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July 16, 2017

FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JMJ

This past Friday was the feast day of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint. A Mohawk/Algonquin Indian. I have a particular interest in her because I know the priest who was the vice-postulator of her cause for sainthood. Monsignor Paul Lenz went to school with my father in Pennsylvania. Many years ago he gave me a relic of Kateri and then, in 2012, I accompanied him, along with many Native Americans from all across the Western Hemisphere, on a pilgrimage to Rome for her canonization. It was a great experience. St. Kateri’s statue was chosen to be on our Trinity Trail because she lived in a natural setting, near Fonda NY, on the banks of the Mohawk River. This was quite early in our country’s history. She is the patron saint of ecology and the environment. The statue in the picture is from her shrine in Fonda, and is very similar to the one we have ordered from Italy. The statue was purchased by Kathy, one of our parishioners, in honor of her husband Ron, who died last year. It will be hand painted by Keith, another parishioner who has a talent for painting and repairing statues. Another Kathy, who volunteers in our in our front office, has donated several of her bird houses. She’s a collector. I also purchased a beautiful piece of Jade marble that will be used to make an altar, also for the trail.

I continue to think about a retreat house/hermitage for our trail project. There are lots of interesting ideas for small structures that can be seen on YouTube, and I’m currently leaning toward a refurbished cargo container.

But, again my big question: Would you use it? A lot of people from our parish have taken retreats at the St. Francis Retreat Center in Dewitt but when I made the suggestion a few months ago, nobody took me up on it.

And by the way-and I hope this isn’t a little too premature-I have already got a name for it: Elisha House. Remember a few weeks ago, the first reading from Samuel told about the prophet Elisha visiting the elderly woman who not only fed the holy man, but also provided him with a room, a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. It was essentially a retreat house. A place to get away from the noise of the world, to get spiritually rejuvenated, to rest in the Lord, to read, to pray, to sleep, to meditate, to be silent. You would be in the cathedral of nature! And God often speaks in a “still small voice”.

My thinking at this time is that it would be for single people, possibly married couples, to be in silent isolation for a period of time from a few hours to a few days with no media. (No media!? Ah, but could you handle it?) My hope would be that spouses and families would facilitate their family member’s time away.

Let me leave you with the message from my favorite devotional book, God Calling. For August 6 “Dwell Apart”:

“Rest more with Me. If I, the Son of God, needed those times of quiet communion with My Father, away, alone, from noise, from activity — then surely you need them too. Refilling with the Spirit is a need. That dwelling apart, that shutting yourself away in the very secret place of your being — away alone with Me. From these times you come forth in Power to bless and heal.”

PS: Another beautiful statue has been ordered and that is St. Francis of Assisi who, like St. Kateri, is associated with nature and the environment. Thank you, Theresa, for your generosity.

 

Addenda: 

If anybody hears of a cargotainer for sale, please let me know. And, we do have a wish list for the trail. If anybody would like to contribute to the effort, your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

A few weeks ago our staff said our farewells to Anna our principal, who retired, and Krisztina, our business manager, who resigned to be home with her children. Again, thank you ladies for your great service to the Holy Spirit parish community and all the hard work and dedication you exhibited during your time with us.

As for Krisztina, she is anticipating the birth of her fourth child, a little boy, and I hear his name is going to be Solanus. Blessed Father Solanus Casey’s “feast day” is coming up on the 31st. (Wouldn’t it be neat if…?) His beatification ceremony will be at Ford Field in Detroit this November. I think it would be nice if we made plans to go down for the celebration.  Fr. J

“Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger people. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks.” Fr. Solanus

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