Sunday, August 31, 2014

Still Tweeting

Three years ago today we sent out first tweet. 
You can still find us @sColumbkille

Saturday, August 30, 2014

10 Years since Ordination

This evening Archbishop Lucas celebrated with those who were ordained deacons 40, 30, 20 or 10 years ago. One of those celebrating their 10th anniversary was Deacon David Krueger. Congratulations.

Friday, August 29, 2014

He even brought Dinner

Archbishop Lucas came to St. Columbkille last week. After he fed a roomful of people he spoke about the Ignite the Faith campaign he is kicking off.

The campaign is an opportunity for everyone to play a role in strengthening the Catholic Church in northeast Nebraska. The campaign will focus on raising $40 million to strengthen our Catholic schools and parishes, provide for our priests and support faith formation programs in our parishes. Archbishop Lucas has asked our parishioners to prayerfully consider giving 2 % of your annual income to the campaign for 3 years. This fits within the model the US Bishops have advocated where everyone  gives 5% of their income to their local parish, 1 % to the local diocese and 4 % to other charities.

Archbishop Lucas took questions from the crowd. In response to one question, he explained that the Annual Appeal will continue as normal this fall and he hopes we would be as supportive of that appeal as we have been in the past. This is a short term for funds.

He was also asked how we can better support teachers in schools. Archbishop Lucas said he would love to give the teachers a raise through the campaign, but that wouldn't be sustainable. One thing the campaign will do is offer grants to teachers to improve their education. He also spoke of how all of his moves to consolidate some parishes and schools have been made to make certain they are sustainable over time.

He was also asked, "What if out of the 4% of your tithing you have already made commitments to other groups?" He responded that by all means one ought to honor those commitments. He simply asks that we all prayerfully consider how we might help.

As always it was delightful to have the archbishop in our parish. He said, "I can't play favorites in the archdiocese, but today St. Columbkille is my favorite parish."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Spiritual Advice from a Beer Truck

I’ve been known to take spiritual advice from a beer truck.

So maybe it’s not too odd that once again I’ve found inspiring words written on a Dos Equis delivery truck.

The beer brand is famous for its slogan, “Stay thirsty, my friends,” and the actor who gives that advice, known in commercials as “the most interesting man in the world” because of his daring exploits.

I’ve found that staying thirsty is good spiritual advice, too, in the sense of thirsting for Living Water, God Himself, the Fount of Life, and to imitate Jesus in His thirst on the cross, a thirst for the salvation of souls.

About two years ago I saw “Stay thirsty, my friends” on a truck and thought about that spiritual meaning. But I laughed when I saw what was written on the back of the vehicle: “Follow closely. Interesting things will happen.” Another invitation from God, I thought.

Well, just this week, I saw the Dos Equis truck with the new message. There on the side of the truck, in large print, was this advice: “Every now and then, bite off more than you can chew.”

Again I laughed, thinking about how every day I feel like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. But I took note of the words “every now and then.”  Being overwhelmed shouldn’t be a constant state of life. But once in a while, it’s good to take on something big, especially if it’s for God.

Sometimes when He calls us, we might think: No way, I can’t do that. I don’t have time, I don’t the ability.

And I’d guess that sometimes St. Peter, St. Paul or any of Jesus’ followers may have felt that way, especially when He first called them. Or when He showed them the cross.

Jesus, it seems, likes to take us out of our comfort zones. And if we dare to follow, we might ask: Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Did He really ask me to do this?

But if the call is real, if we truly follow Jesus’ Way and not ours, He will give us all that we need – and then some. Jesus, not an actor, is “the most interesting man in the world.” He will take us on His exploits. And he He won’t abandon or disappoint us.

It’s good to ponder where He’s asking us to go next on this mysterious and wonderful journey of life. And it’s good to be bold, in His Name. Every now and then, we need to take a big bite, even if it seems like it’s more than we can chew.

I don’t always take spiritual advice from a beer truck. But when I do, I prefer it from God (and Dos Equis).

Inspired by the Year of Faith, Susan Szalewski began writing weekly columns for us. Although that year is over, we liked them so well that we asked her to keep writing. Thankfully, she said yes. So watch for these on Thursdays and see the Year of Faith Blog here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Soccer Tournament: 3v3

Saturday the Athletic Council hosted a 3 on 3 Soccer Tournament 
and had a record number of teams competing.

