Category Archives: Weekly Column

Lent. What should I do?

Scripture (Mt. 6:5ff) encourages us to three special practices in this time of penance: Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Here are some ideas that may help your Lent.

pray

Prayer:

  • Start again the practice of morning prayer. (Three minutes each day before noon, telling God “thank you for ______”, asking for God’s help for any special person or need you may have personally).
  • Parents, do you bless your children before they go to bed, or off to school? Say a simple prayer with them and then trace the Sign of the Cross on their forehead.
  • Grace before meals, of course; parents lead one night, children the next.
  • Let your teens know you are praying for them. “I will pray for that test”, or “It’s going to be okay . . . I asked God to watch over you.” You’ll know what to say.
  • Are you going to go to confession this Lent? That’s a prayer you know, a very profound one. We stand weak and vulnerable before God. This so touches God’s heart.

For now, just remember that we learn to pray . . . by praying. Your efforts don’t have to be profound or eloquent, only sincere. Remember when your child would bring you the simplest words scrawled on a piece of card? Remember how that touched you? Let that be a sign to you. Let your simple prayer be a sign to God.

fast

Fasting:

We think of this as “going without”, something we normally consume or enjoy doing for the sake of something “greater” than our own enjoyment. The common thought here is usually about chocolate or coffee or desserts. But there are other “fasts” perhaps more pleasing to God. How about:

  • Giving up talking negatively about others; especially in their absence. (Just being silent in these conversations can do a lot to send a gentle message, a silent witness to people.)
  • Going without your usual TV watching in order to be with family, or to read something inspiring, or to just sit and talk to God.
  • Letting yourself feel hungry and then skipping a meal. Let your “emptiness” be a prayer for the half of humanity that’s twice as hungry as you.
  • In general, you and the Holy Spirit can figure out what to “go without”. But, remember . . . fasting is meant to free us to do something “for” someone.

give

Almsgiving:

  • As you look at the world (locally or globally), what issue do you feel is most in need of monies to advance its cause?
  • Google: social problems. How to contribute. Pick one that touches you.
  • Go without buying something (fasting). Use the money saved to send to a lunch program (St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, etc.)
  • Let your leisure time become a gift to someone. Perhaps a phone call, time spent with the elderly, time spent listening to someone who needs to talk, etc.
  • Write your elected officials about a crying social need, and ask that they get back to you about what can be done.
  • The City of Rochester is listed as number 1 in extreme poverty for children. Educate yourself about the ongoing efforts to help remedy this situation.

These are just one person’s ramblings about the three fold Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. You and the Lord will find something in each of these to call you forth to action.

But, remember. Jesus tells us to do these things in secret; not for personal approval or praise. In the end it’s all about love.
Bless your Lenten journey.

Fr. Tim


To assist us with planning for the One by One Events, (food, etc.) we ask that you to register in one of the following ways:

Not sure if you can come to all three events at this time– no problem! You can register for one event at a time and come back to register for the other events, or you can register for all events at once.

One By One Logo

ONE by ONE lineup:

Saturday, March 7, 5:15 pm. “Let’s Talk”

  • Food and welcome.
  • “I Need God in My Life. My Catholic Faith Helped Me Find Him” Talk. Witness talk by a parishioner about how they found their place in the Catholic Church.
  • Conversation at tables about peoples’ own stories. (Personal sharing only as people feel comfortable – – – no forced, uncomfortable admissions).
  • Anonymous Question Box. Fr.’s John and Tim will do their best to answer all questions and address burning issues.
  • Invitation to next event.

Saturday, March 21, 6:15 pm. “Let’s Pray”

  • Pot Luck Supper (bring a dish to pass) and welcome.
  • Move to church for an informal conversation and walk through of the Catholic Mass.
  • Brief description of upcoming Palm Sunday and Holy Week.
  • Invitation to join us for Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

Lent. Let’s Roll!!

Back in high school, if you were trying out for one of the varsity sports there was this thing called “two-a-days”. Generally it consisted of four hours of grueling practice, two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon. It was meant to see who really wanted to play. Fainter hearts would soon find other interests. We hated “two-a-days.”

