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September 2018

Lists, Lists, Lists

Moses had a list of the 70 elders invited to the meeting tent. The disciples of Jesus kept mental track of who was "one of us." In today's readings, inclusion of others not on the lists caused consternation. God's lists are not ours.

Among those included as God's children are those who love Him and His Son Jesus Christ and show that love by worship and praise. Who never miss an opportunity to receive Jesus' Body and Blood in the Eucharist. Who don't simply tolerate others, but treat them with respect and compassion. Who express sorrow for offending God or neighbor. Who never deliberately hurt someone. Who make Jesus the center of their life. 

That' what gets us included as a disciple of Jesus, not a list. 



Vanity of Vanity

Pier_Francesco_Cittadini_Vanitas-StilllebenVanity paintings, like the readings from Ecclesiastes, focus on the transient nature of life and the fleeting nature of natural beauty. In paintings, they may show cherished hobbies, an opened book, a burned out candle, flowers (sometimes past their prime or dying), a half-eaten meal and many times (in case we miss the point) a human skull.

Our belief in eternal life and the permanence of heaven, make vanity scenes nostalgic and sad, but not tragic. 

Sts. Cosmas and Damian

Twin physicians who became Christians and evangelized in word and deed through their free patient care and prayer. They were tortured and martyred under the emperor Diocletian for failing to renounce their faith. Many cures were attributed to their relics and prayerful intercession.

It is well that we remember that prayer and medicine work best together. Nor should necessary health care require that the patients become penniless.

0926SS. Cosm & Dam XIXs BulgCosmas and Damian with their empty coffers and healing instruments. ( via Vultus Christi)

USCCB Releases Action Items After Meeting with Pope Francis

The Administrative Committee [of the USCCB] took the following actions within its authority:

1. Approved the establishment of a third-party reporting system that will receive confidentially, by phone and online, complaints of sexual abuse of minors by a bishop and sexual harassment of or sexual misconduct with adults by a bishop and will direct those complaints to the appropriate ecclesiastical authority and, as required by applicable law, to civil authorities.

2. Instructed the USCCB Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance to develop proposals for policies addressing restrictions on bishops who were removed or resigned because of allegations of sexual abuse of minors or sexual harassment of or misconduct with adults, including seminarians and priests.

3. Initiated the process of developing a Code of Conduct for bishops regarding the sexual abuse of a minor; sexual harassment of or sexual misconduct with an adult; or negligence in the exercise of his office related to such cases.

4. Supported a full investigation into the situation surrounding Archbishop McCarrick, including his alleged assaults on minors, priests, and seminarians, as well any responses made to those allegations. Such an investigation should rely upon lay experts in relevant fields, such as law enforcement and social services.

The full text of this excellent statement can be read by clicking on the link to the USCCB webpage:

Turning to the Lord

Korean Martyrs

Korean martyrsStatue of St. Paul Yun Ji-choong outside of Jeondong Cathedral. Yun was killed along with his fellow believers in 1791 and was among the 124 Koreans who died for their beliefs that are today honored as martyrs. The Cathedral itself is built on the site of the earliest group of martyrs.

St. Robert Bellarmine and St. Hildegard of Bingen

Bellarmine by Bernini


St. Robert Bellarmine played an important role in the counter-reformation of the Catholic Church. He helped clarify Catholic teachings and orthodoxy and wrote two catechisms, including one for children. He opposed censuring Galileo and urged him to more clearly define his view of the universe as a theory to prevent him from contradicting the rather literal view of Scripture held the time (e.g. that the sun rises, runs is course in the sky and sets in the west - impossible if it is stationery as Galileo posited).

Hildegard of Bingen was a healer and mystic, using medicinals and plants to treat many ailments. She composed liturgical music, including hymns which has survived to this day. Her playfulness, piety and visions attracted much attention and generated resentment in some church leadership though she was eventually declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI.


Blessed Parish Feastday Everyone!

Worship with us today to be fed with the Eucharist and give thanks to God for the history of our parish and is presence as part of the diocesan church. The triptych will be opened to display our new painting Risen Christ with Cross, there will be Hospitality after the 10:30 AM morning mass and parishioners will be present after all the masses asking for new volunteers for the many ministries in our parish. (Oh, and we will celebrate a baptism!)


The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Today we celebrated the first school mass of the academic year with Holy Cross students, faculty and staff. Several of our school children helped us open the doors to the triptych and reveal the new painting for the reredos Risen Christ With Cross installed just yesterday. The paint is still wet! 

The painting will be blessed at tomorrow's 10:30 AM mass when the parish family celebrates our patronal feast.

Our painting completes the story told by the art in the church nave itself. The crucifixion of Christ on the cross, its rediscovery by St. Helena shown in one of our original stained glass windows now in choir loft and the new painting. It will inspire us to understand that Christ's sufferings and our own do not end in despair or death, but are the pathways to glory and victory over sin, suffering and death.

Contrast Christ

The Holy Name of Mary

HolyNameOfMaryThis Marian feast was promulgated ever more widely as victorious Christian forces successfully withstood assaults from non-Christian and Muslim invaders.

Through the intercession of Mary with her Son, may the Church of Christ always stand firm against unholy assaults from within and without.


Saint Nicholas of Tolentine

Saint Nicholas of Tolentine was named by his mother in honor of St. Nicholas (December 6th) after intercession to the saint to bear a child.

He was dedicated to the church at an early age and became noted for the sanctity of his life, his preaching and miracles through his intercession.

His frequent requests to pray for the souls in purgatory led to his being named Patron of the Holy Souls.




Common Sense

Common SenseIn this morning's gospel, Jesus is once again being tested by the Pharisees. This time it's what we should do when two rules conflict. In his parables about repairing a torn garment and an old wine skin, he suggests common sense should prevail.

We're born with the capacity to acquire wisdom and a "starter kit," but accumulated common sense or wisdom, is a lifelong pursuit.

Wisdom, right-judgment, prudence and fortitude are spiritual gifts which help us travel our life's journey under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.


President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Renews Commitment for Greater Effectiveness and Transparency in Disciplining Bishops

The President of the USCCB has reiterated his commitment to work with Pope Francis in establishing mechanisms to improve the effectiveness of child protection procedures and oversight of adults working in the church including seminarians. Read the full text of the Cardinal's letter which should give us all encouragement in this time of testing for the church.


" The more she is buffeted by storms, the more I am reminded that the Church's firm foundation is Jesus Christ. "

Full Text of Cardinal DiNardo's Letter


One of my favorite themes in art is Christ on the Sea of Galilee. Eugene Delacroix painted three versions and one of the stolen Rembrandt's depicted it as well.

Missing Rembrandt
Rembrandt's Missing Painting

Missing Rembrandt
Missing Rembrandt

Missing Rembrandt
The Delacroix Version In My Office