Monday, April 30, 2012

Jesus's "I AM" Statements

In last Sunday’s homily, I mentioned briefly the significance of Jesus’s "I AM" statements. Just a brief follow up here.

When Jesus makes these statements, that is an invitation for us to pay attention because He is about reveal a part of himself; He is about reveal something about himself and how He relates to us.  Each statement reveals a part of Jesus and invites us into a deeper understanding of who He is and what our relationship with Him can be.

If you’re interested in further reading, and for your prayer, I recommend a great book that has guided meditation for these passages (and about 20 others) called, I AM: Eucharistic Meditation on the Gospel by Concepcion Cabrera de Armida.  (Click the title for a link to

I offer for your prayer the “I AM “statements from John’s gospel with the chapter and verse accompanying them.

I am the Resurrection and the Life (Jn 11:25)
I am the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:11, 14)
I am the [True] Vine (Jn 15:1, 5)
I am the Light of the World (Jn 8:12)
I am the Bread of Life (Jn 6:48)
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6)
I am the Gate (Jn 10:9)
I am He (Jn  18:5)    

Peace to you,

Today's Scripture Reading and Saint: St. Pius V

Today's Scripture Reading

From Wikipedia

From The Catholic Encyclopedia 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mass Schedule this weekend

Because of the Spring Festival, we're switching up the Mass schedule this weekend.

NO 5pm Mass on Saturday, April 28.

Sunday, April 29, Masses at:

Happy Festival Weekend!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

FrC's definition of Holiness

Some folks have asked that I post the definition of Holiness that I mentioned during the homily on Saturday.

"And so what is holiness? Holiness is the perfect exercise of virtue over vice. Holiness is complete trust that the Father will provide and fulfill all our desires. I repeat: all our desires. Holiness is peace and harmony in our relationships with the people in our life. Holiness is harmony and peace with our obligations as Catholic Christians. Holiness is love for this life that does not forget the Eternal life that is to come. Holiness is a consistent regard and care for those who are most in need.  And holiness is a desire to want these things."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Papa!

A birthday blessing and special intention on the 85th birthday of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.

God bless and keep you, your Holiness, and continue to Inspire your life, prayer and ministry.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Recommended Reading

I'm always reading and most of what I read is religious/spiritual/theological in subject. And of that reading, every now and then I come across books that I just have to recommend. Over the past two weeks I read two books, both of which touched me in a deep place and spoke volumes into my heart.

The first of which is called We have Found Mercy: The Mystery of God's Merciful Love, by Cardinal Christoph Schonborn. (Click the title for a link to amazon.)
-Cardinal Schonborn is one of my favorite writers. He has an easy and accessible way of writing about the Faith and about our call to Discipleship. This particular book discusses the depth of God's mercy as exercised through His mission of mercy to us and for us through His Son, Jesus. He starts in Scripture (Old Testament: a great explanation about why God is so violent in the O.T.), picks up a brief history of St. Faustina Kowalska, and ends with a beautiful explanation about how we can receive God's mercy and also give to others, share it with others. There are also great chapters on Blessed John Paul II, St. Paul and the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. 

This book will no doubt change the way I receive God's mercy as I continue my journey of deepening Discipleship and growing holiness. But it will also change the way that I approach the ministry of mercy I share with Jesus as a priest.  It has given new meaning to the Beatitude, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."

Secondly, there is Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer, by Father Thomas Dubay, S.M.  I'm gonna level with you, I got done reading this book and I felt like I had been put through the wringer. Holy Cow! This priest knows how to challenge and support and encourage and teach!  So, here's the thing: Dubay discusses the challenges that occur when we're ready to deepen our relationship with the Lord. He says that once we've conquered the mortal sins in our life, we have to take dead aim at the venial ones: the little sins that keep us from a deep, deep relationship with the Lord, 'in the Spirit'. He then talks about how this has to occur through 'deep conversion and deep prayer.'  I got done reading this book and I was, and still am, somewhat speechless.  However, the invitation is clear!

This is one of those books that, if I won the Mega Millions Lottery, I would use the money to buy a boatload of copies and give them away.  This book was amazing and I highly recommend it if you're ready to up the ante with the Lord and see where He can take you.  I'm thinking I'm gonna throw in- Dubay taught me that I have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!

So, I offer these for your consideration and education and inspiration.  Enjoy.

Peace and prayers to you today.

