May 8th Parish Bulletin

May 4, 2016

The St. Wenceslaus parish bulletin for the Ascension / 7th Sunday of Easter on May 8th, 2016.

May 1st Parish Bulletin

May 4, 2016

The St. Wenceslaus parish bulletin for the 6th Sunday of Easter, May 1st, 2016.

Prayers of the Faithful / Petitions / Intercessions (Year C)

May 4, 2016

1st Sunday of Advent, Year C (November 29, 2015)
2nd Sunday of Advent, Year C (December 6, 2015)
Immaculate Conception (December 8, 2015)
3rd Sunday of Advent, Year C (December 13, 2015)
4th Sunday of Advent, Year C (December 20, 2015)
Christmas (December 25, 2015)
Holy Family (December 27, 2015)
Mary, Mother of God (January 1, 2016)
Epiphany (January 3, 2016)
Baptism of the Lord (January 10, 2016)
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (January 17, 2016)
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (January 24, 2016)
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (January 31, 2016)
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (February 7, 2016)
Ash Wednesday (February 10, 2016)
1st Sunday of Lent, Year C (February 14, 2016)
2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C (February 21, 2016)
3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C (February 28, 2016)
4th Sunday of Lent, Year C (March 6, 2016)
5th Sunday of Lent, Year C (March 13, 2016)
Palm Sunday of Lent, Year C (March 20, 2016)
Holy Thursday (March 24, 2016)
Easter (March 26-27, 2016)
Divine Mercy Sunday (April 3, 2016)
3rd Sunday of Easter (April 10, 2016)
4th Sunday of Easter (April 17, 2016)
5th Sunday of Easter (April 24, 2016)
6th Sunday of Easter (May 1, 2016)
Ascension/ 7th Sunday of Easter (May 8, 2016)

The Eight Beatitudes at the Movies

May 2, 2016

At the start of his Sermon on the Mount (in Matthew 5) Jesus lists qualities which describe the blessed in his Kingdom. These eight Beatitudes are models for living our lives. On the silver screen, the fictional characters in these eight classic films manifest the Beatitudes:

Phil Connors in Groundhog Day: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The arrogant self-sufficiency of Bill Murray’s character must be humbled before he can turn the corner towards living the perfect life by loving truly.

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Most characters in The Sixth Sense: Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. In this film, both the living and the dead suffer great losses, but they ultimately receive their peace.

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George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life:Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.” Jimmy Stewart’s character repeatedly sacrifices his big dreams (of college, of riches & fame, of an around-the-world honeymoon) to save the little Building & Loan of Bedford Falls. By the end of the story, George realizes that he is truly “the richest man in town.”

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“Juror 8” in 12 Angry Men: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled. The eighth juror (played by Henry Fonda) shows how a principled advocacy for the truth can change minds and bring about true justice.

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Jean Valjean in Les Misérables: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Having received mercy, the former criminal Jean Valjean practices mercy, and so is saved.

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Forrest in Forrest Gump: “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.” Forrest is “not a smart man, but [he] knows what love is.” His simple virtue and true devotion toward his friends blesses their lives together.

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Mary & Bert in Mary Poppins: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Julie Andrews’ Mary (with assistance from Dick Van Dyke’s Bert) delights in serious play to help heal the Banks Family.

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Terry Malloy & Fr. Barry in On the Waterfront:  “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”  The courageous actions of Marlon Brando and Karl Malden’s characters prevail against the mob and manifest that ‘Jesus Christ is here on this waterfront.’

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Quiz: Scripture or Shakespeare?

April 29, 2016

William Shakespeare Portrait     This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Arguably, behind the King James Bible, no English literature has been as celebrated as Shakespeare’s works. But can you tell the two apart? Which of these passages are verses from the Bible and which are quotes drawn from Shakespeare’s plays? (Highlight to reveal the answers.)

