Please be in agreement w me for Gene. He works for the prison system & I ask that the blood of Jesus cover him as he goes to work each day to protect from the evil & wickedness that is brought in by ppl who are lost or who practice voodoo & witchcraft.
Growing the Fruits of the Holy Spirit
While visiting my parents in Wisconsin recently, my mom shared with me that she had purchased a few tomato plants to be planted in a new raised garden bed that my dad had just set up in the back yard. My mind immediately went to the delicious taste of fresh, home-grown tomatoes, one of my favorite summer treats! But as I looked at those plants sitting on the kitchen counter, I realized there was quite a journey ahead of them before they would bear the desired fruit for which they were created. The successful production of fruit would depend on the plants being properly cared for, ensuring that they get enough water, that the weeds get pulled, and that the deer stay away from the plants.
The image of tomato plants is one that often comes to mind when I think about the Holy Spirit, whose descent at Pentecost we celebrate today. In particular, I think of the fruits of the Spirit, so desirable to us. Here is how St. Paul lists them: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Gal 5:22–23) If you are like me, seeing this list makes my spiritual mouth water with a desire to have these fruits! But, as with those beloved tomato plants, to enjoy the fruits of the Spirit, we need to ensure that our souls are properly disposed to ensure the growth of these fruits. In other words, these fruits are not automatic. We cannot produce them on our own, but our cooperation with the Lord will give them the environment that they need in order to be present for our enjoyment as Christians.
Think of how weeds can slow the growth of a plant, and how if they are not controlled, can actually kill the plant, preventing it from producing any fruit. In the spiritual life, those weeds are our sins. Every time we come to Mass, we are called to acknowledge our sins, to humbly admit we have spiritual weeds in our lives. The Mass helps in removing those smaller weeds, known as venial sins. But some weeds (mortal sins) have deep roots and require a more intense uprooting, which is why we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. So as you review the list of the fruits of the spirit, and wonder why you just cannot seem to be patient, joyful, or self-controlled, ask yourself this question: When was the last time I went to confession? If it’s been more than a month or so, you are likely being prevented from enjoying these fruits due to unattended spiritual weeds which the Lord is more than happy to help remove in the sacrament of His mercy.
Another important element for growth with many plants is exposure to the sun. If there is no sun, or if the plants are in places that never get good sunlight, they are likely not to grow, at least not as effectively as they could. When it comes to growing in spiritual fruits, the same principle applies, but this time, we are in need of exposure to the Son. One of the ways that we do this is through daily prayer, when we place ourselves in the presence of the light that is Christ, whose loving gaze warms us and helps us to grow. In that regard, a way of getting maximal Son exposure is to spend time in prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, especially in Eucharistic Adoration. The rays of Christ shine most powerfully on us during these times, strengthening us in His love, bringing about that transformation in our hearts that make room for the Spirit to work and grow in powerful ways.
Why not take advantage of this during our 40 Hours Devotion that will be taking place June 9-11? As you read this, I can guarantee there are still many open slots that need to be filled. But please do not hear that as just a plea that we need you to fill those slots. More importantly, I make the plea to remind you that you need this time for your own spiritual growth, so that we can more fully bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit in your life, for your good and the good of the Church.
Sts. Marcellinus and Peter
Feast Day: June 2nd | Priest and Exorcist | Imagery: Middle-age Men, Tonsured, holding Palm or Crown indicating Martyrdom; Marcellinus in Chasuble, Peter in Alb
Fragments of their final days trickled out to their fellow Christians: of Peter’s imprisonment, but then his marvelous deliverance of the jailor’s daughter from demonic influence! Yet, the good priest Marcellinus, who came to baptize the family who had all chosen Christ, ended up imprisoned as well, both he and Peter held in horrible, tortuous, conditions. In a scene reminiscent of the worst viciousness man has inflicted on man, the priest Marcellinus and the exorcist Peter after their brutal imprisonment were marched outside of Rome, ordered to clear the ground for their own grave, and were then beheaded. Those tasked with carrying out Diocletian’s persecution did not want their bodies to be found.
But God had other plans! In a dream that very night, the two martyrs, now splendid and glorious, appeared before the Christian woman Lucilla, showing her where they had been martyred. Their bodies were carefully collected, and their relics have been passed down through all the ages of the Church since. Why such an importance on finding their bodies? Why not just pass on their story, their example, their courage? Why dig catacombs? Why risk life and limb to save the bodies of the martyrs? Why, when almost everything else about these men has been forgotten, do we remember their death, and reverence their bones?
