Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mother Teresa, Blessed John Paul II and Retreat

Lake Junalaski, NC
Starting last weekend, we had an inspiring display on Mother Teresa, celebrated the our patron Pope John Paul II and then I left for retreat. In others words, I have been inspired from every direction.
Display about Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Saturday and Sunday of October 20 and 21, we received, and opened to the public, a traveling display on the life, spirituality and message of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Through we had a small response from the boarder community, those who attended benefited from the experience. Also, any petitions written will eventually be placed on Blessed Teresa's tomb. This gave all of us a chance to understand more deeply the life of our patroness and reflect on how we may better honor her in our daily works.

Feast of Blessed John Paul II
The feast of Blessed John Paul II was October 22.  On Saturday, two of our parishioners with polish heritage prepared special food for everyone after Mass.  On Sunday, we had a special potluck with everyone to celebrate our Patron.  There is always a beautiful spirit when people from both Masses are together for an event.  We continue to get to know each other and food does not need a language.

A full church with full stomachs
After this very blessed event, I was on retreat for four days with the priest of the diocese of Knoxville.  We stayed at Lake Junalaski outside of Maggie Valley, North Carolina.  It was truly a beautiful and serene experience.  Our retreat Master mentioned on the first evening that our demons like to travel too, but we should just send to another room for the week.  I like that image.  It was easy to avoid the demons when walking amidst such beauty.  The color of the leaves, the serenity of the water, or the movement of the fowl, all gave me a sense of God's grander of love and mercy.  Believe you, me, ... I am deeply grateful that God is more merciful than just and loves us just as we are this moment!!
Reflecting the Grander of God

So today, I feel renewed, blessed and loved.  What more could I ask for!!  God is good ... All the time.  All the time ... God is good.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Full Life

Godfrey, Fr. Aaron, myself and Bishop Stika at JP II
If time passing quickly is a sign of a full and happy life, then I am living one.  I cannot believe a month has passed without a new blog.  My life is full of joy.  The Holy Spirit is so active, that I find every day full and in the evening I am a happy tired.  So let me share with you two sides of ministry here.  One being parish and pastoral responsibilities and the other realities of individuals in our mission.
2012 First Communion and Confirmation Group of JP II

Parish event wise, Blessed John Paul II Catholic Mission in Rutledge celebrated Confirmation.  This was an incredible event.  Four people made first communion and 22 others were confirmed, with some of them also making their first communion.  The Bishop also blessed the homemade altar.  Over 190 people were present, with many standing outside under the tent or by the front entrance.  Afterwards was a terrific meal with a Bluegrass Band featuring one of our parishioners followed by a Mexican Band featuring other parishioners.  It was a wonderful day in the life of our mission.
Mike and his Bluegrass group

This was followed by the start of faith formation under Fr. Aaron's direction in both parishes.  We also had an information booth at the Luttrell Bluegrass festival and sold tamales and fried pickles at the Heritage Festival.  Both events were great exposure for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Mission of Maynardville.
Luttrel Blue Grass Festival

In between, I traveled to St. Malachy Parish in Geneseo, IL who has adopted us in Maynardville.  The Brown's also traveled with me.  We were meet with great grace.  We are very thankful for all they are doing to support our budding mission. Also, I traveled to Cincinnati Headquarters to speak at the President's Dinner for some of our Glenmary Home Mission donors.  This too, was a real pleasure.  I meet several family members of some of our deceased members.  Their stories were edifying to me personally.
Speaking to President's Dinner
Bishop Stika

In the midst of this, Blessed John Paul II Catholic Mission has held several meetings concerning purchase of possible land for a permanent church.  Keep us in prayer over this matter.

On the level of parishioners, there are many personal stories happening.  We just had a funeral last Monday.  We have a woman with cancer who is having a hard time getting to her treatments. Another has had her mother die in Mexico and neither her or other family members are not able to travel to Mexico for the burial.  This Sunday six members will be confirmed at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

Thus, in the midst of the planning and activities of the mission, individuals need pastoral care and support.  Now you know why my life is full.  I thank God for allowing me to walk with those in sorrow, plan for a future growth, and be present those affirming their faith through the Sacraments. May God continue to shower us with His blessings and allow our Glenmary mission team to respond with grace and joy.