Parish News

Parish News

May 26, 2020

May 23, 2020 – Saturday, Sixth Week of Easter

May 23, 2020 – Saturday, Sixth Week of Easter

A legend or a fable is a story that doesn’t pretend to be historical, but simply teaches a lesson. The events surrounding the resurrection of Christ gave rise to many legends.

Legend of the elder tree

From which tree did Judas hang himself? No one knows for sure but tradition suggests that it was the elder tree. It is also claimed that the wood for Jesus’ cross came from an elder tree, although others dismiss this theory saying that Jesus would not have struggled with the lightweight wood of the elder along the Way of the Cross.

The elder tree was considered to be a protective tree, often planted by a back door to keep evil spirits away. Its fragrant white blossoms also kept away flies. Elderberry wine has medicinal purposes for combating colds and flu.

The small tree features soft fungal growths which look like mushrooms and are dubbed “Judas’ ears.”

Jesus said: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” (Jn 14:21)

There are seven weeks to this Easter season, and as the weeks progress, the passages in the Gospel invites me to focus less and less on the tangible, bodily presence of the risen Lord, and more and more on an even deeper presence of the Lord that cannot be seen.

The tangible, bodily presence of Christ that could be seen and touched was a miraculous kind of presence, but one that was temporary (as all miracles are).

A deeper, more enduring presence of the risen Christ comes to me in the giving of the Spirit as he promised.

I need to be attentive to this gift of the Spirit that has been given me.

When I believe what Jesus said about his presence in my life through the gift of the Spirit, it has a profound effect on my life.

Then I don’t need alcohol to give me courage.

Then I don’t need everyone’s approval to give me confidence.

Then I don’t need to win all the time to feel like I am worthwhile.

Then I don’t have to seem Important to other to feel important.

Jesus, risen…giving me his Spirit.

Imagine.

May 26, 2020

May 22, 2020 – Friday, Sixth Week of Easter

May 22, 2020 – Friday, Sixth Week of Easter

John the Apostle

John and his brother James were partners in a fishing business with two other brothers – Peter and Andrew. In Matthew, they are the first four disciples called by Jesus.

John was said to be a young man when he was called to be a disciple, and he lived to an old age.

St. John the Apostle is mentioned 20 times in the Gospels (though never in the Gospel that bears his name.) The threesome of Peter, James, and John had an especially close relationship to the Lord (sometimes along with Andrew). For example, Jesus brought only them to witness the Transfiguration.

John and other disciples attended the Apostolic Council held in 49 A.D. in Jerusalem (along with Barnabas) where he recognized John as a “pillar of the Church.”

Since the sixth century, the feast of John the Apostle and Evangelist has been celebrated on December 27.

Jesus said: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.” (Jn 14:20)

If the risen Lord announced that he was going to appear in my town next Wednesday, traffic would pick up right away.

Actually, you wouldn’t be able to get near the place where he was going to appear. There’d be helicopters and media from around the world.

We human beings place great value on something we can see.

This was true of the disciples. As Jesus’ death approached, they felt that if he was no longer with them in the same way he had been, they would be without him. And they wanted to cling to his human, visual presence.

But Jesus tells them that it is quiet the contrary. When the Spirit comes upon them, he will be closer to them. Seeing him in a vision (as they would do after the Resurrection) couldn’t hold a candle to receiving the Holy Spirit…which unites with our spirit…and God is within.

Imagine, God united with me. God there for me, on my side, loving me, accepting me, enlivening me, giving me courage, vision, sureness of purpose, peace, joy, life.

God within me always.

If I believe that, it changes everything.

May 21, 2020

May 21, 2020 – Ascension of the Lord/Thursday, Sixth Week of Easter

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Ascension of the Lord.

In Jerusalem, several churches commemorate the ascension of Jesus into heaven, as witnessed by apostles. One of the most popular is the Chapel of the Ascension, locate on top of the Mount of Olives.

A Byzantine church in honor of the Ascension was constructed on this site about 390 A.D. by a Christian woman named Poimenia. The open-air church was said to contain a stone with the imprint of the footprint of Jesus.

The Persians destroyed the church about 614 A.D., but it was later restored by St. Modestus of Jerusalem. Crusaders rebuilt the church about 1150. But by the end of the 12th century, the Muslim general, Saladin, had captured the church and converted it into a mosque.

The chapel remains a holy site for Christians and Muslims who acknowledge the ascension of Jesus, and who continue to occupy the site.

The walls in the courtyard of the Chapel of the Ascension are lined with hooks. Pilgrims would use the hooks to stretch tents when they came to celebrate the feast of the Ascension.

In the United States, most diocese transfer the celebration of the feast of the Ascension to the following Sunday.

