March 2004 Archives

Precious Blood Family arrived today and this article is found in the March-April Issue

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Mission

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Ahhhh....It is finished. It was a wonderful experience for me and the people were most affirming. The singing was inspiring and the choir is a real blessing. Thanks, Geri, for all your hard work. Diane was such a trooper with the kids and the children's presence each night was truly exciting for me. I will post some pictures soon.

Now it is on to Holy Week. May the blessings of the recent mission remain and continue to inspire. Thanks, God, for everything.

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Ahhhh.....

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Ok, it melted my heart. Can you imagine the emotion when a 10 year old says to you, "I just want to thank you for the best confession of my life."

Every mission brings its own joys. But this one ranks up there with the best.

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Translations

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I was ordained in 1991. At that time a new sacramentary was on the horizon. I am in my 13th year of priesthood. The more I have studied the latin I know how poorly we have been served by our current sacramentary. Most egregious has been the prefaces, especially the seasonal ones. Some of the images of these prayers have made it into homilies, but sadly have not been supported by the text of the mass.

Not everyone will be happy with the new book, but I am sure that in many ways it will be a vast improvement. Maybe it will encourage more priests to pray the mass rather than preach it.

Interesting article.

One interesting text is the prayer after the "Our Father."

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that with the help of your mercy
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all disquiet
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.

I am not sure that "disquiet" is a word we use in common English, and it happens in a place where many priests have been tempted to change or explain the "anxiety" that we are trying to avoid. One hope I have is that there will be less temptation to over-psychologize the Mass.

It has been more than four years since the GIRM was released. It is about time we had a new book to use for prayer for the next generation. I am getting tired of waiting. Lent is one of those times where this wait becomes painful. I have Fr. Marvin Steffes' translations of the Lenten Prefaces. The differences are incredible and the images from the Latin prefaces and prayers are so much more inspirational and instructive.

God, help our Bishops to make a decision quickly and to get these prayers into our hands as soon as possible.

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Mission Opens

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at St. John the Baptist, Whiting Indiana. It was a wonderful night. The Parish Mission team is exceptional. Geri, an occasional commenter on this blog, is a wonderful music director. The Choir this morning was stunningly beautiful.

Prayers for the mission would be appreciated. Even with unrelenting rain we had a good crowd.

Y'all come to night two, Monday at 7:00pm

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The parish here in Whiting is undergoing some renovation. It is going to be beautiful when it is done. The picture is a detail from the arch over the sanctuary.

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Mission Cross

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An ancient tradition begun by St. Gaspar, a mission cross is erected in the churches where the mission is preached. The first mission listed in The Minster Mission Cross is 1854, obscured by the flash. The last one was 1991 before this one in 2004.


Fr. Louis Schmidt, CPPS, Pastor, Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, CPPS, Mission Preacher, and Fr. Mark Armstrong, Associate Pastor.

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Next Mission

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I am home in Chicago, briefly. Tomorrow we start a new mission at St. John the Baptist Parish, Whiting, IN. There will be a team of preachers for this mission with Precious Blood Companion, Gerry Downs joining the team.

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Some sadness

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Well, it was a delightful mission. I really do not want to leave. Here is a house where the missionaries pray the office together every day. What an inspiration! And the choir! This is an absolutely wonderful mens's schola, and they have a wonderful buliding to sing in. Amy, their director is very charming and a joy to work for. Jane, the Director of Adult Formation and her team are an inspiration to watch. The humor in the house, well. aside from a couple of good groaners it is fun to laugh, and this place smiles. Well, in the morning after Mass I have to pack the car and head back to Chicago. Just like Gilbert, AZ, I am a bit sad about leaving. The people were very affirming about the preaching. I wish I could cart them off to my new parish. May the church always have such faithful people.

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Pray for Our Sisters

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The Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, Missouri, invite you to join them in prayer for their General Chapter, March 25 to 28 and June 25 to 30, 2004. At this Chapter the Sisters will come together to evaluate their life and mission, establish directions for their future and elect their leadership for the next six years. The Sisters are depending on your prayerful support as they seek to discern God’s grace at this time in their history.

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There is a neat little prayer to the Precious Blood over at Ever-New. It seems to be loosely based on the Precious Blood Chaplet.

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Compliments

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Parishioner at St. Augustine Parish called me this morning to pay me this compliment.

Listening to your homily last night was like trying to take a drink from a fire hydrant

The night before he said I hit another home run out of the park.

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Amen

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Annunciation

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Greetings on the Feast!

