Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Convent Electric Update

The power to the Convent failed right before Thanksgiving. Thankfully there is a natural gas powered generator that provides heat, hot water and keeps the refrigerators going. After some time,, it has been determined that the buried underground line has to be replaced. On Monday, a 100 yard path was cleared through the woods. The new copper wire has been ordered from Georgia. This could take 5 days to arrive. When it arrives, a trench will be dug, new pipe laid and a power line attached from the pole to the building. The sisters have been amazingly patient. As soon as power is restored, we will open the Adoration Chapel. Please sign up to Flock Notes to get updates!

Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Thursday, December 8 is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a Holy Day of Obligation. Masses will be offered on Wednesday evening at 7:30 pm (we will be joined by Religious Education students) and on Thursday at 7:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m. (we will be joined by St. Denis - St. Columba School students) and at 7:30 p.m.

John The Baptist

Doing Christmas shopping – saw Santa, Frosty & Baby Jesus – no JB!
On the way to Bethlehem – we must cross the Jordan River.
This is where we meet that unusual figure – John the Baptist
Most consider him the last and greatest of the OT prophets.
Jesus took him very seriously “among those born of women none greater than JB”
Church celebrates 3 birthdays
-          Jesus – Dec 25           Mary – Sept 8      JB – June 24

He spent a great deal of time in desert – why? - no distractions – so he can listen to God.  Every now and then – put aside phone, turn off TV -just be with God
Here is fruit of his desert time:

1)      He learned about Humility
“I am not worthy to untie his sandals” & “he must increase and I must decrease.”
Humility – this is not putting oneself down.
Realize – in certain areas of life – things happen that I cannot control  -  I am not in control! Talk with nephew Kevin – you are praying for my Mom, right? My sister is cancer free but will be on medication for 5 years – but you are still praying, right?     I Need a Savior.   I need Eucharist  -  I need prayer  -   I need God!

2)      He learned about Repentance
I visited 2nd grade this week. Students pointed out to me: Elf on the shelf – a scout sent by Santa from the North Pole – helps Santa manage his naughty and nice list – goes to NP each night to make his report about what you were doing.
A tough one – I would not stand a chance  -  see: Baptist knows I will sin, but I also can be forgiven – Baptist: turn back to God!
Nothing like a good confession!!!  Reconciliation Monday Dec 19 from 4-8

3) He learned about Integrity
He was a person of principle & conviction – told the truth with love.
Soldiers – nonbelievers – do not practice extortion, do not accuse anyone falsely.
Tax collectors - believers but not practicing – stop collecting more than prescribed
Faithful ones – whoever has 2 cloaks should share with the person who has none. Whoever has food should do likewise. Not afraid to witness to his faith. Best way???
Walk the walk -   be the same person at church, in school, at home & work.

On our way to Bethlehem – need to stop at the Jordan River.
John will be waiting for us
To teach us about humility -  repentance  -  integrity.

To help us prepare the way for the Lord.

Death Bed Regrets

Interesting article - Aleteia/Spain

We’ve all heard the old saying that “People on their deathbeds don’t say, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at work…'” More often, people’s regrets are truly about “what I have done, and what I have failed to do.” A Spanish priest, Father Nelson, has listed the sort of regrets he has often heard while accompanying the dying, and we reprint it here from our Spanish edition, with permission.
These regrets seem all too familiar to us, and the list seems well-worth keeping before our eyes, for the good of our souls, and our hearts and minds, too! We might even use this list as an examination of conscience, or to help us to pray for the grace to live in a way that might prevent our feeling these regrets later in our lives.
  1. For the times when I set a bad example, and there were people who followed my lead
  2. For my indifference in the face of someone’s suffering
  3. For failing to say so many words of praise, recognition and encouragement to those who deserved them or needed them
  4. For claiming credit for my triumphs but blaming my failures on circumstances
  5. For having failed to respect someone’s innocence or having blocked someone’s dreams
  6. That I wasted money on things that I didn’t need and never used
  7. For the times I took too much time and not enough effort to forgive
  8. For taking advantage of someone who loved me, in order to get something for myself
  9. For not being careful to guide those I should have educated better, before it was too late
  10. For not visiting or sharing time with people because I thought they weren’t interesting, educated or useful
  11. For fleeing the cross so many times
  12. For savoring adulation even while knowing it was false
  13. For complaining much more often than I gave thanks
  14. For the stubborn, vulgar or rude words that came out of my mouth
  15. For participating in conversations making fun of God, the faith or the Church
  16. For wasting so much time on empty things… time that can’t be gotten back
  17. For the promises I didn’t keep
  18. For the times that I could have and should have prayed more, and above all, with more love
  19. The solitude of Christ in the tabernacle hurts me
  20. That I hurt or harmed someone in any way
  21. For lacking love. I should have loved God and my neighbor much more.
- See more at:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Adventus 2016

There have been seven deaths and 98 injuries across the country during Black Friday shopping between 2006 and 2014.  This year Black Friday violence also struck in England, where a police officer in Leeds was attacked Friday morning. You would think that the English would know better!
There are different ways to prepare for Christmas – Church invites us to consider another way!        Advent -       Adventus – “coming”   who is Coming? - Christ

