ST. THOMAS MORE UNIVERSITY PARISH: OUR UNIQUE MISSION
The young people who gather here for Mass, Bible studies, sacramental preparation, service projects and fellowship represent the future of the Church in Oklahoma, Texas and beyond. Our mission is unlike that of any other parish within the Archdiocese: find the next generation, call them to Christ and prepare them for leadership roles. As the University of Oklahoma grows, our mission grows in scope and urgency.
To accomplish our mission, we must also serve the larger university community. Professors and staff, along with their families, provide an invaluable resource by which we are able to provide and model for students a diverse community of faith. At this writing, St. Thomas More University Parish is blessed with well over six hundred families. Together, we are the Catholic presence on the OU campus.
We also need faithful partners from all across Norman, central Oklahoma and the country. Serious Catholics who understand the need to evangelize the nation’s university students are our greatest allies. The rising tide of secularism; the militant atheistic movement; the materialistic culture: all of these forces contend with us for the hearts and minds of today’s students. Without a vigorous outreach effort, many Catholic students may simply leave the Church, unaware of our rich intellectual and spiritual treasury.
If you would like to know more about us, please visit us. I and my staff are always happy to give tours of our facilities and detail our current ministries. This is a very exciting time to be involved in Campus Ministry and we are filled with hope for the future.
Thanks for visiting our website. God bless you.
Father Jim Goins,
September 4, 2012
Men of St. Thomas More!!
Consider joining the new Thursday morning Men of Honor Group. Yes, it’s at 6:30 a.m. in the overflow room. Start your day with prayer and fellowship (and, I promise, some coffee).
Now more than ever, men need a clear and specific spirituality. Men need scripture and prayer. Men also need to know that there are other men out there who are serious about their faith life.
Remember, an early start to your day can be an act of sacrifice and penance for sin.
ST. THOMAS MORE LEGACY PROJECT
One of the myths about planned giving is that only wealthy people can or should do it. In reality, most gifts given to charities via wills or trusts are modest. What is more important than the monetary value of the gift is the passion the gift symoblizes. Passion for a cherished cause is the primary reason people give planned gifts.
I invite you to join a new organization within the parish, the St. Thomas More Legacy Project. To become a part of this project, you need only affirm that you have done estate planning and that you have included a gift to St. Thomas More. You will never be asked to reveal the amount of the gift.
Project members will be invited to praticipate in special Masses and social fellowships. In addition, their insights, suggestions and counsel will be sought out.
If you have a passion for winning souls for Christ, St. Thomas More Parish is a worthy recipient of your charity.
Remember that a planned gift costs you nothing in this life and I am confident it will speak well of you in the next. Consult your attorney and/or estate specialist and tell them you wish to leave something to St. Thomas More. You won't regret it.
Years ago, while pastor in Grant County, Oklahoma, Christmas Eve found me traveling between Medford and Wakita to celebrate a late night Mass. It was bitterly cold and there was a chance for a light dusting of snow or ice. I was preoccupied with concerns for the size of the crowd and lingering doubts about the worth of my homily.
The road between Medford and Wakita is a lonely stretch of shoulderless highway lightly traveled and mainly by large cattle trucks. It is not uncommon to travel Highway 11 and never encounter another vehicle. The view of the night sky from there is normally stunning, but on this overcast night it was vaguely foreboding. Half way along my route, I was surprised to see a station wagon pulled off the road, its emergency lights flashing.
I pulled over and stepped out of the car, my heavy coat hiding the Roman collar. I could see a woman and several children in the station wagon. She rolled down her window and said, in a teary, tissue paper voice, “Oh, thank you! I was just praying that someone would come by and help us.” Of course, when she realized that I was a priest, she was convinced of something just shy of a miracle. I was able to take them to a gas station down the road, where she phoned relatives and a tow truck. (These the days before everyone had cellular phones.) She told everyone at the station about her desperate prayer and my prompt arrival. And, he’s a priest!, she kept saying.
Christmas is about miracles, large and small. The miraculous birth of Jesus is, of course, the central story. The incarnation is the first and abiding mystery within Christianity. God come to earth, God become a poor child lying in a manger, is a gospel startling in its simplicity and its audacity. Yet, it is this mystery, this miracle, in which we root our hope, faith and joy.
Christmas also gives us the capacity to embrace the power of miracle as it orders—or, perhaps, reorders—our lives. Each year, the Feast of Christmas melts countless hardened hearts and frees world weary men and women to reveal their more generous self. Most of us do become more generous, more sentimental at Christmas time. Some are moved to return to church or family, to forgive a lingering grudge or embrace the stranger. This is how miracle moves among us, within us.
