From the Desk of Deacon Richard…

September 27, 2015

Please join me in praying for the safety of Father Angelo’s travels while he is away from the parish, and that his journey is a peaceful and rewarding experience. We should never lose sight of how fortunate we are to have a priest in our parish and we should never fail to appreciate just how hard Father works for our good and for the good of the whole community. There are places in the world where the Catholic faithful can go for months without the opportunity to see a priest and to receive the Sacraments. Even here in our own diocese, if we could overnight double the number of available priests, they would all still be overworked. Let’s not let them be under-appreciated, also!

The Parish Council met last Sunday; this was the first meeting of a Parish Council in our parish for more than a year. The Council is currently in the process of forming itself and preparing to work for the benefit of all parishioners.

On the weekend of the 10th and 11th of October, the Parish Council will provide surveys in the pews that ask for your input in the direction it should take and the projects it should pursue. Please be sure to fill out one of these surveys and make your opinions known. The goal of the Parish Council is to help the parish and its people to work effectively to meet the needs of the parish and our community, and to assist Father in achieving the ministry goals that he sets for our parish.

It is my hope that you will make the care of and ministry to the poor and marginalized a priority in responding to your surveys. In today’s second reading, James warns us about the dangers facing the godless rich. He is speaking of the transitory nature of life and warns that “your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire.”

As Catholics, we are called to care for the poor and the marginalized; to provide food for the hungry and clothes for the naked. As James wrote in the second reading we heard two weeks ago, it is not enough to merely wish another well and hope that he is fed and warm. Our faith calls us to work on behalf of those in need.

Recall the recent words of the Holy Father, “To love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but profoundly concrete; it means seeing in every person the face of the Lord to be served, to serve him concretely.”

Peace,
Dcn. Richard

From the Desk of Deacon Richard… July 12, 2015

olivyaz-jesus-Christ-sending-His-Apostles

Dear Parish Family,

….So they went off and preached repentance. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

When Christ sent the Twelve out to preach repentance, He knew that not all would listen. He knew that some — perhaps many — would reject His messengers and their message. Repentance is rarely a popular message to bring.

Sure, it’s popular enough when the message is, “repent and behave like that guy over there” if you happen to be that guy and you’re over there.

Sure, it’s popular enough when the message is, “repent and behave like that guy over there” if you happen to be that guy and you’re over there. However, when the message is: stop what you’re doing and change… well, the message suddenly becomes much less popular. Who are you to tell ME what to do?!

How different the world would be if our need to be right was tempered by humility and the realization that we are sometimes wrong… sometimes we are in need of not just repentance but of being called to repentance. It is one thing for us to realize personally that we need to change; it is quite another to accept (much less welcome) being told that is the case.

Let us all pray for the grace of humility and wisdom, so that when we are confronted with our own failings and our own need for repentance, we can welcome that message in the spirit that it is intended: as coming from God and meant for our eternal happiness. We never know when the messenger might arrive bringing a message we need desperately to hear.

Peace,
Dcn. Richard

From the Desk of Deacon Richard… Chesterton’s Café

From the Parish Bulletin for
Sunday, April 19, 2015
The Third Sunday of Easter

Tortellini_Soup_with_Whole_Wheat_Bread_and_Caesar_Salad_001

I have had this idea — or maybe you could call it a dream — for awhile of opening a restaurant that would feature gourmet soups, stews, and chili, plus fresh-baked bread. What would make it different is that when a person stops in and purchases lunch for him- or herself, the cost of the meal they buy also covers a bowl of the same soup and bread for a person who is homeless or hungry… essentially a buy-two-get-one plus the knowledge that you have just fed another human being.

Now, I have no idea if something like this could ever be able to generate sufficient income to keep its doors open and keep feeding people, which would be, I would think, the basic definition of success for a restaurant like this. Also, I should probably point out that I have no idea how to run a restaurant and am in no way qualified to do so. Aside from a short stint working in a fast food burger joint years ago when I was in high school, I have no experience in running a restaurant at all.

Still, I keep thinking about it and praying about it. And I feel like maybe the Holy Spirit is guiding me in it as the idea comes into more and more focus and takes on more shape. Father and I have discussed it and batted a few ideas around. We’ve even named it: Chesterton’s Café. It might be something that would be based at the parish, or it might not. It might involve a food truck, or with the regulations Kansas City puts in place it probably won’t — I found out this week it would take a total of 11 license to operate under such a model. And that’s not counting anything additional Raytown might add.

Will it ever happen and if it does, what form will it take? I have no idea. But I do know if it is truly inspired by the Holy Spirit that it will happen and it will happen in its own time and in the way it is suppose to happen… as long as I am open to the workings of the Spirit.

