Wednesday, December 25, 2013

G.K. Chesterton was a prolific Catholic author of the early 20th Century, known for his incisive wit and profound theological insights. He was also known as a curmudgeon, and the older he got the more absent-minded he became as well. One day he was out strolling in London when he became quite lost. He stopped at a nearby telegraph office and sent a telegram for urgent delivery to his wife. In it he wrote, "Dear, I find myself quite lost. Am at Harborough Square. Where should I be?" He waited for more than a few minutes while the telegram was delivered and he got a response. Finally the click of the telegraph key indicated his wife's reply. As only a wife could say, she responded, "You should be home." Chesterton sent another telegram and asked, "But how do I get there?" He waited at the telegraph office for the reply. It said, "Am sending a boy. Follow him home."

Is that not the truest meaning of Christmas: God's simple message, "Am sending a boy. Follow him home."

Merry Christmas.
December 24, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

We have a winning team from tonight's "Reindeer Games" at SEAS Life Teen. Revenge may be sweet at next year's competition, and if we have the same candy competition as tonight, it will be very sweet! See you next Sunday evening at 5 for Life Teen, and on Sunday, January 5 for Life Teen Mass at 5 pm followed by Life Night. (6 photos)

December 22, 2013
Msgr. William J. King
Up at the North Pole Santa's elves are packing the sleigh, and here in the church the musicians are practicing for Christmas Midnight Mass. All for Jesus! O come. let us adore Him: on Christmas eve at 5 and 7, Midnight, and Christmas morning at 10:30. The childrens' pageant is at the 5 pm Christmas Eve Mass -- be forewarned: last year people were standing in the parking lot! This year we will have overflow seating in the Parish Center with a live audio/video feed from the church. 7 pm should be a bit less jammed. Our wonderful choir will begin a Christmas concert at 11:15pm, prior to the Midnight Mass (yes, our Midnight Mass is still at Midnight!). 10:30 Mass on Christmas morning is always a beautiful celebration as well. Be sure to come early for any Mass -- seats go fast (always a good sign). Merry Christmas to all!

December 22, 2013
Msgr. William J. King
Tonight at 5 in the Parish Center at St. Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. Everyone of High School age is welcome. Bring some friends.

December 22, 2013
Msgr. William J. King
High School Teens in the Mechanicsburg PA area, don't miss "The Reindeer Games" at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Life Teen tomorrow evening at 5.

December 21, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

Life Night tonight with SEAS Life Teen. Deacon David Hall and his wife Libby led us in a quiet and moving prayer service in the church before we moved over to the Parish Center where "Holly Spirit" led us in a game to identify the Gospel passages. Tonight's episode of "The Gospel Show" was an interview with the 4 Gospel writers which focused on why the descriptions of Jesus' birth are different in the various Gospel texts.

December 15, 2013
Msgr. William J. King
Today we had the organizational meeting for Trail Life Troop 101 at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish. Trail Life USA is an outdoor adventure and character-building program for boys and young men, with programs for age groups from 17 down to 5 years old. Trail Life is solidly Christian in its vision and values. It will be an important part of our parish youth ministry. We have experienced adult leaders and we're starting out with a great group of kids.
— with Scott Rainey.

December 15, 2013
Msgr. William J. King
I think this is too long for a post, but too many people have been pestering me for it, so here goes... Last Sunday's homily at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish. It's also on the parish website at

“Wag Your Tail, the Master is Coming”

Many a dog waits for its master; some with patience and some with mischief. It was not lost on the earliest Catholics that we do the same.

On many of the graves in Roman catacombs is an unmistakable paw print. On the concrete that seals tight the graves, there are words and symbols. One of the most common is a paw print. The message was about the deceased Believer: as a dog is loyal to its master and dependent for every good thing, so this servant of God was loyal, depending on God and waiting for his or her Heavenly Master’s return.

Some wait with patience, some with mischief.

• There’s the dog who has such separation anxiety that it flies into a panic and seeming rampage, running here and everywhere , chewing and destroying, until the master returns. I’m reminded of some preachers who suffer such separation anxiety as we await our Lord’s return that their preaching turns into a frenzy of apocalyptic rampage and End Times panic, designed to incite both frenzy and terror in themselves and others. We listen and hear their preaching and just imagine them tearing the stuffing out of one pillow after another.

