Greetings from St. Columban Catholic Church

Trip Date: March 11-21, 2019
Departure City: Kansas City, MO (other cities available)
Price: $3490.00

For additional information, click here.

A Duty Sanctioned - One of the things that I have always found endearing to the history of our parish is the contribution of its families since the earliest days. The church was built on determination, sweat, and much faith on the part of our ancestors. Therefore, I believe the legacy of the building they have left to us is important to preserve as well as the memory of what they needed to do to accomplish a duty in their time. For this purpose, I asked parishioner Brenda O'Halloran to write a book based on the story of us. The book is entitled A Duty Sanctioned. You may read an excerpt by clicking on the book image here. We hope you will purchase your very own copy of the book to read in its entirety and to also help with this very worthwhile fundraising endeavor! TO ORDER: Contact Kim at the church office (email subject: Book Order). We prefer that you pick your order up at the church office, but mailing options are available (applicable shipping costs apply).

GUIDE TO OUR STATUES: A guide is available on this website to help you learn about the statues in the church. Mouse over the General Information tab at the top of any page to see a dropdown menu with a link to the guide or click here...

HAMILTON/GALLATIN MASSES - Beginning June 12th, one of our former pastors, Fr. Tom Hermes, will become the new pastor at Sacred Heart in Hamilton and Mary Immaculate in Gallatin. Fr. Jack Zupez SJ has been living at the rectory in Hamilton for the last couple years. Beginning in June, Fr. Jack will again take up residence at our parish as he continues his primary ministry in the area prisons.

RESOURCES - Here are some resources available to aid us in being more knowledgeable about our faith. Please consider the following to determine which might be the best for you. --Fr. Kneib

Flocknotes - an email service which sends a passage of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, gospels, or the diary of St. Faustina to you daily.

Magazines and Online Print - The following are available online and in print. Please click on the link or call the number to learn how to subscribe.

November 11, 2018 - 5 Things to Help You Avoid Purgatory

Scripture Readings for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - I Kings 17:10-16; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44

November 4, 2018 - Thank you to Maggie and Dorion Moore for their help preparing our youth to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. Congratulations to Alex Webb, son of parishioner Janet Webb, on making a profession of faith and being admitted into full communion with the Catholic Church. The insert in today's bulletin is entitled Praying for the Dead and Gaining Indulgences During November. Please take a few minutes to read this article this week to more deeply understand the Church's spiritual tradition of praying for those who have died (Church Suffering).

Scripture Readings for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deuteronomy 6:2-6; Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 12:28-34

October 28, 2018 - This week we celebrate All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. The biblical Greek and Hebrew words in Scripture most often translated as "saints" literally mean "holy ones" (Acts 9:13) or "faithful ones" (1 Sm 2:9). The Latin sanctus ("holy") gives us the English word saint. In Catholic tradition, the word saints can be used in several ways, which are all reflected in Scripture. St. Paul sometimes addressed his letters to "the saints" in a particular city (see Eph 1:1; Col 1:2). In this case, he was speaking of all Christians as the "holy ones," because they have now been made holy by their baptism and are striving to become more holy. However, when the Church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints on November 1, she uses the word 'saint' with the more common meaning. These are the saints being honored that day: All those human beings who have left this life and are now in heaven with God - the ones whose names we know, and the ones whose names we don't know. On All Souls Day, we not only remember the dead, but we apply our efforts, through prayer, almsgiving, and the Mass, to their release from Purgatory. There are two plenary indulgences attached to All Souls Day, one for visiting a church and another for visiting a cemetery. While the actions are performed by the living, the merits of the indulgences are applicable only to the souls in Purgatory. Since a plenary indulgence removes all of the temporal punishment for sin, which is the reason why souls are in Purgatory in the first place, applying a plenary indulgence to one of the Holy Souls in Purgatory means that the Holy Soul is released from Purgatory and enters Heaven. (More on this next week.)

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE OCTOBER 28 - Jeremiah 31:7-9; Hebrews 5:1-6; Mark 10:46-52

October 21, 2018 - This past Sunday in Rome, Pope Francis canonized 7 new saints: Pope Paul VI (1897-1978), Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980), Father Vincenzo Romano (1751-1831), Sister Nazaria Ignacia de Santa Teresa de Jesus March Mesa (1889-1943), Father Francesco Spinelli (1853-1913), Sister Maria Katharina Kasper (1820-1898), Nunzio Sulprizio (1817-1836) - For details on each, click here.

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE OCTOBER 21 - Isaiah 53:10-11; Hebrews 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45

October 14, 2018 - SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE OCTOBER 14 - Wisdom 7:7-11; Hebrews 4:12-13; Mark 10:17-30

October 7, 2018 - "The month of October each year is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary. This is primarily due to the fact that the liturgical feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated annually on October 7th. It was instituted to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary in gratitude for the protection that she gives the Church in answer to the praying of the Rosary by the faithful." (Rev. Matthew R. Mauriello, Source: According to Catholic tradition and history, St. Dominic received the Holy Rosary directly from the Blessed Virgin in 1206. He had been praying and doing penances because of his failure to defeat the Albigensian heresy. Mary appeared and consoled and encouraged him. She also gave him a mighty weapon, the Rosary. Because this was a new way of praying, our Blessed Lady taught him how to say the rosary and asked him to preach this devotion and to teach others to pray it as well. Since that time many victories, both personal and public, have been credited to the recitation of and mediation on the Holy Rosary. Excerpt from

NOTE: "How to pray the Rosary" pamphlets are available in the lit racks in the back of church.

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE OCTOBER 7 - Genesis 2:18-24; Hebrews 2:9-11; Mark 10:2-16

September 30, 2018 - This week's gospel recounts an instance of demonic influence. It reminds us also of the existence of what is often called spiritual warfare, meaning the fight that Satan wages against humanity seeking their spiritual ruin. This is one of the reasons we pray the St. Michael prayer after Masses. The origins of this powerful prayer is as follows: One day, after celebrating Mass, the aged Pope Leo XIII was in conference with the Cardinals when suddenly he sank to the floor in a deep swoon. However, after a short interval the Holy Father regained consciousness and exclaimed with great emotion: "Oh, what a horrible picture I have been permitted to see!" He had been shown a vision of evil spirits who had been released from Hell and their efforts to destroy the Church. But in the midst of the horror, the archangel St. Michael appeared and cast Satan and his legions into the abyss of hell. Soon afterward, Pope Leo XIII composed a prayer to St. Michael, imploring his protection for the Church. The commonly known version of the St. Michael prayer we pray at the end of Mass also has a much longer version as well.

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE SEPTEMBER 30, 2018 - Numbers 11:25-29; James 5:1-6; Mark 9:38-43,45,47-48

September 23, 2018 - Holy Land Collection - Because we have a missionary collection and also the Fall Festival this month, I am going to suspend the September last Sunday of the month collection for Holy Land Christians. If you still want to make a donation to the Christians next week, you may put it in the normal collection basket. It must be clearly designated what it is meant for.

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE SEPTEMBER 23, 2018 - Wisdom2:12, 17-20; James 3:16-4:3; Mark 9:30-37

September 16, 2018 - This week in the gospel Jesus leads His apostles to the region of Caesarea Philippi. This represents the farthest, northern point we see Jesus go to in the gospels. I was able to visit this site in my last pilgrimage. Today there is not much left of the few buildings once there. The head waters of the Jordan River still flow through this area. In the time of Jesus a pagan temple was built there which butted up to a large rock cliff. The pagans believed a cave at the base of the cliff was the door to underworld. Using this imagery Jesus tells Peter he is to be the rock upon which the Church is to be founded and that the gates of the underworld (ie Hell) shall not prevail against it. Seeing the immense rock would remind Peter he is to be as strong and resilient in his leadership as the first pope like the cliff set before him.

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE SEPTEMBER 16, 2018 - Isaiah 50:5-9a; James 2:14-18; Mark 8:27-35

September 9, 2018 - A wonderful way to practice devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows during this month dedicated to her is through what are called the 7 sorrows of Mary. These 7 moments in the life of Mary recall more acutely the suffering she endured, especially during her Son's passion. Thus she knows what it is like to live in a world with pain and suffering. The 7 sorrows are as follows:
The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34-35)
The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13)
The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem (Luke 2:43-45)
The Meeting of Mary and Jesus on his Way to Calvary (traditional)
Standing at the Foot of the Cross (John 19:25)
Mary Receives the Body of Jesus Taken Down from the Cross (Matthew 27:57-59)
The Burial of Jesus (John 19:40-42)
A traditional way to pray through the sorrows is similar to the rosary. While meditating on each sorrow pray seven Hail Mary's. There are also resources promoting devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows at the Pieta statue in the back of church.

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE SEPTEMBER 9, 2018 - Isaiah 35:4-7a; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37

September 2, 2018 - The month of September is dedicated to Mary under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows, the feast being celebrated September 15th. This devotion to Mary is one that is dear to me, and I believe gives us another important perspective to remember when imploring the intercession of our heavenly mother during the trials of this life. I offer you the following excerpt from the book Devotion to the Mother of Sorrows: The sorrows of the Mother of God surpassed the power of human endurance. It is the unanimous opinion of spiritual writers that beneath the pressure of her inconceivable sufferings, the Blessed Virgin's life was miraculously preserved. We can gain some idea of the immensity of the dolors of our Blessed Mother by considering the conditions that imparted special bitterness to her sufferings. Placed in similar circumstances with the Blessed Virgin Mary, what mother would not have longed to die with her son? But Mary could not die with Jesus, although union with Him had become so much a part of her nature that it actually constituted her life. Jesus, her Son, was the bliss of her heart, the sun of her existence. How could Mary live without Jesus! Still, she must see Him die, without being able to die with Him! What inexpressible grief! Another circumstance that increased the anguish of the Mother of God was the realization that her sufferings increased those of her Divine Son; that these were, in fact, some of the bitterest pangs He had to endure. It was His will that His Blessed Mother should form a part of His sufferings. When we consider the boundless love with which He loved His Mother, we will understand that to meet her on His way to Calvary, to behold her beneath the Cross, was truly one of His most acute tortures. Mary knew this. What pain for her maternal heart to know that she must be one of the causes of His sufferings!

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE SEPTEMBER 2, 2018 - Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-8; James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

August 26, 2018 - Friends, no doubt many of us are aware of newly revealed crimes of sexual abuse committed by some clergy in the dioceses of Pennsylvania over a period of decades, how in many cases it was covered up by the local bishops of that time, and that crimes of abuse have even been perpetrated by a former American cardinal, Theodore McCarrick. Abuse of this such is the most heinous one may commit and is gravely sinful. Jesus Himself makes this clear when He professes His love for the innocent (Cf. Mt. 19:14) and detestation of those who bring harm to them (Cf. Mt. 18:6). As we have learned over the last decade and beyond, such crimes are not confined to only one state but have been perpetrated in many dioceses across our country and throughout our world. Many in the Church may ask themselves what we in the pews and local parishes may do in response to these types of things. To be honest, this has also been a question on my mind as well. In this week's homily, I will elaborate more on this topic. But for the sake of this column, I would like to propose something we might do which has ancient roots in our faith; namely the practice of making reparation. Reparation is the repairing or making up for sins committed against God and neighbor. By uniting our prayers, works and sufferings to those of Jesus, we can actually make some reparation for our offenses against the justice of God that sins deserve. Because we are members of the Body of Christ as St. Paul says (1 Cor. 12:27), our offerings become part of the work of our Lord which was to make reparation for the sins of the whole world. Therefore, our offering not only makes reparation for our sins, but for the sins of others as well. This week, I propose as a parish we might cause some good to come of all of this situation and for us to make reparation for these sins of fellow Christians through fasting, prayer, and offering up sacrifices. 1) I ask that we observe Friday, August 31, as a penitential day of fasting and abstinence from meat as we do on the Friday's of Lent. 2) The Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be prayed after the end of every Mass this week. You are encouraged to pray it in your home too. 3) Take the opportunity to offer up little sacrifices this week and offer them as acts of reparation to God. This can be done in many ways. Perhaps small things we give up or deny ourselves, perhaps doing a task or job without complaint, perhaps going out of our way to be charitable towards those we would rather not be, etc. I hope in these ways we as a local parish and members of the Body of Christ might be able to contribute to healing of the wound of this crime and scandal in our Church.

August 19, 2018 - The Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano: In the 8th century, a monk was saying Mass and doubted that the bread and wine really does become the Body and Blood of Jesus. At the consecration, to the great surprise of all present, the host visibly became live flesh and the wine live blood. Both have been preserved till this day at Lanciano. Numerous scientific examinations have been made over the centuries of these sacred species. The following are the most recent conclusions from tests done in the 1970's:

  • The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
  • The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.
  • In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.
  • The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which was uncovered in the Shroud of Turin).
  • In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of fresh blood.
  • In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.

The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE AUGUST 19 - Proverbs 9:1-6, Ephesians 5:15-20, John 6:51-58

August 12, 2018 - The belief that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven has been with the Church from the beginning and thus is found among the Apostolic Tradition of the Church. Where this took place, whether in Jerusalem or perhaps in Ephesus where St. John lived, and in what state Mary left this world are not definitively agreed upon. It is of certainty that God fittingly chose to bring the sinless Mary from this world to His heavenly realm not only because of her role in salvation history but also as a sign of hope for the just that after their deaths they too will be united body and soul in Christ for eternity. Although this belief in the assumption had always been held by the Church it was not declared official dogma, or a core belief of the Catholic faith, until 1950. In the document Munificentissimus Deus the following was declared by Pope Pius XII along with the bishops of the world: "By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith." (MD 44-45)

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE AUGUST 12 - 1 Kings 19:4-8, Ephesians 4:30-5:2, John 6:41-51

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE AUGUST 5 - Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15; Ephesians 4:17, 20-24; John 6:24-35

July 29 & August 5, 2018 - Recently, in the Gospel we saw the shepherd's heart Jesus possesses for His flock whom He had compassion upon and "taught them many things." In light of this I encouraged you to consider three ways we might weekly grow in our knowledge of the faith, especially through the teachings of the Church who is our mother and shepherd.
READ THE BIBLE: The gospels in particular are great for daily reflection. If you don't know where to start perhaps reflect on the past Sunday's gospel. The Sunday scripture verses are written in the bulletin. You can also access daily and weekend Mass readings by going to and click on the calendar on the right side of the page. Among the bibles in print, I recommend to you either of the Navarre bible series (Scepter Press). Bible books in this series may be bought by individual book or by testament. Also, The Catholic Study Bible (3rd edition, Oxford Press).
CATECHISM: A good catechism helps to fill in the gaps of our knowledge of the faith on a wide array of topics. I recommend the Compendium: Catechism of the Catholic Church (A book which helps to make the Catechism of the Catholic Church more accessible to the average person) or The Missionary's Catechism (by Russell Ford).
CATHOLIC MEDIA: It is helpful to have a Catholic perspective on many of the social stories and issues of our day. A number of resources are available in this area. I recommend the following. A) The National Catholic Register newspaper ( or 1-800-421-3230). B) Bishop Robert Barron, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Bishop Barron is one of the foremost Catholic evangelizers of our time commenting on everything from morals to movies. Look for his channel on Youtube by searching Bishop Robert Barron. C) Catholic radio, based out of the Kansas City area Catholic radio programming is a great way to hear about a variety of Catholic issues and topics. Tune into 1090 AM KEXS or visit

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE JULY 29 - 2 Kings 4:42-44, Ephesians 4:1-6, John 6:1-15

July 22, 2018 - Reminder of the informational meeting regarding the March pilgrimage to the Holy Land after the 6PM Mass (approximately 6:30) on Tuesday, July 24, in the Knights of Columbus hall.

