Daily Mass Project: MisADVENTures

Saint Columbkille – Parma, OH – Saturday 12/9

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I don’t think it would be fair to do a tried and true Daily Mass Project blog post on dear St. Columbkille because I took zero notes on the day I attended. I have fond memories of this parish growing up. I seem to remember attending an evening mass or two here or maybe we went when our parents just wanted to go someplace different than our home parish? I just know I would stare at that back wall behind the hanging crucifix. I couldn’t find a picture of the interior but you can tell from the outside photo here…

colum2…that the roof slopes. I would just look up and be mesmerized by it. It was unlike anything I had seen.

I also remember thinking it was a little strange to see the Gospel writers names unevenly placed on the wall. And “Matt??” Really?

Other than that, the last time I went to mass here was when I graduated high school in 1996. And it has stayed pretty much the exact same. 🙂

One nagging question remains:  Just who the heck was St. Columbkille anyways? What kind of a name is that?

His name, Google tells me, was Columb. He was born in Ireland. And he was a gifted poet and musician. After he became a monk…

…he had founded no less than 27 Irish monasteries, including those at Derry, Durrow, and Kells, as well as some 40 churches. His work for the Church gained him the addition of “kille” to his name. Columb means “dove” in Gaelic and kille is “church”, so he came to be known as the “church’s dove.”

The more you know…


Saint Michael – Independence, OH- 4th Sunday of Advent

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It’s probably not fair to attend churches during Advent because I really want to crown this one as my favorite in Cleveland that I went to this year. It’s just the perfect size: Not too small, not too big, just the right amount of decor, the stained glass is in these muted colors and not super “rainbow bright,” (just checking to see if my buddy Dennis is reading this). The stations of the cross were simple but really beautiful…IMG-8689

The only thing I noticed is that for a church that is named St. Michael, I didn’t see any actual statue of St. Michael. Unless I am missing it?? I did see this icon:

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But I’m partial to statues. 🙂  He may have been in a Stained Glass window that I didn’t see. I was particularly in love with this one:

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Celebrant: Fr. Peter Colletti

Initial Thoughts: Besides what I just said, I was greeted by this super friendly priest who as he walked up and down the aisle before mass; Overall it has a family and warm vibe from the get-go. I suppose it could have just been because of the occasion but I got the sense it’s always like this.

The bulletin was the hymnal and the missal! Innovative! And no worries about people scrambling to find the page numbers for songs. IMG-8696

And the tabernacle…Assuming those angels are always there? Beautiful! IMG-8698

Homily Reflection: Despite having almost no voice to speak (not a good thing for a pastor to have the flu/get sick for Christmas!) Fr. gave a great summary of the first reading from 2 Samuel about King David and building a house for God. I gotta say, I probably would have zoned out but this is the number one reason people should read the readings a week ahead of time before going to mass: I had listened to Bishop Robert Barron’s podcast for this Sunday and heard his explanation of this 1st reading. It really helps because he puts it in plain language. If I hadn’t, I think I would have tuned out this first part of his homily because let’s be honest – We hear the first reading and if we have no clue what it means, we will lose interest within seconds (at least I do, especially if I haven’t read them ahead of time).

Long story short: David tells God “I’ll build you a house” and God is like, “You’re gonna make a house for ME? No. I’m going to make a house for YOU!” No one outdoes God on His gifts to us.

Fr. Peter then went on to talk about the Annunciation (the Gospel) and how he used to picture Mary “bowing” to the Angel Gabriel. But as he came to understand the Annunciation, he now believes Gabriel bowed to Our Lady.  He brought God’s proposal to her. “Can you imagine God proposing to a human being,” he asked.

He continued:

“The angel is here today and through Mary’s intercession we have a few more hours until Christmas. God bows before you and me, mere sinners, and asks “What about you?” Will you let religion go beyond something mechanical and allow yourself to be taken by God? He offers Himself to us as His very food. He waits…and Mary prays.”

And he concluded his homily leading us in a Hail Mary.


Saint Kenneth – Plymouth, MI – Tuesday – 12/26 – Feast of St. Stephen

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Celebrant: Fr. Tom Belczak

Initial Thoughts: A whole church to myself? Don’t mind if I do!

