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2013 Christmas Message from Father Rob Waller

27 Dec

At all six Masses on Christmas at St. Andrew we presented to each person a booklet with all the prayers and music for the celebration. The first thing people saw was a welcome message and an explanantion of the preace dove.

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(click on image of program to see it enlarged)

By yourself or with family,

grateful or hurting, disappointed or satisfied,

successful or stressed, sick or healed, elated or deflated,

feeling the loss of health, home, loved one and employment,

or with everyone and in good relationship

with everyone whom you love and who loves you,

we come to Mass on this holy day

and approach the altar

with grateful and humble hearts.

 

Jesus is on the altar at every Mass

as truly as he was in the manger on the first Christmas.

As he was in the wood of feeding trough

and on the wood of the cross,

he is truly present on our altar-table

for our nourishment and our salvation.

 

At every Mass

we are in Bethlehem on Christmas,

at Calvary on Good Friday

and at the empty tomb in Jerusalem on Easter morning.

 

May you experience always

the spirit of Christmas which is peace,

the joy of Christmas which is hope,

and the heart of Christmas which is love.

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A “peace dove” with lighted candle will remain on the ledge at the tabernacle in our church throughout the Christmas season. Our friends in our partner parish and school in the Beit Jala area of Bethlehem will light a candle for us on Christmas Eve at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. They will remember us in Bethlehem, as we will remember them here. The Christians who live in Bethlehem still do not enjoy the peace the angels sang about on the first Christmas. As we sing the opening words of the Gloria – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will” – we will pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in Bethlehem, throughout the Holy Land and all throughout the Middle East.

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Christmas peace be with you!

25 Dec

At Midnight Mass we prayed this prayer:

“That our Holy Land partnership with Annunciation Church and School in Beit Jala will help replace their despair with hope, their fear with security, and their humiliation with human dignity. We pray to the Lord …”

Christmas For Home Come

12 Dec

Noticed that scenes in this video scroll right to left, not left to right, as I would tend to move the camera. Probably has to do with the fact that Arabic reads right to left. The scan of the message at the end works great for those who read the banner in Arabic, but has me seeing, “Christmas For Home Come.” But no matter how anyone backs into coming home for Christmas, it is a good and welcome move. Ask any parent or pastor if s/he is concerned about “why” a child or parishioner comes home for Christmas, and you will get a response that the fact that they came home is all that matters.

Ya gotta love the countdown to the tree lighting. When the crowd screams, “Wahid,” there is that Advent, expectant, “is it going to work?” moment – and then the cheer.  For me, the real “Christmas cheer” is the one that we enjoy at Midnight Mass, as Christmas Eve becomes Christmas Day, “Today is born a Savior.”

The woman speaking in the video is the Mayor of Bethlehem. By Palestinian law the Mayor of Bethlehem must be a Christian! I guess that means that, if there were only one Christian left in Bethlehem, that person would have to be the mayor. Probably also true that, if you were the only person who would ever believe in Jesus and be saved, God would have been born anyway, just for your sake! 

The Mayor of Bethlehem speaks some words in English at 2:58.

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made “on the hill”

23 Nov

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… and the homemade coffee cake, made “on the hill,” as they say here at St. Meinrad Abbey, didn’t hurt the situation either.

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here comes the sun

23 Nov

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Just when I thought that I had made a mistake coming here – rainy and dreary since I arrived, the one thing I brought to read is not doing the trick, no great desire to pray or be quiet (or to stay away from email), bored, even agitated – just when I thought I should pack up and go home … there is sun!

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lost (and) found in Loogootee

21 Nov

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If you are ever lost in Loogootee, Indiana, find in this restaurant a fine buffet of Amish recipes. In the gift shop I also found Uncle Osgood’s popcorn on the cob. If that were not enough, I think I might have found how I can keep busy and do good, when I am no longer in full time administration of a parish. Across the lake from the restaurant is a St. Mary’s Catholic Church. I wondered how a priest out in nowhere can ever get away on vacation or retreat. Where does he find priest help to watch over the parish while he is gone? I could help with that!

are we chalice and ark, too?

21 Nov

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November 21, 2013

I started my retreat this morning looking out the window of a hotel in Indianapolis, as I prayed the day’s first parts of the Liturgy of the Hours (the Divine Office, the breviary): Morning Prayer and Office of Readings. I had slept in Indianapolis, because St. Meinrad Abbey did not have a room for me last night. Between the [brackets] are inklings, nudges and curiosities that stirred in me as I prayed or read:

Forty years I endured that generation.
I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray
and they do not know my ways.”
So I swore in my anger,
“They shall not enter into my rest.”

[Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, forty years ago. I wonder if this is why our country is restless: “rest” less.]

You saved me from my furious foes.
You set me above my assailants.

[Our foes, assailants, enemies are not always the human kind. They are also those repeater sins, those aggravating weaknesses and habitual faults, those continuing temptations that will not leave us alone until they have done everything they can do to defeat us or make us feel defeated.]

Even their own shepherds do not feel for them.

[I recently heard a priest, much younger than I, bemoan that the Archdiocese, asking priests to pastor 2, 3 and four parishes, has absolutely no concern for the health of priests. I must pray for him, and for my bishops.]

I took two staffs, one of which I called “Favor,” and the other, “Bonds.”

[God is always favoring us – gracing us, gifting us – and always bonding with us. We are to pray, not to get a favor from God, but to deepen our relationship with God.]

Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father’’s will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ’’s disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master. Mary heard God’’s word and kept it, and so she is blessed. She kept God’’s truth in her mind, a nobler thing than carrying his body in her womb.

[This is fascinating and haunting, but I can’t figure it out, and don’t know what to do with it – yet.]

Mary is the Chalice, Christ the Saving Blood!

[We also refer to her as the Ark of the Covenant. Are we chalice and ark, too?]

I will lavish choice portions upon the priests,
and my people shall be filled with my blessings, says the Lord.

[The Lord has certainly done so for me.]

more than cute names on a t-shirt

14 Nov

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I “graduated” today. Since the arthroscopic knee surgery on August 26, I have stretched and exercised in physical therapy for an hour three times a week. At my asking, Kielly and Katie signed the t-shirt they gave me on my last visit this afternoon. Along with Jen, they are the reasons I kept going and kept healing. They stayed with me until the end! With a sappy heart, I told them that I was extremely grateful to them for two things: I can walk down steps (almost) without thinking about it … and … I can genuflect at the altar at Mass in church again. That one is really big! Getting “my genuflector” back was really important to me. Thank you, Kielly. Thank you, Katie.

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when grief is raw

3 Nov

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This morning at the 11:00 a.m. Mass at St. Andrew, we lighted a candle for each person who was buried from our church this past year, with a calling of names and the sounding of a bell.

Two more candles were lighted …

+ for all those who were buried elsewhere who are remembered by someone at Mass this day whose grief is still raw.

+ for children born to God before they were born to us — children who died because of stillbirth, abortion or miscarriage — whose mothers often grieve alone and in quiet because no one knows or few understand, and without the benefit of a funeral or burial.

It is a good and holy thing to remember those who grieve.

but let me add something about this …

1 Aug

Enjoy this video-summary of the “on the way home from World Youth Day interview” that Pope Francis gave to reporters on the plane. What do you think about the content and the style of the interview? and about “what” Pope Francis says and “how” he says it?