Youth Group News

Upcoming Events for the MQP Youth Group

April 21, Saturday (7am-8pm) - The Big Day of Service. This is sort of an 'urban plunge' event. Teens from around the area will converge in some of the neediest parts of town to give service to those who are most in need.

For more information or to sign-up, contact our Youth Minister, Lindsay Walter at

For more information: The Big Day of

Safe the Date: Steubenville 2012 - July 13-15.
More information, including registration material, coming out next week!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

He is Risen, He is Truly Risen!

Easter Blessings to you and your family!

Peace and prayers to you,
Fr Craig

Daily Dose - Easter Sunday

Happy Easter,

The following is a dialogue that I have had with myself for most of my life:

I deserve today!  So to celebrate I will do the following:  I will gather with family.  Loads of sugar will be consumed.We will have great food.  Lots of wine will be drank.  I will have gone to a very pretty Mass.  By the time I hit the bed tonight; I will have lived a full and robust day!

Question: I deserve today??  Answer:  Well yes I do.  After all I have fasted, gave things up and worked hard for this day.  Forty days of work to be exact!

Question:  Can you tell me more about today being rewarded for forty days of work?  Answer:  Yes,  ever since I have been a kid it has been the same.  Lent is about thinking about and doing church stuff and then we have a big old party on Easter. Mom starts planning weeks in advance.  She finds all the right cloths to wear to church.  She coordinates the timing for when we will be where to eat what meal with who.  Dad gets the house in order.  The grass is mowed. Flowers are planted.  Everything is just as it should.  

Question:  This party sounds great!  Why not just skip the church stuff and forty days and plan a yearly party?  Answer:  I don't know.  Probably because it is the way we phage always done it.  

Question:  What will tomorrow be like?  Answer:  Well it will be just like any other monday except I will be a bit tired.  

The following reflects some of how I now treat Easter:

Yesterday, Chuck's blog refletion talked about active listening.  He did a great job in capturing the spiritual implications of simply listening.  (please read it if you have not already). 

As I read it, I thought of my entire lenten journey.  It was all about actively listening to God.  Constantly asking God for clarification about what is being taught and said.  I spend forty days of actively doing the hard work of listening!  Yes indeed I deserve today!  I am a better person and God has lead me to this new reality.  I will indeed celebrate that!!!

Now for the big difference.  Tomorrow I may wake up with a hangover of sorts.  But tomorrow I am still a better person than I was forty days ago.  Tomorrow I know how to listen to my God in a way that will hold the potential to make me even better.  Tomorrow I am gifted the opportunity to continue my lenten journey.  For me I know God would love nothing better than to be completely listened to.  I now know that it does not take a special season for me to step up, listen to God and become a better man.  God is available to me 24/7.  (but truth be told, it is really nice to have lent to shock me back to this reality- after all; today is Easter and I can talk a big story ,but give me another ten or eleven months and I will have ignored most of my own advice!)

Wishing you a happy Easter and an awesome tomorrow!

Peace, Steve Arendt

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lenten Daily Dose - Holy Saturday

Why this Saturday of “nothingness”?
Holy Saturday is always been this “dead” period for me in the Triduum.  Figuratively and literally, it is a “dead” period.  I never really got much out of it and I am just ready to go Easter.  This Saturday I am thinking of a couple things on why the Saturday of “nothingness” has to happen.

  • In my MTV generation,  I always have or crave some kind of stimulus, audio and visual – I need noise.   God is simply saying to me on Saturday, “STOP, PRAY, THINK, PRAY.”  The static noise of this world gets in the way of God a lot for me.  At the same time, if I receive that static in a prayerful way, I can find God in this world too.  So, I need a day of quiet, a day of “nothingness” in this Superbowl of my faith.

  • I have heard a lot of messages from Christ from Thursday and Friday:

-Washing of the disciples feet
-The Last Supper
-The Agony in the Garden
-Judas betrayal
-Peter’s Denials
-The Crucifixion

But hearing and listening are two different things.  Holy Saturday is going to be a listening day for me.  I need to be actively listening to Christ on Saturday.  One definition of Active Listening reads as follows:

Active listening is a communication technique that requires the listener to feed back what he hears to the speaker, by way of re-stating or paraphrasing what he has heard in his own words, to confirm what he has heard and moreover, to confirm the understanding of both parties. The ability to listen actively demonstrates sincerity, and that nothing is being assumed or taken for granted. Naturally, it improves personal relationships, reduces misunderstanding and conflicts, strengthens cooperation, and fosters understanding. It is proactive, accountable and professional.

