Archive for September, 2003

September 28, 2003

Homily Ė 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

When I was a youth minister I had an absolutely unbelievable experience with a parent. One parent approached me after mass and proceeded to chew me out. She was angry that every week she sent her daughter to youth group and her daughter didn’t know the Our Father and the Hail Mary. What was I doing? I was flabbergasted. I asked her, in all honestly, what her daughter said when they prayed the prayers at home. Let me tell you that really set her off. I was a smart alec and she was going to have me fired. Luckily my pastor stood by me and told her that the first responsibility for educating children belongs to the parents and ultimately God would hold them responsible.
Well the story is a little unbelievable. At least it was to me and so I thought of a way I could make my point to you. I had Ann make a note of some of the families with children that she saw at this Mass and also some of the adults she knew. I thought what I would do is draw a name and have that person or family come up and answer three basic questions about their Catholic Faith. If the child is under 8 then I will ask them to say the Our Father and the Hail Mary for us. If the child or adult whose name is drawn over 8 I will ask them these three questions:
1. What is the Immaculate conception? (Most get this wrong)

2. What are the three things that make a sin mortal instead of venial?

3. When and how often must a Catholic go to confession?

And the lucky person or family is….

You don’t really think I would put someone on the spot that publicly do you? I would never purposely embarrass someone publicly. But if you were even a little bit nervous that your name might be called then you really need to hear todayís message in the Gospel.
The Gospel speaks of avoiding scandal especially to children. Scandal is anything we do or fail to do that leads another person to sin. I want to direct this one especially to parents. Jesus makes a big deal about children because they are less able to defend themselves from evil. Parents and other adults are the examples that most children look to about what is right and wrong. Parents especially are responsible for the Christian education of their children. You hear the questions we ask in Baptism about raising their children in the faith. One day you will stand before God and everyone, and he will question you about how you educated your children. Today you got a reprieve but eventually you will have to answer in front of everyone. You will answer for what example you have given your children and what example you failed to give them. You can’t just say I sent them to CCD. The responsibility is yours and can’t be transferred. If CCD is not working effectively for your child, you need to correct it. You shouldn’t be nervous about your children answering basic questions. If you omit this responsibility then you can be a source of the scandal the Gospel is talking about.
What about sins of commission? What are some of the things we do that give bad example to our children? Our use of language is a big one. The way we lead our lives. The importance we give to God in our lives. One big one I have heard is a challenge in South Dakota is Mass attendance. Some parents will drop their children off for Religious Ed and pick them up without ever going to Mass. What kind of example does this set. Very clearly stated Catholics have an obligation to attend Mass every Sunday. If we do not go then how can we expect our Children to go? Quite frankly you canít. If Mass isnít important enough for you to attend then your kids will get the message loud and clear. They will also get the message if Mass is important but not as important as other things: for example like camping or sports. I have heard it said that Mass attendance is low in the summer because people feel vacation from school means vacation from mass. Or if they go camping for a weekend then they donít have to go to Mass that weekend. I have also heard people say that mass attendance isnít as important as an out of city sports tournament. If you want to go camping or have to go to sports on a weekend you still have the obligation to go to mass. If one or the other must be omitted then it must be camping and sports. If you choose sports or camping above worshiping God and giving him his due place in your life then the message will be communicated loud and clear to your children.
The second half of the Gospel clearly tells us the importance that must be placed on the things of God. If anything comes between us and God then we must cut it off and out of our lives. This is because nothing on this earth can be worth more than our eternal salvation. It is dangerous to form the habit of choosing other things above God. It is a habit that can affect the eternal choices we make. Our spiritual lives and relationship with God should be the most important thing in our lives. If it is not then one day we will have to stand in front of everyone and answer as to why it isnít.
These questions arenít for only those with children. They are for each and everyone of us including me. One day I will stand before God and answer for the example I set for you. For what I did and did not tell you. Each and every person here will do the same. If we set a bad example for others, especially the young, then the consequences are clear.
The good news is they are easy to avoid if we simply put God first. If, in our lives and our actions, we have the habit of putting God first then the questions are easy to answer and the example we set isnít one we need worry about.
So we return to our first three questions. These are basic questions every Catholic should be able to answer. If you canít then it might be worth your while to learn a little more or even a lot more about your faith. We have many opportunities to do that at St. Michaels. Canít I just answer them for you? Sure I give you the answer to these questions, but I wonít. Because behind them lies another question that only you can answer. Does God come first in my life? That is the important question only you can answer. If you answer that one correctly, then you will have the answer to the other three. The choice is yours. Choose well.

