Saint of the Day – May 30 – Saint Joan of Arc

Saint Joan of Arc’s Story (January 6, 1412 – May 30, 1431)

Burned at the stake as a heretic after a politically-motivated trial, Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920.

Born of a fairly well-to-do peasant couple in Domremy-Greux southeast of Paris, Joan was only 12 when she experienced a vision and heard voices that she later identified as Saints Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria, and Margaret of Antioch.

During the Hundred Years War, Joan led French troops against the English and recaptured the cities of Orléans and Troyes. This enabled Charles VII to be crowned as king in Reims in 1429. Captured near Compiegne the following year, Joan was sold to the English and placed on trial for heresy and witchcraft. Professors at the University of Paris supported Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvis, the judge at her trial; Cardinal Henry Beaufort of Winchester, England, participated in the questioning of Joan in prison. In the end, she was condemned for wearing men’s clothes. The English resented France’s military success–to which Joan contributed.

On this day in 1431, Joan was burned at the stake in Rouen, and her ashes were scattered in the Seine River. A second Church trial 25 years later nullified the earlier verdict, which was reached under political pressure.

Remembered by most people for her military exploits, Joan had a great love for the sacraments, which strengthened her compassion toward the poor. Popular devotion to her increased greatly in 19th-century France and later among French soldiers during World War I. Theologian George Tavard writes that her life “offers a perfect example of the conjunction of contemplation and action” because her spiritual insight is that there should be a “unity of heaven and earth.”

Joan of Arc has been the subject of many books, plays, operas and movies.


“Joan of Arc is like a shooting star across the landscape of French and English history, amid the stories of the Church’s saints and into our consciousness. Women identify with her; men admire her courage. She challenges us in fundamental ways. Despite the fact that more than 500 years have passed since she lived, her issues of mysticism, calling, identity, trust and betrayal, conflict and focus are our issues still.” (Joan of Arc: God’s Warrior by Barbara Beckwith)

Saint Joan of Arc is the Patron Saint of:

Military Members

Remembering Those Who Have Passed Serving Our Country

Today is Memorial Day and I want to honor, remember and thank our active service members, veterans, and those who have lost their lives serving our country. We thank them for their service and the sacrifices they have made for our freedom and safety.

Some paid the ultimate sacrifice. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Even more so when one lays down his life for his country.

Today the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate are praying for veterans, living and deceased, for active service members, and for their families.

Eternal God,
Lift the hearts of those 
who carry painful memories with them every day.

We remember in a special way those 
who have passed serving our country.
Watch over our armed forces and bring them home safely.

Grant us the gift of true peace and give us the 
courage and wisdom to put an end to all warfare.


/Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate USA/

Minute Meditation – What It Means to Love

Mary is the model of what it means to love because love means helping those who need us, even when we ourselves might be in need. Mary is not self-absorbed. She even teaches her son, Jesus, that those in need take precedence even over the ministry or work we think is all important.

What about us? Who do we spend most our time thinking about? Whose needs are always on our mind? Isn’t it usually ourselves? But what is Mary telling us? Mary is our spiritual mother, and she is saying to us, as she said to her son, “Don’t forget those who have a more pressing need than you do. Remember to remember others. How can you be of help?”

— from the book Nourishing Love: A Franciscan Celebration of Mary
by Murray Bodo, OFM

Sermon Notes – April 23, 2023 – Either It is What It is or It Isn’t

Either It is What It is or It Isn’t

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

April 22 – 23, 2023

Gospel:  Luke 24:13-35

In the Gospel, there are many points.  So, start with the minor ones and then go on to the big ones.  Jesus taught us how to study Scripture.   He also taught us what we must do before Mass.  What must we do before Mass?  A famous word from one of the great spiritual directors is “Shut-Up!”  That’s because every time the apostles talked about the Bible, they got it wrong.  Every time our Lord asked them a question, they got it wrong.  The apostles were discussing Scripture one day while in Jerusalem and when our Lord showed up, He asked them, “What are you doing?”  They said, “Talking about Scripture.”  What did He tell them?  “You got it wrong!”  Then, for the better part of two hours, He taught them Scripture, because He is Scripture.  And in the presence of God, they listened.  He explained to them the meaning of the Bible.  Scripture study is not people sitting around a table and asking, “What do you think this is?”   It’s not that.  The Church teaches what Scripture is . . . not what we’d like it to be.  It’s a lot more complicated than just reading a book and saying, “Oh yeah.  I can do that.”  You have to listen to the experts. 

