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Well Done Good and Faithful Servants

I hear the Lord’s voice calling out to our parents and teachers as we close this school year, “Well done good and faithful servants.”   What a challenge it has been. While I have run into a handful of people who have truly enjoyed more components than they have found challenging, they are few in number, and it causes me to be in awe at the various ways the Lord creates.

Bravo to you who as parents have juggled not only the “normal” work, and multifaceted family life, but now have also supported your children’s learning in every way you could. I know the adjustments needed varies widely with where your family was when all this hit. Just as our teachers had no preparation for the change in the way we educate children at a distance and needed to learn new ways for delivery, you, too, as parents had no warning you would have your children home and would need to adjust so many things to support their learning and make the most of the situation at hand.

As we finish up the school year I am left with two sentiments:

  • THANK YOU – parents and teachers, you have done heroically.
  • Whew, we made it.

We have always needed to team with parents in Catholic Education to be successful, BUT NEVER BEFORE LIKE THIS! May we stay unified in this time of physical distance! Is there anything in life more important than good formation of the human person?

May the Good Lord continue to help us find grace in the present moment. While that is always true, the changes of the last months surely have unique graces. I continue to work at finding them and opening my heart to receive them well. I pray for that same grace for you and your families.

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Fr. Doty Defines Pastor

Fr. Doty Defines Pastor

Father Doty announced yesterday morning that he has received a new assignment.  When he initially learned of the change, he was surprised.  He said he has been happy here and he loves the people here and sees so much potential in our parish.

The Scriptures and the Church speak eloquently of the Good Shepherd and Jesus’ call to His priests to be pastors of the flock. As the Good Shepherd Jesus attentively tended his sheep and went after the one lamb that had strayed. He bandaged the lamb’s wounds, carried her gently back to the fold.

Getting to know Father, his care of the flock, especially the wounded and those in greatest need, it has been easy to find not only a good shepherd in him, but it has been easy to see The Good Shepherd. The Church calls her priests to act “in persona Christi”, in the person of Christ. That has been very easy to see in Father, especially as he prays the Mass, and in his willingness to go after the wounded.

Father stepped into a tough situation when he arrived short of two years ago. I recall his first words in his first homily, “I’m glad to be here…..” There’s a Good Shepherd going into a flock of wounded and mad sheep. Spiritual triage. And he sincerely said, “I am glad to be here.” That’s a shepherd who knows the flock needs him, and he is glad to be amidst them. Father also spoke beautifully of his change, clearly, though, it was not his idea. His closing words spoke lovingly, “Our lives are not our own.”

Father will be going to St. Mary’s in Denton.

Fr. Eric Clark will be coming here as pastor. Fr. Doty said that one consolation for him is that Fr. Clark is coming, he feels he will be good for our parish.

The changes happen in mid-June. God bless all who are in transition of any form.

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Do You Think God is Mad?

Easter Sunday morning I got up early and went out for a walk. I’m always so glad for Good Friday to be over. (I know the Father and Jesus wanted to suffer and die, but His suffering hurts.) I am eager, to get up on the morning of His Resurrection! I went out, it was cold, raining, almost sleeting and windy. I went out anyway and spoke to Him about it. “God are you angry? Sure seems like it with the weather, and the virus (a little later hail), how many plagues do we need this time? Pharaoh needed ten.” And I did not say it flippantly, rather seriously.

Then I thought, “I don’t think God is mad. He is love, He cares and loves us so much, He is not angry.” Did your mom ever spank you when you were little? I remember one time my nephew was staying at mom’s house. He intentionally rode his bike onto the road recklessly, right after being told not to do so. My mom, his grandma, said, “I don’t want to do this but I have to,” and she spanked him. He cried a bit and I think she did too. It was a quick spanking, and as soon as she finished, he got on her lap, hugged her and cried a little more. She wasn’t mad, she loved him, but he needed spanking. He knew he needed spanking deep down and never doubted Grandma’s love.

God has allowed this only for a greater good. Is there something we need to look at and evaluate? I’m sure there is. It does me good to think about it, you, too? Let’s not waste any time blaming God for any of this, let’s mine down into the great good He wants to bring from it. I see that too. Let’s not only see more of the good, but help more good to come about in our little corner of the kingdom. Lord, grace us to see your love.

Sister Mary Michael, CK

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I Hate, no, Love, no, NEED Lent!

I hate love NEED Lent! (I really wanted the title to look like this, but it won’t let me.)

