Bishop Wall to visit Oct 13/14

09-30-2012Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On the weekend, of October 13 and 14, we are fortunate to have Bishop James Wall with us for all the Masses. Many of you knew him as Fr. Jim Wall because he was assigned here at St. Joan of Arc for a few weeks. He is a personal friend of mine as well as the bishop for the Diocese of Gallup.

When then Fr. Jim lived in Phoenix, we would often get together to see a movie, enjoy a meal or go mountain biking. That is how we thought our friendship would continue for years to come. Our Lord obviously had very different plans for him. As a faithful servant of the Church, we are called to go wherever and whenever we are needed. This is done in obedience and is part of the promises we make to God when we are ordained.

Bishop Wall has been called by Our Lord to serve the people of the Diocese of Gallup and he does so with heroic virtue, humble patience, and a willing heart. His diocese has many needs and many hopes. Some of our parishioners are familiar with the poverty that many families in Gallup experience. Our annual St. Michael Adopt-a-Family program goes a long way to assist those in need but still much has to be done. Bishop Wall has the opportunity and challenge to continue to enable our brothers and sisters to encounter the living Christ.


The Year of Faith

09-23-2012Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On Monday, October 17, 2011 Pope Benedict XVI reminded the world about the New Evangelization the Blessed John Paul II spoke about so often. This is at the heart of the bringing others to an encounter with the living Christ. This needs to be our focus as Catholics for the Year of Faith. We are a missionary Church. Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that we are living in a new missionary age that is called to proclaim the life giving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Catholics ARE missionaries. We bring others to Christ and Christ to others!

The term "New Evangelization" is a favorite and powerful phrase of Pope Benedict XVI - as it was of his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II. The secular and Catholic world is in desperate need for a new evangelization. Those who were once influenced by Christianity have rejected the faith and believe religion is a thing of the past. Tragically, many Catholics do not know what the Catholic Church actually teaches and have left the Church for all the wrong reasons. Others practice a "cafeteria Catholicism"- choosing what parts of the faith they like and rejecting those parts that do not fit into their lifestyle. Some wrongly think that going to Mass is all they need to do to get to heaven. This had led many to wrongly believe that there is a separation between faith and life. This sort of thinking has led some have rejected God completely!


Take up your cross

09-16-2012Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our Lord reminds us today, and everyday that his mission involves the cross. Suffering, rejection and death was central to Our Lord's mission. This is not an attractive mission. But that is not the whole mission. We have hope because we know that Our Lord is to "rise after three days." Jesus offers us an invitation to walk in his footsteps. "Follow me," he says. Take up your cross and follow me. This is not an easy invitation to respond to. No one likes to suffer. So how do we find the hope and the courage to respond to Our Lord's invitation like the millions of Catholics who have gone before us?

I sometimes read about Christian martyrs and ask myself if I would be able to do what they did for Christ. If you have seen the movie "For Greater Glory" then you saw the martyrdom of Blessed Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio. The federals tortured the boy by cutting off the soles of his feet and forcing him to walk on stones. The torture would stop, they said, if he would say, "Long live the government." Through his tears, Blessed Jose Luis said, "Viva Cristo Reyo - Long live Christ the King."


What Belongs to God? (part IV of IV)

09-02-2012Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This week I would like to offer you step three of three steps to being a good steward.

Step 3Treasure: Here it comes, right – the money pitch. Wrong!We have to understand that giving money is one of the vehicles by which we can exercise our Christian call to respond to God’s generosity. There is a sacramental aspect there–using something earthly, something human to exercise our call to be disciples of Christ.

I know people find it hard to pledge what they will give in the up-coming year, but look upon it as discipline or training for giving. Like athletes exercise to strengthen themselves for their sport, so disciplined giving helps us grow in generosity. When we discipline ourselves in the ways of Our Lord,we grown in holiness. Discipline helps us to focus on what is truly important. When people complain about church related issues, it is often a sign that they have not practiced discipline in their own life. This story helps explain what I mean.


What Belongs to God? (part III of IV)

08-26-2012Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This week I would like to offer you step two of three steps to being a good steward.

Step 2
How about talent? Use the talents you have to give to God in gratitude for all He has given you. Everybody has talents and some many talents. We are called by God to share those talents with others. Putting our talents to use for others is not the same as "helping father." It is recognizing God's blessings, thanking Him, and putting them to use, because that is our pathway through this life to salvation. It is the beginning of that salvation how. A bit of heaven on earth.


What Belongs to God? (part II of IV)

08-19-2012Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This week I would like to offer you step one of three steps on being a good steward.

