The New Gasparian
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A journal dedicated to the life and mission of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, and to a life lived in response to the call and the cry of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our on-going mission is to share good news of hope and communion.

Thursday, March 11, 2004
A New Home

The New Gasparian is moving to a
new home. We are joining the St. Blog's Parish family. This site will remain as a place for archive of 2002-2004. From now on you can find us here.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 10:09 AM link
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Wednesday, March 10, 2004
The Holy Mission

I am preparing for more missions in Ohio and Indiana, and a Retrouvaille in Florida. This was a comfort and a challenge to read from St. Gaspar:

"What means is there that is more effective in jarring sinners from the deep sleep that weighs them down, in encouraging the tepid, in enlivening the pusillanimous, in moving the just to become more holy, than promoting Missions in our dioceses? Venerable brothers and beloved sons, console yourselves with the peace that is given to you through your participation in the ministry! From our many hearts, one heart alone will be formed in the adorable side of Jesus Christ. The Blood of the innocent lamb will reconcile all of us to the divine, eternal Father and the holy fire of the love of God will purge our souls that will then be converted into burning fires of charity."

"Prepare yourselves for the holy Retreat which you will make in these days of salvation that we have announced to you. Work hard to promote tirelessly that greater glory of God and thus correspond better to the holy vocation of the priesthood. Every type of person will be responsive to the divine voice as you will soon see as you practice more. But, in a special way, let us pray to God, oh venerable brethren, for ourselves, so that at the end of the Missions, the vineyard of Jesus Christ that has been entrusted to us will remain in an improved condition for our Heavenly Vinedresser. Thus, armed in a special way with fortitude and courage, we will see his divine intentions fulfilled to whom be honor et gloria in saecula saeculorum. Amen."

(Notification of the Mission in Terracina in 1819, Volume 19, p. 556-558)

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 1:39 PM link
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Busy day, so light on blogging. It is always like this when it is bill-paying time. I will spending the bulk of the day putting little numbers into little boxes, organizing accounts, balancing checkbooks. It is also my day to cook. I have already been to the grocery store. It is going to be baked Tilapia, herbed rice, mixed veggies, tossed salad, bread and wine. It will be a very low sodium diet since the last two nights have been a bit of overkill on the sodium and my blood pressure is showing it. I might as well do some laundry just to make the whole day domestic, but I forgot to buy quarters.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 12:35 PM link
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St. Blog's Parish

The article in Commonweal about Catholic Blogging is now on-line.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 12:02 PM link
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Monday, March 08, 2004
More Humor. ROTFL

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 8:41 PM link
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God's Humor

The '70s are, for me, a forgettable experience. During that time, many in the church forgot what church and priesthood are. It was a time of everyone for themselves. We are paying the price for such idiocy even today. I am often heard to say, "will the 70s never end?!"

From August, 1971 to March 1976 I was a student and a novice for
another religious community. I lived in their House of Formation in Houston, TX for four years and received a BA in Philosophy from the University of St. Thomas in 1975. I worked for a summer at one of their parishes in Lake Charles, LA and entered their novitiate in Glenwood Springs, CO. From there, I fled in March of 1976. It was to be almost two years before I was to see the inside of a Catholic Church. I can only describe it as a particularly dark time in the history of the church and my own life. My own sense of hope in God and expectations of Church were never to be met. As a young man I recognize that I had some pretty lofty ideals, but the experience of this group was the direct opposite. I returned to church and seminary in time, studying for the Diocese of Oakland from August of 1978 to August of 1980. St. Patrick Seminary wasn't much better. The highlights of that time was a negative evaluation in my second year because I identified priesthood too closely to sacraments, and rebuffing the propositions of one of the priest professors. It was also a time for exploring my musical gifts and talents. They said they did not want a musical priest and that I would need to make a choice between music and ministry. I left the seminary, got a job as a full time music minister, and began studying music at the St. Joseph College in Rennselaer, IN at their Graduate School of Music and Liturgy. That first semester all my profs were priests, Precious Blood Priests. The rest is history. I joined the Precious Blood Community in 1988. There is more history in there, but that will wait until another time. This post is about God's sense of humor.