 It was lots of fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Light Shines in the Darkness

Iraqi Christians light candles after attending Christmas Mass at the 
Virgin Mary church on December 25, 2008 in Baghdad, Iraq.

A gentleman heading into a gym this morning commented to an employee at the front counter about how dark it was outside, despite being 6 a.m.

Yes, the employee agreed. It certainly was dark. “A sign of things to come.”

That remark sent a small chill down my spine as I walked by – on one level because I’m not looking forward to the darkness and cold of winter, but I also thought of a symbolic darkness. Are there dark times ahead?

I thought about news of Christians being persecuted in the Middle East and elsewhere, but particularly in Iraq. Grisly news about beheadings, crucifixions and the destruction of churches.

As Christians, I suppose, we need reminders that we will never be fully accepted in this world. We will be persecuted, possibly even martyred. We need to pray for those now in the darkness and for those who fight it.

As I walked outside the gym, I caught a peek of the sun, just a narrow line of yellow light between the still-dark horizon and the heavy gray clouds that covered the rest of the sky. But the sun was there, breaking into daylight.

I was reminded of a passage at the start of St. John’s Gospel, about God’s Light, Who was there from the beginning and broke into our world at an appointed time.

That glimpse of the morning sun reminded me of Jesus, Who like the sun is with us day after day, sometimes out of sight but never gone. Our Lord is our Light.

And as St. John reminds us, “the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome It.”

That is the good news of the Gospel. And His presence with us always allows us to pray confidently with the Psalms: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?

As for me, I won't be afraid of the dark.

Inspired by the Year of Faith, Susan Szalewski began writing weekly columns for us. Although that year is over, we liked them so well that we asked her to keep writing. Thankfully, she said yes. So watch for these on Thursdays and see the Year of Faith Blog here.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I Once was Lost

I remember a time when I was little and got lost in a crowd at a hockey game.

I walked around the ice arena at least a couple times, anxiously looking up at the rows of people, trying to find my family.

Then a policeman approached me and asked if I was lost.

I remember wondering how he had guessed that. Apparently police are good at recognizing frightened little faces. And I think he knew to be on the lookout for me, because he led me straight to my dad.

After finding me, the officer took my left hand in his right. As we walked, I could feel a round piece of candy between our palms, and I hoped it was meant for me.

When we got to my waiting father, my dad thanked the policeman and they talked a little as I savored the candy. I was shy and embarrassed by the incident, but mostly I was relieved. “I once was lost but now am found,” as the song says. And that night gave me a special appreciation for being found.

That memory came back to me when I came across these lines from Psalm 73:

“I was always in Your presence; You were holding me by Your right hand. You will guide me by Your counsel and so You will lead me to glory.”

Most of us can look at our lives and realize there were times when we strayed and became lost. Jesus is like the kind, reassuring policeman I met, who sees our distress when no one else does, when sometimes even we don’t recognize our danger.

But He has always been there for us, holding our hands, to lead us back to our Father, to receive our sweet prize of glory.

Inspired by the Year of Faith, Susan Szalewski began writing weekly columns for us. Although that year is over, we liked them so well that we asked her to keep writing. Thankfully, she said yes. So watch for these on Thursdays and see the Year of Faith Blog here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Day of School

Today was the first day of the new year
 at St. Columbkille Catholic School.

Then, as usual, once the kids got to their rooms and settled, some of our aides said their daily prayers for the students and school.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Assumption of Mary

Today the strongest evidence for Mary's Assumption is, ironically, the complete lack of evidence.

No city ever claimed to have Mary's remains and no early Christian ever claimed to have a bodily relic of Mary. This is unlike the early veneration of the tombs of the Apostles and the other saints. Everyone knew that Peter and Paul's graves were in Rome, John and Timothy's graves were at Ephesus, Luke's grave Luke was in Greece, and Mark's grave was in Alexandria, Egypt and later moved to Venice. Furthermore, James' grave was in Jerusalem and Mary Magdalene's was in Marseille. The graves of the Old Testament saints were similarly venerated: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at Hebron; Rachel at Bethlehem (Matt 2:18), and in Jerusalem (Acts 2:29). The most logical reason to explain why NO early Christian ever spoke about a grave of the Virgin Mary was because there wasn't one.

