Masquerade (The Masks We Wear)- Reflections from Candletime and Phantom of the Opera

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As most of my friends know, my favorite musical is Phantom of the Opera. In it, we find a masquerade ball that is held in the Opera Populaire to celebrate the first year of success by its’ new owners, Monsieurs Firmin and André. All of the cast, workers and patrons come and perform a dance on the steps leading into the theatre. During it they sing the following song, of which I have provided the text from. You can watch/listen to it here:

Last night we talked in candletime about masks. We had learned throughout the day about the masks that we wear, and encouraged to come up with ways to take them off. More after, the following:

Masquerade!
Paper faces on parade . . .
Masquerade!
Hide your face,
so the world will
never find you!

Masquerade!
Every face a different shade . . .
Masquerade!
Look around –
there’s another
mask behind you!

Flash of mauve . . .
Splash of puce . . .
Fool and king . . .
Ghoul and goose . . .
Green and black . . .
Queen and priest . . .
Trace of rouge . . .
Face of beast . . .

Faces . . .
Take your turn, take a ride
on the merry-go-round . . .
in an inhuman race . . .

Eye of gold . . .
Thigh of blue . . .
True is false . . .
Who is who . . .?
Curl of lip . . .
Swirl of gown . . .
Ace of hearts . . .
Face of clown . . .

Faces . . .
Drink it in, drink it up,
till you’ve drowned
in the light . . .
in the sound . . .

RAOUL/CHRISTINE
But who can name the face . . .?

ALL
Masquerade!
Grinning yellows,
spinning reds . . .
Masquerade!
Take your fill –
let the spectacle
astound you!

Masquerade!
Burning glances,
turning heads . . .
Masquerade!
Stop and stare
at the sea of smiles
around you!

Masquerade!
Seething shadows
breathing lies . . .
Masquerade!
You can fool
any friend who
ever knew you!

Masquerade!
Leering satyrs,
peering eyes . . .
Masquerade!
Run and hide –
but a face will
still pursue you!

Read more: Phantom Of The Opera – Masquerade Lyrics | MetroLyrics

It was a beautiful moment watching these young men share their struggles, share their emotions and a little bit more about themselves. Some talked of how they are not very outgoing and ways that they could try to make new friends, others about how they can be less annoying, others talked of hiding behind masks of distrust or failure and how they were planning to build up their self-esteem. It was a beautiful moment of growth for all of us to share a little of our burdens and work toward becoming those better Men, which god is calling us to be.

The group presenting to the campers talked of how we can better realize the simple fact that we are all beloved Sons and daughters of God. Our Program Director, Jessy Bennett, her husband Ethan, and baby daughter, Lillian Rose talked about the love that a parent has for their child. They asked the campers to consider that if their parents love them so much, how much more does their heavenly Father care deeply and love them? If you check out our Gasper River FB page here, you can see the photos of these kiddoes that we are blessed with this week. Look at the close-ups of them. (We take a lot!) They are most definitely beautiful Sons and Daughters of God. The joy in their faces, the smiles upon their faces, the laughter in their eyes, the moments of surprise. God had and did a beautiful job in creating each one of them. He made them in his beautiful image and likeness. Will you join me in praying for these young men and women, as they walk their Way of Beauty? Join me in praying for them as they continue this week and the rest of their life? Pray that they may know of their beauty. Know of the love God and their families have for them, the love that the camp staff have for them. May they come to know that the masks we wear aren’t important, but the beauty that lies underneath (Love Never Dies, reference) is what is important. Let us pray for them that they may come to stop the dance and the masquerade and be true, virtuous, and holy for the sake of the kingdom of God. Amen.

This is from last year, but aren't they just beautiful?

This is from last year, but aren’t they just beautiful?

Consecrated and Set Apart – Recognizing our own Consecrated lives through the Consecration of the new Altar at Gasper River

The St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, prior to the Altar dedication.

The St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, prior to the Altar dedication.

This past week we had the dedication of the new Altar at Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp & Retreat Center in Bowling Green, KY. Gasper has been my “home” and summer job for the past two years. (This final round is #3) It was a great joy and blessing to be able to emcee the dedication and serve alongside my friend Sam Rasp, Deacon Matthew Keyser, and my Bishop.

