Category Archives: Father McCabe

July 26, 2015 – 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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July 26, 2015

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time


“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”

 Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This weekend we wrap up Natural Family Planning Week in the Church. Natural Family Planning is the only form of family planning that the Church endorses as an alternative to contraception, abortion, and artificial means to conception. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), “Natural Family Planning (NFP) methods represent authentic family planning. They can be used to both achieve and to postpone a pregnancy. NFP makes use of periodic abstinence from sexual intercourse based upon the observation of the woman’s natural signs of fertility, in order to space births or to limit the number of children when there is a serious reason to do so… this practice fosters in couples an attitude of respect and wonder in the face of human life, which is sacred. It also fosters profound respect for one’s spouse, which is necessary for…authentic intimacy.” (Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan, USCCB, 2009, p. 20). NFP does not employ the use of drugs, devices, surgical procedures, or other artificial means to avoid pregnancy, but rather respects the body’s natural reproductive functions. Any woman can use NFP, as it does not depend on regular menstrual cycles. Each woman and each cycle is treated as unique. NFP teaches a woman to be attentive to and understand the physical signs within her body that indicate that she is most likely to become pregnant. The decision to abstain or not can then be made in conjunction with her husband.

NFP has a number of benefits that make it a desirable option for couples:

  • Effective: NFP is shown to be as effective as contraception in preventing unwanted pregnancy (greater than 99% effective, when followed correctly). It has also been shown to increase a woman’s chances of achieving pregnancy, if she should be wanting to conceive.
  • No harmful side effects: While most artificial means of contraception have marked side effects (ranging from allergic reactions to infertility), NFP has no harmful side effects, as no artificial means are used.
  • Strengthens marriage and promotes intimacy: Successful use of NFP requires a couple to communicate openly about their marriage, particularly their sexual relationship and their hopes and desires for their family. Couples find that as communication increases, their marriage is strengthened.
  • Respects sexuality: Couples who practice NFP are encouraged to discover the wonder of how their spouse’s body works, leading to an increased respect for one another.
  • Promotes openness to human life: Couples who practice NFP promote openness to the transmission of human life in the purest way. And they come to recognize the value of children as a planned part of their family. These couples are strengthened as they share responsibility for planning their family.

There are various methods of NFP available to those who are interested in learning more. The most common methods are the sympto-thermal, symptom-hormonal, and cervical-mucus methods. For more information on these methods and classes in our area, check out any of the following websites:

God bless,

Fr. Chris Shofner

July 19, 2015 – 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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July 19, 2015

16th Sunday in Ordinary


“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”

 Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

By now many of you have probably heard of or seen the video exposé of the Planned Parenthood official who talked in great detail about the organization’s practice of selling aborted fetuses for body parts. She described how in certain affiliate locations, the organization receives “orders” from fetal tissue research companies for organs. As doctors perform abortions, they are conscious to keep those organs intact, even if it means delivering and aborting the child in a manner that goes against the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act (that is, when the entire head is outside the body of the mother, or in the case of a breech birth, when the baby is delivered past the navel).

The entire 2½-hour hidden-camera conversation can be found online, along with shorter edited versions. What struck me most about this video was how nonchalantly the official spoke about the practice, as if profits were the most important consideration. Most of the online comments, from both pro-life and pro-choice advocates, express a strong rejection of this practice. Most agree, even among the strictest advocates for abortion, that a beating heart and functioning organs indicate that life is present, and yet this is the stage at which these acts are being done.

The Catholic Church teaches that from the moment the egg is fertilized, human life is present and should be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. We have seen, however, that since the legalization of abortion in 1973, the offenses against the unborn person have only grown. Among some, the mentality has devolved to the point of seeing the unborn child as a commodity. Yet the Church remains firm in Her stance, that the unborn child is a human person from the first moment of conception.

What should be our response? Certainly, human nature is such that we are tempted to discouragement and sadness. We can see the problem as too big to overcome. But we remember that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Whenever we face problems, our first recourse is to God through prayer, asking Him to intervene and change hearts. But we don’t stop there. We trust that God is with us to be His voice in the world and to act where necessary to effect change. We can talk with our loved ones and neighbors about the beauty of life at all stages. We can talk with our legislators to enact laws that respect the dignity of all human life. We can encourage others to promote the goodness of life and family.

