Category Archives: Fr. Terry’s Sharing

Fr. Terry’s July 15th Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

Called to Mission…spreading the Joy of the Gospel Message of Salvation by word and action!  Back in the days when my body was young, able to handle hard surfaces for sleeping and I lived with an adventurous spirit, I was on youth trips more numerous than I can remember.  Yes, I have reached the age where I have turned over that role to the younger clergy.  I truly benefited from all those trips and treasured experiencing them with the youth growing in faith and recognizing their gifts of service to others.

I do remember one of those late night conversations with the youth that was both humorous and thought-provoking.  The topic was, why do we never do any mission trips to resorts?  I think the hard floors and heat was getting to them.  In our conversation, we acknowledged that Jesus was known for going where people needed Him the most.  Often that meant to places that would never be described as what we would think of as a resort.  The sick, the lame, the poor, and the rejected do not live in those places.  And yet it is there when the deepest faith experiences can take place.  Jesus never let fear, what others thought or said, or even suffering stop him.  He brought the most important gift to be given…hope and love.  Jesus never counted the cost.  He always paid the price because real love demands it.  When we make choices, do we weigh the cost?  When we make choices, do we worry about what others will say or judge us by?  When we make choices, do we let fear rule us?   When we make choices, do we fail to sacrifice or suffer for others?  That night, and so many times after, I marveled at the faith of our youth.  Together we decided that being followers of Christ meant we wrestle with these questions and not avoid them.  Together we decided to be Christ-like.  And we acknowledged that each of us will ultimately have to decide the answers based upon where our faith was at.  I often remember one of the last comments made by a young lady.  She said, “I might fail some of those questions, but that doesn’t mean it ends there.  I hope I learn, grow, and deepen my faith in the relationship I have with God.  Then I trust some of those failed questions will not always have to remain that way.”

When our youth go on Mission trips, they not only represent themselves, but also our Parish.  If you know any of them, take the time to ask them about their experiences.  And let them know we are proud of them.


Fr. Terry’s June 17th Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

I recently read an article/critique of the new Star War’s movie “Solo”.  It had an interesting take on it.  In the original stories, there is a very wise Jedi teacher and mentor.  He keeps telling this young man by the name of Luke Skywalker that he has to learn who he is and to be open to being trained as a Jedi.  This cannot be rushed or done halfway.  Yoda, the mentor/teacher, taught him to engage the past not resentfully, but redemptively.  It was rooted in what only tradition can provide.  It is only in knowing where we come from that we can begin to understand where we are going.  In the new movies, Yoda is portrayed as going against this.  Both he and Luke fail to mentor and teach those coming after.  Therefore, in the way it is written, the new characters for whom the torch has been passed on to are struggling to forge identities in situations where they have been cut off from their pasts.  They are told to kill or ignore the past – that all they need is in their present and within them already –  everything they will ever need.

One of the struggles we are going through in the church today is that we have stopped mentoring or teaching someone to grow in their faith.  While it is never good to speak universally, there are some parents who have stopped mentoring their children in the ways of faith.  They have been a lost generation to knowing and living their faith, so they really do not have any way to teach, role model, and pass on the faith to the generation coming after them.  Sadly, this leads to faith being a pick and choose or choose and reject.  Do what you like and toss away everything else.  Then it becomes a superficial relationship with God and eventually with others.  Our faith becomes watered down and then we leave it up to the children and youth to do it on their own.

Let us make a stand and prepare those who come after us by the way we live, by what we say, and by the way we care about wanting the best for them.  Our tradition, our faith, our relationship with God is real and ultimately important for our salvation.