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE - Jeremiah 23:1-6, Ephesians 2:13-18, Mark 6:30-34

July 15, 2018 - Friends, I invite you to attend an informational meeting regarding the March pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Tony from Good Shepherd Travel will be present to provide information and answer questions. Attending the presentation does not mean you are committing to going on the trip; so even if you are unsure or just want to know more, please come. The meeting will take place after the 6PM Mass (approximately 6:30) on Tuesday, July 24, in the Knights of Columbus hall.

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE - Amos 7:12-15, Ephesians 1:3-14, Mark 6:7-13

July 8, 2018 - BETHLEHEM FUND - Last weekend, we took up our first collection for the Christians in the Holy Land. We are calling this the Bethlehem Fund. Last week, you generously donated $1,156.00 to support these Christians. Thank you!

SUNDAY'S SCRIPTURE - Ez 2:2-5, 2Cor 12:7-10, Mk 6:1-6

July 1, 2018 - Friends, last weekend I spoke to you about my intention to take up a second collection the last weekend of every month for the Christians in Bethlehem. In the Holy Land, Christians make up only 2 percent of the entire population. Lack of economic opportunity and policy bias has caused many Christians to leave the Holy Land and look for a better life. Those that choose to stay and maintain a Christian presence in the land our Lord made holy do so at personal cost to themselves. As a means of supporting our Christian brothers and sisters amidst their plight a second collection will be taken up. The olive wood nativity scene by the side altar of St. Anthony is one I brought back from the Holy Land. It was carved by the Bethlehem artist Munir Twemeh. It serves as a reminder of the Christians in the Holy Land.

June 24, 2018 - We will begin taking up a collection on the last Sunday of each month in our parish to send to the Christians in the Holy Land. The Fall Festival will be held on Sunday, September 30, this year.

June 10 & 17, 2018 - Friends, I will be returning to the Holy Land in March of 2019. You may have noticed already materials around church advertising the trip. If you would like to join me on this deeply moving pilgrimage to the land of Christ please take one of the brochures in church. You may find more details here. See the testimony of two parishioners who went with me last time:

"There is one thing for certain and that is that Good Shepherd Travel is an extremely well-organized business. I was overwhelmed with the entire experience and the travels through the Holy Land was definitely an eye-opener and although I am a "cradle Catholic" the life of Our Lord came ALIVE. One of the things that seemed to touch and move me deeply was the boat ride across The Sea of Galilee. We boarded the boat just as the sun was setting. It felt as if Christ had wrapped His Being around me. The afternoon that we were in The Church of The Holy Sepulchre was another extremely moving experience for me. In particular, touching the spot where His crucifix stood, where Christ took His last breath, I had the feeling of His Presence entering my body. I felt renewed. If anyone is considering a pilgrimage to The Holy Land, Good Shepherd Travel would be the Agency to use. We have complete satisfaction with our trip. Our tour guide was excellent and our driver amazing!" -- Nicole (Schneider) Martin

"The trip has had profound effect on my faith! Hard to put into words. It's like a special connection now, a feeling I didn't have before. The scriptures have a deeper meaning and I can relate to words and stories in scripture. Listen to all advice given by travel company. They know what they are talking about. It's a lot of walking and physical exertion. The culture, food and accommodations are much different than ours in America. But I would do it again in a heartbeat! Awesome trip, so glad I went!" -- Chris (Wilson) Shearer

June 3, 2018 - This month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1671, Jesus revealed His Sacred Heart as a symbol of His love for mankind, saying to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, "My divine Heart is so inflamed with love for mankind... that it can no longer contain within itself the flames of its burning charity and must spread them abroad by your means." She described that His Heart was on fire and surrounded by a crown of thorns. Our Lord told her that the flames represented His love for humanity, and the thorns represented man's sinfulness and ingratitude. Jesus informed her that her mission was to establish devotion to His Most Sacred Heart, and He revealed twelve promises that He would bestow upon all those who practice the devotion (see the parish Facebook page). A wonderful way to invite the Lord into our homes is to have an image of the Sacred Heart enthroned. To "enthrone" simply means to display. By displaying the Sacred Heart image in a prominent place, and by dedicating our families to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we profess that Christ is King of our hearts and that we desire Him to be present with us always. Please know that upon your request, I would be happy to visit anyone's home to perform this rite of enthronement.

May 27, 2018 - Today, we celebrate Trinity Sunday. One of the Church Fathers who made great contributions to development of Church theology regarding the Trinity is St. Athanasius. Saint Athanasius was born circa 296 AD to a Christian family of Alexandria, Egypt. He became the 4th century Bishop of Alexandria, and one of the most influential of the Early Church Fathers. He is best known for his tireless defense of the full divinity of Jesus Christ and God the Son's equality with God the Father during the troubled period of the Arian heresy. Arian's denied that Jesus was divine. It was through this saint's efforts that the nature of Jesus Christ, both fully man and fully God, was clearly articulated in the Nicene Creed in 325 AD.

May 20, 2018 - Friends, I want to share with you some changes coming to clergy assignments in our area. Beginning June 12th, one of our former pastors, Fr. Tom Hermes, will become the new pastor at Sacred Heart in Hamilton and Mary Immaculate in Gallatin. As a result of this, I will go back to having solely the responsibility of St. Columban. Fr. Phil also will be leaving these parishes for another assignment. I want to thank Fr. Phil for helping us out at St. Columban's and wish him the best in his new assignment. If you would like to write to him, his new address will be coming soon. Fr. Jack Zupez SJ, who lived here for awhile, has been living at the rectory in Hamilton for the last couple years. Beginning in June Fr. Jack will again take up residence at our parish as he continues his primary ministry in the area prisons.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit on Pentecost - Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

May 13, 2018 - Happy Mother's Day! We give thanks today for all those women who, through their motherliness, sacrifice of themselves to benefit us. One of my favorite poems regarding mothers comes from the late Cardinal Mindszenty. "The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honour of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral - a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body. The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation... What on God's good earth is more glorious than this; to be a mother?" --Cardinal Joszef Mindszenty

May 6, 2018 - This month is dedicated to honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. The tradition of dedicating the month of May to Our Lady is centuries old, dating back at least 700 years. The reason for dedicating May to Our Lady is associated with the particular season of the year. May is certainly known for its springtime beauty. It is associated with flowers and blossoms. It brings to mind the idea of promise and hope, of new life. In the ancient, western world too, May was connected with the beginning of new life. This ancient belief led to May being associated with the motherhood. It is for this reason that Mother's Day is celebrated in May. This connection between May and motherhood led Christians to adopt May as the month of our Lady, the Mother of God and our heavenly Mother. She brought life into the world by giving birth to her Son, Jesus, who brought about a new spring.

April 22 & update April 29, 2018 - Friends, we will begin to use the restored altar rail beginning the first weekend in May. We have had the option to kneel when we receive Communion for a few years now and so the use of the rail will not be much of a change in that regard. I have always encouraged you to prayerfully consider adopting this posture for Communion for many reasons, including the following: 1) It causes our body and our belief to be in greater harmony. Our belief says the Eucharist is God. Our body recognizes that by kneeling in honor. 2) We kneel as a posture of prayer and in recognition of the sacred. This reasoning is consistent with the posture already in place at Mass, especially when we kneel during the consecration. 3) It reminds us that the Eucharist we are receiving is not usual, ordinary, common place but supernatural. Kneeling at the rail or standing at the rail are both options that the faithful may choose. No one will be forced or pressured to do one over the other. It is also worth admitting that some because of health may not be able to kneel. Please consider and reflect on these points as we approach the date of transition.

Congratulations to our 14 First Communicants who received the Eucharist on April 22. Thank you to Brenda O'Halloran and Rochelle Koehly for their help in preparing these children for this moment.

April 15, 2018 - Last week in my homily on Divine Mercy Sunday, I encouraged us to practice works of mercy in order to better become ambassadors of the mercy God gives us. The Church helps us by directing us to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. These specific works guide us in practical ways to carry out our mission of mercy. I give you two of the spiritual works of mercy for your consideration this week. 1) Counseling the doubtful - Everyone has moments of doubt in their faith journey. Nevertheless, we should always remember that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and turn to him along our way. Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may eventually become wise." (Prov 19:20) The Cross of Christ "the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." (1 Cor 1:25) Has someone asked you for advice? Orient your response to Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Follow Christ with the witness of your life so that others may see God's love revealed in your actions. Accompany a friend who is struggling with believing to join a parish group for service or faith formation, share a book you found useful in dealing with your friend's faith concern, and worship at Sunday Mass. 2) Instructing the ignorant - Learn about our faith and be open to talking with others about our beliefs. There is always something more to discover about our faith. Go on a service trip or short term mission trip. No time? Donate to support someone on their service trip. Volunteer to help with religious education programs at your parish. Invite someone to go to mass with you this weekend. Know your faith! Read through the catechism or other faith building materials to find out more about the Catholic faith and how to live it.

April 8, 2018 - Today, we celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy, in which we are encouraged to recommit our trust in the Lord and His mercy and accompany this by performing merciful deeds. In His revelations to St. Faustina, Our Lord asked for a special prayer and meditation on His Passion each afternoon at the three o'clock hour, the hour that recalls His death on the cross. "At three o'clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion" (Diary of St. Faustina, 1320). This is a simple yet powerful opportunity to unite ourselves daily with the Lord's sacrifice for us, one which in my own personal practice has born much fruit. As a means of imploring the mercy which God extends us on this day, I will hear additional confessions after the 5PM and 8AM Masses this weekend.

April 1, 2018 - He is risen! Alleluia! Happy Easter to all.

Parish Statistics - As we celebrate the Lord's resurrection, I would also like to share with you what in many ways are the fruits of our parish life. Since last Easter, we have had 17 baptisms\conversions to Catholicism, 14 new family registrations, 5 marriages, 21 children made First Communion, 18 received Confirmation, and our school's enrollment has increased for the 5th consecutive year.

Holy Land Presentation - I will offer a presentation on my recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land on Sunday, April 15, after the 10AM Mass and again on Saturday, April 21, after the 5PM Mass. Both presentations will be in the school.

Divine Mercy Sunday - Divine Mercy Sunday falls next Sunday on April 8th. There are a couple of great pamphlets in the racks by the doors explaining the devotion and how we can receive the great promise Jesus made St. Faustina. The Chaplet of Mercy will be prayed after each Mass next weekend. Additional confessions will be heard after the 5pm and 8am Masses. Jesus said, "My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open." - Diary of St. Faustina, par. 699.

March 25, 2018 - Every year on Good Friday the Church around the world takes up a collection to support the Holy Land Christians and care of holy sites. My recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land has given me a deeper appreciation and awareness of the part we can play in supporting this patrimony of our faith which the Holy Land encompasses. Though we may not all be able to visit this land, our duty as Christians compels us to consider what part we can play in preserving and maintaining our heritage. There is not much else direct assistance if we do not. We as a parish have been generous in the past every year regarding this annual collection. Our money and that of others given last year helped to support 29 parishes, 4 orphanages and 3 academic institutions. It kept schools open for more than 10,000 students and supported 120 men in seminary. It helped rehabilitate 80 homes for Christian families to live in and provided senior care facilities to continue in Bethlehem and Nazareth. It created 1500 jobs for Christians and helped preserve 54 holy sites. At St. Columban we are very aware of the desire to pass on our Catholic heritage and our church to future generations. I appeal to that sense of awareness and would encourage you to give to the fullest extent this year to the Holy Land collection as a tangible sign of our unity and our desire to preserve what we have been entrusted with for the future.

March 18, 2018 - The Communion rail was installed earlier this week. It will not be in full use until the kneeling cushion is completed. The majority of this rail was carved around 100 years ago, perhaps by the Gier family. Up until the church restoration, it sat as a decorative piece up against the wall on either side of the sanctuary. The restored rail has been stained, gilded, and had a newly constructed section matched and added on to each end in order to lengthen it. Our thanks to Custom CNC Routing in Cowgill, T & G Millworks in St. Joseph, and Orland Oesch for their hard work in helping us restore this beautiful rail to use once again.

February 25, 2018 - Holy Land Pilgrimage - I will be away until March 9th in the Holy Land. Fr. Pat York will be here for Masses the weekend I am absent. If you have a sacramental emergency, please call Fr. Phil at Hamilton (816-583-1117). Please continue to pray the Litany of Saints as I set forth last week below.

February 18, 2018 - The Lenten season encourages us to renew our spiritual lives and get back to basics to degree. In the way of prayer the Church has long held the praying of litanies. Litany comes from the Greek "lite" and means prayer or intercession. A litany is a well-known and much appreciated form of responsive petition, used in public liturgical services, and in private devotions, for common necessities of the Church, or in calamities - to implore God's aid or to make reparation for sin. We have evidence of litanies being prayed as far back as the 3rd century. One of the oldest and most familiar is the Litany of Saints. Pope St. Gregory the Great led the people of Rome in praying this litany in 590 AD in thanksgiving for the end of a plague. As is the case with most litanies it is cyclical. The beginning of the litany states: Holy Mother of God, pray for us. Holy Virgin of Virgins, pray for us. St. Michael, pray for us. St. Gabriel, pray for us. St. Raphael, pray for us. All ye holy Angels and Archangels, pray for us. All ye holy orders of blessed spirits, pray for us. St. John the Baptist, pray for us. St. Joseph, pray for us. There are many litanies to choose from. Some others include litanies to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Most Holy Name of Jesus, and St. Joseph. Consider the Lenten season as time to grow in this ancient prayer devotion.

February 11, 2018 - During Lent, we are asked to devote ourselves to seeking the Lord in prayer and reading Scripture, to service by giving alms, and to gain self-control through fasting. Many know of the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, but we are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season. In addition, the giving of alms is one way to share God's gifts - not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, all Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence from meat. Violating the Friday abstinence willfully or out of grave indifference constitutes a mortal sin. While the attitudes of conversion and sacrifice are to be appropriately encouraged in Catholics of any age, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat on Fridays are binding upon members from age 14 onwards. I pray this Lenten season may draw us all into a deeper relationship personally with the Lord and elevate our celebration of the Easter season which follows.

February 4, 2018 - This past Friday, we celebrated the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. The day marks the occasion when, according to the scripture, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple 40 days after His birth according to the Law of Moses. The Presentation got its popular name of Candlemas because on this day candles were blessed and a procession was held in the darkened church. During the procession, the Canticle of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32) was sung. Simeon was an old man who had been promised that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. In his Canticle he calls Jesus "A light of revelation to the nations." The candles recall Christ as the light of the world.

February 2nd is also Groundhog Day; a secularized version of certain traditions that were tied over the centuries to the Feast of the Presentation. Making a connection between the light of Candlemass and the often dreary nature of winter, northern Europeans developed their own traditions, often tied to animals - bears, badgers, hedgehogs - that, in early February, were beginning to rouse themselves from their winter slumber. German immigrants to the United States, who had looked to the hedgehog in their homeland, found the groundhog in more ample supply in Pennsylvania. This is the origin of Punxsutawney Phil.

