It’s good to be back in print. As you can tell the Our Faith Midland has had a few months of transition. I welcome Marta Manning as the editor and coordinator of local content. This publication is not an official ministry of the parishes, but I am grateful of the hard work of the editor and publication staff to make it possible. Our Faith is bigger than any one parish, our faith is truly universal. Catholic as you know means universal. We are called beyond our boundaries into the realm of God which stretches beyond the boundaries of time and space. We experience that in the Eucharist, when we participate in the heavenly liturgy, but we also experience that in the multitude of ways our faith stretches our personal boundaries of who is in and who is not.
This May is entirely part of the Easter Season (since we had such a late Easter), but it is still a month we are thankful to our Mother. Our Earthly mothers and our heavenly mother. Mary, the Mother of the Church accompanies us just as she was an active and essential part of the early Church. I can picture her having long discussions with the disciples and encouraging them to believe the impossible. She knew who her son was and she knew no tomb could contain him. As we journey through this Easter Season, I invite you to have those long conversations with Mary. She knows and understands pain, doubt, frustration, disappointment and all negative human emotions but she also is a conduit for the virtues of Faith, Hope and Love.
This past February as I journeyed to Mexico City for pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadeloupe I was reminded of her power to lead us closer to her Son. As we seek to know and experience the Risen Lord, she is the perfect companion. She is also the one who teaches us to love, to love all her children and to live in hope. Certainly as we hope for a blessed and productive growing season, having some extra pillow talk with our Blessed Mother is a good idea. Say a rosary, bring her flowers, or just contemplate in prayer with her. Whatever your needs don’t be afraid to talk with Mary about how to find an answer. As we commemorate the great gift of life and faith of our Earthly lives, don’t neglect Mary, she like your mom will never reject a homemade gift or card, she like your mom will enjoy spending time with her child and help guide you along the road of faith.
Today begins the holiest week of the year. While it’s easy to speak of Holy Week, it’s much harder to honor it. The world around us hardly remembers, let alone pauses for Holy Week. You can! Make this week a priority of prayer and reflection on the love of Jesus for you. Pray the Stations of the Cross, come to Exposition or an extra Mass or liturgy. Don’t wait for the world to stop- just clear your calendar.
Last Sunday we talked with our Faith formation families and shared details of Fully Alive Tuesday’s. Beginning this summer we will have Tuesday formation for the whole family. For children, teens and adults of all ages. The whole event includes class, Mass, dinner and discussion. We will feature three summer dates to prepare for the fall June 25, July 23 and August 13. You’re never too old to learn and grow in faith. If you know a family that needs more details please contact Jennifer Winberg at email@example.com.
As you listen to the Passion of Luke today and John on Friday, it’s a good time to consider how you would tell the story of the crucifixion of Jesus. It is the central mystery of our faith. How do you witness Christ’s death in our modern world? How do you anticipate His resurrection?
Sometimes we joke about the changeable nature of weather. With few exceptions every place I have visited claims to have weather that changes in a few minutes. Perhaps we would have liked weather this way or that way, perhaps we would have liked a Lent that was this way or that way. The truth is we now have 2 weeks until Easter. Don’t look back for what you would have liked, look forward to what is coming!
This week we have two opportunities for communal celebrations of the Sacrament of penance, Sunday at Assumption and Wednesday at Blessed Sacrament. Take advantage of what we have and turn once again to God. There is no doubt that Christian forgiveness remains an extremely radical concept. When have you found it most difficult not to condemn the sinner along with the sin? What would help you most to follow Christ’s admonition to “go and sin no more”? How can you offer similar help to others?
The readings today take us into the realm of the impossible. Yahweh put water in the desert—impossible; Saint Paul tells us we will attain Resurrection from the dead—impossible; the adulterous woman is condemned by no one—impossible What impossible deeds has God performed in your life? What other impossible deeds would you like to see accomplished in your lifetime?
Rejoice – today, Latare Sunday, is the Lenten compliment to Advent’s “pink” candle. We are in the 4th week of Lent. By now, some of the changes you’ve made may be sprouting new growth. Rejoice at the good things God has done and know there is more to come.
I hope you’ve had a chance to open your mailing with information on the Catholic Services Appeal. Many have already responded – thank you! This annual campaign not only supports the Diocese, but as we have often exceeded the goal, it benefits our parish too. The funds refunded this year will be used for roof and replacement and restoration of the paint and plaster by Saint Joseph. Thank you for your consideration of this important campaign.
This week we will once again listen to the readings for the Scrutinies from Year A. Many communities will hear Luke’s Prodigal Son the lost and found young man. We hear the healing of the Man Born Blind from John. It is interesting to note that John calls him the Man Born Blind – he is a man first. God sees our humanity first and then helps us overcome our limitations. What limitation do you think prevents you from seeing as God does? There are still 3 weeks of Lent for God to heal you.
