God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Participating In The Mass

The following appeared in the September 8, 1991, Midway Airport Chapel bulletin.  Uncle George would often include other tidbits and writings in addition to his own short message.  The message below is attributed to Fr. Dennis Smolarski S.J.  When I came across this, I thought it fitting in today’s world.  We have been separated from our daily Mass and Eucharist because of the current pandemic.  If Father McKenna was still with us, I would imagine he would let us know that does not mean that we are separated from Jesus of Nazareth.  The teaching of Fr. Smolarski is relevant – as we use streaming services and videos to bring Mass into our homes – we need to help carry the message with us after the event.  Based on the suggestion, Fr. McKenna offered a theme for the Mass that September weekend.  Looking at Sunday’s Gospel, I think he would suggest the last sentence of John’s Reading as our theme: “Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”      Peace, Joe

In the 1st Reading this weekend, St. Philip is featured in his travels to Samaria.
Photo via Wikipedia

Dennis Smolarski is speaking:

“Until I was 31 years of age, I was a layman, and I participated in the Mass as all lay people do – from the pew.  It was not always a satisfactory experience, so when I decided to seek Ordination as a priest, I did so with the hope of helping Christians enrich their experience of worship.  As a priest, I studied Liturgy intensively, I off the following idea as a help to you in your worship at Mass.”

“Carry the celebration out of the Church with you.  The Mass is, or can be, a significant religious experience.  God calls us together, speaks to us, and shares divine life with us.  For our part, we respond with praise and thanks by participating actively, both internally and externally.  It is not an experience to be left in the Church building, but taken with us.”

“One way of doing that is to distill the experience into a phrase or sentence.  Often, I find this coming out of the Readings or homily, but it can also come from our own internal reflection.  Such a summary makes a good focus for reflection during the week.  It can also be shared with others.  That kind of sharing is the final, and perhaps the most important way of participating in the Mass.”  – Fr. Dennis Smolarski, S.J.

Fr. George P. McKenna


May 15, 2020 Posted by | Bulletins | 6 Comments

Allow The Spirit To Come Alive!

I know that it has been a while since I last posted one of Uncle George’s messages.  As with most of the world, due to the current world pandemic, my working world has changed, and as I was going through some old files, trying to better organize my home office, I found Fr. McKenna’s notes for his Homily on Easter Sunday at St. Barnabas in 1971.  Forty nine years later, Uncle George is still guiding us, still bringing relevant messages into our hearts.  I do not think it was a coincidence that I found this today – I think it was a message from Uncle George – “Joe”, he said, “Have your forgotten about the followers of God is Good?  They need this message.”  I hope this finds you all in good health, and good spirits.  Stay healthy, stay connected, stay true to the message of this Man from Galilee.  Joe.

Fr. McKenna receiving a Police Baton from LT. James Carroll CPD, Commander of Chicago Police at Midway Airport. July 24, 2003

Jesus the Liberator.  He went about after the Resurrection freeing men and women from their fears and anxieties.  How few of us really live full lives.  We might want to use a 3-way bulb as an example: turn the switch once and a low light comes on, turn again, and a moderate light and then again, and the brightness far outshines the original light.

Jesus is still the Liberator.  He is Risen.  He comes to liberate us from the snares of sin.  He says to each of us, “Peace, Believe in Me!”  Why are we fettered with worry which cuts us off from the true meaning of the Joy of Living?  Why are we followers of Christ so sad, so taken up with the happenings of this life, as if we were to live here forever?

The Risen Lord, the Messenger of Peace, of New Hope, again moves amoung us, lifing up the weak spirits, encouraging embittered hearts.  A freshness, a newness of life is all about us as we see Nature in the process of coming alive.  What seemed like dead bushes, trees and shrubbery now begin to take on a new appearance, a new life of fresh greenery.  The bursting shrubs and evolving buds give us a promise of beauty and tells us what we ourselves might look like if we really came alive!

Have you been worrying about the same matters for the last many months?  Every day a great amount of time is given to these negative matters and nothing is accomplished except to push your spirits still lower into darkness.  The Risen Jesus promises new life to each of us, not just in the world to come, but now!  At the end of our life are we going to say, “Oh, what might have been if only . . . if only . . . ?

Alleluia, Jesus Christ is Risen.  We have much to rejoice in.  The Lord has overcome death.  His Resurrection was not only for the 1st Century, but also for the 20th Century.  Do we not say , “1971 in the Year of the Lord?”  “Anno Domini”  What does the Resurrection of the Lord mean for you and me?  The Resurrection, the greatest of all the miracles of the Lord.  He can conquer not only physical death, but also death of the spirit.  Oftentimes we are faced with a threat to the death of our spirit sooner than we are faced with a threat to the death of our body.

We cannot lose if we hold on tightly to the Risen Christ.  A life with Him is so much richer, more filled with promise.  My hope for our community, our families, my fellow priests is a desire to know the Lord of Easter better, that we have an enthusiasm about Him and His Cause, an acknowledgment that Life cannot be lived without Him!  Allow the Spirit to come alive in our midst!

Fr. George P. McKenna

April 30, 2020 Posted by | Bulletins | 6 Comments