Jesus said: “In a little while the world will not longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live.” (Jn 14: 19)

Everybody feels alone as some time.

The first time you’re homesick is one of the loneliest experiences in live. Or when you’re a parent and you’re children leave home. Or the first time you’re alone in the dark in the woods. Or when you spend the night at the hospital. Even though the hospital staff takes good care of you, it is a lonely moment. You’d like a friend or family member there, to talk to, to be with you.

Today Jesus tells me that he doesn’t ever want me to be alone. Picture him saying: “I’m going to be with you. Even more closely than I have been before. So don’t feel alone.

“I’m going to ask the Father to send me in a new way through the Spirit. This Spirit will breathe in you and will envelop you like the aroma of perfume.

“The Spirit will be above you and below you and next to you. It will be with you in the loneliest hours of the night or in the thick of the crowd.

“I will be there if you are a sinner and I will be there if you are a saint. I will be there in good times and in bad. I will embrace you. Always.”

No exception. No fine print. He’ll be there. I can count on it.

May 21, 2020

May 20, 2020 – Wednesday, Sixth Week of Easter

May 20, 2020 – Wednesday, Sixth Week of Easter

Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed

The Apostles’ Creed: Various creeds were used for catechetical instruction as early as the second century. Gradually one fixed form developed from the ancient baptismal profession of faith used in Rome. It is called the “Apostles’ Creed” because it is considered to be a faithful summary of what the apostles believed.

The Nicene Creed (officially, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed): The Council of Nicea convened in the early fourth century to deal with questions about the divinity of Christ, and issued a summary of faith known as the “Nicene Creed,” Several additions regarding the Holy Spirit were added to the creed at the First Council of Constantinople in 381. The Nicene Creed is the creed commonly used at Mass.

The First Council of Nicea (which was the first ecumenical council of the Christian church) opened on this day in 325 A.D.

Jesus said: “But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (Jn 14:17-18)

Jesus has just promised his disciples a special gift. Jesus will not leave them. He will give them another paraclete/advocate…namely, his Spirit.

Jesus made the same promise to me. I don’t always expect God to do that, to be right there for me. That’s a role people often grow up assigning to their guardian angels. But to tell the truth, a lot of what folks’ thought was the role of guardian angels actually belongs to the Spirit. And the Spirit is not just a messenger from God.

The Spirit is always with me, protecting, helping, strengthening, supporting.

I have received that gift of the Spirit. It’s a gift that I have received through my baptism and confirmation. It’s a gift I celebrate in this Easter season. It’s a gift I celebrate throughout the year. It’s one of the reasons why we gather at the Eucharistic table – not only to celebrate the presence of the risen Christ in the Eucharist, but also his ongoing presence with us every step of the way through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I will not leave your orphans. I will come to you.” Imagine how much that meant to the disciples. Imagine how much it should mean to me.

May 20, 2020

May 19, 2020 – Tuesday, Sixth Week of Easter

May 19, 2020 – Tuesday, Sixth Week of Easter

Apostle who betrayed Jesus

When it comes to name recognition, Judas Iscariot ranks extremely high. He will forever be known as the disciple who betrayed Jesus. His name is mentioned 22 times in the New testament (second only to Peter).

The name “Judas” was common at that time, but the meaning of “Iscariot” is uncertain. It is an obscure word and could have been his family name or his town of origin. It could also have designated he trade, physical appearance, or even political allegiance.

Few biographical details are known about Judas (which is true of most of the 12 apostles). Apart from Jesus, he has been the subject of perhaps more speculation than any of the personalities in the passion narrative (Why did he betray Jesus? Did he participate in the Eucharist? Did the word “deeply regretted what he had done” signify true repentance?)

Later, non-scholarly speculation has made him out to be the older brother of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, or the beloved disciple in John’s Gospel, or a Jewish priest. There is no evidence to support such theories.

Jesus said: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it.” (Jn 14:16-17)

Jesus is gathered with his close friends and he is talking to them at a difficult moment. In about 18 hours, he will be dead.

They have become very, very close. They depend upon him. They follow him wherever he goes. He decides where they are to go and what they are to do, and hi is the one who handles difficult moments with the crowds. He has been their advocate.

And Jesus promises that he’s going to send them another advocate, a paraclete.

A paraclete is a person alongside you (the Greek word para means “alongside” or “next to”), someone who is with you to help.

Jesus has sent the same advocate to be with me – always. Someone who says, “Don’t worry. I’ll be three to help you>”

It’s his very Spirit.

Have I called on my advocate recently to help me in difficult moments?

