A priest who makes his own light saber? You betcha. And soon he will be a bishop!
Deep in the heart of Texas, a campus chaplain is busy making his final spiritual and practical preparations for becoming a bishop. However, unlike many of his soon-to-be brother-bishops, Fr. David Konderla is carving his very own staff – or crosier – to signify his new position and duty as a teacher and head of a diocese.
“Every Jedi has not completed his training until he’s made his own light saber that he uses to fight evil with – so this is my light saber,” Bishop-elect David Konderla told CNA in an interview.
You probably never thought of a priest or a bishop as a Jedi. And you probably never thought that they would need a light saber although they do fight evil. For Fr. Konderla it’s a symbol of his role as a bishop. How does he make a crosier? What does it stand for?
A crosier is a hooked staff – based on the shape of a shepherd’s staff – carried by bishops in the Catholic Church to symbolize their pastoral function in the Church. Other important symbols of a bishop’s position are the pectoral cross worn on a bishop’s chest, the mitre- or hat, and the episcopal ring.
Fr. Konderla saved wood from trees that were taken down to build a parish center. “I was able to incorporate some of that wood into this crosier so it will have that special meaning.”
The crosier has a bottom section that is detachable so that you can travel with it. The hook is a little trickier to make. Fr. Konderla takes thinly-sliced strips of wood that are softened with steam from a kettle on his stovetop. After they soften, he quickly bends them around a form and lets them cool. Then they can be glued together to form an “ugly” square piece of wood that is whittled and smoothed until it takes the form of a hook. He will use different woods in the same process to make three rings of wood that he sees as “representing the trinity.” Then the staff will be stained and polished.
Fr. Konderla and his brother, a jeweler, are working together to design and make a ring based on St. Pope John Paul II’s fisherman’s ring. The ring includes gold from their mother’s wedding ring and incorporates his devotions to the Sacred Heart, Divine Mercy and Mary.
Fr. Konderla said that this project of creating the crosier and ring are reflecting the beauty that God creates in the world. “Art is expressive of the divine,” and woodwork in particular is an art form that must respect God’s own beautiful creations, he said. He will be setting up his workshop in his new garage as a bishop!
Everything in our Church has meaning from the stained glass to the vestments that the Priest wears. Our homes say a lot about us from the colors we like to the style of furniture. We wear different styles of clothing or jewelry. Do you have your Grandmother’s favorite teapot? Maybe something that belonged to your great-grandparents? As Christians, we all choose how we show our faith. I wear a cross and a few Saint medals. I have crosses in my home and religious pictures among the many of family or art that I have created. I also have treasures that have been handed down in my family. All of those are carried with me like the bishop’s crosier. They ‘shepherd’ and guide me through life just like the shepherd’s staff. Our challenge is to be good shepherds to those around us.
Here are some staffs from our popes:
Pope Francis looks pretty serious here as he listens intently. He has asked us to show mercy to each other, especially our families and listen to the poor. He wants us to make a difference in the world around us!
Pope Benedict XVI is smiling!
A week ago I read the Sunday Readings for July 19 that focused on Christ’s peace and this was my summary:
St. Paul says Christ is our peace. He will bring us together. We all have access to the Holy Spirit! We are brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. How can you make peace? Mark tells us how Jesus said we can be ready for being peacemakers and going out into the world. Jesus said, “Come to a deserted place and rest.” Interesting that He said, ‘Come’ not just ‘Go.’ He will go with you. And, you will find rest. So, we can do our best today. And then, rest up for tomorrow. Be sure to find your own retreat time!
What I really love about reading and reflecting on Scripture is that I always see something different if I really look. Contemplating the meaning of Scripture changes from day to day and year to year. Today as I heard the Readings proclaimed, the first reading from Jeremiah stood out like a flashing road sign.
“Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter.” Today that jumped out. When I talk to teens about what the Scriptures can mean to them, being a shepherd is a great topic. You may be able to relate, too. Have you ever thought of yourself as a shepherd? Just think about the basic idea of a shepherd: leading and guiding. We are shepherds of our friends. We can lead them well and raise the bar. Or, we can lead them astray. Today, that could mean gossip, bullying, drinking and drugs or just being negative. Are we lifting people’s spirits? Are we bringing hope and peace?
A big shocker to teens is that you can be an ‘accessory to sin’. Most of us relate an ‘accessory’ to a crime. You can go to jail for helping someone commit a crime even if you didn’t do it. Same goes for sin. You are in big trouble with ‘the guy upstairs’ if you lead someone to sin. This is probably what I would have said to a class this week.
That reading was followed by Psalm 23. It contains the explanation of what our Good Shepherd does for us. It’s our example for being a shepherd to those around us as well.
So, regroup. How can you be a better shepherd today and tomorrow? Examine your conscience. Is your barometer working properly? Twelve Step programs tell us to do an inventory. Take stock. What can you change? Take one small step toward a brighter future. Then read the first paragraph again. Retreat and regroup. Rest and then start again tomorrow! – Mrs. D