That’s kind of how we look at Lent, isn’t it – – – six weeks of getting in spiritual shape. The same feelings get stirred. “No chocolate! No whiskey! No TV! No whining! No fun for six weeks. Oh dear, how will I ever make it?” Spencer Tracy, in God is My Co-Pilot, reaches over and smacks me . . . “get a hold of yourself! This is a good thing.”

This is not a very helpful way to begin! It’s important that we start this journey in the right frame of mind. I like to look at it as getting back to some basics in life. Things like balance, temperance, accountability, moderation and focus, can re-order our personal lives so we begin to see what really matters in our life.

Meanwhile, renewed kindness, generosity, devotion and prayer can, by God’s grace, increase charity in our lives. And, as we all know, charity is our participation in the life of Christ. (“I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20.)

And why is this clean-up necessary? Because we let things go. We let our appetites for all kinds of things get too big, and we know it.
Deep down a little voice tells us, “you’re getting sloppy/careless/greedy/selfish/snobby, etc.” And, most of all, lukewarm to God. We don’t mean for these things to happen, they just do – like dust on your coffee table.


Now the good news is, it eventually becomes a joyful discipline. We rediscover some wonderful things we had forgotten about; things like a clean con-science that let’s us look people in the eye with real friendship, a clearer sense of purpose to our work and why we do it, a renewed appreciation for the people in our lives we have been given to live and work with, and a better understanding of how to use the things of this world properly, without excess or hoarding.

So what is this joyful thing that happens? Freedom! Freedom to be who God intended you to be. . . Christ in your skin, with your voice.
So, let’s start slow. Say goodbye to one small thing that you know needs to go (at least for a while). Make a conscious offering of it to God. (Eg. “Lord, help me to stop looking so long in the mirror – so I can look for You in others.” Or, “Lord I’m really good at finding fault. Help me to see the good and be thankful.” Or, “Lord I always want to get my own way; help me today to help others get theirs.”)

Lent. Let’s roll!!

Fr. Tim


To assist us with planning for the One by One Events, (food, etc.) we ask that you to register in one of the following ways:

Not sure if you can come to all three events at this time– no problem! You can register for one event at a time and come back to register for the other events, or you can register for all events at once.

One By One Logo

ONE by ONE lineup:

Saturday, March 7, 5:15 pm. “Let’s Talk”

  • Food and welcome.
  • “I Need God in My Life. My Catholic Faith Helped Me Find Him” Talk. Witness talk by a parishioner about how they found their place in the Catholic Church.
  • Conversation at tables about peoples’ own stories. (Personal sharing only as people feel comfortable – – – no forced, uncomfortable admissions).
  • Anonymous Question Box. Fr.’s John and Tim will do their best to answer all questions and address burning issues.
  • Invitation to next event.

Saturday, March 21, 6:15 pm. “Let’s Pray”

  • Pot Luck Supper (bring a dish to pass) and welcome.
  • Move to church for an informal conversation and walk through of the Catholic Mass.
  • Brief description of upcoming Palm Sunday and Holy Week.
  • Invitation to join us for Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

Leprosy. We’ve all got a bit of it.

It’s difficult for us in our modern world, where fresh water is available with the turn of a faucet and top notch medical care is available to most Americans, to grasp the desperate situation of the leper in this Sunday’s gospel.

His was a two-fold problem. Not only had he contracted a disease that was incurable and ultimately fatal, but the community around him viewed the leper as a moral degenerate. He must have done something very bad to receive such a terrible punishment. The leper truly had no-where to turn.

The meeting he has with Jesus is extraordinary. He approaches Jesus in fear. “If you wish, you can make me clean.” (So shunned were lepers that the poor fellow couldn’t even presume Jesus would want to heal him.) “I do will it. Be made clean.”

What is less apparent is how radical Jesus was in dealing with this sickness. First off, he let the leper approach him (breaking the rules set down by Moses). Secondly, and this must have freaked everybody out, he touched the man! This Jesus fights for the little guy for sure.


