I imagine your calendar is about to fall apart just as my calendar is a bit thread-bear. Blink and it will be 2020. November is a natural time of Thanksgiving. We draw each November to a close with the great feast of Thanksgiving. I’d like to propose that we spend each day in thanksgiving for the ways God nurtures and nourishes our faith.
We just concluded our Midland Area Catholic Community mission. Saints:Day by day. Certainly we are thankful for the new and renewed bonds established during our mission. As members of the same faith we recognize that our Church is bigger than one parish. Here in Midland we try to model healthy cooperation and complimentary schedules of events. No matter the location you will find a place at table.
Without the example of holy living where would we be? Without the influence of our mothers and fathers in faith we would not know Jesus. The command to pray for the dead is an extension of the relationships we share in life. By venerating the Saints we also celebrate God’s plan for each Baptized member of the Church: union with God for eternity. We are also developing friendship with those our mothers would be happy for us to emulate and become like. In praying with and for the faithful departed we recognize our responsibility to our brothers and sisters does not end at death we are to be positive influences on others at all times. Commending them to God’s mercy and encouraging them along the path of purification. We can and do influence those who love us and we love even after death.
As the month flies by we will soon feast together at tables filled with family traditions and memories. Prepare now by making room for the feast – adopt a practice of fasting and give the food to those in need or use the money saved to enrich the poor. Take an active inventory and empty out all that will prevent you from filling up with grace.
Taking stock of the blessings and the people who have shared faith and encouraged you is the perfect way to end this liturgical year. November closes out the year of grace with two great feasts. Christ the King and Saint Andrew. In Johns Gospel Andrew shared Jesus with Peter saying “we have found the messiah”. Drawing from Andrews example have you been brave enough to share your encounter with Jesus the King of the universe? It may seem insignificant but every invitation matters.
Fr. Andy Booms
St. Brigid of Kildare
Vision: A community fully alive in Christ
Mission: At Saint Brigid, nourished by the Word and Sacraments, we find life in Christ by gathering disciples for worship, service and education.
The month of July is the month we recall our liberty and independence. While certainly not having done any kind of official survey it seems July is a common month for independence. (i.e July 1 in Canada, July 28 in Peru, July 14 for France and July 4 in the USA). These are just a few of the days when nations celebrate their independence from colonial or other powers. As it is a right, just and wonderful summer holiday to celebrate independence, we should also treasure the dependence we can have on God. More than any political system God offers us the path toward eternal life, freedom, and joy now.
Later this month the Diocese will welcome Bishop Robert Gruss as our 7th Bishop. This time of transition is a natural time to look for change and hope for many blessings. As one who will be working with him for many years I look forward to hearing his vision, to listening to his priorities and learning from him. God grants those who serve in leadership roles the grace of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Each Bishop I have known has displayed them differently. I look forward to what gifts Bishop Gruss brings. I hope you will join me in praying for him as he prepares to assume the reigns of our Diocese on July 26. I also hope you will make an effort to see what gifts the Spirit has in store and keep an open mind. I have no doubt Bishop Gruss will surprise us all as we get to know him and his many talents and gifts. I know it was a pleasant surprise already to hear that he will be moving to the cathedral rectory. I was the last resident there and I’m so happy to know that grand old house will get some much needed TLC and a new resident. God is good!
My father often says, “by the 4th of July summer is half over!” While it’s true the season is brief I have already put my order in for a long warm fall… if only it were that easy. The heart of summer, like Christmas, invites us to recall the wonders and traditions of years gone by. The sound of children playing often reminds us of the games we would play. It’s summer – get out there and enjoy creation and join in this time of renewed hope and expectation as we receive our Bishop.
June is the month we celebrate our longest day and shortest night. While the sun reaches its zenith and light has shattered the stubborn cold of winter. No matter what kind of summer we have it will be warmer, brighter and greener than winter. God is the source of all and giver of all gifts. It is appropriate as we prepare for the gift of the summer that we thank God our Heavenly Father.
Each June we celebrate the importance of Fathers. We commemorate Father’s Day and the role our Earthly Fathers have in bringing us to life and sharing faith. We also celebrate the final feasts of Easter. Ascension, Pentecost, Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi. These Feasts remind us we are invited to share in the greatest gift of the Father – His Son. Jesus is the light and while the sun will begin its recession from the sky Jesus will continue to offer the path to the Fathers kingdom.
Speaking of the Kingdom this month we celebrate Corpus Christi. It’s the feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus. The early days of the Easter Season we heard the resurrection narratives. Each was a different Eucharistic encounter. We have the opportunity on June 23 to follow the Lord. To let he who conquers the grave be our guide in life. Join us as we give thanks for the gift and renew our desire to follow him. The procession of this day is very different that the procession of Holy Thursday. This time we celebrate and rejoice with the risen Lord and make our faith known. On Holy Thursday Peter denied Jesus in this celebration we acknowledge Him publicly as the way, the truth and the life.
Have a blessed June and don’t forget the Son is more powerful than the sun. He never burns, tires or leaves us dry.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 (email@example.com) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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