I think it’s true that hearts are changed most effectively not by highlighting what’s wrong, but by celebrating what’s right and what we strive for. We must be knowledgeable of how things have gone wrong, but in the end we celebrate life, born and unborn, which is a beautiful gift from God. May we do so with faith, hope and Christian love!

God bless,

Fr. Chris Shofner

July 12, 2015 – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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July 12, 2015

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time


“Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”


Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Allow me to introduce myself.   My name is Fr. Chris Shofner, and I am pastor of the Churches of St. Mary and St. Henry in LeCenter.  I have met some of you through various events throughout the region.  I am also the dean of the southwest deanery of parishes in our Archdiocese.  As such, I have been appointed temporary Parochial Administrator of Immaculate Conception until Fr. McCabe’s return to the parish.  My role as Parochial Administrator is much like that of a Pastor, except that my role is to oversee and provide guidance regarding the administrative affairs of the parish, to answer questions should they arise, and to take care of any administrative needs that require a pastor’s approval or signature.  My role is not to begin any new initiatives in the parish, other than what may have been planned and approved prior to the pastor’s leave.  If any urgent needs arise, I will work with parish leadership and staff to discern the best course of action for the parish.  You have a very capable staff, attentive trustees, and dedicated volunteers to assure that the daily functions of the parish continue until Fr. McCabe’s return.

Most parishioners will likely not see me around the parish, as my role is not primarily sacramental.  We are grateful to the Archdiocese, however, for providing a priest for weekend Masses at Immaculate Conception.  If there are other sacramental needs that arise, such as funerals or weddings, then I and other priests from the area will surely step in and help as our schedules allow.  As Parochial Administrator, I will do my best to be present at council meetings to offer insights where there might be canonical or other administrative questions (that may not always be possible, however, due to conflicts in my schedule).  Regardless, I plan to check in regularly with parish staff and leadership to answer any questions and provide guidance and oversight where needed.

My role extends to Holy Cross School as well.  I will be working with Fr. Barnes from New Market and school leadership to ensure that things are in place for the beginning of classes in the fall.

While I may not be able to answer every question that may arise, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.

St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians addressed the Christian community at Philippi and thanked them for their generosity toward him and their willingness to serve the Lord.  As a blessing in return, Paul assured them that “my God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).  This is my prayer of blessing for you during this time and always, that you remain generous in your service to your parish, to your community, and to your families, so that God may give you the abundance of His grace in return.

God bless,

Fr. Chris Shofner

July 5, 2015 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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July 5, 2015

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time


 “A prophet is not without honor

except in his native place and among his own kin

and in his own house.”


Who is the most humble person you know?  Maybe it is a mom who cleans the bathroom for the family and is never thanked, or a dad who goes to an unrewarding job to provide for his family, or a soldier who willingly gives his all for the country and people he loves.

These humble people find their perfect model of humility in Jesus Christ.  He is the mustard seed, the very smallest, that was crushed for our sins in order that we might be made holy through the waters of baptism.  He is the Living Bread come down from heaven that gives life to the world, of which he calls us to celebrate every week.  Jesus called upon John the Baptizer, his creature, to baptize him, who is the Creator.

Jesus calls us to the humility that brings service and life to others through the holy sacrifice of his Body and Blood in the Eucharist.  The following is a summary of John Paul II’s Encyclical Letter, Ecclesia De Eucharistia – The Church of the Eucharist.

In Chapter I, “The Mystery of Faith”, we learn that Jesus is the Eucharist, the center of our faith; because he has given himself and all that he has done in the celebration of the Eucharist.

In Chapter II, “The Eucharist Builds the Church”, we learn that all who partake of Christ are built up in faith, hope and love, because it is the sign of unity with Jesus and everything he has taught us through his Church.

Chapter III, “The Apostolicity of the Eucharist and of the Church”, refers to the fact that Jesus entrusted the Eucharist to the Apostles, “Do this in memory of me,” and sent the Holy Spirit upon them to carry out their apostolic mission to the Church of which she “continues to be taught, sanctified and guided by the Apostles until Christ’s return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of Bishops assisted by priests, in union with the Successor of Peter, the Church’s supreme pastor.”

