Some things I have learned playing slow-pitch softball. I play on a slow-pitch softball team. I would like to say I am an old has-been, but I am more a never-was! There are some interesting lessons/ parallels I have learned; I share them with you now.
There are many parallels to our church, our faith community, to you and your family, and to LIFE in general, but I will leave it to you to draw those conclusions for yourself.
PLAY BALL; GET IN THE GAME; BE NOT AFRAID!
~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister
While Fr. Frank is serving as Diocesan Administrator in lieu of a bishop, there will be no daily Mass on Wednesdays as he needs to be in Salina. Communion Services, led by our deacons, will be held instead. Thank you for your patience during this time of transition. Daily Masses on Wednesdays will resume once a new bishop has been installed.
Several weeks ago, Fr. Richard Rohr did a series of devotions describing what it means to live in community. “Living in community means living in such a way that others can access me and influence my life and that I can get ‘out of myself’ and serve the lives of others,” he said. Community is a world where brotherliness and sisterliness are possible. By community, I don’t mean primarily a special kind of structure, but a network of relationships.”
I experienced this kind of community last week at our Vacation Bible School. Parishioners, young and not so young, came together to provide an adventure for our youngest members, but oftentimes got wrapped up in the adventure themselves and ended up wondering who was the teacher and who was the student. It began with the staff who worked diligently to see to enrollments, inform parents of their and their child’s responsibilities, and helped decorate our building so it would ignite the imagination of the children and enhance their experience during their week with us. It continued with the young parishioners who generously donated time to guide the children who enrolled and showed loving kindness to each child to ensure everyone had a joy-filled week. It continued with the thoughtful teachers who prepared lessons each day, the energetic individuals who volunteered to help with crafts and make sure each child had a snack, and with the joy that could be heard emanating from the music room as the kids sang and danced.
There was a “spirit” to this community that was palpable. We were all here to learn about our brother Jesus and though lessons were taught, the most important lessons were learned from one another as everyone unselfishly sacrificed for the others and celebrated each others’ accomplishments. It was a living celebration of our faith. When the children sang about “God’s love being deep and wide” and “God’s love is overflowing,” it churned up the Spirit inside.
This VBS week reminded me once again that we learn about Christ best through relationships. It made me grateful to live and worship with the wonderful people that make us this St. Thomas More Community. To once again quote Richard Rohr, “We come to know who God is through exchanges of mutual knowing and loving. God’s basic method of communicating God’s self is not the ‘saved’ individual, the rightly informed believer, or even a person with a career in ministry, but the journey and bonding process that God initiates in community; in marriages, families, tribes, nations, schools, organizations, and churches who are seeking to participate in God’s love, maybe without even consciously knowing it.”
~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Coordinator
Summer is a bittersweet time of transition for a youth minister. Our seniors graduate. This leg of their journey ends, as does my formal meeting time with them. We have talked, sang, argued, laughed, cried, worked, played, worshiped, prayed, and given glory to God together. All of that can still happen…but it’s “different” now. They aren’t “kids” anymore. They need to leave the nest at some point…but when it happens, it just never seems I’m quite “ready,” especially when one of them is my own kid. Some of them I still see often in church, life-guarding at the pools, visiting my house; others I wonder if I’ll ever see again. This past week, we buried brother Tom Chavey. I miss his wonderful left-sided grin, kind spirit, and service to our parish community. And we welcomed brother Andy Hammeke into the priesthood. I celebrate his gifts, humility, and service to our church and the larger community. I’m not sure I was quite “ready” for these things to happen, but God was. THY kingdom come, THY will be done…and I just try to trust and pray that it will all be okay. Sometimes it’s hard…sometimes it’s not.
~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister
We have concluded our 50 days of Easter, celebrating our new life in the Resurrection! As we walk in this new life during the month of May, we honor Our Lady: Mary, Mother of the Church. She is our mother and she cares for and intercedes for us. During May, we are especially reminded to strive to imitate our Blessed Mother’s virtue in our own lives.
Two weeks ago, we observed Ascension, the occasion of the Lord’s return to the Father. Then last weekend on Pentecost, we commemorated the beginning of the Church founded by the risen Christ and enlivened by the Holy Spirit. Just like the disciples, we have been given the Great Commission to spread the Gospel and go make of ALL disciples!
And now we are at the point in the Liturgical Year when we begin the longest stretch of Ordinary time, which concludes at the start of a new liturgical year with Advent. This season is termed “Ordinary,” which actually refers to the numbered weeks of Ordinary Time and the ordered life of the church, and a period where we are not necessarily feasting or in intense repentance. Ordinary Time is the part of the year in which Christ walks among us and transforms our lives. What an impact we can make if we live daily in that realization!
Ordinary Time, however, is interrupted this weekend by the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, celebrating the three persons of God. One way we outwardly proclaim our belief in the Trinity is to make the Sign of the Cross. In 2010, a 22 year old young man named Chris Muer helped with STM Youth Ministry, and he always emphasized to the kids that when they make the Sign of the Cross, they were “putting on the armor of Christ” (from Ephesians). Today Chris is 30 years old and was ordained a priest by the Archbishop of Detroit, Michigan, on May 19! We are looking forward to all that God will do through his ministry!
And here in the Salina Diocese, Dcn Andy Hammeke, who was with us last summer, will be ordained a priest on June 2, the eve of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ! The STM staff is very fond of him and know he will serve this diocese humbly and with the utmost pastoral care. Please keep these men in your prayers.
~ Kelley Smith, Music Liturgist
To register for any of the following sessions,
This course offers a foundational theology of ministry rooted in Baptism. Particular focus will be given to the role of the laity in ministry and various types of ministry will be explored. This course provides experience and formation to enable the student to learn a variety of ministerial skills. Sessions are held Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on September 8, 15, 22, 29, October 6, 13, 20, 27, November 3.
A liturgical environment that celebrates the awe of God’s presence and saving deeds cannot be satisfied with anything less than beautiful. The beauty is related to the holy. This course gives all involved with Liturgy knowledge of the Sacraments, the Catholic rites, the Liturgical year, and the faithful’s devotional life in order to equip them to create a sacred environment in which the divine-human encounter can most readily occur. The goal is to care for all the elements of worship, ensuring that the total environment is clean, appropriate, authentic, beautiful, and accessible. The course will present the Liturgical documents as they pertain to sacraments and other rites, environment, liturgical space, church appointments, and the sacristy. This course is required to obtain the Diocesan Certification in Liturgical Ministry. Sessions are held Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on September 5, 12, 19, October 10.