I was convinced that God had a wicked sense of humor when I was appointed Director of Formation for this community, and soon after the Church would be made to pay for the most egregious sins of that dark period in the Church's history.

Now I am convinced that God has a warped sense of humor. I have just been invited back to Houston, TX. I am to preach the community retreat for that other religious community of priests and brothers next October.

There may be more historical twists and turns reported on next week after the announcement is made of my assignment as Pastor of ________.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 7:06 PM link
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A new edition of the Handbook has been uploaded. It now includes the C cycle reflections for the first and second sundays of Lent.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 11:47 AM link
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A Reader writes about today’s Gaspar selection from the

Very interesting section from Gaspar today. Makes one curious. Maybe you should think about adding a short footnote for the reader, so that we might know what he is referring too, but regardless, certainly it seems like it may speak to us today.

I am not sure what to put in this footnote, so if there is a particular selection that you find curious, let me know.

Today I chose several different letters from different times and to different people. They were chosen for their witness value to today's readings. I preached on "industrious" charity this morning. I am still not quite sure what Gaspar meant by it, but can contemplate what it would look like today.

I am wondering if I have too many Gaspar quotes for this morning.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 9:09 AM link
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Sunday, March 07, 2004
Fr. Hamilton jumps on the ASHES bandwagon. I am pleased that there is another like-minded priest out there. He also reminds me of another pet peeve: The replacement of the psalm. Last week I called the parish where I was to do the mission and asked if they were using the proper psalm or a seasonal one. They assured me it was the proper psalm. Well, come to find out that the parish musician used the proper psalm refrain, but that the text of the verses were not from the psalms or even from the scriptures. It was some Tom Booth rendition, and it was a pretty snappy tune.

So I preached on a psalm even though it had not been used. When are musicians going to learn that the psalm is part of the the liturgy of the Word, that it is scripture and it should not be toyed with.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 10:34 PM link
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It has been an interesting 24 hours, Saturday evening presentation to Retrouvaille couples in Phoenix, AZ, Sunday morning Mass at Bond Chapel in Chicago, and Sunday evening mission team meeting in Whiting, Indiana. Count 'em up, that is four different states. (If you cannot figure out the fourth state, it is the State of Grace)

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 10:24 PM link
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Thursday, March 04, 2004
A Good Shepherd

One of the exciting things about my trip here to Arizona is my introduction to the
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

St. Anne Parish in Gilbert, AZ is quite active in the Catechesis, and I spent a good deal of time with the children and was really impressed. I am VERY impressed. To hear 3 and 4 year olds talking about the gestures of the Mass was inspirational. The catechists were so devoted to them and to the program. Mary and Dee were a delight to watch as they worked with the children.

This is an exceptional parish. The last two mornings I heard confessions for an hour and a half after the morning Mass. There was also another priest from the parish hearing confessions. It was incredible to see that long line forming after the morning Mass. They are doing some wonderful things here.

The parish is huge, nearly 8000 families. It was daunting to preach on Sundays with 1300 in attendance. There was nearly 700 the first night of the mission. The response was truly heartening, and the children's response was incredible.

I am having lunch with a young man tomorrow. I am of the opinion that there is a definite vocation happening here.

Just got off the phone with my provincial and vice-provincial. An announcement about my new assignment may be made on the third weekend in Lent. Pray that I may imitate the good shepherd.

Happy Foundation Day to the ASC sisters. March Forth.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 11:08 PM link
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Tuesday, March 02, 2004
This is a wonderful parish. I think I may be getting more out of this than they are. They are such devout and faithful people, and Arizona is a wonderful place.

Highlight today: I presided in Spanish for the first time.