January 28, 2018 - National Catholic Schools Week 2018 will be observed in dioceses around the country January 28 - February 3. This year's theme, "Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed." focuses on the important spiritual, academic and societal contributions provided by a Catholic education. We are very proud of our Catholic school and mission it serves. Thank you to all who contribute in many ways to its success. As a way of spiritual support, I would encourage you in a special way this week to say the following prayer daily: "Almighty Father, You sent forth your Son as a beacon of hope for all people. As Teacher, he has given us the prime example of the importance of education. As disciples, we look to him for inspiration and strength. Thank you for the many sisters, brothers, priests, and laypeople who have dedicated their lives in service to our Catholic schools. Thank you for the teachers and administrators who sustain our schools today. Thank you for the parents who have given support and witness to the importance of Catholic education in their daily lives. Thank you for the students who work hard to further their education. Bless Bishop Hogan Memorial School and the many people who advance our mission. May our building be a home for those who seek to grow in faith, knowledge, and service of others. May our community always support one another and exhibit hospitality to newcomers. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, patroness of Catholic schools, pray for us! Amen."

January 21, 2018 - I wanted to share some news with you regarding one of the final pieces of our restoration. The old Communion rail sections which were present in front of the side altars prior to our work beginning are in the final stages of being restored and decorated. Local craftsmen have been working to extend the length of the rail and stain\gild it. When completed, it will again be quite beautiful. My intention, once the rail work is completed, is to return the rail back to a place of use in the church. When that happens I will extend a full explanation of the spiritual and practical value of using this rail again for Communion.

January 14, 2018 - In this weekend's gospel, John the Baptist points to Jesus and says "Behold the Lamb of God." This phrase should sound familiar as it is repeated by the priest as he holds up the Eucharist right before Communion. Why the Lamb of God though? When the Jews were enslaved in Egypt, God told Moses to take a male lamb without blemish and to sacrifice it for the Passover meal (Ex. 12:5). The lamb's blood was to be placed on the door post so that upon seeing it the Angel of Death would pass them over. Thus through the blood of the lamb they were saved. This explicit instruction by God becomes a prefiguring of Christ's death. He is the new lamb, having come as man without blemish or sin. His blood is shed not on a house doorway, but on the wood of the cross - a doorway to our heavenly salvation. By His blood we too are saved from sin and death. It is with this context in mind that John the Baptist may make his inspired response and title Jesus the true Lamb of God. This same Lamb of God is pointed out to us before Communion at each Mass.

January 7, 2018 - Epiphany Blessing - It is a long standing Catholic tradition at Epiphany to ask God's blessings on our homes. Because the Wise Men were visitors of the Christ Child in His home, we ask God's assistance in our own commitment to Christian hospitality throughout this year; namely to welcome visitors as we would welcome Christ. The prominent, visible sign of the blessing we ask is made by writing above the front door of the house with chalk that has been blessed for this purpose. The following inscription is made: 20 + C + M + B + 18. The numbers are for the current year of 2018. The letters have two meanings: 1) They are the initials of the traditional names of the Three Wise Men: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. 2) They also abbreviate the Latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat which means "May Christ bless the house." The crosses represent the holiness of the Wise Men sanctified by their adoration of the Infant Christ. The inscription is made above the front door so that all who enter and depart this year may enjoy God's blessing. We use chalk to write with because it is a product of clay and recalls the lowly humanity (cf. Gen. 2:7) taken on by Jesus in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

December 31, 2017 - On January 1st the Church's liturgy celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. How fitting that on this octave day after Christmas we are given this Marian title which sums up the Christmas and Incarnation event. An ancient prayer exists called the Sub Tuum. The early Christians understood that Mary, as the mother of Christ's humanity, was to be honored and implored often as Jesus would have us do. The Sub Tuum is oldest prayer we know of directed to the Blessed Virgin Mary and pre-dates the Hail Mary by many centuries. It has existed since at least the mid 200's AD, a time of great turmoil and persecution still in the Christian Faith. I offer the prayer here to you on this Solemnity to pray: We fly to Thy protection, O Holy Mother of God; Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin. Amen

December 24, 2017 - I wish all of you a very merry Christmas. As we mark such a holy event amidst the business of these days, I offer you the following meditation from St. Pio. I hope it serves as a moment of peace, reflection, and remembrance of what we celebrate. The heavenly babe suffers and cries in the crib so that for us suffering would be sweet, meritorious and accepted. He deprives himself of everything in order that we may learn from him the renunciation of worldly goods and comforts. He is satisfied with humble and poor adorers, to encourage us to love poverty, and to prefer the company of the little and simple rather than the great ones of the world. This celestial child, all meekness and sweetness, wishes to impress in our hearts by his example these sublime virtues, so that from a world that is torn and devastated an era of peace and love may spring forth. Even from the moment of his birth he reveals to us our mission, which is to scorn that which the world loves and seeks.

Fourth Sunday of Advent Reflection: When the angel Gabriel told Mary that a special child would be born to her she was filled with joy. She sang a song that began with the words: "My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." Just as the birth of Jesus gave great joy to His mother, so His presence in the world gave joy to those who had non before. He healed them and gave them hope and peace when they believed in Him.

All four candles of the Advent Wreath are lit as we pray: Thank you God for the joy You give us. We ask that as we wait for all Your promises to come true, and for Christ to come again, that You would remain present with us. Help us today, and everyday to worship You, to hear Your word, and to do Your will by sharing Your joy with each other. We ask it in the name of the One who was born in Bethlehem. Amen.

December 17, 2017 - Advent Wreath Prayer: After two purple candles and the rose candle are lit the following prayer is said before the principal meal on Sunday. It may be recited each weekday as well. The Third Week: Let us pray. We humbly beg Thee, O Lord, to listen to our prayers; and by the grace of Thy coming bring light into our darkened minds. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

December 10, 2017 - Obscure in origin, it is believed that the Advent Wreath may have had its beginnings in the pagan fire wheel. In Christian symbolism, the wheel or wreath (usually made of evergreen) stands for the eternal God Who has no beginning or end. The candles, 3 purple and 1 rose, represent the light Christ brings into a world darkened by sin. The wreath's use is especially fitting during Advent, a season which anticipates the celebration of Christ's first coming at Christmas but which also remembers that He will come again at the end of time. Thus it is encouraged for every home to have their own candles and wreath. For blessing the wreath, the following prayer is said: O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. After two purple candles are lit, the following prayer is said before the principal meal on Sunday. It may be recited each weekday as well. The Second Week: O Lord, stir up our hearts that we may prepare for Thy only begotten Son, that through His coming we may be made worthy to serve Thee with pure souls. Through the same Christ our Lord.

December 3, 2017 - Obscure in origin, it is believed that the Advent Wreath may have had its beginnings in the pagan fire wheel. In Christian symbolism, the wheel or wreath (usually made of evergreen) stands for the eternal God Who has no beginning or end. The candles, 3 purple and 1 rose, represent the light Christ brings into a world darkened by sin. The wreath's use is especially fitting during Advent, a season which anticipates the celebration of Christ's first coming at Christmas but which also remembers that He will come again at the end of time. Thus it is encouraged for every home to have their own candles and wreath. For blessing the wreath the following prayer is said: O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. After one candle is lit, the following prayer is said before the principal meal on Sunday. It may be recited each weekday as well. The First Week: O Lord, stir up Thy might, we beg Thee, and come that by Thy protection we may deserve to be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins and saved by Thy deliverance. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

November 26, 2017 - This Sunday, we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. As we wind down our liturgical year, we appropriately recall that Christ is indeed king of not just the Church or Catholics but of all things. Pope Pius XI instituted this solemnity in 1925 for the universal church in his encyclical Quas Primas in the wake of the First World War. He connected the increasing denial of Christ as king to the rise of secularism throughout much of Europe, a secularism that is still alive and well today throughout much of the developed world where the individual self is championed as the only source of authority. Jesus speaks often of the Kingdom of God, thus we appropriately call Jesus a king. A king that has all authority and power but is good, loving and associates with the rich and poor. We also see He is just as shown in our gospel this Sunday, the famous passage from Matthew 25. Christ the King judges those worthy of the heavenly realm based on how well they did or did not follow in His royal example. You and I will be either sheep or goats. We hope to be sheep. In fulfilling the basic needs of any of these people we are doing it for Jesus Himself. He identifies with the poor and the suffering. This Parable of the Last Judgment inspires all of the followers of Jesus to be generous. The formula is not complicated. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Visit the sick and imprisoned. In doing so, not only are aid and comfort brought to the suffering, but Jesus himself is served.

November 19, 2017 - It is a great joy to be able to celebrate our parish patron and the anniversary of our parish on the same day. St. Columban was born around 560 AD in Ireland. By his own admission, he lived the years of his youth not practicing his faith and being ruled in particular by lust. After an encounter with a holy woman, he resolved to amend his life and entered a monastery. Eventually, he was ordained a priest; and in the missionary zeal of St. Patrick, he asked to go to the European continent to rebuild the faith and civilization during the Dark Ages. He met great success establishing monasteries which served as centers of faith and education. He fought for accountability amongst the ruling class and even influenced the Church's practice of making the penances done after confession to become more private than public. He is the patron saint against floods, and, oddly enough, the patron of motorcycle riders.

November 12, 2017 - The Prayer of St. Gertrude, shown here, is one of the most famous of the prayers for souls in purgatory. St. Gertrude the Great was a Benedictine nun and mystic who lived in the 13th century. According to tradition, our Lord promised her that 1000 souls would be released from purgatory each time it is said devoutly. Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen. Many of the Fathers of the Church, such as St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom, considered prayers for souls in purgatory to be essential. The church has endorsed the doctrine of purgatory from the Councils of Florence and Trent in the 15th and 16th centuries right up through Vatican II in the 1960's. The most famous scriptural reference, among others, concerning these prayers comes from the Old Testament where it is called "a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins" (2 Macabees 12:46).

November 5, 2017 - Praying for souls - During November 1- 8, indulgences are able to be gained for the souls in Purgatory. Plenary indulgences make total reparation on behalf of a soul and allows their entrance into Heaven. Partial indulgences make partial reparation on behalf of the soul. The following criteria is applied in order to obtain the indulgence: 1 - Visit a cemetery and pray for souls in Purgatory. 2 - Say one "Our Father" and one "Hail Mary" for the Holy Father's intentions. 3 - Worthily receive Holy Communion. 4 - Make a sacramental confession. 5 - For a plenary indulgence be free from all affection for sin, even venial sin (otherwise, the indulgence is partial, not plenary, or "full").

Community Thanksgiving Service - St. Columban will be hosting the annual Community Thanksgiving Service on November 19th at 6:00 p.m. This ecumenical event allows local pastors and church leaders to come together and express their common thanks in word and music for the many blessings God bestows. A collection will be taken up to assist the local efforts of Hope Haven in our community.

Patronal Feast and parish anniversary - We will celebrate the feast of St. Columban and our parish's 160th anniversary on the weekend of November 18\19. Bishop Johnston will be present to celebrate the 10am Mass on the 19th.

October 29, 2017 - By now, you should have received a mailing in regard to the annual appeal to fund the needs of our diocese. This collection makes possible the ministries of the diocese and its mission. I realize that this collection comes at a busy time of year as well as when we are trying to finish up our own financial obligations to our restoration project. However, I would encourage you to contribute for two reasons in particular: 1) Being a part of a diocese reminds us we are members of the universal Church and the Body of Christ that it contains made up of our fellow brothers and sisters. Contributing to the local mission for the good of all is how we practice our universality as Catholics. 2) A large portion of this collection is allocated towards the support of seminarians and thus our future pastors. This collection offers us a way to support vocations on the local level (including our own seminarian Ben Armentrout) and facilitate the training and ordination of our future pastors. For the sake of context, if we had every household in the parish donate $30 to this collection we would be doing well as a parish supplying our part. Please take all this into consideration and give to this important cause. May God bless you.

October 22, 2017 - In the month of November, we will mark our patronal feastday of St. Columban as well as the 160th anniversary of the founding of our parish. Since the feast of St. Columban falls on Thanksgiving Day this year, we have been given approval to transfer the celebration of his feastday to Sunday, November 19. This will allow us to honor our parish's patron in a more solemn way with a larger amount of parishioners present. Additionally, Bishop Johnston has accepted my invitation to be present with us for this special weekend. He will be celebrating the 10AM Mass on the 19th.

October 15, 2017 - This past weekend I encouraged parishioners to pray the rosary as a means of growing in their spiritual life. Five ways I pointed out the rosary does this is the following: 1) Helps us to pray scripture. The words of the Hail Mary are principally lifted from the Archangel Gabriel and Elizabeth the cousin of Mary. The mysteries of the rosary meditate upon scenes from the life of Christ. 2) Helps us to consider and pray for a growth in virtue. For example, Mary at the Annunciation shows us the virtues of docility, trust, faith and hope. We should consider and pray for these virtues likewise. 3) Helps us to pray for intentions. Whether we offer a full rosary or specific decades for an intention. Perhaps we pair an intention to match the theme of the mystery. The Agony of Jesus in the Garden provides us with a chance to pray that decade for those who suffer pain or affliction physically, mentally, spiritually, etc. 4) Helps us to go deeper into a familiar scene of the life of Christ. Consider as we pray a particular decade and ponder the mystery what it would be like to be present, what would I would hear or see, what my response would be to the activity at hand? 5) Helps us to grow in love and devotion to Mary our spiritual mother as Jesus would have us do.

October 1 & 8, 2017 - The month of October is dedicated to the devotion of Our Lady of the Rosary. Two events in particular give reason for this. The Battle of Lepanto was fought in October of 1571 when a Christian fleet defeated a much larger Muslim fleet intent on conquering the Mediterranean and by extension Europe. Pope Pius V credited the praying of the rosary and the invocation of Mary by the Christian world at the time of the battle for its outcome. He established the battle's date of October 7th as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Centuries later in 1917 Mary appeared at Fatima to three shepherd children imploring them to pray the rosary for the conversion of sinners and encourage others to do the same. It was on October 13th of that year at Mary's final apparition that she identified herself to the children as Our Lady of the Rosary and kept her promise of a public miracle for all to see and believe. This miracle is called the Miracle of the Sun. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Mary at Fatima. There will be various opportunities this month in the parish and school to grow in our understanding and appreciation of this powerful prayer - the rosary.

September 24, 2017 - Thanks for all who have kept me in your prayers as I continue to be on the mend from having surgery last week. Another festival has passed us by. We grossed overall $10,859 from the event and raffle sales. There is an abundant amount of planning that goes on in order to get everything in place for a festival like this. Many parishioners come together to make this possible. My heartfelt gratitude in particular goes to Pam Brobst, Julie Resor, Diane Bonderer and Joe Timmons who put in many hours of work to make the festival a reality. There is much to be thankful for this year as we make significant progress on completing the restoration of our church and have a successful festival. Congratulations also to our annual Unsung Hero Award recipients David May and Charlie Stedem for their tireless, generous service to our parish and school. I will be away in Hamilton and Gallatin for Masses next weekend.

September 10 & 17, 2017 - The month of September is dedicated to the devotion of Our Lady of Sorrows. This serves to remind the faithful of Mary's inescapable bond with her Divine Son even up to the hour of His passion and death. Indeed many spiritual writers suggest that because of this bond, Mary's sorrow and pain which she experienced in her soul on Calvary was akin to that which Jesus suffered in His body. She is therefore a great consoler to us her children in our sorrows and pains and one whom we should ask the intercession of. Over time, 7 moments or sorrows in Mary's life were identified as a means of fostering devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows. I would encourage you this month to reflect on this moments in the life of Mary often. Perhaps it might take the form of reflecting on each individual sorrow followed by the recitation of a Hail Mary.

