Archive for the ‘Parishioners Favorite Homilies’ Category

Homily – Corpus Christi MMIX June 14, 2009

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Homily – Corpus Christi MMIX June 14, 2009

Today’s Feast of Corpus Christi, in honor of the Body and Blood of Christ, is one of the most solemn Feasts of the year in many countries of the world.

Countless villages, towns and cities throughout Europe and South America have large processions where the Blessed Sacrament is carried under a four-poled canopy by the priest in a large gold Monstrance through the main streets of the town or village.  Little girls in their First Communion dresses preceed Our Lord dropping rose petals before Him.  Following Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament in the procession are great crowds of the faithful, singing hymns to the Eucharistic Lord accompanied by Marching Bands.

The outdoor procession traditionally stops at three different altars, usually specially set up for the Feast. At each altar, one of the three Gospel accounts of the institution of the Eucharist is read, and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is given.

Msgr. Frappier tells the story about the Corpus Christi procession he remembers as a seminarian studying for the priesthood in France. Every year the seminarians would get the whole day before Corpus Christi off in order to get ready for the Feast.  Every seminarian (and everyone else in the town) had to take a bag and go out into the countryside to pick flowers.  All the petals from all the flowers collected were then laid down on the road so as to make a carpet of flowers lining the road for the Priest carrying Jesus to walk on when He passed by in the procession.

But while the Feast of Corpus Christi is today one of the most beautiful and solemn of our Catholic Feast days, we probably wouldn’t have it today if it hadn’t been for the great faith of a little girl who grew up as an orphan.

Her name was Juliana. She was born in Belgium near the city of Liege in the year 1192. Juliana’s parents died when she was 5, and she was placed under the care of Nuns.

At age 16 Juliana began to have a vision where she saw a beautiful full moon in the night sky, but the moon had a big black spot on it.  After having the vision several times, the Lord appeared to her and said the moon represented the Church, bright with all it’s great Feasts. The black spot was on the moon because there wasn’t any Feast in Honor of the Blessed Sacrament.

Jesus told little Juliana that her mission in life was to get such a Feast established throughout the Church.  She became a nun in the convent she was raised in, and for the next 35 years she tried hard to get the Feast of Corpus Christi established in just her own diocese.

The devil must have obviously not wanted such a feast to be established, because first she was falsely accused of financial mismanagement and thrown out of her monastery.  Then she was exonerated of those charges by her Bishop. And the Bishop, who believed in her mission, decreed that every parish in the diocese should celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi the Thursday after Trinity Sunday.  But a year later, the Bishop died, and only one Church in the Diocese had followed the decree.

Without her old Bishop to protect her, Juliana was again driven from her convent by her enemies, and took refuge in a Cistercian convent in another part of the country.  No sooner did she get settled in when that convent was burned to the ground and she had to move a third time.

Juliana died ten years later, in 1258, almost a total failure, with only that one parish in her old diocese celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi, and the rest of the diocese indifferent to the new feast or opposed to it.

But before she was banished from her convent, Juliana became friendly with an archdeacon of the diocese named James.  Three years after her death, this deacon was elected the Pope, and became Pope Urban IV.

Pope Urban asked the great Dominican Friar, St. Thomas Aquinas, to write Mass and Office prayers and Hymns for this New Feast.  St. Thomas ended up writing the Tantum Ergo, Panis Angelicus, O Salutaris Hostia, and Adoro Te, some of the greatest hymns ever written, and in 1264 Pope Urban decreed that the feast of Corpus Christi be celebrated in every Church throughout Christendom, which it was.

One last interesting note.  Every year in England in the middle ages, plays were performed on the Feast of Corpus Christi called “mystery plays”. These plays were very popular and taught the faith in an entertaining way.

The mystery plays were banned soon after England broke from the Roman Church.  But before that, it is speculated by some that a little boy named William would attend these plays every year with his parents, and be fascinated by them.  When William grew up, he began to write plays of his own.  While it probably will never be know for sure, there is strong evidence that this William Shakespeare I’m speaking about was a clandestined Catholic throughout his life.

