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Thanksgiving Interfaith Service November 18, 2018 Bishop George Leo Thomas Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas

When I was a newly ordained priest many years ago, I was sent to serve at a parish on the edge of downtown Seattle. It was a busy cathedral church, with four services every day, plus outreach to seven hospitals, multiple nursing homes, the King County Jail, and a youth detention center.

I was the youngest priest on the staff, and so guess who the night bell, the hospital beeper, and the 6:25 a.m. Mass most frequently for the next five years.

It was there, at that early morning service, that I met a man who was so exceptional, so extraordinary, that he has influenced my life and ministry right up to the present day.

I will venture to say that unbeknownst to you, that same man he has likely impacted your life as well, either personally or through the lives of your family or friends.

The man I am describing always arrived for services late and left early.

He often appeared drowsy, disheveled, preoccupied, and aloof, but always absorbed in deep prayer.

As the weeks became months, I began to notice his  well-established  pattern,  and became quite curious. Who was he? What was his life story? Why was he always in a hurry and seemed to be a million miles away?

Finally my curiosity got the best of me, and I began to inquire just who this stranger might be.

As it turned out, he was a world renowned heart surgeon, a cardiovascular doctor, who  with a team of colleagues, pioneered coronary bypass surgery as we know it today.

He was a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington, the father of  eight, who  practiced  heart medicine for 33  years.  For over  three decades,  he  operated on 10,000  heart patients, saving the  lives of thousands of heart patients, and improving  the quality of life for thousands more.

During my tenure at St. James Cathedral, I became friends with this Doctor Lester Sauvage. I learned first-hand that he was a devoted father and husband, a man withunshakable faith in God, a physician who started each day enveloped in prayer, asking God to bless and guide his hands before each and every surgery he performed.

Dr. Sauvage was a living witness to the power of faith, a man whose life was fueled by prayer and thanksgiving.

I called him a miracle worker, though he would tell you that he was  just doing what God’s will-- nothing more, nothing less. “Someday I’ll be on that gurney myself, and I hope that the students I have trained will do their best for me.”

As Doctor Sauvage neared his retirement, he placed a call to my office, and asked for a special favor. “I have just completed the first draft of a new book,” he told me. “I would like you to read it with a critical eye. Get out your red pen, mark it up, and give me your honest feedback.”

Well I opened the book and discovered that Mother Teresa of Calcutta had already written a foreword to his book, endorsing it enthusiastically. I put down the red pen,  and thought to myself, “If she likes it, I like it!”

The book he wrote was called The Open Heart. It is a surprising reflection on his 30+ years of practice, the memoirs of a faithful physician looking backwards, offering advice to patients as they face the biggest challenge of their life. It is nearly devoid of references to medication, or nutrition, or exercise.

Rather, it is a fireside chat between a doctor and his patients, surprisingly simple and disarmingly wise. In the words of the TV Doctor Dean Ornish, Dr. Sauvage shows us “how to open not only our physical hearts but also our spiritual and emotional hearts as well.”

Who among  us has not already experienced the dark night of the soul, an unexpected     life crisis--spiritual, emotional, physical, or financial, a crisis that  throws our  life into a tail spin, and tests the mettle of our spirit. Who has not experienced the verity of John Lennon’s observation that “Life is what happens after all the plans are made?”

It is precisely there that life begins in earnest. Dr. Martin Luther King said poetically what we know in our hearts: “Only in darkness can we see the stars.”

In the middle of life’s darkest hours and most challenging moments, that Dr. Sauvage asked his patients three seemingly simple questions:

•       Why do you want to keep on living?

•       What will you do differently from this day forward?

•       How will this present crisis change the  course of your  life and improve the quality of your remaining days?


And then, just when the patient thought he  was  through  philosophizing,  Dr.  Sauvage took it to another level. He prescribed a four part prescription, which I have labeled, “A prescription for a happy  heart.”  He  dispensed  this  prescription to  everyone—religious on non-religious, it didn’t matter.

•       Pray often, for God knows you by name and loves you unconditionally;

•       Serve others in greater need than yourself, regardless of your health present health condition;

•       Reconcile broken relationships;

•       And never let another day go by without thanking God for the countless blessings you have in your life.

The first part of the prescription is to pray often, for God knows you by name love you with an everlasting love.

Prayer is the common denominator we share as a diverse people of faith. Prayer is the bond that binds our hearts together, the mortar that keeps our faith in God strong and enduring. Prayer is the wellspring of our inner peace, our balm of Gilead, the fuel that keeps us going in the face of setbacks and adversity.

The Psalmist says is simply and profoundly, My soul rests in God alone, from whom comes my salvation. God alone is my rock and my salvation my secure height. I shall never fall.” (Psalm 62)

The 4th century Saint Augustine of Hippo opined, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee O Lord,” and assured us that “God is closer to us than we are to ourselves (Interior intimo meo).