And this is true for all of us: if we are open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, then we will find ourselves guided to the path God intends for us. Our shortcomings won’t matter; what we don’t know won’t matter. When we are doing the work God intends, we will, as the psalm says, be guided in right paths. It has been rightly observed that God does not call the qualified, He qualifies those He has called.

Let us pray always for the grace to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit and to answer God’s call.

Peace,
Dcn. Richard

The Feast of St. Luke — Oct. 18

Detail of St. Luke from the the San Lucas Polyptych (70'' × 91'' total, 1454), a panel painting by Northern Italian Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna, seen today at The Pinacoteca di Brera (Brera Art Gallery), Milan. St. Luke’s Feast Day is October 18th.

Detail of St. Luke from the San Lucas Polyptych (70” × 91” total, 1454), a panel painting by Northern Italian Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna, seen today at The Pinacoteca di Brera (Brera Art Gallery), Milan. St. Luke’s Feast Day is October 18th.

San Lucas Polyptych (70'' × 91'', 1454)

San Lucas Polyptych (70” × 91”, 1454)

 

The Springtime of Education

This article originally appeared as the editorial in the Spring 2014 issue of The Stained Glass Quarterly.

As I write this, spring started just a few days ago. There were pellets of ice somewhere between snow and sleet on the windshield when I left the house this morning. Still, that didn’t stop me from picking up (more) seeds and three new seed-starter trays when I went to the home and garden store after lunch today.

Officially, I was there to pick up a few things for the Stained Glass School that will be needed at the next enamels class, which will be held in April. Still, there’s no sense in not making opportunities for multitasking… especially at the lawn and garden store.

Especially in early spring.

If I actually plant all the seeds I have right now, I’ll end up with enough fruits and vegetables to feed a multitude. But that’s not the point. After all, it’s not just about growing fresh fruits and vegetables — although certainly that’s a wonderful side benefit — it’s also about what the seeds represent: possibility. Potential for growth. Potential for the future.

In a certain way, that’s also how I see the SGAA’s Stained Glass School: potential and possibility. After all, the purpose of education is to plant seeds in the mind that will grow into talents and abilities in the student.

In a certain way, anyone can make a stained glass window — not automatically, certainly, but anyone with a reasonable intellect and a reasonable degree of dexterity can be taught to work in stained glass. So what separates just anyone from someone who makes truly beautiful stained glass windows? Raw talent? Temperament? Aptitude?

If success truly is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration, then the willingness to put in the hours of practice and study and the willingness to strive to become better must certainly constitute the majority share of what makes greatness. True education does not produce the final end product; rather, it plants the seed that the student must water in the field of experience if true growth is to be realized. It gives the student tools to use as he builds on the foundation laid.

I believe in the Stained Glass School because I believe in the value of education. Learning can be its own end; some things a person learns are learned simply for the joy of knowing. However, much more frequently, learning is undertaken as a means to an end: one wants to pursue a career making beautiful stained glass windows; therefore, one pursues an education in stained glass so that one can be successful in that career. The foundation is laid in the classroom.

The Stained Glass School has long been a publishing and scholarship-granting body. It is very gratifying now to see it becoming so much more. The classes it offers are building in both diversity and frequency. No longer are they limited strictly to the SGAA’s Annual Summer Conference. Now workshops are made available throughout the year at the SGAA Headquarters just outside of Kansas City.

The seed has been planted, and it will continue to grow. Quality stained glass education from a reputable school is desperately needed in this country; the Stained Glass School has recognized that need and is working to address it in ever-expanding ways.

It truly is the springtime of education in the field of stained glass.

Beef Frankfurters

Unlabeled Toxic Ingredients
BENZENE HEXACHLORIDE, Carcinogenic.
DACTHAL, Carcinogenic (can be contaminated with dioxin); irritant; strong sensitizer.
DIELDRIN, Carcinogenic; xenoestrogen.
DDT, Carcinogenic; xenoestrogen.
HEPTACHLOR, Carcinogenic; neurotoxic; reproductive toxin; xenoestrogen.
HEXACHLOROBENZENE, Carcinogenic; neurotoxic; teratogenic.
LINDANE, Carcinogenic; neurotoxic; damage to blood forming cells.
HORMONES: Carcinogenic and feminizing.
ANTIBIOTICS: Some are carcinogenic, cause allergies and drug resistance.

Labeled Ingredient
NITRITE, Interacts with meat amines to form carcinogenic nitrosamines which are a major risk factor for childhood cancers.