• There’s the dog who barks at everything all day long. Ask the dog why. It can’t explain. It’s just apprehensive, anxious, wary. Its only reaction is to bark at anything that makes a noise or that moves. Some people go through life this way: nervous, anxious, uncertain, unsettled. They may claim to believe in a master, a Messiah, a Lord, but their lives give no evidence of that fact. They move from one value to another, from one decision to the next, barking at everything that makes noise in life, but uncertain as to a real direction or purpose.

• There’s the dog who eats all the food and drinks all the water, and who as a result leaves “gifts” (dog owners know what I mean) around the house. Seeing only what is in front of them at the moment, the poor doggie can’t imagine that there will be a time when the master will provide more. They can think or imagine no more than to “snarf down” everything in front of them. Their world view is small, and they certainly can’t imagine a larger world, greater plenty, a moment past the present, a life different than now. There are persons whose world view is so small that to “seize the day” and “live for the moment” is all that matters, and others – usually those who love them – are left to clean up the messes they create. These are the persons who have a short world view, and no conception of an eternity that awaits us beyond the horizon of this existence.

• There’s the dog who whines and cries and howls every moment the master is away. No sooner is the master out the door than the poor beast’s grief becomes inconsolable, for surely no living thing has ever suffered as much as this poor doggie that is left alone. The master can have no peace if he has but left the room for a moment. There are persons too who cannot move beyond a certain hurt or disappointment in life, who wallow and whine, who demand the constant attention and emotion of God and others, certain that no one has ever suffered as greatly. This demand for attention denies the Providence and protection of a loving God, and gives no heed to the embrace of an ever-present master, no evidence of hope-filled anticipation of the Master’s return.

• There’s the dog who waits for its master, but as soon as the master opens the door the dog runs outside and right past the master with barely a wag of its tail. Stand by the doors of the church during Holy Communion and watch the people who run out of Mass – you’ll see the same thing. Many are those who run from one thing to the next in life, whose lives are so filled with activities which, in the larger view of life, matter little and have no meaning. When the Lord returns, we can wonder if they will notice at all. After all , they've paid no real attention to Him in life. They may run right past Him with nary a wag of the tail... which of course gives us pause to wonder if He will recognize them as His disciples or just let them go right by.
• There is, sadly, the dog who is ill, who finds a quiet and lonely spot to be away from others. When the master returns, he searches for the dog and recognizes it does not feel well. At a time when the master wants to love the dog the most, the poor thing hides and refuses love and attention. Among the saddest moment of being a priest is, for me, seeing people do the same thing. Knowing that someone is ill, or hurting, or in a tough spot in life, I look in vain to see them at Mass or involved in parish activities. At a time when they may need the love of God and companionship of fellow Believers the most, they choose to be alone and withdrawn.

• There’s the dog who warmly greets the master at his return, with excitedly wagging tail and wet kisses, but who has slept on the couch and the beds all day. When the master notices the warm, sagging cushions and the hair on the pillows, and asks, “Did you sleep on the couch even though you know you shouldn’t do that?” the dog gives that look that says, “Who, me?” Do you know anyone like that? Doing only what makes them feel good, feel comfortable, feel satisfied throughout life, aware of right from wrong but caring little, and ready to give the Lord the look that says, “Who me?” when He returns.

• There’s the dog who seems to know what time it is, even without a watch on its wrist. At the same time of the day, driven by clues we cannot see or hear, the dog sits by the door or watches at the window for the master to return. The vigilance is not, however, repeated at other times of the day – only when it is time for the master to return. Many people seem to know when it’s time to go to Mass each Sunday, but during the rest of the week they pay little heed to waiting, watching, listening, sensing where the Lord might be found, and where His grace may be waiting for us.

• There are those dogs who seem to remain alert, not panicking but vigilant, an ear raised, an eye open, senses heightened, while at the same time enjoying a nap or a drink or a playful moment. This is what the grace-filled Believer, the Christian imbued with Advent year-round, experiences: the ability to live and enjoy life thoroughly and prudently and morally, yet always alert to see, hear, and receive the presence of Jesus in the present moment, and ready for the return of the Lord now or whenever it occurs.

So, there’s my invitation to you: be ready to wag your tail when you catch a glimpse of the Lord, waiting at all times with one ear raised and one eye open, eager to see Him whether far off or near, as we wait in joyful hope for His return.


