Sunday, December 30, 2012

(107) The Holy Family and Our Own Particular Families


Fr. Tim Davison
 Sts. Peter and Paul Parish-Tulsa
1436 N. 67th E. Ave. , Tulsa 74115
(918) 836-2596

             Fr. Tim Davison was born and raised in Gallipolis, Ohio and is a product of St. Louis Church there.  Currently, he is pastor of a large parish in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  While visiting his ailing father, he gave this very eloquent and meaningful sermon on the Feast of the Holy Family December 27, 2009 in the church where he grew up.  It's a beautiful reflection on the Holy Family and what the Christian family should be.

THE HOLY FAMILY AND OUR PARTICULAR FAMILIES
By Fr. Tim Davison

For Christians the Holy Family is the most perfect example of what every Christian family should be.  And we need models to help us to strive toward the very best family possible.  What do we see in the Holy Family living together in Nazareth that families today can try to imitate?

            Obedience. St. Luke tells us that Jesus, the Son of God was obedient to Mary and Joseph.  And so we see obedience as one of the virtues that even Jesus practiced in His youth.  It is a fact that many children would do well to imitate.  Obedience to parents is a Christian virtue that can incline children to practice a loving obedience toward God which is so vital for the Christian development.  As long as parents are not commanding their children to sin, the children should obey their parents as the representatives of God, Our Heavenly Father.  That is why the Fourth Commandment is listed as the first one among the ones that deal with our relationship toward our neighbor.

            As a priest I have seen how destructive toward the family’s peace and well-being is the spirit of disobedience.

            Prayer & Teaching the Faith. What else do we see in the Holy Family that families today should seek to imitate?  Undoubtedly Mary and Joseph taught Jesus His prayers and gave Him good example by their own lives of piety and reverence toward God and the holy things of God.  They took Him to Jerusalem, the center of their religious practice of the faith, and fulfilled the precepts of the Jewish religious law.  Jesus, even though He was God’s Son, still grew in human understanding and love as He practiced His Jewish religion.  In observing the religious law the Holy Family left us an example.  Prayer and obedience to God’s law are part of the picture for a family that is a school for Christian life.  How many families neglect daily prayer together and obedience to God’s commands to their own detriment.

            Work Ethic. Another important element that we see in the Holy Family’s life together is work.  Certainly there were times of rest, but also time to work in the home or in the shop.  Idleness and wasting time were not part of the picture for the Holy Family nor should they be for families today.

            Helpfulness, Generosity, and Sensitivity to the Needs of Family Members. Along with work comes helpfulness to one another.  Thinking of others and their needs, being generous in offering help to each other, and overcoming laziness is a very important aspect of life for a Christian family that desires to live in a holy way.  Again, the family is a school to teach the virtues that children need in order to mature in the faith and learn to put their gifts at the service of one another.  Healthy family life is hard work in itself.  There are many setbacks and headaches and heartaches along the way. 

            Some Silence. But through it all Christian families should keep in view the life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in Nazareth.  How much silence was observed in that holy house?  I can imagine that there was ample opportunity for silent reflection to occur.  Is that possible in modern homes?  Anything is possible if one truly desires it.  Perhaps it is recognizing the value of silence that has been forgotten today in many homes.

            The family today experiences many challenges.  So many marriages fail.  So many distractions are present in the homes with the tv and internet, and all the many social activities that children are involved in at school, etc.  It can be very difficult to find time together in a meaningful and constructive way.  At times the parents have to stop and really think deeply about how to make sure that their family is a school for teaching true Christian virtues and values.  It takes a lot of prayer and a lot of work to create a true domestic Church where God is obeyed, loved, and honored and where each member of the family is truly helped to live a Christian life.

            The family is the basic building block of any society.  A society is only as strong as its families.  Holy families that pray together especially the holy rosary are helping to build a strong tomorrow for the Church and Society.  It is certainly worth all the hard work and effort involved because where there are healthy, happy, generous, and obedient children and where parents are truly guiding and teaching the children the Christian virtues the whole society benefits.  Let us pray to the Holy Family of Nazareth……Jesus, Mary and Joseph for all families today. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

(106) Review of the Visit of the Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Marian Prayer Program of the Knights of Columbus at St. Louis Church Gallipolis December 11-16, 2012

AMDG
The Inauguration of the Marian Prayer Program at the National Convention August 2011






The Knights of Columbus is sending the Pilgrim Image to parishes all over the U.S. for a day or two in its 2011-2013 Marian Prayer Program as part of the New Evangelization.  Each of its 72 jurisdictions (each state, almost every province in Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, Dominican Republic, Guam, and Puerto Rico) has a copy of the image to circulate an image.  This image touched the original image and the frame has some of the earth from where Mary appeared.  See http://www.kofc.org/un/en/service/church/marian/index.html.

