Weekly pastor’s post (June 2 – 8)

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A photo of the painting from the central panel of the Ghent altarpiece. The lamb of God stands on an altar, with the precious blood coming from its heart into a chalice. Surrounding the altar are angels, and saints, with the Holy Spirit descending from above in the form of a dove

Please forgive the lateness of this week’s pastor’s post. Thanks particularly to the help of dedicated PAAs, a deacon who assisted with an extensive Spanish translation, and all those who have participated in the consultative process, this weekend saw the sharing of my proposed Mass & confession schedule for the Olympic Peninsula at each of the weekend Masses at all churches. Council members generously agreed to personally announce the changes, staff arranged for an abbreviated version to be published in the bulletin, and volunteers helped ensure that the documents were (are) available on line with an active email account for people to offer feedback. Getting to this point has been the work of several months of prayer, discussion, and discernment (and so. many. emails!).

If that weren’t enough to keep a priest up until the wee hours of the night, this weekend was also the weekend of Corpus Christi! This is one of my favorite celebrations of the year, and our parish had made solid plans to do it in style. Two stations, one decorated by our school students and the other decorated by at least two parish groups, were to stand ready for our Eucharistic procession after the last Mass of the day. Nearly ten altar servers presented themselves before Mass, eager to participate and lead on this special day.

Sadly, things did not quite turn out as planned! The grey skies at the start of the weekend turned into a solidly rainy day, putting the kibosh on our outdoor procession. So instead, we had an indoor procession, circumnavigating the perimeter of the church interior. After the O Salutaris concluded, we walked in silence a bit before I decided to lead the congregation in ‘What Wondrous Love’….except I didn’t know all the words – happily, the community did! Simple though it was, it was, well, wondrous to walk with Jesus while singing together in adoration of Him. We concluded with the Pange Lingua at the foot of the altar (once again started by me but supported by those who knew the words!).

Imagine, by the way being a newly ordained priest celebrating your very first Mass on this day! Father Maximiliano Muñoz and Father Kyle Rink, ordained just the day before (June 1) did just that! What a way to begin their ministry as priests of the Archdiocese of Seattle.

I hope that the blessings of this weekend continue throughout the week for you and your loved ones. Especially as so many of our communities anticipate goodbyes to their current priests, hellos to new ones, and the change that comes with that, let us pray for each other and our fellow Catholics here in the Pacific Northwest.

Side-by-side Latin/English text – To hear more wonderful music from the Benedictine Sisters of Ephesus, you can purchase the sisters’ CD (among others!) at their website

June 2 – Today is the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). Today’s celebration includes a great many highlights, starting with the reflection by Saint Thomas Aquinas in the Office of Readings for the day. Massgoers likely saw elevated liturgical solemnity at their parishes, with carefully chosen hymns, incense, and the sequence Lauda Sion. The popular highlight is of course the Eucharistic procession, typically going from from the principal Mass of the parish into the surrounding neighborhood. Preceded by altar servers bearing candles and incensing the path before it, the Eucharist is carried in a monstrance while Catholics follow behind singing and praying in adoration. It is a celebration of the triumph of Christ over sin and death, but it is also an invitation to the world to enter into relationship with Him – the witness of devotion offering a simple message: “come and see”!

A stylized depiction image of Saint Charles Lwanga and his companions

June 3 – Today’s memorial of Charles Lwanga (Karoli Lwanga) & companions reminds us of the call for all Christians to be set apart from the ways of the world. When King Mwanga’s own pages refused his sexual advances due to their newfound faith, he presented them with a terrible choice: apostasy or death. They refused to renounce Christ or His Church and were sentenced to death – most were burned alive. But rather than stamping out the faith, Mwanga’s actions enflamed the hearts of so many that the feast day is celebrated not by thousands or tens of thousands but hundreds of thousands of people who gather on this feast day at a site near to where Charles and his companions died for their faith. Check out Bishop Barron’s reflection & video at Word on Fire.

A drawing of Saint Boniface in his episcopal vestments, with a crozier in his left hand and a sword piercing a book in his right hand

June 5Last week we remembered the saint nicknamed ‘the Apostle of England’. Today we celebrate the saint nicknamed ‘the Apostle of the Germans’. Saint Boniface was a Benedictine monk from England who was sent by the pope to reform the German Church. He faced opposition on every side: the laity interfered in the election of bishops, the clergy were enmeshed in worldly values & habits, and the authority of the pope was largely ignored – problems that still echo strongly in the German Catholic world to this day. May we continue to entrust Germany to Jesus, asking Saint Boniface to intercede for the full conversion of the people to whom he ministered so faithfully. (Click here to read Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 reflection on the apostle to his homeland at the Vatican website)

A painting oby Vicente López Portaña of two hearts suspended above angels kneeling in adoration, while other angels look on from above and each side. The heart on the left is surrounded by thorns with a cross above it, the heart on the left is surrounded by white roses with stylized crown in the shape of the letter 'M' above it.

June 7 & June 8 – Though these are two separate feast days, the close ties between the liturgical celebrations of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 7) and the Immaculate Heart of Mary (June 8) reflect the closeness of the hearts of Jesus & Mary. Where Jesus went, Mary followed – and Mary always leads us to Jesus, in both her example and intercession. These feast days always fall on the Friday & Saturday after Corpus Christi – the days themselves reminding us of when Jesus’ heart was pierced on the cross and likewise, Mary’s motherly heart shared in His suffering.

May we, like her, unite our hearts to that of Jesus, that we may be recipients of His tender care and more faithful in proclaiming His love to the world. Read more about the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus at Franciscan Media.

Priests celebrating their anniversaries this week

A color line art picture of people gathered around an altar as incense rises above them to heaven before the three Persons of the Trinity, Mary & Joseph, and all the saints & angels.

Remembering our deceased priests

  • Fr. Charles Claessens (June 2, 1912)
  • Fr. A. J. Shaughnessy (June 3, 1975)
  • Fr. Ward B. Oakshott (June 5, 2017)
  • Fr. Patrick Mulligan (June 6, 1977)
  • Fr. Donald Conger (June 7, 1996)
  • Fr. Redmond Burke (June 8, 1979)
A black and white line art drawing of Christ the judge enthroned within an arch with angels seated on pillars to His right and left with stars behind him.

2 thoughts on “Weekly pastor’s post (June 2 – 8)”

  1. Father Maurer

    I find it interesting that from the beginning of Partners in the Gospel, the archbishop has never been transparent about each individual church’s finances. This was a question that I asked when we first had parish meetings for input on these changes. So, I’m asking again- is each parish going to keep their own money or will it go to Port Angeles to be divided up amongst the “family “?

    This is a very important topic that should be shared with all parishioners!

    • The archbishop – and each pastor & parish – is bound by canon (and moral!) law when it comes to parish finances. The short answer is ‘it’s complicated’.

      The long answer should indeed – and will be – something we discuss & share with all parishioners. One of the things I will be leading after I arrive are town hall meetings for questions such as this. The questions & answers at those meetings will be published for all to read as well – something not achievable here in the comments section of my humble personal blog ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


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