Growth and change, day by day

Growth and change, day by day

Fr. Mike Griffin's Column, November 2019
A few weeks ago I drove to Brookings for the annual Hobo Day festivities. This has become something of an annual tradition, and because of that, certain rituals and routines have arisen. I tend to park in the same place, stop in at the Newman Center on my way to the parade, watch the parade from the same spot, walk to Nick’s Hamburgers for four hamburgers (mustard and onions only), sit next door to eat them, and then walk to the game, watch the game and then drive home. As a human being, I find the rituals comforting and a good way to assure a Jacks victory in the game. Yet, each year as I walk around Brookings and observe Hobo Day around me, the changes become evident. I am…
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The challenge of a giant leap

The challenge of a giant leap

Fr. Mike Griffin's Column, October 2019
When I was 6 years old, just a few weeks before I started first grade, a lunar module designated “Eagle,” landed on the moon. A little over six hours later, Neil Armstrong, the commander of the mission, stepped from the module to the lunar surface. The first human being to step on a soil that was not the Earth’s. Nineteen minutes later, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. joined him while their crewmate Michael Collins flew overhead. This was a world-changing event, the 50th anniversary of which we celebrated a few months ago. I was a bit nostalgic this past summer thinking about the Apollo 11 flight, watching documentaries and miniseries, reading articles and histories, but I will have to be honest about my own personal recollections regarding this event. I think…
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Working to reveal the splendor of Christ

Working to reveal the splendor of Christ

August 2019, Fr. Mike Griffin's Column
Here in Aberdeen, we have a little place called “The Roncalli Nearly New.” It is a small shop on north Main Street where people drop off their stuff and some nice people in the back sort it and price it and put it out for sale. They work so hard and all the profits go to support our Catholic school system; their hard work is quite profitable indeed. There are two unique ways in which this important little shop impacts my life. First, as pastor of one of the parishes in Aberdeen, I deeply appreciate the financial support the Nearly New store gives to our schools. Each year we are blessed with $140,000 that helps us continue this amazing ministry of our parishes to form the whole person. In addition,…
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Rejoicing in the lantern light of the Presentation Sisters

Rejoicing in the lantern light of the Presentation Sisters

Fr. Mike Griffin's Column, July 2019
A few weeks ago I sat on a clear and beautiful Aberdeen afternoon to witness the groundbreaking for Presentation Place, the new residence for the Presentation Sisters. The speakers were standing at a podium placed in front of the architectural drawings of the beautiful building which will soon be built, and as I listened to them, my mind started to wander. Not that the speeches were not interesting, they were; what got me reflecting was their focus on how the Presentation Sisters transformed the world around them, and the city blessed by their presence. All of this is true, but it got me thinking about how they have impacted my life. If you were of a certain age growing up in Aberdeen and you happened to be Roman Catholic, you…
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How to do the impossible

How to do the impossible

Fr. Mike Griffin's Column, June 2019
When I was in high school, my friend Roger and I got into an argument. It was an odd argument that took place over our lunch trays one obscure day. We were discussing television and I mentioned that on Saturday night, I had stopped watching “The Carol Burnett Show” in favor of “The Love Boat.” That was the beginning of a heated discussion about which was the better show. Roger had long been a fan of “The Carol Burnett Show” (as was I), but I enjoyed “The Love Boat” and was rather passionate in my defense of its quality. Frankly, Roger was right. I am actually embarrassed about my position, but I was in high school, so what did I know, and Roger always had a better sense of quality…
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Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice

Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice

Fr. Mike Griffin's Column, May 2019
We gathered in Easter darkness around a fire and lit a candle that will carry the fire of this Holy Night throughout the year. We carried the candle inside and lit many, many candles from this one flame, this one light, until the inside of the church was aglow with our baptismal light. Bathed in this warmth, we listened as the solemn proclamation of the Lord’s rising was sung; ancient, poetic, unrestrained in praise of the resurrection, and demanding as it commands the hosts of heaven to exult and blow the trumpet of salvation; demanding as it commands the earth to be glad and allow glory to flood her. Finally, demanding in its command to the People of God, “Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice, arrayed with the lightning of…
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Finding Wisdom in Our Scars

Finding Wisdom in Our Scars

April 2019, Fr. Mike Griffin's Column
I have a scar on my right middle finger. It is not painful, but the receiving of it was; I was slicing apples on a mandoline slicer, just pushing the apple over the razor sharp blade and back in a sweet fluid motion. I was also utterly ignoring the directions that expressed in no uncertain terms that the slicer was “only” to be used with the attached protective shield while slicing. Protective shields, that’s for amateurs...right? That was my arrogant contention until, with one sweet fluid motion, I sliced off a thin strip of apple and the top of my middle finger. The next fluid motion was grabbing a dish towel to cover my finger as I lifted it over my head, simultaneously opening the cupboard door under the sink…
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An Elegy

An Elegy

Fr. Mike Griffin's Column, March 2019
On the first day of November in the year 2006, a puppy was born. I was, of course, totally unaware of this event. He was born, wet and blind and whimpering for milk, beginning a life-long obsession with food. He grew as puppies do, growing into his pure puppy cuteness. I have seen, and taken, many pictures of him, but the one blurry picture of him sitting as a puppy, looking at the camera long before I would ever meet him, has always broken my heart. I have a fleeting memory of meeting him, a few years later, grown into early doghood, but certainly not the large dog he would become. I was visiting my best friend Ted and his family, and I knew they had gotten a yellow Labrador…
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Finding our balanced heart reveals the wonder of Christ

Finding our balanced heart reveals the wonder of Christ

February 2019, Fr. Mike Griffin's Column
Years ago I was walking the dusty roads in Afghanistan, and I had a thought. It was hot, really hot, and as I walked, sweatless in the desert heat, I began to think about winter and how nice winter can be, cold and brisk; how walking in winter can be such an invigorating experience. I started thinking about how much I missed walking the dogs in the wild wind chill, how sweet it is to see them run through the snow, frost growing on their whiskers. It was that kind of heat I was walking through, the kind that makes 40 below wind chill seem inviting. I was not kidding myself, I knew it was just a small way to make the heat seem a bit less oppressive, and so…
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New Year’s Day, random as it is, does have meaning

New Year’s Day, random as it is, does have meaning

Fr. Mike Griffin's Column, January 2019
We are a people who live by the calendar. We use the calendar to mark the passing of seasons, to mark anniversaries and birthdays and liturgical feast days, and we use them to mark holidays. A few weeks ago, we put our parish calendars out at the entrances of the church. As I was organizing them, the sheer randomness of calendars struck me. Much of what we celebrate as holidays are arbitrary days on the calendar, simply chosen and then printed in the little boxes for any given month. So, Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of November, Memorial Day is the last Monday in May, Labor Day is the first Monday in September, and a new year always begins on the first day of the month of January. We have…
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