On Saturday I left Port Austin, Michigan and drove an hour south to Marlette. Fr. Andrzej Boroch, from Poland, is the pastor here at St. Elizabeth's. He is a fervent young priest (ordained in 1995) and asked me to give a parish mission here after I directed the Saginaw priests' retreat last year. As far as we know, this parish which was established in 1948, has never had a parish mission so we tried to put together a program that would make the mission convenient for all the parishioners.
As always I spoke at the Masses on Sunday, including Mass at St. Michael's parish in Wilmot which Fr. Boroch also serves. At 3 P.M. on Sunday we had a Holy Hour with exposition and benediction. I talked about going deeper in our spiritual lives and quoted Pope John Paul II who said, at the turn of the millennium, "it would be wrong to think that ordinary Christians can be content with a shallow prayer life that is unable to fill their whole life. Especially in the face of the many trials to which today's world subjects faith, they would be not only mediocre Christians but 'Christians at risk.'"
Today we celebrated Mass at 11 and my homily was on the topic of what Catholics believe about the Eucharist and how this affects the way we participate in the celebration of Mass and how we treat one another. After the homily we celebrated the Anointing of the Sick and after Mass we had lunch. This evening there will be four priests celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation from 6 until 7 and then we will have a Holy Hour and a repeat of this morning's homily.
Tomorrow we will have a Holy Hour at 11 followed by lunch. The focus of my talk will be how the practical spirituality of the Apostleship of Prayer can help the average person can live the Eucharist and find meaning in every day life. We will close the mission with Mass at 7 P.M. and a repeat of the morning talk.
It was been nice staying with Fr. Boroch. His rectory walls are filled with religious pictures and photos of Pope John Paul II. He has a statue of St. Faustina on a shelf next to a picture of the Divine Mercy image. Last night we visited with a Polish family and dined on traditional Polish food: golabki (stuffed cabbage rolls) and the best potato pierogi I've ever had. A lot of times potato pierogi is stuffed with a very bland filling of mashed potatoes. These were mashed potatoes with farmer's cheese, butter, and onions. On this particular mission, the laborer is certainly being fed well!