This is How All Will Know That You Are My Disciples…

A few years ago, parishioner, Nancy Hemminger approached me asking if I would help in some capacity on the HOPE Project (Holy Land Outreach Promoting Education). For those who know Nancy, it is difficult at best to turn her down! She mentioned co-hosting a Farwell Dinner for the teachers and administrators coming from the Holy Land. I agreed!  HOPE was an extension of the twinning between the Annunciation Church in Beit Jala, Palestine and St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Milford, both of whom celebrated their 150th anniversary the same year. I told her I would be happy to assist in any way possible. I did not know at the time, but this is like an open door for Nancy to run through and ask you for more. Soon, I found myself hosting a professor from The American University in Madaba, Jordan who was coming with the teachers. It seems that Dr. Hanan Madanat had recently lost her mother, as had I and Nancy felt we could console each other.

As the day approached, I was getting more and more anxious. Even though Hanan and I had communicated by email a few times, I was nervous about how this week would go. When I met Hanan at the airport, it was late at night, she looked very tired from the long flight and as we rode home, she informed me she didn’t care for dogs. I had two! I knew then this would be a very long week.  But, God surprises me unceasingly and this visit was no exception. The next day, Hanan asked if she could walk the dogs, as well as take pictures with them to send home to her family. She knew her family would be amazed!

Each night, when she returned from her meetings with the Archdiocese teachers and administrators, we would prepare meals, pray, walk the dogs, talk, and laugh into the early morning. We had so much in common, I was phenomenal. We were both single, both teachers, she had recently finished her doctoral degree and I was just beginning classes at the Athenaeum of Ohio in Lay Pastoral Ministry. As a matter of fact, Hanan went with me to my very first class at St. Mary’s Seminary. Imagine sitting in an Old Testament class with a direct descendent of one of the twelve tribes of Israel seated next to you! What a great start!

This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. Jn. 13:35

Hanan and I have kept in touch over the years.  I have visited The American University in Madaba and I still smile when I make my Arabic coffee in Hanan’s coffee pot that she left me when she went home. I thank God for this beautiful gift of friendship He presented me with and I will never say no to Nancy Hemminger if she asks for something. Just don’t let her know I said that!

Dear Lord, open our minds and hearts to new and different opportunities.  Let us share ourselves with others so that we may learn more about you and your gift of love for us.

Cathy O’Toole has been a member of St. Andrew Parish for 22 years.  She has been on 4 pilgrimages to the Holy Land which has given her several opportunities to visit with Hanan in Amman, Jordan. God blesses us with friends across the globe, if we are open to that call.

Hanan and Cathy

Dr. Hanan Madanat and Cathy O’Toole at the Athenaeum of Ohio.

 

VIDEO: 4 Reasons for Fasting

This coming Wednesday, August 31, will be St. Andrew’s first “Fast and Pray for our Country,” a nation-wide prayer effort for peace and healing taking place throughout the United States of America.

Beginning at midnight on August 31, we invite you to fast from food until 6pm. If fasting from food is not possible for you, we encourage you to fast from something you can – such as soda, TV, video games, etc. At St. Andrew church, at 5:30pm, we will pray the rosary. Afterward, Mass will be celebrated at 6pm. When Mass has ended, the fast will be complete, and you are free to eat after that.

The following Wednesday, September 7, we invite you to do the same. The rosary and Mass will be at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton church. In the coming weeks, we will alternate churches each Wednesday through November 23. Whether you can join us or not, please fast and pray for our country.

We invite you to check out this video from Ascension Presents, as Fr. Mike Schmitz explains “4 Reasons for Fasting,” to help you kick-start your journey of fasting and prayer over the next several months. Thank you for joining us in this effort!

 

Renewed in Christ – Good for Our Region

The upcoming Christ Renews His Parish weekend for men is Saturday, September 10 and Sunday, September 11 at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton campus. It seems like yesterday this renewal program was reintroduced to our pastoral region. Now almost 10 years later, 21 teams of men and women from both parishes have been part of this powerful awakening of the presence of Jesus Christ in their life.

