Thursday, January 21, 2016

New Year, New Experiences, Christ Never Changes

                                                    (Photo courtesy of

Its been the greatest blessing in the entire world to be a married man! Morgan and I are going on two months of marriage and every day feels like the best day of my life. Do I sound like a man who just got back from his honeymoon? On New Years Eve, Morgan and I boarded a plane for the sandy beaches of Bonita Springs, Florida! It was the first time I had been to another state that was not in the Midwest, let alone been on a plane. I enjoyed every minute of it and similarly dreaded every minute on the plane ride back home to freezing temperatures in Milwaukee.

In Florida, Morgan and I sprawled out on the beach hoping to get a tan from the blazing hot sun, rode waves of the ocean while slightly tasting the salty water, and searched the beach for sea shells. The largest animal that we saw on our honeymoon was a pelican and we saw hundreds of them. It was so captivating to watch the pelicans scan the ocean for fish and then rise straight up in the air and plummet into the water hoping to satisfy their hunger. For those of you that don't know, a pelican is the symbol of Jesus. The following excerpt is from Fr. William P Saunders on the history of the pelican symbolism:

"The symbolism of the mother pelican feeding her little baby pelicans is rooted in an ancient legend which preceded Christianity. The legend was that in time of famine, the mother pelican wounded herself, striking her breast with the beak to feed her young with her blood to prevent starvation. Another version of the legend was that the mother fed her dying young with her blood to revive them from death, but in turn lost her own life.

Given this tradition, one can easily see why the early Christians adapted it to symbolize our Lord, Jesus Christ. The pelican symbolizes Jesus our Redeemer who gave His life for our redemption and the atonement He made through His passion and death. We were dead to sin and have found new life through the Blood of Christ. Moreover, Jesus continues to feed us with His body and blood in the holy Eucharist."

The Christ-like symbolism of the pelican gave Morgan and I a sense of trust in God as we spent our honeymoon. It gives us even more courage now as we enter into the final weeks of developing our soon to be born son. It can be challenging facing the unknown of parenthood. Neither Morgan or I know what to do or what to expect in raising our little baby boy but what we do know is this: Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. This short phrase is a reminder to us and all who lack confidence and trust in the Lord during challenging times that Jesus Christ took care of you yesterday, He took care of you today and will continue on to tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. He never leaves our side, even when we feel challenged or overburdened. I know in my heart that Christ will teach me to be a good father for our child and a tremendous and stable support for Morgan. He will never let us fail.

I ask for your continued prayers for Morgan and I as we anticipate the arrival of our son, that he may be happy, healthy and holy and that we may grow in the love, knowledge and grace that can only come from the power of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Director of Pastoral Care Elected Roses for Our Lady's First Co-President

Director of Pastoral Care Elected Roses for Our Lady's First Co-President
By: John Paul Bender
January 13th 2016

Milwaukee,WI- Roses for Our Lady held their first Board meeting of the year on Sunday, January 10th where it was announced that Terri Balash, Director of Pastoral Care for the Family of Four Parishes; Old St Mary's, Our Lady of Divine Providence, Three Holy Women and SS Peter & Paul, was elected as Co-President alongside Incumbent President Anne Bender who has led the organization for the past four years.

"This is the first time in Roses for Our Lady's 35 year history that there will be two Presidents who will lead in collaboration with one another. It is an exciting time for our organization  and will only help us continue to grow and promote Marian devotion within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee," said Bender

"This is the perfect time in my life where I can join an organization such as Roses for Our Lady," Balash said afterward. "I work directly with seminarians when they come to Three Holy Women as a teaching parish, so becoming involved with a group like this makes sense."

Balash received her Certificate for Pastoral Services from St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Community Leadership/Development and Theology from Alverno College. Terri is also married to her husband Keith and they have two children.