December 14, 2013
Msgr. William J. King
It was joyful celebration of Advent tonight at the Seton Family Christmas. Saint Nicholas arrived to tell us his story, then to spend the evening listening to the children. A Latino flavor was added in the music and the piñata. Games for all ages, prizes, food, and fellowship all contributed to the joy of being together on a snowy Advent eve.

December 8, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

Tomorrow is my last lecture period of the semester in the canon law school at The Catholic University of America: a course in corporation law and financial governance. Now, I'm not saying that I'm happy that it's the last class of the semester, necessarily. At least I'm not saying that out loud. 2 hours driving down, 3 hours of Law School teaching every Friday morning, and 2 hours driving back -- it's been fairly daunting. Pray for my students, most of whom are in their third year of law school. Those 3 hours in class every Friday are the only thing standing between them and the weekend! Next Tuesday I give the final exam to the poor, unsuspecting students. Then it'll take me a week to grade them. They're still complaining that my mid-term was too challenging: a brain-tangler, they told another professor. Wimps. I'll make the final exam tough to take and easy to grade. Hint, students: every answer is B.

December 5, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

First Night of Life Teen tonight at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish. A great turnout of teens, parents, and core team. Attendance and enthusiasm were great at our first Life Teen Mass. Remember, Life Teen Mass the first Sunday of every month at 5pm; Life Night every Sunday at 5pm; adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament every Sunday 6-7pm.

December 1, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

Following the benefit concert at our parish yesterday afternoon I had a good conversation with a Dean at Messiah College about expectations and surprises in life. He recalled that he met with me many years ago as part of a group that proposed the State Street Academy of Music at Saint Lawrence Chapel in Harrisburg. He recounted as well his surprise that he has spent much of his career in administration -- not what he planned. It was a sentiment I knew well: I was the last pastor of Saint Lawrence parish, and first proposed the idea of a school of music in that wonderful facility at a dinner following a visit to Vienna and Sunday Mass at the Augustinerkirche there, the site of a wonderful academy of sacred music. Imagine my surprise and delight when as a diocesan official the bishop asked me to handle the meeting about this very topic. Now, after 27 years in diocesan administration, I could share with the Dean not only that I was the originator of the idea, but my greater delight at being back where I always wanted to be: in parish ministry, with the saints of God. God has a plan, His grace-filled providence leads us, and His surprises throughout life should delight us always. I once had a spiritual director who repeatedly said, "God wastes nothing."

November 25,2013
Msgr. William J. King
Months of prayer, training, planning, worrying, believing... today we announce Life Teen at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Mechanicsburg. Starting Sunday, December 1st we will have Life Night every Sunday at 5, with Life Teen Mass on the first Sunday of the month at 5pm. Life Teen has one purpose: to lead teens closer to Christ. Members of the parish have been praying for each of our teens by name for the past 3 months. The Life Teen Core Team has been praying and studying, with most of the team attending training in King of Prussia PA and three of them attending training by Life Teen International in San Antonio, Texas. All are welcome to the monthly Mass on Sunday afternoon at 5 -- first Sunday of every month. All teens are welcome for any Life Night -- any Sunday at 5pm. If you're worried you won't know anyone, that's easy to solve: bring along a few of your friends, whatever their beliefs. Parents of teens, you're welcome and wanted any time. Pray for our High School teens, that they may know the powerful and transforming, life-giving grace of Jesus Christ in their lives.
November 17, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

What? Me unhappy that the weather is bad and I can't go flying today?
November 17, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

Just back from a wonderful voice recital at Messiah College, presented by a parishioner and member of the college Newman Club. Some of those notes were pretty high -- I sing like that only when the water suddenly goes cold in the shower. Congratulations to Elise Manning for a sterling performance.
November 16, 2013
Msgr. William J. King
The lights are on the Prayer Walk at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Mechanicsburg PA. When the Stations of the Cross are installed along the walk it will be a wonderful invitation to neighbors and passersby to stop and pray, or just a reminder that the arms of Jesus are always open to any who want to stop by our church.
November 12, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