By now I hope most of you have received your mailing to participate in this year’s Catholic Service Appeal. The annual CSA is our opportunity to build up the church of our Diocese. Many programs influence our vibrant parish life. We have deacons, lay ministers, school support, support of our new members of the faith formation department, business office training and support, and the list continues. We see value for the money our parish contributes and we have a great history of receiving a rebate for overpayment of the assessment. As I shared last week any overpayment on the 2019 CSA assessment will be used for repair and improvement of the roof over the St Joseph alcove. Once repaired we will plaster and paint the area. Thank you for participating. If you like paying electronically don’t forget you can give at www.saginaw.org/csa be sure to identify Saint Brigid as your parish when making an online gift, a gift that can be one payment or over 12 months.
This week our teachers and students enjoy Spring Break. It has been a long winter, the break allows the opportunity to return rested and ready to conclude the last marking period with energy and zeal. Perhaps we can all look for a way to sacrifice this break and share the wealth with our brothers and sisters in next week’s (March 31) CRS collection. Bishop Hurley and the CRS material has already been shared, it will be our opportunity to support the global relief work done in our name and help, Jesus in Disguise.
Today is the first scrutiny for those preparing to enter the Church at Easter. Today and the following two Sundays will bring the opportunity to hear the readings for cycle A at some or all of the Masses. While Luke’s Gospel (cycle C readings for this year) are great food for us, the unique focus of the periscopes from John’s Gospel are especially good and helping us thirst for faith, see with our faith and rise to new life of grace. As we witness the elect examine his life, what graces do I need from God to see my life more clearly and live my faith more boldly?
How quickly time flies! Spring starts this week, we hope. Also, this week our Lenten observance is interrupted by two great Saints. Today we honor St. Patrick – who is a reminder of the power of forgiveness. Legend tells us after escaping home from being a slave in Ireland he willingly returned as a missionary. His fame may be greater here in the United States as a patron of all the Irish, and most everyone seems to be Irish today. Tuesday, a true interruption to Lent is the Solemnity of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Women are usually known as the wife of their husbands, but both Joseph and Mary break the mold. So, this week don’t be afraid to break the routine as we honor such a great Saint who leaves a testimony of action and no words behind.
This is the last opportunity for the men of the parish to join me in Rise. We begin the first day of spring, maybe this is the year God is waiting to share the gift of a spiritual spring with you? Try it! You can sign up via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in person in church today.
Our parish is known for its hospitality whether at big events like the Emerald Evening or the Knights of Columbus Saint Patrick’s Dinner or smaller things like our Lenten fish fry. Please come out and enjoy the fellowship and the great food. Details are in the bulletin. We also have a great fellowship and formation opportunity coming at the end of the month with the Couple’s Night Out. Registration info is in the bulletin. We are making plans for more faith, food and formation events – keep an eye out for “Fully Alive” nights to come.
As we break the mold of Lenten observance this week, Jesus too breaks the mold of appearances in the transfiguration. More to the heart of the matter: Do we see Jesus as the Christ of God? Can we look at the once-and-future Jesus—in the manger, on the cross, and every step in between—as the revelation of God’s love for us?
Thanks for your well wishes last Sunday. It was good to be home even if I was a bit under the weather. While I am usually generous, I hope I did not share the germ with anyone. I made a full recovery on Monday – and rested up from pilgrimage, fever and stomach upset since.
There were many graced moments in Mexico – some highlights are the films of Juan Diego, the old Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, presiding at Mass in the Church of Saint Michael in Natavitis and then blessing our pilgrims with a 1st class relic of Blessed Miguel Pro. The whole experience was a blessed time and many unexpected encounters with God. I hope to have a chance to share more details soon – maybe at coffee and doughnuts. I brought many holy cards with the image of Our Lady back and hope you have taken one.
This Lent I am excited to share a great opportunity for the men of our parish called Rise (Watch the preview at www.cardinalstudios.org/rise). The program will last only 30 days (March 20-April 19). Each man who accepts the challenge will be expected to reflect at home daily and encouraged to attend Tuesday night TAP at 9pm. The material is sure to enrich your faith, work, and home life. If interested look here for more details and email email@example.com or sign up in the back of church this week and next with a representative. I want 100 men to join me – we can do this! Payment of $30 can follow an email or be dropped in the collection or paid at our website under Faith Formation: https://stbrigid-midland.org/donate-now/
Each year we begin our Lenten Sundays by considering the temptation of Jesus. He did not give into sin – in fact, each and every temptation Jesus faced was to reject the human condition and display power or control over the environment. Perhaps your Lenten fast and penance are about asserting power and control over your body. It’s not too late to reconsider, there are still 40 days until Holy Thursday to practice a humane penance. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are about experiencing the flesh not crucifying it – only Jesus needed to go to the cross you’re already saved!
