When we look into our hearts, we can see who we really are. At times we do not want to look too deep because we know we are not what we really want to be or who people think we are. The challenge is to come to the point where we can say with confidence, peace, and gratitude: I am who I am. We do not become who we are all by ourselves. Many people play different roles in our lives that form our minds, hearts, and vision of life. We are influenced by our parents, especially as we get older and see the sacrifices they have made for us. Teachers play a very big role in how we learn and what we learn. You are reading this column because we all have one person who has a life-giving role and is a key part of our lives: Jesus Christ. We know many things about Him, but do we know His presence, power, and inspiration personally because we have embraced who He is for us and all people.READ MORE
For the past ten weeks, Seminarian William Cassese has been helping out in our parish as a part of his seminary training. Today, in place of Fr. Walden’s column, William reflects on his time at St. Patrick’s.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is with a heavy heart that I must say farewell to St. Patrick’s again. I can’t believe ten weeks have already passed! This year’s pastoral summer seems to have gone much faster than last year’s. However, I have learned a lot over these past ten weeks, and I have come to an even greater appreciation of the community that we have here at St. Patrick’s. So, as I did at the end of my internship last year, please allow me to share some little reflections of my time here over these past ten weeks.READ MORE
The more I reflect on the waning numbers of people who attend Mass on any regular basis, the more I see the “problem” is not disgust or rejection of the Church, its leaders, its members, and its teachings, but a lack of any regular contact with God. Those who are not in our minds or inner presence are not part of our lives. That does not mean we do not like or do not want to be bothered with those we do not know, but that we do not see how they could improve our lives and give us more hope and meaning. We do not see how blessed their presence would be to us. That is exactly what happens when we do not see the need or find the time for prayer and weekly Mass. We keep ourselves in the dark about the goodness and love of God in our lives and in our world. Clearly, the world without God is having a picnic. There is the fear of terrorism all over the world and concern about protecting ourselves from it in our own nation. There is the continued support and practice of taking the lives of children in the womb through abortion. There is a world of disgust and perversion with pornography on the Internet. There is the constant, daily fighting among our politicians, our elected “servants” who seem to use their time, energy, and talents to do nothing more than find fault with each other instead of serving us. Where is our hope?READ MORE
One of the blessings we have in our lives is people who share our journey through life. In my forty-six years as a parish priest, I have lived with many different priests who have enriched my life in the five parishes where I have been assigned. We have not only lived together but worked and prayed together. I have gone from being the “new kid” on the block to being one of the elder priests. I have lived with priests from many different countries and been enlightened by their experiences and the Church in their countries. But what strengthens our bond as brothers in the priesthood is our gathering to pray together. Each weekday, we gather a half hour before supper to pray evening prayer and the rosary together. Prayer is the food that nourishes us to live who we are as priests and to grow in our brotherhood together.READ MORE
This Tuesday we will celebrate the 241st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the document composed by the founding fathers of our nation that led to the Revolutionary War against England and the establishment of our country. We benefit from the courage and belief in justice and truth of so many who have gone before us. Their actions are the foundation of who we are as a nation. Throughout our national history, countless people have died defending our freedom and truths. One of the thoughts that help us all keep our freedom in perspective and how it must be based on truth comes from our former President Ronald Reagan: “History comes and history goes, but principles endure, and ensure future generations will defend liberty not as a gift from government but as a blessing from our Creator.” To understand and use the freedom we have as individuals and as a nation, we need to understand who we are as human beings. In the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis, we read these powerful and enlightening words: Then God said: “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth.” God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them male and female he created them. God blessed them and God said to them: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth. God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the wild animals, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the earth, I give all the green plants for food.” And so it happened. God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day. (Genesis 1:26-31)READ MORE