THANK YOU, THANK YOU…GRAND CELEBRATION
‘Thank you’ is such a beautiful phrase! Yet there are times when those two words seem so totally inadequate. They just touch the surface when the heart is overwhelmed with gratitude. Such is my sentiment on the September 16th grand celebration of our 60th anniversary and the rededication of our church at the 1pm special Mass. It was truly such a joyful occasion in the Lord… a spiritual mountaintop experience bringing to fruition all the collaborative efforts of the summer months in making our worship space a beautiful place for God and His people.
Bishop Weisenburger was the celebrant for the Mass and preached exceptionally well on our patroness…Our Mother of Sorrows. He concurred with my request to reprint his excellent homily for the benefit of all parishioners, I am making it available in this Pastor’s Monthly Update.
It was a distinct honor to have our charter members group participate. Two of them proclaimed God’s Word. It was a blessing to have the third pastor of the parish, Charley Towner, participate in this grand marker event. The many concelebrating priests and our seven deacons added a special dimension to the special Mass.
The gathering in the hall immediately after Mass made for a grand reception. Our deepest thanks to all who had a hand in making the hall such a celebratory environment. All who served the guests did so with a beautiful spirit of hospitality. The representative leadership group from the parish who did the toasts added such a special dimension to make this such a grand reception.
The overwhelming positive response of the parishioners at the Mass and reception was most gratifying and reflects a great sense of blessings from the Lord on our parish and school communities.
PASTORAL STAFF TRANSITIONS
I’m pleased to announce long-time parishioner Renise Rodriguez is becoming the new Executive Assistant to the Pastor. Renise has been chosen from 10-15 applicants and brings her deep love for the Church and the parish and her active involvement in ministries to this position. She will be filling the big shoes of Madeleine Crespo who has served so faithfully and well in this position over these past three years.
Patsy Klein, our pastoral care coordinator who has been with us on a part-time basis has recently informed me that she has accepted a full-time position at Catholic Community Services. Patsy has been very effective in overseeing the pastoral care of the homebound and our Stephen Ministry group.
A WORD FROM THE NEW EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
Dear Families of Our Mother of Sorrows,
My name is Renise Rodríguez and it is an honor to share with you that I will be taking on the role of Executive Assistant to the Pastor here at OMOS. I have been a parishioner of OMOS for nearly my entire life. I attended OMOS school and have been active in multiple ministries throughout the years. My formation at OMOS both in the school and in my participation in the Lifeteen program are an integral part of why I chose to pursue an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies from the University of Arizona. Upon graduation I worked as Campus Minister at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School in South Tucson where I gained 5 years of experience working in a parish and school setting. This year I was blessed to embark on a new journey and received a grant from the Diocese of Tucson in partnership with Catholic Extension which allowed me to begin a master’s degree in Religious Education from Fordham University. I am overjoyed and incredibly humbled to have the opportunity to return to my roots and continue to serve the Church as a Catholic professional. I want to thank Monsignor Tom for entrusting this position to me and welcoming me as a member of his staff. I humbly ask for your prayers as I assume this new role and continue in my studies. Please be assured of mine for all of you. May God bless you.
PARISH TOWN HALL MEETING ON SEXUAL ABUSE
On September 17th, close to 100 people participated in a 90-minute meeting. Bishop Weisenburger shared a very helpful PowerPoint presentation on the sexual abuse crisis within the Church. The major portion of the meeting time was given over to the bishop’s listening and responding to participants’ questions. The other three members on the panel – Dr. Rosemary Celaya-Alston from the Diocesan offices of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection and our own Sylvia Ramirez who oversees our parish Safe Environment protocols, and your pastor, shared from their perspectives on the Safe Environment protocols now in place, diocesan-wide and parish-wide.
