Fr. Tom’s Letters

 

Each week Fr. Tom writes a letter to parishioners in our bulletin.  Every letter is comprehensive, including current information about the Parish, an explanation of Scripture for that Sunday, and an invitation to become more engaged in the faith life of our Parish.

 

 

 

 

March 19, 2017

Fr. Tom is on retreat.  There will not be a letter this week.

March 12, 2017

At different times in our lives, we might have favorite gospel stories.  Among my favorites at present are the parable of the Good Samaritan and Jesus’ cure of the blind roadside beggar.  I came to a greater appreciation of the Good Samaritan during the recent year of Mercy.  For a long time I have been struck by Jesus’ compassionate relationship with the roadside beggar who was only experienced as a nuisance by so many others who tried to quiet his pleas for help.  Do you have a favorite gospel story?  If so, I would like to hear.  Let me know at tharold@drvc.org

At other times in my life I have had other favorite gospel stories.  Today’s story of the Transfiguration was my favorite gospel in the 1970’s.  I remember being at Meribah, the Marianist Retreat House in 1978, on the Feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, and identifying so strongly with Peter’s exclamation, “Lord it is good that we are here.”  Like Peter, at Meribah, I very much felt that Jesus was present to us and all was good.  Since then, whenever we hear the Transfiguration gospel I recall that feeling nearly 40 years ago.

Every Second Sunday of Lent we hear the Transfiguration gospel.  There are many elements to the story.  Among those that capture my attention at this time in my life are these:

1. the voice of God that speaks from the cloud and commands the disciples: “listen to him.”

2. the assuring voice of Jesus to Peter, James, and John who cower in fear: “Rise, and do not be afraid.”

3. Jesus’ command to be silent about the experience: “Do not tell the vision to anyone.”

Each of these brief statements of the divine that we find in the story can speak to us today.  We all need to listen.  Yes, we often must rise despite our fears.  And surely, some experiences remain in the silence of our hearts.

RETREAT

Having shared with you a little bit about my favorite gospel stories, I share with you another favorite experience of mine.  On Tuesday of this week I will travel to Gloucester, Massachusetts for a seven day retreat at Eastern Point Gonzaga Jesuit Retreat House.  This is a silent retreat when the silence is broken only by a 30 minute conversation with a spiritual director and the celebration of Mass.  Meals are silent; the retreat participants maintain silence throughout the house; electronic gadgets are put aside.  The retreat house has recently re-opened after being closed for two years for extensive renovations.  I suspect that “wi-fi” was not part of the renovation.  Imagine that!

The Transfiguration story is a wonderful one with which to begin retreat.  Silence and listening to God speak through Sacred Scripture and prayer are essential components of this retreat.  You will be included in my prayers during this special time.

PARISH MISSION

This past week we completed our parish mission.  Fr. John Hurley’s mission reflections centered on the gospel stories of the Samaritan Woman, the Man Born Blind, and the Prodigal Son; all of these are familiar Lenten stories.  Each night, Fr. John engaged the participants in conversation with one another.  This conversation increased with each passing night.  It was very worthwhile to have parishioners speaking to one another about the gospel.  Along with his preaching last weekend, the evenings of the parish mission gave us a helpful direction during these beginning days of Lent.

Attendance during the three nights ranged from 125 to 175 people.  Many parishioners on leaving the mission on Wednesday night spoke very appreciatively of Fr. John’s presentations and the offering of a parish mission.  Some commented it was unfortunate that more parishioners did not participate.

When I was first ordained, parish priests spoke of full churches for parish missions.  (I never experienced that; others spoke of great crowds.)  Parish missions have been a great tradition in parish life.  I wonder about the fewer number of people who come out for these gatherings.  In many instances, all community gatherings, both in the church and in other organizations, experience fewer people coming to meetings.  I think this trend of lower attendance reflects the great busy-ness of people’s lives.  It is a difficulty as people are pulled in many directions by family, work, and social activities.  I believe that there are additional reasons as to why fewer people attend parish missions.  What do you think?  Let me know: tharold@drvc.org

ST. PATRICK’S DAY

St. Patrick’s Day falls on Friday, March 17, a Friday of Lent.  Bishop Barres has granted permission for us to eat meat on this Friday.  We are asked to choose another act of penance; we might choose to abstain from meat on another day.

CREATION CARE TEAM

Pope Francis has written Laudato Si, an encyclical that calls us to care for the earth.  Those interested in being part of a parish team that will explore how we might respond to Pope Francis’ call have the opportunity after the 10:00AM and 10:30AM Masses to meet in the cafeteria.  This will be an informational gathering that will help us how to move forward in response to Pope Francis’ teaching.

MARRIED COUPLES - MASS & DINNER

Beginning at 6:30PM on Saturday, April 1 we will have a Mass and Dinner for married couples.  This evening will include Mass, dinner, and conversation.  Information for how to sign-up for this evening can be found on page 9 of the bulletin.  Marriage is the vocation that is at the center of family life.  The intention of this night is to offer support, encouragement, and shared reflection.  Consider joining us if you are able.

Peace be with you.

Fr. Tom

 

 

 

                                                                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The letters are available in PDF and require Adobe Reader to view.  If you do not have Adobe Reader, you can download it for FREE by clicking the graphic to the right.