When I was a junior in college seminary, I decided to be serious in the practice of prayer. I had received a copy of Treasure in Clay, by Archbishop Fulton Sheen as an Easter gift, and I remember being touched by the chapter where he recounted his discipline of a daily Holy Hour. Read more
My wife and I recently attended Palm Sunday Mass at Sacred Heart Parish, Webb City, MO. Before Mass began, the congregants met in the fellowship hall to listen to a short homily from Fr. Rahab Isidor, pastor, and to receive palm branches to celebrate the liturgy. The kids in the fellowship hall were fidgeting with their palm fronds, poking friends with the pointed leaves, energized by this change in the Mass routine. I heard one mom whisper to her child, “Take your finger out of your nose.” As people passed around the palm fronds, I couldn’t help but think about the attacks on the churches in Egypt that had happened earlier that morning. I’m sure the Christians there were involved in similar Palm Sunday activities. And then, someone came in among them, wearing a bomb, and destroyed all of that. If you saw any pictures from the attacks, you saw that there was blood everywhere. It was horrifying. So, I was distracted; thinking about the news I had read earlier that morning and the images I had seen. Read more
I spent the weekend of March 24-26 in the West Plains Civic Center along with 430 teens, chaperones, and youth leaders from across the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau for the 24th annual Diocesan Youth Conference (DYC). Read more
As we approach the celebration of Holy Week and Easter, I am mindful of the life springing forth around us. The trees, the emerging flowers, and the beauty of the Ozark mountains—it all proclaims “new life.” Of course, our new life is found in Jesus, who has conquered the power of sin and death. The 40 days of Lent are overwhelmed by the new life we celebrate during the 50 days of the Easter Season. Time and time again, in the Gospels of Easter, we see Jesus walking into the midst of
Many of you may be aware that on Feb. 3 the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau lost a great pro-life warrior in the passing of Rosina (“Rosie”) San Paolo, age 93. Rosie was a diocesan employee as secretary for the Vocation Office from 1974-1991. She was also completely committed to the pro-life cause. When I first heard of Rosie, she had already been in a local nursing home in Springfield for years. I had heard so much about her that I was compelled to visit her just before Christmas. Read more
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