Twilight Twitches

Twilight Twitches

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.

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Since - at the time this bulletin had to be at the printer (Tuesday at Noon), Monsignor Jim is preparing to undergo a procedure
to drain fluid from his lungs - he is not feeling well enough to write his weekly “Twitch.” Please continue to keep
him in your prayers that he may fully recover and be back with us soon.

So, in the meantime, how does one fill “Twitch Space” lacking adequate time for research and reflection?

Last week in his Twitch, Monsignor expressed the hope that we can send two of our young people - Marcus Mickey and Simon Rave - to World Youth Day in Krakow this summer. We are really stepping out in faith on this one, and praying that our Parish Family will support this. The young men went to their first meeting regarding the trip last Saturday and they have been given all the paperwork that they and their parents need to complete and return by May 10th. I am praying that we will have the funding for them before that time. If you would like to help fund this opportunity for our boys, please place your contribution in an envelope with your name and World Youth Day marked on it. Contributions for this will be collected and kept separately. If (WHEN, I hope) we have sufficient funds for the boys’ fares, we will make a deposit and write a check to the Travel Agency. Should there not be sufficient funding, contributions earmarked specifically for World Youth Day will be returned to the donors, and these young men will not have this opportunity... No pressure.

twitch050116Our young people are the future of our Church. Would you believe that St. Sebastian Parish has 22 children in grades one through eight who are finishing their year of Religious Education this weekend? Thank you to their dedicated teachers, who share their time and talent our children. We are a community of primarily retired people, but obviously there are some young people among us, and - while my prejudices may be showing - I think those young people who participate in our community are outstanding. Two of our Religious Education Program “graduates” are pictured below. They are J.T. and Ashlyn Cowgill. Several years ago, J.T. saw the need for someone to be with the St. Vincent de Paul truck when it is in our parking lot to help people get their donations from their vehicle on to the truck. J.T. volunteered and has been faithful to this task since. Realizing that he will be leaving us for college in the fall, he recruited his sister, Ashlyn, to take over this responsibility. They are pictured below on the truck where they worked together (yes, siblings CAN do that) last weekend. You can see why I say we have some outstanding young people. Thanks to their parents, Marlene and Jim, for doing such a wonderful job of guiding them in their faith development!

Let’s do all we can to encourage all of our young people be active, involved Catholics and let them know that we appreciate
and value them.

Have a great week, and I hope to see a lot of you dropping off envelopes this week. :-)
Blessings and peace... and thank you in advance,
sign annie

fetscherFifth Sunday of Easter

Dear Family,
So what is the first thing you do when you come back to the office? You smile at the people you work with and then stare somewhat blankly at the stack of stuff that has accumulated despite the best efforts of your workmates to dis-accumulate. The first thing I had to do wasn’t even stacked anywhere: tell the IRS I am filing for an extension.  You know what the worst part about that is? They are printing the information forms with much smaller print than they used to. I did find out if I send them bunches of money I don’t even have to file for an extension. It happens automatically.

Ain’t life grand?

fetscherFourth Sunday of Easter

Dear Family,
With the Lord’s help this is the last Twitch I will have to write from “seclusion.” Next Monday I hope to return the toil and sweat of the factory. Ok, Ok… I know that one won’t sell since Annie does most of the toiling.

As I said last week, the problem with recovery is that your world shrinks and you become very self-preoccupied. It also makes me think far more empathetically about people who are shut in and the importance of bringing some kind of different light into their worlds.

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