Pastor's Newsletter

The most recent Newsletters and Commentary from Father Harris

Nov. 23, 2017 Mass Commentary

Thanksgiving Day

This is a photo of Deacon Bob DePauw and me at the Community Wide Thanksgiving Service that occurred last Monday, Nov. 20th. We had our own Thanksgiving Day Mass on Nov. 23rd, and I asked Deacon Bob to preach the homily for that occasion. It would appear that both him and me have been thinking about Blessed Solanus Casey all this week. I mentioned Blessed Solanus in my homily on Sunday, but I also mentioned him in my Funeral Homily yesterday. Deacon Bob just so happened to mention Blessed Solanus today.

In this recording of his homily Deacon Bob mentioned That Blessed Solanus Casey would often say:

Thank God Ahead Of Time

As we gathered on Thanksgiving Day to enter into the mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we thanked God for what we have received in the past, but also thanked God for what we hope to receive in the future. has this on Blessed Solanus

What the Franciscans have to say about him

In 2014, I gave a history of Thanksgiving Day:

Thanksgiving and Presidents

Here is more information:

President Trump's Thanksgiving Proclamation

President Lincoln's Proclamation

In 2015, I covered the basic things Catholics should know about Thanksgiving:

Catholic Thanksgiving

Nov. 22, 2017 Mass Commentary

You see here the Children's Choir and the Adult Choir that assembled for our Community Thanksgiving Service on Nov. 20th. They did a great job.

Our choirs and musicians are coming to my mind because on Nov. 22nd we celebrate the Memorial of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. Unfortunately, I won't be able to preach about her on that day, because I have a Funeral Mass for Mary Goderis on that day. Because of my great love for this saint, I thought I would at least mention something about her.

Here is my 2015 Homily about her

Here is a short video about her

Here is a video that some kids put together

The Foo Fighters have a song named after her

Dom Prosper Guéranger says this about her

Nov. 21, 2017 Mass Commentary

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple is a celebration that seems to get lost in all of the Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations every year. But, despite it not being as flashy as the Annunciation and the Assumption, it behooves us Christians to pause at this time every year to consider what this feast means. In this recording of my homily, I asked all of you to pray in a special way for grandparents, but also for those adults who are entrusted with the task of provided religious education to our children.

Here is the homily that I gave on the subject

Here is my primary source

You can read the Infancy Gospel of James for yourself

What Wikipedia has to say about The Infancy Gospel of James

Nov. 20, 2017 Mass Commentary

This is a photo of the cover of a children's book that tells the story behind the Jewish Feast of Hanukkah. Hanukkah this year runs from Dec. 12th to the 20th.

There is an audio version of this book available as well.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Hanukkah

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the Maccabean Revolt

In terms of our daily readings this week at the Catholic Mass, we are covering 1 and 2 Maccabees, which tells the story of the Jewish revolt against the Greeks, which is the foundation of the Jewish Feast of Hanukkah.

You need to read the first reading of Mass

Here is an audio version of the readings

Yet, here is the strange thing: modern day Jews do not accept 1 and 2 Maccabees as part of their scriptures; This is part of the reason why the Protestant Reformers back in the 1500's rejected 1 and 2 Maccabees as part of the canon of the scriptures; This is why modern Protestants do not accept 1 and 2 Maccabees as part of their bible.

I'm pulling quit heavily from this article

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the Deuterocanonical Books

We Catholics only accept the first 2 of the 8 Books of Maccabees

This evening our parish is hosting an ecumenical Thanksgiving Service. It is sponsored by the Upper Rock Island County Ministerial Association.

URICMA has a Facebook Page

I find it a bit ironic that this morning at mass we are reading from a book of the bible that most of the Protestants who are coming to our Catholic Church tonight would most likely reject. In this recording of my homily, I try to explain the reason behind this dividing point between Protestants and Catholics:

Not The Topic For An Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service

Nov. 19. 2017 Mass Commentary

Here is Waylon Smithers Jr. taking instruction from his boss, Charles Montgomery Burns.

Smithers isn't all that bad

Mr. Burns is a bad manager

To hear how Waylon Smithers Jr. is connected to the man with one talent, along with his connection with Archbishop Fulton Sheen, and Blessed Solanus Casey, you will have to listen to this homily:

Woe To You Smithers!

This is an Athenian silver drachma, 454-404 BC, weighing 4.3 grams. A talent was equal to 6,000 drachmae, the equivalent of 25.80 kilograms of silver.

This is my source

This is a photo of Blessed Solanus Casey, who was being beatified on Nov. 18th in Detroit. As you can see, he isn't much to look at. He wasn't considered all that bright by his fellow Franciscans. And yet his holiness transcended the superficiality of appearances. offers this presentation

Here is my Nov. 18th homily about him

Here is my source

One of the thousands who will be at the beatification

Blessed Salanus Casey's favorite Statue of Mary

The Father Solanus Casey Guild offers this presentation

Nov. 18, 2017 Mass Commentary

Being Saturday, a day in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, could we not say that Fr. Casey's holiness and helpfulness is a reflection of the Blessed Mother's holiness and helpfulness, especially under her title of being a help to all Christians.