The Liturgy for the dedication of the Altar during Mass is in my opinion one of the most beautiful liturgies. It is one that is steeped in tradition, full of beauty, prayer, and symbolic actions. During the Liturgy there are several main actions that are performed. This movement of different actions in the Mass and ritual for the dedication of an Altar is a wonderful way to look at walking the way of beauty. It is a way in which we can encounter God and his Son Jesus, in unique, beautiful, and meaningful ways. LEt’s look at this Ritual a little further and see how Consecrating an Altar works and how it relates to us as a consecrated and chosen people.

First at the beginning of the Mass, the Altar is sprinkled and blessed with Holy Water, a

The Bishop sprinkles the Altar with Holy Water

The Bishop sprinkles the Altar with Holy Water

sign of the intended use for a holy purpose of the object. (The same reason why we bless medals and ourselves with holy water.) Then after the homily the Litany of the Saints is sung, invoking the intercession of all of the holy men and women of God as well as the angels. The Litany reminds us that we do not act alone in this world or in our faith. The Bishop then prays an extremely long prayer of dedication for the Altar, calling to mind the many different altars that have been erected and established throughout Salvation History. The text for this prayer can be found at the bottom of this post. After the Litany and prayer of dedication the Bishop removes his chasuble and puts on a gremial

Deacon Matthew and I assist the Bishop in binding his sleeves and placing a gremial on him.

Deacon Matthew and I assist the Bishop in binding his sleeves and placing a gremial on him.

otherwise known as a linen apron, to protect his vestments from being ruined by the Chrism Oil. (Hey, Liturgies and rituals are supposed to be somewhat messy!)

The Bishop then anoints the Altar with the Oil of Sacred Chrism, the oil which leaves an indelible mark on a person’s soul and sets them apart for a sacred person. At Baptism, we see that a person is set apart for a life in the family of Christ, at Confirmation, those graces received at Baptism are strengthened and affirmed. At ordination a Man becomes a priest through

The Bishop anointing the Altar with Sacred Chrism

The Bishop anointing the Altar with Sacred Chrism

the imposition of hands and calling down of the Holy Spirit. His hands are anointed to bring Christ to the world in the Eucharist as he acts in persona Christi through his ministry.

It is recommended that the Bishop not just pour Sacred Chrism on to anoint the Altar mensa, but that he anoint the entire surface with Chrism, you can see that Bishop Medley uses both hands and reverently

Bishop Medley spreads the Sacred Chrism Oil across the mensa of the Altar.

Bishop Medley spreads the Sacred Chrism Oil across the mensa of the Altar.

smears the Chrism over the entire surface. His hands are so full of Chrism after the anointing that he normally has to wash his hands several times. You can just smell the Chrism in the air, the silence of all those gathered directing their attention to the ritual at hand.

After the Bishop has cleansed his hands of the Chrism and changed back into his chasuble, a brazier or bowl is placed on the Altar, inside of which are several lighted charcoals. He places incense on the charcoals and inside the Thurible, with which he

The brazier (bowl) of Incense symbolizes our prayers rising to the Father.

The brazier (bowl) of Incense symbolizes our prayers rising to the Father.

will incense the Altar. Incense has long been a staple in Catholic Worship as a symbol of the prayers of those gathered ascending to the Father. I couldn’t help as I watched the incense drift upwards, but  to call to mind the Psalmist’s words: “Let my prayer rise like incense before you.” Catholics use incense like our Jewish forefathers did. Thus, like our jewish forefathers who offered sacrifices on altars, so too Catholics offer the one true sacrifice (the death of Christ on the Cross) on our Altars to the Father, through and with Jesus. The Bishop walks all around the Altar, censing it and and showing through the smoke that the Altar is the way in which we lift our prayers and praise to God. He prays:

Lord, may our prayers ascend as incense in your sight. As this building is filled with fragrance so may your Church fill the world with the fragrance of Christ.

After the Incensation of the Altar, the brazier is removed and the Altar top is wiped. This is probably one of the most beautiful and poignant parts of the Mass. As Bishop stated,

Olivia (left) and Emily (right) bow before the freshly consecrated Altar while Deacon Matthew and I look on.

