Thank a Veteran

November 11, 2018

As we celebrate Veterans’ Day today, it is a time for us all to pause and reflect on just what our Veterans have done for us. “Some gave all; all gave some.” When a man or woman enters into military service, he or she vows to defend our nation from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Included in the documents signed at that time is the sobering admission that joining the Service may cost you your life.

In times of armed conflict (read: war), huge numbers of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines have laid down their lives in the name of freedom. Countless myriads have gone through events that would absolutely petrify the average citizen. Those who saw the face of war came home scarred for life, if they came home at all. And the vast majority of those who survived those wars absolutely do not talk about it. It’s not a topic for dinner conversation.

We owe our Veterans a debt of deepest respect. It is because of their selfless sacrifice that we enjoy all the creature comforts of life that we routinely take for granted. It is because of our Veterans that speaking Japanese, Chinese, Russian, or Arabic in the USA is an academic option, not a social necessity.

It is a tragedy that Veterans are not universally respected in our modern society. It is disgrace that Veterans are homeless in our nation. And it is a disservice to our young people that video games glorify war and killing. War and killing are not games. In reality you don’t “get another life” or get to start over. And you can’t just forget the “game” when it’s over.

Whenever you encounter a Veteran in any social setting, be sure to tip your hat and offer thanks. When I was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, someone called the base to complain about all the loud jet engine noise, and the planes flying over their house. The Airman asked, “Did you get a good look at the tail of the airplane?” “YES I DID!” the caller shouted. The Airmen then asked, “Did it have an American flag on it?” “YES IT DID!” the caller boomed. “You’re welcome,” the Airman said, and hung up.

My hat is off to all of our Veterans. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for your service. And Ooh-Rah, Aim High, Semper Fi and Hold Your Heads High!

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

Lourdes and the Rosary

November 4, 2018

Lourdes and the Rosary

Exactly 650 years after the Virgin Mary gave St. Dominic the rosary, she began appearing to a French girl named Bernadette Soubirous on February 11, 1858. This occurred four years after Pope Pius IX defined the Marian dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The dogma states, “that from the first moment of her conception, Mary – by the singular grace of God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ – was preserved immune from original sin.”

In one apparition Mary identified herself by saying, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

Lourdes became known as a rosary apparition because in each of her eighteen appearances Our Lady had a golden rosary draped over her right arm. As Bernadette prayed the rosary, Mary let her fingers glide over the beads and joined Bernadette in praying the Glory Be.

In addition to the many miracles that occurred at Lourdes, the apparitions sparked a renewed worldwide devotion to the rosary.

Every evening pilgrims to Lourdes gather in Rosary Square in front of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary to pray the rosary in a torchlight procession. One of the largest celebrations occurs on October 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Pope Pius XI canonized St. Bernadette on December 8, 1933, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

“A rosary a day keeps the devil away.”

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

The Rosary Defeats Boco Haram

October 28, 2018

The Rosary Defeats Boco Haram

    About 4 years ago Nigerian Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme was praying his rosary before the Blessed Sacrament. He was seeking divine guidance on how to respond to the presence in his diocese of Boco Haram, the murderous Muslim terrorist sect. In the middle of his prayer Jesus appeared to him holding a sword. Jesus said nothing but stretched out his hands inviting Bishop Doeme to take the weapon. As the Bishop took the sword it turned into a rosary. Jesus said three times, “Boco Haram is gone” and then disappeared.

    Bishop Doeme got his answer. He stated, “I didn’t need any prophet to give me the explanation. It was clear that with the rosary we would be able to expel Boco Haram.”

    He directed his Priests to begin began rosary crusades throughout the diocese. By early 2017 he announced that Boco Haram was nearly vanquished in his diocese. In the areas of Nigeria where they do not have the rosary crusades, Boco Haram is still active.

    You can hear Bishop Doeme speak about this on YouTube. Check it out.

    “A rosary a day keeps the devil away.”

