ADVENT PARISH MISSION
Nov. 28, 2022 - Dec. 1, 2022
Father George Knab of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate is part of the Oblate Preaching Ministries. In 1816 St. Eugene De Mazenod founded the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate to preach the Gospel to the poor. This includes parish missions at home and foreign missions abroad. Father George is a mission preacher based in Belleville, IL, the site of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. He is one of over 300 Oblates in the United States and 4,000 throughout the world who work in more than 60 countries
Parish Advent Mission
November 28, 2022
Rosary Renewal Comes to St. Thomas More (Tulsa)
By Carlos Michael Padilla
Click here to listen to Monday's Parish Mission presentation.
Sunday, Nov. 28th, I was debating whether I should physically attend Mass or watch on television. Why was I experiencing conflict? Because three days earlier on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) I had (third time) 21 days hence had returned.
That’s okay, a little suffering for the Lord is good for the soul and our neighbors, right? The concern I had was the number of trips I was making to the restroom (19 on Saturday) and the odor. I didn’t want to be sitting next to one of my choir brothers or sisters and have them look at me with a look of disgust because I stunk.
Thank God for the good that comes from today’s technology. In this case, allowing me to watch Mass online. However, in my heart of hearts, I wanted to be present physically because that makes Mass so much more personal for me. The experience of praising God with the entire parish community and priests isn’t quite the same as watching Mass on television as it is being there in person. Mass is meant to be experienced in person and this person wanted to be front and center with the Lord and the parish community.
In addition to that, I knew that the Parish Advent Mission was going to begin on Monday and that Fr. George Knab, OMI, facilitator of the Parish Advent Mission was going to celebrate Mass that Sunday and I didn’t want to miss anything he had to say.
I was looking forward to attending the mission, but I was afraid my health was not going to allow that to happen, just like not being able to attend Mass in person.
This became so important to me that I decided to take my situation to prayer. “Jesus, I truly want to be present with you and the parish community at Mass rather than watch online. It’s just not the same. May I ask you to please allow me to be present and not have to make any bathroom runs during the celebration of the Mass, so I don’t miss a single moment? One more thing, Lord, please don’t let me stink!”
After praying that prayer I gathered up my songbook, packed the briefcase, and went to the Church believing the Lord heard my prayer. He did! I didn’t have to run to the restroom until I got home. I was present with the Lord as Fr. George concelebrated Mass with Fr. Leo, and with the parish community. I listened intently to Fr. George’s sermon regarding the Rosary Renewal Advent Parish Mission that was starting on Monday, and, praise God, I didn’t stink!
When Monday rolled around I was not feeling well at all. My body hurt, I was running low on energy, and I was still making lots of trips to the restroom. The good thing, however, is that I was drowning myself in liquids. I was drinking lots and lots of water in fear that a certain parishioner and friend who attends the Becoming Disciples meetings with me would punish me if I didn’t drink any water in addition to that disgusting one hundred percent pure cranberry juice. Drinking that stuff is like being in purgatory. Oh my goodness! But I digress
Monday, November 28, 2022
Chapel of Our Lady of San Juan de Los Lagos
Advent Parish Mission
I arrived at about 4:30 PM per the request of the Choir Director. She wanted the choir to have an opportunity to warm up prior to the beginning of the Parish Mission.
Leda (Choir Director) and Janet (Choir member) arrived not long after I arrived. As I waited for Leda to unlock the door leading into the choir room, Janet asked if she could pray a prayer of healing over me.
“Why of course!” I responded. I am not one to turn down a prayer request.
Ms. Janet and I sat in the main sanctuary of the church where she proceeded to pray over me, part of which she prayed in tongues. That was so nice to hear because listening to Janet pray in tongues reminded me of my own mother who used to do the same. I have the ability to pray in tongues as well but do so rarely.
Janet asked if I experienced anything as she prayed over me. Actually, I did. I know that I mentioned to Janet the way she prayed in tongues was akin to the way my mother prayed in tongues, but yes, I did experience a sense of calm and trust in God that although I have been called to physical suffering through illness, it is temporary, and I will be healed. What a joy!