    
REVIEW OF THE VISIT OF THE PILGRIM IMAGE OF GUADALUPE:
THE MARIAN PRAYER PROGRAM OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
St. Louis Church Gallipolis December 11-December 16, 2012

            Only eight weeks after receiving the statue of the International Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima, St. Louis Church Gallipolis, Ohio was especially privileged and blessed to receive the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe from the Knights of Columbus on her great feast day, December 12.  

Very important was to prepare the people for the image on the two previous Sundays with announcements in the bulletin and from the pulpit.  To really appreciate the image, it is imperative to understand the history and meaning of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Thus Paul Sebastian, one of the knights of Council 3335, wrote two bulletin inserts (2 pages each) to help to prepare the people for the Pilgrim Image.  More detail and photos are included in two December blogs at http://paulrsebastianphd.blogspot.com.   

After hearing that a member of one council didn’t even know who the image was after the visit, we asked our pastor to briefly explain from the pulpit the importance of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a little of its history since many don’t read the church bulletin and don’t regularly attend Mass every Sunday.  We opened the viewing of the image to the public with a blurb in the local newspaper promised by the editor for five consecutive days and left the church opened through most of the weekend of December 14-16 in addition to the feast day itself on December 12.

The Knights of Columbus gave us no such information on the history and meaning of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe nor anything about what they were trying to accomplish with this wonderful initiative of their Marian Prayer Program.  Thus we found on www.kofc.org the letter of Carl A. Anderson, the Supreme Knight on the “Mother of the Civilization of Love” (See http://www.kofc.org/un/en/resources/service/church/olog_letter.pdf) and read it to the membership at the Council meeting the day before the arrival.  Furthermore, we put notices in the bulletin and send out e-mails to as many parishioners and knights as possible.  We were, however, happy to receive prayer pamphlets and holy pictures that came with the image
.    
Reception of the Image. Because of the death of one of our knights, Don Robinson, our 4th Degree members were occupied with being his honor guard, we did not welcome the image or send it off with a procession of knights in regalia nor did we have a 24 hour honor guard during adoration as we did with the visit of the International Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima October 14-15.  To promote solidarity in the Council, it was proposed that the knights attend a Holy Hour specifically for the K of C, but we could not agree on a common hour. 
    
Bruce Davison, an elder and former Grand Knight of Council 3335 St. Louis Church Gallipolis, picked up the 30 x 18 inch image from the council at Sacred Heart Church Pomeroy, Ohio on Tuesday, December 11.  He placed it on a tripod in front of the main altar at St. Louis.  At 5:30 pm Paul Sebastian gave a talk on the history and meaning of the image.  This was followed by benediction and rosary.  At 7:30 pm he gave another talk in the church basement on Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Unborn with a greater focus on how she transformed a Culture of Death among the Aztecs to a Culture of Life with a comparison to our own Culture of Death.

Eucharistic Adoration. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed for adoration for the next 24 hours through the night of December 11-12 into the great feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Jaga Sebastian signed up two people to commit themselves to adoration during each hour.  Often several would be there.  At 9 am about 12 members of the Latin American community had an hour of rosary and guadalupan song in Spanish with a CD recording of a Mexican Mariachi band to accompany them in tribute to Nuestra SeƱora de Guadalupe.  Having lived near the shrine in Mexico City for a month of language training for my 14 year mission in Peru and visiting it every day, I was moved to tears.  Following Mexican custom, they walked on their knees from the back of the church until each one touched the image.  Other parishioners present were very impressed.  Since Fr. William Myers, our pastor emeritus, with the prodding of Bruce Davison started a monthly Sunday afternoon five hour Eucharistic Adoration in about 2005 with 24 hour adoration for special occasions as the Prayer Vigil for Life December 8/9 and the Visit of the Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima, this was our best participation ever for Eucharistic Adoration.

The image has an official certification from the Rector of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City as being an authentic copy.  This is important because many copies have a slightly different tint and there are many versions.  Just the same as the original image in Guadalupe, the facsimile looks even more beautiful and vibrant from a distance.  The Catholic Women’s club put a bouquet of beautiful pink roses before the image along with a basket for petitions that would be offered at each Mass during the presence of the image. 
 
Closing Days & Summary. The 24 hour Eucharistic Adoration was closed with a well attended Mass and benediction at 5:30 pm in the evening.  The image remained on display below Mary’s altar and statue through the Masses of Sunday December 16.  Then we packed the image in its protective case with this report enclosed and Keith Elliott, the Worthy Navigator of our 4th Degree Assembly, took the image to its next destination.  

 About 100 people attended the special opening talk, benediction, & rosary; the 24 hour Eucharistic Adoration; and Mass on the great feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12.  Probably twice that number saw the image at the well-attended funeral on December 13 plus the three regular Masses of the weekend of December 15-16.  Of course, these figures include double counting of people who saw the image more than once.  The parish is small with about 120 families or 250 faithful.
  
In this way during the 2011-2013 Marian Prayer campaign of the Knights of Columbus, which includes the Year of Faith, Mary is continuing her great mission of nurturing our faith and bringing us closer to her son as she has done over the centuries.