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Chaplain’s Message – September 2018

    We would do well to ponder St. Peter’s words in answer to Jesus’ question, “Will you too leave?” when he says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” In the Church’s present situation when we are constantly reminded of the abuse of children by priests and the cover-up by certain bishops, these words can strike home.

    In the 6th chapter of St. John’s gospel, it was Our Lord’s “hard saying”, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you.” In our present situation, it is not so much Our Lord’s words that tempt people to turn away, but the failure of some trusted leaders in the Church to obey Our Lord’s words and his example of true, self-sacrificing love, and instead, the betrayal of that Christ-like love. This is true despite the fidelity of the vast majority of bishops, priests and lay people.

    This is not the Church’s 2 thousand year history in which the teachings of Christ have been betrayed. In the years following the 5th century collapse of the Roman Empire, chaos engulfed not only civil society but infected the Church with corruption. Yes, those Dark Ages were followed by the flowering of faith in the Middle Ages. In the 1500’s the Renaissance was accompanied by self-indulgent corruption in the Church, leading to the Protestant Reformation and the Church’s Counter-Reformation beginning with the Council of Trent.

    With the silent and not so silent majority of faithful Catholics, laity, clergy and religious the Church overcame those dark times to flourish again. The Knights of Columbus, renewing its leadership today with new officers, will make its strong contribution to the preservation and flourishing of the Church in our own time.


Monsignor Collins

Chaplain’s Message – August 2018

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, which we celebrate this month with a Holy Day of Obligation, certainly reminds us of Mary’s special privilege, but it also reminds us of her Divine Son, whose Transfiguration we also celebrate this month. These feasts and what they signify do not however, leave us completely as spectators. As the Breviary, the Church’s official prayer, reminds us on the feast of the Transfiguration, that feast should “inspire in your people the hope of being transfigured at the last day” (Breviary, vol IV, P.1277). For us, we wait for the “last day” but Mary  shared our Lord’s transfiguration and resurrection at her Assumption. As the transfiguration liturgy says, ‘O Christ, you will reform our lowly body and like it like your glorious one’ (Ibid.,p.1278).


The words of the following hymn, speak of Our Lord’s name but makes us think of his Ascension, His Blessed Mother’s Assumption, and out belated sharing of that same honor, when it says that Our Lord “bore it up triumphant, With its human light, Through all ranks of creatures, To the central height, To the throne of Godhead, To the Father’s breast, Fill it with the glory, Of that perfect rest.” (Breviary, vol IV, p. 785).

Chaplain’s Message – July 2018

Patriotism is one the most important values inculcated in the Knight of Columbus. It is appropriate for us to think about patriotism in this month of July, when we celebrate our independence as a nation, and the ideals on which our country is founded, expressed in the Declaration of Independence, such as the fact that all men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights, and later by Abraham Lincoln, in calling this a nation of the people by the people and for the people.


As Catholics and especially Knights of Columbus, we should not be saying, “My country right or wrong”. We live in a time of many conflicting opinions, based on motivations, some of which are good, and some of which are bad. Instead, we should be affirming as our heritage as Christians and Catholics, under the guidance of the Pope and of the American bishops, not only in our private lives, but in public discourse as well, those fundamental values which are both truly Christian as well as truly American.

Chaplain’s Message – June 2018

“What is man, that you are mindful of him….” as Psalm 8 asks God. We might ask the same question. We know we are not self-sufficient. We are quite conscious of our vulnerabilities, our dangers; domestic ones of violence and financial fragility. We are conscious of world-wide vulnerabilities: turmoil, terrorism, threats from adversary and enemy nations. Closest to home is our vulnerability from the fragility of our own health, and our final earthly destiny of dying. We therefore have reason for gratitude to God, who protects us in all these dangers. God is self-sufficient; he doesn’t need us.


Why, then, is God mindful of man? Why did he create us, with all our abilities and talents? Why did he save us from our sins by the death of His only-begotten Son? We should ask, not only what is man to God but also why is God mindful of us. It is because he loves us, despite our unworthiness and weakness, a love he demonstrated in the passion and death of Our Lord, something we celebrate this month in devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Sacred Heart of Jesus, whose feast day we celebrate this month, is the symbol and more than the symbol, also the source of that divine love which redeems us and looks after us in this life and in the next

Chaplain’s Message – May 2018

We are coming to the season when we see and experience graduation ceremonies for children and grandchildren. This is also the liturgical season when we celebrate a commencement or graduation of Our Lord’s apostles. He tells them to go into the world and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). In the Acts of the Apostles (1:11), Our Lord commissions the


For us, who have already graduated, maybe many years ago, this is a time for re-dedication, not just to our worldly tasks, but also to our share of the apostles’ work of bringing Our Lord’s gospel, in our own way, in our area, in ways proper to our own vocation in life, the depth of our faith, and our level of education, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, who helped the apostles, especially on Pentecost, who helps us, by the grace of our Confirmation. This month, we also ask the help of Our Blessed Mother, whom we honor in a special way this month.  Monsignor Collins

Chaplain’s Message – April 2018

    In my Father’s house are many rooms…I am going there to prepare a place for you….I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:2). Our Lord has risen from the dead and he promises us a share in his resurrection. In the Creed, we say, “I believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come”.