After praying over me Janet and I returned to the choir room where the three of us plus our trusted piano extraordinaire, Francisco, warmed up by going through the music selections for the evening.
Fr. George opened the mission by discussing how the next four days would proceed. From there, Father invited us to take a rose and candle to place before the statue of Our Lady while we sang Immaculate Mary (G783).
Following an opening prayer, Fr. George began the recitation of the Holy Rosary focusing on the joyful mysteries. Five members of the parish pre-selected by the Advent Parish Mission committee each recited one decade of the Rosary.
At the conclusion of the Rosary, Fr. George blessed us with the following reflection:
Every now and then in my work of preaching the Gospel, I get a note that puts a little more joy in my life. And so, here is one from Maria, “First and foremost, I would like to praise God for the blessings He has given me. You may remember me as the one who asked for your prayers for my newly diagnosed cancer. I am very much confused and fearful. I manage to get a second opinion and started on topical anti-cancer medication. I responded well. And when I had my biopsy, I was cleared of any skin cancer. I am in remission. Praise God for the miracle. All eight biopsy sites were negative. This miracle strengthened my prayer life and reminded me of God’s love and protection. Bless you Father for your ministry of spreading the Good News.
So, I quote this particularly, because it expresses that sense of joy that has accompanied the Good News of God from the very beginning!
“I proclaim the Good News!”, the angel of God said to the shepherds of Bethlehem. “Good news of great joy for all the people. For a Savior has been born to you who is Christ the Lord.”
A Savior—is someone who saves! Someone who brings salvation. Salvation comes from a Latin word, Salas – which means good health. And when God brings good health through His beloved Son, Jesus, good health of mind, body, and spirit, the main response is joy.
But let’s face it, joy is not an experience the world pays much attention to. Take the news media, for example, they have a bias toward negativity. They prefer to report on tension, conflict, and catastrophes of every kind.
And so, they are eager to tell us all about COVID-19, mass shootings, racial injustice, natural disasters, political in-fighting, that war in Ukraine, or whatever else that may get us angry and upset.
And then there is the world of art. One painting put up at auction fetched a record-breaking one hundred and twenty million dollars. This painting was not of the Madonna and child with soft warm colors. The painting depicted a man in distress standing on a ledge overlooking an insane asylum and it was entitled, “The Scream!”
And then there is the music industry. There is a singer/songwriter who committed suicide. But he was recognized as a pioneer in his field. A pioneer for the way he put his troubles to music with lyrics about childhood abuse, addiction, and depression.
So, if it is a joy we want, we look not to the world, we turn to the Gospel, especially that portion of the Gospel that is brought to mind by the joyful mysteries of the Rosary.
Now when we talk about mysteries in this context, we are not talking about something we cannot understand. We are referring to a truth that we can understand more and more without ever exhausting its meaning. And the mystery most joyful is a mystery known as the Incarnation. The mystery that the Gospel calls, Emmanuel (God with us).
We who believe in this truth know God, not as non-existent or absent or far, far away, high, high up there. For us, God is always at our side. Someone who is truly with us, making us holy, healthy, and joyful by His saving presence.
Now, one way for that to happen is to the Rosary. Now the Rosary as we know it was rooted in the so-called dark ages. That period in world history when the light of Christ shone most brightly, in the monasteries and the convents that were springing up across Europe. These were the great centers of culture and spirituality in the western world. Here men learned to read and write. And they used these skills to worship God by focusing on and using the great prayer book of the Bible—the Book of Psalms.
Now the people living around these houses of prayer wanted to join in. But because books were rare and people were generally illiterate, they substituted short prayers in the Bible which they memorized and repeated over and over again like reciting the angelic salutation in Luke’s Gospel, a hundred and fifty times in order to match the hundred and fifty psalms in the Bible.
And these Hail Marys were divided into sets of five groups of ten called decades pounded on a string of beads. A set of five decades was known as a Rosarium, which is a Latin term for a rose garden. So, the Rosary was the original spiritual bouquet. And of course, this was a serious prayer because each decade was devoted to pondering a different aspect of the mystery of salvation as treasured in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
And so, as the Old-Testament Psalms contained the history of the chosen people, so, the New Testament Rosary brings to mind the Gospel that forms the new people; forms the Church as a new people of God.
