Twilight Twitches

Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
I think this reflection by Father Donagh O’Shea O.P. of the Dominican Retreat Centre, Tallaght Village, Dublin, is a great insight into the Ascension of the Lord. I edited a bit with apologies to Fr. Donagh. Here he is.

The Ascension... is not mentioned at all in Matthew’s or in John's gospels. Mark mentions it, but... almost certainly relies on Luke’s account. Luke is the specialist, giving two accounts of it: in his gospel, and in the Acts of the Apostles.

fetscherDear Family,
I “borrowed” the following write-up from a site called It’s a great summary of Memorial Day’s origins and its significance.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States celebrated on the last Monday of May commemorating men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Initially (officially since 1868 - proclaimed by General John Logan) Memorial Day was a holiday in memory of the soldiers who died in the Civil War. The feast was supposed to be a step towards national reconciliation. The original name (Decoration Day) comes from placing flowers on the graves of the soldiers.

fetscherDear Family,
The first thing on my agenda is a very overdue heartfelt thanks to Ted and Cheryl Abernethy for their kindness in restoring the basketball hoop and backstops that got whacked last Fall by a young person who we haven’t seen since. I’m okay with that because he also did figure eights with his truck on the green field after a rain. For a while it made it very hard for the visiting doggies to find their balls tossed amid the ruts.

Ted did a very cute design on the little kids’ hoop. Somehow, I see Cheryl’s fine hand in this.

I was talking with someone recently about how easy it is to lose a sense of history. Thank God Annie has a good memory. That’s how I found out that Abernethy’s had done the kid’s playground, the basketball court and the tennis court as well. You wouldn’t hear about it from them.

fetscherDear Family,
A joyful prayer of gratitude for all our mothers, living and super-living! Mothers’ Day isn’t a liturgical feast so maybe that’s a great reason to celebrate it in May, the month of the Mother of All Mothers. It’s hard to believe my Mom moved into the super-living stage twenty years ago. I guess that’s because her presence is something I always carry with me.

Very occasionally, something comes up that reminds me that not everyone’s mother-memories are good. In good Irish tradition, I almost feel guilty for having such happy memories of my own mother. I hope and pray that a bad experience might make someone even more sensitive to finding a way of “mothering” in a blessed way.

fetscherDear Family,
I wasn’t really going for alliteration with my three S’s, but the words easily came to mind as I thought back over our Holy Week celebrations.

Today’s scriptures brought so much back. Amazing catches of fish; “now you will be fishers of men.” Peter bravely declares before the Sanhedrin, “we must obey God rather than men...”

In the book of Revelation, the prophet John explodes with his remarkable vision:
“Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea,
everything in the universe, cry out: ‘To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever.’"

fetscherDear Family,
I must begin this Twitch with thanks to the Lord and all the people who helped us celebrate the special days of Holy Week. We had many visitors, (SRO on Easter Sunday morning at 8:30 and 11:00,) but I think it’s only the regular family members who would really be able to appreciate all the special touches.

Most visibly, the floral arrangements were spectacular thanks to Father Del, Scott and Sue Martinez (the Martini’s) and Ann Murry. Our own Patricio came in to run the lift.

I also want to thank Simon Rave, Ricardo Gomez, Genna Ambat and Bryan Gipps for serving so well at the Triduum, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. Simon and Rick really outdid themselves when they helped me get off the floor on Good Friday. What will I do when they are away in college next year? Ah well, the Lord will provide. I don’t make enough fuss about our altar servers and they are special. We’re at the point where they read my mind and know what I want before I even ask.

Peter Manfredi and the brass musicians added another wonderful layer to the great festive cake that was ours and continues to be ours.

Calling Annie Gardner the ringmaster says a lot about how things work because of her, but that might make the rest of us lions to be tamed, so instead I’d rather call her the orchestra leader. I thought about ballet director, and then I had a vision of the hippopotami in tutus in Walt Disney’s Fantasia... So just let me say a big thanks to Annie once again.

And why do we go to all this trouble? At the risk of stating the obvious, it is, of course, because the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus is at the core of who and what we are.

His Resurrection brings us to today: Divine Mercy Sunday. In his third year as pope in 1980, St. John Paul ll wrote his encyclical, Dives et Misericordia - “Rich in Mercy.” The detail that he wrote it longhand himself in Polish has always touched me. It couldn’t have been more personally produced. Mercy became a very strong current throughout his years as our Holy Father.

It meant so much to him that he designated the first Sunday after Easter to be “Divine Mercy Sunday.”

Last year I quoted part of the encyclical including this thought:

The Church also tries to practice mercy by follow¬ing the teachings of Jesus Christ. It must be noted that "in reciprocal relationships between persons merciful love is never a unilateral act or process," since "the one who gives is always also a beneficiary."

During Lent I asked you to see if you could discover something about Easter that you hadn’t noticed before, however small. Well, my discovery is reflected in the previous paragraph: "the one who gives is always also a beneficiary."

