Sunday, May 1, 2011

On the Tenth Anniversary of Perpetual Adoraton at Resurrection: A Reflection

I gave this reflection this afternoon at the dinner following the 1130 a.m. Mass celebrating Eucharistic Adoration and Divine Mercy Sunday

Eucharistic Amazement

Many Christians rely on the Sacred Scripture to draw them closer to God.  But in the Gospel of the Walk to Emmaus we realize the Risen Jesus telling us Sacred Scripture alone is not enough.  The disciples are amazed at his teaching, but the still don’t recognize Jesus.  It isn’t until he breaks bread with them, celebrating as he taught them to do at the Last Supper that there eyes were opened.

What an amazing gift we have in the Holy Eucharist!  Our hearts may burn within us as we read the Scriptures.  We invite Him to speak to us, allowing His Word to soak in.  But when we open ourselves to Christ’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, more graces truly begin to flow and our eyes are opened to the Lord.

This was never more evident than when we started Adoration three years ago at St John Vianney and we started with five days, they now have all the days covered.  Now I’ve made a Holy Hour either in front of the Tabernacle or in Church almost everyday for five or six years.  When we started this endeavor I took the 2 a.m. on Thursday morning.  (Don’t ask now, I can’t do that time right now.)  I had a chance to read Padre Pio, to read St John Vianney, to prepare homilies, and to lay on the floor and pray or sleep…after all I was by myself whose going to stop me.  Through that time and grace of looking at the Lord and Him looking back at me we developed a great rapport and I was able to stand clearly for things that I struggled with to articulate to my flock.  For example our stand on life issues, marriage, intercommunion, stewardship, insights that came later in the day, these issues are sometimes just as unpopular as our belief that Jesus Christ is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Consecrated Host that we come before.  I came to realize its importance to me and to my flock.  It helped us all focus on Jesus presence at Mass, in the Chapel and in each other.  I was amazed at times at how people shared with me the change in their lives and me talking about the change in mine.

In his 2003 encyclical on the Eucharist and its Relationship to the Church, which I was present for when he delivered it at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Holy Thursday, 2003; Pope John Paul sought to rekindle this “Eucharistic Amazement.”  In the encyclical he urges us to contemplate the face of Christ with Our Blessed Mother, asking her to help us move forward with the new evangelization, which must also be a fruit of Adoration.  Blessed John Paul II writes:
To contemplate Christ involves being able to recognize him wherever he manifests himself, in his many forms of presence, but, above all in the living sacrament of his Body and Blood.  The church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist, by him she is fed and by him she is enlightened.  The Eucharist is both a mystery of faith and a ‘mystery of light’.  Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the faithful in some way relive the experience of the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus: ‘their eyes were opened and they recognized him. (Luke 24:31)

When I was assigned here Bishop Quinn mentioned strongly the presence of Perpetual Adoration at Resurrection and how it’s a great grace to a parish.  Again, at my previous parish we began to expand Adoration three years ago with an earnest goal of Perpetual Adoration. Though in its infancy, St John Vianney pushes forward and continues to realize that goal and now is close to its goal or realized its goal.

When I moved to Resurrection I began my day by moving my Holy Hour to the Fr Winkel’s chapel at or around 6:15 each morning. It truly has become a grace for me.  I always say that the reason I do it then is because the bullets start flying around the office and that hour has become precious to me.  I don’t make time during the day, so the early morning is the first fruit and I give it to God.  A benefit of this time is to gather with others in the early morning and not just be by myself at 2 or 3 in the morning, helps me see the love and care with which people come before the Lord.  How all of us desire that union with Christ and we bring ourselves and whatever tools we need to achieve that, whether it’s the Liturgy of the Hours, the Bible, a spiritual writer or just gazing at Him in amazement and him gazing back at me his creation and redeemed child of God.

I realize now how much grace and determination it has taken over the years by the Adoration team here at Resurrection and the faithfulness of many parishioners to take on this prayerful ministry. I realize now after having been graced at Resurrection with Perpetual Adoration, and joining in it during its maturing years, Bp Quinn was correct ; there are many graces and blessings that come from sitting with the Lord and contemplating our sorrow and need for forgiveness and  mercy, praising and thanking him for blessings, graces and mercies received. Interceding through Jesus Christ to the Father for many prayers petitions and hopes and blessing, we pray this ministry of prayer continues on in perpetuity at Resurrection so that it might be a grace for our parish, our Church and for the life of the World.  We all pray that we continue to invite more people to this ministry so that the work of the Lord can continue and others may continue to recognize Him in all that we do.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

I sit here at my desk, waiting for the 8:15 mass to finish, cup of coffee and thinking what a beautiful morning!  My Nona DeMarco always said to her children that whatever the weather was on Palm Sunday it would be the opposite on Easter Sunday.  She was right again.  Lousy and rainy and cold Palm Sunday and a beautiful Easter Sunday morning.  Of course that goes the other way too.  When I was in Rome on Sabbatical in 2003 and Palm Sunday was gorgeous and 85 degrees, Easter Sunday was mid 60's and rainy.   Even John Paul II couldn't get past my Nona!