The next step in our parish Prayer Path is underway... Scout Jacob Saar's fantastic Eagle project is completed, and today we poured concrete for the pillars that will hold the Stations of the Cross along the 63 foot path. At the same time, the electrician was completing work on the lighting. The pillars for the Stations will be finished with cut stone and topped with slate to hold the statuary for the Stations of the Cross. The actual statues are on order from a studio in northern Italy (the same studio which provided the statue of Jesus already on the path). Although the Stations of the Cross will not arrive until sometime in early 2014, we will soon hold a blessing and dedication of this marvelous addition to our parish campus.
(4 photos)
November 11, 2103
Msgr. William J. King

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A college professor randomly and secretly divided his class into two groups. Seeking out each student in the first group before or after class, he said to each, “I just know you’re going to do very well in this course. Thanks for being such a good student.” To each student in the second group he said, “Thank you for taking my class, even though I think it’s going to be a challenge for you and you’ll have a tough time.” It was an experiment by the professor. How do you think each group did at the end of the semester? To a person, the students told they would do well, did well; the students told they would not do well, did not.

Zacchaeus, we’re told, couldn’t see Jesus because of the crowd. We assume this is because he was physically short. Was there perhaps more to it than that? Zacchaeus was small, in large measure because he was told that he was small in the eyes of others: a chief tax collector he was unrespected, assumed to be a thief and a fraud and a collaborator with the Roman occupying force.

We’re told that Zacchaeus “wanted to see who Jesus was.” There are 2 verbs “to see” in New Testament Greek: blepo and oráo. Blepo is to notice, to glance, to observe casually. Oráo is to gaze, to look intently, to want to understand. Which way of looking do you suppose Zacchaeus used when it’s said he “wanted to wee who Jesus was?” When Zacchaeus climbed the tree, he didn’t want to look at Jesus with idle curiosity; he wanted to gaze at Him and look into His eyes.

What did Zacchaeus see when he did that? He saw Jesus looking up to him, when he had perhaps concluded that no one in the world could look up to him. He was small in the eyes of others but large in the eyes of Jesus. As Zacchaeus looked into the eyes of Jesus he saw himself reflected – not the small man the world had caused him to feel, but his true self. He saw his true self reflected in the eyes of Jesus.

It is no different for you or for me. We each have a self-image because of what the world has taught us about ourselves. We each carry bruises and scars, and each bears the taunts of our memories, our self-image made a little smaller by life itself. Yet, we can see our true selves reflected in the eyes of Jesus when we take the opportunity to gaze – to oráo – into His eyes looking back at us.

This is what Zacchaeus was hoping to see. If we’re honest it’s what we’re hoping to see as well: not as the world sees us, but as God sees us, our true selves reflected in the eyes of Jesus.
November 3, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

Father Anthony Swamy and I enjoyed cooking together for some dear friends in the Rectory tonight. I made chicken saltimbocca and asparagus, with caprese salad to begin with, and cannelloni with strawberry and blackberry topping for dessert along with some espresso. Yummy, if I must say so myself. Father Swamy promises me an authentic south Indian dinner some night, but he has to get the recipes from his sister first.
October 28, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

Be sure to watch our parishioner, professor of Sacred Scripture at Mount Saint Mary's Seminary, Dr. Steven Smith, on EWTN Live Wednesday at 8pm. Check out his website too at
Please help me spread this wide:


Dr. Smith, author, speaker and seminary professor discusses God's Word and Catholic faith with host, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, live!

October 27, 2013
Msgr. William J. King
Sirach 35: “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds…”
If our first though in hearing this saying from Biblical Wisdom Literature is of ourselves, our own prayer, our own needs, then I submit that our hearts are too small. Pray God to enlarge your heart.
October 27, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

What a wonderful way to celebrate "All-Hallow's Eve!" — with Rita Shiplett Shea and 2 others.

October 23, 2013
Msgr. William J. King
Not quite the empty tomb near Calvary, the shipping crate is empty where once a statue of Jesus was held. Today the statue "ascended" its base along the prayer path designed and constructed by scout Jacob Saar at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Mechanicsburg. Some work remains on the project, and soon lighting will be added. Another scout is planning a follow-on project: the Stations of the Cross and landscaping along the 60-foot path.
(5 photos)
October 22, 2013
Msgr. William J. King
At the convention of the Canon Law Society of America, Sacramento, California, the room is ready for my presentation on financial administration of dioceses, parishes, schools, and other institutions.
October 16, 2013

Msgr. William J. King

Monday, October 14, 2013

The world watched with incomprehension as the story unfolded of the killing of children in an Amish schoolhouse in the little town of Nickel Mines in Lancaster County. Unseen by most was an act of grace the secular media could never understand: down the path leading to the home where the widow of the killer still quivered in shock, Amish women brought food, gifts, and consolation — not revenge. “You too lost a loved one,” they said as they went out with grace and compassion to the woman whose husband had murdered their children.