Fr. Terry’s June 3rd bulletin article


Fr. Terry’s Sharing… 

Being loved is a very powerful thing.  Nothing in life can take over everything more than that blessing/gift.  The thoughts, feelings, and mystery of love linger and get reserved in a special place in your heart that never goes away.  It is stored in your mind to be brought out and treasured multiple times, especially often when you need it the most.  Yes, even as a priest I have experienced loving and being loved in this powerful way by two women in my life.  Even though our lives went in different directions, they changed me forever.  Without having those experiences, I really feel that I could never be a good priest and a good pastor.  I could never know that depth of love, which is a sacrificial love that places others first in your life.  That never counts the cost and is a bottomless love that always grows each and every day.  I have a confession to make.  I have not told you everything.  This is something that all of you have the chance to experience in life.  It is a gift of love that has been given to each and every one of you with nothing held back.  It simply is unconditional.  You have received over and over, an invitation to this relationship.  All that is left is for you to open yourself to it.  To understand and commit to it, it does require a daily ‘yes’.  You see, besides these two women, there is one other.  That relationship even makes the relationship with those two pale in comparison.  It is there full force when we are happy, when we are sad, when we are scared, and when we are angry.  This relationship…this love is with God.  This weekend we celebrate the Body and Blood of Jesus.  A profound reminder to us that God is full in when it comes to us.  His love is sacrificial and unconditional.  Always, in the fullest sense offered on His end.  Never ever forced upon us in any way.  Freely given with no strings attached.  It is unconditional love and there is nothing we can do about it.  Isn’t that fantastic!  There is no better way to be loved!


Fr. Terry’s May 13th Bulletin article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

 Most diocese’s have elected to move the Ascension of the Lord, which used to happen on Ascension Thursday, to the following Sunday.  Therefore the readings of the Seventh Sunday of Easter are no longer heard.  The Ascension is a key element in the Easter Season, so the move to a Sunday,  allows more people to remember and celebrate it.  I think it would be worth our effort to take some time to reflect in prayer on the readings of the Seventh Sunday.  Therefore:

Seventh Sunday of Easter

 Reading #1   Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26

Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers

—there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons

in the one place —.

He said, “My brothers,

the Scripture had to be fulfilled

which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand

through the mouth of David, concerning Judas,

who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.

He was numbered among us

and was allotted a share in this ministry.

For it is written in the Book of Psalms:

  ‘May another take his office.

“Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men

who accompanied us the whole time

the Lord Jesus came and went among us,

beginning from the baptism of John

until the day on which he was taken up from us,

become with us a witness to his resurrection.”

So they proposed two, Judas called Barsabbas,

who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.

Then they prayed,

“You, Lord, who know the hearts of all,

show which one of these two you have chosen

to take the place in this apostolic ministry

from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.”

Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias,

and he was counted with the eleven apostles.

Reading #2   1 John 4:11-16

Beloved, if God so loved us,

we also must love one another.

No one has ever seen God.

Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,

and his love is brought to perfection in us.

This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,

that he has given us of his Spirit.

Moreover, we have seen and testify

that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.

Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,

God remains in him and he in God.

We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love

remains in God and God in him.

 Gospel   John 17:11b-19

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:

“Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.

When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me,
and I guarded them, and none of them was lost

except the son of destruction,

in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

But now I am coming to you.

I speak this in the world

so that they may share my joy completely.

I gave them your word, and the world hated them,

because they do not belong to the world

any more than I belong to the world.

I do not ask that you take them out of the world

but that you keep them from the evil one.

They do not belong to the world

any more than I belong to the world.

Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.

As you sent me into the world,

so I sent them into the world.

And I consecrate myself for them,

so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”


Fr. Terry’s April 22nd Bulletin article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

I write this bulletin article as the blizzard roars outside.  St. Michael’s has a wedding in a few hours and the couple are not having the day they envisioned, but a wedding day, that like our grandparents, will make a bigger than life story to share with their own grandchildren.  The weather has taken out of our control, all the material and earthly things planned.  What remains is the most important.  It is a couple in love who want God’s blessing on their vows of love.  I feel privileged to witness it on behalf of all of us.  As the disciples experienced in the Gospel situations, nature and creation take second place to God’s power.  Nothing can keep God from our side.  It truly is a beautiful and awesome thing to behold.

Easter Season is celebrated for 50 days.  How appropriate that the Easter Season is longer than the 40 days of Lent.  I am reminded of a couple of children stories, that still can be meaningful to us adults as well.  The first one was a gift from a friend of mine when she heard my sister Sue was struggling with cancer.  The book’s title is:  Hope for the Flowers, by Trina Paulus.  It is a story of the life journey of a caterpillar towards becoming a butterfly.  As the title alludes to, it is a story of hope.  Our Lent and Easter Season is a time of journey, a time of struggle, a time of searching for purpose, a time of earned growth, a time of Hope, a time of Faith, and all motivated by a time of Love.  All these are a part of our relationship with each other and most importantly our relationship with God.  I would recommend reading this book as part of your embracing this Easter Season.  It is thought-provoking and life embracing, both our life here on earth and the life to come in God’s plan of Heaven.

