Fr. Terry's Sharing

January 5

Fr. Terry’s Sharing...

The signs of the times sometimes demand of us to face the reality of the situation. With the larger number of priests retiring over the next five years and the low number of ordinations, our Diocese is going to have to go through another reorganization on parish levels. Here in Sioux Falls, the parishes that have associates do not have them full time anymore. Both Holy Spirit and Cathedral share them with O’Gorman Junior and Senior High as Chaplains. We will have the Chaplain of Avera living in the rectory. His name is Fr. David Krogman. He will be full time as Chaplain to the hospital, but in exchange for a place to live, he will help us out with our weekend Masses. And, he will occasionally help me to have a day off. Obviously this will affect our parish. On the other hand, the parish is not the priest. In other words, it is all of us…it is our parish. I have every confidence in the staff we have chosen to help coordinate our ministries to meet the needs of our parishioners. But the bottom line is that even with the staff, we would fail if not for all of your involvement. YOU make the parish with the help of God who gave you the heart and talent to care for others. To be family together under God is what we are capable of and it is what we are called to through our Baptism. God will provide us with what we need. Let us renew our commitment to pray for each other and to help each other as the St. Michael family of God.

Fr Terry's Homily for his mom

Funerals are hard for priests. We try to avoid making the person into a saint. And we certainly do not want to spend more time in the homily talking about the person rather than our loving and faithful God. So please understand that when I talk about my mom, I am mentioning how she is made in the image of God like we all are. None of us are perfect, only God is perfect. But I and my family have been blessed to see the glimpses of God in my mom.

I have a deep respect and gratitude for the strong Lutheran faith that was the foundation of my mom’s life. She had parents and family who made room for God to be the center of their lives. To them, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for the faith they shared with my brothers and sisters. It was an act of love. Having said that my mom struggled going to the Lutheran Church alone while my dad took us children to the Catholic Church. She prayed and wanted our family to be one faith and to worship together in one church. She made the decision to join the Catholic faith on the occasion of my first communion. It was very hard on her, her parents and her sisters. But mom stood by her choice made in sacrificial love. It has led to many times in prayer reflecting on the Sacrificial love of God and especially in the life of Jesus. Mom later in life developed a strong connection with Mary. During times of struggle and of hopelessness, Mary was a comfort and strength to mom. It led her to the rosary group and making rosaries for others.

I choose the first reading because it reflects the total sacrificial gift a wife and mom makes for others. Mom lived this not only in the family but also in her choice and dedication of being a nurse……

Paul tells us in Corinthians that even though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is at peace in the Lord. This reading and how the church looks at Mary teaches us that Everything of God and done by God is Permanent. Nothing is transitory. Mom will always be our mom…..watching us, loving us and wanting the best for us. Because that is what God wants for us.

Gospel tells us where I am there you are ......mom did this physically...nurse

Mom did this in supporting our dreams

Mom did this emotionally around kitchen table

Mom did this spiritually....my experience of mom and dad praying

dad solar heat for their bedroom ( a story shared by Fr Terry)

The sign of cross and daily prayer with mom Mom’s message to us is this: I am not dying from something but rather I am dying into something…eternal life

SILENT NIGHT sing with me

memories shared by family

In her heart and in her soul, my mom was always a nurse. Nursing is a profession focused on the care of individuals and families. The desire to help, comfort, and to heal was always with her. Her family and friends received the benefits of her nursing occupation. When we needed help, comfort, or healing, she was always there.

My mom was known for her cooking. When family members came to visit, she always tried to make their favorite foods. We have a large family, so it continuously amazed me how my mom remembered what everyone liked. When I went through her recipes, I found the secret: She had notes stating, “Terry no onions”, “Stan no caffeine”, “Diane likes meat spread”. Some of our favorite foods included my mom’s port cutlets, gizzards, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and her pies. My mom made wonderful homemade pies, especially her apple and rhubarb pies. She always wanted to make sure that you had enough to eat, often insisting on seconds, thirds, and sometimes even fourths.

My mom made everyone feel welcome. Her grandchildren felt that they could talk to her about anything and she would listen and understand. She even understood my brother-in-law Les’s sense of humor, although she did often say to him, “Oh, come on now” Her vocabulary was a reflection of her childhood, referring to a couch as a davenport, calling lunch dinner, saying “you are in a pickle”, or calling her grandchildren fuddy duddies, but she was always there for them, concerned and caring.