So has all that healing stuff stopped now that Jesus is in heaven? That was then and this is now? Jesus isn’t here in the flesh to touch the leper, so can we still call on him? Does he still “wish to make us clean”? Of course he does.

However, the leprosy has changed somewhat over the past 2,000 years. Medical advances (powered by our God given genius and the medicines we’ve found in God’s creation) has truly brought Christ’s healing to millions. But, the leprosy that pills won’t touch is the spiritual sickness that afflicts so many of us today.

What is the modern leprosy? I think it’s seeing ourselves alone in this world with no one to care for but ourselves and a few people we love. It’s a view of life that sees me in a world of limited resources of time and money. It’s a world that has no cause and no purpose other than one I invent for it. God, if he exists, is very far away and let’s everybody work things out for themselves as best they can.

It’s a world that each person invents for themselves, or worse, takes whatever world view is currant in the popular culture. Let’s call it spiritual leprosy.

And this spiritual leprosy has certain symptoms. It comes with all kinds of behaviors that try to deal with the pain of being alone in the universe. Selfishness (for sure), jealousy, greed, bullying, addiction (pick one!).

How does Jesus heal this lonely view of life? Well . . . . that’s the whole story about Christ. “God so loved the world that he sent his only Son . . . not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved (from its leprous condition) through him.” JN. 3:16.

And, here’s where we get back to that little guy in the gospel with the leprosy. You see, he came to Jesus in Faith. “Jesus, you can heal me.”

Suddenly, the worlds view changes. God has come to us and entered into our world to be Emmanuel (“God with us”). Broken are the false visions of life that have us living only for ourselves. Life now is a journey with Christ, listening to him in the scriptures and church, turning to him in a personal relationship of love and trust.

“Oh Jesus, I believe. Help my unbelief.” Mk. 9:24

Fr. Tim


To assist us with planning for the One by One Events, (food, etc.) we ask that you to register in one of the following ways:

Not sure if you can come to all three events at this time– no problem! You can register for one event at a time and come back to register for the other events, or you can register for all events at once.

One By One Logo

ONE by ONE lineup:

Saturday, February 21, 5:15 pm. “Let’s Play”

  • Food and intro’s
  • Trivia Competition (real easy, goofy questions, everybody wins)
  • “You’ve Been Away? Me Too.” Talk — short story of one person’s being away and now returned. “Why I came back and what I found.”
  • Invitation to come back for next event.

Saturday, March 7, 5:15 pm. “Let’s Talk”

  • Food and welcome.
  • “I Need God in My Life. My Catholic Faith Helped Me Find Him” Talk. Witness talk by a parishioner about how they found their place in the Catholic Church.
  • Conversation at tables about peoples’ own stories. (Personal sharing only as people feel comfortable – – – no forced, uncomfortable admissions).
  • Anonymous Question Box. Fr.’s John and Tim will do their best to answer all questions and address burning issues.
  • Invitation to next event.

Saturday, March 21, 6:15 pm. “Let’s Pray”

  • Pot Luck Supper (bring a dish to pass) and welcome.
  • Move to church for an informal conversation and walk through of the Catholic Mass.
  • Brief description of upcoming Palm Sunday and Holy Week.
  • Invitation to join us for Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

“As if God Were Appealing Through Us . . .”

These are the remarkable words St. Paul speaks in his letter to the Corinthians. He calls us “Ambassadors for Christ”. Picture yourself sitting in that large circle of chairs at the United Nations. To your left is the Ambassador from Russia and on your left are the Ambassadors to Nigeria and Poland. You are there as Ambassador for the Kingdom of God. Really.

Your words, your deeds, are meant to introduce these people to your country. You represent a nation that experiences the love of God living and active amongst its citizens because of their faith in Jesus Christ. The people of this nation love one another because they have first been loved by Christ.

St. Paul does not call us preachers. We are Ambassadors; living, breathing citizens of a nation that God has invited all humankind to claim as their home. And that’s what ambassadors do . . . they represent in their very selves the country they come from. We don’t spout slogans. We ARE our message.


