This has been a very beautiful Holy Week so far. Yesterday (Tuesday) Fr. Ricardo and I was with Bishop Sheridan and our brother priests for an afternoon of a great conference about the Priesthood, a Holy Hour of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, then a wonderful dinner and the beautiful Chrism Mass, all at Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Colorado Springs. Of course during the Chrism Mass the Holy Oils were blessed and I brought our newly blessed oils home last night.
Please remember that our parish offices are closed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in order to give both the clergy and the staff the opportunity for some prayerful reflection during these Holy Days.
So the Schedule is as follows:
Wednesday April 12:
Tenebrae – 7pm
Holy Thursday April 13:
Mass of the Lord’s Supper – 7pm
Don’t forget to bring in the Rice Bowls and a donation of food for the poor.
Good Friday April 14th:
Church open all day for personal prayer
Stations of the Cross – noon, 3pm and 5pm
Good Friday Service – 7pm
Holy Saturday, April 15th:
Blessing of Food Baskets 10am
Confession- 4pm – 5:15pm
Easter Vigil Mass 8:30pm.
Easter Sunday April 16th:
7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am (Concurrent in both the Main Church and Assisi Hall)
There will not be a 5:30pm Sunday Evening Mass
On behalf of Father Ricardo, Deacon Tom, Deacon Tim, Deacon Jacob and my most hard working Staff – We pray that you have a most holy – Holy Week and a very Happy Easter. May the Peace of the Risen Christ be with you.
“Rejoice, O Jerusalem; and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. (Psalm) I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord. Glory be to the Father.”
I really love being Catholic and all of the different customs and traditions. The Fourth Sunday of Lent is a break in an otherwise penitential season. The Priests and Deacons will wear Rose Color vestments and flowers may adorn the altar on this Sunday.
It is also a day to pray that those who have been in sorrow, or those who are undergoing spiritual desolation, may receive times of spiritual consolation in the midst of that desolation. While those moments of spiritual consolation do not take away completely an desolation, it should give one hope and relief in the midst of desolation. Those little moments of consolation certainly help us to get through the difficulties of life. May this Laetare Sunday bring you comfort, consolation and hope!
This past weekend I spoke at my Masses about the Seven Penitential Psalms. I chose that as the Homily since Psalm 51 was used at Last Sunday’s Mass as the Responsorial Psalm. I would encourage you to go to this particular link on Catholicity.com and print out the seven penitential psalms. Read one of them prayerfully each day!
Psalm 6: Domine, ne in furore. Lord, do not reprove me in your anger: punish me not in your rage. Have mercy on me, Lord, I have no strength; Lord, heal me, my body …
I would also encourage you to take some time and watch this very nice you tube video on Cardinal Thomas Collins’ reflection on the Seven Penitential Psalms. He is far more eloquent and articulate than I ever will be. I learned a lot by watching his video and listening to his commentary!
Enjoy your Lenten walk with the Seven Penitential Psalms! Fr. Brad
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
This weekend we begin our Diocesan Returning God’s Gifts Campaign
This weekend we begin our Diocesan Returning God’s Gifts Campaign. I truly would like you to be a part of this very important Campaign. The Returning God’s Gifts Campaign helps us in 4 areas:
1. Catholic Education: Monies from the RGG helps with providing tuition assistance for Catholic School Students, teacher education and other important areas.
2. Vocations: We are blessed to have 9 seminarians currently studying for the Diocese of Colorado Springs, including Matt Kane and Brandon Allen from our parish. Without your support for the RGG we would have to turn seminarians down because of lack of funding. Your generosity helps to form our next generation of priests! By the way we have three priests who have come from our Northern Deanery – Fr. Baron and Father Kochivar from Our Lady of the Visitation in Elizabeth and Father McCann from Ave Maria Parish in Parker.
3. Catholic Charities: The work of Catholic Charities is best described by me as “the work of Christ, by being the hands, feet and heart of Christ!” Catholic Charities helps with direct client services to those in need, provides professional counseling services, in the Springs cares for the working poor and homeless with the Marian House Soup Kitchen, and here provides in close cooperation with the Saint Vincent de Paul Society bags of food for the working poor, elderly and the homeless. Our Catholic Charities offices provides ESL programs and immigrant services. Stop by the Catholic Charities office on 5th and Wilcox to learn more about their many services!