The gospel narrative at Mass today puts us in touch with ten lepers. As we meet them, we are struck by the very language of their introduction: they stood in place, calling out from a distance. They were locked , frozen, immobile, standing in place. The first direction Jesus offers them? “Go.” Leave the place that has captured you in your pain and fear and hurt. Move beyond yourself, get outside of yourself, look beyond yourself. Go to someone else.

Each of us has pains and hurts and fears. We may be tempted to stay in place, locked in place when the memories of hurt come forth. It may be easier to stay put in life and vow never to be hurt again, the memory of hurts and fears becoming prison walls. To us Jesus offers the same challenge: “Go.” Look around: there’s a great big world filled with people in need. Go to them. Don’t stay locked inside, fixed in place and captured by self-centered ideas and memories. Go beyond yourself and get outside your hurts. Be a vehicle of grace and compassion for others who are hurting and in pain. Be whom God created you to be.
October 13, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish was blessed to welcome back Christopher West, noted author and speaker, who shared with our parish and neighborhood friends the joy-filled and hope-filled message of the Theology of the Body. Against the loud voices of the secular culture, which conspire to devalue life and the human body, we were reminded of the positive value of the human person and of human sexuality. Thank you to all who came out for this wonderful presentation.
October 12, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

Father Anthony Swamy is the new Parochial Vicar at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish

Father Anthony Swamy is the new Parochial Vicar at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish. Coming here to serve us and join us in ministry is his first time in the United States. So, it seemed most appropriate before all else to teach him to cook! Before coming to our parish he was a college president in India. His PhD is in folklore.
October 8, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

About 300 people heard the dedicatory recital of the new organ at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton church this afternoon. World-renowned concert organist Felix Hell certainly gave the instrument a workout, showing us all the full range of the organ's capabilities. People traveled from Buffalo, NY and Richmond VA to hear the concert, and several came from the Philadelphia area. What a thrilling concert.
October 6, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King
Next Sunday at 4 PM, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Mechanicsburg is thrilled to welcome world-renowned concert organist Felix Hell as he presents the dedicatory recital of the new organ in our church. This concert event is featured in a full-page advertisement in the current edition of "The American Organist," the magazine of the American Guild of Organists (page 44). Not only technically proficient, Felix Hell is an excellent entertainer as well. This will prove to be an exciting concert for persons of any musical taste.

A native of Germany, Felix studied organ at Hochschule für Kirchenmusik in Heidelberg, and in the US at the Juilliard School, at the Curtiss Institute, and at the Peabody Conservatory.

Here is his program for the event (these are some pretty big pieces). "Back in the day" when I was giving recitals, I played the 4th piece a lot (Franck's 3rd organ chorale). It's a workout, exciting to play and to hear! (Of course, today, when I have lots less time to practice, I can barely read the music). So, next Sunday, don't miss [must.resist.typing.this:] the concert from Hell ...

1. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)
Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major "St. Anne", BWV 552

2. Johann Pachelbel (1653 - 1706)
Choral Partita on "Christus, der ist mein Leben"

3. Charles Marie-Widor (1844 - 1937)
Symphony No. 9 "Gothique", op. 70
II. Andante sostenuto

4. Cesar Franck (1822 - 1890)
Choral No. 3 in A Minor


5. Franz Liszt (1811 - 1886)
Fantasy and Fugue on "Ad Nos Ad Salutarem Undam"
October 2, 2013Rev. Msgr. William J. King

Amos 6:1-7; Luke 16:19-31 — Today’s Bible readings at Mass bring to mind that there are 2 ways to put a nail into a wall: a series of hits with a light hammer, or a single smash with a sledgehammer. Today, the Bible gives us the sledgehammer. There are people suffering everywhere in the world today: desperately poor and starving, profoundly hurting, gut-wrenchingly terrified. To have caused that and repented is forgivable. To live well but blindly in the face of it, to live comfortably and do nothing to address it, is not. Hell laughs at the comfortable and complacent in this life, and awaits them in the next.
September 29, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

