Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Put out into the Deep!"

Hey gang, just by way of reminder and follow up from the bulletin this week. Lent is always a good time to explore new ways to grow closer to the Father and deepen our relationship with the Son! Here are a few opportunities for that:

1. We're celebrating a 7pm Mass on Wednesday night during Lent. All are welcome. It's the daily Mass and is usually over in 25 minutes or so.

2. Tuesdays during Lent, starting March 6th will be Pew Perspectives.  The Spirit & Life Committee at MQP has developed this unique format of inviting parishioners to offer insights and perspectives into their own faith life.  Pew Perspectives will be March 6, 13, & 20.  The evening begins at 7 and concludes at 8:30pm. All are invited.

3. On Fridays there's Eucharistic Adoration from 11am-6pm. Nothing better than quiet time with the Lord. All are welcome for a brief visit to Jesus or a longer stay!

Stations of the Cross every Friday too.
March 2 - 2pm                                                March 23 - 8:30am
March 9 - 2pm (School Kids)                         March 30 - 2pm (School Kids)
                 5 pm                                                                 5pm
March 16 - 2pm                                              April 6 - 2pm

Also on Fridays, starting this Friday, the 2nd of March, the Spirit & Life committee is also offering the popular DVD series "Catholicism". This group will meet Friday mornings at 10am in the Lubeley Room.

Lenten Daily Dose - 1st Wednesday

“To Remain Steadfast At The Foot Of The Cross”
By Deacon Tom Mulvihill

One of the finest Catholic Lenten traditions, by my way of thinking, is the “Way” or Stations of the Cross. 

Somewhere, tucked away in one of my trunks of memorabilia and “stuff” that I have accumulated over the years, is a small, pale yellow devotional “pocket” compartment of sorts that contains, when cracked open, the Stations of the Cross stamped out of pewter.  There they are, when opened, fourteen of the most agonizing scenes of human existence, in, of all things, pocket form.

It was given to me by my great-grandmother, Bertha Stolle vonBrecht, known to me, as I was growing up, simply, as “Bobbie.”  It tussled about in her sensible handbag for decades, I think.  The idea was, she once told me, that when things got tough, you could pull out this item, open it, and meditate upon the Stations and…maybe, just maybe, what you were going through wouldn’t seem so lousy.

I need to get it out again, I think.  Soon.  Not that things are so tough…but Lent always brings about, for me at least, a call to ground myself in the great traditions of the Church.  And if ever there was some one who epitomized tradition and grounding, it was Bobbie.

I’ve extolled the great virtues and benefits to be found in the Stations before.  Likely, I will again this Lent.  But then, a few weeks ago, I stumbled across this great address delivered by our own Pope Benedict last August at the celebration of the Way of the Cross with young people at Plaza de Cibeles as part of the Twenty-Sixth World Youth Day.

At the Twelfth Station, the point at which I know that I feel thoroughly spent and low and utterly deprived of my Savior, the Holy Father said this:
Let us turn our gaze now to the Virgin Mary, who was given to us on Calvary to be our Mother, and let us ask her to sustain us with her loving protection along the path of life, particularly when we pass through the night of suffering, so that we may be able to remain steadfast, as she did, at the foot of the Cross.

In this, the early weeks of our Lenten practice, let’s remember the passage that Our Blessed Mother made to Calvary.  Draw strength from it.  Lean on her.  Rely on her.  Call upon her.  She made this trip and she knows our longing.

Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to Thy protection,
implored Thy help, or sought Thy intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto Thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To Thee I come, before Thee I stand,  sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,
but in Thy mercy hear and answer me.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lenten Daily Dose - 1st Tuesday

