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Fatherhood – One Of The Greatest Of All Gifts

In honor of all the father’s out there, I am reposting this message from a few years ago. A Happy Father’s Day to all of our fathers!

Each time I stop to visit my parents’ graves I thank them for giving me the gift of life. Years and years after fathers have died; they continue to live on in the lives of their children. On this present Father’s day, we say our gratitude to our fathers, living or dead, for giving us a chance to live in this world and for their support in our growing-up days.

I keep my parents’ wedding day photo on the top of my dresser and look at it every day. In this photo, taken in 1910, my father sits in a chair, in the custom of the day, while my mother in her white wedding dress stands beside him. Although my father is dead now almost 78 years, his memory carries on in my everyday life. Many times I have found inspiration by looking at this wedding photo with these two young, hopeful people destined to be my mother and father.

To every father I say, “Get into every family photo you can so that your children will have your image before themselves for years to come.” It’s amazing how much we can remember about our fathers. 50 years from now your children will be talking about you to their offspring and grandchildren. They may be basing their lives on some words you said in an offhand way, or on some example you unconsciously gave them.

Hopefully, fathers will show mercy, love and kindness to their children because then, their sons and daughters will associate these qualities with God. We take our ideas of God from our fathers. A few words from a cherished father will have more effect on the lives of his children than a score of sermons from a preacher. Fathers, to your family you are the key person in the world.

Of the 500,000 words in the English language, the word “father”, like “mother”, holds the highest place in terms of reverence, trust and love. Persevere in the mighty work God has given you. His help will always be with you.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

June 18, 2017 Posted by | Bulletins | 2 Comments

A Visit To Omaha Beach

The American military cemetery in Normandy, picture taken in the summer of 2003 by Bjarki Sigursveinsson, via Wikipedia

Twenty years ago, in September, our pilgrim group of three drove 175 miles out of the city of Paris into Normandy country, to visit Omaha Beach, the D-Day invasion site of June 6, 1944. On coming into view of the American Cemetery, my friends stopped and could not speak for a long time.

Words cannot describe the row upon row of white stone crosses, stretching endlessly into the horizon, some 10,000 of them. On D-Day, these men faced withering fire from enemy machine guns placed on the bluff overlooking the shore. All young men, in the prime of their life, but called to duty, with all its dangers, superseded all other matters. The crosses represent only a small number of the members of the Armed Forces killed in the opening days of the greatest military invasion of all time.

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, a day to remember all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, and to draw inspiration for life from our military dead. By their example, these fallen heroes remind us of the quality of courage and honor resting in the hearts of each one of us. The dead buried at Omaha Beach, were the young people living down the block from us, just ordinary boys. I was ordained a priest on May 6, 1944, exactly one month before this carnage took place. If I had not been in the Seminary, I could well be lying beneath one of the white crosses.

Instead, God has given me a long life with joys and sorrows found in every human existence. I give thanks for the opportunity to taste life from youth to old age, for the chance to know God better in all the happenings of life. For these men, lying there in the silence and quiet at Omaha Beach, life was just opening up for them like a fresh flower in the spring time. A cruel death cut short their dreams and hopes for the future.

In our mind’s eye, as we contemplate the all the lives of those men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, we would do well to ask ourselves, “What will I do with my life?” God has given us many days to live. We can pass these days in a selfish, complaining manner, preoccupied with the material things in life. On the other hand, we can seize each day as a precious gift and work for God’s Honor and Glory!

Inspired by our fallen heroes, we can purify our minds and hearts of selfish attitudes, know that the greatest victory is the victory over the evil within us. In our innermost hearts, we possess courage not only to rush enemy machine guns, but more importantly to drive out addictions to evil in its many forms.

Seeing the American cemeteries in France in 1997 affected my life deeply. Call it a rich bonus I didn’t foresee from my visit to France. To this day I cannot tolerate a haphazard attitude towards life, allowing carelessness about God’s Honor to take over my days.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

May 29, 2017 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , | 4 Comments