It's also important to note that while Jesus ascended (it was His action) into heaven, Mary was assumed (God's action) into heaven.

Masses for this Holy Day of Obligation are:

5:30 p.m.

6:20, 8:15 a.m., 12:10, 5:30 and 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Squeeze in Some Fun

This time of year, the dwindling days before school begins, can be somewhat sad for me.

I hate to give up our family’s relaxed summer schedule and gear up for the busy-ness of fall, but most of all I hate losing the extra time of play and relaxation with my children.

Summer is so carefree: no homework, no school clothes, no bedtime curfews. We have more daylight for more fun: swimming, skating, walking the dog, laughing and sharing whatever is on our minds.

I’ll miss those days once school begins next week. But the good news is, there’s a few days left.

Pope Francis, in a recent interview, gave away his Secrets for Happiness.

In his list, the pope included “a healthy sense of leisure,” which included playing with children.

This is a must for parents, even those who have busy, complicated work schedules, Pope Francis said.

So in these last days of summer break – and throughout the year – squeeze in some extra time for fun with the children in your life.

It’s part of our prescription for our own well-being and happiness.

And enjoy!

Inspired by the Year of Faith, Susan Szalewski began writing weekly columns for us. Although that year is over, we liked them so well that we asked her to keep writing. Thankfully, she said yes. So watch for these on Thursdays and see the Year of Faith Blog here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Praying to Prevent a Black Mass

August 4, 2014
The Memorial of St. John Vianney

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

By now you are probably aware that a Satanic group has scheduled a so-called Black Mass for Sunday, September 21 at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City.

Even though tickets are being sold for this event as if it were merely some sort of dark entertainment, this Satanic ritual is deadly serious.  It is a blasphemous and obscene inversion of the Catholic Mass.  Using a consecrated Host obtained illicitly from a Catholic church and desecrating it in the vilest ways imaginable, the practitioners offer it in sacrifice to Satan.  This terrible sacrilege is a deliberate attack on the Catholic Mass as well as the foundational beliefs of all Christians.  It mocks Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we Catholics believe is truly present under the form of bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist when it has been consecrated by a validly ordained priest.

In spite of repeated requests, there has been no indication that the City intends to prevent this event from taking place.  I have raised my concerns with city officials and pointed out how deeply offensive this proposed sacrilegious act is to Christians and especially to the more than 250,000 Catholics who live in Oklahoma.  I am certainly concerned about the misuse of a publicly supported facility for an event which has no other purpose than mocking the Catholic faith.  I am especially concerned about the dark powers that this Satanic worship invites into our community and the spiritual danger that this poses to all who are involved in it, directly or indirectly.  Since it seems this event will not be cancelled, I am calling on all Catholics of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City to counteract this challenge to faith and decency through prayer and penance.

Specifically, I am asking that the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel be included at the conclusion of every Mass, beginning on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (August 6) and continuing through the Feast of the Archangels (September 29).  I invite all Catholics to pray daily for divine protection through the intercession of this heavenly patron who once defeated Lucifer in his rebellion against the Almighty and who stands ready to assist us in this hour of need.

Secondly, I am asking that each parish conduct a Eucharistic Holy Hour with Benediction to honor Christ’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, between the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15) and September 21, to avert this proposed sacrilege.

Finally, I invite all Catholics, Christians and people of good will to join me in prayer for a Holy Hour, outdoor Eucharistic Procession and Benediction at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Oklahoma City at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 21, the day of the proposed sacrilege.  We will pray to avert this sacrilege and publicly manifest our faith in the Lord and our loving gratitude for the gift of the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of our lives.

A printable version of the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel is available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese on the archdiocesan website (  If you have not yet done so, I urge you to contact the Office of the Mayor, the Honorable Mick Cornett, to express your outrage over this offensive and blasphemous sacrilege and this misuse of a tax-supported public space.

Commending our efforts to the Lord through the loving intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley
Archbishop of Oklahoma City