Every three years the readings we hear at mass focus for several weeks in the summer on the gift of the Eucharist – the source and summit of our life as Christians. The connection between the Old Testament readings and the corresponding gospel passages are rich during this time. Because becoming familiar with the Scripture readings before we hear them proclaimed at mass can be a very enriching spiritual practice, I offer the summary below of what we can expect in the coming weeks. Please take advantage of the U.S. Catholic Bishop’s website where you can read the full text of these readings and let them sink deep into your heart www.usccb.org
Director of Liturgy and Music
Dear Parish Family,
The summer is here and our recent heat wave made sure we knew it! I hope you all found a way to keep cool, whether it was in an air-conditioned shopping mall, splashing in a pool or enjoying the cool breeze at the beach. Maybe you treated yourself to a tasty frosted drink or ice cream cone. Our necessity to stay cool perhaps provided us with an opportunity to take a much-needed and enjoyable respite from our otherwise busy, same old same routine, a joy we may not have taken the opportunity to experience had the weather not been so extreme.
In our gospel today, Jesus tells his apostles after their return from preaching the good news and healing many, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” To put balance back in their lives they needed time to withdraw for a while to reflect, rest, pray, and be at peace. God the Father set the example, “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation” (Gen 2:3). Jesus too “would withdraw to deserted places to pray” (Lk 5:16). While he was so available to all those in need, the poor, the sick, the outcasts, he knew there was a limit to his availability. He took the time to get away, to rest the body, mind and spirit, being at peace with the Father and the Holy Spirit, a gift he gives us too: “Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (Jn 14:27). His peace gives us salvation, wholeness, health, welfare, safety and balance.
As we make plans and set out on our summer vacations (or staycations), let us not miss the opportunity to recharge our inner selves. It is not about how many items we can check off our bucket list, and it should not be filled with stress in the planning and execution of our plans (I can’t help but think of the Griswolds in National Lampoon's Vacation). Consider a personal goal to take some time to rest, refocus and recharge our spiritual batteries, restoring balance in our lives, especially caregivers of children, parents, or others entrusted in our care. Find some time this summer, even if it is just 10 minutes a day, where you can have some quiet time to reconnect with God.
Last week while on vacation with my husband, we stopped at Margaret Dodd Park in Pismo Beach. The weather was perfect, the view was absolutely breathtaking and my husband practiced his guitar (yes, we take it everywhere). I had the gift of God's presence and his peace. I began to thank him for the beauty of his creation, but soon found myself in complete silence and feeling happiness and peace in His presence. I could have stayed there forever, but just like the apostles after they have rested, I must return to my ministry. Now with my spiritual battery recharged, I return filled with joy and excitement for my continued service and ministry. I even came home with new ideas for the new program year.
Here are some suggestions of what you can do in your “Retreat with God.” For those of you who have young children, planning some quiet, alone time may be a big challenge. Why not do it together, by spending ‘one quiet minute with God,' where your family can learn to listen for God's voice in the whisper. At first it may be more like 10 seconds, but that's okay. If you enjoy a good book, let your summer reading be an opportunity to be inspired by a saint’s life. If you enjoy the outdoors, find a beautiful and tranquil location where you see and feel the presence of God in his creation such as the beach, on a mountaintop, near a waterfall or a beautiful garden.
Once you are there, ask our Lord to join you, then, just be in His presence... don't speak, just listen, and enjoy the quiet. With every breath, breathe in the peace of the Holy Spirit. If getting out to nature is not your thing, consider visiting Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel or find another quiet space. If you love apps, try the 3 Minute Retreat by Loyola Press, or God Moment (3 random daily reminders to take a moment to pray) or perhaps a podcast is more your style. Do what works for you and allow your soul to be at peace.
Faith Formation Minister
Leprosy Relief Rural Centre (LRRC) provides medical assistance to patients with leprosy and tuberculosis throughout the diocese of Salem at no cost. LRRC was started in 1956 when leprosy affected one in ten thousand people in the Salem district. The Centre has cured thousands of leprosy patients.
The centre is staffed to find those with leprosy, bring them in, and provide free medical care, The patients are diagnosed and if need be they are kept as inpatients also at no cost. In this way thousands of patients have been cured.
Since the leprosy cured patients are vulnerable to ulcers, mainly due to loss of sensation, LRRC imparts adequate awareness and training too on self-care management. It provides Micro Cellular Rubber Footwear and ulcer care materials. Patients with large ulcers may be hospitalized for a long time. Wherever possible skin grafting is performed for an early cure. Deformity is one of the most common problems for people with leprosy, so LRRC performs reconstructive surgeries to correct deformities in legs and hands so that patients can manage for themselves. Even now, LRRC performs 20 to 30 surgeries per year. The centre has rehabilitated several leprosy patients with self-employment, for example, some have been hired to clean and maintain the centre.
Since 1995, LRRC has also cared for tuberculosis patients. Patients are identified through saliva test, X-ray and treated with oral medications. Some patients need help getting nutritious food to help them get well quickly. We also have St. Joseph’s, a multi-specialty hospital with 70 beds caring for poor people from rural areas. We are conducting more than 20 cataract surgeries per month and we are treating diabetic ulcers also. We are providing free physiotherapy treatment to children suffering from syphilis and polio.
Our motto is quality medical care at affordable cost. We have a team of nurses who go to people’s houses, teach about the need for good health, and invite them for free diabetic and eye screenings and for free treatment for basic health care. We are providing total care to the leprosy and tuberculosis patients – all at no charge.
Obviously, the center needs financial support for all the medical care we provide. We depend solely upon philanthropic donors and well-wishers to be able to continue these free treatments. The center needs to renovate some old buildings which keep inpatients. Your generous contribution is greatly appreciated and allows us to continue the Lord’s work. I look forward to meeting you after the masses on July 14 and 15.
Dear Faith Family,
Happy summer to all of you!
This Sunday’s gospel is a unique one. As you may know by now, I like to try to relate our Sunday readings to something that is relevant to us in our current lives. Upon first glance, it seems pretty difficult to do so with the instructions that Christ gives to the Apostles regarding sacks, tunics and sandals. It especially seems irrelevant to us when Jesus gives authority to the Apostles over unclean spirits.
While it seems tough to relate to, there is plenty in this reading that can help us share the love of Christ with
I don’t know about you, but I can be timid when it comes to sharing my testimony to “random people.” There have been plenty of times in my life where I just assumed that people don’t have an interest or that they do not welcome my profession of faith. Looking back though, in plenty of those times where I was hesitant and didn’t utter a word, I missed out on a great opportunity to just knock on a door to see if I am welcomed. It is such a great disservice to our faith life to assume that everyone we speak to will not welcome your message.
Humility is rough; it is especially rough to exercise humility with a false idea of what it actually is. Father Patrick told me once that humility isn’t a denial of our gifts, but rather, an understanding of them. Once we understand our gifts, it is through humility that we know how effective and beautiful they can be. Especially in regard to sharing our story.
Yes, Jesus does let the Apostles know that there are some houses that will not welcome their message. But Jesus also doesn’t ask the Apostles to avoid those houses. In my worst times, I assume all houses hate my message. Because of that, I hesitate to knock on doors to share God. In this gospel message, I think Jesus is instructing us to not be afraid to be declined. If we lack this fear, then sharing our story will become an everyday occurrence.
So friends, be sure to share your story. Start with your friends and family and branch out from there. Let your faith be the most important part of your family, because it is through our faith that we have an understanding that we are all children of God and that we are loved. That seems like something worth sharing, even if we think no one wants to hear it.
Youth and Young Adult Minister