Tuesday, October 28, 2014
The Class of 1981 of St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie was ordained by Terence Cardinal Cooke at St. Patrick's Cathedral on October 31. Father Michael's Class will celebrate their 33rd Anniversary of Ordination on Friday, October 31 at a 5:00 p.m. Mass at Good Shepherd Church in Rhinebeck. Please pray for them.
Monday, October 27, 2014
What is Love? Virgil – Love conquers all Beatles – All you need is love Aquinas – to love is to will the good of the other.
Danny – Love is when my mom makes coffee for my dad, and she takes a sip before giving it to him to make sure it is OK
Elaine – Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Brad Pitt.
Mary Ann – Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you have left him alone all day
Bobby – Love is what is in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.
Jenny – There are 2 kinds of love. God’s love. Our love. But God makes both kinds
Today Jesus is asked – what is the greatest commandment? Scholars had gone through the Torah and found 613. You shall = 248 You shall not = 365 some were light – like dietary & cleansing laws Others heavy - like 10 commandments So what is the greatest commandment
No surprising – Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy - Shema – Hear O Israel But then quotes from Leviticus – the Code of Holiness - Love neighbor as self. Like a door with 2 hinges – one hinge breaks, door does not work very well.
But what does it mean to Love?
Greeks did not have one word for love
1) Xenia - hospitality & gratitude
2) Storge – kinship or family, like parent/child
3) Philia – friendship
4) Eros – romantic desire
5) Agape – self emptying – divine love
Agape – God’s love – the hardest kind of love – has nothing to do with liking – but to look deeper and see the presence of Christ in the other.
Dorothy Day used to say “love is a harsh and dreadful thing in practice compared to love in dreams.
A mother speaks of rocking her 4 year old in a rocking chair. Suddenly, he lifted his head and stared at his mother. Mommy, I am in your eyes! He had seem his own reflection, and clearly he was moved. After several long moments, she said – and I am in yours! In the days that followed, every now and then the boy would look at his mom and ask, Mommy, am I still in your eyes?
The boy was learning to love, as we have all learned to love. We saw ourselves in someone else’s eyes. Isn’t it comforting to know we are still in our heavenly Father’s eyes?
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Sunday, October 19, 2014
What is the Boy Scout Motto – “Be Prepared!”
What is our National Motto “In God We Trust” I wonder how long that will last? Yes – In God We Trust
1864 - Midst of Civil War - began to appear on coins
1957 – on paper money
In Jesus time – motto could have been “In Caesar we trust”
Israel is occupied by the Roman Empire
That occupation led to divisions
- Pharisees – lay scholars who studied Torah and were very pious – anti Rome
- Sadducees – priestly class – had to work at getting along with Romans
- Herodians – political party that backed the Roman governor Herod.
- Zealots - revolutionaries - get them out by whatever means
To find Pharisee and Herodians together was amazing – but had one thing in common – they could not stand Jesus.
Came up with a question to get him - should you pay taxes or not?
Jesus had 2 choices
- pay the tax – in with Romans – what kind of prophet are you?
- Withhold tax – in trouble with government - cannot win
Jesus asked for a coin – NOTE – he does not have a coin - had image of Tiberius Caesar on it. “Pontifex Maximus”
Whose image? – Caesar – give to Caesar what is Caesar’s – to God what is God’s
1) Give to Caesar what is Caesars - Caesar has his rights - to do that must collect taxes - and use money for common good – hope they can protect from Ebola - but we should question how money is used e.g. subpoenaed sermons in Houston
2) Give to God what is God’s - what is God’s – everything! Prisoner of war, after undergoing torture – looks up at sky, sees stars, they can’t touch that. Andy Dufrain “Mozart”
What our country needs are faithful citizens - who love their country and who live their faith without excuses and without apologies. Separation of church and state does not mean we cannot be involved – we must be involved. We have something to add to the discussions!
After all - what is the motto of our country? - “In God We Trust”
Saturday, October 18, 2014
I will attend my 19th Convention of Pastors this week (October 20-24). It is an opportunity to attend workshops, hear an address by Cardinal Dolan, pray together and grow in priestly fraternity. I have always enjoyed these gatherings. Please pray for us and know that you will be in my prayers!
Message of the Synod Assembly on the pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation
Vatican City, 18 October 2014 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the Message of the Third Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to the “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation” (5-19 October). The speakers were Cardinals Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil, delegate president; Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and president of the Commission for the Message and Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India. The full text of the message is published below:
“We, Synod Fathers, gathered in Rome together with Pope Francis in the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, greet all families of the different continents and in particular all who follow Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We admire and are grateful for the daily witness which you offer us and the world with your fidelity, faith, hope, and love.
Each of us, pastors of the Church, grew up in a family, and we come from a great variety of backgrounds and experiences. As priests and bishops we have lived alongside families who have spoken to us and shown us the saga of their joys and their difficulties.
The preparation for this synod assembly, beginning with the questionnaire sent to the Churches around the world, has given us the opportunity to listen to the experience of many families. Our dialogue during the Synod has been mutually enriching, helping us to look at the complex situations which face families today.
