We are a Catholic Community of faith united in our Love for Jesus Christ. We strive to maintain and carry the message of hope and salvation to others through our works of evangelization and examples of sacramental life.
Pastor: Reverend Patrick Connor
Deacons: Deacon Douglas Farwell, Deacon David LaFortune.
Here’s our annual Parish Poinsettia Sale!
A Penny For Your Thoughts!
How Cows Teach Me About Trusting In God
A Reflection by Fr. Patrick L. Connor
I used to help my Uncle Frank (RIP) on his dairy farm as a boy/teenager/young adult, especially during Haying Season. My brothers and cousins would invade his farm for that period–work, play, and fill the house and farm with noise to the point when my bachelor uncle would go to the barn and hang out with the cows to find peace and quiet! In reality, he loved the company, and us, which is why my heart aches to visit his grave and know he’s gone from this world. But I know he’s with Our Lord in Heaven, watching over me and the rest of us who once tried our hands at milking.
I managed to do it quite well, and grew quite fond of these animals, especially the little calves. I loved feeding them their bottles of milk. How their tails would wag!
This is why I love being the pastor in a rural area, where I can drive around and see cows out in the fields. Often, I see them in small herds grazing, or sometimes sitting on the ground huddled close to each other and even some of them flat on their sides as if sleeping. Then I might see one cow off by itself, chewing its cud, and staring ahead as if thinking, just looking and . . . thinking?
Do cows, animals, think? Do they have memory? Do they have fears? Do they wonder about the future?
I’m sure there are answers to these questions, and I probably could ask a farmer or even perhaps Google it. But now, as I stop and look at this bovine creature in the open field gazing ahead at apparent nothingness, I’m struck by a sudden lesson about life. To me this cow is living in the Here and Now. You might say it is my being PRESENT WITH GOD!
Sometimes, like this cow in the picture, when I find myself alone, sitting in a waiting room at a doctor’s office or such, I have thought, “God is here, in this place.” Suddenly, I sense God’s Presence—a communion happening—maybe even a prayer? I’m actually talking to God without even trying as I sit there with my mind, heart, and soul taking in His Presence just like that cow in the picture taking in the presence of the water, sky, and grass. It’s just standing there, silent, and open to the reality before it. Contemplating, if you will.
The cow is like an empty vessel being filled with the world’s presence.
That cow is a model for what happens for me in prayer: I become an empty vessel filled with the presence of the God before me: a God I cannot see or hear or touch. Yet I can sense this God through faith. Something in my mind and heart and soul tells me that I’m not alone as I sit in this doctor’s office. And I don’t mean to ignore others who might be sitting in the room with me. I mean God’s Presence is also filling this place, beckoning me to enter into His stillness and allowing me to be filled with His Love and Peace.
Just like a cow chews its cud, I associate God’s Presence with Food for the Soul that He gives me through His Word. As I sit in the stillness of His Presence, I recall His Word that I’ve read or heard. His message, which I digest as Food for the Soul, satisfies my hunger and helps me know that I’m not alone in this pasture.
Even as I may satisfy the hunger of my body, I’m surrounded by so many signs and signals communicating God’s Presence, Truth, Direction and Love.
If only I were more open and receptive—perhaps quieter in my heart and soul, less anxious, more trusting, and not so wanting to be in control all the time.
If only I could live out what we say in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Will Be Done!” Too often, it’s more like, “My will be done,” which leads to my undoing, misery, failure . . . even sin.
It’s those times that I need God, who is Loving, Merciful and Forgiving. In the words of Psalm 103: “Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger, abounding in kindness. He will not always accuse, and nurses no lasting anger. He has not dealt with us as our sins merit, nor requited us as our sins deserve.” (Ps 103: 8-10)
Perhaps that’s what ultimately helps me pray, “Thy Will Be Done!” and place my life in the Hands of the Lord—namely, His Goodness and Love for me.
