God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Prayer Means Power

The Saint of Charity

St Vincent De Paul

Like most people, I have had many wonder-filled times in my long life.  The ones I treasure the most center around prayer periods I spent in great Churches and sometimes in humble ones around the world.  I remember spending a night at Holy Cross Mission, on the wild Yukon River in Alaska.  A low flying fog had forced my pilot, Father Mike Kaniecki, S.J., and me to stop for the sake of safety in this Athabascan Indian Mission.

After a supper of moose burger and hot tea, I sat in the Mission Chapel for a quiet hour of prayer.  Although far from home and family, in October 1976, I relished that time as one of the highlights of my life.  With the heat turned up, I was able to share my hopes and thoughts with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.  What a priceless gift I thought, to be able to communicate with the Lord of the Gospels and to listen to His Voice in return, here in Alaska.

After the gift of life, the best blessing is our ability to pray.  Just think every prayer is answered!  Understand what this means! If God does not give what we ask for, a better gift will come our way.  How often in the past two years I have asked for good health, but it was not forthcoming.  However I felt many good things happening: a sense of indifference to whatever would take place, a feeling of acceptance of things to come!  I am certain God heard my cry for help because of a great calmness in my spirit.

How helpful for us, through the day now and then, to call a halt to our activities and raise our minds to God, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, or to Mary and the Saints.  These minute breaks, especially if we feel low in spirits, can bring a new energy into our days.  My favorite short cry – Jesus of Nazareth”, has picked up my failing strength a 1,000 times over!

Why walk alone?  By prayer, we bring the Power and Glory of God into our lives.  We then face the struggles of life with God’s resources giving us a wonderful stamina.  In my own spiritual life, I rejoice in the gift of prayer because I come to know more closely the most compelling Person in the history of time, Jesus of Nazareth.

At my late stage of life, I oftentimes sit in Chapels, in Churches, without saying a word.  “Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.”  Prayer is a dialogue.  I wait for the Lord’s message to me.  What an exciting adventure prayer can be! 

Fr. George Mc Kenna

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December 31, 2011 Posted by | Bulletins | 2 Comments

Great Expectations

A Blessed Christmas!

35 years ago, in 1976, a short time before Christmas, I was living in the town of Bethel (pop. 3,500), in far away 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 pour, 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, 2011, we will make every sacrifice to leave our warm homes to offer worship in our Houses of Prayer!


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A Memorable Mass

After 67 years of celebrating Mass, I look upon this Mass in Bethel, Alaska, as a memory I will always treasure.  Bethel (House of God) sounds like Bethlehem (House of Bread.). . . .  The coldness of the Bethel Chapel, much as it was in the stable of the First Christmas, told me of the hardships the Child, Mary and Joseph went through for my sake. . . .  The rough wooden altar – how similar to the manger where the Child was laid.  The presence of the Eskimo mother helped me understand the coming of the shepherds to the place of Jesus’

Fr. George Mc Kenna

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December 24, 2011 Posted by | Bulletins | 3 Comments