Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Martyrdom of Friar Juan de Padilla

In 1527, Cabeza de Vaca survived a failed expedition to Florida ending up rescued by natives near what is now Galveston, Texas and was made a slave. He and three others escaped. Although Cabeza de Vaca began the journey as a soldier of fortune, he seemed to have had a strong religious conversion in the process. Once Cabeza de Vaca was back  among his fellow Spaniards, he gave the impression that there were valuable things to the north of New Spain when he expressed his desire to lead an expedition back and refused to tell anyone but the King the "important" things he had had seen. While the others thought "important" meant treasures, what he meant was the souls of the people he longed to convert and bring into the Kingdom of Spain.

This influenced Francisco Vasquez de Coronado to travel in search of treasure to the North. In what is now New Mexico a slave told of a land called Quivira where there was much gold. Some modern historians think this slave may not have understood the difference between gold and copper. Other speculation is that this was his home and a trick to get the Spanish to take him back. It could very well have been a ruse to simply get the Spanish out of New Mexico.

Eventually Coronado and a small party arrived in "Quivira" where there was no gold. After erecting a cross showing how far they traveled, Coronado returned to Mexico but a small group stayed behind including Friar Juan de Padilla. This Franciscan, missionary priest lived among the "Indians of the Quivira" for some time sharing his faith. When the time seemed proper, he resolved to bring the faith to a neighboring tribe as well. Because the tribes were hostile to each other, this was seen as betrayal.

As Friar Padilla and his companions were on their journey, they were overtaken by Indians on the war path. Friar Padilla, recognizing the danger, commanded his companions to flee. Then he turned and knelt in prayer commending his soul to God as the arrows began to fall about him. He was the first martyr on the soil of what is now the United States on November 30, 1542 (though some accounts claim 1544.) In contrasts, the city of St. Augustine was founded in Florida in 1565, a seminary was begun there in 1605 and the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620.

Friar Padilla's companions were captured and enslaved, but eventually escaped and returned to tell the story.

The question of the location of Quivira is disputed. It is of most interest to simply know where the protomartyr of the United States died. Both Kansas and Texas have built shrines to Fr. Padilla claiming he died there. In 1916 Monsignor Michael Shrine published "The Lost Province of Quivira" arguing that it was in Nebraska. Besides making an extensive geographical argument, he points out that Quivira is the Spanish pronunciation of one of the Pawnee tribes. Monsignor Shrine also predicted that one day Coronado's cross will be found within 50 miles of St. Paul, Nebraska. The New Catholic Dictionary lists the site of Friar Padilla;s martyrdom as Hall County, Nebraska. When architect Thomas Rogers Kimball designed St Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha in a Spanish Renaissance Revival style due to the early influence of Spain and Mexico in the region. Nebraska was once part of the missionary area subject to the See of Santiago de Cuba.

No matter where Friar Padilla's martyrdom took place, it is good that we should think of him and the other early missionaries on this anniversary of his death.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Priest Prophet and King

For our Advent Bible Study this year we will be using a new series from Fr. Robert Barron. The Priest, Prophet, King Study Program presents the Old Testament foreshadowing of each of Jesus’ three offices as priest, prophet and king and then describes how Jesus is the fulfillment of each as seen in the New Testament.

Mondays at 9:00 a.m. and
7:00 p.m. in the
Steinhausen Center
The lessons are as follows:
Adoratio: Adam as Priest and The High Priest
Challenging False Worship: Elijah the Prophet and The Word Made Flesh
Ordering the Kingdom: King David and the King of Kings

December 1: Jesus the Priest
December 8: Jesus the Prophet
December 15: Jesus the King
Each session will contain two twenty minute videos from Fr. Robert Barron with follow-up discussions led by Fr. Damian Zuerlein. The Bible Study takes place in the Steinhausen Center. Morning sessions will follow Mass. Each session lasts an hour and a half. Please bring your Bible.

Here is a preview of the video program:

Friday, November 28, 2014

Did You Notice?

The old bricks were taken out of some
 of our landscaping and replaced.

One of the unexpected challenges was that the sidewalk was poured after and around the previous stones.  So the cement had to be sawed straight before the new bricks could go in.

Some of the top pieces were glued. This way they
 won't move if Fr. Vogel runs across them.

It seems that there are always little things like this happening around our campus to make it al look nice.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Unadulterated Joy - Happy Thanksgiving!

I received an early Christmas gift this week – one moment of pure, unadulterated joy.

I was slowing down for a stoplight Tuesday afternoon and caught a commotion out the corner of my eye. A kid was waving from a school bus window, trying to get my attention. And to be honest, I thought he was going to be rude.

Instead, he wished me a happy Thanksgiving. With a great big smile.

I waved back and wished him the same, but I doubt he heard me through my closed window. Then he went on to other drivers and pedestrians at the intersection, spreading his joy everywhere. I suppose he was thrilled to be heading home for Thanksgiving break. Maybe he’s just usually that happy.

That exchange happened at the perfect moment for me, after a long, stressful week. It was indeed a gift.

But after I reflected on it, it became even more of a gift. It made me realize how much I longed for and needed joy in my life. Children have a natural sense of joy, but somehow I’d lost mine and become cynical and depressed.

In a way, God showed me Charles Dickens-like ghosts of Christmas past, present and future in one moment. Yes, God gave me – Scrooge – a vision of sorts.

The joyful boy reminded me that I hadn’t always been so down, how happy I should be despite any present difficulties, and an image of the happiness He has destined for me.

I still can envision that child’s happy face, and it makes me long for lasting joy.

So I think I found my inspiration for Advent. I need to pray for God’s help in ending my doom-and-gloom attitude, which poisons the people around me, get back to a childlike joy and become the person He meant me to be.

The Fullness of Joy is awaiting at Christmas.

Let us begin now to make room for Him – and await Him with expectant hope.

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.

Thanksgiving Feast

Because of much help from parents, the Kindergarten students at St. Columbkille Catholic School were able to enjoy a Thanksgiving Feast on Tuesday. They all dressed as Pilgrims or Indians to help them think about the First Thanksgiving..

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Reader's Theater

Yesterday the second grade students at 
St. Columbkille Catholic School held
 their Thanksgiving Readers Theater.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Deliveries

Earlier tonight the Social Hall was packed with food needing to be delivered and parishioners there to make it happen.
Like all good things, it began with prayer 
as Deacon Lauber got us on our way.

Parishioners were given the names of 2-3 families who would not be able to celebrate Thanksgiving without our help. These people may live anywhere from Bellevue to Gretna and Ralston to Springfield.

Our families picked up a turkey, a box of food and a loaf of bread for every family. Then they dispersed into the night in search of those families.

Since each delivery was to a family, well over 1,000 people will have a brighter Thanksgiving this year.

Thank You!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanks to our Neighbors & Papillion

When our parking proposal went before the City Planning Commission, three of our neighbors expressed their concern for the intersection of 6th street & Washington (Cornhusker & 84th). When cars are facing west and want to turn south, it can be difficult to see any oncoming traffic. They also expressed that drivers can be so concerned about traffic that they don't see pedestrians.

We agreed.

Because Washington Street in Papillion (84th Street) is a state highway, the City of Papillion can not do anything here except bring concerns to the state -- which they did very well. After some dialogue, they had the state agree to two changes.

First, you may have noticed that the timing on the timing on the west bound intersection has been changed on Sunday mornings so it stays green longer between Masses to help move traffic out.

Secondly, the state has agreed with the city that there should be a left turn only signal at this intersection. It had been added to a list of projects for the state. We may not see the signal for 8-10 months, but it will be coming.

Thank you City of Papillion & Neighbors!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Appreciating our Principals

Thursday was a national day to appreciate our principals. It was a great chance for our community to express our appreciation to Mr. Makey and Mrs Redburn.

 As part of the program after Mass each grade 
thanked our principal for a quality they possess.

 We thank our principals and their families!