What resulted from the apostles’ time with Jesus?   During the Breaking of Bread (the Mass), their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him.  This is our faith.   Jesus is physically present on the altar and at the altar during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  What happens when we see our Lord in the Breaking of Bread during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?  The same as what happened to two of Jesus’ disciples as they were going to Emmaus which was near Jerusalem.   They were tired, but in the middle of the night they walked seven miles, most of it uphill.   Now most people are afraid to go outside at night even though we have great law enforcement.   Back then, there was no 911.   And the Roman soldiers didn’t patrol at night.  So, you were on your own . . . good luck!    But the disciples were no longer tired.  Instead, they were filled with joy and couldn’t wait to tell people, “We have seen the Lord.  We recognized Him in the Breaking of Bread.”  

This is what we preach for conversion.  Transubstantiation and the Real Presence of our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  This is our Faith.  This is what we preach.  This is what brings people to church.   And this is how we get converts to the Faith.   A good friend of mine, a Catholic priest, took Philosophy 101.  He said that during the first week of class they learned that “a thing is what it is or it isn’t.”   There is no in-between.  Would you want to eat a slightly poisonous salad?  Would you want to get slightly sick on Listeria?   No.  Either the food is good or it’s not.  Either it is or it isn’t.  A wrench is a wrench or it’s not.  You can’t use a pencil as a wrench.  It won’t work.  So, either you believe what Scripture says or you don’t.   
Christ is present in the Eucharist.  His true Real Presence is what draws people to the Faith.  We recognize Him with the eyes of faith and intellect.  Sometimes it affects the whole body . . . sometimes not.   But we recognize Him.  In church, everything is pointed to the Real Presence.  That’s why we kneel, stand, and genuflect.  Some people rather blasphemously call it Catholic aerobics – up and down, up and down.   By the way, do you know why we stand for the Gospel?   We stand out of respect for the Word of God because the Gospel contains the actual words of Christ.  So, we stand out of respect for His words, and we pray with our hearts.  This is what we proclaim.  This is what we profess.  And this is what we teach.  Paul came to that conclusion.  Paul taught people, and he admonished them that “Whoever eats and drinks the body of Christ unworthily is guilty of His death.”   If it’s just a symbol or just a community builder as some blasphemous people say, how can we be convicted of His death?  How can we be like Judas and be guilty of His death?   If His Body and Blood is just a symbol, then what’s the big deal?   

So, this is what we believe.  This is what we profess.  And this is what we tell people.   This is the good news.  What happened to the apostles and what happened to the two disciples enroute to Emmaus, is the same joy and the same Presence we have before us.

How will you apply this message to your life?  _______________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories.”  Sermon Notes are also available on the church Facebook page at  Click on “Groups” and then “Sermon Notes.”

Coming in 2024 . . . New Stations of the Cross!

These new stations will be hand-carved from olive wood and will be 30″x18″. There will be 14 stations with a total cost of $16,875.00. Because they will be hand-carved, it will take 9 – 12 months to receive them.

If you would like to make a memorial gift toward the purchase of the new stations, it would be most welcome. Please call Lori in the office at 704-982-2910.

Sermon Notes – April 9, 2023 – The Ultimate Victim of Cancel Culture was Christ

Sermon Notes

The Ultimate Victim of Cancel Culture was Christ

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

April 8 – 9, 2023

Gospel:  John 20:1-9

Saturday night was a very special night in the Church.  You should have come for two reasons:   1) there was more room, and 2) the sermon was shorter.  Last night I baptized a young lady into the Faith, received another young lady into the Faith, and confirmed eight others into the Church.  It was also a wonderful night because we were waiting for our Lord to rise so that He could give us life.  We honored and made our act of faith that the Lord has been raised from the dead and is living among us.  And He is. 

Did you know that our Lord was the ultimate victim of Cancel Culture?  Cancel Culture is not new. . . . it has simply had different manifestations throughout the centuries.   Mental illness appears and wants the world to conform to it.  “If you were only better, I wouldn’t be so bad.” So, what did the ultimate Cancel Culture do?  Man tried to kill God.  Imagine the hutzpah of man to say, “Hey, I’m going to cancel God.”  Really?  You’re feeling your Wheaties today aren’t you!  But that’s what they did.  They crucified Him and stuck Him in a tomb in Palestine for three days.  Now, after three days in a tomb in Palestine, you are really, really dead.   But He rose.   In Matthew 28:11, the chief priests told the Roman guards to tell people that Jesus’ disciples had stolen His body while they slept.  Nobody steals anything from the Romans, and they weren’t afraid of anybody.  However, they tried to make people believe that Jesus never rose from the dead and that His body had been stolen.  But look at what happened.  Throughout the centuries, they have essentially proved, by their attacks, that Christ is alive and well.  They tried to kill Him, but they failed.  Christ is alive. 

