Tuesday, March 24

March 24th

Dear Folks,

Yesterday was the 22nd anniversary for the death of one of my great heroes in the priesthood. He was a wonderful example of both priest and bishop who admired his priests and loved all the families of the diocese. At a very young age, growing up in Chicago, he announced to his father of his interest in priesthood. He was the younger of two children. From that day on his father would rise early and take young John to the early Mass at Our Lady Queen of the Universe. The steps of devotion would precede his steps of studies. He had an older sister who was discovered to have multiple sclerosis. The family prayed and prayed to St. Pius X for a miracle… and they got it. I spoke with his sister, Marge, last evening and she, approaching her 90th birthday, goes charging along without any signs of the MS malady. The Keatings were the quiet little family on the block who had much to be grateful for in the health and holiness of their children.

I admired His Excellency for the strength of his character and leadership, fortified by an incredible humility. He drove a twenty year old car, read from a twenty year old breviary, and watched a twenty year old television. As vocation director he allowed me to bounce all over the diocese, and beyond, recruiting for vocations. In our travels we would compete on who said Mass at more altars in the diocese. He once asked me if I said Mass at St. Francis De Sales, in Purcellville, and I said both altars, old church and new. He asked if I had said Mass in the chapel of Fort Belvoir and I asked, which one, there were three, he only covered two. And it went on and on.

The boss was meticulous in the features of life. The cleanest desk I had ever seen. In our meetings in his office the desk would be filled with papers and I would put my books on the floor, he would pick them up, I would put them down, he would pick them up. “Oh, I get it.” Nothing on the floor. Other times, I would tilt the picture of the Madonna of The Streets, located just outside his office. He would comment that he couldn’t figure out what was wrong with that picture. Regretfully, I never had a chance to tell him.

In his declining health that no one seemed to notice I asked him to move in with us at St. Agnes. He asked if we had room and I said “we could adjust.” And he politely declined. The three most regretted words in my priesthood. Shortly after he would travel to Rome for the expected visit of the regional bishops to see the Pope. It was done every five years. In the visit Bishop John R. Keating died just after finishing his Night Prayer. His final prayer was the same every priest reads each night, “Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled…”

Now, I will keep my promise to the kids of the parish. Enclosed is my recipe for peppermint ice cream. Let them have a good time making the ice cream

1. Take a bag of Brach’s peppermint lozenges and remove the wrappers.
2. Place the candy in a Baggy and seal it tight.
3. Tap on each lozenge with a hammer until all are pulverized.
4. Take two quarts of French Vanilla Ice cream and microwave each quart for one minute.
5. Deposit the soft ice cream in a Quart size Tupper Ware Container.
6. Pour the juice from a bottle of maraschino cherres into each Tupper Ware Container and stir.
7. Pour the pulverized losenges into the container and stir.
8. Put the lid on each container and put in the freezer for one hour. At the end open the top and stir the soft ice cream.
9. Return the container to the freezer  and put it in upside down for one hour. Flip it at the end of another hour and continue for several more cycles.
10.  Have a great time.

Collegiate Question:  A note to all the collegians. I am sorry your academic/social/sacramental lives have come to a screaming halt. Stay tuned. Fr. Heisler and I may come up with some form of a fireside chat for collegians only. God bless you.  Why do “X’s” at the end of a letter signify kisses?

Someone left a Lenten Poem for our benefit. God bless the unknown poet.

Monstrance of Silver and Gold

Before the monstrance this night, in prayer, I sat all alone.
As next to a palm tree on the road to Egypt, in a desert shown
It was cold and dark with a silence wrenched by a scream.
Twas a child on an ass proclaiming to a world in need of a seam.
Before the monstrance this night, among a collective of strangers, I sat all alone.
As next to a dock beyond Capernaum, fraught with dangers yet bestown.
It was warm and bright with the smell of the salt that gives purity to the sea.
Twas a man on foot with a call to “Come and See,” in Persona Christi, our destiny
Before the monstrance this night, by the great city wall, I sat all alone.
As next to a Gate of Gold, among the cheers, the Messiah was soon to be known.
It was early and shouts filled the sky for all on earth and in heaven to hear.
Twas the Anointed come to His Castle, like a bold king, devoid of all fear.
Before the monstrance this night, in an upper room, I sat all alone.
As next to a window, where the curtains were drawn with a sense of doom.
It was cool, with an air of concern, there were rebels before me and all about.
Twas the Highest Priest, said, “Eat my Flesh and Drink My Blood,” and than, go out.
Before the monstrance this night, among hatred and jeers, I sat all alone.
As next to a centurion, where all heads were turned, to a bloody deed yet shown.
It was hot and dry, with a miserable thirst for a Rebel nailed, clothed only with a stench.
Twas God abused by man, for the false privilege, to design a life to wrench.
Before the monstrance this night, among the blessed of a small chapel, I sat all alone.
As next to the Lord, not recognized, a whisper of gratitude for a devotion yet hewn.
It was the moment of avum where time and space, are gifts from above, and can’t be sold.

Twas Jesus: child, man, messiah, priest, and God sitting on his throne, of silver and gold.

Please dial in on the internet and join us for Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, and rosary. Here is the link for the liturgies and rosary: www.gotomeet.me/StFrancisdeSales/mass-liturgyofthehours

Here is the link for the Liturgy of the Hours: www.ibreviary.org/en/tools/ibreviary-web.html

God bless one and all.

God bless the many of you who have mailed in your envelopes or shoved them under the sacristy door. Or those who have joined the electronic giving program:saintfrancisparish.org/parish-giving/  God love you… and so do I.

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