Recent News

Recent news and musings by the Catholic Center

 

New Hire at Pius XII Newman Center

Posted by on Oct 10, 2017 at 3:01 pm
Pius XII Newman Center is pleased to announce the creation of an Alumni Relations Director. Julie Lambert, of Madison, SD, begins this new chapter in the Catholic mission to SDSU.
Julie is a wife and mother with many years experience in sales, journalism, and business. She comes to this position with a desire to put her gifts and talents at the service of the Catholic Church. Having sent four children through college, including two Jackrabbits, she is sensitive to the need to provide dynamic and powerful campus ministry.
The Alumni Relations Director that Julie fills was created to empower our Catholic Jacks alumni to develop our Newman Center ministry. We know what motivated alumni can do for a university, but we’ve never harnessed our alumni in this way. Through Julie’s work of motivating and engaging our alumni, Pius XII Newman Center will be able to better fulfill its mission to bring the Catholic faith to SDSU.
If you’d like to visit with Julie, contact her by phone: 605-270-9877 or email: CatholicJacksAlumni [at] sfcatholic.org

 

 

Holy Thursday 2017 Homily

Posted by on Apr 17, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Homily for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

What is the meaning of Jesus’ washing of the disciples feet? How can understanding the feet washing in light of the Old Testament give us greater confidence in the Holy Eucharist?

 

 

All Saints Day Homily

Posted by on Nov 3, 2016 at 5:27 pm

The true answer to our problems will only be found in sanctity and holiness. Come Lord Jesus in your power to transform our lives from weakness and failure by your grace!

 

 

This homily uses the readings for All Saints Day.

 

 

Midnight Mass Homily

Posted by on Dec 25, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Homily from Midnight Mass readings.

 

 

Experience Christmas by imitating the Blessed Mother who adores and contemplates in the freedom of poverty.

 

 

Good Friday 2014

Posted by on Apr 23, 2014 at 8:09 pm

A short homily from the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion.

 

 

I was speaking with a priest from Minnesota one week ago, the Friday before Palm Sunday. He spoke of the rise of sin in the world. He spoke of how people now call morally evil acts to be good. He spoke of how people speak against morally good actions. In fear for the salvation of his flock he even wondered when God when answer with judgment.

Many people speak about God judging the world. Back in 2006 and the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina, some people even spoke that God had issued judgment on New Orleans. Hogwash.

In the Cross of Christ we see God’s judgment on the world. The world is sinful but the world is worth saving. The sinful world is worth saving through the death of Jesus. The sinful world is worth saving through the sufferings of the body of Christ. How will God give new judgment today? In the sufferings of the Body.

We are the Body of Christ. If our world grows more sinful. If our culture grows more sinful, we can expect the Body to suffer. But that is not the end.

 

 

Christmas and an End to Poverty?

Posted by on Dec 28, 2013 at 8:52 am

Merry Christmas!

Yesterday was the Feast of St. John the Apostle. One of the twelve Apostles and one of the four Evangelists (Gospel Writers). In our readings for yesterday’s feast, we heard from his 1st letter and his encounter with Jesus, the invisible Word of God made visible. It brings to mind the emphasis on the spiritual meaning of Christmas.

I am visiting my mother and as I drive around my hometown I see almost a dozen pay-day loan places. That is almost 1/1000 people. This is a sure sign of practical poverty. My mother heard a radio ad promoting a $100 loan at only $0.99 per day. If you took a year to pay off that loan, you’d pay $361.35 to have a $100 today. That is 361.5%! This is NO help to poverty.

How can we help the poor? In this brief note, I don’t want to talk about direct assistance. I want to talk about larger issues. Strategy as opposed to tactics, if you get my drift?

Many people focus on economic systems, tax philosophies, and more. These are good discussions to be had but they are incomplete. Whatever efforts are made in those areas they will be doomed to fail- even decades later. Instead, two things must change if we are to have a real effect on poverty. A conversion of culture and a conversion of souls.

charity

Conversion of culture would effect our view of happiness. I imagine that many pay-day or title loan customers are those who “can’t make ends meet.” What are those ends? It is easy to envision such individuals and households enslaving themselves to such loans for the sake of material possessions beyond what is needed to live. Our culture places happiness in the achieving o

Conversion of culture also includes making time for the best of things. Pursuing the qualities of life that are freeing, the spiritual goods: freedom, love, wisdom, justice, courage, and more. Our cultural focus and obsession on the material blinds us to the pursuit of these greater goods. Unless we equip individuals to be the master of possessions and not mastered by them, we will never end poverty. Being mastered by possessions is called materialism. Much more should be said on this.

