It doesn’t take long for some scam artists to get up to speed. In my first 2 months here, there have been at least 2 scams that I am aware of that have been tried. The first was an email sent in my name, but not from my email address, requesting gift cards to help me with a certain need. They asked for the card numbers to be sent to them. NEVER do this; it is a scam, and most times there is nothing law enforcement can do to get your money back. When these first started, I had a parishioner that made the mistake of sending the gift card numbers and losing their money, After contacting the local police chief we discovered nothing could be done.
The second event here in Marshfield was the first I have heard of this particular scam. The person texted another priest, claiming to be me and asking for a similar thing, that they get some gift cards and send them the numbers in order to help me with whatever it was they were asking for. This particular scam artist then texted the priest, continuing to pressure him. He caught on early, and thankfully did not fall for their tricks. Again, it was a phone number from out of state, and had nothing to do with me.
Please know I will never ask for gift cards for some obscure purpose, and in fact I will never ask by phone or email for any purpose. Never send anyone the numbers off the back of gift cards, as this is the same as sending cash. Once they have these numbers, the money is gone. If you get something like this, the best thing to do is to delete the message and ignore it. Some of these scammers are pretty good at disguising their identities, and it is best to just cut off any communication.
This Sunday evening we will celebrate Confirmation with 30 some of our young people from our congregations. This is a special event for them and for their sponsors, but it is also a special day for the entire parish family, as we continue striving for lives of faith and growth in our personal relationship with the Holy Trinity. We owe a debt of gratitude to those that have prepared these young people for this sacrament. It is also a day to celebrate with our bishop, offering our prayers and support for him in a difficult mission.
What does Confirmation mean? There is an old German story about a farmer with 3 sons. When he got old, he told them he would give the farm to the first one who could fill the barn. The oldest son brought in all the cows, the chickens and the pigs. There was still room, so they emptied the barn for the second son, who brought in load after load of hay. This didn’t fill the barn either, so again they emptied the barn. The third son waited until nightfall, and went into the barn with a candle which he lit. Looking from the outside, the father saw the entire barn filled with light, and so he gave the youngest son, who did the least amount of physical work, the farm.
Today, our young people will receive the fire of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and souls in a special sacrament. It is not about the amount of work we do, although there is work involved. For those of us who have been confirmed, it is about how we cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and this takes work. For our confirmandi, he will fill you with his light, and give you his gifts: wisdom, knowledge, courage, counsel, understanding, fortitude and piety. These are the gifts that will fill your hearts today, tomorrow, for all time, and these will bring power into your Catholic Christian lives. It takes courage today to live a Christian life; to speak up for what is right, to make choices in line with our faith, to stand solid when the current of the prevailing culture, which grows stronger every day, is pushing you along. Use the gifts you receive today to be that light that fills the world, to help bring the light of Christ into every corner of the world God sends you. It will not be a farm you are inheriting, but eternal life.
May God keep and bless you on this special day and always.