PASTOR’S CORNER

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

       On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. ln You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant hears you.” Amen.

May 17th Homily

         Unless a Marine Corps recruiter has visited your home, you’ve probably never heard of Benefit Tags. Benefit tags are instruments a recruiter uses to “sell” the Marine Corps to a potential Recruit. They are little plastic rectangular tags small enough to fit on a key chain similar to a speedy rewards tag, or Kroger rewards tag. Each of the eight tags states a benefit to joining the Marine Corps. Benefit tags say things like: Travel and Adventure, Leadership Skills, Self-Reliance, Self-Discipline, Educational Opportunities, and Technical Skills to name a few. When I was on recruiting duty in northeast Mississippi, I would have my prospect pick three and then give them the spiel. Each sales pitch would be met with belief, skepticism or disbelief. If they believe, you move to the next tag or go for the close: Are you ready to join the Marines?

        If the prospect is skeptical or disbelieving, a recruiter has to offer proof that their words are true. Recall the first reading. Philip is on recruiting duty for the Lord!

       Imagine Philip going to downtown Samaria and setting up a table in the square somewhere, talking to people as they pass by. He throws down carved stone “benefit tags” with words on them like love and kindness, compassion and mercy, peace and joy. He invites the passerby’s “Pick three”! Then he begins telling the people about God who loves them more that they will ever know, and about Jesus. Philip is telling the Samaritans about how the Son of God was crucified, and rose from the dead so that they could gain eternal life. The Samaritans came to believe by the words Philip spoke, and also by the works Philip did by casting out demons, healing cripples and those who were paralyzed. By word and deed Philip offered proof that Jesus is who he says he is. That Jesus can heal them of their afflictions and their sins. Then, Philip goes for the close: Are you ready to be Baptized?

        Like Philip, you and I are recruiters for God. We know the spiel, and are called to tell others of our hope in the rising of Christ, who made a way for ours, and their, eternal salvation. Invoking the Holy Spirit’s help, we become living examples for others to see. As we live our lives in joy and peace, keeping the commandments as our guideline, others see that living a Christian life is every bit rewarding as it is intended to be.

       Brothers and Sisters, God is all about our salvation. Jesus came into the world just like you and I to be a witness to God and his majesty. Because Jesus died to redeem us, and then rose from the dead, we have hope that when we die, we too shall rise with Him. Jesus and the Holy Spirit work in concert for our salvation. The Holy Spirit, which is God’s power in action, leads us on the path to salvation. We are led by the Holy Spirit, just like the Jews were led by the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. Some of us might be crippled by sin, others paralyzed by fear, whatever we are going through in our lives, God is right there with us. He will not leave us orphans, He will be with us.

Deacon Ken

 

       We are drawing near to the Solemnity of the Lord’s Ascension, forty days after Easter, just two weeks from now. Where does the time go? Like it or not, time tends to fly by quickly, even when we try to live it mindfully, taking one day at a time. We can ask if over these days and weeks since Easter Sunday 2020 we have grown and are changed. We hope so, but in fact we probably admit that we still have a long way to go in living completely for God and neighbor.

       The lessons chosen for this Sunday are already get- ting us to think about the time of Jesus’ Ascension, when the Lord will visibly leave his band but not abandon them. Jesus says to his followers, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and faith in me” (John 14:1). Furthermore, the Lord assures the disciples that “I am indeed going to prepare a place for you, and then I shall come back to take you with me, that where I am you also may be” (John 14:3).

       These are admittedly mysterious words and concepts, yet tremendous consolation for those who desire to belong fully to the Lord and God’s kingdom now and in heaven for all eternity.

       Looking at each of the Sacred Scripture readings for this Sunday, we find a strong thread running through them. In the first lesson, from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear of tension and division within the Christian communi ty. Ideals are very important and never to be let go of, yet we must live in the reality that all of us are frail and can fall victim to blindness, prejudice and pettiness when it comes to living and working with others, even with the best of intentions.

      What might be called Christian pluralism is at the heart of the first reading and it continues to be a valid concept for all of us, wherever we may be. It requires a strong commitment of loving acceptance of those who think and act differently than us. This takes prayer and guidance, to live graciously for the good of others, no matter who they are or what we may think of them.

       The first letter of Saint Peter, the second lesson for Mass this Sunday, concerns itself with the fact that the life of a Christian is a life-long process by which we draw near to Christ, and in so doing, draw closer to one another as well. The image sometimes used to describe this mystery is that of the spokes of a wheel, such as those on a bicycle. As one draws closer to the center along the spokes, one also draws closer to others around. Drawing near to Christ also draws us nearer to each other.

      As the follower of Christ goes forth in faith and closer to the Lord, it is charity or love of God and neighbor that transforms individuals, through the power of the risen Christ, into one family of God’s people. To the extent that we live in love with one another we are growing toward Christ, our vital center.

      Adhering to Christ we share in his mission that all the world might know the message of salvation and God’sin finite love for the human race. God so loved the world, we are told in scripture, that Christ was sent by God to redeem all who were lost. In other words, everyone!

