Sunday, May 31, 2015

Funeral Mass - Conrad Guidice

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Conrad Guidice on Monday, June 1 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Holy Trinity "Day By Day"

St. Augustine was walking along a beach – reflecting upon God & the Trinity.
Saw a boy who was making a lake in the sand – ever try that? – running back and forth to the sea.   He asks the boy – “what are you doing?”  “I’m moving the sea!”
“Well, it can’t be done.” 
“How can you think that you can empty the depths of God?”

How can we say we understand God completely?
And yet, like any relationship, new things are always being revealed.

Some might remember the musical “Godspell” from 1970?
A well known song was “Day By Day”
Day by day, O dear Lord three things I pray.
-          to see thee more clearly
-          to love thee more dearly
-          follow thee more nearly
Day by day.

This song was not written for Broadway.     Chee-Chester
It is a prayer written by St. Richard of Chichester, a 13th century English saint.
Perhaps it can reveal to us bit more about the Trinity.

1)      To see thee more clearly
After my ordination, my sisters and I took our first trip to Ireland – the country where our parents were born.
This is your uncle, this is your aunt, this is your cousin.
Became part of a community – all who had a relationship to my Father.
Trinity – a community of persons – we are united to one another by our Father our Creator

2)      To love thee more dearly
Damien de Veuster – now St. Damien of Moloki
Had an amazing ministry to the leper colony on Island of Moloki in Hawaii.
One day, after a long trek around the island, put his aching feet into a tub of warm water. One foot did not feel the heat. He had contracted leprosy.
Began his homily – “we lepers.”  He became one with them.
God takes flesh and becomes one of us – Jesus, our Redeemer

3)      To follow thee more nearly
A group of spiritual seekers were looking for God – “help us find God” they asked the holy woman.     She said – “No one can help you find the place where God is.”
Why not?
“For the same reason that no one can help a fish find the ocean.”
We are enveloped in the presence of God – the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier

And so we offer: the Prayer of St. Richard of Chichester
Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus, for all the benefits Thou hast given me,
For all the pain and insults Thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Savior, Friend and brother, may I
See thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
Follow thee more nearly,

Day by Day.    Amen.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

An Interesting Take on Marriage In Ireland

Came across this article:

For supporters of natural marriage, the results of Ireland’s referendum last Friday are obviously a great disappointment. A resounding majority throughout the country supported the addition of 17 momentous words to the Irish constitution: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”

The result was not as overwhelming as the victors claim. On a 60 percent voter turnout, 62 percent voted Yes. That’s only 36 percent of eligible voters. And contrary to what some pundits have said, it was a respectable turnout but hardly a record. In 1972 there was a 72 percent turnout for a referendum on joining the European Communities (the predecessor of the European Union); in 1992, there was a 68 percent turnout on abortion; and in 2009 there was a 59 percent turnout for the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

In fact, also contrary to the pundits, politics energizes the Irish more than love. Voter turnout in the 2011 parliamentary election was 70 percent.

But the difference between a win and a loss is just one vote and the Yes side won. The fact that 64 percent of the electorate voted No or voted not at all matters not a jot.

Who is to blame for the loss? In an overwhelmingly Catholic country, the Catholic Church is blaming itself. The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, told the media that it needed to take a “reality check” after the Yes victory.
"It’s a social revolution that’s been going on, and perhaps in the church people have not been as clear in understanding what that involved. It’s very clear that if this referendum is an affirmation of the views of young people, then the church has a huge task in front of it to find the language to be able to talk to and to get its message across to young people, not just on this issue, but in general…

"Most of these young people who voted Yes are products of our Catholic schools for 12 years,” he said. “There’s a big challenge there to see how we get across the message of the church... That doesn’t mean that we renounce our teaching on fundamental values on marriage and the family. Nor does it mean that we dig into the trenches. We need to find...a new language which is fundamentally ours, that speaks to, is understood and becomes appreciated by others.”
The Archbishop is right. Supporters of natural marriage failed to make an appealing case. As an institution, marriage has been on the skids in Ireland for decades and Friday's result was a natural result. It wasn’t the gays who trashed marriage; it was the straights.
Consider the four essential features of traditional marriage: permanence, monogamy, procreation and sexual complementarity.

