Published on May 16, 2017

Dear Parishioners of Sandusky Catholic Parishes,

These past two weekends are truly authentic movements happening.  One is today, Mother’s Day.  My own mother used to tell us that the one thing that she was sure was that her mother loved her.
My  grandma was from the old country (Ireland)  and she had all the brogue and humor from that green island.  I knew of what my mother spoke because as grandkids when we were out in the rain, grandma would have us take our shoes and socks off and then she would dry our feet.  She did the same for her kids, my mother said.  Mothers exude an authentic love for their children and it is usually the measure from which we gauge other loves in our lives.
The other authentic happening is First Communion.  Everyone who is Catholic remembers their First Communion.  The prayer book or rosary that is given, the magic of the moment that you feel something is different.  It is truly a real thing and it affects our relationship with God for years to come.
It reminds me of the gospel that was proclaimed the third Sunday of Easter which was the road to Emmaus.  The gospel says that the disciples didn’t recognize Christ until the breaking of the bread: “He said the blessing, broke the bread; they recognized him in the breaking of the bread.”  Thomas Aquinas said the sacraments are “virtus quae est fluens.”  “A power that is flowing.”  Words (“said the blessing”) and objects (“broke the bread”) which contain or commemorate Christ’s authenticity and integrity, and which we call sacraments, affect us today or they do not when we don’t let them.
Frank Lloyd Wright said that he could build a house that a couple living in it would divorce.  Gustav Shipley, Wright’s forerunner, said the objects in our homes, if authentic and having integrity influence our own reality.  If you live with junk, it can trash you.
I remember visiting Wright’s home and workshop with a couple of friends.  It affected us deeply.  Everything in the furniture and architecture resonated deeply as beautiful, noble and real.  I still can’t forget it and I thank my old pastoral associate for the effort she put into directing us to Oak Park.  I hear the same comments about our Churches that are decorated for Easter.  The Bishop visited last year and he was so moved by one of our Churches that he said he wanted the decorator to consult with the Cathedral staff about decorating it for the seasons.
Dirty jeans, at $475, lack authenticity.  Work, worn and torn does not.  Four by eight sheets of building material are not Eucharistic for those living inside the buildings.   Money spent on church buildings containing the “flowing power” of sacraments (especially Eucharist and Baptism) are worth every penny.  There is a couple from the parishes going to Paris for ten days.  I hope they visit the cathedral of Chartres.  I remember when I was there with Fr. Gorman, I saw tears in his eyes as he walked around.  When we returned, another priest by the name of Fr. Kirtland, who tried to get assigned at that cathedral asked Fr. Gorman, “Did you cry when you went in?”  What is going on at Oak Park and Chartres, with Frs. Gorman and Kirtland and moms and those who receive First Communion?
It is the same thing as Mass and communion.  We are in touch with integrity and authenticity of a very high order.  The disciples discovered that on the road to Emmaus.  “Were your hearts burning within you as I spoke to you and opened the scriptures on the road?”
Let’s see if Emmaus is alive and well.  Is there still a power that is flowing?  If not, go to Mass or Chartres, think of your First Communion or think of your mom on Mother’s Day.  What gifts they are.
In Him,
Fr