May 19, 2020

Holy Spirit Novena and Red Ribbon Campaign

Holy Spirit Novena & Red Ribbon Campaig – Diocese of Toledo                              As we prepare for the return to public Masses on Pentecost, you’re invited to take part in two initiatives from Friday, May 22 – Saturday, May 30, 2020.

Be a part of the Holy Spirit Novena

What is a novena?                                                                                                                  The word ‘novena’ comes from the Latin word ‘novem’, which means ‘nine’. Fittingly, a novena is nine days of prayer. Novenas are an ancient tradition that goes back to the days of the Apostles. Jesus told His disciples to pray together after His ascension into heaven, so they went to an upper room along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, (Acts 1:14) and joined constantly in prayer for nine days. These nine days of constant prayer by the Apostles at the direction of Jesus led up to Pentecost. This is when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples as “tongues of fire” (Acts 2:1-4). This pattern of 9 days of prayer is the basis the novenas we pray today.

As we prepare for the return to public Masses on Pentecost, we are praying the Holy Spirit novena together as a way to renew our love for and confidence in the Holy Spirit.

How can I participate?                                                                                                    Bishop Thomas created a video for each day. Click Pray to find all videos. Additionally, the videos will be posted on Facebook each day.

Pray

Be a part of the Red Ribbon Campaign                                                                     What is the Red Ribbon Campaign?                                                                                      As we look forward with joy to the reopening of public Masses, the red ribbons are a visible sign of our anticipation, excitement, and unity. The goal is for Northwest Ohio to be covered in red ribbons! The color red was chosen because Masses reopen of Pentecost, and red symbolizes the fire of the Holy Spirit!

How can I participate?                                                                                                   Simply tie a red ribbon on your front door, mailbox, a tree in your yard, etc. on May 22, the first day of the novena.

May 18, 2020

May 18, 2020 – Monday, Sixth Week of Easter

May 18, 2020 – Monday, Sixth Week of Easter

Pope John Paul II

Today would have been Pope John Paul II’s 100th birthday. He was born Karol Wojtyla on this day in 1920 in Wadowice, Poland.

Before becoming a priest, Karol Wojtyla worked as a boiler cleaner at a chemical plant, a member of an experimental theater group, a stonecutter, and a published poet. He also helped smuggle Jews to safety during the Holocaust.

In 1958, Karol Wojtyla was on a kayaking trip when he learned he was named a bishop, the youngest bishop in Poland’s history. In 1967, at age 47, he became one of the youngest cardinals in modern times.

On October 16, 1978, at age 58, he was elected pope and took the name John Paul II. He became the first Polish pope in the history of the Catholic Church, and the first non-Italian pope in 456 years.

Jesus said: “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (Jn 14:15)

During the Easter season, we celebrate the gift of the Spirit.

It is a gift that changes everything.

The reading for today suggest that there should be a difference between someone who has received the gift of the Spirit and someone who has not. How can you tell the difference?

You can’t tell whether an egg is raw or hard-boiled just by looking at it. They all look the same. But if you spin an egg on a table, the raw egg will spin fast and keep on spinning.

We all look the same from the outside. But just as there is a difference in the way the hard-boiled egg and the raw egg spin there should be a way to tell the difference between the Christian who has received the gift of the Spirit and the non-Christian.

Could anyone tell the difference in me?

May 18, 2020

May 17, 2020 – Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 17, 2020 – Sixth Sunday of Easter

Mysterious ‘Beloved Disciple’

In John’s Gospel, there is a nameless disciple who is very close to Jesus, but somehow isn’t “seen” by the other Gospel writers (at least they don’t mention him). John refers to him as the other disciple or the disciple Jesus loves. This disciple appears four times in John’s Gospel:

  • He is next to Jesus at the Last Supper table, and Peter tells him to ask Jesus which disciple is the betrayer. [The other evangelists make no mention of this.]
  • When Jesus is arrested, Peter follows him to the high priest’s house, and the other disciple gets Peter into the courtyard. [The other evangelists don’t say how Peter managed to get in.]
  • As Jesus is dying, the disciple whom Jesus loved is at the foot of the cross with the mother of Jesus. [No other evangelist mentions any disciple at the foot of the cross.]
  • On Easter morning, when the women come back with news of the empty tomb, Peter and the other disciple run side by side to the tomb. [The discovery of the empty tomb is described in the other Gospels, but there is no mention of this other disciple.]

No one knows who this beloved disciple is. Originally, he was assumed to be John himself. However, in recent years, most scholars think otherwise. It is though that he was someone in the early Christian community who had been very close to Jesus, but not famous during Jesus’ lifetime. Later, people remembered that he was a holy person, close to Jesus – but they didn’t remember his name.

Hindsight is 20/20

We all know people for whom our attention and approval would have meant a great deal, but we didn’t realize it at the time. So often, it’s only after they’ve gone from our lives that we realize a lot of things about someone, and maybe wish we had done or said something differently.