PermanenceIreland amended its constitution in 1995 to legalise divorce (with a 62 percent voter turnout), copying what other jurisdictions had done decades before. So “till death do us part” was removed from the marriage 20 years ago.

MonogamyBetween 1996 and 2011, there was an increase  of nearly 550 per cent in remarriages after a divorce or an annulment, from 6,641 to 42,960. As in the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia, Ireland embarked on a modest program of serial polygamy.

Procreation: Ireland’s birth rate is high, compared to the rest of Europe, but it has been declining steadily. In the 1960s, the birth rate was about 4 children per woman. Now it is hovering a bit below replacement level. Children are less and less a part of marriage.

Given these radical changes in the way men and women commit themselves to each other in marriage, the common understanding in Ireland, as in most other Western countries, is so altered that the grandparents of young voters would hardly recognize it. It is no longer marriage, but marriage-lite.

Of course, this is not a problem in the eyes of gays and lesbians. In fact, it is precisely the possibility of divorce, the tolerance of extra-marital relationships, and the optional character of children which makes marriage-lite attractive. The traditional version would hardly suit them. It is only logical that the fourth feature of marriage,  sexual complementarity, now seems unnecessary to so many people.

Ironically same-sex couples are entering the institution of marriage at a time when Irish marriage has gone off the gold standard. According to the Iona Institute, there was a 360 percent rise in cohabiting couples in Ireland between 1996 and 2011 and a 500 percent increase in broken marriages between 1986 and 2011. Yet the number of marriages only rose by 26 percent between 1986 and 2011. Young Irish couples, like their counterparts in other countries, are saying “why bother?” with all the folderol of a wedding. It’s like giving your old TV set to St Vincent de Paul: it doesn’t work anyway, so you can have it.

A rocky road lies ahead for supporters of natural marriage in Ireland. But it could be an opportunity as well. The fidelity, permanence and fruitfulness of traditional marriage are like watching life unfold on an  ultra high definition plasma TV, while the marriage-lite crowd gape at it on a fuzzy black-and-white. If you really believe in this amazing product, can selling it be that hard a job?

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet where this article was first published.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day

This is a day to remember those who made the supreme sacrifice to preserve our freedom. You are invited to join us at St. Denis Cemetery for Memorial Day Mass at 9:00 a.m. Please bring a chair. Please note that there will be NO MORNING MASS at St. Columba. All of our offices and our Adoration Chapel will be closed on Memorial Day.


Enjoy watching TV series AD – story of the early church.
Before Pentecost – Apostles frightened – behind closed doors
After – fearless in speaking about Jesus
Difference? The Holy Spirit

After Passover – children of Israel wandered 40 days in desert
Moses went up Mount Sinai – he is Given the law by God  - after 10 days he gives the Law to the people          “heaven has come down to earth”
Our Jewish friends called this day Pentecost  - 50 Days after Passover

In the same way – after His Resurrection - Jesus spent 40 days on earth –
Returned to heaven – the Ascension.
10 days later: heaven comes down to earth again – not the Law but the Holy Spirit
1st law written in stone -   this new law written on minds and hearts
Sinai was for Israel -   Pentecost is for the whole world!

Bible speaks of receiving 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit.
They are gifts – given by Holy Spirit – as long as we stay in the state of grace, they are very much active!

