Hi, all you bloggers. I have to say that the staff here is crazy and I love it. New ideas are entertained and sometimes they entertain us. One of the latest ideas was to promote our CYO basketball program and get as many people at the game as possible. At a tournament game hosted at our local gym, we would have prizes for anyone who could make a half court shot. To advertise, a short video of me making a half court shot would be featured. By the hand of God, I made the shot on the second attempt and the video project was completed. Now comes the interesting part of the project…
I went to the grade school to show off the video. The kids were congratulatory of my basketball skills and full of wide-eyed hopes that they could win a prize at the game. There were no doubts that such a shot could come from my hand. Next, I next went to the high school building. When they viewed the video, they thought it was a hoax. Somehow the youtube promo was spliced and not real. I had a difficult time convincing the students that it was real. I’m not really sure they ever believed me. And then it was time to show the video to the adults. They, too, were skeptical of my half court shot, although they were not as hard to convince as the teenagers.
This project has made me wonder about our society. Have we been so tricked by so many that belief comes hard? Are we in a society of Thomases? Do people believe me when I preach? Can people tell the difference between truth and fiction?
Who and what we believe comes into question. What is truth for you? That is a question that we will encounter during the Lenten season. Have a great day. I mean it. That’s the truth.
A friendly hello, with a smile. That’s all it takes to brighten my day. It’s a simple gesture with a powerful effect. How many times do we walk by others during the day and fail to say hello? We know the person walking by us, or maybe we don’t, but we put our head down or act like we’re busy doing something else.
We’re all guilty of it, but why?
When someone greets me by name, it’s the best! When I walk into church and someone holds the door and says “Good Morning,” my day just got better. I love those little moments of genuine goodness.
What stops us from saying hello? Maybe we’re afraid they won’t say hello back. Maybe we think we’re not good enough or they don’t want to be bothered. Maybe we’re just having a bad day and don’t feel like talking. These aren’t good excuses.
The people we encounter don’t know WHY we’re not saying hello. We’re just coming across as snobbish. And who likes a snob?
So, here’s the challenge…say hello to everyone you meet today. And if someone says hello to you, don’t respond as if it pains you. Smile and call them by name if you can. Don’t be selective with your friendliness…share it with EVERYONE!
Spread a little love….a little hello. It says you care. It feels good.
You up for it?
How many times have you heard someone say, “I am what I am, too bad if you don’t like it.” Challenges come every day, be they small, large or life-changing. We can embrace those challenges or we can run from them.
Everything you experience today helps you become the person you will be tomorrow and helps you grow into the person you were meant to be. Personal growth, the hard way, comes to us through those life-changing situations. We can take life as it comes and not really spend any time thinking that we need to grow or we can embrace the change, knowing it may not be easy, but we’ll never be the same.
Sometimes we can see where others need to grow, but never really think we need to grow. What is the Bible verse about getting the log out of your own eye? “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3.
Everything we experience helps us minister to others. I have come to know that all our experiences make us who we are, so we can help minister to God’s people. Happy or sad experiences, all of them, help us grow into who we were destined to become and help us relate to others…God’s plan for us.
What a great gift from God that is – to have our experiences and then that, in turn, helps us to “love one another” better. Love is what it’s all about. Love is the bottom line. Take some time and let those you love know it. Thank those who have mentored you and find others who need love and share it.
When faced with a decision, always error on the side of love. Prioritize your lives and see what you can get rid of so you can love and have the time for what is important. Who are you called to be?
I have to admit it was pretty neat to see my nephew on national television. His five minutes of fame gave me five minutes of fame.
I also have to let you know that it was my first time watching HG (Home and Garden) television. Real men don’t watch such shows.
Isn’t it funny what we brag about. I’ll associate myself with someone famous or on television but will distance myself from a perceived woman’s show. I thought it might make for a good discussion or thought provoker when it came to being a Christian.
We will associate with all kinds of music or activities but rarely will tell our friends or colleagues at work that we went to church over the weekend.
We’ll say that we went to a sports event but will shun going to a church retreat. What will others say or think? When did it become so unpopular to be good or go to church? When did everyone’s opinion sway me from doing what is right for me?
This is a guest post by Connie Cleemput the Director of Religious Education.
Where do you stand on abortion, on underage drinking, on the death penalty? Where do you stand on taking time to pray as a family, on having a meal together or attending church on Sundays as a family? Where we stand, so stands our children. They mirror what we say and do as their parents, as their role models, as they people they look up to.
When practicing songs and prayers for Mass (after three weeks of practice) I mentioned to the First and Second graders to ask their moms and dads to take them to Mass on Sunday mornings or Saturday afternoon. I said “Your parents will say yes, just ask them.” I can not tell you how disheartened I was when a second grader told me that he had asked his parents and they said no.
Where do we stand? How can you, as parents, help your children be the best Catholic they can be? How can you help them form their consciences so they can make good, moral decisions?