I arrived 45 minutes before mass started. Got some of these great pictures and proceeded to sit down and have some alone time with Jesus.

After awhile, a woman slid down the pew behind me and asked if I was new to the parish. “Nope, I just go to OLGC and live down the street and thought I’d give St. Kenneth a little visit today.”

She informed me that they say the rosary before mass and it looks like it’s just her and I so would I mind praying with her? Came to find out her name is Betty and she was SUCH a God-send. Of course, everyone has a story. I loved meeting her and talking to her after mass. Turns out she attends OLGC a couple times a week so she and I will see each other again.

We began the mass with the devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help; again, something I had never heard of until I moved here and started at OLGC. Parishioners at OLGC do this every Saturday morning after mass. Fr. Tom mentioned this in the homily…

Homily Reflection: Jesus isn’t just a baby; there will be suffering and trials and separations of families over the Lord.

The first reading is like a teaser/cliffhanger – Who is this Saul person and why should we care? Well, obviously, we’ll find out later that Saul is Paul after he has his conversion. We know that St. Stephen prayed for his persecutors, and that means Saul was being prayed for in that very moment.

How do we put Jesus’s journey of faith into our lives so that when obstacles come, can we still have the peace of Christ in our lives?

Referring to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Fr. Tom remarked that this was a popular Tuesday night devotional for him growing up. He said it was the only thing that was in English, so they went to it all the time!

But the best explanation of why we would pray this devotional, he said: “You know how when you’re little and you want to do something, you ask Dad and He says no? So what do you? You go and ask Mom for help.”

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us!


I may do a 2017 Daily Mass Project “Wrap-Up” post so stay tuned!

 

Screaming Babies, Losing Breviaries and Bishop Wisdom – Daily Mass Project

Assumption Grotto Church – Detroit, MI- December 8th -Feast of the Immaculate Conception – Tridentine Mass

Founded in 1832, this is the second oldest parish in the city of Detroit.

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Celebrant: Fr. Perrone

Initial Thoughts: Ahhhh I love a good Latin mass. I was recently gifted a chapel veil so I was happy to have an excuse to wear it. I didn’t get any close up shots of the sanctuary or the stained glass but I remember just staring at those two windows up in the front and thinking what vivid colors! They reminded me (and yes this is a silly memory) but they reminded me of Rainbow Brite. And that reminded me of my childhood. And THAT reminded me of being a child at mass. Just made me feel nostalgic for the past. When the mass is being said in a language you don’t understand, there’s probably no better time than to have some of these “holy moments.”

I never tire of the reverence at these masses. It’s such an experience. I wish I could adequately put into words how these masses make me feel but I suppose that’s not really the point. It’s an experience of God that really can’t be articulated.

Homily Reflection: The only part in English. And it was stellar. I don’t know if you can call it a homily as much as you can call it a Exegesis. I was furiously taking notes but re-reading them now, they don’t make sense so I’m not even going to try.

So how about you just take a look at the pictures of their Marian shrine? 🙂

Apparently this is the oldest outdoor Marian shrine in Michigan:


St. Ambrose – Brunswick, OH – 12pm – 2nd Sunday of Advent

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Celebrant: Fr. Adam Zajac

Gospel: Mark 1:1-8

I realize I’ve already blogged about this parish already but this was my first SUNDAY mass.

Quick Notes: Lots of singing at different parts that I wasn’t used to. Of course, I didn’t take any notes on that so now I can’t remember. But I believe they sang “Alleluia” AFTER the Gospel as well as before. And they sang “Lord hear our Prayers” (unless I’m getting my churches confused) after each petition.

Holy Moments: A man and a woman sat down directly behind me in the pews with their two granddaughters. They warned me ahead of time saying: “This is the first time we’ve brought the little ones to mass. So we’ll see how it goes!” The girls were adorable. Probably around ages 18 months and maybe 3. I categorize it as a “Holy Moment” because somehow, God gave me the patience to endure a total meltdown by the smaller girl right at the Eucharistic prayer. I felt worse for the grandparents who did a terrific job but couldn’t possibly have foreseen this little one tripping and falling in the pews (probably got stuck between the kneeler and the pew like so many kids do). They were troopers though. Gratefully, she calmed down by the time communion came around. I always think of how, although we would all admit that we can easily become distracted by “all those crying babies” at Church, the real kudos goes to the parents and grandparents who bring them. I will never give an eyeroll or a nasty look to a parent trying to wrangle their kids at mass. We should be happy and overjoyed to see the pews filled with babies and kids! I’ve grown to enjoy it. (The babies and the kids, not the crying or screaming part). 😉

Homily Reflection:  I wrote down a couple of lines that stuck out to me although you can read his entire homily here.