Chapter IV, “The Eucharist and Ecclesial Communion” outlines Christ’s discipline of being visibly in union with the Catholic Church as well as spiritually through charity in order to receive the Eucharist.  That is to say, we must be free of any contrary belief, serious sin and have fasted one hour from any food, gum and drink (except water and medicine) before receiving Holy Communion.

Chapter V, “The Dignity of the Eucharistic Celebration”, is an account of the simplicity and solemnity of Jesus’ self-gift to us in the Eucharist.  “The Eucharistic Banquet is truly a ‘sacred’ banquet, in which the simplicity of the signs conceals the unfathomable holiness of God.”  This truth has inspired authentic art and a Christian culture of beauty of which the shepherds of the Church must continue to guide, especially with regard to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  “Liturgy is never anyone’s private property, be it of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated.”  We humbly receive what Christ has won for us by his death and resurrection.

Chapter VI, “At the School of Mary, ‘Woman of the Eucharist’” completes this beautiful letter because she is the complete disciple of Christ.  God chose Mary who perfectly followed God’s plan and so received Christ as the first tabernacle, gave him back to God and was at the foot of the cross offering herself up to God from whom eternal love and wisdom, beauty and happiness flow.

May we be like that humble disciple, Mary, in worshipping Jesus Christ who is God Incarnate in the living and holy Eucharist.

In Christ,

Fr. Thomas McCabe


June 28, 2015 – 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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June 28, 2015

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time


  “Little girl, I say to you arise!”


The key to entering into the House of God the Father for all eternity is to have the fullness of faith, which is expressed in the love found perfectly in Jesus Christ for his Mother, Mary.

“Someone asked Jesus, ‘Lord, will only a few people be saved?’  He answered, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.  After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’

“He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’  And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’  Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.  Depart from me, all you evildoers!’  And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out….”  Lk. 13:23-28

Thank God we know where we come from!  We know that we come from a father and a mother.  We know the 4th Commandment – “Honor your Father and your Mother” – by living the truth that God is the source of family life, which is the basis of understanding the natural law.  On a supernatural level we also know that God is our Heavenly Father and through Holy Mother Church we have been baptized into Jesus Christ and have become adopted members of the family of God.

As Catholic Christians we have a moral duty to help people understand and live out these two levels of reality.  The first level is the natural law, by which through reason alone we can know that God is the Creator of the basic building block of society – the family – which is made up of one man and one woman married for the potential birthing and educating of children in God’s truth and love.

This fundamental respect for God and his natural law allows for divine grace – God’s supernatural life – to build upon our human nature to raise us up to the supernatural destiny that God calls each human being to.  God calls us to be saved through the repentance of our sins and a “striving strongly” to enter through the narrow door of the Father’s House with a love that embraces Jesus and Mary, his Mother.

Jesus says that some will appeal to the fact that they ate and drank with him at his table, like the table of the Eucharist, but since they did not believe in the basic natural law and refuse to support the self-evident natural law, they find themselves – surprisingly to them – to be locked out of heaven.

As Catholics and citizens of the United States, let us make sure to vote with God’s natural law in mind that leads to the “strong love” of the supernatural law of salvation.  To do any less is to place one’s soul in jeopardy of hearing Jesus say, “I do not know where you are from.  Depart from me, all you evildoers!”  Thank God we make our presence known to God every week as we seek his mercy and live out our baptism into Jesus – the Son of God the Father, and the Son of Mary.


Fr. Thomas McCabe

June 21, 2015 – 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Father’s Day

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June 21, 2015

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Father’s Day


“Why are you terrified?  

Do you not yet have faith?”


God, who is eternal, is the Creator of all that exists.  God created everything out of love to be in true relationship with himself.  Thus, God is the Father of the universe, and the Source or Principal of all fatherhood. God the Father created all things through Love, for the Truth, and thereby reflects the Holy Trinity – God is One who lives in perfect communion.

Christian Fatherhood needs to reflect God’s love and truth, and Stephen Wood has written a book, “Christian Fatherhood: The Eight Commitments of St. Joseph’s Covenant Keepers”, which helps fathers grow in their mission.  Stephen Wood is a convert to the Catholic faith after years of being an evangelical pastor.  Here is a letter of encouragement from Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta with respect to this book.