So, what’s the point? The point is: YOU are the instrument God uses to help people know Him. Think about how you experienced God’s love in your life. Wasn’t it through PEOPLE? Your parents, friends, teachers, priest. Weren’t they ambassadors for Christ for you? Christ appealing to you through them? Parents, I don’t think you see yourself having so important a role. Jesus expects you to introduce Him to your children, your siblings and co-workers.

Wait a minute. I’m no saint! How can I give Christ to others? Just be your best self. Be the person who cares what happens. Be the person who looks out for others. Be a sign of hope when everyone else is quitting. Be the person who’s not afraid or embarrassed to admit their Catholic faith means something to them.

We are about to launch our One By One outreach this week. We want to be clear here – – – we are not looking for new parishioners. Rather, we want to share something that has made a huge difference in our lives. We want to invite people to consider restarting the practice of their Catholic faith. Why? Because it brings life and hope.

Soooooo . . . . think about who you will ask to join you at the One By One events. Say the Mission Prayer. Ask away. Remember you’re doing this for Christ, the Good Shepherd, and we are his sheep dogs . . . uh, I mean ambassadors!!

God bless you.

Fr. Tim


To assist us with planning for the One by One Events, (food, etc.) we ask that you to register in one of the following ways:

Not sure if you can come to all three events at this time– no problem! You can register for one event at a time and come back to register for the other events, or you can register for all events at once.

One By One Logo

ONE by ONE lineup:

Saturday, February 21, 5:15 pm. “Let’s Play”

  • Food and intro’s
  • Trivia Competition (real easy, goofy questions, everybody wins)
  • “You’ve Been Away? Me Too.” Talk — short story of one person’s being away and now returned. “Why I came back and what I found.”
  • Invitation to come back for next event.

Saturday, March 7, 5:15 pm. “Let’s Talk”

  • Food and welcome.
  • “I Need God in My Life. My Catholic Faith Helped Me Find Him” Talk. Witness talk by a parishioner about how they found their place in the Catholic Church.
  • Conversation at tables about peoples’ own stories. (Personal sharing only as people feel comfortable – – – no forced, uncomfortable admissions).
  • Anonymous Question Box. Fr.’s John and Tim will do their best to answer all questions and address burning issues.
  • Invitation to next event.

Saturday, March 21, 6:15 pm. “Let’s Pray”

  • Pot Luck Supper (bring a dish to pass) and welcome.
  • Move to church for an informal conversation and walk through of the Catholic Mass.
  • Brief description of upcoming Palm Sunday and Holy Week.
  • Invitation to join us for Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

One by One. The Events.

As promised, below you will find a description of each evening event for our One by One Mission. First, a couple general comments about what each evening will contain.

Food. The sessions will start immediately after Saturday evening mass. The first two nights we will gather in Murphy Hall at 5:15 pm. The third night starts at 6:15 pm in the Gathering Space. Dinner will be provided. We hope you meet “your invitee” and sit together for the meal.

Time. We want the evening to move quickly so we’re planning to be done by 7:30 (8:30 on 3/21), giving time for other activities that evening.

No preaching. The goal of the event is to provide a comfortable and fun way to relook at the Catholic Church. Lots of time for questions (any questions!). Someone will tell a brief story about their own personal journey in and out of the Catholic Church.

No solicitation. We’re not looking for new parishioners. We just want people, on their own, to feel free to come along with us . . . or not. We think the Catholic vision of life and worship is wonderful. We think it’s important to share this news.

Babysitting. Available all three nights for children ages 3 to 10 years.

Youth program. We will have activities for Jr. High students on the first night and Sr. High students on the second night – bring your friends!


So here’s the lineup:

Saturday, February 21, 5:15 pm. “Let’s Play”

  • Food and intro’s
  • Trivia Competition (real easy, goofy questions, everybody wins)
  • “You’ve Been Away? Me Too.” Talk — short story of one person’s being away and now returned. “Why I came back and what I found.”
  • Invitation to come back for next event.