The second story is called:  Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day, by Carol Benoist and Cathy Gilmore.  It reminds me of one of my cherished memories of my Mom.  She would often read to us children at night before we went off to bed.  This is a simple, but wonderful story to share with smaller children.  The last page reads – They call me the Easter Bunny because that was the amazing day He took all my fears away.

The power of stories comes with the sharing with others.  We, each and every one of us, are called by God to share the Joyous message of the Gospel and the Stories of the Love of Salvation brought about by our God.  We simply cannot live our faith unless it becomes a part of the very essence of who we are.  We are the bearers of this beautiful gift of love.  Because the Easter Season is 50 days long, do not let it just quietly slip to the back of our minds and lives.  It is like I tell the couples I prepare for the sacrament of Matrimony, if your wedding day is the high point of your love and everything is downhill from there, you will have a sad life of what could have been.  If Easter Day is the high point of the Easter Season and everything is downhill from there, maybe we are not worth the Great Gift of Sacrificial/Unconditional Love God gives us.  Celebrate Easter each and every day.  May God bless you for doing so!


Fr. Terry’s March 25th Bulletin article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

Holy Week is most definitely a very sacred time of the year, for it is now that we will commemorate and remember the last week of Jesus’ life on this earth.  These are the days leading up to the great Easter Feast.  The Lenten season of sacrifice and self-denial is about to come to an end, but this coming week is extremely important for all Christians.  The greatest focus of the week is the Passion (suffering) and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the events that led up to it.

Historical documents tell us that as early as the fourth century, the Church celebrated this “Great Week” with a feeling of profound sanctity.  It begins with Palm Sunday, which marks Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  The central feature of the service proper to this day, as it was in the earliest times, is the procession of palms.  The palms are blessed and are then borne in procession to the church, where an entry is made with a certain amount of ceremony, after which the Mass is celebrated.  The other notable and very ancient feature of the present Palm Sunday service is the reading of the Gospel by three readers and the congregation.

Especially important for Catholics is the Easter Triduum.  This is the three days just before Easter.  On Holy Thursday, we reenact the Lord’s Supper, which He shared with His Apostles on the night He was betrayed and arrested.  This is one of the most beautiful liturgies of the entire liturgical year.  At the Mass, the priest will wash the feet, just as Jesus did.  Also, sometimes on this night, priests all over the world will renew their sacred vows.  This is because, at the Last Supper, Jesus not only instituted the Mass (Eucharist), but also the ministerial priesthood.

On Good Friday, the day of the crucifixion and death of our Lord, we have the veneration of the Cross.  A service is held mid-day (the hour He was believed to have died) and sometimes later in the evening (or the Living Stations).  We go forward and kiss the Cross in order to show honor and respect for Christ’s sacrifice for our sake.  There is no consecration of the Eucharist on this day, and the Communion we receive will be from the night before, which has been reserved in the tabernacle.

Holy Saturday is a vigil.  We keep watch for the expectant rising of Our Savior.  This was the day He went down into the netherworld in order to bring back up with Him into heaven, those who had died before His coming.  Up to this time, the gates to heaven were closed and no one could go there because of the original sin of Adam.  Jesus changed all that.  By paying the price for our sins on the Cross, He gained for us our eternal salvation, and heaven was opened once more.  Also on this night, persons who have spent months of preparation will be received, through Baptism and Confirmation, into the Catholic Church for the first time.  It is a joyous occasion.

Those who engage themselves wholeheartedly in living the entire paschal cycle (Lent, Triduum, and Easter’s Fifty Days) discover that it can change them forever.  This is especially so of the Triduum which, standing at the heart of the Easter season, is an intense immersion in the fundamental mystery of what it is to be a Christian.  During these days we suffer with Christ so that we might rise with Him at His glorious Resurrection.  Holy Week is a time to clear our schedules of unnecessary activities.  Our minds and hearts should be fixed on Jesus and what He did for us.  Let us bear the Cross so that we may be worthy of sharing in His Kingdom.  Written by Grace MacKinnon. 


Fr. Terry’s March 4th Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

More often than naught, we have a habit of mostly looking at the immediate moment.  As people of faith, we are also invited to look at the overall picture.  To recognize that we are on a journey with a beginning, a middle, and a destination that all factor into a season.  Our beginning was Ash Wednesday and the call to reform/change our lives.  Our important destination is the goal God has created just for us – Heaven.  Along the way, this years’ Scripture gives us a theme to mark the progress.  The theme is Covenant.  Remember we are not to live as a contract, which is conditional and limited.  We are to live as a Covenant, which is unconditional and limitless.  This year, the first readings of Lent present various Covenants.  Scripture focuses on Covenant as a binding agreement between people, or especially in our case – between God and His People/Family (Us).

The first Sunday of Lent, we had the Covenant God made with the people of Noah, the Covenant of the Rainbow.

The second Sunday of Lent, we heard about the Covenant of Faith made between God and Abraham, our Father in faith.

The third Sunday of Lent, we hear about the Covenant of Law made between God and Moses.

The fourth Sunday of Lent, we hear about the Covenant of the Heart prophesied by Jeremiah.

The fifth Sunday of Lent, we hear about the New Covenant of which Jesus is the instrument of God.

All this leads to the Paschal Mystery and the Blood of the Eternal Covenant.  What we renew on our altar every time we gather as the family of God in prayer.

God is faithfully living His side of the Covenant, how are you doing on this end?


Fr. Terry’s February 11th Bulletin article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

I have to confess, (and please do not tell the Bishop)  every month when I receive my Bishop’s Bulletin, the first thing I do is turn to Fr. Michael Griffin’s article.  I have always enjoyed his writing style and insightful reflections.  Then I swear, I read the Bishop’s article next.  This issue, Fr. Mike talks about how Easter and April Fool’s Day are the same.  Well fool on the devil is what I say.  He acknowledges that Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day are also the same this year.  That spiritual aspect of this happening can lead to a powerful experience.  It reminds us that Love, and not punishment, is behind every experience of God.  Which of us does not want to be loved and to give love?  That is the heart of the Season of Lent.  The more fully we enter whole-heartedly into the Journey of Lent, the more powerful that love makes us new.  I encourage you to read his article if you have not.

I truly believe God works through the signs of the times.  Maybe God is giving us a sign of where He wants us to focus this Lent.  Maybe this is a special Lent for couples.  Maybe this is a Lent where couples make each other a priority in the midst of the busyness of their lives.  Maybe this is a Lent where couples push aside the many distractions in their lives to focus on each other as a beautiful gift from God given just for them.  Maybe this is a Lent where couples work on and do the things that deepen their love for each other.  As I tell couples in marriage preparation, don’t make the wedding day the peak of your love relationship.   It is a one-time celebration of an ongoing relationship of love.  In visiting with couples that celebrate their 50th anniversary of marriage, I ask them what were the highlights of their marriage.  Rarely do they say their wedding day.  Rarely do they only mention one or two events.  Their answers are many and I believe that is why they are celebrating 50 years and plus.  They gave the fruitful hard work that kept increasing their love through the trials and joys.

What are you going to do this Season of Lent?  How are you actively, and from day one, going to make it a growthful, meaningful journey that allows love to make us anew?  Think, plan, and start from day one!


 ASH WEDNESDAY and GOOD FRIDAY are days of FAST AND ABSTINENCE which means no meat, and only one FULL meal, no eating between meals. Liquids are allowed.  This pertains to those from age 18-59.

 ALL FRIDAYS OF LENT are days of ABSTINENCE (no meat) for those age 14 onward.  There is no obligation to fast the other days of Lent, but voluntary acts of penance and self denial or giving up are recommended.  Remember, the 40 days of Lent for fasting and giving up do not include Sundays, which are days of rest, leisure, and joy in the Lord.

EASTER DUTY OBLIGATION Catholics are bound by the obligation of receiving Holy Communion at least once a year. This precept should be fulfilled during the Easter Season (Ash Wednesday-Pentecost).  Catholics are also bound to confess serious sins at least once a year, but this is not limited to the Lenten/Easter Season and more frequent confession is recommended.



