Twilight Twitches

Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Just “because we’ve always done it this way” is one of those phrases that’s been used to end conversations and drive people nuts. I “always” write a Twitch.

I just came from St. Thomas Aquinas high school where the students were taking advantage of having priests come for the sacrament of Reconciliation. The kids I met were really impressive.

I knew I had to get home asap because I had not written this letter and the deadline comes at noon, (ten minutes from now.) My mind has been a blank for two days.

fetscherDear Family,
I’m looking forward to the NOVA SINGERS who will grace OUR SANCTUARY on Tuesday night. If you haven’t gotten your ticket(s) yet you can probably do so this weekend. But the $15 ticket goes to $20 at the door on Tuesday. It’s one of the nicest outside ‘visitations’ we have during the year and you won’t be disappointed in the quality of the program.

I will be personally happy to have their rejuvenating musical gifts. As I write I’ve just had the news that a wonderful woman, Evelyn McInerney, has died and gone to the Lord. When I was first named a pastor in 1982, Evelyn was my first secretary, hand-holder (always in the presence of her husband Deacon Vince), mother-advisor and fan club president, at least most of the time. I’m sure there were days when I tried her patience.

fetscherDear Family,
Happy Advent. I hope your Thanksgiving Day was a blast. Since I must write this letter early, I don’t know how my Thanksgiving was. (You know there is a Twitch in here somewhere...)

I know I am expecting to celebrate the Eucharist with you and I am hoping that the liturgy will be as nice as it always is. I’ll cook a little. Lengthy kitchen time has been a little harder over this past eight months, but it’s a great recreation for me.

Anticipating my Thanksgiving seems like a great example of exactly what it’s like to be on our walk to heaven. I know where I’m going, but I’m not quite sure what the journey is going to be like – even after 75 years. In fact, I think I know less now that I did when I was a ‘callow youth.” My knowing is not the same as my hoping, and my hoping is much bigger than it ever has been.

fetscherDear Family,
We will celebrate Thanksgiving Day with the Eucharist at 10:00 am on Thursday. (We won’t have an 8:00 am morning Mass.)  What better way to celebrate than with the gift of the Lord that means “thanksgiving,” that is, the Eucharist. The Greek roots mean ‘good grace,’ or another way of puffing might be “the best relationship you can have.” Where better to start than with the Lord, especially since he has already started with us.

It seems a bit ironic to me that going all the way back to George Washington, it takes a civil proclamation to call us to thank God. But we also say “In God we Trust” and we proclaim allegiance to one nation “under God.” It seems God is part of our DNA.

fetscherDear Family,
We are doing a little reconstruction on our hospitality and usher ministry. Before saying anything else, I’d like to thank Chuck Hansen for the six years he has served as the lead usher. It’s not an easy job and more than one person has been ferried to their hotel in the famous “red” car.

Our adjusted system will see a lead usher at each of our three liturgies, Gisella Reyes at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Steve Black on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and Bob Zelmer at 11:00 a.m. The three will work together to coordinate our special events such as Christmas and Easter. We have a lot of faithful ushers at each liturgy most of the time, but if you have a generous heart to assist at any of the Masses, you can talk to one of these three people who have been willing to take on this new role.

fetscherDear Family,
So, if you are reading this on Sunday, I hope you remembered to “Fall Back.” I always think of it as nature paying me back for the hour it borrowed in the Spring when I sprung forward. I don’t spring with quite the agility I used to.

As we finally arrive at Election Day on Tuesday, it seemed to me that time was grinding to almost a halt. Have the processes of nominations and elections have been going on forever? I have this awful feeling that no sooner will we inaugurate a president in January than the process will begin all over again for 2020. We’ll probably be hearing from half the populace about the mistake the other half made.

The election might not seem at first to have much relevance to the “stuff” of a Twitch. I keep asking myself, “How does the gospel help frame this part of our lives?”

fetscherDear Family,
Whenever we have an event that takes the dedicated work of a lot of people, I always feel inadequate at thanking the folk who were so generous. Most of them remain anonymous, some by choice, some by being taking for granted.
I may have told you the story of a great woman I knew who had a remarkable faith. I don’t mean the things she believed. I mean the utter trust that characterized her life, even when her husband, a former Pan Am pilot for many years, developed dementia and she became care-taker par excellence. She always had a smile and always said all things were in God’s hands. God was using her hands for the heavy lifting. Anyway, one day I said to her that she was a powerful encouragement for all of us. Her response was, “Oh, please don’t say that. If I get all the praise now I won’t get it in heaven.”

fetscherDear Family,
One of the nicer things that happened to me recently was receiving a wonderful reflection. It came from a parishioner who doesn’t want to be named. I have this mental image of conversations about “Who was it?” and no one really paying attention to the thought and prayer itself. Still, I am a man of hope so I pass it on as a special gift.

“Hurricane shutters blocked the light coming through the beautiful window over the altar in our chapel. I had admired that window morning after morning as flashes of light sparkled through the golden hues. But now the window was dark and faceless. I knew of its beauty, but I could not see it.  That is what the masks we wear do to our inner light. Self-recrimination, worry, anxiety, fear and wounds block our true identity. The light of Christ is there, but it is not visible to others. Lord, help me remove the masks that shutter out your light. Let your love shine through me for all the world to see.”

fetscherEND HUNGER
Dear Family,
Hunger stalks more people than we know about. A couple of weeks ago there was an article in the Sun Sentinel noting that 15% of Broward County residents don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That percentage is the largest number of people in any South Florida county. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps) allows $4.50 a day per person. It helps, but as one person said, “That’s where food banks come in.”

Here at St. Sebastian, hunger has been a concern and efforts to deal with it have become part of our ongoing ministry. For example, during Lent we have Operation Rice Bowl and we fast for at least one meal a week and put the amount of money that meal would have cost into the fancy cardboard rice bowl. Last Lent the rice bowls gathered $1,032.50. Not bad at all...

fetscherDear Family,
Often when we are celebrating Mass, my mind plays a little background music to accompany the “Deliver us prayer...” that follows the Our Father.

I pray “Deliver us Lord, from every evil... keep us free from sin and safe from all distress...” Keep us free from the kinds of abuses in our relationships we call sin, and safe from all distress. Notice is doesn’t say free from all distress, just safe. In other words, don’t let whatever is threatening in my life weaken my fundamental relationship with you Lord. Help me not to become so preoccupied with whatever is worrying me or hounding me, that I forget you are there.

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