Come To The Lord; Take Courage, Jesus Is Calling You

An ancient tree in Jericho

An ancient tree in Jericho

Both of today’s readings are great reminders to come to Jesus and to remain in him.

Today’s Gospel recalls another journey of Jesus, this time he is passing through Jericho with his disciples.  Sitting along the side of the road is a blind man, Bartimaeus.  The man, hearing that Jesus is passing by, begins crying out: “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” (Mark 10:47)  He has such faith that he knows and believes Jesus can heal him.  He has such humility, he does not care who hears him cry out in his need.

Jesus heals Bartimaeus, and Bartimaeus begins to follow Jesus.

In today’s first reading, St. Peter invites us to come to Jesus.

Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2: 4-5)

Great advice!  Come to Jesus.  Let Jesus build you (and me) into a spiritual house, a community capable of living in a manner worthy of God’s approval, through Jesus Christ.  Only Jesus is capable of building such harmony and unity in the world.

Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Philip Neri.  St. Philip, because of his great love, received a special grace from the Lord to be even more loving.  The Entrance Antiphon from the Memorial Mass for St. Philip comes from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: “The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Spirit of God dwelling within us.” (Romans 5:5, cf. 8:11)

Jesus poured the Spirit of God into the heart of St. Philip Neri.  This is how Jesus builds us up into the loving community God desires us to be.  This love of Christ is what allows us to live in greater unity with one another.

As I celebrated Mass this morning, I was very conscious during the consecration that it is Christ who unites us.  Each of us who listen to God’s Word, who receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist, are united in Christ.  Through the Sacraments, Jesus pours into our hearts the love of God through the Holy Spirit.

So, my friends, let us ‘come to the Lord.’  As Bartimaeus, let us come to Jesus with the faith that no matter what needs healing in our lives, Jesus not only can heal us, but WANTS to!  Like St. Philip Neri, the love of God has been poured into our hearts that we might live with even greater love for one another.  Be courageous and remain in the Lord at all times.

Unity is not only possible, it is God’s great desire, and it is ours in Jesus Christ!

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God Is A Relationship Of Love; God Desires Relationships Of Love

