Saturday, June 29, 2013

It's a Holiday ... in Rome

Today is a holiday in Rome celebrating the Feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul. This is from Pope Francis' homily this morning:

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles(Saturday, 29 June 2013)

Your Eminences,My Brother Bishops and Priests,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are celebrating the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles, principal patrons of the Church of Rome: a celebration made all the more joyful by the presence of bishops from throughout the world. A great wealth, which makes us in some sense relive the event of Pentecost. Today, as then, the faith of the Church speaks in every tongue and desire to unite all peoples in one family.
I offer a heartfelt and grateful greeting to the Delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, led by Metropolitan Ioannis. I thank Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I for this renewed gesture of fraternity. I greet the distinguished ambassadors and civil authorities. And in a special way I thank the Thomanerchor, the Choir of the Thomaskirche of Leipzig – Bach’s own church – which is contributing to today’s liturgical celebration and represents an additional ecumenical presence.
I would like to offer three thoughts on the Petrine ministry, guided by the word “confirm”. What has the Bishop of Rome been called to confirm?
1. First, to confirm in faith. The Gospel speaks of the confession of Peter: “You are Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16), a confession which does not come from him but from our Father in heaven. Because of this confession, Jesus replies: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church” (v. 18). The role, the ecclesial service of Peter, is founded upon his confession of faith in Jesus, the Son of the living God, made possible by a grace granted from on high. In the second part of today’s Gospel we see the peril of thinking in worldly terms. When Jesus speaks of his death and resurrection, of the path of God which does not correspond to the human path of power, flesh and blood re-emerge in Peter: “He took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him ... This must never happen to you” (16:22). Jesus’ response is harsh: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me” (v. 23). Whenever we let our thoughts, our feelings or the logic of human power prevail, and we do not let ourselves be taught and guided by faith, by God, we become stumbling blocks. Faith in Christ is the light of our life as Christians and as ministers in the Church!
2. To confirm in love. In the second reading we heard the moving words of Saint Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tm 4:7). But what is this fight? It is not one of those fights fought with human weapons which sadly continue to cause bloodshed throughout the world; rather, it is the fight of martyrdom. Saint Paul has but one weapon: the message of Christ and the gift of his entire life for Christ and for others. It is precisely this readiness to lay himself open, personally, to be consumed for the sake of the Gospel, to make himself all things to all people, unstintingly, that gives him credibility and builds up the Church. The Bishop of Rome is called himself to live and to confirm his brothers and sisters in this love for Christ and for all others, without distinction, limits or barriers.
3. To confirm in unity. Here I would like to reflect for a moment on the rite which we have carried out. The pallium is a symbol of communion with the Successor of Peter, “the lasting and visible source and foundation of the unity both of faith and of communion” (Lumen Gentium, 18). And your presence today, dear brothers, is the sign that the Church’s communion does not mean uniformity. The Second Vatican Council, in speaking of the hierarchical structure of the Church, states that the Lord “established the apostles as college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from their number” (ibid., 19). And it continues, “this college, in so far as it is composed of many members, is the expression of the variety and universality of the people of God” (ibid., 22). In the Church, variety, which is itself a great treasure, is always grounded in the harmony of unity, like a great mosaic in which every small piece joins with others as part of God’s one great plan. This should inspire us to work always to overcome every conflict which wounds the body of the Church. United in our differences: this is the way of Jesus! The pallium, while being a sign of communion with the Bishop of Rome and with the universal church, also commits each of you to being a servant of communion.
To confess the Lord by letting oneself be taught by God; to be consumed by love for Christ and his Gospel; to be servants of unity. These, dear brother bishops, are the tasks which the holy apostles Peter and Paul entrust to each of us, so that they can be lived by every Christian. May the holy Mother of God guide us and accompany us always with her intercession. Queen of Apostles, pray for us! Amen.

Just before the homily, Pope Francis presented a pallium to those who have been named an Archbishop in the last year. This includes Archbishop Mario Aurelio Poli who was named to the pope's former position in Buenos Aires, Argentina (pictured below).

The pallium is a a circular band worn by the Archbishop over the chasuble at Mass. Each year on the Feast of St. Agnes, two lambs are blessed and palliums are made from their wool by a group of religious sisters. The new palliums are blessed on the ever of the feast and kept in a silver-gilt container in front of the Main altar in St. Peter's Basilica until given to the Archbishops.

