Letters From a Pastor to His People

  • 25 October 2020 | By

    Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 25, 2020

    Dear Parishioners,

    Picture the most serious love you have.  I'm not thinking about love for the Bears or for White Castle (ok, maybe that's just me), but love for your spouse or for your child or for your parents or siblings.  Do we love God that way?  We have to.  Jesus says so.  We are commanded to love.

    But how can love be a commandment?  You can't be forced to love.  No one forced you to love your husband or wife, and if they did, it probably wouldn't have been love. 

    The way we can be commanded to love is by the part of love that involves the will.  For love is not simply a feeling.  It is an act of the will.  You cannot force feelings.  You can, however, force or command your will.



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The Probiscus Monkey

A parishioner recently showed me pictures from a trip to Southeast Asia, one of which included a proboscis monkey.  I had never before seen or heard of this animal endemic to Indonesia.  I almost thought the picture was joke, like this was man dressed as a mascot, so funny and unique looking the animal was with its height, potbelly and long nose.  I wondered if instead of bananas the species eats bratwursts and drinks Coors Lights.

Reverence God on Labor Day?

One of the ways we reverence God is by properly celebrating holidays. 

When we reverence someone or something the most fundamental thing we do is pause and acknowledge.  If we are before a revered object and continue checking our phone, we are unconsciously stating the object before us is not that significant.  We fill ourselves with what we think is necessary, and we continue on the path—more a rut—of self-absorption. 

Fraternal Correction

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 6, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

In the priesthood there is an idea known as "fraternal correction."  In fact, I remember in seminary having an evening of formation dedicated to this topic, so important a subject it was.  Fraternal correction is delicately approaching a brother priest to help him deal with something that might be an issue in his life.  It could be something as simple as letting him know he has bad breath to calling him out on a serious vice.

Moderation and Temperance

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 30, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

When I first started seminary in the fall of 2007 right after graduating college, I remember going to the gym downstairs in the seminary basement to work out. On the wall by the bench press was this quote from today's second reading: "offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1).

Yo, bro, you lift?

I heard Jesus say that to me. Just kidding.

St. Peter

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 23, 2020

I love Saint Peter. He has to be my favorite saint. I know I joke with the daily Mass crowd often in my homilies about how I have hundreds of "favorite saints"; how my "top five" list of saints contains about 50. But this I really mean, and I really mean that. Beside the Blessed Mother, Saint Peter is my favorite. The kids in school often ask me who my favorite saint is, and my response is always Peter.

The Canaanite Women


Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 16, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Have you asked or hoped for something recently and not received? Then you are in company with the Canaanite woman from the Gospel.

Let me quote at length words from Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, who is the preacher of the papal household.

The Order of Elijah

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 9, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

One cannot think of Elijah without thinking about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Elijah was the first contemplative monk. He lived atop Mount Carmel in prayer and asceticism. He drew others to follow him. It was said when he prophesied rain to relieve Israel in the midst of a terrible drought, he saw a cloud in the shape of a foot rising from the sea. He understood this as the sign that the drought would end, but more importantly that the Messiah would come. Elijah saw this foot as the foot of the Virgin Woman, who would be the mother of the Messiah. She, the immaculate cloud, would rise from the blue sea of humanity.

When In Trouble, Run To God!

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 2, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

To quote Michael Jordan, "I'm back."  (No, I'm not comparing myself to Michael Jordan.  If anything I'm like Jud Buechler...at best--no disrespect to Jud.) I have returned from my 30-Day silent retreat.  Thank you all for your understanding and support, and thank you especially to Father Emanuel and the parish staff who kept the place running.

            Speaking of staff, I would like to welcome again the new principal of Saint Juliana School, Ms. Cathie Scotkovsky.  Cathie started July 1st and has been hard at work getting ready for the new school year.  She is an SJS alum herself and we are very excited for her leadership of our school!

Are You Wheat or A Weed?

Letters from a Pastor to His People- July 19, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

I am currently in the "Third Week" of my 30-Day Retreat according to the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Though I wrote this bulletin article back in June before departing, I know that what I am about to say is true: I have been praying for you all and for your intentions.

Take a 30-Day Retreat With Me

Letters from a Pastor to His People- July 12, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Just a reminder, I am away currently and will be for the entire month of July making a 30-Day Retreat.  I wrote this week’s letter, and the upcoming letters, ahead of time, just to offer a little spiritual reflection on the readings.  I would also, however, like to provide some wisdom from St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Perhaps you could do a little "30-Day Retreat" with me.

Jesus provides in our Gospel this week the classic parable of the Sower.  We are the ground.  Jesus sows his grace and his word upon us.  The question is, what kind of ground are we?  Are we a path, rocky ground, a field with thorn bushes, or rich soil?