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The Barnabas Committee

St Barnabas healing the sick Pablo Veronese via Wikipedia

St Barnabas healing the sick
Pablo Veronese
via Wikipedia

On a late September afternoon, the young professor of Gospel Studies wore a look of discouragement and pain as he addressed his class of students.  In a low voice, he apologized for his lack of preparation for the class, citing his great overload of work.

Among the students in the class that day sat Jeanne Doering whom sympathized with the teacher, just starting his first year at the University.  A sudden thought struck her, and after class, she gathered some friends together to form what she called the “Barnabas Committee”.

In Barnabas, the companion of St. Pau, the early Church found a person of encouragement.  As he went from community to community, Barnabas lifted up the spirits of the struggling Church with words of encouragement and hope.

Faculty members began receiving type written notes of appreciation for their efforts in teaching, usually accompanied with a piece of candy or a little trinket, simply signed, “The Barnabas Committee.”  The once negative tone on campus turned into a much more positive one.

People about us are always in need of affirmations and encouragement, be they our children, local teachers, public officials, or our religious leaders.  “Am I really worth anything, or am I doing any good in my efforts to carry out my work?”  This is a constant question found in everyone’s mind.  Be a Barnabas person!

Make it a goal for each day to say or write positive words to at least 5 people.  In a sincere, truthful way, compliment others on their work, their looks and their accomplishments.  We will at once see a light come into the eyes of others as they take on new hope for the future.

Our words may come just at a moment when dark despair holds forth in the hearts of these family members, co-workers and friends.  For children, an ounce of praise is better than a pound of criticism.

A Happy Fathers’ Day to all the men that make a difference in the lives of others!

Fr. George Mc Kenna

June 20, 2015 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , | 3 Comments

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 | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments