Confirmation 2018

GroupWe do our best to raise our children in our faith. We bring them to education, share our own experience, celebrate their milestones, try to explore how faith journeys intersect.

Theresa and the Bishop - CopyAt my 40th birthday party, a friend who’d wandered away in the college years talked about how she and her husband were returning to the church. She needed the support. I told her I’d been praying about her return for years, that she was telling me my prayer was answered. I hope to have a moment like that with each of my own children.

The MomentOur children leave us like rockets:  Slowly in the moments after launch. When they clear the tower, accelerating, we say prayers hoping their guidance systems function, that they get to where they’re going, to where only our voices can reach. Lord, help us find the right message. 


A heart is an antenna, reaching out for signals, out as far as it can. May our children’s hearts find our signal.


DSC_0446 - CopyThis morning, 31 children received Holy Eucharist for the first time. Congratulations to all these children and their parents and families. We are happy to welcome you into a deeper participation in Christ’s sacrifice and our faith.

DSC_0125 - CopyIn his Homily, Fr. Konopa talked about the day of his own First Communion. His pastor, teacher, and family put a lot into preparing for and celebrating that day. Next to that, his main duty was to trust and believe.

Everything seemed to go smoothly despite the cancellation on Wednesday of a rehearsal because of snow.

DSC_0137 - CopyA powerful moment came when the children held the lit candles that were given them at their Baptism with the words, “Receive the light of Christ.” They were called, along with the rest of us, to renew their Baptismal promises.

DSC_0152 - CopyOf course, your average second-grader can be, at most, merely at the beginning of understanding the profound mystery of the Holy Eucharist. But isn’t that true of so many moments in our faith journey? For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

It was a beautiful, sunny and warm morning, and truly felt like the first day of Spring. The church was full, and full of celebration, and full of joyful noise unto the Lord.

Thank you, Lord for this day of joy and warmth of heart. Please help us to inspire our children to explore their relationship with you. Draw them into trust in you. Let them never be away from your Spirit. In our arms and beyond us, may they feel your loving embrace.

Panorama1 - Copy

DSC_0029 - CopyIn his Homily this weekend, Dn. Richard Sage looks back to Monday, April 9, when Bishop William Callahan presided at the dedication and blessing of our new parish hall.

3rd_Easter“There was a marvelous spirit that evening. A spirit that was filled with many emotions: satisfaction, accomplishment, ‘we made it!’ The enjoyment of the space, and imagining all the wonderful parish events that it promises to hold in the future. But there was another spirit there as well. I was kind of surprised to hear several people, actually many people, remark that it was also dreamlike, almost surrealistic. It’s really here? Are we really here in our own parish hall?”

DSC_0190 - CopyIt was in every way a wonderful evening. About 350 people tucked into a hall designed to seat 288. When was the last time you saw more Catholics than seats?

DSC_0169 - CopyWe were also fortunate to welcome former pastors Msgr. David Kunz and Fr. Bill Grevatch and other guests from the companies that designed and built our hall.

DSC_0007 - CopyAfter a lovely liturgy of word and music, we sat down to a delicious dinner prepared and served by parish women and men with help from ACS students. The dinner was elegant, tasty, and joyful. Deepest thanks to all who took kitchen duty!

DSC_0180 - CopyWithout a hall for several years, we missed but did not forget the happiness of seeing parish friends who are regulars at a different Mass time. The evening offered time to sit down and really talk with friends we might otherwise see only in passing.

Lord, thank you for the work that you are doing in our midst. Let us also be part of that work. Let us use all resources we have in your service. Let us be your love to all the world.


Hopeful Signs

Here we are, still using the term “wind chill” in April. Yuck. Yet we are also catching another, warmer breeze.

JURAN-Mike-Cathy-Nick-Nate-JonOn Thursday afternoon I stopped into the parish hall to do a little advance work for the bishop’s visit tomorrow. Cathy Juran was busy in the kitchen. We got to talking and she reminded me that we’ve known each other for something like 25 years from our SPX days. Wow.

Cathy has come forward as a servant leader to help with our new kitchen. There are inspiring signs of a new spirit of cooperation. Cathy will coordinate and replenish a basic inventory of supplies that parish organizations such as Chicken Que, Funeral Luncheons, Silver Circle, PCCW, and Men’s Club and others will all share, and contribute their share to support. We are getting our act together!

DSC_0016 - CopyOn Saturday a lot of family gathered around the font to welcome Maximus Andrew into our faith family. Congratulations to his parents, Andrew and Amy Nickelatti.

Something wonderful is happening at MMOC. We are drawing new members, young families, wedding couples. There’s this crackling energy that might be hard to define, but it is real. The Holy Spirit is moving in this parish family.

