Weekly thoughts presented by our Pastor, Father Andrew Drapper T.O.R.

Archived lower on this page are the Ponderings of our former pastor, Father Andrew Stanko.

18 May, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – May 19, 2019 – St. Rita


May 22nd is the feast of St. Rita of Cascia, the patron saint for hopeless causes … and the patron saint of baseball, thanks to the Disney movie, The Rookie.

In the 1920s, a community of religious women in west Texas invested in an oil well that didn’t produce. Unable to get their money back, their bishop advised them to pray to St. Rita, the patron saint for hopeless cases. The sisters did, the oil well began to gush, and they got their money back … and more.

While the workers waited for that well to produce, they built a ballfield nearby and played baseball to pass the time. When St. Rita answered the sisters’ prayers, the ballplayers soon began to wear St. Rita medals whenever they played. The incident was featured in The Rookie.

St. Rita was born in Italy in 1386 to older parents known for they charity. As a little girl, she dreamed of entering the Augustinian convent in Cascia. But her parents wanted her to marry, and promised their 12 year-old daughter in marriage to the local town watchman. Although her husband was abusive and unfaithful, Rita stayed married to him for 18 years, and the couple had twin sons. When her husband was murdered, she tried to prevent her sons from avenging his death. Through her prayers, her sons learned to forgive their father’s killers.

Rita eventually entered the Augustinian convent at Cascia. She died of tuberculosis on May 22, 1457. She was canonized on May 24, 1900.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – May 19, 2019 – St. Rita2019-05-18T08:12:18-04:00
12 May, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – May 12, 2019 – Saint Isidore



Isidore “the farmer” was born in Madrid, Spain, to a family of poor farm laborers. He and his  wife, St. Maria (Torribia) de la Cabeza, spent their lives working on the estate of Juan de Vergas and  were renowned for their piety, love of animals and generosity to the poor.

After Isidore’s death many miracles were attributed to him, including the cure of King Philip III (1615), who saw to it that Isidore was formally canonized.

St. Isidore is a patron of farmers and rural communities and of the city of Madrid. May we thank God for all the farmers, men and women, who work so hard that we may eat.

As many in the parish and our community prepare to plant their gardens this spring, let us ask St. Isidore to grant us good weather and a good growing season.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – May 12, 2019 – Saint Isidore2019-05-18T08:08:36-04:00
5 May, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – May 5, 2019 – Directions to Our Father’s House


Make a Right onto Believeth Blvd. Keep straight and go through the Green Light, which is Jesus Christ. There, you must turn onto the Bridge of Faith, which is over troubled waters.

When you get off the bridge, make a Right turn and Keep Straight. You are on the King’s Highway-Heaven-bound. Keep going for three miles: One for the Father, One for the Son, and One for the Holy Spirit.

Then exit off onto Grace Blvd. From there, make a Right turn on Gospel Lane.  Keep Straight and then make another Right on Prayer Road.

As you go on your way Yield Not to the traffic on Temptation Ave. Also avoid SIN STREET  because it is a DEAD END. Pass up Envy Drive, and Hate Ave. Also pass Hypocrisy Street, Gossiping Lane, and Backbiting Blvd.

However, you have to go down Long-suffering Lane, Persecution Blvd., and Trials and Tribulations Avenue.

But that’s all right, because VICTORY Street is straight ahead!   AMEN!!

Shared by Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – May 5, 2019 – Directions to Our Father’s House2019-05-11T18:00:14-04:00
28 April, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – April 28, 2019 – Spirituality of St. Faustina Kowalska


Today St. Maria Faustina Kowalska is known for her childlike trust in God and as His “Apostle of Mercy. In the 1930s, Our Lord asked her to proclaim His message of mercy to the whole world. And while Sister Faustina never left a series of convents and health-care facilities in pre-World War II, Poland – she devoted her life to sacrifice, suffering, obedience, and good works for the needy- proclaim our Lord’s message of Mercy she did.

Following her death of multiple tuberculosis in 1938 at the age of 33, St. Faustina’s mission continued through the personal diary she had maintained to record the words of her heavenly visitors – including Jesus and Mary and, time and again, to return to their message that at the core of God’s love is His mercy.

Now Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated worldwide on the Second Sunday of Easter. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is prayed by countless people at three in the afternoon, and the Divine Mercy image of Jesus hangs in churches, chapels, and homes around the globe.