Step 1
To make it all understandable and livable, stewardship – what we do in the response to the call to live as disciples of Christ – a call that each of us has received at his or her baptism – has been divided into the 3 t's: time, talent, and treasure.

I'm going to start with time. Of course we know that our time is limited. We also know that the greatest gift is love but the most valued gift is time. Each of us has the same 1,440 minutes in a day, 168 hours a week. Some people say it would be nice to have another day in the week, but I say we have enough. If we added a day, it would just be another day for work. If it would be a day of rest – golf, or the beach – that would be fine. But, knowing how we are, it would probably be work.


What Belongs to God?

08-12-2012Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our Lord has told us that we are to "give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." At least the IRS in our country makes it clear what goes to Caesar – what we owe for taxes.

It's the second half of that, "give to God what belongs to God," that can be the greater challenge. Such giving or stewardship before God is never limited solely to money. Rather, this quality of stewardship means that we offer, as a gift, all that we have received from God. Everything – it all belongs to God. So, what do we do? So how are we supposed to respond to God's generosity?

Stewardship is the name given to what a disciple of Christ does to respond to that question or challenge: We receive God's gifts gratefully, nurture them responsibly, share them justly and charitably and return them abundantly.


How Should you dress for Mass in the Summer? (Part I of II)

07-08-2012Pastor's LetterFr Don Kilne

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

With the hot weather it is a good time to remember the importance of dressing appropriately for church. Sometimes during the summer people forget that they are going to the Lord's house for worship, and confuse it with a trip to the beach. Therefore I would like to remind everyone, men and women, boys and girls, about the virtue of modesty.

Modesty is part of the virtue of purity. Modesty may vary from one culture to another, but there is nonetheless a universal intuition which seeks to respect the dignity proper to every person. The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of it this way: "Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden...It inspires one's choice of clothing." 

Every person is made in the image and likeness of God, and the human body reflects this mystery. Although there is not much cultural support for this view, parents need to teach their children that their body is not something to be exposed for the world's voyeuristic explorations. As the Catechism states, "Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person." And if parents fail to teach their children how to dress with dignity, it is highly unlikely that anyone else will.

God Bless,
Fr. Don Kline, Pastor


Freedom of worship or Freedom of religion?

07-01-2012Pastor's LetterFr. John

Dear Friends,

Over this past year I've noticed that Secretary of State Clinton often refers to freedom of "worship" and not freedom of religion. I wondered why the shift especially coming from the US State Department, which historically has pushed for freedom of religion throughout the world for generations. Well it appears, at least according to the State Department that the reason for the shift is that talk of religious freedom sort of spooks out many Muslim nations. That is because religious liberty is not seen by them as a right and often is seen as a threat to Islam. (Christianity also was wary of religious freedom prior to the 18th century and the Church eventually settled on the position that Christianity and Religious Liberty are not incompatible. This is something Islam has yet to work out.) Hence the State Dept. believes it can push many of these countries to allow at least freedom of worship, that is; non-Muslims living in Muslim nations be permitted to non-Islamic worship so long as it is contained in the four walls of a church, synagogue or ashram. The official line then from the Secretary of State is that the Administration is demonstrating "sensitivity" to Islamic nations.

While this may work as a short term diplomatic strategy to work up to an insistence on religious freedom as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and inscribed in the U.S. Bill of Rights, it should not be the policy stance of the US. Unfortunately the Secretary of State has also used the term "freedom of worship" in reference to the US and seems to be adopting this limited notion of religious freedom as the Administration's official interpretation of the First Amendment in order to justify policies that run afoul of our long held and broad understanding of religious freedom. I must say it was a very subtle and clever shift, which I guess the State Department figured would go unnoticed or that people would equate the two as synonymous. But it has been noticed and they are not synonymous.

It is a bit of historical irony that the Church who initially held that a restrictive version of religious freedom was preferable to the more liberal vision held by our nations founders, now finds itself defending a robust right to religious freedom against national leaders who have a narrower view of religious liberty! In our own case we can thank Fr. John Courtney Murray, a US priest who provided a solid theological basis for religious freedom that put aside once for all any Catholic concerns with an unfettered right to religious freedom. His classic work: "We hold these Truths: Catholic Reflections on the American Proposition" is still worth a read. In it he successfully argues that the idea of a limited government and the separation of Church and state allows citizens the opportunity to have moral control over their own religious beliefs instead of being told what to believe by a paternalistic state. For us that is a no-brainer but there was a time when these ideas were new and threatening.