Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Sacred Heart and God's Mercy: Parish Mission in Southern Maryland

April 2, 2009

Peace and Good,

I recently had a mission in Sacred Heart Parish in LaPlata, Maryland. The town is famous because of a recent disaster. A few years ago a terribly powerful tornado passed through the town and devastated most of the downtown area, missing the Church by only a few hundred yards. It has all been rebuilt and now offers a beautiful tourist site.

Like most of the missions this year, the theme was the letters of St. Paul. Even though this must be the tenth time I have done some of the talks, I continue to marvel at Paul's insights. I keep being asked how did he figure this all out. Some of it was his temperament (he was definitely a type A personality). Some of it was his classical Greek and rabbinic training. Some of it was his mystical experience (e.g. the road to Damascus, being taken up into third heaven). But so much was the unique blend of all of the above and his own response to the call.

In the Church, there is a stained glass window of the apparition of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary. As part of the mission, I spoke about the story of how Margaret Mary's spiritual director did not believe her when she told him about the apparitions. He told her that he would believe her if next time Jesus appeared, she would ask him what sins he had confessed the past week. She did this, and Jesus' response was "I forgot." Obviously, as God, he could not forget, but he was telling her that he had let go of it, it is time to forgive ourselves as well. So many people hold on to their sins for so long, letting them torture them long after they have confessed them.

Being a history buff, I also noticed that the Mudd family has offices near the Church. Their ancestor is Dr. Mudd who treated John Wilkes Booth after he assassinated Abraham Lincoln. He was imprisoned for being part of the plot, although many people and especially the family feel that he was not complicit to what had happened. This is where the expression, "his name is mud," comes from.

I noticed the unusual accent in southern Maryland while I was there. It is an interesting mixture of the Baltimore accent with something that sounds like a mix between southern and English. They tell me that it derives from the accent of the original settlers back in the seventeenth century.

You'll all be in my prayers as we begin Holy Week. I'll be in Pittsburgh this coming week at Ss. John and Paul Parish in Sewickly.


fr. Jude


  1. Father,Dr. Mudd wasn't executed. He went to prison for many years but was eventually released because of his heroic work during a Yellow Fever epidemic.

  2. Peace and Good,
    Thanks for the clarification. I'll edit the original text.