    For the Greater Glory of God,
    Fr. Matt

Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 21, 2018

Because he had failed to combat the Albigensian heresy, St. Dominic retreated to a forest in southern France to seek divine guidance. Our Lady appeared to him there and instructed him on how to use the rosary as a spiritual “weapon of war and a battering ram against heresy.” She said,

“Wonder not that until now you have obtained so little fruit by your labors; you have spent them on a barren soil, not yet watered with the dew of divine grace. When God willed to renew the face of the earth, he began by sending down on it the fertilizing rain of the Angelic Salutation. Therefore, preach my Psalter.”

Mary then gave him the 15 mysteries and instructed him to divide the 150 Hail Marys of the Marian Psalter into 10 Hail Marys with each decade attached to one of the mysteries. The faithful were to meditate on each mystery while reciting the Hail Mary.

When Dominic combined “the fertilizing rain of the Angelic Salutation” with preaching on the mysteries of Christ he was able to win hearts back to Christ and overcome the Albigensians. Imagine what we could do if everyone prayed the rosary daily!

“A rosary a day keeps the devil away.”

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

St. Dominic and the Rosary (Part One)

October 14, 2018

For centuries the rosary has been the weapon of choice to combat evil, overcome heresies, win military battles, and achieve personal holiness. Now, more than ever, we need the assistance of Our Lady of the Rosary to combat the evils and scandals of our time.

The pious tradition of the Church is that St. Dominic (1179-1221) received the rosary in its present form from Mary Herself in 1208 at the time of the Albigensian heresy.

The Albigensians believed that a good deity created the world of the spirit and that an evil god created the material world. All matter including the human body was, therefore, evil. They rejected the Sacraments and denied the Incarnation. To them the idea that God would take on evil flesh to save all mankind was unthinkable.

Though a trained theologian and a gifted preacher, Dominic had failed in his attempts to combat the Albigensians. In frustration, he retreated to a forest in France to pray and seek heavenly guidance. After three days of prayer, fasting, penitential acts, Our Lady appeared to him with a message and a weapon that would change the world. The rosary has indeed changed the world. More on this next week.

“A rosary a day keeps the devil away.”

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

Holy Communion, Sacred Sacrament!

October 7, 2018

Receiving our Lord in Holy Communion is the most sacred act of our lives. When we receive Holy Communion, we are united with our Lord in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. For this reason, it is of utmost importance that we approach Holy Communion reverently and receive Him properly. In the United States, Holy Communion may be received either kneeling or standing, either on the tongue or in the hand. Whichever the case, it is important that we are not in a hurry, and not a “moving target.”

When receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, it is most appropriate to lean the head back just a bit, open the mouth sufficiently, and lay the tip of the tongue on the lower lip. This posture is perfectly suited so that Father or the Extraordinary Minister can easily place the Host on the tongue.

When receiving Holy Communion on the hand, it is most appropriate to place the right hand under the left, so that a stable platform is created for the Host. Once the Host is placed in the palm of the left hand, the right hand can then grasp the Host with the thumb and index finger, and the Host is consumed immediately. It is never acceptable to walk away with the Host.

It is also very important for us to remember that we are receiving Holy Communion, not taking Holy Communion. We are being fed by God with the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of His Divine Son. It is therefore not appropriate to reach for the Host.

It is most appropriate to make an act of reverence immediately before receiving Holy Communion, and in the United States, a simple, slow bow of the head is the norm. After receiving Holy Communion the Communicant responds, “Amen,” and it is customary to make the Sign of the Cross.

