01-04-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

These exotic figures we call the Magi, traveled a long distance to bring their gifts to the child born in Bethlehem. They represent the first people who were willing to put their gifts at the service of Jesus Christ. Since that time disciples of Jesus have been doing the same. And what is so wondrous about it is that no matter how small the gift or seemingly insignificant, like the widow’s mite or the seven loaves and two fish, Jesus uses it in a big way.

Next weekend we will be blessed once again to have with us Eddie James and many of his “kids”. I say “kids” because Eddie travels long distances, like the Magi, to bring the gift of faith to young people who are abandoned, hopeless, family-less, abused, drug addicted or suicidal, and they in turn consider him their spiritual father. The last time Eddie and his Gospel Singers were with us was an Easter Sunday. After that Mass we had to put a new roof on the Church because they ripped it right off! I am sure this visit will be no less an energetic worship experience.

In fact our Music Ministry’s New CD “I AM” features two of Eddie’s songs: I AM and HOLY. Eddie introduced these songs to us and they have become a regular part of our worship. So make sure to get a CD or download one on I-Tunes.

There are so many wonderful and important ministries that we support but for me, Eddie James Ministries is at the top of the list. While Eddie is not a Catholic, Mt. Carmel is the only Catholic Church he regularly visits and I think that’s because he senses something good is happening here. Truth is I am almost envious of Eddie and the great ministry he has been called to and to which he is faithful.

I say “almost” because we do have our own ministry for young people who are about to crash and burn called FullCircle. In fact, as far as I can tell we are the only parish in the US with this kind of outreach to broken and breaking families. I receive inquires from all over the country, Canada, the Caribbean asking how other Churches can start a FullCircle Program. Hopefully in this New Year we will open up a program in Kansas City.

I point this out, not so much to brag but to let you brag about your Parish and what’s going on here and also because I need your full support for FullCircle. For now go to our website and click on the FullCircle link and learn more about how this program works. Take time especially to listen to the testimonials of some of the FullCircle kids and their parents on the Testimonial page and see what’s been happening because of your support.

While FullCircle and Eddie James Ministries can’t save every young person in trouble we can at least make a dent in the problem. There is no reason both of these ministries can’t have an even bigger impact. But in order for that to happen people with a passion need to step forward and lend a hand.

Everywhere I go people tell me how much they love Pope Francis. I tell them if you really did you would roll up your sleeves and get busy about the work of the Kingdom. Pope Francis is obviously not afraid to get his hands dirty doing the work or getting his shoes muddy from trudging through the mess of this world. Why not join him? Pope Francis is also doing his best to bring down the walls that separate Christians from each other which makes our support of Eddie James Ministries right in keeping with what Pope Francis wants of us.

Eddie as you may remember has a big bus he drives around the country collecting broken young people. More than once I have been seriously tempted to jump on the bus and go with him. Really! Lucky for you (or maybe not!) God showed me that I could stay put and He would send the young people and their families to us. From there it is up to us to put our gifts at the service of Jesus in this ministry.

Eddie James and his Gospel singers will be with us on Sunday, January 11 at the 9am, 11am and 5pm Masses. Make sure to come and you might just have an epiphany of your own!

Love, Fr. John B.

P.S. Remember when you visit our Coffee Shop after Mass on Sunday’s your support benefits our FullCircle Program!