The good Catholic Christian

How to be a good Catholic Christian:
  • Learn: to genuflect, the sign of the cross, about five or six basic prayers
  • Learn what to say, when to sit, stand and kneel at Mass
  • If you were not raised Catholic then find somebody to take you through a catechism class.  
What to do to be a good Catholic Christian:
  • Go to confession at least once a year or so
  • Attend Mass once a week
  • While growing up: get Baptized, receive your first communion, make your first reconciliation, get confirmed.  Optional stuff in your adult life includes: getting married, becoming a priest, and/or getting anointed when you are sick.  NOTE: if you are coming into the Catholic Church later in life, much of this is done at one time)
  • Make contributions to your parish
  • Optional would be to attend a retreat at least once in your life
When to be a good Catholic Christian:
  • Sunday at Mass for sure
  • Holy days of obligation
  • Anytime your kid experiences one of their first sacraments  
  • Funerals and marriages are nice
  • At special events in the parish
At the most basic level, if you do the above list you will be fine.  You will fit in.  You will be accepted.  You may even feel good. 
But why? 
Why be a good Catholic Christian:
  • Because that is what your parents taught you
  • You might not be a good person if you are not Catholic
  • Because your spouse asked you to when you got married
  • Because the parish social life is really nice
I know my list of “why be a good Catholic Christian” is not complete.  My challenge to some of you readers is to speak up.  Being a Christian is not a spectator sport.  You are called to be active in the game.  Most of us reading this blog know: what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.  But why be a good Catholic Christian?   Get courageous; tell us why to be a good Catholic Christian. 
My deepest hope is that there are readers out there who are burning to share their experiences and thoughts.  My hope is that these readers have the courage to use their words to write what is on their hearts.  My hope is that the replies we get on this blog reflect a spirituality and relationship with God that only serve to enhance the religious experience of being Catholic.  My hope is that we get many responses. 
My minimum desire is that if nobody post a comment that each reader will ask the deeper questing of “Why am I a Catholic Christian”  The question is worth pondering.


Steve Arendt

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lenten Daily Dose - 1st Monday

If I want to receive the virtue of patience, all I have to do is be patient.....REALLY?
During Father Craig’s homily on Ash Wednesday, he noted that it was no coincidence (maybe a God-incidence instead) that the Cardinals were reporting to Spring Training the same time that Lent was starting.  He also noted that the Opening Day for the Cardinals was April 4 in Miami, and April 13 here in St. Louis, eerily close to when Easter is celebrated this year on April 8.  He spoke of Chris Carpenter warming up his arm and working out his pitches and Mike Matheny working on his signs.  They are all working on the things they need to do to get ready for the season and work out the kinks.  Lent is our “Spring Training”, where we can work on those things that can get us ready spiritually for the game of life and the after life.

What do I need to work on in my swing?  PATIENCE.  I recently had someone tell me that I needed to change my “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach to life.  Patience is hard.  At first I thought that working on patience meant that I had to grit me teeth, stand idle, not say a word and let things just happen.  Not sure that is it.  I am definitely sure that there is not an overnight cure or some simple and quick process to install patience.  I found that you have to be patient and work on it over time, and really become more of Him and less of me.

There was a writing on the Word Among Us website ( a few years back that started me looking at it a little differently.  It read:

The key is to realize where patience comes from. We can’t create patience ourselves. It is a gift from God, a virtue, a tool that he gives us to help us become more like him. Real patience doesn’t come from gritting our teeth and just coping with a difficult person. It comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit. When we love with his perfect love, we won’t be so intent on finding fault with those around us; we’ll be too busy trying to serve them.

If we could stop just long enough to let Jesus love us, we would find the grace to deal with those who irritate us, and more importantly, to change our attitudes toward them. What’s more, we will become the kind of people who bring patience and kindness to others.

If you have a problem with patience, begin by trying to be a little more patient with God. Take the time in prayer to slow down and listen for his voice. Perhaps Jesus wants to say something important to you. Perhaps he just wants to say, “I love you.” Whatever it is, his word has the power to calm your racing mind. If we could spend just a few extra minutes in prayer each day, waiting on the Lord, it could make a huge difference—both to us and to the people we’re going to meet! 

Looking for an opportunity to slow down, ADORATION THIS FRIDAY, MARY QUEEN OF PEACE CHURCH.)

My other favorite line on patience comes from the movie Evan Almighty.  God, played by Morgan Freeman who is a waiter at the time, says the following:

Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?

Best of Luck with your opportunities,

Peace, Chuck

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lenten Daily Dose - 1st Sunday of Lent

We pray + in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark (1:12-15)
"The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.
"After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: 'This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.'"

