Fr. Kevin’s Column 5/2/2021

Dear friends of God,

This weekend we share communion with some of our young ones who are receiving Eucharist for the first time. There is something special about this moment and I am sure that many of us can picture our First Communion whether we were in second grade or it occurred later in our lives. I can picture myself in a First Communion picture clutching a rosary and looking almost angelic. There is something particularly beautiful about those innocent moments. It is a reminder of how God sees us with divine eyes of compassion. God always recognizes our original innocence. May these children remember this day fondly as their First Eucharist among many in their lives. May God strengthen them in Word and in Sacrament to share the divine life given to them for the life of the world.


I am more and more convinced that we as Church need to be more proactive in teaching prayer to members of our community. God has given us many ways to be in relationship with him. The difficulty is that prayer might seem inaccessible to us or we might not even know where to start. I know in my own life how I struggled with prayer until I found meditation in our Christian tradition. For me, that has brought life to every part of my life including my own public and private prayer. Meditation has shown the Spirit of God to me in my life and in my world.


As Christians, Scripture and the Mass need to be at the center of our lives of faith. Coming to celebrate Mass and receive the Eucharist, like our children this weekend, reminds us of who we are and also what are capable of being as God’s children. Scripture shows us how God continues to speak with us through his Word. In our faith, there are a number of ways of praying with scripture. One that can be particularly fruitful and is quite easy to “do” comes from St. Ignatius of Loyola. Jesuit retreat centers around the world teach this process to those who seek spiritual counsel. I want to share this experience with you as it is found in the book Finding God in All Things: A Marquette Prayer Book.


Here is a way of engaging in this prayer form which is relaxing and rather easy.


  1. Select a passage from one of the Gospels in which Jesus is interacting with
  1. Recall what one is doing in engaging with the Word of God and what one desires from this encounter. God is present and because God is present one relies on


  1. Read the Gospel passage twice so that the story and the details of the story become


  1. Close one’s eyes and reconstruct the scene in one’s imagination. See what is going on and watch the men and women in the scene. What does Jesus look like? How do the others react to him? What are the people saying to one another? What emotions fill their words? Is Jesus touching someone? As one enters into the scene, sometimes there is the desire to be there. So a person can place oneself in the scene, perhaps as an observer, as one lining up for healing, or as one helping others to Jesus.


  1. Some people’s imaginations are very active so they construct a movie-like scenario with a Gospel passage. Others will enter the scene with verbal imagination, reflecting on the scene and mulling over the actions. Vividness is not a criteria for the effectiveness of this kind of prayer. Engagement is and the result is a more interior knowledge of Jesus.


  1. As one finishes this time of prayer, one should take a moment to speak person to person with Christ saying what comes from the


I would encourage all of us during Easter Season and honestly for the rest of our lives, to sit with God in Scripture and begin to understand the Kingdom that he is calling us to enter and to see how we can find God in all things. When we see God’s Presence we can more easily see who we are in God’s eyes.


Much love,
Fr. Kevin

Fr. Kevin’s Column 4/25/2021

Dear friends of God,

Happy Easter! The Saturday of Palm Sunday weekend was the 17th anniversary of the death of Bishop Ken Untener. Bishop Ken was our bishop for 24 years. He was the Bishop that welcomed me to the diocese and ordained me for service as a priest of our beloved Church of Saginaw. This weekend we celebrate what has become known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” We hear these words from our reading of John’s Gospel this weekend: “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Our Gospel passage begins at John 10:11. The verse directly before that: John 10:10 says “.I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” I am struck by that passage as we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday since the motto of Bishop Ken was “That They May Have Life.”


All bishops have mottos that reflect their ministry. The idea that Jesus came to bring us life more abundantly is a lovely idea of how God works in our lives. God didn’t come to bring death but to bring life and even through the gift of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, even our own lives don’t have the last word. We have a God of life who shares his life fully with us.


Before Bishop Ken became our bishop, he was Father Ken Untener in the Archdiocese of Detroit. He wrote a reflection to be used by Cardinal Dearden, who was the Archbishop of Detroit at the time. It was written for a Mass for deceased priests. It is called Prophets of a future not our own. It is a beautiful reflection to share on this Good Shepherd Sunday.


It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, It is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, Which is another way of saying that The Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that should be said.
No prayer fully expressed our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, Knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produced effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
An opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future that is not our own.


Each of us is called to be a prophet. It is part of our baptismal call. We are workers of God’s kingdom, not our own. That gives me perspective on my own ministry as our call to live as workers for the reign of God as Holy Trinity Parish.


This weekend is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Each of us has a call to serve and each of us has a role to play in the Kingdom of God. May this day remind us to pray for all baptized believers to follow the way of Jesus, our Good Shepherd who came to give us life in abundance.


Much love,
Father Kevin

Fr. Kevin’s Column 4/18/2021

Dear friends of God,

This past weekend I shared the following reflection at Mass. I have decided to share it in the bulletin as well for those who might not yet be headed back to Mass because of COVID- 19.

The other day I read something that really touched my soul: “The initial evidence of receiving the Spirit is not speaking in tongues; it’s embracing the gospel of forgiveness.”

Recently, I had a meeting with Bishop Gruss regarding complaints that he has received concerning me. Our meeting was quite one of care for me and our community. I have been praying for our community in a particular way for healing since meeting with the Bishop. I want to say that if I have offended or hurt you in any way, I am sorry. That is never my intention. I have felt a deep sense of love for our community since I was asked to come here two years ago.

I have realized that we are still getting to know each other and COVID has made that even more challenging. Something to realize about me is that I am outspoken. That is both a gift and a deficit in my personality. Whenever I preach, teach or speak, I always come from a place of love. The hard part is that I come from a place of truth in love. Truth as I have understood it in our faith tradition and flowing from my own prayer and relationship with God.

The analogy of family is helpful here. You may not always agree with me and I might not always agree with you, but that doesn’t mean that we stop being the people of faith and the community of love that God calls us to be here in Pinconning. We are a faith family. It is my hope that if you have concerns or issues come directly to me. Like any family we need to always talk it out.

I want to add one more word. Please remember that no one in the Church takes anonymous letters seriously. Anonymous letters are an obstacle to growing in relationship with one another. If it is important enough to share what we are feeling, it is important to claim ownership of those feelings. Easter is a good time for us to move forward. We might not always agree, but God has called each of us here to this family of faith.

This weekend from Acts we hear St. Peter say this at the end of our passage: “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19). For a moment it seems like we are back in Lent. All this talk of sin and repentance. Remember that repentance comes from the Greek word metanoia which means to change your mind. As someone suggested, it means “…to turn our minds toward God.” What the early church knew in their bones, but so often we have forgotten is that there is “…no turning toward God without turning towards one another.” St. Anthony of the Desert offered this saying: “Our life and death is with our neighbor. If we win our brother, we win God. If we cause our brother to stumble, we have sinned against Christ.” Our lives as Easter people builds on our call to conversion that we journeyed through during Lent. Love of God and love of neighbor are intertwined by their very nature. Easter is about seeing God’s love manifested in our lives and in our choosing to love in a world that so often rejects love. To see with “Easter eyes” inspires us to live as a community of love, that is a communion of one mind and one heart.

Our Gospel this weekend from Luke (24:35-48) reminds me that I have so much further to go in my own discipleship. Our Lord was betrayed by those closest to him, tortured and killed. He came not with retribution and fiery wrath but with compassion: “Peace be with you.” It is a reminder that Jesus was both human and divine. There is nothing violent in God. God is love and God’s very nature is non-violent. We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are to follow Jesus’ nonviolent path. If we went through what Jesus experienced, most of us would react with violence. We need to model our lives on Jesus and learn to respond the way that he responds to life. To be Easter people means that we are to be women and men of compassion in thought, word and deed.

Easter Peace!
Much love,
Fr, Kevin

Fr Kenvin’s Column 4/11/2021

Dear friends of God,

This weekend we continue to enter into the Easter Mystery. In our Catholic Tradition, we do not think of the word ‘mystery’ like we do a ‘who dunnit,’ and we don’t use the word ‘mystery’ in a way that is ‘a cop out’ for a moment when we cannot answer a question of faith. We refer to Jesus’ death, Resurrection and Ascension as the Paschal Mystery. Paschal reminds us that Jesus has passed from this life to fullness with the Father. We believe that he has taken each of us with him. He came for the benefit of all of humanity and even all of creation.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Paschal Mystery is described in these ways:

Christ’s work of redemption accomplished principally by his Passion, death, resurrection, and glorious ascension, whereby “dying he destroyed our death, rising he restored our life” (1067; cf. 654). The paschal mystery is celebrated and made present in the liturgy of the Church, and its saving effects are communicated through the sacraments (1076), especially the Eucharist, which renews the paschal sacrifice of Christ as the sacrifice offered by the Church (571, 1362–1372).

Every time we gather for the Eucharist, we enter into the Paschal Mystery. In some way that is beyond our imagining, we are celebrating the Eucharist with Christ 2,000 years ago, we are in the present moment here in our church, and also celebrating the Eucharist in the fullness of God in Heaven. That is the mystery of life with God after the death and resurrection of the Lord.

During Mass, in the Eucharistic prayer we pray one of these as the Mystery of Faith:

  1. We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection until you come again.
  2. When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come
  3. Save us, Savior of the world, for by yourcross and resurrection you have set us free.
Right now, the third option is my favorite: the idea that God has come to save us. So often, Jesus is saving us from ourselves. It is in God’s unconditional love that we enter into the true freedom that comes to us from our love of God and love of our neighbor.


As followers of Jesus, we are invited by God to “contemplate” the mystery of God’s infinite love for each of us as uniquely and a love for our whole world. To contemplate is to enter into God’s temple of love within our hearts as well as in heaven. God is continually basking us in his love. To contemplate is to open our hearts and eyes to be more and more aware of this love

and our call to enter into that love. Fr. Iain Matthew shared this insight in this way: “To be a contemplative is to be a watch in the night for the approach of Mystery. And it is a readiness to be transformed in an engagement with that Mystery.” To say it another way, the mystery of God that we are called to by Jesus’ death and resurrection, is transformed love and conscious love: love of God and love of our neighbor.

Fr. Malcolm Guite is an Anglican priest in England and a poet.  I would like to end this Second Sunday of Easter column with this lovely sonnet for Easter Dawn. It touched my heart as I read it on Easter morning, and I hope that it touches yours as well. It delves beautifully into the mystery that is Easter.

He blesses every love which weeps and grieves
and now he blesses hers who stood and wept
and would not be consoled, or leave her love’s
last touching place, but watched as low light crept
up from the east. A sound behind her stirs
a scatter of bright birdsong through the air.
She turns, but cannot focus through her tears,
or recognize the Gardener standing there.
She hardly hears his gentle question ‘Why,
why are you weeping?’, or sees the play of light
that brightens as she chokes out her reply‘They took my love away, my day is night’
and then she hears her name, she hears Love saythe Word that turns her night, and ours, to Day.
Easter peace to each of you!
Much Love
Fr. Kevin

Fr Kevin’s Column 04/04/2021

Dear friends of God,
Happy Easter!


Because of the bulletin company schedule, I am writing this after I just completed celebrating the Mass for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. This is the feast day where we remember the angel Gabriel coming to the very young Mary and announcing that she would give birth to Emmanuel-God is with us. The angel was sharing the good news that God was breaking into our world with the Incarnation of the Word of God. “And the angel said to her in reply, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God'” (Luke 1:35). The angel challenged Mary to leave her fears aside and to realize that with God nothing is impossible.


Jesus came to us to show us the way of love that comes to us from the Father. Jesus is our King of the Universe. The love of the Father and the Son is what we call the Holy Spirit. This infinite love is without boundaries and truly universal. In Jesus’ birth, life, death and Resurrection, God invites us to share in the mystery of his saving desire. In Jesus, we enter into God’s universal and infinite love. As Father Bede Griffiths says in his book The Cosmic Revelation: “The more universal you become, the more deeply personal you become.” In other words, as we enter into Christ’s life and ministry and especially into his death and Resurrection, we are called to share God’s unconditional love with all those around us, even those whom we struggle to love. Maybe, especially those people. We have so many that preach hate and fear. That is the great burden that we carry, but as children of the God of love and as the sisters and brothers of the Risen Jesus Christ, we need to incarnate what St. Francis de Sales peached and lived himself: “Do all through love, nothing through fear.”


As people of Resurrection, we are to live the same mantra that the angel Gabriel gave tothe mother of Jesus at the Annunciation: “Do not be afraid.” Imagine the fear that the first disciples had at the execution of their teacher and the anxiety that St. Mary of Magdala had when she found Jesus’ tomb empty. Her dread had to be palpable. Yet, she found within herself the courage to share the news of the empty tomb. This was the same courage that she was able to muster inspired by Jesus, her teacher within her, to be the first to preach the Good News of Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead. This is why the early Church spoke of St. Mary Magdalene as the Apostle to the Apostles. She was the first one to preach the Good News of the Resurrection. May St. Mary Magdalene and all of the women inspire us in our lives who have shared Jesus with us, to live the gift of the Resurrection and God’s Reign in our lives. Remember to leave fear aside because nothing is impossible for God and that God is always with us.


I want to say a word of thanks to those of who have contributed to the beauty of our church and the loveliness of our liturgies. There is so much that goes into these holy days that makes things challenging at times. God’s grace, our love for our faith and a sense of humor assists in times of preparation for these holy days. I have not been happier as your pastor than praying throughout these days with you. Even though this is my second year as your pastor, it is my first to preside at these sacred liturgies with you. It is a blessing to be here, and I am looking forward to the fifty days of Easter as we continue to celebrate the gift of Christ’s Resurrection and our own resurrection as well.


Again, Happy Easter! May these 50 days inspire each of us to preach Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead and his words of Easter peace.


Much love,
Fr. Kevin

Fr Kevin’s Column 3/28/21

Dear friends of God,

This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. It is the beginning of the holiest week of the year in our Catholic Christian Tradition. It is such a sacred time that we even call it Holy Week. This Holy Week will look slightly different because of COVID-19 but we will come together in prayer and care for each other.


This Sunday we remember Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. After our palms are blessed, we will hear a Gospel before the procession. We are in the year of Mark, so we will have Mark 11:1-10 proclaimed for us. In that Gospel, we will hear the crowds say, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!” Later that week, we will hear some of those same people call for Jesus’ death. That might be a reminder not to follow the crowd in our world. A crowd can easily turn into a bloodthirsty mob. We will hear the passion reading twice this week. The first time is this weekend when we will proclaim the passion from Mark’s Gospel. On Good Friday, we will hear the passion from the Gospel according to John. Even though the passion reading rotates every year between Mark, Matthew and Luke on Palm Sunday, we always hear from John’s Gospel on Good Friday.


Before we get to Good Friday, we celebrate Holy Thursday. This is the day that we remember the Institution of the Eucharist. On the night before Jesus died for us, he gave us his very self in the bread and wine of the Eucharist which we believe to be his body and blood. He gave us himself to empower us to serve each other and our human family and to live in God’s Kingdom in all of creation. Pope Francis describes the Eucharist in cosmic terms in his encyclical Laudato Si: “.Indeed the Eucharist is itself an act of cosmic love: ‘Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on a humble altar in a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world'” (236). Our altar in Pinconning is cosmically connected to both heaven and earth. That is the great gift of the Eucharist for the life of the world. That is what we will honor on Holy Thursday.


On Good Friday, we gather around the cross with regret for our sins and sorrow at the level of human violence that would lead to us killing God. I came across the following reflection that I use every Good Friday. The funny thing is that I do not remember where it came from, but I have used it for a number of years.


Adoration of the Holy Cross is an act of prayer through which we think about the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. The word “adoration” comes from the Latin word adore. When we adore the cross, we are focusing our deep respect toward what the cross means for us. We come forward and show our strong devotion, respect, and honor for the loving act of Jesus dying on the cross. We are honoring not the wooden symbol, but rather the saving act of Jesus’ death on the cross. We are sorrowful because the cross itself was used to execute Jesus in a humiliating, painful, and shameful way. But we honor the image of the cross because it reminds us of the love Jesus had for us by allowing himself to be sacrificed on the cross that way. We know that death on the cross was not the end. We are thankful for the cross on which Jesus triumphed over death. And so we adore the Holy Cross.


The cross reminds us the lengths that God will take to bring us back to himself.


On Holy Saturday, we gather in the evening for the Easter Vigil. We gather in the dark to hear about our salvation history. We listen to these stories of faith for the generations when God continually reached out to his children to bring them back into loving relationship with him and with our neighbor. At the vigil, we enter deeply into the death and resurrection of the Lord. It is the beginning of our 50-day celebration of Christ’s Resurrection and our own resurrection as well. We begin to see that God came to save the whole human family and all of creation.


May these Holy Days be a time of deepening love for our God of radical mercy as we enter into Jerusalem with our Lord Jesus Christ.


Much love,
Fr. Kevin

Fr. Kevin’s Column 3/21/21

Dear friends of God,

Last Saturday I participated in an online meditation retreat morning. The talk that was shared with us reminded me that Lent is an annual journey that has both inner and outer dimensions. Our outward practices of prayer, fasting, almsgiving and giving up something (or taking on new practices) are meant to foster our growth in faith and discipleship that God calls each of us to as we prepare for our renewal of Baptism at Easter. Lent is part of our annual cycle of life that is meant to draw us closer to the heart of God. It is not simply a time to fall prey to focusing on our sins and our failures. It is a time to take up those practices that bring us closer to God and to learn to take up our crosses and follow the Lord towards Calvary and into resurrected lives. Lent is the time for us to ask God to transform our hardened hearts and to give us hearts of love and compassion like that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.


Lent is our annual journey into the death of the Lord and the preparation for Christ’s Resurrection at Easter. Lent comes from the Old English word for spring. Like many Lents, this year has not felt incredibly springy. However, we have had some nice days in the middle of March with some winter thrown in to remind us that we do live in Michigan. Our Lenten days are waning, but it is not too late to embrace the Lenten practices that we might have begun on Ash Wednesday, which certainly felt more like winter than anything that might resemble spring. For me, I have made the intention to take more time for silence during the day. I have begun practices based on my experience of meditation. When I take time for my mediation in the morning and the evening, I do not rush to turn on the television or listen to music directly after the time of prayer. I let the silence linger and see what God might be telling me in the quiet. It is too easy to cover God’s communication with us with the Muzak of our lives. We can easily forget the wisdom of the Dominican Meister Eckhart: “There is nothing so much like God in all the universe as silence.” In these waning days of Lent, as we see spring right around the corner, I would encourage all of us to take some more time for silence and other practices that draw us closer to the God who loves us so much that he died and rose for each of us and for our entire universe. One lovely opportunity to come together for prayer, silence and song will be with our Taize prayer service that takes place on Wednesday, March 24 at 7 p.m.


I will close with a prayer that was used at the beginning of the morning of mediation and reflection. It reminded me that God is always working with each of us and with our world to show us the path of change that we need to prepare for the coming Resurrection. God takes this holy time to show us how to love God and neighbor even more intentionally.



O God of Every New Day,
You offer us the gift of Lent…
You teach us that this time
is not about guilt.

You teach us that this Lent is about awareness.


This year, in a very singular way
You have gifted us with a great pause…
that we may notice what and who is all around us,
reflect and assess our present course,
discern what it is you call us to,
right here, and right now.


Make us aware…
Aware of the voices
we have been ignoring
Aware of the choices we have made
that have damaged or
hurt your cause
aware of your presence in those
we would sometimes choose to avoid.


Teach us to learn from our past,
To listen to your future,
to sing glad songs of love and hope,
knowing you are with us
throughout this sacred season.  Amen
Fr. Kevin

Fr. Kevin’s Column 3/14/2021

Dear friends of God,

This weekend we again hear from John’s Gospel. The Evangelist John often wrote of eternal life while the synoptic (one lens) Gospels spoke of the Kingdom of God (Mark and Luke), the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew) or the Reign of God (Mark and Luke). Eternal life and the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven and the Reign of God were all pointing to the same mysterious reality. The fullness of life with God as it says in one version of the Glory be: “…as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.” We have often thought of our life as a time of waiting to enter into “eternal life” or to “go to heaven.” The trouble is that is only part of the story. With the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are anticipating our own bodily resurrection as well. When we die, before the resurrection of the dead, we will “…fly to our beloved homeland” as St. Augustine imagines in his book The City of God. There will be a moment, in God’s own time, after the judgment of the nations (take some time to read Matthew 25: 31-46), when God will bring heaven and earth back together as it was from the moment of creation. Augustinian Father Martin Laird in his lovely book Into the Silent Land writes: “…we are built to commune with God and we will all meet in death.” Our true self is one with our God and with our neighbor. The challenge for us is to live this reality into the concrete and immediate reality of our everyday lives. Or as some put it: “You, and I, and everyone else, are created in the image and likeness of God. Our challenge, therefore, is to live our lives accordingly.” Lent is a time given to us every year to refocus our lives upon God and neighbor. That is why we more intentionally practice prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These traditional “skillful means” are meant to help us to grow in love and compassion, to let go of the falseness of those parts of our true selves where we are in communion with our God and our neighbor.


Very recently, the sale of St. Mary’s Nine Mile was completed. This is a reminder that our lives are continually composed of deaths and resurrections. There has been great grief at the loss of St. Mary’s, but let us open our hearts to the many ways that God will bring forth the resurrection in love and compassion from the pain that so many in our community have felt in the years since the closing of St. Mary’s. Even though we worship in St. Michael’s Church, it is important to remember that our community is now Holy Trinity. The place is St. Michael’s but the faith community is something new. This might seem like “just words”, but with the creation of our new parish since the “closing” of St. Mary’s and St. Michael’s (not to forget St. Agnes), we have the opportunity to ask what God may be calling us to be in this time and place. We are Holy Trinity. The Trinity is God’s community of divine love (three that is one). As Holy Trinity parish, let us grow in being the image and likeness of God. Let us be love together for our God and our neighbor.


This week we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Wednesday and the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Friday. The Irish (and we are all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day) celebrate this saint with great exuberance. St. Joseph’s Day is an important celebration for our Italian friends.


I will end with St. Patrick’s prayer:


May the Strength of God pilot us
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us. May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Host of God guard us
Against the snares of the evil ones,
Against temptations of the world.
May Christ be with us! May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us, Christ be over all!
May Thy Salvation, Lord, Always be ours,

This day, O Lord, and evermore. Amen.


May St. Patrick, St. Joseph and all the saints guide us into communion with our God and our neighbor.
Much Love
Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 3/7/2021

Dear friends of God,

This weekend on the third Sunday of Lent, in our first reading we hear about the 10 Commandments. These are the foundation of our lives of faith. All of the children of Abraham (Jews, Christians and Muslims) are called by God to live these commandments. As followers of Jesus, we need to live the Commandments in conjunction with the Beatitudes:


Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. (Matthew 5:3-12)


We need the balance of living the 10 Commandments with the passion for God and neighbor that comes to us from Jesus in the Beatitudes or 8 blessings. They are found in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel chapters 5, 6, and 7. As followers of Jesus, it would be helpful to our understanding of Jesus to read, pray and study the Sermon on the Mount and in particular the Beatitudes. In our sister Church, the Orthodox Church, the Beatitudes are chanted as the Gospel Book is processed during the liturgy. The 10 Commandments and the Beatitudes are central to our faith. They are not meant to be a burden but a gift in giving us the “skillful means” or the “tools” that we need to learn to love God and neighbor. Praying and living them both more mindfully could be a great benefit to our Lenten journey. It can help us with the present that Lent is meant to be for us. Fr. Robert Hale, OSB Cam offered this insight years ago:


These forty days are a great gift: we should treat them as a present rather than a burden because it’s not about giving up so much as it is about gaining a closeness to our loving God by becoming more like Christ in all things. And that basically means loving God more, and Christianly loving our neighbors and ourselves more.


Lent is a deep reminder that we are meant to love our neighbor and to love God with great openness. The Church is called the People of God. This beautiful image calls to mind that we are people, persons. Persons are “open to relationship.” We can forget that so easily. One of the most harmful struggles in our modern, western world is thinking too much of our individuality. In fact, it runs amuck and destroys the communities that we are called to create as followers of Jesus. An individual is a “closed unit.” St. Paul’s words challenge our obsession with being an “individual” in this way when he writes: “I do not say this in condemnation, for I have already said that you are in our hearts, that we may die together and live together” (2 Cor 7:3). Our futures are tied together. As individuals we can forget that we are part of something bigger than ourselves: the People of God. Lent is meant to be a time to learn again who we are and to love God and neighbor intentionally as we prepare for the great loving gift of the Resurrection of the Body to eternal life.


As we grow in living our discipleship fully it will challenge us in our choices and in our way of life. There is really no avoiding these side effect of discipleship. There will be times when we feel as if the tables of our lives have been turned over by Jesus. Even though following Jesus will be discombobulating, the benefits of discipleship are Godly.


Please me mindful that if you would like to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, please contact our parish office or me personally. Also, I will be sitting in the church at different times during Lent for “walk in” confessions. This week I will be available from 5-6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10 and Thursday, March 11 from 11 a.m. until just before the noon Mass. I will be sitting in the back of the church.


May God continue to bless you during these Lenten days!


Much love,
Fr. Kevin

Fr. Kevin’s Column 2/28/2021

Dear friends of God,

Lent is a spacious opportunity of forty days to grow in love for God and neighbor as we prepare for the gift that God has given us freely in the Resurrection. Resurrected life brings us back to an original innocence that we struggle with in our lives. Maybe that is why Jesus told us to be like little children. Recently, the following was shared with me by a friend. I hope that you find the simplicity of love as humorous and inspiring as I have.


A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, ‘What does love mean?’ The answers they got were broader, deeper, and more profound than anyone could have ever imagined!


‘When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore… So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.’ Rebecca – age 8


‘When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’ Billy – age 4


‘Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.’ Karl – age 5


‘Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.’ Chrissy – age 6


‘Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.’ Terri – age 4


‘Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.’ Danny – age 8


‘Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and just listen.’ (Wow!) Bobby – age 7


‘If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.’ Nikka – age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka’s on this planet)


‘Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.’ Noelle – age 7


‘Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.’ Tommy – age 6

‘During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.’ Cindy – age 8


‘My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.’ Clare – age 6


‘Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.’ Elaine – age 5


‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.’ Chris – age 7


‘Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.’ Mary Ann – age 4


‘I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.’ Lauren – age 4


‘When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.’ (what an image!) Karen – age 7


‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross…’ Mark – age 6


‘You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.’ Jessica – age 8


And the final one: The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, ‘Nothing, I just helped him cry.’


Be a child again today!”


May God bless each of us with the innocence of a child and may we each learn what love means to us.


Much love,
Fr. Kevin