PASTOR’S JULY TIME AWAY
My time away during the month of July was renewing and refreshing. My two weeks of ministry in Lourdes was again inspirational and grace-filled. Administering the Sacrament of Reconciliation on an average of three to five hours a day was a fulfilling and joyful part of my priestly ministry there. The universality of the Church in the living faith of pilgrims coming to the sacrament there from all countries was amazing, striking and most edifying.
My home visit time with family in Ireland during the last two weeks of July was also a very blessed reconnection and relaxing time with family. Returning to the roots of family is always homecoming time, for all of us.
NEW SECURITY MEASURES IN PLACE AT LOURDES
Access to the vast sanctuary space at Lourdes which encompasses the Shrine and many of its basilicas have been reduced from 32 points of entry to three. The three major points of entry now have massive concrete blocks to impede any motorized vehicles from having easy access. One of my favorite walkways from the chaplains house to the Shrine is the zigzag pathway down to the Shrine is now closed as part of these new security measures. I find the following article by the late Cardinal Hume of London on the zigzag pathway down to the Grotto to be very insightful and enlightening. It’s entitled, “What We Do Not See”
What We Do Not See
By Cardinal Basil Hume, The Mystery of Love
One of my favorite places in Lourdes is the zigzag path down to the Grotto. What you see on the first corner is a statue of Bartimaeus, the blind man. Why is it there? Looking over the Grotto, he sees nothing because he is blind. That statue was placed by an Italian who, though not cured of her blindness, rediscovered her faith, which she realized was more to be prized than physical sight…
The point about [the Bartimaeus] story is not that the blind man got back his physical sight, which indeed he did; the important point is that he followed Jesus.
What is important for us in following Jesus is that we should get back to the inward eye, the inner light. So we pray, not for a physical miracle, but a spiritual change.
The inner life: that part of us where faith and doubt contest the mastery, and where alas, doubt prevails because it is the stronger of the two, though not the wiser. Without faith, life is emptied of its true meaning and purpose.
A long time ago I had a friend who had been born blind. He had one great enthusiasm in his life and that was watching cricket. He had no idea what cricket looked like. Yet he had this tremendous interest, almost a passion for it. I used to take him to matches, sit behind him, giving a running commentary. He would be riveted and get very excited.
The point is this: He was totally dependent on what I was saying to him. I could have been telling him a pack of lies. We might not even have been watching a cricket match at all. But, no, as I described the game, he got more and more interested and involved.
It was that experience that taught me about faith. Because I do not see God with my eyes, I do not see him present in the Blessed Sacrament. I did not see him rise from the dead. I have not seen any of these things with my eyes. I cannot touch God with my hands, nor hear his voice with my ears. So in a way we are all blind, like that man at the cricket match.
You and I depend entirely on what God tells us. That is why the Word of God is so important. Faith is listening to what God has to say through the Scriptures.
ETERNAL REST ON SPECIAL FRIENDS
HAPPY, BLESSED, REFRESHING AND RENEWING LABOR DAY WEEKEND
Labor Day creates a marked separation between Summer and Fall
“GO, YOU ARE SENT”…is the command of Christ to His followers.
The call and mission of Jesus is inseparable from discipleship. As we ready ourselves for the 60th anniversary of the parish in May of 2018, our parish will be lifting up our call to living as missionary disciples. We will be reflecting and prayerfully considering what our main purpose and goal is as a parish community in the Lord. We are much more than structures and buildings. The challenge as we approach the milestone of the 60th anniversary is to move the parish and its ministry strategies from a mindset of maintenance to mission. Pope Francis in the Joy of the Gospel document offers the following: “I hope that all communities will devote the necessary effort to advance along the path of pastoral and missionary conversion which cannot leave things as they presently are. Mere administration can no longer be enough. Throughout the world, let us be ‘permanently in a state of mission’”.
LIVING AS MISSIONARY DISCIPLES
This is the title of a resource booklet from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) which was published in May of this year. It provides parishes and other church ministries with a road map to “new paths for the Church’s journey” of evangelization. I read and reviewed its content during my time away and found it most insightful and enlightening and visionary. I see it as a very helpful resource for our pastoral staff and parish leadership and I hope during the fall months to engage them in reviewing its content and direction. The 34-page booklet does not provide a ready-made program for a parish to follow or a detail study or plan to implement. Rather, it offers principles that a parish can apply to its efforts in evangelization and missionary discipleship.
