As always, the convocation of the priests of the Archdiocese in Newport was successful. It was a great time to see and visit (and yes, have a little bit of fun too) with my brother priests from the different parishes around Western Oregon.
This year we continued with the pastoral planning for the Archdiocese and the plans will be discussed in the coming Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly where representatives from all parishes in the Archdiocese will gather and meet in Salem.
The Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle came to give a talk and he shared a story about meeting St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. He said she signed a Holy Card for him and before she left, he asked her to sign another one. Having two signed cards from Mother Teresa that she herself signed in his presence, he sent one to a priest friend who looks up to Mother Teresa as a special servant of God and future saint. When he saw his friend (a few months after sending the signed card), he found out that his friend threw away the card thinking that it was just one of those printed and mass produced cards people sell – he said: “Those cards are not really signed by Mother Teresa. They just print those things.” The Bishop was so disappointed explaining how the card was signed in his presence and by Mother Teresa herself! But it was too late, it was already thrown away because “it was not real”.
Brothers and sisters, I want to relate this story to how we see the Eucharist. Are we throwing away the intended effects of God’s gift of himself in the Eucharist because we think it is not real? Are we “throwing away” the Eucharist because we think our Lord’s presence is not really there? I sure hope not.
There is a great need for us to grow in our understanding of the Eucharist and other Sacraments. It will be a great loss to us if we don’t fully receive the Grace given to us through the Sacraments because we think it is not real.
Let us continue to work on growing our knowledge and understanding of our Faith. I encourage you to attend our Adult Faith Formation classes. The help given to us through those classes is real. Let us not throw it away. May God continue to bless us all.