Conversion of souls is also necessary for an end to poverty. Most of the exterior solutions: economics, tax policies, and more are superficial changes. Man’s heart has always been the seat of his decisions. You might systemize charity but men will always find loopholes if they have not become charitable. Is our culture aimed at creating people with the habit of charity? Generosity?

 

Conversion of souls also entails how we look at others. Materialism in our culture today leads us to look at an individual solely as a source of material gain or a drain on material supplies. This is an inhuman and inhumane vision. This leads to business owners fearing to share profit margins with employees. This same materialism simultaneously leads to employees begrudging their employers and viewing them has a hindrance or oppressor, rather than a compatriot.

Much more should be said on these points but we do need to refocus our discussion on poverty away from material sources and towards the spiritual/immaterial causes of enduring poverty.

 

 

The harmony of Truth and Love

Posted by on Apr 16, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Today, April 16th, is the 86th birthday of our Pope Emeritus, Benedict. I love Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger. I love his Christian imagination, his heart of prayer, and his gift for teaching. Pope Benedict saved my vocation to the priesthood.

Somewhat. When I was in seminary it was during the pontificat of Blessed John Paul II. Most all of my brothers LOVED JP2 and raved about his writings: the Theology of the Body, Love and Responsibility, Veritatis Splendor, and more. I couldn’t read JP2. I enjoyed what he said, I just hated reading of it. I’m intellectually lazy in some ways.

That always bummed me out and it was a small question in my heart. “Am I NOT supposed to be a priest because I don’t love JP2’s writing?” Then I was assigned to read Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. His writing amazed me. His writing spoke directly and simply to my heart. I had finally found a “Catholic celebrity” to read! All the more exciting then was his elevation to the papacy in 2005, just over a month before I was to be ordained a deacon. What a gift!

Today I want to share a favorite passage of his writings, one of the ones that made me fall in love with theology and see how good writing and teaching can lead hearts- my own included- closer to Jesus. You might find it inaccessible and hard to understand. Don’t worry, this is not a test of your Catholicity but a sharing in the riches God has provided for me. Keep reading good Catholic theologians, though, and you’ll find your own “Catholic celebrity.”

“If an individual is to accept himself, someone must say to him: “It is good that you exist”-must say it, not with words, but with that act of the entire being that we call love. For it is the way of love to will the other’s existence and, at the same time, to bring that existence forth again.

We now come to the all-important question: Is it true, then, when someone says to me: “It is good that you exist”? Is it really good? Is it not possible that that person’s love, which wills my existence, is just a tragic error? If the love that give me courage to exist is not based on truth, then I must, in the end, come to curse the love that deceives me, that maintains in existence something that were better destroyed…

It raises the question of truth: Is it good that I exist? Is it good that anything at all exists? Is the world good? How many persons today would dare to affirm this question from the heart- to believe that it is good that they exist? That is the source of the anxiety and despair that incessantly affects mankind. Love alone is of no avail. It serves no purpose if truth is not on its side. One when truth and love are in harmony can man know joy. For it is truth that makes man free.

The content of the Christian evangelium [Greek word meaning good news, where we get the word Gospel] reads: God finds man so important that he himself has suffered for man. The Cross, which was for Nietzsche the most detestable expression of the negative character of the Christian religion, is in truth the center of the evangelium, the glad tidings: “It is good that you exist.”- no, “It is necessary that you exist.” The Cross is the approbation [formal approval] of our existence, not in words, but in an act so completely radical that it caused God to become flesh and pierced this flesh to the quick; that, to God, it was worth the death of his incarnate Son. One who is so loved that the other identifies his life with this love and no longer desires to live if he is deprived of it; one who is loved even unto death- such a one knows that he is truly loved. But if God so loves us, then we are loved in truth. Then love is truth, and truth is love. Then life is worth living. This is the evangelium [good news]… Christianity is, by its very nature, joy- the ability to be joyful.”

From “Principles of Catholic Theology.” page 80-81.