This really is the central mystery of our faith:

Two things:

1. Flesh and Blood

The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. God is near, available, personal. We can have a relationship with the creator of the universe in the flesh, and whatever we do to flesh and blood we to to God.

2. The will of God

This is the most we can say of her. She heard the Word of God and put it into practice. Here am I, I come to do your will. When Jesus said " Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and put it into practice," he was not diminishing Mary, but he was describing her. She is the first disciple. She is the one who responded first. This is what it means to have a devotion to Mary, we listen for God's Word, we fall in love with God's will, and we put it into practice, and then the Word of God becomes again, flesh and blood.

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Hmmm...I think he goes a little further than the rubrics do.

He says:

This is made clear by the rubrics which, in one form of the rite, describe how this cross may be progressively unveiled, showing first the top of the cross but not the face, then the right arm, and finally the entire body

I immediately consulted a sacramentary. The rubrics are not at all clear, they never use the word crucifix, they always use the word cross, they never refer to arm, face or body.

Is he looking at a different book?

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What to say....it's a wonderful mission. It was an inspirational evening. The music was stunning, and yes, I am exhausted. More later.

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What a Night!

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...amd what a day, too. What a great parish, and such neat people. What faith! What singing! The church was getting crowded. We figure conservatively that there was at least 500 people there. I love it when people hear things I do not say, but God tells them strongly to begin working on things. It is absolutely exciting to hear confessions at a mission. Sometimes, I am constantly amazed at how exciting, enriching, humbling, exhilarating it is to be a priest. Jesus is still multiplying the loaves.....

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Yesterday

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8:00am Mass
10:00am Mass
11:30am Mass
1:00 High School Students
3:00 Married Couples and Engaged Couples
7:00 High School and Young Adults

Yep, just a little tired today, but a good kind of tired. This is a great parish.

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Ohio

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Greetings from Minster, Ohio.

This is the only second time I have preached a Lenten Mission in Ohio. The last time was was in Girard, OH back in 1992 at St. Rose of Lima Parish. The Saturday and Sunday of the Mission was conjoined with a celebration of the Boy's Basketball Team from Girard High School that won the State Championship on that Saturday night. Well it is happening again. The Minster High School Girl's Basketball Team won the Division IV State Championship last night, and the whole town is awash in celebration.

Well, it is Laetare Sunday, a time for joy, and that joy in Redemption is mixed with a joyful village proud of their Basketball team.

That must be the ticket. If you want your High School in Ohio to win a State Championship, just invite me to preach the parish mission. (grin)

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celtic
You are the Celtic Cross: This cross was first made
out of stone and is often found atop hills, in
front of castles and in graveyards throughout
Ireland and Scotland. The stone was carved with
various symbols including a circle or halo
(representing eternal life) and variations of
the celtic knot.



What Kind of Cross are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


Thanks to MaryH for the new quiz for Lent.

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This prayer was written by Ed Gleason, a Retrouvaille husband from San Francisco, California. Ed Gleason was also responsible for having Retrouvaille International name St. Joseph as the patron saint of Retrouvaille.

PRAYER TO ST JOSEPH
Based on Matthew 1:18-25

We ask your prayers, St. Joseph, an upright man, a spouse who planned to divorce Mary in secret and who by God's grace was able to see his role in God's plan. We ask you in our behalf to pray to God that our marriage be healed.

We are enveloped in pain and despair as you must have been when you learned of Mary's pregnancy. Be for and with us, Joseph, in our hour of doubt. Let us listen to and heed the voice of God as you did.

Be our intercessor to your Jesus, to give us the blessings to change, to listen, to forgive and most of all to hope that our marriage will heal and our family remain whole and holy.

We give you honor, quiet St. Joseph, for you are a spouse like us, who while knowing pain, did not divorce. By God's grace you nourished the Holy Family and the Savior of all families throughout the ages.

Amen.


Thanks to Dave & Maria Elena Byron, Oakland team couple and Interim San Francisco coordinators, and the couple who first introduced me to Retrouvaille, for forwarding this prayer.

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St. Joseph

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The Readings
2 Sam 7:4 5,12 14,16 , I will be a father to him, and he a son to me, the throne of David will endure forever.

Psalm 89, The Son of David will live forever

Rom 4:13,16 18, 22 , Abraham believed and became the father of many nations.

Matt 1:16, 18 21, 24, Joseph awoke from the dream and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.