Fr. Terry’s January 14th Bulletin article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

This weekend is often a weekend where priests and deacons, because of the readings, will share their vocation stories.  Often, because of the situation of Mass, we hear about the vocations of priesthood and the deaconate.  But vocational calls from God come to more than priests and deacons.  I have been greatly influenced by those who have been called to religious life.  I think of those Benedictine Monks (priests and brothers) who always had such great hospitality.  When I was visiting their home, they made it feel like it was also my home.  You wanted to stop and see them, even if you were just passing through.  Our associate, Fr. Tom Hartman, was greatly influenced by them as well.  Ask him about it sometime.  Religious sisters (and our own Pat Cordell in her consecrated life) have deeply affected me in the growth of my faith.  I have had a religious sister as my spiritual director my whole priesthood.  I have great respect and love for them.  Our health care system and school system owes a great debt to them and their self-less giving.

And now a comment about some other vocations we don’t hear enough about.  The single life is a vocation that is so impactful in our society and world.  They often forsake and sacrifice for the needs of the wider community.  One of the most beautiful examples of this while I was growing up was my Aunt Hazel.  She was engaged to a young man who went off the fight for our country in World War II.  He was killed and she then dedicated her whole life to create a society and country where violence and hatred would not be tolerated.  She marched for civil rights, she was one of George McGovern’s campaign leaders, she gave feedback to his speeches (she was head of the speech department for several universities in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa), she taught multiple students to debate and discuss to find answers and form moral opinions to benefit all.  In all this, she started with and ended with faith in God’s will.  She lived the Gifts of the Holy Spirit everyday of her life.

And last but not least, the other vocation that we don’t hear enough about – Marriage.  I have greatly admired several married couples, starting with my parents who were the biggest planter of the foundation for my vocation to the priesthood.  And surprising, the biggest supporters to my living out my priesthood has not been other priests (a strong second), but married couples who have shared their lives and supported me with their love.  In each of the parishes I have been blessed to be a part of, I have had marriage sponsor couples to help prepare engaged couples for a good and healthy marriage.  (BTW, we are looking for more here at St. Michael…hint/hint).  I have to admit one couple is my favorite.  They were of mixed religions and remained that way throughout their marriage.  I would assign them all the mixed religion couples being prepared.  Usually you have one of the two with a strong faith and the other with a weak faith.  Whether one party decided to join the Catholic Faith or if they decided to remain two different faiths, this couple would have them both firm about practicing their faith and supporting each other.  I have never met any sponsor couples who could so impact both of the engaged couples to live their faith openly and to have dedicated themselves to help each other grow in faith.  I miss them.  They enriched my faith as well and were great supporters of my priesthood.

Remember, ALL vocations are needed as examples and supports to one another!


Fr. Terry’s December 10th bulletin article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing… 

Three Kings, Three Wise Men, or Three Astrologers, all three titles fit and can be used appropriately.  So, we are in Advent and why am I mentioning these three?   I think they have a bigger story to share that impacts us beyond visiting the baby Jesus.

╬ Remember, they were intelligent and dedicated their lives to learning and growing.  Which is the beginning step for all of us who want to deepen our relationship with God.

╬ Remember, they were interested in the whole world and not just the local area.  We belong to a church that is more than just local, it is universal.

╬ Remember, they were studying the heavens and not just earthly things.  Jesus reminds us through the cross that we are in a horizontal and vertical relationship with God and others.

╬ Remember, they prepared for the task ahead.  In our church, we use the Advent Season to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ.

╬ Remember, they did not wait to the last minute, but invested in a long journey to arrive at this special moment.  The more we put into the preparation, anticipation and watchfulness, the more impact the Incarnation (the coming of Jesus as man, and eventually Savior) will make in our lives.

╬ Remember, they spread the word of His coming wherever they went.  We need to do the same about this Special, Loving Gift we are given.

╬ Remember, in response to this Awesome Gift from God, they brought gifts in return.  We are called to bring the gift of ourselves to share in gratitude.

╬ Remember, they listened to the promptings of the angels and the star for guidance.  We must listen to the promptings of God and others He has placed in our lives.

╬ Remember, they traveled together on this journey.  We are given the gift of the family of God to journey with to the kingdom of God.

╬ Remember, they placed this journey as the most important event and held nothing back to participate.  In the midst of all the commercialism, this has to be the most important event that we are willing to invest everything to be a part of.

╬ Remember, they took this experience back with them to share with those who were unable be there.  We are called to take the God-event into every aspect of our lives…work, school, home, etc.

 So you see that these three can teach us a lot about how to celebrate Advent and to look forward to Christmas with anticipation, excitement, & gratitude.