Sunday, June 29, 2008


Jesus returning the keys to St Peter, 1820 Jean Auguste Dominique

Homilies in the Papal household

P. Raniero Cantalamessa, ofmcap

You are Peter!

Today’s Gospel is the Gospel in which the keys are given to Peter. The Catholic tradition has always taken this Gospel as the basis for the Pope’s authority over the entire Church.

Someone might object that there is nothing here about the papal office. Catholic theology responds in the following way. If Peter is called the Church’s “foundation” or “rock,” then the Church can only continue to exist if its foundation continues to exist.

It is unthinkable that such solemn prerogatives -- “To you I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven” -- refer only to the first 20 or 30 years of the Church’s life, and that they would cease with the apostle’s death. Peter’s role thus continues in his successors.

Throughout the first millennium, all the Churches universally recognized this office of Peter, even if somewhat differently in East and West.

The problems and divisions crept up in the second millennium, which has just concluded.

Today we Catholics admit that these problems and divisions are not entirely the fault of the others, the so-called schismatics, first the Eastern Churches and then the Protestants.

The primacy instituted by Christ, as all things human, has sometimes been exercised well and at other times not so well. Gradually political and worldly power mixed with the spiritual power and with this came abuses.

Pope John Paul II, in his letter on ecumenism, “Ut unum sint,” suggested the possibility of reconsidering the concrete forms in which the Pope’s primacy is exercised in such a way as to make the concord of all the Churches around the Pope possible again. As Catholics, we must hope that this road of conversion to reconciliation be followed with ever greater courage and humility, especially implementing incrementally the collegiality called for by the Second Vatican Council.

What we cannot desire is that the ministry itself of Peter, as sign and source of the Church’s unity, will disappear. This would deprive us of one of the most precious gifts that Christ has given to the Church besides going against Christ’s own will.

To think that the Church only needs the Bible and the Holy Spirit to interpret it in order for the Church to live and spread the Gospel, is like saying that it would have been sufficient for the founders of the United States to write the American Constitution and show the spirit in which it must be interpreted without providing any government for the country. Would the United States still exist?

One thing that we can all immediately do to smooth the road toward reconciliation between the Churches is to begin reconciling ourselves with our Church.

“You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church”: Jesus says my “Church,” in the singular, not my “churches.” He had thought of and wanted only one Church, not a multiplicity of independent churches, or worse, churches fighting among themselves.

The word “my,” as in “my Church,” is possessive. Jesus recognizes the Church as “his”; he says “my Church” as a man would say “my bride” or “my body.” He identifies himself with it, he is not ashamed of it.

On Jesus’ lips the word “Church” does not have any of those subtle negative meanings that we have added to it.

There is in that expression of Christ a powerful call to all believers to reconcile themselves with the Church. To deny the Church is like denying your own mother. “You cannot have God for father,” St. Cyprian said, “if you do not have the Church for your mother.”

It would be a beautiful fruit of the feast of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul if we too were to learn to say of the Catholic Church to which we belong that it is "my Church!"

I say AMEN, Father!! AMEN!!

Have a blessed solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul today everyone
Pray for unity, pray, pray pray
and let's run to Our Lady, Our Mother
and ask her fervent prayers for us, her children,
to stop bickering, fighting and breaking apart the
Body of Christ even more.
Forgive us, Mama most holy -
Forgive us this atrocious
"sibling rivalry"
and help us to love as we are loved
to forgive as we've been forgiven
and to live out our faith
as One Body.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Local farmer shares stories of faith/family...

This is an article from the June 13 2008 Catholic Voice Omaha, by Lisa Maxson

First book looks at importance of stewardship

For Curt Arens, workin the land of his grandparents' farm along Bow Creek in Crofton, NE, not only brings him pleasure and a source of income, but also deepens his Catholic faith.

Raised on that land, the 44 year-old Arens writes about learning how to farm and the importance of his Catholic faith in "Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land." His first book was published in January as part of ACTA Publications' American Catholic Experience series, which features first-person reflections by lay people.

The 110 page book is filled wih short stories about Arens' upbringing and the people who impacted his life- family and friends and those in his parish and community. It traces his development as a farmer and a Catholic.

"The book is a tribute to the sacredness of rural life, particlarly those hardworking, generous people in my own community," Arens said. "It is about the faith and farm lessons I've learned from my parents and grandparents, from my wife, children and in-laws, and from my neighbors and friends."

Arens tells about growing up on the family farm, imparting his personal stories about the details of farm life, of being a good steward, experiencing college and eventually marrying and taking over the family farm from his parents, all with faith at the base of each story.