4. Parish Rebate: RGG provides monies back to the parish for parish projects! Over the years we have used our rebate for debt reduction, a fire annunciation system, downstairs classroom remodel, Assisi Hall remodel and this year we are replacing the old 1966 windows in the Assisi Hall and the hallway.
Please continue to help us this year with our Diocesan Returning God’s Gifts Campaign. Together we can help to take care of these 4 very important areas!
I am going to return my pledge card! Please join me in helping our Diocese!
During the homily on this past Sunday, I spoke about our baptismal call to holiness and how we as it said in the First reading from the Isaiah we are called to be a “light to the nations.” I referenced a great article on NYPD Detective Steven McDonald who was shot in the line of duty, as a result of that was paralyzed from the neck down, and because of his deep Catholic Faith, his profound love for the Eucharist, and his love for Christ, was able to be a light to us. He had a remarkable depth of faith and spirituality. In spite of the limitations of his paralysis, he was a devoted husband, father and family man, he loved being part of the New York Police Department and he was a devoted Catholic. He was a Knight of Columbus, he spoke to people about his faith, and he led times of prayer and the rosary. What a remarkable man! Sadly, He died on January 10, 2017 following a massive heart attack.
Please click on this link to read his remarkable story. http://www.kofc.org/en/columbia/detail/the-grace-to-forgive.html
He left us a remarkable lesson in forgiveness. In a story written by Johann Christoph Arnold he said “I forgave Shavod (the young man who shot him) because I believe that the only thing worse than receiving a bullet in my spine would have been to nurture revenge in my heart. Such an attitude would have extended my injury to my soul, hurting my wife, son and others even more. It’s bad enough that the physical effects are permanent, but at least I can choose to prevent spiritual injury. Again, I have my ups and downs. Some days, when I am not feeling well, I can get angry. I get depressed…I have come to realize that anger is a wasted emotion.”
Eternal Rest grant unto him O’ Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in Peace. Amen!
Sometimes in the life of the Church we can view Epiphany Sunday as simply a time of transition. A time after the last Mass on Epiphany to take down the Christmas trees, pack up the Manger, give way the poinsettias, and move right back into Ordinary Time. If this is our view we are failing to grasp the importance of the Feast of the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord. Epiphany is a complex feast. It should lift our eyes from the family celebrations and demands that we should include in our vision “all the ends of the earth.” It demands that, like the three wise men, we should have the courage to follow the light of the star that we have seen, however hazardous the journey; that the light of our faith, like that of the wise men, should be so strong that we are able to see and recognize in our Lord and Ruler,… and that we should return to our own countries a different way, carrying to all those we meet the light of Christ.” (1)
Epiphany for us today is to encounter Christ, and to be so changed by that encounter that we radically change our lives, because of that personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Beginning with our own Baptism, and continuing with the other Sacraments of the Church we should bring our own gifts to the Lord and then follow him unreservedly. Jesus calls us by name, knowing our own unworthiness, knowing what we are capable of, and knowing our heart. Do not be afraid to find and follow Christ! “It is clear how much the Feast of the Epiphany must mean to all who are engaged in the apostolate and are striving to extend the Kingdom of Christ.” (2) All of us are engaged in the apostolate!
Wise Men and Women still seek Christ! The Wise men upon encountering the Christ, left their gifts at the feet of Jesus. My personal thanks to all of you who so unselfishly bring your gifts and talents to the feet of Jesus. It is by bringing your gifts to Christ that we can together do so much great work here in Castle Rock and Douglas County, bringing the light of Christ out to a world that is sometimes darkened. Thanks for your generosity, sacrificial love and your personal relationship and journey with the Lord!