  1. “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
    ● Archangel Raphael in Tobit 5:23
    ● Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream ◄◄◄
  2. “For he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition…”
    ● Judas Maccabeus in 1st Maccabees 4:19
    ● King Henry in King Henry V ◄◄◄
  3. “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
    ● Psalm 119:103 ◄◄◄
    ● Juliet in Romeo and Juliet
  4. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
    ● King Solomon in Proverbs 16:18 ◄◄◄
    ● Brutus in Julius Caesar
  5. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
    ● King Solomon in Proverbs 22:6 ◄◄◄
    ● Lady Macbeth in Macbeth
  6. “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend…”
    ● King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 6:13
    ● Lord Polonius in Hamlet ◄◄◄
  7. “…Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things…”
    ● Jesus Christ in Matthew 25:23 ◄◄◄
    ● King Lear in King Lear
  8. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
    ● Jesus Christ in Mark 8:36 ◄◄◄
    ● Antonio in The Merchant of Venice
  9. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    ● St. Stephen in Acts of the Apostles 6:16
    ● Prince Hamlet in Hamlet ◄◄◄
  10. “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up…”
    ● St. Paul in 1st Corinthians 13:4 ◄◄◄
    ● Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing
  11. “Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee, and for thy maintenance commits his body…”
    ● St. Paul in Ephesians 5:34
    ● Katharina in The Taming of the Shrew ◄◄◄

So how did you do? Leave a comment and, as it is written somewhere“Do the part of an honest man in it.”

Cross Examined

April 26, 2016

View From the Cross by TissotOnce, at a picnic in college, I learned from a Muslim professor about what Islam teaches regarding Jesus — that he is not the divine Son of God but a prophet of Allah. Of course, my own Christian beliefs differed but I sat patiently listening — until he told me something about ‘Jesus (peace be upon him)’ which left me manifestly incredulous. He said Jesus was never crucified; Allah only made it appear as if he suffered and died. Reportedly, most Muslims (like this professor) believe that Allah gave someone else Jesus’ physical appearance to die on the Cross instead.

The relevant portion of the Quran [4:157] says:

That they said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not…

I began asking the professor clarifying questions on this point to make sure that I understood and after a while he asked me why. I replied that if the eyewitnesses to the Crucifixion were not merely mistaken but actively deceived by Allah, then Allah is the author of a lie. God is Truth and “can neither deceive nor be deceived.” (CCC #156-157) So how could Islam’s doppelganger explanation for denying the Crucifixion of Jesus be true? (Similarly, creationists may argue that evolutionists are misinterpreting the ancient fossil record, but they may not say that God has planted false evidence to test our faith.) The now-ruffled Muslim professor retorted that Christianity’s belief in ‘the three gods of the Trinity’ did not make any sense, and we let our interfaith picnic dialogue end there.

But what if Allah can lie? If Allah acts against Truth then his omnipotence would be unlimited in every sense, transcending beyond both logic and goodness. But if Allah transcends good and evil, if God is not absolute goodness in a way that human beings can recognize, then what is our motive to worship him besides submission before his power? C.S. Lewis wrote in opposition to Calvinism’s doctrine of mankind’s “Total Depravity” with words which are just as applicable here:

[I]f God’s moral judgment differs from ours so that our ‘black’ may be His ‘white,’ we can mean nothing by calling Him good; for to say ‘God is good,’ while asserting that His goodness is wholly other than ours, is really only to say ‘God is we know not what.’ … If He is not (in our sense) ‘good’ we shall obey, if at all, only through fear – and should be equally ready to obey an omnipotent Fiend.”

In Plato’s Euthyphro, Socrates asks the title character, “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” Or, put another way: “Is morality right simply because God declares it so, or does God acknowledge it as right because it is right independently of Himself?” Christianity answers that Euthyphro’s dilemma is a false choice. Goodness comes from God’s eternal nature; nothing could exist without Him. God’s word calls forth the good from Himself. He creates good things, sustains them, and sees that they are good. This is the good God we know; the true God “who does not lie” (Titus 1:2); the God who is supremely revealed by the death on the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ for all people.

