Those bringing good news

Salvador Dali’s painting “Ascension” is certainly one of the most provocative paintings depicting the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus. The symbolic elements are many, the speculations even more, and the agreement on meaning is still up for grabs. But I sometimes tend to focus on some of the more realistic elements cast among the surrealistic things. While the art experts discuss the finer points of Dali — his life, faith, and his work, I am fascinated by perspective, as well as the hands and feet. The former as though clutching at something; the latter soiled and showing the wear and tear of life on earth. Continue reading

The Middle of the Pew

It is always good to get positive feedback and encouragement. Every weekend, it is not uncommon for a visitor (friend of parishioner, cruise ship travelers, etc.) to make a point to mention “What a welcoming and friendly parish you have.”

Being a welcoming church is never a “one -and-done” endeavor. There are lots of things that go into creating a warm and inviting parish. The cover of our weekly bulletin has a welcome message. The 9 a.m. Sunday Mass has a nascent Greeters Ministry. Folks with name tags and blue ribbons identify them as greeters. They are the first voice of welcome the folks hear and they are often the ombudsman for questions and information. If this is a ministry you would like to become a part of, contact Pam Ferron in the parish office. Continue reading

The entire room

Last week I wrote that if Lent was about making “room for God” — and that is a good start — then the Easter season and beyond should be about coming to realize that God is the entire room! “God should be not merely the reference point but the whole context out of which we operate. God is not merely the source of our existence, he is the substance of our existence, the very life we have, and without God we would be lifeless, even if we are alive. Put another way, if Jesus is not Lord of all, he is not Lord at all.” Continue reading

Getting our bearings

May the grace and peace of the Risen Lord be with you. He is risen, Alleluia! Alleluia! I trust these words find you well, blessed, and part of the Easter people celebrating our awesome and loving God. As an Easter people we will not just celebrate one day — we are about to begin a whole season of Easter from now until Pentecost Sunday on May 20. In that same period, life begins to accelerate with the Annual Pastoral Appeal, Confirmation (April 29), First Holy Communion (May 5 and 6), Mother’s Day, final exams, graduations, summer vacation and camp planning, getting ready for college, and a whole list of things around the home and office. Continue reading

There is no place like home

Wiz-of-OzA few years ago, William J. O’Malley wrote about “taking the long way home.” It was a wonderful “musing” on the classic movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” We were reminded about the archetypal scene when Dorothy’s house lands on the Wicked Witch and then Glinda, the good witch, shows up and magically transfers the ruby slippers to Dorothy. As the ending of the movie makes clear, all Dorothy had to do was click her heels and proclaim, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” Why didn’t Glinda tell Dorothy that at the very beginning? Continue reading

A short guide to Holy Week

Every year Christians commemorate the week before Easter Sunday with special traditions and devotions that help them enter into the Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a special time of the year, culminating in the biggest feast of the Church’s calendar – Easter. Here are the basics of what Catholics look forward to during the week that precedes Easter Sunday.

Palm Sunday. This day inaugurates Holy Week with the triumphal entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem. In the Gospels Jesus comes to the city riding upon a donkey with the people placing palm branches in front of him. At Mass on this day the congregation relives this event with a procession in the church and a solemn blessing of palm branches. The Passion narrative is also read on this day. Continue reading

Strangers here?

During the last several months, there have been lots of visitors celebrating Eucharist with us. They come from points north where winter has been unrelenting and particularly harsh this year. They are easy to spot. While we have all donned our sweaters and jackets, they are in shorts, polos, and flip-flops. Many of them introduce themselves to me after Mass and comment on what a beautiful church and how welcoming we are as a parish. They tell me of the great experience of parishioners greeting them, chatting with them, and making them feel welcomed. One couple remarked “There are just no strangers in your parish!” As pastor, it affirms that we are what we profess in a tangible way. We live in a way that impacts the visitors among us. Thank you! Continue reading