Opening with fire, Father Altenhofen hit it out of the park Sunday in his first weekend Masses at Sacred Heart. Father Altenhofen commenced his sermons by sharing his life-long love of Sacred Scripture and admitting that he was always known as a "religious little character." Father conveyed his particular fascination with the prophets, heroes from his youth. The image of the Prophet Elijah calling down fire upon the soaking wet altars in the 'prove your God' contest against the false prophets of Baal inspired and intrigued Father as a young boy.
"I knew this was the business for me!" Father exclaimed, revealing the first promptings toward his call to the priesthood from the early age of seven flowing from his relationship with the Word. He reminded us that the roles of priest, prophet and king were conferred upon each one of us at our baptism. He exhorted each of us to courageously take up our role as a prophet in our daily lives, giving hope to the hopeless and rebuking wickedness while always sharing the love of Christ. As a prophet represents God in the midst of the world, so are we to be the light of Christ as we fulfill the particular mission given to us by God. Reminding us to be like St. Paul, who lived out his difficult ministry by relying upon God's grace, with which all things are possible, Father Altenhofen gave us quite a powerful pep talk.
Each hearing a call to the priesthood in his childhood and showing his profound reverence for the Holy Eucharist, our new priest and our outgoing priest have much in common. Continuing to keep the confessional open for an hour daily, Fr. Altenhofen takes care of our souls in this sacrament of healing reconciliation as Fr. Qui Thac so lovingly did in his six years as our pastor. This bears mentioning, as many parishes -even with thousands of registered Catholics- only hold the confessional open for one hour per week on Saturday afternoons. We are extremely fortunate and grateful for the availability of confession at our little Church and praise God for sending us a priest willing to continue this life saving ministry despite the personal sacrifices involved.