September 3, 2017 - "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me." This command Jesus speaks today in our gospel was experienced quite intimately by St. Francis of Assisi when he received the stigmata (ie the wounds of the crucifixion) in his body during prayer toward the end of his life. The event is depicted in one of the sanctuary windows. This mystical experience granted him a unique and close participation in the suffering of the Lord, a more literal taking up of the cross. But it also reveals that life's crosses and denying our wills at time have merit and purpose if endured correctly. St. John of the Cross wisely comments about Christ's words saying: "Our Lord's requirement means that we must renounce our own will in order to identify with the will of God and so to ensure that we do not follow the way of those many people who would have God will that which they themselves will, and are fretful at having to will that which He wills, and find it repugnant to accommodate their will to that of God. Hence it happens to them that oftentimes they think that that wherein they find not their own will and pleasure is not the will of God; and that, on the other hand, when they themselves find satisfaction, God is satisfied. Thus they measure God by themselves and not themselves by God."

August 27, 2017 - Last week, I gave an update regarding the finances of our restoration campaign. Overall, we are in good shape. I reminded those who have made pledges to make sure they keep their commitment toward paying them out. Pledges should be paid in full by February 2019. Don't forget that donations and pledges may be given online through the parish website, by going to the donation tab at the top of the home page. For the benefit of those who were not present last week, I list the information again here... Amount collected to date: $699,078; Amount pledged to be paid: $177,487; Total amount collected and pledged: $876,565; Total cost of project: $922,167; Amount to still be raised: $45,602.

August 20, 2017 - We have accomplished a great thing in the restoration of our parish. I can't tell you how many people have commented to me at how remarkable it is. Financially, we still have a little more to account for in order to fully complete what we have started. The following figures represent the current financial status of our campaign.

  • Conrad Schmitt Studios and KC Scaffolding have been paid in full. The total amount paid to these two companies is $902,167.
  • The total pledges due to be collected at this time is $177,487.
  • The total pledges and contributions that have been collected at this time is $876,565.
  • After all pledges are collected, we still need $45,602.

Thank you to everyone that has honored their pledges; this is a reminder to all that we are counting on your pledges to stay on budget.

August 13, 2017 - August 15th is the feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. All the feast days of Mary mark the great mysteries of her life and her part in the work of redemption. The central mystery of her life and person is her divine motherhood, celebrated both at Christmas and a week later (Jan. 1) on the feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) marks the preparation for that motherhood so that she had the fullness of grace from the first moment of her existence, completely untouched by sin. Her whole being was filled with divine life from the very beginning, readying her for the exalted role of mother of the Savior. The Assumption completes God's work in her since it was not fitting that the flesh that had given life to God Himself should ever undergo corruption. The Assumption is God's crowning of His work as Mary ends her earthly life and enters eternity. The feast also turns our eyes in that direction, where we are meant to follow when our earthly life is over.

August 6, 2017 - This week, as we celebrate the restoration of our beloved parish, we also join the Universal Church in recalling the Transfiguration of the Lord. Jesus takes His select disciples up onto a height and reveals some of His glory to them. The decoration of our church is meant to attest to the glory of the God in whose house we worship Him. The disciples propose to show honor to Christ during the Transfiguration event. We also show honor to Christ through the conduct of our worship at Mass. The disciples encounter the living God on the mountain in a unique way. We encounter the living God in the Eucharist in a unique way. As we enter into our restored temple, my hope is that its beauty will extend beyond the senses and lead us into a deeper and more profound worship of God, especially when at Mass. May it always remind us that the house of God is meant to be a little bit of heaven on earth.

July 30, 2017 - Next weekend we celebrate the Transfiguration of the Lord. Here is a quick summary of this event.
What does the word "transfiguration" mean? The word "transfiguration" comes from the Latin roots trans- ("across") and figura ("form, shape"). It thus signifies a change of form or appearance. This is what happened to Jesus in the event known as the Transfiguration: His appearance changed and became glorious. Who witnessed the Transfiguration? The three disciples privileged to witness the event are Peter, James, and John, the three core disciples. What can we learn from this event? The Transfiguration was a special event in which God allowed certain apostles to have a privileged spiritual experience that was meant to strengthen their faith for the challenges they would later endure. But it was only a temporary event. It was not meant to be permanent. In the same way, at certain times in this life, God may give certain members of the faithful (not all of the faithful, all the time), special experiences of his grace that strengthen their faith. We should welcome these experiences for the graces they are, but we should not expect them to continue indefinitely, nor should we be afraid or resentful when they cease. They may have been meant only as momentary glimpses of the joy of heaven to sustain us as we face the challenges of this life, to help strengthen us on the road that will--ultimately--bring us into the infinite and endless joy of heaven.

July 23, 2017 - This weekend, in my absence, Father John Cominsky will celebrate Mass. For more information, see the details below from July 16.

July 16, 2017 - Next weekend, in my absence, Father John Cominsky will celebrate Mass. Father Cominsky was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was ordained a priest in 1968. He has served as a missionary with the Columban Missions for over 30 years in the Philippines. Currently, he is assigned to the Columban U.S. Regional Headquarters in Bellevue, NE. The Columbans minister in 14 different countries around the world. Despite government restrictions on their life and ministry, they support the forgotten church in China. They minister among the deprived and downtrodden Catholics in Pakistan in spite of great personal risks. They support the struggling church in Myanmar as that country emerges from decades of military dictatorship. They befriend the poor and forgotten in the Philippines and Peru. They encourage young people in various countries to become Columban priests and lay missionaries in order to continue spreading the Good News of God's love for all humanity. The Missionary Society of St. Columban, also known as the Columban Fathers, is a Catholic missionary society that was founded in 1918. The Society seeks to establish the Catholic Church where the Gospel has not been preached, help local churches evangelize their laity, promote dialogue with other faiths, and foster among all baptized people an awareness of their missionary responsibility. The Society's U.S. headquarters are based in Bellevue, Nebraska, which is south of Omaha.

July 9, 2017 - I wanted to share with you one of the stencils that will be used on the wall medallions in the sanctuary. It is part of the Franciscan coat of arms and is being included as a reminder of the Franciscan friars and sisters that served our parish for many years. The Crest incorporates the Franciscan symbol of two crossed arms - the arm of Christ and the arm of St Francis. The hands of Christ and Francis are both wounded and we are reminded that for St Francis (who received the stigmata), the important thing in life was to follow Christ as closely as possible, so closely in fact that he seemed to be transformed into an image of Christ. In the center of the Crest is a cross. This is a reminder that our salvation through Christ's death and resurrection is the central reality of our lives as Christians.

July 2, 2017 - This coming Friday is First Friday. In His appearance to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French nun, in the 1670's Jesus made the following promise to those who love Him through devotion to His Sacred Heart. I promise, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment. As with all of God's graces, these promises are contingent on our obeying His Will for us through prayer, the sacraments, reading and studying about our faith, and listening to His Holy Spirit. This should not be discouraging though. Ultimately these promises are encouragements to live a good life pleasing to God, in obedience to Him, to love Him and share His love with others. Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

June 25, 2017 - This past Friday was the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In His appearance to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French nun, in the 1670's, He made the following promises to those who love Him through devotion to His Sacred Heart.

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life. 
2. I will establish peace in their families. 
3. I will comfort them in their trials. 
4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and, above all, in death. 
5. I will shed abundant blessings on all their undertakings
6. Sinners will find in My Heart an infinite ocean of mercy. 
7. Lukewarm souls will become fervent. 
8. Fervent souls will rapidly grow in holiness and perfection. 
9. I will bless every place where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored. 
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts. 
11. The names of those who promote this devotion will be written in My Heart, never to be blotted out. 
12. I promise, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

As with all of God's graces, these promises are contingent on our obeying His Will for us through prayer, the sacraments, reading and studying about our faith, and listening to His Holy Spirit. This should not be discouraging though. Ultimately these promises are encouragements to live a good life pleasing to God, in obedience to Him, to love Him and share His love with others. Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

June 18, 2017 - It is on this solemn occasion of Corpus Christi that we most profoundly consider and honor what our faith tells us the Eucharist is, namely Jesus Christ Himself. In fulfillment of His words to be with us "until the end of the age."Christ perpetuates His presence with us in the Eucharist in a real, true and literal way filling us with His grace and life. Such an intimate realization led St. Ignatius to exclaim "I have no taste for the food that perishes nor for the pleasures of this life. I want the Bread of God which is the Flesh of Christ... and for drink I desire His Blood which is love that cannot be destroyed." (Letter to the Romans, 90AD) Consider then the following "Ten Commandments of the Eucharist" as a means which will enable you to seek, with the help of the Church, to grow in your love and appreciation for our Savior.

1) Attend Holy Mass on Sundays and Holydays
2) Prepare well for each Mass we attend
3) Demonstrate by our behavior in the church that we believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist
4) Enjoy the silence to which the Holy Eucharist beckons us
5) Receive Holy Communion with joy and fervor
6) Spend time with the Eucharistic Jesus outside of Mass
7) Make frequent Spiritual Communions
8) Cultivate a rapport with the Ever-Virgin Mother of the Eucharist
9) Know the Saints who lived for the Holy Eucharist
10) Arrange for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to be offered for both the living and the dead

June 11, 2017 - Friends, I wanted to take a moment to update you on a couple vocations in the parish. This summer, we are joined by one of our diocesan seminarians Garrett King who will be living at the parish until he returns to seminary this fall. Garrett is a graduate of St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Nebraska and currently just completed his first year of major seminary studies at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis where I also attended. He will be ordained a transitional deacon in 2019 and a priest in 2020. His home parish is the Cathedral of St. Joseph in St. Joseph. Welcome Garrett!

Our parish seminarian Ben Armentrout has been assigned to Coronation of Our Lady parish in Grandview for the summer. This fall, he also will be attending Kenrick-Glennon in St. Louis. If you would like to communicate with Ben during the summer you can reach him at 13000 Bennington Ave., Grandview, MO 64030.

Please pray for these men and that more men and women from our parish will respond to God's call to the priesthood or religious life.

June 4, 2017 - This weekend, we commemorate the Pentecost event and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary. This descent emboldened and strengthened the apostles to become the fearless missionaries they needed to be and carry out the Lord's command He gave as He ascended back to heaven: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations." For nine days after the Lord's ascension, they waited for the Spirit and prayed. This time period has given origin to the novena practice of praying for nine consecutive days (Noven in Latin means nine). Through the sacrament of Confirmation we likewise share in a similar manner in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which assists and fortifies us in living well and proclaiming our Catholic faith. In many respects Pentecost marks the official beginning of the Church as Christ established it. Thus we call Pentecost the Church's birthday - its 1,984th actually. I would encourage you to celebrate this day with a party of some sort. Happy birthday to our Church!

Many of you have had the opportunity to see the promotional materials for the pilgrimage I am taking to the Holy Land next year during Lent. I hope if you are able you will consider joining me on this pilgrimage to prayerfully encounter first hand the places the Lord made Holy by his presence, especially those of His passion. There will be an informational meeting on June 15th at 6pm here at the parish. Tony from Good Shepherd Travel will be on site to make a presentation and answer any questions. Even if you are uncertain whether you can go on the trip or have safety concerns about it, I would strongly encourage you to come to this meeting. Tony is from Palestine and has a lot of insight and experience in successfully arranging many pilgrimages like this one before.

May 21, 2017 - During the season of Lent 2018, Father Knieb will be leading a 10- day pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This powerful experience will provide us with a chance to literally walk in the footsteps of the Lord and bring to life the places and stories recounted in the gospels as well as deepen our observance of the Lenten season. The pilgrimage will be from February 26 to March 07 2018. The tour begins with arrival in Tel Aviv and includes a visit to Nazareth/Cana of Galilee/Mount Tabor, the Sea of Galilee, Jericho, the Dead Sea, Shepherd's Field/Bethlehem, the Old City of Jerusalem, and the Mt. of Olives/Mt. Zion and other sites. Package price of $3,390.00 from Kansas Kansas City, Missouri, includes roundtrip airfare, accommodations, two meals daily, private bus and more. For additional information, click here.

May 7, 2017 -This weekend the children of our parish will make their First Communion. They have been preparing for this important moment in their spiritual life for many months. In fact one might say they have been preparing for this moment since their baptisms. Each child will receive a candle as they make their First Communion. This candle will be a reminder of the Easter Candle which was present when they received the waters of baptism. That large, singular candle, currently set near the pulpit where the readings for Mass take place, is representative of Christ Who is a Light to the world and the Dispeller of the darkness of sin. By carrying their candle as they make First Communion they will visibly mark the continuation of the life in Christ they are called to which was begun on the day they were baptized.

Blessed Imelda Lambirtini is the patron saint of First Communicants. When she was nine, she was placed, at her own wish, in the Dominican convent in Val di Pietra, to be trained there by the nuns. Her disposition soon endeared her to all, while the zeal with which she entered all the religious life of the house greatly edified the nuns. Her special devotion was to the Eucharistic presence of Our Lord at Mass and in the tabernacle. To receive Our Lord in Holy Communion became the consuming desire of her heart, but the custom of the place and time had fixed twelve as the earliest age for a first communion. She would sometimes exclaim: Tell me, can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die? When she was eleven years old she was present with the rest of the community at the Ascension Day Mass. All the others had received their communion: only Imelda was left unsatisfied. The nuns were preparing to leave the church when some of them were startled to see what appeared to be a Sacred Host hovering in the air above Imelda, as she knelt before the closed tabernacle absorbed in prayer. Quickly they attracted the attention of the priest who hurried forward with a paten on which to receive It. In the face of such a miracle he could not do otherwise than give to Imelda her first communion, which was also her last. For the rapture with which she received her Lord was so great that it broke her heart: she sank unconscious to the ground, and when loving hands upraised her, it was found that she was dead. Her body is incorrupt.

April 30, 2017 - The season of Easter which we are now in extends past Easter Sunday for approximately 50 days. It will conclude with the celebration of Pentecost that is the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and Mary. Liturgical seasons as opposed to single day celebrations allow us to ponder more deeply the message and mystery of what we celebrate. The early, great Church Father St. Augustine (430 A.D) reminds us: "The season before Easter (Lent) signifies the troubles in which we live here and now, while the time after Easter which we are celebrating at present signifies the happiness that will be ours in the future. What we commemorate before Easter is what we experience in this life; what we celebrate after Easter points to something that we do not yet possess. Such is the meaning of the Alleluia we sing." Even objects like the common egg have become something which we readily identify with Christ's Easter victory. Traditionally, eggs are the symbol of new life. Although they represent new life, the symbolism goes deeper than that. They represent the emergence of Christ from the tomb into everlasting life. That is why at Easter, eggs are traditionally decorated with symbols of life and victory. The month of May generally falls within the Easter season. May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I will say more about this in a later Feature. In the context of Easter though we should remember the special sharing of the Blessed Virgin in the paschal mystery of Christ her Son, including the Pentecost event in which she joined with the apostles awaiting the gift of the Holy Spirit.

