Memorial Day

05-25-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance--not meant to honor veterans or those currently serving in the Armed Forces. It's the day we honor the memories of members of the armed forces who never made it to veteran status because they were killed fighting for our country in wars, police actions, peacekeeping missions or more recently, terrorist attacks.

While I was in the seminary, I remember going to Arlington and seeing the many graves of military personnel who lost their lives in defense of our country. On Memorial Day, flowers dotted the cemetery, marking also the prolonged grief of mothers and fathers of fallen soldiers.

That's why, to me, Memorial Day is the most "Catholic" of American holidays. Respect and honor for the dead, and the connection between the body that lies in the ground, awaiting resurrection, and the soul that has gone before it--these are very Catholic themes. Memorial Day reminds me of All Souls Day (November 2). It is a day to pray for the souls in Purgatory, especially those who died in the service of our country.


Altar Relic

05-18-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Recently I was presented with the question about having a relic of a Saint in our altar. Here is the present teaching on fixing a relic of a Saint at the altar.

As you know from catechism class, the altar is absolutely necessary for the lawful celebration of Mass. The altar is the table representing the table at which Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist on the evening of the Last Supper. You may wonder what does this have to do with placing a relic in the altar. The practice of placing relics within the altar goes back to the days of the catacombs, when the flat-topped tombs of martyrs were used as altars.

The Church suggests that the altar stone, consecrated by a bishop, an oblong slab of stone, measuring perhaps ten by twelve inches by placed on the 'mensa', or the flat rectangular top of the altar. It has five crosses cut into the stone, and near its front edge a "sepulchre" or cavity containing the relics of saints and sealed with a cemented stone lid.


Director of Operations

05-11-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

There is a very popular video that just came out on YouTube called "the world's toughest" job, which is really the world's most important job. The video shows various interviews for the position. The applicant only knows that they were applying for a position entitled "Director of Operations". During the interview, potential candidates are told about the responsibilities and requirements of the position.

The job requires that the person be able to work standing up most or all of the time – constantly on your feet, constantly bending over, constantly exerting yourself, and a high level of stamina. The work hours were explained as 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or unlimited number of hours of work per week with no breaks available. This position would be 365 days a year with very little time to sleep. You would eat only after your associate was done eating. The position requires excellent negotiation and interpersonal skills with a degree in medicine, finance, and the culinary arts. You must be able to wear several hats and the associate needs constant attention. Sometimes you would have to stay up with the associate throughout the night. You would need to work in a chaotic environment and if you had a life you would have to give that life up. There are no vacations, if fact, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and others holidays meant the workload would increase and you would need to have a happy disposition. However, the people connections that you make and the feelings you get from helping your associate are immeasurable. The salary would be $0.00, completely pro bono. The video concludes by letting the person being interviewed (who is completely confused at this point) in on the fact that billions of people currently hold this position as "Director of Operations".


The witness of a modern day saint…

05-04-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Because of the excitement around the canonizations of Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II, another saint with an important messages for our time was celebrated this past week but a bit hidden in the shadow of these celebrations.

April 28th is the Feast of Saint Gianna Molla, a medical doctor and mother of four. She is a saint for our modern times and has much to teach Catholics, mothers, and working women.

St. Gianna was a fun loving wife and mother who put her faith into action, regularly serving the poor of her day. After opening her own medical clinic she gave special attention to mothers, babies, the elderly and the poor. Her faith inspired her to specialize in Pediatrics at the University of Milan in 1952.


Divine Mercy Sunday

04-27-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

"But he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed."
—Eph 2:4-5

On Divine Mercy Sunday, the focus is on the healing power of Our Lord's Mercy. Through Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Confessions, praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy, we will draw special attention to God's Divine Mercy. Along with the regular Mass schedule, we will have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the main church and Confessions beginning at 2:00 pm. In honor of Divine Mercy there will be the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. We will conclude the octave day of Easter with Mass at 3:00pm in which we will ask for Our Lord's Divine Mercy to heal our hearts, our minds, and our bodies.


Easter Blessings

04-20-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

A Blessed Easter to the entire world as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! I want to say how blessed we are as the Catholic Church to welcome, those men, women and children who were received into the Church at our Easter Vigil! I also want to especially welcome those who have been away from the church and may be visiting St. Joan of Arc for the first time. Please come again! It is my prayer that the light and love of our Risen Savior will be with you throughout this Easter season leading all to eternal life!

Easter Sunday is the most important day in the liturgical year. As St. Paul reminds us: "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" (I Cor 15:4) Resurrection was and is the central point of what St. Paul preached--for without the Resurrection we would not have faith. We also see in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which reminds us, "the Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christ community." So what the first Christians believed as the crowning truth of faith we as believers do today. Otherwise, as St. Paul implies so emphatically, what a huge waste of time and effort all of this would be!


Holy Week

04-13-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today, Palm Sunday, the drama of Holy Week begins as we recall Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. This whole week is filled with beautiful signs and symbols that are meant to direct our attention to Christ's life, death and resurrection. The Church has been celebrating this season in this way for nearly 2000 years.

The roots of our liturgical observance of Holy Week go back to the second century and the core of the celebration of Holy Week is the Easter Vigil. In the beginning, it was a vigil in remembrance and expectation of Jesus' resurrection.

Soon, thereafter, the reception of the sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist were added. It became and is the great sacramental night of the Church. Over time, the Easter Vigil was transformed and elongated into the Triduum of the Lord's passion, death and resurrection as is mentioned in the writings of St. Augustine in the 4th Century. In the Triduum, therefore, the Church added Holy Thursday and the Memorial of the Lord's death on Good Friday to the Easter Vigil.