Know of my prayers for you and yours this Feast of Christmas. I am honored to be your pastor and am enjoying my time here at St. Thomas More. As my good friend Father Stansberry reminded me recently, while we were in seminary, dreaming of future assignments, I had hopes of one day serving here. God listens and is good to us.
In the coming year, we will dedicate our shrine to ‘Our Lady of Life’. The statue of Our Blessed Lady with the baby Jesus on her lap is one I trust you will find appropriate and beautiful. My hope is that the shrine will speak to hearts and remind our corner of the world of the ‘miracle of life, every moment’ (Thorton Wilder).
In Christ, Lord and Savior,
Father Jim Goins
WHAT MAKES FOR A 'DEVOUT' CATHOLIC?
I have a non Catholic friend who once asked me to explain what I meant when I described an attorney we both know as a 'devout' Catholic. I stumbled through an answer but have since thought more seriously about his question.
I believe devout Catholics display the following traits:
1) the devout take the obligation to attend Sunday Eucharist seriously and rarely, if ever, absent themeselves without good cause;
2) the devout make a worthy confession more than just once a year (the threshold obligation) and their confessions are not attempts at self-justification. rather, they are honest accountings of misdeeds and character flaws yet hopeful that grace can help them overcome sin;
3) the devout are givers rather than takers; they support their Parish and they give generously to the poor;
4) the devout have a prayer life beyond Sunday morning: the rosary, Daily Mass, scripture reading, etc..;
5) the devout are rarely judgmental about non devote Catholics.
OF SEVERAL THINGS, MAY 2011
We bid a farewell this month to many of our students. I'm sure most of our graduating seniors (and graduate students who have earned their Master's or PhD) sometimes doubted that this day would ever arrive. Well, it has. Welcome to the rest of your life! The adventure is just beginning....
Our prayers and good wishes go with you. Come back and visit often.
We are planning to install a second tabernacle, in addition to the one in our 24/7 prayer chapel. The new tabernacle will be placed behind our altar, just under the crucifix.
My pastoral goals and intentions are: 1) to promote a greater respect and awareness of the presence of Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist; 2) to end the practise of sending someone out of the assembly to another room to retrieve the Blessed Sacrament (and then, sending them back after communion; 3) to enhance the visual atmosphere of our worship space.
Mike Tobin of our parish, who crafted our altar and our lectern, will craft the atlar of repose on which the new tabernacle will be place. The tabernacle will soon be ordered and should cost approximately $4,500. It is a simple but attractive piece in keeping with our physical space.
If you would like to contribute toward the cost, please see me.
I read just today that the Bishops in the UK have asked their flocks to return to the ancient Catholic custom of abstaining from meat on all Fridays. I pray the American church will also return to this practise. In the meantime, I would encourage you to go without meat on all Fridays. It's a powerful way to pray and to unite oneself to the sufferings of Christ.
The Triduum, 2011
The events surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus proved at first too shattering, then too monumental for the primitive Church to celebrate in one single day. Thus, the "Easter event" embraces three days within the Christian calendar. It is termed the Triduum and forms its own, mini season within the Church's liturgical year.
First, there is Holy Thursday, the evening in which the Church remembers and gives thanks for the institution of the Holy Eucharist (itself a 'thanksgiving'). It is also the evening in which the Church's priests imitate Christ's humility and wash their people's feet. Holy Thursday is the 'night before he suffered,' the chance for the Church to reflect upon the Lord's determination to not leave the world until he taught his disciples how to be a community of believers. Holy Thursday ends with the veneration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, a wonderful custom of praying before the Blessed Sacrament until it is sequestered away in preparation for Good Friday.
Good Friday calls the Church to confront and venerate the extraordinary sufferings of Christ. It should be a day of thoughtful silence, a day during which the faithful step back from the trivial ambitions or pleasures of the world. The Man of Sorrows leads us to ground in which blood and grace mix. Catholics are called to the cross this day, called to acknowledge that we are marked by the wounds of Christ. Not meaningless wounds of defeat, but wounds that won us victory over sin and death.
The great Easter Vigil, celebrated on Holy Saturday night, must begin in darkness. A new fire is lit and its flame spreads among those eager to search for Christ among the living. The Easter Vigil is the moment the Church welcomes converts into the waters of baptism and accepts those already baptized into full communion. This Mass is the highest point in the Church's year. It's rather a shame so few Catholics have ever attend an Easter Vigil Mass.