I very much agree with the following observation from the booklet, “Pastoral leaders cannot form missionary disciples alone. Evangelizing parishes and therefore missionary disciples foster co-responsibility among the baptized.” Pope Francis reminded the pastoral leaders in the United States of this way of being churched during his apostolic visit in 2015: “One of the great challenges facing the Church in this generation is to foster in all the faithful a sense of personal responsibility for the Church’s mission, and to enable them to fulfill their responsibility as missionary disciples, as a leaven of the Gospel in our world. This will require creativity in adapting to change situations, carrying forward the legacy of the past, not primarily by maintaining our structures and institutions, which have served us well, but overall by being open to the possibilities which the Spirit opens up to us in communicating the joy of the Gospel, daily and in every season of our life.”
The theological and pastoral resources provided in the booklet Living As Missionary Disciples is an aid to assist a parish in its journey towards forming missionary disciples and transforming the world with the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
SOLAR ECLIPSE…A FAITH LESSON!
The moon recently shadowed out the light of the sun in the solar eclipse. However in our faith practice as followers of Jesus we believe that Jesus the Son of God is the Light of the World. Jesus is the Son/Sun who is at the very core of our faith. As the Light of the World, Jesus pierces through all shadows and darkness with the light of eternal life. No shadow or darkness can overcome the light of this Son…Jesus Christ. He proclaims to us, “…I am the light of the world. The person who follows me will not walk in darkness.” He proclaims to us as His followers, “…You are the light of the world; your light must shine before others so that seeing your good deeds they may give all glory to the Father who is in heaven.”
Through the gift of living faith each of us are transmitters of this extraordinary light. How blessed we are to have this Son shine on us and through us.
“KNOW YOUR STAFF” - PARISH RECEPTIONIST
My name is Yvonne LaRoque. I’m a life long Catholic and have been a member of OMOS Parish since 1994. I am a married mother of two beautiful daughters, one son-in-law and two darling grandchildren. One of my daughters attended OMOS school. Her time at this school made such a positive impression on her that when she graduated from the U of A she turned to me and said the OMOS school motto to me, “Hard work pays off!!” I have been an active member in many ministries here at OMOS. After 17 years of being a stay at home mom I am excited to return back to the work force at such an active and faith filled parish that lives out Our Lord’s Beatitudes on a daily basis. Deciding to return to work led to many hours of prayer and contemplation. Saint Anthony had a hand in it too! My prayers were answered with a receptionist position listed in the Sunday bulletin. I officially started working mid-summer and love being able to serve God and OMOS parish in this capacity. Thank you OMOS parish staff for “adopting” me!
Many blessings, Yvonne LaRoque
THE SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY STATIONS …SEPTEMBER 9TH TO SEPTEMBER 15TH
At 7:15pm each evening from September 9th and concluding on the Feast Day of Our Mother of Sorrows on September 15th, a devotional prayer ritual around each of Mary’s stations of sorrow will be celebrated in the Church. Each evening will focus on a particular sorrow of Mary. It will be followed by silent prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the main altar and conclude with Benediction at 8:15pm each evening. A station prayer particular to each day will be included in the each of the daily and weekend Masses during the seven days.
Parishioner Petitions: Parishioners who wish to have particular personal intentions included in the prayers during the seven stations devotions are asked to note their petitions on the special form in front of the image of Our Mother of Sorrows in the Church during these weeks.
CENACLE CHAPEL…REST STOP PLACE
For so many of our parishioners and so many people beyond our parish, our Cenacle Chapel is a rest stop place in the Lord. It is a unique place within our church and our parish plant for encountering the Lord in the prayer of quiet and solitude.
The Word/Scriptures are always in exposition there. The Eucharist/Blessed Sacrament is in exposition there after the 6:30am on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, until 8:45pm each evening. It is in exposition there all day Friday after the 6:30am Mass, all through Friday evening and through the night until 8:00am on Saturday morning. All adorers do an hour of prayerful adoration time during each of the daily adoration hours and on Friday evening/night and Saturday morning. The Blessed Sacrament is in exposition also in the Cenacle Chapel every Sunday after the 12:30pm Mass until 8:45pm each Sunday evening. This prayer chapel is indeed a blessed and graced rest stop place in the Lord. Parishioners are encouraged to befriend the Lord there for a brief or long stop over times during the week. This rest stop place of the Cenacle Chapel is a wonderful way to respond to the Lord’s personal invitation “….Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will refresh you”.
ANNUAL PARISH & SCHOOL FIESTA SEPT. 29, 30, OCT. 1
Our annual parish and school Fiesta will be on the first weekend of October. The annual Fiesta is the single biggest gathering of our parish and school and neighboring community each year. It takes appropriately 300 volunteers to present the Fiesta event each year. Parishioners and school parents are encouraged and invited to sign up for some volunteer hours at the Fiesta during these weeks. You’re encouraged to do so through the parish office. The final day of the Fiesta this year will commence after the 12:30pm Mass on Sunday afternoon. This will give an opportunity for families to enjoy lunch and the many other Fiesta activities from early afternoon into the evening. Our deepest thanks to RJ Saavedra and her family for the huge leadership investment in the Fiesta with the core team and all who plan the Fiesta over a period of many months. The Fiesta event each year creates a unique environment for celebrating community and promoting a network of deepened relationships and friendships. Pray for God’s blessings on all who are involved in presenting the Fiesta and all who will participate in this annual gathering.
