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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Posted on December 01, 2020 in: Pastor

No, it is not January 1st.  The liturgical (Church) year does not match New Year’s Day, the beginning of the calendar year. The Church year is distinctive.  It always begins on the first Sunday of Advent, and with it comes a shift in the cycle of Scripture readings. (This year the focus is on the Gospel of St. Mark.)

Advent is the four-week liturgical season that precedes Christmas. The term “Advent” is derived from the Latin word “advents” which means “coming,” and it focuses not only on the past coming of Jesus on the first Christmas; but also on the present coming of Jesus in the gospels, the sacraments, other people, prayer, love, truth, and personal experience; and the future coming of Jesus at the Second or Final Coming at the end of the world, the Parousia or the Last Judgement.

Advent is not Lent or a miniature version of Lent.  In fact, the two seasons are extremely different.  Advent stresses hope and joy, Lent stresses penance and sorrow;  Advent emphasizes what we need to add to our lives (e.g., grace, light, joy), while Lent emphasizes what we need to remove (sin).  Advent stresses preparation with festivity!  Advent features the Prophet Isaiah.  How great it would be if we could read two chapters of Isaiah each day.

St. John the Baptist is the main saint of Advent.  He is “the prophet of the Most High”, the immediate forerunner of Jesus, and the link between the Old Testament prophets and Jesus Himself.  John the Baptist is the voice crying out in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”  John also directed peoples’ attention from himself to Jesus and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God” and made one of the momentous statements in the gospels as he declared, “He (Jesus) must increase; I must decrease”.  I pray that all of us can have a spiritually profitable Advent as through the Bible, the Sacraments, Prayer, and Works of Charity, Jesus increases in power and brilliance in our lives! 

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Thanksgiving to God

Posted on November 20, 2020 in: Pastor

Thanksgiving to God

ON THANKSGIVING DAY, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26th,
MASS WILL BE OFFERED ONLY AT 9 a.m.

So much of 2020 has been beyond our control, and we have naturally focused on limitations and restrictions, the uncertainty and loss of the people and opportunities we miss most.  With record numbers of people infected by covid-19, Thanksgiving Day is a good moment to take a deep breath and focus on the parts of our lives that bring us joy and for which we are thankful to our God.  Gratitude to God can open our hearts to God’s gift of happiness.  Gratitude to God helps us all feel more positive emotions, improve our health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

Of the many things that will be remembered in the aftermath of 2020, the moments of warmth and kindness will surely be some of the brightest ones.  Acts of kindness are not strictly a pandemic phenomenon, but perhaps they have taken on a new significance.  Kindness can be God working through each of us that unlocks our shared humanity.  We are all sisters and brothers, created in the image and likeness of God.  Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community, and enables others to see Christ in YOU!

In the face of fear, uncertainty, and isolation it is all too easy so give in to frustration.  This year God gives us the opportunity to strengthen our community, and be even more of the presence of Jesus in us and in others.  

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!

SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING

On this last Sunday of the Church’s Liturgical year, we honor Jesus as the center of creation.  The attitude demanded of us as true believers is that of recognizing and accepting in our lives the centrality of Jesus Christ, in our thoughts, in our words and in our works.

We must work every day, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to draw closer to Jesus.  In our own increasingly “post-Christian” society, we cannot be complacent in our spiritual lives.  To acknowledge the Kingship of Christ means that we should dedicate ourselves to prayer, to building up our families and our parish communities, and to bringing healing to our broken world.

The Kingdoms of this world at times are sustained by arrogance, rivalries and oppression; the reign of Christ is a “Kingdom of justice, love, and peace.”

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From Our Pastor...

Posted on October 22, 2020 in: Pastor

From Our Pastor...

CHILDREN AND THE POWER OF PRAYER

Growing up, our parents, and our teachers in elementary school, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, opened our eyes to the power of prayer.