Blessings, Fr. Brad
(1 and 2 from the Twelve Days of Christmas – Elsa Chaney, The Liturgical Press)
Of course we have already celebrated Happy New Year in the Catholic Church beginning on the First Sunday of Advent on November 27, 2016. On that day we began to begin the new year of Grace with a change to the A Cycle readings – so this year we are looking at the Gospel of Matthew, We changed to the year one readings for the daily Masses. I encouraged everyone at that time to develop some “spiritual resolutions” for the new year! Resolutions such as taking up the great habit of praying Morning and Evening Prayer – there are apps for that! Praying the rosary each day. Spending time before the Blessed Sacrament in Eucharistic Adoration. Reading each day from the Gospel of Matthew, or beginning a study guide for the Gospel of Matthew.
It is easy for this weekend as we begin the Calendar New Year to begin to formulate “New Year’s Resolutions,” such as losing weight, hitting the gym, walking more… All of these are really good to do as we know that our body is the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” In addition to these- make it a point to formulate “Spiritual New Year’s resolutions” as well!
On behalf of Father Ricardo, our Deacons, and our very hard working staff – We wish you a very Holy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2017!
On behalf of Father Ricardo, Deacon Tom, Deacon Richard, Deacon Jacob, Deacon Tim and my hard working Staff and great volunteers here at Saint Francis of Assisi Parish – We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2017.
Our Mass Schedule is:
Christmas Eve (Saturday December 24)
4pm: Main Church
4pm: Douglas County Event Center
7pm: Main Church
9pm: Main Church (Bilingual)
Christmas Day (Sunday December 25)
7:30am – Main Church
9:30am – Main Church
11:30am – Main Church
1:30pm: Main Church (Spanish)
There is no 5:30pm Sunday Evening Mass.
As we celebrate this most beautiful Third Sunday in Advent, and as we get ready to celebrate tomorrow’s Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I would encourage each of you to take time to watch the You tube video of “Our Lady of Guadalupe –Amazing Scientific Analysis.” Enjoy!
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
First Sunday of Advent 2016!: The beginning of the year of grace 2017!
I personally love the traditions and seasons of the Catholic Church! Today we begin a new Church year with the First Sunday of Advent.
Advent has a two fold character, for it is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered, and likewise a time when, by remembrance of this, minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ Second Coming at the end of time.
We begin lighting the candles of the Advent Wreath depending on the particular Sunday of Advent.
The Priest and Deacon wears purple, except for the Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) where the color rose is worn.
The Gloria is not sung on the Sundays in Advent.
The Scripture readings on Sunday are from the A cycle – The Gospel of Matthew! It would be great to read and study the Gospel of Matthew this year!
The daily Scripture readings are taken from Year One (odd number years).
Beginning on December 17th we use the “O” antiphons.
I would encourage each family to purchase and use an Advent Wreath and to use a Catholic Advent Calendar! Both are great as a teaching resource for kids.
Advent is time to recall the cry of the early Christians: Maranatha! “Come Lord Jesus.” It is a good time to go to the Sacrament of Penance (Confession/Reconciliation) either on Friday evening from 6:30pm – 7:30pm/ Saturday afternoon from 4pm – 5:15pm/ or at Saint Francis of Assisi Advent penance service with multiple priests on Tuesday December 13th at 7pm. Of course you are most welcome to call and make an appointment for confession with either myself or Father Ricardo.
Don’t forget to attend Lessons and Carols!
My personal prayer for each of you is that this new church year of grace is a profound time of spiritual renewal and a time of a greater commitment to follow Jesus Christ more closely as an intentional disciple of Christ!
Since we are in the Month of November in which we are called to pray for our deceased loved ones and to remember the dead, it would be good for us to revisit Funerals in the Catholic Church. First if you haven’t received one already, see me for a copy of a little brochure Funerals in the Catholic Church, published by the Diocese of Colorado Springs. I would ask you to take time to read this little brochure.
I would also encourage you to read the recent Instruction “Ad resurgendum cum Christo” (to rise with Christ), which recently was published by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. While most in there is not new, there is a prohibition in there that the cremated ashes may not be divided amongst family members, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects. Please remember that it is against church law to do what is mentioned above.
Also please know that when the deceased notoriously has requested cremation and the scattering of their ashes for reasons contrary to the Christian faith, a Christian funeral must be denied to that person according to the norms of the law. Also please remember that Ashes of a body need to be laid to rest and that the conservation of the departed in a domestic residence is not permitted. Again, please read the instruction for all of the details.