I said that the line of the year is, “I love you, too.” Big Emphasis on “TOO.” We all believe that God loves us. We’ve heard that’s since we were kids. But when you stop, and say ‘I love you, too:’ it makes my belief in God’s love very personal. To be able to say “too,” presumes without reams of theological studies, that I just know God loves me.

That’s not a bad Easter present at all.

Sincere thanks for the Easter cards you sent to me and Annie and the staff. Your kindness makes working here a true joy.

In Our Risen Lord !!!!!!!
sign frjim

fetscherDear Family,
“I love you, Lord and I lift my voice,
to worship you, O my soul, rejoice.
Take joy, my King, to what you hear;
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.”

OK. Stick with me. I’m writing this Twitch thirteen days before you are reading it. Printing deadlines, etc. The next two weeks will be (or in your case, were) humdingers for all parishes. So, I am (was) sitting here trying to get into the spirit of how I might be feeling on Easter. I took a deep breath, pondered, and the words of the hymn you see above floated up and out.

fetscherDear Family,
HOSANNA comes from the Hebrew hosha'na, probably a shortening of hoshi'ah-nna "save, we pray." When Jesus entered Jerusalem, it was the cry of Galileans who came with him who knew him as a great prophet. How quickly their Hosannas were overcome by, "Crucify him."

Why? There were all sorts of reasons, perhaps the biggest being the opposition of the temple leaders. Somehow, they feared being displaced by someone who was praised by so many. Ultimately, they even pleaded with the hated occupying foreign government with the hypocritical, "We have no king but Caesar." "Crucify him!"

fetscherDear Family,
Two weeks until Easter! It seems like I just put away my Christmas wreath and here we are, getting ready to celebrate the greatest feast in our Church year, the Resurrection of the Lord.

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday. Don’t forget to be especially nice to visitors. I make a joke sometimes about Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday. We seem to do a little better with attendance when we’re giving something away. I can’t get my head around why giving Jesus every week wouldn’t fall in that same category, but I guess that is a pondering for another day.

fetscherDear Family,
REJOICE!  ...and not simply because we made it half way through Lent, but because we are drawing closer and closer to the moment when we celebrate with all the enthusiasm we can, the Resurrection of the Lord.

The very color of the vestments gives us a preview, a promise of sunrise. We’ve had discussions over the years of just precisely what today’s liturgical color is, and of course, we all know the vestment color ROSE!

On a more serious note, I’d like to pose a question. If you knew this was the last Easter you’d celebrate, would it affect the way you celebrated? As I think about it, I find myself chuckling. If I knew this was my last earthly Easter, I would be making sure the glide path was open and free of the mindlessness and self-preoccupation that so frequently obstructs my path. What about you?

And then on top of it, if this were the last one, I’m sure that Easter here won’t begin to compare to Easter there. The potential of this being the last would deepen my sense of urgency about desiring the everlasting one. Then of course, in true Irish-guilt fashion, I find myself saying, “Why wouldn’t ALL my Easters deserve a sense of urgency.” Ah well, at this point I think I hear God chuckling, too.

Maybe chuckling is what the Laetare is all about. Our eternity is what Jesus died for, so we can’t help getting ahead of ourselves and jumping to the end of Lent. Our time of self-examination and penance gets put on hold while we anticipate the ending of the story and say, “This is going to work out really great!”

I find myself asking the Lord to keep me from presuming on his mercy, even though I am totally convinced that what we sing is true: “The Lord is kind and merciful... slow to anger... rich in kind-ness...The Lord is kind and merciful.”

I have some excellent Lenten resources I’ve been looking at and praying with. In fact, it’s like coming up to this fantastic buffet and hardly knowing where to start. Sometimes, you can start eating, and you just keep eating because you’re on a roll. (No pun or puns intended.)

When it comes to the spiritual buffet, sometimes I can confuse dedicated reading with real spirituality. I won’t come up for breath to ask myself what effect my reading is having on the way I live and love. Do I really learn?
Often over the years, people will mention that they missed their morning prayers or evening prayers. They are upset, but sometimes don’t see how their habit (which, when good, is virtue) becomes mechanical. Sometimes you need to stop and just be still and know that long before you had a chance to get them all in, God heard your heart.

It goes to the issue I raised in the homily last Sunday. How overwhelming is God’s love, and what brings it home to me is being able to say, however hesitantly, “I love you, too.” I don’t say to God, “I love you.” That’s HIS line. I say, “I love you, TOO!” What allows me to say that to God? It’s believing that he has first loved me. Isn’t that what John says? “In this is love: not that we have  loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as  expiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) That’s not a bad conversation to be having with God, much less a very special act of faith that lets you hope and believe He really is there... for you.

My fingers are going faster than my mind, so I’m going to stop now, and go back, edit, and repair and pray that the rose in our vestment be¬comes a rising in our hearts.

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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