This weekend is a time when people recognize the brave men and women who gave their lives in the Armed Forces of our nation. The roots of Memorial Day are found during the Civil War when women in the South began placing flowers on the graves of their beloved dead. Today we not only remember the War dead but all the faithfully departed.
Now is an excellent opportunity to think about our own funeral. Where do you want your funeral to be held? Several years ago a wonderful faithful Catholic widow died but since her children had fallen away from the practice of the Catholic faith they held her funeral at an Evangelical Church. The family then had the nerve to ask if the Catholic parish could host the luncheon. Now I know this may be an extreme case but it reminds us that sometimes those planning the funeral may not value the importance of the Mass. During a Funeral Mass, the merits of Christ’s sacrifice celebrated at the altar are applied to the deceased, healing the soul from the wounds caused by forgiven sins. We commend the souls of the deceased into the hands of God. We pray that God will forgive their sins and remember them with love.
If your surviving family members are away from the Catholic faith I would encourage you to write out your instructions for your funeral. Share your instructions with your family members, your pastor, and whatever funeral home you would like to use. In this way, there might to an opportunity to welcome family members back to the Catholic Church because mom or dad had a Funeral Mass.
Blessings, Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT Do I value the Mass and see it as healing for the wounds of sins? Does my family attend Catholic Mass? Would it be helpful to survivors to know what I want for my funeral?
May is an incredibly busy month for us all. There are high school and college graduation ceremonies and spring weddings to attend. We also honor Mothers for all the tireless work they do for the family.
There are several saints to remember in the month of May too. St. Joseph the worker was placed on the calendar May 1st by Pius XII to challenge the Communist and their May 1st celebration. St. Athananius who fought against the Arian heresy is remembered. Apostles Phillip and James are remembered on May 3rd. St. Matthias, who was elected to replace Judasn and joined the other Apostles is honored in May. On May 15th we remember St. Isidore who is the patron saint for farmers. (I saw his tomb in a beautiful Chapel in Madrid Spain, and Yes, I said a prayer for you farmers). St. Bernardine of Siena, who preached greatly about the Holy Name of Jesus, even to the point of having “Jesus” written into the Hail Mary is remembered in May.
St. Philip Neri feast day is May 26th. He founded an Oratory group of priest where life was centered on spiritual readings, singing and works of charity. We conclude the month with the feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary which is the second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.
Congratulations all the families that have participated in our new religious education program “A Family of Faith.” This first year we looked to the Creed for teaching the children at home. Next year we will study the sacraments. Remember the motto, “Faith is caught in the home, it’s not taught at Church.”
QUESTIONS: Do I have a devotion to Mary, the Mother of God? Have I found comfort knowing that the Saints are praying for me? Do I try and step back when the month gets so busy? Is it important for me to hand on the faith to my children?
In our Catholic Tradition during the month of May, we honor Mary the mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She is, after all, our mother in the order of grace. The prayer which is often associated with Catholicism and the Mother of God is the “Hail Mary.” It has its’ roots too in the Sacred Scriptures. “Hail (Mary) full of grace. The Lord is with you.” (Lk. 1:28) comes from the greeting of the Angel Gabriel to Mary nine months before Jesus’ birth. The next line of the prayer, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, (Jesus),” comes from the mouth of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, when Mary went to help Elizabeth in her pregnancy. (Lk. 1: 42) The prayer concludes with a petition asking that Mary intercede for us now and at the hour of our death. We can ask Mary who is in heaven and fully alive to place our prayers before the throne of God.
Today at St. Mary’s Parish we will dedicate the new Crucifix hanging above the sanctuary. The image, “Mother under the Cross” finds its’ roots in a vision to Sr. Lucia of Fatima in 1929. She saw a cross with Christ’s blood dripping onto a host and then into the chalice. Our Lady of Fatima was beside the cross. This Sunday we will dedicate the Cross during Mass and the statue of Our Lady of Fatima in the courtyard following Mass. Many fail to understand the full revelation of Fatima in the history of the Church and the World.
Remember the words of Mary at the wedding feast of Cana, “Do whatever he tells you.” If we draw close to the mother she will lead us to her son, our savior, Jesus Christ.
Blessings, Father Dooley
Questions: Do I see Mary leading me to her Son? When was the last time I prayed using the Rosary? How can I honor my mother in the order of grace? Have I considered doing a Marian Consecration?
I know that many people were surprised by my announcement a couple of weeks ago that I will be moving to St. Joseph, Winterset, and St. Patrick, Irish Settlement on July 12th. To tell the truth I was a little surprised when Bishop Pates called and asked me to consider taking a different assignment. I placed it all in the hands of Our Lady and said a prayer that “If the Lord wants me to move, then my Lady, you will make it all work out.” When I wrote to the Bishop I expressed my happiness at being the pastor of St. Mary’s and St. Patrick’s and would gladly like stay here, but the Bishop decided he would like me in Madison County. So how does the Bishop make priest assignments? Bishop Pates utilizes the Priest Personnel Board when working on assignments. Currently, priests in parishes are assigned to a 6-year team, with the possibility of 6-year extension. Every spring all the priests receive a list of parishes which are coming “Open” either because a priest is retiring or they have come to the end of their term or they are moving early. Any priest in the diocese is welcome to send in a letter applying for a particular assignment. The Bishop, in consultation with Board, determines if a priest applying for an assignment will be a good fit. He is trying to match a priest’s abilities with the needs of a parish. However, at times, the Bishop may have in mind a particular priest for a particular assignment. He then calls that priest and invites him to apply for that assignment. At other times priests on the Personnel Board may suggest a priest for an assignment. Finally, the openings are filled for the most part and announcements are made by the priest moving before it is published in the Catholic Mirror. Over these 27 years, I can honestly say that I have never gotten the assignment that I thought I wanted, but I have always received the assignment where God wanted me to be. Each assignment has been filled with challenges and wonderful faith-filled people. I have enjoyed these eight years here and I pray that I have made a difference in your lives, and know you have made a difference in my life. Blessings, Father Dooley
This is indeed a very special day not only for our second graders but also for the life of the Parishes. Whenever we see our young people approach the Altar for the first time to receive our Blessed Lord in Holy Communion it reminds us of that special day when we first received Him in Holy Communion. The dresses and veils, the white shirt and ties that we wore were outward expressions of our love for Jesus in the Eucharist.
To watch as these wonderful young girls and boys receive our Lord we should be filled with joy as they now fully share in the promise of Christ. John reminds us in his first letter, “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called Children of God.” You see our Heavenly Father desires to share with us the Joys of Heaven, but He doesn’t wait until we come to Him at the end of our Life. No, He shares with us the Life of Christ Jesus hidden in the veil of the Sacrament as a promise of Heaven, right now, today. The Eucharist is food for the journey to the Kingdom, it is Christ Jesus abiding with us. This is why it is so important for Catholics to receive Holy Communion regularly and worthily. To partake in the Body and Blood of Christ is to share in the life of Christ Jesus now and forever.
In the Catholic tradition, only those individuals who profess the Catholic Faith and are free from serious sin may come forward to receive Holy Communion. Our Second Graders have been preparing for this day for the last several months and they have made their first reconciliation as well. They know that it is Jesus who is coming to them in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is also a bond with the universal church guided by Our Holy Father, Pope Francis. I can only ask that all our guests and visitors from other faith traditions to pray for the day that all God’s children will break Eucharist Bread together.
May the Lord of Life, The Eucharist Lord, come and abide with each of us this special day.
Blessings, Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT Do I still have the excitement when receiving Holy Communion? Do I believe the Host is the body of Christ? What is my prayer for these young people coming to Communion for the first time?
I would like to use this bulletin column to reflect on the Annual Diocesan Appeal. Everyone should have received from Bishop Pate information about this year’s appeal. There you will find the many different works that are carried out through the financial gifts given to the Appeal each year. The Bishop is inviting us to share in the work of the diocesan church through our gift to the Annual Appeal. This year’s goal for each parish is based on a three year average of our income and that amount is a percentage of the total budget of the diocese, which gives us the percentage of the Annual Appeal Goal of $4,314,659 million. The goal for St. Mary’s is $20,840 and St. Patrick’s it is $9,192. It is the perfect time for us who belong to the Diocese of Des Moines to make a sacrifice of our treasure to ensure that the good work of the church will continue. Bishop Pates is working hard to raise up future vocations and to make sure the needs of the poor are assisted through Catholic Charities. We must not forget needs of the retired priest who have served our parishes as well. I would like to ask you to prayerfully consider a pledge to the ADA. All gifts are important, large and small. Any sacrifice an individual or family make will be rewarded, for God will not be outdone in generosity. I would like to also say thank you for your commitment to the parishes by the sacrifices, prayers, and participation at Mass. Together we can achieve much and together we will make an effort to help the Kingdom of God be revealed through the good works of the Annual Diocesan Appeal.
Blessings, Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION What is my responsibility to help the Church? Am I a good steward of my time, talent, and treasure? What more is there that I can be doing? What sacrifices am I to make for my family, my parish, my diocese?
Today the Church universal celebrates the Feast of Divine Mercy. It is relatively new to the Church’s calendar placed there in 2000 by St. Pope John Paul, The Great. It is celebrated the Sunday following Easter and it reminds us that we are all in need of God’s Mercy.
But what is Mercy? The simplest way to think about mercy is to remember that it is the loving kindness shown to those who have offended. CCC p.888 Parents show mercy to their children all the time. God, whose name is Mercy according to Pope Francis, shows mercy to us sinners all the time, especially through the death and resurrection of Christ and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
In a vision to St. Faustina, a Polish nun, Christ revealed that He wanted the faithful to turn to His Mercy and pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy on their rosary beads. He told St. Faustina that souls perish in Hell in spite of his passion. But the most disturbing thing about sin is that it can lead to eternal separation from God in Hell. A sinner should seek God’s forgiveness, which is always available and unconditional and experience God’s mercy. The Savior is offering them the last hope of salvation through the Feast of Mercy. Diary, 965. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores the soul to its beauty when it is full of sanctifying grace. Christ’s mercy is a big deal because our sins are a big deal. He wants to incinerate our sins with His love. Our sins are as a drop of water compared to the ocean of his mercy.
St. Patrick’s in Neola will be celebrating the Feast of Divine Mercy today, Sunday, April 8th from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Rosary and Chaplet will be prayed and Confession will be available. Please consider joining me in Neola. To live mercy one follows the A,B, Cs of mercy which are – Ask for mercy in the Confessional, Be merciful to those who have offended you and, have Complete Trust in Jesus. “Jesus I trust in you.”
Blessings, Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT What has been my experience of mercy in the confessional, with my children, with my neighbors? Do I believe in a place called Hell, separation from God forever? Do I trust Jesus?