Letting the end give meaning to every step

Letting the end give meaning to every step

Fr. Mike Griffin's Column, November 2020
For the past few years, our parish has been privileged to host a seminarian for a few weeks in the summer. This is a wonderful opportunity for a seminarian to get to know what parish and rectory life are like, and a wonderful opportunity for our parish and rectory to be inspired by this young man’s faith and joy. This year we had Alex Leschisin from Eden join with us. By every account, it was a unique experience for him and for us. Usually, there are things a visiting seminarian does during these summer weeks: he visits shut-ins, he visits the sick, he attends meetings, he spends time with parishioners. This year, due to pandemic restrictions, there were none of those opportunities. Alex was understanding and found ways to make…
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We choose to see the world with Christ’s eyes

We choose to see the world with Christ’s eyes

Fr. Mike Griffin's Column, October 2020
I was born with a lazy eye. I have lived with this for my entire life, but it was not until recently I discovered exactly what was wrong with my eye. While the eye doctor was taking a little break from the procedure he was performing on my eye, I asked him what was wrong with my right eye. He explained to me that my eye is actually fine, but I was probably born with astigmatism in that eye, and so my brain compensated for the blurriness by using my good eye almost exclusively. This happened as my right optic nerve was developing, causing it to stop developing, something that was discovered when I was 6 and my eyes were checked before kindergarten. By that time, the optic nerve was…
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Learning to live from those in love

Learning to live from those in love

Fr. Mike Griffin's Column, September 2020
One would think that, after being a priest for 30 years, you would have it all figured out. I always thought I would reach that happy point, and I presumed that things would be so much easier; what I did not consider is that it would also be much more dangerous. There is always the possibility, as you have had the same experience over and over again, to just kind of go through the motions. Eventually you have the words memorized, and so they can start to lose their meaning. It is something to be fought against as the years progress, and to somehow allow each sacramental encounter to be a gift. There is a sign that used to be in a number of sacristies that said, “Father, celebrate this…
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The fierce tenacity of life inspires wonder

The fierce tenacity of life inspires wonder

August 2020, Fr. Mike Griffin's Column
In the springtime, as a part of my usual backyard and deck preparations, I get the bird feeder cleaned up after a long winter. The birds are always excited to see it clean and filled with their favorite little seeds as they sing in the branches over my backyard. They love springtime as well. We usually do not get any wildly exciting birds at our feeder, no one too colorful, but it is still a delight to see them, gathering, singing in the trees and knowing they feel cared for and at home. As the birds are showing their appreciation, the squirrels, of course, are gearing up as well. I have tried many different ways to try to keep the squirrels from eating all the bird food, but I am…
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We are truly members of one human family

We are truly members of one human family

Fr. Mike Griffin's Column, July 2020
We are used to having alerts and warnings in our lives because we want to be informed and warned of impending danger. Once I slept through a tornado, and soon after bought a weather radio for my bedroom that definitely wakes me up if there is a storm or tornado warning in my area. The weather radios and warning apps, the security systems we put in, the alarms and the devices we use all serve a purpose, to keep ourselves, our families and property safe from harm. I suppose car alarms are meant to do the same. The intention is simple: someone tries to break into your car and the alarm goes off, which either alerts others to the crime, or drives the would-be thief away. That is the way…
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Even alone we are bound together in God’s light

Even alone we are bound together in God’s light

Fr. Mike Griffin's Column, June 2020
Like most people, I love springtime. It is such a gift to move from winter, with its cold darkness, into the growing warmth and light of spring. It is renewing in hope and transforms us as the world around us comes to life again; the growth inspiring us to grow and come to life again as well. Not that springtime does not have its struggles. While I love the season, it is the most difficult time for dog walking. Of course, my Keisha loves to run in spring, and I love to walk as she runs with new excitement, but the mud and the standing water of spring rains and melting snow make the walk a mess. I come home, each day, with muddy pants, and shoes almost an inch…
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There is a healing in returning to Mayberry

There is a healing in returning to Mayberry

Fr. Mike Griffin's Column, May 2020
For these past weeks of social distancing, I have taken the opportunity to check in on some friends, old and new, through various means of social media and phone calls. Recently I had a friend mention to me that he thought I was probably not as busy recently as I may be used to, and I had to agree. My life, as are the lives of everyone, is vastly different than it once was, and I think about things differently than I once did. Every day I look forward to walking the dog and I have come to deeply appreciate the chance to get outside and stretch my legs while she runs with her usual abandon through the pastures. I appreciate the little signs of spring around me and a…
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The sun will rise over the Promised Land

The sun will rise over the Promised Land

April 2020, Fr. Mike Griffin's Column
Every year, every Lent, the Church invites us to a unique place, for a unique time. It begins every year on the First Sunday of Lent when we walk with Jesus into the desert, there for a time of testing and self-discovery. From that moment forward, the wilderness becomes the enduring image of the season. Of course, the usual experience is that we walk out of the wilderness into the verdant garden of Easter; that is our expectation and our desire, we spend our 40 days in the wilderness and we are rewarded with light, oil, flowers and joy. Today, we are facing a new reality, one that mocks our expectations. We face a Lent that ends, not with the luxurious joy of Easter, but of more time dealing with…
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What makes each Lent unique is you

What makes each Lent unique is you

Fr. Mike Griffin's Column, March 2020
A few years ago Bishop Swain honored me with a request to become the pastor of Saint Mary parish in Aberdeen. While I was sad to be leaving Pierre, I was excited about the challenges and opportunities a new parish affords. However, unlike any of my other transfers, this one brought me home. I was born and raised in Aberdeen, and so I occasionally have a small flashback to my youth as I make my way through town or simply go through the day. A few weeks ago I had one of those moments. The city of Aberdeen, and the northeast portion of South Dakota, was hit by two blizzards in January, and after helping dig out around the church, I made my way to the house in which I…
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Pausing before entering the intersection

Pausing before entering the intersection

February 2020, Fr. Mike Griffin's Column
F or several months this past summer and early autumn, the road along our parking lot, Kline Street, was torn up to replace some sewer lines and for other routine maintenance. For those months I had the chance to watch the workers as they labored their long hours, rolling in as I unlocked the church and still working as I locked up. I appreciated their hard work; however, while the work was stunningly efficient, it did cause some minor inconvenience getting into and out of the church complex. It did not take too long for the staff and parishioners to figure out how to make it work, and we certainly appreciated the work being done because it was necessary. It was not until a few weeks into the project that…
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