February 5, 2017



Earlier this week I spent a lot of time with the National Geographic Channel. I watched several back-to-back episodes of The Story of God. In this series, actor Morgan Freeman travels the world in a private jet, visiting holy places and interviewing individuals, addressing the question of the universal belief in God as practiced by the many different cultures and races on our planet.

As you know, Christianity is only one of many religions that believe in God. But he talked with many interesting and diverse people who told their particular stories and how they came to believe. Some of these came through near-death experiences.

One I found interesting was the story of the Indian man who survived 9/11. Both he and his pregnant wife worked in the World Trade Center, but in separate towers. The first plane hit his building and he struggled to get down to the main floor. He prayed together with some friends and then claimed he heard the voice of God say that it would be OK, that everything would be all right. At that point, the building collapsed and everyone he prayed with died. He then got a cell phone call from his wife in the next Tower. She asked him if he was still alive. He said yes. They would both survive, raise their family, and eventually move back to India where he would begin his new life of service to God by helping women caught up in human trafficking*.

I was pleased that Mr. Freeman also visited Fatima and told the story of the three shepherd children who were visited by the Blessed Mother. They showed some original pictures of the kids and the faces of the people as they witnessed the great “Miracle of the Sun” on October 13th of 1917.

If the reruns continue, I would recommend you check out this show. It’s very well done with lots of food for thought.


One story that I don’t think was told in the NatGeo series was that of the apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes. It’s fascinating in its own right, and this small French town is still visited by millions of people every year. It’s my personal favorite, having visited there in 1996.

Next Saturday is the Lourdes feast day and is also our second Saturday Movie Night of the year. We will be showing the 1940’s classic, Song of Bernadette. This is a great movie and I would encourage you to come and see it as a family. The movie was based on a book written by a German Jew, Franz Werfel. He fled Germany trying to escape the persecution of the Jews and found himself a refugee wandering through France where he ended up in Lourdes. He heard the local tale and made a deal with “the lady”. Get me and my family out of here safely and I will tell your story. She did, and he kept his promise. He wrote the book and within a few years of arriving in America, it became an Academy Award winning movie and the most prominent means by which the story was made famous.

We are going to have a new look to our bulletin in the near future. An extra page or two and the inside will be in color. Should be very nice. Be advised that there will also be new deadlines for any of you who want to submit anything, and that includes me. Watch the bulletin for more details.

As mentioned from the pulpit last week, we now have men’s and women’s retreat dates set aside for our church at the St. Francis Retreat Center in Dewitt. Please give some consideration to a weekend away with the Lord. Some great things can happen on retreats!

I’m going to be gone for ten days beginning February 13th and returning February 24th. The priests of the St. Louis Center will be celebrating the weekend Masses, and Fr. Lobert will be doing the Tuesday evening Masses. The other days are uncertain at this time.

Oh, one more thing. About that special song our choir sang last weekend. I actually commissioned them to do that song a long time ago. We had to wait because the beatitudes passage comes up only once every three years. If you want to see the version that originally inspired me, go to YouTube and look up Beatitudes, Glenstal Abbey. And again, thank you choir for all your hard work in preparing for singing that beautiful song.

*on February 11th our Diocese will be having a conference on Human Trafficking at Lansing Catholic Central High School. See the ad in the bulletin.  Fr. J

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