God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Begin A New Way Of Living

Reviewing Uncle George’s writings – journal notes, homilies and correspondence – he always seemed to have an upbeat perspective about the New Year, and the use of this time of year to review and assess his life, and then set resolutions to become a better person the following year – and in his mind, that meant getting closer to Jesus Christ, his Savior.  The entry below is from his journal on January 1, 1994. The picture is from 1939 when Uncle George was a mere 20 year old seminarian. Where ever you are on this journey we call life, Fr. McKenna always seems to find the right words at the right time.  Happy New Year, may 2021 bring you peace, joy and health!  Peace, Joe

July 1939 – St. Mary of the Lake
P. Franzen, S. Przylybowicz, George McKenna, W. Kriegsman

We have a custom of assessing our lives on New Year’s Day.  The gift of life takes on a new splendor and glory.  We know the possibilities of letting life, with its few years, slip away from us, never to come back again.  We desire to make good use of the year ahead.

We stand on a hill and look down at the 12 months that face us.  How did the last 12 go?  To plan ahead, to recognize moments in our life where changes should take place is a sign of great wisdom!  With confidence and courage, we take stock of our weaknesses and strengths.

Life about us abounds in violence.  Violence always violates the rights of others through angry words, and hateful actions.  Fear and anguish seem to follow in the face of violence.  What can we do to harness this violence and bring peace to the troubled world around us?

We can plan to take this resolution:  I wish to be a loving person!  YES!  One person’s efforts to be a more loving person in the year ahead can push back the darkness of violence.  When we love, we walk in the Light of Christ!  “I love you!”  How seldom we say these powerful words!

When I have taken this resolution in the past, much good entered my life.  I had a clear-cut picture of what I wanted to accomplish.  My thoughts, words and actions came under the scrutiny of my resolution.  Are these loving thoughts, words, actions?

Last week we celebrated True Love coming down from heaven, when the Infant Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  If Jesus lives in our hearts, we have an unlimited supply of love available to us.  There are many chances each day to live out this resolution. 

  • Start by saying “I love you” more often to your family and friends
  • Be considerate of others – Please, thank you, say hello when passing strangers
  • Let someone go ahead of you in line at the store
  • Be generous, with your time, your talents, your resources
  • Share what you have with others – drop off a dinner to someone stuck at home
  • Smile more

No matter what your age, this resolution can turn your life around!  I want to be a loving person: Kind, Gentle, Forgiving, Encouraging.  All you need to do is look for the opportunity to spread a little love, then go ahead and do it.  Your love, then will spread to another, and then another, and then another . . .

                                                                                                   Fr. George McKenna

December 31, 2020 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , | 5 Comments

Great Expectations

Fr. George McKenna 1919 – 2019

Every year, Uncle George would insist that this post was used for Christmas.  Who am I to change things now!  This particular one is from 2017.  From my home to yours, may the Grace of the Christ Child bring you Hope and Joy and may His Peace fill your hearts with Love.   Merry Christmas, Joe

Dear Readers – Each year I repost this entry, it is one of my favorite Christmas Memories.

41 years ago, in 1976, a short time before Christmas, I was living in the town of Bethel (pop. 3,500), in faraway Alaska, close to the Bering Sea. Bethel had no roads leading out from it, except one to the airport, three miles away. The only way to visit Bethel was by plane, by way of two jet flights each day from Anchorage, 500 miles away. Not a single road ran between Bethel and Anchorage.

One windy Saturday night I left our Rectory at the Immaculate Conception Mission to drive to the town’s Community Chapel on the other side of Bethel to offer evening Mass. The howling, screeching wind made driving our Chevy Van extremely difficult.

Arriving early, I found it nearly impossible to coax any heat out of the oil stove. Inside, the temperature almost equaled the outside conditions at -10 degrees F and a wind chill of -50 degree F. I pulled the altar as close as possible to the stove and put on my vestments over my great fur parka. To anyone present I looked like a warrior from outer space. That night, my only congregation consisted of a young Eskimo mother and her three little boys, with ages of two, three and four.

With breath coming from my lips in clouds, I prayed the simple, touching words of the Mass . . . “The Lord be with you . . . Lift up your hearts . . . Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.” All through the Mass, the youngest child played under the altar at my feet. At the words of the Consecration, spoken by an ordinary human being, the Lord, The King of Kings, came down on our poor, rough altar. After my own communion, I offered This Humble King to the little mother, with her face almost hidden in the parka. At the finish of Mass, without a word, she and her little ones hastened out into the frightful darkness.

Emmanuel – God with us! How consoling and uplifting to have Jesus, the humble, gracious.  King of Love, with us. From His place in Heaven, He heard my words, “This is My Body . . . This is My Blood” and came down to the vast wilderness of Western Alaska to be with me and the Eskimo family. What faith this little Eskimo mother had to venture out, with her little ones, on a winter’s night, filled with a gale-like wind, to give worship to the Child of Bethlehem.

What message did she receive in her heart that night to bring her to the Holy Child? The shepherds, on the first Christmas night, heard heavenly voices announcing the Birth of the Savior. Like these shepherds, the young faith filled Eskimo mother returned home, rich with heavenly gifts. The moral of the Bethel story above is to treasure the Presence of the Child of Bethlehem in our lives. On this Christmas Day, 2017, we will make every sacrifice to leave our warm homes to offer worship in our Houses of Prayer!

Fr. George McKenna

December 24, 2020 Posted by | Bulletins | , , | 11 Comments