What is the message, this spirituality, that has swept through the Catholic Church and into millions of hearts over the past seven-plus decades? It’s this: The essence of Divine Mercy is twofold. First, to totally trust in Christ’s mercy. And second, to show mercy to others, acting as a vessel of God’s mercy.

St. Faustina wanted God’s greatest attribute, His unfathomable mercy, to pass through her heart and to her neighbor.

St. Faustina also came to know God’s infinite mercy by her keen observation of Our Lady, the lives of the saints, biblical men and women, and of her daily life. In time, this included a living relationship with the angels and the souls in purgatory. In time, she came to feel and appreciate God’s mercy in everything.

We can emulate Saint Faustina’s tender devotion to the holy souls in our daily lives by frequenting the  sacraments, developing a strong prayer life (especially the Rosary, the Way of the Cross, and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy), and visiting our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

St. Faustina teaches mercy is not found in great deeds but great love. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we’ll be open to receive God’s love and mercy.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – April 28, 2019 – Spirituality of St. Faustina Kowalska2019-05-04T22:34:33-04:00
21 April, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019 – IS Seeing Believing?


During these holy days did the thought ever occur to you: “If only I had been there,  I’d have believed!”

It’s easy to think that if we had been present for God’s great saving act as read in the Easter Vigil and ending in the Resurrection, then faith would be easy, because seeing is believing. But St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans says faith comes from hearing.

St. Luke’s Resurrection story supports this idea. Even the first witnesses to the Resurrection struggled to believe what their eyes told them. An empty tomb isn’t always a good sign.

The women only understood and believed after the angles gave the explanation: “He is not here, He is risen.” The women then told the Apostles. The women had seen, but needed hearing to understand.

Now these men had heard but needed to see. Only one had bothered to look. But when Peter did look, he found it just as the women had said.

God is active in our lives even today. But we often fail to recognize that action for what it is. Faith that God gives us is through the faith of the community and the Church – we hear the story – and that gives us a lesson through which we see what God is doing.

If we take the time to look at what we have heard, we might see something that leaves us as amazed as Peter was.

My prayer for you and yours is to have a blessed Easter Season. See you at Pentecost!

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.


Pastor’s Ponderings – Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019 – IS Seeing Believing?2019-04-27T14:15:00-04:00
14 April, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – April 14, 2019 – Prayer for Good Friday


One of the many saints we learn about when learning of Franciscan saints would be Saint Thomas More. I can usually stump my brother friars about Saint Thomas More being a Franciscan.

“Au-no, he wasn’t,” they’d reply: “He was a lawyer, an Englishman, even the Chancellor of King Henry VIII’s England…Thomas More was no Franciscan.” “Really?”

The Secular Franciscan Order [SFO-was designed by Saint Francis of Assisi for those married or single who couldn’t join a monastery due to daily responsibilities]. They were required to live simply and be faithful Catholics.

This is what got Thomas More into trouble. Being a faithful Catholic meant going against the King regarding the “Supremacy Act” which stated that Henry VIII was head of the Church not the Pope after the Pope wouldn’t give Henry a divorce from Queen Catherine of Aragon in 1533.

So, Thomas was expected to go with the King. He didn’t. Henry had him killed. He was a martyr for the Catholic Church.

His prayer composed in the tower of London is as appropriate for Palm Sunday as Saint Thomas More, OSF:

“Give me your grace good Lord, to walk the narrow way that leads to life, to bear the cross with Christ: to have the last thing in remembrance, to have ever before my eye my death that is ever at hand; to make death no stranger to me, to pray for pardon before the Judge come, to have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for me; for his benefits unceasingly to give him thanks, and buy the time again that I have lost. Amen.”  

A good prayer for all of us, wouldn’t you say?

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – April 14, 2019 – Prayer for Good Friday2019-04-20T08:58:22-04:00
7 April, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – April 7, 2019 – Lenten Sacrifices


In the course of the centuries, our fasting discipline has undergone numerous and radical changes.

Today, unfortunately, the observance of Lent is but mere formalism, reduced to abstinence on certain days and without any stress on one’s spiritual growth or the amending of one’s life style.

It is urgent that we return to the pristine spirit of the Great Fast which is so badly needed in our materialistic world. Listed below are suggested practices that may be used along with your usual Lenten family traditions of sacrifices and penances.

Corporal or External Practices:

Take less of what you like and more of what you dislike at meals today.

Take nothing to drink between meals.

Do not use seasoning on your food today.

Do not use any sweeteners with your food or drinks today.

Take nothing to eat between meals today.

Take only one helping of each item at meals today.

