February 27, 2015
Dear St. Joseph Parishioners,
Greetings and peace. By now you know I am no fan of the cold but I am always grateful when Saturdays and Sundays are clear. We’ll hold a good thought for Saturday evening. Surely, our six more weeks of winter are nearly past.
- "He was transfigured." Our journey through Lent is incredibly well laid out. We started with an acknowledgement that we are all sinners. Then, we faced temptation with Jesus in the desert and heard his call to act now, what are we waiting for to start. Today, we see through his transfiguration our own transformation through suffering as much as success. We are the ones who misunderstand how God reveals his love. We imagine it is through glory as success and acclaim. He sees glory as enduring love; something else entirely different.
- I have all our Masses this weekend: Saturday at 5pm, Sunday at 9:30am English and 12noon Spanish and 5pm Bilingual.
- We will offer the Sacrament of the Sick at all our Masses this weekend. One of my friends is a moral theologian (and now Bishop of Ft. Worth). Years ago, he made a simple and perceptive insight. American medicine treats death as the always enemy as if we succeeded we would never ever die. But, that is not how God constructed the human body. We do age, and wear out--and eventually die. Eternal life transforms our mortal bodies into a new spiritual changed self. Illness--even with suffering--is part of the mystery. Medicine relieves pain and provides care and compassion. It is not a promise of eternal life. It is what the Church expresses in the sacrament of the sick. Our illnesses--and sufferings--are meant to transform us. They are not the last word. Hope and love are. We will offer the sacrament of healing in all our Masses this weekend. This is intended for serious illnesses. Anyone with questions is always welcome to visit with me and/or one of our deacons.
- Color of the week is purple again.
- Fridays of Lent start at St. Joseph with (well Mass is at 8:15am):
- 5pm KOC #962 Fish Fry: $5 per person, $20 per family. Tonight the Knights will be ably assisted by our Hispanic Youth Group.
- 6pm Holy Hour in the Church and Via Crucis en español
- 7pm Stations and Benediction
- Sundays Rediscover Catholicism continues after the 9:30am Mass
- Please pray for our Confirmation Candidates (in English) who are on retreat with the candidates from St. Brigid in Tahlequah this Saturday. Bishop Slattery will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation May 7 here at St, Joseph.
- Lenten Footsteps continues this Wednesday at 12:05pm at Grace Episcopal Church in Downtown Muskogee with myself as the speaker. A sign of life in our local inter-faith community is that the good people of First United Methodist and pastor Dr. Jack Kemper have volunteered to host a 4th meeting on Wednesday March 11 at 12:05pm.
- Congratulations to the 7th/8th grade Academic Team. They were the runner-ups at the State Competition on Saturday at El Reno. Thank you to their coach, Mrs. Gilmartin who does a great job of preparing them for the completion and to Mrs. Bartlebaugh who drove them to El Reno. Students who participated were Hunter Bartlebaugh, Peter Ha, Alex Hsieh, Lance Lienhart, Frances O’Callaghan, and Kevin Skulich. In place of a banner for the gym, the young people will design a commemorative t-shirt. Peter Ha was the leader scorer for Division 1 and the team is delighted with the best ever showing from a St. Joseph team.
- Wednesday, Kathy Gilmartin and I reviewed with our 5-8th grades the 125th Anniversary slideshow. It was a great afternoon helping our students connect with our long history and marvel at moments when St. Joseph College had a three digit telephone number (536) and telephone operators swore never to listen to conversations (wink-wink, nudge nudge) and the St. Joseph Mothers Club members all had “Mrs.” as their first name.
- The 6th grade Academic Team will compete at Tahlequah on Friday for Area.
- After a couple of date changes, we are FINALLY having our Chili Cook-Off. Tuesday March 3 at 6:30pm.
- On Thursday, March 5 following Mass, three priests will be available to students for Reconciliation in the church.
- The Diocese of Tulsa involves our share in the common work beyond the boundaries of any one parish. Each year the Diocesan Development Fund enables essential ministries which serve Catholics throughout Eastern Oklahoma. We continue to receive the pledge envelopes of our parishioners and will forward them to the Diocese. We are very grateful for your generosity. It's not too late to pledge for DDF 2015. Our parish is trying to make its goal for the 4th consecutive year and every pledge makes a huge difference.
- Tickets remain on Sale for internationally acclaimed speaker Matthew Kelley who will be in Tulsa for one night only of faith and renewal at the Convention Center in Downtown Tulsa. See Deacon John Hale for tickets and more information.
- Last night, I was at the opening show of Shrek the Musical at Muskogee High School: wow! Both thumbs up, way up is my review. Parishioner Christopher Gilmartin is the lead—and he is very green but no ogre—as well as las dos Marias Coronado (godmother and ugly duckling turned swan) and Omar Lopez as the wicked wolf. The costumes and staging is amazing and the closing a show-stopper—although I do remember it more as a Monkees Classic. Shows continue tonight and tomorrow and Sunday afternoon. Luckily, one can do everything Catholic (Stations and Mass) and still easily make the show.
- Deacon Ed and Muskogee Catholic Charities are making a difference every day in our community. Yesterday in this bitter cold, a food shipment arrived. I had the best intentions to help unload but Deacon Ed and helpers Vernon and Cliff were so fast everything was done before I arrived. I did check in though and visit with Deacon Ed from inside the warm building.
- Thursday, there was a funeral for Jamie Lay of Oklahoma City who was buried from Cornerstone Funeral Home here in Muskogee and for whose family our Altar Society hosted a meal afterwards. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.
May God bless you and all you love (and all you should).
St. Joseph Church and School