So, in my day of “nothingness” I will strive to “ listen actively and demonstrate sincerity, and that nothing is being assumed or taken for improve my personal relationship with God.”

I think I will simply start with “Thank you Jesus.”

Peace to you,  Happy Easter tomorrow,

Chuck Forthaus

Friday, April 6, 2012

Article about determining the Date of Easter

Check it out: click here.

Lenten Daily Dose - Good Friday

Several weeks ago, at the beginning of Lent, the Holy Father undertook an on-going reflection at his weekly general audience, on the prayer of Jesus dying on the Cross, as recounted in the Gospel of Saint Luke.  Specifically, he considered these final words of Christ:
“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”
He concluded his reflection with these words, which, I think, can provide direction for us today as we celebrate the sacrifice on Calvary:

Dear brothers and sisters, the words of Jesus on the Cross, in the final moments of His earthly life, offer challenging pointers for our prayer, but they also open it to a serene confidence and to a steadfast hope.  Jesus, who asks the Father to forgive those who are crucifying Him, invites us to the difficult act of praying even for those who wrong us, who have harmed us, by learning how to forgive always, so that God’s light might illumine their hearts.  And He invites us in our prayer to live in the same attitude of mercy and of love that God shows in our regard: “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us,” as we daily say in the “Our Father.”

At the same time, Jesus who in the final moment of death entrusts Himself entirely into the hands of God the Father, communicates to us the certainty that, however difficult our trials may be, however difficult our problems, however burdensome our suffering, we shall never fall outside the hands of God, those hands that created us, that sustain us, and that accompany us on the path of life, for they are guided by an infinite and faithful love.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lenten Daily Dose - Holy Thursday

“Do This In Remembrance Of Me.”

I discovered this excellent reflection on The Holy Thursday: Mass of the Lord’s Supper on a blog to which I travel each day called “The Deacon’s Bench,” written by a Deacon in Brooklyn named Greg Kandra.  I highly recommend a visit if you get a chance:

There is a lot of mystery surrounding the Eucharist.  The fact is, we are not supposed to fully comprehend how heavenly food ends up on the altar at Mary Queen of Peace each day.  And yet, this much is simple and true: the Eucharist should be the source and summit of our faith.  And not just because a Vatican document tells us so, but because Christ told us so.  I think this reflection does a great job of underscoring this point.

I hope you enjoy it…and I hope to see you up at MQP tonight to watch Fathers Bob and Craig wash some feet.  Come early, then stay late to pray with Jesus at the Altar of Repose.  Or, perhaps, do as my family did when I was growing up, and travel to some cool churches around the Saint Louis area and pray there.  Make it a pilgrimage with your kids, hopping from Church to Church.  Take them to the Parish where you grew up.  Go to a Church you’ve never visited.  I highly recommend Lourdes, Annunziata, Little Flower and Saint Luke’s, all within about ten minutes drive.  Revel in Christ in the Eucharist!

