our lives to the Father’s will. We follow Jesus. Our suffering leads to salvation. We surrender for the good of others and for our communion with God’s love.

We carry our suffering in our hearts and in our bodies. We surrender our health, our sin, our past, our guilt, and our shame in the name of Jesus Christ. We learn to live in God so to help heal the world.

We carry the suffering of others to help the world know we are not alone. We touch the tears of those who weep, those exhausted by loss. We immerse our lives in the effects of storms, fires, natural disasters, wars, violence, pandemics and sudden death, so to help others live a new life in hope and healing.

The Cross of Christ gives way to union with God. Pain is eased in the Father’s grace. We surrender all ego, pride and certainty.  We carry our crosses today to live in peace and forgiveness here in this moment on earth. Life in union with Christ Jesus shows us the way home to the Father’s side in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Finger painting by Ronald Raab, CSC, 2015

40th Anniversary of Final Profession of Vows and Ordination as Deacon: September 10-11, 1982

Final Profession of Vows: Darlene and John Raab. Tim, Chris, Teri. Rosemany and John Raab

September 10, 2022

On Friday, September 10, 1982, I professed final vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross along with three classmates. The late-afternoon celebration took place at Sacred Heart Church (now the Basilica of the Sacred Heart) at the University of Notre Dame, in South Bend, Indiana. The four of us were ordained deacons the following day, Saturday September 11, 1982 in the chapel at Moreau Seminary on the campus of Notre Dame. Bishop Richard Hanifen ordained us deacons. He served the Colorado Springs Region of the Archdiocese of Denver and later was the first bishop of the Diocese of Colorado Springs in 1984. We requested Bishop Hanifen to ordain us deacons because we were the first class in the novitiate in Cascade, Colorado in 1978-79. He is now 91 and retired in Colorado Springs, CO.

A few weeks before I professed my final vows, I was standing in a group of Sisters of the Holy Cross. I was conversing with Sister Katherine Reichert, CSC., who was very ill at the time with bone cancer. She was vibrant and influential in many lives. She stood on two crutches in the middle of those religious women. I could smell her approaching death. We chatted about my decision to make final vows.

She asked me with great intention, “Are you ready?” I said, “I am ready today. However, I worry about forty years from now. I do not want to be an old-fart priest. The last thing the church needs is another old-fart priest.” Sister Kathy laughed and then she became very centered and whispered,” Well, when the next forty years are not promised, it sure makes today seem all the brighter, doesn’t it?”

Sister Kathy died shortly after I professed vows. I remember this conversation as if it were yesterday. I just can’t believe it is now forty years later. I still feel like a spiritual beginner. Recalling this conversation still challenges me to live in the moment, to celebrate what is and not what I hope will be or what I shall become. A lesson for all the ages, from a holy woman to a young man. I am grateful for the days and now the years as I begin the next forty…

Ordination as Deacon: Rosemary and John Raab, Bishop Richard Hanifen

Funeral for John Raab: Prayers of the Faithful

Click here for obituary for John Charles Raab

Photo of John Raab at sculpture of Our Lady of Sorrows at Sacred Heart Parish in Colorado Springs

Prayers of the Faithful

Funeral for John Charles Raab in Edwardsburg, Michigan

Friday September 9, 2022

Priest: Brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father, where he intercedes for his Church. Confident that God hears the voices of those who trust in the Lord Jesus, we join our payers to his.

For John, who in baptism was given the pledge of eternal life. May he now be admitted to the company of the saints in heaven and may he find his true peace.

We pray to the Lord.

For John, who shared the miracle of the Eucharist on earth, may he now be nourished at the Table of Lord in God’s eternal kingdom. May John know the bounty of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

We pray to the Lord.

For all who suffer on earth, for people without hope, for friends who are ill, for people who live with depression and anxiety, and for people who cannot make ends meet. May we all find a home in the beauty of God’s companionship and in our service to others.

We pray to the Lord.

For people who help create a home for others on earth, for problem solvers, woodworkers, electricians and plumbers, for people who create and invent with hammers and nails, with saws and drills, all to bring contentment and peace in our daily lives.

We pray to the Lord.

For all who hunger for food and love, for all who prepare nourishment for others, for farmers, butchers, cooks, and for those who wear aprons of service to provide food for family tables.

We pray to the Lord.

For the end of violence, wars, conflict, and hatred on earth. May God’s mercy and forgiveness find a home in every human heart under heaven.

We pray to the Lord.

For those who grieve, especially for John’s wife, Darlene, his children and grandchildren, and for all his friends and relatives. May we seek God in our anguish and weep upon the shoulders of those we love.

We pray to the Lord.

For our deceased relatives and friends who have shown us how to love and how to serve, especially for members of the Raab, Kirkpatrick, and Muldoon families.

We pray to the Lord.

Priest: Ever gracious and merciful God, receive our grieving hearts for our brother, John, and our entire lives in the abundant promise of Jesus Christ who is Lord forever and ever. Amen

John Charles Raab, 1947-2022: Funeral Arrangements

Funeral arrangements for my brother, John Charles Raab:

Thursday September 8, 2022

Visitation: 5:00pm-7:30pm

                Our Lady of Lake Catholic Church

                24832 US-12

                Edwardsburg, Michigan 49112

                Phone: 269-699-5870

Friday September 9, 2022

Mass of Christian Burial: 11:00am (visitation 10:00)

                                          Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church

                                          Edwardsburg, Michigan

Give Us This Day: Reflection for September 5, 2022

My latest article published in Give Us This Day, by Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN.

Stretch Out Your Hand

One of my first funerals as a priest was for an elderly woman who from birth had lived with a clenched fist. Her family told me that at her death, the muscles in her hand completely relaxed. They wept when they realized their mother was open and at ease when Jesus welcomed her home. They told me they believed her heart had done the same. I remember glancing in the casket at the wake to see her open hand.

As believers in Christ Jesus, we may be restored in many ways. Much like when Jesus healed people on the sabbath, faith opens our hearts even beyond the restrictions of tradition. In Jesus, new life abounds after our hearts wither from divorce or alcoholism. Only with faith can we open selfishly clenched fists. Only with faith can we open our hands after finger pointing and blaming a stranger on the street for not having a job. Open hands receive and offer love.  

In Luke’s Gospel especially, Jesus lifts up those who are bowed down by poverty and loss. He stretches his love beyond the law. The Gospel is living and active, opening our hearts to Jesus’ redemption in our own lives. Our hands and hearts open wide to hold the mystery of love, no matter the weight of law.

Openness comes only after an encounter with divine forgiveness and acceptance. Openness comes from the generosity of redemption.

With open hands, I pray for all who ache to hold such a mystery.

            Fr. Ronald Raab, CSC