May Jesus give us the deep faith in and love for the Holy Eucharist that he gave Blessed Juliana, a faith that will help us persevere when all looks hopeless and when our mission as followers of Christ seem to be ending in total failure.  May we not despair, but be assured that to Christ belongs the victory, that He is with us always in this Sacrament until the end of the world, and that He will raise up gloriously on the last day all who eat His Sacred Flesh and drink His Precious Blood.

Homily — 6th Sunday Easter MMIX 5/17/09

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Homily — 6th Sunday Easter MMIX 5/17/09

I started my day off this week by going to see the new Star Trek movie at Lincoln Mall Cinema Tuesday morning.

As I was leaving to see it, I was coming from teaching a class at the school, and the children were out playing for recess.

Mr. Jones, one of the sixth grade teachers and a huge sci-fi fan was also outside monitoring the kids.

So I said to him, “Mr. Jone’s, I’m going right now to see the new Star Trek Movie.” “You’re going to be disappointed Father” he said; I said “Don’t tell me anything, I want to be surprized.” “You’ll see what I mean” he said.

Well, I wasn’t disappointed at all, the movie was for the most part a very entertaining, well put together film with good character’s lots of action and great special effects. And aside from one brief but very immodest scene, not morally objectionable for teens and over to see.

But I think I knew why a hard core Trekkie like Mr. Jones would be upset at the movie, and a few days later when I was over at the school and ran into Mr. Jones again, I found out I was correct in my assumptions.

Mr. Jones and some other Star Trek fans dislike the new film because it totally revises Star Trek History.

Without spoiling anything for those who haven’t seen it, in the new movie some major, life-changing events happen in the early lives of Kirk and Spock and the gang, events which are totally inconsistent with the original Star Trek series with the same character’s.

And as this new Star Trek is a huge hit, most probably there’ll be sequels made which will further revise Star Trek history.

Now, whether it’s wise or unwise to muddle the history of the fictional crew members of the Starship Enterprise is more a matter of opinion than morality.

But let us leave Cinema #5 where Star Trek is playing and pop our heads into Cinema #6, where Dan Brown’s “Angels and Demons” is making it’s weekend debut to a packed audience.

This follow-up to the infamous DaVinci Code also not surprisingly tampers with historical facts, not as blasphemously as the DaVinci Code does, but still enough to warrant calling “Angels and Demons” an anti-Catholic piece of entertainment.

In this new film millions of people will flock to see this weekend, the Catholic Church is portrayed as being so historically opposed to scientific progress that in 1668 the Vatican tortured and killed four scientists as a warning to other scientists not to disagree with the Church.

In the novel which the movie is based on, Dan Brown goes so far as to say that the famous scientist Copernicus was (quote) “murdered by the Church for revealing scientific truths” (endquote).

All of this is baloney. Copernicus was never even criticized by the Church, let alone persecuted. On the contrary, Copernicus and countless other early scientists were encouraged and even funded by the Church hierarchy to further their scientific research.

“Angels and Demons” sadly perpetuates on a mass-media scale the anti-Catholic myth which the Church in America has had to combat since the founding of our country, the myth that Church history is full of scientists like Galileo who were tortured and/or silenced by Church hierarchy.

What history really shows is that Galileo is the one sad exception to an otherwise glowing record of the Catholic Church being one of the foremost patrons of modern science down through the ages.

But let’s leave Tom Hanks and the movie theater altogether and walk out into the real world we live in, and let us take a look at the even more disturbing revision of history going on in around us.

We see court houses and senate chambers throughout New England rashly going where no man has gone before.

Now Judges, Congressmen, and Governors in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts are trying to tell us that all this time, civilized humanity has been bigoted in restricting the institution of marriage to one man and one woman, all this time the pedestal of honor society has put marriage on has been in reality a shameful perpetuating of inequality and homophobia.  The institution of marriage has been all this while an evil institution which, like human slavery, we must progress beyond in this 21st century.

