Posted 4 months ago

Perspective

At the onset, let me say that this is not one of those, “If you think you have it bad, know that someone else has it worse” posts. 

Yesterday, the Ohio State High School Hockey finals went 7 OT’s and had still not produced a winner. The leadership of the state association and both schools unanimously decided to declare the two teams co-champions. I read that the decision was booed by fans at the arena. I guess I can understand that in the moment. You’ve seen two teams play a great game for TEN periods, the Sylvania Northview goalie must have been standing on his head as he made 78 saves! I also read via Twitter, etc. a number of people outraged that it ended in a tie. Some said they would rather lose than tie.

I don’t mean to judge those who booed or those who are outraged, guess I lack that level of passion for sports. (Which might explain why my only Varsity letter in high school came as a trainer, in Sports Medicine…four years, btw…but I digress!) I have never been accused of lacking passion, indeed some might say I am overly emotional, feeling, and passionate. My whole ministerial life has been in the context of education, and I couldn’t be a stronger advocate for athletics in schools. I think they teach(and confirm what is taught in other ways) the bigger life lessons. The value of sacrifice, discipline, team, setting goals, on and on! And one of those lessons has to be, “things don’t always end the way you might expect.” A tie is generally seen as unfulfilling. And in many ways it is. And yet, on a whole other level it is not. The great theologian Karl Rahner, SJ once said, “In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable we come to understand that here, in this life, all symphonies remain unfinished.” 

It was my honor to be a part of Lumen Christi high school for 12 years, They have been very successful in sports. I have many memories of being with those athletes in victory and defeat, but one of my strongest came after the 2003 football team won a state title. In the locker room after the game, as the celebrating and picture taking winded down, I noticed there were a few seniors still in full pads and uniform sitting on the floor in front of their lockers. I got it in a second! As soon as they took off the gear, it would be over, forever. A tradition at LC after a game like this is every adult in the locker room gets to speak to the team. When it was my turn I noted these guys. I said I understood why they were still in pads, and I can still see one of them sobbing. He had just won a state title, and played well in the game, the ending couldn’t be more fulfilling…except that it was indeed ending. It was a bittersweet moment to learn that “everything attainable” can still prove to be “insufficient,” and “all symphonies remain unfinished.”

A few hours to my North, another hockey team knows this lesson for a far more painful reason than a tie. Grandville(Michigan) was preparing to face Detroit Catholic Central in the State semi-finals Friday. But upon starting that day learned that their team captain, Ryan Fischer, had tragically died in his sleep from complications of an enlarged heart. Our paths had crossed for a week in the Summer of 2012. I was directing a Catholic HEART Workcamp (Champaign, Illinois) that his parish was a part of, and I remember Ryan, and his mom! I’ve stayed connected with several people from his group, actually. Since his death, I’m not surprised to learn, though the media, of his many achievements and accomplishments. He’s just that kind of kid. His tragic death creates an “unfinished symphony” not only for Ryan, himself, but for so many. My heart breaks for his family and friends. 

(As an aside: this TV report tells you about the game and who Ryan was. If you only watch the first 50 seconds, you will see what sports is REALLY about. I’m not surprised that Detroit Catholic Central responded in the way they did, they have experienced their own share of tragedy. So they knew exactly what to do.)

Sure, a tie is unfulfilling, but what if in the next overtime the game was decided, but afterwards one of the players collapsed in the locker room and tragedy struck? Obviously no one would think deciding a single champion would be worth such a tragedy. Ryan’s family and friends would be willing to trade a lot to have him back, but that is not a choice they have. Ryan’s symphony remains unfinished here on earth. I thank God I got to hear some of it that week in 2012. 

Maybe, for you, the Rahner quote is depressing. But as I often tell people when I teach the “Five Truths,” it’s only depressing because you don’t believe them! If you believed them, they would set you free. If you and I realize that total fulfillment is not really for this side of heaven, we can be set free. We can let things be as they are, and stop pretending that if I only had “this,” or achieved “that,” THEN I would be fulfilled. We would, perhaps, enjoy more fully what is RIGHT NOW, as opposed to thinking the best is yet to come. 

That is a choice we all have; win, lose or draw.

Posted 1 year ago

New ministry assignment for next year.

After a great deal of prayer, advice, and personal discernment and at the request of the leadership of the Oblates, I have accepted a new ministry assignment effective for next school year. I shared this with my colleagues yesterday and this morning to the students here at Lumen Christi Catholic High School. I have contacted the various ministry partners that I work with throughout the year, too. Now I am sharing it with all of you.

I have been named the Vice President of St. Francis de Sales High School in Toledo, Ohio. And while I am very excited about going to St Francis and all the new opportunities, I am also sad to leave Lumen Christi. I started at Lumen Christi before I was ordained and the Jackson community has been such a blessing for me. It was not an easy decision for me to make, rest assured. There is never an ideal time to make a change like this, but ultimately I do feel a call for a change in my ministry and the opportunity offered to me at St. Francis gives me a chance to respond to a real need for us as Oblates. 

Rest assured the Oblates remain committed to Lumen Christi and the Jackson community. Several Oblates remain in the Jackson area, and another Oblate will be coming to Lumen Christi for next school year, and I am confident he will be a great addition to the Lumen family.