I first attended Christ Renews in 1985. And what a change it made in my life. Not only did the weekend bring me back to a church, but it was through Christ Renews that I met the woman I would one day marry. Christ Renews His Parish is an immersion in grace whereby the power of God transforms lives right before your eyes. I have had the privilege to walk with so many people on this faith journey. What would our region look like every adult parishioner from both parishes participated in Christ Renews His Parish?

If you have not attended a weekend or if it’s been five years since the last time you attended, please consider joining us. The link below will get you registered. Your renewal is just a click away.

To Register for the Christ Renews His Parish Men’s Weekend, click on the link http://www.standrew-milford.org/documents/CRHP%20Registration%202016.pdf.

A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. Ps. 51:12

Deacon Tim Schutte is the Pastoral Associate for Adult Faith Formation at St. Andrew, The Apostle Church.

Fast and Pray for Our Country

This coming Wednesday, August 31 we invite you to fast from food from midnight to 6pm. If that is not possible, fast from whatever you can, soda or TV or radio or video games , etc. We also invite you to pray with us. We will pray the Rosary at 5:30pm and Mass will be celebrated at 6pm here at St. Andrew church.

prayer and fasting

Why are we inviting you to do this? Our country needs our prayers. More than ever, we need to turn to our Lord and ask for help.  We place our trust in the Lord.

Next Wednesday, September 7 Rosary and Mass will be at Seton. We will alternate churches each Wednesday through November 23rd.  Whether you can join us or not, please fast and pray for our country.

They appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.   Acts 14:23

 

VIDEO: Everything Passes But God

From Ascension Presents’ YouTube Channel: “Did you have a favorite song growing up, one that was like an anthem for your life? It probably doesn’t resonate with you as much as it once did, right? In this video, Fr. Josh Johnson explains why this might be so. It’s because our hearts and souls long for more than finite things. They long for the one who is infinite; and, as St. Augustine states, ‘Our hearts are restless until they rest in him.'”

 

Many thanks to Ascension Presents for allowing us to post and share this video.

For He Was a Good Man . . .

When we say the prayer for more priests, good priests- my memory is jogged back to my years at Syracuse University. My best friend was an eccentric French Canadian priest. I knew no one with the exception of my roommate, we both had part time jobs and spent many late hours studying instead of sleeping.

I made many visits to church during lunch time, a quick break from school or work, sitting alone and saying silent prayers.  Father Devereau introduced himself to me on one of these visits.  He was an academic, very quick-witted and an amazing observer.  We shared so many stories, talked philosophy and religion, of course.

He told me of the woman who cleaned the church and his residence and what she had taught him.  Noticing how cheerful she was impressed him; she sang while she worked, he asked her what the secret of her happiness was.  She said she always saved her worrying till Thursdays, and by the time Thursday came around, she had forgotten what it was.  He loved it and it thought was a good approach for everyone.

This was a lonely time for me and I knew he sensed this. I have kept some of the little notes of encouragement he would give me.  I shared some writings that had touched my heart and he would comment on them.  I do not remember who wrote this one but I include it as one of my favorites and try to see blessings daily.

There are joys which long to be ours. God sends ten thousand truths, which come about us like birds seeking inlet, but we are shut up to them, and so they bring us nothing, but sit and sing awhile upon the roof, and then fly away.

I am grateful for the many priests who have blessed my way.  Father Devereau was one of many I keep in  prayer.

…for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. And a large number of people was added to the Lord. Acts 11:24

Shirley Cochran lived in 7 states as a military wife, her family finally moved to Cincinnati.  They were civilians with real neighbors.  Her children were educated in Cincinnati and think of it as home.  An auto accident changed their lives, Shirley’s husband was killed and her 3 children were still in school.  She needed to be busy and found work a year or so later.  It filled the void somewhat and she remarried 4 years later.  She and her new husband moved to North Carolina and lived happily for some time when he died. She came ‘home’, found Miami Woods which reminded her of North Carolina. She also found St. Andrew Church and has been a parishioner for 15 years. IMG_1334.PNG

 

 

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism Eph. 4:5

My husband Dave and I moved to Milford about three years ago. Before that, we lived in Columbus for almost nine years. We met in College at Ohio State University and attended the Newman Center there. After college, we each lived in apartments and moved around a lot. It was very hard to find a church community that felt like home. I think we both strayed from the church a bit because of life circumstances and a general feeling of being “lost.”

