Weekly pastor’s post (September 10)

This weekend I announced the draft configuration of the parish family (parish family 13). I won’t rehash all that is in the announcement or the included Q&A, save to encourage you to read them both, mark the dates of the related parish gatherings, and – most importantly! – to pray that we may together discern and respond to however God is calling us in this.

This is part one of the #justiceforroberta saga. Delightfully, there is now a part two, a part three, a part four, AND a part five. I’m on the edge of my seat, myself.

If you’re like me, heavy moments need followed by lighter fare. On that note, I would like to share with you a series of short videos from one of my favorite short video creators, Gwenna Laithland of ‘Momma Cusses’. Fair warning: she isn’t speaking rhetorically about being a mother or cussing. If you’re put off by an occasional swear, this may be worth a pass.

That said, I am especially enjoying what has become a video series saga about Roberta, a porch goose. It’s silly fun of the kind that is so often found in families that have all the right combinations of lovable weirdness. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Back here at the parish, I’ve been enjoying an unexpected intersection of my love of technology with the rollout of ParishStaq – the new parish management software being taken up throughout the archdiocese. It is essentially a centralized portal where parishioners can manage their parish information, join & leave groups, communicate within those groups, and receive communications from leadership within the community.

We’re not quite ready to invite everyone just yet, but we are onboarding select groups in the parish – they’re essentially our beta testers for how to use this tool well. You can check out our parish groups listing (click on each one for the whole effect) or the (developing!) online calendar, two of the many neat functions of ParishStaq. I think you’ll agree it looks very promising!

As we enter into this week – especially as we go into this new phase of Partners in the Gospel – rest assured of my prayers. May God bless us all now and throughout our discernment together.

Yours in Christ,
Father Maurer

September 11 – Especially for those of us who were around on September 11, 2001, today marks a life-altering anniversary. As we watched in shock and horror, shocking acts of terror took the lives of hundreds of Americans. The victories of that day were bittersweet, the heroic bravery of the passengers of Flight 93 that prevented the fourth attack but cost them their lives, the extraordinary selflessness of the NYPD, FYPD & PAPD,1 as well as numerous civilians who ran not away but into the burning Twin Towers in efforts to save as many as they can. You may recall that the first listed fatality was a Roman Catholic priest who was serving as a NYFD chaplain.

One icon – figuratively and literally speaking – of the amazing grace that came from this day is Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church & National Shrine. Destroyed during the attacks, members of the church, fellow citizens, and many more rallied around the church as it was rebuilt. Last year, on its feast day of Saint Nicholas (December 6, 2022), it fully reopened. Though we have much healing and growth yet to realize, the Lord is bringing many graces through all of this!

September 12 The memorial Most Holy Name of Mary, reinstituted by Pope John Paul II, has its roots in as a local Spanish celebration. It was inserted into the Roman Calendar in 1683 after the Battle of Vienna, in which the Ottoman Empire was turned back from Vienna – King Sobieski credited Mary for his victory, as he had asked for her intercession at the Shrine to Our Lady of Czestochowa prior to the battle. Though this occasion inspired the feast day, veneration of the name of Mary pre-dated it – and continues today! Read about how we yet honor the holy names of Jesus & Mary at Catholic Culture.

September 13 – “The road to hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lampposts that light the path.” With these words attributed to Saint John Chrysostom, one of my seminary professors welcomed us to our studies for the priesthood. A bracing welcome, but one that has stuck with me as a firm reminder of the responsibilities we (all!) have to live & proclaim the Gospel – which is as he intended, I’m sure! Read more about Saint John Chrysostom at Franciscan Media.

1 Corinthians 2:10, Full of Eyes

September 14 – The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is a rare celebration that is recognized not only by Catholics, but by Orthodox and Protestant Christians as well. Though it goes under different names (The Elevation of the Venerable and Life-Giving Cross, Holy Cross Day), the cross of the Lord nonetheless unites us all. As we reverence the instrument through which Jesus saved us, let us pray for the fulfillment of His words – ‘they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you’2. Check out the reflection on this feast day at the Vatican News website.

September 15 – The memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows holds a special place in my heart. On this feast day eighteen years ago (2005), we then-seminarians of Mundelein seminary woke up to the death of two of my fellow seminarians (Matthew ‘Matty’ Molnar and Jared Cheek) in an alcohol-related car accident. The driver (Robert Spaulding) and the other seminarian in the car (Mark Rowlands) were suspended, to be later expelled from the community.

God brought some unbelievable graces from that terrible day – some of my closest friendships were forged in the suffering & sorrow we endured together. The driver, too, experienced extraordinary graces – foremost in the mercy of the parents of Matty & Jared, who pled for leniency at his trial. The driver is now Father Rob Spaulding, who, having served his sentence then worked with his bishop to discern if the Lord was still calling him to priesthood. He was ordained in 2009 for Diocese of Cheyenne.

As you might imagine, I and my classmates from Mundelein always remember Matty, Jared, Rob, and Mark on this day – please join me in praying for each of them.

  1. New York Police Department, New York Fire Department, and Port Authority Police Department, respectively ↩︎
  2. John 17:21 ↩︎