--Deacon Tom

When I was growing up, like a lot of families, mine had one of those small, cheap Kodak Instamatic cameras. You used those flash bulbs that looked like ice cubes…and got these little square pictures back from the drug store when you had them developed. My dad must have taken hundreds, if not thousands of pictures with that camera. I never appreciated them until years later, after I was grown, and my parents had died, and we were going through their things and we found all these pictures. Boxes of them, curled and faded. But there they were – life, captured by Kodak. Memories you can put in a shoebox.
We need that. We want something of the person we love to outlast them, and stay with us.
We want to remember them.
And remembrance is at the very heart of what we celebrate this evening. But Jesus didn’t leave us photographs in a shoebox. He left us something better.
He left us Himself.
Paul’s letter to the people of Corinth is the earliest account ever written of the Last Supper. It pre-dates, even, the gospels. It is so close to the original event, that its words are part of our Eucharistic prayer, spoken at every mass, at every altar, around the world. The words that created the Eucharist are the beating heart of our Catholic belief.
And through it all, one word leaps out at us.
Do this in remembrance of me.
Jesus is saying: This is how I want to be remembered.
In the gospel, John doesn’t even mention the meal, or the institution of the Eucharist. But he finds something else for us to remember: Christ, the servant.
Deacons feel a special affection for this passage, because it is here that the diaconate, really, is born — in Christ’s extraordinary act of service, the washing of his disciples’ feet. Often, you will see emblems for the diaconate that include the image of a basin and a towel. It refers to this specific passage. And it is a reminder that we are called to serve – to wash one another’s feet, in humility and in love, just as Jesus did.
But it is not just the ordained who are called to this. It is all of Christ’s disciples. All who sit at His table and share in His body and blood.
All of us.
“You ought to wash one another’s feet,” Jesus says. “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
In other words: remember what I have done. And do this, too, in remembrance of me.
We are people of remembrance.
So were the Jews. It’s there in the first reading, from Exodus, describing the institution of the Passover meal – the very meal that Christ was celebrating when He gave us the Eucharist.
One of the interesting aspects of this reading is that the entire passage is, really, a monologue.
And the one who speaks…is God.
And He tells His people: “This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the Lord, as a perpetual institution.”
It is an occasion for calling to mind all that God has done for his people.
And He is calling on them, in a very particular way: “Do this in remembrance of me.”
Do not forget.
It is no secret that the older you get, the more you do forget. Every day is a battle for me to try and recall where I put my keys, or my glasses. I think my wife would like them to be clipped to my sleeves, the way kids do with their mittens.
It is easier to forget than to remember.
Which makes tonight’s remembrance all the more remarkable.
For four thousand years mankind has re-enacted somehow the great Passover feast of Jesus and all those who came before Him. The memorial feast has continued.
For two thousand years we have gathered around this table and repeated Paul’s beautiful words – the words the Corinthians heard and took to heart.
For uncounted generations we have knelt and watched as the body and blood of Christ have been raised – and watched as we, too, have been raised with them, as offerings to God.
And down through history, we have knelt and washed one another’s feet with a profound charity and sense of purpose that made Christian love the most powerful force on the planet. Even unbelievers were moved to say, “See how these Christians love one another.”
See what we have done in remembrance of Him.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. All the pictures my father took over the years tell a story, and come with emotions attached – happiness, nostalgia, some sadness. I would suggest that the next few days will be worth a thousand emotions. From the wonder and gratitude of tonight, to the sorrow of Good Friday, and the loneliness of Saturday.
But then there is Sunday.
This night, our journey toward Calvary begins in earnest. But so does our journey toward Easter.
Holy Communion is often referred to as “viaticum,” or food for the journey. Let us prepare to receive that food, so we can begin that journey. A journey of struggle. And of faith.
It is a journey that a billion others around the world are also undertaking with us on this sacred night.
We share it with them for one beautiful and hopeful reason: we do this in remembrance of Him.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lenten Daily Dose - Wednesday of Holy Week

Recently a friend had sent me the following quote:

"Religion is doing; a man does not merely think his religion or feel it, he "lives" his religion as much as he is able, otherwise it is not religion but fantasy or philosophy."  

Sometimes I have a difficulty saying what religion is or is not.  I might offer the following changes:  "True religion is not only: doing, living, feeling, thinking, philosophy and fantasy.   It is the experiences accumulated throughout life that continually mold every aspect of my being into a better understanding of a God who desires my attention"  



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lenten Daily Dose - Tuesday of Holy Week

Jesus Liberator

Richard Rohr spoke of Jesus driving out the dealers in the temple in his reflection yesterday.  He wrote:

His public demonstration against the sacred space is surely the historical action that finally gets Him killed. The trouble with declaring one space sacred is that we then imagine other spaces are not! Here He takes on the detours of false religion: any attempt to "buy" God, purity and debt codes, and the primacy of "sacrifices" over mercy and compassion. Jesus has come to liberate God for humanity and humanity for God.”
Jesus has come to liberate God for humanity and humanity for God.
As I try to become a better Christian and become closer to Christ over this Lent, I find myself asking, “Did it really have to happen this way?  Did He have to take on the Passion, did He have to die on the Cross?”

I think of the song by Michael W. Smith  – ‘Here I Am To Worship’( and the line -

I'll never know how much it cost, to see my sins upon that cross.
So, I get that Jesus had to die for us, to free us from our sins.  I also am starting to understand the paradoxical nature of God.  His ways are not man’s ways.  In fact, it seems that many of the things that man holds up as accomplishments, God does not see it that way.  The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3–12) are the height of Jesus’ call to abandon the lures of the world and follow the treasures of heaven.  Jesus did liberate humanity for God.
Rohr’s quote brings a new twist to the Resurrection of the Lord.  Many have written and spoke of Jesus being the ‘New Adam’, and at Mass as we relive the Last Supper and Jesus says,

Take this, all of you, and drink from it:
for this is the chalice of my blood,
the blood of the new and eternal covenant.which will be poured out for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins .
Do this in memory of me.”
With the new covenant, Jesus liberated God for humanity.  God is now accessible to all, and all are called to Him.  Because of His Passion, we are called and saved.