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord, Jesus Christ!

Reflection: go the parish website on Wednesday to hear my homily from this Sunday. Here's the text of the song I sang.  It's called "Hosea".

"Come back to me, with all your heart. Don't let fear, keep us apart. Trees do bed, though straight and tall, so must we, to others' call.
Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.

The wilderness will lead you to your heart where I will speak. Integrity and justice, with tenderness you shall know.
Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.

You shall sleep, secure with peace; faithfulness will be your joy.
Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life."

(Audio available on Wednesday on the parish website.)

We pray: Grant, almighty God, through the yearly observances of holy Lent, that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects. We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

+In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lenten Daily Dose - Day 3

Lent and Relationship
I have been married for twenty years.  The first ten years were all about doing the right things to reach the goals I had promised my family. My life was all about getting things done.  At year nine the “crash” started to happen.
For the first nine years my goals were all about providing, achieving and accumulation.  But it never occurred to me to put “grow in relationship” on my life’s list of things to do.  Year nine was very lonely and confusing.  I did not know my family, my wife, my friends or my God. 
Perhaps what confused me most was that I knew I was hurting, and did not know what “to do about it”.  “To do about it” were the key words.  For my entire life solutions to any problem meant that I had to get busy and “do” something.  I tried drinking a little, I tried working a bit longer, I tried to increase my frequency of religious practice, I tried to read more books to my kids, I tried more dates with my wife.  The hurt only got bigger and I finally surrendered. 
The surrender was the best thing I have ever done.  I surrendered and said “I cannot DO this by myself” “My life is not a large TO DO list”.  I need to put the list away and focus on the one thing I knew least about.  I had to admit with my whole self that I needed relationship.  I had to also admit that I knew next to nothing about what relationship meant, and I needed help.  
God heard me and immediately answered.  This is the moment God had been waiting for.  God had been waiting for thirty some odd years to be invited into my heart.  He immediately sent my wife to minister to me.  My children became my teachers.  A small group of spiritual men gathered around me.  I learned to experience and be in relationship with God and those around me. 
My surrender was the hardest thing I have ever done.  It started a journey of the hardest work I have ever accomplished.  I have no degrees or things to show for this work.  But I do know God, and have peace. 
I tell you this story because it reflects how I have approached Lent.  For most of my life lent was a time “To do” something.  My hope was that in exchange for my forty days of penance that I would wake up on Easter morning at find some miraculous change in my life.  Yet, miraculous change only happened when I surrendered and started allowing God to help me do the hard work of relationship.  Now each Lent I surrender more to God and ask for the grace to be shown more and more about relationship.  Now, Easter is truly a miraculous day.  
Steve Arendt

Thursday, February 23, 2012

An article on Ash Wednesday from NPR

I found this article on NPR this morning.  Enjoy.

Click here.

Smile- Easter is on the way!

Lenten Daily Dose - Day 2

Whatcha gonna give up?

Here we are the Thursday after Ash Wednesday.  So what are you going to give up?

Caffeine, candy, snacking, alcohol, smoking.....Just name the vice and I can quit it for forty days, regain a tad bit of health, and then totally overindulge come Easter Sunday to make up for the forty days I missed.  Is that what it is all about?  It seems like a very, “Old Testament, 10 commandments, ‘THOU SHALL NOT’ type of attitude.”  If that is your path, Go For It! And I hope you find God.

Jesus speaks in the New Testament, the Golden Rule, and He ha and is the ‘THOU SHALL’ type of attitude.  He knew that Moses had done a great job teaching the ‘Thou Shall Not’s’, so Jesus took it a step further to teach the “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)  Doesn’t Jesus want some positive action out of us this Lent?  Doesn’t He want us to help the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the ill, and the imprisoned?

