Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gratitude and St. Paul: Saints John and Paul Parish: Franklin Park, PA - April 4 - 12, 2009

April 14, 2009

Peace and Good,

I just finished a Holy Week retreat at Saints John and Paul Parish (named after the patron saints of our deceased Holy Father). This is quite unusual, for most parishes prefer to do retreats outside of Holy Week. I preached Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (on the Scrutinium Gospels in the morning and the Letters of Paul in the evening). This was a great way to gear up for the Triduum. I then helped out at the various services and Masses of the Triduum, finishing up on Easter Sunday.

One of the themes that I preach on when I speak of Paul's letters is gratitude. That is found especially in his First Letter to the Thessalonians. I was speaking to the converted. I have never been at a parish when so many people thanked me for being there. (For those of us who are a little more cynical, it was not because they don't like their pastor. They have a great pastor, Fr. Mac.)

The parish is in the process of building a new Church. Its shell is already climbing up to the heavens. Its official due date is late October, but Christmas is probably more realistic. Still, on Easter Sunday, we could repeat the words that our Jewish brothers and sisters say each year at Passover, "Next year, in Jerusalem!"

Confessions have been a major activity all throughout this Lent. It is such a privilege as a priest to sit there and hear people open their hearts and souls to the Lord. For me, it's like being on retreat. Being a mission priest, I often hear long term confessions as well. You cannot believe the look of peace on the people's faces when they finish up. The same is true of those who have gone to confession all along, but who have grown older and cannot remember if they confessed something years ago. When they are released through Reconciliation, they find such peace.

I'm home in Ellicott City this week. Then off to San Diego for another mission beginning Divine Mercy Sunday.


fr. Jude


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