Letters From a Pastor to His People

  • 24 May 2020 | By

    Letters from a Pastor to His People- May 24, 2020

    Dear Parishioners,

    Clouds are mentioned quite a bit in Sacred Scripture. In the Old Testament, God was manifested in a cloud. We read in the Book of Exodus, "And as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud" (Exodus 16:10). A column of cloud led the Israelites through the desert (cf. Exodus 13:21) and then the shekinah was like a cloud or light that was in the temple of Jerusalem, signifying God's dwelling.

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Father James Wallace

Frankenstein

Mary Shelly's Frankenstein is actually a fitting Easter season novel. Victor Frankenstein is a doctor, scientist, philosopher and inventor. His creation has no name. It is just called 'the monster.' While the creature may look hideous, its brain is actually quite advanced. It appreciates beauty in nature and the love among family members. It reads significant texts like Paradise Lost, knows the Bible, and speaks eloquently. A far cry from the Hollywood ogre grunting for brains.

The Power and the Glory

Graham Green's 1941 novel, The Power and the Glory, centers on an outlaw Catholic priest in 1930s rural Mexico. It received the Hawthornden Prize in British literature and was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 100 best novels of the 20th Century. Today, men studying for the priesthood read the story and priests, like me, reread it throughout their lives.

Pillow-y White Clouds

Letters from a Pastor to His People- May 24, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Clouds are mentioned quite a bit in Sacred Scripture. In the Old Testament, God was manifested in a cloud. We read in the Book of Exodus, "And as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud" (Exodus 16:10). A column of cloud led the Israelites through the desert (cf. Exodus 13:21) and then the shekinah was like a cloud or light that was in the temple of Jerusalem, signifying God's dwelling.

Why Are You Catholic?

Letters from a Pastor to His People- May 17, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Why are you Catholic? Why do you believe in God? Why do you pray and why do you try to live a morally upright life? If you are joyful and peaceful on account of your faith, why?
Don't take offense at these questions. I'm not trying to make you feel guilty or put you on the defensive. And I'm certainly not trying to make you second-guess yourself.

Francisco de Zurbarán's Agnus Dei

 

The simplicity of Francisco de Zurbarán's Agnus Dei (Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain, 1640) draws out intense emotion from the heart of the onlooker.  The 12-month old lamb is laid out on the sacrificial altar, feet corded together and neck graciously offered.  "Like a lamb led to the slaughter, or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth" (Isaiah 53:7). 

The Tower of David

After an initial victory on the plains of Emmaus, Judas Maccabeus and his brothers set out to attack Jerusalem, which had become an enemy stronghold and from which the whole land was controlled.  This is where we hear mention of "the citadel."  Ah, the citadel of Jerusalem! "The sanctuary was trampled on, and foreigners were in the citadel" (1 Maccabees 3:45).

Francois de Montmorency Laval

 

Francois de Montmorency Laval was born to an aristocratic French family in 1623.  Renouncing his family title and estate, Laval became a Catholic priest.  After spending time in prayer and study under the incredible tutelage of Jean-Jacques Olier and future saints Vincent de Paul and John Eudes, Laval was made bishop at age 35 of New France, becoming the first bishop of Canada. 

Let Us Strive for Heaven

 

Letters from a Pastor to His People- May 10, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

This Sunday's Gospel is one we typically read at funerals.  It is meant to be a consoling passage, and one focused on the afterlife.  "Jesus said to his disciples: 'Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places'"(John 14:1-2).

The Good Shepherd

 

Letters from a Pastor to His People- May 3, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

I have a small statue of the Good Shepherd on my bookshelf in my office.  Someone gave this to me when I became pastor.  It is about eight inches or so tall, made of white plaster, and depicts a shepherd (not necessarily Christ) carrying a sheep over his shoulders.  It's an image I'm sure you all are familiar with.

The Road to Emmaus

Letters from a Pastor to His People- April 26, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

The Road to Emmaus.  This road is one we all travel.  "The path of life" as we hear in the responsorial psalm.  We've been walking on this road our entire lives and will continue to walk it until we arrive at our destination in Heaven.  But even then, some say, the road will not end.  In Heaven we will still be journeying deeper into the heart of God.  

This is also the road for the Church.  We see three significant components are present on the road: discipleship, scripture, and the Eucharist.