Holy TrinityThere is a pious story about St. Augustine walking along a beach one day pondering and reflecting on the Trinity. He encounters a young child digging a hole in the sand. Repeatedly, the child walks to the ocean, fills a small pail with water, and returns to the hole where he dumps the water. When asked by St. Augustine what he is doing, the child casually explains that he is putting the ocean into the hole. St. Augustine laughs and tells the child he could never do such a thing in a million years. The child tells St. Augustine that neither could he ever understand the Trinity on which he is reflecting.
I find this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity the most intimidating Sunday of the year for preaching. The challenge is summed up well by St. Paul when he asks: “For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him?” (1 Cor 2:16) Original sin itself was about wanting to know what God knows – to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, in essence to take the place of God. (see Genesis 3:1-5) And who does not recall the conversation between God and Job, when God after listening to all of Job’s questions, posed such challenging questions to Job? “Who is this who darkens counsel with words of ignorance? Gird up your loins now, like a man; I will question you, and you tell me the answers! Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its size? Surely you know? Who stretched out the measuring line for it? Into what were its pedestals sunk, and who laid its cornerstone, …” (Job 38: 1-6)
The Prophet Isaiah tells us how far superior God is to man: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways – For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
And yet, salvation history is full of evidence regarding the desire of God to be known and the love of God which desires a relationship with every human person. Obviously, we cannot know the fullness of God, as we will spend eternity entering more deeply into the very mystery of God. But God does want to be known. We cannot know the mind and heart of God, but we are invited into his heart none-the-less.
God entered into covenants of various natures, with Abraham, with Noah, and the great covenant established when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. Finally, the New and Eternal Covenant began with the Incarnation. The Invisible God, the Infinite God took upon himself our human condition, and became one of us in all things except sin, and the Son of God, Jesus was born from a Virgin.
The Letter of St. John tells us that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Jesus in John’s Gospel tells us that “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6) He also tells us in Matthew’s Gospel that “No one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27) Jesus also tells us that the Holy Spirit is a gift from the Father: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of Truth,” (John 14: 15-17)
In short, these are the texts from Sacred Scripture, which tell us that God is a Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The inspired Word of God tells us that God is a relationship of love in Himself, that this same God created us in love, to share in the very love which is God. So, the simple logic of all of this is that if we want to know God, all we need do is love. The not so simple logic tells us that love will teach us far more about God than any book. Peter Kreeft shared a tweet this week in which he says basically the same thing: “The knowledge of God that a simple saint has by relationship is far higher knowledge than the most brilliant theologian has by study.”
The doctrine of the Trinity tells us that God is a relationship of Love within himself. The Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the Love between the Father and the Son. That simply truth challenges our human minds, but it tells us that relationship is critical for those of us who want to know God. It tells us that God desires a relationship with us, and that it is possible to be in relationship with God. It also tells us that our human relationships are to reflect God, and the manner in which our relationships reflect God is when we love one another.
Think about whom you know best, and who knows you best, and then you will begin to see the role love plays. I would propose that spouses know each other better than any other two people. Granted this does not hold true for all spouses – but it should. The reason for this is the love share between the two. How well does a parent know a child? And why, because of the love that wants to do everything possible for their well-being. Finally, friendship leads to a deep knowledge of another, and again, because love desires what is good for another. Relationships of love are a revelation of God because they participate in the love of God. Relationships of love are a doorway for God to enter into the world, and the best practice for advancing the Kingdom of God in this life.
There is so much concern among people of faith today that society is pushing God further and further from the public square. I would agree, but perhaps not for the same reason as first comes to mind for many. When we speak of this reality of secularism – pushing God out of the public arena, we think first about the political and philosophical realities that are at work. As serious as these threats are to the Christian values we hold dear – I would propose that the primary way in which God’s presence in our society is threatened is the manner in which we treat one another. There is a fundamental lack of love in the world, and where love is lacking, so is God’s presence. There is one simple way for us to keep God in the public square – by keeping God in our lives – by loving one another.
Let us make a simple act of faith or two this morning. First of all, let us recognize that God desires to have a relationship with us. Let us make an act of faith that it is possible to have a relationship with God. For us as Christians, our relationship with God is through his Son, Jesus Christ. Let us also acknowledge in faith that yes we are sinners, but, even in our sinfulness we are still loved by God. That is what the death and resurrection of Jesus tells us. We are loved beyond our wildest dreams! God sent us his Son to reveal this love. Jesus gave us his life to reveal this love. Jesus sends us his Holy Spirit that this love of God may dwell always within our hearts.
All of this, and so much more is called to mind every time we make the sign of the cross. May that simple sign of faith always be a conscious act of faith reminding us that we are sealed with the Love of God. As St. Augustine, let us spend our days pondering the Mystery of the Trinity, and thinking of the things of heaven. Just as every human relationship needs time and attention, and especially love, so, too, does our relationship with God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As St. Paul teaches: “Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,” (1 Cor 2:9)

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We Give Thanks, God Has Blessed Us With Another Priest. Congratulations, Fr. Andrew Kinstetter!

Nothing like an ordination to breath new life into a local Church.  The cathedral was full for today’s ordination of Rev. Andrew Kinstetter, and it was a beautiful celebration!  Pictures from the ceremony can be viewed here, and as always, I’m very grateful to Matt Potter for his photography skills.  Homily is below. Please join us in grateful prayer to God for the blessing of a new priest!

Homily For Priesthood Ordination of Rev. Andrew Kinstetter, May 20, 2016

Kinstetter 1The Gospel selected for today (John 17:6, 14-19) gives us not only a beautiful teaching of Jesus, but perhaps an equally important image of Priesthood. Jesus is at prayer, in the midst of his disciples. Jesus is praying to the Father on behalf of his disciples. This prayer of Jesus takes place as he celebrates the First Eucharist of the Church which is the Last Supper. Of course, the broader backdrop of this ‘painting’ is the Paschal Mystery, the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The even more expansive backdrop is the history of salvation which finds its culmination and fulfillment in Jesus. In a way, Jesus shares with the priest a unique participation in all of this.