Saturday, March 7, 5:15 pm. “Let’s Talk”

  • Food and welcome.
  • “I Need God in My Life. My Catholic Faith Helped Me Find Him” Talk. Witness talk by a parishioner about how they found their place in the Catholic Church.
  • Conversation at tables about peoples’ own stories. (Personal sharing only as people feel comfortable – – – no forced, uncomfortable admissions).
  • Anonymous Question Box. Fr.’s John and Tim will do their best to answer all questions and address burning issues.
  • Invitation to next event.

Saturday, March 21, 6:15 pm. “Let’s Pray”

  • Pot Luck Supper (bring a dish to pass) and welcome.
  • Move to church for an informal conversation and walk through of the Catholic Mass.
  • Brief description of upcoming Palm Sunday and Holy Week.
  • Invitation to join us for Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

Hang on to this sheet, as your “invitee” will certainly want to know what we have planned. Also . . . please pray our Mission Prayer each day (before meals?).

Be ready to invite your friend the week of February 8.

Directions to sign-up on the website, Facebook, and after mass are in the bulletin.

Lord, bless our efforts for we do this for the love of your Son, Jesus Christ.

Fr. Tim


“One By One”

So, now you’ve had a couple weeks to wonder what this “mission” at Holy Trinity is all about. Something to do with Catholics who have gotten away from practicing the Catholic Faith, right? That is correct.

By now you may be wondering, “What do you want me to do? I’m not a preacher. I can’t say those religious things like you priests. And, I don’t like sticking my nose into people’s personal lives.” OK, I get that.

We certainly don’t want you to preach to people, nor are we out to make people feel bad or guilty about not going to church. What we want to do is gently share some good news.

I love the image someone told me about a few years ago. “Sharing the faith”, they said, “is like one beggar (you!), telling another beggar (your friend), where they’re giving out fresh bread.” Let’s face it, we’re all hungering for basically the same thing . . . meaning and purpose for our lives, friendship and love. These are the things that make our lives precious, yet so many are living far away from these things and don’t seem to be able to find them.

We’re the people (Catholics) who have found the fresh bread. We’re not perfect by a long shot. But, at least we know who is the answer to life’s deepest hunger. It comes to us in the love of God poured out for us in the person of Jesus Christ.

And, where do we find this Jesus? Many places of course, but, in a special way we find Him in the Sunday Eucharist. There we hear His word and there, we eat the bread which has miraculously become His person. And, there we meet one another as brothers and sisters in Christ ready to help each other on life’s journey to the Kingdom.

“Yes, I get all that, you may say. “But, it’s the preachy stuff I can’t do. Tell me what you want, and I’ll tell you if I can do it.” Fair enough!

One By One is asking you to think about one inactive Catholic person (not two or three) who seems to be wanting or needing “more” for their life. Pray about who you should speak to. Then, with help from Holy Trinity, invite them to come with you to a lighthearted evening event here at the parish. (We will be describing the three evenings in a separate flyer, so you can explain them to your friend). Remember, we want YOU to come with them!

Some questions:

“Do we have to come to all three?” No.

“Can we come to one and not the others?” Yes.

“Do I have to teach them about the Catholic Church?” No.

“Will my friend get pressured to get back to church?” No.

“Will it be fun?” Of course. Fr. John will be there!

“Will there be a chance to say how we might have been
hurt by the church or whatever keeps us away?” Yes, we’re ready to listen.


Basically, we want our absent friends to feel comfortable being back with us at a Catholic church. Back with no judgment. Back to a place that’s always been theirs.

But, . . . . none of this can happen without YOU and your invitation to someone no one knows but YOU! You little missionary you!!

God, please, bless us as we begin One By One.

Fr. Tim


Addiction (Part 2)

Let’s begin this reflection with a promise given to us by God.

“For I am convinced . . . that neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below, there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38.

That means the power of addiction will be overcome by God’s grace. Period. God does not want His children in bondage. So, we need to find a way to let the power of the love of God into this dark and scary place. How do we do that?