Lent, I’m feeling really good about it….so far I’ve kept my Lenten resolutions well and….. it’s just about noon, 1/80th of the way to Easter. We all have to start somewhere!

God knows me well. My fickle spirit needs a regular resetting, a consistent reminder to cooperate with His grace and strive toward the goodness toward which God calls, a restoration of at least a little discipline in life. Oh how I need it!

I had an interesting list of possible Lenten resolutions passed on to me. I found them interesting; hope you do, too. Some might be good ideas for you, some not! They come from daily family life:

  1. Go to Mass every day. 2. Pray the Rosary every day. 3. Go to Confession every Friday or once a week. 4. Pray the Family Rosary every day or once a week. 5. Pray in silence 20 minutes a day. 6. Make a Eucharistic visit every day. 7. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet (at 3:00 PM) every day. 8. Fast on bread and water one to three times per week.  9. Read a spiritual book. 10. Tithe to your local parish. 11. Give a donation to charity instead of buying something for you. 12. Get out of bed right away in the morning and pray “Jesus, I love you!” in the first waking seconds of the day. 13. Listen to Catholic radio. 14. Do something major to improve your marriage. 15. Volunteer: at your child’s school, homeless shelter 16. Visit a home for the elderly. 17. Read a Gospel or all four Gospels. 18. Memorize ten favorite Bible verses. 19. Take a holy hour in your parish. 20. Share a holy book with a friend. 21. Oh, why not? Pray in silence for an HOUR every day. 22. Do an act of kindness for another at home or at work each day.

    23. Give up something you absolutely love, crave, or spend time on, or that annoys the people you love, including:

  • your cellphone (or, texting, shopping online, Face-book, etc. online)
  • television or your favorite television show
  • television before a certain hour
  • television AFTER a certain hour
  • coffee (yes, coffee)
  • caffeine in any form
  • diet soda
  • donuts
  • hamburgers
  • pizza (yes, pizza)
  • chocolate
  • anything with chocolate flavor
  • all snacks or desserts
  • movies, Netflix, movie rentals
  • the Internet
  • March Madness
  • following your favorite sports team
  • video games
  • celebrity magazines
  • golf (an objectively grave moral evil) (only kidding)
  • booze (yes, booze)
  • watching golf on TV
  • a destructive, irresistible “friendship”
  • doubt that some very small goodness matters, it does!
  • foul language
  • picking your nose
  • not grooming properly
  • sports radio
  • satellite radio
  • music radio
  • talk radio
  • restaurants
  • eating lunch outside of work
  • driving when you could walk
  • sleeping in late on the weekends
  • hitting the Snooze Button in the morning
  • fast food drive-throughs
  • shopping for clothes or food
  • soap operas
  • working on cars
  • working in your shop
  • chess
  • fishing, hunting, four-wheeling, skateboarding
  • some of your “alone” time doing any hobby
  • your absolute favorite, passionate hobby (aha, you just fainted!)
  • nagging your husband (you know who you are)
  • criticizing your wife (she knows who you are)
  • interrupting others
  • knitting, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, sudoku
  • knitting? (you addicts understand)
  • cigarettes
  • cigars, gum, and “phony candy” breath mints
  • cookies
  • chips
  • cellphone calls in your car on the drive home
  • Bluetooth headset (more difficult than you think)
  • fantasy football, basketball, or baseball
  • ice cream
  • betting on March Madness
  • gossiping at work—say something nice instead
  • stealing “little stuff” from your employer, including time online
  • relations with your spouse (on certain days or weeks)
  • thinking about yourself when you wake up or go to sleep (pray instead)
  • thinking about yourself when you drive (pray instead)
  • buying anything you don’t need

Or stated the other way you could add:

  • cooking breakfast for your kids
  • stopping by your neighbors to say hello
  • smiling when you arrive at the office
  • eating your vegetables (even you adults)
  • exercise
  • visit or call your “not close by” relatives

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God bless and guide you in your Lenten practices as well as those of your family!

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Bahama Llama – The Backstory

llamas

The llamas in the elevator were real! That picture broke a few records here for circulation. Those were quite the animals. Thanks to Rosie Bohnart who connected us with the 4-Hers who had the llamas at the fair. Rosie’s girls were quite taken with the llamas at the fair, and had several questions for their owners. One thing led to another and soon the girls were leading the llamas around, so tame were they that even a stranger could lead them around the barn at the fair.