So, maybe it is a balance of both.  Sure it is great to give something bad up, but what about a commitment to something good for forty days?  Or even in a “giving up” idea, we shoot for the positive that can come out.  That moves us to fasting not just so that you can fit into those “skinny” clothes that you can’t wear anymore.  I have heard that fasting can be a contemplative prayer in two ways:

1.The hunger pangs that we feel, help us to feel what the truly hungry feel.  It can be a bonding to our fellow man.  We can join in on their suffering and pray for them as we do.
2.The hunger pangs can help us to understand how much our spirit is yearning for God.  How starving we are for his grace and his love.  The spirit is very hungry and the fasting of the body can bring to light how needy our soul is.

In the Gospel in Mass today, Jesus says,

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
And take his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
But whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)

John 15:13 says it even better for me, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”.

Jesus will lay down His life for us on Good Friday, and that is the example that He portrays.  Even though Jesus’ death is very literal, I don’t think that full-blown martyrdom is the calling for most of us.  I do think that small deaths are required and that they are deaths of self.  I will suggest that Jesus is asking us to “lay down” parts of our lives that are all about us.

Laying down the TIME of your activities to go visit a parent or someone who is lonely.
Laying down the ATTENTION of your interests for a child’s interests to meet their need for validation and reassurance.
Laying down the ASPIRATIONS of your life goals to meet those of your spouse or someone close to you.
Laying down the LISTENING that you need to listen to a friend that needs a friend.

Wish you all the best on your Lenten journey.



[Today's Reflection was offered by Chuck Forthaus.]

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lenten Daily Dose

I'm pleased to once again introduce the Lenten Daily Dose here on the blog.  I am grateful and blessed to have the opportunity, once again, to work with three other parishioners to offer daily reflection and points for prayer, items of inspiration, education, challenge, and growth; as well as a forum to foster discussion and questions to deepen our relationship with God the Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ, and to grow closer to the people we love and those who are in need.

So, check back by mid-morning to find the Daily Dose.  Please feel free to leave comments, questions or your own personal reflections in the 'comments' section of each posting.

It is my prayer for all of us that we enter these next 40 days, leading up to Easter, with open minds and hearts that we may, through prayer and acts of service, grow closer to the Father and closer to the one another.

I offer for our first Daily Dose a simple prayer; it is the closing prayer from Mass today and I was struck by its poignancy. Compunction is a spirit of sorrow for our sins that can be, if we allow it, life-giving. This compunction leads us to confront and change the things we do and say so that become more like the things Jesus said and did. Compunction is a good, healthy and holy thing. May our hearts be filled with it, and may it inspire in us a spirit of prayer and Love these next 40 days.

And we pray:
"Pour out a spirit of compunction, O God, on those who bow before your majesty, and by your mercy may they merit the rewards you promise to those who do penance. We ask this through Him who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen."

With Peace and prayers for a grace-filled Lent for you and your family.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

FOCUS Missionary: Meredith Hiller

Many of us heard Meredith Hiller tell us about her missionary activity in Russia this summer.

If you would like to support her in her ministry, please click the link below.

Click here for her web site.  From the home page, click on "Give Now", and then on the next page click "Support a Missionary" and then type in her last name and go from there.

If you have any questions, please drop me a line.

On behalf of Meredith, thank you.

Peace to you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lenten Spiritual Reading

Are you looking for Spiritual Reading this Lent, here are few suggestions. (Click on the titles for a link to

1. In Coversation with God, Volume 2 - daily reflections by Father Francis Fernandez
2. Saint Paul - short essays by Pope Benedict XVI
3. Church Fathers - 2 volumes (Volume 1 - Volume 2) of short essays by Pope Benedict XVI
4. The Virtues - a volume of short essays by Pope Benedict XVI
5. Great Teachers - ditto
6. Jesus, the Apostles and Early Church - ditto
6. Jesus of Nazareth, Part 2- Holy Week - Pope Benedict at his best.
7. Woman, Why are you Weeping? - daily reflections by John Timmerman
8. Simon, Called Peter: In the Company of a Man in Search for God - one of my favorite books by Father Mauro-Giuseppe Lepori
8. The Way of the Disciple - a great book by a monk, Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis

Start anywhere- dive in and let the Lord guide you!

Peace to you today!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

5 Runs in the Top of the First...

...but saved by the offense!

