October 21, 2016
Dear St. Joseph Parishioners,
- "O God I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity … or even like this tax collector.” The more I reflect on the Gospel of Luke the more I am convinced that Luke presents Jesus’ teaching with a spot on sense of humor. We are meant to laugh—and cringe—in self recognition. On retreat, I read “The Name of God is Mercy” a book length presentation of an interview with Pope Francis. Wow. Almost every page had a highlight moment. Pope Francis shared the conscious thought he makes every time he enters a prison: why them and not me? It is the living sign of “there but for the grace of God go I.” How do we show mercy and not see ourselves apart from this merciful embrace by a gentle Father? Another personal and abiding metaphor: the difference in seeing confession and sacramental reconciliation as a “drycleaner” out foul stain, but in a virtual drop off/pick up automatic mode and as wound care, where the shame and guilt open our hearts to a purifying love.
- I have all our Masses this weekend: Saturday at 5pm, Sunday at 9:30am English and 12noon Spanish—and an extra couple too (a wedding for close friends at Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa on Saturday evening and a Sunday Night Mass at St. Benedict in Broken Arrow).
- Confessions at St. Joseph on Saturday afternoon may start a little late as I’ll be coming from extended confessions at the DCYC (Youth Conference) at Union High School in Tulsa.
- Speaking of Youth Conferences: 2000 young people and chaperones are expected Saturday at the UMAC in Tulsa for an incredible day of faith freely shared and given. St Joseph is sending 46 youth in our two Youth Groups (Anglo and Hispanic) with Ms. Patty and Alfredo. Special thanks to Patrick Walker, one of our three volunteer CDL Drivers, who has already driven our Youth Choir back and forth to Tulsa for the Opera (and stretched his own cultural appreciation of the fine arts) and is driving again on Saturday. We really need to add a couple more qualified drivers.
- Lots of talk, of course, about debates and voting in the last week. This Sunday (Oct 23) between Masses, I’ll be in the Music/choir room with a cup of coffee to reflect out loud on how a Catholic can approach voting this November.
- St. Joseph School is off after Diocesan In-Service. Involved parents really are what lead to academic success. St. Joseph offers open enrollment and would love to schedule a tour for you (email@example.com) 918-683-1291.
- RCIA Inquiry continues on Tuesday evenings at 7.
- Wednesday, October 26, the image of Our Lady of San Juan de Los Lagos returns to St. Joseph with the dancers from St. Brigid in Tahlequah at 6pm, Mass at 7pm (in Spanish) and then the Church will remain open for prayer through the next afternoon.
- The Feasts of All Saints (Tuesday Nov 1) and All Souls/Day of the Dead (Wednesday November 2) are almost here.
- The Youth Group is providing votive candles for sale to memorialize our friends and family who have gone before us in death. Candles are available for purchase before and after Masses.
- An Altar for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) has been set up in the Commons. Parishioners are invited to bring photos and mementos of family members. Please place a name and phone number on the back so that the items can be returned to you afterwards.
- Masses for All Saints (a day of obligation) will be at 8:15am and 7pm, Tuesday Nov. 1. Masses for All Souls will be 9:15am (with Bishop David and St. Joseph School) and 7pm in Spanish, Wednesday November 2.
Our Diocesan Priest Retreat at Subiaco Abbey in Arkansas was great. Our retreat director was Fr. George, who had been with us in Muskogee in August. My takeaway: his reflection that the divine gift dynamic is: “take and give, give and live” and the human temptation is “take and keep, and take some more.” Our spiritual growth is to give and live. Simple, straight forward and memorably said.
May God bless you and all you love (and all you should).
St. Joseph Church and School