Letters From a Pastor to His People

  • 12 July 2020 | By

    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?



St. Juliana Cancer Support Group

Letters from a Pastor to His People- November 17, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

At first glance, you might look at these readings and not have a warm, fuzzy feeling.  They might not appear very consoling to you.  "Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven...We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way...There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place...You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death...You will be hated by all because of my name..."


Yes, it is actually, 'yipee.'  At least it is 'yipee' to me, and not because I'm a masochist.  I take consolation in these readings because they affirm to me how awesome Jesus was and how, once again, the most important thing is our soul and not any material object.


Because We Love God!

Saint Juliana School recently went to Feed My Starving Children to pack meals for the poor.

Letters from a Pastor to His People- November 10, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

Why would the seven brothers, along with their mother, undergo horrible tortures unto their death?  Because they love God.

Why would some people, as our Lord says in today's Gospel, "neither marry nor be given in marriage?"  Same answer.  Because they love God. 

Now, I know our Lord is describing the afterlife.  That is, he is saying we will not be married to our spouse anymore when we are in Heaven.  In Heaven we are all "married."  We are all swept up in love in the communion of saints, and that love is greater than any love we could ever experience on this earth. 


Confronted By Jericho

Congratulations SJS athletics on good fall seasons

Letters from a Pastor to His People- November 3, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

We have been reading for several weeks now the "travel narrative"—Jesus' journey towards Jerusalem after the conclusion of his Galilean ministry.  This week we read about his stop in Jericho, a town about twenty miles outside Jerusalem. 

Herod the Great had built up Jericho and Herod's son, Archelaus, erected a massive palace and was currently living in it.  Jericho was, therefore, somewhat of an abject city.  Proof of this is that the chief tax collector of the entire region, Zacchaeus, made his residence there.  Zacchaeus was fairly immoral.  Tax collectors were generally dishonest, and Zacchaeus even more so.  Ironically, the name Zacchaeus meant "pure."  I'm sure tax payers and even fellow tax collectors scoffed whenever they saw the short man and heard his name.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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. 



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.


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.

Subscribe to this RSS feed