"He who sings, prays twice". This quote, according to legend, was written on the wall in a monk's cell. It refers to the understanding that you use twice as much breath to sing as you do to speak, hence the proverb written on the wall. Music has always been and continues to be, an important part of the Liturgies of the Church. I want to thank all those who participate in the Church's Liturgical Ministries; our cantors, instrumentalists, choirs and especially our coordinators who prepare and choose the music for the weekend Masses and all the other Liturgical celebrations throughout the year. Your talent is a gift of God and we thank you for making your gift a gift to the whole Church through your selfless giving and dedication. We are lucky to have our 8:30 and 10:30 choirs, our Youth choir and our Family choir plus the Alleluia Choir, who sing for our funerals. Thank you so much. To all our accompanists, cantors and other musicians who take much time to practice in order to help lead the singing. To Colleen Garnevicus, our music and choir director for the 8:30 and 10:30 choir and Chris Ott who works with and directs our Youth Choir; thanks for all your hard work and love of music you instill in the choir members. Thanks also to our Liturgy Committee who help plan out our Liturgical Seasons and special celebrations. In the next couple years we will be calling on you to help with our celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Diocese in 2018 and the Parish's Diamond Jubilee in 2020. May God continue to bless your gift and through your sharing of those gifts, the entire parish.
Before you were even formed, God knew you. While in your Mother's womb, God named you. At your birth, God's breath filled you with life. Today we celebrate what you have become at this moment in time. And so we pray, God of our beginnings, we thank you for the gifts of these graduates; their excitement, their awesome wonder and curiosity, their open speech and encouraging words. Their contributions have blessed and challenged us, and we have become a richer and more diverse community because of them. As they step forward into the world that awaits, comfort their fears with the full knowledge of your Divine Presence. Strengthen their resolve to walk in the footsteps of Jesus as modern-day disciples in a world that needs their spirit. Guide their feet as they move through life, protecting them from the pitfalls of darkness while they help to lead future generations into the warmth and promise of your light. We ask this blessing upon each of them, In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Congratulations to all our Graduates!
Jesus appears to his disciples, wishes them peace and then sends them out. The purpose is that we have become ministers of the Lord's peace for the world. And the world definitely needs it now. A day cannot go by without hearing or reading of a serious attack on peace. The peace of Christ is not a peace that is marked out of paper with terms and conditions. It is a peace that comes from within the heart of each man and woman. A peace given by the Holy Spirit, not created by us as a way to avoid conflict. God's peace is much more than that. It is a peace that changes hearts. That is where true and lasting peace comes from. With our rootedness in faith in God and his Church being eroded, the possibility of true peace is also eroded. During this celebration of Pentecost pray that all people allow the power of the Holy Spirit to erode hearts hardened by hatred, pain, misunderstanding and ego, and fill them with the power of God's love and peace. We are ministers of the Lord's peace, empowered by the Holy Spirit and sent into the world to bring that peace to all. So let us begin...
What is the Church? Some people will call it an organization, but it is much more than that. It is an organism, a living entity, the Body of Christ. As the Body of Christ we are to show the love of Christ in the world. We are to show the welcoming presence of Jesus to everyone, especially at the celebration of the Lord's supper. Part of that is in the ministerial services we give to one another as the Body of Christ. Two of those ministries are those of hospitality; greeters and ushers. The ministry of Greeter is the first encounter people have with the Body of Christ as they come to Mass. A smile and a "Welcome to Mass" opens people's hearts and helps to set their minds to join the celebration with brothers and sisters in Christ. Ushers are also an extension of the ministry of hospitality. Everyone has a place in God's house and they sometimes help others to find that place! They also help the congregation to move fluidly - like a heavenly traffic controller. They really do help the celebrant, who sets the pace of the liturgy, with keeping things flowing. Both of these ministries are an essential part of our celebration. If you are interested in serving in either or both ministries, please contact the parish office or Fr. Don.
In the musical "Carousel" there is a song sung to encourage the female lead and it is repeated at the end of the production. The name of the song is "You'll Never Walk Alone". I remember this song well as it became a theme for my brother after he had an accident and lost a leg at the age of 14. It became a song of comfort and one of faith to remind us that no matter how dark our life may seem we are truly never alone as God is always with us. Jesus gave us that promise and we hear his voice in the Gospel this weekend. Jesus is preparing His disciples for His return to the Father and they are nervous and afraid of what will happen to them when Jesus leaves. He reminds them and us that he would send us an "advocate"; the Holy Spirit to continue to lead and guide us and to help us bring to mind and heart all that Jesus said and did. We, as the disciples did, need to put our faith and trust in Jesus' words. If we allow those words to penetrate our hearts we will begin to notice the little ways that Christ touches our lives and reminds us, especially in the darkest times, that we never walk alone. We always walk in and with Jesus, the Lord of life.
In the Acts of the Apostles seven men were chosen to help in the administration of the goods of the Church so that the Apostles could spend their time fulfilling the charge of Jesus to preach the Gospel to the whole world. The Apostles laid hands on them to give them a share in the authority and power given them by Christ. On Saturday afternoon Bishop Callahan laid hands on a large number of our young people to "confirm" them in the fullness of the Faith. They were given the gifts of the Spirit and strengthened to go out and make a difference in the world, to defend the Faith, and to be witnesses of Christ in the world. They were anointed with Chrism oil to be made more like Christ. All of us have been called, chosen and marked with spiritual gifts for the betterment of the Church, the Body of Christ. We are being made firm every day through prayer and especially through the reception of the sacraments. May the Lord continue to guide and direct these young men and women so that they may respond to the call with hearts filled with love and strengthened with grace and power to make a difference in the world, through, with and in Christ.