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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 | , , ,


  1. Dear Joe,
    I so needed to see this today, it brings tears to my eyes that Father didn’t make it to his hundredth birthday. I swear I heard him say this homily in person At Midway chapel. I read it in one of his books as well. Sometimes when I’m lazy and I’m by myself I make a poor sign of the cross and I often think about fathers homily and I do it better. I miss him and although he lived a great life it’s still sad he’s not with us. Thank you for sharing this today. Also the reference To our lady of Knock is a Special message to me I believe, Again thank you for keeping father’s words alive. God bless you, God bless Father and happy heavenly birthday..❤️🙏

    Comment by Pattie Melton | July 17, 2019 | Reply

  2. I sure miss my old friend. Tom and I were just talking about our times with Father at the start of the Midway Chapel. It was fun.

    Comment by Matt Marich | July 17, 2019 | Reply

  3. PLEASE continue to post. His messages are timeless.

    Comment by barttimm | July 17, 2019 | Reply

  4. Joe That was great. I appreciate all you do. Keep us informed. Bill Laude

    Comment by William F. Laude | July 17, 2019 | Reply

  5. I have followed Father George’s messages for
    many years since attending the Chapel at Midway and am surprised that there was no message informing his followers of his passing.
    Maybe I am missing something but I have been on this mailing list for many years and was concerned by not hearing from him although I suspected what the cause was.
    Can you give me (and others) some information as to his date of passing and how he was towards the end of his glorious faith filled life.
    God Bless Father George

    Comment by Jim | July 17, 2019 | Reply

    • Jim, I am sorry that you missed the notifications, if you look back on the archives beginning at January 26, 2019, you will see all the information. Peace.

      Comment by Fr. George McKenna | July 18, 2019 | Reply

  6. Thank you, Joe. I can just hear your uncle delivering this appropriately abbreviated homily in 1962 and retelling the storry in 2006 (in far less than 3 minutes if this was his full text).
    Fr. McKenna was our pastor at St. Catherine of Alexandria in my young adult years and won my great respect at that time and since.

    Comment by John Ryan | July 18, 2019 | Reply

  7. Hi Joe,
    Thanks for this post. Yes, I am in town this week and would’ve loved to visit dear FR George on his 100th birthday. He’s in paradise with his Lord. I know he’s smiling down on all of us, encouraging us to remain kind to others and faithful to Jesus. But, he is sorely missed, to be sure. Thanks you for posting.

    Comment by Nancy Westvang | July 18, 2019 | Reply

  8. Thank you Joe. God Bless. And so, out from the grave Fr. McKenna still teaches us something. My”sign of the cross” will be more meaningful.

    Comment by Paul Weston | July 18, 2019 | Reply

  9. Thanks Joe, hard to believe it’s been a year! although his words and wisdom will remain in the hearts of many always.

    Comment by Anonymous | July 18, 2019 | Reply

  10. Thank you for passing along this treasure.
    Father George saw the Grace of God in the simplest gestures and in all those he encountered.
    God Bless!

    Comment by Mike Deering | July 18, 2019 | Reply

  11. Joe, you clearly have your uncle’s gift if communication. Thank you for sharing this wonderful message, not only of your uncle’s, but of yours!

    Stay cool! In Peace, Donna Kurcz


    Comment by Donna Kurcz | July 21, 2019 | Reply

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