So what does this image of Priesthood have to say to the young man before us today? Plenty!

Andrew, take time to pray not only for your people, but in their midst. One of the delicate balances of priesthood involves being both an individual on his own pilgrimage, in need of an intimate relationship with Jesus, as well as one who “is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.” (Hebrews 5:1) The priest must be close to both Jesus and his people.

While I was a seminarian, I remember telling one of the formation staff that I would want a chapel in my residence as a priest. He gave me some good advice. He said: “That is fine, but do not forget, your people need to see you pray, too.” Then, later as a priest, I knew the frustration of trying to pray in the church. Inevitably, someone would come in to decorate or clean, or even more often, the parishioner who would approach and say: “Father, I’m glad you are not doing anything. I’ve been wanting to talk to you.” Andrew, waste plenty of time in prayer! It will be the most productive element of your priesthood, and the source of whatever is good in everything else that you do.

Kinstetter 2Always strive for balance in your prayer – and everything else in life. Stay close to Christ, and grow always closer to him. As did Jesus in today’s ‘prayer,’ you too must give voice to the needs of your people, a voice that calls out to God our Father. Your intimacy with Christ will give you confidence that the prayers and petitions you take to the Father will receive an attentive ear and a Providential response. Being close to your people will assure that your prayer to the Father will be up to date and in tune with their needs. Accompanying your people will assure that you do not become too narrowly focused on your own self, which will only lead to loneliness, frustration and ultimately, resentment about the life you have chosen, or rather, that Christ has chosen for you.

Jesus Christ is the Eternal High Priest spoken of in our second reading today in the Letter to the Hebrews. As the author of the sacred text tells us, Jesus did not glorify himself. Rather, by his obedience to the Father, Jesus’ entire life and ministry glorified God. None of us takes the stole of priesthood upon one’s self. It is a gift and calling received from Jesus, through the Church. Just as Jesus revealed the Father to his disciples, (John 17:6) the credible and authentic priest is the one who continually directs his people to the Father and His Kingdom.

Fr. Kinstetter's family present the gifts

Fr. Kinstetter’s family present the gifts

No one claims the office of priesthood for one’s self. It is only through the laying on of hands of the bishop that the eternal priesthood is bestowed upon us. Likewise, priesthood is only valuable and credible when we follow Christ as his disciple, and serve Christ in those he entrusts to our care. Jesus recognized that his disciples ultimately ‘belong to the Father,’ and they were given to him by the Father. Likewise, a good priest realizes that those entrusted to his care are a gift from God. They deserve a pastor’s care, which is rooted in the heart of Jesus.

As Jesus was sent into the world by the Father, so Jesus sends his priest into the world. As Jesus gave his disciples the Word of the Father, so the priest is sent into the world to proclaim the Living Word of God. Jesus experienced rejection because of his fidelity to the Father, and he warns his disciples that the world will reject us as well. Andrew, do not be surprised when you encounter rejection because you bring Christ’s truth and love into the world. Do not let this rejection rob you of your joy nor diminish your hope.

In part, Jesus prayed for his disciples simply because Jesus is THE Good Shepherd. But Jesus knew his disciples well, and he knew not only what they would face, but he knew their weaknesses. One of the great miracles of the Church down through the ages, and is still true today; one of the great signs of just how much God’s people love the Church and its priests, is that they are not scandalized by our weaknesses. They see beyond the humanity of the Church in her ministers to the reality that through it all, the Church is also Divine.

Andrew, part of your formation has helped you to acknowledge your own weaknesses. Some of them, over the course of years, you have been able to correct, perhaps even eliminate. But because you are human, you have also come to know those other weaknesses that must simply be embraced and managed. This is true of all of us. And as St. Paul teaches, these are those entry points in every human life where we must humbly acknowledge our total dependence upon Christ. “I willingly boast of my weakness, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I am content with weakness, with mistreatment, with distress, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ; for when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10) The wisest priest among us is the one who has come to realize that his truest and only strength is Christ.

