Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Homily Podcast



My Coat of Arms

May 24th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Coat of Arms

Today is the 4th anniversary of my ordination as a priest. In honor of this occasion, I received a rather unique gift. Some of my parishioners commissioned an artist to design a coat of arms for me. While Popes and bishops are required to make use of arms, it is optional for the rest of the clergy. Like bishops, however, there are official rules for how a priest’s coat of arms are designed. The primary symbol is the black hat (galero) with the two tassels.

For the elements on the shield (called “charges”) I worked with the artist to create something meaningful and that people might recognize as belonging to me. My first thought was of course to honor my patron St. John the Baptist. For this I thought of a river. It just so happens that the coat of arms for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has a river. I therefore decided to borrow the symbols from the archdiocesan arms. This is especially fitting since the tower by the river represents Ft. Leavenworth and I was born in Leavenworth.

The tower in my arms therefore evokes my place of birth, but also primarily the Church. Notice that the way to enter is through the gate with a keystone and 12 smaller stones. The defense of the top of the tower is marked by 4 large stones representing the 4 evangelists. Notice also that one must cross the river (baptism) to enter the church (through Jesus and the apostles). The strong tower by the river could also signify St. John standing strongly by the river and the tower is also often used as an image of Our Lady.

Those who know me will have no difficulty with the thuribles. I love the Sacred Liturgy and don’t mind some Holy Smoke every now and then. Together they represent Divine Worship and our prayer rising up to God, as well as liturgy in general.

Finally, the motto underneath is the famous line of St. Philip to Jesus, “Show us the Father” (Ostende Nobis Patrem). St. Philip is my secondary patron and the saint who put the “P” in Shawn P. Tunink. I love St. Philip’s request because when he finally gets up the courage to ask Jesus for exactly what he wants, the thing he most wants is to see God, the beatific vision. Now, Jesus kind of had to correct him a little bit, but I like that too. It shows humility and that we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for what we want, even if we don’t get it perfectly right.

The motto also expresses a prayer for a renewal of fatherhood in our world. More than ever today we need strong and holy fathers. There is truly only one Father, Our Father in heaven. If I, or any other man, am to be called father, it must be my mission to show others “The Father.”

The official description (called a blazon) and explanation follow. Much thanks to Fr. Guy Selvester for his great talent in designing these arms and to my parishioners for a perfect anniversary gift.


Blazon and Explanation

of the

Armorial Bearings of

Rev. Fr. Shawn P. Tunink


BLAZON: Gules between two thuribles Or with smoke emanating from them Argent, a tower embattled with an open portal composed of twelve stones and a capstone Or; in base a barrulet wavy Argent.

EXPLANATION: The armorial bearings of Fr. Shawn P. Tunink reflect the local Church to which he belongs, his baptismal patrons, and his love of the Sacred Liturgy. The field is colored red; a color often associated with Divinity and with the Holy Spirit as a way of expressing the desire that all the endeavors undertaken by this armiger have God at their source. The gold tower is symbolic of the Church. Its open gate is composed of a keystone and 12 smaller stones signifying Jesus and the 12 apostles. The river below the tower, which one must cross to enter, alludes to Baptism and the bearer’s primary patron, St. John the Baptist. The tower and the river together are borrowed from the coat of arms of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas in which the bearer is incardinated as a priest. Therein the tower and the river represent Fort Leavenworth, the bearer’s place of birth, and the Missouri River. The two smoking thuribles, evoke the incense used in divine worship as a sign of our prayers rising up to God and being pleasing in His presence, and allude to the bearer’s love of prayer and the Church’s Sacred Liturgy.

The shield is ensigned with the black galero of a priest, with black cords terminating in two black tassels in accord with the ancient custom of the Church and the decrees of the Holy See. The motto appears below the shield on a scroll saying, “Ostende Nobis Patrem” (show us the Father). This phrase, uttered by St. Philip, expresses the desire to see God and is very meaningful to the bearer as St. Philip is his secondary baptismal patron.

The armorial bearings of Fr. Shawn P. Tunink were designed and emblazoned by the Very Rev. Guy W. Selvester, a priest of the Diocese of Metuchen, NJ.

Homily 211 – Ascension of the Lord

May 20th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Heavenly Help for a Universal Mission

When Jesus ascended to heaven, he did not abandon his apostles. Rather he becomes present in a new and even more powerful way. The divine assistance he gives from heaven will be all the more necessary considering the mission he has given them. He tells them to go to the ends of the earth preaching the Gospel. Their mission is the make the Church “universal” or, in the Greek, Catholic. Today the Church does exist even to the ends of the world. We must carry out this same mission. The good news is that we are not alone. Jesus is with us as well.

Homily 210 – 6th Sunday of Easter

May 13th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

All You Need Is Love

In 1967, the theologians Lennon and McCartney pronounced their famous dogma, “All you need is love.” It sounds so simple and peaceful. Yet, as another later theologian (and Eurodance phenom) Haddaway asked in 1993, “What is love?” We use the word love to refer to a lot of different things. I “love” everything from my dog, to pizza, to my spouse, to God. Using the same word to refer to such different things has indeed created confusion.