      United to Christ we form a temple or house, as a pleasing offering to God for the growth in holiness of the entire Church (see Galatians 2:20). But the bottom line is living in love and not counting the cost nor giving up when the going gets rough, as it inevitably will.

      Through the risen Christ and in his love, we are capable of offering our lives to God as an acceptable sacrifice. The lives of each of us and of all believers are meant to open the eyes of our fellow men and women, bringing them to the same fountain from which we draw life and never tire of doing so.

      Christ completed his early sojourn and returned to the Father. Christ came as the ambassador of the heavenly Father. Christ’s mission was to reveal God, with whom Jesus is one. Those who follow Christ are commissioned to continue the work of Christ, making the message of salvation in Jesus Christ known to the nations. Consequently, there is no reason for distress at the prospect of physical separation from the Lord, for the followers are in fact never really separated from Christ who promised to send us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to those who are will- ing to give all in order to have the one thing necessary, a share in God’s life forever.

      The followers of Christ must keep their faith both in the Father who sent Jesus Christ into the world and in Jesus himself, sent by the Father for the salvation of the human race. Jesus’ return to the Father’s side should not cause frustration, but engender hope in our eventual reunion with the Lord. There are many dwelling places where God lives, Jesus tells his disciples, and everyone can find a place there.

      As Christ’s messengers to the nations, we are endowed with God’s help or power to fulfill our vocation. This power comes as the many gifts of the Holy Spirit, poured out initially at Pentecost, and upon succeeding followers at the time of their Confirmation and subsequently in the reception of the sacraments, especially Reconciliation or Penance and Holy Communion.

      Christ promised to remain with his disciples, even until the end of time. That is great consolation, and in fact “Consoler” is another name for the Holy Spirit, or the “Comforter,” who “will guide you into all the truth,” as Jesus described the Holy Spirit (see John 16:13).
       The early followers of Christ were so convinced of these truths that they regularly proclaimed in their sacred liturgy or worship the phrase in Aramaic, “Maranantha,” that is, “Come, Lord Jesus, come” (Rev 22:20 and 1 Cor 16:22).
May that be our conviction and confident cry as well!

 

My sisters and brothers in the Lord,

      “God raised him up!” “Were not our heats burning within us?” The experiences of these early followers of Jesus was incredible. They went through completely doubt, through denial, through sadness, through lack of hope and then.. Jesus begins to show up in their lives again, not as a memory, but as a living, eating, sleeping and completely present person once more but not seen by everyone. What an odd experience and how challenging!

       This experience of Peter and of others eventually was expressed in these words: “God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.” Even to this day, many doubt and yet many are moved by this witness and believe. Once we believe, our lives are changed because this world no longer is the end of life but only the beginning. For sure, many of believers are not very people at many levels, just as many of the early believers were also weak and uneducated and sometimes social outcasts. But when we believe, this life becomes so different and so full of possibilities of following Jesus.

        Our faith and our hope are now in God and life is not a prison nor a place of competition, but simply a time to do the best we can in serving a God who loves us and invites us to strive to live out His love in this world, even if we fail over and over. We always remember the words of Jesus: I came for sinners, not for the righteous.

          In today’s Gospel from Saint Luke, we have the wonderful story of Jesus meeting some of those who had followed Him but were now discouraged by the crucifixion. They did not yet believe in His Resurrection. They even tell Jesus about the women who went to the tomb and did not find the body! They tell Him about others who went to the tomb. Yet, at this point, these people who had followed Him still do not believe! They are like the Apostle Thomas: Unless I myself see Him and touch Him and have an experience, I will not believe!

         Lots of us are like these early followers: discouraged when we ourselves do not have some immediate and strong experience of the Lord.

       We are invited today to meet the Lord again, almost for the first time, when we see Him present in the breaking of the bread. We are invited to look once more at the Holy Scriptures and discover how God has spoken through all the ages, inviting us to believe, little by little. We are invited to listen to the testimony of those who already believe, and particularly to the testimony of the many saints and martyrs of our own time. As we listen, then perhaps like these followers on the road to Emmaus, we might come to feel the warmth in our heart, perhaps even our hearts burning within us!

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen! Alleluia!

Your brother in the Lord, Abbot Philip

 

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY
• Question:
• Where did the feast of Divine Mercy come from?

• Answer:
          • If you were born well before the year 2000, you know the feast of Divine Mercy has not always been celebrated in the Church. In the early 1900s, a young Polish nun began receiving private revelations. Jesus appeared to her during her times of prayer, speaking a message of mercy and love for the world. She received a set of prayers the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the request to have a feast day established to remind the Church of the mercy of God. St. Faustina died in 1938, on the cusp of war and in the midst of one of the most violent centuries in the history of the world.

           • Her story and her diaries began circulating in Poland and beyond. It quickly became apparent that this was a holy young woman, and the cause for her canonization opened. In the year 2000, she was canonized by the first-ever Polish pope, St. John Paul II. On her canonization day, he established the second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday, “a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind with experience in the years to come.”

