Thank you to everyone who helped prepare for my installation as Pastor of St. Joan of Arc. It has been a great joy for me to be here these past two years and find a home here. It is a great gift to be able to minister as a priest so close to where I grew up. I look forward to many more years here at St. Joan of Arc.READ MORE
I almost handed this week’s bulletin letter over to promoting our youth group, but there’s a lot happening in July and I wanted to pass along a few updates. This weekend we are re-introducing the Sign of Peace at Sunday Masses. I’ve been slow on bringing this back because I wanted to share a few thoughts about the Sign of Peace before it returns. In Matthew 5:23-24 we read this, “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”READ MORE
Maybe the work is best left to the professionals. That’s how many people view the preaching of the Gospel. That’s the stuff priests, religious, deacons, lay ministers, and other professional Church people do. It has little to do with me. Well, that’s not really true. The fact of the matter is that preaching the Gospel has everything to do with you, with all of us who are baptized members of the Body of Christ. Nobody gets off the hook from that job. The question is, however, how do we do it? Well, there’s a safe way, which many choose, to preach the Gospel — and the risky way. The safe way pretty much keeps the Gospel in church and around like-minded people. I say my prayers, go to Mass, contribute to the food pantry, tithe, and attend Bible Study. That pretty much covers the bases, right? Wrong.READ MORE
Happy 4th of July! This Sunday is the first weekend in which the dispensation from attending Sunday Mass is lifted. It’s great to have everyone coming back. If you know of parishioners who have not been back yet, please invite them. The Sunday Mass is not merely a rote obligation to fulfill, but removes us from this world for a time to offer right praise and worship to the living God. In the Mass, we get a foretaste of the heavenly banquet which is our final aim. We gather as a community because we are meant to live in relationship, not in isolation. We do not worship singly, but as a community and living body. It is for this reason that we speak of the Church as the Body of Christ.READ MORE
The author of The Cloud of Unknowing prays, “That which I am and the way that I am, with all my gifts of nature and grace, you have given to me, O Lord, and you are all this. I offer it all to you, principally to praise you and to help my fellow Christians and myself.” Knowing that God sustains us in being is the key to faith. All that we need to do is to love God as God is and the rest will begin to fall into place. God made us in His image and desires that we have life. God also desires that we be healed of all of our wounds, especially those caused by sin, and know his loving touch. Being weighed down by negativity, imperfections, the cares of the world, and weakness is not something that God desires.READ MORE
Happy Sunday and Happy Father’s Day!
We are grateful to God for all the many blessings bestowed on us through the fathers of this parish. I am always edified seeing the many fathers of our parish bringing their families to Mass, keeping them rooted in the faith, and leading their families in joy. You are all a great gift to me and the parish community, may God continue to richly bless you and may you always seek to live from the heart of our heavenly Father!READ MORE
As our world faces so much turmoil and change, it is now more important than ever to remember who God is, who we are and where we are going. It is easy to get distracted and lose focus, especially when we are being pulled in so many directions. We can not only lose sight of God but one another. Maintaining our well developed and mature relationships with God and one another is essential to continuing to live, healthy, happy, and focused lives. In a message to young people, Pope Benedict XVI said, “the happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist.” What is true for those who are younger is even truer for those who are older. Regardless of how the particulars of life change over time, human beings are still hard-wired to seek the fullness of life and happiness. How we embark on this journey and what we choose along the way will indicate whether we meet success.READ MORE
Happy Trinity Sunday!
This Sunday we give thanks and praise to God for the ordination to the Diaconate of our own Harold Escarcega. He is to be ordained a deacon this Sunday morning at St. Thomas the Apostle. Please keep him in your prayers as he begins his last year of seminary as a transitional deacon at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver. He will be ordained a priest next June! Congratulations Harold!READ MORE
Happy Pentecost Sunday!
Today the Church celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit given to the apostles at Pentecost. In the Office of Readings for today we hear from St. Irenaeus who says, “This was why the Lord had promised to send the Advocate: he was to prepare us as an offering to God. Like dry flour, which cannot become one lump of dough, one loaf of bread, without moisture, we who are many could not become one in Christ Jesus without the water that comes down from heaven. And like parched ground, which yields no harvest unless it receives moisture, we who were once like a waterless tree could never have lived and borne fruit without this abundant rainfall from above.”READ MORE
This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. In the Preface Prayer of Mass this Sunday the Church prays,
“He ascended, not to distance himself from our lowly state
But that we, his members, might be confident of following
Where he, our Head and Founder, has gone before.”
And Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks be to God for all of our mothers. Our Gospel is very fitting this weekend as Jesus gives us His commandment: “Love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Isn’t this the example of mothers throughout the world? Women who lay down their lives for those whom they love most, their own flesh and blood. More often than not, this self-sacrificial love happens in secret. I have been very privileged to witness this in the women of our parish. Thank you for being so generous with your gift of motherhood.READ MORE
May begins Confirmation season for us here at St. Joan of Arc. This weekend at the 10:30 Mass we celebrate the adult confirmations. Over the next few weeks we will have First Reconciliation and First Communion and Confirmation for our children. Please keep all in prayer during this very eventful month. As well, we have numerous weddings throughout May and June. Please keep all couples in your prayers as they prepare for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.READ MORE
I pray everyone has had a good week. This week we continue to hear from the First Letter of St. John. It begins, “Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.” St. John has a wonderful simplicity in his writing. The love the Father bestows on us is making us His children. St. John adds very simply, “Yet so we are.” Almost as if anticipating how remarkable such a statement is. It is not open to debate, it is merely that. We are God’s children, no arguing. Sometimes it’s difficult to really understand this. We can hear over and over again that we are God’s children and yet not “feel” it or experience it. One good spiritual practice is to simply sit with this truth. Maybe to ask God in prayer what it means that you are His child. In the silence of prayer God can speak to us and give us a deeper understanding of the love He has bestowed on us.READ MORE
Happy Divine Mercy Sunday! Happy Easter!
I hope everyone has had a wonderful start to the Easter season. I have not written a bulletin letter in a while and want to express my thanks to everyone who made Lent and Holy Week such a wonderful success. We have a great staff here who continually gives of themselves as well as incredible volunteers! Thank you to everyone; you are all a great gift to me and the parish.READ MORE