God is coming into our lives in a new and radical way, in a real and meaningful sense. We must realize that we pushed him out in a real and meaningful sense. Now is the time to acknowledge that we need him. We were made for more than the brokenness of this world.  

Amen Father!


St. Basil – Brecksville, OHClaimed by Love Young Adult Conference – Saturday Morning Mass with Aux. Bishop Roger Gries; Lunch and Adoration with Bishop Nelson Perez – December 17th

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I was honored to be asked to be a part of this Young Adult Conference called Claimed By Love. It was the first YA conference in many years in the Cleveland Diocese and over 130 YA’s ages 18-35 attended. I was asked to be on the vocations panel as a Breakout session. I represented the Single vocation although I did answer questions on my discernment journey of Consecrated Virginity since it’s not well-known vocation. There was also a brother, a seminarian, a married couple and two religious sisters. A great opportunity to hear other vocation stories as well as answer questions from the “kids,” as I call the young adults.

Before all of this, Bishop Gries led us in the Saturday morning mass. Sadly, I didn’t take any notes on his beautiful homily which was a shame because he really had some great reflections on the gospel. (Bad job outta me!)

Fortunately, I did have some great things to write down from a mini-reflection from newly installed Bishop Nelson Perez later on that afternoon during some time of adoration:

He reflected on the 2nd reading for that Sunday which was 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, which says:

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophetic utterances.
Test everything; retain what is good.
Refrain from every kind of evil.

May the God of peace make you perfectly holy
and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will also accomplish it.

Bishop Perez said we could spend an entire day just praying with that reading. He mentioned that no matter what our vocation is, we need to continue to listen to the Lord. To let God do the talking as we listen and wonder “What is God asking of me?” Because it’s not what WE want. It’s what God wants for us. As a baby, one of the first things we learn to say is “I want.” We’re always reaching as babies for what it is we want. But we have to grow out of that as adults. We can’t always say “I want, I want.” Because it might not be what God wants for us.

There was a lot grace poured out at this conference, including a really emotional and powerful testimony from the keynote speaker, Ron Nowak. I would say their first conference was a success and I know they intend to do more in the future. Our Young Adult community in the Catholic Church is very much overlooked, I feel, so it was really great to see them appreciated and to see an event *just* for them.


St Basil the Great – 7:30am – Gaudete Sunday

Nope, that’s not a typo. I went to the same church the following day for the Sunday mass. Honestly I went because I thought (and still believe) I left my breviary there in the pews the day before. Alas, no one turned it in. It was really bothering me because all 4 volumes were gifted to me by my good friend Ivi a year ago and they’ve made such a difference in my prayer life. I like PAPER and BOOKS. Praying with the iBreviary App is just not the same. It’s okay though because the more I thought about it, the more I realized that all my “precious books” are gifts. Everything is on loan. None of it is mine. So, whoever has my Breviary, I pray you find it to be fruitful for you. (I still have the other 3 volumes, so this isn’t the end of the world). But it’s the principle of the thing. I hate losing anything, especially when it was gifted to me.  Moving on…

Celebrant: Fr. Walt Jenne, Pastor

Initial Thoughts:  “Why am I here so early?” I don’t think I’ve ever attended a Sunday mass earlier than 9am in my life.

Two things that were of interest to me: A monthly prayer from Fr. Walt is prayed before each mass. This one was for Family Healing. The rest are listed here:

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And the names of those in the military and those who are sick are on a banner!

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I noticed they weren’t listed in the bulletin which is my personal preference because you can easily pick it up and read the names to pray for them. But, it is pretty special to see a name on the banner in the worship space, especially if it’s someone you know personally.

Before mass we were asked to stand up and greet one another. My pew neighbor was a man by the name of Scott. Super friendly and hospitable. In fact, Fr. Walt noted that many of the parishioners who join St. Basil’s say it’s because they are drawn to the hospitality of its members.