One cannot come away from reading Ezra chapter 6 (one of the Bible readings for Mass today in the Catholic calendar) without palpably feeling the joy of the people seeing the Temple being rebuilt in Jerusalem after a bitter defeat and lengthy exile. A huge sacrifice of many animals accompanied the joyful celebration of the Temple's dedication. May we Christians have the same grateful joy at the one perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God, which opens us – body and soul – to be built up as a living Temple of the Holy Spirit, and by grace makes us part of the communion of saints, the largest body of grateful and joy-filled people ever!

September 24, 2013 

Rev. Msgr. William J. King
"The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" Boy, did the secular media get it wrong! By picking out a few words here and there, the secular media has painted a caricature of Pope Francis' interview with Jesuit journalists. For a link to what he really said, go to the Vatican's news site at and follow the links. The trouble is, the secular media is the boy who cried wolf, but most of the populace still gobbles it up as though it were true.
September 20, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

Syrian Christians flee enclave

The story below is from the British Newspaper, The Tablet. The under-reported side of the civil war in Syria is that it is, in large measure, a war of persecution against Christians. The majority of Christians in Syria are members of the Melkite Catholic Church. The Church in Syria has been decimated, with martyrs dying for their refusal to deny Jesus Christ, and many others fleeing. This side of the story is seldom heard.

Syrian Christians flee enclave
13 September 2013

Almost all the Christians living in the ancient Syrian village of Maaloula, which has been under siege by rebels for more than a week, have fled, according to a senior church leader.

The Damascus-based Greek Melkite Patriarch Gregory Laham III told Vatican Radio that witnesses told him that when the rebels moved into Maaloula they threatened some Christians with death unless they converted to Islam.

The Patriarch on Wednesday celebrated funeral Masses for three Greek Catholics who were shot in Maaloula, where Aramaic, the langauge of Christ, is still spoken and studied.

Some Christians who fled wrote to the United States Congress to alert them of the horror of the attack. They said that members of the Islamist Al-Nusra Front, looted "monasteries and churches, removing sacred images as they went on, ordering residents to abandon their religion, to convert to Islam to save their life".

"I saw people wearing Al-Nusra headbands who started shooting at crosses," one resident said to the AFP news agency. One insurgent "put a pistol to the head of my neighbour and forced him to convert to Islam by obliging him to repeat ‘there is no God but [Allah].' Afterwards they joked, ‘He's one of ours now.'"

Septemebr 17, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King
Upstairs, downstairs... This morning at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish the upstairs was filled with aromas of delicious goodies being prepared for our Apple Festival THIS SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, from 10am to 7pm. The kitchen crew was hard at work. Downstairs in the Rectory Conference Room the parish staff gathered for our weekly time of prayer and planning. On Tuesdays we gather to pray mid-day prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, then discuss issues facing the parish and plan for upcoming seasons and events. Today we welcomed the purchasing agent for Harrisburg Catholic Administrative Services as he told us about discounts available through purchasing agreements with various vendors and suppliers, then moved on to look ahead in the parish calendar at what's coming up in the weeks and months ahead. Listening to him, we immediately saved about $700 in upcoming purchases, with more savings to come. All in all, not a bad morning.
September 15, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

More of the Lord's work going on this weekend. After a Trinity High School board meeting last Thursday evening, followed by a CCD teachers' meeting at the parish, I drove 2 hours down to DC, to stay overnight in the priests' faculty residence at Catholic University. After teaching at the university for three hours on Friday morning, it was back to the parish for afternoon some meetings before heading out to Altoona Friday evening for the birthday of a good friend. Back to the parish on Saturday morning to finish the weekend homily and make some home visits. Confessions, Mass, and an appointment Saturday evening, and this morning three Masses, then the installation of officers for our parish Knights of Columbus council (photo below), an appointment with a Messiah College student, and then a "pastoral visit" to the Eagle Scout project which is adding a beautiful prayer path to our parish campus (see the progress in the second photo below). This afternoon, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in the church, then down to York to visit a brother priest who is hospitalized, and lastly a drive up to Wilkes-Barre this afternoon for dinner with a friend who was Dean of the Law School I attended. Tomorrow morning, while in Wilkes-Barre, I'll visit the graves of my parents before heading back to the parish for some afternoon meetings. Then the week will start up again.

