A Priest’s Christmas Wish: Go To Confession During Advent

I recently heard about a story that made me stop and think this world might be alright after all. A local priest from a small parish of about 300 families made a tremendous impact. Typically the priest would receive small gifts from members of the parish during the Christmas season, but made clear he did not want any of those things that year. The priest said that instead of the normal gifts he wanted everybody in the parish to go to confession during Advent. He made more times available for confession and also brought in visiting priests to help him, and the parish responded! He kept track of penitents who hadn’t been to confession in over twenty years, and the number was over 200 people!

I thought that this story, which I read initially on Fr. Z’s blog What Does the Prayer Really Say?, was a true inspiration. Imagine if this happened in more parishes across the country?

New Priest Coming to a Church Near You

Do you belong to a Church or parish that has had the same priest for years? Up until about the year 2000 my parish had the same priest for many years. The pastor who was then retiriing had been there since 1975. Since then, I have to tell you, we’ve have had three different pastors. In addition to this we’ve had three Parochial Vicars that have come and gone. This folks has not been easy on our Congregation. We have a vibrant Parish, two schools, several active Ministries and a varied age group of parishoners. That’s not an easy job for any priest to take on.

Some of the priests that have come to our Church were very reverent, great homilists and good stewards while others have not exactly “jelled” with the people. You know the saying “you can’t please everybody”. That’s never been so true as when describing the role of pastor in an active parish.

What occured most recently at my Church is that our pastor was moved to fill the needs of the Diocese which resulted from the retirement of another priest. Do you see the “Domino Effect” we have because of the reduction in the number of new priests? I guess it’s like our loss is someone else’s gain. Hopefully it will be the gain of our entire Diocese.

Some would say it’s important that a “good priest” is shared with many. I suppose that this is true but I also think it’s sad that a parish would have a new pastor every five years. The days of having your parish priest become a kind of family member is not really possible. It’s not likely that the Priest that baptizes you might also marry you and even be around to baptize your children. Maybe that’s the storybook version and I’ll have to let it go. I can dream can’t I?

Have you felt the loss of a beloved priest/pastor that was moved from your Church? Do you have a priest that maybe you’d like moved? I guess I should be thankful that we’ve never gotten a pastor that we prayed would move on. Of course I am not speaking for everyone hear. There could be lots of people within my own Church that could feel differently than I. Let me know if anything like this has happened to you.

Blessings,
Erin

Priest to Run Marathon in Denver

A Catholic priest from Colorado is going to be running in a marathon solely for prayers. That’s right, a team of members from a local parish will be running in a Denver based marathon in October. These guys only want people to say prayers for the vocation of priesthood. This is an absolutely amazing thing to see, and it is quite unique as well if you ask me. I think this is such a wonderful thing that is being done, and hopefully the prayers are heard and the Denver area finds more priests.

“A priest in the Archdiocese of Denver is launching an effort to increase prayers for vocations during the city’s upcoming marathon next month, telling CNA that there is a “great need” for vocations and that many young men and women in society “are not responding to the call.”

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon, which will be held on Oct. 17, draws thousands of participants to Colorado’s capital city each year, many of whom run to raise funds for specific causes. Rather than asking for financial pledges, however, Fr. Jim Crisman – director of vocations for the Denver archdiocese – is having runners ask for prayer pledges in the time leading up to the race.

Athletes who have signed up for the Run4Vocations initiative will run in the marathon as part of a relay team. They are asking the faithful to pledge prayers for an increase in vocations to Holy Orders and Consecrated Life within the archdiocese.

“There is a great need in the Archdiocese of Denver for more priests,” Fr. Crisman told CNA in an e-mail on Tuesday. “Additionally there is a great need for more men and women in Consecrated vocations.”

“Today we are witnessing a generous response by many of our young men and women to the Lord’s call to a supernatural vocation,” he wrote. “Even so, there are more who are being called and not responding to the call.”

When asked how many new students have entered the burgeoning Denver seminary, Fr. Crisman said that the “final count for the year is not yet in, but we have about 75 men in formation for the Archdiocese of Denver this year.”

“Archbishop Chaput ordained 5 men last spring and we accepted a dozen new men this fall,” he added. “Things are going well but the need keeps growing.”

Fr. Crisman said that individuals wishing to participate in the event can visit the website …

“When they click on the ‘RUN’ tab at the top of the page, and choose the ‘PRAYER PLEDGES’ button they will be taken to a page where they can register their prayer pledges and join us in asking the Lord for an increase in vocations to Holy Orders and Consecrated Life,” he explained.

In addition, the priest noted, “the page also shows some of the runners involved and gives a short bio on each.” Fr. Crisman remarked to CNA, “we would love to have supporters at the event both cheering and praying. If anyone would like to join the growing list of runners we would welcome that as well.”

When asked what served as his inspiration for starting the Run4Vocations effort, Fr. Crisman explained that the Archdiocese of Washington has a similar program.

“A college friend of mine has run in a marathon there for years raising money for their vocations office,” he said. “Seeing the opportunity to get people more involved in supporting vocations and raising prayer support for our vocation candidates made me begin this program here in Denver.”” – “Denver Priest Plans to Run for Vocations at Upcoming Marathon”, EWTN

Priest Shows Kids How to Skateboard

“A Hungarian Roman Catholic priest is reaching out to young people with his skateboarding tricks – and becoming a YouTube sensation in the process.

