Sunday, July 4, 2010

Week Two in Eufaula: Happy Fourth of July!

Happy 4th of July Ya'll!

This time last year I was in China beginning a summer with the Maryknollers. Hard to believe. That frame of reference adds deeper meaning for me as I celebrate our Independence Day here in Eufaula. How blessed we are to live in "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave." Free to worship as we feel called. Free to live in peace amongst races and creeds from all over the world. Truly we are Blessed! May we take time today and be thankful for the many who have sacrificed so deeply for us to live as we do today in the United States.

Speaking of China, recently 5 other seminarians who are studying in Rome with me at the North American College arrived in China to begin their summer with Maryknoll. Keep them in your prayers as they are immersed in all things Chinese...carrying the love of Christ with them as they go. Here is a link to Fr. Brian Barrons' blog. He is the priest that hosted three of us last summer. He is from Lansing, Michigan and is into his 26th year as a Maryknoll priest.
(Here is a link to a post I did back in October, in which I reflected upon my summer in China with Maryknoll---CLICK HERE)

Father Brian co-hosting his popular Chinese radio show (one of his many inventive ways of reaching the Chinese people)

Fr. Brian receiving an award for the success of his radio show and the great community services he promoted with it

Well, another week has flown by in Eufaula. People keep saying this is a "sleepy town" but I have yet to experience that side of things.

Holy Trinity, AL:

Today was a unique 4th of July experience. We had English Mass at 9am. Coffee and Donuts in the parish hall afterwards. Then Spanish Mass at 12pm. Then we grabbed a quick bite and drove down to Holy Trinity, AL for a funeral mass at 3PM followed by a graveside service. A newborn boy named Sebastiano died sometime last week.

Holy Trinity, AL is located about 40 minutes North of Eufaula. In 1917, Father Thomas Augustine Judge, a missionary priest, came and celebrated the first Mass in this area responding to a call from Southern Catholics hungry for the Sacraments. There Father Judge converted a humble, white log cabin into a shrine/living quarters and began his ministry of simple and humble love. From this humble beginning Father Judge founded a religious order for both men and women which now has spread around the world--largely the United States and South America. The first sisters that Fr. Judge recruited lived in a converted Chicken Coop!

Fr. Judge's Shrine

This Shrine has been a powerful place of prayer for so many over the years. Here is how one priest reflected on this holy site in 1958:

If you are looking for the greatness of a man, you will find the indelible portrait of his greatness etched in the environment which has produced him. And, again, you will find the image of his spirit fused and welded into the souls of the disciples who have chosen to follow in his footsteps. This is the severe test which Time and History make of human values. This is the final proof which Time and History demand of all those daring to soar high above the earth and their fellows on the fragile wings of human love for God. This is why this little chapel is the most precious thing we possess. It is so much like a Bethlehem for us. Every worm-eaten board, the palsied doors, the chipping white-wash, the little altar trembling at each step, is eloquent with the memory of Father Judge. Here, on all sides, is the crushing grip of God's love which bred him for his saintly apostolate.

Although the headquarters of Father Judge's Order--the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity--has since moved to Philadelphia, Holy Trinity continues not only to preserve but to continue the Mission Father Judge started. Today, Holy Trinity is home to several religious brothers, priests, and sisters. Also it is home to the Blessed Trinity Shrine retreat center. Anyone is welcome to go and spend a couple days of retreat in this beautiful rural setting. Here is there website---I recommend taking a minute to check it out, and even more so...considering taking a retreat for a couple days sometime this year--a time just for you and God to be alone with one another. For you to rest. Be still. Listen. And know that God is God...and you are you. That you are alive. That your life is a gift. That life is a mystery. To grow comfortable with that reality. Anyways...check out the website:

Who would have thought there was something like this in rural Alabama???!!!!

All that to say, it was a blessing to have the funeral at Holy Trinity today. Fittingly, the funeral was held there because the Missionaries offered a burial plot free of charge to the Hispanic family that had just lost their child. I found it so fitting and inspiring, that 100 years later, the humble spirit of Fr. Judge lives on....welcoming a poor child to rest near his own humble grave...near his own humble abode.

Father and I got back to Eufaula today around 5PM. Both pretty wiped, we decided to just stay in, eat dinner, and watch a movie. Earlier this week, Father David discovered something about me that everyone finds out sooner than later---I am horribly ignorant of classic/well known movies. For example, I have never seen Indian Jones I, II, or III. I am sorry if I just gravely offended someone out there! hahaha

The Magnificent 7:

So, today Father introduced me to the Grand-Poo-Paw of Westerners---The Magnificent Seven. And I must admit, it was Magnificent. I suddenly want to buy a 6-shooter and settle all conflict in my life with duels. Interestingly, Father told me that this was based on a famous Japanese story called the Seven Samurais. Supposedly there are many thematic ties between Samurais and Cowboys that I was previously unaware of. If you haven't seen must.

OK. Other than todays events I'd like to share a look into two other events this week.

Yard Work:

Like I mentioned last week--Thursday is yard work day here at Holy Redeemer. Being a small parish, Holy Redeemer cannot afford to pay people to come and clean, cut grass, cook, or anything of the sort. Thus, parishioners must all chip-in with their time, talent, and sweat to keep things up around here. I have really enjoyed been a part of that chipping-in. Especially after two years of intense Philosophical and Theological study...there is something refreshingly existential about wielding a weed-eater.


There is also something refreshing about seeing Santa Claus doing yard work:

Father/Santa's Rein-John-Deer.....get it?

And you thought Santa only worked indoors on wooden toys....


This Saturday I returned to Union Springs to teach a Bible School/Grammar Class to the kids living in the Union Springs trailer park. I recruited the help of my younger sister Chuck (aka Charlotte) and my step-niece Maddie for the day.

Since Chuck will be going to live in Peru for 18 months, I thought this could be a nice way for her to get warmed up....and to help me manage about 22 kids between the age of 5 and 12! Maddie being 9 yrs old herself, was another great help. She took care of one of the shy and timid 6-yr old girls in the class.

Here are some shots from our afternoon together:

Chuck with some girls on the porch of our trailer

Kids arming themselves with the "helmet of salvation" and "sword of the Spirit"
(cf Ephesians 6)

Working on telling time....

Future minds of America

So that is my report for the week. Thanks to everyone here in Eufaula for such a warm welcome here so far. It is great to be here.

Next Sunday's Gospel:

(Reminder: The idea here is that we each take time to read over, reflect, meditate, and pray with this passage throughout the week. Just try 5 minutes each day to start. This passage is part of the Liturgy for Mass this coming Sunday. It is a way for each of us to be connected in our journey of well as being connected to all Catholics around the world who will hear this same Gospel proclaimed at Mass this coming Sunday.)

Luke 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said,
"Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law?
How do you read it?"
He said in reply,
You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself."
He replied to him, "You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live."

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
"And who is my neighbor?"
Jesus replied,
"A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
'Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.'
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers' victim?"
He answered, "The one who treated him with mercy."
Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."


Happy 4th!

Let's pray for one another this upcoming week.

Let me know if you ever have a specific intention.

Peace, Love, and Independence!

No comments:

Post a Comment