Dear Mr. Stephen Wood and all the St. Joseph’s Covenant Keepers,

God love you for the wonderful work you are doing to build up families. Families are precious to God; He loves each family very tenderly. Families are a special instrument in the hand of God, for it is in the family first of all that God wants to tell us that we have been created for greater things–to love and to be loved.

Jesus said, “As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you. Love one another as I have loved you.” So Jesus is telling us to love each other with the Iove of the Heavenly Father. That is why it is so beautiful that you are building up the family and the Church by helping fathers of families to love their wives and children as the Heavenly Father loves Jesus and loves them. For Jesus, nothing was more important than His relationship with His Father. And so for every child, knowing the love of his human father is so important for learning how to love. Nobody can teach this to fathers of today better than St. Joseph. He is the best patron, model and intercessor for the fathers of families.

Be sure to teach the families to pray all together – father, mother and children. For the family that prays together stays together, and if they stay together they will love one another as Jesus loves each one of them.

I am sure that the book “Christian Fatherhood: The Eight Commitments of St. Joseph’s Covenant Keepers” will be a great blessing to all who read it and put its teachings into practice. I will be praying that the Lord will bring peace into the world through the love of fathers for their families, for works of love are always works of peace.

Let us pray, GOD BLESS YOU, -Mother Theresa


It would be good to read the book, but just meditating on the Eight Commitments can generate a deepening spirituality of fatherhood as a reflection of God the Father.

  1. Affirming Christ’s Lordship Over Our Families: Fathers need to obey God with love and thus be an example for their children.
  2. Following St. Joseph, the Loving Leader and Head of the Holy Family: We are to be humble servant leaders who listen to God and guide the family like St. Joseph.
  3. Loving Our Wives All Our Lives: We need to be faithful and dynamic.
  4. Turning Our Hearts Toward Our Children: We need to help them commune with God through Christ and his Church by communing with them.
  5. Educating our Children in the Discipline and Instruction of the Lord
  6. Protecting Our Families
  7. Providing For Our Families
  8. Building Our Marriages and Families on the “Rock”: Jesus established his Church on St. Peter, the “Rock” and first Pope of his Catholic Church.

May God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit bless you and your family.

Happy Father’s Day.


Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Thomas McCabe

June 14, 2015 – 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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June 14, 2015

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time


“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God? 

It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.”


Jesus does not discriminate in any unjust manner.  Whether it is a person with leprosy who seeks healing, or the woman caught in adultery who seeks forgiveness, or a demoniac (a person afflicted by demons) who seeks liberation, Jesus is there for each disordered sinner to offer salvation.

Each disorder would force them to live outside of their communities.  They were seen as physically, morally or spiritually contagious.    Although they have different disorders, they are equal in that God has created them in his image – a call to live a holy life ordered to God in community.  They are not equal in every way, but all realize that they are sinners, afflicted with a disorder, and they want to be reordered to the glory of God and rejoin their community.

Equally, they humbly ask with faith from their hearts to be made whole.  From the lips of the leper we hear the humble lesson of one who knows that he is in the presence of Jesus, the Lord of the universe, “If you wish, you can make me clean.”   Jesus gives the command, “I do will it. Be made clean.”

Jesus restores him and the other sinners out of the same divine love, yet Jesus gives each of them different missions to live out in order to enter into heaven.  Is that unjust discrimination?  To the leper in the Gospel (Mk 1:40-45) he asks him not to tell anyone about this miracle but to “go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”

The man, however, makes public his healing and this causes trouble for Jesus’ ability to travel.  Yet, the man may have presented himself to the priest and offered the offering prescribed by Moses, because some Jewish priests put their faith in Jesus as the Christ, the promised Messiah, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles.

Jesus’ command to “go to the priest” on mission is noteworthy, because it shows that he has come not to abolish the Jewish religion, but rather to fulfill it and thus transform it into the universal Christian faith.  The word “universal” or “whole” in the Greek language is “kathos” from which we derive the word “Catholic”.  Our Catholic Christian faith is open to all people who are willing to repent of their sins and ask God’s forgiveness and mercy found perfectly in his Church and her seven sacraments.

For the woman caught in adultery, Jesus does not condemn her to hell – perpetually keeping her away from God’s sacred gifts of his Church – but he forgives her and commands, “Go, and sin no more.”

