Holy Week

This is Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. The procession recounts Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem with shouts of Hosanna. It is during Mass that we hear the Passion Narrative according to St. Mark. In it, Mark tells us how Jesus is the suffering Messiah. He has come to save the people. When questioned about being the Messiah by the High Priest Jesus’ response is “I am.” For Mark, Jesus’ identity is fully revealed on the Cross.

Throughout Lent, we have been following Christ to Jerusalem towards the Cross. Holy Week marks the Church’s annual celebration of the events of Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. This final week of the journey becomes a time of intense prayer and leads us to solemnly to celebrate the Sacred Triduum; the holy three days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.

On Holy Thursday at 7 p.m. we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper in which we remember the gift of Christ’s Body and Blood given for us and we clearly see the connection it has to service through the washing of feet, the Mandatium. After the Mass, we are invited to spend time in quiet adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, just as the disciples were asked to keep our Lord company in the garden of Gethsemane.

Good Friday follows at 7 p.m. We again read the Passion Narrative, this time from the Gospel of St. John. Then we venerate the Cross on which hung our salvation. There are no celebrations of the sacraments on this day, Communion is received having been consecrated at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper the evening before. It is a solemn and somber time when we remember that the Christ died to save us from sin.

Finally, we come to Holy Saturday and the Celebration of the Easter Vigil at 8 p.m. In the darkness, the light of the risen Christ shines out. We hear the ancient biblical stories of God saving His people. Then we hear about the empty tomb. It is a great moment in the life of the Church. Christ has conquered and the Glory of God shines brightly. All this leads to the joys of Easter Sunday Morning and scriptural account of the Resurrected Christ.

I would like to personally invite you and your family to come to the events of Holy Week. The Sacred Triduum this year will be at St. Patrick’s in Walnut. If you can not attend please consider reading the scriptures for those days and enter into the spirit of the week.

Blessings, Father Dooley

QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT: What does Holy Week mean for me? How is Jesus my savior? Do I have a sense that Christ suffered for me personally? Am I looking forward to new life, the spring or maybe eternal life?

Sacrament of Reconciliation

“Father why are you so insistent that people get to confession?” I answer that with, “Because we are sinners and Jesus Christ came to save sinners and the way he does that it through the use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as confession.” There is the old saying that “confession is good for the soul.” There may be more wisdom in that saying than originally intended. I have heard that prior to the early seventies, when many Catholics were in the habit of going to Confession, the level of those Catholics seeking professional counseling services (psychologists and psychiatrists) were relatively low compared to non-Catholics. However since the habit of going to confession is at an all-time low the rate of Catholics seeking counseling services has risen matching the levels of all other people.

Now I am not saying that there is no need for professional counseling services. But the weight of sin can be lifted and guilt removed by privately confessing to the priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When the burden is lifted and we hear the words of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness our view changes and just maybe we will receive counsel from the priest that will change our lives for the better.

I have tried during Lent to provide ample opportunities for you to get to Confession. Saturday afternoon from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., Sunday morning from 9:30 to 10:15, just before the 10:30 a.m. Mass. I have tried to be available following all the Masses. We then have special times throughout the busy Lenten Schedule. Please take advantage of this beautiful Sacrament and be prepared to fully enter into the Mystery of the Lord’s Death and Resurrection at Easter.

Blessings, Father Dooley

QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT Am I embarrassed to tell my faults to a priest? Do I trust in God’s mercy? Am I weighed down by sin? After confession haven’t I felt uplifted?

Annual Diocesan Appeal

This weekend the Diocese of Des Moines launches the Annual Diocesan Appeal.
Everyone should have or will be receiving 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 $ 4.3 million. The goal for St. Mary’s is $20,840 and for St. Patrick’s is $9,192. St. Mary’s goal has increased and St. Pat’s has decreased. This is a reflection of the tithing in each parish. In any case, to make the ADA goal we will need the generosity of all parishioners to give a sacrificial gift.
Although Des Moines seems a long way off we still benefit from the ADA. Bishop
Pates has been working hard to raise future vocations to the priesthood. Our gift also makes sure the needs of the poor are met through Catholic Charities. We must not forget the needs of the retired priests who have served our parishes as well. The ADA contributes to each priest’s health care taking that burden off the parish budget.
Since prayer and almsgiving are the hallmarks of the Lenten Season I would like to
ask you to prayerfully consider your pledge to the ADA. All gifts are important, large and
small. Any sacrifice an individual or family makes will be rewarded, for we know that 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 work 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?

Ten Commandments

During this Lenten Season, I have chosen to use the homily at Mass as an
Examine of Conscience by reflecting on the Ten Commandments. I started off with
an understanding that our moral decisions should not be based on feelings. We need
to develop a well-formed conscience, versus a scrupulous, lax, or erroneous
conscience.
That is where God’s Ten Commandments come in. They are rooted in the
natural law, the law written on our hearts that can be understood using our reason
alone. It naturally makes sense to have a relationship with God through the first three
commandments, then in our relationships with others by means of the last seven
commandments. These are the beginning of a well-formed conscience. I have three
more Sundays to cover the last seven commandments. Maybe Commandments Four,
Five and Eight could go together on a Sunday, leaving Commandments Six and Nine
for next Sunday and Seven and Ten Commandment for the Fifth Sunday Lent.
I hope that through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit something will tug at
your heart as we reflect on the Ten Commandments. May that inspiration strengthen
you to come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation to be filled with God’s grace.
Blessings, Father Dooley

QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT
Do I have a “Well-Formed” conscience? Do the Ten Commandments guide me in
decision making or am I run by my feelings? Do I take advantage of the opportunity
to go to confession?

It’s Lent!

It seems that it was only a yesterday that we were celebrating the birth of Christ at Christmas. Now we are at the beginning of Lent. The word lent itself comes from the old English word for Spring and of course, spring to most of us means a time for new life after the long cold winter. The spiritual meaning of Lent has a similar understanding as it is a time of spiritual new life using the three spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

The Lenten Schedule was in last weeks bulletin. There are extras in the church entryway. It shows all the opportunities available for spiritual growth. Many of the things are the same as last year – Station of the Cross, weekday evening Masses, Wednesday Night Soup Suppers, Adoration with guest speakers, and of course Knights of Columbus Fish Fries.

It is my desire that we have many different opportunities to grow in our faith and to build a strong parish family. I realize that folks have a busy schedule and as the weather gets warmer even more things will pop up on our calendars but, I truly want to encourage you to work hard this Lent and take advantage of every opportunity, especially the times of Reconciliation/Confession.

It is by living our faith and growing in our faith that we can come to inherit the promise of eternal life offered to us through the Paschal Mystery (Christ’s Death and Resurrection) revealed to us that first Easter and made present to us at every Mass at the altar. By following Christ in faith and love we will come to the fullest experience of Easter and the new life offered to us by God.

Blessings, Father Dooley

QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT What do I remember most about Lent as a kid? Do I work as hard at spiritual growth as I need to? Does my life fill up with less important things than my discipleship?

Not Feeling Well??

The Diocesan Office of Worship offers these guidelines during the flu season which might be helpful in containing its spread. The most important preventative measures include vaccination, sneeze and cough hygiene (covering appropriately) and thorough hand washing.

Pastors should remind their parishioners to stay home if they are ill. It is NOT a mortal sin to miss Mass if one is sick or taking care of someone who is ill. If someone presenting symptoms does come to Mass, they should refrain from shaking hands or sharing in the chalice. Those who are prone to infections (for example, those who are older or are taking medications that suppress the immune system, or are pregnant) should also refrain from shaking hands or sharing the chalice.

The Sign of Peace does not require the shaking of hands – parishioners may acknowledge each other with a smile or bow.

Attention should be paid to cleaning surfaces, such as pews and doorknobs/ handles. There is nothing here that should not be part of good practice anyway. Having hand sanitizer and tissues available is encouraged.

While not forbidding handshaking and the use of the chalice at this point, awareness and mindfulness can help keep everyone safe. If the influenza season worsens, consideration will be given to other aspects of protection and prevention.

Blessings, Father Dooley

Prayer is Powerful

2017-05-31-23-22-47At one time or another we have been confronted with a difficult situation, either ours or someone else’s. It might be a death, an accident, a loss of a job, something hard to handle. We might even say “I will remember you in my prayers,” and then in the next breath we say “I wish I could do more.” Aren’t we forgetting that one of the most forceful powers at our disposal is prayer? Yet at times prayer is almost an afterthought, when there’s nothing else we can do we pray.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church prayer is the elevation of the mind and heart to God in praise…petition…thanksgiving… or intersession…. So when we pray we are asking for God’s grace and especially in a difficult circumstance we are doing the first and most important thing that anyone can do.

Think about it. Throughout history we have heard the stories about the power of prayer. Peoples lives have been drastically changed because of prayer. Armies have been defected through prayer. Miracles have taken place because people pray. Think about what happens at Mass. Of course, Jesus himself taught his disciple to pray and we are still saying the “Our Father.”

But prayer must not be the only thing that we do. We must be active in our role as servants of God. Pray first then act. God has given each of us an ability to act. It may be physically helping someone in need. It may be the ability to listen attentively. It may be our turn to write a check or make a donation. However we respond it should first be rooted in prayer.

No my friends prayer is not a last resort, it is the first thing, the most powerful thing that a Christian can do. Prayer gives light to the path in difficult times and helps us to respond to the needs of others with love. As St. Paul writes in I Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

Blessings, Father Dooley

QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT Do I experience prayer as a guiding factor meeting the needs of others? Have I experienced hope and strength when people pray for me? Do I believe in the power of prayer?