Are You Excited to be Catholic?

It was over 5 years ago that I went on a faith journey that led me to where I am today. I was questioning the origins of my Baptist tradition so I started to study the history of the Christian faith. It was during this time that I came to realize that there were many truths  I never learned about at the private Baptist school I attended. Growing up I had always heard many misconceptions & falsehoods about Catholics, such as what they believed and why they did what they did. I have always been fascinated with history and I wanted to worship God the same way the early Christians did.

The more I studied, the more my investigation led me to the Catholic Church. Like understanding that before 1517 A.D. the only Christian church that existed was the Catholic Church and that all other denominations, like my own Baptist faith, originated from the Catholic Church. This was a total game changer for me. I thought, would the Church Christ gave us, the Church founded on the Apostles, be wrong for over 1500 years until the Reformation; I don’t think so.

I also thought, would Jesus want a divided Church? Of course not. Jesus prayed, “So that they may all be ONE, as you, Father are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” JN. 17:21.

Now I found myself studying and reading everything I could get my hands on about the Catholic faith. I identified 5 issues I had about the Catholic faith and researched them. I was totally shocked! Not only did I find them to be truth, but they were backed up by scripture as well.  I began to think, what else am I missing?

Then I started reading about the Church Fathers, and about the wonderful liturgy of the Church, and of course the Sacraments. To think I might have lived out the rest of my life and not experienced the Sacraments would have been a terrible loss.

I realized that the only way to experience everything Jesus gave us, was to become Catholic. My wife Beth and I began participating in RCIA about 5 years before finally being received into the Church and celebrating Confirmation and first Holy Communion together on August 27, 2017. It was a long journey, but one we would do all over again. It was such a beautiful, awesome experience and I can’t think of a better place to experience all of this other than at St. Andrew! We feel like St. Andrew is our family now and we have made many lifelong friends in this community.

What a wonderful thing to now realize the beauty of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to know that Jesus really is in the Eucharist! Just knowing that every time we go to Mass that we are doing it the same way the Apostles would have celebrated it almost 2000 years ago. Just to know that we are all part of the first Church that Jesus gave us is such an awesome privilege!

I am certainly not knocking other Christian denominations some of which my entire family is still a part. The Reformation had its place in history. But, I now know that the only place to find the Full Deposit of Faith is the Catholic Church. Being able to experience the Advent season this year at the Eucharistic table with Beth was the highlight of my Christmas season.

After doing a lot of research for many years I am not only proud to say that I am Catholic.  I’m excited to be Catholic. I know for certain that I am a part of the One True Church. I look forward to going to Mass. It is always the highlight of my week. Knowing what I am a part of now, I can’t get enough. Jesus is there every week waiting for us in the Eucharist.  How could I not be there? I hope all of you can join me in being a part of God’s divine Truth that is called the Catholic Church! So, I’ll ask again;

Are you excited to be Catholic?

“It is in the Church, in the communion with all the baptized, that the Christian fulfills his vocation.”
CCC 2030

Ben Gilmore

Beth and BenBen and Beth Gilmore have been parishioners at St. Andrew Parish for over 5 years and came into full communion with all members of this community in August of 2017.

Second Week of Advent

second sunday of adventThis week we read a little about St. Joseph. He has always been a bit of a curious figure to me. He never speaks anywhere throughout the New Testament and he isn’t even mentioned much with the exception of passages in Matthew and Luke about the birth of Christ. We know very little about him other than he was a carpenter, a bit older than Mary, was from the lineage of King David and he was from Nazareth.

When Joseph discovered Mary was with child prior to their marriage, what went through his mind? Did he assume that Mary had been unfaithful to him? He knew Mary was a woman of virtue so he must have been very confused by this situation. Matthew tells as that he was unwilling to embarrass her so he resolved to send her away.

Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. MT 1: 19

Maybe he loved Mary so much that even though he knew that he was not the father, he wanted to protect her and her child.  Maybe that is why he did not want to expose her to shame in their community.

