May 28, 2023 – Pentecost Sunday
“Come, Holy Spirit, come…
You, of comforters the best!”
(from the Pentecost Sequence)
When my mom was still living, we always asked her on her birthday what she wanted. She would always respond “I just want my kids to get along.” It always reminded me of Christ’s greatest wish that his disciples would be one in unity and charity.
In these rather tough days of division on so many levels, I believe Christ is asking us to get along, even in tough, contentious issues and situations. As we try to live in peace, the Holy Spirit can then do the work that Christ sacrificed for in his time here on earth.
So, simply put, let’s all try to exceed in kindness and mercy, especially in those situations where it would be easy to do otherwise. Let’s bring the Spirit of comfort, peace, support! Though difficult to do, with God, all things are possible.
On her last birthday, I asked my mom what she wanted and she said she wanted her kids to get along. But then she added, “You can buy me perfume too!”
It doesn’t get any better than this!
Have a blessed week.
May 21, 2023 – The Ascension of the Lord
Happy Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord!
Jesus, after having lived amongst us for about 33 years, and especially after having died and been raised from the dead, now goes back to God the Father. I can imagine what it was like for God the Father to welcome Jesus in heaven and to sit him at his right hand. Jesus for sure looked different; it was the first time a human body (now glorified) entered the realms of heaven! Jesus also had kept the marks of his passion in his hands and his side. It was not just a glorified human body but also a divine person who had loved humanity to the end and had given up his life for us!
As Jesus ascended into heaven, He also went back to a realm outside of time and space; now his glorified body was not subjected to the limitations of time and space anymore, so now he could become present anywhere and anytime! As for the disciples that stayed on this earth, at first, I can imagine there was a sense of loss. Jesus had just “left!” I wonder what our reaction would have been if we got the news that Jesus had left the world? Would we miss him? Would we feel freed from the burden of his commandments? Would we just move on, or would we somehow try to keep his memory alive? Later, the disciples understood that Jesus had not left them, but that he had now entered a way of existence whereby he could be present to all time and space, including here in Milwaukee in the year 2023.
Next week, May 28, six of our adult parishioners will receive the sacrament of Confirmation. Now in their adult age, they have chosen to believe that Jesus has not left but that he lives and is present and active in their lives today. We pray for these six adult candidates as they prepare for a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
On that same date, May 28, I will also give thanks to God for life as I turn 32.
May our hearts stay always young, capable of falling in love with the Lord every day, certain that he is here, today.
May 14, 2023 – 6th Sunday of Easter
“Beloved: Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope…”
(First Letter of St. Peter, ch. 3)
As we continue to celebrate the Great Fifty Days of Easter in preparation for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, there are so many reasons for hope! Our parishes continue to celebrate Baptisms, First Holy Communions, Confirmations, Reconciliation, Weddings, Funerals, Anointings of those in need of healing, and the beloved Celebration of the Holy Mass — all of which are great Sacramental signs of Jesus alive and with us!
As your pastor, I would like to acknowledge other signs of great hope:
• In addition to the continued presence and amazing priestly ministry of Fr. Carlos, we have been appointed an additional associate pastor. He is soon-to-be Fr. Joseph Heit, who will be ordained to the Priesthood on May 20, 2023. He will be joining Fr. Carlos and me as the priests honored to serve Christ and you in our parishes on June 20, with his first Masses with us on the weekend of June 24-25.
• While remaining the pastor of the Family of Four, I will begin serving as Rector and Pastor of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on June 20, 2023. So, yes, we are now the Family of Five, and your three priests are up to the joys and challenges of serving the mission of Jesus with our awesome lay staffs in increased territory, but with increased grace!
• Seminarians from St. Francis Seminary will be working with Kinship Community Food this summer, so we are starting a Tuesday Morning 7:00 am Weekly Mass at OLDP/St. Casimir, in addition to our daily Masses offered at Old St. Mary. The Vice-Rector, and our former beloved Associate Pastor, Fr. John Baumgardner will be presiding at this Mass with the interns and seminarians, and all parishioners are invited as we pray together.
That’s it for now—more signs of hope will always be coming! Have a blessed week. Keep praying as we all move forward together!
May 7, 2023 – 5th Sunday of Easter
In his first letter, the Apostle Peter calls us “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own” (2:9). This is who we truly are at the core, “chosen and precious in the sight of God!” (2:4). Amid the ups and downs of this world, we focus rather on the gift that God made us to be so that our hearts may be at peace and never be troubled.
Occasionally, we care a bit too much about the way people talk about us. Even the way we describe ourselves sometimes does not reflect the deepest truth of who we are. People in power and with influence might also speak about us in ways that end up becoming a major narrative for others regarding who we are and what we are capable of, a narrative that is often not accurate and serves ulterior motives rather than the truth.
This is why it is important that we remind ourselves repeatedly of who we truly are at the core, namely, “chosen and precious in the sight of God!” In the end, Truth conquers and is known and seen by all as we celebrate during this Easter season. It happened to Jesus; it will happen to us also if we live in Him: “the stone that the builders rejected has now become the corner stone” (2:7).
Speaking about builders and stones, this weekend and the next, Fr. Tim and I will be launching the public phase of the Love One Another campaign at our parishes. For the past couple of months, we have been approaching several families and individuals asking for their support; now we hope to reach out to all of you!
It is not always easy to ask for money, yet both Fr. Tim and I believe that the funds we are hoping to raise through this campaign will do a lot of good to our parishes. These funds will also help many people beyond the boundaries of our Family of Four, places where people need help.
We thank all of you, especially those who have already pledged to the campaign and those who will consider making a pledge in the near future, for supporting our ministry. We also want to offer a huge Thank You to our campaign volunteers who have tremendously helped us in this task.
This weekend, I invite you and me to never forget that we are a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God’s own.” No higher title, rank, or status will ever be granted to us and, if anything or anyone ever describe us otherwise, may it resound all the louder in our hearts and minds that we are “chosen and precious in the sight of God!”
God bless, Fr Carlos