Fortunately, in the original languages of the Bible, there is actually more than just one word to talk about all these different kinds of “love.” Today’s homily focuses on 3 of those words from the original Greek of the Bible: eros, philos, and agape. If you understand the distinctions between these three, then maybe Lennon and McCartney were right.

Homily 209 – Bishop Miege Baccalaureate

May 12th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

What You Need To Know

To the Bishop Miege High School class of 2012. Congratulations on your achievements. Having finished your finals and passed all your classes, it is clear that you know a lot about a lot of things. However, as you leave Bishop Miege, here are just three more things that I hope you will know.

Homily 208 – 5th Sunday of Easter

May 6th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Staying Connected

Jesus tells us today that our mission is to go and bear fruit, much fruit. Yet, in order to achieve this mission he reminds us that we have got to stay connected to him, as branches on a vine. Notice that remaining connected to Jesus, the vine, also means that we must stay connected to all the other branches. We need all those branches. To be united in Jesus is to become a family. This is what we see in the Acts of the Apostles and this is what we are called to be today. It’s more challenging with a couple billion of us, but we are truly all brothers and sisters, united in our connection to Jesus.

Homily 207 – 4th Sunday of Easter

April 29th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Be Like Binkles

Me and Binkles

Today we hear the beautiful story of the Good Shepherd. We probably don’t think much about it, but this means that Jesus is calling us sheep. What kind of sheep do we think we are? We normally picture sheep as being cute and fuzzy, like Binkles my little stuffed sheep. Today’s homily reveals the true story…the dark side if you will…of sheep. On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations let us give thanks for our shepherds. Let’s be the kind of sheep we normally picture in our minds. Let’s all do our best to “Be Like Binkles.”

Homily 206 – 3rd Sunday of Easter

April 22nd, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Called to Witness

The following homily was given at the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas

What a contrast we see between Peter and the apostles before Pentecost and then the radical change afterward. They get such courage from the Holy Spirit. They are a great example for how each of us is called to give our testimony about Jesus. Peter boldly proclaims, “We are witnesses.” The Greek word here is martyroi…”martyrs” in English. We shouldn’t expect it to be easy to preach the good news about Jesus. Yet, if we really know what good news it is, then nothing should hold us back. We too are called to be His witnesses.

Homily 205 – Easter Sunday

April 8th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

You Are The Evidence

“He saw and believed,” is says of St. John in today’s Gospel. What did he see that caused him to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead? What evidence is there for the resurrection? If you go to Jerusalem you can see the same thing that John saw on that first Easter…an empty tomb. Something about the empty tomb touched the faith of St. John that allowed him to believe. Why do we believe? What evidence do we have? Probably many of us can describe an experience when we have in fact encountered Jesus. Our challenge this Easter is to go share the good news. Other people need to know about Jesus. We are called to be witnesses; we are called to be living evidence of the resurrection.

Homily 204 – Good Friday

April 6th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Making This Day Good

This day marks the most tragic event in the history of the world. God loved us so much that he came in person to show us his love…and we killed him. Yet, as Jesus hung dying on the cross he prayed, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” If we realize today how much we need God’s mercy and are willing to change our lives to put God first, then we will have something to celebrate tomorrow night. If we are willing to ask for forgiveness then we can even dare to call this darkest of days…good.

Homily 203 – Holy Thursday

April 5th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The Night of That Last Supper

This evening we sing an ancient hymn composed by St. Thomas Aquinas for the Mass of Corpus Christi in the 13th century. While most people will probably never read much of the volumes of theology he wrote, almost everyone is familiar with the words of his famous chant, Pange Lingua. We use the last two verses which begin with the wordsTantum Ergo in the liturgy of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Tonight this chant serves to accompany the procession at the end of Mass whereby we spiritually follow Jesus as he leaves the upper room and goes to the Garden of Gethsemane. Tonight we sing of his glorious body and receive that same body through the gift of the Eucharist. Tonight we are Jesus’ “chosen band.”

Sing, my tongue, the Savior’s glory,
of His flesh the mystery sing;
of the Blood, all price exceeding,
shed by our immortal King,
destined, for the world’s redemption,
from a noble womb to spring.

Of a pure and spotless Virgin
born for us on earth below,
He, as Man, with man conversing,
stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
then He closed in solemn order
wondrously His life of woe.

On the night of that Last Supper,
seated with His chosen band,
He the Pascal victim eating,
first fulfills the Law’s command;
then as Food to His Apostles
gives Himself with His own hand.

Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
by His word to Flesh He turns;
wine into His Blood He changes;
what though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
faith her lesson quickly learns.

Down in adoration falling,
This great Sacrament we hail,
Over ancient forms of worship
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith will tell us Christ is present,
When our human senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
And the Son who made us free
And the Spirit, God proceeding
From them Each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty.