I received a letter dated Jan. 5, 2018 from the National Religious Retirement Office thanking the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau for its contribution to the 2017 collection, amounting to $73,424.13. The letter, from the Executive Director, Sr. Stephanie Still, PBVM, stated “Since the collection was launched, contributions from your diocese have totaled $2,218,936.01.” Sr. Stephanie also wrote a note saying “We are very grateful to you and your parishioners for this generous support.” Read more
As I write this column, I can look out the window of my office in Springfield and read the sign across the street at the Methodist Church: “All Are Created in Dignity and Worth.” This message takes on greater meaning as many of our youth and adult leaders in the diocese prepare to travel Jan. 17-20 to Washington, DC, for the 45th Annual March for Life. March for Life is the largest pro-life rally in the world and I am proud to say we have busses once again making the pilgrimage to our nation’s capital as well as to the march in Chicago on Sun., Jan. 14. Read more
While the world celebrates the first day of the New Year, the Church has a specific focus on Mary, The Mother of God. We launch 2018 with the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. The Gospel for Jan. 1, Luke 2:16-21, tells us that “The Shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem. … They found Mary and Joseph, and the infant in the manger.” Then, we see the two reactions to this great event. First on the part of Mary, “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” I was recently in the eighth grade classroom at St. Agnes Cathedral School, speaking about this particular verse. I reminded the students that every year is a mystery to us. The year 2017 was a mystery that had to be lived out day-by-day, with all its ups and downs. The year we now face, 2018, is also a mystery to us, to be lived in the “joys and sorrows” of life. Mary teaches us how to face the joys and sorrows, the ups and downs—by taking life to heart with reflection, meditation, and prayer. Read more
In our modern world of technology, rapid communication, and sense of “immediacy,” does the Season of Advent and its tone of anticipation remain relevant? Or, should we give up the battle of “advent” and go along with the culture of commercialized Christmas? What good is being accomplished as we light an Advent candle week-after-week, knowing full well that almost everything else surrounding us is blaring, “hark the bargains” instead of “hark the herald”? Read more
“From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead: Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them” —Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), 1032. Read more
I am currently reading A Pope and A President by Paul Kengor, a gift from Msgr. Edward Eftink, a retired priest of the diocese. It is a fascinating chronicle of President Reagan, Pope St. John Paul II, and of all things, the message of Fatima. It is a great read for history buffs.
Early on in the book is the quote, “War has forcibly separated husbands and wives, parents and children … It has caused the greatest and most tragic migration of peoples in all history. It has created a vast multitude of exiles, deluded, disheartened, desolate … In these homeless masses is the yeast for revolution and disorder.” Read more
The sin of racism
On Aug. 14, 2017, I gathered with other members of the Council of Churches of the Ozarks to attend a Faith Voices Call to Action gathering in responding to the acts of hatred which began in Charlottesville and subsequently spread to other parts of our country.
The evil of racism with its tenets of “white supremacy” and “neo-Nazism“ has no place in a civilized society. Read more
Some of you may already know that I have a monthly prayer intention, just like the Pope! In August, I ask each of you to join me in prayer for the safety of all students returning to their courses of study, especially for those away from home for the first time, that they be strong in their faith.
I cannot tell you how many times parents have said to me, “My children do not practice the faith anymore. What can I do?” Unfortunately the statistics are not positive. Read more
As I write this, we’re gearing up for the second of two weekends of the Steubenville Mid-America Youth Conferences on the campus of Missouri State University. Thousands of young adults gathered for music, sacraments, fellowship, and renewal. As a priest, time spent at these conferences is a real blessing, particularly when so many are moved to participate in Confession.
Each moment in confession is a little moment of conversion, where a person is deepening his or her “yes” to the Lord. Read more
The Roman Martyrology announces the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul in the following words: “At Rome, the birthday of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, who suffered under the Emperor Nero. In this city, the former was fastened to a cross, head downwards, buried in the Vatican, and honored by all the world; the latter was beheaded and buried on the road leading to Ostia and received the same honor.”
In Rome, this feast has been compared to a “second Easter.” It was the birth of Christian Rome and marked the triumph of Christ’s victory over paganism. Read more