Three years ago, Dave received a job offer here in Cincinnati that he could not refuse. Moving to Cincinnati was very hard for me. I had a life in Columbus; a business, friends, and my family was close. I struggled very much with anxiety about what the future would hold for me in Cincinnati. Six months after moving to here, we bought our house in Historic Milford, right behind St. Andrew the Apostle Church. We immediately started attending and fell in love with the Pastor and the church community. My husband and I attribute our return to church to St. Andrew’s and the fabulous people that make it what it is.

This past March, I gave birth to our first son, Maxwell James Monroe. He has been such a  blessMax's Baptisming in our lives. The road to having Max was not an easy one for me. I had to deal with some health issues before I was allowed to get pregnant and I was very saddened. In fact, I was afraid I may never be able to give birth to a healthy baby.

God stepped in and led me to the right doctors in Cincinnati to get my health under control so that I could have a healthy baby. On July 24th, 2016, we had Maxwell baptized by Deacon Tim at St. Andrew. It was such a special day for us. As we sat and listened to Deacon Tim speak, even Max was paying attention. Our family and friends surrounded us as Max was welcomed into the Catholic faith. I felt so many emotions that day during the ceremony. I was so happy to have a healthy baby boy and that we had found a community in St. Andrew, that I was brought to tears of joy. I am so happy that our son will grow up in this church that is so welcoming and warm.  I invite others who may be struggling with this faith to attend Mass at St. Andrew the Apostle.  It is true that their ‘Doors Open Wide’ and are ready to receive you.

And this water symbolizes Baptism that now saves you also-not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:21

My name is Lauren Monroe. I am an esthetician and manicurist at Tanya’s Image and Wellness Salon in Hyde Park Square. My husband Dave Monroe and I have a four-month-old son, Maxwell James. Dave is an Engineer at Ethicon in Blue Ash. We have now been parishioners of St. Andrew for three years. We love living in Historic Milford and being a part of the St. Andrew community. Lauren Monroe

 

 

Everyone Who Listens to My Father and Learns From Him Comes to Me. Jn.6:45

At seven in the first grade, I was a Baptist going to a Catholic school. My parents asked me if I wanted to stay a Baptist or to convert to Catholicism. Converting was one of the greatest decisions in of my life. ‘The doors open wide at the very thought of your coming’ took on new meaning for my family. I was baptized on February 28, 2009 when in the first grade. I continued my grade school education at St. Andrew-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton school. In second grade, I made my first communion and reconciliation with my mom. We never miss Sunday mass, it is very important to us.

In fourth grade I made another decision to become an Altar Attendant. Another great choice! I enjoy serving, it is fun for me and I truly love to serve at the altar. I have been told by parishioners that they love it when I serve. It makes me happy that people think I am a good server. In the summer going into sixth grade, I started serving funerals. It is honestly very hard to serve funerals. Seeing people crying is tough and it’s hard not to cry with them. Before one funeral I asked if I could try to use the incense and Deacon Tim said yes. Using incense really changes people, including me. I now participate more and I understand the Mass more. Using the incense made me want to learn more about God and Jesus’ ministry.

I am now going into ninth grade and will be attending Archbishop Moeller High School. I participate in a National Volleyball league and when we are out of town, my parents and I to find a local church that’s meets our match schedule. I love being Catholic because it connects directly back to Jesus and God. I think it’s pretty amazing that the same Mass is said around the entire world. I invite you to come to Mass, and more importantly become involved the Mass as an altar attendant, a lector or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Fully participating helps you to receive Jesus and God and special gifts and graces.

Oh God, please help people during their decisions to become a more involved Catholic. Shine some light on them so they can make the best decision possible for their family and for their lives.

Jesse Hardin is 14 years old and has been a member of St. Andrew parish for 7 years and an Altar Attendant for 5 years. His volleyball team placed first in the state and 7th in the nation. He works at Grand Sand Volleyball Club as a referee. He is an only child, grateful to be Catholic and has two of the best parents God ever created.Jesse Hardin

What Will Separate Us From The Love Of Christ?

