In celebration of the Thanksgiving Holiday, the Parish Office will be closed at noon on Wednesday, and closed Thursday & Friday. Mass on Thursday for Thanksgiving will be at 9:00 am. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

From the Tee Box

A Blog by Father Trey Nelson

You ARE NOT Just Another...

You ARE NOT Just Another…

I’ve never really cared for icebreakers during retreats or any other group function, for that matter.  It’s usually because they’re a little too silly for me.  However, lately I have been recalling one from a retreat of which I was a part 31 years ago.  It was, in fact, my first retreat to assist with as a priest.  I had just been ordained about 5 months before. It was an overnight retreat for high school youth from various schools.  During our first small group gathering we asked each of the students to do the following: choose a word that best describes you, but make sure that the word begins with the same letter as the first letter of your first name.  So, for example, we came to a young lady named Lucy.  She was a happy girl whose laugh was contagious.  She chose for herself, “Laughing Lucy.”  As we went around the group for sharing, we got closer and closer to a young man who had been rather quiet all day.  He looked a little sad or preoccupied.  When it came time for him to share, he was reluctant to do so at first.  Then, however, he simply said, “I’m Just Jason.”  One of the leaders asked him if he wanted to share why he had chosen that word, but he did not.  Later in the day, during our lunch break, I took a walk with Jason.  As we walked and talked, I came to know a young man who was in a difficult place in life.  Along with other issues, he had been having a difficult time making friends, he was struggling with his grades in school, and so on.  He had chosen the name, “Just Jason,” because, at that point, at least, he didn’t really feel like his life amounted to much.  As we visited, I did the best that I could to help him believe that he was much more than just another guy.  About a year later, I ran into Jason in the mall, and sure enough, he was in a much better place.  He had never forgotten that small group activity or our conversation. He had grown to believe that he was so much more than what he thought he was a year earlier.

We have been celebrating Mass this year with our students at school but doing it by grade level. Due to the COVID-19 precautions, we feel this is the safest way to do so.  Recently, the first reading of the day was from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah.  Part of that passage reads, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” (Jer. 1:1) It is beyond our understanding to consider, that, before we were even conceived in the womb of our mother, God knew us by name and had a special plan for us, a purpose, a vocation.  It is beyond our human understanding to fully comprehend what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God, but we are.  You and I are wonderfully made, and nothing can take that away.  No major life pitfall, no hurtful words or actions inflicted on us by others, no-thing. Period.

So, the next time you’re feeling low, down, or beaten, remember this: you are definitely NOT just another.  You’re not just another name on the list, not just another number, not just another person on the street.  You are a living, breathing, vessel of God’s love and the Holy Spirit.  Draw strength from that promise. 

Bring that promise to others.

 

4th SUNDAY OF LENT: PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL

PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

PRIEST-  (Spontaneous Opening)

DEACON-  For our church, here and throughout the world, especially our shepherds: Francis our Pope and Michael our Bishop; may we experience a new closeness to Christ and to one another during this holy season and these difficult days; we pray  to the Lord…

For God’s consolation upon those who have the corona virus; for their loved ones and caretakers; for those in the medical profession who are working with loyal dedication to care for and heal the sick: for their protection; we pray  to the Lord…

For scientist and researchers; may they be guided by the Holy Spirit in their search for medicines to cure those who are ill with this virus; we pray  to the Lord…

For the elect of our community and all those preparing for entrance into our church; may their hearts remain hopeful during their process of preparation; we pray  to the Lord…

And for all those who have died, especially Mrs. Adela Chenier of Saint Jude Parish; may they inherit eternal peace; we pray  to the Lord…

You are now invited to, either, pause in silence, or speak out-loud with one another your other special intentions. We will pause for a few moments as you do this.

(Pause)

For all of our intentions, we pray  to the Lord…

PRIEST-  (Spontaneous Closing)

 

LOOKING INTO THE MIRROR

How do you feel when you look into a mirror?  If you’re like me, some days you feel great, and some days not so much.  Jokingly, I sometimes think, “man, you’re a lot older now! Where have the years gone!”  Mirrors can bring us literally face to face with reality.  We think about our age, our physical looks, whether or not we’re happy with that, and so on.  At the same time, a “mirror experience” can serve as a means of going to a deeper level of reflection. 

Every day at Mass this week we have been hearing from the Apostle James.  I find this particular book easy to read and a great book to reflect with on a daily basis.  Today’s reading is one of my favorite passages, in that it’s very real for me.  Here are the words that strike me: “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like.” (James 1:19-27).  To use James’ image, “looking into a mirror” can remind us of 2 realities: the first is the reality of us, who we are, where we’ve come from, and how we’re living, including the mistakes that we make.  Second, it is an opportunity to recall God’s unconditional love and mercy for each of us.  As God looks into our hearts, where nothing is hidden, we look into the depth of the Lord’s love and forgiveness for us. 

So, the next time you find yourself standing in front of that reflective piece of glass, don’t worry if it makes you a little uncomfortable.  Try to worry less and less about what others think of your outward show.  And, most important of all, remember this: God loves you as you are.  Grow as you need to grow.  Make the changes that might need to be made.  But the core of who you are? The Lord loves that, loves you, beyond all measure.