"A community committed to welcoming, stewardship and evangelizing since 1868."
Fr. Thomas Joseph
A visit with Jim Hron!
To California and back in 24 hours! Thank God for modern day technology. I was able to fly from Minnesota to California and back within 24 hours. It was a fruitful, prayerful trip. All the friends I visited have a direct connection to our parishioners. Andres is currently battling brain cancer and his sister, Maria, is an active Catechist in our Sunday program. Then I met with Esperanza, the sister of Natalia, who is also a member of our Church. Esperanza went through several surgeries and literally came back to life from death. Finally, I met with Angelica, a sister-in-law of Gloria de la Torre, another faithful member of St Nicholas. It was a surprise to me and to each family that, on a Monday morning, we were able to gather at the table for prayer, fellowship and best wishes. Health is a package---medicine, meditation, and mending relationships all matter. The visits meant a lot to each of us. This visit confirmed for all of us that, through the Holy Spirit, even thousands of miles cannot mitigate our yearning for bonds, prayer and fellowship. Remember, my visit was not just mine; it was a visit of many, a visit of all of us. I was just the messenger on behalf of St. Nicholas.
I think My House is Haunted! It is not uncommon for people to believe their house is haunted. In my pastoral experience, I never question when people report such incidents to me and that we might call 'odd' or 'strange.' We do not have to be obsessed with the thought of a demon. However, we do have to be in agreement that demons do exist since we believe in the existence of God. When people feel something strange is happening in their homes, they often ask me to come and Bless their home. Blessings do help, but there is nothing magical about that; the household who receives the Blessing has an obligation to persevere in the Blessing received. People have to be willing to do their part and want the Holy Spirit to fill their homes instead of a demon. Even though major exorcism can happen, minor exorcism can be done by anyone. Some examples of Minor Exorcism are: Praying the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, Praying the Rosary, Reading the Bible, Reading the Lives of the Saints, Going to Mass, Going to Confession, etc. Chasing the devil out of your home is not a once a year event, it is work to be done every second. Keep busy filling yourselves with things of God; when you are full of God, the devil will realize there is no guest room in your home and will move to the next house.
Reflections from Last Sunday! Last Sunday we reflected on the Gospel of John 4: Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Their encounter could be summarized as, 'Strangers became strong friends because they were willing to talk, willing to ask questions.' Today, as followers of Jesus Christ, we accept Jesus as our Savior and God without any doubt. People of Jesus' time, including those who were close to Him, did not believe Jesus as God right away. The Samaritan woman certainly noticed something special in Jesus--she saw Him as a godly man, a holy man, an open-minded Jew willing to converse with a Samaritan. Jesus and the Samaritan woman, two strangers from different backgrounds, became strong friends because they were willing to talk and willing to ask questions. Ask yourself, how do you deal with a stranger? Do you, like Jesus and the Samaritan woman, take the risk of talking to people and entertain conversations? Or, are you someone who runs away from strangers?
Calm and Storm of Nature! Last Sunday we reflected on the proofs for the existence of God. Living here on the hill of St. Nicholas, 'A city of God set on the hill,' the calm, the storms, the snow and the wind often remind me nature is very real; it is equivalent to the emotional roller coaster we humans might go through. Just as humans can be sad, happy, angry or filled with love, so too, nature seems to have its ups and downs to remind us nature is not just physics and chemistry. It almost seems to have feelings, closely tied to the lives of humans. Just as humans work hard and take rest, nature seems to be calm after the storm; after the rain or snow, there is wind to dry the earth. The constant change of weather confirms our belief that God must be nature’s author.
CSA update! We still need a few more commitments to help us reach our goal of $7,702 for the 2017 CSA. Please help us do our part to support the 17 collective ministries and earn the 25% rebate which supports our parish ministry.
Holy Week Schedule! Individual Confession - Tuesday, April 11 from 6-9 pm in church.
Holy Thursday, April 13 at 7 pm Bilingual.