 

 

Homily for Baptism of the Lord

Posted by on Jan 19, 2013 at 10:39 pm
This Sunday Mass is much different than my last Sunday Mass. Seven days ago I was one of 100 priests at Mass, in a converted conference room with 6,200 people. On this last day of Christmas I would like to give you one last gift by telling you about my trip to Orlando for the FOCUS conference.
I joked this week that a simple sign if our success was that of the 100 of our SDSU students who went, none of them came back with a tan. The talks and prayer times were so well done that our students did not escape to the beach or pool aside from the free time. But what about more personal things?
One of my favorite things is witnessing all the conversion that goes on in their hearts. Especially in confession. On Friday evening, we were to have a special night of prayer, praise and worship, and confessions. The schedule had it running from 9-11pm, so after dinner and a rosary, I went back to my room to nap and then pray a holy hour. Well, my nap got interrupted by a bag of peanut M&M’s. There
went my nap time.  Was tempted to do a half nap and then half a prayer hour.
Thankfully God reminded me to grab a whole prayer hour instead. In my prayer, I was very tired but felt a great love growing inside. I knew Jesus living in me and my priesthood and I knew he wanted to heal souls. So I began to quietly pray for each of my students by name, praying with a father’s love that God would bring healing, conversion and peace to them. As I walked over to where we were to hear
confessions, I was excited for what God would do. In my heart was the thought:
“Jesus desires to make all things new through your priesthood.”
Did he ever! I began hearing confessions a little before 9pm. The next two hours flew by and soon enough the
sounds of praise and worship began to subside but the people kept coming to Jesus in confession. Finally the line reached an end. I heard my last confession and looked at my watch. 12:40am. Over three hours! I stood up to
take off my priestly stole when a voice said: “Father, can you hear one more? It will be a long one.” I answered, “Yes, if you don’t mind a goofy priest.” I finished at 1am.
Around 120 priests heard almost four hours of confession. What were those people seeking? They were seeking Jesus Christ. They weren’t seeking me, Andrew, they weren’t seeking some of the famous preachers who were there, they weren’t seeking the bishops who were hearing confessions as well. They were seeking Jesus Christ.
In the Gospel today we hear the Father speaking, “This is my beloved Son.” The Father was speaking that over His priests down in Orlando and the students heard that voice and sought Jesus. They were asking Jesus to stand in the middle of the
heaviest parts of their life. That night, we priests were less than perfect but more than flesh and bone.
That is everyday as a priest. On Friday I was touring the Dykhouse Student Athlete Center with a football coach. We met some of our Catholic players in the locker room. “Father,” one of them said, “maybe you could bless the tunnel?” He wasn’t asking me, he was really asking Jesus Christ to stand in the center of the most important part of his life.
On these feast of the Baptism of the Lord we recall that Jesus was baptized for two reasons. First, he wanted to stand with us as sinners. Like he still does today when we make our confession to a priest. Second, he wanted to bless and sanctify all waters so that you and I could be baptized to carry his presence within us so that
through your baptized soul, Jesus Christ can be present in the midst of the world. You who are baptized are less than perfect but you are more than flesh and blood.
On the day of your own baptism, you received the spirit of Jesus Christ. You received the Holy Spirit and the Father’s voice proclaimed: “This is my beloved Son.” The more that you hear and understand the truth of his words, the more the world will be blessed and sanctified. Let me explain.

On the last night of the FOCUS Conference a group of students went to “Downtown Disney,” where they found a folksinger at an Irish bar. They closed down the bar in an unusual way. They weren’t drunk but they were drinking. They were joyful in each other’s company as well as their new friends, the musicians. Soon, the students were playing the musician’s guitar, singing and loving life. The power of Jesus Christ was having an effect. Jesus Christ was present in their hearts and, just as important, they were listening to him. These students knew they were less
than perfect but more than flesh and bone.
Soon, the students were praying with and praying over the musician’s girlfriend as she talked about her life, her hopes, and her dreams. But she wasn’t just talking to anyone, she was talking to Jesus Christ living within the baptized soul of those students. We finish today the Christmas season seeing the final Christmas gift. The greatest gift is Christ, born of the flesh in a cave. The final gift is Christ born in your baptized soul if only you would welcome and learn to hear the Father’s
voice: This is my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

 

 

Concerning Hobbits

Posted by on Dec 14, 2012 at 4:41 am

This week, one of my favorite books of all time was released as a movie. “The Hobbit.” At the time of writing this, I haven’t seen it but hope to on Friday night. It’s always dangerous to see a famous book as a movie. The director’s envisioning might be vastly different from your own. With “The Hobbit,” I don’t think too much damage will be done. Hopefully it will spur people to read the book itself. I encourage you to consider buying it for yourself or your teenager.

What is so good about this little book of a fantasy world? It speaks nothing obvious or explicit about Christ or his Church. But it is a powerful story of God’s action on the human soul. You and I are Hobbits. We try to live our lives in comfort. Well fed, well rested, and enjoying a mug of ale. In the book (and hopefully the movie) we read of Bilbo, a hobbit like any other. He likes his warm home, his good food and his comfortable life.