It’s probably best to turn to those who have experienced a release from their addiction. The first people that come to mind are our brothers and sisters in the 12 Step Program of Recovery. Over the years, they have discovered a certain path to victory over addiction to food, alcohol, drugs, pornography, gambling, etc. These 12 steps, if followed with docility and humility, will lead to freedom from ad-diction.
I want to focus on the first three steps, as I feel they hold the key to all that follows.

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over (my addiction).

Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than our-selves (God/my Higher Power) could restore us to sanity.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Here, I think, is the genius of the 12 Steps. It comes by admitting we’ve lost the battle. The addiction is just too big and too strong to hold out against. Every time it’s me vs. my addiction . . . I lose. How do I know that? Because I’ve tried a 1000 times to NOT do that, and a 1000 times I failed.

So, the key to “sobriety”, as they say, is to admit I’ve lost. It’s a moment of terrible honesty with oneself when we admit, “I can’t control this. It controls me.” This takes real humility. Our enemy, the devil, sows seeds of protest in our mind. “No!”, we say. “I could stop if I really tried. I’m not a loser here.”

That’s a lie. Here’s the terrible truth . . . I’ve lost the battle. It’s over. I’ll never overcome this addiction. We have to give up trying to fix this by ourselves, because we can’t.

So . . . now what? Just give up and give in? Of course not! Something very positive has just happened. We’ve admitted the truth – “we can’t”. There is no shame in this. It’s just the way it is.

An image occurs to me here to help picture what this healthy surrender looks like. Imagine a boxing ring. Inside stands Mike Tyson (the famous heavy weight champ). He’s breathing fire, and motions for you to join him in the ring. You’ve gone toe to toe with him before. He knocks you out every time.

Would anyone on earth fault you for not going into the ring with this ferocious warrior? In fact, wouldn’t people question your sanity if you were dumb enough to get in that ring? What’s the smart thing to do? Why not tell old Mike, “I’m done fighting you, Big Guy. I always lose. I’m not getting in that ring anymore.” The power of surrender robs addiction of its power. It can’t conquer you anymore, because you’re just not going to play. Simple, right?

There’s also a positive side, something you can actually DO. Steps 2 & 3 point to a moment when “we came to believe that God will help”, and “we made a decision to turn our will and life over to the care of God.”

In short, it’s like saying, “I can’t God, but you can . . . if I get out of the way.” Then, the daily repetition of these steps begins (sometimes out loud to God in prayer). “I can’t, Lord. You can. I’m yours. Do what you want with me.” Daily . . . daily . . . we have to return to these steps: surrender, believe in that power beyond yours, and give God charge of your life.

Slowly, the compulsion to “get in the ring” weakens. The addiction doesn’t go without a fight, however. It uses many tricks and voices in your head to try to convince you how futile are your efforts. “You’ll never lick this. Think how boring and cold life will be without me to comfort you. You’ll never make it without me (your addiction).” All lies.


So much more to consider on this topic, but for now let’s focus on two things:

1. “I surrender . . . I’ve lost the battle.”

2. “I’m in your hands, Lord. I’ll be the clay; you be the potter.”

Do that and you will begin to see God’s freedom dawn on you.

Brrrrr . . .
Fr. Tim


Addiction (Part 1)

“These things are addictive,” he said, as he finished the bag of honey roasted peanuts. We all know what that means in an everyday sort of way. There’s something that tastes so good, is so easily available to eat and repeats itself with each mouthful that it’s hard to resist eating too much of it.

But, in the common mind, it doesn’t qualify as a real addiction. Real addiction happens “when I just can’t stop.” It becomes a way of acting to which we are driven even in spite of our better judgment. Where does this strange power over us begin?

St. Thomas Aquinas would tell us, it begins with some-thing quite good: stimulation, comfort, ecstasy, release, approval. Many earthly activities bring about these enjoyable psychological states. Food, drink, sex, winning, etc. The “pleasure” attached to these activities is there to insure their repetition. Food is delightful to the taste be-cause nature wants to insure we eat every day. Sex brings intense pleasure because nature must find a sure way to foster new generations. Thanks or applause signals that we should do that again. They are strong inducements to these particular actions, but, by themselves they are not necessarily addictive.