So, if you were at the 8am Mass this morning, you may have noticed that things didn't go as smoothly and gracefully as is prescribed by the liturgical norms.  It was just a rough outing- a lot like when Chris Carpenter who gives up 5 runs in the top of the first.  But even if he gives up those runs, the offense can come to the rescue- and that's what happened at Mass this morning.

I was unsure about what to preach about this morning and asked the Lord to give me something solid to pass on to those gathered. I myself wasn't hearing much!  Began preaching and it occurred to me that I'm not even sure I understand what Jesus is trying to accomplish with the Syrophoenician woman, so I was kind of at a loss for words. And right before I was getting ready to throw in the towel and concede the homily, the Lord spoke to my heart and these words came out of my mouth:

"I think a point for our prayer today can be this simple Truth: that what we expect from the Lord is nothing compared to what He already wants to give us."

I have no idea where that came from- but thanks be God and I hope it stimulates some prayer today.

But it's not over. After a quick breakfast I went upstairs to pray a bit before setting to work. I opened up a book I've been spot-reading here and there and I read the following two sentences:

"God loves us more than we realize or can ever repay Him. Remember weakness is no hindrance to love: in our relations with God it is even an enormous strength. Let us remain, then, united in weakness, in prayer, and in the desire to belong wholly to the God" (p12).

And then, as if that wasn't enough...

"Take then, what He gives- that is all that matters. Love does not always heed the desires of those whom it loves. It knows what is good for them and procures it for them, and satisfies their desires provided they are in accordance with that good. That is how God acts. Do not forget that God is Love. We should live with this great truth constantly before us" (p13).

So, UNCLE!!  I get it! Thank you! I'm a slow-learner sometimes. Thanks be God He's remarkably patient- and there's 8 innings left!  Play ball!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Super Bowl, Free Time & Lent

Well, I know I said Giants by 3 points, but you can't get much closer than that... I mean seriously, when was the last time a safety was scored in that way...

Now that football season is over and March Madness is a month away, I'll have plenty of free time.  I'll be posting more on the blog here (including the homily from last Sunday- check the parish website for the audio later in the week).  I'll also put some things up along those lines- some follow up about what we teach about all that and what you can pray with and act on.

Finally, Lent is around the corner.  We'll be doing the Daily Dose again starting on Ash Wednesday and continuing every day until Easter Sunday- stay tuned for that.

So, lots goin' on.  Jesus is busy here at MQP!

Peace to you today.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Clarification Re: HHS Health Care Mandate

My friends,

Many of you have called/email regarding the US Department of Health and Human Service's mandate forcing employers, including Catholic hospitals/employers, to offer insurance coverage for reproductive 'services' including sterilization, contraception (both oral and hormonal), abortion-inducing drugs (like the Plan-B drug), and other procedures/services.

It was then heard on TV and radio that a letter was read in "all Catholic Churches this" past weekend regarding this legislation and our Church's response to it.  Some folks contacted us asking if they missed it here at MQP.

Some points of clarification:
1. The US Conference of Bishops (USCCB) did, in fact, issue a press release regarding this mandate last week. But it was a press release and not necessarily tailored to be read from the pulpit or preached upon.
2. Letters to be read at Mass from the pulpit, by the priest-presider, fall under the purview of the Archbishop/Bishop of that diocese.
3. Archbishop Carlson, our spiritual leader and teacher, had not yet finished his letter before last weekend.
4. He did deliver it to us today and we will read it here at MQP this weekend.

[I plan on preaching about it at the 7:30 & 11am Sunday Masses.]

This is a complicated issue; an important issue and one that has ancillary effects in other areas of our life, our culture and our journey to holiness and Heaven.

So, lets talk about it:
1. What does Jesus have to say about Love, Marriage, Sex and being 'pro-Life'?
2. Why do we teach what we teach about abortion, contraception and sterilization?
3. How can we move hearts and experience personal conversion in this area?

Watch the blog here for a open and honest explanation of the many facets involved. Again, I'll be preaching about it on Sunday at the 7:30 and 11am Sunday Masses.  And, as always, if you have questions, comments, suggestions, etc., don't hesitate to contact me or leave a entry here by posting a 'comment'.

Peace to you in all things.