I. We Are A Missionary Church! It was a joy to host Fr. Paul Reilly, a young, optimistic, joyful, Spirit-filled priest, who presided and preached at all our Masses at the Cathedral last weekend. Though born in California, he felt called to join the Missionaries of Africa, 1200 brothers and priests strong, who are present in 23 African countries. He mentioned that the Church of Africa was flourishing: vibrant faith communities, seminaries are full, people hungering for God, confident that what is offered trustingly to God—though it might seem deficient and small—is plenty and enough! I find it intriguing that where ever the People of God struggle and suffer, the Church flourishes and people are better able to hear God’s call to serve! If you would still like to contribute to the ministry of the Missionaries of Africa, you may do so on line using WeShare, or write a check to St. Stephen Cathedral with the following in the memo-line: “missionary appeal.” You contributed $6,117.00 last Sunday! Your generosity is inspiring and amazing!
II. Anniversary of Ordination! Along with Fathers Stephan Pirtle (deceased) and Ed Bradley, I was ordained a priest at St. Stephen Cathedral on August 9, 1975. I give thanks to God for the 43 years as a priesthood, aware of my weaknesses and inadequacies, and also feeling blessed to serve the People of God in this vocation. It’s good to be here at St. Stephen; I thank you for your support, example, and love. We’re in this together!
III. Let’s celebrate! It so happens that on August 9, my ordination anniversary, we have a speaker, Lisa Gulino, whom we have invited to talk about Catholic Spirituality. I invite you to this session/discussion/dialogue on “The Joy of Holiness in the Midst of Life!” We will look at Pope Francis’ latest Apostolic Exhortation “Rejoice and be Glad” (Gau-dete et Exsultate), a very practical, down to earth plan to grow in our faith. It’s at 6:30pm in the Vaughan Community Center. The most meaningful ordination gift for me would be your presence this evening. There will be heavy hors d’oeuvres and wine! Come spiritually and physically hungry!
IV. Farewell to Fr. Titus,who has been visiting with us, living in our Cathedral rectory the past five weeks. He is a priest who is rector of the Cathedral of our Lady of the Snows in Fort Portal, Uganda, shepherding over 30,000 people in 32 “out-stations.” As Fr. Titus leaves Owensboro on Friday, August 10, and heads back to Africa, we hold him and his people in prayer.
V. Alaska is the “Land of the Midnight Sun!” This massive state with nearly 600,000 square miles, is full of mountain ranges, islands, national parks, wildlife, gigantic glaciers, not to mention lynxes, bears, moose, eagles, caribou, and the largest mountain goat, weighing 385 pounds, and a world record setting 385 pound halibut! Denali National Park and Reserve is a must, with Mount Denali (formerly name to Mount McKinley) being the the tallest mountain in North America, towering a whopping 20,310 feet (Denali is an Athabascan name that translates to “the high one.”) We traveled by plane, train (Fr. Jamie would be proud!), bus, and ship. Alaska officially received the status of statehood in 1959, and is rich in natural resources. The people there are protective, respectful and are diligent in caring for all of God’s gifts of nature!
VI. My Niece’s Wedding! The commitment of husband and wife in the Sacrament of Marriage is, indeed, a holy pledge. Those of you who are married know how much the support of family means. The ritual of marriage ministers to every married couple, undoubtedly to all, who are present at the wedding. My niece, Caroline Carver, has asked that I preside at her wedding at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta on Saturday, August 4. What a privilege and joy! It will be a grand family reunion, especially significant for us since both parents have died. Therefore, I’ll be away this weekend and back on Monday.