April 23, 2017 - As we come to the Sunday of Divine Mercy the passion, death and resurrection are still fresh in our minds. Indeed the mercy of the Lord naturally flows from these events in the life of Christ. This weekend, we have the privileged opportunity to implore God's mercy for our sins and to receive His pardon in a manner that is especially fruitful. Recently we recalled that there were those, such as Peter, who betrayed the Lord (like our sins do) and asked His forgiveness. Likewise there were those, such as Judas, who despaired and did not. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once wrote: "We must be sorry for our sins in order for God to forgive them. Turning our remorse inward leads to despair because we cannot forgive our own sins. Only God can do that. We actually do not know for certain that Judas was impenitent up until his last breath, but only that he gave into despair and hung himself. Peter, by contrast, repented his betrayal of Christ and was forgiven. Scripture does not show that Judas attempted to save Jesus, only that he had a bad conscience, which he attempted to relieve by returning the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders." No one is supposed to live with guilt. Catholics turn to confession to acknowledge failings, confess them, and receive forgiveness and the graces to grow spiritually stronger. We must remember that the productivity of our guilt is that it leads us to a more vigorous reform of our life. When Jesus appeared to St. Faustina, He told her that He would rather be merciful than just towards sinners. He gave her the Divine Mercy Chaplet calling it the last refuge for hardened sinners and a powerful tool in the fight for souls Let us then on this special day hand over more emphatically our sins to the Lord, turning not inward as Judas did but rather outwards toward God's divine mercy.

Congratulations to Katelyn Dillon and Jeremiah Dana who were received into the Catholic Church on Easter.

April 16, 2017 - The Feast of Divine Mercy is celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. Its origins are based in the visions received by St. Faustina, a Polish nun from the 1930's. In her visions which she recorded in a diary, St. Faustina relates how Jesus appeared to her and implored humanity not to devalue and squander the mercy which He always wishes to extend but which so many reject. As a way to lead up to the special grace-filled day of Mercy which He designated, He told her to make a novena beginning on Good Friday and concluding on the Saturday before Divine Mercy Sunday. The novena can easily be found by going to and searching for "divine mercy novena" at the top right corner of the page.

April 9, 2017 - The Feast of Divine Mercy is celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. Its origins are based in the visions received by St. Faustina, a Polish nun from the 1930's. In her visions which she recorded in a diary, St. Faustina relates how Jesus appeared to her and implored humanity not to de-value and squander the mercy which He always wishes to extend but which so many reject. As a way to lead up to the special grace-filled day of Mercy which He designated He told her to make a novena saying that: "On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy... On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls." Jesus asked that the following groups be prayed for: 1) All mankind, especially sinners; 2) The souls of priests and religious; 3) All devout and faithful souls; 4) Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him; 5) The souls of separated brethren; 6) The meek and humble souls and the souls of children; 7) The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus' mercy; 8) The souls who are detained in purgatory; 9) The souls who have become lukewarm. Each day a different group is prayed for with the appropriate prayer and Chaplet of Mercy, preferably at the 3PM hour which is the hour of Christ's death on the cross. He told her "At three o'clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy... In this hour I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion." The novena begins on Good Friday and concludes on the Saturday before Divine Mercy Sunday. The novena can easily be found by going to and searching for "divine mercy novena" at the top right corner of the page.

April 2, 2017 - Divine Mercy Sunday is annually celebrated the Sunday following Easter. In visions to St. Faustina in the 1930's and 40's, Our Lord instructed her, "My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open." Jesus further explained that whoever would go to confession and receive Holy Communion on this Feast would receive complete forgiveness of sins and the punishment due them. To fittingly observe the Feast of Mercy, we should:

Celebrate the Feast on the Sunday after Easter (or Vigil Mass)
Sincerely repent of all our sins.
Place our complete trust in Jesus.
Go to Confession, before or on the Feast.
Receive Holy Communion on the day of the Feast (or its Vigil).
Venerate the Image of The Divine Mercy.
Be merciful to others, through our actions, words, and prayers on their behalf.

Those who are homebound are encouraged to participate in as many of the above criteria as possible.

I would encourage everyone to take the next few weeks before the Feast to prepare for this important spiritual opportunity, especially by making a good confession. Let not this opportunity be squandered. Jesus lamented to St. Faustina, "Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion. I am giving them the last hope of salvation: that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity. Secretary of My mercy, write, tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near."

A Big Thank You to the men and women of the Knights of Columbus and Ladies Auxiliary, Pam Brobst, Leslie and Ike Holland, Belinda Bower, the staff and students at Bishop Hogan and their parents, the Confirmation candidates, and all who helped with the Lenten Fish Fry Dinners. Our parish and school is blessed to have so many who work hard and give so generously! Our thanks as well to everyone who came and enjoyed the meals each Friday.

March 26, 2017 - The parish has arranged for the new film on the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola to be shown on April 9th at 2pm in the Grand Six Theater here in town. This film is a modern and very human take on the story of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, often called 'The Saint of Second Chances.' As a brash, hot-headed soldier in a time of political upheaval in Spain, the young Ignatius went from living a life of brutal violence and debauchery to becoming one of the greatest saints in the history of the Church. This film chronicles his torturous struggle to turn from darkness to light - a struggle that nearly destroyed him but also gave him the key to a spiritual weapon that continues to save lives to this very day. Through it all, he would come to see the hand of God working in his life, shaping the self-obsessed sinner into the loyal and passionate soldier-saint. My thanks go out to the Knights of Columbus and the altar society for helping to make this event possible. I would highly encourage you to attend this great movie that Sunday afternoon (Palm Sunday) The lives of the saints are especially relevant to us in this Lenten season as we seek to learn and follow their examples of holiness. There is no cost for tickets. However you must reserve your tickets ahead of time either through the event on the parish Facebook page or by contacting the parish office. While this movie is not rated, the film's distributor suggests it might be rated PG-13 for the war scenes, self-flagellation scenes and encounters with the devil. Visit SOLD OUT!

March 19, 2017 - Meditation on Saint Joseph by Sister Brid Carrick, OCD, Tranquilla Carmel, Knock, Ireland
Joseph! Chosen from eternity, one with Mary in the Father's call to mirror forth on earth His Own eternal Love; that love which is Mercy, tender, strong, unfathomable. Go to Joseph! Mary was the first to hear those words and to obey. A virgin, trembling on the threshold of womanhood, awed by the Spirit's call to dedicate her life to God in single-hearted love, did she not at times wonder? Who will understand my way? Must I remain forever an enigma? Did the Spirit then not whisper, deep within, "Joseph! Go to Joseph!"? And Joseph did not prove unworthy of her trust. Within the sheltering mantle of his love she was secure. Her hand in his, she knew no fear and was set free to walk her destined path in joy. Go to Joseph! Jesus, a boy in Nazareth, heard these words. We see him, a child, come running, eager: "Mother, the wild olives are ripe! May I go to the hills with my friends to gather some?" Mary smiles. "Of course, son, if Joseph says so. Go to Joseph!" Then, a boy's light voice goes running through the woodshed, calling, "Abba! Abba Joseph!" A woman comes, bowed with care. Her husband needs a plow, but they are poor and cannot pay just yet. Perhaps when harvest comes... Mary soothes her. "Go to Joseph! Joseph will provide." When God calls, it is forever. Until the end of time, Joseph still provides for all the brothers and sisters of the one who long ago in Nazareth called him, "Abba. Abba Joseph!" St. Joseph, Pray for us.

March 12, 2017 - This weekend marks our last in the church before work begins on March 13. As I've stated before, the use of the church will be unavailable to us until the conclusion of work around the middle of June. Doing all the scaffolding and work at once saves us time and money overall. So though it might be an inconvenience and not ideal to not have Easter or Holy Week among other things in church, it is in our best interest. The Mass schedule will remain the same. Weekend Masses, with a couple exceptions that will be noted, are to be celebrated in the school gymnasium. Confessions will be heard at the usual time in the school library prior to Weekend Masses. Weekday Masses for the most part will be celebrated in the church sacristy with the exception of all-school Masses. All school/Friday Masses are held in the gym. NOTE: School is in session every Friday with the exception of Good Friday. The sacristy may be accessed behind the church by entering the door at the top of the wooden ramp. Confessions will be heard prior to weekday Masses as usual with the location to be announced. The Eucharist will be reserved during construction in the sacristy tabernacle. The sacristy will be left unlocked during the day so that those who have the practice of visiting the church to pray may still do so. During Lent, the Stations of the Cross will be held on Friday evening at 5:30 pm in the Knights of Columbus Hall.

March 5, 2017 - Mortification is an integrated part of the practice of lent. According to the old Catholic Encyclopedia: (Mortification is) One of the methods which Christian asceticism employs in training the soul to virtuous and holy living. The term originated with St. Paul, who traces an instructive analogy between Christ dying to a mortal and rising to an immortal life, and His followers who renounce their past life of sin and rise through grace to a new life of holiness... Of the diseases it sets itself to slay, sin, the one mortal disease of the soul, holds the first place. Sin committed it destroys, by impelling to true penitence and to the use of those means of forgiveness and restoration which our Lord has confided to His Church. Temptations to sin it overcomes by inducing the will to accept hardships, however grace, rather than yield to the temptations. The saints and scripture attest that mortification of our sense is the "secret" to making serious progress in the spiritual life and speeding us toward heaven. Take the time to reflect this week on their words. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me." (Matt. 16:24) This is all that is necessary in order to become a follower of Jesus Christ; the denying of ourselves, and the mortifying of self-love. Do we desire to be saved? We must conquer all, to secure all. How wretched is the soul that allows itself to be guided by self-love! Mortification is of two kinds; interior and exterior. By interior mortification the passions are conquered, and particularly that which prevails over us most. He who does not overcome his predominant passion is in great danger of being lost. On the contrary he who does overcome it, will easily conquer all the rest. Some nevertheless suffer themselves to be swayed by some particular vice, and yet think they are good persons, because they are not overcome by the same vices which they witness in others. "But what will this avail?" says St. Cyril, "a small chink is sufficient to sink the vessel." It avails naught to say: "I cannot abstain from this vice" a resolute will overcomes every thing; when it relies on God's assistance which is never wanting." ---St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori. "Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. For you are dead; and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ shall appear, who is your life, then you also shall appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, lust, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is the service of idols." -- Colossians 3:2-5. "If we do not use great care to mortify our will, there are many things which can deprives us of the holy freedom of spirit that we are seeking in order to fly more freely to our Creator, without always being bogged down with the clay of this earth. Moreover, there can never be solid virtue in a soul that is attached to its own will." -- St. Teresa of Avila. "Where there is no great mortification there is no great sanctity." --- St. Philip Neri

February 26, 2017 - We will begin the Lenten season on Wednesday. The mark of ashes we commonly place on our foreheads reminds us not only of the penitential nature of the season but that this penance is oriented toward conversion of life. In order to successfully navigate the conversion or turning to God, we are all called to we must possess humility. In this sense the ashes humbly remind us "we are dust and to dust we shall return." This lent will be somewhat different for us since we will be outside our church for the majority of the season while restoration work is ongoing, beginning March 13th. If I might draw a parallel, I suppose you could say it is fitting that our work of renewing this earthly temple of the Lord is going on at the same time we seek to renew and purify the eternal temple of the soul during the rigors of the Lenten season. Both being done with a God-centered purpose in mind. Our latest combined fundraising amount is steadily rising. This week, I can report that we sit at $740,500 overall. In the last chapter I shared with you from our book A Duty Sanctioned, I mentioned the skilled carpentry of the Gier family who constructed some of the altars in our church. Recently, I found a picture of this carpenter family in another book.

When a new St. Columban's church was built in Chillicothe in 1879,
the altar was built in the Gier Altar Factory. Names on shirt sleeves
label Gier brothers from left: Englebert, Emil, John, Henry, and Aloys.
Altars created by these skilled German craftsmen went to cathedrals
in Kansas City, St. Joseph, Denver, and Atchison.

February 19, 2017 - The season of Lent will be upon us soon. March 1st is Ash Wednesday, less than two weeks away. Now is the time to begin thinking about how you might take advantage of this holy season and allow it to help you to grow in holiness. Prayer, acts of penance and good works help guide our discernment of how we go about Lent. In next week's Bulletin, I will provide a helpful guide in aiding you to make fruitful and specific goals for this season. It is also around this time of your that the Catholic origin of the pretzel is made known. Pretzels originated in Europe during the Middle Ages. A monk was making unleavened bread for Lent with flour and water because eggs, milk and lard were not consumed as part of the Lenten fast. He twisted some of the dough into the shape of people praying with both arms folded across their chests. He decided it would be a perfect treat for children learning to say their prayers. He called the treats pretiola, the Latin word for "little reward."

February 12, 2017 - RESTORATION NEWS - We now have $302,619 pledged toward the campaign efforts. We also currently have $425,023 already collected. This brings our updated combined total to $727,642. I want everyone to be aware then that we are making steady progress toward our goal of $900,00. After considering the direction of our progress and through consultation with Conrad Schmitt Studios, the campaign committee is moving forward with plans to begin work on the church on March 13th, 2017. The work is estimated to take roughly three ( 3) months to complete which means the completion date would fall around the middle of June. Because of the scale of the project and the scope of the work to be accomplished, we will not be able to use the church from the beginning of work un til the conclusion of work. Weekend Masses during this time will primarily be celebrated in the school gym. Daily Masses will likely be in the church sacristy.

This positive and exciting step in our campaign also highlights the fact that we must keep up our efforts of fundraising over the next few months as work goes on. For those who have not given towards the campaign yet, it is important that you make your gift known to the parish office soon. This helps us to have a more accurate idea of our financial progress. I would encourage you to use the commitment card mailed to you last month with your donation, especially if you are making your donation in the form of a pledge. This card helps us to have a clear understanding of your financial intentions.

Last week, I mentioned that the campaign committee has identified 3 primary tiers of contributors: 1) The parish\local community; 2) Alumni of our schools and those who live outside the local community but still have an interest in or attachment to the parish; 3) Organizations and corporations which donate to religious and\or historical projects. I continue to ask for your assistance in helping us to reach out to family\friends who you identify as falling under Tier 2. A letter written for that purpose is available in the back of church and near the side door on the north side of the church. Please forward this letter on to who you see fit. You are encouraged to add a memory or personal note to the letter that is meaningful to the person(s) you are sending it to. Please remember to also pray through the intercession of Sts. Joseph and Columban for the success of our work.

February 5, 2017 - My thanks to all those who contributed last weekend toward our parish restoration campaign. Those who have not yet contributed are still invited to do so. You may drop your marked contribution in the collection baskets, complete online payment through the parish website, or contact the parish office.

After assessing last week's contributions, we have $292,404 that has been pledged toward the campaign. In contrast, we have already collected $401,226. That brings the combined amount of monies pledged and monies already collected to $693,630. You will be updated on these totals through a campaign thermometer placed in the church which will be updated often to reflect where we stand financially as time goes on (this was also done previously for the parish campaign to replace the roof).

I would further ask your assistance in helping the parish reach outside its membership and spread the word of the good we are striving for. Adult children who grew up here but now live elsewhere, old friends who have moved, any of those who have a past connection to or interest in our parish, etc. are all people who would consider supporting our campaign and helping us spread the word. These individuals are best known by you. I am asking all parishioners to reach out personally to these types of people whom you believe would contribute. I have drawn up a letter which you may send to them for this purpose. It will be available in the church as well as the parish office. You are encouraged, as a personal touch, to add a memory, encouraging statement or word of support that you see fit to this letter.

A second way you can help us spread the word about our campaign is through popular social media. Social media has an ability to spread awareness of our efforts to broad amounts of people in a quick manner. The parish has a Facebook page. You may find us on Facebook. If you have not already "liked" our page, please do so and share the page with other friends on Facebook encouraging them to do the same. This page, along with our parish website, will be a good way for those especially who live away from Chillicothe to stay up-to-date on our efforts.

January 29, 2017 - Thursday, February 2, marks the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Scripture says when Christ was presented in the Temple, "There was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel" (Luke 2:25) When Mary and Joseph brought Christ to the temple, Simeon embraced the Child and prayed the Canticle of Simeon: "Now Lord let Your servant go in peace. Your word has been fulfilled. For my eyes have seen the salvation of Your glory. A light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel." (Luke 2:29-32) Inspired by the words of the Simeon ("a light to the revelation of the Gentiles"), by the 11th century, the custom had developed of blessing candles on the Feast of the Presentation. The candles were then lit, and a procession took place through the church while the Canticle of Simeon was sung. Because of this, the feast also became known as Candlemas (Candle-Mass). A procession and blessing of candles will be made at the beginning of Mass.

Friday, February 3, marks the memorial of St. Blaise. He was a 3rd century physician who became Bishop of Sebaste, Armenia and was later martyred. He is credited with miraculously saving a child from choking on a fish bone lodged in his throat. For this purpose he is the patron saint against troubles of the throat. The blessing of throats will be made during Mass. 

January 22, 2017 - This week, you should have received a letter from me containing the card to be used for Commitment Weekend. I have found that the best instrument to complete the card with is a ball point pen due to the somewhat slick finish of the card. Please make sure that whatever you use to write with is legible and will not smear so that it can be accurately read. As the accompanying letter states, if you have already made a donation to the campaign please write "Amount already given" plus the amount on the back of the Commitment card. Fill out the financial information on the face of the card of any further donations you may intend.

January 8, 2017 - The next step in our campaign efforts for the renewal of our church interior is our commitment weekend. Last month, I said I said during my presentation to the parish I wanted to have a weekend at the end of January where we as a parish might commit to the financial support each of our families will make toward the funding of the campaign. Therefore, Commitment Weekend will be on January 28th\29th. All registered families will receive a mailing toward the middle of the month which will include a card to be used on that weekend. More details will be given as we draw closer to the date. There are a number of ways to give to the campaign. Some may choose to make their contribution all at once, others may make a pledge paid out over\up to a two year period. Check, cash and electronic giving are all means able to be used. Please take the time in the coming weeks to plan how you would be able to contribute to the best of your financial ability. For those who were not able to be present when I spoke to the parish about the campaign the week before Christmas, I encourage you to stop by church on January 11 at 6:30 pm. I will be available to discuss the scope of our plans and answer any questions.

Epiphany blessing - This Sunday is the celebration of the Epiphany. It is customary to ask the blessing of God on our homes using blessed chalk and the ritual provided for the occasion. These are available at the doors of the church this week.

January 1, 2017 - The celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary today guides us toward a spirit of gratitude. This attitude first is evident in Mary herself: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior for He has looked with favor upon His lowly servant." A mother teaches her children, as our spiritual mother Mary teaches us through her conduct. I would encourage you to take time to review the blessings in your life be they large or small and to ask the intercession of our heavenly mother on you and yours as we begin this new year. I wish to express my thanks in particular to the many that help us around the parish be it staff, help with maintenance, liturgy, general volunteerism. Your contribution is relied on to help us as a parish do what we do. I wish all the best to everyone in this new year and the blessing of God in all things.

December 25 - This past weekend, I presented the timeline of the campaign efforts to renew our parish church. Part of my presentation included how we might pay for the extensive work that is to be done. A few people afterward asked to me summarize the financials in writing for them. I explained the church will require a large amount of repair work to the main surfaces before painting can begin. Extensive plaster repair in areas will be needed and much flaking paint removed. The intention is also to apply a fiberglass polymer to the walls and ceilings to protect the new paint from interacting with the old and to also prevent spider-cracking from compromising the paint in the future. Once all that is done, we are then able to begin painting. The estimate to complete the project as proposed is $900,000. Through the generosity of a few who have already donated to this project, we have raised $146,000. Subtracting this amount from the overall cost leaves us with $754,000 left to raise. My plan is to raise this amount over a two-year period. Toward the end of January, I will conduct a pledge weekend in which each family will be asked to give\pledge their contribution to the project. I pointed out that we have approximately 250 families in the parish that are "active givers" in that they donate at least one weekend a month. If the $754,000 is divided out over 250 families over a two-year period, it comes to $3,016 per family. Over a one-year period, that comes out to $1,508 per family. Over a monthly period, it comes out to $126 per family per month for two years. I reminded people that these figures do not take into account other sources of donation (ie alumni\people who grew up here, historical grants, visitors\unlooked for donors). I shared these figures not so much as to say this is what I expect of every family. Some can and have given much more than "their share", others may not be able to give as much. I presented these figures to give people context to make an appropriate decision about how much they will contribute. I have complete confidence we will be able to accomplish this project for our beloved church through our commitment in these efforts and faith in the Lord.

December 18 - This week, I am presenting to the parish at Mass a printed timeline of the events that have taken place thus far in our efforts to restore the church's interior and what our next step is. I hope that this will serve as an aid in better understanding the process and steps we have accomplished to this point and will accomplish. As we come to the end of the year, I would encourage people to make some type of contribution towards the restoration (especially for your tax purposes). We now have the ability to give online. Checks given should be made out to "St. Columban Restoration." My intention is that after the business of the holidays have subsided, I will ask families in the parish to pledge their financial offering according to ability on a weekend of January. More details will be given this weekend and prior to the weekend in January. I encourage you to pray with me confidently to our holy intercessors of our campaign, St. Columban and St. Joseph, for the success of our mission.

December 11 - As we approach the middle point of the Advent season, we begin a more intense countdown of the days until Christmas. Traditionally, this has been done with the aid of prayer antiphons in the liturgy. These antiphons are each built around Old Testament titles for the prophesied messiah that when applied to Christ bind the old and the new together. We actually are more familiar with these titles than we think. They are what make up the titles sung about in the verses of the hymn O Come, O Come Emmanuel: Wisdom, Lord of Israel, Root of Jesse, Key of David, Radiant Dawn, King of All Nations, Emmanuel. These so-called O Antiphons begin December 17th and run to December 23rd. In Latin, if you take the first letter of each of the titles and run the order backwards, you get the phrase ERO CRAS ("Tomorrow, I will come"). Thus we remember that the same Christ whom prophets foretold and who came once to earth for our salvation will be the same Christ who returns again at world's end.

December 4 - Friends, I am pleased to announce one of the phases our parish will employ to accomplish our goal of raising the funds needed to restore the church and garner attention towards these efforts. This weekend will mark the beginning of our "campaign store" located in the back of church. Over the duration of the campaign various and unique items will be offered for purchase with all proceeds going to the support of the restoration efforts. One of the inaugural items in the store will be Christmas centerpieces for a table or display that will be auctioned off using a silent auction format. These beautiful pieces were uniquely made by two parishioners and are limited in number. They will be available to bid on in the church beginning Saturday evening December 3rd until Sunday noon December 11th. Another unique item available for purchase is two different sets of Christmas cards, one featuring an image of our church and the other an image of the parish Christmas nativity. The cards come 25 to a box (including envelopes) and will be sold for $35 a box while supplies last. More items will be made available over the coming weeks. Consider purchasing an item as a gift and\or a means of sharing our campaign efforts with family or acquaintances that live outside Chillicothe.

November 27 - Friends, as we start the season of Advent I'd encourage you to consider the following activities which help us to live out the season beyond the surface level (especially if you have children at home).

  • ADVENT WREATH: A wreath of evergreens and four candles: three violet candles lit on the "penitential" Sundays and a rose candle for Gaudete Sunday, the joyful, third Sunday in Advent. It symbolizes the many years from Adam to Christ in which the world awaited its Redeemer; it also represents the years that we have awaited His second and final coming. Choose prayers and hymns for your family Advent wreath ceremony.
  • THE EMPTY MANGER: When acts of service, sacrifice or kindness are done for Baby Jesus, the child puts a straw in the manger. Each good deed gives Jesus a more comfortable bed of hay. On Christmas "Baby Jesus" is placed in the manger.
  • THE JESSE TREE (Is 11:1): Make Jesse tree ornaments - one for each day of Advent - that tell the story of salvation history from the creation of the world to the birth of Christ. Trees are found, purchased or constructed of various materials.
  • ST. NICHOLAS DAY: Children put out their shoes on the eve of the feast of St. Nicholas hoping that the kind bishop of Myra - with his miter, staff and bag of gifts - will pay a visit. "Santa Claus" is modeled after St. Nicholas, but commercialism has clouded the true message of generosity.
  • THE CHRIST CANDLE: Decorate a white pillar candle with symbols for Christ. Use old Christmas cards, sequins, holly, etc. The candle can be lit from Christmas Eve to the end of the Christmas season to show that the Light of the World has arrived.

November 20 - Friends, this week we celebrate the solemnity of St. Columban on Nov. 23rd. To mark this occasion, I will lead the praying of evening prayer (a formal prayer of the Church which includes the psalms) on Wednesday at 6pm with Mass to follow. I've included a brief biography on our patron below.

Columban was the greatest of the Irish missionaries who worked on the European continent. As a young man who was greatly tormented by temptations of the flesh, he sought the advice of a religious woman who had lived a hermit's life for years. He saw in her answer a call to leave the world. He went first to a monk on an island in Lough Erne then to the great monastic seat of learning at Bangor. After many years of seclusion and prayer, he traveled to Gaul (modern day France) with 12 companion missionaries. They won wide respect for the rigor of their discipline, their preaching, and their commitment to charity and religious life in a time characterized by clerical laxity, civil strife and immorality. Columban established monasteries in Europe in the wake of the barbarian invasions of the continent which became centers of religion and culture. Like all saints, he met opposition. His struggles with some local bishops and monarchs are well noted. Because of this, he was exiled and eventually came to Italy. In his last years, he established the famous monastery of Bobbio where he died in 615 A.D. His writings included a treatise on penance and against Arianism, sermons, poetry and monastic rule.

November 13 - Sometime people will ask me why we ask for a monetary donation when requesting a Mass intention. There are a number of rules and canons applying to this to ensure it's done for the right reasons. Historically and firstly a monetary offering or similar was given by the person requesting the Mass said for an intention because this was in part what a priest lived off of (i.e. Eat and drink what is set before you for the laborer deserves his payment. Lk. 10:7). In most places in the world now, it's the parish that receives it not the priest. In order to make sure the practice of receiving a donation per Mass intention wasn't abused, it became the practice that a Mass was said for one intention only so that multiple donations wouldn't be collected and easily consolidated into only having to say one Mass. Secondly and primarily, the giving of something concrete and tangible (in our diocese $10 per Mass intention) represents an offering\contribution of ourself along with the Mass we have requested to be said. This idea of gift and contributing to the worship of God is reflected in the words of Jesus when He says: if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Mt. 5:23-24). It also is a means by which a person contributes to furthering the necessary and salvific work of the Church. Symbolically, we also express this notion of giving of ourself and contributing to our worship of God when the priest says at Mass "lift up your hearts," we respond by saying "we lift them up to the Lord."

November 6 - This month of November is dedicated to praying for the souls in purgatory. We are encouraged to offer up good works, sacrifices and prayers on these souls' behalf as a means of practicing our Christian charity. In return these souls pray for us upon reaching Heaven. I spoke last week about an opportunity we have to obtain an indulgence for the souls in purgatory. This year, I am putting out a special book in which people may write the names of the deceased whom they would like to pray for and remember in a special way. The book is located near the sanctuary in the church. One of the most popular prayers for the Souls in Purgatory is that of Saint Gertrude the Great. She received many visions of Our Lord during her lifetime and expressed to Jesus her great desire to pray for the deceased. In return, Jesus taught Saint Gertrude the following prayer which bears her name. It is piously believed that 1,000 souls are released from purgatory by praying this prayer from the heart: Eternal Father, I offer You the most Precious Blood of Your Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for all sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

October 30 - A question was posed to me recently in the series on angels I presented to the parish. The question namely was is it ok for us to name our guardian angels. The Church would discourage us in the practice of giving a name to such. As stated in the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy: "The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture." We cannot name our guardian angel because naming another implies authority over the other (this idea is prevalent in the scripture). Parents name children and we name pets because we have authority over them. However, our guardian angel is over us in authority. We admit this in the last line of the famous guardian angel prayer when we say of our angels "To light, to guard, to rule and guide." Therefore, while we do not have the authority to name our angel this does not prevent us from praying and asking our guardian angel to assist us daily.

All Souls Day Indulgence - All Souls Day is commemorated on November 2. This day is a liturgical means by which we might be reminded to pray for the souls in purgatory. It is possible to gain a plenary indulgence for the souls in purgatory on November 2nd by doing the following: visit a church, recite one Our Father and the Apostles Creed for the souls in purgatory, receive Communion, and pray one additional Our Father and one Hail Mary for the intentions of the Holy Father, have no attachment to sin, even venial, go to confession within a week before or after All Souls Day. This indulgence can also be gained from Nov. 1st through 8th by doing the above and visiting a cemetery in place of church. A plenary indulgence frees the soul the we apply the indulgence to if they are in purgatory (if they are not God applies the indulgence to the soul in most need). The All Souls Day indulgence is a wonderful way to show your love for a friend or family member who has died and may be in purgatory.

November 1 - All Saints Day - Holy Day Of Obligation
November 2 - All Souls Day

October 23 - Friends, I hold up to you this week a prayer for the good of our nation in this historic and integral moment. I hope it may serve as a tool for the continued prayers we as Christians should offer as the election approaches. "O God, we acknowledge You today as Lord, not only of individuals, but of nations and governments. We thank You for Your law, which our Founding Fathers acknowledged and recognized as higher than any human law. We thank You for the opportunity that this election year puts before us, to exercise our solemn duty not only to vote, but to influence countless others to vote, and to vote correctly. Awaken Your people to know that they are not called to be a sect fleeing the world but rather a community of faith renewing the world. Awaken them that the same hands lifted up to You in prayer are the hands that cast a vote in the voting booth; that the same eyes that read Your Word are the eyes that read the names on the ballot, and that they do not cease to be Christians when they enter the voting booth. Awaken Your people to a commitment to justice, to the sanctity of marriage and the family, to the dignity of each individual human life, and to the truth that human rights begin when human lives begin. Lord, we rejoice today that we are citizens of Your kingdom. May that make us all the more committed to being faithful citizens on earth. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen"

  • Bishop Hogan Faith Series - Join me for our final session on angels in the Knights of Columbus Hall on October 25 after the 6pm Mass. Our topic for this final session will be discussing how the angels assisted the saints in their live and how we can grow in devotion to our own guardian angels.
  • Sacraments class - Classes have now begun for the reception of First Confession and First Communion. If your 2nd grade or older child has yet to make these sacraments and is not enrolled in either CCD or Bishop Hogan Memorial School, please contact the parish office.
  • Altar Server training - Father will be training boys of the parish to serve at Mass. If your son has made his First Communion and you would like him to receive training to serve at Mass, contact the parish office. The training will be held on October 29 at 10 AM in the church.

October 16 - This weekend marks the beginning of our diocesan Annual Catholic Appeal. This 2017 Appeal supports over 30 ministries and the people they serve by providing funding for the spiritual, educational and social needs in our diocese (see the brochure for further information). Our theme this year, "Giving for God's Kingdom", appropriately recognizes our unity as the people of God in working together for the betterment of all. This opportunity to support the efforts of our local diocese helps us to live out what we profess to believe in the creed when we say the Church is One; many parts but one body. We profess also in the creed that the Church is "Catholic" (meaning "universal"); and, therefore, it is incumbent upon us as members to be aware of the needs of those beyond our parish. To this end, no gift is too small. Please consider how you would like to participate in this important event.