We've had beautiful Holy Week and Triduum liturgies.  The people really enter in, Holy Thursday was beautiful, and Father Shawn my associate gave one of the most beautiful Good Friday celebrations I've ever seen.  The Easter Vigil was wonderful and a newly baptized member joined us for the first time at the Lord's table.

This morning it's still a beautiful day to remember that Christ is risen!  He is Risen indeed!  Just as he promised long ago and that the Father would bring salvation to us all by His Son's suffering death and resurrection.  The stone is rolled away, what shall we do.  Christ has gone ahead of us and we must follow with eager anticipation during this Easter Season and beyond.  May you all have a great Easter day, and Easter season filled with much joy, happiness and hope!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tenth Anniversary of Perpetual Adoration May 1 at Resurrection

May 1st at 11:30 a.m. mass Bishop Quinn returns to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Perpetual Adoration here at Resurrection.  When I was assigned here Bishop Quinn mentioned strongly the presence of Perpetual Adoration at Resurrection and how it’s a great grace to a parish.  At my previous parish we began Adoration two year ago with an earnest goal of Perpetual Adoration.  Though in its infancy they push forward and continue to realize that goal.  I realized now how much grace and determination it has taken over the years by the Adoration team here at Resurrection and the faithfulness of many parishioners to take on this prayerful ministry.  I realized now after having been graced at Resurrection with Perpetual Adoration and joining it during its maturing  years, Bp Quinn was correct, the many graces and blessing sitting with the Lord and contemplating our sorrow and need for forgiveness and mercy, praising and thanking him for blessings, graces and mercies received and interceding through the Jesus  Christ to the Father for many prayers, petitions and hopes and blessing, we pray this ministry of prayer continues on in perpetuity at Resurrection so that it might be a grace for our parish, our Church and for the life of the World.

I would be remiss if we didn’t mention the great day of May 1st also includes a great event today.  Our dear departed Pope John Paul II is beatified today and it’s fitting that Pope Benedict XVI has elevated him to this status on this day of Divine Mercy.  We know refer to him as Blessed John Paul II and pray for another miracle attributed to him that he might be canonized in our lifetime.  He stood for Life, he stood for the poor, he believed the Church can and would be an agent of changed as her people would be strengthened by prayer, sacraments and the Word of God and the intercession of Mary.  We’re grateful that he continues to intercede for us with the great communion of saints.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

