Tag Archives: St. Andrew Catholic Church (Milford, Ohio)

our “not enough” on the altar

28 Jul

When we put our “not enough” on the altar, we are ready for Eucharist.

On either side of the front doors of our church is an empty niche.

The earliest photos we have of the church, from 1923 when it was dedicated

and from 1948 when the school was built next door,

 do not show anything in those spaces.

Our oldest parishioners, one of whom was the last baby baptized in the old church in 1923, do not remember anything ever having been in those niches and do not remember ever hearing any conversation through the years about why there wasn’t anything in them.

If I win the lottery and could personally fund the project, I would propose to the people for their approval that there be a statue of St. Andrew in one of niches, and in the other one, a statue of a boy with four loaves and two fish. No, that is not a typo. Four loaves.

Seeing those statutes, everyone would come through those front doors, and could enter personally into the story of this weekend’s Gospel. Andrew and the boy with the loaves would lead the procession to the altar. Standing before Jesus, Andrew would speak for himself and the boy, and for all of us, “But what good are these for so many?” We would hear Andrew acknowledge that he and the boy were not up to the task of feeding the thousands. They would admit that they did not have what they needed, that they did not have enough. We would listen as Jesus calmly and reassuringly said, “What you have, give it to me.” We would watch, as he took their “not enough,” blessed it, broke it, and gave it back to them, to give to others. We would be amazed that there was more than enough!

When we come to Mass on any given Sunday, we come with our own “not enough” of some sort. We acknowledge that we are not up to some task or some situation or some personal issue. We are not strong enough. We are not smart enough or resourceful enough. We do not have enough faith, enough trust. We do not have what we need. We simply do not have enough. As we stand before Jesus with our “not enough,” he asks us to put it on the altar.

When we put our “not enough” on the altar, we are ready for Eucharist. 

Oh, yes, the boy in the statue outside with the four loaves.  Why four, when in the story he has five? Imagine the fun we would have when we bring someone to church or we meet a visitor, and point out the statue. Calling attention to the fact that there are four loaves, we would say that it helps us remember the story of the five loaves. “Why are there just four loaves?” we would inevitably be asked. 

“The fifth loaf is inside on the altar.”

these “new-old” doors “open wide” at the thought, too

15 Mar

On this day, March 15, new Honduras mahogany doors were installed at the corners of St. Andrew. They match the main doors.

The doors and the hardware are new.  The windows – you guessed it – were taken out of the old doors, refurbished, and built into these new doors.

They are glorious. Come see them.

These doors, too, open wide at the very thought of your coming!

“In the event of an emergency, please contact a Catholic.”

15 Mar

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is distributing one million cards (pictured above) in order to cultivate evangelization among Catholics. They are “credit card” size, and are intended to be carried in purse or in pocket. When the person carrying it sees the card,  it is a reminder. In the event of an emergency, when someone else sees it, it is a request.

The pastor of St. Andrew, Milford (yours truly) has it in his mind that all parishioners at St. Andrew will eventually get something similar. It is one of those good ideas that gets tucked away to be used at a later time, when the time seems right – and ripe.

My card will be especially designed, with a slight change of words, to read: “I am a Catholic priest. In the event of an emergency, please contact a Catholic.” 

Bless the One who shapes your beauty

7 Mar

As they waited for the Skype connection with the 1st grade students of Miss Ruya from the Latin Patriarchate School of St. Joseph in Nablus (West Bank, Palestine), Mrs. Phillips explained to her students that the children that they were going to meet were 6,000 miles away, and lived near Bethlehem.

The parents in Palestine had brought their children back to school a couple hours after school was out in order to Skype with our children from America.

The Palestinian children had a song ready – “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.” Our children clapped with joy, probably because they recognized the song. They probably didn’t realize how extraordinary it was that 6-7 years olds, whose first langauge is Arabic, were singing in English. Later, the same children would sing a song in Arabic, which Miss Ruya explained was about how they loved their country very much.

The teachers on both sides of the world tried to put some order into the energy and the enthusiasm of their students. Sometimes they were even successful. First graders, wherever they are, are first graders!

When it was our turn, the CD player went on, and our friends in Palestine heard, “All you works of God / Every mountain, star and tree / Bless the One who shapes your beauty / Who has caused you all to be / One great song of love and grace / Ever ancient, ever new / Raise your voices, all you works of God.”

Mrs. Phillips sang.

The children sang and made hand gestures that expressed the words of the song.

The  Arab children clapped with as much enthusiasm and appreciation as our children did.

They asked questions …

… and waited for answers.

There were questions (and answers) about snow, favorite sports, how old they were.

