Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Piqua Parishes Celebrate 20 years of 24-hour Adoration with visit from Archbishop & Eucharistic Conference

PIQUA—The Catholic parishes in Piqua, Saint Mary and Saint Boniface, will celebrate 20 years of providing a special gift to the community: a chapel open 24-hours a day for adoration and prayer.

The chapel, named for Saint Clare, is unique in another way. The Eucharist—the bread that Catholics believe is changed into the Body of Jesus as part of the Mass—is displayed with honor for the faithful to visit and adore.

The anniversary will be celebrated at both parishes with a week of activities.

Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr will offer Mass at St. Boniface Church Sunday, Oct. 31 at 2 p.m., joined by area clergy. At the end of the Mass, the Archbishop, carrying the Eucharist, will lead a procession from the church to the chapel to enthrone the Lord once more for the faithful to adore. A reception in the Father Angelo Caserta Center will conclude the day’s festivities.

The celebration Mass will involve choirs from both parishes and children from Piqua Catholic School.

In the week following the Mass, the Rev. Larry Villone, Missionary of the Blessed Sacrament, will conduct a Eucharistic Conference at Saint Mary Church on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 4 and 5 at 7 p.m. with talks on prayer and spiritual growth.

Each evening’s talk will be preceded with music and conclude after one hour. Thursday’s talk is called, “Why do we have to pray”; Friday’s talk is “Is pride becoming an obstacle to your spiritual growth.”

Priests will be available afterward for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Father Villone will also preach at all Masses at both parishes on Saturday, Nov. 7 and Sunday, Nov. 8th on the power and blessing of adoring Jesus in the Eucharist.

The idea of setting aside a chapel for continuous adoration of Jesus started in May 1990 when then pastor of St. Boniface Church, Rev. Angelo Caserta, and a group of parishioners contacted the Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament, who have helped hundreds of parishes start a Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel. Members of both parishes quickly filled every hour of the week; surprisingly, the night hours filled first.

On December 1, 1990, a Mass in St. Boniface Church was followed by a procession with the Eucharist to St. Clare Chapel in the basement below. “There our Lord remains, always welcoming all who seek him, 20 years later,” commented Father Caserta—although now retired, still lives in Piqua and continues his ministry there.

Organizing hundreds of volunteers to keep a constant vigil 168 hours a week, night and day, falls to several key volunteers.

“The love for this chapel can be seen in gradual changes over the years,” observed Father Martin Fox, pastor of both parishes. “The stations of the cross were put up by former pastor, Father Rick Unwin. A parishioner skilled in stained-glass designed the window near the altar and two more for the stairway. Others helped make the bathroom more accessible. Various works of art have found a home there over the years inspiring devotion to the Lord and zeal to imitate His saints,” Fox explained.

“Last year, one of our seniors in high school organized a group of his fellow Boy Scouts to re-paint and re-carpet the chapel. For those few days adoration moved upstairs into the main church,” Fox added.

“Our Lord said he would remain with us always—and he’s keeping that promise,” Father Caserta observed.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

'What am I going to do?' (Sunday homily)

You might have been wondering
what the Prophet Amos was describing in the first reading.

When he says, “diminish the ephah, add to the shekel,”
he’s talking about inflation.

When he says, “we will buy the lowly for silver,
and the poor for a pair of sandals”—
he is talking about how being poor
is also about not having power.

Fifty years ago, when I-75
was routed through Cincinnati,
it destroyed whole neighborhoods.
But it managed to avoid all the really nice ones.
Funny how that worked!

When Amos refers to being eager
for “the new moon” to be over,
he’s talking about how work and business
encroach on the Sabbath.

Nowadays, there is no Sabbath anymore—
no day of rest. We’ve destroyed it.

The funny thing is, we often take the attitude
that God is putting a burden on us by saying,
“keep holy the Sabbath.”
But remember: the Sabbath was given
to the Children of Israel, who were in slavery in Egypt.
A day of rest is a day of freedom.

One reason we have the commandment
to go to Mass on Sunday—
and it a commandment,
and it’s a mortal sin to miss Mass
if we don’t have a good reason—
Is so that we remember
who gives us freedom from slavery: Christ!

So what else is the Prophet Amos saying to us?

Helping the poor is not only charity--giving them help--
which we do through our St. Vincent de Paul Fund.
And I might mention here that we need more in that fund.

Helping the poor is also about social justice.
That means addressing the structure of society:
Having an economy that creates jobs and opportunity,
Having a path out of poverty?