I invite you to join me for the second of a 3-part series on the topic of angels on October 18 following the regular Tuesday evening Mass at 6pm (Mass ends at roughly 6:30). We will meet in the music room of the red school building. We will discuss what the Church teaches us about the nature of angels and demons, what we really know about them, and what influence they have in our lives. This week's topic is demons, the fallen angels.

September 25, October 2 and 9, 2016 - Friends, I have decided to offer a course of studies which I hope will provide the common Catholic greater insight and understanding of the Faith. You will thereby be better equipped to live and share it with others. I have decided to call this ongoing course the Bishop John Hogan Faith Series. The format I will adopt will be each topic presented will receive 3 to 4 sessions, one per week in order to fit into people's schedules easier. Initially, the topics I will begin the series with will be: Angels, the History of Catholicism in the United States, and How to explain important beliefs of the Faith to others. I invite you to join me for a 3-part series on the topic of angels on Oct. 11, 18, 25 following the regular Tuesday evening Mass at 6pm (Mass ends at roughly 6:30). We will discuss what the Church teaches us about the nature of angels and demons, what we really know about them, and what influence they have in our lives.

Year of Mercy Pilgrimage - Fr. Kneib will be leading a pilgrimage on Saturday, October 15, to a few parishes in Kansas City that have been designated as indulgenced "holy door" churches for the Year of Mercy. The pilgrimage will visit the parishes of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The group will depart Chillicothe around 7:30 am and be back before the usual Saturday evening Mass. If you are interested in going, please contact the parish office at your earliest convenience or sign your name on the list located in the back of church.

September 18, 2016 - September is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows - Traditionally there are 7 moments or sorrows which are to foster devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows and to unite our own sufferings along with hers. These are 1) The prophecy of Simeon, 2) The Flight into Egypt, 3) The loss of Jesus in the Temple, 4) The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the road to Calvary, 5) The death of Jesus on the cross, 6) The receiving of the body of Jesus off the cross, 7) The burial of Jesus. Mary told St. Bridget that to those who practice this devotion of her sorrows she promises the following:
1. I will grant peace to their families. 
2.They will be enlightened about the Divine mysteries. 
3. I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work. 
4. I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my Divine Son or the sanctification of their souls. 
5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives. 
6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death, they will see the face of their Mother. 
7. I have obtained this Grace from my Divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and sorrows, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.
A simple internet search of "the seven sorrows of Mary" will provide further information and resources towards practicing this devotion.

September 11, 2016 - September is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows - The sorrows of the Mother of God surpassed the power of human endurance. It is the unanimous opinion of spiritual writers that beneath the pressure of her inconceivable sufferings, the Blessed Virgin's life was miraculously preserved. From the moment of Simeon's prophecy she foresaw her sorrows in vivid reality. Without the special aid of God's omnipotence, her soul would have been separated from her body. True, Mary was marvelously tranquil because she was wholly submissive to the will of God; but this did not lessen her sorrows. Her nature, never disturbed by sin, possessed an extraordinary tenderness and was susceptible to suffering in an inexpressibly high degree. "Men will never comprehend the anguish of my sorrows!" she revealed to St. Bridget. The Feastday of Our Lady of Sorrows is September 15.

Prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows - Most holy Mother of Sorrows, by that soul-piercing martyrdom you did undergo at the foot of the Cross during the three hours' agony of Jesus, mercifully assist me also, who am the child of your Sorrows, in my agony, so that by your intercession I may be found worthy to pass from my deathbed to your blessed society in Paradise.
V. From a sudden and unprovided death, 
R. Deliver me, O Lord.
V. From the snares of the devil,
R. Deliver me, O Lord.
V. From everlasting death,
R. Deliver me, O Lord.
Let us pray. 
O God, Who for the salvation of mankind has made for us in the most bitter death of Your Son both an example and a refuge; grant, we beseech You, that we may be found worthy to obtain the fruit of His great love in our final peril at the hour of death, and to be made partakers of our Redeemer's glory. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

August 21 & 28, September 4, 2016 - The Medal of St. Benedict - St. Benedict of Nursia, was born in Italy in 480 AD. He is the Father of Western Monasticism. His Rule of Life came to be the basis of organization for many religious orders, including the Franciscans and Dominicans. He is invoked particularly against the powers of evil because of an incident in his life. This patronage is especially invoked through the use or wearing of the medal of St. Benedict. The story of the medal is startling. Apparently, some monks sought out Benedict who had been living as a hermit in a cave for three years near Naples, Italy. He agreed, but he warned them he would urge them to greater piety and asceticism if he took the job. Some of the lazier monks wanted him out of the picture, so they conspired to poison his bread and wine. Mystically warned of the treachery, Benedict made the sign of the cross over the food and the plot was foiled. At his blessing, the cup of wine shattered and he commanded the two crows who always accompanied him to carry off the poisoned bread depositing it in a place where it couldn't harm anyone. Originally, the medal was in the form of a cross. Bruno of Egisheim-Dagsburg, the future Pope Leo IX, when he was a young Benedictine, nearly died of a snake bite. He attributed his eventual recovery to that Benedictine cross. He was emaciated and even lost the ability to speak and most people gave up on him. It was then when Bruno received a vision of a luminous ladder that reached to Heaven. Upon the ladder, he saw St. Benedict holding a radiant cross with which he touched Bruno instantly curing him. The apparition promptly disappeared. When he became pope in 1049, Leo IX redesigned it as a medal to which he attributed blessings and indulgences. St. Vincent de Paul had a strong devotion to this sacramental and asked his Sisters of Charity to attach the medal to their rosary beads, which remains a common custom even today. Pope Benedict XIV solemnly approved and recommended the use of the medal to the faithful in 1742. The medal in current use is the Jubilee medal designed by the monk Desiderius Lenz, of the Beuron Art School. He designed it in 1880 for the 1400th anniversary of the birth of St. Benedict. On the front of the medal is St. Benedict holding a cross and his rule. To one side is a poisoned cup and a raven on the other - both references to the previously mentioned plot to kill Benedict. Above the cup are the words Crux sancti patris Benedicti (The Cross of [our] Holy Father Benedict). Surrounding St. Benedict are the words Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur! (May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death). This is a reference to the saint being a Patron of a Happy Death along with St. Joseph. On the back is a cross with the letters C S S M L - N D S M D. These are the initials of the words Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Non Draco sit mihi dux! (May the holy cross be my light! May the Dragon never be my overlord!) The larger letters, C S P B, stand for Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (The Cross of [our] Holy Father Benedict). Surrounding the back of the medal are the letters V R S N S M V - S M Q L I V B which refer to the prayer of the Rite of Exorcism: Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! (Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!) Finally, at the top is the word PAX which means "peace." Though lay people are forbidden to conduct exorcisms, they are permitted to use the St. Benedict Medal to ward off evil. One is commonly allowed to: wear the medal around the neck; attach it to one's rosary; keep it in one's pocket or purse; attach it to one's keychain; affix it to one's car or home; place it in the foundation of a building; affix it to the center of a crucifix, usually behind the corpus. The medal is considered effective in:
1. asking for inner peace/spiritual healing;
2. asking peace between individuals or between nations of the world;
3. curing bodily afflictions especially as protection against contagious diseases;
4. destroying the effects of witchcraft and all other diabolical and haunting influences;
5. healing those who are suffering from wounds or illness;
6. obtaining the conversion of sinners, especially when they are in danger of death;
7. offering protection against storms and lightning;
8. protecting children from nightmares;
9. protecting a mother and her children during childbirth;
10. protecting animals infected with plague or other maladies;
11. protecting fields infested by harmful insects;
12. protecting or otherwise counter the effects of poison;
13. protecting those persons who are tempted, deluded or tormented by evil spirits.
Like all sacramentals, this medal serves to remind us of God and His place in our lives. It reminds us to serve Him and love our neighbor. It's absolutely not a charm or talisman to bring "good luck." Rather, its graces and favors are due to our faith in the Jesus Christ, to the effective prayers of St. Benedict, and to the abundant blessings which the Church has bestowed upon those who wear and pray with the Medal. The parish office has St. Benedict medals available if you are interested in getting one.

August 14, 2016 - What Should Catholics Consider When Determining Their Civic Participation? Solidarity is "a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to... the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all." It is found in "a commitment to the good of one's neighbor with the readiness, in the Gospel sense, to 'lose oneself' for the sake of the other instead of exploiting him, and to 'serve him' instead of oppressing him for one's own advantage." We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. Our Catholic commitment to solidarity requires that we pursue justice, eliminate racism, end human trafficking, protect human rights, seek peace, and avoid the use of force except as a necessary last resort. In a special way, our solidarity must find expression in the preferential option for the poor and vulnerable. A moral test for society is how we treat the weakest among us - the unborn, those dealing with disabilities or terminal illness, the poor, and the marginalized. Excerpt from The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, USCCB

August 7, 2016 - What Should Catholics Consider When Determining Their Civic Participation? - The Common Good is comprised of "the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily." Human dignity is respected and the common good is fostered only if human rights are protected and basic responsibilities are met. Every human being has a right to life, a right to religious freedom, and a right to have access to those things required for human decency - food and shelter, education and employment, health care and housing. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities - to ourselves, to our families, and to the larger society. The economy must serve people, not the other way around. An economic system must serve the dignity of the human person and the common good by respecting the dignity of work and protecting the rights of workers. Economic justice calls for decent work at fair, living wages, a broad and fair legalization program with a path to citizenship for immigrant workers, and the opportunity for all people to work together for the common good through their work, ownership, enterprise, investment, participation in unions, and other forms of economic activity. Workers also have responsibilities - to provide a fair day's work for a fair day's pay, to treat employers and coworkers with respect, and to carry out their work in ways that contribute to the common good. Workers, employers, and unions should not only advance their own interests but also work together to advance economic justice and the well-being of all.  We have a duty to care for God's creation, which Pope Francis refers to in Laudato Si' as "our common home." We all are called to be careful stewards of God's creation and to ensure a safe and hospitable environment for vulnerable human beings now and in the future. Excerpt from The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, USCCB

July 31, 2016 - What are the Principles Which Catholic Social Teaching Prioritizes When Voting? 1)The Dignity of the Human Person: Human life is sacred because every person is created in the image and likeness of God. There is a rich and multifaceted Catholic teaching on human dignity summarized in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Every human being "must always be understood in his unrepeatable and inviolable uniqueness... This entails above all the requirement not only of simple respect on the part of others, especially political and social institutions and their leaders with regard to every man and woman on the earth, but even more, this means that the primary commitment of each person towards others, and particularly of these same institutions, must be for the promotion and integral development of the person" (no. 131). The Compendium continues, "It is necessary to 'consider every neighbor without exception as another self, taking into account first of all his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity' (Gaudium et Spes, no. 27). Every political, economic, social, scientific and cultural program must be inspired by the awareness of the primacy of each human being over society." 2) Subsidiarity: It is impossible to promote the dignity of the person without showing concern for the family, groups, associations, and local realities - in short, for those economic, social, cultural, recreational, professional, and political communities to which people spontaneously give life and which make it possible for them to achieve effective social growth. The family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, is the fundamental unit of society. This sanctuary for the creation and nurturing of children must not be redefined, undermined, or neglected. Supporting families should be a priority for economic and social policies. How our society is organized - in economics and politics, in law and public policy - affects the well-being of individuals and of society. Every person and association has a right and a duty to participate in shaping society to promote the well-being of individuals and the common good. The principle of subsidiarity reminds us that larger institutions in society should not overwhelm or interfere with smaller or local institutions; yet larger institutions have essential responsibilities when the more local institutions cannot adequately protect human dignity, meet human needs, and advance the common good. --Excerpts from Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, USCCB

July 24, 2016 - How Can Catholic Social Teaching Help Guide Our Participation in Political Life? In the words of Pope Francis, "progress in building a people in peace, justice and fraternity depends on four principles related to constant tensions present in every social reality. These derive from the pillars of the Church's social doctrine, which serve as primary and fundamental parameters of reference for interpreting and evaluating social phenomena." The four principles include the dignity of the human person, the common good, subsidiarity, and solidarity (to be defined in future bulletins). Taken together, these principles provide a moral framework for Catholic engagement in advancing what we have called a "consistent ethic of life" (Living the Gospel of Life, no. 22). Rightly understood, this ethic does not treat all issues as morally equivalent; nor does it reduce Catholic teaching to one or two issues. It anchors the Catholic commitment to defend human life and other human rights, from conception until natural death, in the fundamental obligation to respect the dignity of every human being as a child of God. Catholic voters should use Catholic teaching to examine candidates' positions on issues and should consider candidates' integrity, philosophy, and performance. It is important for all citizens "to see beyond party politics, to analyze campaign rhetoric critically, and to choose their political leaders according to principle, not party affiliation or mere self-interest" (USCCB, Living the Gospel of Life, no. 33). -- Excerpts from Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, USCCB

Missouri Right to Life - Visit to see a list of those candidates for office who support pro-life issues.

July 17, 2016 - Why Does the Church Teach About Issues Affecting Public Policy? The Church's obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith, a part of the mission given to us by Jesus Christ. As people of both faith and reason, Catholics are called to bring truth to political life and to practice Christ's commandment to "love one another" (Jn 13:34). Who in the Church Should Participate in Political Life? In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. As Catholics, we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to any political party or interest group. In today's environment, Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and few candidates fully share our comprehensive commitment to human life and dignity. This should not discourage us. On the contrary, it makes our obligation to act all the more urgent. Catholic lay women and men need to act on the Church's moral principles and become more involved: running for office, working within political parties, and communicating concerns to elected officials. Even those who cannot vote should raise their voices on matters that affect their lives and the common good. Faithful citizenship is an ongoing responsibility, not just an election year duty. (Excerpts from Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)

July 10, 2016 - St. Kateri Tekakwitha is the first Native American to be recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church. She was born in 1656 in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon. Her mother was an Algonquin, who was captured by the Mohawks and who took a Mohawk chief for her husband. She contracted smallpox as a four-year-old child which scarred her skin. The scars were a source of humiliation in her youth. She was commonly seen wearing a blanket to hide her face. Worse, her entire family died during the outbreak. Kateri Tekakwitha was subsequently raised by her uncle, who was the chief of a Mohawk clan. At age 19, Kateri Tekakwitha converted to Catholicism, taking a vow of chastity and pledging to marry only Jesus Christ. Her decision was very unpopular with her adoptive parents and their neighbors. Some of her neighbors started rumors of sorcery. To avoid persecution, she traveled to a Christian native community south of Montreal. She often prayed for the conversion of her fellow Mohawks and was known for her steadfast devotion. She was also very sickly. Her practices of self-mortification and denial may not have helped her health. Sadly, just five years after her conversion to Catholicism, she became ill and died at age 24, in 1680. According to eye witnesses, upon her death her face was transformed in such a way that there was no evidence of her earthly suffering on it nor the pock marks she bore all her life. Her name, Kateri, is the Mohawk form of Catherine, which she took from St. Catherine of Siena. St. Kateri Tekakwitha was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 21, 2012. She is the patroness of ecology and the environment, people in exile and Native Americans. She is given the beloved title of Lilly of the Mohawks. St. Kateri pray for us.