At the end of the visit, Mrs. Phillips spoke with the principal, Miss Abeer, who personally visited Mrs. Phillips classroom back in October. In June, Mrs Phillips goes to Miss Abeer’s school – and the circle of friendship will be complete.

محادثة “skype” مع مدرسة “Saint Andrew”

1 Mar

On February 28 students from Saint Joseph School in Nablus, in the West Bank of Palestine, visited by Skype with 6th graders from St. Andrew-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton school in Milford, Ohio.

Students from the two Catholic schools were 6,000 miles away, but technology brought them together to see each other’s smiles and to hear each other’s voices.

As one of the Palestinian students sat close to the computer, the others in the classroom watched on a large screen. They saw our students sitting in the hall below our church. Note in the bottom right corner of the next photo: in Palestine it was 420 p.m. The students had finished their school day, had gone home to eat the main meal of the day, and returned, yes, returned to school in order to meet our students who were just beginning their school day at 9:20 a.m.

In the classroom with the students …

… were Miss Abeer, their Principal, and Miss Ruya, their English teacher. Both Miss Abeer and Miss Ruya had visited our school last October. Our 6th grade teacher at St. Andrew, Mrs. Barbara Ambs, worked out the details of the online visit with Miss Ruya. They each prepared their own students, and pulled off this miracle visit, not giving up, even after technological problems forced them to cancel the first two attempts.

And look who else was in the classroom in Nablus: Father Johnny, the parish priest of St. Joseph.

A Palestinian girl asked her question. She spoke in English. She and her classmates began studying English in the first grade – and French, too. Notice the piece of paper. Isn’t that cute? She had her question ready.

Then she smiled, as she got an answer from her new American friend, who also spoke in English, of course. It would have been a very short visit and conversation, if our students needed to speak in Arabic.

It was fun for all: students, teacher and parish priest – on both sides.

This smile says it all. It’s for the children!

at station #5 and #12

23 Jan

In honor of our partnership with the Holy Land, our St. Andrew Welcome Connection – the committee of parishioners who welcome new parishioners – gives to every new member an olive wood rosary. In our partnership and in our prayer we hope to help the Christians in the Holy Land, so that they will know that they do not carry their cross all by themselves.

This message is with the rosary:

This rosary was made by the Rosary Makers of St. Andrew Parish using olivewood beads from the Holy Land.  The beads were shaped by Palestinian hands in and around Bethlehem.  The knots tied in the cord were made by the hands of a member of St. Andrew who lives in or around Milford.  This rosary is a symbol of the partnership between the Christians of St. Andrew Parish in Milford and the Christians of Annunciation Parish in Beit Jala, Palestine.

We hope that every time you use this rosary, you say a prayer for our Christian brothers and sisters in Beit Jala.

“We notice around your church the Stations of the Cross…You are at station number 12 – you are being crucified with Christ.  We are at station number 5 – we can be Simon of Cyrene for you to help you carry your cross” (from a homily given by Father Rob Waller at Annunciation Church, Beit Jala, Palestine, July 18, 2005).

the Joy and Hope of being Remembered

28 Dec

Mr. Waseim, the computer teacher at the Latin Patriarchate School in Beit Jala (Bethlehem) had visited with us in November, along with other teachers and school personnel from the West Bank (Palestine), Israel and Jordan.

At Christmas he sent to us a photo of the candles that he lighted in Bethlehem. The first one (in the photo above) is for “Father Rob” and the fourth is for “St. Andrew parish.” The fifth one is for our school and his school. The last one is in thankful memory of all the people he met in the USA. Candle two and three are for Nancy and JoAnne, two of our parishioners here at St. Andrew who spent a great deal of love – and sweat and blood – preparing for the visit of the teachers and dealing with all the intricacies and details during their days with us.

At Midnight Mass here at St. Andrew we lighted a peace candle for them. I had purchased the peace-dove at the Catholic parish in Taybeh in the West Bank, and brought it back with me for this purpose on this night.

Our hope is that it was as good for our friends in the Holy Land to know that we remembered them as it was for us to know that they remembered us in the very town where Jesus was born on the very night on which we celebrate his birth.

a healthy and holy thing to do on Christmas

27 Dec

Our goal was to make everyone as welcome and as comfortable at Christmas Masses as possible, by having ready for them a worship aid in which the “new words and chants” would follow one page after another, along with every song and response. We think we succeeded. It was expensive – and worth it. On the opening page was a message from yours truly.

Merry Christmas!

Look around you and feel the anticipation and excitement in the air. All these people share your longing for healing and hope on this holy day.