This history of this devotion

The Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians in Torino

In my homily I made mention of the Italian Risorgimento

What Pope Benedict XVI and 150th Anniversary of the Risorgimento

Nov. 17, 2017 Mass Commentary

This is a photo of Braden Vaughan playing the part of Shrek in the local High School Musical. I went to see the musical last night. Braden is a parishioner at St. John's. He will go from ogre to altar server by this Sunday. In this musical, Shrek has to deal with a princess who has a great many issues. There is one song in the musical called "I think I got you beat" in which Shrek and Princess Fiona compete to see who has the worst situation.

Here is the song I am talking about.

I mention none of this in my homily today, but I do talk about a real life princess who could have all of us beat in terms of dealing with hardship: St. Elizabeth of Hungary .

Here is my homily from this morning

Here is a video about her

St. Elizabeth of Hungary reminds me of St. Margaret of Scotland. Her feast day was actually yesterday.

Here is a video about St. Margaret

Nov. 16, 2017 Mass Commentary

This is a photo of Lisa Fox in her Halloween costume as "a witch" but I thought it could serve as the Album Cover for "Gertee J and The Grand Funk Royal Purgatorial Railroad featuring the Big G." To hear the rest of the story, you will have to listen to this recording of my homily:

Here is my Nov. 16th Homily

St. Gertrude of Nivelles- who is not St. Gertrude the Great- is the patron saint of cats.

Here is more information on the cat loving saint

Nov. 15, 2017 Mass Commentary

Yesterday, the Carmelite Order honored all of her members who are saints in heaven, but today the Carmelite Order prays for all of her members who are in purgatory and are in need of our prayers.

The Cloud Of Carmelite Witnesses

They Remind Us To Come Home

While praying for all deceased Carmelites would be my personal focus today- being I am a Secular Discalced Carmelite- I would feel negligent if I didn’t mention one of the great luminaries of the Dominican Order- which the entire Catholic Church honors today- namely St. Albert the Great. Could he be the patron saint of Wikipedia?

Here is my homily from this morning

Here is a short video about him

This is what Wikipedia has to say about him

This is the primary source for my homily

As the Church honors St. Albert the Great today, my thoughts turn to Msgr. Albert Hallin. He was pastor of St. Anne in East Moline from 1983-1988. I served under him at St. Columba's in Ottawa from 1994-1996. He is currently retired, and living in Champaign. Please keep him in your prayers, being today is his patronal feast day.

Nov. 14, 2017 Mass Commentary, Slideshows, and Newsletter


This is Fr. Harris, and I am finally getting around to sitting down and writing you a newsletter. I figured this was as good a day as any.

The Carmelite Order sets aside this day- Nov. 14th- to honor all the saints of our order- both those canonized and recognized by the entire church- but also those saintly Carmelites who are known only to God. Tomorrow the Carmelite Order prays for all her members who are in purgatory and are in desperate need of our prayers. While it is true that following the Carmelite way of spirituality can be a great help in the way of holiness, there are those members who are far from perfect. I would ask for your prayers, right now as I make my pilgrim way on earth, but especially at the hour of my death, and to offer Masses for the repose of my soul after my death. To hear what I had to say about this, you will have to listen to this recording:

To All The Carmelite Saints, We Salute You!

Upcoming Thanksgiving Celebrations

Area Churches Thanksgiving Gathering on Monday, Nov. 20th at St. John's.

The Upper Rock Island Clergy Association is hosting a Thanksgiving Service on the Monday, November 20th at 7:00 p.m., at St. John's in Rapids City. If you want to sing in the choir, please come an hour before the service to practice. A reception will follow in the hall.

Thanksgiving Day Mass on November 23rd at 9:00 AM at St. John's

The Mass will be at 9:00 a.m., instead of the typical 8:00 AM time. Once again, we will have the Blessing of Thanksgiving Food at this Mass; bring a symbolic portion of your Thanksgiving Dinner to this Mass. Other than that it will be the typical daily mass routine, albeit an hour later: 8:30 AM- Rosary; 8:50 - Morning Prayer; 9:00 AM- Mass.

Parish Memorial Mass

Sunday, November 26th

9:30 A M Mass at St. John's

As we celebrate the liturgical Feast of Christ the King we will be remembering in a special way all those who have passed away this last year at a special Parish Memorial Mass which will occur on Sunday, November 26th at the 9:30 a.m. Mass at St. John's.

At the end of the General Intercession (the Petitions), the names of the faithful departed will be read as a rose is brought up in that person's memory and placed in a vase which will be set up in front of the altar.

All are invited to attend a lunch that will be occurring after the Memorial Mass. The luncheon is open to anyone who wishes to attend and not just the families of loved ones that have passed away.

There will be a short program that will be part of the lunch. You are invited to give a few words about your loved one. Our confirmation students are invited to help out with this event. In the vestibule of the church is a sign up sheet for those who are planning on attending.

Invitations are being sent out to families that we know have lost loved ones. However, if you have a loved one that you would like to include in our celebration of life, please contact the rectory.

Advent begins Sunday, Dec. 3rd!

It will be here before you know it. What are you going to do to spiritually prepare for Christmas?


That's all the time I have to dedicate to this newsletter. May God fill you and your family with His magnificent graces, as I send this to you on the 14th day of the 11th month in this 2, 017th year in this era of grace established by the death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ: today being Tuesday, a day dedicated to the Guardian Angels; today being the Tuesday after the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time; Today being the Feast of All Carmelite Saints; in the month dedicated in a special way to praying for the souls in Purgatory; a time and glory begins and end with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

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