Olivia (left) and Emily (right) bow before the freshly consecrated Altar while Deacon Matthew and I look on.

while sitting down, this part symbolizes the women who came to the tomb to anoint the Body of Our Lord and wrap him in white linen. There was no music for his part of the Mass, the silence, and reverence with which the two girls wiped the altar spoke for itself. My sister, Emily and fellow staff member Olivia Conder volunteered to wipe the Altar off. They came forward and reverently bowed to the Altar, showing that it was consecrated. They were the first really to bow to it, as during the other parts of the Liturgy such as the procession, we did not bow, rather just go to our places in the sanctuary. This made me recall that Mary Magdalene was the first to recognize our Lord after his resurrection from the tomb.

Olivia and Emily wiping the Altar under Deacon Matthew and my instruction. (we had to point out any missed spots)

Olivia and Emily wiping the Altar under Deacon Matthew and my instruction. (we had to point out any missed spots)

She went to the Tomb and saw that it was empty, and after mistaking Jesus for the gardner, recognized him as the Lord. For the two girls to have the opportunity and joy of being able to recognize our Lord’s presence in the Altar had to have been a blessing. Emily and Olivia wiped the mensa (top) and sides of the Altar with such care and reverence. I actually teared up after the Bishop reminded us of what it symbolized and as I watched with what care and devotion the two ladies took as they attended to their task.

I thought back to that early morning Mass in the Tomb of Christ that we were blessed to celebrate on our pilgrimage to the Holy Land and with the silence and reverence that accompanied our Mass then and the Altar dedication now. After the Altar had been

Sam and I vesting the Altar

Sam and I vesting the Altar

thoroughly wiped off, Sam and I placed the White Linen Altar Cloth on it, vesting it for the Eucharistic Prayer to come. I’m excited for when we will get our new Altar Cloth at camp this summer, so that we do not have to use the simple white tablecloths anymore.

After vesting the Altar, or I should rather say: “While,” Mason and Ian came and carried the candlesticks over to the sides of the Altar. They forgot that we would be vesting it,

Ian (left) and Mason (right) place the Candlesticks by the Altar

Ian (left) and Mason (right) place the Candlesticks by the Altar

so they came a little early and were stuck holding them for a time. The candlesticks probably weigh a good 40 pounds  each. I felt sorry for them! Haha!

After the Candlesticks have been placed there comes the ceremonial lighting. The Deacon recieves a lighted candle from the Bishop who instructs him to light the candles that as the light shines from them, so too shall those gathered shine with the light of

Deacon Matthew lights one of the Altar candles.

Deacon Matthew lights one of the Altar candles.

Christ. This part of the ritual reminds us of the Easter Vigil, with Christ the light of the world coming and setting us free from the darkness of sin, releasing us into the marvelous light of his Father’s kingdom.

After the candles are lit, the Mass continues as normal with the Liturgy of the Eucharist, Communion, and the final collect and blessing. The final collect (prayer after communion), which collects all of our prayers together and helps draw the Liturgy to a close says:

Keep us, O Lord, ever close to your altar where the Sacrament of sacrifice is celebrated, so that, united in faith and charity, we, who by Christ are nourished, into Christ may be transformed. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen

Bishop Medley reminded all of us present that although this Altar is now consecrated, we must never forget that we too are a consecrated people. We are consecrated by and anointed with the same Oil of Sacred Chrism used to consecrate the Altar at our Baptism into the family of God, commissioned as we are anointed at our confirmation to go and preach the good news, the priest’s hands are anointed at ordination to make present the Living mysteries of Christ, and the Bishop’s head is anointed at his ordination to receive the fullness of Holy Orders and be able to consecrate others (including Altars) to a sacred purpose.

One of the things which I am really excited for about the summer is that we got to keep the towels with which we wiped the Sacred Chrism off of the Altar. I plan on cutting them into a few pieces, so that we have one for each week of camp, and then sharing with the campers that week not only about how we dispose of blessed items (Something I think I’ve done for the past 2 summers), but also about the Altar and how we too are a consecrated people. Our universal vocation is to that of holiness. We are called to offer ourselves on the Altars of our lives to God. Sanctifying our work, asking for our Lord to help us, giving ourselves over to the movement of his Holy Spirit. We must never forget that we are consecrated for a purpose, one which might have a rough road, but in the end will be very rewarding. We are a consecrated people. May we always be ready and willing to answer and act for the task for which we have been consecrated. . . Heaven. Amen.

After the Consecration of the Altar

After the Consecration of the Altar

Bishop Medley, preaching during the Mass.

Bishop Medley, preaching during the Mass.

