Take on the Heart of Jesus

The Gospel story at today's Mass is a difficult one to hear at first.  Jesus appears to be rude to the Canaanite woman who is pleading for her daughter's life.  "Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!"  These are startling words coming from a Gentile.  At first Jesus appears to be ignoring her.  He doesn't answer or even look her way.  The disciples want to send her away so annoyed are they at her behavior.  Then Jesus himself seems to dismiss her as well:  "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."  But this woman is undaunted in her desire to get Jesus' attention.  She believes with all her heart that he can help her and cure her daughter who is tormented by a demon.  She continues to call out, unfazed by her dismissal.  "Lord help me!" she cries out again.  What determination and strength of character.  She will not give up.  She keeps calling out to the Lord in her misery.  Once again, Jesus appears to refuse her plea:  "It is no

Keeping the sin of anger at bay

I’m certain that I can’t be the only one who has noticed that we live in a culture where there is a growing volume of anger on display. We see it everywhere. Earlier this week as I sat at a traffic light which turned green someone became incensed that I didn’t move more quickly through the intersection, screaming profanity and nearly running me onto the sidewalk. Incidents of road rage are spiraling; people attacking others in stores and on the streets; politicians spewing angry and hurtful diatribes on television every day; the list goes on and on.   But anger can also be in our homes and in our hearts and yes, even in our church communities – sometimes bubbling below the surface.  There are a good many people, for example, who are angry at the Church because they have to wear a mask or because a particular church building can’t be reopened.  Some have even let their anger prevent them from coming to Mass.  It is high time that we fight this spiritual evil that is so poisonous,

The wisdom of Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Saint Ignatius of Loyola was a man destined for fame and glory.  The youngest of 11 children, his parents dedicated him to the service of the Church, a customary practice at the time.  But Ignatius had other ideas and soon was trained for the knighthood, for battle and triumph.   God had other plans.  He was wounded severely when a cannonball tore apart his leg.  It was during his convalescence that he began to read in earnest the life of Jesus and the lives of the saints.  Reportedly he had a vision of the Blessed Mother with the child Jesus and his conversion led to a life dedicated to God and the Church.  Soon he was giving away his wealth to the poor, living on the kindness of others, and deepening a life a solitude and prayer.   Ignatius writes that those were the happiest days of his life.  He experienced true peace and great joy in his decision to give himself over to God completely. He undertook the study of philosophy and theology and soon found himself the leader of a g

The Catholic faith under attack

This has been a disturbing, disheartening and frightening few weeks for Catholics – as it should be for people of all faiths.  A series of arson and vandalism attacks have been sustained by Catholic Churches and their property across the United States.   Many people probably know nothing about this troubling trend in our country because the media outlets have been eerily silent.   Why do hear nothing about these insidious attacks on our deeply held faith beliefs and traditions?   Even the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, the United States' oldest Irish association, has questioned the "deafening media silence" over the attacks and whether the media "has double standards of newsworthiness when intolerance targets Catholics." On July 10, the Diocese of Brooklyn announced that a statue of the Virgin Mary at Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in Queens had been attacked. According to the Catholic Register , security footage shows "an indi

The story of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Brown Scapular

As a seminarian I had the joy of visiting Mount Carmel   - the biblical place where the prophet Elijah dwelt and where devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel began.   Her feast day is today, July 16.   Mount Carmel rises 1,742 feet above sea level and towers above Israel’s Mediterranean coastline.  It was here where Elijah prayed to God for the salvation of Israel, which was suffering a terrible drought at the time.  He continued to pray and sent his servant up the mountain several times to look for rain.  On the seventh try, Elijah’s servant returned with good news.  “Behold a little cloud arose out of the sea like a man’s foot” (1 Kings 1:44).  Soon thereafter, torrential rains fell upon the parched land and the people of Israel were saved.  Elijah saw the cloud as a symbol of the Virgin mentioned in the prophecies of Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14).  The hermits who lived on Mount Carmel followed Elijah’s example and prayed for the advent of the much-awaited Virgin, who would become the mot

New Beginnings

Today is a day of great joy for all of us in the Greenfield, Hazelwood, and Oakland communities.  We have been on a journey these past several years with our gazed focused on one goal: to join our four parishes together into one community of faith.  Today marks both the culmination of that process and a new beginning.  Saint Paul Cathedral parish begins its service today to the faithful in our three neighborhoods and to all of God's people in our communities. We bring with us all the history, legacy, tradition and faith of our ancestors and all that has gone before us.  Our roots will always be honored and treasured.  But we have the wonderful opportunity of beginning something new.  Nothing in life stays the same.  Change is always difficult but brings with it many graces and blessings.  We must now work together as one parish family to serve the faithful in our three neighborhoods:  Greenfield, Hazelwood and Oakland.  I invite everyone to get involved in the life of our pari

Defend our faith

On July 1, the Church celebrates the feast day of SAINT JUNIPERO SERRA , a beloved saint for the Church in the United States and for Catholics worldwide. Junipero Serra was a gifted scholar in philosophy and theology, he desired to serve as a missionary. He was sent to Mexico City and governed five missions to the Pame Indians in Mexico and lower California. He believed that to bring the natives to Christ demanded that he “become one with them.” He mastered their language, treated them as equals, worked with them in the fields daily and slowly taught about Jesus Christ. In 1769 Junipero Serra established the first mission in San Diego, travelling as part of the Spanish expedition throughout upper California. During the next 12 years, he established eight more missions. The spiritual wellbeing of the Indians was always his greatest concern, baptizing nearly 6,000. But he also worked daily under severe and difficult conditions to improve the material welfare of the natives, teaching the