This is how is often was for the apostles. There was so much about Jesus that they didn’t understand. It was only later, 20 or 30 years afterward, in many instances, that they realized what had taken place.

Maybe my first thought is about how dumb those fishermen were. Why didn’t they understand? But often I do the same thing. I am so close to what is going on that I miss underlying meanings and see only the routine happenings. It is only that I appreciate many things, many people.

I wonder how often I do the same thing to Jesus in my life. He is part of my life today. How many overtures has he made to me that I have missed? I can think about the times when I never realized how much he cared, how much my caring meant to him. I can think about the day’s events, and about how much he is present in all of them.

That’s why I have to pray. Prayers helps me to step back a bit and appreciate Jesus’ presence in my life every minute of the day.

‘But they understood nothing of this: the word remained hidden from them and they failed to comprehend what he said.’ – Luke 18:34

May 15, 2020

May 16, 2020, Saturday – Fifth Week of Easter

May 16, 2020 – Saturday, Fifth Week of Easter

Where are the apostles buried?

 No one knows for sure where all the apostles are buried, but tradition, unsubstantiated legend, and archaeological discoveries provide some suggestions.

The original St. Peter’s Basilica was built in 319 A.D. over what was believed to be Peter’s tomb. In 1939, while preparing Pope Pius XI’s tomb, workers discovered what was thought to be Peter’s actual tomb. Rather than raise false hope, Pope Pius XII didn’t announce the discovery until 1950. In 1968,

Pope Paul VI confirmed Peter’s remains had been found.

John the Apostle is said to be buried in Ephesus, Turkey.

Andrew’s head is venerated at St. Andrew’s Church in Patras, Greece; his relics are also in the cathedral in Amalfi, Italy, where they were brought from Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade.

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, is said to house the bones of James the Greater.

Thomas is reportedly buried in the San Thome Basilica in Mylapore, a suburb of Madras, India.

The relics of James the Lesser and Philip are under the main altar of the Basilica of the Holy Apostles in Rome. In 2011, researchers reported finding the tomb that once held the bones of St. Philip amid the ruins of a fourth or fifth century church in Hierapolis, Turkey.

Several cities claim to have Matthew’s remains. One is a village in Kyrgyzstan, where Armenian monks brought the saint’s remains.

St. Helena is said to have carried Matthias’ relics from Jerusalem and given them to an abbey in Trier, Germany.

Bartholomew’s bones were assumed lost at sea…until they washed ashore in southern Italy.

Jesus said; “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” (Jn (4:12)

John’s Gospel is a very elevated Gospel. He speaks of the Word of God existing before all things came to be. That is why John’s symbol is the eagle. The Gospel talks about Christ in the highest way. Christ is always in complete command, knows all things, and is such a high and exalted figure.

My mind can’t comprehend all the philosophical and theological questions about God. Even St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest theologians in the history of the Church, is said to have remarked as he was close to death that everything he had written was like “straw.” Worthless when compared to the great mystery of God.

So where does that leave me? How can I even think about God?

I can look to Jesus and the way he was revealed in the Gospels. Even in the Gospel of John, whenever the exalted Christ comes to the disciples in their struggles, he is merciful, compassionate, and loving.

I know that is how God is.

May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020 – Friday, Fifth Week of Easter

May 15, 2020 – Friday, Fifth Week of Easter

Diocese of Charleston

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina. The diocese was established on July 11, 1820, and originally included the sates of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Today it is comprised of the entire state of South Carolina, and is the seventh-oldest Roman Catholic Diocese in the United States.

The first bishop of Charleston was John England (September 23, 1786, in Cork, Ireland – April 11, 1842, in South Carolina), who also founded the first Roman Catholic newspaper in the United States, the United States Catholic Miscellany, which published until 1861. He also founded the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, and he organized the Brotherhood of San Marino to assist immigrants and the working class. In 1833, he was also named apostolic delegate to Haiti.

The Charleston Diocese’s cathedral is the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. It was originally consecrated on April 6, 1854, but the church was destroyed during a massive fire that ravaged Charleston in 1861. The current cathedral was built on the foundation of its ruins.

Jesus said: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and The Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.” (Jn 14:10 -11)

I can’t always put my personal experience of God into words as I struggle to understand it and express my experience to others.

One way I can talk about God is through images and symbols. I might say God is like a shepherd, or a rock, or thunder, or a mountain, or a cloud, and so forth.

None of these images captures all that God is – God is beyond all images and symbols. And yet a symbol can express something of who God is and how I have experienced God.

What is my favorite image of God?

Maybe I should spend a little time thinking about that.

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