The life of Christ is the source of grace for all the members of the Church. The priest not only draws upon this font of grace and goodness, but he is a vessel through whom Christ pours out his grace upon the Church. The life of Christ bore abundant fruit; from the hope he gave through his preaching, his chaste love which your life now mirrors, the healing offered to the sick, the human dignity restored through his mercy and forgiveness, and ultimately, the fruit of salvation won for the world by his death and resurrection.

Andrew, be attentive that your life and ministry are fruitful. Humbly recognize Christ as the source of this fruitfulness. Be particularly attentive that the life of your parish also bears much fruit. When the lives of our parishioners and the life of our parishes do not bear fruit, then we pastors must be attentive to discover the cause of such sterility, and as good shepherds nurse the Church back to fullness of health. Jesus talks about this reality in Matthews Gospel:

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7: 18-20)

Finally, Andrew, Jesus prayed that the Father would protect his disciples from the evil one. This remains his prayer for us today. No matter how dark some days may be, know that you are always under the protection of Jesus and of his Mother, Mary. After all, our Lord and our Lady are the best tag team in history!

I encourage you to have a strong devotion to our Blessed Mother, and in your own good time and discernment, to make a consecration to Mary. Just as Mary’s life was at the total service of God’s will, which meant totally devoted to her Son, her dedication continues today to seeing the will of God and the work of salvation accomplished. With Mary’s help, root yourself and your priestly ministry in the heart of Jesus, and the Flame of love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will blind the evil one, and the Kingdom of God will continue to advance in this world. (Diary of Elizabeth Kindelman) In the words of a soon-to-be Saint, Mother Theresa of Calcutta: “Be only and all for Jesus through Mary.

Please God, may it be so!

Kinstetter 4

Holy Door For Year Of Mercy Open In Teton National Park

Sacred Heart Chapel, Teton National Park, photo courtesy of Ryan Dorgan / Jackson Hole News & Guide

Sacred Heart Chapel, Teton National Park, photo courtesy of Ryan Dorgan / Jackson Hole News & Guide

As this Year of Mercy progresses, we now have a Holy Door for pilgrims to visit in the western portion of the Diocese of Cheyenne. Now that the Teton National Park has reopened for the season, we were able to dedicate another Holy Door in the State of Wyoming in the beautiful Sacred Heart Chapel.

I had every intention of presiding over the ceremony, but illness prevented me from being on hand, so Fr. Louis Shea got to do the honors!  A local reporter from the Jackson Hole News & Guide provided a nice story, which you can read here.

The National Parks are a true treasure of this nation, and Teton National Park is one of the gems in the crown.  From the raw beauty of the park, the inspiring spires of the Tetons to the variety of wildlife that can be found in few other places, it is a for sure bucket list destination.  Along with all of that, there is the quiet sanctuary of Sacred Heart Chapel.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Dorgan / Jackson Hole News & Guide

Photo courtesy of Ryan Dorgan / Jackson Hole News & Guide

Besides the grace of simply walking through the Holy Doors and fulfilling a few simple obligations of receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, receiving Holy Communion and saying a few prayers, the chapel provides a place of solitude for prayer.  The chapel is open all day and night, with Mass available Sunday evenings at 5:00 mid June through September.

This Jubilee Year is a time for us to first of all recall God’s incredible patience with us, and the infinite mercy that is ours through Jesus Christ.  Once we become rooted in God’s mercy, we are then to be the agents of mercy in the lives of others.  As God continues to abide in our midst through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, we are to accompany others that they may come to know the warmth and tenderness of God in their lives.

Nature is God’s first book.  Spend some time this summer in the beauty of God’s creation that he may re-create your spirit.  Spend some time with Jesus Christ today and every day that God may stir your soul and inspire you to serve Him in your neighbor, furthering the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth!

Peace,

+pde

 

 

Save The Date: Catholic Rural Life Celebration August 21, 2016

Having recently celebrated the feast of St. Isidore, I am mindful of the many farmers busy preparing their fields for planting and the many ranchers hard at work during another calving / lambing / branding season.  Last year we had such a good turn out and feedback for our Catholic Rural Life celebration that we will host another Mass and dinner again this year.  All are welcome!  Details are in the poster below.Catholic Rural Life Flyer

Please keep Sunday, August 21 free so you can join us on the Miles Land and Livestock Ranch west of Casper.

