Today we celebrate the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time. We return to wearing “green vestments” and to hearing from Saint Matthew’s Gospel. Today we hear Jesus reassure His disciples by reminding them of the tender care of His heavenly Father, an appropriate theme for Father’s Day! Our heavenly Father watches over us assiduously, faithfully, lovingly; every hair on our heads is accounted for. So this weekend, especially, may we all recall all the times our own fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and other father figures … living and dead … made us feel safe and secure with their vigilant care.
Happy Father’s Day: The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time is the feast this weekend but we will have petitions for all dads, living and dead, in the General Intercessions. You probably know all of this, but I find it interesting to note that Father’s Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas. Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there. Since then, of course, it has become an important holiday, not quite to the level of Mother’s Day, celebrated the second Sunday in May, but close.
Fathers’ Day Novena: A lovely custom here to remember all those mentioned above. The cards are in the main lobby of the church. Please list your fathers (and other “father figures”) so we can pray for them during these nine Holy Masses to be prayed for the annual Fathers’ Day Novena.
Please return your envelopes as soon as possible. All the names will be placed under the statue of Saint Joseph in our Church. We thank those who have already requested remembrances at the Nine Masses, which begin today (Sunday, Father’s Day).
Next Sunday we will celebrate the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Each week we are welcomed by other Christians who gather together to celebrate the Eucharist. Next weekend we will hear of a woman and her husband who offer hospitality to the prophet Elisha whenever he went to their city, going so far as furnishing him with a place to stay. May we try to furnish a place in our hearts for our Lord to stay so that we may gain strength and nourishment on our journey to the kingdom.
Gavin Lain: Since late January we have been praying for Gavin, an 8th grader in our school, who suf- fered a traumatic brain injury. Many of our parishioners have been “following” his progress on a great Internet site, CaringBridge. On Friday of this week Gavin was supposed to have had one more surgery. His parents, Michele and Bill, wrote this for the CaringBridge site last weekend: One week until surgery! In just a week Gavin will get his skull put back together!! (I know, that was blunt). Our stay here is almost over. We are sure this week will be a little uneasy, no matter how routine the surgery is, it is still after all, a surgery. Luckily we have a lot of things to try and accomplish still. We got a loaner power chair, so Gavin can start practicing on that. The controls are so much simpler than an Xbox controller, it shouldn’t take long. We have started practicing getting him into Michele’s car and it isn’t too bad. He is able to lift his right foot into the car. There is a vest on order that will hopefully help correct his scoliosis (over the next few months). The therapists today were talking about getting smaller ankle/foot orthotics because his knee control when standing is much improved. God bless. More to come. Gavin. Bill. Michele.
Obviously this my article is written prior to the surgery … but I wanted to keep you up to date, for those who aren’t following his progress on CaringBridge
Please keep him (along with his parents and brothers) in your prayers as he continues his recovery. Thank you for your prayers and other support these past five months. Hopefully the time of his hospitalization is close to an end!
Bishop Steven J. Raica, Fifth Bishop of Birmingham, Alabama: Bishop Steve Raica and I attended Michigan State together back in the early ‘70’s. I graduated in 1972 and Steve graduated in 1973.
Among the 40,000 or so Spartans then, there were a number of young men, heavily influenced by the Vice Chancellor of the Diocese of Lansing, then-Father James S. Sullivan, who found their way to the seminary, with at least six of us having been ordained. Father Sullivan became Bishop Sullivan, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Lansing, in September of 1972. He preached my First Mass back in 1976. Among those with whom I kept in rather close contact was Father (as of October 14, 1978 Steve Raica (along with a classmate of ours, now-Monsignor George Michalek). The Bishop of Lansing, Bishop Kenneth Povish, asked Father Raica to study canon law and he spent over eleven years in Rome, getting his Licentiate, his Doctorate, and then becoming the Superior of the Casa Santa Maria, the house for graduate student priests in Rome (where Father Schumacher was living until the Coronavirus pandemic sent him back to us in March of this year). I visited Fr Raica twice while he was a student and superior of the “Casa.” Father, then Monsignor, Raica became the Chancellor then the Vicar General, of the Diocese of Lansing, as well as being a pastor. On June 27, 2014, just six years ago, he was appointed Bishop of Gaylord, Michigan, in the northern part of the lower peninsula of Michigan. I was very happy to concelebrate his Mass when he was ordained a Bishop on August 28, 2014. As he says, “out of the blue” in mid-March of this year, the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, called him from Washington to tell him that Pope Francis was going to appoint him the Fifth Bishop of Birmingham, Alabama. At 67 he was rather taken aback, thinking that he would spend the last eight years of being a Bishop in Gaylord, not far from his 93 year old mother, who still lives in the family home in Munising, which is not too far away in the Upper Peninsula. BUT, “God’s ways are not our ways,” as the saying goes. So, I will be going to Birmingham, Alabama, Sunday afternoon to participate in the installation of one of my best friends from college, as he becomes the Fifth Bishop of Birmingham. (Of course “Catholic Birmingham” is probably best known for EWTN, so if you are watching a Mass on EWTN and, after Tuesday, when they get to the name of the Bishop in the Eucharistic Prayer, “Steven,” you’ll know that it is my friend they are praying for!) I am told that EWTN will broadcast the installation at 1:30 on Tuesday afternoon, if you care to watch it. REGARD- LESS, please pray for Bishop Raica, the Dioceses of Birmingham and Gaylord, and all those traveling to Birmingham for his installation. Father Westhoff will be handling things here … and I’ll return on Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, have a great Father’s Day and may the Lord continue to watch over and keep you safe!
Fr Joe Weber