Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fr. Neal's Notes - New Years Resolutions

We all make resolutions as we enter a New Year. I suggest a resolve to attend a retreat! The Women's retreat is on January 11th and the Men's retreat is on January 18th. Both retreats offer the help needed for successful deepening of faith!

Monday, December 30, 2013

St. Michael's News Connection - Week of December 29th

Enough Light for the Next Step

I found this beautiful reflection in Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey and thought it applied very well to our up-coming year…It’s called “Enough Light for the Next Step:”

Often we want to be able to see into the future.  We say, “How will next year be for me?  Where will I be five or ten years from now?”  There are no answers to these questions.  Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step:  what we have to do in the coming hour or the following day.  The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark.  When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go.  Let’s rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away. 

You may have heard me say that “Worry is an insult to God.”   Think about it.  It’s empowering.  It often seems that we just LOVE to worry, myself included.  I really don’t love to worry, I just worry.  However, with this little mantra, I have found that if I turn my worries over to our dear Lord, I find the strength I need just at the right time.  I’m calmer.  I’m more appreciative.  I’m confident that no matter what, God is with me, taking good care of this matted sheep. I’m so grateful and look forward to the next step together with my Shepherd.  I hope you do, too!

May  you have a Blessed New Year with our loving Shepherd!

-MJ Heggeness

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

The priests, deacon, and staff of St. Michael’s extend prayers and thanks for your generosity and support during this busy Advent season. Please check the schedule below for our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Mass times. These celebrations of great joy will unite us to our Redeemer and Messiah. Special thanks to all those that have given so generously to our gift-giving for Fr. Tasto in Mexico and Life Choices Pregnancy Center. May God’s blessings be yours during this holy time. We thank you for your presence and faith. 

Sincerely in Christ, 
 Msgr. Neal Dolan 
 Fr. Mel Monreal 
 Deacon John Charron

Offering Healing, Hope, and Thanksgiving in the Philippines

The text on Fr. Mel’s cell phone the evening of Monday, Oct. 14th, simply said, “Please call, it’s an emergency.” He had no idea in that moment how much it would change his life.
The call revealed that his mother’s house, where he was born and had grown up, was completely destroyed by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake centered just a few miles from his hometown of Loón, along with the homes of his brother, sister, uncle, and father’s family. Two family members, his sister and brother’s mothers-in-law, had perished when the walls of their homes collapsed. They were among 222 who died in what would be called the Great Bohol Earthquake of 2013. 95 percent of the structures in Fr. Mel’s town were completely destroyed and 77 of the dead were in his town alone.

Fr. Mel’s mother had just returned home from 7 a.m. daily Mass and was outside sweeping her patio, (her daily routine) when the earthquake hit a little after 8 a.m. The more than 200-year-old church that she had just left was turned to rubble, and her home collapsed inward. She was unharmed only because she was outside at the time.

“At first when I got word of the earthquake, I was very anxious, but after I knew most of my family was safe, it lessened my concern a bit,” Fr. Mel said. “Then I couldn’t get through to them for five days; they had no power or telephones. Watching the news on TV and seeing the problems getting food, water, and medical needs made me very unsettled again.”

After a week of being unable to communicate with his family, Fr. Mel decided he needed to go home. By the time he arrived, 12 days after the earthquake, makeshift campsites were serving as shelters and basic necessities of rice, canned goods, water, and clothing were being distributed by relief workers. The situation was dire.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Checkup

Rarely do people enjoy going to the Doctor for a checkup. It’s always kind of uncomfortable, and what if they find something wrong with us? Advent is a time of preparation and it’s also a perfect time for a spiritual “checkup”. 

Where’s my spiritual life at now? How has it changed since the beginning of this Advent season? Has it changed? These are just a few questions we should be asking ourselves in this third week of Advent. But what if we discover something about our spiritual life that needs attention. What if we find we have dropped the ball and have not made any real changes in the way we practice our faith. The good news is, its never to late to start. We can always return to the doctor of life, Jesus Christ. 

This week at St. Michael’s, we are offering a couple of opportunities for you to return to the Lord, no matter the state your spiritual history. The first of these is happening on Tuesday at 7:00 PM in the Church. We will be gathering together to pray as a community for all of the intentions of the St. Michael’s Parishioners and participate in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The second of these events is our Advent Penance service. This is the perfect opportunity to strengthen our relationship with our Lord and receive healing for our shortcomings. And unlike the medicine that offers physical healing God’s healing grace is given free of charge!

Above all we must remember that in the end checkups are actually a very positive and necessary part of living a healthy (spiritual and physical) life. 

So, this week, if you haven't done so yet, spend some time looking inside yourself at your spiritual life, I know I will. If you feel you need to make a change, ask the Holy Spirit for the necessary gifts and guidance to do so.

Laudate Dominum,

Peter Garcia