 

Congratulations, Deacon Simon Mary Of The Cross, M. Carm.!

Br. Simon Mary & Bishop Etienne

Br. Simon Mary & Bishop Etienne

Today was a very special day for the Mt. Carmel Monastery in Clark, Wyoming. At 9:00 am, in a simple and small ceremony in the monastery chapel, Br. Simon Mary, M. Carm. was ordained a deacon. He will be ordained priest later this year on December 14 in the same chapel.

Br. Simon Mary is the first ordination for the community since two priests were ordained  in October, 2010.  Br. Simon Mary is affectionately known in the community as ‘Little Monk.’  He is intelligent, humble, hard working, and has a beautiful spirituality.  On top of his studies, he liaisons with the contractors, foundation board, and is one of the primary drivers along with the prior in working with benefactors to fund the new monastery.  God is generously blessing their efforts.

At present, there are 16 members of the Mt. Carmel community in Wyoming, and after the day I have spent with them, I can tell you they enjoy a vibrant spirit.  The love of Christ is very much alive within this cloister!  Over the years of my observations of this fledgling community, I can see a sure and certain maturity.  They are a gift to the Church.

As most of this readership knows, the Mt. Carmel monks began construction of their new monastery two years ago.  We visited the site late this afternoon to check on construction progress.  The monks are hard at work, carving the limestone and sandstone that will cover all of the buildings.  They are also laying the stone in place themselves.

With the winter season now behind us (I hope!) construction is kicking into high gear once again.  Tomorrow, they will begin digging the foundations of their monastery church, one of the last buildings of the campus to enter construction phase.  The refectory, chapter house, porters office and hermitages are fully under roof, and the foundations are now in place for the infirmary.  Once in full gear, the job-site will employ approximately fifty laborers.

In the coming days, they will have four stone-cutting machines in full operation.  As you can imagine, it will take tons of stone to cover the exterior of all of the buildings.  Below is a photo of the north side of the refectory building, giving you an example of just how much these monks have learned over the past two years, and the quality of their workmanship.  They are building a monastery of which the church can be proud.  And this bishop is quite impressed with the ‘temple’ they have already built within their community.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us!

New Mt. Carmel refectory.

New Mt. Carmel refectory.

St. Catherine Of Siena; If She Were To Write Someone Discerning Their Vocation Today

catherinesienaAs this readership already knows, this bishop has a great devotion to St. Catherine of Siena, whose feast we celebrate today.  She wrote many people during her short but very active life, and each of her letters were replete with rich doctrine.  Very often her letters were means of encouraging people in their own faith journey.

Today, I wrote a young man who asked me some time ago to pray for his vocation.  I decided that this feast of St. Catherine would be a good time to write him.

Modelling my letter on one of St. Catherine’s I tried to share some of St. Catherine’s spirituality with this young man as a means of guiding and encouraging his own discernment.

Since I had not prepared anything else ahead of time as a means of honoring St. Catherine today on this blog, I wish to share this letter with all of you (slightly edited.)  I hold in heart and mind especially those young men and women who seek to know God’s will in their own vocational discernment.  If St. Catherine were writing you today, I have no doubt, some of these elements would be a part of her loving encouragement to each of you:

Dear Paulo / Paula:

Since you requested my prayers for your vocation, I want you to know that I have faithfully called you to mind and prayed for you over these past few months.  Since today is the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, one of my favorite saints, I decided it was time to write you.

Last month, as I was re-reading some of St. Catherine’s letters, I came across one she wrote to a young man to encourage him to pursue religious life, and I thought of you.

St. Catherine had the habit of always writing ‘in the blood of Christ’ and asking that the recipients of her letters bathe themselves in the blood of Christ, which means, to be bathed in his love.

Near and dear to Catherine was her love for the truth, and she often referred to Jesus as Gentle First Truth.  She prayed often that people would come to know the truth, be enlightened by that truth, hate all things contrary to the truth, love all that is within truth and whatever truth loves.

