God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Teach Us To Pray

Uncle George wrote this about 32 years ago.  It’s a fitting entry for today – the 31st Anniversary of the establishment of the Chicago Midway Airport Chapel on July 24, 1988.  The unmentioned priest in this story is Monsignor John Hayes.  Uncle George picked good heroes to emulate.  As you read this story, those of us who loved Fr. McKenna, could argue that the sentiments he had for Monsignor Hayes are the same we still hold in our hearts for him: #1 hero, he possessed a spirit of peace and kindness, he is the inspiration of a lifetime, and I thank him every day for his influence on my life.
God’s Peace to all.  Joe.

A young Seminarian

One late afternoon, some 54 years ago, as a 1st year student, I went into the magnificent Gothic Style Chapel of Quigley Seminary on the North Side.  In the semi-darkness of twilight, a young priest, then a member of the Seminary Faculty, knelt in prayer, his head bent down.  Seeing him praying so quietly and peacefully, made me think . . . “This is a good idea, to talk with God and bring some of His Goodness into my life.  I want that young priest’s peace.”

The next year, In 2nd year, this same priest, whose name I withhold because he is still living and active in Chicago at 80 years of age, entered our classroom to teach us Latin.  This closeness to him on a daily basis increased my admiration for him and helped me to set him up as my #1 hero in my 5 years at Quigley.

Everything he did in the classroom possessed that spirit of peace and kindness, which undoubtedly, came from his practice of prayer and union with God.  Nothing ruffled his daily life with us, oftentimes rough and unthinking youngsters.  The passing years have not lessened my reverence for him.  He still remains my #1 hero, the inspiration of a lifetime.

The spirit of prayer which Jesus constantly practiced made Him an appealing person to His followers.  All the actions of Christ possessed those qualities of peace, fearlessness and gentleness.  Seeing his style of life, His friends begged Him to teach them how to pray.  Rightfully so, they concluded that prayer gave Him that special calmness and courage in the face of suffering.

Like the Apostles, beg the Lord for this spirit of prayer.  Above all the gifts of life, the possession of tranquility and inner harmony ranks first.  A faithful follower of Christ, in admiration of His life, can raise up one’s heart joyfully in short aspirations.  Nothing will bring a person peace more quickly than a willingness to share one’s fears, doubts, and happenings of the day with the Lord.

Prayer engenders a courageous spirit in the personality of the one who prays.  People will begin to ask, “How do you make it possible to act they way you do?”

When I meet my former Latin teacher of yesteryear, I tell him thanks for his influence on my life.  He quietly smiles.

Fr. George McKenna

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Sign Of The Cross – An Act Of Faith

Fr. McKenna’s Year Book Picture from Quigley, 1966

Listeners can quickly forget the words of speakers and preachers.  Quite normal.  An hour after Mass, we might ask ourselves, “What did the old priest say at his homily?”  No answer might come.  However, a priest always hopes that his homily might touch the heart of someone in a lasting way.  So he keeps trying.

Allow me to tell of what happened during a homily time 44 years ago, in 1962, on Holy Trinity Sunday.  I was stationed at Our Lady of Knock Parish in Calumet City, a suburb of Chicago.  Holy Trinity Sunday turned out to be a beastly hot day.  Our Church had no air conditioning or fans.  As I proceeded down the main aisle to begin the 12:00 Mass, parishioners were wiping their faces of perspiration.

I shuddered as I thought of my five minute oration they were to suffer through.  At the sermon time, remember these were the Pre-Vatican II days, I made the sign of the cross to begin.  Suddenly, I saw a young boy, about 7 years old, in the first pew all by himself.  He made the Sign of the Cross in such a meaningful way, so reverently, that I embraced the beauty of this Sign of Faith as never before.

It were as if God had sent me an angel to remind me of the honor and reverence owed to this Greeting to God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  At that moment, I discarded my oration and called the boy to my side.  This child, I said to the people, just made the Sign of the Cross so beautifully, that I have made a resolution, in the last few seconds, to imitated him in all my days ahead.

He has agreed to show us how he, day after day, makes this mark of honor and love to God, the Father, our Creator, God the Son, our Redeemer and God the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier.  The boy then showed the full church how he blessed himself.  Despite the heat, all eyes were on the child, maybe, I believe, an Angel.

Our making the Sign of the Cross can be a thrilling proclamation, or just an action with no meaning.

Fr. George P. McKenna

 

 

Dear Readers, 
So sorry for such a long dry spell of putting one of Uncle George’s messages out.  This past week Fr. McKenna celebrated his first birthday in Heaven – his 100th, on Friday, July 12th.  This particular message found me, I did not find it – and that is usually the way these things work.  Based on Uncle George’s comments about the date, this message was written in 2006.  I am struck by three things.

  1. That the weekend was extremely hot – and this weekend coming, the entire nation seems to be under a heat warning.
  2. That back in 1962, Fr. McKenna’s homilies were an agonizing 5 Minutes Long!!!  LOL.  I’d cherish to have two extra minutes from this Saint that gave us his “I’ll Only Speak For 3 Minutes”
  3. I am sure that today, there is someone out there from Our Lady Of Knock Parish that was struck by his message and still remembers this day – maybe even the little saint himself, now a grown man.

God’s Peace to all.  Joe.

 

 

July 17, 2019 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , | 12 Comments