Certainly this is how our children’s history books will spin things in year’s to come if we continue down this path to legal recognition of gay marriage.

Finally, I’d like to leave past history and pseudo-history and conclude with history in the making.

For today is certainly one of the saddest, lowest days in the History of our Church in America, as Notre Dame University, one of the biggest and most prestigious Catholic Universities in our country, bestows an honorary doctorate to our President, a President who in his first 100 days of Office has started using your tax dollars and mine to pay for overseas abortions and to fund the destruction of innocent embryonic human beings in the name of scientific research, a President who is trying to deprive health care workers of their right not to cooperate in abortion or other immoral medical practices. <!– @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –>

While we Catholic can and should certainly respect our President, and while a leader with views such as he holds could be invited under certain circumstances to give a talk at Catholic institutions, we Catholics can in no way bestow honors upon people who hold such anti-life views, and for Notre Dame University to bestow an honorary degree and the honor of giving a commencement address on such a pro-abortion figure is a grave scandal.

You know, President Obama right now has the ability to do something no president in the past 35 years has had the ability to do: With the retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter, President Obama has the ability to overturn the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion.

Imagine if Mr. Obama said to America at this time “I’m replacing Justice Souter with a Judge who will defend the inalienable, God given rights of all unborn children in this country from the moment of their conception on. In doing so, I’ll be tipping the scales of our Supreme Court in favor of overturning our countries greatest offense against humanity since the Dread Scott decision which upheld human slavery.”

Do that, Mr. President, and every believing Catholic in this country from the bishops on down will give you an honorary degree from every Catholic Institution in America, from Notre Dame to Providence College to Mt. St. Charles to Good Shepherd Catholic Regional.

But after today, what hope do we have for our non-Catholic President Obama to ever change his mind on abortion?  Should he ever in the future get the slightest twinge of conscience on what he’s doing to the least of Christ’s brethren, he can brush it away by saying to himself: “Notre Dame gave me an honorary degree, what could be so wrong about abortion?”

And this is the message we’re sending not only to our President, but to our children and to the young adults of our Church. Is it no wonder why the Catholic Church is shrinking in America?

May we not lose hope however. Jesus has not abandoned us, and Our Lady has not either. As Jesus says in today’s Gospel “If you love me by keeping my commandments, Whatsoever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.”

Let us pray fervently to them, that our Country and our Church in this great land may, in the words of a famous Vulcan, continue to “live long and prosper,” and not die fast and flounder.

Funeral Homily for Rev. Richard A. Donnelly

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Note: I preached this homily at the Funeral Mass of my former Pastor, Fr. Richard Donnelly, May 24 at St. Paul Church, Cranston RI.

Funeral Homily — Rev. Richard A. Donnelly

Most Reverend Bishops, my brother priests and deacons, men and women religious, relatives and friends of Fr. Donnelly, members of the Legion of Mary and Catholics for Life, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Ecce, Sacerdos Magnus, qui in diebus sui placuit Deo. Behold, a great priest, who in his life was pleasing to God; the Church sings in her Liturgy.

It is with a heavy heart that we gather here today, in the Church Father Donnelly was Baptized in, grew up in, celebrated his first Mass in and served as a priest in, to commend to God this great priest, who in his life was pleasing to God, and who in his life touched the lives of so many people.

Richard Anthony Donnelly was born three days before St. Patrick’s Day, March 14, 1936, to Francis and Mildred Donnelly, the youngest of three sons. The Donnelly’s were the model Irish-American Catholic family in a world that has sadly all but vanished. The three Donnelly boys walked a half a mile to St. Paul’s School in the morning, walked home for lunch, then walked back to school, then walked home again, each day. A half hour before dad got home from the office, mom would corral the boys and their family dog Rip inside the house, and make them quiet down in preparation for dad’s arrival.