We offer you the words of Christ: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me”. On his journeys along the roads of the Holy Land, Jesus would enter village houses. He continues to pass even today along the streets of our cities. In your homes there are light and shadow. Challenges often present themselves and at times even great trials. The darkness can grow deep to the point of becoming a dense shadow when evil and sin work into the heart of the family.
We recognise the great challenge to remain faithful in conjugal love. Enfeebled faith and indifference to true values, individualism, impoverishment of relationships, and stress that excludes reflection leave their mark on family life. There are often crises in marriage, often confronted in haste and without the courage to have patience and reflect, to make sacrifices and to forgive one another. Failures give rise to new relationships, new couples, new civil unions, and new marriages, creating family situations which are complex and problematic, where the Christian choice is not obvious.
We think also of the burden imposed by life in the suffering that can arise with a child with special needs, with grave illness, in deterioration of old age, or in the death of a loved one. We admire the fidelity of so many families who endure these trials with courage, faith, and love. They see them not as a burden inflicted on them, but as something in which they themselves give, seeing the suffering Christ in the weakness of the flesh.
We recall the difficulties caused by economic systems, by the “the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose” which weakens the dignity of people. We remember unemployed parents who are powerless to provide basic needs for their families, and youth who see before them days of empty expectation, who are prey to drugs and crime.
We think of so many poor families, of those who cling to boats in order to reach a shore of survival, of refugees wandering without hope in the desert, of those persecuted because of their faith and the human and spiritual values which they hold. These are stricken by the brutality of war and oppression. We remember the women who suffer violence and exploitation, victims of human trafficking, children abused by those who ought to have protected them and fostered their development, and the members of so many families who have been degraded and burdened with difficulties. “The culture of prosperity deadens us…. all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us”. We call on governments and international organizations to promote the rights of the family for the common good.
Christ wanted his Church to be a house with doors always open to welcome everyone. We warmly thank our pastors, lay faithful, and communities who accompany couples and families and care for their wounds.
There is also the evening light behind the windowpanes in the houses of the cities, in modest residences of suburbs and villages, and even in mere shacks, which shines out brightly, warming bodies and souls. This light—the light of a wedding story—shines from the encounter between spouses: it is a gift, a grace expressed, as the Book of Genesis says, when the two are “face to face” as equal and mutual helpers. The love of man and woman teaches us that each needs the other in order to be truly self. Each remains different from the other that opens self and is revealed in the reciprocal gift. It is this that the bride of the Song of Songs sings in her canticle: “My beloved is mine and I am his… I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”.
This authentic encounter begins with courtship, a time of waiting and preparation. It is realized in the sacrament where God sets his seal, his presence, and grace. This path also includes sexual relationship, tenderness, intimacy, and beauty capable of lasting longer than the vigour and freshness of youth. Such love, of its nature, strives to be forever to the point of laying down one’s life for the beloved. In this light conjugal love, which is unique and indissoluble, endures despite many difficulties. It is one of the most beautiful of all miracles and the most common.
This love spreads through fertility and generativity, which involves not only the procreation of children but also the gift of divine life in baptism, their catechesis, and their education. It includes the capacity to offer life, affection, and values—an experience possible even for those who have not been able to bear children. Families who live this light-filled adventure become a sign for all, especially for young people.
This journey is sometimes a mountainous trek with hardships and falls. God is always there to accompany us. The family experiences his presence in affection and dialogue between husband and wife, parents and children, sisters and brothers. They embrace him in family prayer and listening to the Word of God—a small, daily oasis of the spirit. They discover him every day as they educate their children in the faith and in the beauty of a life lived according to the Gospel, a life of holiness. Grandparents also share in this task with great affection and dedication. The family is thus an authentic domestic Church that expands to become the family of families which is the ecclesial community. Christian spouses are called to become teachers of faith and of love for young couples as well.
Another expression of fraternal communion is charity, giving, nearness to those who are last, marginalized, poor, lonely, sick, strangers, and families in crisis, aware of the Lord’s word, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. It is a gift of goods, of fellowship, of love and mercy, and also a witness to the truth, to light, and to the meaning of life.
The high point which sums up all the threads of communion with God and neighbor is the Sunday Eucharist when the family and the whole Church sits at table with the Lord. He gives himself to all of us, pilgrims through history towards the goal of the final encounter when “Christ is all and in all”. In the first stage of our Synod itinerary, therefore, we have reflected on how to accompany those who have been divorced and remarried and on their participation in the sacraments.
We Synod Fathers ask you walk with us towards the next Synod. The presence of the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their modest home hovers over you. United to the Family of Nazareth, we raise to the Father of all our petition for the families of the world:
Father, grant to all families the presence of strong and wise spouses who may be the source of a free and united family.
Father, grant that parents may have a home in which to live in peace with their families.
Father, grant that children may be a sign of trust and hope and that young people may have the courage to forge life-long, faithful commitments.
