Mission Week: The ‘Seven Last Words of Christ’
St. Nicholas parishioners celebrate,
study Christ’s words from the Cross
It had been many years since St. Nicholas Parish in Kinsley hosted a Mission Week.
The wait was well worth it when, during the second week of Lent, Father Daniel Balizan of Raton, NM, spoke on the “Seven Last Words of Christ.”
Each evening, Father Balizan read what Christ spoke from the Cross and helped everyone understand better the meaning of these words, bringing us to a closer understanding of the sacrifice Christ made for us.
Father Balizan cajoled responses from everyone, and with his energetic presentation, quickly had everyone involved in the mission each evening. “This energizes me,” he said. “These are things I need to hear, too.”
Father Balizan is pastor of St. Patrick/St. Joseph Parish in the Diocese of Santa Fe, in Raton. He met Father Marvin Reif of St. Nicholas Parish while they were seminarians, and the two became fast friends.
Father Balizan said he was “called to more than celebrating Mass” about 15 years ago when people started inviting him to speak at conferences and retreats. He keeps especially busy during Lent but is supported by his own parish throughout the year.
Father Balizan comes from a family of 10 brothers and one sister, most of whom live in Wyoming. His oldest brother, Tony, creates small wooden crosses every year for him to give to his parishioners. These are strung on a string to be worn around the neck. Father Balizan presented each person at the Mission with one of these crosses with the admonition that they cherish the cross as he does.
“I love the cross and it renews me,” he said.
Father Balizan will soon be celebrating his 25th anniversary of ordination. “I love my vocation,” he said. “I love being a priest.”
He said that when someone asks him how he’s doing, he always responds, “I am blessed.” He encouraged everyone to respond the same: “You need to remember that it is still a sin to lie,” Father Balizan said with a smile.