What makes a particular thing addictive is its power to ever increase the desire for such a state over other human experiences. There comes a point where, to NOT be in that state is experienced as a deprivation, a sort of poverty. I begin now to prefer my addiction to all the other states of being. I seek to always increase the time I might spend with it.

At this point, the addictive power begins to limit human freedom. (Master and slave is not too strong in comparing the addict to his addiction.) There is no end to my desiring this activity. It will not quietly take its place amongst other human activities. Like the moon which disappears at full sun, the other good things of life can’t compete with the blinding desire of addiction.

Moments like kindness, friendship, generosity, humor, communication, as good and pleasurable as they are, are not addictive because they lack the power to overwhelm. Their appeal does not remove other choices, even some less pleasurable.

So, where does the addiction get its power? Science has been hard at work to unwrap the phenomena of addiction. They tell us over time the repeated brain waves of intense pleasurable action wears a pathway in our brain. Along this frequently used brain path travels powerful pleasure inducing hormones (pheromones) producing the increasingly desired effect. In effect, the brain has found a shortcut to the feeling of “well-being”. This easy “wellness” becomes the preferred state from which to engage the world. All addiction is, in a sense, a drug addiction (the pheromone release in my brain.)

Other addictive theories are more behavior based. But they too have a “pain relief” purpose. Psychologists tell us we all have elements of emotional pain in our lives. Some pain is life long and comes from traumatic instances in our youth. Others, less dramatic, but chronic, (loneliness, depression, fears, boredom etc.), can turn to certain behaviors that self-medicate painful emotional states.

For example, a person tied to a job she hates, without family or friends to enjoy life with, with little or no hope for anything changing for the better, can self medicate at the casino, the bottle, the internet, the kitchen, etc. . . anything to change the low emotional wellness level.


Let’s be honest. We all run the risk of finding something to which we are inclined in an unhealthy, addictive way. Feeling his weak human nature St. Paul writes to the Romans, “My inner being delights in the law of God. But in my body, I see a different law. A law that fights against the law of God . . . I don’t understand what I do; for I don’t do what I want to do, but instead I do what I hate. What an unhappy man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is taking me to death?” Romans 7:14-25.

The answer, of course, is God. But, we need to understand what we must do so God can do His part. We’ll look at that next week.

In the meantime, I beg you . . . please know that God has got this all figured out and how He’s going to save us from whatever is addicting us. That’s a promise. So, let’s begin to turn this problem over to God.

Hope you had a great Christmas!

Fr. Tim


Am I a Catholic?

So, you’re reading this bulletin . . . you came to Mass today. What does that mean? Are you looking for God in your life? Has the Catholic Faith called out to you? What is a Catholic anyway? . . . Here’s a partial list of things that are Catholic. There’s a whole lot more to mention, important things like joy, peace, forgiveness, service to the needy etc. But, here are some basics. See if you hold to these.

  • Catholics are Christians. We believe Jesus is the Son of God.
  • Baptism begins a life of union with Him.
  • Catholics believe most everything other Christians believe but sometimes more.
  • Mary is really important to Catholics because she gave birth to God.
  • Catholics believe Jesus is the head of the Church and we are the Body (So there is only one church)
  • Catholics believe Jesus wanted someone to “steer the ship” through human history so He gave us Peter and the apostles (and their successors, the pope and the bishops).
  • Catholics believe Jesus gave us seven sacraments to experience God’s grace (love) when we receive them. The sacraments are actual encounters with Christ in the present moment.
  • Most sacraments need a priest. Priests are those guys who stand in the place of Christ to be a “door” to the One Priest, Jesus.
  • Priests have a sacrament that helps them act in the Person of Christ (Holy Orders) but, this doesn’t prevent them from being sinners like the rest of us.
  • Catholics think it’s all right to have a cold beer!
  • All Catholics are sinners and need God’s mercy
  • Catholics go to Confession when they have sinned and Jesus forgives them right then and there. (I know, it’s amazing. We can’t see Him but, He’s right there in the Holy Spirit!”)
  • Catholics have to go to Mass on Sunday. Keep holy the Lord’s Day
  • Catholics believe the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ at mass. Jesus feeds us with Himself. (This part is really Catholic !!)
  • Catholics are generally no better than anyone else and sometimes we’re worse! But God holds us responsible for more.
  • Our hope and strength for life (when things get really hard and scary) is that Jesus is raised from the dead.
  • Catholics believe that somehow (God knows how) it will all work out. Why? Because God loves us.

