September 1, 2019 – 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

I.  Celebrate the Work of our Minds, Hearts, and Hands: On this Labor Day, we give thanks for all who labor in service to others, especially those who have served each of us. We pray for the under-employed, and for those seeking employment. May they discover the vocation to which God calls them and may God guide them in ways that will enable them to care for their families.

Blessed be the works of your hands, a Holy One.
Blessed be the hands that have touched life.
Blessed be the hands that have nurtured creativity.
Blessed be the hands that have held pain.
Blessed be the hands that have embraced with passion.
Blessed be the hands that have tender gardens.
Blessed be the hands that have closed in anger.
Blessed be the hands that have planted new seeds.
Blessed be the hands that have harvested ripe fields.

Blessed be the hands that have cleansed, washed, mopped, scrubbed.
Blessed be the hands that have become knotty with age.
Blessed be the hands that are wrinkled and scarred from doing justice.
Blessed be the hands that have reached out and been received.
Blessed be the hands that hold promise of the future.
Blessed be the work of your hands. O Holy One. Amen.

Your work is an extension of Jesus’ ongoing work in the world. Whether in an office, at home, as a volunteer, in praying for others, in some other setting. . .you are Jesus for others. Blessed be the work of your hands.  I invite you to join our community this Labor Day, Monday, September 2 for the 9:00am Mass (on holidays, our regular 7:00am and 12:05pm Masses are combined into one Mass at 9:00am).

II. Porch Ribbon Cutting:  everyone is invited to a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, September 6—the actual day our church building was dedicated 93 years ago in 1926—at 1:00 pm, following the noon Mass. After the ceremony, Docents will be available for tours of the church and light refreshments will be available in the Community Center. This gives me the opportunity to thank our Porch Building Committee: Dean Behnke, Ben Hartz, Eddy McFarland, Jeff Payne, and Garry Pierce. In the name of the parish, we are also grateful to our Keeping Safe & Secure Capital Campaign Committee: Mike Sullivan (Chair), Margaret Windle (Vice Chair), Jeff Ebelhar, Janice Scherm, Alison Serey, Stephen Roby, Kevin Kauffeld, Eddy McFarland, and Donna Tarantino. Finally, I want to thank all of you who have made donations—small and large—for this porch project. I am confident that the outstanding $125,000 will trickle in over the next 14 months, which will end our three-year pledging period. Thank you for making a difference in our Saint Stephen Cathedral community! 

III.  Golden Wedding Anniversary for Ed & Gloria Cecil! Congratulations to Ed and Gloria as they celebrate Fifty years of marriage on September 1 at the 11:00am Mass. Ed and Gloria have also been selected to receive the Sophia Award on behalf of Saint Stephen Cathedral.

IV.  World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation:  Pope Francis has established September 1st as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, encouraging the Catholic community around the world to pray for our common home. The day is inspired by Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical Laudato Si’, which calls on “every person living on this planet” to care for our shared Earth. He calls us all to celebrate this opportune moment to “reaffirm [our] personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which He has entrusted to our care, and to implore His help for the protection of creation, as well as God’s pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”