Avoid listening to the radio at all today.

Say an extra Rosary.

Avoid any TV or videos; instead read the Passion of Christ in your Bible or missal.

Spiritual or Internal Fast Practices:

Don’t do any unnecessary talking; instead, say little ejaculations throughout the day.

Avoid using the phone today.

Exercise your patience today in all things.

Don’t make any complaints today.

Restrain any anger, and go out of your way to be kind to the person who caused your anger.

Don’t be distracted with someone else’s business.

When asked to do something extra, do so joyfully.

Avoid any gossip today; instead say an extra Rosary to overcome this great fault.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – April 7, 2019 – Lenten Sacrifices2019-04-13T22:07:34-04:00
31 March, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – March 31, 2019 – Whispering Gallery


Have you ever been to a whispering gallery? Whisper near the wall in the gallery, and someone standing opposite you will clearly hear what you have said. Sound wave travel around the circumference, apparently “clinging” to the walls. Some day I’d like to experience that phenomenon myself.

My brother and family many years ago went to London, England. One of the many places they visited was Saint Paul’s Cathedral. This is London’s most famous “Whispering Gallery”. This church was built December 25, 1711. The whispering phenomenon was discovered not “built” into the Cathedral.

Throughout the Scriptures, our Lord whispers, speaks, and shouts words of truth, compassion, and love to those who belong to Him. [ Ephesians 1:4-6 NLT]. See if you can find that Scripture Text.

Dear Lord Jesus, I can scarcely believe what you have done for me! May my life echo your love in ways that all those around me will hear and believe. ( How would you finish this prayer during this Lenten Season?)

I whispered TWO WORDS……..thank you!!!!!     Do you think He Heard?

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – March 31, 2019 – Whispering Gallery2019-04-01T09:34:36-04:00
24 March, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – March 24, 1019 – The Real Jesus


I was reading, one afternoon during our colder days this winter, a David Limbaugh work (Rush Limbaugh’s  brother), a great hardback titled “The Real Jesus”.

The title intrigued me because I thought I knew who this Real Jesus was. So, what’s new you ask, how come we didn’t scream it from the rooftops when we realized what we knew?

Well, it seems that each scene in Luke’s gospel remains discrete, but comments on the scene before or after it  by an almost infinite series of juxtapositions of words, images, phrases, and concepts makes it hard to understand even though Luke tries to make his story coherent and realistic to convince all his readers beginning with Theophilus that his  ordered narrative presents a trustworthy guide to an understanding of the real Jesus.

Just as it takes real people to shape Jesus’ message, so it takes a realistic or connected narrative (an orderly sequence) to make his message available to those who come along after the eyewitnesses with a need and a desire to see for themselves who this Jesus was.

During this Lenten time we have an opportunity to look at each of the four gospels and determine who Jesus is in our own lives. How do we reflect that image?

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – March 24, 1019 – The Real Jesus2019-03-26T13:12:44-04:00
17 March, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – March 17, 2019 – Changing Our Hearts


One afternoon during Lent I was searching for something I could use in a sample homily for class. My mentor Father Leo Sands, O.S.B., a Besselian Father in the Canadian Province, had a reputation for being a fussy, hard-nosed professor, and I wanted an A in his class.

So I went into our library magazine section and picked up a recent copy (1985) of “Christian Mysticism Today.” Looking in magazines gave me a short reading list, and most articles were shorter than an “Analectta” article of 50 pages or so.

I came across an article that interested me, and it was short: “Changing Our Hearts.” What an appropriate Lenten subject – changing our hearts!

However, I came across a word I hadn’t heard of before: METANOIA [ me-tin-oya]. What could this mean? It meant A Change of Heart!!! Looking now at an old yellow sheet, I think I should really share it with you.

Christian Metanoia is a change of heart whereby we commit ourselves totally to the gospel. This does not mean that we make a commitment to scriptural exegesis. It means a commitment to live the gospel – not to live it in the world of Corinth or Philippi or Rome or Alexandria, but to live it in our modern world with its turmoil and anguish, with its poverty and oppression, with its glittering scientific achievements and its dismal social failures.

Christian Metanoia is a change of heart whereby we commit ourselves to the community of the disciples of Jesus united among themselves and united with other churches having an impact individually and on our world, little-by-little.

Yips! A thirty-five year old article can still have a kick to it!!          (Did you get the A in class?)!!

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – March 17, 2019 – Changing Our Hearts2019-03-23T10:46:36-04:00