When I concentrate on those things, my heart is filled with peace, and I live in the Now and not worry about the Future, I can stay in Today instead of fretting about Tomorrow. I dwell in the pasture alone peacefully and look ahead to what’s around me and chew my cud like that cow.
There comes a time, though, when it’s time to rejoin the herd. Even if I’m content and feel at peace, there may be someone else in the herd who needs some “TLC”—Tender Loving Care! They may need a bit of a gentle stroke on the head like you see in the picture.
Or, as pictured here, just being together, side by side, as part of a group to let others know they belong, and they’re not alone; others are here to love and support them. This is what God made us for—to be loved and to love.
Let’s resolve, pondering those cows in a pasture we pass by, to be attentive to our times of solitude when we can be with God in prayer as He listens to us, and we can talk to Him even without words—just being present together in silence.
Then go forth from there to be His Hands and His Heart!
So, let’s M-O-O-O-ve it!
The Story Behind the Infant of Prague
From Deacon Dave: I’m sure many of you have seen the Infant of Prague statue on display at St. Joseph’s Church in Campbell. However, you may not be aware of the history or the significance of this statue for our Catholic Faith.
[Fr. Saunder’s article, “Straight Answers: Infant of Prague,” was published in the Arlington, Virginia, Catholic Herald on April 21, 2005, and quoted here with permission. The entire article can be found at the link provided below.]
Q: My grandmother has always had a statue of Jesus as a child dressed up like a little king with a crown. She even has different outfits for him which are very elaborate. Can you tell me anything about this?
From the description given in the question, the statue is one of the Infant of Prague. Devotion to the Holy Child Jesus is a long-standing tradition in our Catholic spirituality. The early Church Fathers, like St. Athanasius and St. Jerome, had a special devotion to the Holy Child Jesus. Some of the later great saints, including St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus (the Little Flower), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Teresa of Avila, helped popularize this devotion to the Holy Child. (As an aside, St. Teresa of Avila traveled with her statue of the Holy Child when she visited other convents.)
In the 1300s, sculptures of the Holy Child usually made of wax or wood also grew in popularity. Keep in mind that even though the Gospels do not relate much information regarding our Lord’s childhood, “the hidden life at Nazareth allows everyone to enter into fellowship with Jesus by the most ordinary events of daily life” (Catechism, No. 533).
The devotion to the Infant of Prague originated in the mid-1500s. In 1556, Maria Manriquez de Lara of Spain married a Czech nobleman named Vratislav Perstyn. She brought with her the statue of the Holy Child (which would become the Infant of Prague sculpture), standing about 18 inches in height. (Another tradition holds that the statue came from a monastery in Bohemia and was obtained by Dona Isabella Manriquez who presented it as a wedding gift to her daughter, Marie Manriquez, and son-in-law, Vratislav Perstyn.) In 1587, Maria then presented the statue as a wedding gift to her daughter, Princess Polyxena Lobkowitz.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR PARISH FUND RAISING COMMITTEE!
One of our intervention goals, formulated from our recommendation to the Bishop, was to form a Parish Fundraising Committee. To achieve this goal, we need volunteers willing to serve on this committee. We’re looking for individuals from all three churches to take part in this endeavor.
If you’re willing to serve in this capacity, please contact Mark Houck at (607) 592-7611 or firstname.lastname@example.org by October 15, 2020.
We need people to help with the sanitizing after each Mass. If you’re able to help, please call the parish office: (607) 359-2115.
When you buy online at Amazon, please be sure to shop Amazon Smile.
Support our parish when you shop on Amazon.com. Shop with a Smile at smile.amazon.com/ch/27-3050309, and Amazon donates money to Our Parish. Look for the “Catholic Parish of Saints Isidore and Maria Torribia Steuben” on Amazon.
Saint Catherine’s will continue to be open this Friday, June 26, from noon to 3 p.m., for private prayer.