May you and yours be blessed over these next days of grace. Know of my prayers.
THE LOST ART OF CONFESSION
"The hardest thing is for me to forgive myself"
This is, apparently, a minority theological opinion, but I don't believe that it is possible to forgive onesself. I suspect our angst over that quest is really a botched attempt to accept the need for and/or the reality of the grace of God. Forgiveness is an "I - Thou" experience: God forgives me; I forgive my neighbor.
The obsession with self forgiveness may be a byproduct of our intensely psychological age. We are a culture trapped in its head and we often find it difficult to transcend the limits of our inner thoughts, the confines of the ego. Modern man is his own judge, priest and, sometimes, his own god.
The sacrament of Confession (aka, Penance, Reconciliation) assumes that we are in need of grace from a source beyond us. A humble heart, aware of the reality of sin but not despairing, can be transformed by a confessional encounter. "This is my life, this is who I am. Some of my life is holy but what I tell you now is in need of redemption."
Catholics are asked to make at least one confession a year to a priest and accept penance and absolution. Venial sins (everyday days) may be forgiven in any number of ways but are always appropriate for the confessional. Mortal sins (soul killing sins) are normally reconcilied through the sacrament of Confession.
On Tuesday, April 12th, at 6pm sharp, several priests will be here at St. Thomas More and will be available to hear your confession. There will be no liturgical service really (so don't come too late), just the presence of the priests and the time to confess. Pray to the Holy Spirit and ask him to help you discern your sins and your need to confess them.
FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT, 2011
We begin Lent by meditating on the Lord's time in the wilderness, fasting and praying and being tempted by the Devil. It's interesting that Jesus must first be tested before he begins his public ministry. The three temptations offered by Satan give us a clear view into Jesus' full humanity. The Lord was not simply pretending to be a man; he knew the same desires and wants that all men and women experience.
The first temptation is one basic to all of us: live not for God but for the demands of "the stomach," the basic passions. People who choose to live on this level rarely contemplate the higher ideas. They are too busy eating, drinking, carousing, buying things to stuff in their garage. In fact, one form of (passive) atheism is the life of the man who simply never thinks about God.
The second temptation is the temptation to "test God." If you are who you think you are, the Devil snarls, throw yourself down from this great height and force God to rescue you. The temptation to put God to the test occurs more often than we realize. Who among us has not lived or loved recklessly, assuming on some level that, if there really be a loving God watching over us, he will make all things turn out right for us? For some people, this temptation becomes the narrative of their life: a tug of war between the soul's death wish and the God's will to save them.
The final temptation is the hunger for power. Do not assume that only 'great' men and women wrestle with this temptation. There is the daily struggle to forge a pecking order and to place ourselves at the top of it. Classism, racism, sexism: each is rooted in this temptation.
So, then, how to resist? How to overcome temptation? There is no secret formula. Jesus went to the wilderness to fast and pray. He knew the scriptures well enough to quote them and, more importantly, understood their meaning. Fast+ pray + learn the scriptures. This is the well documented but-- for some-- boring formula for spiritual growth.
(I am reminded of something a professor once told me. She had a student come to her office a mid term, pleading for help. He was struggling with the material and feared for his grade. What more can I do?, he asked. She thought for a minute and said, well, you've read the text, of course... No!, the student said, would that help?)
Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time, 2011
The uselessness of worrying
I admit that I am prone to worry. Most often, I catch myself worrying over parish matters but it's amazing to me what sorts of topics can crowd my mind. Thus, the passage from the gospel speaks to me on a very personal level.
Worry is that malicious angel who visits an unquiet soul and plants seeds of doubt; doubt in the goodness of God or the power of God to order all things for the good of his children. Worry enjoys the tossing and turning we do, our desperate ruminating on what might happen, the rise in our blood pressure.
Jesus, on the other hand, urged his followers to live in the moment. The future does not yet exist and can not be shaped by our obession with it, he noted. Look to the birds, he said, and see how even they are watched over by our good and gracious Father.
As I write this, outside my office window, all manner of birds gather around a feeder stocked with seed. Despite all the dangers of their everyday life, the birds of the air manage to find their way to goodness, manage to discover the stores of food tucked away here and there. If they worried as much as we do, they would be too terrified to land anywhere long enough to feed.
The only antidote to worry that works for me is prayer, especially the rosary and quiet time before the Blessed Sacrament. When I lose myself in the presence of God, all that worrisome talk within my mind fades. Grace would flow as freely as worry if we but choose it.
Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time, 2011
"love your enemies; do good to those who hate you"
The readings for this Sunday are a continuation of the teachings we heard last Sunday. Jesus comes not to abolish the law and prophets but to fulfill all that was taught before his presence in this world. The fulfillment of law urges humanity forward to a new and deeper understanding of what it means to serve God.
This week we are told to love our enemies. While last week's "if you hand offends you, cut it off" teaching is clearly not meant to be taken literally, the command to love the enemy has no trace of hyperbole.
Bear in mind that Jesus never called anyone to do anything easy. In my opinion, one meaning of the word 'Gospel' should be 'difficult'. Returning goodness to those who give out hatred is Gospel, pure and simple. How to be faithful to that command remains a struggle for people of faith.
Bud Welch of our Archdiocese lost his beloved daughter, Julie, in the bombing of the Federal Building. In the aftermath of that terrible day, when a wave of anger swept over the city and Timothy McVeigh became for us the personification of evil, Bud befriended McVeigh's father, who himself was shattered, broken by the events. Welch became a disciple of the transformative power of forgiveness, which, in truth, is the only way out of the darkness of hate and anger.
Jesus was once asked, "who is my neighbor?" He responded with a story of a Samaritian, a traditional cultural enemy of the Jews. I suppose that means I have no enemies, only neighbors I dislike intensely.
Why ADF Matters
Each year, in February, the Archbishop appeals to each of his parishes for financial support. Gifts to the annual appeal enable the Archbishop to continue the many and varied ministries that unite us as an Archdiocese. Without the annual gifts, given by thousands of faithful lay people and by the priests, deacons and parish employees, the Archbishop's pastoral work would be impaired.
For example, ADF supports the healing work of our MarriageTribunal Office. ADF supports the summer youth camp, Our Lady of Guadalupe. ADF funds the Sooner Catholic, our newspaper, and the Family Life Office. The education of our seminarians is made possible by ADF monies. Most importantly for St. Thomas More University Parish, ADF funds campus ministry.
We have a new Archbishop, the Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley. He has a reputation for being greatly concerned for young people and for the fostering of vocations. A gift to his ministry would be timely and would signal to him that we at STM seek to be partners in his ministry.
If you have not yet given, please do so. Not gift is too grand or too humble as long as it reflects your ability and station in life.
A note regarding the structure of our liturgical ministry.........
As many of you know, we no longer employ a full time Director of Music. Sadly, the cost of a full time position was more than our resources could bear. We have financial challenges (as all parishes do) and I am something of a "bottom line" type of pastor.
Instead of a full time Music Director, we have partnered with the University of Oklahoma School of Organ and have employed a part time Music Intern, Nolan Riley. We are charged with the task of mentoring his considerable talents. An OU Sophomore, Nolan is from a well known OKC Catholic family and grew up at Our Lady's Cathedral. He is a student of Oliver Doberly, the well respected organist at Our Lady's. Those who know organ music tell me one can hear Oliver's influence in Nolan's work. That is a very good sign.
Because Nolan is a student and because Erin Cleto, our Campus Minister, has a background in Liturgy, Erin has agreed to take on the additional role of supervising our liturgical worship. Erin holds a Masters in Sacred Liturgy from St. John's in Collegeville, MN, a well known and well respected Benedictine institution. Erin is Nolan's direct supervisor. I work with the two of them to forge a new path for our music program. Almost immediately upon my arrival as Pastor, I began thinking about the need to draw more fully from Erin's education and talents. I am grateful that she has agreed to expand her duties.
Our hope is to bring more diversity to our music: Latin Chants, African American spirituals, Spanish language music, classic Catholic hymns, contemporary praise music. Ours is a vast Church that sings in many voices and in many styles. St. Thomas More needs to reflect that graced array of song.
Finally, I am aware that, for some, the transition to our new music program was painful. Change is never easy and this decision was not an easy one for me. Know that the change was 'processed' with the Parish Council, the Finance Committee and the Archdiocese. I am convinced it was the right decision and I am hopeful that our music program is on the threshold of a major growth.
Encourage Nolan. Compliment the cantors when they sing beautifully (and they do!). Volunteer to sing in the Schola or the 11 am choir. And, as always, be positive!
Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, 2011: Leave the gift; reconcile first, then return
"if you come to the altar and remember that your brother has something against you, leave you gift and go and reconcile with your brother..."
As a lawyer/priest, I must confess that I enjoy this passage from Matthew's gospel. The stern warning to settle disputes before they end up before a judge is not just sound spiritual advice, it's also sound legal advice.
Years ago, before I went to law school, a lawyer I much admired told me of a case he once had before a judge in Poteau, Oklahoma. I am from that part of Oklahoma (known as 'Little Dixie') and he knew I would appreciate the tale.
"I had the law clearly on my side", he said, "and I argued it well". Finally, the irritated judge looked at him and said, "Son, that may be the law in Oklahoma City, but it ain't the law here in Leflore County".
From a spiritual perspective, it is best to resolve as much conflict on this side as possible. Judgment Day awaits us and it promises to be a trial by fire even for the best among us. The work of reconciliation is an essential part of the daily Christian journey.
Let me offer practicle advice on resolving conflict. First, assume that conflict will occur, even in the best marriages, the strongest families and among the most loving of friends. Don't let an unhealthy fear of conflict settle in your bones. Face it bravely and calmly. Second, when in conflict with someone else, avoid the temptation to cast them in the role of villain. Also avoid the tendency to take your complaints to the wider world. It's important to attempt a private reconciliation first. Third, conflict can not be resolved until someone is willing to make the leap to radical forgiveness. Forgiveness does not condone or excuse dysfunctional behavior; rather, it allows us to rise above the bitterness that injuries and slights plant within us. Finally, let us be realistic. Some conflict, some wounds will not be healed in this world. We are being prepared for a coming judgment and reconciliation. Catholics believe that the work of redemption will continue even after death. Thus, there is hope for an ultimate healing of the even the most painful conflicts that bedevil us in this world.
Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time, 2011: Salt and light
"no one lights a lamp and hides it under a bushel basket"
The Church exists in the world for this reason: to lead all men and women to Christ Jesus. We are expected to be salt and light for the world, expected to be that amazing city shining on a hillside. When church "works", it unleashes transformative power and empowers people to change for the better.
Sadly, the Church can grow stale, fat and lazy. Our light can wane. Jesus warned us that if we lose our flavor, we are of no use to the world.
At St. Thomas More University Parish, we wage a constant struggle to evangelize a new generation of college students. We seek to provide a warm atmosphere of faith for young families. We strive to make room for the elderly in our busy lives. We are convinced that lamps of faith must be constantly trimmed; we do not take light for granted.
On a personal level, know that prayer and attention to the sacramental life will help you keep you salted. Eucharist will keep you above the flood of sin; confession will keep you honest; biblical reading will keep you aware of God's plan for your life. You have been given light; let it shine.
BAPTISM OF THE LORD, 2011
Catholics hold and teach that baptism is something we do only once in this life. If those seeking full communion with our Church have already enjoyed baptism in water and under the Trinitarian formula ("in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit"), we do not require a second baptism.
As Christ Jesus went down into the waters of baptism only once, as he died only once, as he rose from the dead only once, so we need go into the waters of baptism only once.
Jesus' baptism marked his willingness to enter fully into the will of the Father; his willingness to endure the cross for our salvation. Baptism cleansed him of no sin because he was, by nature, sinless. As St. Aquinas noted, Jesus cleansed the water and gave it to his disciples as an outward sign of inner grace.
The U.S. Bishops have asked that parishes use this Sunday to meditate on the vocation to priesthood. The Baptism of the Lord is a good starting point to contemplate the call to priesthood. Priests are asked to accept a close imitation of the life of Jesus, especially his willingness to forsake all things in order to accomplish the will of the Father.
The priest should stand in the midst of the community as a man pointing away from the concerns and allures of this life. A priest is meant to be a living sign of ultimate reality; a sign to the people that all things but God will pass away from us. The rule of celibacy, though hotly debated these days, is wrapped up in this radical identification with the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven and the fleeting pleasures of this world.
Jesus' baptism marked the beginning of his long road to Jerusalem. As his way proved difficult, so the call to priesthood is difficult. It is no small matter to forsake the comfort, the grace of wife and family. Yet, Christ himself called certain men to a radical form of discipleship. In truth, he never called anyone to do anything easy. And, as counter intuitive as it seems, it is only in the struggle to fulfill the will of God that we find true and lasting joy.
If you know a young man who exhibits the traits necessary to be a priest, encourage him to consider the calling. Men, if you feel you are being called to priesthood, don't hesitate to speak with me. I would be very happy to share with you the joys of this life.
Oh, and Happy New Year!
"and here is a sign for you, you will find a child..."
No doubt, each of us brings to the Feast of Christmas our own, intensely private, image of the Christ child. We carry Bethlehem within us; we travel life with a sacred image of a child we have known, or seen. Or, I wonder, is it the child we ourselves once were that remains with us?