The new ministry will have a lot of demands on my time, but will not impact my ministry with Catholic HEART Workcamp this Summer.(CHWC) I wanted to address that as I know some might be wondering. How it will impact my work with Mark 5:11 Ministries remains to be seen. Mark 5:11 Ministries has always been a secondary component of what I do, so that will not change. I will continue to serve as the Chaplain of the Lingap Center(assuming they still want me too!) as my commitment to orphans is integral to me.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I do want to thank everyone for their love and support. The past several months of discernment has been a powerful opportunity to reflect on all the amazing people God has blessed me to cross paths with. For some we have shared just a few days, other many years, but to have been allowed to be a part of so many lives is so rewarding.

peace,

fr geoff rose, osfs

Posted 1 year ago

This Sunday’s Gospel had the widow offering two small coins(lepta in Greek, means small or thin) to the temple treasury. Each one was worth about a quarter of a cent! Jesus said that she put in more than all the rest, as she had given all that she had. 

I thought (and preached) about the reality of a coin valued at a fraction of a penny. I went over to my desk drawer and searched for a copy of a lepton I was given many years ago, but I couldn’t find it. But what I found was much more relevant. I found a pile of small coins from various countries I have ministered in. In this pile were several Jamaican dollars, each worth about 1 US cent(0.0110379, as of today’s market). Also in this pile were several 25 cents pieces from Jamaica, it struck me that 2 of these are essentially worth 2 lepta. In my nine years of working in Jamaica I have been asked for money by several people in need, and if I gave them a few 25 cent pieces they would see it as an insult. They would need over 350 of them to be able to buy almost any kind of food. It really is an insignificant amount of money. Yet Jesus says the widow gave more than “ALL THE OTHER CONTRIBUTORS.” She “from her poverty” gave “all she had.” 

In Israel there is an old mosaic in Tabgha, that commemorates the “loaves and fishes” miracle. A question often accompanied with it is this: “When are five loaves and two fish, enough? When we give it away.” I have witnessed hungry children in Jamaica share the food we gave them. I note in every poor country that I have been to, that those who have little are always more concerned with those who have even less. Can I give it all? Can you give it all? 

All that I have is gift, not 10% of it, not some of it. I need to live in a way that testifies to that. That doesn’t necessarily mean we have to sell everything we have, but we better be mindful that we are indeed stewards of our gifts. And the more attached we are to our stuff (material and psychological) the less free we are. And that we need to be generous, not just because others are in need, but because we were made in the image and likeness of God. And God is most definitely generous! If I want people to believe in God, I better start acting like the God I believe in!

P.S. We all have our routines with keys, wallet, etc. For me, keys are always in the right-hand pocket, and money in the left. Today, as a real reminder of this, I have nothing in my left hand pocket but two Jamaican quarters! I hope that a student asks to borrow money for lunch, so I can offer them ALL that I have! :-)

Posted 1 year ago

Sky diver breaks sound barrier with 24-mile leap

"Sometimes you have to go really high to see how small you are." Felix Baumgartner, just before jumping 24 miles above the earth.

Posted 2 years ago

I have spent the past 4 or 5 anniversaries of my ordination at Catholic HEART Workcamp. While it would be nice to celebrate them with family and close friends, I have always been SO blessed by the servants I get to be with! Here in this pic is Doug, from St. James parish ( from Montague, MI) presenting me with the “aluminum anniversary” gift: an aluminum foil hat ( complete with 3 crosses) and card! THANK YOU!

Posted 2 years ago

"In essence, they’re too poor to take the vow of poverty," commented the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which conducted a study which reports that student debt might be forcing many Catholic U.S. college graduates considering religious life to postpone or even forego testing their vocation.

—We, Oblates, have had to face this question with some of the young men who have inquired of us. This is a very real problem.

Posted 2 years ago

<IF YOU CLICK & DRAG THIS PIC, YOU WILL SEE A PANORAMIC OF THE GYM>

May 9, 2012 was a big day at Lumen Christi High School. We began with our end of the year all-school mass, called our Move Up Mass. Here we acknowledge our Seniors and kind of say good bye as a school community(although they were not quite finished) and we challenge all the other students to “move up” in their new roles for the next school year. We then had some fun field day games outside, which were the final points to be awarded towards the inaugural house cup, “The Grehl.” After a quick lunch, we all descended on the gym, where this picture was taken. 30 stations assembled 50,000 meals for those in need in Jamaica. (A place where Lumen Christi students have been ministering for 9 years on our Spring Break mission trips.) We concluded the day with a prayer service and an awarding of “The Grehl” which in it’s inaugural year went to the DePaul House!  What a BLESSED & GREAT day!

Posted 2 years ago

ESPN, playing clips from drafts past, had this one in 1989 from Deion Sanders: “That was kind of scary. I thought Detroit was going to take me. I would have asked for so much money, they would have had to get me on layaway.”

Darn. The Lions had to settle for Barry Sanders instead!

Posted 2 years ago

Hey, if you were wondering what the single worst restaurant item might be, in terms of health, I think this is a real contender!  (and this is only a sandwich, what if you had fries and an appetizer, too?!?)

Chili’s Jalapeño Smokehouse Bacon Burger
1,910 calories
126 g fat (43 g saturated)
5,290 mg sodium

This tricked-out number is the worst of the worst of Chili’s’ burger behemoths. It comes saddled with tortilla strips, bacon, cheddar, mayo, and jalapeno-ranch dressing, the combined impact of which is more than 2 days’ worth of saturated fat and as much sodium as you’d find in 6 pounds of McDonald’s French fries.

Posted 2 years ago

Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change, is the experience of love. -Rohr