Nor does Jesus form a posse to bring the man adulterer to him.  Yet, it is clear that if the man does not repent of mortal sin, then he has chosen not to accept Jesus’ assured forgiveness.  The unrepentant mortal sinner has chosen the eternal punishment of hell.  This is not unjust discrimination, but rather divine justice – the discrimination between those who seek and live God’s truth and mercy, from those who reject God’s mercy and refuse to serve God’s gift of life-giving love and truth.

As for the man whom Jesus liberates from demonic affliction, Jesus does not allow him to follow him with his apostles, but tells him to stay among his own people.  Is that discrimination on Jesus’ part?  No, it is rather that Jesus, as the Lord of salvation, has called each of us to persevere in holiness, but through different callings.  We do this now “in order” to give God glory – acknowledging his majestic authority over our lives within his divinely ordered Church community – and thereby enter into heaven, forever.


Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Thomas McCabe

June 7, 2015 – The Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ

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June 7, 2015

The Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ


“Take it; this is my body.” “This is the blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”





Today we are honoring and celebrating our

Immaculate Conception Parish 2015 High School Graduates

at our 10:00 AM. Mass


We wish them well, & offer our prayers for their success in the future.

Jared Dooley

Son of Dave & Mary Dooley

Miranda Duban

Daughter of Scott & Theresa Duban

Rachel Duban

Daughter of Dean Duban & Laurie Duban

Bailey DuPay

Daughter of Dan & Kim DuPay

Mitch El-Wailli

Son of Tim & Kym El-Wailli

Mariah Geer

Daughter of Shannon & Kristen Geer

Greg Kes

Son of Tim & Kim Kes

Kevin Korbel

Son of Joe & Karen Korbel

Katie Lloyd

Daughter of Jim & Patty Lloyd

Jack Pumper

Son of Terry & Rose Pumper

Bailey Simon

Daughter of Bruce & Ann Simon

Jacob Skluzacek

Son of Greg & Deanna Skluzacek

Megan Skluzacek

Daughter of Tim & Lisa Skluzacek

Andrew Smisek

Son of Chris & Susanna Smisek

Ryan & Travis Smisek

Sons of Don & Denise Smisek

Ben Wagner

Son of Larry & Monica Wagner

Rachael Witte

Daughter of Mark Witte and Bridget Leirer

Faith is not knowing what the future holds, but knowing Who holds the future.

~ ~ ~

We offer our special prayers and congratulations to the following students,

who graduated from Holy Cross Catholic School on Thursday, May 21, 2015 Joselyn Benolkin, Daughter of Jake & Sara Benolkin

Thomas Carroll, Son of Tom & Gail Carroll

Andrew Cienciwa, Son of Mike & Allison Cienciwa

Joseph Conway, Son of Tim & Anne Conway

Jill Heselton, Daughter of Dan & Kelly Heselton

Christine Moening, Daughter of Mike & Sherry Moening

Drayven Mohr, Son of Bryan & Stacy Mohr

Andrew Picka, Son of Tim & Candy Picka

Sagan Shetka, Son of Stan & Kiersten Shetka

Amber Simon, Daughter of Ron & Bonnie Simon

Addey Vochoska, Daughter of Joel & Deanna Vochoska

Andrick Wagner, Son of Chris & Irene Wagner

Cole Weitzel, Son of Jeff & Dawn Weitzel

Lauren Wight, Daughter of Bob & Jennifer Wight


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

         God bless all our graduates.  May they have the wisdom of faith to feast on Jesus’ sacrificial love of eternal life every weekend in the Holy Eucharist.

Fr. Thomas McCabe

May 31, 2015 – The Most Holy Trinity

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May 31, 2015

The Most Holy Trinity 

“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

 What would you do to enroll your child in a world class education?  What outcomes would you want to see guaranteed?

What would you do if I told you that I discovered a world class education that does these five things:

  1. Guarantees the opportunity for your child to grow in the love of learning and authentic love;
  2. Guarantees the strength your child needs to pass all the tests both in the school and in life;
  3. Guarantees that your child will grow in character and virtue so as to have authentic happiness;
  4. Guarantees that the essential help for your child will always be there, 24/7;
  5. Guarantees that your child will be a well-rounded person who knows how to put into practice what they know to be true.

You may think that this school is not real, or that it is too expensive, or maybe that it is a boarding school that takes your child away for 11 months out of the year and has classes from 8 AM to 5 PM.

