Gulf Pine Catholic

Gulf Pine Catholic • August 18, 2023 15 Summer is a great time to enjoy nature, and there are many saints and people who have lived holy lives whose devotion to the outdoors can inspire us to venture into God’s creation. St. Francis of Assisi, St. Pope John Paul II, and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati were all known for the spiritual strength they drew from time spent hiking in the mountains, and they follow in a long tradition that dates back to the Old Testament, when prophets would go into the wilderness to pray to God. St. Francis of Assisi is one of the first figures who comes to mind when considering the relationship between spirituality and a love of nature. He spent much of his time praying outdoors, walking in the wilderness, hiking up mountains, sleeping in caves, and living in hermitages. He grew so close to nature that he came to realize a kinship with all living things. The Christophers have a News Note entitled God’s Good Earth in which St. Mother Teresa is quoted as say- ing, “We need to find God and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature -- trees, flowers, grass -- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” Many holy people have drawn closer to God through time spent in nature. St. Pope John Paul II was known for making spiri- tual retreats into the mountains as a young man, and he continued that practice even as pope. In his book, Pope Wojtyla and the General , Gen- eral Enrico Marinelli, who provided security for 15 years for John Paul II’s travels in Italy, writes, “When the Holy Father told his entourage that he wanted to spend a few hours, some- times a few days, outside the Vatican, he always surprised those who naturally thought of Castel Gandolfo, his summer residence: for John Paul II, ‘outside the Vatican’ meant going to a wild, remote and isolated place.” Marinelli recalls that on Tuesdays the Pope would have a free day when he would often venture into the mountains of Italy in the same way he had done in Poland as a young- er man. Of these excursions, Marinelli writes, “Pope John Paul II used to say that every climb that involves difficul- ties and fatigue is rewarded by the possibility of touching and experiencing God.” Mountain climbing was also a favorite activity of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, who died in 1925 at the age of 24 from an illness he contracted while tending to the sick. He influenced many Catholics who followed in his footsteps through his dedication to those in need and ro- bust defense of the faith. Frassati was also known for orga- nizing outings into the mountains that served as opportuni- ties to share his faith with his friends, who he would lead to Mass as well as pray the rosary and read Scripture with. There are many ways in which we can commune with God in nature. For those who can climb mountains, hiking is certainly an excellent activity. But finding a simple place to walk in nature is a great way to immerse ourselves in the beauty of God’s creation. And while these can be solitary and prayerful activities, let’s also remember to spend time sharing these experiences with others, so we can demon- strate how the beauty of the natural world reflects the glory of God. Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M., serves on The Christo- phers’Board of Directors. For a free copy of the Chris- topher News Note, GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: . Finding God in nature Light One Candle Fr. Dougherty K nights of C olumbus Paul R. DePew Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus Assembly #2347 from St. Joseph Parish, Gulfport, held its Fourth Degree installation of officers July 29 after 4 p.m. Mass followed by a banquet in the Parish Hall. New officers installed are: Faithful Friar: Father Joe Uko; Faithful Navigator: Chuck Collins; Faithful Captain: Bill Mann; Faithful Pilot: John Barnes; Faithful Comptroller: Mike Murphy; Faithful Scribe: Butch Plitt; Faithful Purser: Robert Delahunt; Sentinels: Ray Desloover and Stephen Denning; Faithful Admiral (vacant); and Trustees: Lex Tootle, Chuck Gurklis, and Herb Smith. Installation was conducted by Past State President, Jerry Schmuck and assisted by District Deputy, John Barnes. FatherHarry O.Wade Knights of Columbus Council #7910 from St. Joseph Parish, Gulfport held its Third Degree installation of officers July 29 after 4 p.,m. Mass followed by a banquet in the Parish Hall. New officers installed are: Grand Knight, Dennis Nowell; Deputy Grand Knight, Ken Fowler; Financial Secretary, Mike Murphy; Warden, Herb Smith; Recorder, Bari Matherne; Advocate, Lex Tootle; Trustees: Mike Mallett, Chuck Gurklis, and John McDonald; Lector, Chuck Gurklis; Guards: Ray Desloover and Stephen Denning; and Chaplain, Fr. Joe Uko. Installation was conducted by District Deputy, John Barnes and Past State Deputy Jerry Schmuck. Fr. Harry O. Wade Knights of Columbus Council #7910 and Paul R. DePew Assembly #2347 of St. Joseph Parish, Gulfport, recognized Deacon Karl Koberger for 50 years of service to the Knights of Columbus at their installation banquet on July 29. Pictured presenting Deacon Karl with the plaque is Grand Knight, Dennis Nowell. Paul R. DePew Fourth Degree Assembly #2347 Installation Father Harry O. Wade Council #7910 Third Degree Installation Deacon Karl Koberger recognized for 50 years of service