Other US Archbishops receiving the pallium this year were Archbishop Joseph Tobin, CSSR of Indianapolis (above), Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland ...

... Archbishop Michael Jackels of Dubuque and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco (above.)

As is tradition, this weekend we shall also have a second collection called Peter's Pence to used as the Pope wishes.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Watch the Free Movie with Fr Vogel

Here's the trailer for the movie For Greater Glory that will be shown tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Steinhausen Center as part of the Fortnight for Freedom.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Let Freedom Ring!

Bells have a rich meaning in the Catholic faith, their uses uses extolled in poetry:

"Laudo Deum verum plebem voco congrego clerum
Defunctos ploro, nimbum fugo, festa decoro."
(I praise the true God, I call the people, I assemble the clergy;
I bewail the dead, I dispense storm clouds, I do honor to feasts.)


"Funera plango fulmina frango sabbata pango
Excito lentos dissipo ventos paco cruentos."
(At obsequies I mourn, the thunderbolts I scatter, I ring in the Sabbaths;
I hustle the sluggards, I drive away storms, I proclaim peace after bloodshed.)

At some churches bells have the sacred duty of calling our attention to the Christ's Presence when the bells are rung at the elevation of the Host and the Chalice at Mass. At St. Columbkille, shortly before each Mass begins, our bells summon us in for worship. In the secular world we use bells to alert us, to warn us, to wake us up.

So it is fitting to ring some bells as we observe the Church's Fortnight for Freedom in the days leading up to Independence Day. On many fronts our nation is grappling with issues of liberty. God is trying to rouse us. He wants to hustle us sluggards, drive away our storms, proclaim peace. He wants us to assemble in praise and recognize the sacrifice necessary for freedom.

Pray for our nation, especially in community. Every day, twice a day, until July Fourth, St.Columbkille worshipers are gathering for Holy Hours before our Eucharistic Lord.

The Fourth of July is a great time to light some fireworks, have a picnic and wear red, white and blue. But if you want to be truly patriotic, pray.

Inspired by this Year of Faith we will be posting columns like this from Susan Szalewski about exploring and/or deepening our faith. Watch for it on Thursdays and see the Year of Faith Blog here.

The Omaha Archdiocese's Response to the Supreme Court

In response to the Supreme Court's decisions yesterday, the Omaha Archdiocese had this statement:

Those struggling with same-sex attraction should be assured that the Catholic Church is and always will be welcoming of any person who seeks a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Catholic Church’s clear teaching is that everyone should be treated with respect, dignity and love and condemn any form of unjust discrimination.

The Church strongly affirm that marriage, as authored by God, is the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, loving union that is open to children, ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves.

It is disappointing that the Court did not affirm that the federal government has an obligation to promote traditional marriage, its contribution to the common good and the family, and can therefore justly give married couples rights and benefits it does not extend to others. Fortunately, the Court did not hold that the Constitution requires states to recognize so-called same-sex “marriage.” Thus, the Court’s decision was not based on a constitutional defect in the definition of marriage as one man and one woman.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

School Supplies

St. Columbkille Catholic School already has their supply list and 2013-14 calendar out. You can see it all here.

It's not just a Picnic, It's a Hoe-Down

Things are going to get wild this year! Please join the priests in Fr. Damien's backyard for an old-fashioned Family Hoedown! There will be hootin’ and a hollerin’ (and that’s just Father Vogel).  There will be Dutch oven cooking, games, a guitar player, s'mores and even a pony!! Don't miss out on an evening of fun! The party begins at 4:00 p.m. Sunday June 30. Cost is $50 for the whole family. You can register here.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Where'd the carpet go?

Carpet had been torn out of the Education Center halls. It will also be taken out of the offices with new carpet coming soon. Each of the next few summers we'll be replacing some carpets so it will soon be new everywhere.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Helping those in need

There are people in our community that are hurting. Some of them struggle with their finances. They may not have the money for a water bill or rent or they have gotten to the point where they wonder how they will feed their family. In many cases they call us. It is a grace that they believe someone at St. Columbkille Parish will help them. When they call, their information is given to members of our St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Their needs are turned over to two members of the group (they always work in pairs.) Using criteria developed over time, they go to where the people live.

They make human contact to those in need and listen to their story. Unless there is an objection, they also pray together. Then working with the budget and established criteria, they look for the best way to help. In some cases that is helping them directly, in others it means connecting them with another agency or group that can do more for them.