Perhaps he was terrified that he wouldn’t be a good enough father. I am sure many would be fathers worry about this.  It is difficult to know what he was thinking.

One day though, an angel appeared to him in a dream and said;

Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.   Mt. 1:20

We do know that just as Mary trusted God’s plan for her, so did Joseph. And, just as God had a plan for them, he also has a plan for each of us.

Dear Lord, help us to trust in your plan for us just as Joseph and Mary did. Their faith was so strong that despite what they were being asked to do, they willingly complied. Lead each of us to love and serve you and to follow your direction for our lives. Give us a strong faith so that no matter what You ask of us, we are willing and able to follow.

Cathy O’Toole

First Sunday of Advent

“What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’” Mk. 13:37

 This time of the year we are likely to be making lists and checking them twice.  There is much to do in the next few weeks.  From shopping for presents and wrapping them, writing cards to people we long to stay in touch with, decorating the house inside and out, baking, planning menus, sending invitations, planning parties and perhaps even arranging trips to visit family and friends out of town. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season.

As St. Mark reminds us in his gospel on the first Sunday or Advent is, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.”  In other words, don’t lose sight of the true meaning of this season.  I know you may be thinking, yet one more thing to worry about.  But, if it wasn’t for the birth of Jesus, there would be no Christmas; no parties, no cards, no trips to be with family, and most importantly, no Savior.

So when you and your family make ready for this holiday, focus on the true meaning and prepare your hearts to receive our Savior.  Go to Mass, Reconciliation and light your Advent Wreath each week. Pray each day and reflect on your prayers.  Watch, wait and prepare.  He will be here before you know it.  Will you be ready?

Dear Lord, do not let me lose the meaning of this season in the busyness of the holidays.  Let me focus my time, energy and talents where it matters, on the birth of your Son.  

single candle                 Cathy O’Toole

If Not For My Presence, How Lonely, My Lord, Would You Be?

A Trip to the Adoration Chapel

January 30, 2015

I entered and knelt down,
Saw one other there,
But he soon crossed himself and left.
Hearing no other sound,
I thought, “Is this fair?”
Of companions, your house: bereft.

If not for my presence,
Had I not been here,
How lonely, My Lord, would you be?
Not bread: Divine Essence,
Knowing lonely fear;
Remembering Gethsemane?

So I stayed an hour,
And with you in prayer
Of chalices which must be sipped.
I still recall the pow’r
The love and the care,
Your arms around me as you gripped.

See maybe it’s not wrong
That no one else came
To spend time with you on that night.
You and I for that long,
All love and no shame;
One to one with my Light from Light.

 

Reprinted from Ascension Press

Please join us for an hour in Adoration at St. Andrew Church on

Wednesday, July 3, 2017 from 10 am to 5 PM.

Do Whatever He Tells You. Jn. 2 :5

At the Wedding Feast at Cana the guests were enjoying themselves when the wine ran out. As a result, the wedding couple would have been thought of as inhospitable until Jesus stepped in at the urging of his mother and performed his first miracle at this wedding feast by providing additional wine so the celebration would continue.

Years ago Terri and Bob Mackey decided it would be nice to celebrate the joy of their wedding anniversary with other parishioners.  So they secured a list of parishioners that were having milestone anniversaries and invited them to dinner at the Parish Center. They felt it was important to provide a way to remind parishioners that marriage is a vocation, a lifelong commitment and a way of life.

Mackeys

They invited couples who were celebrating milestone wedding anniversaries from their 1st, 2nd, 5th, 10th, 25th and 40 or more to come and celebrate with them. Fifteen years later, the Anniversary Dinner is something married couples look forward to at St. Andrew.

This year, 40 couples gathered on May 7, 2017 for prayer led by Pastor, Fr. Michael Cordier followed by an Italian dinner, conversation and lots of fun. See photos below.

The meal of appetizers, salad, bread, lasagna and desserts were prepared and served by St. Andrew parishioners.

