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How Do I?

Fr. Tom’s Letters


Each week Fr. Tom writes a letter to parishioners in our bulletin.  Every letter is comprehensive, including current information about the Parish, an explanation of Scripture for that Sunday, and an invitation to become more engaged in the life of the parish.





February 16, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

A week from this Wednesday, February 26, we will observe Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. You might begin to think about some possibilities for your Lenten practices this week so that when Ash Wednesday arrives, you will be ready to begin. Lent focuses on practices of penance, fasting, prayer, and  charity or almsgiving.

If you are searching for a Lenten practice that is focused on scripture and learning more about God’s word, you may consider our parish initiative Scripture 2020 that will begin on Ash Wednesday. You will be joining 50 or so parish participants in reading a chapter of scripture, the New Testament, each day. You can read from your favorite bible or you can read the scriptures on your phone or tablet. You can read at any time of the day and most days, you will be able to read a single chapter in 3 to 4 minutes. Scripture 2020 will go beyond Lent and if you stay with the program, you will have read the entire New Testament prior to Thanksgiving. A calendar guide will be provided for your reading. Read at your own pace. Hopefully your increased familiarity with the New Testament will help you to pray. Consider joining us. There is no cost. Register at scripture2020@stannesgc.iorg


A week from Monday we will have our third parish evening conversation in a series that began in the fall. A parishioner noted this February 24th meeting in last week’s bulletin. She stated, “I have a lot of questions.”  Great! This will be an opportunity for parishioners to ask questions and be more informed about important matters of our parish, diocese, and church. We will be using Bishop Barron’s A Letter to a Suffering Church as a springboard for our conversation. Please consider sharing in this conversation.


The middle reading today from St. Paul’ concludes: “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him, this God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit scrutinizes everything , even the depths of God.”

Earlier in the passage Paul writes, “Rather we speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden…” Some commentators point to this passage as the call and responsibility we have to come to know the mind of God. How difficult it is to know the mind of God! For some, coming to know the mind of God is discovering God’s “plan” for one’s life. That too is a difficult task.

Yes, we may pray to know the mind of God. Obviously to know the mind of God requires listening. Listening demands quiet, silence, attentiveness, and openness. Knowing the mind of God requires discernment, interpretation and guidance. If we want to know the mind of God, prayer is necessary. Can we acknowledge that prayer is more about listening than talking? Can we admit that God speaks to us? I believe God speaks in scripture, prayer, liturgy, through other people, through signs, even through nature.

I think human life includes much more mystery than present day culture cares to admit. Even evil has a sense of mystery to it. How hard it is to understand when someone is guilty of a heinous violent act that kills others. Sometimes we never know the reason. Love too is mysterious. How persons fall in love, grow in love, and stay in love has mysterious elements. I think of love as immeasurable at a time when people are measuring everything. That which inspires tremendous generosity and self-sacrificing ends in heroic and kind acts that we often cannot fully explain. Mystery abounds.

At Easter time, St. Paul writes, “your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Our vocation, our purpose, our task is to discover that hidden life over the course of a lifetime. There is always more to learn and discover of that hidden life. It will be the source of a person’s greatest joy.

Part of the lesson of today’s reading is that we cannot run from mystery. Mystery helps to make us more human in the best sense of the term. Mystery helps build virtue, especially the virtue of patience. It’s okay not to have all the answers. Spend more time finding the right questions. It’s okay not to know. We commit to learning so that someday we know more. We need to learn to live in God’s world with mystery, unanswered questions, and not knowing. Remember, technology is another element of God’s world.


There was a headline about Pope Francis’ homily for Thursday morning. It read the “Danger of Wordiness” or so I thought. Again, the headline made me think of Pope Francis is rebuking long homilists. I re-read the headline: “Danger of Worldliness.” What a difference an L makes. I felt relieved.

Peace be to you.

Fr. Tom













The letters are available in PDF and require Adobe Reader to view.  If you do not have Adobe Reader, you can download it for FREE by clicking the graphic to the right.