After supper (hopefully not liver and onions, dad’s favorite but never Richard’s) the family would kneel around the table each night and pray five decades of the Rosary, which one day greatly impressed a Protestant neighbor who saw the scene through the kitchen window. On summer trips to Bonnet Shores, Mrs. Donnelly would pack two sets of clothes for her sons — one set for the beach, one set for Church. I learned all of these stories and others the first month living with Fr. Donnelly, and heard him tell the same stories again and again every month of the four years I lived with him, as if he was telling them to me for the first time!

This Norman Rockwell childhood came to a tragic end however, during his early high school years at LaSalle, when one day his father suddenly dropped dead of a stroke at work. I don’t think Fr. Richard ever got over that loss, but perhaps this was when he began to develop the great faith and the great compassion he had as a priest, especially toward the sick and grieving.

After high school, young Richard entered Our Lady of Providence Minor Seminary, and was sent by Bishop McVinney to St. Mary’s Seminary Baltimore, staffed by the Sulpician order of priests. It was there that Father said he learned, among other things, “Sulpician Hospitality” towards brother priests, namely that a priest should always be welcoming and caring towards his confrères. It was a lesson he learned well.

He was ordained on June 9, 1962, and was assigned for that summer to Blessed Sacrament Parish in Providence. He would say “All my classmates got summer assignments down at the beach — I got Blessed Sacrament Providence! But I enjoyed that assignment, because I learned how very important visiting the sick is in the life of a priest.” And as anyone who knows him can tell you, there weren’t too many days in his 44 years of active priesthood that Father Donnelly wasn’t out visiting the sick and dying in homes, hospitals, and nursing homes throughout the diocese. He bought Green Scapulars by the thousand and gave them to every sick person he visited.

In all of his assignments as a priest — as a teacher at LaSalle and Our Lady of Providence, as a curate at Blessed Sacrament, St. Joseph Scituate, St. Robert Bellarmine Johnston, St. Patrick Providence, and here at St. Paul, and as a Pastor at St. Clement Warwick and St. Mark Cranston — Father Donnelly was well liked and respected, not only by the laity, but also by the priests he served with.

Here are some things people have written about him at the Providence Journal’s “On-Line Guest Book” accompanying his obituary: A former student says: “I always admired him for his crisp way of doing business and his ramrod straight stature. A good man as well as a good teacher.” A brother priest, Rev. Joseph Protano, writes: “One of our best! Committed, devoted, learned — all with a sharp wit.” And finally, a parishioner comments: “Our family will always remember him as the kind and gentle shepherd of St. Marks parish family.”

Father Donnelly was all these things, and a real character as well. When priests that were assigned with him get together, we all have a great time impersonating his mannerism and sayings, sometimes with him present and enjoying it. Here are my favorite Fr. Donnelly-isms: “Honest to Glory!” “Oh Great Scott!” “You keep smiling.” And the wisest piece of advice he gave me as a young priest: “Michael, you’re ready to be a Pastor, when you worry about the lights!”

While Father worked hard and excelled in all the areas of his priestly ministry, as everyone knows, Fr. Donnelly’s passion as a priest was his Pro Life work. Every Saturday Morning at 8 a.m., rain, snow or shine, you could always find him just down the road from here in front of the Broad St. abortion mill, leading the 15 decades of the Rosary. And I would go so far as to say that — when you consider his tireless and courageous preaching and teaching on the sanctity of human life for so many years, when you consider the encouragement and spiritual direction he has given to almost every major lay pro-life leader in Rhode Island, and finally when you consider the influence he has had on so many priests, deacons and even bishops of our Diocese in this area — one must conclude that Father Richard Donnelly deserves to go down in history as the Founding Father of the Rhode Island Respect Life Movement, without which it wouldn’t be half of what it is today.

