God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

A Powerful Cry

Dedication of Midway Chapel

In 1993 an employee of Midway Airport spoke to me, “Would you please visit my sick mother?  Eleven years ago she lived in a parish where you served as Pastor.  She remembers a homily you gave at that time, something about ‘Jesus’.”  At once, I knew the homily his mother was referring to.

To digress for a moment, I will go back to the Second Vatican Council which encouraged priests to give a short homily at all the Masses they celebrated with a congregation present.  So, since 1963, I have rarely missed saying some words about the Scripture of the Mass of the Feast Day at all my Masses.  This adds up to some 10,000 homilies, a fantastic number!

Someone may ask, “Was there any particular homily that you heard about the most?”  Yes, time and time again, people have brought to my attention a homily with one simple idea, a homily that I had repeated to many different assignments of my Priesthood.  In this talk, I encouraged the congregation to use the words, “Jesus of Nazareth” in prayer.

The reader might say, “Is that all”, since a much more profound theme had been expected.  Read on to see how my talk progressed.  I told people that, in preparing my homilies, I never just picked up a book and, parrot like, repeated the words of the book.  Anything that came from my lips had first been digested in my inner spirit and had been tried out in the daily crucible of my life.

This short prayer, “Jesus of Nazareth”, had helped me immensely in my service of the Lord.  In times of trial and darkness of spirit, I would softly say, “Jesus of Nazareth” with much faith, over and over again.  Without fail, a light from above would penetrate the gloom and despair in my mind with a resultant determination on my part not to “give up” in God’s work.

In my opening story, this woman had found great value in my simple prayer and from it took courage to serve God.  When I visited her, in her sickness, she showed much joyfulness of spirit and determination to make good use of her illness for God’s Glory.  “Jesus of Nazareth” played a key role in bringing my friend to this state of mind.

So, now the reader knows my “most talked about homily.”  When I say, “Jesus of Nazareth”, this young Preacher flashes through my mind. . . His gentleness, His movement among the poor and the lowly of His time.  

Fr. George Mc Kenna

Todays photo: On April 14, 2002, Cardinal Francis George dedicated the new Midway Airport Chapel.  Many religious leaders of various faiths were present.  Pictured here: Cardinal George, Fr. Mc Kenna,  and Ms. Erin O’Donnell, Deputy Commissioner of Aviation.

January 28, 2012 Posted by | Bulletins | 4 Comments

How Is Life Treating You, Jesus Asks

St Germaine Church

The Risen Lord, at the seashore, helping the sad Apostles to bring in a great catch of fish, reminds me of an adventure in my life.  Nearly 28 years ago, I found myself in Paris, France, much in the same spirit of the Apostles: bewildered, despondent and not in the best of health.  My assignment to a Parish had ended on a sour note, because of many unpleasant circumstances.

Every night in the Chapel of the Foyer Sacerdotal in Paris, a residence for priests passing through the City, I sat in the semi-darkness, bitterly disappointed with life and downhearted.  My health had turned shaky from all the tension of confrontations with people and the Bishop.  There, in the evenings, I saw the Lord standing, as He did on the seashore after the resurrection.  “It is the Lord”, I said to myself.  The Gentle Christ broke the ice with His question of concern, “How is it going, George?”

I told the Risen Lord about the three “H”s I needed badly . . . Home. . . Hope. . . Health.  The darkness in my mind slowly went away.  Back in Chicago, I came to a little Parish down the street from Midway Airport, Our Lady of the Snows.  The Rectory consisted of two bungalows, one from me and one for the Pastor. . . I was to live in a real Home, not an institutional building.  In this neighborhood of peace, the kindness of my fellow priests and the love of the people brought into my life a fresh surge of Hope for the future and a new delight to be alive!  Soon, my frequent walks around the Airport and the neighborhood were taking me six and seven miles.  And with this exercise came good physical Health!

At the seashore, the once gloomy Apostles hauled in 157 large fish at the direction of the Risen Christ.  What a display of generosity the Lord showed to raise up the spirits of his followers!  In the same way, He picked me up far beyond my dreams!

“How is it going?”, Jesus says to each one of us as we try to cope with the trials of living.  In faith, we cry out, “It is the Lord!”  “Are you succeeding in life?”, he calls out to us.  Perhaps, many readers have labored long and hard, but peace of heart, happiness and success in living elude them!  As He did to the Apostles on the seashore, the Lord will give directions for making dreams come true.  Spell out exactly what one desires as I did!

At that visit to the Lake of Galilee, the Master changed Peter’s life by making him the First Pope!  He can change our lives too, by giving us a brighter outlook on life, a more cheerful acceptance of crosses, and a new delight in prayer.  We need to recognize Him as the Risen Lord and listen for His words!  

Fr. George Mc Kenna

Today’s Picture – St. Germaine Church, one of the oldest Churches in Paris.  Still used for worship.  Situated on the busy Boulevard St. Germaine

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January 21, 2012 Posted by | Bulletins | 3 Comments