Sunday, January 20, 2013

This week at MQP

It's good to be back. I'll resume regular postings tomorrow.  Got a pretty good idea of where to go next.

This week at MQP:
-Monday, Jan 21 - Eucharistic Adoration from 8:30am-9:00pm. Good, quiet time with the Lord in prayer. Stop in and say hey to the Lord. Bring your prayers and petitions, be heard and replenished!

-Tuesday, Jan 22 - Bible Study with Father Craig. This group meets every week from 1:15pm-2:30pm. We read, study and reflect on the readings from the upcoming Sunday. We meet in the O'Toole Room.

-Wednesday, Jan 23 - Holy Hour with Jesus. An hour of quiet, solitary prayer. Father Craig offers guided meditations to keep the prayer focused and fruitful. Come from the whole hour, or just for a few minutes. Good time and place to find some peace!

-Thursday, Jan 24 - Rosary under the Portico - 9:15pm

-Saturday, Jan 26 - 10:30 Sunday Mass singers present a concert celebrating their 30th anniversary of service to the parish. Proceeds benefit the MQP St. Vincent de Paul Society in their work of helping the poor.

Always a lot going on.  God is good!

Peace my friends,
Fr Craig

Thursday, January 10, 2013


This Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus

Mass Times:
Saturday - 5pm
Sunday - 7:30, 9 and 11am


5pm (Life Teen Mass)

The Life Teen Mass will be celebrated every 2nd & 4th Sunday of the month.  All are welcome to come pray. The liturgy, music, and homily will be geared to the teens. The teens will also serve as lectors, Eucharistic ministers, ushers, and other ministries.

Beginning on March 24th, the Life Teen Mass will precede the regularly scheduled Life Teen meeting, called a Life Night. More information on this will be forthcoming.

Questions regarding Life Teen or Youth Group can be directed to youthministry@

Follow up to the Holy Hour Last Night

This was the book I mentioned last night and used as part of our meditations:

Click here for book description on

Peace to you today,
Fr Craig

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Brief Hiatus

We've come to the end of our Advent and Christmas Daily Dose. I hope you have found the daily readings, reflection and prayers a rewarding and grace-filled experience. My thanks to the parishioners who offered their reflections and insights as well.

I'm going to take a brief hiatus from the blog. I need to pray a little bit about where to go next. If you have any ideas, or want to hear about something specific, let me know. I'm game for just about anything.

 I'll resume regular posts on Monday, January 21st.

Remember about our Facebook page- we're going to keep that up-to-date and relevant.

So, peace and prayers for you today, and always.

With Much Love,
Fr Craig

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Christas Daily Dose - The Epiphany

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

Daily Readings

Reflection by Becky Arendt, a parishioner

Today is the feast of the Epiphany.  

I like to call it the feast of the "AHA Moment".

We all have "aha moments" in one way or another.  When I have one there is always an imaginary lightbulb right on top of my head that suddenly clicks on and shines bright.  It's a clear, old-fashioned light bulb -- you have this too, right?  I digress,  back to the story...

It's where the three kings set out on a mission from Herod to find the newborn son of God and they suddenly have that "aha moment" when they see that "Yonder star".   I imagine they felt joy, excitement,  warmth and pure love in this sudden revelation that this bright star was the light of Christ.


The light of Christ brings warmth.  It lifts us up.  Hope comes along with His light, blessing us in times of darkness.  

When I see the light of Christ in my husband and my family, I can feel His love washing all over me and my hope is that I can reflect His light onto others.  I sometimes fail at this, but He always finds a way to shine His light and remind me that He is still there right beside me {to guard me and to guide me}.  In fact, He reminds me every time receive Communion.  And as I walk up to take His body and His blood, a phrase from a song always pops into my head -- "Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere that I go".   This reminds me that I am not alone and it gives me great peace.

So let His light shine upon you this year and may you reflect and radiate his light onto others.   "May God bless and keep you.  May God's face shine on you.  May God be kind to you and give you peace".

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

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas Daily Dose - Saturday before Epiphany

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

Daily Readings

Reflection (from Father James Martin, SJ. Father Martin is a Jesuit priest and a popular spiritual writer.)