A little bit on that: Yes yes yes! The past two parishes that I’ve joined since my “reversion” I joined in part because they made me feel welcomed and appreciated from the moment I stepped into the door. I can’t tell you how key it is to have greeters at the Church doors. It sounds so minor (we don’t go to Church to be greeted) but it’s just like a company. I’ve had a ton of receptionist jobs where I was told over and over “You are the face of the company. The way you answer the phone or greet the client/customer when they walk in the door sets the tone for the rest of their experience.” When compared to a Church where no one looks you in the eye and there’s zero “warmth,” not even an acknowledgement of your presence, I’m joining the one that acknowledges my dignity as a child of God.

Homily Reflection: “God uses the anointed. God chooses to work thru those who are anointed (we are all baptized, therefore we are anointed) to accomplish great things. But this is totally dependent on what we DO with what we are given.”  Fr. proceeded to tell the story of the barber who cuts the hair of autistic and disable children. His story went viral when the mother of an autistic boy took a photo of him on the floor with her son.

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The barber, Franz Jacob was quoted as saying,  “I’m taking great pride doing this. It’s really an honor.”  Fr Walt said that this is a story of what what we do with the gifts we are given to be instruments of God. 


I have officially lost count of the parishes I made it to in Cleveland. I will attempt to get a final count after next weekend when my final one for the year (in CLE) will be the Spanish mass at Sacred Heart in Lorain. My buddy Fr. Mike is the celebrant and having yet to attend a mass in a language other than English (or Latin) I thought why not!

And finally, a shout out to my buddy Brian in Brecksville who has hit the 100 Churches mark. Well done my friend! Only 85 more to go to hit all of them in Cleveland!

 

 

 

The Word is Alive

John 1: 1-5, 9-14

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.

Merry Christmas to all the children of God on this most blessed day, the day our savior was born!

 

Fit in your Faith Today:  Be sure to spend some quiet time after the gifts have been unwrapped, after the last sip of egg nog, after the final goodbye to relatives. Spend time in quiet prayer in awe and wonderment at the true meaning of what this day signifies to all of us and to you.

Be Like St. John the Baptist

Most people probably don’t think they could possibly be like a saint. They might not describe themselves as being very holy or good or sin-free. But you can be saintly, everyday.

There is a light inside all of us. And each day you have an opportunity to show people that light. For some, it’s barely lit. For others, it’s burned out. But for most, it’s shining as bright as the sun.

To be like a saint, in particular like John the Baptist, you can prepare the way for something (or someone) good to enter someone’s heart. Especially to those whose light is barely shining.

How?

  • Recognize they are hurting, perhaps depressed, bitter, or lonely. Don’t make it about you and your feelings, remember it’s about them.
  • Steer conversations to how they are feeling, what they are doing to get better. Make them do most of the talking.
  • Your role is a listener. Listen as the saints listened. They were silent when God spoke to them. Be that good listener and hear the words your friend is speaking.
  • Show them your light by taking them to lunch. Buy them a small thoughtful gift. Something even as small as a smile and a “How are you doing today?” can mean the world to someone who feels like there is no one they can talk to.
  • The sense of touch can make all the difference. A simple hug/embrace may sound like nothing. And maybe it’s even a little uncomfortable for people who aren’t used to affection. But even a friendly gesture like a hug can brighten someone’s day.

After you leave your friend, you’ll have shown them some of your light. You can be like the saints and like St. John the Baptist and prepare the way for Christ to enter his or her heart. It may seem like no big deal on the outside, but on the inside, that friend is grateful and transformed. And you can say that YOU helped make it happen.

Fit in Your Faith Today: Seek out that person that needs a saint in their life and show them that light inside of you.

Are YOU the one that needs a saint?  Hold that mirror up to yourself and ask what you can do personally to become like the saints. Prepare the way for Jesus to come into YOUR life.

 

Spirit, Soul, and Body

The Second Reading for the Third Sunday of Advent is from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24.

The last two verses are particularly interesting. It reads:

“May the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.”

According to a Bible Study Guide on these two lines:

“The spirit, soul, and body refer not so much to the distinct parts of a person as to the entire being of a person. This expressions is Paul’s way of saying that God must be involved in EVERY aspect of life. It is wrong to think that we can separate the spiritual life from everything else, obeying God only in some ethereal sense or living for him only one day each week. Christ must control ALL of us, not just a “religious” part.

Thoughts on this reflection:

How often do we think “As long as I go to church, I’m good in God’s eyes.”  Or maybe we say “I pray everyday, I’m religious enough.”

Why do we cut God out from our lives and only let him in when it’s time to pray or go to Church? The key to keeping God close to our hearts is to know Him. We should study Him more than once a day. We should talk to Him more than once a week. He’s the reason we are alive. We, our spirits, souls and bodies, are living proof of His creation. We need to care for what we are given.

How do we do that?

Our SpiritsThis is defined as the “invisible, nonmaterial part of humans.”

How does someone take care of their spirit if they can’t even see it or feel it? Perhaps it’s just a feeling, an emotion. It’s the part of us that maybe only people looking at us can see or feel. Maybe it’s just one action or one smile or one act of caring and kindness that someone else looks at in us and thinks, “This person has a truly good spirit in them.” We feed our spirit good things by saying good things, nothing self-deprecating. We try to treat others as we want to be treated. When strangers see you performing good acts of kindness, you are showing them who God is. They will remember that and always remember what a good-heart and kind spirit you have.

Our Souls This is defined as the “inner life of a human being, the seat of emotions, and the center of human personality.”

Have you ever just looked at someone and thought you could see into their soul? Or maybe someone looked at you and you felt immediately a little uncomfortable, because you thought they could see a part of you that you wished they hadn’t seen? It’s our soul. Our “inner life” as it’s called. What does your soul look like? Are you happy with it or could it use a makeover? Are you doing harm to your soul by sinning and making poor decisions? Remember what St. Paul said, our souls should remain blameless until Christ comes again.  A priest once spoke about sin in this way: “Every time we sin, we disfigure our soul.”  We can take care of our souls by confessing our sins. Picture your soul becoming disfigured every time you knowingly and willingly choose to sin. That is an upsetting visual and sometimes it’s enough to get us to cease with sinning and start praying.

Our BodiesThis is our physical body, our “physical essence.” We take care of our bodies by honoring God with it. This means we don’t intentionally harm ourselves. We don’t purposely engage in behavior that puts our body in danger of getting hurt. Simply put, our body is a temple. We need to treat it as such. For many this means being physically fit, eating nutritious and healthy foods, getting plenty of rest and not putting our bodies in harms way. But honoring God with our bodies can be difficult for some. Addictions to food, drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, and abuse can cause a lot of damage to our bodies (souls and spirits too!). The good news is we can reverse this process. We can surrender to God and give it all to Him if we have an addiction. He can set our path straight if we have taken a wrong turn. It’s never too late!

Fit in Your Faith Today: Honor God by doing one thing today that shows you are keeping your Body, Spirit and Soul blameless.

 

 

Anxiously Awaiting during Advent

Some might think of the “holidays” as a time to be impatient. Some might want to get them over and done with, while others love to enjoy every single day and take it all in because they think it goes by way too fast.

How do you view Advent and Christmastime? Do you get sucked into the materialistic world and think of all the gifts you need to buy or all the gifts you are anxious to receive? Do you ever stop to think about what this time of year is really about?

Although it was just a cartoon, Charlie Brown’s Christmas special is remembered as one of the most popular tv specials of it’s time. It’s repeated on the air at this time of year and I would be willing to bet most people don’t even think about how it is completely centered around Jesus.

Who knew Linus’ closing soliloquy would have such an impact!? All ages can relate. We can all find some comfort in his simple message of the nativity scene.

So don’t be in such a hurry to get this time of year over with. Take each day to wait, anxiously. It’s okay to NOT be patient.

What’s there to be so excited and anxious about, you might ask?! It’s not the anticipation of opening gifts, it’s not the hustle and bustle of standing in shopping lines or even remembering all the cooking you have to do for relatives or the holiday parties you committed to going to.  Those are all exciting and great things. But they have very little to do with the true meaning of Christmas. Remember what Linus said.

It’s the coming of our Savior.  Anxiously await in anticipation of his birth. That’s the best way to fit in your faith this and every Advent season.