Father John Bayer

Father Bayer: Unveiling the eclipse

At Cistercian, we had an incredible view of the total eclipse on April 8. After weeks of wondering whether the weather forecast would prove true – total cloud cover and even rain – we excitedly noticed the sun piercing through the clouds just as the school was processing to the abbey to celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation. Clouds continued to diminish during Mass, and afterward we walked with gratitude to the football field to await totality.


Father Bayer: Strive in Christ: The journey of Lent and Easter

Lent is a season dedicated to conversion. It is a period of self-reflection, resolution, and anticipation. We must change our ways and grow. Easter is dedicated to celebrating the revelation of God’s infinite mercy, the new life and grace He showers upon us as He forgives us all our sins, heals all our infirmities, and even enables us to pass through death to share in His divine love forever.


Father Bayer: Looking for prophets

My impression is that many people today think we live in unprecedented and negative times. They feel afraid as they watch ideologies make bold moves for economic and political power. In a certain basic sense, it is hard for me to agree that our times are unprecedented. The Church must struggle in every age, and we just don’t have that divine vision which would allow us to compare, definitively or apocalyptically, our own age with any other. On the other hand, I can easily understand the feeling that things are urgent; after all, these are our times, and so we are, quite rightly, sensitive to their dramatic character.

Synod Cristo Rey (7 of 9)

Father Bayer: Lay engagement in the synod and beyond

As a member of the synod preparatory commission, one of the exciting things I have seen is the synergy between clergy and laity in our diocese. Of course, we are still a pilgrim people, and the data we received from the listening sessions shows the need for further growth. Nonetheless, it has been beautiful, as a priest, to work shoulder to shoulder with so many dedicated lay people and priests on the commission and elsewhere, all of us wanting to try our best to give ourselves away for the good of the Church.


Father Bayer: The Witness of Little Souls, Part 2

Mothers are gifted by God with unique insight into the mystery of life and its connection, for now, to the tragedy of death. Just think of Mary. Her maternity extended from Bethlehem to Calvary: to be a mother as God desires, Mary had to give life to a person destined to pass through death. Her fiat or “yes” to life at the Annunciation is not merely biological; it is a cooperation with God’s whole Providence for the one she births. That means that an ‘openness to life’ is at the same time a certain openness to death, and thus, for now, the joy of motherhood is always accompanied by pain (Gn 3:16; Jn 16:21).


Father Bayer: The Witness of Little Souls, Part 1

When people die after long lives, we sometimes limit our sadness by turning their funerals into “celebrations of life” by sharing endearing stories about them, and sometimes we can even experience gratitude that the person is at rest after a difficult illness. But what do we “celebrate” for children who didn’t have much chance to live?


Father Bayer: The evolution of worship

I read a wonderful book recently that I think lots of people should read, especially science-minded people: Vestige of Eden, Image of Eternity by Daniel Toma. Dr. Toma is a geneticist at Minnesota State University, as well as a wide reader of Catholic theology from both the eastern and western traditions.


Father Bayer: Eucharist

You may know the Church in America is promoting a National Eucharistic Revival. After a few years of grassroots initiatives, it culminates with a major event in July 2024. Check out eucharisticrevival.org for details. Why have a revival? As the authors of the website write, “Our world is hurting. We all need healing, yet many of us are separated from the very source of our strength. Jesus Christ invites us to return to the source and summit of our faith: his Real Presence in the Eucharist.”