The message in the Gospel today could be easy to just dismiss because it seems so ludicrous! “Love your enemies.” “Be perfect as your Father is perfect.” Really, Jesus? You have got to be kidding!
A priest friend of mine did teach me a very good lesson that pertains to this Gospel. A few years ago, someone hurt one of my children. As most mothers would, I morphed into full “Mama Bear” and was full of rage towards this person. After carrying this burden for some time, I visited with my friend and asked his counsel on how to deal with this poisoning anger. His advice was this: Go into the sanctuary and say an Our Father asking God to grant happiness and well-being to the person who hurt my child. I was resistant to say the least. I thought to bargain my way out of this…”How about I trade you one Our Father said for this rat for an entire rosary said for World Peace?” Instead, I did what Father asked. I learned from this experience that praying for my enemy’s well-being helped me see this person as a child of God—no less or more perfect than I. I was able to transform the hate into an agape love.
We become “perfect like the Father is perfect” when we offer our forgiveness, prayers, generosity, understanding, and love to people whether they deserve it or not. As Michael R. Simone, SJ, said in America magazine, “We conquer death and its effects in the world whenever we ourselves are kind to those who do not deserve it, forgive those who have wronged us, treat others as ends and not means, or act honestly and generously for the good even of strangers and enemies.”
There is so much discord in the world today. As a Catholic Christian, we are obligated to be life-givers to help heal those rifts. We are compelled to love extravagantly so that we may be like our God. Yes, Jesus asks a lot of us. Christianity is not for wimps.
~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Coordinator
A NOTE FROM LORRAINE...
Greetings...I am happy to announce I have been selected as the New Development Director for Manhattan Catholic Schools. I have fond memories of being a student at Seven Dolors and Luckey High School. I believe children are precious and very impressionable. My life would not be the same if I had not had the Catholic Educational Foundation that my parents believed in. My parents worked very hard for my 6 siblings and myself to attend Seven Dolors and Luckey High School. My husband Fred and I are members of St. Thomas More. We are both involved in various committees in our parish and love being involved in activities with our Catholic Family at all of the parishes in Manhattan and Ogden. We recently helped to host a LOTW retreat and had members from all of the parishes in attendance. The retreat was a reminder that we all have God given talents that we are to use on our journey in the faith to love, support and celebrate with our fellow Catholic family members. I know with the generosity, helping hands, loving hearts, and the Power of God through our prayers the children of Manhattan Catholic Schools will continue to achieve academic excellence in a loving, faith filled environment. I look forward to serving the Manhattan Community in the position as development director of the Manhattan Catholic Schools. Please reach out to me to ask any questions or to offer help or suggestions. Thank you and God bless you!
On Sunday, February 19, Bishop Weisenburger will be coming to St. Thomas More to confirm 32 members of our young church and 4 adults. During the 5:30 liturgy, they will be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit!
Lately, in Confirmation class and youth group, Youth Minister Rick Smith has been discussing the “3-legged stool” analogy. This was a concept often referred to by our former pastor, Fr. Don Zimmerman. J The three legs are the BODY, MIND, and SPIRIT. Each of us needs to strive daily to achieve a healthy balance between our physical bodies, our working mind and emotions, and our spirit.
It is good to regularly check each of these “legs” and make sure we are FEEDING each of them. We feed our bodies by eating right and exercising; feed our minds by reading, studying, maintaining positive relationships; but how diligent are we at feeding our spirits? Going to church once a week and praying before meals just isn’t enough. God wants to feed us spiritually through his Word, at the Eucharistic Table, in our prayer and quiet time with him, in our care and service of one another, through nature…take the time and make the effort to feed this “leg.”
God wants our lives to have balance and we will be happy and healthy when all three legs of our stools are in place and in proper working order. Please pray for healthy 3-legged stools for our Confirmandi and that they have a truly blessed sacramental celebration on February 19!
~ Kelley Smith, Music Liturgist
Bishop Weisenburger's 2017 Catholic Community Annual Appeal Message...
The Women’s Spirituality Conference has taken place in Manhattan for several years now and has brought in some very good speakers. I would say the speaker they have chosen for this year is one of the best. Sr. Edith Prendergast is a Religious Sister of Charity who was born in Ireland. She entered religious life in1959 and undertook studies in theology. She served as director of the Office of Religious Education at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for more than 25 years. It was in that capacity that Sr. Edith directed what is known as the Religious Education Congress, which gathers almost 40,000 participants annually in Anaheim, CA. Several of our staff have attended (along with a few folks from our diocese) and have come back inspired. Sr. Edith usually gave the opening address at every congress and delivered a message of enthusiasm for those gathered. She was one of the first non-clerical people to hold a Director of Religious Education ministry in a U.S. diocese. Her energy and passion for the formation and ongoing education of youth and adults brought some very notable Catholic speakers to the congress. I have to say that the organization that moved that many people effectively over the course of three days was incredible. You could tell that she loved the richness and diversity of Catholicism and wanted to share that with all the participants. It is a tremendous privilege that our women’s group landed a speaker with such loaded talent and background. I believe it speaks to the way this local women’s spirituality conference has grown. Please take advantage of this opportunity to hear and experience a passionate woman of faith. The ladies who plan this event spend many hours organizing it to make it happen. Let us welcome Sr. Edith Prendergast by filling up the Utopia Room to take advantage of her wisdom and insight.
~ Dcn Wayne Talbot