Saint Albert Catholic Schools received a generous donation today from the St. Peters Knights of Columbus. My thanks to Mr. Fred Maher for stopping by to present the gift. We continue to be grateful for the many individuals and organizations that support our work. May God bless each of you abundantly!
This was a photo I took from the dock in our neighborhood just six months ago while we lived in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. I enjoyed the warm evenings on the dock watching the sunset and waiting for the occasional dolphin to swim by as I admired the setting sun.
It was a bit different last night as I drove home from work in the dark with falling snow hitting the windshield. After a full day at school, an evening school board meeting, and then a quick visit to the regional volleyball game that our St. Albert Saintes were dominating, I made the trek home looking forward to a fresh bowl of home-made chicken noodle soup. It would bring warmth to a cold and tired body.
I got up at 3:30 A.M. to check on road conditions. While we were not expecting much snow, I never fully trust the forecast. The responsibility of ensuring the safety of our students weighs heavily on me. I have never enjoyed the decision-making process about when to call off school due to weather conditions when you have to rely partially on the forecast of what is coming in the next few hours. If you err on the side of caution and no winter weather arrives, people are unhappy. If you don't call off school and the sky dumps on you, people are unhappy. Thankfully, today required no such judgments to be made.
Spending time outside this morning at drop-off provided an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature from a different perspective--a cold and damp view but pretty nonetheless.
Notice the tree I featured a mere seven days ago on this blog. The stunning red colors have dissipated and the leaves are congregating on the ground quite rapidly. The cycle of life is demonstrated in a very vivid fashion through this process.
The morning sun struggled to pierce the clouds and darkness. That can be somewhat symbolic of the struggles we experience in our own lives. As we cope with the trials and tribulations that confront us, we may lose sight of the Light of Christ. We know that the healing presence of Christ is there, but we can't seem to break free from the darkness of the struggle. It is in those times that we realize we walk by faith and not by sight.
If you are experiencing a particularly dark circumstance in your life today, please know of my prayers for you. I know from experience the challenge of staying positive and hopeful when the world seems to be crashing down around you. Hang in there. You do not walk alone!
Celebrate life! We were extremely blessed at Saint Albert Catholic Schools this evening. During parent-teacher conferences we took time to have a special prayer and blessing of the new STEM equipment purchased in recent months.
Jill White (1970-2018), pictured in the newly installed plaque above, served as the athletic trainer at Saint Albert for over twenty years. There was a raising of the paddle at the auction this past spring to raise money for the STEM program in memory of Jill. Over $60,000.00 was raised to enhance our programs in the area of science, technology, engineering, and math.
It was wonderful to share with people this evening all of the good news. We were able to purchase new laptops for the robotics team. We were also able to purchase over 50 Chromebooks, a 3D printer, a laser cutter, and so much more. This is all possible because people saw a need and responded.
On a side note--I learned a few things about robotics tonight as I watched a few demonstrations. That is quite exciting.
I am grateful to Jill's family for being present for this evening's ceremony and blessing. I am also grateful to all of the generous donors and supporters who made this possible. God continues to bless our school in an abundance of ways.
I Found A New Tree To Follow Each Fall
October 22, 2019
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Those of you who have been reading these pages for the last five years may remember that I routinely documented the changing of the leaves outside of my office in Cheyenne each October. I found a tree outside the school here in Council Bluffs which will permit me to do the same thing.
Last year on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina I did not have a particular tree that captured my attention. Oh, that's right, it was because they were all still green. As I stood outside this morning during the drop-off of students, I realized that the 39 degree temperature and 15 mph winds were not as pleasant as what I was experiencing last year at this time. Update--it is 76 degrees this morning in Hilton Head.
On November 10, last year my family took a ferry ride from Hilton Head Island over to Daufuskie Island. That can serve as my "tree" picture from 2018. The green trees you see in the background are on Hilton Head Island.
November 10, 2018
Daufuskie Island, South Carolina
October 6, 2017
October 10, 2016
October 12, 2015
October 9, 2014
Enjoy the beauty of God's creation. Wherever you are, and whatever kind of weather you are experiencing, be grateful for the gift of each new day. "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His mercy endures forever."
The question at the end of yesterday's Gospel reading is still resonating with me today? "But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"
As the leaves change colors and we move into the autumn season, it is a reminder that time continues to march onward. The events of life can fill our days to the point where we don't see how rapidly the years are going by us. Then a brief stop to look at the beauty of nature can serve as a reminder. Yes, there are more years in my rear view mirror than what are left in front of me. How am I fulfilling God's calling in my life?
Yesterday's readings challenge us to persevere and to be persistent in prayer. The homilist at St. Margaret Mary Church in Omaha invited us to review our prayer life from four perspectives: (A) on the run prayer; (B) personal prayer; (C) communal prayer; and (D) liturgical prayer. The homilist admonished us that if we start slacking in any one of the four areas it will impact the other areas as well. It was a thought-provoking analysis.
Bottom line--persevere in prayer so the Son of Man finds faith on earth when He returns.
We closed off the upper drive at Saint Albert Catholic Schools earlier in the week to get ready to put in a new sidewalk. This changed the flow of traffic, especially with our buses. However, it has all gone smoothly.
