Twilight Twitches

Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Archbishop Jim Keleher is in town for a couple of weeks. The first thing he usually says is, “What can I do for you?” Although I’ve only known him for five years since I’ve been here, I suspect that question pretty much has shaped his 58 years of priesthood.
He had a lot of jobs over the years and so I think a lot of bishops said, “Well, since you asked, what about…?” I suspect that maybe many didn’t precede the assignment with, “Well, since you asked…”

fetscherDear Family,
The font for 'Independence Day' above is my attempt at giving you some little fireworks. The question is will the font make it through the various edits we need to get the bulletin done. Another mystery a lot like life!

I'm writing earlier than usual because I have another round in the hospital on the days I would normally be 'Twitching'. The people at Holy Cross are all great but the continuing saga of soggy lungs is so old it's got a beard.

So as I am thinking about 'Independence,' I realize the word can mean a whole lot of things depending on your situation, virtue and vice, both.

Dear Family,  
fetscherEver since Last Sunday night, I’ve been thinking about Father Joe Carney, a classmate of mine from the class of 1968.  He came from Euclid which is a suburb of Cleveland and I think he would have been delighted that the “Cavs” won the ABA championship.  How many years (like Boston) did the town go without a major sports championship?  When the Marlins won our first World Series from Cleveland in 1997, I don’t think I ever rubbed it in too much, but I can’t be sure if there wasn’t a chuckle or two.  

fetscherDear Family,
I am writing this Twitch one day after the nightmare that pierced the very fabric of city of Orlando as well as all the rest of us. I’m not sure what our attitudes and atmospheres will be like next weekend as we appreciate our fathers.

Not everyone in the world has a happy memory of their father. We hear memories of mothers recalled with deep affection, but maybe not so much with our fathers. I wonder why that is. Each story is personal.

As I think I have written here before, my memories of my father are wonderful, and my biggest regret is that he died so young – 53. Last year on May 15th he would have been 100 and I chuckle to myself wondering what he would have looked like with white hair. When he died, he had a mound of jet black hair that he used to take to the barber to bethinned! It is very obvious I did not inherit those genes.

There were times when my father was working three jobs to keep us fed, and he had ten mouths to feed. One of them belonged to his mother-inlaw. No one can write any mother-in-law jokes when it came to my Dad and Gram. She thought he was wonderful, and the appreciation was mutual. Even after 48 years, Dad’s image and memory is nothing short of a blessing.

So, when I think of last Sunday’s tragedy I’m wondering how many fathers are dealing with a loss of a child. It’s not hard to imagine that there might have been tensions that arose when a child told their parents that he or she was gay. After last Sunday the specter of regret over words spoken or unspoken are not hard to imagine.

We don’t need tragedies like this to help us think about our relationships, but in fact these horrors can shock us out of our complacency. Is there anything I need to say or do while I have the opportunity to do it? Sometimes, it seems you just can’t. Still it doesn’t stop you from bringing the whole business to the feet of the Lord. When it comes to avoiding stuff, “out-of-sight,  out-of-mind” is simply not a good outcome.

Like the times after 9/11, we will learn new vocabularies and ways of trying to deal with the unimaginable. I think one thing is helpful: to speak of the tragedy. Whether we call the event “the Orlando tragedy” or maybe “6/12” or goodness knows what, it will be important to talk about it because that’s what empowers us to deal with it.

What will be our response here at the south end of Fort Lauderdale Beach? I hope there is no one who hesitates about beginning with prayer. Sometimes I suspect we get a, “What good will that do?” mentality. It is something you are supposed to do, but will it
really help?

We are people of faith. That means we are able to reach out in darkness hoping that the Lord’s hand will be there to grab us. What better time than when it seems we are dealing with impossible threats?When we are at prayer we are laying our “unfinishedness” at the Lord’s feet. Who better than He to fill in the blanks? Our faith makes us ready to believe that even when we don’t know the answer, He is there holding us in his palm.

As happens so often, when I began this letter I had no idea in what direction I would ultimately go. The hope is that the Holy Spirit has something to do with what comes out.

Here I want to end by saying to so many fathers, “Well done.” May you never have to grieve for a child. May you continue to be life-giving and may your kids know the gift you give them with gratitude
in their hearts.
In Jesus,

sign frjim

fetscherDear Family,  
If you don’t remember anything else about this Twitch or about the Sunday homily which I hope you just heard me give, remember this: 1)  Be honest with yourself like David in the first reading; and  2)  Be thankful for God’s mercy and forgiveness like the woman in the gospel.  Almost by accident I discovered these two summary thoughts in a little book by Fr. Joe Robinson.  But there is more.  

fetscherDear Family,
June 1 begins Hurricane Season, and since it didn’t take any hard breathing I found myself checking out the evacuation zones in our neighborhood. It’s pretty simple: Leave!

That got me to thinking about “where should I go” and “what should I bring” and on and on. It’s the old “What if” syndrome. Those two words are second only to “If only” in my lexicon of words I hate myself for using.

For one thing, it makes me realize that my trust levels might not be what they should be considering that I’m supposed to be a “Man of Faith.” Aren’t we all! The truth is that the last four months left little room for either of those two verbal bookends.

fetscherCorpus Christi

Dear Family,
Memorial Day Weekend and the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ occur together this year.  (Stick with the Latin name of the feast: it’s shorter.)  If you’d like a good overview of Memorial Day, check out Wikipedia’s contribution.  Wikipedia also has an article on American combat deaths throughout our history as well as casualties related to those wars. Cf. “United States military casualties of war.”  Stunning.  Although I had seen it before, seeing again the number of 600,000 casualties during the Civil War always grabs me.  

fetscherTrinity Sunday

Dear Family,
This feels like one of those “been there, done that” moments. How many times can you keep returning to the front line of the parish  with the hope that you’re here to stay? It felt very good to be able to celebrate Pentecost with you all, breathless at moments as it might have been. Will you not feel too badly if I tell you that you didn’t take my breath away? Our current intention is getting rid of the water.

I went back and looked at all the Twitches since this began on February 17th. I was impressed, deeply moved, tickled, proud and a whole bunch of other adjectives. Reading the Twitches of Nancy Adams, and Frank Krauser and Annie Gardner made me delighted to be a part of this community.

Feast of Pentecost

Dear Sisters and Brothers,       
Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, sometimes called the birthday of the Church.  We commemorate the disciples’ reception of the Holy Spirit, the shedding of their fears and how they boldly went into the world to proclaim the Good News of Jesus.        

Shortly after his election as Pope, Francis gave a homily based upon the reading we heard today from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1-11).  In it, he reflected on three words that he believes are linked to the working of the Holy Spirit.  The words are newness, harmony and mission.  I will try to summarize his message.   

“Fill-in Twitcher:” Annie Gardner
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
This “Twitch” is starting out very similarly to last week’s. Monsignor Jim was admitted to the hospital yesterday (that is Monday, May 2nd) because of shortness of breath. A tube was inserted into his chest Monday night to drain fluid which has built up (again!) in his lungs. He will be hospitalized for at least “a few days” while the fluid drains and his medical team tries to figure out what’s going on to cause this. As you can imagine, he is frustrated with his health issues and with being away from his Parish Family. Please keep him in your prayers.

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