Father, grant to all that they may be able to earn bread with their hands, that they may enjoy serenity of spirit and that they may keep aflame the torch of faith even in periods of darkness.Father, grant that we may all see flourish a Church that is ever more faithful and credible, a just and humane city, a world that loves truth, justice and mercy”.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Deacon Greg Kandra recently posted this:
Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2014/10/what-many-catholics-dont-know-about-divorce-and-receiving-communion/#ixzz3FwKYFgb5
With all the talk lately about divorce and communion, I’ve been reminded of how much we Catholics don’t know what we don’t know.
A few months ago, I met with a woman from my parish to help her begin the annulment process. We chatted a bit before we started going over what was involved.
“So,” I began, “you’re already divorced?”
“And you and your ex-husband were married by a Catholic priest?”
“Have you remarried?”
“No.” She looked away, shifted in her seat. “I’m really not interested in getting married again.”
This surprised me. “Well, if you haven’t remarried and you aren’t going to get married…why do you want an annulment?”
She looked at me intently. “For communion, of course. I want to be able to receive communion again. I go to Mass and just stay in the pew. I feel so left out. I really miss it.”
I didn’t quite know what to say. I was stunned.
“But,” I began, “you should know something.” I cleared my throat. “If you’re just divorced, and if you haven’t remarried, you can receive communion. You don’t need an annulment for that.”
She was shocked.
“Yeah. Honestly, if you’re simply concerned about receiving the sacraments, in your situation, you really don’t need to go through this process.”
She looked like an impossible weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She beamed.
“I had no idea. I thought because I was divorced, I couldn’t receive.”
We chatted for a few more minutes and then she left.
I’ve had conversations like that a couple of times since then, in person or by email, and it’s heartbreaking. I think of all the years too many people spend feeling deprived, isolated, cut off—hungry to be fed with the bread of life. It doesn’t have to be this way. Many people simply don’t know.
Let me state this plainly: if you are divorced but have not remarried, and have no mortal sins to confess, you can receive communion. Simply being divorced does not bar you from the Eucharist.
If you have any further doubts, talk to a priest. Explain your situation. Go to confession. Don’t put it off.
Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2014/10/what-many-catholics-dont-know-about-divorce-and-receiving-communion/#ixzz3FwKYFgb5
Suppose you are having a wedding. You draw up a guest list. Then you send invitations with RSVP on them. Then you wait.
Three kinds of responses
1) Acceptance – Some enthusiastically come. They are honored and grateful. Others are coming because they feel obligated
2) Some Refuse. They do have a prior engagement. But some just can’t be bothered.
3) Do not respond at all. Problem – how do you plan? Are they coming or not?
I think you understand, this is just not any wedding – God is inviting us! God does not force us – He respects our freedom. But He wants us to share in his joy!
So, what is our excuse?
There is a letter I should write, but I know I need to pray, but I know I should be more charitable toward X, but I know that dishonesty is wrong, but I know I am not working at my job as I should, but I know I am drinking too much, but I know I should spend more time with my kids, but
There are no shortage of excuses. Some of them are good ones. But
Does God know what is best for us? What is he calling us to? Does he invite us to a deeper and more authentic life? A closer relationship with him? Into community with others? Into eternal life?
Once was a letter to the editor: “I quit going to church this year. I decided that listening to sermons week after week was a stupid thing to do. After all, I went to church for 40 years and during that time I probably heard 5,000 sermons. I can only remember about 5. What a waste of time!”
The next week “I quit eating this year. I decided that eating week after week was a stupid thing to do. After all I have been eating about 40 years and have probably had over 5,000 meals. I can only remember about 5 of them. What a waste of time.
So, what is our excuse?
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Monday, October 6, 2014
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, beloved priest and preacher, died on October 3, 2014, the vigil of the Feast of St. Francis, after complications with an ongoing illness. He was 81.
Fr. Benedict was a founder of the Community of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFR), a reform community started in 1987 by eight Capuchin Friars based in New York City. A priest and psychologist, he was director of Trinity Retreat House in Larchmont, New York, and alsotaught Pastoral Psychology for many years at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie. Fr. Benedict was a popular writer, preacher, retreat master, and evangelist on Catholic television. His greatest joy was serving the poor and underprivileged. Founder of St. Francis House and Good Counsel Homes, he also served as chaplain at Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry for 14 years.
Always deeply concerned with the welfare of others, he tirelessly provided food, clothing, and assistance to people in need—people he always considered his friends.
Wrote Fr. John Paul Ouellette, Community Servant, Franciscan Friars of the Renewal: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Fr. Benedict. He was an example to us all. His fidelity and service to the Church and commitment to our Franciscan way of life will have a tremendous impact for generations to come.”Details for the wake and funeral will be forth coming.
- A wake will be held on from 12-9 PM at St. Adalbert’s Church
located at 420 E 156th Street, Bronx, NY 10455
Thursday, October 9th
- A wake will be held at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart
located at 89 Ridge Street in Newark, NJ 07104 from 4-7 PM.
A prayer vigil will be held from 7-9 PM.
Friday, October 10th
- The funeral Mass will be held at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart
located at 89 Ridge Street in Newark, NJ 07104, at 11 AM.