Good Friday, April 14 at 3 & 6 PM, 7:30 Spanish. Easter Vigil on Saturday, April 15 at 8 PM Bilingual. (Please note no 4 or 7 pm Mass this day!) Easter Sunday - 8 & 10 AM, 11:45 AM Spanish.
Words Matter! One of the common discussions surrounds how 'words matter.' People come to realize more and more that with words we can build up or destroy people. Most of the time, when we hurt someone's feelings, we do so unintentionally. Lent is a good time to pray for 'spiritual discipline' which will help us say and do the right things. Saying the right thing, using the correct words, is neither an impossible job nor an easy job--we have to want it, desire it, and practice it. St. James writes in his letter 3:9 "...with it (tongue) we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the likeness of God." Just as we make a choice to turn right or left, it is not difficult to say the right thing, to train the tongue, if we just want to...words matter.
"Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together." Eugene Ionesco
Dear Padre! Can you marry someone who refuses to have children? At a wedding, during the nuptial ceremony, the priest/deacon asks the bride and groom whether they will lovingly accept children from God? As we may know, there are many good-hearted couples who are not able to have children. That is very different from couples who, even before marriage, make up their minds not to have children at all. The Church does not obligate every couple to have children. The Church does ask couples to be open to life/procreation, mutual love and support. According to the mind of the church, couples should not get married with the intention of never having children. [Topic taken from: Smith, Claire Mary. Can I Confess by E-mail? What Catholics May and May Not Do. Staten Island: St. Pauls/Alba House, 2010. Print. p. 87.]
Happy Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord! Every year on March 25th we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation. This is when Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that She would become the Mother of Jesus (God). The Angel Gabriel greeted Mary (Luke 1: 26-38), "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." Mary was troubled to hear such a greeting. The Angel Said to Mary, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God..." I often wonder what would have happened if Mary said 'No' when it was announced to Her that She would become the Mother of God. Mary was able to receive the announcement well because She had room for God in Her life. As St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta would say, "If you are full, not even God can fill you." Mary, on the day of Annunciation, did have room for God and therefore God could find a space in Her life.
Sunday Reflection! The Gospel for this Sunday is from John 9. We learn as Jesus passed by he saw a man who was blind from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' Unlike the disciples of Jesus who were very rude, Jesus spat on the ground, made clay with saliva, smeared the clay on the blind man's eyes and said to him, ‘Go wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). He went and washed, and came back able to see. Instead of rejoicing that one of their own was able to see after many years of being blind, his neighbors created all kinds of theories and rumors about him. They made comments like, 'it may not be him,' 'There is no way that a blind man is able to see,' etc. The Pharisees and powers of Jesus' time were spiritually blind- instead of seeing the blind man and celebrating, they closed their eyes and chose to remain blind. They criticized Jesus and the blind man who is now able to see. They criticized his parents and anyone who was on the side of light, on the side of seeing the truth. The Gospel story represents the best and worst of humanity. Do you realize humanity is capable of being its best and the worst? Which of the two do you want to be?
In Christ Jesus,
Fr. Thomas Joseph
The Archdiocesan permanent deacon formation program will begin the discernment and application process this fall for admission to Aspirancy (novitiate) in fall 2011. Men married or single and at least 30 years old can begin now by: 1) applying to the prerequisite Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute that begins on Monday evening, September 13 (go to the St. Paul Seminary webpage at http://www.stthomas.edu/spssod/ for an application or call 651-962-6890), and 2) attending our “Diaconate Inquiry Course” on Tuesday evenings Oct. 26, Nov. 2, Nov. 9 and Saturday morning Nov. 20 at the St. Paul Seminary. This course will introduce men (and their wives) to the vocation, spirituality, and role of the permanent deacon in the Archdiocese and will explain the discernment, application, and formation process. Those who cannot attend this fall may attend one of the courses offered next winter or spring. For more information on the Diaconate Inquiry Course, contact Deacon Russ Shupe at (651) 291-4428 or email: email@example.com. Even if you cannot apply for diaconate formation now, you may still attend the Diaconate Inquiry Course to learn more about this unique vocation in the Church.