PRAYER FOR MINISTRY OF EVERYDAY LIFE
God our Father – Work is your gift to us; a call to reach new heights by using our talents in the ministry of everyday life, for the good of all. Guide as we work in our distinct ministries of everyday life and teach us to live in the spirit that has made us your sons and daughters, in the love that has made us brothers and sisters. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The above prayer concluded the prayer of petitions of all Masses on the weekend of September 22/23. It is shared here for personal everyday use. Work -- in our everyday role, job, calling – is our involvement in the ministry of everyday life. As persons of faith, we can ask ourselves…how am I God’s presence in my everyday work environment, in what I do and how I do it? There can be a tendency to restrict the meaning of the word ‘ministry’ to what happens at the parish or to what happens in a parish sponsored ministry. Such a restrictive meaning is a total disservice on how and where most people live their lives each day. As sons and daughters of God, as brothers and sisters to each other in the Lord, we are truly in everyday ministry when we use our talents for the good of all.
VOICES OF THANKS
Dear Msgr. Tom & Staff…
On behalf of the church’s 60th Anniversary, Don & I would like to convey what a blessing OMOS has been to us since we joined in 1980. We started out in the Parish Hall and were proud to be part of the new church when it was built, and now when it has completed the 3R’s campaign of Renovation. It is better than ever! 1980 was the year I finally completed becoming a Catholic at OMOS. We both enjoying coming to Cenacle Chapel & have benefitted from its quiet sanctuary from everyday life and all its busyness. Happy 60th Anniversary to you all and OMOS.
Sincerely, Karen & Don Griess
Over the years, we became part of the OMOS family and benefitted spiritually and personally from being there. As we move to the next chapter of our lives, relocating to our hometown in Upstate NY, we are most sad to be leaving OMOS. I will forever seek the inclusivity, progressive, faithful, welcoming environment that we so enjoyed at OMOS.
With thanks and love, Tory & Jim Hunziker
Words cannot express my gratitude to you for the Cenacle Chapel. Thank you so very much for the opportunity to worship Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
God bless you always, Mary & David Witter
HOMILY BY BISHOP EDWARD WEISENBURGER ON THE OCCASION OF THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDING OF OUR MOTHER OF SORROWS
Brother and Sisters,
It is an honor and a joy to celebrate this wonderful anniversary with you. As many of you know from your parish history:
This is a Holy Place, in many respects…made holy by God’s people. The faith they have discovered here, nourished here, lived here, and embraced as they emerged to the fullness of life…lingers in the air. My prayer for this community is that they will acknowledge their privileged past; revel in the glory found here that is Christ “today”; and look to the future with great hope and trust. Their past is honorable and noble; their future bright.
And now, it is worth noting that your parish is under the title, and patronage, of Our Mother of Sorrows. Those outside the Church may find this title odd! Why focus on “sorrows.” Why not our Mother of joys, or happiness or hope?
Well, the truth is: she is all those things. Because in the end, being the first, and most perfect of all disciples, she is the eternal model for how we, in every age, are to face every facet of life. And what life knows no sorrows? And so, even here, in her own delicate and almost hidden way, she reveals how to encounter Him in the midst of this facet of humanity: our sorrows. To see this more clearly, let’s take a quick look at some of those moments she looks out at us from Scripture:
1. When we first meet her, Mary is the object of an ugly rumor: she’s pregnant and unmarried. According to the cultural norm for the time, her fiancé, Joseph, is expected to deny her and anything about the pregnancy, and to put her at a distance; but Joseph, her betrothed, being an “upright man”, elected the gentler, kinder solution: he would simply annul the betrothal. Like all women of her culture and era, she would be sent back to her family…presuming they would take her back…where she would live out her life in humiliation and shame, the child of her womb possibly bearing a label, a name too ugly for me to reference in this Church.
The fact that she was innocent, that her body had been invaded by the Holy Spirit, would not have been believed by many in her lifetime. And thus, people down the ages who have suffered from false rumors, who have had their reputations soiled, who have been misunderstood and maligned (unwed mothers, but so many more, so many others) …all these have identified with Mary. They found in her…one that they can turn to…one who understands.
2. When her son is born, shepherds and angels rejoiced …but the powerbrokers of the day seethed and conspired to kill her infant son. They wanted his life, his spirit. And so, parents today and down the ages, faced with so many “assassins of the soul”, have identified with Mary. They know well enough there are people out there – the drug pushers, the media that glamorizes uncommitted sex, the hawkers with cash registers for hearts, the preachers of false values – who are after their children in order to kill their spirits, trample their souls.
