Our mission at St. Andrew Catholic Church is to become saints.
Following the example of our patron, St. Andrew, with humility we seek to:
Hear God’s call through the truth of the Catholic Church
Respond in love with acts of charity and mercy
Grow continuously through the sacraments and daily prayer and
Proclaim the Good News through our vocation.
How lovely your dwelling, O LORD of hosts!
My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.
As the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young,
My home is by your altars, LORD of hosts, my king and my God!
Blessed are those who dwell in your house! They never cease to praise you.
On this wonderful weekend we once again celebrate the dedication of the building which we call St. Andrew Catholic Church. This is the fifteenth anniversary of the dedication when Archbishop Brunett came down to consecrate this building, making it a dwelling place of God, the Lord of Hosts. Week in and week out as we celebrate the life that God shares with us in this building, my heart is lifted up and yearns, as does the psalmist, for the courts of God, to experience His eternal dwelling. I think I have many more years here though. It may be some time before I get to see the splendor of His face as He comes for me, yet here we see more and more with the eyes of faith the wonderful things He has in store for those who have their hope in Him. He has come to dwell with us, to make His abode with us, literally in us as we become living tabernacles having received Him the Eucharist. How amazing is this mystery.
As I look forward to the end of this journey, I am reminded that we are all pilgrims on our way to the Promised Land as the Israelites of old. I had a keen insight into this when I walked the last portion of the Camino de Santiago. After 5 days and about 125 kilometers, my feet were blistered, my knee was killing me and each step was quite painful. I longed for the end of the road. We were on our last leg and had arrived at Compostela, yet we did not know where the cathedral was. In the old days one would see the cathedral from far off, as it was the tallest building. This is not the case anymore. We wandered the streets looking for any sign of the cathedral and finally we arrived. Immediately I dropped my big burdensome bag in the doorway. I didn’t even care if someone stole it. I then walked into the beautiful church elated that I had finally arrived. I had salt lines on my shirt, I am sure I smelled quite ripe, but it didn’t matter. I had arrived. I then went up to the statue of St. James and gave him a big ol hug resting my head on his shoulder for a moment. I then went down to his tomb and got on my knees to pray with the patron of our Archdiocese and thank him for his help and intercession.
I can only imagine what it might be like to finally arrive in our heavenly homeland, but I can’t wait to no longer bear the burdens of this life and to know the joy of being with our Lord forever. This informs and enlivens my life every day and is why I truly enjoy making pilgrimages. In just a short time I will be headed out with 30 pilgrims to France to visit the holy places and the saints that are buried there. We will leave the US on September 8th, Our Lady’s birthday, and arrive in Paris to visit Notre Dame, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Catherine Laboure and many more sights. We then head to Lisieux to visit St. Therese. Further down the road we will visit St. Bernadette, St. Margaret Mary, St. John Vianney (the patron of parish priests, I can’t wait to hang out with him), and finally we will end in Lourdes with Our Lady. I will miss you and will be praying for you and for all of the parishioners every step of the way. If you would like me to take special prayers or intentions with me as I go, just drop them by the office. I will place them on the altar at all the holy places in which I get to celebrate the Mass and will leave them in Lourdes under the care of Our Lady.
May she guide us all safely home.
Fr. Jack D. Shrum
For more of Father Jack's reflections click here