The Diocese of Cheyenne will celebrate the Chrism Mass this evening at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Please pray for our priests as they renew their commitment to the Lord and to the service of all God's people.
While I know we will experience winter-like weather here in Wyoming for quite some time yet, I am excited that Spring has arrived. The approach of Easter lets me know that warmer days are coming.
The beauty of the snow-covered mountains is one thing. The beauty of a sun-drenched beach with the feel of warm sand between your toes is another thing. I am grateful that God has blessed us with an abundance of beauty in a variety of settings.
What are ten things in the beauty of creation for which you are thankful on this first day of Spring in 2018?
Happy Feast Day to all the people who bear the name of Joseph. Happy Feast Day as well as to all of our parishes and ministries which also bear his name. St. Joseph is the patron saint of workers, carpenters, and fathers. He certainly provides a model of living that we should not ignore.
Congratulations to the many citizens of Cheyenne, Wyoming who were recognized for their good work this past Friday evening at the annual Chamber of Commerce banquet. This was my second year of attending this event. While I am not a small business owner or one of the "movers and shakers" of the community, it was a privilege to be invited to share in the festivities Friday night to honor those who contribute in significant ways to making our local community stronger.
We are in the final two weeks of Lent. Even if it has been unfruitful to this point, please start now. Don't let this season pass you by without growing in holiness. Get to the Sacrament of Reconciliation before we begin the Sacred Triduum. Prepare yourself well for Easter.
I am grateful for the staff retreat we had on Wednesday. It is always a privilege to be able to step back for a moment and refocus our attention on the things that truly matter. The noise and clamor of the world can certainly get us off track from time to time. A retreat allows for an intentional effort to realign priorities and grow in relationship with the Lord.
We were blessed with beautiful weather so we could enjoy some time outdoors.
My heart aches for a few of my friends experiencing tragedy and suffering in recent days. How can you bring consolation to a grandma and grandpa who just lost their 26 year old granddaughter? I cannot even begin to imagine the grief they feel as they look at the four year old and one year old great grandkids who no longer have their mom by their side. The sorrow has to be immense.
Serious illness, the death of a loved one, and broken relationships have all been scenarios shared with me in the last few days. The stained glass window pictured above reminds me that even Jesus prayed for the cup of suffering to pass if possible. Unfortunately, there are times when the cup of suffering does not pass us by. We are asked to take up our cross and follow Jesus. It is not always easy; it is not always understandable. We walk in faith, hope, and love.
The picture above reminds me to be a person of fervent and faithful prayer. There is always room for me to grow in this area, but today I am being very intentional about lifting up in prayer all those who are hurting in any way. Please join me in this prayer today. Call to mind any of your family and friends who are in need of our prayer. Let's lift them all up together and watch God move powerfully in our midst.
Stained glass windows are present in many of our churches. The stories depicted in these pieces of art cover the life of Jesus, the days of creation, local culture, and many other things. The beauty that is present in these artistic endeavors is to draw our hearts and minds to God. I certainly had that experience last week as I traveled to various churches in northeast Wyoming.
Have you been to Rome? Have you visited majestic cathedrals and churches anywhere in the world? Have you visited your local cathedral? Have you noticed the beauty in your own church regardless of size and architectural design?
I was ordained a deacon in the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis, Missouri. The beauty of the mosaics in that sacred space is simply beyond description. I have been serving as a deacon now for over eight years at the Cathedral of St. Mary here in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The beauty of the sanctuary, the stained glass windows, and even the tiles in the floor are a reminder that this is a sacred space. I don't ever want to take that beauty for granted.
My encouragement to you today is simply this. Take some time to pause and appreciate what surrounds you. How have you been touched by the grace of God? Having a beautiful church in which to worship is one of those blessings. There are ways to look at it from even a more personal level. Did you have a warm bed in which to sleep last night? Did you have a hot shower when you got up? Have you had enough to eat lately? Do you have someone in your life who loves you? Do you belong to a faith community that lifts you up? If you answered "yes" to any or all of these questions you are truly blessed. Give thanks to God for the gifts in your life.
A traffic jam in Wyoming has a different look than in major metropolitan cities. Although I grew up on a farm in Missouri, and am accustomed to the behaviors of hogs and cattle, it was fascinating to watch the cattle stand their ground as we approached their territory. We kept gently creeping forward and their reluctance to give way looked liked a good old-fashioned standoff. Eventually, they gave way and let us pass unharmed.
(On a side note--the cattle guard seems to be working well except for the one on the far right who somehow got across to the other side.)
What are the obstacles you have faced during your Lenten journey?
What are the things blocking your path to holiness?
Is running with the wrong crowd leading you astray?
We are over the half-way point of Lent. Run the race to the finish.
Devils Tower was completely immersed in fog when I was in the area this week. Subsequently, I gave the local pastor a hard time about being a poor tour guide. He responded by taking one of my statements at the mission and putting it on a photo of Devils Tower that he had taken last fall. He framed it and presented it to me as a gift at the end of the mission. It is a beautiful picture and I appreciate his kindness and generosity.
My reflection question for today is this. Are there any things in your life which you are trying to keep concealed from God?
The Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity were the topics for my three mission talks this week at Corpus Christi Parish in Newcastle, Wyoming. I had never been to this church before. When I walked in and saw the stained glass window pictured above, I knew my topics were on target for the week.
On the first night of the mission I walked us through a renewal of our baptismal promises. When these questions are asked of us during Mass in the Easter Season we can too easily breeze through the answers with a casual "I do." The mission setting allows for time to reflect at length upon each of the questions.
On the second night of the mission I focused our attention on the virtue of hope. When life hurts, how do we maintain hope? Being people of faith equips us well to be people of hope. We can trust in the promises of God.
On the third night I focused on the virtue of love (charity) especially in the context of healing. How do we experience the love of God in our own lives? Then, how do we extend that same love to others? How do we become ambassadors of Christ's love, compassion and healing?
This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Lent. There is an option for the priests and deacons to wear rose-colored vestments instead of violet. Whether your clergy members wear violet or rose, remember that the Lenten journey is past the mid-point when this particular Sunday arrives. My encouragement to you is simply this. Finish strong!
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