Archive for July, 2003

A Father speaks

July 31, 2003

My letter to the editor on homeschooling made it into the paper yesterday. You can read it here. The guy who I am replying to wrote a really condescending letter about homeschoolers. I used some of his analogies to point out why his reasoning was false.

The background to the situation is that it has been left up to each school district to decide whether or not homeschoolers can participate in extra curricular activities. The Sioux Falls one voted no for a variety of reasons all of which are not reasonable and boil down to, in my opinion, “were afraid they might beat our our children for spots.”

The Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls has extended the invitation for them to participate through them for a cost of $200 a year. That is the same cost charged to any student who attends there and solely to aid in paying for the activities themselves. In otherwords they are treated no different than any student fully enrolled at the school.

My Bishop is awesome.

Many Thanks

July 31, 2003

Your prayers are helping. Thank you. I might actually make it through the weekend. Long hours though.

For as Gold is tested in Fire

July 30, 2003

….so are worthy men in the crucible of humiliation. Sirach 2:5

You guys are now officially my prayer chain. Sorry to draft you. There is a crunch on here that is pretty amazing. I would love to have you pray that everything happens on time and the right place. Not for my sake but the sake of my people. I will be one heck of a good juggler when this is over.

All in all though it is pretty awesome even though challenging.

A Good day to Catch Up

July 29, 2003

Well today was my day off and I got a lot done. I still have a lot more to do but at last things are starting to fall in place. I have my first wedding this week and will spend most of Wednesday working on it. Life is good and I hope to get some work done on the website soon.

July 26, 2003

Homily Ė Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

We live in the age of all you can eat buffets, free refills, unlimited miles on rental cars, unlimited night and weekend minutes, 0% or 2.9% financing. We can have what we want, and we can have it now. We donít need to save or plan. Charge it.
We live in the age of an age of plenty. This makes it difficult for us to understand a time when food wasnít so plentiful. Our lives are filled with abundance and if we are not careful we develop a casual attitude towards Godís blessings in our lives. We assume it will always be there. We start to believe that our good fortune is the result of how hard we work, our good health on how hard we work out. It appears our good welfare depends on us and not on God. That, my friends, is the lie that will lead us straight to hell. Everything, everything depends on God.
You might say, well Fr. Todd, everyone knows that. The devil canít trick us into saying that. My response: Probably not, but the devil isnít that dumb to try in such an obvious way. He is intelligent and subtle. He might not trick us into saying it but I bet he can trick us into living it. How? Lets look at Jesusí example in the Gospel and see how we measure up.
1. The first thing he did was give thanks for what he had. How many of us when faced with a need first give thanks for what we do have? I am ashamed to say I donít but I am working on it. I often worry first about what I donít have. I suspect I am not alone. We need to become people whose first response is thanksgiving for what we have. We must thank God at all times in our lives and not just when we need something, or after we receive something if we are lucky enough to even remember it then.
2. He gives first to others. How many of us give to charity as our first priority with the blessings we have been given? Or do we wait to see what is left over and give out of that. In the first reading the first fruits are given to the Lord. The firstborn son was consecrated to the Lord. The first born calf or kid were given to the Lord. The first fruits of our labor should go to the Lord as well. Share first to the Lord.
3. He gathered what was left so nothing was wasted. How wasteful are we? How much food do we throw away each week? How much goes bad in our refrigerators? How often do we get doggie bags when we eat our so food isnít thrown away? Do we put more on our plates than we can eat? Do we really use all those cell phone minutes or can we go one plan lower and donate the difference to charity? Can we be better stewards of what we have. I think we would all agree we can and we should.
The people in the Gospel believed in Christ and followed him because he fed them and met their material needs. The were in it for what they could get. When he tried to feed them spiritually many left and refused to believe. We will see that in the readings in a few weeks. They missed the most important part.
If we are casual and careless with the material blessings God gives us we will become casual and careless with the spiritual blessings he gives us and we too will miss the most important part; the source and summit of Christian life.
Commit yourselves to being a good steward of what God has given you.
1. Give thanks for what you have. Today! Tomorrow and Everyday.
2. Share first to the Lord
3. Finally, do not waste a crumb of what God has given you.