She knew that many were blinded by selfishness, unable to see by the light of faith, and because of this blindness, were unable to know the truth.  The only way to be rid of this selfishness was humility, which allows us to recognize our sins, and in that knowledge recognize how generously ‘divine Goodness deals with us.’  This knowledge of God’s goodness within us makes us grow in charity.

This charity is accompanied by discernment.  In such charity, we love God, rid ourselves of sinful behaviors, and give our neighbors the love they deserve. This is what true knowledge of self and of God is all about, humility, charity, and discernment.  This light is what leads to true service of God.  St. Catherine says of such people: “Though they are living in the night of this darksome life they walk with the light, and though they are on the stormy sea they receive and experience interior peace.”

I know from my experience of discerning my own vocation, the many doubts that I had regarding the demands of priesthood, and my own ability to successfully fulfill those demands.  This is one particular area where the demon can work on us, making us believe that we can never live up to these demands and hardships.  St. Catherine counters: “No, those who have the light laugh in the face of all this.  They respond as people dead to their selfish will and enlightened by the light of most holy faith, ‘I can do anything through Christ crucified, for I know truly that he does not lay a heavier load on his creatures than they can bear.  So I want to leave the measuring up to him and, for my part, bear these things with true patience.  For in truth I know the truth.  And I know that whatever God grants or permits, he does it for my good, so that I may be made holy in him.’”

The key to discernment and ultimately to following Christ faithfully is abandoning one’s self, to live fully for God.  Granted, this requires faith, and most of all, God’s grace, along with a strong will and deep desire.

Paulo/Paula, all of this is my prayer for you.  Please know that my prayers for you will continue.  Please remain open to God’s will in your life.  I believe God is calling many young men / women today to share in the mission of Jesus.  You are the kind of young man / woman who can serve God and God’s Church well.  God is at work in the world and in the Church today, and in each of those who open their hearts to him.  Christ will renew this Church, but only by those of us who are willing to follow him wherever he leads, and are obedient to him as he was to the Father’s will.

Paulo/Paula, it is with young men / women such as you that, should you choose to accept this invitation to follow Christ, The Lord will re-invigorate and  renew his Church.  There is much good already at work in the Church, and yet, She is ever called to renewal and even greater holiness.  We need you, and I pray daily for you whom God is calling to serve the Church.

As Jesus taught us, if we remain in him, if we remain in his love, our joy will be complete, and we will bear much fruit! (See John 15)  Paulo/Paula, remain in Jesus, and you will know his love, your joy will be complete, and you will bear much fruit.  I remain,

In The Heart of Christ,

 

 

Christ Our Life And Our Peace

In today’s Gospel (John 14: 27-31) Jesus prepares his disciples for his passion and death.  For the final time, he instructs them that he will be leaving them, but only to return.  He reassures them that even though the ‘ruler of the world is coming,’ he has no power over Jesus.

Then Jesus says an interesting thing:

He (the ruler of the world) has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me. (John 14: 30-31)

Even though the ‘ruler of the world’ has no power over Jesus, he still submits to the passion, the cross, even to death.  Jesus endures all of these injustices and indignities in obedience to the Father, as evidence of his love.  Then, as proof that he laid down his life freely, that no one took it from him, (John 10: 17-18) he rises from the dead.

St. Paul Preaching in Athens, by Raphael

St. Paul Preaching in Athens, by Raphael

In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles (14: 19-28) Paul is stoned and left for dead.  Paul, surrounded by his disciples, gets up and continues to preach the good news.  Paul travels from one city to the next making new disciples, strengthening others in the faith, and exhorting them to persevere in faith, even in the face of difficulties.  He instructs them: “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.”

Two tenets of faith stand out for us today.  First, we should not be surprised when we run into roadblocks in our efforts to live our faith.  We should even expect to experience resistance in our efforts to proclaim the good news in the world today.  When we encounter these obstacles, we as Jesus must remember that the ‘ruler of this world’ has no power over us, because of our faith in Jesus.  We, as Paul, are to be courageous and persevere in the faith.