Tomorrow we focus on the Cross.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 11:59 PM link
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Monday, March 01, 2004

Give me a break!. Is there anybody else out there who actually believes that the song "Ashes" is conducive to prayer, faithful to the tradition, and suitable for liturgy?

Check this out!

I am sticking to my belief on this one. As a Pastor I could never sanction the use of that song for liturgy. And it is infinitely more than a matter of personal taste.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 5:55 PM link
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For those of you who have picked up my new (unfinished) book you will notice that a few things are still missing. This past Sunday was not in the book, but I have now finished that piece, and it is posted below.

The mission is going well. This is an incredible parish and the school is impressive, very impressive.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 5:17 PM link
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First Sunday of Lent (C)

The Readings

Deut 26:4-10
The struggle of ancient Israel in the desert.

Psalm 91
Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.

Romans 10:8-13
The word is near, in your mouth and in your heart.

Luke 4:1-13
The Temptation of Jesus in the desert.

St. Gaspar(1)
The wine cellar is fitted with a wine press to squeeze out the juice of the grapes in order to obtain from them those precious wines which we have been speaking of until now. Indeed, using the wine cellar as a type, was not the Heart of Jesus put under the wine press of a most cruel suffering? And, does not all the profit which comes from his sufferings - to make an application from our comparison - flow from that source into our souls? I have trodden the winepress alone. Of the men of my people not one was with me.(2) My beloved in Jesus Christ, it is time for us to submit the vineyard of our souls to cultivation, to toil willingly under the pressure of present trials. The love of Jesus, represented by the wine, will take away our lethargy, will provide against our dejection, and will give us strength and comfort for the journey to our dear home in heaven, where we shall rejoice triumphantly without end. Let these sentiments be impressed upon the minds and hearts of each one of us. Let the image of the wine cellar remind us to fulfill our obligations by corresponding to a God most lavish with his gifts. With our thoughts concentrated on a most accurate examination of ourselves, may he animate us toward the cure of our spiritual maladies. May he help us aim at the sublimest degrees of sanctity. Since the King of Glory has brought us into this banquet hall, let us establish here our own peaceful abode in time. Also, let us re-enforce the foundations of the holy city of God with the bonds of charity. Let us remember that the nuptial bed of the peace-loving King is the Cross, and, that our souls upon this nuptial bed yearn for the most tender embraces of affection toward Jesus. He has redeemed us through love, has shed all his Blood in love, and through him we have a mystical dwelling in his heart. The king has taken me to his banquet hall, and the banner he raises over me is love.(3)

We do not like to be in trouble. The desert is a lonely place. We despise difficulties, and we abhor struggle and hardship. There has to be some medicine for this headache. There needs to be found some escape. Can not there be an easier way than this. We fill our lives with so much activity, noise, entertainment, possessions, anything to avoid the pains and the difficulties of life. Everything is designed to give us relief, and to make our life easier. How do you spell relief?

Love is not easy and easy love never endures. To truly love one must give of themselves, letting go of demands and judgments and opinions and expectations. We struggle to do this, but this is precisely who Jesus is and what Jesus does.

We do not imagine a God who struggles. We find it difficult to be with Jesus when he is in trouble, but he struggles to find a way to our hearts, and he is troubled by our distance from him.

He faces the struggle directly. He does not shrink away. He shows us to tools he uses to stand against the winds and shadows of this world. In the face of evil he holds up the word of God. This is not just a collection of words or a quoting of scripture in the wind, but an immersion in the truth that there is more to life than bread, and that serving God benefits us with his grace. The Word of God here is the expression of a living, direct, tangible, personal, human, intimate relationship with God.

He calls us to the desert to face our struggles directly, emboldened by his confidence, armed with his word and strengthened and nourished by his blood.

• What are the present trials and struggle to which Jesus and Gaspar have called me?
• What are the medicines and distractions I use to avoid the struggles and pains of life?
• How would I describe my commitment to knowing the Word of God intimately?

(1) Fifth Circular Letter, 1831
(2) Is 63:3
(3) Song 2:4

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 5:04 PM link
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