In Islam, prayer is the rhythm of life, at dawn and noon, at sunset, and before retiring.

The Hindu Mantra turns the eye of the heart to the Universal Divine Energy, vital spiritual energy as the essence of existence, the destroyer of suffering, happiness that is right and luminous like the Sun, brilliance that purifies us and guides our righteous wisdom on the right path.

Our commitment to prayer is the first prescription to a happy heart, or in the words of Paul, I will show you a way that surpasses all others.”   This is the first way that we   stand together in love.

The second part of our prescription is pure and simple.

Dr. Sauvage admonished his patients to serve others in greater need than ourselves.

For the Hindu, dana or giving of self is an important part of one’s religious duty. Each person has a dharma toward family, society, the world, and toward all living things.

Giving begins at home, but extends well beyond the walls of the home.

In the Jewish tradition, thanksgiving always entails selfless service, and care of others in greater need. The Book of Deuteronomy sums it up in these words: “If there is among you a poor person, one of your kin, in any of your towns within your land which God gives you, you shall not harder your hearts or shut your hand against them, but you shall open your hand to them and lend them sufficient for their needs, whatever they may be.” (Deut. 15-7-8)

In the Christian tradition, Jesus gave his followers a living example,  as he knelt to wash the feet of his disciples.  In the Gospel of Mark, the  teaching is clear  and compelling:  “The Son of Man came, not to be served, but to serve.” And so it must be with his disciples in every age.

In the Koran, service to humanity is addresses in powerful and compelling words: “No one among you is a true believer unless he loves for others what he loves for himself.” Show kindness to parents, and kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbor that is a kinsman, in the neighbor that is a stranger, and the companion by your side, and the wayfarer too… Surely Allah loves not the proud and the boastful.”

The second part of our prescription is our common vision and common commitment: To have tenderness toward the least, the last, and the lowliest in our midst.

There are to be no throw-away people, no second class citizens, no disposable souls. No exceptions! No exceptions! No exceptions!

This is the second part of our prescription that helps us stand together in love.

The third prescription is the most difficult  of  all.  In  a  world  that  seems  set  on dividing hearts and scattering communities, of fostering racism and turning blind eye toward gun violence, of aiding and abetting incivility and rudeness in public discourse, we need reconciliation more than ever.

The great religious traditions are of one voice: Reconcile broken relationships. Seek forgiveness, and strive tirelessly for peace.

The Christian scripture is direct and challenging: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”

The highly popular Saint Francis of Assisi wrote, “Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow your love.”

In the ancient Hebrew Scripture, the prophet Micah asks the hard question: “Whose iniquities does God tolerate? A person who forgives the transgressions of another.”

The Qur’an states emphatically, “Repel wrong with goodness and your foe will become  as close to you as an old and valued friend…the offering of kind words and gifts in the midst of enmity can soften the hearts and lead toward a more peaceful future.”

Our communities of faith must set a new standard, and raise a new bar. Violence is never acceptable. Disrespect is never acceptable. Incivility is never acceptable. Name calling, racial slurs and vicious epithets are never acceptable. We need new eyes, new vision, and a new resolve to reconcile the heart of humankind, and see one another as sons and daughters of the same living God.

This third part of our prescription strengthens our resolve to stand together in love.

Finally, part four of Dr. Sauvage’s prescription captures the spirit of the season-- never let another day go by without thanking and praising God for the countless blessings we have received that his hand.

This is the season for holy remembering!

Each time we breathe clean air, or drink potable water, or take a warm shower, or  share a meal, or gaze at the stars, or lay our heads on a pillow, or look into the eyes of our children and grandchildren, it is time for praise and thanksgiving.

The Sacred Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, and the sacred writings of every tradition are permeated with the constant theme of gratitude for all we have received at the hands of Providence.

Thanksgiving is our shared response to the continual and constant blessings, all things visible and invisible, that we have received from the hands of the Divine.

Dr. Martin Luther King gives voice to the spirit of Thanksgiving and quickens our resolve to stand together in love.

“When our days become dreary with low hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in the universe working to pull down the gigantic forces of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way, and transform dark yesterdays in the bright tomorrows.”

Is this not the cause for our Thanksgiving? Is this not cause for praise and gratitude? Is this not a prescription for a happy heart and a pathway to a better world?

Isn’t this why we can stand together in love?


Fr. James F. Crilly, CSV, who was among three missionaries to establish a Viatorian school and parish in Bogotá, Colombia in the early 1960s, has died. He passed away Nov. 2 at Addolorata Villa in Wheeling. Fr. Crilly was 89.

