Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Those of you who are married and have been married a long time would, I think, agree that over time each spouse gets to know the characteristics of each other, and come to know how to respond to the other in situations that reoccur over and over again.  My mother, for instance, was prepared when asking my dad something to hear him usually say "no" immediately, but realized that given time (and sometimes persistence by my mom), he would say, yes.  I must admit that I can be like my dad in this regard when someone asks me something.

Awhile back, Reverend Neil Kaminski, of the Trinity Episcopal Church in Hot Springs Village, asked if I would consider participating in an ecumenmical liturgy that will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.  He indicated that a few bishops from the Episcopal and Lutheran churches were participating, and that he had asked our bishop to come and participate as well.  Since Bishop Taylor was unavailable, he wanted me to participate in the service.  Although, my first response was NOT "no" I must admit that I wanted to touch base with Bishop Taylor before saying yes.  I came later to find out that Bishop Taylor is participating in a similar service with Protestant clergy at the Cathedral of St. Andrew sometime this month.  I ended up saying "yes" and look forward to this service which will take place on Sunday, October 29 at 2:00 p.m. at the Coronado Center.  I will also tell you that some of our choir members will be part of an ecumenical choir that will sing at this service.  I now ask you to consider joining fellow Christians in this service as we "commemorate" the Reformation and "celebrate" the ways that Christians work together in the name of Jesus Christ, and the efforts that have been made and continue to bring us more and more together in belief and in practice while praying that we will one day be "One" as Jesus desires.  I look forward to being there and I hope you will say "yes" to being there as well.
Each and every day our "Give Us This Day" booklet that many of our parishioners subscribe to and read, contains a short biography of a person who has been a great "Ambassador" for Christ in their life.  It is sometimes a declared saint or it may be a lay person, priest, or religious who led an exemplary life and has departed this world.  Some of these people are "far out there" in terms of where they lived and/or when they lived which can make it, in some ways, challenging for us to connect with them.  Not so, however, when it comes to Blessed Stanley Rother, who was recently beatified.  He was a priest of the Oklahoma Archdiocese and he lived in a time that parallels more than a few of our parishioners, being born in 1935.

We have the opportunity to connect even more closely with this contemporary witness to Christ (who died as a martyr) by coming to a presentation by our own bishop, Anthony Taylor, who knew Father Rother and who, as a priest of Oklahoma City, was given the charge to investigate Father Rother's life and ministry by interviewing people in Guatemala who knew Father Rother before he was martyred there in 1981.

Bishop Taylor's presentation will be on Friday, October 27 starting with a meal provided by our Knights of Columbus at 5:00 p.m.  The presentation will be both video and through a talk about Father Rother from our bishop.  Please plan to join us and sign up to do so on the table in the narthex by Monday, October 23 or call the Church at 922-2062, extension 10, and let Linda Daniels know you are coming.

I appreciate the bishop's willingness to give us some of his valuable time to help us connect with Blessed Stanley with information about his remarkable life and hopefully in the future by asking for his intercession for our various needs.
It should come as no surprise that I begin this column reflecting on the horror that happened in Las Vegas on Sunday night and the senseless murder of over 50 innocent people and the wounding of over 500 people at the hands of one man who caused all of this destruction and grief for so many who were affected by this violent act.  Firstly, we hopefully have been, and still are, praying for the victims and their families whose shock and suffering are hard for us to imagine.  As Christians, we are called to pray, as well, for the perpetrator of this terrible act.  His disrespect for human life, including his own, is clear and hard to fathom.  Our faith tells us that God is always with us and is "close to the brokenhearted" (Ps 34:16).  This tragedy happened at the beginning of "Respect Life Month."  Someone has commented that the more we witness these "Mass Killings," the greater is the chance that we can become complacent and not horrified by these killings no matter whether it's a few or many victims.  Perhaps that complacency has already been happening when it comes to the killing of so many lives through abortion each day.  We can't, and shouldn't, ever look the other way when human life, especially innocent human life, is being destroyed.  Rather we should firstly, pray for a change in more minds and hearts toward respect, or greater respect, and awe for every human life given to us by God, and do what we can personally to grow in respect for human lives ourselves.  Please read the inserts which will be put in the bulletins a few times this month, and reflect upon how "WE" can make the world in which we live more respectful of all human life from the womb to tomb.

There are never easy answers to the serious problems we face individually or as a country.  I hope, though, that we can all agree that the starting point is God, and striving to do what Jesus taught and did in His perfect life.  From that starting point, many blessings and hopefully solutions will follow.