Letters From a Pastor to His People

  • 05 April 2020 | By

    Letters from a Pastor to His People- April 5, 2020

    Dear Parishioners,

    Do you remember what we heard nearly six weeks ago? 

    Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.

    My God Ash Wednesday seems like an eternity ago.  The church was packed, people were coming in and out of the office and parish center, and the school and other groups were humming along.

    And then the Coronavirus hit.

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Cor Ad Cor Loquitur

Fr. James with a toddler in a Baby Priest Halloween costume
 

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 27, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

John Henry Newman was canonized a saint two weekends ago by Pope Francis.  Newman was an English priest from the 19th Century.  Originally an Anglican, he converted to Catholicism and was later in life made a Cardinal in the Church.  He was (and still is) an intellectual giant, writing very influential texts such as Essay on the Grammar of Assent and his spiritual autobiography called Apologia Pro Vita Sua.  For a few years he was rector of the Catholic University of Ireland, which led him to write The Idea of a University.  Catholic student centers at various universities around the country are called "Newman Centers" because of this.  I'll be forever grateful to the Newman Center of my alma mater, which helped my faith and ultimately led me to the priesthood.

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Prayer is a Battle

Father James at Regina High School with the SJS alumni

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 20, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

The Old Testament has so many great images of prayer, and particularly military images, which I like since I enjoy studying military history.  The Books of Joshua and Judges are particularly interesting.  For instance, there is Joshua's defeat of Jericho, which is done simply by having his army march around the outer walls seven times on seven consecutive days and then finally blowing a trumpet (cf. Joshua 6).  Or the story of Gideon, who, with only three hundred soldiers carrying empty jars with torches inside them, defeats the Midianite army that was "as numerous as locusts" (Judges 7:12).  In the first reading this Sunday we have the conquest of the Amalekites because Moses, overlooking the battle from a mountaintop, keeps his arms literally raised in the air.

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Stir into Flame the Gift of God

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 6, 2019

Dear Parishioners, 

Praying is my favorite activity.  Yes, more than watching sports.  When I see, hear, or read something that even comes close to the topic of prayer, I want to discuss it.  These readings, in my opinion, can be connected to prayer.

The first reading from the prophet Habakkuk is itself a prayer, and a beautiful one at that.  The author is in a difficult situation and authentically calling out to God for help.  The Lord answers him, basically telling him to hang tight and trust.

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I've gone to Mass...maybe now I'll win the Queen of Hearts

Fr. James with the SPRED group.  SPRED will be serving Mass this Sunday at 11am

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 29, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

One message in this haunting story of the rich man (sometimes called 'Dives') and Lazarus is misfortune.  By the way, this isn't technically classified as a parable, since many think it was a true story (parables are fictional accounts).

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When we pray...

Father James and Kevin Matthews, Award Recipient of the John McDonough Humanitarian Award 

wirh Dcn Hank Lyon & Sem Kevin Gregus at the 2nd Annual St Juliana Emerald City Gala

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 22, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

Saint Paul says this to Timothy: "It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument" (1 Timothy 2:8).  Of all the things Paul could have expressed, prayer is what he mentions.  Paul wants people to pray.  Prayer is so important, so fundamental; arguably more fundamental than the Sacraments. 

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Compunction

Father James opening prayer at Theology on Tap at Mo' Dailey's

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 15, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

Compunction is a virtue we don't hear about too much anymore.  The only time it is mentioned in the Liturgy (to my knowledge) is on Ash Wednesday.  The priest says this prayer over the people at the end of the Mass:

Pour out a spirit of compunction, O God,

on those who bow before your majesty,

and by your mercy may they merit the rewards you promise

to those who do penance.

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Renounce and Detach

Father James with Blackhawks CEO, John McDonough at the 2018 Emerald City Gala

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 8, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

When I decided to say yes to God's call to become a priest when I was in college, I remember one of the impositions of the priesthood that gave me some excitement was poverty.  Whereas I may have been a little afraid or at least uncertain of celibacy or obedience, I looked forward to renouncing the life of wealth and comfort.  And it hasn't disappointed seven years into priesthood.

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The Virtue of Humility by Cardinal Merry de Val

Father James going back to school? First day of school.

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 1, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

In the crypt of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome are the tombs of many popes, including the first and greatest pope himself.  There is one tomb, however, that is unique.  Just to the right of St. Peter is a marble sarcophagus with the name etched in: Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val.  Yes, cardinals are important, but why this cardinal, among all the thousands in the history of the Church, in this preeminent spot?  Because Cardinal Merry del Val possessed the preeminent virtue: humility.

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We Are Called to Action

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 25, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

You've all seen action movies.  I have in my mind this image, from so many movies, of the heroes trying to enter a sealed and guarded building.  They take a car or truck and bust through the gates. 

Our Lord says, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate" (Luke 13:22-30). Sometimes we have to "bust through" the narrow gate.  That is, we don't enter the narrow gate to heaven by squeezing through or taking the long route or by some trickery.  We take action and plow through. 

Jesus then says the following: "And you will say, 'We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.' Then he will say to you, 'I do not know where you are from. Depart from me you evildoers.'"

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The Saints Are Cheering Us On

The Men's Club Golf Outing is next Saturday, August 24th. 

Golf is followed by an after-party in the parish courtyard. 

Thanks to all who organized the event!  

 

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 18, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

Christ set the world on fire 2,000 years ago and it has been burning ever since.  The fire has been kept alive by the holy women and women who have lived the faith, in particular the saints.  And so it is the communion of saints that I want to focus on in this letter.

"Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses," says the Letter to the Hebrews, "let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus" (Hebrews 12:10). 

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