St. Gaspar
As for me, I am cheerful, tranquil and content, only because I am doing the will of God. I proclaim that I want to live and die with total abandonment to him. (1)

I adore the will of God (2)

Likewise I would like you to be assured of the will of God in regard to your vocation. Excessive fear causes agitation too, as one can readily imagine. Oh, my beloved friend, why become anxious as long as we are in the hands of God? Is he not a most loving Father? Does he not take care of us? Does he not dispose all things for our own good? He used Moses to humiliate Pharaoh and, in general, infirma eligit, ut fortia quaeque confundat.(3) When we use the 24 hours of the day for God, in the mystical bed of his will, we have done everything. This does not deny, however, the necessity of prayer and faith in God. (4)

"But how is Jesus to be imitated? Look at him for just a short while. As an example to us, he is obedient to Joseph and to Mary and lives in the humblest of homes. He is employed in manual labor, shows himself to be a model of silence and is withdrawn from the world, a benefactor to all." …Seek, then, to be of service to the Society and respect the will of the Creator in his creatures. No task is menial if it tends to glorify the Almighty. On the contrary, your work is similar to that of Jesus Christ who aided his foster father, St. Joseph. Purity of intention alone is necessary for you to properly regulate your interior and exterior actions. Realize, too, that a hidden and humble life is a special shield against vanity and human glory.(5)

I give thanks to God for the concern that you nourish in promoting the glories of the Divine Blood and I hope that abundant blessings will be your reward. Our Father Amici is putting the final touches on the little work on St. Joseph to be printed after having gathered together a good number of supporters, the printing will be undertaken. This great saint is the special protector of our death. People are interested in this devotion. (6)

Reflection
St. Joseph was a just man. He was faithful to the laws and customs, the ways of Israel. And yet he was also faithful to dreams, hopes and a vision of what God desires. More than being the patron of the Church, he is the patron of the hidden doing of God's will. In the silence of his sleep, we hear and see nothing. In his dreams he sees everything.

Imagine what his anxious moments must have been like. He desired to do what was right and just, but he also desired to do what was fair for Mary. Gaspar would have us look at our own anxious moments and know that just as Joseph was in the hands of God, so are we. Gaspar would encourage us to seek God's will with the same energy and devotion as Joseph.

Joseph challenges us to love the will of God and to trust the will of God with the same tangible faith. This faith would get us up from our sleep to follow a dream of God's way without fear or anxiousness.

•How do I show I love the will of God?
•What dreams have I failed to follow?
•In what ways could I follow God's will even as it goes against social values of my time?
•What makes me anxious?

NOTES
(1) from Letter No. 22 to Countess Virginia Malaspina Carocciolo, June 18, 1811
(2) from letter 873 to Mr Giovanni Franceso Palmucci, April 14, 1824
(3) see 1 Cor 1:27, God chose the weak…to shame the strong
(4) from letter 1101 to D. Domenico Silvestri, April 19, 1825
(5) From Third Circular Letter, 1829
(6) Letter 1786, July 31, 1828, Giovanni Francesco Palmucci

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Mission

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St. Augustine Church, Minster, OH

It is time to start a parish mission, this one at St. Augustine Parish, Minster, OH

I have a mission preaching stole which includes embroidery of St. Gaspar, St. Maria de Mattias, and Fr. Francis de Sales Brunner. Fr. Brunner brought the Missionaries of the Precious Blood to America and established us here. He was once pastor of St. Augustine. We have been serving the parish continually since 1845.

St. Gaspar would often remind us that God's work is established through prayer. So, I want you to pray, not just for me, but for the parish and for the Mission. I will be there six days. Pray that my words will be what the Lord intends, and what the people need.

The focus of the mission will be the new and everlasting covenant established in the Blood of Jesus. Our starting point will be Isaiah 55:3, Listen that you may have life. I will renew with you the everlasting covenant, the benefits promised to David.

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It is not even Spring yet. We have Spring and Summer and a good chunk of Autumn before this is over. The Presidential Candidates are taking personal pot-shots at each other, and it is the issues that will suffer.

I think it is reasonable to change one's mind when new information or experience is available. This business of attacking someone for flip-flops is bogus on the face of it. It allows us not to discuss the issue.

All we will have then is a conflict between Bush's Flip Flops and Kerry's Flip Flops.

Also, I would encourage Catholic Bloggers out there not to become too closely defined by your identification with either candidate. Instead we should be identified with the respectful discussion of the issues and the search for truth. This election may turn into a schoolyard brawl. People who identify with Christ should try to do it differently.

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In letter 899, we find this passage:

I would like the Collect, to be added at the Mass, to be the one found at the end of the Missal along with all the other Collect: "pro petitione lacrymarum."(1) Also, after Vesper prayers, we would like to add the Litany of Loreto, and one Our Father in honor of St. Xavier, our protector. This has been our practice in other communities too. Following the manner that you judge to be best, you should direct the closing of all taverns during the time of the preaching so that everyone will be led to a contemplation of God. More when we see each other in person.