    Our Lord’s resurrection is a proof of our resurrection with him. Our resurrection must be like Our Lord’s resurrection.  He is our only example in this. Our Lord did not come back to life with no memory or connection with his early life. In appearing to his apostles and disciples, he knew them and interacted with them, although he was different in some ways, appearing to them through locked doors. Mary Magdalen recognized him only when he called her, “Mary”. By the Sea of Galilee, St. John was the first to recognize him on the shore. He said, “It is the Lord”

    Like Christ’s, our resurrection, promised at the end of the world, includes our whole person, with our bodies and all our history, “that wonderful, venturous, convoluted history. With its tears and ecstasies, its sorrows and blessings – it all ‘travels with us’ into eternal life with God” (p177. Lohfink, Gerhard. “Is This All there Is” tr. By Linda M. Mahoney. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press Academic, 2017-2018)

Chaplain’s Message – March 2018

    We are deep into Lent, into our commitment to, we might say our gamble on God and his son, Jesus Christ as the Church is urging us to. This month ends Lent with Holy week, and next month begins with Easter. Yet, at a time when many people around us, and sometimes even family members, respond to God and Christ with indifference, at the most, this might be a good time to take a lesson from Blaise Pascal. He was a 17th century French mathematician. He spelled out the stakes of our gamble on God’s existence and on the truth of Our Lord and his promises.  Blaise Pascal said: “Either God is, or is not. But to which view shall we be inclined? Reason cannot decide this question…At the far end of this infinite distance, a coin is being spun, which will come down on heads or tails. How will you wager?

    Let us weigh up the gain and the loss involved in calling heads, that God Exists…if you win, you win everything, if you lose, you lose nothing….But here there is an infinity of infinity happy life to be won, one chance of winning against a finite number of chances of losing, and what you are staking is finite. How, what harm will come to you for choosing this course? You will be faithful, honest, humble, grateful, full of good works, a sincere, true friend…It is true you will not enjoy noxious pleasures, glories and good living, but you will not have others?” 

Chaplain’s Message – February 2018

    Lent is upon us. The Church sets a program before us to make us appreciate the salvation Chris won for us by his passion, death and resurrection.  I read a description of that Lenten program summarized in three words: UPWARD, INWARD and OUTWARD.

    Upward stand for Lenten practice of prayer, including personal private prayer, religious reading to fuel that prayer, along with Mass, Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

    Inward stand for fasting, THE SECOND Lenten practice designed to get us to control our passions and desires so that they don’t demand all our time and attention, but leave us room to communicate with God, especially with Jesus Christ, who fasted and emptied his human self of everything to win our salvation.

    Then, there is the Outward these of almsgiving.  The Church encourages us to look beyond ourselves to others: to our family, our friends, our country, especially those in need of help.  In this time of contention about the willingness to help others, such as immigrants and refugees here at home and abroad, Lent should call us to our obligation as followers of Christ, Christians, to do what we can help all those less fortunate and in need.


Monsignor Collins

Chaplian's Message - November 2017

   “We are not alone”. Nowadays , that sentence probably first makes us think of science fiction, or speculation, or attempts to pick up radio signals from outer space, presumably from intelligent beings somewhere in outer space. This is another way we can answer the question of whether we are alone in the universe, by saying that we are definitely NOT alone.

   On All Saints Day, the first scripture reading, from the biblical book of Revelation says, “….I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from very nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne before the lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a load voice: ‘salvation come from our God who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb”””. The preface to All Saints Day’s Eucharistic prayer speaks of “….the heavenly Jerusalem, our mother, where the great array of our brothers and sisters already give you eternal praise.”

   We are definitely not alone, but not being alone is not threatening or menacing as in the fictional “War of the Worlds”. For us, not being alone is definitely positive and helpful. We are accompanied by all the saints, as Preface I of all Saint’s Day says:

   “By their way of life, you give us an example, by communion with them you give us companionship, by their intercession [as we have with patron saints and in our prayers to the saints] sure support, so that, encouraged by so great a cloud of witnesses we may run as victors in the race before us, and win with them the imperishable crown of glory.”

   In this sense, our not being alone is something for which we should be thankful, as we are thankful this month for all the veterans of the armed forces who have defended our liberties, and also thankful, on Thanksgiving Day, for all the blessings God has showered upon our country and upon our individual families.


Monsignor Collins

Chaplian's Message - Sept 2017

On the 14th of this month, we celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. We call it holy because it is Christ's cross which won our salvation. After 2000 years of Christianity, we no longer have a vivid image of the cross as a gruesome punishment which the Romans reserved for non Romans and for the worst criminals and rebels. When however, we think of Our Lord's call for each of us to carry his or her cross, that is something which makes us uncomfortable, like a trip to the dentist, entering a hospital for surgery. Those indeed may be crosses we will have to bear, along with disasters and tragedies. We may give in to the human tendency to concentrate on seeking pure pleasure and to avoid unpleasant things, even those we know are necessary. 


Pure pleasure, or at least pure please that lasts, is something which comes only from allowing Christ and seeking first and foremost doing God's will for us. That is the only thing which, in the end, will truly give us pleasure, the pleasure of being one with GOD in heaven.


Monsignor Collins