Like the Consecrated Altar, so too are we consecrated for a Sacred Purpose

Like the Consecrated Altar, so too are we consecrated for a Sacred Purpose

The following is the text for the Consecration of an Altar, calling to mind the many Altars throughout human history. How does it help us to see the need to recognize our own consecrated lives?

Father, we praise you and give you thanks, for you have established the sacrament of true worship by bringing to perfection in Christ the mystery of the one true altar prefigured in those many altars of old.

Noah, the second father of the human race, once the waters fell and the mountains peaked again, built an altar in your name. You, Lord, were appeased by his fragrant offering and your rainbow bore witness to a covenant refounded in love.

Abraham, our father in faith, wholeheartedly accepted your word and constructed an altar on which to slay Isaac, his only son. But you, Lord, stayed his hand and provided a ram for his offering.

Moses, mediator of the old law, built an altar on which was cast the blood of the lamb: so prefiguring the altar of the cross. All this Christ has fulfilled in the paschal mystery: as priest and victim he freely mounted the tree of the cross and gave himself to you, Father, as the one perfect oblation. In his sacrifice the new covenant is sealed, in his blood sin is engulfed.

Lord, we therefore stand before you in prayer. Bless this altar built in the house of the Church, that it may ever be reserved for the sacrifice of Christ, and stand for ever as the Lord’s table, where your people will find nourishment and strength. Make this altar a sign of Christ from whose pierced side flowed blood and water, which ushered in the sacraments of the Church. Make it a table of joy, where the friends of Christ may hasten to cast upon you their burdens and cares and take up their journey restored. Make it a place of communion and peace, so that those who share the body and blood of your Son may be filled with his Spirit and grow in your life of love. Make it a source of unity and friendship, where your people may gather as one to share your spirit of mutual love. Make it the center of our praise and thanksgiving until we arrive at the eternal tabernacle, where, together with Christ, high priest and living altar, we will offer you an everlasting sacrifice of praise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. R. Amen.

Pictures courtesy of Elizabeth Barnstead via the Diocesan FB page:

Bishop Medley’s Lenten Message: The Light is on for you

I shared this on my Facebook wall a couple of weeks ago, and thought that I would share it here as well. The Light is on for You is a great opportunity that our Diocese has been participating in during the penitential season of Lent. It is an open invitation and opportunity, to go to confession, and receive God’s mercy and grace. We are bound by the church law to confess our sins only once per year, during the Lenten season. Why not go more, though? The graces that we receive from the Sacrament of Confession and reconciliation are immense.They bestow grace upon us and help us to live our lives more faithfully to the Gospel.
When we sin, our sin does not just affect our relationship with god, rather it also affects our relationship with the community and the church. Sin, is selfish by nature. It does not focus on the good of ourselves and others, rather it focus on temporal moments of pleasure for ourselves, most of the time the results then hurt others, directly or indirectly. We, as Catholics confess our sins to the priest, for multiple reasons. One, it is private, very few people would ever want to go in front of their whole church and tell them their list of sins, it’s embarrassing. Telling our sins to a priest helps make it easier, yet, because we are sharing, we are vulnerable and it takes some humility to bear our sins to another. Secondly, the priest represents the power of the church, to whom Christ gave the power to forgive sins. (Remember when he gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom? He said: “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”) Thirdly, the priest represents the community. He stands as the leader of the local church, and is able to represent them. So when we confess our sins to a priest, we receive forgiveness through the power of the church, confess in secret, making it something that we feel comfortable doing, and we bear witness to the community, through the priest standing in their place.

At the end of time, we are judged twice. Once at the moment of death, when we receive Heaven or Hell, and lastly at the end of time where we bear witness to our sins before the whole body of people in the world.

Try to go to confession at least once a month. Reconcile your soul to God, his church, and the community. Make this Lent a good one. Come home!

St. Stephen and the “Bloody Octave of Christmas”

St.  Stephen: protomartyr, deacon, and patron of the Diocese of Owensboro

St. Stephen: protomartyr, deacon, and patron of the Diocese of Owensboro. This image hangs in the back of the Cathedral, near the baptismal font.

