Category Archives: News

Mark’s Gospel LIVE – March 10 at 7 pm

Experience the entire Gospel of St. Mark in two amazing hours of awesome storytelling by priest and actor, Rev. Joseph Morris.  It’s not a reading or talk, but a dynamic proclamation of an ancient story about God’s healing love.  Pastors from the UK, Canada and the US have called this performance, “mesmerizing,” “powerful,” and “a profound experience”.  Admission: free-will offering.  Join us on March 10, 2017 at 7pm.

Fr. Terry’s “report'” on his personal leave

Dear parishioners,

Many people approached me this week, saying that they missed my “report” over the weekend of January 14-15.  Although each Mass was slightly different, here is the gist of what I said, with more detail added in:

The events of the last six months seemed to go by fast and I was unable at times to keep everyone up to date on what was happening in my life and the life of the parish, so I want to share with you what has happened and how it came to be.

About two and a half years ago, my mother, who was 85 at the time, was diagnosed with a “sticky” valve in her aorta.  This was the same diagnosis her mother received in her mid-80’s and what Granny eventually died from.  The doctor said that it would not cause my mother much discomfort and she would be able to live her life well, except that every now and then, she would have chest pains or shortness of breath that would not last more than a half day.  Upon hearing this news, I notified Archbishop Gregory, and he told me to keep him updated and that if there was anything  I needed, to just ask.

Sure enough, Mom had a great two years.  She went out to lunch with my Dad just about every day, and she went to the casinos every week, as usual.  Occasionally, she would have a “bad day” but they were few and far between.

On July 5, 2016, which happened to be my parents’ 64th wedding anniversary, Mom went into the hospital with breathing difficulties and discomfort in her chest.  The doctor said this was the heart valve, and that it was very stiff, so she had less than 6 months, “but more like 2 months.”  I spoke to my parents about taking some time off and spending it in Memphis with them.  Mom was more worried about my Dad than herself, so we agreed that I wouldn’t go home until after she died.  Being an optimist, I didn’t start making plans right away, hoping that we had more time with Mom.

After the short hospital stay, Mom returned to good health, and yes, went back to the casinos every week.  I had already scheduled a vacation in mid-August, and while I was at home, she started having a great deal of discomfort and couldn’t really walk more than a few feet without getting worn out.  She wasn’t eating or sleeping well, and we had to help her move from the bed to the chair, etc.  When my vacation was over, I returned here, hoping that this downturn was temporary.  It wasn’t.  Mom died that Wednesday, August 31.

I notified Bishop Talley that she had died and the funeral was scheduled for Labor Day, and he graciously took the Masses at St. Mary Magdalene so that I could return to my family for the weekend.  I came back to the parish on Tuesday, and started thinking about planning my extended time off.  I talked to Archbishop Gregory and Bishop Talley about possibly getting a retired priest to sub in for my time off, but Bishop Talley was named coadjutor of the diocese of Alexandria, Louisiana, at the same time, so his focus rightly shifted to his own responsibilities to that diocese, and our parish wound up with several different priests filling in over the weeks I was gone.

It may have seemed that I “disappeared” because we cleared all the hurdles for me to leave just days before I was scheduled to go, on October 3.  I am sorry I was not able to prepare the parish better for my departure.  My leave was from October 3 to January 12, so I had about three months to spend in Memphis with Dad and the rest of the family.  The first day or so, I grilled my Dad: do you still golf? No, I gave that up.  Do you want to travel anywhere? No.  Is there anything in particular you want to do while I’m here?  No.  So we spent our days with him reading a paperback in his chair, and I playing games on my iPad across the room.  The biggest discussion we had most days started with, “Where do you want to go for lunch?”  I realized his life wasn’t that different than before Mom died, because they would usually sit in the home office with their backs to each other, doing their own thing, but being together nonetheless.

