May 28, 2017

I. Father James C. Dennis was ordained a priest on May 28, 2016. Remembering back when I was a “baby” priest, the first five years were wonderful years of learning and growing into that vocation of being a priest. Father Jamie inspires me in how he handles his handicap of blindness, which tends to sharpen his other senses; he often “sees” what we “sighted” people miss! Happy first anniversary to Fr. Jamie!

II. Glenmary Sisters in General Chapter (May 8-18), along with the Holy Spirit, “called forth” Sister Darlene Presley as their new superior for the next four years. She will succeed Sister Sharon Miller, who has served generously as superior since 2007. After a short sabbatical, which includes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (May 29-June 9), followed by a 30 day silent Ignatian Retreat (June 19-July 16), Sister Sharon will begin her new ministry in Caruthersville,  Missouri. She penned, “I will truly miss my parish family of St. Stephen Cathedral. You are an amazing parish and I have grown to love you over these last 10+ years.  I have especially enjoyed watching your children grow in their faith to become such beautiful Catholic young men & women. Thank you!” We thank Sr. Sharon for her leadership and presence in the Cathedral parish, and we welcome Sister Darlene!

III. Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers who died in the American Civil War. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women who died in any war or military action. Many people celebrate Mass, visit cemeteries and graveyards, or hold picnics, sporting events, and family gatherings. This day is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season, a time to slow down and enjoy family, friends, and neighbors. Why not come to the 9:00 a.m. Mass (reminder: the 7:00 a.m. Mass and 12:05 p.m. Masses have been merged into a 9:00 a.m. Mass on holidays) at the Cathedral on Monday, May 29th!

IV. Recognizing God’s presence: The Feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth originated in the Middle Ages. Luke’s account of the visitation invites us to engage the tenderness between Mary and Elizabeth.  In this tender exchange, Mary and Elizabeth affirmed one another’s experience of God’s presence-in-action on behalf of the People of God. As Elizabeth recognized God’s presence within Mary, so we are called to help others recognize God’s presence with and within them. What a gift it must have been for these two women to spend time together. Celebrate this experience on Wednesday, May 31st, by participating in Mass at 7:00 a.m. or 12:05 p.m.

V. Opportunity to Serve: on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings of each week, members of our parish have the opportunity to serve Christ in the needy and the poor. They work with our St. Vincent de Paul Society Chapter. We are looking for a few more parishioners to take up this challenge. Are you compassionate, non judgmental, with a servant heart, and able to see Christ in those who may not see Christ’s presence in themselves? Call the office, or contact Harry Bellew, Fr. Jamie or myself.

VI. How Alive is the Spirit Within?  Jesus promised never to orphan or abandon us, but to send an Advocate–the Holy Spirit–to be with us to guide and direct, to comfort and protect, to steer us right, to inspire and challenge us. It’s like having the best attorney in the world! The Scriptural book, Acts of the Apostles, is really the acts or actions of the Holy Spirit. In preparation for the solemn Feast of Pentecost (50 days after Easter), I ask you to pray this week for the gift of the Holy Spirit to be more active in our world, our country, our Church, our parish, and in our own personal lives. What is your image of the Holy Spirit? How is the Spirit active in you (and me)? How could the Spirit of God be more alive in us?