Blessings and Peace,
Fr. Andy Booms, Pastor
Happy Advent! It’s true this is a joyous season of preparation and anticipation. You probably won’t hear many people proclaim an Advent greeting to you these days. I have heard some suggest the Church abandon the season all together, acknowledge defeat and and make Christmas a month of December celebration. I for one don’t want to loose the joyful season of anticipation.
Perhaps the lesson we can take from Advent is that sense that already we have many reasons to rejoice, but there is more coming. During these days the temptation is to eat, drink, spend and be Merry. There is no reason not to be be joyful, but we don’t need to eat, drink and spend to be Merry. We can enter into the joy of the Lord’s coming and still moderate our feasting, quench our thirst on the flowing grace of the Spirit and spend ourselves in service to others in anticipation of the gifts God gives. His year you too can choose to keep some of the grand decorations back for the final days. You can leave the best drinks and treats until Christmas. Prepare till your hearts are content and wait in the silence and joy of the first snowfall (yes I know that was November 9). But remember how beautiful the snow was then? How fresh God made everything look? That white snow which delicately fell on the trees and covered the leaves is the same blanket of grace the Incarnation brings for you and me.
This Advent with each layer of decoration you hang, with each cookie you bake and with every gift you buy remember it is Jesus who covers you. When God looks at each of us he sees us covered in the glory of His Son. Welcome Jesus into your home, light the candles and trees in stages, as you know God draws close to us. This is a time of great rejoicing, this is a time to return to the pure white garment of Baptism. God is near already, and the more we reflect His light the brighter the world will be.
Happy Advent, may your days be Merry and Bright with the joy of HIs coming!
November – talk about the end of time. At least liturgically speaking, we do talk about the end or fullness of time. Our liturgical year is in its final 4 Sundays! This year we get to celebrate Christ the King after giving Thanks on Thanksgiving Day! What a great return to the Lord – proclaim him King of all time and history. This is a month packed with bounty from God. Winter is near; yet God will see us through with more than enough.
The second Sunday of November is also an opportunity to renew our Stewardship of time and talent. As we take full count of the bounty we have – it is essential we make a return to the Lord. The psalmist asks – “How can I make a return to the Lord?” Later he proclaims, “I will take the blessing cup and call on the Lord”. Since the beginning of salvation history God has always asked for a return – not for His glory but for our good. When we serve the Lord we benefit! What a great way to extend our Thanksgiving from one day of gluttony to a lifetime of joyful service.
Even before national Stewardship Sunday we observe National Vocations Awareness week. Want to talk about the path of joy…then talk about vocation! If you’re looking for ways to discuss with your children the paths of service take a look at vocationlessons.com. These are free to use when you log in via our Diocese pass code (assumption815). There you can find lesson plans and activities for children of all ages. Of course our teachers at St Brigid may use some feel free to make a family commitment to prayer and discussion of vocation during the week. It starts Sunday, November 3 and ends on the 10th. You might also join the youth group for a holy hour Sunday night at 6:30pm.
In any manner however you offer your thanksgiving to God know I’m grateful and blessed by all of you. I remain a blessed pastor with such a great parish and civic community. Thank you for giving me reasons to praise God and raise the Blessing Cup in praise. God is good all the time!
Early in the month of October we honor Saint Francis, this great Saint calls us to love poverty – an admission of our need for God’s grace. This whole month is a time of transition and change. Certainly the month our weather shifts toward fall and we must store up the sun kissed bounty for a later day. After Halloween all bets are off – snow can fall or we can get rain and wind and wish it were snow. The attitude of gratitude and giving thanks will see us through.
Giving thanks can see us through more than we know we can do. If we thank God for even the challenges of illness and see it as an opportunity to grow closer with Jesus in his suffering we can endure more than one would think. God is in our midst and very much a part of all we are. The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is an expression of the union we have with God even in weakness. In the past this Sacrament was taught to be celebrated only at the moment of death. We now understand that God’s comforting presence should be a part of any serious illness. Join us October 9 for a public celebration of the Sacrament with all neighboring parishes in October 9 at 5:30 pm.
Finally don’t forget to be counted this month. We observe the annual tradition of the October count. These numbers give us a base line of attendance and may some day influence the decisions the Bishop makes in assigning priests. Our diocese is blessed with many great priests who want to serve the Church. Help us serve you by making your presence count, literally. Have a blessed month!