This started out uncomfortable for me, because I am one of those people who want to “fix it.”  But it seemed that there was nothing to fix.  I expressed this a few times when we were out to a meal with his friends or his generation of the Crone family, saying, “I’m not sure if I’m helping by being here or not.” And he would immediately reply, “This is helping a lot!”  I learned a lot about what we call “Ministry of Presence” in this time.  You don’t have to say the perfect thing, you don’t have to do the perfect thing, but just being there and available is what’s important.  There were a few times that Dad opened up to me about what he’s feeling, sometimes prompted by me and sometimes spontaneously, so I know that he’s going to be alright.

One of those times happened when we were driving down Summer Avenue (US 70) to my sisters’ house.  Summer Ave has a lot of hills between Memphis and Arlington.  Dad told me a story I had never heard before.  “When your Mom was a teenager, Uncle Everett drove her on Summer a lot, and your Mom thought it was a lot like a roller coaster! She would beg Uncle Everett to ‘Go faster! Go faster!’”  This was a story I had never heard before and I could see Dad remembering Mom as that joyous girl before he knew her, and the beautiful woman that he knew for more than 64 years.  If I had not taken this time to be with my family, I may never have heard this simple, but wonderful story.

A special thank you to Archbishop Gregory for allowing me to take this time to spend with Dad and the rest of the family, thank you to all the priests that filled in while I was gone, and I especially thank you, my parish family for your patience and love and support.

Peace,

Fr. Terry Crone
Pastor

Adult Faith Formation Anywhere, Anytime

ADULT FAITH FORMATION ANYWHERE ANYTIME  – FORMED.ORG
The parish has purchased a one year subscription for everyone in the parish.  Follow the link below and use the Parish Passcode to setup your own account.  Please use the parish code first to ensure you have full access to the entire library of movies, books and audio.  If you have a mobile device of any sort, you can log in and learn more about your faith.  Great for those of you who travel and can never get to a bible study. You will find some wonderful studies on this site.  Can’t sleep, need a good book to read, you’ll find great books on this site. Want a good movie…date night….family movie night…you’ll find great Catholic movies on the site,  www.formed.org.  Parish Pass Code is 2Z8MZQ

 

Who is my Neighbor?

Who is my Neighbor?

A Reflection on the Parable of the Good Samaritan
in Light of the Shootings this Week

July 10, 2016

Gospel Lk 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”

He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied,
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

The scholar of the law in today’s gospel asks, “Who is my neighbor?”  As we reflect on the events of the past week, we would do well to consider this question also.  Who is my neighbor?  Who is important to me?  Who do I care about? Or who is the foreigner?  Who is less important?  Who can I safely ignore?  Who is not worthy of my love, my compassion, or even my attention?

Is my neighbor:

  • the black victims of the police shooting?
  • the protesters who peacefully exercised their first amendment rights?
  • the police officers who defended and protected the demonstrators?
  • or the sniper and the inexperienced patrolmen who killed?

Jesus says yes!  Yes to all of them.  In every conflict there are heroes and villains.  Those we agree with and those we disagree with.  We like to think that we are the heroes in our own stories.  In our lives, too, we all have friends and enemies, and even those people we just can’t stand.  Jesus says love them anyway.  Pray for those who persecute you, stand up for the rights of the marginalized and abused.

Bigotry is not a new concept.  This gospel passage challenges the bigotry of Jesus’ time as well.  Between 740 and 722 BC, Assyria conquered and sent into exile the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  During the exile, the Israelites began to marry and have children with the Assyrians, so within a few generations there were no longer “pure-blood” Israelites.  Then, 200 years later, from 598 to 586 BC, the Southern Kingdom of Judah was conquered by Babylon, and also led into exile.  The Judahites, however, remained separate from the Babylonians, so their descendants were rightly called Jews (from Judah).  When the exiles ended, the descendants of the Northern Kingdom returned to the area known as Samaria, and the Jews returned to Judea.  Thus was bigotry born: the Jews saw the Samaritans as inferior, and the Samaritans resented them for it.  It was not much different than what we experience today.