Lord, let us be alert to signs of your Spirit at work in our lives and our world. Help us appreciate signs of your presence. When we experience darkness, call us to trust in you.

Powerful moments that we experienced as parish family. That’s what I take away from the last few days at MMOC.

Father_and_Allie - CopyOn Holy Thursday, at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, we heard the story of Jesus washing the apostles’ feet. Allie Dunkley was the penultimate of 12 people whose feet Fr. Konopa washed. It was a powerful witness of servant leadership.

Then we recalled when our Lord said “This is my body” and “this is the cup of my blood”. We Catholics take him at his word. That night he made the Eucharist a sacrament we treasure as seal of our covenant. We remember how you loved us…

After the Mass we adored his Eucharistic presence for the first time in our parish hall. For the first time in several years we didn’t have to squeeze into and out of the mother’s room; we could all be together.


LIUM-Ryan-Mary-Jo-MichaelOn Good Friday the mood was somber. We heard Fr. Konopa and Dn. Sage proclaim the Passion story with pauses for musical reflection that were beautiful. We thank our Director of Sacred Music, and our sister in faith, Mary Jo Lium, for all her work these last few weeks. Sadly,  her father recently sustained injuries in a fall that claimed his life on Saturday. Our musicians, who love Mary Jo, honored her by rallying at the Easter Masses. Their music was inspiring and beautiful.

DSC_0005_CopyAfter the traditional Good Friday prayers of petition, Fr. Konopa carried in the cross and we all came forward to venerate the sacrifice that happened on that wood. I think about Mary, his mother, our mother, standing there, looking up at her son dying, not fully understanding yet trusting, pierced by the sword of grief. I imagine the resurrected Lord appearing to his mother. Of course, he would have done so, and what a moment that must have been!

Easter_FireOn a cold, breezy Holy Saturday evening we gathered for the Vigil Mass. The Easter fire, the antiphon (sung so wonderfully by Dn. Sage), and the several readings trace the arc of our relationship with God, our light in darkness. It all culminates with the empty tomb. Our faith rests on knowing that he rose.

I confess a child-like fascination with the Easter Fire and the candles we all hold during the Mass. It’s easy to imagine early Christians huddling around a fire in the desert chill after the Lord was put to death. Yet watching people light each other’s candle speaks of spreading the Holy Spirit.

The feeling I take away from the last few days at MMOC is gratitude. Grateful for the God who loves us, the Son who saves us, the Spirit who sustains us. Grateful for my brothers and sisters in faith. Grateful for the warm blanket of love that is our parish family.

DSC_0006 - CopyWe had a grand morning today at MMOC. Truly we did.

DSC_0032 - CopyOur Men’s Club, though it has been 6 years, were a right full crew back in stride with flipping pancakes and sausages, and attending to everything in the wonderful kitchen we now have. And they looked very keen in the new aprons. The most serious glitch I heard this morning was about coffee thermoses. Yeah, we’re gonna work this out, as a family.


In two waves after Masses, there was so much happiness to have this space in which to just enjoy catching up with each other.

And it was a true joy to sit down and talk with people I otherwise just see in passing. Jennifer and Lance Miller with their toddlers. Cindy Klar managing her circle of grandchildren while Bob was in the kitchen. Don Stoeckly and Amanda Manock and their grand/sons. With so many friends, it was an opportunity to just sit and chat and catch up.

EastAs the years go by, I feel the passage of time most keenly in the lives of my friends’ children. Soon that will be in the lives of my friends’ grandchildren.

The best part is that we have this chance to update. To connect. Members of the Men’s Club should sit one out, once in a while, of the kitchen duties, so they can enjoy the dining room. Andy Foley sat down and had great fun telling about his children.

This morning was a moment in time and space to reconnect with the brothers and sisters who are our parish family. Our Christian instinct it to pull together and serve each other. Let us find ways to extend this experience wider, to reach out, to include, to draw more people in. Sr. Kathy introduced me to a new one of her Franciscan sisters. Let’s draw people in.

Parish Breakfast


Bob Mahr serves Peggy Baumler.

Next Sunday, March 18, our Men’s Club will serve a pancake breakfast after the 8:00 and 10:00 Masses. Parish breakfast is one of our favorites, a chance to chat and catch up with friends, to greet and enjoy our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Unless I’m mistaken, the last parish breakfast served on our campus was a mother-daughter breakfast, hosted by the PCCW and served by the Men’s Club, on 22 April 2012.


That was almost 6 years ago! It is extraordinary to reflect on all that has happened since that morning. Things we never imagined would happen, happened. A building came down. A fund and a new hall rose up.

And now we have this wonderful space, this blessing, in which to embrace and enjoy our parish family. Over pancakes and sausage. Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.