PREPARING FOR EASTER: In last weekend's Gospel we heard the Parable of the Prodigal Son, surely one of the most well-known (and well loved) of Bible stories. Who hasn't heard the story and been struck by the UNBELIEVABLE love and mercy exhibited to the prodigal son by the father. Unless one is denser than the singularity from which the entire universe emerged in the Big Bang (and let me tell you, THAT is pretty darn DENSE!) it should be obvious that the father in the parable is meant to represent THE FATHER. (God, that is.) And just as obviously Jesus told this parable to teach us that NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING is beyond the reach of God‟s mercy. Let me say that again NOTHING IS BEYOND THE REACH OF GOD'S MERCY. NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! All we need do is, like the prodigal son, swallow our pride and come to him. Even if, again like the prodigal son, our motives for doing so are less than perfect.
We hear this particular Gospel during Lent precisely because this season is a time to take inventory of our sins and failings. NOT for the purpose of wallowing in our unworthiness, but rather so that we can take advantage of the incredible mercy God is DYING to show us; or more accurately, for which His Son DIED to show us.After owning up to own sins we are challenged to swallow our stubborn pride and COME to the Father as the prodigal did. We as Catholics do that, of course, in the Sacrament of Penance. Perhaps YOU have not taken advantage of this incredible gift in some time. Perhaps it has been many years. Don't worry! It is NEVER too late (at least as long as you are breathing that is) to seek HIS mercy. Maybe THIS is the time to follow the prodigal son's example. To quote Saint Paul “Behold, now is the favourable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2; emphases mine).
As the Paschal Triduum draws ever nearer the opportunities for confession are dwindling. Three penance services remain: Thursday 11 April, Saint Raymond in Donegal at 7pm; Saturday 13 April, Saint John the Baptist in Scottdale, at 11 am; Monday 15 April, Saint Aloysius, at 7pm. There will NOT be confessions next Saturday evening. The priest celebrating 6pm Mass will be occupied with last minute preparations for the Palm Sunday liturgy and the other two priests will be occupied with their own liturgies. (Obviously the priest celebrating the 5pm Mass can't possibly be in two places at once, and since the 4 pm Mass will have the Solemn Procession that priest won't be free until after 5:30.) However, remember that our priests are available by appointment anytime for confession.
MAMA MIA! Last weekend witnessed Geibel's FANTASTIC production of Mama Mia, the musical based on the music of Sweden's number one export of the 1970's ABBA. I was told that Geibel's Music Maestro (and our parishioner!) Nick Bell had patiently waited 20 years for the rights of the musical to become available. After his stroke two years back he had sadly made the comment that “now I will never be able to do Mama Mia.” But God had other plans and Nick made a nearly miraculous recovery!
One of our ACTIVE parishioners Echo Schaffer (she was baptised at the 2015 Easter Vigil and now is a cantor, choir member, and youth group member) played - FABULOUSLY! - Sophie Sheridan, one of the leads. A number of other parishioners also were involved in the show. Finally, a certain individual you all know and love (know, definitely; love, well that's pushing it!) made his stage debut playing the Greek Orthodox priest Fr. Alexandrios. Unfortunately his “performance” was greeted by a rain of rotten tomatoes!
COVER PHOTO: This past week I finally got around to purchasing a new scanner. Last year I destroyed my previous scanner when it was hidden under a pile of clothes on my bedroom floor and I unknowingly (unknown, that is, until I heard the sickening sound of glass cracking underfoot) stepped on it. Armed with my new toy, I have been scanning piles of old photos. As a packrat I can't bear to just throw things away so I compromise by keeping a digital copy and disposing of the hard copies that clutter up my life. In the course of this chore I found this pic from the early aughts, when I was invited to the Jewel to speak to the IC youth group. I wonder if any of these kids are still around …
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