In a sense, the Rosary is a portable Gospel or a prayerful form of Bible study. Now in the 1200s, it was popularized by St. Dominic and his followers as a way of strengthening the true faith in the face of some false teaching. And since then, the Rosary has been always more or less popular. It was very popular after Our Lady appeared at Fatima and encouraged it as a prayer for peace. The people of Portugal took her words to heart, and they claim that the Rosary is what kept them out of two world wars.
In the United States, it was promoted by Fr. Patrick Peyton and the Family Rosary Crusade. The Rosary became less popular after Vatican II when the focus was on full participation at the Mass. But now it is getting more popular. Perhaps because of the messages, Our Lady is giving to those visionaries in Medjugorje starting in 1981. And more recently, then after that, more popular after St. John Paul II wrote an Apostolic Letter on Rosary Renewal. And most recently, Pope Francis was encouraging the Rosary as a prayer for the whole Church for purification and protection as she grieves over the sexual sins of her ministers and her members. And then during the pandemic, many families turned to pray the Rosary as a way to keep the Lord’s day holy when they couldn’t get to church.
Now when Pope St. Paul the VI wrote about true devotion to Mary, he described the Rosary not as a methodical repetition of formulas but as an exquisitely, contemplative prayer. And so as such it calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace that helps persons or groups to ponder the mysteries of the Lord’s life as lived through the life of her who was closest to Him.
And St. John Paul wrote that praying the Rosary is contemplating the face of Jesus in the school of Mary. And as we do so, the unfathomable richness of these mysteries is disclosed. In other words, we discover how true it is that God is always with us to bring us to Heaven. Now, ever since Jesus said to the blind man, “Your faith has saved you” (or) “Your faith has healed you,” the prayer of faith has been seen as a pathway to the healing of body, soul, and spirit. Now, it’s a matter of feeling of physical healing is the most dramatic and so that was in the case of Maria. The prayer that accompanied a doctor’s care that led to a miracle that filled her with joy. Less dramatic, but just as real is when God heals the soul.
A young man, newly married started having alarming episodes of muscle weakness. He went to the hospital for a series of several days of tests. A brain tumor was their worst fear. So, every day when he went off to a new test his young wife tried to say the Rosary, but she was so troubled by anxiety she couldn’t finish it. It was only on the fifth day that she was able to say all five decades. And she said that when she did, a remarkable peace came over her so much so that she could devote herself to her husband and assure him, share with him her newfound confidence and assure him that all would be well.
This problem was eventually diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. And so when I first met the couple twenty-five years later the disease had progressed to such a point that the man though fully alert was bedridden and could hardly talk. But they still had their peace of mind because they had made the Rosary a daily habit. And then during my visit, the results were obvious. Because instead of telling me all of the problems they face and the troubles they had they wanted me to know the many ways that God provided for them over the years.
God who heals the body and heals the soul heals the spirit. Most of all, Jim and his wife decided to move closer to his aging parents. He was their only child and he thought it would be good for them to be close to his parents. And his folks were glad to have him live nearby. But it wasn’t long before the old tensions between the father and the son began to emerge. The dad developed cancer and needed to travel 40 miles each day for radiation treatment. Jim offered to do the driving which was accepted. And the father silently prayed the Rosary, but in order to break the silence and to ease his own anxieties, Jim asked if he could join in. It was fine. So the father led the prayers and Jim answered them.
And it so happened that at the end of the Rosary, sometimes in the middle of it they would talk about their relationship—the good times and the bad times. So the Rosary was bringing them together. But as the disease progressed Jim had to take the lead and his father answered. Eventually, Jim had to say it all. All his father could do was finger the beads. But what Jim did out of a sense of duty became a gift from God. Because through the Rosary God was preparing his father for death. And purifying the love of his son.
It's wonderful when God heals the body. It’s marvelous when He gives peace of soul, but when He touches the spirit He provides healing that is truly awesome. The Good News of Emmanuel (God with us) brings a joy the world cannot give. So, no wonder the angel Gabriel introduces Mary into the Good News by saying, “Rejoice, O highly favored daughter…” and no wonder Mary in response said, “My soul rejoices in God my Savior…” And no wonder when Simeon took that little bundle of great joy in his arms, he gave praise and thanks to God. And I like to think that Jesus once was lost when He was finally found, the tears of joy washed away those tears of sorrow.
