Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Do you want a better understanding of God’s will for your life? Are you seeking a chance to grow personally and spiritually? Do you want to know what your spiritual gifts are and how to use them in life and ministry?
Spiritual Gifts Discovery is a multi-day workshop that fosters spiritual and personal growth. Through teaching, prayer, and faith sharing in pairs, you will come to understand more fully whom God created you to be and what God wants you to do with your life. Each session builds on the previous so commitment to the journey is key.
For more information, please contact Teresa Runyon
This Sunday across the globe, is Catechetical Sunday, a day set aside to recognize the vocation and ministry of teaching and sharing the faith with others. Pope Francis said, “Being a catechist is a vocation of service in the Church, that has been received as a gift from the Lord and must in turn be transmitted.”
The vocation of catechist is a special one, it takes many, many wonderful, ordinary joyful people with courage to share their faith, leading in the many activities, always with love. Today, the catechists of our parish, wonderful men and women, who answered YES to the call to be present and walk the faith journey with the adults, youth and children of the parish, will be called forth, receive a blessing and be formally commissioned to continue the beautiful labor of sharing and growing in the faith.
In the 27 years that I have been a catechist, I have had the opportunity to work with children, teens and adults. Every time I said ‘yes,’ to leading a new center or age group, I admit I was scared. I was afraid I would not be able to have the answers to their questions; I was right, many times I did not. I would then research the answers and at our next encounter, we learned together. The vocation of catechist gives me the opportunity to continue learning and growing in the faith, renewing my spirit.
“Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each baptized person plays in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith” (USCCB) How are you sharing your faith? Whether it be as a learner or a catechist, growing and learning about our Catholic faith is a lifelong journey. Where do you feel called to use your gifts, to grow?
Our Holy Father teaches and blesses all of us, “And so, dear catechists, dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord give us the grace to be renewed every day by the joy of the first proclamation to us: Jesus died and is risen, Jesus loves us personally! May he give us the strength to live and proclaim the commandment of love, overcoming blindness of appearances, and worldly sadness. May he make us sensitive to the poor, who are not an afterthought in the Gospel but an important page, always open before all.” Pope Francis
To all catechists in our lives, parents and grandparents, priest and deacons, religious sisters, church family, all who have been encounters of Jesus in our lives, we thank you!
Faith Formation Minister
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Please make checks payable to Catholic Charities USA and write Hurricane Harvey in the memo line, drop in the collection basket or the parish office. Thank you.
Also visit: Giving
The publisher of much of the music we sing, Oregon Catholic Press (OCP), also has some online resources available. These include some useful commentaries on the Scripture Readings. This week, I will be sharing excerpts from some of those materials with you in this letter.
Our first reading from the book of Ezekiel bothers me when I think about the part that tells us if we do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from their way, they shall die for their guilt, but we will be held responsible for their death. In his commentary on this reading, Deacon Owen Cummings attributes this discomfort to our knowledge of our own frailties and imperfections.
Of course, there are different ways of inviting conversion, for that is surely what is meant by "warning the wicked." There may indeed be some occasions when personal confrontation of wickedness is called for, but it seems to me that the norm ought to be solid but compassionate moral performances on the part of … all who are Church.1
In her commentary on today’s Gospel (Matthew 18:1520) Virginia Smith writes:
The two parts of today’s reading seem at first glance to be diametric opposites, but upon closer inspection one follows logically upon the other. The reading opens with instructions on how to handle serious disputes among members of the church. By and large, ‘church’ in this context indicates the local community. Only in the most significant cases would the situation be referred further. If all else fails, the person offended is allowed to shun the offender (“… treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector,”), a terrible fate.
However, in the very next verse, provisions for forgiveness are laid out so broadly that the choice to forgive is not only binding between the parties involved here on earth, but in heaven as well. In Jesus preaching, here and elsewhere, the only thing that trumps forgiveness is love. That actually is an oxymoron because forgiveness is a major component of Christian love.
What does all this say to us now? We don’t need to be patsies and allow people to run over us roughshod, but we may not carry grudges nor seek vengeance for wrongs done to us even if our complaint is legitimate. The most Christian way to respond is through forgiveness, a decision we make, not an emotion we feel.2
I hope these reflections on the readings will be useful to you, and I look forward to building the kingdom along with you as things “gear up” this Fall.
Director of Liturgy and Music
1 Copyright © 2003-2008, OCP. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Everybody has one!
Realism or Non-Realism
Absolutism or Relativism
Absolutism or Relativism
What is God?
Wishful Thinking or Mind-Independent Existence
We’ll discuss what’s real, what’s true, what’s right and what God is.
A couple of Tuesdays ago Fr. Ron Hoye shared some stories and ideas at one of our Adult Faith Formation evenings. He said the main thing, is to keep the main thing, the main thing. The main thing of course, is Jesus. Taking that a little further, the main thing is having a relationship with Jesus.
Several times in scripture people asked Jesus what they need to do to be with him always. His answer is to love God with all our heart, all our soul and all our mind. Basically to let everything about us be about him. How? Here are two ideas. Number one, pray. Don’t worry about what to say because most of our prayer time, should be silent. Jesus said, “my sheep know me because they know my voice.” We need to listen. What we hear is an invitation to join him, to be in his company, to be his disciple, his follower.
Another way to let everything about us be about him, is straight from today’s gospel, Matthew chapter 16, deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him. In other words, put others first, before ourselves, and be like Jesus … to everyone. The gospel is inviting us to think completely differently from what we are used to, putting others first means putting myself and my needs, wants, desires second or even third or fourth. It is inviting us to think and act like Jesus so that we can be with him in heaven.
Jesus is handing us the winning lottery ticket. He says be my disciples in this life and be with me in heaven always. Who needs $758 million when we can live forever in heaven in the presence of God!
We see examples of people doing for others every day. The challenge is thinking about it through the eyes of Jesus. Realizing that we are taking on the role of being Jesus to others. Thinking of our self-sacrifice as sharing the love of God with someone else.
Parents self-sacrifice for their children from birth to forever. Spouses help one another. Children learn to help and care for aging parents. We do it for duty, loyalty, love. We can teach children to sweep the kitchen floor because it is dirty. Or we can teach them to sweep the floor because it is one small thing you can do to care for others in your family. It is beautiful to see all the examples of neighbors helping neighbors and strangers helping strangers in the current Hurricane Harvey devastation in southeast Texas. Maybe God gave us life not for ourselves at all but to care for and serve the people around us.
There are many small ways to self-sacrifice. Letting someone go ahead of you in line at the bank or grocery store check-out. Telling a waiter to help that young family at the next table and come back to you later. Being kind while driving, go the speed limit, use your turn indicator. Saving for something you want instead of buying it on credit. Spending less time on screens and more time with people. Practicing being next, not first. This lifestyle of kindness is training for the real challenging questions that we all face. How much do I give? How much do I volunteer? How much do I help? How much do I participate?
The more we give ourselves to Jesus, the more we are aligned with him, the more we begin to sound and look like him. That is his plan, that is what we are to do. We are to be his hands, his feet, his voice, to all the people he has put in our lives. Our sufferings, the cost of discipleship, these efforts lead to a great “payoff,” heaven. All disciples of Jesus have a winning ticket. Who needs your love today?
Faith Formation Minister