Pro-Life Women to be Honored on New $10 Bill

April 22, 2016

The U.S. Capitol Statue of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, & Lucretia Mott

The U.S. Capitol sculpture of Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
Susan B. Anthony, and Lucretia Mott

The U.S. Treasury recently announced plans to redesign the $5, $10, and $20 bills. The new ten-dollar bill will retain the portrait of Alexander Hamilton but its reverse side will feature Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Alice Paul, and Lucretia Mott alongside the Treasury building. These five famous suffragists advocated for women’s right to vote, but lesser known are the pro-life convictions found among them and other feminists of their era.

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton co-founded a weekly women’s rights newspaper called The Revolution. From its beginning the paper had a policy against accepting ads for abortifacients: “Quack medicine vendors, …Foeticides and Infanticides, should be classed together and regarded with shuddering horror by the whole human race.” Their rejection of such revenue was a principled sacrifice for their struggling publication, since “child murder both before and after birth [was] a regular and, terrible to tell, a vastly extensive business.” In an 1868 editorial, Stanton called abortion “Infanticide,” declaring, “We believe the cause of all these abuses lies in the degradation of women.” (As honored suffragist Alice Paul, author of the first Equal Rights Amendment, wrote, “Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.”)

An 1869 Revolution piece denouncing abortion is frequently attributed to Susan B. Anthony, though its signature (“A.” rather than “S.B.A.”) may well stand for some “Anonymous” author. However, there is no doubt that in an 1875 speech about “the evil of intemperance” Anthony listed abortion among the society’s worst evils: “The prosecutions on our courts for breach of promise, divorce, adultery, bigamy, seduction, rape; the newspaper reports every day of every year of scandals and outrages, of wife murders and paramour shooting, of abortions and infanticides, are perpetual reminders of men’s incapacity to cope successfully with this monster evil of society.

These five suffragists devoted many words and efforts to women’s equality at the voting booth and throughout society. By comparison, they said relatively little about abortion. Yet this is not because early feminists accepted the killing of the unborn as normal, but because they acknowledged its great evil as a given. In the 1880’s, all U.S. states had laws against abortion, and for early feminists opposition to abortion was a commonly held conviction.Alexander Hamilton Bill Portrait

It is especially fitting that the women to be honored on the ten-dollar bill will be sharing the company of Alexander Hamilton. As the sensational, new musical about him dramatically recalls, by Providence, Alexander Hamilton, the out-of-wedlock son of a prostitute, was born impoverished and in squalor yet grew up to be a hero and a scholar. In our day, baby Alexander quite likely would have been aborted, but his remarkable life demonstrates how even an unwanted child can bless an entire nation.

In this conviction, as on the new ten-dollar bill,
the pro-life suffragists have Hamilton’s back.

April 24th Parish Bulletin

April 20, 2016

The St. Wenceslaus parish bulletin for the 5th Sunday of Easter, April 24th, 2016.

The Centrality of Jesus — Monday, 4th Week of Easter—Year II

April 18, 2016

Readings: Acts 11:1-18, John 10:1-10

Detail of The Rich Young Ruler by Heinrich HofmannIn St. John’s Gospel, Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God, and the Gate for the flock.

Our Easter preface (V) for the Mass calls him “the priest, the altar, and the lamb of sacrifice.”

Jesus declares, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

One may say Jesus is the road we travel, the vehicle we take, and the destination we long for.

The centrality and importance of Jesus Christ cannot be overstated.

Like Cornelius’ household at Caesarea, the God-fearing and truth-loving people amongst the nations need him, seek him, and perhaps (even if unknowingly) have a nascent love for him. As Jesus says, “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.” Jesus says to Pilate, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Let us grow in our knowledge, relationship, and love of the Lord Jesus Christ at this Mass and every day, and labor to help others come to know and love him more deeply as well.