St. Paul calls us to pray for those in authority.
We can do something Paul never could:
We can choose those people.
We have power over our elected officials, if we use it.
So what are we going to say
to the candidates for governor,
the legislature and for Congress?

Every one us has the right—and therefore, the duty—
to tell them where we stand and what we expect.
You have to be 18 to vote;
but every one of us has freedom of speech.

So those of us under 18,
why not write these folks a letter?
Go to a rally and meet them?

I was 16 when I worked for a candidate the first time.

What will we tell them?
How about, “what are you going to do to create jobs?”
How about, “will you defend the rights
of the weakest and smallest, including the poor,
the elderly, and the unborn child?”
I can think of a lot more questions, and so can you.

In the Gospel, the Lord talked about stewardship.
We’re stewards of this parish:
So in the bulletin you see a report on parish finances.
Everything we do in our parish, our school,
our religious education program, we do thanks to you.
I have the help of pastoral council and finance committee and many others,
in order for me to be a steward of this parish; a steward of your gifts.

In the next few weeks,
you’re going to be hearing more from your fellow parishioners
about some of the big ticket items
we need to address with our school, our church and grounds,
and about how we are going to address them.
Being stewards of this parish isn’t just my duty,
or the duty of some—but every one of us.

And as citizens, we’re stewards of our community
and our country.

We often ask, “what are they going to do”--
the pastor, the pastoral council, the city, those folks in D.C.

Instead, we might ask, “what am I going to do?
In the Name of Christ, in the Power of Christ,
For the Kingdom of Christ, what will I do?"

Sunday, September 05, 2010

'What's it going to cost me?' (Sunday homily)

“What’s it going to cost me?”
No matter who we are, or how old we are,
we understand that.

When I was a boy, and Dad was paying,
we didn’t ask what it cost.
Mom would give us a not-too-subtle “hint”
so that we said, “Thank you dad!”

When I got older, and I asked for something,
My dad would say, “OK; it’s coming out of your allowance!”
That’s when I began asking, “What’s it going to cost me?”
I started looking at price tags—and more than that,
I thought hard about whether I wanted it at all.

When God saw the mess humanity got into—
the mess we call sin—
God asked: “What’s it going to cost Me?”

Did you know God could have gotten a bargain?
St. Thomas Aquinas tells us
that a scratch on Jesus’ finger:
just one drop of blood—
would have paid it all.
That would have been a bargain,
compared with what Our Lord did pay!

What does that tell you—about God?
About you and me in his eyes?
What does that suggest
about what God really thinks about sin?

When you buy a new car, how do you react
when you see that first scratch or dent?

How does God react to the sins
we disfigure ourselves with,
in light of how valuable our salvation is to him?

If you go to Paris or Rome,
to Washington, or Dayton Ohio,
you can see some beautiful works of art.
When I was in Rome, I saw some paintings
that just took my breath away, they were so astonishing.

Picture one of those works of art;
imagine it belongs to you: it’s yours;
and you go to look at it…and there’s a mark:
someone scrawled graffiti on Michelangelo’s David!
Someone stabbed a knife into the Mona Lisa!

Would you say, “It’s not so bad”? “I can live with it”?

This is why it’s essential we to examine ourselves;
And why we need to go to confession frequently.

We’re not a rusty old Chevy for hauling junk;
You and I and every human being are God’s masterpiece—
He paid a king’s ransom for us—
and it’s natural that he would want to scrub away
every sin that disfigures us.

The funny thing is, so often people push God away,
because they think God cramps their freedom.
But it is God who has to work so hard to convince us
Of how much we’re worth; how important we are.

God asked, “what will it cost me?”

So we might ask Him the same question:
“What’s it going to cost me?
To be with you, Jesus—
What’s it going to cost me?”

“Cost you?” Jesus tells us.
“It will cost you everything!
See that cross?
That’s where I’m going.
Grab the other end of the Cross—
If you want to walk with me.”

“But Jesus, I’ve got all this stuff…”

“You have to let it go.”

“Everything, Jesus?”


“What’s going to happen to it all, Jesus?”

“Give it to me. I’ll take care of it.”

“My plans? My family?”

“Everything. Give it to me.
If you want to follow me, that’s what it costs.”

“What about my problems?”

“Give them to me.”

“What about my sins, Jesus?
You don’t want them!”

“Give them to me.
When we get where we’re going,
We’ll nail them to this Cross.
And you’ll be free.

That’s the price if you want to go with me.”