3 Comings
in Bethlehem – history
each day – mystery
end of time – majesty

1)      Came in History
Emperor Hadrian very famous for building 126 AD the Pantheon in Rome– also in 135 built a Temple in Bethlehem = on spot where early Christians built a shrine marking the spot of the birth of Christ! He marked the spot forever! – Constantine 327 built Church of Nativity- present church 6th century   oldest surviving church in Holy Land
Used to have huge door – made small because people would ride horses in  -  have to bow. Then you go down steps – see the marking on floor – and there you are!
Believe that Messiah was born here  - Word Became Flesh! changed the history of the human race – why we celebrate Christmas -  Mass of Christ

2)      Comes in Mystery
Tragedy of first Christmas – so few recognized what happened.  
Even today – so few recognize that Jesus is STILL with us.
1)      Word  -  2) Sacrament: Eucharist, words of forgiveness, pouring with water, anointing with oil, exchange of vows    - 3) Community (Church) 2 or 3        4) distressing disguise of the poor.        Pay attention  to the Presence of Christ

3)      Will Come In Majesty
“As we await the Blessed hope and the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ”
When will He come? – we don’t know, stopped trying to figure that out a long time ago.
 But – he will come   -   be ready

“Sub specie aeternitatis”
“View everything under the aspect of eternity”
-          is this action going to help me get to heaven, or is it going to hurt my chances?
-          How will this appear on the day of judgment?
-          Good time for Sacrament of Penance!

History – Mystery – Majesty  -          The 3 comings of Christ.

There are many ways to prepare for Christmas. The Church offers us a special way!     Let us use this Advent well -  to prepare for the Coming of the Lord!

Saturday, November 26, 2016


(Father Michael preached this homily at the First Annual Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service of Hopewell Junction at the Hopewell Reformed Church)

Sarah Jane Cunningham knew her Facebook posts about the election rubbed her family the wrong way, but did not realize it would get her uninvited to the family Thanksgiving dinner.
The 19 year old received a call from her mother a week ago. She was asked - are you going to be disrespectful to her family? She said it could work either way. “If what I say is disrespectful, it is likely they will also be disrespectful to me.”   So, she was uninvited to the family gathering in Maine! A few hours later, her mother called back, but it was too late. Sarah plans to spend the day with her 2 cats in Boston.
It is one of our great problems today. We cannot respectfully disagree!!!  We can’t even seem to talk.
So many Dividers! – love to attack, to tear, they refuse to listen. The only person who is right is me!
But to be a Unifier -requires much more strength, patience, to try to understand, to listen, to enter into the experience of the other, debate respectfully, logically  – and even when we disagree, to love.
Pope Francis recently traveled to Lund, Sweden for a Commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. He saw it as an opportunity to take a step closer, to listen to one another, to talk!  There are many differences between us, but there is also so much in common, most especially our love for Jesus Christ.  And, there are so many areas where Christians can work together, especially to support our brothers and sisters persecuted for their faith in Jesus.
So, I was delighted, when I arrived in Hopewell Junction now 2 ½ years ago, that some local pastors were meeting informally each month for lunch and just to talk. They welcomed me, and I found them to be a fine, dedicated faithful group, and I am happy that we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving together.
Sara, who is 2, is always busy.  Momma, I want a banana.  She gets it and starts to run away.  Sara, stop – what are the magic words?   Please, Thank You, You’re Welcome, God bless  you,  I love you mommy!
To say thank you – it has to be learned!
When we come into the world – it’s about what I want: hold me, feed me, change me, rock me, sing to me RIGHT NOW!
It is a sign of maturity to say – Thank You!
Thanksgiving – from the Latin = gratiae   which is the plural of gratia – grace    Thanksgiving – an overflowing of grace!
1)     Thanks – For the very gift of life – all is gift!!! 

Inventory -dads store – we have to take inventory – what does that mean?  Make a list of everything that you have – easy to forget what you have. Count the things I have in life!

As pastors, we am so grateful for you and having the opportunity to serve!

2)     Giving - Leads us to acts of mercy towards God’s Children!!!
A 4th grader religion teacher asked her students to notice acts of mercy toward others:
“My dad was in a hurry to get to grandma’s. The woman in front of us stopped her car right in the middle of the road and everyone was honking and driving around her but my dad stopped to see if she needed help. She has a flat tire and had no idea what to do, so my dad changed the tire for her. She was really happy and I was really proud of my dad!”
“I invited this kid to my birthday party, even though he did not invite me to his party. And now we are friends!”
“Almost every night my brother is So annoying. He just won’t start talking right when I am trying to go to sleep. He’ll be popping me with his pillow, turning the light on and off, and usually I just freak out and start yelling at him. But last night I didn’t. I showed him mercy and just ignored him!”
“I wanted some popcorn in the cafeteria. I got up to the counter the same time as another kid. There was only one bag left. The boy said – I forgot my lunch and I only have enough money for a bag of popcorn – so I said – go ahead, you have the popcorn and I’ll have something else. And he said thank you!”
“My mon says we should never throw out good clothes or shoes because others could wear them. So we bring them when the church is collecting them. And we also bring school supplies each September. It was nice to help others!”
Thanks – Giving!

First National Thanksgiving Proclamation

Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; Whereas, both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me
 "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness!"

Now therefore, I do recommend next, to be devoted by the people of the states to the service of that great and glorious being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be, that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country.

George Washington, 1779.

Monday, November 21, 2016


St. Denis - St. Columba School Mass of Thanksgiving on Tuesday, November 22 at 10:00 a.m.

Hopewell Junction Ecumenical Service on Wednesday, November 23 at 7:00 p.m. at Hopewell Reformed Church.

St. Columba Parish Mass of Thanksgiving on Thursday at 8:00 a.m.

Happy Thanksgiving!