Notes
(1) For the request of tears

I find it somewhat affirming that St. Gaspar chose that particular Collect for the opening of a mission. In the new sacramentary there is apparently a new Mass called "For the Gift of Tears." The Bishops used that for their meeting in June of 2002. When I saw the approved translation, I copied it out and put it in my mission file. I found it quite useful for the first two nights when the topic is reconciliation.

Last night one of the seminarians joked that I would be long retired by the time we got a new sacramentary.

Opening Prayer
Almighty and most gentle God, who from a rock made flow
a fountain of living water
for your thirsting people,
draw now from the hardness of our hearts
tears of sorrow
that we may weep for our sins
and, by your continued mercy,
be made ready to accept their pardon.
We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ…

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What are people thinking and feeling about Liturgical Dance these days? One recent correspondent indicated she thought dance would eventually be approved for the liturgy.

Having been to the Vatican and participated in the opening liturgy for the Synod on Asia, I have witnessed movement that is integral to the liturgy. One moment that was exquisite was the offering of incense and flowers after the Eucharistic Prayer.

This is quite different from what I have seen in the US where Dance is a little performance somewhat separate and added on to the movement of the liturgy. Sometimes I have seen it done well, and sometimes it has been poorly performed and a distraction from the liturgy.

Our sense of reverence in movement, procession, gesture seems to be missing from our culture and I am wondering how it might be restored.

Movement should not call attention to itself. Movement that is focused on an offering of gifts to the altar or a presentation of flowers and incense, or a solemn procession for entrance and communion, should be done with care, reverence and beauty.

I would be interested in your thoughts and experience.

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It was a nice discovery to come upon letter 900. This being Lent, I am preaching 3 missions. I am really looking forward to the one in Ohio where the first Precious Blood Mission was preached in 1854.

I am sure the entrance to the mission will be much quieter. The sound of my voice will not be heard until Sunday in the Church. Saturday is a Day of Reflection that I will lead for parishionmers who are working on the parish mission team.

Take a look at letter 900 here and se how St. Gaspar describes the mission:

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Cool

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There has been a fair amount of discussion over at Fr. Bryce's blog about a painting he has dubbed Exterminatrix of Heresies.

I have posted this picture before. This is probably not a picture that you have seen too many places, nor is it often the way that we imagine or see the Blessed Virgin Mary portrayed in artwork. Having been to the birthplace of our congregation four times, and having spent one week there this past summer, this is a picture that I have grown to love and delight in. ?Fascinating? is the word that I use most often in my journal in describing this picture and its effect on me as I sit in its shadow and mediate on what it contains.

When St. Gaspar founded our congregation in 1815 he placed it under the protection of Mary, Help of Christians whose feast is celebrated each May 24. There is another image that we use under the title of Madonna of the Precious Blood, an image that St. Gaspar used in his mission travels. I have a banner with that image on it and it goes with me on my mission travels.

This image of Mary, Help on Christians hangs in the cloister of the Abbey of San Felice in Giano del Umbria. it was painted by Francesco Melanzio (1465-1530) and it originally hung in the left side of the upper sanctuary, probably when San Felice served as a Benedictine Monastery. (San Felice was given to us in 1815) You can see the monks portrayed hiding in the folds of her garment on the bottom left side of the painting. The look of fear on the major figure there is striking. The child Jesus, much like the child in Revelations 12, is caught away to safety. The devil has a sinister look on his face; he has a hold on the child?s clothing, not on the child himself. The Madonna with the club is the most fascinating feature. She never loses a look of gentleness and peace, but it is also a look of determination and strength.

I would be interested in your reflections on this painting.

Madonna del Soccorso, by Francesco Melanzio (Montefalco - c.1465-c. 1530)
Found in the left side Upper Sanctuary of the Abbey of San Felice, Giano. It now hangs in the Cloister. It was restored by Professor Giovanni Bartoloni in 1961

Fr. Bryce incorrectly states the painting hangs in a little church in Montefalco, Italy. It is possible it did at one time. According to the date in the upper right it was painted in 1494.

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Here is my next article for the magazine, Precious Blood Family

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I remember with fondness my two trips to Ireland, in 1998 and in 2003. It is an absolutely beautiful country. This picture is one I took in 1998 in Carndonaugh.

