I recently read that if one is serious about improving one’s self or seeks to break a bad habit, that positive change can be realized within a 30-day span. I find that encouraging as we enter into the 40 days of the Lenten Season. The Church, in her wisdom, sees fit to give us an extra 10 days as we strive to grow in virtue and holiness so as to more fully live the glory of the 50 days of the Easter Season. Together, the two seasons of Lent and Easter provide each of us a glimpse into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Paschal Mystery. Read more
Pope Saint John Paul II designated the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord to also be the annual World Day of Consecrated Life. World Day for Consecrated Life is a day of prayer for vowed religious women and men. I love this feast!
My first assignment as a priest was to Our Lady of the Presentation Parish in Overland, MO, near the airport. So, the Feast of the Presentation was always a highlight of the year! Read more
Recently, I attended the funeral of Rosie San Paolo, a 93-year-old lady who is a bit of a rock star around here — known for being active in diocesan and charitable issues.
Rosie left her mark on the area, possibly most noticeably, as a pro-life leader. She organized the formation of Voices for Life, a diocesan-sponsored activism and outreach group. She rallied people — young and old — to participate in public events like Life Chain. She invited crowds of people to educational and philanthropic events for organizations such as Birthright and Vitae dinners. She worked hard for decades to see the last abortion clinic close in southern Missouri. For me and many others, she was the first person that engaged us in a life-affirming event. She personally invited people and persisted until we gave her point of view a chance. Her legacy is seen in this area of the country in the form of a much-stronger pro-life culture with activists from many different faith traditions, thriving pro-life pregnancy centers and services, as well as a public that is less tolerant of the culture of death found in the media and politics at large. Read more
As we bring our observance of Catholic Schools Week to a close, I want to take the opportunity to offer some observations. During Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 29-Feb. 4), I have traveled throughout the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau to participate in different events and to hold all-school Masses in Joplin, Springfield, and Cape Girardeau. What sticks out in my mind is the support and sacrifice of the parents who choose Catholic education. Beyond the financial sacrifice to each family and parish, there is a spirit of dedication, support, and volunteerism throughout our 23 elementary schools and three high schools. So many of our parents go beyond the call of duty and step up to head fundraising initiatives and provide support services so that our children can have the best possible education in our schools. I offer a heartfelt thank you to all our parents. Read more
I was born in 1960. It was a time of change, challenge, and the questioning of authority. Those of you who are my age or older recall television news reports that depicted riots and demonstrations in the streets as people protested the war in Vietnam. I remember seeing marches and clashes of people advocating for racial and civil rights. With the Watergate scandal rocking our nation’s capital, more and more people began to criticize our government. It was almost a “the perfect storm” of unrest. These protests generated a lot of distrust of “institutions.” For the first time, a large segment of the United States population questioned the authority of our government—really, all long-standing institutions, the Church included. This time was also coined the time of “the sexual revolution,” the anthem of which seemed to be “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” It championed the thinking of “I want to be free to do what I want, most certainly with my body.” Read more
Another year has passed into eternity and another year has begun. The new year becomes a natural opportunity to look to the events of this past year and its take-away lessons that can help us in the year to come. Often, people use this moment, the transition from one year to the next, to make a resolution, symbolic of a fresh start or a new beginning regarding some issue of health or the better use of time, etc. Read more
Are you or someone you know getting married in the near future? If so, congratulations!
Marriage is meant to be a very special and sacred event in a person’s life. Sadly, many young Catholics are choosing to marry outside the Church. Perhaps they are unaware of the moral and spiritual obligations on their part to celebrate their marriage in the Church. As Catholics, we acknowledge marriage as one of the seven sacraments of our faith. Through this sacrament, God shares His grace with the couple and gives them the spiritual strength they need in order to live the gift of married love. If a person who is baptized and professes to be Catholic chooses to marry outside the Church, that marriage is not recognized as “valid” and, as a result, the Catholic party should refrain from receiving Holy Communion at Mass. In order to be united with Christ in the Holy Eucharist, we must first be united with Him in our daily lives and choices.
The world will tire of Christmas on Dec. 26, while in the Catholic Church, we are invited to ponder the mystery of the “Word made flesh” for weeks to come in the Christmas Season. Within the Christmas Season we celebrate the Feast of Holy Family, Dec. 30, Mary, Mother of God, Jan. 1, Epiphany, Jan. 8, The Christmas Season culminates with the Baptism of the Lord on Jan. 9. Throughout the season, the Church continually invites us to return to the manger, to be of one heart with Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, and to meditate on the significance of the birth of the Son of God. Read more
During Advent, Christians await the coming of the Christ-child and, in the season of Christmas, we celebrate his arrival among us. Our Savior is born! In the second chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke we read of the encounter between the angels and the shepherds announcing this great event.
And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Read more
What an honor it has been for me to remember your deceased loved ones in my daily Mass and prayers at the residence chapel. The baskets of cards, filled with the names of your deceased loved ones, are a visual reminder of my commitment to pray for your intention. My prayers continue beyond the month of November. Read more