God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Learn From Others

SuccessMany years ago, when I served as Pastor of the Church of St. Barnabas on the South Side of Chicago, I followed this custom for a year.  Once a month I would offer the Saturday night Mass in my own Parish, and then on the following Sunday, I would attend Mass in two or three other parishes on the South Side of Chicago.  Eventually the number of churches added up to twenty.

I sat down in the pews with the parishioners of these various parishes and observed how each parish offered the Liturgy of the Mass.  My whole purpose was to learn new ideas about the Liturgies of the weekend.

All people concerned with the Services came under scrutiny, the Celebrant, the altar boys, the ushers, even the parishioners and their spirit of participation.  I observed the appearance of the Sanctuary, the floral decorations, and the banners – all were viewed for the sake of bringing back fresh thoughts into our Parish of St. Barnabas. All the ideas went into my notebook and provided a wealth of material for discussion with my colleagues.

In the living of life we can gather many ideas from others and from daily happenings if only we keep an open mind to this possibility.  Once a person thinks that he has all the answers to a successful life, then it is time to call the local funeral director.

Be inquisitive by asking successful people what helped them to arrive at their present state.  Search out ways to bring new health to our family life by reading books on the subject, inquiring among our friends about their ways of dealing with problems.  I have only touched the surface on ways of bringing new ideas into our minds.

Over a period of several years I wrote down 2,000 ideas about different aspects of parish life.  All these were recorded on 14 inch yellow legal pads.  Was I highly successful in the work I did because of these?  Surprisingly, the answer is “NO!”  However, this inquisitive spirit gave an extra joy and fulfillment to my life.  My mind was constantly filled with the fascination that there was a better way to do things.

                        Fr. George Mc Kenna

September 28, 2013 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , , ,


  1. Great lifetime of work, books, sermons with lasting well wishes, Fr. Geo. Mc Kenna.
    After reading bio, I figured U were in seminary with Bishop Timothy Lyne and maybe caddied with him and John McK. Mom says hi, also.

    Comment by thomas dubrick | September 28, 2013 | Reply

  2. Hi Fr. George,
    I am catching up on your bulletins – have been too busy to be on my PC that much – which I miss! I really love your writings! That is really a great idea, to attend various churches for ideas. I told you that we lost our pastor, Fr. Emmett Carroll, this past summer. We have been having visiting priests ever since until our interim pastor is assigned. It has been very interesting to hear different perspectives and watch how they offer mass. They have all commented on how wonderful our pastor was – which he was. Yesterday we had a priest that was from Vietnam and was one of the ‘boat people’ that left the country in the early 70’s. I was imagining what a life he has had – from Vietnamese refugee to priest.

    One of your statements above really rang true with me: reading more. I have been reading religious books from our parish library and that has helped me grow spiritually. I think if people really knew more about their faith they would be more faithful. I pray for the young people especially, who have left the church. They do not know that Jesus is really the answer to life’s woes.

    Thank you again for sharing your wonderful thoughts!


    Comment by Nancy Westvang | October 7, 2013 | Reply

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