Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Do you want to be a Saint?  I hope you answered quickly, yes to that question.  If you did not, perhaps it was because you know that it is not an easy road that leads to Sainthood.  In fact, there are temptations toward ways of thinking and acting that are far from the mind and heart of God, and are as close as a "mouse click" or touching a remote control and choosing a channel on your television.  Those who are saintly are seeking to "connect" with God often and are "connecting" with others in loving and giving ways.  As in anything we choose, getting into healthy spiritual habits, like regular prayer time, good spiritual reading, and other activities, point us toward a closer union with God in keeping us on a "saintly path."

I hope you recognize and take advantage of a wonderful opportunity to grow in the love of the Lord and others by coming to all three nights of our mission this week with Mass each day at 6:30 p.m. and a talk during each Mass by our mission director, Father Bill Rhinehart, aVincentian priest who was recommened to us by Father Ron Hoye who gave a wonderful mission here a few years ago.  We will also offer the Sacrament of Anointing on Tuesday after Mass for those who are afflicted with a chronic illness, a serious illness, or a weakening physical or mental condition due to aging.  Honestly, those qualifications are met by quite a few of our parishioners.  Be open to receiving this healing, comforting, strengthening Sacrament and/or consider the forgiving Sacrament of Reconciliation through Father Rhinehart, each day of the mission from 5:30-6:20 p.m.  Even though we are still weeks away from the season of Advent, the reality is that any time is a good time to let the Lord come closer and deeper into our lives, and I'm confident that with the theme of "The Eucharist," we will receive many graces by trying to come to the mission all three nights.  On Monday night we will have an ice cream social after Mass, and we will close the mission with a food and drink reception after the Wednesday Mass.  Also, please know that we will take up a collection on Wednesday night to support the missionary efforts of the Vincentian priests.

See you Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening.
As people move to the Village, it is almost always the case that the number of things they are "obliged" to do goes way down or even disappear.  That, of course, is not the case when it comes to obligations to God that go on no matter where we are until we die.  One of those obligations, which is given to us by the third Commandment and the Church, is that of participating in Mass at least on Sunday (or Saturday evening) EVERY week, "unless excused for a serious reason."  That last quotation comes from the most recent catechism of the Catholic Church that was promulgated 25 years ago.  It states clearly that, "Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin."

While we are truly blest to have a much higher percentage of our registered parishioners participate in Mass every weekend, that percentage goes down significantly when it comes to "Holy Days of Obligation" though the Catechism is clear that these special days carry the same weight of obligation as Sundays.  We are about to experience within the next two months, four of our six holy days for the whole of the church year.  If you are one of those who have not been as faithful and obedient when it comes to participating in Mass on these special days, I urge you to get back in the practice starting with All Saints Day, this coming Wednesday.  We will have two Masses on that day at 9:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.  The other days on which we are obliged to participate in Mass are December 8 (the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary) with Masses here on Thursday, December 7 at 6:00 p.m. and December 8 at 9:00 a.m. and the Solemnity of the Nativity, with Masses here on Sunday, December 24 at 4:00 p.m. and December 25 at Midnight and 10:00 a.m.  (Please note that the morning Masses on Sunday, December 24 are for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, and a person CANNOT satisfy the Sunday and Holy Day obligation by going to the 4:00 p.m. Mass that Day).  You might also be interested to know that on the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, Monday, January 1, Catholics will be STRONGLY ENCOURAGED, but not obligated, to participate in Mass that day.  We will offer two Masses on January 1 at 8:00 and 10:00 a.m.

I pray that encouragement and reminders will inspire participation in our upcoming Holy Day from most if not all of us who take seriously what God and his servant, the Church obliges us to do.  Many blessings will certainly come to those who do!
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.