Homily for Friday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Friday, November 4, 2022
Cirque Italia Mass under the Big Top at Westtown Mall in Knoxville
Philippians 3:17—4:1; Psalm 122:1-2, 3-4AB, 4CD-5; Luke 16:1-8

I was able to arrange a Mass for some of the faithful of the Cirque Italia circus family, celebrated as a bi-lingual Mass by Fr. Pete Iorio of Our Lady of Fatima parish in Alcoa. They are in town this weekend at the Westtown Mall. It was an incredibly blessed time with some wonderful people.

I believe I may have a call to serve in ministry with Fr. Frank Cancro who serves as the National Circus Chaplin for the USCCB’s Circus and Traveling Shows Ministries. You can read more about Fr. Frank and his ministry here. I did realize today that I’m going to have to learn at least some Spanish if I’m going to be involved in this ministry! Christine and I are excited to have been invited to attend their national meeting in Sarasota, FL in February 2023.

Here’s my homily from today’s Mass (I apologize for the rather poor quality of the audio). There are a few photos at the bottom of the page.

Audio Recording


  • Introduce myself, it’s so great to be here with you today
  • A special thanks to Alex for his help arranging this Mass today
  • I also want to thank Fr. Pete for coming today, for taking time out of his busy schedule
  • Finally, I want thank all of you for coming, as I know this is fairly early in the day and you have each made a personal sacrifice to be here. God will certainly bless you for this.
  • Before offering a few words about our readings today, I want you to know that I am in touch with Fr. Frank Cancro, who is the National Chaplin for circus people…he works for the Bishop’s conference here in the U.S. and you might think of him as your spiritual father. 
      • When he’s not traveling, Fr. Frank spends some of his time at St. Martha’s Catholic Church in Sarasota, which is the official parish for people who travel with the circus
          • He will be in Sarasota during most of January, preparing for the annual meeting in February of the Circus and Traveling Show Ministry. 
          • For those of you who live in the Sarasota area, this would be a good time for you to meet with Fr. Frank to have your children baptized or to discuss any other sacramental or special needs you may have. 
      • At the annual meeting, Fr. Jerry Hogan will be accepted into the prestigious Circus Ring of Fame on Saturday, February 4.
      • The Annual Circus Mass will be Sunday morning, February 5 at St. Martha’s with a reception to follow. 
      • My wife Christine and I have been invited by Fr. Frank to attend the meeting and festivities and I hope to see some of you there.
  • Now I’d like to say a few words about today’s first reading.
  • All of us here who are baptized are God’s children. We are members of God’s family. 
      • You are also members of your circus family, which I’m sure includes both Christians and non-Christians
      • While it’s easy to know that you are members of your circus family where you work every day, it’s much more important to always remember that you are members of God’s family. 
          • Your true identity is that you are a child of God and that your eternal citizenship is in heaven
          • As God’s children, as citizens of heaven, you must be good examples for those in your circus family who may not yet have come to know Jesus Christ and his love for them. 
          • The way to do this is to love everyone with the same love that Christ loves us. 
          • We must be role models for others by conducting ourselves according to the teachings of the Church
      • Whether or not you are aware of it, when people know that you are a Christian they will be watching you. They will look at how you treat others and listen to what you say. 
      • This is why it is so important to treat everyone with respect and kindness. 
      • To hold our tongues and control our tempers. To be kind and generous with others. This is how we attract people to our Christian faith.
      • It is our responsibility as baptized Christians to show Christ’s love to everyone. People actually encounter him in us, working through us. 
      • We can only be a good witness for Christ when we keep our eyes fixed on heaven. When we live in such a way that shows others that the most important thing in this life is to get to heaven, helping each other to get to heaven. 
      • While this life can be a difficult journey, it is a short journey, but certainly worth the effort to live a holy life when we truly believe that our eternal home is in heaven. 
      • God wants all of us to live with Him forever in heaven. He has an amazing new life prepared for us there if we only turn our lives over to him in this life, doing our best to live according to his Law of Love. 
      • None of us are perfect…we all make mistakes, we are all sinners, but God completely forgives us when we come to him for forgiveness. 
          • He loves you so much that he actually forgets those things you may have done that have offended him if you admit your faults and promise to do your best to avoid sinning again.
          • This is why Jesus gave us the Sacrament of Confession, where he wipes our slate clean of our sins and restores us to a state of grace with God the Father. 
          • Fr. Pete is willing to stay for awhile after Mass to hear confessions if anyone would like to receive this healing sacrament.
      • So my brothers and sisters in Christ, may God’s blessings be with you as you do your work here in Knoxville.
      • May he protect you from all harm and give you the grace to always keep your eyes fixed on heaven as you perform and do your jobs here within your circus family. 
      • May you always remember how much God loves you and may you show his love to all those who are on this journey with you. If you do this, your reward will be great in heaven!

God bless you.