It is always fun recognizing the couple who have been married the longest and this year, Jack & Ruth Rugh were the longest married couple celebrating their 71st Wedding Anniversary!  RUGHS

Everyone has a great time, so when you get your invitation in the future…

                        be sure to mark your calendar and call the Parish Office! 

 

Come and Follow Me!

My name is McKenna Wulker and I’m 24 years old. I work as a Records Analyst at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, LLP in downtown Cincinnati. I am just now coming into the Catholic Church and was confirmed and made my first communion on the Easter Vigil.

I was baptized at St. Andrew as an infant, but did not complete any Catholic Education or receive sacraments beyond that. It wasn’t until I graduated college, had a best friend pass away, and ended a two year relationship that I found myself at a complete crossroads in my life. I had no direction, felt hopeless and confused about where my life was going and ultimately decided to rededicate my life to God, give up my control to God’s Will and complete my Catholic Education to enter the church.

I met with Deacon Tim in June to discuss how adults entered the church, a week early for my appointment; I guess I was too eager. We discussed my options and next steps which turned out to be RCIA. I have attended RCIA, Rite of Christian Initiation in Adulthood, since September in preparation to come into the Church.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, RCIA is the process through which candidates and catechumens enter the Church, learn about Catholic religion and the Church’s teachings, and discern if this is the right path for them. Normally, this all happens when you are a child, but for people who didn’t experience the rites in childhood or are converting to the Catholic Faith, this process is mandatory.

I have learned so much in RCIA and gained a fantastic faith community through the other candidates and the RCIA support team. I encourage anyone who is trying to get involved to become a member of the RCIA team and support the candidates entering the Church. It’s a great learning experience for even the most experienced Catholic.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25

McKenna Wulker

Mc Kenna was initiated at the Easter Vigil.  We look forward to her joining our community she will certainly be an asset.  When you see her, please be sure to welcome her and encourage her to participate actively in our parish.

God Bless you McKenna and welcome to St. Andrew, the Apostle Church!

 

Father, Into Your Hands I Commend My Spirit.

There’s a sense of relief that comes from giving up total control. When I’ve been struggling with something for a particularly long time and/or I’ve been anxious about a task, project or uncomfortable situation, the most calming feeling occurs when someone else steps in to say, “I’ll take it from here,” or “All is well – let me help you.” Realizing the burden of the task or thing you’ve been fighting or struggling with is now given to someone else, or shared with that person, provides instant relief.

I can only imagine that sense of relief that Jesus must have experienced as he hung on the cross, dying, and finally uttered these words: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

Growing up, I would often envision Jesus’ crucifixion as this terrible occurrence where Jesus remains completely calm and stoic. Unafraid. But now as an adult, I realize that my imaginings were probably not exactly accurate. Jesus was fully human – meaning he experienced every feeling, thought, temptation, physical symptom, and emotion that we face on a daily basis. In other words, there is no way that he wasn’t scared, struggling, anxious, and mentally breaking down throughout the entire ordeal.

It really is remarkable to think about – to envision Jesus hanging on the cross, each hour passing by, as he fights with himself to finally succumb to the inevitable – his death. He knew it had to be done, and he knew he was the only way to our total salvation. Yet I have no doubt he was terrified about what would happen once he finally “gave in,” and gave God total control. Jesus had never died before, he had no idea what the process would be like, if it would be painful, if it would be dark and lonely – he struggled with the same fears and anxieties that we face about death each and every day.

And yet, he let go. He finally let go of his human emotions and fears and allowed God to take total control of the situation. While he preached the importance of this throughout his life, he didn’t just “talk the talk” as they say. When it came to his death, the “big moment,” he followed through, and practiced what he preached. And in this one blip of time with these 8 words, seconds before his death, he proved to us the power of finally giving in to resistance and letting God and faith take over.

Into You Hands I Commend My Spirit.

 

                                                                                              Mandy GeymanFullSizeRender (2)