Second, Jesus, who has power over all things, who is LIFE itself, has shared his life with us.  This is the power of the resurrection, the LIFE that IS God has conquered sin and death.  This is the Divine Life that Jesus shares with us through Baptism.  This is the Life that is nourished in us through the Eucharist.  This is the Life we sustain be means of the virtues.

After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples.  Matthew’s Gospel tells us that even when the disciples saw the risen Lord, ‘they worshipped, but they doubted.’ (Matthew 28: 17)  We also have our doubts at times, but we persevere.  Jesus reminded them once again:

All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:18-20)

The Life of the Risen Christ is now ours.  Christ lives in us, and we live in him.  He has entrusted his mission to us.  Let us be about the work of preaching the good news, making disciples.  Let us be on our way, in faith and confidence.  Let us live in the Peace of Christ, even as we face hardships that are a part of our entering the Kingdom of God.

Peace,

+pde

Rev. Daniel Colibraro; Rest In Peace

Rev Dan ColibraroOn Friday of this week, many people came together to celebrate the Mass of Resurrection for one of our retired priests, Fr. Dan Colibraro.  Father was born to Italian immigrant parents in Casper, Wyoming in 1922.  He died early Tuesday morning, April 19.  He has a younger sister, Sr. Mary Carlo, a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas, and a younger brother, also a priest of the Diocese of Cheyenne, Rev. Phil Colibraro.

Father Dan was a brilliant man, with a unique personal history.  He had a profound capacity for math.  I’m told when he could not sleep at night, he would work math problems.  Before he was ordained, he obtained a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wyoming.  He then spent two years in the navy, and then again as a civilian worked on the famous Manhattan Project, in Los Alamos in Albuquerque.

Even before ‘the bomb’ was dropped, he was becoming restless working with numbers, and was curious about his next step in life.  President Truman made the decision to drop the bomb over Hiroshima, Japan in August 1945.  Dan, along with all the rest of the world witnessed its devastation, and he was convinced he would spend the rest of his life serving people.  He was ordained a priest in 1956.

Fr. Dan was a solitary man.  He lived a simple life, and demonstrated extraordinary charity to many.  He served as the editor of the diocesan newspaper from 1958 – 1967.  He was then given permission for continued theological studies in Rome and in Cambridge, England.  When he returned to the States, he taught Philosophy at St. Thomas Seminary in Denver from 1970 – 1974.  He spent the rest of his active ministry as a pastor, the last twenty years as pastor of Our Lady of Fatima in Casper.

We are grateful for his life and ministry.  Please join me in praying for his eternal rest.  You may also wish to join me in my request that he now intercede for us, especially that many other young men of Wyoming hear God’s call to serve this local church as diocesan priests!

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him!

May he rest in peace.

+pde

Thanks Sr. Ruth Ann Hehn, SCL

sr ruth annWith great joy and gratitude, people gathered today with Sr. Ruth Ann Hehn at Holy Trinity for Mass and a luncheon to celebrate her retirement as Administrator of Holy Trinity Manor. For twenty-six years she faithfully shared with the manor residents the love of Jesus Christ.

Sr. Ruth Ann is a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas.  Her religious community professes a vision that embraces the charisms of Saints Vincent, Louise and Mother Xavier. Those charisms live vibrantly in Sister as a disciple who truly loves the poor and chooses to live simply as a child of God.

We give thanks to God that in His providence Sr. Ruth Ann responded to God’s call to religious life and ministry within our diocese. The critical needs of our brothers and sisters call forth from us charity. She has witnessed to her own faith and served as a model for many of us.  Sister’s assistance to COMEA Shelter, Family Promise of Cheyenne and Interfaith Hospitality, to name a few, exemplifies her commitment to the dignity of the human person.

Before coming to serve in the Diocese of Cheyenne, Sr. Ruth Ann was a teacher for many years, then began working in housing with the poor and homeless in the Denver area.

Sister Ruth Ann, thank you for your years of faith-filled ministry. We are grateful that you will remain with us in your retirement. May you know the  gratitude of this local church, the Diocese of Cheyenne.

 

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