For just a couple weeks now, we have been using, as all the Catholic parishes in the whole English-speaking world have been using, a new translation of the Mass prayers and responses. We are all new to this adventure. None of us are used to the changes yet, including me. We are all fumbling and stumbling our way through the new texts and chants. In this Mass, in the midst of inevitable missed cues, we will have occasions to smile while we pray, which is a healthy and holy thing to do on Christmas.

This booklet has been created just for you, to help make this Christmas one of your best ever. In your hand you have everything you need to pray the prayers and sing the songs of this Christmas Mass.

Among the new words of the Mass, we say this: I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ … For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was “incarnate” of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

It is the feast of the Incarnation, the feast of the “incarnate” God. God took on human flesh. Be filled with joy!

Father Rob Waller, Pastor

In Miss Eman’s Own Words and Language

22 Dec

Below is an account of the December 20, 2011 “visit’’ (by way of Skype) between the 3rd grade class of Miss Eman in Beit Jala and the 4th grade class of Mrs. Schweickart in Milford. 

Miss Eman wrote this account, which is online at the parish website of the Church of the Holy Family, Ramallah, Palestine, the Holy Land – Pastor: Father Faisal Hijazin. It can be found here.

لقاء عبر الانترنت بين مدرسة البطريركية في بيت جالا ومدرسة القديس أندرو في أمريكا

 2011-12-22 02:59

   ضمن برنامج التوأمة مع مدرسة القديس اندرو في ولاية اوهايو في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية ومدرسة البطريركية اللايتينة في بيت جالا جرى يوم الثلاثاء 20/12/2011 أول لقاء عبر الانترنت باستخدام برنامج Skype وهو اللقاء الأول من نوعه جرى في مدارس البطريركية للصفي الثالث الاساسي في المدرسة في بيت جالا وطلاب الصف الرابع من مدرسة سانت اندرو..

وقد تم التغلب على مشكلة الوقت التي واجهت طاقم التحضير لهذا فقد جرى هذا اللقاء في الساعة الرابعة عصرا حسب التوقيت الفلسطيني والساعة التاسعة صباحا حسب التوقيت في ولاية اوهايو وقد تبادل الطرفان الأسئلة حول كيفية التدريس والوقت والحياة المدرسية والاجتماعية من كلا الطرفين وأيضاً تم القاء بعض الأسئلة من كلا الطرفين والإجابة عليها.

 وفي آخر اللقاء تم تبادل تهاني عيد الميلاد المجيد بين الطلاب الصفين وأيضاُ قام طلابنا بتقديم ترتيلة لعيد الميلاد فيا للغة العربية وهم بدورهم رتلوا لعيد الميلاد باللغة الانجليزية.

وقتم تعليمهم بعض الكلمات في اللغة العربية مثل عيد ميلاد وسعيد وغيرها وتم الاتفاق على أن يتم اعاد مثل هذه اللقاءات في المستقبل لما له من آثار ايجابية على الطرفين.
وقد اشرف على تجهيز تقنيات هذا للقاء الاستاذ وسيم كسابرة من مدرسة البطريكية اللاتينية في بيت جالا مسؤول قسم الحاسوب وتكنولوجيا المعلومات في المدرسة بالإضافة الى المعلمة ايمان عمرو معلمة اللغة العربية للصف الثالث التي قامت بتحضير الطلاب لهذا اللقاء وايضاً المعلمة روجيس قمصية المسؤولة الاكاديمية في الادارة العامة لمدارس البطريركية اللاتينية وكذلك الاستاذ سهيل دعيبس من الادارة العامة وبحضور معلمة اللغة الانجليزية المعلمة سهيلة صليبي للصف الثالث ايضاَ.

نتمنى الاستمرار لمثل هذه اللقاءات لسماع الصوت الفلسطيني وسماع الصوت المسيحي لكافة ارجاء العالم .

a bit of Spiritual Genius or a God-Incidence

8 Dec

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Revelation 12:1)

The stained glass window in the sanctuary of our church depicts Mary with head bowed and tilted downward, and with arms folded at her heart. Was it a stroke of spiritual genius or a God-incidence that this window is the one nearest the tabernacle? It is as if she is looking down lovingly at her son in the tabernacle and on the altar. It is as if she is caressing him at her heart, as she held him, body and blood, soul and divinity, when he born to her at Bethlehem, and when he was taken down from the cross and placed in her arms.

After Mass on today’s solemnity of the Immaculate Conception I got on a ladder, and took a photo from Mary’s eyes toward her Son … 

 And then a photo from the tabernacle up toward the window …On this feast of the Immaculate Conception, we place ourselves in her arms for her to hold us. We feel her embrace and her protection. We feel her eyes on us, in her everlastingly motherly way.

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