A video of the Rev Zoltan Lendvai skateboarding has clocked up hundreds of thousands of hits. The video, called Funny Priest Skateboarding, shows the priest manoeuvring on his skateboard as he talks to a group of teenagers.

Rev Lendvai, who is based in Redics, near the border with Slovenia, learned to skateboard as a young teenager at school. He believes skateboarding is an effective way of reaching young people with the Christian faith, according to Reuters.

He told Reuters that he is inspired by the 19th century Italian priest and educator Saint John Bosco, who used games to teach poor children.

“Many times I have felt that this is the way I can bring many people a bit closer to Jesus,” he told the news agency.

He told of three teenage boys who started coming to church after he taught them some skateboarding tricks and that he has given away at least six skateboards bearing the papal coat of arms to young people in his parish.” – “Skateboarding Priest Reaches out to Youngsters”, Christian Today

This post from Christian Today really caught my attention. I was shocked to read about this, but also was very happy to hear about a priest trying to make a connection with today’s youth. This is really the perfect way to get kids interested in attending Mass again. More churches should begin doing some sort of program based off of what this priest is doing. He takes after Saint John Bosco, and who could really say that’s a bad idea!

Father Stanley Rother May be Canonized a Saint

“The archdiocesan phase of Fr. Stanley Rother’s cause for canonization came to a close in a Mass this week at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Oklahoma City. The local archbishop expressed his conviction during the homily that the missionary is both a martyr and a saint.

Fr. Rother spent 13 years in Guatemala as a parish priest in Santiago Atitlan, a small town caught up in the country’s civil war in the 1970s and 80s. Aware that his life was in danger he returned to Oklahoma in Jan. 1981, but went back to Guatemala months later after recognizing that his heart was with the people.

He was assassinated on July 28, 1981 by three men who broke into the mission rectory.

Fr. Rother’s cause for canonization was initiated in Oct. 2006 when Archbishop of Oklahoma City, Most Rev. Eusebius J. Beltran, commissioned a committee to collect information about his life and the circumstances that led to his death. He also contracted a canon lawyer, Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, to act as postulator in Rome.

To make beatification possible, the postulator must now prove to the Vatican congregation for saints that Fr. Rother was killed solely for his faith, that his death was violent and that he accepted such a death for the faith.” – “Canonization cause for Murdered Oklahoma Priest Moves to Rome”, Catholic News Agency

After reading this over on Catholic News Agency, there is no doubt in my mind that Father Rother should be canonized. He gave all that he had to Guatemala and its people and he died trying to help them and their faith as Christians. Hopefully whoever makes the final decision on this matter sees eye to eye with me. No matter what I will forever remember Father Rother as a great man and a saint in my heart even if the attempts to have him canonized fail. He deserves respect from everybody, and we could all take a lesson away from the great deeds Father Rother did while he was alive.

New Film Causing Conversions

This story on Catholic News Agency seemed pretty cool to me. This film has actually been attributed to people converting to Catholicism. If this is really the truth than it should be shown to as many people as possible. It must be a very powerful, inspiring movie and I will certainly be viewing it at the very least. I suggest you do the same.

“The director of “The Last Summit,” the documentary about the life of the Spanish priest and mountaineer, Fr. Pablo Dominguez, gave an interview to CNA’s sister news agency, ACI Prensa, in which he reflected on the reasons for the success of his movie. He confirmed that negotiations are under way for the film to be screened in Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States.

For Cotelo, the overwhelming response of the film’s numerous viewers –many of whom are reporting how the movie caused them to have a conversion- “owes itself to the magnetism God has on any person.”

“If Fr. Pablo’s story is attractive,” the filmmaker said, “it’s because the love of his life also is. The protagonist in Fr. Pablo’s story, and of the movie, is God. Among all the famous actors and actresses in the world, there isn’t a protagonist more attractive and attracting than God.”” – ” Director of Hit Movie on Spanish Priest Says Film is Causing Conversions” – Catholic News Agency

Receiving Eucharist on Tongue Causing Troubles

I found this posting over on The Catholic Answers Forum and thought it was worth sharing. I have never received the Eucharist on my tongue, but I have seen others attempt to. This person is concerned with how to go about doing this act correctly.

“Since my reception into the Church a few months ago I have wanted to receive Communion on the tongue, but every time I attempt this, it doesn’t go very well and I end up reverting to receiving in the hand. The first time, the EMHC touched my tongue with her hand. My latest attempt resulted in the EMHC (a different one) hitting me in the mouth. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I have practiced in the mirror to make sure I’m opening my mouth wide enough and sticking out my tongue enough (looks rather silly, but anyway) but I always feel rushed when receiving Communion and so I’m not really sure if I’m doing it right then. Advice?” – “Difficulties Receiving on the Tongue”

This particular Catholic has been having problems with receiving the Eucharist on their tongue. While this is totally allowed in the Catholic Church is has become somewhat uncommon. So when receiving the sacrament from an EMHC, or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, one might run into trouble like this post gets into. A quick solution to this might be just going to the priest during Communion instead of the EMHC. I do not see why this person wants so badly to receive the Eucharist on the tongue, but power to them. If you ask me I say it’s going to end up in my mouth anyway, so what if it takes a little side-track to my palm first. I would much rather feed myself, but to each their own I suppose.