Angel Dean

July 25, 2003

Wowza. Check out this website and buy his Cd’s. Angel Dean is a member of my parish and I went to see him play tonight. I loved his CD but he is even better live. This guy has super talent and I expect to see him go a long way. I hope that you enjoy his stuff as much as I did.

Angel Dean

Keep on Truckin

July 24, 2003

Life is rolling along in the parish. I am being kept fairly busy but at last feel I am getting a grip on things. I bet that means something big is about to break.

Progress is being made on getting settled. I am having a terrible time getting my new office furniture delivered. I don’t know why it is taking so long but I really won’t be able to fully settle in until it arrives.

On an interesting note the are discussing recarpeting the office. If that happens then everything will need to be moved out and back in. I really hope it gets done before school starts.

I have multiple baptisms this weekend and my first wedding on the first. August and September are full of weddings so I should get a lot of experience in a short periord of time.

My prayer life is normalizing a bit too which is good. I haven’t got a new spiritual director yet but am in the process. It is always hard to adapt to a new situation. Parish life is time consuming so you need to carve out the slots. I am just trying to find the right combination.

Enough for now.

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

July 21, 2003

Until I get time to archive these properly on the main site I will post this one here. I don’t know if I will archive them all. Please understand there are references to previous homilies and I won’t be able to explain them all. I think you get the general gist. I also adlib a bit from the standard text as I find things that work better. This was the first draft.

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

During the course of the week I heard that some of our younger parishioners were saying I looked like the Hulk. Now granted I am wearing green, I am larger than your average Joe (or Father Joe). I also am no Brad Pit but I didnít think I was quite that ugly. One thing I am quite certain of is that I am not that mean or angry. Believe it or not there is a point here but your going to have to wait to the end of my homily to get it.

Last week I told the story of my younger years when I had a Camaro and thought that diesel fuel looked more appealing to me than the more expensive unleaded fuel. I offered the advice that when the car maker and designer says unleaded fuel only Ė you should believe them. It takes a certain kid of Gas to make a car go. It also takes a certain kind of spiritual gas to make us go. The ones God has appointed to tell us what that is are the Pope and Bishops with the final authority going to the Pope.

In this weeks readings we hear a stern warning against shepherds who would mislead their flocks and scatter them. God knows it takes a certain kind of gas to make us go and he intends for us to know what it is so we can be happy. If a doctor tells you to drink poison and he kills you wouldnít you want him held responsible? God doesnít want you poisoned either with bad teaching. He wants you to know the truth. And those who spread false teaching will be held accountable. There will be a day of reckoning and woe to those who failed to teach what the Church teaches. That is one reason why I intend to tell you the truth even if at times it makes you think I am mean.