July 3, 2016 - This Monday, we celebrate our Independence Day. A day which we will spend with friends and family, food, and fireworks. We must also, however, remember to give thanks to our God for the blessings He has given us and the ability to live in the nation we do. I would encourage you to make the following prayer (attributed to George Washington) a part of your festivities, perhaps at the meal prayer: "Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech You that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Your favor and glad to do Your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom Your name we entrust the authority of government that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to Your law, we may show forth Your praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness and in the day of trouble, do not allow our trust in You to fall; all this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord." Amen

June 5, 2016 - A couple weekends ago, I made mention to you of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the novena prayers St. Margaret wrote. In His appearance to her Jesus also communicated that as a means to foster greater devotion and trust in Him He would grant the special favor of final repentance of sin to those who participated in the sacraments on nine consecutive first Fridays of a month: "I promise you, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace, nor without receiving their Sacraments, My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment." Therefore, this devotion consists in attending Holy Mass and receiving Holy Communion worthily on the First Friday of nine consecutive months in reparation for those who do not receive Our Lord, who do not love Him and who wound Him by their sinful lives. Additionally, because this devotion encourages those who practice it to implore the mercy of the Lord with an open heart and to receive the graces God gives sinners who desire conversion, Jesus promises the following:

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life. 2. I will establish peace in their families. 3. I will comfort them in their trials. 4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and, above all, in death. 5. I will shed abundant blessings on all their undertakings. 6. Sinners will find in My Heart an infinite ocean of mercy. 7. Lukewarm souls will become fervent. 8. Fervent souls will rapidly grow in holiness and perfection. 9. I will bless every place where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored. 10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts. 11. The names of those who promote this devotion will be written in My Heart, never to be blotted out. 12. I promise thee, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

May 29, 2016 - Pitching for Priests is an annual softball game played between clergy of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and the Archdiocese of Kansas City, KS. The game benefits the Vocation's office and the costs associated with the formation of seminarians from both diocese. The 3rd Annual Pitching for Priests Softball game will be played at the Community America Ballpark (T-bones Stadium) in the Legends shopping area on Sunday, June 19 (Father's Day) at 5:00 p.m. Player introductions, National Anthem, and the first pitch will begin at 4:45 pm. Fr. Kneib will be participating in the game. Tickets may be purchased at the gate or online at $10 each. If you order tickets online they will be available at the game (will call).

05/22/16 - On June 3rd, the universal Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This feast has its origins in the apparitions of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1673-74. Pope Clement XIII officially approved and promoted the devotion by adding it to the Church's calendar. In the Sacred Heart of Jesus we see symbolized the ardent and burning love He has for humanity; a love so great that He suffered dearly for us. Jesus encouraged St. Margaret to tell the faithful to appeal and petition Him through His heart always. To do this there is a practice of making a novena, a prayer for nine straight days. This period of time recalls the nine days the apostles waited for the descent of the Holy Spirit. The Novena to the Sacred Heart this year begins on May 26 and ends on June 3.

All of the following novena prayers should be said every day for nine consecutive days:

I.) O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of... (here name your request) - Our Father, Hail Mary. Glory Be to the Father. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II.) O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of... (here name your request) - Our Father, Hail Mary. Glory Be to the Father. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

III.) O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away." Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of... (here name your request) - Our Father, Hail Mary. Glory Be to the Father. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us poor sinners and grant us the grace(s) which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours. Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary; pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.

05/15/16 - This Sunday, the Church celebrates Pentecost when the Holy Spirit promised by Christ descended upon the apostles. In the wake of this event, they were emboldened, enlightened and encouraged to go forth into the world and preach the gospel. In other words that were radically different men than they had been prior. The Holy Spirit changed not just these men but also gave birth to the church as well, guiding her then as He still does to this day. Truly then we may regard Pentecost as the birthday of the Christian Church. In the scriptures, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit in many ways including helper, advocate, guide, revealer of truth. These names clearly suggest that the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, is not meant to be of assistance to only some but to all who seek the Lord in faith. Yet unfortunately in practice we don't often petition the Holy Spirit as we ought or understand how He works in our daily life. The remedy to this takes effort and attention. As a tool in this process, I would like to encourage you to seek out a simple, straightforward book I have found helpful to me. The book is called In the School of the Holy Spirit by Fr. Jacques Philippe. It will lead you to be more attentive to the movements of the Holy Spirit in your life as you learn to value the third Person of the Trinity as the Sanctifier of your soul. Fr. Jacques Philippe explains the rewards of this attentiveness by providing simple and concrete ways to grow in this inner sensitivity. This book is readily available online or if you call the parish office.

05/08/16 - In honor of Mother's Day, I want to share with you the life of one of our newer saints. Gianna Francesca Beretta was born in Magenta in Italy. She was the 10th of 13 children in her family, only nine of whom survived to adulthood. When she was three, her family moved to Bergamo, and she grew up in the Lombardy region of Italy. In 1942, Gianna began her study of medicine in Milan. Outside of her schooling, she was active in Azione Cattolica. She received a medical diploma in 1949, and opened an office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta, where she specialized in pediatrics. Gianna hoped to join her brother, a missionary priest in Brazil, where she intended to offer her medical expertise in gynecology to poor women. However, her chronic ill health made this impractical, and she continued her practice in Italy. In December 1954, Gianna met Pietro Molla, an engineer who worked in her office, ten years older than she. They were officially engaged the following April, and they married in September 1955. The couple had Pierluigi, born in 1956, Maria Zita, in 1957 and Laura, was born in 1959. Gianna suffered two miscarriages after this. In 1961, Gianna was once again expecting. During the second month, Gianna developed a fibroma on her uterus. After examination, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, which would save her life and allow her to continue to have children; a complete hysterectomy, which would preserve her life, but take the unborn child's life, and prevent further pregnancy; or removal of only the fibroma, with the potential of further complications. Roman Catholic teaching would have allowed her to obtain a hysterectomy, but would forbid an abortion. Wanting to preserve her child's life, she opted for the removal of the fibroma. After the operation, complications continued throughout her pregnancy. Gianna was quite clear about her wishes, expressing to her family, "This time it will be a difficult delivery, and they may have to save one or the other - I want them to save my baby." On April 21, 1962, Good Friday of that year, Gianna went to the hospital, where her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was successfully delivered via Caesarean section. However, Gianna continued to have severe pain, and died of septic peritonitis 7 days after the birth. Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and officially canonized as a saint on May 16, 2004. Gianna's husband Pietro and their last child, Gianna, were present at the canonization ceremony. The miracle recognized by the Roman Catholic Church to canonize Gianna Molla involved a mother, Elizabeth Comparini, who was 16 weeks pregnant in 2003 and sustained a tear in her placenta that drained her womb of all amniotic fluid. Because a normal term of pregnancy is 40 weeks, Comparini was told by her doctors the baby's chance of survival was "nil." Through praying to Gianna Molla and asking for her intercession, Comparini delivered by Caesarean a healthy baby despite the lack of amniotic fluid for the remainder of her pregnancy. In his homily at her canonization Mass, Pope John Paul II called Gianna "a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love." Gianna is the patron saint of mothers, physicians, and preborn children (Source: Catholic Online)

05/01/16 - Bishop Zbigniew Kiernikowski of Legnica, Poland announced on April 17th the approval of a Eucharistic miracle. On Christmas Day 2013, a consecrated Host fell to the floor, the bishop said. It was picked up and placed in a container with water [to reverently dissolve it]. Soon after, red stains appeared on the Host. Then-Bishop of Legnica, Stefan Cichy, created a commission to monitor the host. In February 2014, a small fragment was placed on a corporal and underwent testing by various research institutes. The final medical statement by the Department of Forensic Medicine found: In the histopathological image, the fragments were found containing the fragmented parts of the cross striated muscle. It is most similar to the heart muscle. Tests also determined the tissue to be of human origin, and found that it bore signs of distress. Saying that the Host "has the hallmarks of a Eucharistic miracle," Bishop Kiernikowski explained that in January 2016 he presented the matter to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In April 2016, in accordance with the Holy See's recommendations, he asked parish priest Andrzej Ziombrze "to prepare a suitable place for the Relics so that the faithful could venerate it." (Source: CNA) I invite you to come pray before the Eucharistic Lord on Friday this week during our usual period of adoration from 9am to 5pm.

04/24/16 - Over the last few weeks, our first reading at Mass has been from the Acts of the Apostles. The Church gives us this writing to hear so that we might recall what the Apostles and first Christians did in the wake of Jesus' resurrection and ascension (which we will soon celebrate). One character of note mentioned repeatedly is Barnabas. Barnabas is thought to have been born a Jew on the island of Cyprus. He converted to Christianity as an adult, before St. Paul's own conversion. After Paul was converted, Barnabas vouched for him to the apostles and became his constant companion on mission because he was a competent preacher. In the eyes of the early Church, only the apostles and St. Paul are held in higher regard than he. Along their journeys Paul and Barnabas were sometimes accompanied by the relative of Barnabas called John Mark. John Mark wrote one of the gospels known today simply as Mark's gospel. Jesus says in this Sunday's gospel: "This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." The holiness, determination, charity and courage of Barnabas truly embodied the heart of discipleship which he exemplified. With a world full of evil and suffering, it is no wonder that Barnabas would shine forth not only in his time but ours as well. St. Barnabas, pray for us!

04/10/16 - The final window in the series is located on the north side of the church near the transept. It depicts one of the ancient symbols for Christ, that of the pelican feeding its young. There is an ancient legend that in time of need the mother pelican will wound themselves and feed their blood to their young in order to preserve their lives. By the 2nd century Christians adapted this legend to be an allegory for Christ who not only feeds us with His Body and Blood but also gave of Himself so that we might be saved in our hour of need from sin. Our church features this image in this window as well as one in the sacristy. You may remember it is also featured on the back of a violet chasuble I sometimes wear at Mass.

04/03/16 (Divine Mercy Sunday) - The message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received from Jesus about God's mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread. Through St. Faustina, the Merciful Savior has given the aching world new channels for the outpouring of His grace. These new channels include the Image of the Divine Mercy, the Feast of Mercy (Divine Mercy Sunday), the Chaplet, the Novena to The Divine Mercy, and prayer at 3 o'clock in the afternoon(the Hour of Great Mercy). Although these means of receiving God's mercy are new in form, they all proclaim the timeless message of God's merciful love. They also draw us back to the great Sacrament of Mercy, the Holy Eucharist, where the living Lord, who suffered and died on the Cross and whose Heart was pierced with a lance, pours forth His mercy on all mankind, and grants pardon to all who draw near and honor Him. As Jesus told St. Faustina: My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and a shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are opened all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet... It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My mercy. (Diary 699) To receive these graces, the only condition is to receive Holy Communion worthily on Divine Mercy Sunday (or the Vigil celebration), make a good confession beforehand and stay in the state of grace (no mortal sins) and trusting in Jesus' Divine Mercy. [n.b. If you have recently made a confession and are not aware of any mortal sins committed since that time it is not necessary to confess again prior to Divine Mercy Sunday to receive the Lord's promise.] -Excerpts of this article are taken from publications by Marians of the Immaculate Conception

03/27/16 - April 3rd: Divine Mercy Sunday - The message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received from Jesus about God's mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread. Through St. Faustina, the Merciful Savior has given the aching world new channels for the outpouring of His grace. These new channels include the Image of the Divine Mercy, the Feast of Mercy (Divine Mercy Sunday), the Chaplet, the Novena to The Divine Mercy, and prayer at 3 o'clock in the afternoon (the Hour of Great Mercy). Although these means of receiving God's mercy are new in form, they all proclaim the timeless message of God's merciful love. They also draw us back to the great Sacrament of Mercy, the Holy Eucharist, where the living Lord, who suffered and died on the Cross and whose Heart was pierced with a lance, pours forth His mercy on all mankind, and grants pardon to all who draw near and honor Him. As Jesus told St. Faustina: My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and a shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are opened all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet... It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My mercy. (Diary 699) To receive these graces, the only condition is to receive Holy Communion worthily on Divine Mercy Sunday (or the Vigil celebration), make a good confession beforehand and stay in the state of grace (no mortal sins) and trusting in Jesus' Divine Mercy. [n.b. If you have recently made a confession and are not aware of any mortal sins committed since that time it is not necessary to confess again prior to Divine Mercy Sunday to receive the Lord's promise.] Excerpts of this article are taken from publications by Marians of the Immaculate Conception

03/20/16 - The next window in series on the north side of the church is that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The physical heart of Jesus is used to represent the ardent and burning love which He has for humanity. Thus the fire. The crown of thorns further impresses upon us the extent to which He suffered out of love for us. In the mid 1600's Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque reminding her of His great love and imploring her to remind humanity to seek Him out through devotion to His Sacred Heart. He made the following promises to those who would draw close to Him through this devotion:
I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
I will give peace in their families.
I will console them in all their troubles.
I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.
I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.
Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
Tepid souls shall become fervent.
Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.
In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.

03/13/16 - This week's featured window is found on the north side of the church near the back. It depicts a so-called Christogram. We see what looks like the "X" imposed over the letter "P". These letters are from the Greek alphabet and are called chi and rho. These letters are the first two in Greek from the word Christ. According to history this symbol played a pivotal role in helping the Church move from underground to public acceptance. In the early 300's the Roman emperor Constantine was preparing to fight a rival emperor. Both wanted lone supremacy. Before the battle Constantine, who was generally familiar with Christianity though not Christian himself at the time, had a vision in which he saw the chi rho along with the words "In hoc signo vinces" (In this sign you will conquer). He placed the image on the standard and shields of his army. The next day he defeated the rival emperor completely. This seemingly divine intervention in the life of Constantine disposed him to soon declare Christianity as a legally recognized religion and eventually the official religion of the Roman Empire.

03/06/16 - The last of the windows in the choir loft is that found on the north side of the church above the statue of the Pieta. The image depicted in this window is that of the harp. This instrument is first mentioned in the scriptures in Gen. 4:21 when it describes a descendant of Cain (murderer of Abel) as a player of the harp. Music, especially on stringed instruments, is usually associated with joy and festivity in the context of the bible. The Psalmist writes: "Give praise [to God] with blasts upon the horn, praise Him with harp and lyre." (Ps. 150:3) King David was a notoriously good harp player. Typically the harp had 10 strings. In the scheme of number significance to the Jews, the number 10 represented completion or perfection (ie the 10 Commandments). Being the Chosen People of God, the Israelite use of this instrument represented that the great truths and plan of God for salvation would come to completion through them.

Painting sample - This week artists from Conrad Schmitt Studios began executing a floor to ceiling sample on the north side of the church behind and above the St. Joseph altar. This sample is meant to be a visual aid in the upcoming campaign being presented to raise money for the restoration and repair of our church interior. The sample is scheduled to be concluded before Holy Week.

Opportunities for confession - Confessions are offered daily, beginning half an hour before the scheduled Mass time. Additionally, during Lent they are offered half an hour (at 5:30) before the stations of the cross. Examination of conscience pamphlets are available in the racks in the back of the church to aid you in making a good and integral confession. Don't put off or miss our on this chance to receive the Lord's forgiveness and grace - especially during Lent.

As we come to another year's end, I want to make sure I extend my thanks to the many that do so much for our parish and school. I consider it a blessing to have many individuals willing to contribute their time and talents toward the efforts we make here to perpetuate the faith, educate our children, and serve our Lord. A special thanks also to the Tate family for the wonderful job they do every year in decorating the church for Christmas. May God bless you and yours throughout the new year.

Photo: CT
Grand Marshal Trophy, Holiday Parade, 11/21/2015

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St. Columban Catholic Church 1111 Trenton Street, Chillicothe, MO  64601
Phone: 660-646-0190

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