        

AUTOBIOGRAPHY
OF FR. FRANCIS TANDOH C.S.Sp.

         I am Fr. Francis Tandoh. I was born to the parents of Mr. Andrew Tandoh & Mrs. Dorothy (Payne) Tandoh. I am the fourth child from a family of 12 children with ten surviving. I pursued my elementary and high school education in Kumasi, Ghana. I received my call to the priesthood at an early age. I attended St. Hubert’s Seminary in Kumasi. I left the seminary to continue my Sixth Form (at a time high school was seven years in Ghana) education in T. I. Ahamadya Islamic School, in Kumasi. I entered the teaching career and taught in St. Benedict Middle School, Kumasi, Ghana, from 1981-83.

          I decided to join the Missionary and Religious Order of the Holy Spirit Congregation and entered into the Postulancy in 1983. I completed my Novitiate and started my philosophical studies in 1985, at the School of philosophy Insukka, Nigeria. I took some time off reflecting on my vocation to the priesthood. During this time, I taught Social Studies in St. Anthony Junior High School, in Kumasi Ghana. At the same time, I was engaged in a rural ministry for young adults.

          I went to continue my studies for the Priesthood and missionary life in the Spiritan International School of Theology, Enugu, Nigeria. I was ordained in the Star of the Sea Catholic Cathedral by the late Most Rev. Charles Kweku Sam on July 24, 1993, in Takoradi, Ghana, my home Diocese, after completing my theological studies.

           I hold a degree in Religious Education; master’s in educational administration/Leadership. I hold a certificate in Pastoral Counseling; I am a certified Clinical Chaplain with CPSP. I suspended my candidacy as a student in licentiate/Doctoral degree with Marian Research Institute, University of Dayton, due to my parish workload, but I hope to take it up very soon. Before my ordination, I was the Publicity Officer for the Kumasi Diocesan Youth Council; Bursar Holy Ghost Pre-Novitiate, Ghana.

          In my Ministry as a Priest, I single-handedly founded a benevolent group called Spiritan Friends, who support the Spiritans and their ministries. I have served at Our Lady of Fatima Parish while in residence as Religion Teacher in St. Edward’s Middle School, Bwiam the Gambia and St. Peters High School; Pastor Star of the Sea Parish, an affluent Parish of 1000 families; Pastor St. Charles Luanga Parish of about 2000 in Sunday mass attendance. Rector St. Peters Seminary, all in the Gambia.

          I was transferred here to the United States in 1996 to serve as the Mission Coordinator for the Holy Spirit Fathers, West Africa Province, now Ghana Province, a position that I still served until 2016. My main work was to write grants and preach
in Catholic Churches to creating awareness about the missions, especially in Africa in soliciting funds to support the church’s activities in Africa, especially in training priest for the Spiritans coming from Ghana. To support myself I was employed to be the Religious Education Director in Resurrection Catholic School, now St. Benedict the Moor Catholic School, while still being the Parochial Vicar for St. James and Resurrection Parishes in Dayton Ohio until my appointment as the Pastor of St. James and Resurrection Parishes, in December 2000.

             In 2000 soon after my appointment, I led the parish community of 400 families through a church building campaign, Vision to Victory, which finally gave them a new church edifice, with a new parish, St. Benedict the Moor. The church holds 1050
people in the sanctuary and a hall which seats 600 people, I am the first pastor of this newly created parish. In that same year, I was appointed the Pastor of St. Augustine, Germantown and St. Mary, Camden with Fr. Joshua Otusafo as my Associate.

             In July 2009 in addition to the three Parishes, I was asked to be the Pastor of St. Mary’s and Holy Family in Dayton. In 2010/2011, Holy Family Parish was closed to the English Congregation due to financial constraints. I still have all these three Parishes. St. Mary’s Camden was given out to the Preble County Parishes in 2014.

          Recently in 2015, I led my parishes into accepting the only Catholic school in the West side of Dayton that was closing, reasons being poor Academic Standards and Financial Constraints. Today St. Benedict the Moor School is opened and thriving academically and raising good students for the future of our community and country. Advocacy has been my passion for the ministry. I believe the word becomes more meaningful when parishioners see it reflected in the community and their life. For
more than six years I was the Co-chairperson and Chairperson of Leaders of Equality of Action in Dayton (LEAD). LEAD is an interfaith Justice Group who work with City leaders and Congregations to hold the system and Politicians accountable to bring freedom and peace into the community. In my terms we were able to have victories with the RTA busing Board to be more inclusive, the City of Dayton to change its ordinance to be friendlier to Ex-Offenders (Bann the Box), City increasing the demolishing of dilapidated buildings and many more victories.

         As I celebrate this weekend the 25 years milestone today, it is my will to work together with all of you who are my flock to expand the missionary work of God with affection and love for the good of you, my parishioners, and the community that we serve. May the good Lord who has entrusted me with his flock help me with good health, courage and good directions that comes from the guidance of his spirit to bring it to a fruitful end.

Thank you for your support during all these years
GOD BLESS