"'I Have a Dream' is a public speech delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which he calls for an end to racism in the United States and called for civil and economic rights." On this anniversary of the speech, may we embrace the ideals of being "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Transitions in life can be quite challenging. Some of these transitions are eagerly pursued while others are simply thrust upon us. If one pursues a new job with more responsibility and greater compensation, there is excitement and enthusiasm about the possibilities connected with this new venture. There may also be some apprehension and fear of failure.
Other transitions are the result of life circumstances. Being diagnosed with a serious illness can be one such example. The death of a loved one is another. Losing a job, a broken relationship, or a multitude of other examples remind us that life is basically a constant transition in one way or another. Life is not static. It keeps moving.
I am still trying to picture the transitions that the winner of the lottery will experience. Winning a jackpot worth over 700 million dollars will certainly bring transitions (and a lot of new "friends").
Today, I keep in mind all the priests in our diocese who are preparing for transitions. They will be bidding farewell to the parishioners this weekend as they prepare to move to their new parishes for next weekend. This is an emotional time for the priest as well for the people. While there can be a sense of excitement at the new ministerial assignment, there is also a grieving process in saying good-bye. The people who have built relationships with the priests may also experience that sadness of saying farewell.
Since I have the privilege of working with all of the priests across the diocese, I get the opportunity to stay in touch even when our local priests are moved to another area of the state. That is a tremendous blessing for me. It is my prayer that all of us involved in ministry continue to build bridges of trust during these transitions so that the Kingdom of God will flourish in our midst.
As we approach the last week of August, I realize that the warm days of summer will quickly be drawing to a close. It is not uncommon for us to experience snowfall by late September or early October. Subsequently, I want to enjoy the beauty of these days as fully as possible.
While I enjoy the serenity of our weather today, I am also praying for the people of Texas as they brace for Hurrican Harvey. I cannot even imagine receiving up to 35 inches of rain along with 110 mph winds. The eclipse reminded us of the majestic beauty of our solar system as different parts aligned to create a spectacular scene. We are now reminded of the power of nature when other features line up and come together in a particular way.
A couple of deaths in the family recently has reminded me of the fragile nature of life.
Our pilgrimage on this earth is a short one.
Psalm 90 tells us in a very direct manner:
"Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty, if we are strong;
Most of them are sorrow and toil; they pass quickly, we are all but gone."
Suffering and pain are part of our human condition. It is difficult to endure in our own lives at times; it is even more difficult to watch our loved ones go through it. We rely on God's grace for perseverance. I extend my condolences to the grieving families. May you find peace and comfort in the love of God the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ, in the fellowship and communion of the Holy Spirit. As extended families gather around you during these difficult days, may you find strength, peace and hope beyond measure!
During my lifetime I have heard many references to "the elephant in the room." This refers to an "obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss." It can also be "a condition of groupthink no one wants to challenge."
Several articles appeared today in my inbox that reflect a desire to address some of the difficult topics in our Church and in our world. I would encourage each of you to spend a little time reading these thought-provoking articles.
First--Archbishop Chaput frequently provides solid food for thought.
Second--Phil Lawler can be very direct and to the point.
Third, Msgr. Charles Pope can typically enliven the discussions with his observations.
Finally, a look at how we may be attracting things we don't want in our lives.
The challenges are many. Are we able to take incremental steps toward a path of holiness and wholeness?
I love spending time with the young Church. It makes this old guy feel energized and enthused about the limitless possibilities before us. The young adults who gathered last night obviously have a passion for living the Gospel message. I hope I was able to give them some encouragement in their faith journey during the course of my presentation on the Treasures in the Church. They certainly inspired me by their presence and joy.
As another week draws to a close, take some time to give thanks for the blessings experienced. It can sometimes be easy to spot all the difficulties and challenges that confront us on a regular basis. Are we as diligent about seeing all the graces and blessings? God continues to move among His people. We are blessed indeed.
Tonight I have the pleasure of speaking at Theology on Tap in Cheyenne. We are going to take a look at some of the beautiful treasures of the Catholic Church--Sacred Scripture, the Didache, the Early Church Fathers, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Encyclicals, Apostolic Exhortations, the Vatican II Documents, and more.
Understanding the fundamentals of Catholic dogma can be helpful. It can aid in our own decision-making and discernment processes. It can give us a solid foundation from which to share our faith with others. It can be a start to understanding the basics of apologetics to better explain and defend the faith to others. Overall, our knowledge of the faith will hopefully lead us to a deeper love of Jesus Christ and His Church.
I am looking forward to being with young adults from all across the Cheyenne area this evening.
(What is the significance of the photo above? It has a beer advertisement on the wall. I thought was a good fit for Theology on Tap.
I had the pleasure of speaking to the faculty and staff of St. Mary's Catholic School yesterday in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Faculty meetings before the start of the school year are a routine that can be less than exciting. How many times can a person sit through "blood borne pathogen" training? Obviously, there are things that must be covered from year-to-year, but I am grateful that I get to speak about our Catholic identity and the ways in which we will effectively proclaim the Gospel message to all who enter through the doors of the school. THAT IS EXCITING!