Fr. Crilly was born July 10, 1929, in Chicago, the son of Joseph and Theresa (Nash) Crilly. A graduate of St. Philip High School in Chicago, he pronounced his first vows on Aug. 15, 1950 and was ordained on Aug. 15, 1956. He earned a B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Illinois, Navy Pier and Loyola University, Chicago. He held an M.S. degree in Biology from Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. 

Fr. Crilly taught one year at Cathedral Boys High School, Springfield, IL (1952-53) and four years at Spalding Institute, Peoria, IL (1957-61) before going to Bogotá, Colombia in the summer of 1961. He was one of the three founding Viatorian Fathers of the Foundation of Colombia and the all-boys Catholic school, Colegio San Viator. In 1973, he returned to the United States to become formation director and coordinator of vocations and taught for one year at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights. In 1977, he was named pastor of St. Viator Parish in Chicago, before being appointed assistant provincial for the Province of Chicago in 1979, serving the Province in that position until 1983. He then returned to parish work, serving as pastor of Maternity BVM in Bourbonnais until 1991. In 1992, he was assigned as associate pastor at St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, NV and in 1994, as associate pastor at St. Patrick Church in Kankakee. Fr. Crilly became rector of Guardian Angel Cathedral in 1996 in Las Vegas and served in that position until 2002 when he retired. In retirement, he lived in Las Vegas until 2008, before moving to the Viatorian Province Center retirement residence in Arlington Heights.

He was preceded in death by his parents, along with his brothers Richard and Philip Crilly and his sister, Margaret Shields. He is survived by his sister, Sr. Virginia Marie Crilly, BVM and many nieces and nephews. 

Visitation for Fr. Crilly will be held from 10-11 a.m. Nov. 7, before a Mass of Christian burial, both at the Viatorian Province Center Chapel, located at 1212 E. Euclid Ave. in Arlington Heights. Interment will be at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside.

Bishop Thomas attended St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s 7th Annual Boo Bash & International Food Festival where he visited with parishioners and students, including the SEAS Cheer and Dance Squad. The Boo Bash included carnival style rides, games, raffles, Trick-or-Treating, jump houses, rock wall climbing and food. 

STATEMENT REGARDING RESOLUTION OF THE MATTER INVOLVING THE BISHOP GORMAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION AND J.A. TIBERTI COMPANY

LAS VEGAS, NV—The J.A. Tiberti Company and the Bishop Gorman Development Corporation  announced today that they have reached an amicable resolution to a longstanding dispute and that both parties are ready to move forward. 

Renaldo Tiberti, the President of Tiberti Construction, said that, “newly appointed Bishop Thomas and his team were very instrumental in bringing about a successful conclusion.  As life-long members of the Diocese and proud supporters of the high school, the Tiberti family is relieved to bring this matter to a friendly resolution.  The Tiberti Family has a decades-long relationship with Bishop Gorman High School as donors, supporters, graduates and current attendees. Our hearts are in this school, and we look forward to continuing this relationship for generations to come.”

“We are pleased that, through dialogue and conciliation, we were able to achieve a settlement and bring closure to a matter that has weighed heavily on both parties for a long time.  The parties worked collaboratively to bring about a successful resolution of this matter – in the spirit in which the services from J.A. Tiberti Construction had been rendered,” said Bishop George Leo Thomas, the newly installed Bishop of the Diocese of Las Vegas.   

The parties have agreed to terms of a settlement, but await final approval of the agreement from the bankruptcy court.  As such, details of the settlement will not be released.

Bishop Thomas said that “the Diocese of Las Vegas and, particularly, the Bishop Gorman High School community, are grateful to the extended Tiberti family for the legacy they leave to the young people of this diocese.  We believe that this agreement keeps alive the dream of J.A. Tiberti for generations to come.  The diocese takes this opportunity to acknowledge with gratitude the contributions of the Tiberti family. I see this as a time of new beginnings.”  

We are happy to announce that Bishop Leo Thomas has assigned  Fr. Miguel Corral to be here at St. Francis de Sales as Associate  Pastor beginning July 1, 2018

Fr. Miguel Corral - Associate Pastor

Miguel Corral was born in a small town of Presidios, Durango, Mexico  to Miguel and Consuelo Corral.  
His family owned a farm in Mexico where they raised cows, horses and chickens and enjoyed being  farmers.  
Father Miguel has one brother and five sisters, the youngest being his twin.  

“My parents individually impacted my life greatly but  
together even more so. The gave me a great example of communication, trust and love. According to my parents these three are the foundations of any relationship. The reason behind our close-ness is because our relationship as a family, for the most part, is rooted in Christ. Growing up, my parents, especially my father, was very big on teaching us how to be responsible men and women and always inculcated in us good moral., My father had a glow to him that impacted me and I will never forget it, That glow was his love for us. My father never once failed to remind us of his love for us. He is a man that represents balance in my life.”

