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May 26, 2024

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake,

We celebrate solemnly this Monday Memorial Day in honor of those who died fighting for our country. I want to reference the words General Lucian Truscott Jr. spoke at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Italy on Memorial Day in 1945. That day he turned his back on the audience gathered and instead spoke directly to the nearly 20,000 American soldiers buried there, many of whom he had commanded:

He apologized to the dead men for their presence here. He said everybody tells leaders it is not their fault that men get killed in war, but that every leader knows in his heart this is not

altogether true. He said he hoped anybody here through any mistake of his would forgive him, but he realized that was asking … a lot under the circumstances. . . . he would not speak about the glorious dead because he didn’t see much glory in getting killed if you were in your late teens or early twenties. He promised that if in the future he ran into anybody, especially old men, who thought death in battle was glorious, he would straighten them out. He said he thought that was

the least he could do.”

 

Indeed, we remember not something glorious this weekend but untold sacrifices made from which we and the world benefited. May those who have fallen in battle rest in peace. May their families and friends who so miss them be consoled this day. May we not take what they have done for granted. We will celebrate Mass at 8am at Calvary Cemetery on Monday morning, weather permitting. In the case of inclement weather, we will celebrate Mass at Sacred Heart.

 

I want to continue unfolding our Parish Vision. “To be a community of disciples committed to living Christian virtues, spreading the Gospel, and raising up the next generation of

disciples.” We are first and foremost disciples, those who are with the Lord and from within that relationship live and act in the world. We don’t exist in a vacuum with Jesus but in a

community with others in communion with the Lord. We live in that community and strive to build it up even as we are built up. This past fall we were just above our pre-Covid Mass attendance which is good, but we all know those who are not there that we want to be there with us.

 

Next in the Vision are some defining characteristics, first of which is the fact that we are committed to living Christian virtues. Here is an easy way to define that: what God cares about I care about. What God loves I love. What God hates I hate. A great definition of sin is that sin is knowing what God wants and telling Him – “I know what You want but I don’t care. I am going to do what I want anyway.” This captures the relational aspect of sin. Christian virtues are not merely arbitrary norms placed on us as burdens. They are markers of relationship and friendship. You can envision how that attitude would be deadly in a marriage or a friendship, and how it is deadly in our relationship with God.

 

Christian virtues can’t be understood just relationally. They flow from how we are made by God Himself and what will lead us to actually flourish as men and women. What will fulfill

our human nature. And so, as a community of disciples we strive to love what God loves and hate what He hates. We let those virtues shape and mold us into the image and likeness of God put into us at creation. One of the more important and challenging of virtues is forgiveness – this will shape who we are and doing so we will be like God Himself who so forgives. May we strive together!

 

God Bless,

Fr. Todd 

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