A blessed feast of St. Stephen to you all! St. Stephen is the patron saint of the Cathedral and Diocese of Owensboro, KY. He was the first martyr of the early Christian church, and was also a deacon. His death (by stoning) is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, having been witnessed by Saul of Tarsus (St. Paul). Stephen’s name is derived from the greek Stephanos, meaning “crown”. Traditionally, Stephen is invested with a crown of martyrdom; he is often depicted in art with three stones and the martyr’s palm. (In our Cathedral image, though he is just shown wearing a dalmatic (the vestment of the deacon in the Mass.) I keep a small statue of St. Stephen on my nightstand at the seminary, reminding me to ask for his intercession and to pray for the people in the diocese who are praying for me.

Our Cathedral was restored as part of the Diocesan celebrations for our 75th anniversary. Sam and I who were the only college seminarians for the diocese at Bishop Bruté, were able to take part in the historic, Solemn dedication of the renovated cathedral. You can see pictures from the day, by visiting my old Flickr profile, which is the last link on my photos page.

St .Stephen Cathedral in all of it's glory!

St .Stephen Cathedral in all of it’s glory! AP Imagery: photographer. Find his (Adam Paris) work on Flickr.com

https://flic.kr/p/9r2m8Q (To find photo, search “St. Stephen Cathedral” on Flickr.com)

 

The Cathedral renovation was done by the Talleres Art de Granda studio out of Spain. The work they do is absolutely beautiful, and it really showed with our Cathedral. Part of the renovation project included a new Allen 3-manual organ. We already have a Wicks Pipe Organ in the Choir Loft of the cathedral, so having two organs, both of which are magnificent instruments, really makes an organ nerd(and novice) like me happy!

The "former" cathedral decor. Notice the sound tile in the Choir Loft and the very pale, non vibrant color scheme. It fit it's time, but the new decor fits even better!

The “former” cathedral decor. Notice the sound tile in the Choir Loft and the very pale, non vibrant color scheme. It fit it’s time, but the new decor fits even better! (Wicks Pipe organ casing in the Choir Loft.)

3-manual Allen organ, that was installed in the Cathedral. Notice, the change in color schemes and the organ pipe casing in the choir loft. (There's another organ up there!)

3-manual Allen organ, that was installed in the Cathedral. Notice, the change in color schemes and the organ pipe casing in the choir loft. (There’s another organ up there!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cathedral renovation included a reredos, containing three sculptures of the life of St. Stephen. It is a beautiful piece!

The Sanctuary of St. Stephen Cathedral, notice the gold leafing on the Altar, Reredos, etc. Truly a work of art, fitting for God!

The Sanctuary of St. Stephen Cathedral, notice the gold leafing on the Altar, Reredos, etc. Truly a work of art, fitting for God!

So, the next time you are in Owensboro, I encourage you to stop by and visit our lovely cathedral. It will be well worth your time and I am positive that you will enjoy your time with our Lord!

The main entrance to the Cathedral.

The main entrance to the Cathedral.

 

The historic octave of Christmas is one of my favorites. (Yes, in the modern Roman Calendar, there are only two octaves (Easter & Christmas), but the octave of Christmas is one of great rejoicing, in a different sense. Monsignor Charles Pope, of the Archdiocese of Washington wrote a beautiful meditation on what he calls the Bloody Octave. What is the Bloody Octave? Monsignor Pope states: “It is one of the bloodiest weeks of the Church’s years. Thus, on December 26th, when we have hardly digested our Christmas dinner, we celebrate the Feast of St. Stephen, the Martyr who was stoned to death. On December 28th we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the young and infant boys who were murdered by Herod seeking to kill Christ. On December 29th we celebrate the feast of St. Thomas Becket who was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. (I’m planning on watching the great film Becket 1964, starring Richard Burton & Peter O’Toole. You can watch the whole movie free on Youtube here.Even St. (King) Wenceslaus of whom we happily sing “on the Feast of Stephen” was brutally killed by his brother.” 

