Archive for March, 2011


Lenten Mission: Renewing Our Relationship

March 31, 2011


The second part of a four-part Lenten Mission continues with a focus on reconciling our failures.

Fr. Chris and the people of St. Kenneth’s Catholic Community come to a better understanding of the sacrament through a discussion about the many misconceptions about success and perfection.

In a Biblical sense, perfection is synonymous with mercy and holiness is not about doing more, but actually about doing less.

As for that ‘Catholic guilt’ – its not all bad, so long as it doesn’t become shameful.

So join in for another opportunity to renew your relationship with God and each other.


Stephen Ministry Annual Retreat

March 28, 2011


Speaking at the annual retreat for Stephen Ministry, Fr. Chris Valka, CSB offers three reflections over the course of the day.

Beginning with the context of the ‘unreliable world’, Fr. Chris explains that, though it sounds pessimistic, we indeed live with great uncertainty.  It is natural to be afraid, and so Fr. Chris offers a response to the common fears we all face.

The second session concerns ‘living’ as followers of Christ.  Fr. Chris considers the qualities of good followers and challenges us to follow bravely despite some of the obstacles that confront us.

Third, Fr. Chris leads a discussion on leadership, using Jesus as the model of the ideal leader.

In each session, Fr. Chris shares many of his own lessons and stories as illustrations to his many points.


Third Sunday of Lent

March 27, 2011


This Sunday, we encounter Jesus with the woman at the well.  It is a wonderful story about each of us.

We are all in need of redemption, for we too each have the wells we go to again and again – those wells that never really satisfy our thirst.

The message is clear:  only the Christ will satisfy.

But the implications are tough – for all of us.

Join us this Sunday as we consider what this story means for those who us who already find ourselves of the well of eternal life; and what it means for those who are seeking a new well from which they will be satisfied.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the Third Sunday of Lent: (Exodus 17:3-7; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42)


Human Rights Art Show

March 22, 2011

“Today we are not just celebrating art; we are celebrating someone’s story.  My simple hope for each of us is that we take the time to listen to each other’s stories and have the courage to tell our own, for this is the only way we will ever end the discrimination and intolerance of our age.

This means that real education does not just take place in the classrooms, but also in between the classrooms – on our benches, in our hallways, green spaces and in common areas.

If we are to be a place of education, then we must be a place that develops our hearts as much as our brains.”

Tune in the rest of Fr. Chris’ address at the Human Rights Art Show sponsored by the University of Windsor Human Rights and Development Office.


Second Sunday of Lent

March 20, 2011


The transfiguration depicts who Christ really is.  On Mount Tabor, the Apostles (and us through their description) have their beliefs confirmed – Jesus is not just a great teacher – he is the messiah.

But what we often forget is that the Messiah is also still Jesus; they are one in the same.   And herein lies the lesson for us.

Much like Jesus, we children of God – created and loved by God, but we are also sinful, covered by a skin of control, power, greed and lust.  But we are challenged to shed that skin so that we may be seen who we are, and who we have always been:  the image and likeness God.

We are to be like the seed that becomes a flower or the tadpole that becomes a frog or the caterpillar that becomes a butterfly.

For our change comes from within.  The old does not get lost, but it is transformed and transfigured, just like the person of Jesus.

This is why I say so very often that we must never forget that ultimately Christianity is not simply about what you believe or how you act – but how you are transformed.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the Second Sunday of Lent: (Genesis 12:1-4; 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9)


Lenten Mission: Renewing Our Relationship

March 17, 2011


As a priest, I have found the fastest way to silence a crowd is to ask someone to lead us in prayer.  It always brings a smile to my face, but at the same time, I am a little saddened that the most basic practice our faith is so intimidating.

As the first part of a four part Lenten Mission, the people of St. Kenneth’s Catholic Community join me as we renew our relationship with God through prayer.

In each part of this mission, we will look at a specific element of any relationship so that we can better understand how to improve the relationship we desire with God.

This week, it is prayer and communication.   What we discover is that the way we talk with each other is often the same way we talk with God.  We also debunk many of the mysteries and misconceptions about prayer and address some of the challenges we face.

So join us as we seek to renew our relationship with God and each other.


Ash Wednesday

March 9, 2011


In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us,  “not to perform righteous deeds so people can see them; not to stand and be seen, not to neglect our appearance.  We are even told to wash our face!

And what do we do – put dirt on our forehead and walk around like this all day long for everyone to see!

So why do we do this?  I let Pope Benedict answer, “It is essentially a gesture of humility, which means: I recognize myself for what I am, a frail creature, made of earth and destined to the earth, but also made in the image of God and destined to him. Dust, yes, but loved, molded by love, animated by God’s vital breath, capable of recognizing God’s voice and of responding to God; free and, because of this, also capable of disobeying him, yielding to the temptation of pride and self-sufficiency.” (2010 Homily on Ash Wednesday)

CLICK HERE for the Readings for Ash Wednesday: (Joel 2.12-18; Ps 51; 2 Corinthians 5.20-6.2; Matthew 6.1-6, 16-18)