In the winter of 2006, Father was diagnosed with stage four liver and lung cancer. Given the prognosis, it was thought by most of his family and friends that it would only be a matter of months before the Lord would take him home. But two years later, Father was weak but still very alive and mentally alert, daily celebrating Mass and praying his breviary at St. Antoine’s Nursing Home. The only pain the always frugal Father said he felt was how “very expensive” this place he was living in was (he hated to have to part with his First Communion money!). He attributed his longevity and lack of pain to two persons, whom he called “My two Girlfriends — Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and Mother Cabrini.”

And the man who spent his whole life visiting the sick was repaid by many visitors who went “all the way to almost Woonsocket” to visit their dear friend. He so appreciated those who visited him, especially Lorita Jussila, his sister-in-law Rose’s sister, and her husband Pete, his sister-in-law Audrey and her children, Michelle Hayes and the Mr. And Mrs. Ed McDonogh, Clair Gruneberg the secretary of St. Marks, Dr. and Mrs. Ted Ferry, Fr. Giacomo Capoverdi, myself, and many others. I want to especially thank Michelle Hayes, Judy McDonogh and Fr. Capoverdi, who stayed beside Fr. Donnelly through the last night of his life, and were with him when he died at 5:27 a.m. this past Wednesday morning.

I was assigned with Father Donnelly at St. Mark’s my first four years of priesthood, from July 1999 to July 2003. It was in September of 1999, that the now famous incident happened, which Father Donnelly never tired of telling, and which I will end with. One Saturday evening after Mass, the two of us went with our clerics on to check out the newly built Providence Place Mall. We went to the top floor to see the view of Waterplace Park that everyone was telling us about. The NBC Gravity Games were going on down below, and their was a little kid with his mother watching them. The kid looked at Fr. Donnelly, and looked at me, and then said “Mommy! Twins!”

Well, Richard, if I get to the end of my earthly life as a priest, and people still say of me “He was Father Richard Donnelly’s twin,” it will be the biggest compliment I could ever ask for.

Ecce, Sacerdos Magnus. Behold, a great priest, who in his life was pleasing to God. Rest in peace, Father Donnelly.

Homily – Trinity Sunday May 18, 2008 “Then . . . . and Now”

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Homily — Trinity Sunday MMVIII May 18, 2008

“Then . . . .and Now”

The most fundamental of Christian beliefs is that the One True God is a Trinity of Persons — Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

This basic truth is hinted at in the Old Testament, began to be revealed in the New Testament, and was clearly the teaching of the ancient Church everywhere, for the first Three Centuries of Christianity.

But while today we take for granted this central Mystery of our Faith, there was a time in Church history when Christians suffered much for their belief in the Holy Trinity, and were under great pressure to renounce it.

For almost 100 years, roughly the whole 4th Century, this was the case almost everywhere in the Church. In the early 4th century, a heresy called Arianism, which denied the Divinity of God the Son, spread like wildfire throughout the Church. And no sooner had Arianism been taken care of than in the late 4th Century, a heresy called Macedonianism, which denied the Divinity of God the Holy Spirit, did almost as much damage.

Neither Arianism nor Macedonianism had a leg to stand on based on Scripture or Tradition. But these errors became so widespread that for a while, nearly every Bishop in nearly every diocese not only taught these things, but persecuted Bishops and others who believed that God is Father Son and Holy Spirit.

But what really made things bad was that the civil government at the time wasn’t a neutral bystander in this issue, it rather favored the heretics, and made life miserable for the Orthodox Catholics.

For example, St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the few Bishops who refused to renounce his Catholic Faith that the Son is “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God”, as the Council of Nicea in 325 had defined several years prior. Because of his orthodoxy, Athanasius was exiled five times from his diocese by the pro-Arian government.

And St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea in Asia Minor, lived for years under constant threat of exile and confiscation of his possessions, because of his belief that the Holy Spirit is God, equal in dignity to the Father and Son, when every other bishop around him taught that the Holy Spirit is not God, not equal in dignity.