Move forward eight months, and here are the llamas, Sky and Zeus, again being led out of an elevator by an even stranger stranger. When I found out how truly tame they were, I decided the llamas really NEEDED to go into some classrooms. Zeus’ ears were about 6’6” from the floor, and they said he is a small llama! I knocked and took them right into the first two classrooms. The looks on the children’s faces were priceless. No one wet their pants, but I think it was close for a few! Their reactions were so different—one little fellow was engrossed in his book, he looked up, with no changed expression, glanced at the llama, and went back to his book. ARE YOU KIDDING ME, SON, THERE IS A LLAMA IN YOUR CLASSROOM. I guess it was a good book. He, too, really made me laugh.

In the gym the llamas, along with their 4-H owners, joined in the limbo with the children during the Mission Carnival. Later the llamas went through a hula hoop one step at a time in the assembly. Even loud noises did not bother them. Nothing seemed to bother them….until. The animals had been inside all afternoon. If they have to relieve themselves, you typically get a little nervous dance and we know to take them out. Well wouldn’t you know it, there in the middle of the ALL SCHOOL assembly, while working his way through the hula hoop, Sky had to go. So he did. We also learned about llama dung. Imagine a really large rabbit, and you’d be close. More compatible with a gym floor than I had imagined. The sixth graders who run the Mission Carnival, and very well I might add, always have a “poop crew” on deck, complete with goggles, gloves, brooms, buckets and industrial dust pans which act like scoops. They looked at one another and sprang into action. The four of them had the approximately 100 little dung balls cleaned up in short order. It wasn’t long at all and the llamas were back.

Even in the midst of the surprise that ensued for the 400+ crowd, the noise didn’t seem to bother the animals at all. What a learning experience on so many levels. Catholic Schools Week at its finest! God be praised!

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Building on the Foundation of Family!

Grandparent Day on Monday was a blessing. Wow, that was a great turnout! We had the meeting room, Bishop Vasa Hall, and the gym all full of doughnut-eating families.

Family is such a blessing! Whether your family could be there or not on Monday, family is a blessing beyond measure. It is first in the context of family that we experience love. When we know love from our family, we much more readily know the love of God our Father.   Family teaches us fidelity. There was a lot of permanence in the gym on Monday. Grandparents, who have weathered the storms of life and persevered through tough times, help us have firm foundations into which we can sink our feet, and lend stability to life, especially when that stability is founded on a component of faith along with family.

In the midst of a culture that seems to find every change as good, and has a hard time finding a measuring stick to discern the good from the bad, grandparents bring some refreshment. We don’t want to accept or reject change as good or bad without discernment. Two measurements often found to provide enlightenment are view the issue from the point of eternity, and if something has been held as good for hundreds of years, maybe we should think twice before brushing it aside. Both seem to stand in stark contrast to the spirit of today: “Does it feel good”, and “Will it make me happy now”.

I also want to thank the parents and grandparents who chuckled at the humor of the day, and contributed to the Early Childhood Expansion item of the day. The website is still open at https://www.saintpeterslincoln.com/ and we will accept checks through the end of time for a week or two. Both will still be matched twice. We gathered about $5000! We have a long way to go, but that will sure help when matched twice to $15,000. To clarify we will need a building to expand the program, so you will not see results next week, I’m hoping for the week after. God bless us all along with our families!

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Wild Wood Weed

Marijuana, some say it’s coming, some say it can’t, some say it has already arrived.  Yes, I know it’s illegal.  I have a number of friends in education as you might suspect.  It is they who weigh in most confidently with comments that it has already arrived.  They can see it in the dazed faces before them.

This very issue is so compelling we have families in our very parish and school who have uprooted their large families, and relocated here, where the weed and its components are less prevalent.   After one family’s relocation, their three-year-old daughter who shows early signs of the feminine genius, said to her mom, “Momma, where are all the crazy people?”  A successful move, it seems.  In Colorado when they would go to the park to play there would be semiconscious people on the park perimeters on a regular basis.

Before I take any more of Monica Oldenburg’s anecdotal experiences, I need to invite, encourage, beg you to come with your child to the SFA meeting on Jan 21st.  (Fifth grade is the hinge point generally.  Many fifth graders are ready for this presentation, others maybe not.  You as parents can best make that call.  Children above fifth grade are likely ripe for the information while the iron is cool.). Some of the children heard part of this information last year, but not with you at their side.  Marijuana isn’t the smelly weed from when I was a kid. Gummies, brownies, and vaping are all the rage now.  Want to know what it does to a vast majority of its users?  Come listen for yourself.

Would you rather have your child decide whether or not to use marijuana in the midst of a party setting with peers, or after being well informed along with you, then engaging in thoughtful dialogue with you?  Adolescent frontal brain lobes are developing, making the process even more challenging.

We have a blessed opportunity before us.  Hope to see you there at 7:00 on Jan 21st.  For those of you old enough to remember the Clinton administration, we won’t ask if you inhaled.  God bless.

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Sometimes it is Good for Us to Limp Along

Thanks for the prayers (Santa brought me a new knee for Christmas). I attribute a grace filled recovery to the Lord’s goodness through the prayers of “my people” little ones and big ones. Father Doty anointed me at the school Mass on Tuesday before Christmas. So we all prayed together in addition to their individual intercession.

The new knee works very well, especially in the morning, by evening the dogs are barking, but a little less so daily. I feel very blessed by the prayers of you, my people, both young, mature, and fully mature. (I know I already said that once, but some things need repeating.) God is so good and faithful in His creation and healing power. We are all miracles of complexity. Ten million things have to go right for us to feel good on any given day, and most of the time they do!

When thanking the children for their prayers, I showed them a “souvenir” from the surgery. Kids like things they can see and touch, so after thanking them, we had a little show and tell. Of the three screws from a prior knee incident decades ago, I have one, which they can take a look at, as it is a little different from the norm. The doc said the other two screws were not visible on the outside of the bones, so he didn’t dig for them, for which I thanked him.

hardware

We could also do a lesson on labeling, those are centimeters, not inches, thanks be to God.

Until the healing finishes, I’ll limp a little and work at patience in being a patient.  When it comes right down to it, I limp at a lot of things. Truth be told, don’t we all, standard equipment with original sin. Limp though we do, continuing to move is important. With the Lord’s grace may we continue on with the joy proper to Christians in this Christmas Season. If you need a dose of that joy, tell the Lord, sometimes my prayer sounds like this, “Lord, I want to be a witness to you, bless me with the joy that will enable me to witness to your goodness.” Sometimes I can feel Him deliver, sometimes He must be doing it undercover, as I know He hears, but He seems to let me limp on. May we do so well!

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“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

Father Cornelius Holly, a Holy Ghost Father, was our first chaplain at our old Motherhouse. He hated that song. I hesitate to use the word “hate” as it is really strong, I also hesitate to write about a negative thought at Christmas, but in the end I think it will redeem itself.

Let me just say, Father Holly believed in God, the real Omnipotent, Omniscient, (that’s ALL powerful, ALL knowing) ALL Loving God. It rather made his skin crawl to refer to “a Merry LITTLE Christmas”. There isn’t much small about Christmas. God stepping into time with the gift of divinity becoming man…it is a BIG DEAL. About the only thing small about Christmas, is the baby Jesus, and that is HUGE.

Come celebrate with us on Monday the 16th at 1:30 or Tuesday the 17th at 7:00 PM. The program in the gym looks to be beautiful. Today one of the teachers said, “I was watching practice and I had to leave before I cried.” That’s a good program! Hope to see you there.  …and Have Yourself a Merry, Monumental, Life-Changing Christmas!  I hope to do the same.

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If You Are Humble and Grateful You will Always be Happy

There was a banner on the office door of our directress, Sister Regina Marian, in my early days of formation which read, “If you are humble and grateful you will always be happy.” As we press on toward Thanksgiving it rings true in my heart.

When I get down on my knees and know Him as the source of all goodness, it puts me in my place and Him in His. I am His creation, He is God. I am finite, He is Infinite. That sort of changes the meaning of the cliché, “I put Him in His place.” Really, I can’t put Him in His place, He is there regardless of any act of mine. On the other hand, He can put me in my place, as a matter of fact He did, He does, and He will, now and forever. And, oh what a good place it is when we are in the place He wants us. May we know our place. Knowing our place is not as easy as it sounds. Humility, it is a summary statement for knowing our place. That’s the toughest of all virtues to possess. May the Good Lord help us take the next step, and may He who loves us put us in our place. I need to personalize that statement and I invite you to do the same….May He help me take the next step and may He who loves me put me in my place. There I will find peace, joy and grace. What a great antidote for the darkness of entitlement which brings the opposite.  May the Lord’s blessings of gratitude fill my heart and yours!

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