The Power of the Laity

September 26, 2003

With much clamoring about more power sharing (code words for a church which votes on everything) the true vocaiton of the laity is often overlooked.

Vatican II is very clear, as are the writings of JPII, the the very nature of the lay persons call is secular in nature and the fulfillment of their vocation is found in the temporal order. Ie. Working for God does not mean quitting your job and being employed by the some parish or diocese. The fullness of the vocation of the laity is lived in the temporal realm and ordering secular affairs to the kingdom of God.

Why this big build up. The text of the following article will show you what the potential of the lived lay vocation can do.

Builders in Austin, TX Boycott to Stop New Abortion Business

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 24, 2003

Austin, TX ( — In a boycott that may be the first of its kind, a group of builders
and contractors in Austin, Texas have banded together to stop construction on a new abortion

Workers were slated to begin construction on Tuesday of a new $6.2 million Planned Parenthood
abortion facility.

“We’re going to do everything we can to stop it, slow it down and make it more expensive,” said
Chris Danze, owner of Maldonado and Danze, Inc. an Austin concrete contractor.

Danze is chairman of the Austin Area Pro-Life Concrete Contractors and Suppliers Association. He
said every concrete supplier within 60 miles of Austin has indicated it will not supply materials
or labor to the project.

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion business, though it doesn’t have a facility
that does them in Austin. The new building was scheduled to open in the fall of 2004.

The boycott is a surprise in a liberal city that bucks the pro-life trend of the rest of the
state. However, a Planned Parenthood representative claims the project still has the support of
most city residents.

“Our plans are underway and we have a great deal of support from our community,” said Danielle
Tierney. “Tactics like this sometimes come with the territory,” of providing abortions, she told
the Associated Press.

Another Planned Parenthood spokesman says the boycott won’t interfere with the timetable for

“It will not delay the start of this project,” Glenda Parks said.

Danze indicated his group contacted more than 750 Austin and San Antonio-area contractors asking
if they would participate. So far 80 have joined the boycott officially. Danze says others aren’t
joining officially but they won’t be supplying materials or labor for the construction project.

“You don’t walk on to a job that the purpose of the project is going to be something that is going
to dehumanize women and children, and in fact, destroy lives,” Danze said.

“There will be resistance. Our hope is that we can stop the project, if not slow it down, and make
it more expensive,” Danze added.

Elizabeth Graham, associate director of Texas Right to Life, said her group applauds the actions
of the contractors.

“We encourage all Texans to boycott businesses who support and encourage the anti-woman agenda of
Planned Parenthood,” Graham told

However, Graham says Planned Parenthood is still pursuing a lawsuit to obtain state tax dollars
and skirt a new pro-life law prohibiting abortion businesses from obtaining state family planning

“Planned Parenthood is currently attempting to use the court system to obtain millions of dollars
from Texans redirected by the Texas legislature despite the fact that it received $5million in
private funds,” Graham explained.

Graham said a large donor bequeathed $17 million for their Houston operation.

One can only hope it is true..

September 24, 2003

and not another attmept by the press to stir the pot.



Changes and Business

September 24, 2003

Well we just got new carpet. Everything was disconnected and out of the Office until just this minute so I have some catching up to do. It should be another quite busy weekend but it will slow a bit. I have my last wedding til the summer this weekend. That should free up Saturdays a bit. Hopefully a little reading can get done. At the very least I can have more homily prep.

I will post last weeks homily soon. I need to edit it a bit for the web. You can correct things as you speak but once in writing it is tough.

Howdy to Fr. Mark in Rome. I don’t think I could qualify to be a tuti. I wear my clerics heh. I hope your setting a good example for them.

I lived at Burger King (next to the Trevi). Hard Rock was too expensive.

If you could do me a bit favor I would appreciate it Fr. Mark. I also think you would have a great time. I would like to see if you would celebrate a Mass at the American Cemetary in Nettuno for all the South Dakotan’s. I visitied but couldn’t say the mass since I was shooting blanks. If you meet my good friend Fr. Matt LaChance I am sure you can convince him to go with you.