Parents know what Mary knew, and they fear what she feared.
3. After Jesus birth, Mary has to flee with her husband and child and become a refugee in a foreign land (the “flight into Egypt”). And thus, she immediately joins the countless displaced persons, the homeless huddling in the world’s doorways and sleeping on the nation’s grates, the 27 million refugees walking the earth today. These lowly ones who so badly need to be lifted up, they’re “cousins of hers under the skin”, and they too can identify with Mary.
4. When we find her next, her son is caught, betrayed by one She had fed at her own table many times. Her son was brought to a mock trial, beaten and humiliated and hanged on a public cross. She arrives in time to see him hanging there, every inch of her mind and body straining to go to him, but she is forced by the soldiers to keep her distance. And suddenly, every parent who has seen their child carted off to prison; every parent who wants more than anything else to help their grown child deal with alcoholism, or addition; every parent whose child is living in sin or raising their grandchild without baptism; or going through a divorce – every parent who witnesses such “crucifixions” but who are told to keep their distance (and their mouth shut), can identify with Mary, as they pray and suffer…in silence.
5. Finally, we see her cradling the dead and broken body of her only son in her arms, and she weeps uncontrollably. And thus, there she is once more, every parent who has lost a child, any friend who has lost a friend, any classmate who has lost a classmate through overdose or gunshot or suicide, can identify with the Mary of the Pieta.
And so…what does it all mean? I think it means this: This ageless woman – this pilgrim who savored the ups and downs of life – has been given to us as a “legacy”. Indeed, recall Jesus’ words to the apostle John from the cross, words that are intended for each of us as John represents the Church. Jesus’s words from the cross were, “Behold thy Mother.”
And indeed today, we are beholden to her in a whole different way, for we can see that she experienced many of the same joys and sorrows as us, fellow pilgrims on this journey of life. Yet, while she “like us” in so many ways, the Church tends to romanticize her, especially in art, music and literature. We…clothe her with the sun; wrap her head with a halo of stars; paint in winged cherubs to do her bidden; put the moon beneath her feet, dress her in medieval robes, paint her against a background of Italian villas – and musically whisk her up to heaven to the sound of Handel’s Messiah.
But what we have to understand is that all of this is metaphor, figure of speech. What all this heavenly glamour and bling is trying to tell us is that: Mary is blessed now because she remained faithful to the will of God.
In all her sorrows, she clung to God. In virginity, in motherhood, in widowhood, at home, as a wanderer in a foreign land, with live child, with dead child…through it all, she clung to God.
And thus, she becomes the woman for all ages. And that, precisely, is the secret of her enduring (unstoppable) appeal. Mary didn’t start out as great and travel a privileged path; she was a “handmaid” of the Lord and traveled the lowly path throughout life. But then, God who is mighty has done great things for her. God lifted her up when down, fed her when hungry, and because she responded so perfectly to his loving invitation, He saw to it that one day…all generations would call her blessed. (That great line from the “Magnificat” prayed by all who pray the liturgy of the hours nightly.) And indeed, is that not what we are doing right now? Calling this woman of flesh and blood – of our own very human experience—“Blessed”?
We’re not honoring someone far away, and high above us. No, we’re calling “blessed” someone who is near and right with us – at very human step. Indeed, when you look at the sorrows of her life, are they not signs of hope for us? A sort of preview of coming attractions…for all who cling to God in perplexity and adversity. For in recall the events of her hidden life, the Church reminds us…what Mary is, so (one day) shall we be.
And so, who is Our Mother of Sorrows? She is promise fulfilled, humanity completed, faithfulness rewarded. Simply put, she is…us – when we finally come to the end of this journey called life. For in the richness of her human experience as well as in all her heavenly glory…she is indeed…the woman for all times and all seasons.
Respect Life Month - All month long
Fiesta Weekend & White Elephant - Oct. 5, 6, 7
St. Francis’ Blessing of the Animals - October 4 at 6 pm
Parish Rosary Celebration - October 13 after 5:30pm Mass
Ministries Awareness - October 20/21 after all Masses