"Okay, we all like making lists of New Year's Resolutions. And most of the time--well, much of the time--we have a really hard time keeping them because they're so difficult. Lose 20 pounds. Read a new book a month. Never get drunk again. Avoid all sodas. Don't eat any chocolate again. Stand up to my boss. Go to the gym every day. Sometimes you feel defeated by January 2.
"But how about five simple things you can do to be happier--which you really can do? Here are five easy things you can do for a happier life next year. And they're a lot easier than losing 20 pounds.
"1.) Be a Little Kinder. I think that 90% of the spiritual life is being a kind person. No need to have any advanced degrees in theology or moral reasoning, and no need to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the world's religious traditions, to get this: Be gentler and more compassionate towards other people. In other words, say "Thank you" and "Please." Ask people how they are. Listen more carefully when they speak to you. Don't say snotty things about them behind their backs. Basically, give them the benefit of the doubt. I know that sometimes you feel like acting like a jerk--you feel justified because of the way you're being treated--but you don't have to. Most of the time you have a choice: I can be a jerk or I can be kind. Be kind. You'll find that you'll be happier with yourself at the end of the day. And, as an added benefit, everyone around you will be happier.
"2.) Relax a Bit More. Let's not belabor the point: a lot of us are rushing around like lunatics these days. Overbooked. Overscheduled. Overworked. Crazybusy. Exhausted. Checking our phones and iPads and blah blah blahs every five seconds. Do you really, really, need to be checking in every few minutes? Can you set those things aside for a just a little bit? And aren't there just a few tasks you can let go of? A few months ago I realized that I had completely booked myself for the next few months and started to get a little overwhelmed. The more I thought about these supposedly fun things, the more depressed I got. I had to ask myself: How many of these things did I really have to do? For me the answer was about three-quarters of them. The other quarter I could let go of. Maybe the proportion is different for you, but looking at cutting back a bit is a good exercise. Relaxing a little bit more can lead to more creativity, more time to think, and more time to pray. Paradoxically, it may make you more productive. It'll certainly make you happier--and again, everyone around you happier because you're not stressing everyone else out with your stress. I'm not saying check out completely, or quit your job, or tell everyone that you're stopping every activity you presently do. Just relax a little more. You're a human being not a human doing.
"3.) Enjoy Nature More. Look up at the sky. It's pretty amazing. Every moment of the day. Yesterday where I was staying it was a brilliant blue. Clear. Cloudless. Ahhhh. Enjoy it. How about noticing something as beautiful as the trees in your neighborhood? Are you watching them cycle from spring green to green to red to barren? Give yourself a few seconds to be aware of that. If you live in a city, can you notice the wind on your face or the occasional burst of sunshine peeping through the gray buildings? If you're lucky enough to live by the ocean or a lake, well, I envy you! Notice nature a little more. It's always changing and so it's always a surprise. And can you thank God for the natural things that you notice every day? Natural beauty is, I think, happy-making for most of us; and being more grateful to God will add even more to your happiness.
"4.) Be a Little More Grateful. Try this: Notice the small daily things that you tend to overlook. The stuff you take for granted or like, but don't really consider "special." The taste of your favorite cereal or coffee or juice in the morning. An unexpected phone call from a friend. Your child's laugh or a nephew's or niece's giggle. Your cat's crazy antics. A funny TV show. A small house job finally finished. Stop and savor those little things. And say thanks to God. I'm not saying that you can't be sad or bummed out. Life's really tough some times. Most times. But I'll bet that there are a few things in your life that make you feel lucky. Just a few seconds a day is all it takes. Gratitude is the gateway to the spiritual life. Open that door today. You'll be a happier person once you step through.
"5.) Pray Just a Tiny Bit More. I'm not saying that you need to enter a monastery or take out a mortgage out on a hermitage. But just a few more minutes a day is enough to jumpstart your spiritual life. Think of it as a relationship. If God is important to you, wouldn't you want to spend some one-on-one time with God? That's what prayer is. And there's no best, or only way to pray. Whatever works best for you--imagining yourself with God, quietly meditating on a favorite Scripture passage, or reciting an old prayer that comforts you--is what's best for you. Just a little bit of prayer will help you feel in closer touch with God. And that relationship, because it connects you to the transcendent and makes you feel less alone in those tough times I mentioned, will make you happier.
"There. Those aren't so hard are they? Be kind. Relax a little bit. Enjoy nature more. Be a little more grateful. Pray just a tiny bit more. You can do all those. And in doing those you'll be happier. And have a Happy New Year."
(Father Martin's books include Between Heaven and Mirth and My Life with the Saints. Click book titles for info from
+In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Save the Date

More information to follow.

Catholic Men for Christ Conference
Saturday, February 2, 2013, 8 a.m.
Peabody Opera House

Catholic Women for Christ Conference
Saturday, February 16, 2013, 8 a.m.
St. Charles Convention Center

Christmas Daily Dose - Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

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

Daily Readings

Reflection by Tom Cummins, a parishioner

"What are you looking for?"

In today’s reading those are the very first words spoken by Jesus in John’s Gospel. He poses the question to prospective, and eventual, disciples.

Isn’t it interesting that the richness of everything Jesus says and does in John’s Gospel begins with a question? “What are you looking for?” I don’t know what I would say now even with our 2000 years of tradition, liturgies, teachings, and preachings. Can you just imagine answering that question on the spur of the moment ... face-to-face with Jesus?

For me, the verse, “What are you looking for?” is most intriguing, and it also one of my favorites in scripture. It reveals what Jesus’ message is really all about. It is a response from us that Jesus is after. 

He calls; we respond.

What Jesus has to offer isn’t a one-size-fits-all package. It’s personal. It’s relational. It’s at the individual level. “What are you looking for?”

I’m going to be thinking about this for quite a while. But I have a sneaking suspicion that what I’m looking for is to be found in my surrender, my turning over my will to what Jesus is asking of me in the power of the Holy Spirit and through God’s grace.

That seems to be a good place to begin 2013.

