Optional Memorial of St. Hedwig
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It’s my deepest hope that this finds you all doing well. Recent news reports seem to indicate that we may be seeing a resurgence of the coronavirus here in Arizona. So I’m most anxious to communicate with you in the hopes that all of you are continuing to be safe, to continue to take the necessary precautions to stay healthy, and that you continue to abide in the hope of our communion in Christ.
I wrote to you all last week that this coming week will mark the end of Eileen Godollei’s 25 incredibly faithful and good years of service to our parish as our parish secretary and receptionist. October 21 will mark her official last day here in the office as a member of our staff. However, at her request, Eileen will continue to write our weekly bulletin as well as continue to do several other things in the office on a volunteer basis. Again, I just cannot express how deeply I’ve appreciated not only Eileen’s dedication to our parish, but also the relationship that has grown between her and myself. She has become a trusted employee, a wise source of parish wisdom, and just a very wonderful, gentle friend. I know some of you have already sent congratulatory cards to her on the occasion of her retirement. Please, out of our profound gratitude for all her years of unselfish service to our parish, join me in whatever way you can to thank her for all she has contributed to the mission of St. Frances Cabrini Parish.
Did you know we have a Facebook page? Our web genius, Tom Baca, will be starting to add parish-related news and information to the page this weekend as well as items relating to our faith which come courtesy of the USCCB. I want to promote this Facebook page by asking all of you to like/follow our page if you are on Facebook. The page is: https://www.facebook.com/CabriniTucson/.
It is a joy to know that a nice number of you have started attending the Masses here at Cabrini on the weekend. However, there is one issue that I must address. Some have been coming to Mass and are wearing clear face shields without a mask under it. FACE SHIELDS ARE NOT SUFFICIENT PROTECTION! Even if you are wearing a face shield, you MUST also wear a cloth or a disposable face mask which covers your nose and your mouth. I am directing our hospitality ministers to issue a disposable mask to anyone who comes into the church with only a face shield, and I must insist that it be worn – no exceptions. As difficult as it may be, for the sake of the safety of all, anybody failing to comply with this deeply important issue will be asked to leave the worship space. If health reasons preclude the use of a mask, then you are asked to continue to attend the Saturday “drive through” reception of Holy Communion. This is one of those situations in which, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” and I must insist upon acceptance of this requirement.
I am caused once again to pause in gratitude for the fact that I have been chosen by God to be one of His own. I invite you all to read our first two readings for this weekend because in both of them the idea and the privilege of being chosen is an important theme. The readings are: Is. 45:1, 4-6 and I Thes 1:1-5b. Imagine the awesome privilege in being chosen by God to be a personal testimony for Him and to Him in the world today! However, it’s not enough to be chosen by Him; we are called upon to choose Him to be the very focus of our life’s intent. The reality is that we don’t have to do that. We don’t have to choose Him! We can instead make choices that are totally self-centered and exclusive of anything that has to do with a relationship with God. However, let’s not forget that every choice that we make is going to have a serious consequence, and in the spiritual sense, that choice is going to impact our eternity. What I choose today will affect all of my tomorrows as well as my eternity. I choose and I decide what my eternity will be.
I’ve shared this with all of you before, but I’m reminded afresh of the testimony of one of the most influential people I had the privilege of knowing while I was in seminary. Sr. Christine is a Sister of Divine Providence from Texas. In introducing herself to us during orientation week in 1995 at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology she shared that she is often asked when she decided to become a Sister. She said that she used to tell people about being raised in a Catholic family, going to Catholic schools, and eventually going to a Catholic university. She told of her discernment process in coming to believe she was being called to the religious life, and after more education she shared how she discerned being called to do formation work at the seminary level. However, she eventually came to realize that all of that wasn’t really about when she decided to become a Sister. She said she finally decided that the best answer to that question was, “I decided to become a sister TODAY.” She realized the importance of making a personal, daily choice to follow Christ in her vocation to the religious life.
Of course, we’re not all called to the priesthood or the religious life, but we are all called each day to decide whether or not we will choose to serve God in whatever may be our vocational call. He has chosen us, but the greater choice is whether or not I will choose HIM today. So, I invite you to read those first two readings for yourself, and make a strong decision within yourself to not just say, “Yes, well, I’m a Catholic, and that’s all I really need to decide to do,” but to purpose within yourself each day to say, “Today I will choose Christ, and I will follow Him with my whole heart.”
With deepest brotherly love in Christ,
- canned soups
- canned meats (tuna, chicken, etc.)
- canned fruits and vegetables
- pasta and pasta sauce
- dried or canned beans
- boxed cereals
- peanut butter
- toilet paper
- dish soap
- hand soap
- bath soap
- tooth paste
Do you all remember that song that Frank Sinatra made so famous called, “My Way?” In it the person is looking back and reflecting upon his/her life with all its ups, downs, joys, sorrows, failures and accomplishments. As I remember the song, at the end of almost every reflection we heard, “I did it my way.” Now, I’m not here to offer a critique of that song. Many people very much enjoyed it, and that’s fine. I was just personally never very comfortable with it mainly because I haven’t done everything in life “my way.” There have been times when I’ve bowed to the will of others (sometimes willingly, and sometimes not so much!), and have not done those things in the way that I would have wanted to. In all honesty, the times that, from the bottom of my heart, I have prayed, “…nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done,” have been the times when I’ve known the deepest peace as well as a deepened relationship with God. That is why the last portion of our Gospel reading this weekend has made me stop and question if I’m still trying to assert too much of my own will in my life. Do I truly mean it when I pray that God’s Will will be fully done within my life?
In our reading, a king has prepared a wedding feast for his son. You remember how that so many were invited to the feast, and yet, there were many, many who found excuses not to attend. Finally, the king looks out over the banquet hall and sees there is room yet for many more. He sends out his servants to invite whomever they could find so that the celebration would be full of people. When the king came to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. We’ve been told that it was a custom in some of the countries of that day for kings and other rich and powerful people to provide clothing for the guests at their feasts. The purpose seems to be so that everybody, rich or poor, high-born or low, would be richly dressed according to the will of the host. Nobody would truly know who was who. The important thing was that they had been invited, and they had accepted the invitation and the garment. That one man who wasn’t wearing a wedding garment showed up in his own clothes apparently with the attitude that what he had was just as good as anything the king could provide, and he was going to show up doing things “my way.” The result? He was bound hand and foot and thrown out of the feast. He was banished from the king’s presence because he obviously believed that his way of doing things was just a good as the way the king wanted. I admit, I can sometimes find myself with that same spiritual attitude, and it’s very easy for me to forget that such an attitude if acted upon has consequences. So, I’m purposing within my heart to seek to be more sensitive to the will of God for my life, and rather than singing, “I did it my way,” I’ll be singing, “I’ll do it God’s way.”
Please accept just these lines from me today. Please continue to stay safe and sane. Remember, we are in God’s hands, and He continues to hold His people close to His heart.
With brotherly love in Christ,