My mom was a stickler for cleaning. She could clean anything and make it look new. This came in handy for the many garage sales my parents had. If we moved out of an apartment, my mom would come and help us clean [pause]. We always got our full deposit back. She believed in old fashioned cleaning, washing the kitchen floor on her hands and knees, and did not use a dishwasher. I think she enjoyed washing dishes, but I think she enjoyed the conversations we had with her while doing the dishes even more.

My mom could find a way to mend almost anything. Even as adults we would bring our mending back home to Mom. One time, one of her granddaughters was visiting, and was wearing jeans with several rips in them, the latest fashion trend. My mom determined the tears were more than she could mend and offered to buy her a new pair. Her granddaughter tried to explain that it was a fashion trend, but my mom just couldn’t comprehend.

My mom loved growing up on the family farm. She checked on the farm on a regular basis right up until the time she went into memory care. Her love of farming carried over into her love of flowers and gardening. Her tomato plants were amazing and she always had rhubarb growing [pause], which we ate raw with salt. It wasn’t until I was an adult, that I learned others ate their rhubarb with sugar. My mom canned and froze many of the things she grew in her garden. Every fall my mom would clean out her flower beds, saving the marigold seeds and canna bulbs to plant the next spring. She always had a rose bush or two. Her mother loved yellow roses and they became my mom’s favorite flower too.

My mom loved to fish. She fished with a bamboo pole, often catching bullheads at Ethan Lake by the family farm. She once was driving back from fishing with my younger siblings, when the station wagon she was driving was hit by a pickup truck that ran a stop sign. At the emergency room, when my mom went to get her wallet out of her purse, it was a bit slimier that she was expecting, she found a bullhead!

My mom liked to read and do puzzles. There was often a puzzle started on a table in the living room and everyone visiting was encouraged, sometimes strongly encouraged, to help with the puzzle.

My mom was cautious about the money she spent and worried about her children. If you were visiting, she always insisted you take a coupon for a discount on gas before you filled up at M&H. The coupons could be found on the kitchen calendar where you could find notes about a variety of things. My mom was very organized. Sometimes we would say she had notes for her notes.

My mom loved to sing, dance, and play the piano. In memory care, everyone was amazed at how she could kick up her legs and dance. The song “Dancing in the Sky” reflects what I hope my mom is doing now:

I hope you are dancing in the sky

And I hope your singing in the angels choir

And I hope the angels know what they have

I bet it’s so nice up in heaven since you arrived.

We love you mom.

December 8

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

Today I am feeling nostalgic and frankly, very sad. We received an email from Bishop Swain sharing with us that Bishop Paul Sirba of the Duluth Diocese in Minnesota died on the way to Sunday Mass. Three of my friends from Theology, all from the Archdiocese of St. Paul, became wonderful Bishops. The kind of Bishops the church needed right then and needs right now. On my better days I like to think I had a hand in forming them for this important position in the church. The truth of the matter is that I taught them to be compassionate to sinners, myself. One was from the class one year ahead of me, one from my class, and Bishop Sirba, who was one year behind me. Because I was a slow learner in letting God take the driver’s seat, I was five years older than Paul. Of the four of us, he was the most athletic, without being in your face about it, and in the best physical condition. He truly was a great example of humbleness. For his priesthood, right before becoming a Bishop, he was a spiritual director at the college seminary. Many of the priests of our diocese know him in that capacity. To a priest, they will tell you that he was a great spiritual director and had a wonderful influence on their lives. While not a perfect person, only God is, Paul was a faithful follower of Christ and emulated Christ often in his life. He truly was a humble and compassionate man, priest, and bishop. Having shared this, I want to tell you about Paul, the ping pong player. I was an above average player, if I do say so myself. And we had great tournaments through the year in the seminary. I only once won when I played Paul in the semi-final rounds...ok he had a bad cold. Paul’s nickname was Bang Board. He did not win games by ace, like serves that overwhelmed you. He did not win games because he would make incredible shots. He won games because he was able to return every ping pong ball hit to him until you made a mistake. He could adjust to all sorts of players and their special skills. Why do I share this with you? Because I think Paul can be a great model for us during this Advent Season. Life and relationships can send all sorts of things at us. It is easy to lose patience, to feel overwhelmed, to feel like we are not up to the task, and that God is not helping us out enough or better yet, in the way we want Him to. We don’t trust ourselves as being made in the image of God. We don’t trust God to give us the skills we need. We don’t trust God to obey us and so we keep Him at a distance until we feel like we are drowning and have tried everything else we can think of and God is the last hope. I believe Paul can teach us about being faithful to God; about trusting God enough to surrender to Him. By believing that God first and foremost is looking for a relationship that is not flashy and all show, but rather one that is humble, compassionate, and faces all the challenges that come our way each day. Funny how the earthly value of life is based upon how long we live. For God it’s not the number of days, which mean nothing to someone who deals with eternity. For God it is the daily commitment to live each day to the fullest and meet the challenges of each day with God by our side. Eternal Rest grant unto Bishop Sirba!

