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SALESIAN PERSPECTIVE

posted Oct 23, 2017, 6:32 PM by Kurt Weber

Today’s Gospel tells us to give to God what belongs to God and to give to the state what belongs to the state. St. Francis de Sales notes that in order to enjoy a just state we must obey those to whom God gives authority to govern. Yet he stresses more “what belongs to God” in light of “obedience of love”:


We have a natural desire to love God that tells us we belong to God. We are like deer marked with the initials of their owner who lets them free to roam in the forest. Yet, all know to whom the deer belong. We too are free, and our natural inclination to love God lets our friends and enemies know that we still belong to God, who desires us to be united through “obedience of love.” 


This obedience of love consecrates our heart to God’s love and service. Jesus is the model. Allowing God to shape and form us, we place all our desires in God’s hands. Such obedience has no need to be roused up by threats or rewards, by commandment or law. It goes ahead of all such things when it gives itself to God. It begins to do with love all that leads to the union of our heart with God. It undertakes this journey in simplicity.


Sometimes our Lord urges us to run with full speed in the tasks required of us. Then God makes us stop in mid career, when strongest in our course. While we must do everything to bring God’s work to a successful end, we must peacefully embrace the outcome. It is our part to plant and water carefully, but the increase belongs only to God.


Nonetheless, as a tender mother leads her little children, and helps and holds them up as long as she sees a need for it, so also our Savior carries us and holds our hand in unbearable hardships. Let us then enjoy a serenity of heart by embracing this obedience of love that unites us to God to whom we belong.


(Adapted from the works of St.Francis de Sales, esp. Treatise on the Love of God)

Salesian Perspective

posted Oct 14, 2017, 8:58 AM by Kurt Weber

The prophet Isaiah chose the imagery of a sumptuous banquet provided by the Lord as a way to offer hope to the Israelites during their period of exile in Babylon.


There will come a day when the God whom they look for to save them will come among them and bring them back to the holy mountain, Jerusalem. There he will provide a sumptuous feast for them. The veil that has separated them from him will be lifted and death will be destroyed. God himself will wipe their tears from their eyes and they will see him face to face.


Jesus uses the same banquet image in the Gospels when he speaks about the kingdom of God. All are invited to share in the banquet of the kingdom. Sadly some will choose not to attend, and a few will even abuse and kill those sent to invite them. Jesus came among us with the invitation to share in his Father’s banquet, and some in their foolishness put him to death. 


The Eucharist we share in today is the banquet of the Lord, and a sign of the eternal banquet to come. Jesus is the shepherd leading his flock to the holy mountain. He is also the host of the banquet, and most amazing of all, he is the Food we are given to eat at the banquet. His Body and Blood are certainly the richest of food and the choicest of wines.


Knowing the magnificent riches of this Eucharistic feast made it possible for St. Paul to learn to cope with the times of plenty and the times of little that he experiences on his earthly journey. The God who feeds him is the source of his strength to face anything that comes his way. God is also the basis for his gratitude for the gifts that the Philippians have sent him while he’s in prison. Paul reminds them, as Isaiah did long ago: God will supply their needs fully, in a way worthy of his magnificent riches in Jesus. Today’s readings give us more than a little food for thought: 

  • God is providing a banquet that will fulfill our needs, both here and hereafter. 
  • We must be wise and choose to share in the banquet he is providing. 
  • The banquet of Eucharist gives us the nourishment we will need to handle anything that comes our way in this life.
  • When God is the only source of our strength, then we will be generous in sharing all that we have. 


May Jesus, our shepherd, our host, and our banquet food, give us the courage to live each day with the strength he provides.

SALESIAN PERSPECTIVE

posted Oct 6, 2017, 10:27 PM by Kurt Weber

 The image of the vineyard is the focus of two of today's readings. In both cases, things in the vineyard happen not to turn out the way the owner had planned. It seems that the people responsible for caring for the vineyard haven't held up to the owner's expectation.


As we consider these two passages, Jesus wants us to understand that God is the owner of the vineyard of life. We are responsible for the upkeep of God's vineyard. We collaborate in God's ongoing plan of creation, redemption, inspiration and salvation. We are to harvest the grapes of life in ways that give life: through honesty, respect, purity and decency.