You may know that my last name, “Fitzgibbons,” is from an Irish extraction.  My people went over to Ireland as “Gibbons.”   They went to Ireland, took over the place, and became “Fitzgibbons’.”  We liked what we saw and made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.  Maybe there’s some Italian in my background after all.  I don’t know.  The original spelling was with a capital “G” and no “S.”   Immigration and Naturalization did that when my great-grandfather came to the United States.  So, I have some Irish heritage that has been passed on through the families.  Now they say that the Irish have leprechauns.  I’ll let you in on a secret . . .they don’t exist except on the back of cereal boxes.  Do I get upset about leprechauns?  No.  Why?  Because they don’t exist.  Nobody gets upset about things that don’t exist. 

So why do people who say they don’t believe in Christ have such hatred for the Catholic Church?  If Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead and He’s not alive and active in the Church, why do they bother?  Why all this venom?  One reason is that those who attack the Church have a bad conscience.   In Canada, there have been 252 attacks on the Church just this year.  How many have there been in the United States?  If Christ wasn’t alive and active, why are they attacking the Church?  Why are they trying to change our ministry?  Last weekend they threw the Catholic chaplains out of Walter Reed Hospital.  They have also tried to change my ministry at the VA Hospital.  I am supposed to call people by certain pronouns.   Well, that ain’t happening.  Do you know who you are talking to here?  My name is “Father” which is a legal and proper name.  But they won’t call me that.  Then you may call me “Major.”   Do I call them by their preferred pronouns?  No.  I won’t underwrite psychological problems.  I want to help them, not cosign their crap.    Evil is making its case for the existence of Christ and His power, which is still active in this world, by attacking the Church.  Christ is still alive, and they are proving it by their actions.  Christ is still alive and active.  He is risen.  He gives us hope that at the end of our days we will live with Him if we do what He asks of us.  If we follow simple directions, if we do what He did, we will get what He got, and we will also rise with Him. 

That is why they are always attacking us.  By their actions, they are saying that Christ truly exists and is active in the world.  The tomb could not hold Him.  And the centuries could not diminish His power.  He is always active and making His presence and love known.   Christ is alive.  He is alive in the tabernacle.  That’s why people try to break into the tabernacle.  Christ is alive.  Why do they try to attack priests?   Because priests hold Mass and the Sacraments.  Christ is alive; otherwise, you wouldn’t be here.  I cannot come to your homes and order you to come to Mass.  “I don’t want to go.”   I’ve got some guys in the car . . . would you like me to call them in?   I cannot make any of you come to Mass.  You come because you love Christ.  There’s no coffee and doughnuts today, so you really are here because you love Him.  He is alive.  The world proves it.  Open up any newspaper and you will find many, many articles all testifying to the truth.  Because they fight against the truth, it doesn’t exist?   If Christ doesn’t exist, then why do they bother?   Sometimes what we see and hear can be very hurtful but smile and rejoice.  They too are proclaiming that our Lord is alive and active among us.  The tomb could not hold Him.  Sin could not defeat Him.  It could not defeat Him 2,000 years ago and it still can’t today.  Do not believe the Cancel Culture.  You see with your eyes that everything that happens in the Church is a testimony to the truth that Christ is alive and active.  From the Cross He said, “I thirst.” What does He thirst for?  He thirsts for our love.

How will you apply this message to your life?  _______________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories.”  Sermon Notes are also available on the church Facebook page at  Click on “Groups” and then “Sermon Notes.”

Sermon Notes – April 2, 2023 – The Smell of Love

The Smell of Love

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

April 1 – 2, 2023

Gospel:  Matthew 27:11-54

Remember I told you last week that sin has a smell?  Conversely, and more importantly, virtue has a smell.  My old organization and the people I hung around with were smelly.  It was nothing personal, but because of the situations we found ourselves in, that’s just how paratroopers were.  We were away from soap and water unless it rained, and we got a shower from Mother Nature.  So, paratroopers were a little more aromatic which most people found disgusting and would rather not be around.  “Oh, my goodness!”   It’s like Hospice . . . you get used to it.  You know what that smell was?  It was courage. 