- Help us to become holy  -  help us share in the very life of God   now & in eternal life     “All the way to heaven is heaven”

1) Wisdom -   seek out wise people to understand life  -  seek the wisdom of God
2) Understanding -  see the hand of God at work in my life & to trust!!!
3) Counsel – to judge individual acts – will this act lead me to heaven or not?
4) Fortitude – to overcome difficulties or endure pain & suffering w strength from God
5) Knowledge – use created things in holy and good way – see God who created them
6) Piety – love God = love neighbor   - worship God and see each other as children of God
7) Wonder and Awe – Fear of the Lord -   do not want to be separated from God -  a healthy fear – don’t want to take advantage of God

Augustine  soon after conversion  walking down street in Milan.
A person he committed many sins with called out   “Augustine!”    “It is I!”
Augustine  “Yes, but it is no longer I”

A new creation  --  why we say  Come Holy Spirit!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Funeral Mass - Sabato Iebba

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the Soul of Sabado Iebba on Monday, May 18 at 10:00 a.m., Please pray for him and for his family.


Hiking along a cliff. Lost footing and began to fall. Grabbed a tree limb. Holding on for dear life. Help. Anyone there? Oh God help me. Yes? God, is that you? Help me. I can help. You only need to do one thing. Let go!  Let go?  Hey, anyone else up there.
Apostles at Prayer – Jesus at Prayer.  Good time to reflect upon prayer.  Prayer – placing self with God.
Basic types
1)   Petition – ask – Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father
2)   Contrition – sorrow
3)   Praise
4)   Thanksgiving
Lots of different ways to pray
1)   Mass
2)   Recited   including Rosary & Hours & Stations
3)   Bible
4)   Silence
5)   Audio – listen to podcast
6)   Online
7)   With others – family, grace
8)   Adoration
An example: Five Finger Prayer
1)   Thumb – closest to heart - family & friends
2)   Index – pointing – who direct us – teachers, coaches, priests
3)   Middle – tallest – leaders in country, world, church
4)   Ring – weakest – sick, suffering, poor
5)   Pinky –smallest – humble – pray for ourselves last.

Prayer – Let go and let God!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ascension Thursday

Ascension Thursday Masses:
Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Thursday at 7:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

- Mothers teach us about WEATHER. "This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."
- Mothers teach us about LOGIC. "Because I said so, that's why."
- Mothers teach us about CONTORTIONISM. "Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"
- Mothers teach us about ANTICIPATION. "Just wait until your father gets home!"
- Mothers teach us about our ROOTS. "Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"

Gospel from the Last Supper – very last opportunity Jesus had to teach disciples.
Like His Last will and Testament

-         Love one another as I have loved you.
-         I will not leave you alone – I will send the advocate, the Holy Spirit.
-         Peace I leave you, my peace is my gift to you.

1) Love One Another
Book  – No Mirrors in My Nana’s Place.   Girl who grew up in very poor neighborhood, raised by grandma – in my Nan’s house there are no mirrors.  How did you know what you looked like?   Every morning, get up, dress, comb my hair – ask Nana how I look? – you look beautiful.     Saw myself through Nana’s eyes    Through God’s eyes -  child of God!!!   Best thing a mother can do – teach you are loved just as you are!!!

2) I will not leave you alone – never alone
Best gift my Mother gave me - she taught me to pray – all sorts of prayers and to be with God.   To pray by myself: lived near the church – never pass by without saying a prayer, spent a lot of time alone in that church  – Pray together as a family – pray with my parish community.  
Never alone.

3) Peace I leave you, my peace I give you.     An inner peace.    Shawshank   Andy Dufrain locked himself in warden’s office & plays Mozart over the loudspeakers – for that he ends in solitary - easy time  -    I had Mozart with me   -    cannot touch inside.       A peace no one can take away!!!
So Love your moms
-         Verbally       Physically        Patiently
-         Attentively     Gratefully
-         Generously      -  Honorably

Happy Mother’s Day!


