Twilight Twitches

Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
So much happens here! We cram 12 months of parish activities into five and no sooner do we celebrate one of them, then the next one whooshes in.

That means there are so many people I want to thank. The Men's Club brought us the Spaghetti Dinner. Great food and great company and it hap-pened under the baton of Maestro Bill Loughran.

No sooner had Bill's confetti been swept up, in comes Trinkets and Treasures under the watchful eye of Mary Ann Smith. I watched Patricio transferring boxes and boxes from our storeroom to the parish hall. Marianne swung into action. Treasure sorting and trinket displaying is no mean feat.

fetscherDear Family,
You may remember me talking about Father Larry Gillick, S.J. For many years he has been on the pastoral staff at Creighton University and I had the great experience of making a retreat with him a few years back. I have stolen the rest of this Twitch from one of his Creighton Online Ministry reflections. I think it's terrific and moving as well. I'll explain at the end.

Here's Fr. Larry
"Last Sunday's Gospel related the story of Jesus' returning to His hometown of Nazareth. We heard that He got up in the Synagogue and read a prophetic passage from Isaiah. Then he declared that He was the fulfillment personally of that very reading.

fetscherDear Family,
Today we celebrate the annual ArchBishop’s Charities Drive. You might think celebrating a collection is a real stretch, but think about it.

In one form or another this diocesan appeal has been going on since the beginning of the diocese of Miami. In 1958 the diocese was split off from St. Augustine, and within six months Bishop Coleman Carroll - later Archbishop – decided to build a seminary, the first south of Baltimore and east of Little Rock. Seemed like a crazy idea.

fetscherDear Family,
January 20th is the feast of St. Sebastian. Sundays are key days for us, so the Sunday celebration always takes precedence over individual saints' days. But we know Sebastian is right there watching over us every day.

There is another date that is important for us. On March 12th we will officially mark the sixtieth anniversary of St. Sebastian Church. It's our DIAMOND JUBILEE YEAR.

As the year rolls along, I'd like to celebrate our 60th with actions and events that help us celebrate who we are, who we have been, and who we hope to be.

fetscherDear Family,
Let me begin with an advertisement:

EVERY HOUSEHOLD NEEDS A COPY OF THE New  American Bible, Revised Edition - NAMBRE for short. There is a version called the Catholic Study Bible put out by Oxford University Press. It has one of the best short clear introductions to the Old and New Testaments you can find.

I always give one of these to someone exploring Catholicism. Where else does that journey begin but in God's own self-revelation?

I'm happy to share my stash with you. I have copies you can buy, or I will happily give you one if you promise to read it. (Books are too expensive these days.) You can also get an inexpensive large print edition of the NAMBRE. The notes in the bible itself are excellent. In fact, the one I'm quoting in this Twitch is one of them. You just can't get the Introduction study section with a large print edition.

fetscherDear Family,
Once again, our bulletin deadlines have me writing ten days before you’ll read this. It’s December 28th, the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Before they could even speak, they were witnesses to love in the face of horror.

This Christmas was a wonderful gathering of the faith family. The emus were a welcome addition. Ask someone if you don’t get the reference.

Over the long New Year’s holiday, I’m sure we will have had more happy moments – and perhaps a suitable quaff or two as well. The days will also see Fr. Bill Mason, OMI, and Fr. Karl Davis, OMI, visit us and I’m sure you’ll meet one or the other. They are kindly offering me some welcome help, and all I had to do was offer them a bed. (Two beds, actually.) You might even meet Fr. Joseph McAuley who is coming from Scotland for a wedding. Suddenly, it got busy in priest city.

fetscherDear Family,
So here we are with the last Twitch of 2018. Tomorrow is New Year's Eve and many around the world will celebrate. The magic of television and satellites invites us to see people universally rais¬ing a glass and offering a cheer. We and they are hoping for a happy 2019.

But you notice in the heading I preceded New Year with a line, ͺͺͺͺͺͺͺ. Why?

fetscherDear Family,
Handel's melody bounces around my mind and my heart. His 1741 oratorio, The Messiah, follows the liturgical year, so Advent shapes Part I and that's where we hear Isaiah's prophetic words, in 9:5, for unto us a child is born.

If you take the time to go and read Isaiah 9 you realize that the expectation of a messiah comes in the midst of war and struggles among the tribes of Israel. That's where the composer of the word¬book of the oratorio, Charles Jennens, found the inspiration to envision the messiah who emerges to bring light. Isaiah 9 begins, "A people who walked in darkness have seen a great light." It is to these people in darkness, to us, that the child is given.

fetscherDear Family,
Last week I ended my Twitch with the following couple of paragraphs.

“I think if you went to (the sacrament) reconciliation regularly for the purpose of asking yourself, ‘Who has the Lord been trying to touch through me?’, you might be very happy with the experience. ‘Lord, let the grace of this sacrament help me see those people and those opportunities.’ ‘...and thank you for giving me this opportunity to ask myself that question in your presence.’ Aha! True Reconciliation.

Maybe that can help us stop thinking of the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a giant dumpster; the Republic or Waste Management Sin Bin.

fetscherDear Family,
A few weeks ago, I experienced a first in my 50+ years of priesthood. At the regularly scheduled time for the sacrament of reconciliation, NO ONE came. Not one person.

It shouldn't have been a surprise, I guess, because even normally the numbers each week are low.

A hundred thoughts began to germinate. Why are so few sharing in the sacrament? Are we teaching badly? Was there a bad experience with some priest and his less-than-pastoral approach? Have we succeeded in stressing God's mercy so well that when we mess up, we don't think it matters much? Are the hours for the sacrament inconvenient? Sometimes I think we already do good imitations of 7-11's trying to be the convenience store for all. We say you can come anytime.

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