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Showing posts from May, 2012

Pentecost, Happy Birthday, the Story Continues

Happy Birthday to the Church.  While it can also be said that the Church came into being from the wounded side of Christ on the cross I like the idea of celebrating Pentecost as our birthday because that is when the whole reality of what Christ accomplished in His death and resurrection came alive not only in the apostles, but in all who were there and came to faith along with them.

   As I pointed out last week John has no Pentecost event.  His presentation of Christ as the Risen One has Jesus appearing and conferring the Holy Spirit right away. For example, "Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them" Luke on the other hand unpacks the Easter gifts separately. The Ascension takes place 40 days after Easter, going along with Jesus 40 days of fasting and Israel's 40 years in the desert. Forty here is obviously a symbolic number.  Pentecost, Greek for 50 days, is first of all the Jewish feast of Shavuot, 50 days after Passover. It i…

The Feast of the Ascension--What Does It Mean for Us??

We are nearing the end of the Easter season and are celebrating several feasts which each in their own way help us to open up the Easter mystery more fully.  This week I would like to focus on the Ascension.  Those in the northeast U.S. celebrated this feast on its traditional day--Thursday.  In most of the world it is now celebrated on the seventh Sunday of Easter.  Some have asked, "How can Ascension Thursday be on a Sunday?"  This is an understandable question.  A little Scripture reflection is in order.  The Church's liturgical cycle is based on Luke's Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles (both written by the same author) which has the Ascension forty days after Easter and the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Jewish feast of Pentecost (50 days after Passover.)  The Church was just beginning to develop a liturgical calendar and this was a good thing to do.   In Matthew and Mark the Ascension is simply mentioned with no time line and in John Jesus is risen, gl…

Thank You Sister

As most of my blog readers know the Vatican recently came down hard on the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious). This group represents roughly 80% of the sisters in the USA.  They cited doctrinal and other concerns.  I was upset by this and it has taken time for me to understand just why I was upset.  I have signed two statements that have circulated in support of the sisters.  Before writing here I wanted to go beyond merely being anglry and to say something constructive.

   Ask yourself, "Do I know any sisters?  What are they doing?" Obviously there are fewer of them than there were forty years ago.  While many of them are still involved in education or hospital administration they have branched out into other directions.  I am close to three sisters from different communities who are in parish ministry.  They do everything a priest does except for celebrating the Sacraments.  They are well-respected and appreciated for bringing a feminine perspective to par…

Honduras Awaits

I've been at home in St. Anthony Friary for several weeks. I've accomplished a lot from finishing my book (waiting to hear from the publisher) to giving my room a real spring cleaning. I'm now looking forward to summer.  Every year I head for Eagle River, Wisconsin and I'm looking forward to arriving there in June.  Before Eagle River, however, there is another journey to make--to Trujillo, Honduras from June 8-17.

  Over the past few years I have preached several parish missions in Little Rock, Arkansas. My principle connection there is my cousin, Deacon Dan Hennesey. He gave my name to the folks at Christ the King Parish there as a possible priest
for that parish's annual June mission trip to the diocese of  Trujillo, Honduras.  I gladly accepted and will be going to Little Rock to fly down with the other members of the mission team.  There is some small amount of trepidation (the usual stuff that you might imagine) along with my enthusiasm.  I ask for your…