So, we have a week of blood, a week of remembrance of those who gave their lives for the faith. (Remember Pope Benedict  wearing red shoes? It was a tradition in the church of showing the blood of the martyrs, which he (the pope) would be willing to accept in a moment for the sake of Christ. (JPII and Pope Francis are the first pope in hundreds of years not to wear the shoes))

Christ was born, as a sacrifice, he came to bring peace, through the offering of his life. “He who knew no sin, was made sin for us…” -2 Corinthians 5:12. Christ came to die, he was born into a world, so that he could give his life for it. Christ was born into the wood of the crib, only to be killed on the wood of the cross. This “bloody octave” teaches us that our faith is not that requires no effort, rather it is one that requires a total gift of self like the martyrs. Maybe we aren’t called to be killed physically for Christ, but we are called every day to pick up our cross, face the challenges of life, battle sin and temptation, and work toward our goal of Heaven. May these blessed “bloody” martyrs help us ever in our path toward Heaven as we continue on this Christmas Season, proclaiming: Glory to god in the Highest, and on earth peace to men of good will…

I hope that you and your families have a blessed Christmas Season! Remember, it’s not over until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord if you follow the Novus Ordo Mass, and then not until February 2nd (The Purification of Mary, Candlemas) in the Extraordinary form. Also, this Friday ranks as a solemnity (it falls in the Octave of Christmas) so go ahead and eat meat, enjoy a piece of cake, Christ the savior is born and we are celebrating!

Merry Christmas!

 

St. Stephen, martyr, deacon, and patron of the Diocese of Owensboro, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

NCYC – Clergy, well represented!!

NCYC -  Clergy, well represented!!

Here is a photo of Bishop Medley, Owensboro Priests, deacons, and seminarians who were represented at the National Catholic Youth Conference this past weekend. What a joy it was to be able to serve the youth with these great men!

I’m headed off for to celebrate Thanksgiving in Quincy this afternoon. Please pray for safe travels! May God reward you!

Happy Priesthood Sunday!

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First picture: My brother Brody, Fr. Cash and I.
Second picture myself and Fr. Baker.

Happy Priesthood Sunday yesterday to all of the priests in my life! I thought that I had published this post, but I didn’t so here it is a day late. 🙂

Happy Priesthood Sunday to all of the priests in my life, especially those who have impacted my vocation in such a large way.

There is an old statement said about priests:

“The priest is present in all aspects of our lives. For it is the priest who welcomes the soul into the family of God through the saving waters of Baptism. It is the priest who absolves the sins of the person for the first time, opening to them the graces of God. It is the priest who nourishes the body with the body of our Lord, opening them to grace and igniting a love of our Eucharistic Lord in their heart. It is the priest who joins the person to another in the sacrament of matrimony, or assists them in pursuit of orders. It is the priest who finally anoints the body and prepares the soul for death. And it is the priest who welcomes the body into the church and commends the soul to God. The priest is present at every moment of our lives, in every aspect. Let us pray for our priests and thank them for their gift of their ministry and priesthood!

To Fr. Richard Cash who first inspired me and planted the seeds of a vocation in my life, through his example of humility, love of Jesus, and sacrificial love, thank-you! I am blessed to call you a role-model and friend. You have been such an impact on not only mine, but my whole family’s lives. Thank-you for saying yes to God and the gift of your priesthood!

To Fr. Gerald Baker, my former pastor, thank you for your wisdom, your joyful leadership, your model of faith and never shrinking away from sharing the truth and the Gospel of God. Thank-you for encouraging me to strive for holiness and your support in applying for seminary. I am blessed to call you a role-model and friend. You have and continue to be a great influence in my vocation and life. Thank-you for saying yes to God and for the gift of your priesthood!!

There have been many other priests who have impacted my life in some way or another. Whether it be from their prayers, their model, wisdom, support, or bringing me the Sacraments, I am so thankful for the role that they have played in my life and their priesthood.

Thank-you to: Fr. Bruce Fogle, Fr. Greg Trawick, Fr. Larry McBride, Fr. Josh McCarty, Mons. Mark Seiker, Fr. Finnian, Fr. Mike Williams, Fr. Roy Bauer, Fr. James Wheeler OFM, Fr. James Walling CPM, Fr. Joseph Aytona CPM, Fr. Jewel Aytona CPM, and Fr. Ken Geraci CPM, Fr. John Rickert FSSP, Fr. Greg Ames,

Thank you also to those who have had and still do have a major hand in my seminary formation: Bishop William Medley, Fr. Andy Garner, Fr. Jason McClure, Fr. Bob Robeson, Fr. Patrick Beidelman, Fr. Tom Widner, Fr. Joseph Moriarty, & Fr. Jonathan Fassero.

Thank you to all of the presbyterate of my Diocese of Owensboro! Without your support of vocations and our seminarians, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thank you for your sacrifice and your paternal love and care!