As the mother of Jesus who brings health and salvation, Mary is called the cause of our joy! And so by praying the Rosary tonight and over the next three days we are allowing the healing, saving presence of God to flow into us and through us. So we are going to close this evening's service with a three-fold prayer for healing. And so, in this prayer, you may include your own petitions for yourself or someone else for whom you would like to pray for healing, and then after the closing hymn, for those who want, Fr. Leo and myself will be available at the edge of the sanctuary in case some of us would like to join you in prayer by laying hands on you in silence and blessing you. That is an opportunity we will offer after the service is over.
But first, as went enter into this healing prayer let’s express our faith in song. And so please turn now in the hymnal to that indicated song, You Are Mine (G627).
Fr. George asks everyone to stand inviting the congregation to pray in the silence of their hearts for healing of body, soul, and spirit for themselves and the ones they love.
And now please sing after me and after each part of this three-part prayer…A-a-men…A-a-men…A-a-men…Amen…Amen.
Lord, Jesus Christ, you came among us to open the way of salvation by the power that went forth from You, the blind recovered their sight, cripples walked, lepers were cured, and the deaf began to hear. Look with favor on your people and heal their illnesses today…cancer, heart trouble, diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, respiratory disease, bone, and nerve disease, and every other ailment. Guide with wisdom and skill all who care for them. May your healing love be present in all the treatment they are receiving and the medication they are taking. You who live and reign forever and ever…a-a-men…
Lord, Jesus, You offer a peace that the world cannot give. You urged Your disciples to be neither troubled nor afraid. Lift the burden of depression, fear, and anxiety from your people. Relieve them from obsessions, compulsions, and suicidal thinking. Heal the wounds of mind and heart inflicted during childhood, adolescence, and early married life. In Your mercy enlighten their minds so they may see their painful memories as blessings in disguise and give You thanks for the ways You have turned evil into good. You who live and reign forever and ever…a-a-men…
Lord, Jesus, You delivered the possessed from bondage to Satan, the prince of darkness and the father of lies. You told Peter to forgive seventy times seven. Please do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Deliver Your people from the power of evil spirits. Remedy the effects of any dabbling with the occult and protect them from all assaults of the devil. Let the forgiving spirit which You breathe from the cross and after the resurrection breathes on Your disciples, heal the human spirit of all who have been deeply hurt and unjustly treated. In Your mercy give them the power to forgive so that Your joy may be in them, and their joy may be complete. You who live and reign forever and ever…a-a-men…
So, please be seated now for our closing announcements. (Congregation sits). Ever since Pope St. Paul VI wrote that encyclical on evangelization, and that was in 1987, we have become aware of one more sign of an active, practicing Catholic and that is to share our faith. So, I ask you tonight or tomorrow, tell one other person who is not here this evening something you experienced this evening; something you heard, something you did, something you saw, something that went on inside of you…in the next twenty-four hours share your faith with one other person. And I suppose if you are on social media feel free to use the textbook or Twitter. I want to point out that refreshments are available afterward and we hope that you will mingle a bit and enjoy refreshments before returning home. Enjoy each other’s company and consider inviting another person to come here tomorrow (Tues. 112922).
On Rosary Renewal we continue … .we’ll have Mass at 9:00 AM followed by light refreshments and a brief informal talk on the infancy narrative according to St. Matthew. That will be in the coffee room.
And then tomorrow evening we’ll come back together at 5:30 PM and honor Mary as the seat of wisdom, and we are going to pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. That additional set of mysteries that were given to us by Pope St. John Paul II as an incentive to contemplate the face of Christ as revealed during His public ministry. Our service tomorrow will be a prayer that we might know best how to pass on our faith to the rising generation. That’s the challenge…1:08:23 (the sound cuts off).
ADVENT PARISH MISSION
Advent Parish Mission
Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022
5:30 PM, Chapel of Our Lady of San Juan de Los Lagos