The Parable of the Sower – by Don Wilson

Parishioner Don Wilson offered this reflection at the Coxsackie Correctional Facility this weekend. He generously shared it here with us as well.

Parable of the Sower
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
July 10, 2014

This gospel parable answers the question, “Why doesn’t everybody get saved?” As tremendous as salvation is, it’s a wonder that so many just don’t get God’s message of salvation!

Now, if you were Governor and you went to a prison and offered every single inmate a pardon, you’d expect every single inmate to accept the offer…so why do many of us turn down the Lord?

What is a parable, and why did Jesus teach in parables?

Parable means ‘to place alongside of’. It’s an illustration alongside a truth. It’s an earthly story with heavenly meaning. It’s a physical illustration of a spiritual concept. You see, we live in the physical, and don’t often exercise the spiritual part of us. So these illustrations help the light to break in.
They help us with finding a heart-felt understanding to God’s word!

So, why teach in parables? The disciples wondered the same thing… Jesus says Continue reading

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Follow Jesus with St. Kateri

KateriClassThe Kateri Institute for Lay Ministry Formation is one of the treasures and graces of our diocese. This three year program forms lay ministers for work in their parishes – and beyond.  Adults from every walk of life meet one Saturday a month in various parish locations around the diocese. They meet from morning until late afternoon, they read, they study, they pray, they discern. As someone who has observed, and now taught for the program, I stand in awe of what sacrifices these adults make to enrich their faith – and to give so much to God and God’s people.

The program, originally known as the Formation for Ministry Program (FMP), began back in 1984, founded by three incredible people, Fr. Chris DiGiovine, Sister Chris Partisano CSJ, and Denise Simeone, who these days works for the National Catholic Reporter. Today the program is run by the gifted David Amico.  You can read more about it at the link in the first sentence.

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On Sunday, I had the privilege of being present for the commissioning mass for the Kateri group that has been meeting at St. Edward’s for the past three years. This particular group included four of our own St. Edward’s parishioners. Mary Ann Sekellick, Craig Dempsey, Kathy Masucci, and Don Wilson have spent a lot of time preparing for this beautiful day! Although their names may not be known to you, I’m guessing that if you are a parishioner, you have seen them in one of their ministerial roles.

The mass was presided over by Bishop Ed Scharfenberger, beautiful music was provided by Mary Jo Brue and our music ministry, as well as others, from the Kateri group. There were several other priests present. On the altar with Bishop Ed, were Fr. Pat Butler and Deacon Rit DiCaprio.

The photo slide show gives you some of the feel of the day. If I have neglected to “name” someone in the captions, forgive me – I don’t remember everyone’s name. Please send corrections and updates, and I will amend the post!

Please pray for all of those who completed this course of study. As the bishop noted in his homily, we don’t “graduate,” we are called to continue to follow Jesus. Now our brothers and sisters set out to minister to God’s people in various ways. Please also pray for those who are still in Kateri, pray for those who may feel called to live more deeply in Christ by ministering to others – but who are not yet sure. Please pray for all those who may have thought, like many Biblical heroes before them, “not me!” Please let us pray for one another that we respond and follow Jesus always!

Thank you to one and all who were part of this amazing and joy-filled day! Thanks be to God!  If you think that you may be interested in this program, or you know someone who might be, here is a brochure with contact information.

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Wheeee! Some thoughts on the Trinity

PlaylandParkway 136x93When I was a little girl, my father, loved to take us to a local amusement park, Playland. This old fashioned park was shown to the world in the Tom Hanks movie, Big. I can easily recall the excitement of seeing the Playland Parkway sign, letting us know that we were almost there! Wheeee! Let the fun begin!

When I was about 11 years old we headed there one day, to meet up with another family who had a daughter about my age. She wanted to go on a ride that terrified me. And no – I had never been on it, but just the thought of it sent me reeling! It was called the Round Up at that time. It iis the one where you stand up and hold on, but when the ride gets going, centrifugal force holds you in place. My dad liked this ride, but I would never go on it with him. However, not wanting to act like a baby in front of another kid, I Continue reading

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Pentecost

I blogged about Pentecost at my personal blog today20120513144615!Icon-Pentecost. It felt so personal that I am leaving it there, but inviting you to come over if you wish!

Blessings of Pentecost to one and all! God has done great things!

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Holy Spirit Novena

248We have entered a powerful time of prayer. For nearly 20 years I have taken this time between Ascension and Pentecost to make a novena to the Holy Spirit.

There is no formula to follow, this is your prayer, your conversation with God. What do you need to pray for? This is a time to ask for wisdom, courage, grace, consolation, and healing from the Holy Spirit, but once again, this is your conversation with God, so what do you need to seek from the coming of of Holy Spirit?

Every year, I like to make my daily novena and to listen to Veni Sancte Spiritus from Taize, which I include here. I love the repetitive chant, seeking the coming of the Holy Spirit, the sound of which typically brings me to a place of silence and peace.

Whatever your prayer to the coming of the Holy Spirit might be, find the words of your heart, which may simply be silent waiting, and offer them to God these nine days. Come Holy Spirit, come.

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Ascension Thursday

ascension-of-christ-large“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

This is Jesus’ command in today’s Gospel for Ascension Thursday. For some of us, this is a Holy Day; other dioceses have moved the feast to Sunday.

Whether or not this is a Holy Day depending on our address, Jesus’ words are an imperative. GO! How do we make disciples? It starts by how we live. As Pope Francis has indicated over and over again, in the model of Christ, we must evangelize with our lives. GO!

This past Sunday I was out of town and attended a particularly joyless Continue reading

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Expectation and Encounter

Emmaus-Road_LR-239x300Father Pat’s homily on Saturday at 4pm got me thinking about something that happened to me a long time ago. Our expectations often limit our encounters with Christ in all those we meet.

During a particularly broken period of my life, I did not think that God had left me, but I felt very hopeless. In that state, I tried to focus on God alone, pushing others away. A week in a monastery was booked – the only place I believed I would find God.

The chill of the chapel and its silence caused me to either shiver or sleep, neither way seemed an effective way of talking to God. Mistakes were being made by the minute – thinking that God was only in the monastery and that I needed to do all the talking. (A problem that continues to dog me!) I felt more angry and frustrated than ever.

The next day, another guest showed up in the visitors quarters, a lovely woman, whose face I can’t quite remember. She was 50? 60? 40? Honestly, I can’t recall; it is all so fuzzy. We ate our meal in relative silence, but as we prepared after-dinner tea, she asked what brought me to the monastery.

blahDid I let her know! A massive flow of words and tears followed. Everything from my return to the church a few years earlier, my mother’s death, my search for God in the monastery, and my possible vocation to said monastery. How I went on for hour or more! Her presence, her compassion, her listening heart remain in my memory while all else has faded.

For the next day or two, she and I spent a lot of time talking. OK, I talked a lot, but she listened well, and when she did talk, I felt my heart burning within me.

Sound familiar? We have all been on that road, the road to Emmaus. That particular path is a path where, Continue reading

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