November 17

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

This Sunday’s 2nd Reading from Paul to the Thessalonians always makes me think of the Blue Cloud Benedictine Monks. I loved to go there for Priest retreats or casual visits as I was passing by. I really do miss them. The Benedictine values were a model to me, just as St. Paul tells us how he wanted to be a model to us. The ones I remember were:

1) an awareness of God, especially in the ordinary events of every day life;

2) community living, so that they could become who they are by their relationships with others;

3) a dignity of work in being good stewards of God’s creation;

4) hospitality to all by seeing them as Christ; and many more.

I loved their balance of prayer, family, work, and hospitality. These should be the cornerstones of our families, our church community, our nation, and our world. I hope we have not lost those keys to living God’s Kingdom here and now in this world. If I remember right, these four virtues/values of living led to a true justice for everyone; a sincere desire to actively listen; moderation in how we live and a real glimpse of what Heaven is like. All these flowed into a deep respect, a stable foundation for life, and a true stewardship that honors the creator. I invite all of us to reflect on these values this week, in how they are lived in our lives. God is good and He blesses those who reflect that goodness.

September 29th

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

Since I have been here, I have shared about my relationship with my Mom who has Alzheimer’s. So many of you have kept both of us in your prayers and often ask about her. I have also heard from so many of you about your situations with Dementia and Alzheimer’s. It has effected someone from our parish staff since I have been here (many of you know her as she was the receptionist for our parish for many years). Because it is increasingly effecting more and more people directly or indirectly in our parish, I am going to break one of my personal rules. I don’t promote anything in these articles unless it is sponsored by our parish. Quite a while ago, Susan Schaunaman of our staff, gave me a wonderful gift. It was a book called “My Two Elaines” by Marty Schreiber, a former governor of Wisconsin. As a caretaker for my Mom, I found the book to be a great source of encouragement, grounded in hope, and a healing for me. Because this health concern is in so many of your lives, I encourage you to attend a presentation by him here in Sioux Falls. It is on Thursday, October 17th at 10:00am and is hosted by Active Generations at 2300 W. 46th Street. Many of the healthcare organizations that provide for them are co-sponsoring the event, one of them being the home my Mom lives in. RSVP is encouraged, but not required, at 367-9570. Posters are on the bulletin board and in the church area.

We are one church here at St. Michael Parish, but have a tendency to always go to the same Mass of the five offered on the weekends. I guess in some ways you could say we are five communities under one church roof. It is the same way with clergy in our diocese. I have many fellow brother priests, but we are scattered all over the Diocese. Once a year we have Clergy Days at Chamberlain for four days. This is the best chance for the most priests to be in one place at one time. Ordinations, priest retreats, and Diocesan gatherings, while nice opportunities to gather, never work for everyone. While we are there, we have a continuing education presentation for further growth as a priest or deacon. This year our presenter is Fr. Laurence Kriegshauser who will do some presentation on the Book of Psalms we use in prayer and at Mass. We honor priests with special anniversaries, those newly ordained, and an evening of prayer for the Deceased Clergy of our Diocese. It is a time of fellowship and connecting. It is a time for Bishop Swain to present his picture of the Diocese, any concerns, or answer any questions we might have. This is all built around time of prayer and Mass together. Please keep us in prayer this week during Clergy Days from Monday thru Thursday.

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Please note – if you get any emails or texts from Bishop Swain, Fr. Terry, Fr. Tim, or any staff member that is requesting monetary donations, gift cards, favors and/or asking you to “reply” to a text or email, please use caution. If you have any doubt, please call the Parish Office before you reply to anything.