Finally, A word about Last will and testament. Please update your will. 70% of people who die are without wills. Your will determines where you want your assets to go. Please put in your will specifically that you want a Funeral Mass said following your death and with your body present in a casket (preferred) or with the Ashes present. I have unfortunately met families who in spite of their loved one’s deep catholic faith, because they are not catholic have chosen not to have a funeral Mass said.
Please also when preparing your last will and testament with your attorney, please remember the Church in you will. It is a great legacy gift that you leave to your church and it enables us to continue to do the work of Christ. By the way you should update your will annually, or at least every 5 years.
With ballots coming in the mail, or the opportunity to vote on this upcoming election day, I would ask you to please take a moment and watch the video below from Archbishop Aquila of the Archdiocese of Denver, Bishop Sheridan –our Bishop, and Bishop Berg of the Diocese of Pueblo.
Thanks, Fr. Brad
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
What does it mean to be an Intentional Disciple of Jesus Christ?
That’s a great question. Sherry Weddell in her book Forming Intentional Disciples describes three concurrent journeys:
1. The personal interior journey of a lived relationship with Christ resulting in intentional discipleship.
2. The ecclesial journey into the Church through the sacraments of initiation.
3. The journey of active practice (as evidenced by receiving the sacraments, attending Mass, and participating in the life and mission of the Christian Community). I personally would include in this Ongoing Formation. That being formed as an intentional disciple of Jesus Christ does not end with the completion of receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, but is a life long process that we gladly look forward to.
During my homily at last weekend’s Masses, I stressed how it is important it is to have an “attitude of gratitude.” We saw that in the beautiful Gospel story of the 10 lepers. Only one came back to say thanks. Do we in our own life, every day, come back to say thanks. Do we every moment have an “attitude of gratitude”, or do we cling to an “attitude of entitlement.”
Unfortunately in the life of the church I sometimes encounter people who seem to believe that they are entitled to this or that, because of something that they may or may not have done in the life of the Church. In his book “Rebuilt,” Father Michael White talked about the complaints that he heard on “family friendly Fridays” when people complained about the food (the Free food!) Are we unhappy when we do not get what we want, when we want and how we want?
We must always be as intentional disciples of Jesus Christ, people of great gratitude, of great thanks and appreciation. Saying thanks all day long to others whom we encounter and always saying thanks to Almighty God!
I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers! (Ephesians 1:16)
In Christ, Fr. Brad
Monday, September 12, 2016
The Fifteenth Anniversary of the Tragic Events of September 11th.
I ask each of you to please to take time for prayer both today, tomorrow and this week as we remember the fifteenth Anniversary of the tragic events on September 11th in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. In a special way focus on the many stories of bravery, self sacrifice and courage that we witnessed in the lives of Law Enforcement Personnel, Firefighters, EMS, Military Man and Women and Civilians.
Today, I want to in particular remember two Chaplains who are now in the hands of God.
We all know the story of Fr. Mychal Judge. He was the FDNY Fire Chaplain who was the first recorded death of the tragic events of September 11th. What I personally liked about Father Judge was his constant availability to walk with firefighters and their families. He reminded us all that while in a 100 years, no one would remember our names, but that for now the baton was passed to us and that we are one in a line. This is a great reminder for each of us, every day, to go out there and do our work with dedication and excellence.
Chaplain David McPherson was deployed to New York right after the tragic events. He ministered to firefighters and their families and to civilians. He later became a Colorado Springs Fire Department Chaplain, but unfortunately died a few years ago. What I miss about David is that he had a great heart and a great intuition for service. During the Castle West Fire in COS he realized that there was a need for dry sock for the firefighters and he ran out and bought socks for the firefighters. That was his gift. That was part of his legacy. Firefighters remembered his great kindness.
Let’s never forget the lessons of courage, self sacrifice and bravery that we saw fifteen years ago.
Father Jacques Hamel was killed yesterday as he celebrated Mass in a small town in France. His throat was slit by ISIS terrorists. Father was 84 years old and was beloved by his parishioners. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.