 

April 17th Parish Bulletin

April 13, 2016

The St. Wenceslaus parish bulletin for the 4th Sunday of Easter, April 17th, 2016.

Tips for Raising Faith-Filled Children

April 13, 2016
  • Tell your children every day that you love them and that God loves them too.
  • Listen attentively and respectfully to what your child says.
  • Forgive frequently. Ask forgiveness when you have done wrong. Look for the humor in stressful situations and hug often.
  • Ask children to consider “what if…” when dealing  with challenging situations. Help them find creative, peaceful, and moral responses.
  • Tell your child that you pray for them every day and DO it. Thank God for the gifts they are.
  • Share your faith beliefs so your child can understand your hopes. Also share your doubts so they understand that doubts do not overwhelm faith.
  • Bless your child before bedtime by tracing the Sign of the Cross on their foreheads and saying: “God love you and keep you safe” or some other blessing. Teach your child to respond. “Amen.”
  • Encourage your child to value others for who they are – not what they have. Help them to develop Christian virtues and to treat others kindly and with respect.
  • Once a week, have a family night when you “unplug” to play board games, do crafts, read stories, or take time to talk together.
  • Honor family  dinner. The benefits are amazing and establish a sacred time to share the joys and trials of life with each other.
  • Pray before meals, before bed, during holidays and family celebrations, and any time when one needs guidance or comfort.
  • Have a family Bible and read the Gospel passages before Church.
  • Decorate your house for the liturgical seasons with an Advent wreath, purple during Lent, and a prominently placed crucifix.
  • Take time to ponder the beauty of creation with your child. Easter is a wonderful time to appreciate the new life of springtime.
  • During the fall and spring, help your child sort through their clothes and toys to donate to a shelter. Bring the child with you when you drop off your donations.
  • Select a patron saint to watch over your children when they become involved in a sporting activity. Pray to that saint every time they are at a practice or event.
  • Participate in the Catholic Relief  Services Rice Bowl program: read the prayers during Lent, look up the featured countries, and donate coins in the box provided.
  • Introduce your child to older people or those with disabilities in your neighborhood. Find out if they need assistance with chores or shopping.
  • When you can’t physically help someone, pray for them.
  • Choose sporting events that do not conflict with your Sunday Mass attendance.
  • Encourage “secret” good deeds.
  • Contribute to a food bank. Ask your child to help you with the collection and delivery.
  • Watch TV with your child and explain during commercials or afterward what you found to be good, wholesome, and valuable. If you find a program objectionable explain why when changing the channel.
  • Encourage your child to use their God-given talents to serve others.
  • Help your child find ways to participate in the of the parish, such as being an altar server, choir member, greeter, or reader.
  • Invite your parish priest over for dinner.
  • Volunteer in your child’s religious education program or Catholic school.
  • Have the sporting equipment your child uses get blessed.
  • Read stories from the Bible and biographies of saints to your child. Several great videos can also be found online.
  • Ask grandparents, godparents, and extended family to share stories about the family their faith lives.
  • On the anniversaries of your children’s Baptism, light their Baptismal candles and tell stories about that special day.
  • Display religious items in your home, such as a cross, artwork, or a picture of your child’s patron saint. Talk to your child about them.
  • By the way you live, let your child know that life is good, that your values and faith guide your decisions and how you interact with others, and that the happiness you experience is a direct result of your personal relationship with God.

Adapted from the pamphlet “Raising Your Child With Faith” by Cecilia P. Regan.