Have a great Holy Week,


Chuck Forthaus

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lenten Daily Dose - Palm Sunday

“This Is Our Faith”
By Deacon Tom

Two of the responsibilities that I have assumed here at Mary Queen of Peace as a Deacon, in advance of the Easter Triduum, are to design and paint the new Pascal Candle each year, and to learn, relearn or learn anew The Exultet, the beautiful proclamation sung at the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil.  I don’t consider myself a painter, and I am even less of a singer.  These are a material sign of the forbearance and flexibility of our Pastor, that he should allow me to tackle either, let alone both.  But, in some ways, I have taken these on as part of my own personal Lenten observance, a way to prepare myself for Easter.  Some people give up sweets and swearing.  I paint a candle and practice an ancient a cappella piece of liturgical music.  Go figure…

In some ways, during the deliberately reflective, even somber time, of Lent, to be focusing so much of my time and energy on the Easter celebration feels weird, akin to putting the proverbial cart before the horse.  But, to put it simply…Lent without Easter is goofy, even wasted.  The utterly fantasmagorical nature of the Resurrection makes Lent worth enduring.  (And, yes, that may be the first Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang reference ever uttered from this pulpit.)

Knowing about the Resurrection, loving the Resurrection, living the Resurrection is the perfect frame of reference for Lent.  And likewise, today’s Gospel narrative of the Passion is the perfect kick-off for Holy Week and the Triduum.

And make no mistake about it.  This week is the biggest week of the year for us as Catholics.  It is not a time, as Father Bob pointed out in last week’s bulletin, for us to maybe, possibly, if we have time…squeeze in a little more Church.  This is our Faith.  This is what we believe.  For this Holy Week to be truly Holy in my family, I have to work to make it so.  It is an amazing opportunity to practice and pray our Faith.  Pardon the cajoling…but please make the Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Saturday a priority in your family.

We began today by walking in the footsteps of Jesus as he enters Jerusalem.  And then listened and participated in the Passion narrative.  We, ourselves, yelled, “Crucify him!”  It’s a poignant admission of the role our own sinfulness plays in the salvation story, but also helps us understand the sequence of events about to unfold before us.  Without the events of Good Friday, the Last Supper has no meaning, it’s just a well-documented going away party.  So too, our experience of the Triduum has no meaning without a personal living of the Passion.

Last August, when Pope Benedict led the celebration of the “Way of the Cross” for World Youth Day in Madrid, he said this of the Passion:
Let us look upon Christ, hanging on the harsh wood of the Cross, and let us ask him to teach us this mysterious wisdom of the Cross, by which man lives.  The Cross was not a sign of failure, but an expression of self-giving love.  The Cross represents the love of the Father and the Son for each of us.  Here we meditate on the icon of supreme love, which teaches us to love what God loves and in the way that he loves.  This is the Good News that gives hope to the world.

Imagine that.  Hope in the face of the hopelessness of the Cross.  Listen to the words of the Evangelists, to their accounts of The Passion, and then know what we know as Catholics:
They spit on him, blindfold him, strike him and mock him…and we see hope.  He is beaten, scourged and handed over to be crucified…and we see hope.  He is crowned with thorns, struck with a reed and mocked some more…and we see hope.  He is crucified, his garments are divided and he breathes his last while hanging on a tree…and we see hope.  Darkness extends over the whole land.  The sun’s light fails and the heavens are dimmed.  The veil that protects the sanctuary of the temple is torn in twoand we see hope.  The earth quakes and crumbles and the tombs are openedand we see hope. 

Some will look at that icon and see it as a symbol of intense hatred.  We, as Catholics, will gaze upon the Cross and know it to be a symbol of love and hope that marks the beginning of a new worship, in a temple not built by men, for it is the very lifeless frame of the dead and risen Jesus that gathers us together and unites us in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was given to us on Calvary,
sustain us with her loving protection, so that we may be able to remain steadfast,
as did she, at the foot of the Cross.