St. Patrick, much like St. Gaspar, was formed by a period of captivity. It is beneficial to celebrate his feast in this Lenten time, not that we might get a dispensation from fasting so that we can indulge in our favorite Irish Stout, but that we might focus on the cross, and reflect on how the thorns and difficulties have formed us.

God, indeed, who brings things to maturity, requires us to be patient for his works are generated and cultivated through thorns, crosses, and all sorts of hardships that accompany a ministry of the primary and essential relationship in the Church of Jesus Christ.

St. Gaspar del Bufalo
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Occasionally there are feasts during Lent when the readings and prayers from the feast are used instead of that Lenten weekday. Two such feasts are approaching, St. Joseph and Annunciation.

Here are the latest additions to the Handbook for those feasts.

The Handbook can be found here.

Anybody out there using these Lenten reflections?

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The New Look

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Ok, RC fixed the text and colors along with a new banner. How is it looking to everyone now? Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.

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I am really looking forward to being in parish life again. I will still be involved with Retrouvaille and with some retreat and mission work, but to a lesser degree. My provincial has assured me that he wants me to remain with Retrouvaille. I will continue serving as International Chaplain until January 1, 2006.

During the past three years I have done no baptisms, weddings or funerals. I have not been involved with RCIA or Adult Faith Formation, a ministry that I found very enriching. I have not been part of the activities of a Catholic School, been able to participate in children's faith formation or celebrate school masses. Parish missions gave me limited opportunities to be involved with parishioners on a regular basis.

I have enjoyed the travel, but I will still be a missionary in Parish life.

One of the great joys of being a priest is being involved with people at very important moments of their life. I look forward to being connected to them again. There are some challenges. It is a large parish, 5600 families. I will be presiding in Spanish, one mass every week.

I hope to enter the parish slowly, listening to people's stories and experiences before making any drastic changes. Fr. Jeff Finley, CPPS has been a wonderful pastor and many will surely miss him. Transitions are often difficult for parishioners. It is the Lord?s flock, and I hope to be a good servant.

I am familiar with the parish and have been there many times, and many people remember me.

In 1978, when I was a seminarian for the Diocese of Oakland, I was assigned to St. Edward in Newark for my pastoral year. I led a bible study, did hospital ministry, and this is where I preached on a Sunday morning for the first time. It was a Diocesan parish and Fr. Ricardo Chavez was the pastor.

In 1984, I was hired as Director of Music at St. Edward. I served until 1988. Fr. Marvin Steffes, C.PP.S. was the pastor. The choir is still an excellent choir under the direction of Mark Purcell. Many of the same people from the 80's are still singing in the choir.

In 2000, the pastor Fr. Jeffrey Finley, C.PP.S., invited me to preach the parish Lenten Mission.

In 2004, I return to St. Edward as Pastor.

1984


2004

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Back in Chicago

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I am back in Chicago for a while. I leave for Ohio on Friday. Next up is a parish mission at St. Augustine, Minster, OH.

It is in the land of the cross-tipped Churches. The first Precious Blood Mission was preached there in 1854. We have been staffing the parish since before that. I am glad to be part of that long tradition.

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Yesterday it was announced at St. Edward Parish in Newark, CA that I have been appointed their new Pastor effective August 1, 2004.

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The Handbook

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Well readership of the New Gasparian has more than doubled in the past few weeks. If you have not seen the Handbook for Heaven it is available here.

This is the latest edition, all the C Cycle Sundays are now included.

I am hoping to get this published for next Lent. So if you would like to be one of the original reviewers, all you have to do is promise to tell me if there are any typos, or if it can be improved in any way.

Thanks to Precious Blood Companions Maureen and Peggy who have been the biggest support and encouragement along the way.

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Retrouvaille

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Please keep in your prayers the couples attending Retrouvaille this weekend:

Tampa, FL Great Falls, MT Kearney, NJ Modesto, CA

I leave in the morning for Tampa, FL. The computer stays at home. I will be back on Monday. Prayers appreciated.

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For Sunday

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Here is the selection for the Handbook for the Third Sunday of Lent, Cycle C. I do believe I have the project finished now.

If you are reading the book, please let me know if there is anything difficult or unclear. Also let me know if there are typos.

Guess what? I sent it off to a publisher today.

Click below for the meditation.

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I offer this excerpt from St. Gaspar's letter 43 for your Lenten meditation today. It is helpful to remember that this letter was written while he was imprisoned by Napoleon. In this letter he give us three means by which we might revive our faith in the presence of God:

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Ok, I am willing to try anything now. testing, testing....

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  one of Fr. Keyes' photos
 
 

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

April 2004 is the next archive.

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