Sally Ann Shurmur: Sunday Is Coming, Whether We Are Ready Or Not

Columnist Sally Ann Shurmur writes, "It’s been the 'unLentiest' Lent of my life, using a newly coined addition to the Sal dictionary."

Sally Ann Shurmur

March 28, 20244 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

It’s been the “unLentiest” Lent of my life, using a newly coined addition to the Sal dictionary.

Short of receiving ashes and Communion in my living room on Ash Wednesday and extremely upping my daily prayer game, there hasn’t been a whole lotta Lent happening here.

I suppose one could say that my physical suffering, really for the first time in my life, is sacrifice enough.

I disagree.

But here we are. Easter is Sunday and I somehow feel like the hostess who invites people over and forgets to clean the bathroom until the doorbell rings. I hope there will be enough time.

The Diocese of Cheyenne discontinued the lovely weekly Sunday TV Mass in September, reasoning that nearly each parish does live-streaming of some kind and EWTN is readily available to those with satellite TV.

In a longstanding arrangement with K2TV in Casper, the masses were filmed at St. Patrick’s Church there.

It was a personal pet project of dearly beloved Msgr. James O’Neill, but once he passed, the responsibility fell to the diocesan body of priests, which is dwindling in number.

Without that Mass on Sunday, I was shopping around for another outlet.

Because I spend most of my life on X (formerly known as Twitter) for sports news, I was blessed to find Joeinblack, a motorcycle-riding priest in Michigan whose passions are Michigan State and the Detroit Tigers. His tagline is “I’m kind of a big deal.”

Since childhood, the strength of my faith has been tied to individual priests and their personalities. Right or wrong, these men of God either were welcomed into my life 100 percent  or simply said Mass and heard confessions.

My parents were great friends with many of them, so it was not at all unusual to have them at the dinner table on a random weeknight.

Two of my absolute favorites, Fr. Carl Beavers and Fr. Tom Ogg, died recently, and my personal connection to really great guys whom I knew on a personal level died with them.

Both were Wyoming guys to the core, “The Beavs,” as my mom referred to him from Powell and Fr. Ogg from Worland.

Both had long stints in Laramie, where Fr. Beavers had the unenviable task of trying to teach me math at St. Laurence. Aside from our daily banter, that was not a particularly successful venture for either of us.

Father Joe’s homilies are tremendous, because they are approachable and easy to understand.

During Lent, he explored the seven last phrases of Jesus as he hung dying on the cross.

Here are three nuggets from those homilies as we wait for Sunday to come.

•He saw His mother and said, “Behold your mother, woman behold your Son.” He sees you when you are standing at the foot of the cross.

•”Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” The Romans who were there looked around and thought, we just put an innocent man to death.

•”It is finished.” Jesus is making a statement of victory. The plan was more or less finished. Mission accomplished. In that moment, when he took His last breath, you and I became free.

Thanks to Father Joe, some random guy I found on an app, maybe it was a pretty good Lent after all.

However you spend Sunday, here’s hoping for enough chairs at your table and wine for your glasses.

Sally Ann Shurmur can be reached at:

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Sally Ann Shurmur