Time to Clean House

Bulletin Letter, Ordinary Time Sunday 27C

People often ask me if I’m a dog person or a cat person, wondering if I would ever keep a pet as a priest. I usually respond that I’m a plant person. It’s not that I don’t like cats and dogs. We had both as I was growing up at home. But they’re a little more involved—and host to a wider variety of smells—than plants. Between the hair and other “droppings” that don’t always end up where they are supposed to, pets can definitely make keeping a clean house more of a challenge. There’s also the noise pollution to consider.

“Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head” (Mt 8:20). I’m blessed to live in two of the finest rectories in the Diocese of Sioux Falls, but they don’t really belong to me. These houses are parish property, for the use of the priests who have served as your pastor, and those who will serve you in the future. I’d hate to hand them on in a diminished condition because of a pet that needs more attention than I’d be able to give.

Like anything else, messes build up little by little. Many of us are in the habit of doing a periodic cleaning of our rooms and houses. A similar accumulation of hair, dust, and clutter can happen in our spiritual lives through sin and complacency, and it’s good for us to take opportunities to get our spiritual house in order, especially if it’s been something we’ve neglected for a while. A regular Confession does wonders in this respect. It’s also good for us to get away, not just to go on vacations but on a spiritual retreat (required for priests at least once a year), to get together with Catholics from other places, and to hear the witness of missionaries from other parts of the country or world.

On Thursday, October 10th at 6:30 pm, St Mary Parish in Aberdeen will be hosting Justin Fatica, one of the dynamic cofounders of Hard as Nails Ministries. He was even featured in an HBO documentary back in 2007 and lives in Syracuse, New York. Roncalli had originally arranged for him to come and speak to their students, but his talk at St Mary is free and open to anyone, a great opportunity for families and people of any age to hear and be challenged by a nationally-known evangelist. I’d love to see you there.

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