Then something happens that drags him out of comfort and to be stretched for greater glory. His unexpected party and unlooked for adventure. What makes the Hobbit attractive is Bilbo’s growth into greater glory. What happens to Bilbo is by grace or what we might call providence. At the end, Gandalf says to Bilbo: “You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes where managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you, but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all.

You and I are Hobbits. In the words of Pope Benedict, “You were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” At Christmas, we remember the unexpected party and unlooked for adventure of our own lives. Jesus Christ comes from outside ourselves and calls us out of our comfort to a great adventure with Him. We will be stretched for greater glory and our lives will never be the same again.

I hope “The Hobbit” movie lives up to the book. But I hope you read the book and then gain a better understanding of how our Lord calls and moves your soul to greatness.

Here is a good guide for watching/reading the Hobbit:

5 Ways to Watch the Hobbit as a Catholic by Kevin Cotter








 

 

A Wedding Homily

Posted by on May 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm

This homily comes from a recent wedding. It was a great privilege to prepare this couple and to receive their vows. Names have been changed to protect the innocent…

Its a great privilege to preach the homily today and since I know the couple well, I’d like to start off how I’ve always wanted to: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join together this couple in holy matrimony!” Ah, that was nice. But it raises a question. What are we doing here today?

I wager our couple knows why they are here but do we know why they are here? Thankfully, I believe they left clues to WHY they are here and WHAT they are doing. So, the two of you can relax, take a nap, for the rest of this homily is for your friends.

Our couple is here for a specific purpose. Marriage is obviously the why and what of this day but what sort of marriage is it? Why do they find it a good marriage and a good thing to do? Our couple left us three clues to find our answer.

The first clue is in the first reading. Tobias names a purpose for his marriage to Sarah. We hear it in his prayer. “I do not take this women out of lust but for a noble purpose.” Hat does Tobias mean? Is he sexually aloof in some way? Is he insulting the beauty of his bride? Neither. Tobias is saying that marriage and even the most personal action of marriage is related God and a larger purpose.

He is saying that marriage isn’t about the two of them alone but what the two of them can and will do for others. If we know the rest of the story of Tobias we see how they become a source God’s blessing for his chosen people. So the first answer is this: this couple’s marriage isn’t just for them but for you and the whole world.

The second clue is found in our Gospel. The wedding feast of Cana isn’t just a story of wine and the ancient Rude Band. No. The Wedding Feast of Cana is a revelation of God’s love in Jesus Christ. He is the center of the story, his love, his gift, and his miracle are at the center, we don’t even know the couple’s names! Jesus is the wine given in the miracle. Like this couple, we all know our own sadness, dryness, and difficulties. We all know of our need for the new and joy-filled wine of Jesus Christ. In this month of May, a month of Mary, we cry out for wine! Jesus, give me this wine!

This Gospel reveals Jesus Christ to the world in his first miracle. That is why it is a luminous mystery of the Rosary, because it reveals Jesus to us. This is our second answer: our couple’s purpose of their wedding isn’t just for them but for the whole world, why? So that like that anonymous couple in Cana they might reveal Jesus to the world, not just accidentally- from their poverty- but also from their deliberate cooperation.

Dear couple, those of us here turn to you like the blessed Mother turned to Jesus and we say, “We have no wine!” We are dead in sin and sadness and we need the wine of Jesus! We need you to show us the face of his love! We need you to bring Jesus to this world!

Our third clue from from the couple is in the reading from Romans 12. Here St. Paul exhorts the Church in Rome to not be conformed to the age but to be renewed by the Holy Spirit. This has been a challenge for all Christians; do not be conformed to the age. Think of the challenges to marriage in our own day, financial stress, culture of divorce, objectification and more. How much more are these challenges present for couples that purposefully wish to live their marriage as a revelation of Jesus? If we ask this couple to bring Jesus to us t

hen we must help them to receive Jesus as well.

This is our third clue: we must intercede and pray for this couple, not just today but throughout their married life. They want to bring Jesus to us, they want to bring the fight to Satan, and we must assist them. In a few moments, as they make their vows, you make your prayers. Pray from those
deep desires of your heart, your own desire for the wine of Jesus Christ. In a few moments more, as we kneel at the foot of the altar, pray for them. At the foot of the altar, all of us, by the Holy Spirit are at the mystery of Calvary, let us pray for them their. Let us pray for them when they receive Holy Communion: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, pray that they will always receive the Love and Life of Jesus to bring Him to us.

Dear couple, we know why you are here. You are here to bring Jesus to each other and to us in your married love. We need that wine of Jesus. We, your family and friends, promise to pray for you. Are you ready to make your promises? Then come forward with your wedding party.

 

Older Posts »