Father John’s Message

Fr. John Gerritts  |   

22 November 2020

It was exciting for me to share with our parish last weekend that Saint Patrick Parish received a first-class relic of Blessed Father Solanus Casey from the Capuchins in Detroit. The Church has a long tradition of honoring the Saints by venerating their bodies or relics. There are three classes of relics: a first-class relic is a piece of a Saint’s body, and can be used for public veneration. Second class relics are a piece of a Saint’s clothing or something the Saint made use of in his or her lifetime. A third-class relic is something like a piece of cloth or a prayer card that was touched to a first class relic.

As our Gospel reading taught last Sunday, to those who are entrusted with much, much will be expected. We have been entrusted by the Church with a great and important gift, and much will be expected of us. In particular we are called to follow the simple wisdom of Father Solanus: “Thank God ahead of time!” We must thank God ahead of time for the favors, miracles, blessings, gifts, and graces that will certainly come through the intercession of Blessed Father Solanus as prayers calling upon him are offered.

We will soon bring together a group of parishioners to design something that will be an appropriate display for the relic and give honor to Blessed Father Solanus Casey. I will also be requesting permission from our Bishop to name our Eucharistic Chapel in honor of Blessed Solanus. When our churches were closed down, I offered Mass by myself many days in our chapel. As I stood at the altar I would look over at the statue in our chapel of Father Casey, and I truly felt his presence with me on those lonely days. With the addition of his relic, it feels like we have welcomed him back to where his spiritual life began.

Moving now to this weekend we bring the liturgical year to a close as we celebrate the Solemnity in Honor of Christ the King. As I wrote a few weeks ago, how important it is to remember that in the midst of everything to know that God is Lord and Sovereign of All and Jesus is truly our King. But as King what we hear this weekend is our King is found among the hungry, thirsty, that he is the stranger, the one with no clothes, the one who is ill, and the one in prison. This is the King with whom we are blessed and the one who will judge us on our final day. And so, we will conclude this Sunday in the homily by reflecting on this great gift and how much we have been blessed, and that we truly need to be people of gratitude who give thanks.

Know that I truly appreciate the many hardships and great sufferings of so many in our parish. Amid the many cards that cover my desk, there are several cards of remembrance for children at whose funerals I presided. Their parents are a group of people I hold especially close in prayer. My prayer for them is often that even they, who have experienced one of the greatest losses that could come to a person in life, can find reason to be thankful.

We gather this week as a nation to give thanks. Many of us will not gather with family or friends as we typically do. Many of us will find ourselves spending the day mostly alone. I would encourage you to join us for Mass either in person or via livestream. That while we cannot wait for 2020 to be over, we will remember that on Thanksgiving Day, 2020 we gathered in prayer with our parish family, friends, guests, and strangers to give God thanks. As I said last Easter when we were only one month into the lockdown, “even amid the darkness there is a light that shines bright – Jesus.” That we thank God for what He has done this past year and as Father Solanus would tell us, “Thank Him ahead of time” for what He will provide.

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