God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Christ Is Alive. He Lives With Us.

Gary Player in 2008 Via Wikipedia

Gary Player in 2008
Via Wikipedia

Some 30 years ago I was standing in an airport terminal with two priest friends.  One of the priests had his mother along, a woman in her mid-eighties.  Suddenly, a man walked up and greeted us in a warm, friendly way: “Hello Fathers.”  I recognized the man immediately as Gary Player, the world famous professional golfer.  At the time, he, along with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus had been the star headliners in the world of golf for about 25 years.  Today, at the age of 78, he is still active, operates the Player Foundation, and this year will host a series of charity events around the world.

Gary said to us, “You men are doing a grand job of keeping Christ alive in the world, but I’m afraid we are losing the struggle.  In South Africa, we are surrounded by Communist States; no one can worship Christ freely in those countries.  Christ is dying there in the heart of the people.”

He went on to tell us a story a Russian friend had told him.  A teacher in Russia told his students that Christ was dead; He no longer was living.  A young boy in the class stood up and said; “Christ is alive, He is living.”  The teacher told the boy to go home and ask his parents whether Christ was living or dead.  The next day the boy came back and said in class: “My parents said Christ is alive and living with us.”  A short time later, this boy and his parents disappeared from the community and no one ever found out what happened to them.

Gary Player continued by saying, “I talk frequently to groups of young people and tell them of the importance and the necessity of keeping Christ alive in their minds and hearts.  Whenever I travel, I carry my Bible with me and read it every day so that I will keep the words of Christ alive and fresh in my mind.”

This chance meeting with Gary Player greatly impressed me.  He went out of his way to encourage us priests and to share with us his efforts to witness to Christ.  While we were talking, people were pushing forward to obtain his autograph.  Even with this fanfare and his own personal wealth and success, Gary had not forgotten where his true treasure lies.  The bright lights of the world have not blinded him.  His chief interest is the Kingdom of the Lord and its growth in the world.

In the Gospels we read of the Kingdom of Christ being like a precious pearl, something to be treasured and protected.  You and I must struggle to keep Christ and His message alive in our hearts.  Like the boy and his parents in the story above, we have to stand up and give witness to the Lord’s presence among us.  The deplorable, immoral level of modern movies, magazines and public life-styles can destroy our faith in Christ.  Treasure Jesus.  He is our precious jewel.  Keep His Name, “Jesus of Nazareth”, on your lips in prayer.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

June 21, 2014 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , , ,


  1. Thank U for sharing this great message. Peace and well wishes, always.. TPD & family

    Comment by Tom Dubrick | June 21, 2014 | Reply

  2. Father McKenna, thank you for all your messages of inspiration and encouragement.
    You have made a difference in so many people’s lives for so many years, it’s amazing and
    inspiring. I am one of many who are deeply grateful for you! Nan Brennan (daughter of Tom and Bess
    Brennan from St Walter’s and St Barnabas. My parents met you probably @1960, they were friends
    of your sister Kaye and husband Frank on Hale Avenue. Mom made several pilgrimages with you—we all remember you with fondness and deep respect). God Bless you now and always. And thank you so much for your simple “Jesus of Nazareth” guidance. It’s powerful and beautiful.

    Comment by Nan Brennan | June 21, 2014 | Reply

  3. This is a good one, sad about what happened in Russia. They stood up for Christ at the most important time.

    Comment by Mike | June 22, 2014 | Reply

  4. Thank you forever Fr. George…as you so beautifully & faithfully serve Him each day…by teaching us with every word you write and share in conversation…this is a very important message to all…thank you for sharing Gary Player’s comments. God’s Blessings, Love & Grace, Marianne

    Comment by mcs | June 22, 2014 | Reply

  5. Wonderful story.  You’re always on top of things and always sharing in such  meaningful ways.  

    A hug,   mary lou lux wingert

    Comment by fathermkenna | June 23, 2014 | Reply

  6. Hi Fr. George! What an interesting story! I had never heard that you met Gary Player and in that manner – he knew the importance of encouraging priests – who are, human, after all! So, just like everyone else, they get frustrated, downtrodden, and lose motivation at times. That was so nice of him to stop and give you three words of encouragement. I try to pray daily for the priests (mentioning YOU specifically, my dear friend!)

    Our interim pastor is leaving us after next Sunday’s mass and our permanent ‘new’ pastor will start with mass on July 4th. He comes from a parish where he had been for 15 years. We were invited to write out goodbye cards to the one priest and welcome to the parish cards for the other. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to move around so much and have to develop new roots and ties in a new area. I’m sure that you had to do that many times over! So, saying a special prayer for our old/new priests as they make this transition.

    We are doing fine here and enjoying the start of summer. Life is very good and I am grateful to be so blessed! Sometimes, when life is going well, and things are easy, I wonder if I will be tested – one never knows how life can turn on a dime – but I try to have faith in the Lord that I will be able to handle all things. You, of course, are a big source of inspiration to me – to keep the faith and trust in God every day.

    Yesterday was my birthday and I am thankful for another year and the good health that I am lucky enough to enjoy and all of my many blessings! And taking things one day at a time – focus on the present, like you always say! Live in the moment! You are such a joy and dear friend to me! With much love and prayers for you – Nancy

    Comment by nancywest22 | June 23, 2014 | Reply

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