September 17, 2012
Today’s Gospel ought to make us a bit uncomfortable. It tells us the shocking truth that Jesus came to die for all of us. That’s how much he loves us. But, it also tells us that he expects us to willingly take up our cross and follow him.
Several years ago, the Red Cross in a small Oklahoma town posted signs all over town containing these words:
I gave my blood--Christ gave his. I gave a pint--He gave all.
The needle is small and sharp--The nails were large and dull.
The table is soft and restful--The cross was rough and painful.
The nurses are kind and gentle--The soldiers were cruel and mean.
The crowd applauds my sacrifice. The crowd reviled him.
Mine, at best, will prolong a life for a while.
His can save all forever.
Jesus died for us. What do we do in response to His love?
Peter rebuked Jesus after Jesus told him that he would suffer greatly, be rejected, and be killed. Peter didn’t understand why Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah, must suffer in this way. He couldn’t see the significance of the cross to our savior. Jesus response to Peter was short and swift when he said: “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” We can all relate to Peter in his reaction to suffering. We want to minimize or eliminate the suffering of those we love. We certainly don’t want to cause suffering by any of our decisions. And we struggle to understand the role that suffering plays in our own redemption.
Often, parents experience difficulties, sacrifices, and suffering in raising their children. Now, some people would say that avoiding these difficulties is why they have few or no children. They give a lot of reasons why they are nervous about the prospect of raising children. Some worry about being able to pay for college or even groceries. Yet others wonder how they could possibly have enough time for the children in their busy lifestyle. But by far the most common source of concern about having children that I have noticed comes down to one thing: A fear of sacrifice and suffering.
Of course, more life means more suffering; less life means less suffering. Any time we open our lives to new human beings, whether it's through pregnancy or adoption or missionary work or any other kind of intimate service, we're opening ourselves to the possibility of experiencing suffering -- not just our own, but the heartbreak of seeing a loved-one in pain, which is its own kind of torture.
But, suffering plays an important role in our earthly journey. Because of suffering, our love isn’t just words, its deeds; it’s not just what we say, it’s how we live; no pain, no gain; no cross, no crown. And through the Eucharist, the sacrament of love, we can transcend our suffering and unite it with the suffering of Christ.
Suffering without love is unendurable, it causes despair. Love without suffering is just words, a warm-fuzzy feeling. Love becomes authentic through suffering. Love purifies and perfects suffering. Love transforms suffering into sacrifice. And the Eucharist transforms Jesus’ suffering on the cross into the supreme sacrifice. The Eucharist gives us the capacity to love. It enables us to accept our crosses, to endure them, and even to find joy in them.
Many beautiful stories came out of the tragedy of the fall of the twin towers of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001--stories of sacrifice and heroism. None is more impressive than the story of Ron Fazio of Closter, New Jersey.
Fazio was Vice President of a company with offices on the 99th floor of Tower Two. When the plane slammed into Tower One, Ron Fazio made one of the best decisions of his life. He ordered his employees to evacuate the building. Even though their building had not yet been hit by the second plane, he insisted that employees get away from the windows, leave their desks and get out of the building. He stood there and held the door, yelling for everyone to hurry, and held the door open until everyone from his company had started down the stairs. They all made it down. So did he. But he remained outside Tower Two, helping others out of the building. The last anyone saw of him, he was giving his cell phone to someone else, after which the tower collapsed and no one ever heard from Ron Fazio again.
That’s the difference between wearing a cross and bearing a cross--the willingness to give our life for others. Now, wearing a cross is fine if we have thought through the sacrifice represented by that cross. That cross we’re wearing represents Jesus holding the door open so that we can walk through to eternal life.
Jesus tells us: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Are we opening doors for others? Are we afraid of life because of the suffering which is involved? Do we turn to the Eucharist to help us endure and transform our suffering?
September 15, 2012
The St. Francis de Sales Knights of Columbus Council will be hosting its annual KofC Soccer Challenge on Saturday, September 15th at10:00AM at St. Francis de Sales. The event is open to ALL girls and boys ages 10-14 (as of September 1, 2012). Entry forms can be obtained by clicking on the title link and/or will be available at the event. All contestants should bring a proof of age to the event. For more information, please contact Andy Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-282-6450.
August 20, 2012
Please support this fundraiser by clicking on the affliate link. Proceeds from this fundraiser will help support the purchase of a new St. Francis de Sales statue for the new Church, and for a new Monstrance.
August 20, 2012
The Senior Saints of St Francis deSales, a group for those over 60, will hold its next monthly lunch on Tuesday September 11, 12 pm, at the Shaker Trace Club House, 1 Shaker Run Rd., off of Monroe Rd. Lunch will be catered by Seegers.for $11. All seniors are invtied for fellowship and fun. Lunch will be followed by a bingo with a twist! For reservations enclose a check for $11 payable to St. Francis in an envelope marked "Seniors" and deposit in the collection basket or mail to St. Francis by Friday, Sept. 7. If you are new, include your name, address, phone, and email. For questions or information, call Sharon Bruggeman, 228-0625 or Kathleen Rettig, 932-4089.
