Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary – August 23, 2020

I.  School Begins! All schools begin on August 26 in some fashion. Our Catholic Schools, under the leadership of  David Kessler, Tom Lilly, and Keith Osborne, have made the decision to have in-person, 5 days a week classes with every precaution taken. I hope every parent has read the letter from OCHS principal, Gates Settle, with his challenge to vigorously support the school policy so we can stay safe, secure and open! It will take every school family “buying in” to these essential precautions. Owensboro City Schools, led by our SSC parishioner Superintendent Matthew Constant, will do virtual learning until October 2, at least. Daviess County School system has decided to continue the NTI (non-traditional instruction) which is 5 days a week on-line and virtually through Fall Break which brings the first possible day of in-person learning to Monday, October 12th. Let us pray for our students, families, teachers, administrators, and all the ancillary support for our schools.

II.  Saint Vincent de Paul Collection: is every fifth (5th) Sunday, and that means that this collection falls next weekend, August 29-30. To give you an update on the numbers that your Vincent de Paul ministers are serving under the leadership of Larry Lyon (and formerly, Harry Bellew): From 11-1-2019 thru 8-15-20, our SVdP fielded 899 requests for assistance; 38% of our requests have dealt with homelessness. We have provided $68,674 in assistance. During the month of July, 2020, 94 families were assisted for a total of $15,362; 40.8% hotels (homeless); 1.7% rent; 1.9% utilities; 5.6% miscellaneous.  Thanks again for your amazing generosity. Be as generous as you can so we can continue to “lift up” those hurting in our community.

III. Tough Love with Persistent Prayer! Saint Monica (331-387) married Patricius, a unbaptized man with a violent temper. While she could have become very bitter, her example and prayers finally won Patricius over to conversion at the end of his life. Dignified and beyond gossip, Monica had a calming influence on friends and acquaintances. She is a wonderful example for those who worry about the spiritual welfare of their children—she had three. The oldest, Augustine, turned his back on God and gave himself over to a life of worldly pleasures, which included fathering a child, Adeodatus, out of wedlock. Monica prayed perseveringly for the conversion of her smart, witty, well-educated son, and never gave up on him. She is a great example for us; she never turned her back on her son no matter how disappointed she was in him. Like her, we need to leave the door open, while at the same time calling one to responsibility for one’s actions. I invite you to Mass (in-person or via livestream) Monday, Aug. 27th, especially if you have a child away from the church. Monica is the patron saint of mothers.

IV.  From Great Sinner to Great Saint! Born to a pagan father and a very devout Christian mother, Augustine was a wild, unruly young man who later became one of Western Christianity’s most influential figures. Augustine tried it all—living with a woman, fathering a child out of wedlock, and dabbling in Manichaeism (explained the existence of evil with a flawed creation in which God took no role in forming, but rather was the result of Satan striking out against God). Through his mother’s prayers and friendship with Ambrose, his teacher, Augustine eventually converted to Christianity, was ordained a priest, and then became bishop of Hippo in Africa in the year 396. His writings, which helped shape Christianity, formulated theories and doctrines on original sin, just war, human will, divine predestination, the Trinity, and Christology. In his autobiography, Confessions, Augustine penned, “Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new. Late have I loved you.” The feast day of Saint Augustine is Friday, August 28th. This might be a good day to participate in Mass to pray for a wayward child.

V.  Gratitude and Financial Accountability: How Saint Stephen Cathedral spent God’s money this last fiscal year, July 1, 2019—June 30, 2020, and the budget for the coming year, July 1, 2020—June 30, 2021, can be found on our website, at our church doors, or we would be glad to mail you a copy if you call the office. Averaging $21,346.00 per week should not be a difficult goal for our fiscal year which just began, if everyone is committed and contributes. Our new budget was approved by our Parish Finance Council, and our Parish Pastoral Council. Gratitude is the word which keeps lingering in my heart. Thanks to so many of you who give of your time, talent, and treasure so generously. “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Giving back to God through the Church which Jesus founded is a spiritual discipline (and a Precept of the Church) which keeps us centered on what is important. Even during this “Coronavirus ride” we count our blessings! By the way, we have over one hundred fifty families on WeShare—you may want to try it! This gives me an opportunity to express gratitude to our Finance Committee members: Ed Cecil, Joe Connor (thanks again for his 13 years of service as he steps aside from this ministry), Jim Tony Fulkerson, Bill Goetz, Joyce Gruenewald, Kristine Henning, John Kurtz, Tom Neal (Chair), Chris Warren (Vice-Chair) and Mark Heinz, Parish Council Representative/Liason. A very special thanks to Eddy McFarland, our Business Manager, for his outstanding leadership!

VI. Save the DateWe will celebrate our 94th year in our current church building at Masses on the weekend of Sunday, September 6. Obviously, it will look different. No dinner. No raffle. Most importantly, we will celebrate Mass/Eucharist on that weekend, proudly standing on the shoulders of many, many men and women of faith who have gone before us!  Our celebration this year will be a SPIRITUAL one! I invite you to celebrate at Mass with us, whether in person or via livestream (5:00 pm Saturday (Vigil) , as we give thanks!