As we consider what Jesus presents to us, we realize that we don't always live up to God's expectation. We know the kind of vineyard that God wants us to cultivate. Too often we allow sin, fear and selfishness to prevent us from producing the kinds of fruit that gives life. Instead of grapes of life, we may find ourselves producing grapes of wrath: jealousy, envy and indifference, or worse, hatred, violence and injustice. As we look within ourselves and at the world around us, we can find ourselves at times discouraged and anxious. At these moments, we need to listen to St. Paul:

"Have no anxiety at all." Francis de Sales has told us why: 

“With the single exception of sin, anxiety is the greatest evil that can happen to a soul.” Francis then explains his observation. “Instead of removing the evil, anxiety increases it and involves the soul in great anguish and distress together with such loss of strength and courage that it imagines the evil to be incurable - all this is extremely dangerous.” ( Introduction, 4. 11) 


We need to be honest. We need to identify those areas of our lives - our thoughts, feelings, attitudes and actions - in which we experience difficulty in cultivating a harvest of peace, justice, reconciliation and love. But we need to do this without anxiety because anxiety both weakens our ability to turn away from sin and robs us of the courage we need to do what is right and good. After acknowledging the reality of sin and the shortcomings in our life, we need to dedicate more of our energies to living “according to what you have learned and accepted then, the God of peace will be with you.”


Let us strive each day to produce a harvest of love from the vineyard of life ...but avoid anxiety in the process.

Dear St. Joseph Parishioners

posted Oct 4, 2017, 3:13 PM by Kurt Weber

The clustering of the two parishes in Adrian has not gone without some bumps in the road. I invite the parishioners of St Joseph's to join me on either Saturday, October 7th after the 5:30 Mass or October 15th after the 9 AM Mass to have an open discussion as to where things are in regard to our clustering. The only agenda is to answer your questions and hopefully alleviate some of the tensions that have arisen in recent weeks. These are the only times I can do because of the present Mass schedule. I apologize for stating the choir had resigned. That is the misinformation supplied to the parish office and that information was forwarded to me.


God bless, ~Fr. Tom

DEAR PARISHIONERS

posted Sep 28, 2017, 10:49 AM by Kurt Weber

The Parish Pastoral Councils are both discussing ways that we can implement a program with an emphasis on evangelization. We will be looking at various parish programs we might be able to use to help all of us deepen our faith. In the discussion among the St Joseph’s Pastoral Council members it was expressed that we cannot evangelize anyone unless they feel welcome. I remained relatively quiet during this discussion and it was a St Joseph Council member who suggested that the introduction to Mass begin with a process in play at St Mary’s where people are encouraged to greet those around them. This is followed by a request that everyone place themselves in the presence of God and a quiet returns to the sanctuary for the beginning of the opening hymn. We will begin this process next weekend.


It was also suggested that people sign up for the ministry of greeter to welcome people as they enter the door of the church, as so many of our protestant brothers and sisters do. If you are interested in taking a turn as a minster of hospitality to greet people as they enter at weekend Masses please let me know. I am writing about this because I want you all to understand this was not an attempt on my part to make St Joseph’s into St. Mary’s. All these ideas came unsolicited from members of St Joseph’s Pastoral Council. You can verify this with them. More on the evangelization piece as we move forward in the near future.


God bless,


Fr. Tom

From the Pastor's Desk

posted Sep 1, 2017, 9:23 PM by Kurt Weber

Dear parishioners - 


Last year we had the second of three phases of the Diocesan Program named “Called By Name”. Three years ago the efforts were directed towards renewing the faith life of the parish community. Both Parish pastoral Councils are attempting to look at possible programs that we might consider for the two parishes of Adrian. Too often we find ourselves content with the status quo of our faith life and the programs we are considering are based upon small groups that gather on a regular basis to share faith with each other. Often this results in responses like, “I am too busy for such things” or “There is already too much on my schedule” or “I am happy where my faith life is right now”. Well faith is meant to be shared and the programs we are considering will afford us the opportunity to let our faith grow which is ultimately, what I think what God wants. If faith remains stagnant, it does no one, including ourselves, any good. Jesus called us to a communal faith that was meant to be shared to support and strengthen one another.


This second phase of this evangelical program was held last fall and its focus was the return of Catholics to the Faith. The diocese is sponsoring a five week program called “Catholics Come Home” from mid-December until mid- January. To accomplish this there will be TV ads and parish driven door to door campaigns. Ryan Hanning will provide nine two and a half hour trainings throughout the four regions of the diocese to resource and equip parish leaders for this tremendous task. Perhaps you have a relative or friend that no longer attends or practices the Catholic Faith. Is God calling you to be a part of this program to invite them home? 


Please consider being a part of this effort. The second largest denomination in the United States is Former Catholics. I am sure some of them are looking for an invitation to be a part of our communities. Information is available on the diocesan web site.


God bless, 

Fr. Tom

From the Pastor's Desk

posted Aug 23, 2017, 10:20 AM by Kurt Weber

Dear Fellow Christians:

The events last weekend in Charlottesville, Va clearly indicate the evil path that inevitably leads to this tragic consequence. The unfortunate and unnecessary loss of life in this particular event clearly demonstrate where hate inevitably leads. We've seen similar events in international occurrences attributable to followers of a misguided interpretation of Islamic beliefs. These are people, claiming to be Muslims, who have misconstrued the religious teaching that underlies authentic Muslim teachings.