A veteran freelance writer, Arens and his wife, Donna, have three children. He has been published in Successful Farming, Nebraska farmer, Nebraska Life, American Profile, Norfolk Daily News, and Living Here. He founded "Farm to FAmily Connection" a Yankton S.D.-based weekly radio program promoting local family farms and communities. He also writes a weekly column, "Farm to Family" for the six newspapers owned by the Northeast Nebraska News Agency in Hartington.

Arens told the Catholic Voice he wrote "Down to Earth" because he felt there was a need for more materials and books for rural Catholics and Christians that focus on the unique aspects of being in a rural parish, community and family farm.

He said the National Catholic Rural Life Conference is a "great organization" that works in this arena, and he wanted to write this book to lend a hand and add something to what is already out there.

"I also think farming is maligned by young people as a career choice because it appears too difficult and pverty-stricken" he said. "It is difficult, sometimes grueling. However, there are improtant rewards in raising a family in a rural area, wrapping oneself in the safety and loving embrace of a close-knit rural parish community and being closer than most to God's wonderful creation."


Arens spoke of two messages in the book: that food should never be taken for granted and the importance of deep devotion to the Eucharist and the Mass. "We have gotten so used to cheap and pletiful food, but family farmers know that fod is never guaranteed," he said. "A few minutes of hail or a few weeks of drought can destroy a crop before our very eyes. Months of labor and expense can be dashed away in short order. We truly need to value the gift of food from our Creator."

"Jesus could have chosen any medium in which to be present at the Mass, but during the Last Supper, he chose bread, a product of wheat from the fields, and wine, a product of the vine - both very agricultural products - as a medium to be present anytime Mass is celebrated," he said.

"The consecration is a sacred time - one of truly solemn awe - and as Catholic and farmers, we have a special appreciation for this great gift of his presence with us in these products of the land" he said.

Arens said his faith is strong, but still forming.

"I am a Catholic who goes through the rhythm of faith like anyone else. However, I have a deep devotion - dating back to my preparation for first Communion with Sr. Veronica Wolff at St. Rose of Lima School - to the holy Eucharist and I love the Mass," Arens said. "I also am keenly aware of God's presence, not only at Mass, but in the fields and meadows that I have the honor to steward over."

He said he learns something new about his faith every day from God, his pastor, his family and his friends. "And believe me," he said, "I'm paying attention."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pray for these people...

Yesterday was the day for two funerals of two of the boys who were killed last week when a tornado hit a Boy Scout Camp, near Omaha, actually in Iowa, at Little Sioux. A very disturbing thing occurred about 9:30 a.m. or so. I was at work when our office manager, Cory, told us her sister had called and told her that a family, not sure how many kids, was standing on a very busy corner of Center Street and 120th holding signs that read: "Boy Scouts are fags." "God hates Nebraska" This was right along the streets that lead to a Church of Christ where one funeral was and the other leading to Mary Our Queen Catholic Church.

The Westboro Baptist Church, out of Topeka KS, whose main purpose I guess, is to spread their skewed version of Christianity, totally deficient of one iota of the virtue of Charity, was displayed yesterday, and was most dispicable. When Cory found the website we read some of it in disbelief and shock that this is what some think Christianity means. That our Loving Father actually hates any of us is so misguided, and then to see how that belief leads people, a family with children, to go stand on the street of a funeral procession with these signs is outrageous.

The picket schedule on the website is now changed, but when we read it yesterday, under "Omaha NE. was the name of each church to be picketed where the funerals were held. They called the "something" Church of Christ church a "leper colony" and they called Mary Our Queen - a Catholic Whorehouse. I know we have many enemies in the world, but what is so hard to take is the enemy that is supposedly Christian. Pray for those children that they may come to know the Truth and help their parents.

I have prayed for them. I prayed on the way to the Holy Family Shrine yesterday, going to volunteer, and then went to the chapel to pray a rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet for them. Even in my "anti-Catholic" days, I would never have resorted to this. I can't think of anyone I know, Protestant or Evangelical or Pentecostal would do this. Please pray for these folks, especially these children who are being indocrtinated to hate Catholics, Jews, and other Protestants who don't believe like they do. The farther one gets from the "Source" the murkier and more deadly the water becomes. This is an unfortunate example of such a statement. The farther one wanders from the One True Church, the Catholic Church, most anything can be taught and believed and the more narrow the vision becomes, the more narrow the mind and the more closed and calloused the heart.

I pray that those traveling to the funerals didn't have to see this horrific display of hate. I know they were chased off of one place they were standing, and I hope they didn't show up at another.

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The birth of the Church...

Resurrecting a great link I wish this was accompanied by wonderful ancient music, but it's still an amazing visual.
Pick this book up sometime, if you've not read it.
And check out Mike's blog, too.

How old is your church? ...

Find out here.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

God rest your kind, patriotic soul, Mr. President...

Mr. President, God bless you. God rest your soul. I miss you. You were like a "Dad" to me. And like I say every election year since you left office: "I miss voting for that man."