Encomium for a Good Friend I Mistreat

I have such a thoroughly excellent baptismal patron, I often feel unworthy of him. I guess we could all say the same.

The New Testament makes it clear that St. Mark served the original leaders of the Church with unassuming, faithful friendship. Mark himself had no interest in the spotlight. He delighted in accompanying St. Paul, and then St. Peter, helping them in their work. Mark synthesized Peter’s teaching about Christ, and gave us the shortest and most to-the-point gospel.

Then St. Peter sent St. Mark to Egypt. The evangelist repeatedly risked life and limb to proclaim the kingdom of Christ. Eventually, the pagans got the better of him. They tied him behind a team of oxen and dragged him through jagged rocks on April 24, in the year 68. On April 25, St. Mark succumbed to his wounds.

St. Mark has been a faithful friend to me, like he was to Peter and Paul—through thick and thin, ever since my parents took me to the baptismal font and made me St. Mark’s client.

On the days that I have prayed to my patron, he has prayed for me before God’s throne on high. On the countless other days when I haven’t given St. Mark a moment’s thought, he has prayed for me then, too.

That’s what our patrons up in heaven do. They watch over us, no matter what, loving us like our mothers do. If we ignore them or treat them badly, they patiently endure it, waiting and hoping for the day when we will wake up and smell the coffee. When we finally make even the slightest gesture of appreciation, they rejoice, forgiving and forgetting all the slights.

Thank you, St. Mark. Please keep helping me, even though I don’t deserve it.

Short on Imitation, Long on Gratitude

When St. John Vianney made his way to the remote hamlet of Ars, where he was to take up the pastorate, he had to stop a farmboy on the road to ask him the way to the town.

So if the patron saint of priests had a hard time finding his way to one country parish, imagine how I feel! I have a tough time making sure that there are clean socks in both my sock drawers. (I have a Franklin-County sock drawer and a metropolitan-Martinsville sock drawer.)

To be honest with you, the patronage of St. John Vianney poses severe challenges to us parish priests. Last week we kept the Memorial of St. Martha, the patroness of waiters and waitresses. Martha certainly lived an impressively holy life, difficult to imitate. But she did not keep a forty-year fast on two boiled potatoes a week and one hour of sleep per night, like St. John Vianney did.

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Holy Name is Tops

Here is the pastor’s homily for September 27, 2009 at…

Holy_Name_Church_and_RectoryHOLY NAME CATHOLIC CHURCH

920 Eleventh Street, N.E., Washington, D.C.

Confessions: 2:30-3:30 Saturdays
Masses: Sunday 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m.

(202) 397-2525

Whoever is not against us is for us. –Mark 9:40

Let us consider what a blessing it is for us to have a parish consecrated to the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

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