“THE VOICE, VISION AND NAME OF POPE FRANCIS” BY LESLYE COLVIN
A man humbly enters the global stage of a hungry world — an abundant world seemingly anesthetized to the reality of those on the margins. Like the one whom he follows did 2000 years ago, he seeks to encounter, to embrace, and to listen to those cast to the peripheries by systems of indifference — the ill, the imprisoned, the migrant, the poor, the refugee, the other. Summarily, his faith and life lessons compel him towards inclusion as he affirms their dignity, their humanity. Before choosing his name, he is reminded to remember the poor, a prophetic act speaking to how he would move forward in this new mission.
“I was seated next to...Cardinal Claudio Hummes...And when the votes reached two thirds, there was the usual applause, because the Pope had been elected. And he gave me a hug and a kiss, and said: ‘Don’t forget the poor!’ And those words came to me: the poor, the poor. Then, right away, thinking of the poor, I thought of Francis of Assisi. Then I thought of all the wars, as the votes were still being counted, till the end. Francis is also the man of peace. That is how the name came into my heart: Francis of Assist. For me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation; these days we do not have a very good relationship with creation, do we? He is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man...How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor!”
Leslye Colvin is the communications coordinator for Gathering for Mission. She has experience in promoting mission and expanding outreach in a variety of sectors including faith-based nonprofit and at the archdiocesan level.
MERCY OUTLETS — SISTER JOSE WOMEN’S CENTER
When asked to make and serve a meal for the women at Sr. Jose's shelter for homeless women I felt an excitement and a little anxiety. I had never done anything like that before yet serving homeless women has been in my heart for some time. Madeleine was super easy to work with ..she is well organized and made the experience fun and effortless. When serving food to the women I was so aware of how all of us are interconnected in Christ. Anyone who has some time and are called to help in this Ministry of preparing and serving food to the women at Sr. Jose's I would strongly suggest you step up. We work as a team and the grace received is far greater than the service given!
Blessings, Christina Hart
Sister Jose Women’s Center annual dinner celebration will be held on Saturday, October 21st at St. Augustine Catholic High School Gym, 8800 E 22nd Street. Silent auction begins at 5pm, dinner at 7pm. Tickets $40. To purchase tickets, contact Jean Fedigan, executive director, at 954-3373.
FIRST VOWS CONSECRATION
Dear Msgr. Tom and OMOS family,
Hello! I hope you have been having a good summer. I wanted to ask for your prayers because my year of 19 novices will make our first religious vows as Daughters of Holy Mary of the Heart of Jesus in Galapagar, Madrid, Spain. Please pray that the Lord may grant us the graces we need to persevere always in faithfulness to the consecration of our lives to Him, and that we might be authentic witnesses of His love and mercy for the world. May His Mother and our Mother always keep you in her care and keep us safe on the path marked out for each one of us. You’re in my prayers as well.
God bless, Sr. Caeles Grace María
Note: Sr. Caeles is a graduate of our school. Her parents Scott Wilson and Dynse Crunkleton are OMOS parishioners.
RRRJC CAMPAIGN STATUS UPDATE
We continue to praise God and be thankful to all those in the parish and school community who have made pledges to the Remember, Renew and Rediscover Jesus Christ Capital Campaign. As of August 18, 2017, $1,054,169 has been pledged and we have received $318,350 in pledge fulfillment – over 30%! As of July 31, 2017 we have incurred $128,148 in campaign expenses and project expenditures. We continue to work hard on planning out the projects targeting the summer of 2018 for the church renewal. The major repairs needed on the campus roofs will begin this fall/early winter. Together we are the family of Our Mother of Sorrows and together we are making a difference for today and for tomorrow for the glory of God and to be a blessing for His people.
Steve Contreras, Parish Business Manager
A PRIEST KIDNAPPED AND RELEASED
Recently we all shared some anxious days with Fr. Richard as one of his community members, Fr. Thaddeus, was kidnapped in Nigeria. A few days later we rejoiced with Fr. Richard and his community when Fr. Thaddeus was released unharmed by his kidnappers.
Seven Sorrows of Mary Novena - September 9~15 at 7:15pm each evening
Staff & Faculty Retreat - September 15
Parish Feast Day - September 15
Fiesta Weekend & White Elephant - September 29, 30, October 1