As parents we have a moral obligation and a Catholic obligation to help form and support our children into whom God calls them to be. Yes, God calls all of us to take a stand. God has placed these children in our care, knowing and trusting we will do our best to raise them in our Catholic faith.
Take a stand. Take them to church, pray as a family around the dinner table at least once a day, tell them about God. Look in the mirror and you will see a reflection of your child. Listen to your voice and you will hear your child. Do you like what you see and hear? Take a stand.
I talked to my travel agent this week to check on a return trip to New Zealand. It looks like there’s a spot for me in mid-January. I can’t wait to return. I’ll be away from Putnam County for ten days. Ten days goes so fast so I want to do as many fun things as possible. The country has so much to offer like mountains, beaches, hiking and biking, wineries, cafes and cows. New Zealand is known for its natural beauty – I may not know where to start.
But I do know where to start, and that is with all the people I miss. As a parish priest of small parishes, you get to know people pretty quickly. I’m not going back just to see one of the world’s most beautiful countries. The warmth of the people is calling.
This weekend I’ll canoe with a group of high school seniors from our church. I had to check out the conditions of the river on Tuesday to make sure everything was good for the kids later in the week. On the trip down the mighty Blanchard River, we saw lots of birds (including a bald eagle), a raccoon and squirrels, fish jumping into our boat and just the calm of leaves falling from the trees above the river. We hope to offer the kids a day of beauty and calm away from texting and cell phones.
Putnam County has a lot to offer. Some refer to it as God’s Country.
Last weekend, people from all over came back to Kalida for Pioneer Days. It was a nice weekend, with tons of people coming back to Putnam County for all the best it has to offer. The parade route was filled, as was the downtown square. As I drove our church float, it was a nice feeling to see all the people joined on a glorious day.
People from New Zealand ask me what Putnam County offers. I could tell them about the eagle on The Blanchard, the rich heritage of the people and its beautiful churches and the flat, productive farmland, but I would rather tell them about what happens at Pioneer Days: people gathering for friendship.
During Pioneer Days, the offer of a hand of friendship was offered hundreds, maybe thousands of times. Many times the offer came with the offer of a beer – it seems the German thing to do. Ever since I was shot when I was eight years old, my stomach can’t do certain foods and beverages. I can’t do apple juice, Hawaiian punch, Sunkist Orange or beer . It is easy for me to say no to this offer of liquid hospitality and to be able to tell the difference between the offer of friendship and the offer of a beer.
It is not just a weak stomach that makes me say no to the beer, either. I do worry that sometimes our young people can’t distinguish between the offerings. Somehow beer, hospitality and friendship fused together in this community. With my stomach injury I said no to the one offer and yes to the other offer quite easily. But our young people and others who want to avoid alcohol may find it difficult becuase they don’t want to reject the offer of hospitality and friendship.
In New Zealand the offer of hospitality also included a drink: usually a hot beverage of tea, coffee, milo (hot chocolate) or hot water. In this German community the welcome comes out, “Want a beer?” Translation: “It’s good to see you, welcome to our home.”
This area offers so much. Just like New Zealand, the greatest gift is the gift of its people. The kindness, hospitality and friendship keep people coming back. When people from New Zealand ask what the area offers, I tell them to come and meet the people. They offer the best the world can give.
It’s Pioneer Days in Kalida and it will be a busy weekend. I’ll be working with the Bingo booth, Duck Races, flipping social burgers, calling square dances and most of all enjoying the food and atmosphere.
When I was young, church festivals and fairs were tough to attend because I did not have money for a lot of extras. That meant I had to be careful of how I spent my quarters, dimes and pennies(yes, I am old). I thought to myself of how neat it would be to run away with the circus, so to speak.
I’d be surrounded by cotton candy, taffy and parades all the time. I think I was secretly called to be a carnival person rather than a priest. As a young person I was looking for the sweet life, and that meant cotton candy. My mom always said that too much cotton candy would make my teeth fall out.
Either my mom was telling me stories, I didn’t eat enough to make my teeth fall out or there was a lesson my mom was trying to teach me. I’m banking on the latter. Life isn’t always a sweet carnival. There is real food that must be eaten sometime. Sweets are fine for short intervals but will I really grow without substance?
I believe this lesson goes not only for the body but for the whole person. To be a whole person there will be things on our plate that might not be the sweetest but may bethe best for us. Sacrifice and hard work are hard to swallow but may help us grow more than selfishness and laziness.
Mom always said our teeth would fall out if we had too many sweets. Mom made sure our teeth didn’t fall out due to proper eating habits at the table and in life. I am better for it and smile with my own teeth.
I believe we want a sweet life for our kids and for ourselves. Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the full. When I see the kids here I smile and want the best for them.
Today, I don’t think they have to run away to the circus to be filled with sweet things. The circus is here. As a nation and a community we have been blessed with many sweet things. The challenge for parents and our community is to help the kids keep their teeth and to smile because they have a full life.
And yes, I will have some cotton candy this weekend. I’ll also work the booths to keep our community strong.
In the spirit of Pioneer, what are you most looking forward to in this weekend’s festivities?