The Heights of Holiness

April 12, 2016
Tall G.K. Chesterton shakes a girl's hand

Servant of God G.K. Chesterton

How tall have the famous Catholic men and women of past and present been? Precise figures can be hard to find, but here is a sampling:

6’ 4” — Servant of God G.K. Chesterton

6’ 0” — Venerable Pope Pius XII

5’ 10” — Our Lord Jesus Christ (based upon the Shroud of Turin) , Pope St. John Paul II

5’ 9” — Pope Francis

5’ 8½” — Servant of God Bishop Fulton Sheen  (or 5’ 7” according to his niece )

5’ 8” — Blessed Pope Paul VI

5’ 7” — St. Peter the Apostle (based on the bones found beneath St. Peter’s Basilica’s high altar) , Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

5’ 6” — Pope St. John XXIII

5’ 5” — Servant of God Pope John Paul I

5’ 4” — St. Therese of Lisieux

5’ 2½”— St. John Neumann

5’ 2” — St. Joan of Arc , St. Junipero Serra

5’ 1½”— St. Ignatius Loyola

5’ 0” — Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

St. Stanislaus: A Patron Saint of Poland

April 11, 2016

Stanislaus was born of noble parents on July 26, 1030 near Kraków, Poland. After his priestly ordination he became known for his preaching and good spiritual advice. At age 42, he was made bishop of Kraków (the future office of St. John Paul the Great, who nearly chose the name “Stanislaus” as pope.)

King Boleslaus the Bold oppressed the Church and hated Stanislaus for denouncing his reign’s injustices and cruelties. In hopes of the Polish king’s conversion, Stanislaus excommunicated the king, even ceasing cathedral liturgies upon his entrance. On April 11, 1079, the sword-wielding king murdered Stanislaus himself while the bishop was saying Mass in a chapel outside the city.

The martyr St. Stanislaus has long since been celebrated as the Polish nation’s beloved patron.

Pope St. Gregory the Great’s Reflections on John 21

April 10, 2016

From the Catena Aurea or Golden Chain, St. Thomas Aquinas’ collection of Church Father quotes.

  • It may be asked, why Peter, who was a fisherman before his conversion, returned to fishing, when it is said, “No man putting his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” The craft which was exercised without sin before conversion, was no sin after it. Wherefore after his conversion Peter returned to fishing; but Matthew sat not down again for the receipts of custom. For there are some businesses which cannot or it can hardly be carried on without sin; and these cannot be returned to after conversion.
  • The [disciples’] fishing was made to be very unlucky, in order to raise their astonishment at the miracle after: “And that night they caught nothing.”
  • It may be asked, why after His resurrection He stood on the shore to receive the disciples, whereas before He walked on the sea? The sea signifies the world, which is tossed about with various causes of tumults, and the waves of this corruptible life; the shore by its solidity figures the rest eternal. The disciples then, inasmuch as they were still upon the waves of this mortal life, were laboring on the sea; but the Redeemer having by His resurrection thrown off the corruption of the flesh, stood upon the shore.
  • To Peter was the holy Church committed; to him is it specially said, “Feed my sheep.” That then which is afterwards declared by word, is now signified by act. He it is who draws the fishes to the firm shore, because he it was who pointed out the stability of the eternal country to the faithful. This he did by word of mouth, by epistles; this he does daily by signs and miracles.
  • By holding this last feast with seven disciples, [Jesus] declares that they only who are full of the seven-fold grace of the Holy Spirit, shall be with Him in the eternal feast. Time also is reckoned by periods of seven days, and perfection is often designated by the number seven. They therefore feast upon the presence of the Truth in that last banquet, who now strive for perfection.

Jesus Asks, “Do You Love Me?”

April 9, 2016

Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter by Pietro Perugino (detail)In St. Peter along the shore of Galilee, Jesus is asking this question of us: “Do you love me?” We each have a choice to make in how we respond.

You can answer like Simon Peter in the high priest’s courtyard, with blasphemous denials and lingering regret. Or you can answer like St. Peter the Rock, who said, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you,” and then lived a life which proved that love.  How are you going to answer?

I do not know the particulars of Christ’s will and plan for you, but I know it consists at least in this: to pray every day, to attend Mass every week, and to strive to do His will for the rest of your days.


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