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

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas Daily Dose - Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

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

Daily Readings

Reflection by Jim Dryden, a parishioner

There are a few passages in Scripture that always have spoken to me. When I hear or read them, they strike my eyes and ears differently than other passages in the Bible and somehow cut through all of the junk in my life to go straight to my heart.

Today’s first reading from the First Letter of John contains one of those passages:

See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.

This brief passage reminds me, when I need reminding (as I often do), that we are God’s children now. Now. N-O-W. Not next week, not after we die. Today. NOW.

It reminds me that the kingdom of God isn’t something that’ll come along someday. It’s not something that depends on my getting my act together so that God is willing to reward me and allow me to be part of “the family.” That gift already has been given. I might not want to accept it. I might not think I’m worthy. But being one of God’s children isn’t a thing that’s “out there” and far away, some far-off pipe dream. It’s simply reality. And it is my reality right now. Yours too. Now.

But even accepting the fact we already are children of God, it gets even better. The reading also contains the promise that one day “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

I don’t know whether that means singing seraphim and cherubim, stars in the night sky, a pink and purple sunset over an ocean or the hand of an infant tightly wrapping itself around my finger. But if I had to guess, I’d say that God is revealed in all of those things. However, even though the kingdom of God is already here in front of me, I find I need to remember to look for it. Richard Rohr is fond of saying, “what we see depends onhow we see,” or, maybe in this case it would be better to say, “whom we see.”

Another favorite spiritual writer, Paul Coutinho, says one of the big problems many of us face in the spiritual life is that we aren’t willing to embrace who and what we really are. We are made in the Divine image. We were made to both see God as he is and to become like God ourselves. But we know our faults and failings so well that often we aren’t willing to believe that we are, in fact, God’s children. Now. In this new year, I need to embrace that truth about myself, and about the people I meet each day.

Maybe if I can remember that, and embrace it, it’ll be easier to see that the kingdom of God already is here. Maybe it’ll also be easier to recognize myself as a child of God. Now. 

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

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Daily Dose - January 2nd

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

Daily Readings

Reflection by Tom Albus, a parishioner

The Commission of Christmas

            I have a favorite biblical passage I go to often and it has nothing to do, historically, with Christmas.  It is from the Last Supper discourse of John’s gospel but I think it has perspective to offer a people going forth from Christmas.

Here is the passage:

I no longer call you slaves because a slave does not know what his master is doing.  I have called you friends because I have told you everything I have learned from my Father.  It was not you who chose me but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.  This I command you: love one another.  John 15: 15-17.

            Peace and joy come to me at Christmas when I can accept God’s choice to send his only son back into a sinful world.  That choice, mentioned by Christ at the last supper, is the root of salvation (“it was not you who chose me but I who chose you”).  It came before Mary’s “yes” at the Annunciation which set the stage for the Incarnation and, ultimately, Christ’s death and resurrection. 

            So, now what?  Well, now we are to go out and bear fruit.  Christ has given us the Word by “telling us everything [he] learned from the Father.”  We are on the team now.  We have been personally chosen.  We need only ask in the name of Jesus.  Now, I promise I am done eating cookies and fudge.  I am throwing out the boxes and wrapping paper.  I am going to try to call on the Father in 2013 and see what kind of fruit comes of it.  Happy New Year!

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

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas Daily Dose - Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

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

Daily Readings

Reflection by Steve Schaefer, a parishioner

I love the concept Paul communicates to the Galatians’ in today’s second reading – “so that we might receive adoption”. 

The idea of being adopted by God has helped me immensely in my ability to love.  I imagine the emotional struggles of a boy in an orphanage yearning to be chosen with every prospective visiting parent.  I think of the cumulative pain of little girl who has parents, but sadly does not receive their love.  Maybe they have none to give?

My childhood was full of many things along with frequent hugs and kisses. It didn’t, unfortunately, include a religious foundation.  Looking back and until recently, there was always something missing.  It created a spiritual appetite I was unknowingly trying to fill with earthly needs and desires.  At one point, I had a buddy tell me, “you can either love the life you live or live the life you love”.  It was a tough challenge with no instruction manual or coaching.  It was delivered with a Nike "just do it" attitude.  He was asking me to change my perspective.  It was a switch that was very heavy and took several years to flip.    

God’s love was always there, I accepted it at a spiritual retreat.  I felt the fullness of God’s love . . . that I was His beloved son . . . that He chose me . . .  He wants me . . . He yearns for me to love Him with all my heart.  It was only then that I was able to give my love to others, only then that I was able to truly love my life.  I’ve been blessed to feel so much of God’s love that my passion for life overflows.  I believe that God sent the Spirit of his Son into my heart.  As a result, I trust more, I feel more, I take risks, I try new things, I work to not expect too much, I serve where I can and I’ve recently been able to appreciate failure as a chance to grow.  I sure stumble and wrestle with life quite a bit, but there is much more “good” than there used to be in my life.

As you make New Year resolutions, I encourage you to include one as a child of God to cry out “Abba, Father!” Try something new, a retreat, serving in your parish or community, praying in solitude . . . the opportunities are endless. Step out of yourself a little more than is comfortable, you will receive and your Father will be very proud of you.

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