Who Inspires You?

By Fr. Joe Corel, Pastor

I think it is humorous to admit this, but when I was on a constant journey throughout the diocese as the vocation director, I was inspired during the election cycle watching how many cities and states the presidential candidates went to each day especially as time drew closer to election day.  I thought, well, they’re on their journey; I need to stay on mine.   They had an important message to share. I had an important message to share. They wanted more people in more places to hear the message. I had more people in more places to hear my message.  The election cycle was over and then one candidate won and they were back on the road giving their victory speeches. I was inspired by their travel log and kept mine going as well. 

While this is true, and like I say, humorous to me, I am also inspired by great men and women, the great saints in our Church who show me how to live my faith.  I think of St. John Vianney, patron Saint of priests we celebrated last week.  He struggled with his studies, his bishop did not know if he would make it and yet, here he is, patron saint of all priests. What did he do during his priesthood? Mostly sit in the confessional, up to 16 hours a day, absolving people of their sins. He was also given the gift of reading souls so people would travel from all over Europe and beyond to his country parish in Ars France so he could hear their confession and offer absolution. Oh, to be able to have lines for confession again! The Lrod so much wants to alleviate us of our sins and guilt and give us a fresh start with his graces! As I pray to become more holy, as holy as St. John Vianney, pray for me, too and also, come to reconciliation! 

I alos think of St. Lawrence, deacon who was in charge of all the sacred vessels of his parish.  Lots of precious medals which means lots of money if it could be sold or melted down.  So, the king’s messenger “asked” Lawrence for the most precious possessions of the Church.  When Lawrence showed up with a multitude of poor people the king’s messenger was not amused. He had Lawrence tied to a grill, the grill was lit and he was burned alive. Apparently, as the story goes, as Lawrence was lying on the grill, he was heard to say, “You can turn me over; I’m done on this side.” And, because the church wanted to remember his humor, he is truly patron saint of barbecue grillers.  So, remember to pray to him next time you are at a barbecue cook-out.  Also, remember the most treasured possessions of the church – the poor, the downtrodden…those the Mercy Rest Stop are trying to help and are meeting obstacles in their attempts to assist.  This treatment of our poor and those trying to assist them does not make our Lord happy.  Let us pray for our deacons to always remember they are to be of service to the poor and those in need and make our parishes more a place of charity and mercy.  Pray for our deacons and for more to join them in this beautiful ministry.