September 29, 2019 – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I.  Gratitude for Dedication Anniversary Celebration! With all the conflicts in scheduling last weekend, I was very pleased to have so many who could be part of the Saturday evening 5:00pm Mass, and dinner with burgoo, BBQ chicken, and trimmings, with lots of delicious desserts.

       The Jordan River, as I mentioned this past weekend, feeds two very different seas:  the Sea of Galilee, which is teeming with fish and plants; the area around this sea is prosperous and bustling. The other sea that the River Jordan feeds with the same sparkling water has no fish, no plants, no song of birds, no children playing on its banks; neither man nor beast nor fowl will drink from its salty waters—it’s called the Dead Sea for a reason—it is dead! The difference, of course, is that the Sea of Galilee gives back what it receives, passes on the gift of life, while the Dead Sea hordes what it receives, and lives for itself.

       I wish to thank all the people of Saint Stephen Cathedral Parish for choosing to be like the Sea of Galilee. Thank you for your life-giving spirit. Thank you for being involved in small or large ways, and for generously serving—out front or behind see the scenes.  We all have different gifts; what is imperative is that we share what we have, and thereby pass on the gift of life and faith, thus creating an active, life-giving, welcoming community, centered around Eucharist. 

      The 93rd Anniversary celebration of our present church building is one great example of how you rallied as an engaged community to make it happen. Indeed, it was a wonderful example of what a community can do when the members work together with Christ as the capstone and foundation of our lives. Thank you! (See Donna Tarantino’s Discipleship column). Special thanks to James Wells and our choir for helping us to participate and pray better. Thanks also to all who supported our raffle, which grossed just over $21,000! More details next week.

II.  Ordinary Things Done in an Extraordinary Way: Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus (Little flower), a young Carmelite nun, overcame the narrow, negative spirituality prevalent in 19th century France, and focused on love—her love of God and God’s love for her. She called her path of holiness the “Little Way,” referring to her belief that every act, no matter how small, brings us as close to God as do heroic acts performed by spiritual giants such as Ignatius of Loyola or Saint Teresa of Avila. Theresa of the Little Flower (1873-1897) died of tuberculosis at the young age of 25 and experienced tremendous suffering through a period in which she doubted the existence of heaven. Because of her missionary spirit, she is patron saint of the missions, and has been declared a Doctor of the Church, one of three women so honored. You are invited to Mass at 7:00am or 12:05pm (noon) to celebrate her feast on Tuesday, October 1. (We have a stained glass window of St. Therese; it’s on the north side over the choir and piano).

III. Bigger Than A Birdbath! The son of a wealthy merchant, Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) seemed destined for grand castles, exquisite clothing, distinguished military career, and fine cuisine. After a conversion experience, he relinquished the trappings of this world to minister to the lepers and preach to the spiritually hungry. His home became the earth; his clothing was a cloth of humility; his identity was that of an impoverished beggar seeking God. Many young men joined Francis in this “new way” of life, leading to the foundation of the frati minori (“lesser brothers”), which eventually became known as the Friars Minor. He is perhaps one of the most popular saints in Church history due to his simple life style, and love of creation as exemplified in his famous “Canticle of the Sun.” You are invited to celebrate these values of this saint “for all ages” on Friday, October 4. Why not etch out 30 minutes for the 7:00am or the 12:05pm Mass! Visit his garden off our back parking lot!

IV.  Ok[email protected] Sacrament Chapel! Many of you know that Fr. Sinoj and I also have pastoral responsibility for Blessed Sacrament Chapel, located at 602 Sycamore Street, just a few blocks from the Cathedral. Oktoberfest will be celebrated there on Saturday, October 5, offering two options for your enjoyment: 1) authentic German Dinner, 6-8:00pm for only $35 per person. Reservations required (270-929-9492, 270-302-6810 or [email protected]);  2). Beer Garden, 8-11:00pm for only $5.00; beer, brats, pretzels for sale. Must be 21 to attend. For more information or to pay on-line, please visit blessedsacramentchapel.org. Everyone is welcome!