Foundations. September 29, 2014

I walked into our empty church building and felt out of sorts and empty. The inside has been completely gutted, only the ceiling and brick walls intact. What caught my attention was the floor, torn up in places revealing dirt and gravel. As a walked I noticed the underground piping system which carries water in and out of the building. A trough has been created to carry water to our new baptismal font. On top of this system of pipes the floor will be poured and shaped.
This underground network of pipes carry water….life…in ways we are totally unaware. We walk on the floor as water is flowing in and out underneath our footsteps. The foundation has a life of its own.
The foundation of our lives is God, whose presence flows in and out of our awareness, our memories, our prayer. This “foundation”…God….dwells in our hearts and we are usually completely unaware this Divine Indwelling. As we walk over the floor of our church, unaware of the life that is flowing underneath, we walk through life disconnected with the very Foundation of our lives.
Pilgrimage is walking with a purpose, with a deeper awareness the very Presence that “grounds” our lives. The more we are grounded in God, the more inner peace we have; the better we make decisions; the more patience we have; the ability to forgive and let go of bitterness increases; the less likely we are to complain ; the more we give thanks.
Every time we walk, whether around the block, in the park, along the lake or on a Camino in Spain, we can open ourselves up to this life giving foundation. Whether we walking freely, with a cane, or a walker or a wheelchair, we can be on a pilgrimage that gently reveals the hidden “underground ” presence of God.
Buen Camino. Fr. Frank




The Portal. Sept. 23, 2014

I was walking past the building of our church at the corner of Armitage and Kenmore and saw the doorway completely gutted. One could see very clearly into the church through the heavy dusted air. The church couldn’t be more open without a massive set of doors LOCKED greeting people.
The doorway into the church has a particular soulful designation: the “portal.” The port us where a ship returns and rests after being at sea. The port is both an entranceway to land or to sea. The doorway of a church is both an entrance into the building or a re-entry into the world after encountering Christ in the Eucharist. The waters at the “portal” of the church are the waters of baptism. We pass through the doorway as baptized people needing to reignite the passion of our baptismal identity. We leave through the same doorway renewed with Word, Sacrament and Community as “leaven” for the world. We leave with a mission rooted in the waters of Baptism.
The entrance of our church without the doors is an apt symbol of our church and parish. We face the world with an openness to the people in the world and “outside” the church. Our mission rooted in the waters of baptism is to be in the world like an open church. May people see in us the presence of Christ. May our humanity become a harbor of rest and welcome.
May we open wide the doors…the portal of our hearts to God’s People.
Buen Camino. Fr. Frank


Sabbath Prayer. Sept. 14, 2014

On Friday I had the opportunity of praying the Sabbath with the people of Temple Shalom. It was a beautiful experience of prayer and community, the people welcoming me with open arms. Part of the service included a rite of commitment by a young man entering the Jewish faith. I was privileged to be part of his journey.

But the irony of the experience was that we both met a couple of years ago at St. Teresa’s. He would come to St Teresa’s on occasion as he explored religion and his experience of God. After one if his visits , he left a beautiful origami shaped crane( the bird) in front if the tabernacle. Inside the crane was a prayer for Peace, a passion of his. I remember finding this “crane of prayer” and wondered who created it and left it for me to have a moment of joy. Here I am in a Temple, a fellow pilgrim on a journey of faith, being able to witness his moment of commitment and belonging. Once again, there are no coincidences in life. I was meant to be there.

Sitting in Temple Shalom on a cold and dreary Friday allowed me to be swept up by ancient prayers and song. We are all “pilgrims” walking at different places on one path, all leading to the same destination. We Catholics tend to be unaware of the Jewish identity of Jesus. Yes, we all know he was a Jew but have little clue as to the Jewish and Hebrew world that shaped his humanity. Out prayer of Eucharist is rooted in Jewish prayer and ritual. Jesus lived and breathed in a world that united body and soul and saw the beauty of the created world. Due to heavy influences of Greek philosophy, we tend to divide the world in which we live so that the invisible takes precedence over the visible. The foundation for understanding the Scriptures must be in the Hebrew world vision if the meaning of the Word is to have any impact on our lives.

Somehow, God invaded my memory last Friday evening through a beautiful paper crane. There is a parable in here somewhere. Peace and Burn Camino. Fr. Frank