Last weekend's senseless murder and injury of pedestrians mirrors the tactics we readily condemn in international occurrences and are deserving of equal condemnation when the motivation is not misguided interpreters of a religious dogma but by groups bent on presenting their advocacy of hatred and supremacy as the only rule of the land. There is no place in our country or any country that would advocate the ruthless infliction of death and injury on another because of differences of opinion as we have seen far too often abroad and now in our own country .


Our faith teaches us the intrinsic value of all life from conception until natural death and, therefore, does not allow anyone to diminish or devalue something ordained by God. There is too much tension and outright hatred in many spheres of our country, starting with the tragic disregard for opposing views seen in our elected officials. It is time to call our politicians of both parties to task for the rampant disrespect we see far too often in the Halls of government. Can we expect our citizens to advocate respect for others who are different from us in perspective, party, color, religion or any other distinguishing characteristic when we do not see it displayed on the political playing field.


Respect for others develops when we see it in the Leadership provided by people in authoritative positions. As Christians, we are called to be community leaders, let us begin by example to be leaders who demonstrate an openness to others, especially when they are different from us in any characteristic or tenet of belief.


May those who died in Charlottesville Rest In Peace and may those recovering from injuries be healed by the loving hand of God shown by others.


~Fr. Tom

From the Pastor July 16, 2017

posted Jul 17, 2017, 11:27 AM by Kurt Weber

DEAR CATHOLIC PEOPLE OF ADRIAN: 

The two parish pastoral councils met on July 6 and discussed many aspects of the clustering of the two parishes and the implications in regard to many of the practical elements of this action. It was a fruitful meeting and we made a commitment to meet together quarterly and separately on the other months. The purpose of this is to facilitate our coming together and to discuss situations as they inevitably will arise.


One topic discussed was evangelization and both sides admitted this had not been the priority it should be for all faith communities. What is evangelization? What are its practical implications and how does it effect and affect us as a community and as individuals.


The call to evangelization has received prominence in the teachings of the Popes starting with Pope Paul VI and it continued through successive pontiffs up to and including the present Holy Father. It has been the focus of Bishop Boyea's initiatives of the last several years.


What it means is that each of us, by virtue of our Baptism, is called to spread the Good News that is the basis of our lives as Christians. Too often the word conjures up sentiments of fear or concern in regard to its practical implications - the "how to" part of this call. We imagine it requires us to go door to door as many other faiths do, or to publicly speak in open situations proclaiming our belief in the Lord Jesus. In the teaching of Pope Francis in the document "The Joy of the Gospel" he encourages us as a people of faith to give witness with joy to what we believe. This means that each of us and all of us need to reflect seriously on how we witness the joy the Gospel life brings to each of us and to all of us collectively. When I encounter another person do they see the encounter as an experience that is joy filled or do I sense that I bring souring to the encounter because of my negative disposition?


Opportunities abound in the course of every day to encounter others and make a positive difference in their lives simply because I have treated them with kindness and respect. Unfortunately these are elements that are sorely lacking in our society today. So how can I make a difference in the lives of others?


Collectively we need to look at ourselves as a faith community. How do people perceive our community? Do our community experiences reflect the Joy of the Gospel that Pope Francis calls us to? It involves how we worship, how we respond to the needs of the community at large, and how others see the reflection of Jesus in our community.


Both Pastoral Councils have admitted that initiatives made have been placed on the back burner because of the clustering issues, but there was agreement it is time to look at this again. To this purpose we have agreed to form an evangelization committee to look at possibilities and come up with suggestions as to how we as one community might approach this topic and create the opportunities for greater evangelization to occur. We are looking at three to four members of each parish to come together for this purpose. If you are interested please let me know and we can begin the efforts on the communal dimension.


Individually you can begin immediately. Have you invited anyone to join you in worshiping in our communities? Have you taken the opportunity to speak to a family member or close friend who no longer attends church, to see if they are interested in joining you? Have you been a positive reflection of the Gospel and this community to those you meet in daily encounters? There is no need for you to join this committee (although your presence would be helpful), but there is a need for each of us to put on a happy face and convince others of our love for God and for each other.


God bless ~Fr Tom

DEAR FAITHFUL PEOPLE OF ADRIAN: RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS

posted Jul 11, 2017, 12:59 PM by Kurt Weber

 We know there are many questions to be answered and we hope this will be a good beginning. 


1 What is the exact status of the two parishes? What immediate changes will we see? In a clustering of two parishes, each parish maintains a separate existence with shared employees where possible. Obviously, it means sharing the priests and deacons and, in our case, the entire Faith Formation program. The immediate changes you will see will be these shared personnel. Other issues will be answered in subsequent questions.