August 5, 2012
"The Lebanon Lovers"/"The Loverflows" Family Picnic
Sunday August 5, 2:00 pm. - dark or 9:00pm
Harmon Park Shelter #1 (the big one towards the back)
S. East Street, (Next to the Golf Course)
From Main Street turn South on East Street.
Go past the tennis courts, the park will be on your left.
Games: corn hole tournament, water balloon toss, crochet, spoon weaving contest, newlywed game, and karaoke
There will also be an area for board games, card games, farklel, and checkers
Do you have an idea for a game? Let us know.
Do you have a special dish Grandma handed down thru generations and everybody loves? Yes! Bring a side dish to share.
Would you like to invite a couple? Great!
Let us know who and how many are coming. RSVP to Maria Nottingham 932-7838 or email@example.com.
July 24, 2012
“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all.” Those are the words of St Paul to us from the first letter to the Thessalonians. As we reflect upon the senseless killings in the movie theater in Colorado, it is easier for us to see evil and sin in the world than love. We know that there is evil in the world since Jesus told us that the devil is the prince of this world. But, rarely does evil present itself as vividly as it did during this massacre. Most of the time, evil tries to masquerade as good.
Several weeks ago, about 25 of us from St Francis prayed the rosary at the entrance to the Sharonville abortion clinic. We stood in the LaRosa’s parking lot, in the pouring rain and prayed for about an hour. Next to us was a sign for the abortion clinic which read “Women’s Med” and had the name of three doctors on it. A long driveway leads back to a building behind LaRosa’s, nestled in the woods. As I stood there praying the rosary, I had to wonder how many babies would be killed that day, or that week, or that year. And where are the cries of horror for these lives ended while in the safest possible safe place, a mother’s womb?
The web site for the Sharonville abortion clinic reads as follows: “Our Center is decorated with your comfort and privacy in mind. We encourage you to bring a relative or friend. Our reception areas provide a quiet spot for reading or watching television. Our patient educators provide helpful information about your medical procedure and answer any questions you might have. They will take the time necessary for you to understand your options and our procedures. While you relax a short time in recovery, we discuss your post-op instructions and offer refreshments.” Doesn’t this sound pleasant?
The evil in Aurora Colorado is not the way of Christ. The evil at the abortion clinics throughout the country also is not the way of Christ. Both provide vivid proof to us that evil does exist and that we must be vigilant in our efforts to do good and to avoid evil. Sin, evil, and death do not have the last word. Jesus has won victory over death through his resurrection. But, in this life, all of us, individually, as a community, and as a nation, must continually battle against evil, especially evil that masquerades as good. The outcome is clear; Jesus has already won the victory, while we, in this life, continually battle against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
We pray for the victims of the deadly shooting in Colorado. We also pray for the victims of abortion, especially the babies, their mothers and fathers, and the staff of the abortion clinic in Sharonville. And I encourage all of you to join with others from the parish praying outside of the abortion clinic in Sharonville on the second Saturday of each month. Our battle against evil and the culture of death can only be won in this life through prayer and vigilance.
July 23, 2012
Senior saints will meet on August 14th, 12 PM, at the 180 Club, 30 N Broadway
July 16, 2012
Tongues of fire; a strong driving wind; frightened men gain the courage and the power to speak boldly; the people are astounded and amazed!
July 14, 2012
Today, about thirty of us from St Francis De Sales, along with about a dozen from other parishes, said the rosary outside of the abortion clinic in Sharonville. During the hour that we prayed, it was pouring rain most of the time. In fact, it was the most rain we've had in several months. We expect to say the rosary outside this abortion clinic about once a month on Saturday. Check out the calendar for the dates and times.
July 8, 2012
Sunday, July 8, 2012A celebration at St Francis De Sales
Today, I was on the altar as a deacon for the 9 and 11 o'clock masses at St Francis De Sales. The celebrant for these masses, Father Joe Dygert, was a recently-ordained priest (in 2011) from the diocese of Colorado Springs. Father Joe graduated from St Francis De Sales grade school in 1995. He returned to celebrate his first mass at St Francis since his family moved to Colorado Springs in 1996. Father Benedict, a missionary priest from Tansania, gave the homily. Father Benedict commented on today's Gospel in which Jesus tells the disciples: " A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house."
This modern day prophet, Father Joe Dygert, was greeted with enthusiasm and joy at his native place, Lebanon, Ohio. We rejoice and take pride in the faith of this young priest. We pray that his vocation to the priesthood will continue to bring him joy and peace and that he will continue to touch the lives of many as he did today.
Joe Dygert attended St Francis De Sales grade school with several of my youngest children. He is two years' older than my fifth child, Ann and two years older that my fourth child, Mike. I knew his family well when they were parishioners at St Francis De Sales. Joe's mother, Christy, started Eucharistic adoration at St Francis De Sales. I remember them as a strong, loving, faith-filled family. Today, I rejoice with the other members of St Francis that one of our grade school alumni came home to inspire us and to share his faith with us.
Father Joe will be celebrating mass with us on Friday, July 13th, at 7:30 AM.
June 25, 2012
Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty
O God our Creator,
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be "one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
We ask this through Christ our Lord.