When I was young, the liturgies on Palm Sunday and throughout Holy Week made me SOOoooo uncomfortable.  (cf. 1 Cor 13:11)  I rebelled inside at the idea of our Lord Jesus washing others’ stinky feet, and I yearned to join the battle that St. Peter almost started by lopping off the guard’s ear. I dreaded approaching the wood of the cross to kiss it (too embarrassing!) on Good Friday, and above all I abhorred joining in the Passion Play, being a part of the crowd that chanted, “We want Barabbas!” and “Crucify him!”  I didn’t want to be part of that mob. Many times, I simply stayed silent….  //  LEARN MORE

The Clamor

Sunday Stack

Sunday Stack

I can’t shake last weekend’s Mass readings out of my head.  My initial reaction, when they first approached me as a threesome, was: “Huh?” Because, usually, there is at least a tenuous (if not obvious) connection between the Old Testament Scripture and the Gospel – and sometimes there’s a clear thematic connection between all three.  But I just couldn’t see it at first.  We were given a piece of Job’s lament, then some of St. Paul’s tripping-over-his-own-tongue enthusiasm for the Good News, and then the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law in Mark.  But as I sat staring out the window after Mass, this phrase from the Gospel gently needled me most: “…he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.”

Wow.  Consider with me, please.  These demons know who Jesus Christ is — and oh does He know them. He knows that His name is not safe in their mouths.  He knows that they would only use it to disclose his identity (as their own downfall?!) at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons. Though they could go throughout the world telling of the news of the Messiah’s arrival, they are forbidden to do so….  //  LEARN MORE

Story Time

 “…we all reflect as in a mirror the splendor of the Lord…”     2 Corinthians 3:18

Perhaps you have already noticed, or perhaps today is the day it becomes news to you:  Fr. J.J., our associate priests, parish council, commissions, and staff have been making a gradual, purposeful push for you (yes, you!) to be able to tell others about your love story with the God who is Love.

One of the first steps toward being able to tell that story is recognizing that there is one, and then realizing that even though the story is ongoing/never-ending, it’s still important to be able to pick out key parts of it to relay to others for their benefit as well as our own.  Jesus passionately wants you and me to do this!

So, in fairness, here is part of my story….  //  LEARN MORE


When I was little, our home’s single-paned windows would feature a considerable layer of frosty ice on the inside of them about this time of year.  I used to love to peek out at the street lights, headlights, and Christmas lights through the varying kinds of sparkling rainbows that I could create by scratching at the ice, or breathing on it, or just leaving it alone.  (I bet you can hear my mom, “Marian Donna!  Leave those windows alone!”)  I would most often find myself stationed at those front windows, fidgeting with joyful anticipation, when we were expecting an arrival:  the UPS truck, or party guests, or — best of all — a big sibling home from college.  One Christmas Eve, I swear, I even spied Rudolph’s nose.  I simply couldn’t resist the joy of the waiting, and the pure appropriateness of being on hand for The Big Moment.


Are we like that, still, on this Fourth Sunday of Advent?  Are our souls dancing with anticipation?  Are we unable to stay away from the idea of “Soon!!”?  I hope so.  Because the Holy Family is drawing closer.  Their sparkling radiance invites our wonder.  Their infinite beauty encourages our awe.  The truth, love, and mercy they bring can increasingly make us, in the best sense, innocent again.  So let’s stay on our toes, my friends.  Not to turn them away as did the poor innkeeper who missed his chance, but to throw open the doors of our hearts so as to welcome in our own redemption.

Marian Bart
Parish Catechetical Leader

God’s Fridge

gods-fridge-stephanie-groomsAs the cold weather steadily encroaches, I’ve been grumbling about the dubious wisdom of living here in what seems to be God’s icebox.  Happily, my pessimistic thought processes have been somewhat soothed by remembering author Max Lucado’s sweet message (maybe you’ve heard it before) that “If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning… Face it, friend. He is crazy about you! ”

I do think if God had a fridge, yes, my picture would be on it.  And not just my retouched professional portrait, either, but some real photos of me in action – with all my flaws and all my beauty plain to see, each facet of me treasured by my Father.  I also think all the photos I have ever taken and all the photos I have wanted to take would be there – the ones I remember and the ones I can’t.  Not only that, but I think that God’s fridge would display my other kinds of pictures too:  the stick-figure art I have created for Him in all my human fumbling with the gifts and tools He has given me.  Because when I have offered these almost-nothings (these broken prayers, these small deeds, these clumsy relationships) to Him, he has lovingly accepted them better than a mom with a kitchen full of tissue-paper butterflies and popsicle-stick puppets.  And He has glorified each one of them by His tender mercies…His personal love…His insistence that everything, everything, everything be saved.

Your Pickle,
Marian Bart
Parish Catechetical Leader