Twilight Twitches

Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
We begin Lent on Wednesday. We will celebrate Mass at 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. and distribute ashes after each of the celebrations. We will also have some small envelopes with ashes which you may bring home for folk who are unable to attend Mass through illness, etc.

The person who marks your forehead with the ashes challenges us gently by saying, “Repent and  believe in the gospel.” Another longstanding option is, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

I like the first option better because at this stage of my life, I want to think about preparing to meet the Lord, not becoming a pile of dust. After all, ‘gospel’ means ‘good news.’ The good news is that I am loved by God.  In the gospel, God, through Jesus, is constantly sending an invitation of love. For us on Ash Wednesday, the invitation is reflected in the words, “Repent and believe in the gospel.”

fetscherDear Family,
No words will express the gratitude I’ve been feeling every since the descent of the Irish upon the parish in the persons of Phil Coulter, Andy Cooney, and their gifted troop. Then add to that the Shepherd’s Pie from the Kitchens of Waxy O’Connor’s and you have the makings of a great time. And yes, it was had by all.

Thank you Mark and Noreen Rohleder, (Waxy’s shepherds) for your kindness in providing a great meal. Someone even made a couple of special ‘tubes’ of the leftover dinner which I thoroughly enjoyed on the weekend.

You wouldn’t think that those crazy Latins Sue and Scott Martinez would get into the Irish thing so well, but they brought their generosity into setting up the kitchen and shuffling trays of food all around.

fetscherDear Family,
Week after week, there are few things more than writing the Twitch ahead of time that remind me about how we never know what is coming. Somehow, I must write about things that haven’t happened as though they had. I can just hear someone out there saying, “Poor baby. If that’s the only problem he’s got, he should be doing jigs down the center aisle.” Trust me, you’ll never see that happening.

Of course, I’m thinking about the great night we had/will have with Phil Coulter and Andy Cooney. Presumption? Judging from the distances people travelled to join us, I expect the Irishmen and women who formed the company did not disappoint with their performance.

We know Andy from past years and having him teamed up with Phil is a special event indeed. It will be (was) a personal pleasure to see ‘live’ Phil’s piano wizardry.

fetscherDear Family,
This weekend - the 20th to be precise, we celebrate the feast of St. Sebastian, our patron. Until I came here in 2010, I really did not know very much about him at all. I remember seeing statues and images, usually with a lot of arrows. As a kid I think the few times I saw Sebastian portrayed, I thought it was a little weird. But I wasn’t stupid enough to say that out loud.

If you want an interesting little adventure, ‘google’ “St Sebastian Catholic.org” There’s a short video from the Catholic Online people that I think does a nice job of piecing together Sebastian’s story. Sometimes separating the fable from the fact is hard. The bottom line is Sebastian’s heroism in the face of the emperor Diocletian’s evil, not once but twice. His martyrdom is dated to 288 and it didn’t take long for his fame to spread. Less than 100 years later, in Milan, St. Ambrose speaks of Sebastian and what a great example of faith we can find in his life.

fetscherDear Family,
We kept the decorations up until last week’s feast of the Epiphany. After all, that’s what the word means: to show, to make conspicuous, to shine.

The old man Simeon has been waiting for the messiah and here he comes in the arms of Mary. Simeon thanks God, “For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people, Israel.” (Luke 2:30-2)

We associate the three magi with the feast because they represent the Gentiles who “saw the star and then saw the light.” That’s a good reason to keep up the lights and the decorations.

A week later, the decorations are down and we begin “ordinary time.” Now the child in Mary’s arms is a man. This year it is Mark’s turn to tell us about what Jesus said and did. However, since Mark’s gospel is shorter than the others, it gets supplemented by John, and that’s why we hear from John today.

fetscherDear Family,
Once again, I find myself in a little bit of a time-warp challenge. I’m writing this Twitch ten days before you read it because of holidays and printing deadlines. This time, though, it is a little easier because I think that on January 7th, I will still be having a lot of good memories of Christmas time 2017. Fortunately, many of you did NOT get the memo that was circulating around at the hand of connivers concerned for my sugar numbers. Valiantly, the confectioners of the land made it through the enemy lines. (Actually, the “enemy” got some pay¬offs, too, so we are all in collusion. Whoops, I shouldn’t be using that word.)

To all of you who were so generous with your thoughts and prayers and gifts, our heartfelt thanks and prayers right back at you. That includes Annie, Cynthia, Patricio, Sue and Peter, and of course, the “paws.” (Dogs pray, too. Surely, you’ve seen them begging.)

fetscherDear Family,
So here I am writing this Twitch for December 31/January 1. I’m writing on December 22nd because of the printing deadlines and wanting to give the staff (including me) December 26th to do a little recovery.

That means that I haven’t experienced Christmas 2017 yet, so I must imagine what might happen in the next few days, and then sort of pretend that I’m writing to you after that celebration and then projecting myself into 2018. Have I totally confused you? Good, because I didn’t want to be alone in my confusion.

fetscherDear Family,
Like so many things in our lives, the last week of Advent disappeared as though it wasn’t important. It got crowded out of the calendar. Even the Leaflet Missalette company must have been having a bad corporate hair day, because they left the Fourth Sunday of Advent out of their booklets, too. That’s why we printed today’s Scriptures for you.

Whether we had a printed version or not, we did hear the words Luke’s gospel proclaimed: “Be it done to me according to your word.” 1:38

I was sitting here before the computer screen, messing around with the various colors and fighting with the margins in the title, really important stuff. Then...

I looked at the readings I was referring to above and really saw the words, “Be it done to me...” Never mind the colors and the margins.

fetscherDear Family,
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks.” So says St. Paul as he finishes his first letter to the Thessalonians. We heard it today. Earlier in chapter 3;12-13, he offers the reason for their rejoicing. He says,  “...  may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.”

The huge love for which Paul prayed in verses 12 and 13 is seen on a practical level by living out the norms of conduct that he gave them. The principles of Christian living, of acting morally, come right out of how we see ourselves relating to God. Knowing His love for me points me in the direction of a moral conduct that is the practical, personal expression of one’s Christian faith, love, and hope.

fetscherDear Family,
So, I picked up Annie at the airport after her aunt and our friend, Sister Mary Richard Rowley, S.C. had died in New York. Annie had spent the previous four days at Sister Mary’s bedside, watching and waiting as Sister Mary went through the last throes of pneumonia.

As we drove home, a very tired Annie said in passing, “Can you just imagine people going through things like this without any faith?”

It’s a question I have posed at funerals. Maybe some of you have even heard me ask the same thing. What a difference there is between a congregation sitting in front of you that has been shaped by faith, and one that simply has no idea what you’re doing or what the prayers are saying. They watch and wonder... what is this all about?

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