His family immigrated to Las Vegas in 1995. He was scared of having to leave his childhood friends and start over again, never the less, his parents enrolled him at Roy Martin  Middle School where he made friends and began to feel better.  

“ My family immediately looked for a parish so we could attend Mass on Sundays. The closest parish to our home was St. Bridget Roman Catholic Church. The parish priest was Father L. James Swenson. He was a great influence in my life. ”    

Fr. Miguel began as a volunteer serving as usher, lector, catechist, Eucharistic Minister, RCIA Director and  Coordinator of the Spanish ministry under the Father James Swenson. Through the guidance of Fr. Swenson and after his death,  Miguel left his professional position at Bank of  America and entered the Seminary . He completed his theological studies at the University of Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois.

“ The four years I was at Mt. Angel Seminary were of tremendous help for my vocational discernment because it allowed me to attend daily Mass, prayers and adoration, which helped me clarify my calling. I was also blessed to have Fr. Paschal Chaline OBS, as my spiritual director. Fr. Paschal has helped me grow in my faith, has helped me to mature, and has inspired me by his love for the  priesthood.”

During his seminary formation he served at  
St. Bridget, St. Christopher, St. Francis of Assisi, Catholic Charities, St. Anne and other parishes in the Diocese of Las Vegas. Father Miguel has the distinction of being the first priest to be ordained by the new Bishop of the Diocese of Las Vegas, Most Rev. George Leo Thomas on Thursday, May 31, 2018.

Nos complace anunciar que el obispo Leo  Thomas ha asignado al Padre Miguel Corral a San Francisco de Sales como Vicario  Parroquial.  Él comenzará sus responsabilidades el primero de julio.

Miguel Corral nació en un pequeño pueblo de  Presidios, Durango, México a Miguel y Consuelo Corral. Su familia poseía una granja en México  donde criaban vacas, caballos y pollos y disfrutaban siendo agricultores. El padre Miguel tiene un hermano y cinco hermanas, siendo el más joven su gemelo.

"Mis padres individualmente impactaron mi vida enormemente pero juntos aún más. Ellos me dio un gran ejemplo de  comunicación, confianza y amor. Según mis padres, estos tres son los cimientos de cualquier relación. La razón detrás de nuestra cercanía es porque nuestra relación como familia, en su mayor parte, tiene sus raíces en Cristo. Al crecer, mis padres,  especialmente mi padre, fueron muy buenos en enseñarnos cómo ser hombres y mujeres responsables y siempre nos inculcaron una buena moral. Mi padre tenía un brillo que me impactó y nunca lo olvidaré. El resplandor era su amor por nosotros. Mi padre nunca dejó de recordarnos su amor por nosotros. Él es un hombre que  representa el equilibrio en mi vida.”

La familia emigró a Las Vegas en 1995. Tenía miedo de tener que dejar a sus amigos de la infancia y empezar de nuevo, sin embargo, sus padres lo inscribieron en Roy Martin Middle School donde hizo amigos y comenzó a sentir mejor.

"Mi familia inmediatamente buscó una parroquia para poder asistir a misa los domingos. La parroquia más cercana a nuestra casa era la Iglesia Católica Romana de Santa Brígida. El párroco era el Padre L. James Swenson. Él fue una gran influencia en mi vida. "

P. Miguel comenzó como voluntario sirviendo como acomodador, lector, catequista, ministro de la Eucaristía, director de RCIA y Coordinador del ministerio español bajo el padre James Swenson. A través de la guía del Padre Swenson y después de su muerte, Miguel dejó su posición profesional en el Banco de América y entró al Seminario. Él completó su estudios teológicos en la Universidad de Mary of the Lake en Mundelein, Illinois.

"Los cuatro años que estuve en el Seminario fue de gran ayuda para mi discernimiento vocacional porque me  
permitió asistir a Misa diaria, oraciones y adoración, lo que me ayudó a clarificar mi llamado. También tuve la bendición de tener al Padre. Paschal Chaline OBS, como mi director espiritual. P. Paschal me ha ayudado a crecer en mi fe, me ha ayudado a madurar y me ha inspirado por su amor al sacerdocio”.

Durante su formación en el seminario, sirvió en Santa Brígida, San Cristóbal, San Francisco de Asís, Caridades Católicas, Santa Ana y otras  parroquias en el Diócesis de Las Vegas. El Padre Miguel tiene la distinción de ser el primer sacerdote en ser ordenado por el nuevo Obispo de la Diócesis de Las Vegas, Reverendísimo  
George Leo Thomas, el jueves 31 de mayo de 2018. 
Thanksgiving Interfaith Service November 18, 2018

Praise to our good and gracious God. Amen. Alleluia!

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