What a great power unleashed—to pray together as a family.  In the month of November, we were introduced to praying for those who had died.  The reality of purgatory was explained.  But more importantly, the power of prayer for those in purgatory impressed upon us that God would answer our prayers for those who were preparing to be with Christ in Glory for all eternity.

Perhaps we could use this analogy from American historical records:

Years ago an immigrant seeking entry into our country through New York Harbor was first detained at Ellis Island for registration.  Before these immigrants on Ellis Island rose the Statue if Liberty and the towers of the New York City skyline, symbols of America as a land of freedom and opportunity.  But if any of these immigrants had an illness, they would be detained at Ellis Island in quarantine till the last trace was cleared up.  Analogously, Purgatory is kind of like an “Ellis Island off the coast of Heaven.”  As the immigrants who were detained in quarantine on Ellis Island had to wait until their sicknesses were gone before entering into America, so the souls in Purgatory must wait until all defilement and traces of sin are purified before entering into Heaven.  Nothing tainted can enter the holy and dazzling presence of God.

To take the analogy a step further, don’t immigrants even in our own day enter into our country all the more quickly and easily if they have a sponsor?  Someone who is already an American citizen to speak on their behalf, informing our government that they will be productive members of society?  In a similar way, we members of the Church Militant still on earth have the role of being sponsors for the souls in Purgatory.  We can speak on their behalf by praying, offering up our penances, and having Masses offered for them so they might all the more quickly enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

THANK YOU, ALEX TREBEK.  YOU WERE A GENTLEMAN AND A SCHOLAR!

This article was sent to me by a great fan of the television quiz show—”Jeopardy!”  Because of its length, I have edited the article from America:

The recent death of Alex Trebek (1940-2020) after a very public battle with pancreatic cancer has plunged millions of us into mourning.  Trebek was not a politician, not an athlete, not a rock star, not a member of our pantheon of faux heroes.  He was a gentleman who guides us through what remains of an older, genteel culture that prizes intellectual achievement and cultural sophistication.  His program was one of the last places that had not surrendered to the vulgarity of stand-up comedy or to the demolition-derby rhetoric of our political campaigns.  The charity with which he treated flummoxed contestants who couldn’t seem to master the clicker or who slumped into a point deficit was a reminder of the shades of politeness we long ago abandoned.

For your civility, your urbanity, your charity, your courage in fighting cancer, your love of education and your commitment to classical culture—a great thanks, Alex, from all of us.  We are in your debt.

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From Our Pastor

Posted on September 18, 2020 in: Pastor

From Our Pastor

Mental Health & Spiritual Health

Covid-19 has devastated Americans’ mental health. Younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, caregivers report having experienced disproportionately worse mental health, increased substance abuse, and elevated thoughts of suicide.  Pope Francis encourages a national commitment to become “artisans of the common good.”  Artisans make the most of life’s every day  junctures by focusing on the value of those they meet, whether or not a person can do something to benefit them in return, and regardless of whether they are family or friend.  Anyone, in any position, can say hello to a stranger on the street rather than avert our eyes.  We can choose to value people rather than devalue them.

Much of many peoples’ lives is suffering—in a pandemic or not.  But sometimes we make it harder on ourselves and one another than it needs to be.  Our everyday interactions are opportunities to affirm someone’s dignity and to infuse their life with kindness.

In addition, there has long been a stigma surrounding mental illness. Depression, anxiety, hopelessness, thoughts of suicide are often hidden by people, ashamed at their purported weakness and lack of faith.  Such beliefs, such thinking are both untrue and dangerous, causing those who are suffering to refuse necessary treatment (such as counseling or medication).

To underscore the truth that mental illness is not a sign of spiritual weakness, the Catholic Church points out saints who lived with mental illness, saints who struggled with thoughts of suicide, saints who went to therapy and took medication. Let us pray for each other!

The Sanctuary of Our Church

During the last two weeks I have sought the input of our parishioners regarding the drape behind the Tabernacle.  Thanks to those who responded by e-mail or by phone.  As a result, we will not have a drape which would change colors by the liturgical season with the use of lighting.

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