2. Will they have their own Pastoral Council and Finance Council? Will finances be kept separate? In a cluster, each parish maintains its own Councils in both areas, but I foresee that the Pastoral Council, in particular, will have some meetings together. Each parish will maintain its separate financial records and there will be shared costs because of the shared ministries of specific roles. Finances will be retained by the parish that is designated by specific parish envelope or check designation. Loose unidentified cash will remain in the parish in which it is collected


3. Will the people who volunteer at both parishes still have an opportunity to do so? I would hope that this does not diminish the number of volunteers that are presently engaged in ministry and hopefully it is something we could even expand in needed areas.


4. When will the actual merger happen? The actual merger of the two parishes is, at least, a year away. 


5. What will we do with St Joseph’s Rectory? As was previously announced, at least two Adrian Dominican nuns will be moving into the rectory at the beginning of September. 6. If the Oblates are unable to continue staffing the Adrian Catholic Community what happens? Where will a diocesan priest live?


If that occurs, the Bishop then determines what happens to the Adrian community by either appointing a diocesan priest or soliciting the services of another religious community. I believe it is up to the priests who come to decide where they will live.


7. What is the combined Mass/ Confession schedule? As already announced. Saturday at 4PM at St. Mary’s and 5:30PM at St Joseph’s; Sunday at 9AM at St Joseph’s and 7:30, 10:30 and 12:30 at St Mary’s. Reconciliation will be celebrated at St Mary’s on Saturday at 9AM and at St Joseph’s on Tuesday evening during Exposition. This entire schedule will be reviewed in October,


8. What changes will there be to liturgy, especially music? I believe that there will probably be some accommodation, but, unless the present music ministers opt not to continue, they will remain in their respective parishes.


9. What combined events will happen? (This includes Holy Week) I would hope we will have ample opportunities to do things together socially, spiritually, and liturgically but I do not have a crystal ball to spell that out in detail at this point. As Sister Rita said at the public meeting, there can be only one service between the two churches for the Triduum.


10. How will the staff function as a combined team? They have already begun to work on the bulletin together; our faith formation program has already been united and I would expect that we will have joint staff meetings on some regular basis.


11. How will the clustering help us become a united Adrian Catholic worship community? want to include in our community/congregation? How can we take the opportunity to evangelize both existing and former parishioners?


I would say that united we become a more prominent presence in our local community, with each parish learning the richness that is in the other and combining those efforts presenting a united front to witness to our common faith.


I feel we also need to reach out to the Adrian Dominicans, Catholic Charities and the Catholic presence in our two local higher education facilities. Each has gifts and talents that can enhance what we do and how we witness and this is the way we evangelize, especially in light of the challenge the Diocese has given us in regard to evangelization of fallen away Catholics.


12. How we will choose our name? I think that is a job for the Pastoral Councils to work on. 


13. What is the role of the PPCs during the transition? I would think they would be very involved in steering the right path. I am now under the opinion they are both too large as a working group and perhaps we could form a team of three members from each of the present Councils.


God bless, ~Fr. Tom

SALESIANS PERSPECTIVE:

posted Jun 25, 2017, 10:57 AM by Kurt Weber

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us to fear those who try to destroy our souls and to place our trust in God who cares for us. St. Francis de Sales notes:


Everyone desires to embrace the good and fly from what is evil. When we experience an evil, we become sad and desire to free ourselves of this sadness. We are right to seek a means to get rid of this sadness. Fear and anxiety can come from an inordinate desire to be freed from a present difficulty or to realize a hoped for goal.


Whenever you urgently hope to realize a certain good or to escape from a certain uneasiness, you must be especially careful to put your mind at rest and be at peace. When you see that you are becoming anxious, place yourself in God’s presence. Resolve to do nothing that your desire insists on until your mind has regained peace. Be careful to make calm judgments based on the authentic values found in Jesus’ teachings. Then try, without hurry, trouble, or anxiety, to accomplish your desire. Perform the action, not according to your desire, but reason.


When we seek to escape from our troubles, we must do so patiently, gently, and calmly. We must look to God for help rather than our own efforts. If we look to ourselves only, we will wear ourselves out. Walk simply in the way our Lord shows you and don’t worry. Sing songs of praise and thanksgiving. Involve yourself in a variety of healthful activities. Also, revealing the cause of your anxiety to your confessor or a reliable person empowers you to find relief. If we always tend toward God’s love, neither tribulation nor fear of future troubles will separate us from this love. Our love is founded on Jesus Christ, who cares for us and never betrays us. Great indeed is the confidence our Savior wants us to have in His care. All who trust in this confidence reap great fruit.


(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales, especially Introduction to the Devout Life)

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