September 20, 2003

What a day. 2 different homilies given today so far and I still have one more different one to give tonight. On top of that I have confessions in 13 minutes. Life isn’t boring let me tell you. Actually it is great but boy am I looking forward to vacation in November.

Another bad Choice

September 19, 2003

May God have Mercy on her Soul.

Musings of Catholic Seminarians

September 17, 2003

For those of you who miss the seminarian perspective… I found some more for you. Here is a new blog, just starting up, by some of the seminarians of our diocese. I hope you visit them and welcome them aboard in the comments boxes.

New Adoration Chapel

September 15, 2003

There is a good, little article in our local paper on the new adoration chapel at our Cathedral. It is staffed by sisters we brought up from Mexico just for that purpose. They are real sweethearts too. You can read the text of the article here:


You can see a small photo of it here:


September 14, 2003

Homily Ė Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Once again we see in the scriptures how God unfolds his plan of salvation over thousands of years. The Gospel clearly shows us that when Moses raised the Serpent (the seraph) on a pole to save the people from their sins how this foretold that Christ would be lifted high on the cross to save us from our sins.
For the people of Mosesí time they saw the results of their sin nailed to a pole and raised above them. If they looked to it in faith they would be saved. For us we see the results of our sin and that of all humanity nailed to a pole and raised. For Christ took the price of all our sins upon himself and was raised. To us it is promised that if we look to him in faith we will be saved as well. This is the importance of the crucifix in the Christian Tradition. We do not have empty crosses because an empty cross didnít save us. Christ crucified is the sign of our salvation.
But what does it mean to look to Christ in faith. You have heard me tell you faith does not mean simply believing in Christ. The devil believes Christ died and rose from the dead. No true faith must be lived otherwise it is dead. This is why Christ told us to take up our cross and follow him. We see a clear example when we contrast the people in our first reading with Christ in our second.
They were unwilling to suffer. They once again were grumbling and complaining against God. Though they had betrayed God twice they still expected that they were owed a comfortable living and when they didnít get it they complained against God. Look to Christ. He empties himself and took the form of a slave. To him was due all the Glory and Honor and yet he refused it for our sake. He was willing even to suffer, not for himself but for us, to the point of death and at that time it was the most demeaning and humiliating death one could undergo. Christ accepted it all because it tells us in the Gospel that God willed that the entire world be saved.
This is our contrast. The Israelites were not willing to suffer for themselves even when they deserved more suffering. Christ was willing to suffer for others even when he deserved none. In doing this he teaches us that suffering does have meaning. It is not pointless. If we are willing to accept it and offer it for others it becomes an act of true love. If we are not then it certainly seems pointless but most likely it is what we deserve. We choose whether our suffering has meaning or not by choosing to empty ourselves and offer it for others like Christ. This is why Christ is our high priest. The book of Hebrews tells us a priest is one who offers sacrifice for others. And we are all priests, prophets and kings by virtue of our baptisms.
By virtue of your baptism you are part of the common priesthood. By virtue of my ordination I am part of the ministerial priesthood. We both offer on the altar of sacrifice on Sundays. For you that means all the sufferings, trials and tribulations you experience during the week should be brought here on Sundays and laid on the altar. When the gifts of bread and wine are presented and put on the altar, then you spiritually lay your sufferings on the altar and pour them into the Chalice. Then I call upon the holy spirit and they are transformed into the Eucharist. What was our sufferings becomes our means of salvation and that of all the world. This is how our suffering becomes meaningful. When we empty ourselves and offer it on behalf of others.
You have a free choice. You can choose to have your suffering have meaning by offering it for others. Or you can choose to have it be pointless by grumbling and complaining about it. My suggestion to you: Look to Christ crucified on the cross. Exhalt the cross in your life. Live out your baptismal priesthood. You choose between freedom for meaning or freedom from meaning. You suffer for someone or you suffer from afflictions. The happiness and peace you seek is found in the way of the Cross, the way of Christ. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. I Choose Life. How about you?

Scriptual Rosary

September 12, 2003

Does anyone have any resource for a good scriptual rosary for the luminous mysteries?