Years ago, while still a seminarian, I was sent to northern Mexico to study Spanish and absorb culture. I was placed with a poor family who spoke little English. Their warmth and generosity toward me was astonishing.
The head of the family--I remember only his nickname, Guapo--peddled handcarved signs door to door. I tagged along with him one especially hot day as he traveled the countryside via train. He sold nothing that trip but remained ever cheerful and anxious to show me the best of Mexican life.
On the way home, the train was delayed for hours. Swarms of people waited quietly and without complaint. The poor, I think, are born knowing how to wait. I, on the other hand, was miserable sitting there in the dirt beside a raildroad track that seemed to stretch forever into the joyless scrubland.
At long last, the wait was broken by the weak sound of a distant train. I will never forget that sound; never forget how it had the power to awaken a waiting world.
And this I remember: a small Mexican boy, wearing pants two sizes too big and a t-shirt two sizes too small, broke free of his mother's arms and began running down the track toward the sound of the struggling train, laughing and clapping his hands.
His mother only watched him with dark eyes I could not read. An old woman crouched next to her cried soflty to the boy, Ven, amor, ven. Come, love, come.
Old enough now to be a grandfather (and, I suspect, like so many childless people, nostaglic for the son I never had), I still carefully unpack that image-- that interior icon of one improvished but happy child-- each Christmas eve. When I venerate the altar at Midnight Mass, I always try to remember to whisper Ven, amor, ven.
Because the Son of God chose to come to us as a child, every child becomes a sign of God's presence in the world. As long as there is heard the laughter of children, we will know there is grace remaining on this earth.
May you and yours be blessed this Christmas. Know that I pray for you and that I am proud and happy to be your priest.
FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT, 2010
Advent is drawing to a close. For a final reflection on our desire to see the coming of God, I borrow from an ancient sermon preached by Peter Chrysologus. Mediating on humanity's desire for divine love, Chrsologus said:
"...the law of love is not concerned with what will be, what ought to be, what can be. Love does not reflect; it is unreasonable and knows no moderation. Love refuses to be consoled when its goal proves impossible, despises all hindrances to the attainment of its object. Loves destroys the lover if he cannot obtain what he loves; love follows its own promptings, and dos not think of right and wrong...It is intolerable for love not to see the object of its longing."
I can not improve on those eloquent words. Come, love, come; your people wait for thee.
THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT, 2010
Gaudete is Latin for "Rejoice". This, the third Sunday of the Advent Season, is Gaudete Sunday. The theme of rejoicing is taken from Phillippians 4: 4-5, "May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again: Rejoice!".
While the first two weeks of Advent contain a somewhat austere undercurrent, the Church now turns its heart to the joyous mystery of the coming of Christ as a man. The Father's plan of salvation now takes flesh and we, the sons of daughters of Adam, are given a new birth in hope.
If faith is belief in things unseen, hope is the willingness to wait for the dawn; the confidence that what is promised will come to light.
Take a break from the world's near constant bad news. There is something worth celebrating and joy will not be denied.
FEAST OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, 2010
It's hard to imagine a world free of the curse of original sin, hard to imagine the horizon not darkened with human arrogance.
Catholics teach and believe that the Virgin Mary was preserved from the corrupting power of sin from the very first moment of her journey through life. This preservation was her salvation. For Mary, the liberation from sin gave her the ability to see and hear the angel Gabriel with a pure heart. God gifted Mary with a life free from the stain of sin; Mary gifted God her trust, her 'yes', her womb.
BOOKS AND THE AWAKENING OF THE SOUL
Forgive a brief personal story. When I was a boy, our doorbell rang one day and an encyclopedia salesman stepped into our living room. He changed my life.
My parents were of modest means and had six children. Thus, though I didn't know it at the time, their decision to 'invest' in the enclyopedias represented a steep sacrifice for them.
I will never forget the day the books arrived. It was as if the world was being unpacked right there on our coffee table. From the first day we owned them, and for years afterward, I read the various articles and was amazed at how they expanded my horizons.
Books have the ability to awaken a love for learning. Learning can awakend a desire to find, to know God.
This week at STM, we're collecting children's books. Some will be gifted to the All Saints School library and some will be placed into food baskets and given to poor families with chidlren. (Food for body and mind!)
Books of all reading levels are welcomed and they do not have to be religious in nature. Bring them to our office or to Mass this weekend. If you dislike shopping, cash donations are welcomed.