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A Blockbuster Of A Resolution

Today is the Feast of the Holy Family.  This painting is by Juan Simon Gutierrez

Today is the Feast of the Holy Family. This painting is by Juan Simon Gutierrez

The beginning of the New Year, 2013, ushers in the time for making resolutions with the hope of bettering our lives.  “I’m going to diet. . . less TV. . . no smoking. . . some exercise every day.” Promises like these only tough the outer edges of life, the periphery of our life experience.  

Consider something more life changing!I want to propose a resolution that will go directly to the heart of life, to the core of our being.  The one I offer sounds deceptively simple and goes like this: “I wish to be a loving person.” When I took this resolution and tried to live it out in years past, I brought peace and happiness of Heaven into my heart.

A few nights ago, on a Christmas program, Janice Warwick sang a song, “What The World Needs Now Is Love.”  This heart tugging melody reminds us that we do have a cure for all the violence about us in the world today.  That cure is love and respect for each other.  No matter what our age, schooling, or social position, we all have the ability to be loving persons.

In the past, after taking this resolution, I found myself waking in the morning, with feelings of excitement about all the opportunities I would have that day to be a loving person.  Kindness, gentleness, forgiveness would be the key words in my mind for the hours ahead.

All of a sudden, my thoughts, words and actions came under closer scrutiny, with the conviction that anger, hatreds, and ill will could have no place in my life.  Because of my resolution, I found it easy to put these out of my mind.

As I tried to show respect, consideration for others and their feelings, I came to appreciate more my own person and my own gifts.  If the reader takes this resolution to heart, a light and beauty will shine forth from the face that will attract new friends and bring a delight to life.

One may say, will all this happen from the taking of such a simple resolution as the one offered, “I wish to be a loving person?”  Yes, all this and much more.  “Did I fill the world with love?”  At death, we will have much consolation if we will be able to say, “Yes, I did the best I could.”

A Happy and Blessed New Year!  Fr. George Mc Kenna

December 29, 2012 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , | 3 Comments

Great Expectations

A Blessed Christmas!

36 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.  This Christmas Day, 2012, 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 68 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’

Of my messages – this one is my favorite for Christmas, I hope you don’t mind me sharing it with you again!  Merry Christmas to all!  I will be offering 10 Masses for all those who have sent me greetings!  God Bless!

Fr. George Mc Kenna

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December 22, 2012 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , | 10 Comments