You would think with such strong words that no Bishop or priest would ever take the chance of passing on a false teaching that contradicts what the Church has taught. But some have. One of the most obvious examples in the United States is the Churchís teaching on artificial contraception. The Church teaches clearly, forcefully and infallibly that all acts of artificial contraception are intrinsically evil and grave sin.
Why do I bring this up? This is Natural Family Planning week in the Church. Most Catholics in the United States donít understand the Churchís teaching on this and why it is sinful. They think the Church is behind the times and if they follow the Churchís teaching it will be too burdensome. As I said the Church knows what kind of Gas it takes to make your spiritual car go. Let me explain three of the many reasons why the Church teaches so strongly against this.
1. The most popular forms of contraception tend to be abortifacient rather than contraceptive. What this means is that they donít prevent conception but rather cause an abortion. Life begins at conception and any means that gets rid of a fertilized egg is an abortion which is the killing of a human being. This includes the most popular method the pill. Many types of the pill donít prevent conception but rather prevent implantation in the womb. This results in the death of a child. Most doctors donít tell you this. Most people wouldnít risk it if they knew they might be killing a child. Do you really want to risk that.
2. Artificial contraception objectifies women. It basically treats her fertility as a disease that needs to be cured. A healthy woman is supposed to be fertile for about 10 days a month. If you want to love someone you must love all of them. Not just parts. You canít say I this and that part of you but not this part. Treating a healthy woman as someone who has disease for the purposes of gratification reduces her to an object and not a person. To use another person as an object is a grave moral sin. True love demands a complete giving of yourself and receiving of the other. You canít accept just the parts of them you like.
3. Contraception is dangerous. Using the Pill causes an increased risk in cancer. If you use it over 5 years there is a 60% greater chance of cervical cancer. 10 or more your chances are doubled. A study of 100,000 women showed you are 25% more likely to develop breast cancer. I could go on. Since its introduction in 1962 has there been an increase in these types of cancer? Of Infertility? Of Abortion? Of Divorce? The Church warned of these and no one listened.

There are more reasons for sure and I would like to explain them each to you but that would require too much time. What is the alternative? Natural Family Planning. Let me offer you some reasons for considering it.
1. It is the most effective method for regulating births. God knows how our bodies work and he knows how to give us effective methods of timing births that donít involve us chemically altering our bodies. Study after study shows that those who use NFP faithfully are more successful at timing births. 99.6%. All that and it is natural and non-evasive. More important you cooperate with God and the way he designed you.
2. Couples who use NFP communicate more and have happier marriages. Responsibility is shared. The divorce rate in our country is above 50% right now. For new couples getting married there is a 64% chance of getting married. Statistics show that couples who use NFP have a divorce rate of less than 5%. It isnít surprising to me that if you cooperate with God and the way he designed you instead of change it you have a more fruitful life. It isnít surprising to me either that a relationship canít last in which the woman becomes an object.
3. It does not involve any unnatural method that views fertility as a disease. Rather it cooperates with the way God made us and not surprisingly it does so with more effectiveness than our man made methods. Women shouldnít have to be chemically altered or treated in order to have a successful marriage. They should be able to be accepted for who they are in their entirety. Anything else simply isnít loving them for who they are.

There are many reasons why we should listen to the Churchís teaching. Most of all because God designed us and made us and he knows what is best for us and will make us happy. He has revealed that to us through the Church as he said he would. If you donít understand or donít agree would you be willing to find out more? I would be happy to try to help and to put you in touch with people and materials that can allow you to understand it better. As it says in the scriptures woe to me if I donít try to teach you the truth. I might be big, I might be dressed in green but I promise you I wonít be angry and I wonít be mean. I truly want you to be happy and I know that can only happen by putting the right gas in your tank.

Another day in paradise

July 19, 2003

Well we are into another weekend. Time sure is going buy quick. I will be in the grave before you know it if this keeps up.

My pastor leaves on Sunday for vacation. That ought to be interesting. I have to get my vacation on the books pretty soon. I don’t know what I am planning on doing. I am hoping something wth my Godson’s family. If not we shall see.

I am going to try to go to New York next year for St. Patricks day. I always wanted to do that. Hopefully it will work out.

I am getting a bit more organized. They painted my office and new furniture is arriving to replace the 22 year old donated stuff. Once that is in I will be able to settle in a bit more. The room in the rectory is taking a while though because things are so busy.

Tonight we finish masses, head over to eat with some other priests and then out the the ball game. It should be fun.

Life to the fullest

July 17, 2003

Another full day ahead of me today. The pastor is going out of town for two weeks and that should be interesting. Hopefully no major decisions must be made then.

It looks like I will be responsible for:
St. Vincent DePaul Committee
Vocations Committee
Liturgy (Oversight)
Youth Program

And either
Confirmation Program

It should be quite a ride.