The Ascension

This coming Thursday, the Church celebrates the Ascension, a Holy Day of Obligation, or is it Opportunity?  The Ascension sets the stage for Pentecost, the birth of the church. In the days after the resurrection, Jesus continually warned his friends that his time on earth was drawing to a close but he promised to send his Holy Spirit who would eternally companion them, and us.  But that couldn’t happen until he left. They begged him not to go but one day he ascended in a cloud as they looked on from below. How strange it must have been!  Reflection on the ascension continues to hold symbolic meaning for our personal lives. What needs to ascend before a new Pentecost can happen?  New life isn’t new until I allow the old to disappear in the clouds. Only then can there be a spacious place in my heart for the abundant life the Spirit can provide.

Abundance Again

I spent many hours of my childhood in the public library of my small hometown in Minnesota. Granted, there wasn’t much to do then but I don’t think it was boredom that drew me into a life-long love of learning. I just remember always wanting to know more about, well, everything. A small, often fearful little girl, I felt empowered by knowledge in a positive way. Besides looking up information, I loved reading novels and plays that transported me into a much bigger world, into understanding the human psyche and the vast spiritual realm. Today, I am delighted by the Internet’s infinite educational opportunities. Now I have a library at my fingertips. In an instant, I can read any passage in the bible, do the Liturgy of the Hours, look up St. Teresa of Avila, an obscure poem, or anything about world religions I do not understand. To me, this is miraculous, a gift from the Holy One, who knows our needs and pours out abundance beyond our wildest dreams.

by DC

Remembering Mom

Today, on Mother’s Day, I am flooded with memories of my Mom who went home to God in 2010.  Of all the images of her that I hold dear, the recollection of her hands knitting remains most precious. Service to others was always foremost in her mind throughout her very active life of teaching and raising a family. We could never go anywhere without picking up someone who needed a ride or stopping to drop off food for a shut-in.  Later in life, forced to slow down, she devoted herself to the ministry of creating prayer shawls, baby sweaters, and afghans for those in need. I love this picture because it combines her dedication to action and prayerful contemplation.  With each stitch, she said a “Hail Mary” for the lucky recipient of her handiwork. Remembering Mom, and all of the great women who have laid down their lives in self-sacrificing service to others, I extend grace and blessings on this day we celebrate the outpouring of powerful maternal love.

by DC

Serving the Little Ones

We have just begun a series of First Communion masses at the parish. Within the next couple of weeks, over 250 children in our community will experience this important new phase of their initiation into the faith. Those of us who serve in their Faith Formation are especially happy when the big day arrives for the family. We never worry that they don’t fully understand the Eucharist. Who among us does? Instead, we look for readiness, for openness. In their formation, we reinforce a very simple yet profound truth to them – that the Eucharist is like receiving a kiss from Jesus. No other theology is necessary at this tender age. They get it because they possess a purity of heart that does not question the need to show love. The unconditional and constant caring actions of parents, family, friends, and teachers is what they know by experience. They have been served so lovingly that transference to Jesus is easy, the joy overwhelming!  Congratulations to them and to their families!

by DC

Inspired to Serve

Just the other day, I ran into a friend I had not seen in some months. Aside from the joy of this reunion, I sensed an inner glow emanating from him. When asked, he shared that he had just visited a brilliant, yet bedridden man. They had talked about God in a personal way, the events of their lives as the basis for divine encounters. My friend’s eyes shone with love when he explained how this often happened to him as a Stephen Minister.  I think of this ministry as part of what Pope Francis often calls the “field hospital” wing of the Church. Armed with nothing except a loving heart, these folks go out to the spiritually poor among us who need a friend. They take time; they are present; they listen. They are the antidote to a culture totally addicted to electronic forms of communication. I left my friend that day in gratitude. There it was a again – the ripple effect of grace – touching my soul and inspiring me, once again, to serve.

by DC

Triduum Day 3: Holy Saturday

Comments Off on Triduum Day 3: Holy Saturday

After the startling events of Good Friday, Holy Saturday dawns quietly on the third day of the Triduum. It’s a day to remain in the tomb and await the biggest event in the Christian calendar – celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. However, for some special people, called “Elect” and “Candidates” in the RCIA process, anticipation  occupies all of their thoughts on Holy Saturday. Tonight, they will be initiated into the Catholic Church at the great Easter Vigil, the most dramatic and joyful event of the year.  Like Jesus, they are ready to rise from the tomb of their past lives and be created anew. During the Vigil, we are all reminded of this shared destiny. The tomb, then, becomes a birthing place. Through Jesus, death no longer has power over us!

We invite you to come and join us as we celebrate the Great Easter Vigil beginning at 8:00 p.m. This is a three hour liturgy that includes the reception of the sacraments of initiation. If you cannot be there or are confined, we invite you to watch our live broadcast by going to http://stedward.com/stedcast/ (This  liturgy will also be archived on our YouTube channel for later viewing).

by DC

Triduum Day 2: Good Friday

Comments Off on Triduum Day 2: Good Friday

We enter today into the most solemn day of the Triduum – the commemoration of the death of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. We call these short but history-changing hours, the “Passion” of Jesus. The word comes from the Latin,”passio” which means passive. Up until this point, Jesus’ public life was just the opposite – He actively gave his life away by healing, miracle-working and preaching. Then, at the appointed time, he passively, but intentionally, laid down his life. No one took it from him. Rather, in a selfless and unparalleled act of love, Jesus offered his very death as a gift for all humanity.

We invite you to join with our community as we commemorate the events of Good Friday in two different liturgies: the traditional Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 12:00 noon  and/or Lamentations at 7:00 p.m., a modern reflection on Good Friday. If you cannot be there or know someone who is confined, watch our live  or archived broadcast by going to:;http://stedward.com/stedcast/

by DC

Triduum Day 1: Holy Thursday

Today the universal Church enters into the Easter Triduum – three days when we shift our focus to the most important events in the life of Christ and thus in our lives too. We come face-to-face this first day with the great “mandatum,” or  mandate of love and servant leadership given by Jesus at the Last Supper. What a shock it must have been for the apostles when Jesus interrupted the Passover dinner (something they were very familiar with) to wash their feet. Peter protested at first, not understanding the symbolism of the servile act.  Clearly, the statement was made – unless we are willing to serve others in a very graphic way, kneeling at their feet, we don’t get what it really means to follow Jesus.

Join with the St. Edward the Confessor community as we experience the Washing of the Feet, and celebrate the Institution of the Eucharist at the Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper at 7:30 P.M.   If you cannot be present tonight or know someone who is confined, we invite you to watch our live or archived broadcast:  http://stedward.com/stedcast/

by DC