An Airport Encounter

An Airport Encounter by Abp Timothy Dolan, New York, NY

It was only the third time it had happened to me in my nearly thirty-five happy years as a priest, all three times over the last nine-and-a-half years.
Other priests tell me it has happened to them a lot more.
Three is enough.  Each time has left me so shaken I was near nausea.
It happened last Friday . . .
I had just arrived at the Denver Airport, there to speak at their popular annual “Living Our Catholic Faith” conference.
As I was waiting with the others for the electronic train to take me to the terminal, a man, maybe in his mid-forties, waiting as well, came closer to me.
“Are you a Catholic priest?” he kindly asked.
“Sure am.  Nice to meet you,” says I, as I offered my hand.
He ignored it.  “I was raised a Catholic,” he replied, almost always a hint of a cut to come, but I was not prepared for the razor sharpness of the stiletto, as he went on, “and now, as a father of two boys, I can’t look at you or any other priest without thinking of a sexual abuser.”
What to respond?  Yell at him?  Cuss him out?  Apologize?  Deck him?  Express understanding?  I must admit all such reactions came to mind as I staggered with shame and anger from the damage of the wound he had inflicted with those stinging words.
“Well,” I recovered enough to remark, “I’m sure sorry you feel that way.  But, let me ask you, do you automatically presume a sexual abuser when you see a Rabbi or Protestant minister?”
“Not at all,” he came back through gritted teeth as we both boarded the train.
“How about when you see a coach, or a boy scout leader, or a foster parent, or a counsellor, or physician?”  I continued.
“Of course not!” he came back.  “What’s all that got to do with it?”
“A lot,” I stayed with him, “because each of those professions have as high a percentage of sexual abuse, if not even higher, than that of priests.”
“Well, that may be,” he retorted.  “But the Church is the only group that knew it was going on, did nothing about it, and kept transferring the perverts around.”
“You obviously never heard the stats on public school teachers,” I observed.  “In my home town of New York City alone, experts say the rate of sexual abuse among public school teachers is ten times higher than that of priests, and these abusers just get transferred around.”  (Had I known at that time the news in in last Sunday’s New York Times about the high rate of abuse of the most helpless in state supervised homes, with reported abusers simply transferred to another home, I would have mentioned that, too.)
To that he said nothing, so I went in for a further charge.
“Pardon me for being so blunt, but you sure were with me, so, let me ask:  when you look at yourself in a mirror, do you see a sex abuser?”
Now he was as taken aback as I had been two-minutes before.  “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Sadly,” I answered, “studies tell us that most children sexually abused are victims of their own fathers or other family members.”
Enough of the debate, I concluded, as I saw him dazed.  So I tried to calm it down.
“So, I tell you what:  when I look at you, I won’t see a sex abuser, and I would appreciate the same consideration from you.”
The train had arrived at baggage claim, and we both exited together.
“Well then, why do we only hear this garbage about you priests,” he inquired, as he got a bit more pensive.
“We priests wonder the same thing.  I’ve got a few reasons if you’re interested.”
He nodded his head as we slowly walked to the carousel.
“For one,” I continued, “we priests deserve the more intense scrutiny, because people trust us more as we dare claim to represent God, so, when on of us do it – even if only a tiny minority of us ever have — it is more disgusting.”
“Two, I’m afraid there are many out there who have no love for the Church, and are itching to ruin us.  This is the issue they love to endlessly scourge us with.”
“And, three, I hate to say it,” as I wrapped it up, “there’s a lot of money to be made in suing the Catholic Church, while it’s hardly worth suing any of the other groups I mentioned before.”
We both by then had our luggage, and headed for the door.  He then put his hand out, the hand he had not extended five minutes earlier when I had put mine out to him.  We shook.
“Thanks.  Glad I met you.”
He halted a minute.  “You know, I think of the great priests I knew when I was a kid.  And now, because I work in IT at Regis University, I know some devoted Jesuits.  Shouldn’t judge all you guys because of the horrible sins of a few.”
“Thanks!,” I smiled.
I guess things were patched-up, because, as he walked away, he added, “At least I owe you a joke:  What happens when you can’t pay your exorcist?”
“Got me,” I answered.
“You get ‘re-possessed’!”
We both laughed and separated.
Notwithstanding the happy ending, I was still trembling . . . and almost felt like I needed an exorcism to expel my shattered soul, as I had to confront again the horror this whole mess has been to victims and their families, our Catholic people like the man I had just met . . . and to us priests.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday March 29--Holiness of life. It's simpler than you think.

"Holiness consists not in extraordinary actions, but in performing your duties toward God, yourself and others well."--St Maximillian Kolbe

Many times we sell ourselves short and say, "I can't do the holiness thing.  Too much work."  How we fail to see that living a holy life is doing what's necessary and doing those things which we strive to do, as well as we're possibly able.  Too often we go for the lowest common denominator and we think of only doing the minimum.  If we only do the minimum we receive the minimum.  If we strive to do things well, and strive to share our talent for those things that we do well to others we're being good stewards of the gifts given to us. 

If we believe that the talent we use comes from God, who empowers us through the sacraments to go out and "love and serve the Lord."  You and I will bring a whole new attitude to how we care for the poor, the sick, the suffering, the defenseless and the vulnerable.  Those who we choose to stand with when we love and serve the Lord.  This way brings us that much closer to holiness because we've chosen to stand with those who have no choice.  The Catholic Social teaching of the Church always calls us to imitate Jesus and make a preferential option for the poor.  Those who we stand with have no choice, we do have a choice to stand with them in solidarity.  The more we identify that suffering with the suffering of Christ the more we impel ourselves forward to serve him all people we meet, especially the poor.   We become the Christ for another, and we minister to the Christ who suffers, in the other.

Bishop Oscar Romero wrote along this same vein, "Aspire not to have more but to be more."  How often do we think it's all about what we have to have.  Jesus calls us to a holy life that we might be what we're called to be, holy and blameless by how we do the things we do well.  When we forget ourselves and look to being for others then the action of the Lord works through us to help us that much more effectively.  Thus, coooperation with God's grace keeps us in tune and helps us grow in love and grace in living a holy life.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Father Kevin's New Blog


Today I begin a Blog which will contain all sorts of information, insights, commentaries and other assorted news.  I hope to learn more about putting pictures and videos that might be of interest to all of you who visit this site.  This site will be geared to help get out correct information and clear understanding of all areas that are important to the growth of our community in the Catholic Church.  Areas such as Sacred Scripture, Liturgy, Doctrine, Pastoral practice and Charity and other areas as they come up.  We will talk about current events and how they can be brought into the life of the the person of faith who seeks understanding and knowledge and wisdom on their journey of faith.  Know that I do this with the help of a lot of people and I'm hopeful that God will bless this new endeavor in life as we all go forward to love and serve the Lord and bring the Good News into the world in new ways.  May God bless you always, and in all ways.