My marriage had ended. Bankruptcy took everything I had worked for and loved except my two children and an old car that barely ran. Now being newly divorced, I could not see where I belonged in the Catholic community. Trying to find answers and direction for my life, I decided to attend a seminar entitled “What’s New in the Catholic Church?” Across a crowded auditorium, the words fell like fire from the lips of the Franciscan priest, burning their way into my scrambled mind and fractured heart, “No one will ever love you like your Heavenly Father loves you. He loved you before He created you, He loves you now, and He will love you forever – no matter what you do.” Gazing at the crowd of 400 or 500, the priest looked directly across the sea of faces and said to me “I can see by your flushed face and the tears, you have never really heard that before. But you hear it now. And you can build your life on that.” So I did.

New doors opened for me. I became in involved in the formation of a divorce ministry through Catholic Social Services of Cincinnati. I found myself speaking to newly forming divorce support groups in Catholic parishes across the city. My Open Doors eventually led me full circle from the St Andrew Parish of my childhood back to the beloved St Andrew Parish of my “adult” years.

I was invited to assist in the development St. Andrew School Alumni records. Together, my dear friend Colleen Potter and I dove into Parish archives in the rectory basement and went from there to the Greater Milford Historical Society records at the Promont House to organize the history of our church. This information was later used for various Parish events such as the Sesquicentennial Year celebration, as well as the ordination of our very first Parish Deacon, Tim Schutte. One thing led to another and I found myself expanding the parish Prayer Chain through emails, organizing the parish library, and editing the Parish Newsletter.

There are many needs in our parish and more new opportunities being identified all the time. Think about your gifts and talents and look into walking ‘through the open doors.’

What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. Rom 8:35, 37

Chris Nunner joined St. Andrew Parish and St. Andrew School in 1949 as the school began its second year of Catholic education in Milford, OH.   Retired in 2000 and returning to St. Andrew Parish about 15 years ago has led her to countless opportunities to be happily involved and sharing Christian life with many dear friends. Married for 32 years, she and her husband, George, enjoy their “golden years” with their two rescued labs, Sadie & Sparky, and their six adult children and spouses along with many delightful and talented grandchildren and great grandchildren. You will almost always find George with a welder, a chain saw or log splitter in his hands, and Chris creatively sharing her spare time with a computer.Chris Nunner

If He Cries Out To Me, I Will Listen; For I Am Compassionate. Ex. 22:26

I have been a Roman Catholic all of my life.  When I was 25 years old and living in San Diego, California, I attended a Bible Study group for the first time. That as the beginning of me seriously and purposefully reading Holy Scripture and my long and loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Twenty years ago, my father Lenny, died in my arms.  He was at home in Cincinnati and on hospice care. I journaled the last 3 weeks of his life, recording what he said and the conversations we shared.  I was a nurse but never thought of myself as a care giver until I became my fathers’ caregiver. He taught me very well about the dying process.  This experience pointed me in a new direction as a hospice nurse.

Since that time, I have been privileged to have been a caregiver for my mother, my brother, my children’s baby sitter, neighbors, my aunt and uncle, my dearest childhood friend and my mother-in-law.  Often times, I experienced days where I just didn’t want to be the one to give the care to those I loved.  A friend suggested I attend a support group for folks who are caregivers.  The meetings were once a month at St. Andrew.  I am someone who thinks I can do it all just fine by myself, although, I went to a meeting. I learned that it’s ok to accept help and that God wants us to come to Him for strength and guidance.

Today, I am one of the facilitators of our Caregivers Support group at St. Andrew and have  led this ministry for 12 years. We meet the 1st Tuesday of every month in the church basement from 7-8:30pm. What is expressed is respected and confidential.  We share concerns and knowledge and at times, we cry and laugh about our experience which is in itself healing! All are welcome to volunteer or to come for discussion.

Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.  Mt. 5:7

Marcy Schutte is a recently retired hospice nurse with 3 children and 3 grandchildren.  She has been active in the parish in various ministries for many years.  Marcy loves to cook, travel to visit grandchildren and is a master gardener.  She has 13 separate flower beds and finds it is in the garden where she feels most at home with God.  She and her husband, Deacon Tim have been married for 23 years. Marcy Schutte