February 25, 2018

Please be mindful and safe: This winter has been brutal on our physical plant. Right now we have parts of some stairways falling apart and a few holes developing near our drainage grates, not to mention the potholes in the parking lot. We are attempting to mark each hazard with either a cone or both a cone and bright orange paint. However, this past week the wind and the rain actually moved most of the cones and created a dangerous unmarked situation for a time. I ask that you be very mindful on our campus and if you see something that needs our attention and isn’t already marked/barricaded off, please let me or the office know. Thank you!

Father Daniel is safe at home: Fr. Daniel made it home safely and once again wishes to extend his appreciation to all of you. Let us keep him in prayer and pray that he returns to us safely.

I tripped you up last weekend: Let me take a minute to refresh our memories about the penitential act of the Mass. I may choose from three different ways to pray during the Penitential Act. In each option, I begin by calling us to prepare with the words: “Brothers and Sisters, let us acknowledge our sins…” We then have a moment of silence to give us time to think about why we need God’s mercy as we reflect on our own faults and shortcomings.

The first option (A) is to pray together the Confiteor (I confess to Almighty God…). We pray this together admitting our sinfulness and asking for God’s mercy: We echo the humble words of King David in 1 Chronicles 21:8 and when we strike our chest, we recall the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector that Jesus told in Luke 18: “but the tax collector standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” I mainly use this option on the days of highest solemnity.

The second option (B) is a dialogue between the priest and the assembly whose origins are found in the Old Testament in Baruch 3:2 and Psalm 85:8. I believe it has a very nice connection to Lent and so I use it during this liturgical season.

In the third option (C) we pray three invocations followed by “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy and Lord have mercy” (or in the Greek: Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison). There are many options of invocations available and I use these to match the theme of the Mass according to either the scripture or Mass prayers. This is the option I most often use.

February 18, 2018

My Eucharistic Miracle that might have been: A couple of weeks ago, during the Saturday evening Mass, I spoke of a possible Eucharist miracle here at St. Maurice. I shared the story as part of my homily dealing with the need for us to share our experiences of faith and encounters with God.
I have had a wonderful time engaging many people about this “miracle” and their special encounters with the Lord through the Eucharist. Sharing that story has been a true gift of joy for me as I have been able to hear others speak about their great love for Christ.

In a nut shell, this is what happened. One of our Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion had gone on a call and the individual to whom she gave communion spit up the host. So, doing the correct thing, she brought the host back to the Church to be properly disposed of. In that situation, I had two options. I could have consumed the host or I could have dissolved the host in water. Being slightly germaphobic, in this situation I went with the second option. I placed the host in water and sealed it in a ciborium for safe keeping until it dissolved. Then something mysterious happened….

When I checked on the host what I saw shocked me. It seemed, to me, like the host was turning into something fleshy and there was clearly a red blood-like substance present. Needless to say, I kind of freaked out and immediately told Fr. Daniel about it. We both decided to give it a few more days to see what would happen. After that Saturday night Mass some parishioners asked to see the host, and so I showed it to them. They saw the red substance too!

A few days later I once again checked on the host. However, this time all I saw was basically clear water―what I had originally expected to see when dissolving a host in water. So, was it a short lived miracle? Most would say no. I’d probably say no, too. However, it has helped many of us open up about our faith, what we believe, and how the Lord has touched our lives, especially through His true presence in the Eucharist. That isn’t miraculous. That is what we are called to do. We should be spreading the Good News of the Lord’s existence in our lives with those around us.

This past Wednesday we wore ash on our foreheads to proclaim to the world that we are Christians. For the rest of Lent may our voices call out this same message as we share the stories of how God is truly alive in our hearts and lives.

January 11, 2018

Should I celebrate Valentine’s Day or Ash Wednesday: Okay, for me, a priest, that is an easy one! It would have been easy for me as a single guy, too (hard to believe that I normally spent Valentine’s Day alone). Hopefully, for you this isn’t a difficult choice either and not because you have no one to spend the day with. Many dioceses across our country have been putting out statements about this overlap. I like what Bishop Gainer of Harrisburg said: “As Catholics, we recognize Ash Wednesday as the solemn beginning of a period of prayer, penance, and works of charity. Its spiritual importance is evidenced by the large number of faithful choosing to attend Mass on this day. In view of the significance of Ash Wednesday, the obligations of fast and abstinence are naturally the priority in the Catholic community. Valentine’s Day can appropriately be celebrated on another day, such as Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which happens to be Mardi Gras, a time of celebration prior to the Lenten journey.” Bishop Baker of Birmingham adds that “those who wish to celebrate Valentine’s Day may fittingly do so the day before (Mardi Gras) or on another non-penitential day. The good Lord, who suffered so much out of love for us, will surely reward our fidelity and sacrifice!” May we all prioritize the Lord and our 40-day Lenten journey over secular celebrations. May you have a blessed Ash Wednesday and Lenten Season.

February 4, 2018

The Blessing of the Throats, a sacramental of the Church, is celebrated on February 3, the feast day of Saint Blaise. Saint Blaise was the bishop of  Sebaste in Armenia during the fourth century. From the eighth century he has been invoked on behalf of the sick, especially those afflicted with  illnesses of the throat. The blessing of throats, when conferred during Mass, follows the homily and general intercessions or, for pastoral reasons, the  prayer of blessing may take the place of the final blessing of the Mass. This weekend, the blessing will be provided during  Mass and those wishing to have their throats touched by the candles may do so after Mass. Please note, the blessing is valid without the additional optional step of presenting yourself at the end of Mass.

The past two years of encounter with Parishioners of St. Maurice have been a blessing for me. It has broadened my perspectives of life and, more particularly, the priestly ministry. The overwhelming support and love lavished on me cannot be overemphasized. Through this same encounter, Sacred Heart of Jesus building project has reached the roofing stage and I believe the monies accrued now will suffice for the roofing as I return to Ghana on February 12. I want to use this medium to communicate my heartfelt appreciation to all donors for your unflinching and generous contributions. I particularly want to thank Fr. Ken, Fr. John Skirtich, the parish pastoral council members, and the entire faithful who have supported this project ever since it was introduced. I assure you that your contributions would be put to good use for the glory of God.  Again, any donation for the next stage is welcome. Till I return for PhD, hopefully in August, I leave you all with the peace and joy of Christ.

Love you all and God bless you.

Fr. Daniel

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