In any case, it is our way of reaching out to those in need.

Help is needed to respond to the requests for assitance. There will be informational meetings this week where you can learn what members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society do and see if it is something that would interest you. The informational meetings are tomorrow (Tuesday June 25th) at 7 p.m. or Saturday the 29th at 10:00 a.m. Both meetings are in the Social Level of the church. Or call the parish office at 402-339-3285.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Fortnight Has Begun

Like last year, the U.S. bishops have called for a Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer and action, to address many current challenges to religious liberty. These include the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate, Supreme Court rulings that could redefine marriage in June, and religious liberty concerns in areas such as immigration and humanitarian services.

At St. Columbkille we are holding 25 Holy Hours or Eucharistic Exposiiton in the church finishing with Benediction. We are also exposing the Eucharist in the chapel during the day as people come to the chapel and pray.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shall I Play for You?

Sing a new song to the LORD,
for He has done marvelous deeds…
Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth;
break into song; sing praise.
Sing praise to the LORD with the lyre,
with the lyre and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
shout with joy to the King, the LORD.
     -- Psalm 98

God is always wanting us to sing.

In the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, we hear a lot about singing and dancing, in times of victory and joy, but also in times of sorrow and repentance. This probably sounds odd to our modern minds. How many of us go about our day singing hymns to God?

We should take these words literally, and occasionally sing and dance with praise to God. Our prayers, too, can be our song. But there are other ways to sing.

I know a young artist who has been afraid to let her drawing, painting and sculpting touch on religious subjects, to reflect her faith. Basically, she has considered herself unworthy of the task. It can be daunting, I know.

For years I shied away from writing about my faith because I had no degree in theology or special knowledge of God. There were other writers out there who were more talented than me. What could I possibly offer God? I felt He was calling me, though, to use my writing more directly for Him.

The young artist and I had the same dilemma. We felt like the "Little Drummer Boy": "I have no gift to bring . . . that's fit to give the King."

Eventually I learned that God graciously accepts whatever we have to offer, no matter how meager the gift. And He has a pattern of transforming our meager offerings, like bread and wine, into something divine. Maybe we unworthy sinners can "do something beautiful for God," to borrow a phrase from Blessed Mother Teresa. My writings might not be profound, but maybe the Holy Spirit can use them to encourage one soul, no matter how awkward or silly my thoughts might seem. Maybe He has a use for the artist's hands. Maybe He has a use for your gifts.

Lately I've been thinking about how God asks us to sing a "new" song. What does that mean?

I've been interpreting "new" to mean unique. We all have a song to sing. We each have talents and experiences that shape the unique person we are and the one-of-a-kind gifts we bring. God gives us gifts and asks us to return them to Him, to serve Him and His Kingdom. The song we sing may not be overtly religious. Maybe we are asked to be a gracious host in welcoming an unwelcome visitor. Maybe our Lord is asking us to work patiently, tirelessly and without recognition for the good of another. In other words, maybe we are asked to serve Jesus disguised as strangers, co-workers, neighbors and family members.

Whatever our song, it is unique and new; no one else can sing it.

Like the Little Drummer Boy, we should ask our Lord, "Shall I play for You?"

And like the drummer, do our best for Him, for the same immeasurable reward: "Then He smiled at me . . . me and my drum."

Inspired by this Year of Faith we will be posting columns like this from Susan Szalewski about exploring and/or deepening our faith. Watch for it on Thursdays and see the Year of Faith Blog here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ending with a Strong Beat

To finish our VBS, groups sang their songs.

Then some ice cream.

Then we enjoyed seeing the Omaha Street Percussion group that had been with us through the week:

A few volunteers were found to play along:

We had a great time at VBS!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Thank you Mrs McGuire

Mrs. Mary McGuire had a tough task coming to St. Columbkille Catholic School on April 2nd while Dr. Blue was in hospice and less than two weeks before she passed away.

She was admirable in her abilty to bring a joyful presense and encourage everyone in the process.

She was able to fill the tasks as principal, encourage our teachers in their work and give another perspective as we plan for the future. She brought energy, faith and two decades experience just when we needed it.

Last week she finished her tasks preparing for the new administration. She is relaxing this week and next before she undertakes her next role as Interim President of Skutt Catholic High School. She assures us that, in a year, she really will retire and she has grandchildren ready to hold her to that promise.

Again, thank you!