It was courageous men and women like St. Athanasius and St. Basil who stood against the rising tide and turned their culture back to Orthodox Catholic belief in the Holy Trinity. And by the 5th century and up until today, Christians everywhere have been able to believe this most fundamental belief in the Holy Trinity, and teach it in Churches and in Catholic Schools without hindrance from the government.

But while that is happily the case, and may it continue to be, there is another fundamental teaching of our Christian faith that currently under attack in the culture we now live in, and in certain parts of our country, it has already led to persecution of the Catholic Church by our government.  I am referring to the current movement to redefine the institution of Marriage.

We Catholics have always believed marriage to be the lifelong union of one man and one woman. We base our belief not only on Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, but also on the Natural Law, which men and women of all faiths have been given to live by.

But now, many states have moved toward changing the legal definition of marriage to include same sex couples. This past Thursday, the Supreme Court of California, the largest state in the country population wise, struck down a state law against same-sex marriage (that its citizens had voted in), and joined Massachusetts in legally recognizing gay marriage. Four other states — Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New Hampshire — have civil union laws which are marriage laws in all but name for same sex couples.

And just as Ss. Basil and Athanasius and others suffered in their day because they believed and taught that God is Father Son and Holy Spirit, so Christians in states that have legalized same sex unions are starting to suffer for believing and teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Take the Church in Boston, just north of us, for example. The Archdiocese of Boston had one of the oldest adoption agencies in the United States. Notice I said “had.” Cardinal O’Malley was forced to close the agency, three years after the legalization of same sex marriages, as it was being forced by law to allow same sex couples the right to adopt.

Take the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a Methodist Church-affiliated group in New Jersey. It lost the tax exempt status for it’s Chapel when it refused to allow a civil union ceremony for two women to be conducted in it. Note that New Jersey has only legalized same sex unions.

Finally, take what’s been happening in the state of Colorado. In 2007 a bill was presented that would forbid employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation. The law was amended to exempt religious groups who would be opposed and passed 60-2.

But this year, a new bill has been proposed saying that any religious organization that gets any state or federal funding wouldn’t be exempt. This would include Catholic Charities of Colorado. But Denver Archbishop Chaput isn’t being intimidated: “When (Catholic Charities) can no longer have the freedom it needs to be ‘Catholic’, it will end its services. This is not idle talk. I am very serious.”

My brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to wake up and see the serious threat same-sex marriage and civil unions are to our Catholic Church in America.

If marriage is legally redefined, it may one day be considered bigoted to teach in Catholic Schools that marriage is the union of one man and one woman; also, Catholic clergy who refuse to marry same sex couples will probably lose our right to witness marriages.

But while all of this is very sobering and scary to think about, we’ve got the truth on our side, as well as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, who is with us at all times.

May the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity give us the wisdom we need to see the truth, the courage we need to suffer if need be rather than compromise the truths of our Faith, and the virtue and charity we need to transform our culture with the Gospel message.

Homily — 3rd Sunday Lent A Feb. 24, 2008

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Homily — 3rd Sunday Lent A Feb. 24, 2008

This past fall, at my semi-annual checkup, the dentist took an X-Ray of my front teeth, which I guess is something they only do once every 10 years or so.

Now, if there’s one thing I pride myself on, it’s good dental hygiene. I brush twice a day, and floss before I go to bed; I think in the past 15 years I’ve had only one cavity filled.

So I was really shocked when at the end of my cleaning, the dentist looked at the X-Ray of my front teeth and said “Oh, that one looks blown out. I think it’s too far gone for a root canal; you’ll probably have to get it taken out.”

I couldn’t believe it. I said to him “But it doesn’t even hurt me.”

He said “you better make an appointment with the specialist as soon as possible — maybe he can still save it.” And he gave me a referral to see this oral surgeon for a root canal.

But a few weeks later, the morning that I’m scheduled for the root canal, the oral surgeon’s office calls me up and says “I’m sorry, but the doctor says your tooth is too far gone, you’re going to have to make a new appointment for an extraction.”

Well, this was not looking good. I tried one last time, saying “Tell the dentist that it’s not hurting me at all — ask him if I just keep it in and maybe it’ll never bother me.”

The receptionist came back to the phone a minute later and said “He said you better be pro-active with it, because if you’re not, and it starts bothering you, not only will it be the worst toothache you can imagine, it will also be a much worse problem to fix.”

And so, early last month, I went down the road to Dr. Domingo’s office to get this bad front tooth of mine pulled.

So they put me in the dentists chair, the Dr. comes in and shakes my hand, and then he gives me a good shot of Novocaine which numbed my whole mouth up. And then, . . . . well, I’ll spare you the rest of the details of what happened next!

Now, getting a tooth pulled without getting put to sleep wasn’t physically painful for me at all;

What was Psychologically painful was the thought that this nice front tooth of mine, which for the past 40 years I’ve smiled at people with, and bit into apples with, and which never caused me any problems was being brutally yanked out of me never to be there again.

And right after it had been extracted, I guess the Doctor noticed I looked a bit pale, because he said to me in a soothing voice: “You feeling a little light headed Father?” “Yeah, a little” I said.

And before I knew it, he had reclined the chair all the way back so I was laying down flat, and two nurses were swooping down on me, one with a moist facecloth for my forehead and one with an oxygen mask for my nose.

And so I laid there, taking a couple deep breaths of oxygen, and after a few minutes I felt much better, and then they put the fake one in and I went home.

And here I am a month later (smile). And so far, it hasn’t fallen out while I’m preaching just like they promised me wouldn’t!

Now, you may be thinking “Father, how does all that have anything to do with our Faith? Well, it has everything to do with what’s going on later this week at our parish.

This Saturday, March 1, we are having our 5th Annual All Day Confessions from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. here in the Church. Two to four priests will be available at all times those 8 hours next Saturday to hear your confession — that’s your confession.
And getting to confession for many of us, maybe for most of us, is like pulling teeth — in more ways than one.

In the bulletin this weekend, inside this booklet called “A guide to Confession,” you will find an X-Ray of your soul.

There it is: “An Aid to Your Examination of Conscience.” There’s the 10 Commandments — think of them as Ten “Teeth” God has given you to keep clean and healthy. And under each commandment is a list of ways a person can commonly sin against that Commandment. All total is listed 54 sins which definitely bring serious spiritual decay upon our Soul.

And just as my dentist needed to say to me “You see that spot on that tooth there on the X-Ray? That one’s going to need to be extracted;” So I as your priest need to say to some of you “You see this sin you committed against this commandment here? That’s going to need to be extracted by a good confession.”

And so for those of you who need it, I want to refer you to one of a dozen or so specialists who will be available this coming Saturday March 1st : here they are listed in this week’s bulletin: (list priests)

All of these specialists will make the extraction of those sins of yours as painless as possible.

But we still realize that a kind priest is not enough. For some of us, going to confession is even more intimidating an experience than going for dental surgery. And so because of this, to nurse you along, we’ll have soothing sacred music playing softly in the Church all day, we’ll have big signs telling you clearly where to wait for each priest, we’ll have easy to follow instructions on how to go to confession if it’s been a long time, we’ll have the option of screens set up in every confessional if you choose to be anonymous and not go face to face, we even now have two dozen people, including a dozen cloistered nuns, praying daily for you to make that Confession you’ve put off for so long.

And best of all, to help you before, during, and after your confession, we have Jesus here in the Blessed Sacrament looking after you, so happy that you’re being reconciled to Him.

So, do yourself a favor. Take ten or twenty minutes out of your day next Saturday, March 1st, some time between 8 am and 4 pm, bring this X-Ray with you, and let one of the good Fathers there treat you before it’s too late and that sin really becomes a problem, perhaps an eternal problem.

And I promise you that unlike me, after your sins have been extracted, you’ll leave that confessional with all the teeth you came in with, and a Big Smile on your face as well! :-)