At one time, Holy Thursday included three masses, a Mass to reconcile sinners, the Chrism Mass and an evening Mass to commemorate the institution of the Eucharist. Today, the Chrism Mass is celebrated at some point during Holy Week at the Cathedral with the bishop and his priests who renew their priestly promises. In our case, the Chrism Mass will be held Monday night of Holy Week at 7:00pm. During the Mass, the Bishop also consecrates three oils needed for the sacraments: Holy Chrism, the Oil of the Catechumenate and the Oil of the Sick.


The Lenten Scrutinies

04-06-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This weekend is also the 5th Sunday of Lent and we observe the third of three Scrutiny Rites in the Rite of Christian Initiation at the 10:30am Mass.

These Scrutinies always happen in this time just before Easter to help our candidates to focus on leaving their old lives of sin behind. Interestingly, the Church's RCIA scrutiny process isn't just for the Catechumens and Candidates. The Church also asks us as fully initiated members of the Church to reflect, and scrutinize and examine our lives as well.

Our Lord gives these last few weeks of Lent to us as a gift. This is a time for us to reflect and discern how we need to repent from certain ways of living and acting. This is a time to look at patterns of addiction, of mediocrity, of selfishness that we must let go of for good. It is a time to uproot the weeds in our lives! Our Lord is always inviting us to scrutinize our behavior because it can lead us to conversion. Conversion is what leads us to a deeper relationship with Our Lord. Examining our lives helps us to be better disciples of Christ.


True Disciples

03-30-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Every week after Mass and several times during the week, I am asked to bless various articles of faith that may have been purchased at our gift shop. Fr. Greg and I are certainly glad to do so because these various images of Saints, candles, holy cards etc., are important aspects of one's prayer. You have seen the beautiful statues around our campus. These are also meant to assist us in our prayer and to help us become better disciples of Our Lord. Beautiful and holy images are meant to reveal the beauty and holiness of God.

Many Catholics have these same images, statues, holy objects in their homes. If you do not have Catholic articles of faith in your home, then I strongly encourage you consider doing this very soon. The use of material objects or sacramentals i.e., holy water, candles, statues, medals, holy cards, scapulars, to name a few, are meant to lead us closer to Christ and live as a better Christian, a better disciple of Jesus. Obviously we would treat these sacred items with respect and reverence because they assist us in our relationship with God.


Lent and Confession

03-23-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Pope Francis asked a question that might make some of us squirm if he asked it directly to us. He said, "I would like to ask you – but don't say it aloud, everyone respond in his or her heart: when was the last time you made your Confession? Everyone think about it…is it two days, two weeks, two years, twenty years, forty years? And if much time has passed, do not lose another day. Go! The priest will be good. Jesus is there, and Jesus is even more benevolent than priests. Jesus receives you. He receives you with much love. Be courageous and go to Confession!"

He continued with a line that reminds me that first and foremost, Pope Francis, is a pastor who is acutely aware of parish life. He said, "When one is in line for Confession, we feel those things which weigh on our hearts; but when one finishes Confession one leaves free, grand, beautiful, forgiven, candid, happy. This is the beauty of Confession!"


Worship at the One True Altar

03-16-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Abraham is our Father in Faith. He is our Father in faith because he has showed us what it means to make a free decision to serve God and trust God completely. Abraham had many options - many so called gods that he could worship. He chose not to worship at the altar of the gods of prosperity and technology to name a few. He was rewarded greatly for his good and holy decision. Those who decide to worship at the altar of false gods are heading for misery.

Many people choose to worship at the altar of false gods in our current culture. One obvious example is the choice people have made to worship at the altar of prosperity. To be clear, wealth is not evil. The preoccupation with wealth is evil. It is very tempting to worship at the altar of the gods that will make a person financially comfortable.


Restless Hearts

03-09-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have all experienced worry, stress, and anxiety. At some point in your life you worry about your friends, your homework, your health, your family, your job, and ultimately you worry about your eternal life. We all worry because we are not sure about tomorrow. Most people are afraid of what might or might not happen. Jesus invites us to place our trust in God. In order to trust God, you must serve God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Jesus if very clear about what we are to do. He says in today's Gospel, "No man can serve two masters...You cannot serve God and mammon." Mammon isn't just money. It is anything that we think is more important than God. This is why many people do not have peace. Many have placed their trust in things and people and not trusted God enough. When a person trusts God, says Jesus, that person stops worrying about what will happen (or not happen) tomorrow. When a person trusts God, their primary desire is to know and do God's will.


Lent 2014

03-02-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Lent begins this Ash Wednesday. It is a season of fasting, self-denial, almsgiving and prayer. The season of Lent begins with a symbol of repentance: placing ashes on our foreheads to remind us of the brevity of our lives and our need for a Savior. We have four Masses scheduled that day to allow you to get the season off on the right foot. The Mass schedule for Ash Wednesday, March 5, is: 7:00am, 8:30am, 5:00pm in English and 7:00pm in Spanish.

The season of Lent invites us to surrender something important - be it TV or sweets or meat, or snacking or negative attitudes or less than noble habits. All of these sacrifices are meant to bring us to a greater connection to the awesome love of Jesus Christ and the ultimate sacrifice that He offered for us and for our salvation. He died for us so that death may no longer have power over us.