20 June 2013

Calling all TECites: Let's give thanks for TEC

For the past several months I have served as the Spiritual Director for Great River Teens Encounter Christ.  Since my first weekend in 1995, the TEC movement has had a profound impact on my life.  Through it, I have come to a deeper knowledge and love of Jesus Christ and have made many true and faithful friends.

As I look ahead to my coming studies in Rome, I realize that I will have to step aside for some years, which was the topic of my recent column for The Wheat Field:
Before reciting the Regina Caeli in St. Peter’s Square on Pentecost with representatives from various movements within the Church, Pope Francis said to them, “I would like to thank all the Movements, Associations, Communities and Ecclesial groups. You are a gift and a treasure for the Church! This is what you are!”

As I look ahead to July 1st when I will conclude my present assignment as Priest Secretary and Master of Ceremonies to the Bishop and Associate Director of the Office for Vocations (I managed to fit all of that on a business card) to begin graduate studies in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, I wish to make Pope Francis’ words my own and to say to you, the members the spiritual movement of Great River Teens Encounter Christ, “You are a gift and a treasure for the Church!  This is what you are!”  Not only that; you are a gift and a treasure for me!

Beginning with my first TEC in 1996 – TEC 162 – I have been on a dozen TECs and several Mini-TECs and Quests and each of them, varied as they were, served to draw me closer to Jesus Christ and deeper into the communion of his Church.  It was, I daresay, on my first TEC weekend that my call to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ was confirmed for me through a profound experience during the Stations of the Cross and the singing of “Watch the Lamb.”  So it is that Great River TEC has always held a dear and special place in my heart.

As I look now to the adventure that lies before me over the next three years in the Eternal City, I wish to offer the Holy Mass in Thanksgiving for Great River Teens Encounter Christ with as many of you as possible.  To this end, I will celebrate the Mass in the retreat center chapel on Tuesday, July 2nd at 6:30 p.m.  Following the Mass, a recruitment party will be held to ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit in inviting others to encounter Christ through the TEC movement.

When he spoke to the various religious movements, the Holy Father went on to say, “Always bring with you the power of the Gospel! Do not be afraid! Always have joy and passion for communion in the Church!”  The power of the Gospel is found in the communion of the Church, in the unity granted to the faithful in the Most Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of Unity, in which the Lord Jesus keeps his promise to be with us always (cf. Matthew 28:20).

As I humbly submit my resignation as Spiritual Director of Great River Teens Encounter Christ, effective July 1, 2013, I urge you to remember that everything we do as a spiritual movement within Church should lead each of us - candidates, Wheaties, and adult team - to a greater love and devotion to the Eucharist, to Jesus Christ present among us in a real and substantial way.  I thank you for your many prayers and encouragements over the years and ask your continued prayers for me.  Please know that I will remember you often, and future TEC weekends, at the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul!

16 June 2013

Happy Father's Day

I'm the one walking.
The more that read the letters of the sub-creator of Middle earth, the more I am drawn to Tolkien.  So much wisdom and profundity is contained within them that is just as great - if not greater - than what he wrote in the Lord of the Rings.

As just one example, consider this excerpt from a letter he wrote to his son Michael - who at the time was an Officer Cadet in the Royal Military College - in June of 1941:
Still you are my flesh and blood, and carry on the name. It is something to be the father of a good young soldier. Can't you see why I care so much about you, and why all that you do concerns me so closely? Still, let us both take heart of hope and faith. The link between father and son is not only of the perishable flesh: it must have something of aeternitas about it. There is a place called 'heaven' where the good here unfinished is completed; and where the stories unwritten, and the hopes unfulfilled, are continued. We may laugh together yet... 
Until then, Dad, know that I love and miss you!

07 June 2013

Call to Prayer, Pledge to Fast

The summons to prayer today from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty in their ongoing Call to Prayer, Pledge to Fast campaign is for the following intention:
On this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,a Heart which has loved men so much, we ask Christ to help us love our Church and country courageously, for the glory of God.
Please join our Bishops, fellow Catholics, and people of good will in praying for this important intention.

If you haven't yet signed up to join the campaign, I encourage you to do so; when you sign up, you can receive the Friday prayer intentions via e-mail or text message (or both).