September 15, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King
The Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish co-ed softball team made it into the playoffs (first place in season play in the local ecumenical softball league). Yay! That's probably because I didn't play with them.

September 14, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King
Tonight: the welcome meeting of the Newman Club on campus at Messiah College, followed by a drop-in to one of the several parish Bible Study groups (this one doing a 20-week series on the Acts of the Apostles). At the Newman Club meeting, Messiah alum Father Anthony Dill encouraged the students to learn from and be encouraged by the diversity of Christian belief on campus. One of the students remarked how wonderful it was to be on a campus where everyone not only is Christian but takes their faith seriously. Amen.
September 11, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

Monday, September 9, 2013

Work began this morning on the first phase of a prayer path on the parish campus, an Eagle Scout project of parishioner Jacob Saar. Now I've done my work for the day. Whew! The prayer path will consist of two circles, one 30 feet in diameter, the other 20 feet, connected by a 60-foot path. In the larger circle will be a six-foot statue of Jesus welcoming people to our parish campus. Thank you to the many donors who made this project possible, and to young Jacob Saar for the idea and for the hard work that will bring it about.

Another scout has spoken with me about an add-on, which if it happens will allow us eventually to add the Stations of the Cross to the prayer path.
September 9, 2013
Msgr. William J. King
Luke 14: 25-33 — It was a hot summer afternoon in July 1861 when the Union army rode 25 miles south of Washington, DC, to meet the army of the Confederate States of America. Many citizens of Washington followed the army, most in carriages or buggies, some on horseback, and some walking. Most had packed a picnic basket, and when they arrived near Manassas at a little slip of water called Bull Run, the observers laid out their blankets and opened their picnic baskets to watch the unfolding battle from a nearby hill. The women sat beneath parasols to protect them from the sun. Some were fortunate enough to have looking glasses. Most squinted in order to observe what they could, hands covering their eyes from the sun. Every now and again an officer would send a messenger on horseback to report to the onlookers the news from the battle. As interested as they were in the battle, none of the onlookers were part of it. They were spectators, not warriors.

A number of years ago, when basketball legend Larry Bird retired from the Boston Celtics, Sports Illustrated magazine published an interview with him. He was asked a question something like this: “What is the one thing about fans that bothers you the most?” His answer came quickly, close to this: “After a long and grueling game, when I’m leaving the arena and fan yells out, ‘Hey Larry, we sure gave ‘em a great game tonight,’ I want to say to that fan, ‘we? – *WE* gave ‘em a great game? I didn’t see you hustling up and down the court. How many points did you score tonight?’”

The passage from Luke's gospel is striking. We have to wonder what prompted Jesus to turn suddenly to the crowd following Him and give them such a sharp message: “Unless you hate family and friends, unless you take up your cross, unless you sell all your possessions, you cannot be my disciple.”

Perhaps He saw a crowd watching from a distance but only that. Perhaps He wanted to remind them that to be His disciple is more than watching: “If you’re going to be my disciple, realize that you’re part of the battle, not an observer, and that you’re part of the team hustling up and down the court, not on the sidelines.”

There are those who treat Christianity as spectator sport. Entertained and inspired by the words of Jesus, edified by the charities of the Church, they seem to spread out their blankets and open their picnic baskets and watch as things are said and sung on Sunday morning, and then they go home and wait to be entertained and inspired again next Sunday morning.

Perhaps it is to those people that Jesus turned with sharp words: “That’s not enough.” No, the words and message of Jesus are not meant to be inspiring, they are life-changing, and unless one’s life is changed by those words, one is not a disciple of the Lord. How so? Unless the message and person of Jesus have an impact on decisions made every day, on social relationships and friendships, on personal and business ethics, on use of time and resources — well, unless one’s life is transformed by the power of Jesus, His grace, His astounding mercy, His teaching, one is not a disciple but just an observer.

To them, Jesus has another startling word: “Many will cry out ‘Lord, Lord’ and I will say, ‘I do not know you.”
September 8, 2013
Msgr. William J. King