Because of this, 500 years later, when Jesus used a Samaritan as the hero of the story, it shocked his Jewish listeners.  Furthermore, to show the priest and the Levite as the “bad guys” was also shocking.  They were supposed to be holy, blessed by God.  There is some justification for their avoidance of the dying man; as we know, dead bodies carry disease that can be transferred from person to person, and religious leaders were especially careful to not contaminate themselves, so that they didn’t accidentally start a plague or pestilence in the community.  However, they didn’t even bother to check to see if the injured man was dead or alive!  They were too concerned about their own “purity” to exercise a small amount of compassion for a fellow traveler.

How many times do we make selfish choices?  How often do we think, “That’s someone else’s problem”?  Are we the ones who say, “That’s a job for Congress, the Police Chief, or even the Pastor”?  How many people have to die, or be pushed aside, until we speak out?  Where is the line between the people I am willing to defend and the people I am willing to sacrifice?  It shouldn’t matter if they are Republicans or Democrats, white, black, or brown, rich or poor.  As baptized Christians, Jesus calls US to speak for those who have no voice; he calls US to defend the weak; he calls US to strive for change in our families, in our communities, and in the world.

There are too many voices in the world pointing out differences and deepening divisions in our society.  What we need is more people striving for healing and unity.  “Who is my neighbor?”  Victim or perpetrator, everyone in the world has a right to life, justice, and dignity, and each of us has a responsibility to provide them.

Christmas 2015 Midnight Mass Homily

A Charlie Brown Christmas?

Fifty years ago, a little boy named Charlie Brown asked, “What is the true meaning of Christmas?”  In December of 1965, The United States was embroiled in a war that she couldn’t win; a new pope had recently challenged the status quo for the Catholic Church, bringing freshness and hope; and the latest toy crazes were more important than the other people in the stores.  Doesn’t sound too different from today, does it?

The fact is, life doesn’t change that much.  We are still complaining about the government, our paychecks, and, if you’re older “the state of the world today” or, if you’re younger, “my parents don’t understand me.”  We are still asking, like Charlie Brown, “What is the true meaning of Christmas?”  Is racking up debt for gifts, enduring endless hours of cooking for 15 minutes of eating, and embarrassing ourselves because of too much eggnog all there is?  Or is there something more?

Where do we get an answer?  From Lucy and her nickel’s worth of psychiatric advice?  Therapy is a good tool, but it doesn’t have all the answers and it certainly can’t solve our problem in 2 minutes of platitudes.  Does the answer come in the form of innovative and increasingly bizarre ways to interpret tradition, so that “naturally curly hair” can take over the spotlight, or each player on the stage is dancing to his own drumbeat, with no coordination or theme?  No!

The answer, not surprisingly, comes from Charlie’s best friend, Linus Van Pelt.  A personal friend is more effective than any screaming on the internet, or even a homily at Midnight Mass.  Linus reminds Charlie, and each of us, that the true meaning of Christmas is “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace, good will toward men,” quoting the same Gospel passage we read tonight.

As a matter of fact, Christmas is all about friendship, and about relationships.  Scientists and theologians are always asking the question, “What if?”  Several theologians throughout history have asked, “What if Adam and Eve had never sinned?  Would the Eternal Son of God have taken on our humanity?”  Their conclusion, surprisingly, is “yes.”  The Son of God was not content to help us from heaven; he wants to experience what we experience.  He took on our human nature so that he could understand us better and so he could live like we do, sharing our joys and sorrows, our strength and weakness.  In short, he wants to be our friend.

Jesus Christ took on everything it means to be a human person, except sin.  He is a divine being, with both a divine and human nature.  He shared our joys and our sorrows, our triumphs and our defeats.  Although Linus says, “Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you are the Charlie Browniest,” we could say, “Of all the humans in the world, Jesus Christ is the human-est.”

Preschool Open House

Join us for our Preschool Open House on Sunday, January 17 from 10 am to 2 pm.  Come meet our teachers and learn about our great school!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Continue reading Preschool Open House