Certainly, and perhaps most importantly, we care for the bodies of our dead because we believe that all of us will be resurrected to bodily eternal life. God created an entire material world, and seems to like it quite a lot, and all of it is meant, somehow, for eternal glory, especially our human bodies. This is precisely the truth underscored by Christ’s ascension, with His human body, into Heavenly Glory. BUT, there is another dimension that we often forget: we also believe that all of us here and now, in our bodies, already give glory to God. Grace enters our world in a bodily way! “[T]he believer’s body and soul already participate in the dignity of belonging to Christ. This dignity entails the demand that he should treat with respect his own body, but also the body of every other person, especially the suffering.” [CCC1004] “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” [1 Cor 6:19-20]
Christ’s ascension is enacted within us now by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit! This was the Spirit that operated through Peter’s touch to drive away Satan’s oppression. This was the Spirit that allowed Marcellinus to overcome his natural fear of death and choose the path Christ placed before him, even if death may be the consequence. And this is the same Spirit that is given to all of us to persevere through our own share of hardship, to patiently respond when love is demanded of us, to choose the duty of our state in life and know how God has entrusted it to us, to place our confidence in God when it seems easier to handle it ourselves, to pray for someone when that is not what they asked of us, to give ourselves bodily to the work of God. It may not even feel “holy”. You can still offer bodily sufferings to God when you’re stuck in bed. You can still give Him glory when you didn’t get a goal accomplished. You can still give Him thanks when you are fasting, or feasting. Sts. Marcellinus and Peter remind us that our bodies are sacred, they carry the Holy Spirit, and everything we do with them matters to God.
– Fr. Dominic is currently sitting in a coffeeshop, wishing he had gotten more of St. Francis de Sales read, and more of these articles written, and more emails sent … but God didn’t create our bodies just to get work done … though that truth is one He continues to impart more and more deeply into me.
Monday, May 29
7am – Gale Patrick
(The Fleck Family)
5:15pm – NO MASS
Tuesday, May 30
7am – Mary Urbanckas
5:15pm – Ron Nilsson
Wednesday, May 31
7am – Rachel Langdon
5:15pm – Lessie Meredith Dortch
(Beverly & Larry Smith)
Thursday, June 1
7am – Betty Rogers
5:15pm – Danny Millburg
(Margaret Millburg & Family)
Friday, June 2
7am – Mary Jane Kerns
5:15pm – Intention for Bianca
Saturday, June 3
8am – Jordan Boone & Family
4pm – Eulalia & Raymond Ohl
Sunday, June 4
7am – John Ansell
(The Lemanski Family)
10am – For the People
5pm – Brother Frances Skube
Prayer Wall – 05/19/2023
I’m in agony emotionally & spiritually. Unemployed, single, lonely, overwhelmed, afraid, depressed, discouraged. So many almosts regarding jobs. I’m exhausted from struggling for so long. I pray I soon get a wonderful high paying job I really like w minimal stress, excellent salary & job security.
Monday, May 22
7am – John & Edith Bakalar
5:15pm – Mark Beagles
(Tom McGee Family)
Tuesday, May 23
7am – Brother Frances Skube
5:15pm – Mary Jane Kerns
Wednesday, May 24
7am – Scott Pauley
5:15pm – Mildred & Edward Nelson Sr.
Thursday, May 25
7am – Sophia Bartoletti
5:15pm – John Brunk
Friday, May 26
7am – For the People
5:15pm – NO MASS
Saturday, May 27
8am – NO MASS
4pm – Richard Dhabalt
(Dale & Jane Grieser)
Sunday, May 28
7am – Diana Schumacher
10am – Sophia Bartoletti
5pm – For the People
Why 40 Hours Devotion?
The question some may be asking is why should one partake in the 40 Hours Devotion? The most obvious answer is to spend time with the Lord in adoration. Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist and by setting aside time for adoration, we take time to be with the one who loves us, who has called us friends. But there are other reasons for us to participate in this beautiful devotion. In doing some research on the history of this devotion, I came across the following:
In other words, spending time in adoration can serve to strengthen our awareness of being a part of the Body of Christ, which is the Church. As members of that body, we have the privilege of supporting other members of the body through our prayers. Think of the more than 1 billion Catholics scattered throughout the world, and how when we spend time in prayer, we bring them with us, in a sense, praying for their needs. It can be a helpful practice to spend part of our time in adoration calling to mind the various intentions of the members of the Body of Christ, those who are known to us and those who are unknown. Having that awareness of being able to pray for the Church gives us a little more motivation for coming before the Lord in adoration. I sometimes think to myself in prayer – “Perhaps my being here in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament is making possible somebody somewhere in the Church to realize, maybe for the first time, that God loves them.” As I mentioned in my previous article about praying in the middle of the night, I find it helpful to pray for those who are out and about during those hours, such as first responders or people working in hospitals. I also think about how at 2 am, there may be some less then virtuous actions taking place, and I offer prayers of reparation for those sins, begging God to grant conversion of heart to those who are stuck in a pattern of sin.
Another thought that I find helpful to think of when in adoration is to unite myself spiritually with those members of the Body of Christ who, while I am in prayer, are also praying in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. There is probably somebody in the adoration chapel at Blessed Sacrament here in town at that time. There are perpetual adoration chapels all over the world, and it’s comforting to know that we are all praying together. Perhaps there is somebody who has a dying family member in the hospital, and that person has gone down to the hospital chapel to pray for their loved one. There are certainly contemplative religious scattered throughout the world, dedicating so many of their waking hours to prayer. We can unite ourselves to all of these people, and know that those who are praying are doing likewise for us.
I hope that some of these reflections on the communal nature of adoration are helpful to you in motivating you to consider signing up for an hour or two during our 40 Hours Devotion. First and foremost, you will deepen your relationship with Jesus, but you may also be providing the prayers that somebody in the Body of Christ needs for their relationship with the Lord. Perhaps only in Heaven will we understand the impact one hour has had on the Church, but one hour given to the Lord could be just what somebody needs in order to accept the gift of Eternal Life.
St. Phillip Neri
Feast Day: May 26th | Priest, Second Apostle of Rome, Founder of Oratories of Secular Clergy | Imagery: Priestly garb, especially “Neri Style” Chasuble; Looking up to Heaven, Surrounded by saints, or children, White beard, Heart aflame, Holding lilies, Book, or Cruficix | Patronage: Laughter, Comedians, Artists, Writers
Fr. Philip Neri’s final day was pretty typical for him: hearing confessions, celebrating Mass, engaging visitors in banter as well as spiritual conversation, living with brother priests in one of the oratories that he founded. And, it was Corpus Christi, the day on which the whole Church celebrates the Body and Blood of Christ! He had begun his walk after the Lord as the Council of Trent was radically calling all Christians, especially priests, back to holiness and a faithfulness to the truths of the faith. Philip was not yet a priest, but had already begun to meet with ardent laymen and women, talking about the faith, assisting the poor, going on excursions outside of Rome to visit the ancient churches (he restored the tradition of walking between the 7 most ancient of the cities churches, which stretched back to the first seven deacons of that city) and enjoy each other’s company over picnics and singing and praying together (he began the famous 40-hour devotions that continue to our day, when people sign up for shifts over an entire weekend to accompany Our Lord in Adoration of His presence in the Eucharist!)
He would bring this ardor, and joy, to his ministry as a priest as well. Often called the “Second Apostle of Rome” (after St. Peter himself, though of course St. Paul had also finished his life in the Eternal City), by his example and candor, Philip had brought so many people back to the practice of their faith, and a joyful practice of the faith, that he earned this astonishing title! One famous story comes to my mind that illustrates these characteristics and indicates his holiness.
As persecution against the Church raged in England (following Henry VIII’s defection from the Church having been refused an annulment of his valid marriage to Catherine of Aragon; though probably at the time of this story the persecution continued under Queen Elizabeth I), Fr. Philip would sit outside of his oratory greeting those that walked by, and each day the seminarians who had fled England to receive their formation elsewhere, and who were preparing in Rome to return to their persecuted homeland, would walk past on their way to class. The every-cheerful Philip would call out to the plucky young men “Salvete flores martyrum!” The phrase literally means “Greetings flowers of the martyrs!”, and I suspect would remind each of them the seriousness of their vocation! (The holy Philip had been asked by one of the first to go back to England for his blessing before that new priest strode into the jaws of death and apparently he took it as his work there in Rome to encourage the young men in the preparations for such a fate.)
That story is actually passed onto us by St. John Henry Newman, who would convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism some 300 years later in England, experiencing a very different kind of persecution there, one, at least, that didn’t lead to his death. It reminds me that each of us is given the precise grace we need to be God’s instrument in our lives. Philip didn’t head off to England to die a martyr’s death – God didn’t ask that of him – but perhaps those young priests that were called to the ultimate sacrifice, received just enough grace each morning to stay faithful each day to the Lord’s call to them.
– Fr. Dominic was ordained a priest on May 26th, St. Philip Neri’s feast day. Many of the days while he was studying in Rome he walked past the Church where St. Philip is buried, Chiesa Nuovo and recalled one or more of the many wonderful stories told about the great saint. One final tale: to a person who confessed the sin of gossip, Philip asked for their penance that they tear open a feather pillow from the Church’s belltower … and then go and try to collect all the feathers. Detraction is similarly impossible to reverse!
Prayer Wall – 05/12/2023
Please pray for my daughter, Amy, who is having health issues.
Prayer Wall – 05/11/2023
Please pray for my wife Linda, she has stage four cancer in her lungs, small intestines and liver, let the good lord touch her and heal her of this cancer, In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen