Feast of Divine Mercy

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?

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

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
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

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?