So, what if I’m not there? What if I don’t believe all that stuff? I was baptized but nothing much ever came after that . . . am I Catholic?

The answer is YES. The grace of Baptism will never go away for you. You are forever a Child of God with Christ as your light. But the question back to you is DO YOU WANT TO BE CATHOLIC? Do you want to start again the Catholic walk?

ay I suggest something to you? Just come. Just walk right in and sit down. There is no test to pass, no money to pay. This church is just as much yours as anyone’s. Call this place your spiritual home and COME!

God will do the rest. God will come to you with His grace to show you the way. Give God a chance ok? Listen to the music. Hear the gospel and say the prayers (ask the person next to you to help you with the book). Welcome!! You’re home. Watch now what God can do!

Have a blessed Christmas week.

Fr. Tim


You’re in my pew. . .

I thought last’s years bulletin article pretty much said what was needed for us to be ready to welcome so many new faces at Christmastime. Remember, you are the voice and the smile of Holy Trinity Parish to those who are visiting.

Let’s plan a party. Maybe a better word would be a celebration. Let’s welcome everyone in Webster and beyond to join us for the celebration of Christmas. Let’s make it a total GIFT to everyone. We’re going to need everyone’s help to make this a proper celebration.

So, how shall we get ready?

  • Music? Clare, are the choirs ready? Check.
  • Church Decoration? Beautiful. Check.
  • Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Greeters, Ushers . . . ready? Check.
  • Fr. John, Fr. Tim, do you have something to say for the homily? Check. (We hope!)

Now, I have to ask you this. How about you? Are you ready to welcome 2,500 people to the Christmas masses? This is your home. These are our welcomed and honored guests. Holy Trinity needs you to be ready to host this great event. What’s your role? You are the Hospitality Ministers. Sooooooo . . .

What to do:

  • “Merry Christmas!” is totally appropriate before mass begins. Say it to everyone, not just your family.
  • Expect total strangers to be sitting all around you. Think of them as your cousins whom you’ve not seen for a while. Let them know somehow how glad you are for their being there. Compliments before and after mass . . . “Oh, your children look wonderful. What a nice family you have.” Or, more general, “That hat! Christmas come early?” . . . you’ll think of something.
  • Give up on sitting for mass. That’s right. Let someone take your seat . . . a Christmas gift to a total stranger. It’s what we do.
  • Expect things to be a little different than a usual Sunday at Holy Trinity. More people (yea!), more congestion, more standing, more of everything. It’s Christmas!!
  • Be the face of Holy Trinity for those around you. Your smile, your handshake, your readiness to give up your pew, your singing, are all part of the gift this parish wants to be for those who join us that day. Who knows what your kindness might begin in them?

What not to do:

  • Glare at people who’s children are fussing and cranky. We’ve all been there.
  • “You’re sitting in my pew,” is not the way we want to welcome people.
  • Make people climb over you so you can keep the aisle seat (move in! It’s a gracious way of saying, “glad you are here.”)
  • Roll your eyes when people’s talking bothers you.
  • Feel offended when someone doesn’t know when to sit or stand at Mass.
  • Leave church right after you receive Holy Communion, or chew the host in the parking lot. Stay with us.
  • Be in a hurry to get out of the parking lot. It’s Christ-mas! Take your time. Enjoy even the inconveniences of the day.

So ready, set, here we go!

God bless you very much this week.

Fr. Tim


Services for Christmas 2014

Wednesday, Christmas Eve December 24

4:00 pm
6:30 pm *Note different time
10:00 pm

Thursday, Christmas Day December 25

8:30 am
10:30 am

Fr. Tim and the Staff of Holy Trinity wish everyone
a most holy and peaceful Christmas.