The field of education has many challenges in the modern era. In addition to providing a solid academic education, schools are asked to do much more in the areas of extra-curricular activities. A winning sports program with a multitude of different sports--you better have one! The best band and choral groups around--absolutely! A top-notch drama program with award winning set designs--bravo! Art shows that demonstrate talent comparable to Picasso, Rembrandt, and Michaelangelo--magnificent! Oh, and one other thing, can you make this happen with no additional funding? Good times!
Today, I simply want to say thank you to all the school administrators, faculty members, and the support staff who give so generously of themselves to create safe and healthy learning environments for the students entrusted to our care. In a particular way, I especially want to thank all of these educators in the Catholic school systems across our country. You are truly sharing in the life and the mission of Jesus Christ and His Church. May you experience God's grace and blessing throughout the whole academic year!
Today, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There have been many other sites which have explained the doctrine surrounding this event. Thus, my intent is to look at another aspect of the importance of this day. According to the Pastoral Note in the ORDO, "Today where customary, or on another appropriate day, the produce of fields, gardens, and orchards may be blessed."
Since today is a Holy Day of Obligation there are already necessary commitments in regard to our spiritual life. Subsequently, most of us will probably miss this opportunity to celebrate God's goodness to us in regard to the produce of our fields, gardens, and orchards. With that being said, I want to encourage you to take some time to give thanks and praise for the many blessings we enjoy in regard to our food supply. Anyone who has had the pleasure of harvesting home-grown fruits and vegetables from their own gardens or orchards understands the beauty of God's creation in a very personal way. We are blessed indeed!
I saw this truck in Casper, Wyoming and was fascinated at the miniature business on wheels. The ingenuity of people never ceases to amaze me. It also reminded me of the simple pleasures of life. Who does not enjoy some cool refreshment on a hot day?
Eclipse-mania is in full swing in Casper. Business owners are trying to capitalize on this God-given event; employees in these same businesses do not seem as enthused. While sitting in a restaurant with only a few other patrons (I won't say which one), I heard two employees talking about the eclipse and what hours they were working. The one said, "It is bad enough dealing with the regular idiots we have all the time; now we will have up to 40,000 more in town." Just a simple tip to the employee--don't bad mouth your customers while they are sitting there in your establishment keeping you employed.
Once again , our nation mourns. The violence in Charlottesville, Virginia has captured the media's attention. Never let a good crisis go to waste. Spin it politically in the way that you desire, and don't let facts get in the way of telling a good story. Our country is in a sad state of affairs on many different levels. The common good of the people is anything but common.
One blogger blamed pro-lifers for the violence in Charlottesville. Wow! Now that is a stretch. When pro-lifers make the claim that the killing of the innocent unborn leads to all of this other violence, they are dismissed as lunatics. In today's modern society it is the individuals trying to protect innocent human life who are blamed for violence across the board. I must have missed that class in my "LOGIC" course.
Where did we lose our sense of direction as a nation? We have never been a perfect nation and I understand that. I can also comprehend the need for civil disobedience in certain circumstances. However, what is being demonstrated in our country today is simply violence for the sake of violence. No one wins in that scenario.
Dialogue is a lost art. Unfortunately, the inability to discuss matters in a rational way means there is no room for compromise and/or agreement on any of the elements of the issue at hand. It is a "winner take all" proposition. Sadly, we all lose in the end.
My dear readers, be people of prayer. Then let the promptings of the Holy Spirit guide you in being a faithful witness in the world to the love of Jesus Christ. If the events of the world are making you cynical and giving you a sense of hopelessness, turn to God ever more deeply and frequently in your prayer. It is also okay to enjoy a little "down time" once in a while and soak in some of the simple pleasures of life.
It has been nine days since I last posted a blog. Did you miss me?
I spent the last five days in Casper, Wyoming--my home away from home. First, we had a principals' gathering at St. Anthony Tri-Parish Catholic School (pictured in the background). It was good to be with all of the principals as we gear up for another academic year. I joked with them that I was appointed interim Superintendent of Catholic Schools for one academic year back on August 12, 2010. I have just wrapped up seven years with my interim appointment and now begin year number eight.
I was at the dedication of the Sacred Heart statue (pictured above) back in June. This was the first time I had the opportunity to see it lit up at night. I tried to grab a photo at dusk to capture the statue with a little daylight but also being lit up with artificial light as well. It is a beautiful monument.
Over the weekend I gathered with the deacon aspirants and their wives for their first annual retreat. It was a beautiful way to kick-off the new academic year.
On Friday, I had a little down time before the retreat began. I decided to take a walk along the river, and I arrived just in time to observe a training exercise with the Casper Fire Department. I have to give a lot of credit to all the first responders for the work that you do. Thank you for your dedication. The pictures below do not fully capture the training exercise, but they will give you an idea of what was going on at the time.
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