Love also has a smell.  What does love smell like?  If you meditate on the Gospels and the Passion of our Lord, love smells like blood.  It also has a sound.  It’s the sound of blood dripping from the Cross.  Love has a smell, and it has a sound.  You seek divine love today.  In the consecration, the chalice is changed and holds the Precious Blood of Christ.  It’s the same Blood that dripped and sanctified the Way of the Cross.  It’s the same Blood that sanctified the Blessed Mother who was the first to be washed in His Blood at the foot of the Cross.   And it’s the same Blood that fills the chalice.  Christ, Himself, takes the chalice into the Confessional and anoints the soul and gives us absolution.  We are washed in the Blood of Christ . . . the same Blood that was poured out for us at Calgary.  Blood is the virtue of Divine Love.  And it has a sight, a sound, and a smell.  

How will you apply this message to your life?  _______________________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories.”  Sermon Notes are also available on the church Facebook page at  Click on “Groups” and then “Sermon Notes.”

Sermon Notes – March 12, 2023 – God’s Love is Not Graded on a Curve

God’s Love is Not Graded on a Curve

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

March 11 – 12, 2023

Gospel:   John 4:5-42

Jesus was traveling in Samaria when He encountered the Samaritan woman.  Now, Jews did not travel to Samaria just like people here do not travel to Aquadale.  Jews just didn’t go to Samaria.  It was unclean.  The Jews hated the Samaritans and called them “dogs” which was an egregious insult.   Jesus went out in the middle of the day, and in the Middle East, nobody goes out past noon.  Do you know why?  It’s a little hot.   Even on a winter day, it is warm.  Trust me.  But 1you know who does go outside past noon?  The American army.  Soldiers go out with 60 to 80 pounds of equipment strapped to them.  It’s very slimming.  The pounds just melt away.  Jesus, the Good Shepherd, went outside during the hottest part of the day to seek and save what was lost.   Why was the woman drawing water at the well during the heat of the day?   Yes, they didn’t have fresh plumbing back then. . . I understand that.  But why was she alone?  American women travel by themselves all the time, and they don’t have to travel in groups.  The woman at the well was alone because the other women wanted nothing to do with her.  She was a fallen woman and not of good moral character.  That’s why she was alone.  Jesus, being God, knew that of course.  But He came out to seek and save her soul.  He wanted to bring her home to His heart.  So, He gently tried to awaken her faith, and talked to her about the living water He would give; the water that would truly quench her thirst.  At first, she did what so many do . . . she used intellectual arguments and blamed everything on someone else.  When you get caught speeding and the officer pulls you over, what do you say?  “They were doing it too!”   And the officer says, “I’ll get them later.  I’m only concerned about what you have done.”   

Our Lord’s love is individual and not graded on a curve.  “They are worse than I am!”   But I’m talking to you!   Jesus wants our souls, and He was concerned about the fallen woman’s relationship with God.  People try to argue about hypotheticals, and they always have something to denounce.  “The Church does this and that.” “This is bad and that is bad.”  “You Jews say this.”  “You Jews say that.”   “You priests are perverts.”   Uh, no.  But thank you for the slander.  I appreciate it because I know what you are doing.  They always use something to deflect.   They try to find excuses for their own bad behavior.  Jesus told the woman the sins she had committed.  Did He get mad with her?  Did He scream at her?  No.  Jesus doesn’t get angry at us for our sins.  He wants to take them away.  When we sin, tears run down His face because we have turned our backs on His love.  Did He yell at her, “You’re going to hell?”  He never says that to anyone.  But if we are in hell, we are self-made men. 

Jesus had a breakthrough with the Samaritan woman.  She had finally had enough of sinning.   He awakened her faith while He suffered in His human nature.  Even though He was hot and thirsty, He sacrificed His human nature for the salvation of a soul.  That’s how much He loves us.  That’s what our Good Lord does.  He comes after us constantly.  He never gives up.  I’ve suggested this before, and I’ll suggest it again . . . read the poem, “Hound of Heaven.”  No matter how bad you think it is that you’ve done, our Lord wants you back.  You know the kind of people I used to work with?  This is not even close.  The fallen woman was not one of His people.  But everyone is made in God’s image and likeness.  As I said last week, innocence can be regained.  He comes to all of us, if we let Him, to help us with our struggles and to draw us closer to Him . . . no matter what we’ve done . . . even if it is just to help with bearing our ordinary daily crosses.  Although some people’s daily crosses are extraordinary, they are daily crosses. 

I will tell you a story about a man who I miss.  I never got to say goodbye to him because he died very quickly.  He was admitted to the hospital and even though he wasn’t Catholic, he wanted to talk to a priest.  So, I visited him, and we talked.  He said, “Father, I’m not Catholic but a priest saved my life.”   He told me that as a young man he was physically, sexually, and mentally abused.  And like so many men of a certain age, he got a job offer from U.S. Government and the opportunity to travel.  He was volunteered or voluntold, and he was sent to Vietnam for a year.  While there, he saw the atrocities on innocent civilians that the North Vietnamese army committed.  Because he thought it was time for some payback, he volunteered for a second tour in a Special Operations unit.  And he gave the North Vietnamese a lot of payback.  He did a lot of nasty things.  When he came home, he had PTSD and drank like a fool.  He spent a lot of time and effort in hospitals.  A priest came and helped him.  That’s why he wanted to talk to me.  So, he got out of the hospital and got off the bottle.   After many years, he was free from his crosses.  He and his wife helped abused children.  And that’s what he did for the rest of his life.  When I met him, he was in the hospital, with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.  On the last day I saw him alive, he was in the hallway in his new electric wheelchair equipped with head brace controls so that he could control them with his mouth.  I said, “Cool wheels!  When I come back next week, we are going to pimp this bad boy out!  We’re going to paint flames on it and maybe hang some dice.”   I never saw him again.  He finally passed which was merciful because of the ALS.  He didn’t have to ride that bus all the way to the end.  This is the transforming power of God’s grace.  I don’t think any of you could be as bad as that guy was.  Is that man in Heaven?  I’m pretty darn sure he is.  God never stops working, and He never gave up on him.  It took a long while, but our Lord picked him up and changed him.   Our Lord comes to seek and save what is lost.  Was the Samaritan woman’s case unusual?  Yes . . . and no.

Father’s Reflections. . . .

I hold Mass at the local felon university (FU) or Albemarle Corrections Institute which is always interesting.  Although they will disagree, I’m going to remind the prisoners that there are blessings even while in prison.     1) Your life expectancy has increased now that you aren’t doing what got you here.  They got you off the drugs and alcohol you were consuming.  2) You are protected from your “friends” who may have eventually  killed you or helped you die.  3) You get a well-balanced diet and a square meal, especially the fish or sewer bass.  4) You are eligible for vocational training unless you leave prison in a box.  5) You get medical and dental care.  6)  You get psychological care.  7)  While in prison, you have the time to reflect on the harm you have done and have the time to do penance.  A lot of good things can come from being a guest of the state or a state employee living in a gated community.  Just like the Good Thief from the cross, “I’m getting only what I deserve.”  So, I’ll bring this up to the prisoners the next time I’m there.  Luckily, I have a corrections officer with me.  But there really are blessings in that place.  I miss the old days when some of the prisoners worked with dogs to rehabilitate them for adoption on the outside.  The prisoners grew to love these dogs and working with them was great therapy.  But it was heartbreaking for the prisoners when they had to give up the dogs.   

How will you apply this message to your life?  ____________________________________________ You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories.”  Sermon Notes are also available on the church Facebook page at  Click on “Groups” and then “Sermon Notes.”

The Catechism in a Year – Day 71 – Mary’s Virginity

The Catechism tackles a few important issues regarding Mary, the mother of God—her motherhood, her virginal conception of Jesus, and her perpetual virginity. Fr. Mike reminds us that, regardless of the opinions of translators and modern theologians, our Faith steers us towards a correct understanding of our Blessed Mother. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 495-501.

Click on link to play video:

The Catechism in a Year – Day 60 – God Sends His Only Son

Fr. Mike emphasizes that God did not have to do anything for us after the Fall, yet he sent us his only Son, and through his Son, we have received grace upon grace. We learn that the transmission of the Christian faith consists of proclaiming Jesus Christ to lead others to faith in him. If we are called to teach him, we must first have a relationship with him. Just as the Apostles burned with a desire to spread the Good News, we too are called to catechize and deliver the word of Christ as his spokesmen on Earth. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 422-429.