One of the perks for arriving early to monitor the flow of traffic is to see the sunrise each morning from on top of the hill. The beauty of God's creation is simply amazing.
As daylight approached each day, activity began to flourish.
Repairs to the curb were made first.
Everything is ready. We are just waiting for the concrete trucks to arrive.
Here we go!
Once again, many thanks to the donor who made this possible. We are blessed indeed!
One of my intentions when I accepted the role of executive director for Saint Albert Catholic Schools was to enhance our endeavors to make the school a place of prayer. Another step was taken in that direction today as we began Eucharistic Adoration. Each Friday during the rest of the school year we will have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Adoration throughout the school day. I invite parents, grandparents, local parishioners, and any Saint Albert supporters to sign up for an hour of prayer. Lift up our students, teachers, staff, and administrators to the Lord so that everything we do on campus bears abundant fruit.
There are advantages and disadvantages to growing up in a small town. I am of the opinion that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. This was especially true in my home town of Old Monroe, Missouri. Life centered on the Church for much of my formative years and I will always be grateful for that.
I went to Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Old Monroe for my first eight years of education. Immaculate Conception Church was my first assignment after being ordained a deacon. My wife was the parish secretary for years. Eventually my wife taught at Immaculate Conception School after our children were a little older. We have a lengthy history in this community.
A television clip came to my attention today of one of my wife's former students, Kasey Kaimann. She is a senior now at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Her testimony and witness to the faith at 22 years of age is refreshing. I invite you to watch the television clip and then watch some of her You Tube videos.
Thank you Kasey for proclaiming the Good News of Salvation.
Due to the generosity of a donor, we are about to get more new sidewalks at Saint Albert Catholic Schools. Thank you so much to this donor and to all who support our work so generously. We are blessed indeed.
We closed off the driveway next to the sidewalk to allow for equipment to be moved in so that demolition can begin as soon as school dismisses. A change in the flow of the usual traffic pattern for drop off and dismissal will certainly create some uncertainty. However, it is a temporary inconvenience for a greater good. It will all work out just fine.
I look back and think about the relevance of this date in my own life. It was on October 16, 2001 that I underwent major surgery after being diagnosed with cancer for the second time in my life. (The first time was in 1986.) Enduring the surgery and the months of recuperation after the surgery were very difficult. However, the end result was having restored health. Did I want to go through that "construction zone" in my life? Absolutely not. Was it necessary? Well, it has given me eighteen additional years as of this point.
It is hard to believe that I have survived 33 years since the first diagnosis and 18 years since the second diagnosis. These experiences have helped me keep things in a better perspective. The inconveniences of life are just that--inconveniences. They are not life and death issues. Having a little disruption to the normal flow of things because of construction is an inconvenience--nothing more. It is good to keep our perspective on things.
Some of you are going through some real difficult times right now. Some are grieving the loss of a loved one. A few of you have told me about loved ones in the hospital, even in the intensive care unit. Others have heavy burdens of different types. Please be assured of my prayers. These are challenging issues and I empathize with you and the burden you are carrying.
For those of you who have smooth sailing for the moment, offer a prayer of gratitude for that blessing. Then offer a prayer for those who are hurting in one way or another. Let us build one another up in Christ Jesus. Don't let the inconveniences of life distract you from what matters. Keep your eyes focused on the King of kings and Lord of lords.
The grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the power of the Holy Spirit be with you!
Today was a full day. I arrived at St. Patrick's Catholic Church at 7:00 A.M. in preparation for the 7:30 Mass. It was my privilege to preach at all four of the weekend Masses--one on Saturday evening and three on Sunday morning. Thus, I was there for the 7:30, 9:00, and 11:00 A.M. Masses this morning.
When I left the parish at about 12:20 P.M. following the last Mass, I headed straight to St. Albert Catholic Schools. This was the location of Oktoberfest being hosted by St. Peter's Catholic Church. The place was bustling with activity by the time I arrived. The Mustang convertible being raffled off was parked right at the main entrance and drawing a lot of attention. I can only imagine the excitement of the winner of that drawing. Overall, it looked like a beautiful gathering. A tip of the hat to all who invested many hours of work to make this endeavor a success.
After spending time at Oktoberfest I went home briefly to visit with my son who had come home from college for the weekend. We decided that a good use of our time together would be to go shopping for winter clothes for him. (Remember we just moved from balmy Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.) After our shopping spree we had a quick dinner together and then we were both off. He went back to school and I headed for the funeral home to offer my condolences to a family well-connected to St. Albert.
It has been a long day, but a beautiful day. I am indeed very blessed. Before I began writing my blog post, I took time to listen to a song. A friend of mine texted after one of the Masses and recommended that I listen to the song "Cherish" by Kool and the Gang. He said it corresponded well with my homily. I had not heard the song in a while and could not recall the lyrics. I pulled it up on YouTube and listened to the song and watched the official video. There is a good message in the lyrics. It is my hope that we do "Cherish the Love."
Many thanks to Fr. James for inviting me to preach this weekend. I am also grateful to all the parishioners who offered encouraging feedback after my homily. I am very happy that it connected with many folks. Please know of my prayers for each of you. May God meet each of you at the point of your need with His love, grace, mercy, compassion, and healing. "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His mercy endures forever."
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