Priests of the Archdiocese of New York are offered the possibility of a Sabbatical once during their years of priestly ministry. The purpose of a Sabbatical is to be renewed in all aspects of life and ministry. Cardinal Dolan has offered and I have been accepted for a Sabbatical this Fall. It begins on September 1 and ends on December 1. During that time, Father Chris most likely will serve as Temporary Administrator. Please trust that His Eminence will make sure the parish is properly cared for while I am away.
Here is my Sabbatical Program as approved by Cardinal Dolan:
September – Institute For Continuing Theological Education at the North American College, Rome. Includes a Retreat preached by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, Preacher to the Papal Household and a “Study of Christian Art and Architecture” with visits to many churches in Rome and Assisi.
October – Walking as a Pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago in Spain (French Route about 150 Km). This will be followed by one week of service as Confessor at the Sanctuaire Notre-Dame de Lourdes in France. I will be hearing confessions for five hours each day and offering Masses in English for Pilgrims.
November – Back to the Institute For Continuing Theological Education at the North American College, Rome. The theme is “Evangelizing Today’s World – Skills for Priestly Ministry” It will include a study of Pauline Scriptures “Walking in the Footsteps of St. Paul” and time in Malta.

Certainly this is a “once in a lifetime” moment for me. I am a bit nervous for I have never been away from the USA for so long!  But I believe this experience will certainly enhance my priestly ministry among you. Please pray for me, and know that I will carry you with me in prayer to all these sacred places.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Funeral Mass - Kenneth V. Spiro

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Kenneth Spiro on Monday, May 11 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Funeral Mass - Joan E. Smith

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Joan Smith on Friday, May 8 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Confirmation and First Communion

Bishop Dominick Lagonegro, Founding Pastor of St. Columba, will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation on Wednesday, May 6 at 5:30 p.m. Please pray for our Confirmandi. The Sacrament of First Holy Communion will be offered on Saturday, May 9 at 9:30 a.m. Please pray for our First Communicants. This will bring to a close this "Sacramental Season" as we once again had three Confirmation Masses and three First Communion Masses. Congratulations to all and a special thanks to all who prepared them!

The Vine and Branches

I am vine - you are branches
Jesus and the Church

Years ago – It was said that we live in post-Christian era
No longer - Jesus seems very popular
Now – it is the post-Church era
We have believers but not belongers
People want a king without a kingdom
Shepherd without sheep
A father with us as an only child
Jesus but not his church

Remember St. Paul   knocked to the ground
Saul   Saul, why are you persecuting me?    Jesus & church are one

Mt 25  -   When I was hungry, you gave me food ,  thirsty, gave me drink

As Joan of Arc said about Jesus and the Church - They are simply one thing.

Priest once said:
Theist is someone who believes in God
Christian is a theist who believes Jesus is the Son of God
Catholic is a Christian who believes Jesus is alive in the Church.

Ekklesia  -  called out from

Who calls - in USA we join -  someone calls us - Christ
Called out from - what - world   (from sin, corruption, evil) 
This is why we pull aside each week to attend Mass.
Called into - life of Christ - God’s way of being    to make saints!!!
Challenge - church is filled with sinners.

Can be difficult at times to love the church

I want a perfect church - if I don’t find it, sit down with cup of coffee and NY Times and make my own church,  in my own image.  Sorry to say that’s why so many Protestant churches – don’t like it: break off and start your own!!!

Church must be divine -  how could the Church have ever survived?

Card Dolan recalls a time he was visiting a couple at home  Bill & Lena
Lena had rheumatoid arthritis and became very crippled
Bill would bathe her, dress her, feed her,
“She is more beautiful to me today than on the day I married her.”
And this is love

Church is the bride of Christ, radient in beauty
Other times, crippled, weak, helpless    can love her no less

Jesus appeared and showed the apostles his wounds  -  so, too, the church is wounded

Chrism Mass    Quoted Carlo Carretto:

“How much I must criticize you, my church, and yet how much I love you. You have made me suffer and yet I owe more to you than anyone else. You have given me much scandal, and yet you have made me understand holiness. Never in this world have I seen anything more compromised, more false, and yet have I never touched anything more pure,, more generous, more beautiful. Countless times I have felt like slamming the door of my soul in your face, and yet every night I have prayed that I may die in your sure arms. No, I cannot be free of you for I am one with you. Then, too, where would I go? To build another church? But I could not build one without the same defects because they happen to be mine. It would then be my church, not yours. No, I’m old enough to know better.