Thank-you to Bishop John J. McRaith who confirmed me, to those priests who I do not know their name, those who are no longer of this world, and those who have slipped my mind, thank-you for the gift of your priesthood and giving your life to serve all of the people of God!

Next time you see any of these priests, or any of the priests in you own life, why not thank them for the gift of their priesthood? Pray for them each day! They need your prayers. Pray too, that God will send more laborers out into his harvest! Suggest priesthood to young men, encourage them, and never take them for granted

Update as of: 10-28-13

Fr. Bob brought up an interesting point in his homily today. We need to be supportive of priests, even if they do something that we disagree with, or they are not skilled in some area, they are still a priest , and thus deserve the same respect and love of any other one, even if they are not your favorite. Don’t try to pin them against each other, don’t compare them negatively. Just speak the truth and speak it with charity and trust. Respect your priests, pray for your priests, they are under attack in a sense more than any others. Satan hates priests, if Satan can turn people against the priest, or cause the priest to sin or commit a grave crime, and get the people to hate him because of it, not just that priest suffers, but all priests suffer. So , p;ease pray of them, respect them, love them, and encourage more of them!

Priesthood-Sunday

Gasper River Update – Adoration and Procession

God is SOO good!

Growing up and moving is never fun and it was never fun for my family and I when we moved the summer before my 2nd grade year to Beatrice, Nebraska. Being so far away from family and friends is never fun and it was hard on us. One thing that we found that aided us though was Eucharistic Adoration. Through adoration we grew to develop a love for the Blessed Sacrament which we would later receive for the first time that year. My siblings and I grew to love the Eucharist and I can safely say that without it in my life I would not be the man I am today. Without adoration I would probably not be in Seminary, or at least it would have taken more time rather than just out of High School.

The Eucharist transforms our lives, it makes us who we are as Catholics and reiterates the words of Christ that he would be with us until the end of the age. When Christ at the Last Supper said “This is My Body” he wasn’t joking. It truly is his body, blood, soul, and divinity.

Tonight at Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp & Retreat Center we closed out the day with a Eucharistic Procession and Adoration starting at 10pm.
Earlier this evening we separated the boys and girls and had an excellent talk/discussion about our roles in life and about being good, respectful, and moral men and women of God.
Ben Warrell, Fr. Mike Williams, the other male staffers and friends from WKU know how to drive home points about authentic masculinity and I could tell that it was going to be a powerful night for all of our campers.

During adoration we would sing a few songs and then pause for Lectio Divina. My Faith EX group had practiced Lectio with everyone yesterday so it was really powerful to put it into practice before Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

The room was pitch black, only lit by candle light as we read the story from John’s Gospel of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. When Katy read it the first time I knew we would touch people as I could hear the sobs breaking through. With my reading of it, I had jotted down a reflection that I added to it at different points. I will try to publish it on here when I have time. With that the tears started to come even more and after Kaylee read it the third time, we all needed a lot of kleenex.

Seeing the campers so humble, so pious, and so open with what they were feeling and experiencing with Christ was amazing and it filled me with such great joy. As I knelt and looked out and saw 12-14 year olds sobbing, laying prostrate, making themselves as small as possible, kneeling and just so full of love not only warmed my heart but brought tears to my eyes as well. I grew up with the Eucharist, so many don’t. I am forever thankful to my family for instilling in me the love of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Seeing all of our campers in adoration made me reminisce back to the days when I first started going to adoration.

This is what our goal is with the New Evangelization; to bring souls to Christ, present in the Eucharist and let him work on their hearts. God is so great and so beautiful, and he is doing marvelous things in our Diocese here at Gasper River. Please pray for all of us, we are counting on your prayers and praying for you!

+In His Mercy,
Corey

(BTW, sorry for any typos, it is 12:30 am and I need to head to bed.)

Veni Creator Spiritus!

Tomorrow the Catholic Church will celebrate her birthday, the Feast of Pentecost! Christ told us that he had to leave, but after he left he would send us the comforter, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. Let us pray for those who guide and lead our church. Especially for his holiness Pope Francis, The Most Reverend William F. Medley, Bishop of the Diocese of Owensboro, and for our pastors who guide our parishes. 2000 years ago the church first started to win souls to Christ, let us pray that she may continue to be a light to our age in this culture of death!

Veni Creator Spiritus! Come Holy Ghost!