Actually, this school is real.  It is a school that only requires on average 2 hours 52 weeks of the year and about 15 – 30 Minutes of homework every day.  You might think that this school has 45 minutes worth of lecture, but it actually has between 8 – 15 minutes.  Much less than an average school day.

You might think that this school exists only for an elite group of people that can afford the cost.  But actually the cost is pro-rated.  The school asks only a cost of 5% of the total family weekly income.  For example, if you make $500.00 a week your cost would be $25.00 a week.  If you have two sources of income and your income is $5,000.00 a month you would pay $250.00 a month.

That would be a lot of money for those who have more than two children in the school, I agree.  But here is the beautiful thing about this school; it is for the whole family!  All those guarantees above are guarantees for the entire family who faithfully attend this school!

This is an incredible savings!  It is a savings that truly only God can guarantee and He does, because he wants all to be saved in body and soul for all eternity! In fact, this school offers a meal program that is absolutely divine, it is the guarantee of eternal life in the Holy Eucharist.

You may have guessed it; the school that I am talking about is the school of Christian discipleship that has at its center the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  52 Sundays out of the year plus Religious Education programs, some Holy Days of obligation and an annual spiritual retreat guarantees by God that you will be given the necessary graces to live a happy life here, and a perfect happiness in heaven.  Jesus Christ is the main teacher of this school and the main text is the very Word of God surrounded by songs of praise and prayer.

Also, if you have financial difficulties like medical or accidents to pay for, you can be prudent and miss some payments without any penalty. You just have to be committed to attending the school with your family and honestly paying when you can.

To all those who are participating in this school of discipleship by going to Mass every weekend for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, THANK YOU FOR BEING ON THE ROAD TO PERFECT AND EVERLASTING HAPPINESS, AND FOR HELPING OTHERS ALONG THE SAME PATH!

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Thomas McCabe

May 24, 2015 – Pentecost Sunday

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May 24, 2015

Pentecost Sunday


“Peace be with you.”


The Lord Jesus offers us divine peace that the world cannot give.  It comes with knowing that we are saved by the grace of Jesus Christ who is the head of his Catholic Church, despite the inner and outer turmoil of life.  When we humbly and lovingly practice the Catholic faith in its entirety, we have a deep peace and joy that solidifies our commitment to God’s Church and to God who is always faithful to his people – those who strive to fulfill his holy commandments.

This is because we have the Holy Spirit guiding and protecting us of whom Jesus spoke about at the Last Supper: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.” Jn. 14:15.

Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus, as I depart for my temporary leave of absence I want to reiterate the following:

It has been a very busy last several months here at the parish and at the school.  We have accomplished many good things in the name of the Lord Jesus, but there have been many peaks and valleys that have taken a toll on my health, my personal life, and the quality of my ministry.

I have consulted with Bishop Cozzens and I have reached the conclusion that I need to take a voluntary temporary leave of absence from full time parish and school ministry.

This temporary leave of absence from full time ministry will allow me to regain my health and my focus so that I can return with ample energy and the spiritual support necessary to give you the quality of ministry that you deserve, and that I truly want to be able to give.

After the Memorial Day Mass and service at the cemetery, I will begin my part time ministry as a priest in good standing, but I will live and pray with other priests, and do only part time ministry as I pursue tests and assessments with regard to my health and well-being.

Although I will not be physically present starting Monday evening, May 25, I will still be Pastor of this wonderful parish, and I will offer up the Mass and prayers for you but at a different location.  The Archdiocese will name a Parochial Administrator who will assist our excellent part time staff in making sure things run smoothly, and there will be other priests to help out on weekends.

I look forward to serving the Church full time, but not until I have reached a place of health and spiritual strength that will keep me focused on growing and serving the Lord and his people.

This past week I have had priests, family and friends visiting me and supporting me in this time of transition which is such a blessing for me.  I have tried to minister to you as normal, and have tried to make the transition for the next substitute priests smooth.  Yet, I know that at times there will be bumps in the road, miscommunications and misunderstanding, but I trust that you will show your deep and loving patience and understanding.

I thank you for your continued support and truly want to be the best priest I can be for you and the Church.  Please pray for me, and know that you will be in my prayers daily.  God bless you and thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Thomas McCabe