Father Eric Banecker’s Weekly Message

Dear friends in Christ, 

 

As our bulletin editor and parish historian has reminded us in recent articles, September 19th marks the 100th anniversary of the ordination to the episcopacy of Bishop Michael J. Crane, the second pastor of the parish and the man who oversaw the construction of our historic church. I consider this providential as I am officially installed as pastor on this auspicious anniversary. 

 

The awesome work of this parish does not begin with me or with Bishop Crane. It begins with the great high priest and true Shepherd of our souls. May he, the Lord Jesus Christ, be the center of all we do each day, as we entrust ourselves to him anew, through the intercession of Mary, his Immaculate mother. 

 

I am grateful to Archbishop Perez for appointing me to this ministry as your pastor, as well as to Monsignor Kutys who is representing the Archbishop this weekend. Thanks to all who the parishioners who support me in so many ways, especially those who have helped to prepare the Installation Mass and celebration. Special thanks to my family who have provided our post-Mass entertainment and refreshments as a gift to the parish. 

 

May God be Blessed!

 

-Father Eric Banecker

Father Eric Banecker’s Weekly Message

Dear friends in Christ,

 

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68). With these words, pronounced at the end of the longest chapter in any of the Gospels, Simon Peter declares his continual loyalty to Christ, one based on human ties of friendship and affection, but above all on the supernatural virtue of faith that Jesus recognized in him when he said, in another context, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father” (Mt 16:18).

 

Where do you and I go with our wounds, our problems, our anxieties and fears? The dreadful situation in Afghanistan, the seemingly never-ending effects of covid-19 on our society, and a noticeable rise in anger, distrust, and malaise can get us all down from time to time. The world knows what we should do with our problems: we should buy more things we don’t need with money we don’t have; we should live for the moment and deal with consequences later; we should distract ourselves with social media.

 

But if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that none of the solutions the world offers are any good. In fact, they only make us more unsettled. They cannot satisfy us because only God can satisfy the deepest yearnings of the human heart. And so, we must return to the Lord with Saint Peter: “Lord, to who shall we go?” Indeed, many of Jesus’ disciples left him precisely at the moment when he announced to them that they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood if they wanted to have eternal life. Our Lord’s teachings were just too much for many of his disciples (Jn 6:54). His proclamation to “take up [one’s] cross” and follow him must not have been pleasant to hear, either (Mt 16:24). Yet the road to happiness is to follow Christ, who alone has the words of eternal life.

 

May God be Blessed!

 

-Father Eric Banecker

Father Eric Banecker’s Weekly Message

Dear friends in Christ, 

 

The readings for this Sunday speak of Divine election, in two interrelated ways. Saint Paul reminds the Ephesians that – as Christians – we are chosen and elected by God to share in the life of his Son by grace. It is always good to remind ourselves that we are not Catholic Christians because of genetic or cultural reasons, but because we have been claimed by the Trinity in Baptism, adopted as his own beloved children. What a gift to meditate on in these summer months!

 

The second kind of Divine election is God’s free choice to choose certain members of his people to share in his mission and ministry. We find this in the Old Testament calls of the prophets, such as Amos, related in the first reading. Amos was not a professional religious figure, but a dresser of sycamore trees. Yet God called him to announce a message of repentance to the northern kingdom of Israel. Indeed, God does not choose the qualified; he qualifies the chosen!

 

It is important to us to reflect on how this Divine election continues to this day. We can encourage those who are “seeking” in terms of faith to find a home in the Catholic Church. We can also do our part to encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life. I am convinced that there are young men in our parish, for instance, who would make excellent priests. Christ calls who he wills, but it is for us to offer our encouragement, support, and prayers if we encounter someone who might have a religious vocation. In this way, we will help to ensure that the Gospel continues to reach to the ends of the earth!

 

Finally, this week I celebrated my first anniversary since arriving here at St. Francis de Sales Parish. It has been quite a year – and it has really been enjoyable. I’m grateful to all of you for your love for God and your support of our parish. 

 

May God be Blessed!

 

-Father Eric Banecker 

 

Father Eric Banecker’s Weekly Message – July 4, 2021

Dear Friends in Christ,

Happy Independence Day! We give thanks to God for all the blessings of these United States of America while we ask him to help us implement more effectively every day the founding ideals of our nation.

As I mentioned in last week’s letter, everything that happens in a parish begins with the sacramental encounter with Christ and flows out from there. Two sacraments uniquely connected to each other are Eucharist and Penance/Reconciliation/Confession (depending on your preferred term!).

When a priest celebrated the Eucharist, all Christians who are present participate first through their prayerful correspondence to the celebration. In a mysterious way, in fact, the whole Communion of Saints is present at the celebration of the Mass. Of course, the most privileged manner of participation in the Eucharist is the reception of Holy Communion. The reception of Holy Communion is not the kind of thing we take lightly. It is, instead, the closest encounter we will have with God until we see him face to face. That implies that we are living out that daily conversion of mind and heart to which Jesus calls his disciples in the Gospel.

This is how Penance relates to the Eucharist, insofar as through it we are reconciled to God and his Church, thus enabling us to receive Holy Communion in a state of grace. While we may go to Confession more or less frequently depending on various factors, I recommend going four times a year. The Church has a strong tradition of going at minimum once a year in preparation for the “Easter duty.”

Here at DeSales, United by the Most Blessed Sacrament, we are happy to have our annual Forty Hours celebration to adore our Eucharistic Lord. Our celebration this year will be January 23-25, 2022 and our homilist will be Father William Trader, a Norbertine priest who celebrated his first Mass here in 1974! I am also happy to announce that our Wednesday 5pm Holy Hours – with Vespers and Confessions available – will return after Labor Day. I also encourage you to make use of Confession times on Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings. I will be hearing confessions from the confessionals in the back moving forward.

May God be Blessed!

-Father Eric Banecker