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

June 24, 2018

As we continue to work on the chartering for our Trail Life USA Troop, I was thinking about all of the grand menageries of equipment that will need to be in the Troop trailer (never mind the trailer itself). Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but every great adventure has to begin somewhere:

  • 2 Dining Fly (12×20 each, poles, joints)
  • 2 Ratchet Straps (2”x30’)
  • 4 Steel Stakes
  • 12 Steel Conduit sections, 1 inch x 6 feet
  • 2 Collapsible Picnic Tables
  • 2 4-ft Collapsible Tables
  • 10 36-inch Bungee Cords
  • 4 15lb Propane Cylinders (with regulators and milk crates)
  • 2 Propane Trees (with hoses)
  • 2 Propane Lanterns
  • 2 Basecamp Stoves
  • 2 Dutch Ovens (pre-seasoned, with lid lifters)
  • 1 Round 13 Gal. Drum (holds dining fly joints, doubles as a trash can)
  • 4 Tent Stake Hammers
  • 1 Axe
  • 100ft Bailing Twine
  • 100ft Natural Fiber Rope
  • 200ft 550 Paracord
  • 1 Troop Flag with pole
  • 1 American Flag with pole
  • 4 flag bases (2 indoor, 2 outdoor)
  • 1 Chuck Box
  • 1 Set Cooking Pots & Skillets (Stainless)
  • 1 Set Cooking Utensils (Plastic)
  • 3 Dish Washing Tubs
  • 1 Tool Kit
  • 1 First Aid Kit

Perhaps a list for Santa Claus?

For the greater glory of God,
Fr. Mat

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 17, 2018

Happy Trails!

Happy Trails indeed! In the middle of June, we find Fr. Dan getting ready to hit the trail to Piqua. He’s off for the last two weeks of June to get ready for the move, and we wish him all the best as he prepares for this monumental transition.

Also in this month of June, we find Fr. Ignatius Maria Shekar Madanu on the trail from India to Champaign County. This trail is a bit more difficult, and the Archdiocese is still working out the details.

Finally, we are in the beginning stages of chartering a Trail Life USA Troop at St. Mary. Trail Life USA is the overtly Christian answer to the concerning trends that have been developing in the Boy Scouts of America since 2012. Our Trail Life USA Troop will be overtly Christian and specifically Catholic. In addition to the outdoor elements of the program (and lots of fun), boys and young men will find solid, Catholic formation. Once Trail Life USA is up and running, we will be looking to start an American Heritage Girls Troop, which does for girls what Trail Life USA does for boys. All in good time (one huge task at a time, please). While these efforts will be hosted at St. Mary, membership will be open to all of the parishes.

For the greater glory of God,
Fr. Matt

Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 10, 2018

Happy Anniversary!

Today Sacred Heart Church in St. Paris is celebrating 150 years since the founding of the parish. This is a momentous occasion, and a time to celebrate the wonderful history and tradition of the parish, to thank God for His blessings upon it, and to look forward to the next 150 years of worshiping God in this sacred place.

Sacred Heart was founded as a mission of the Piqua parishes, and Priests from Piqua, Sidney, and Troy served the Catholic population of St. Paris for many years between 1868 and 1941. After that Sacred Heart had pastors from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, each doing his part to carry Sacred Heart boldly into the future while respecting its past.

We are thankful to Archbishop Schnurr for celebrating the Anniversary Mass. It is a privilege and an honor to have him here. His pastoral presence is a reminder to us all that we are all part of a larger, universal Church. May the Sacred Heart of Jesus inspire us all to lives of greater holiness!

For the greater glory of God,
Fr. Matt

The Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ

June 3, 2018

Corpus Christi Salva Me!

One of the timeless prayers of adoration to our Lord in the Church is the Anima Christi (Soul of Christ). This prayer is recommended after the reception of Holy Communion, and begins with the words, “Soul of Christ, sanctify me! Body of Christ, save me!” It is a heartfelt prayer of gratitude for the sublime gift of the Holy Eucharist, which is nothing less than the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God. The very word “Eucharist” is Greek in origin and means “thanksgiving.” Not the kind of Thanksgiving we encounter on the third Thursday in November; the kind of thanksgiving that fills our hearts and souls in response to the greatest gift humanity has ever known. This Solemnity of Corpus Christi highlights in a special way the awesome dignity of the Holy Eucharist, underscores the majesty of God and shows us that Jesus does, in fact, remain with us always, exactly as He promised (Mt. 28:20). What return shall we make to God for all the good He has done for us?

For the greater glory of God,
Fr. Matt