Tuesday, December 27, 2016

New Year Schedule

Mass Schedule

Saturday, December 31
5:30 pm

Sunday, January 1
7:30, 9:00, 10:30, 12:00

Monday, January 2
7:00 am

Office Schedule
Closed on Monday, January 2

Adoration Chapel
Closed on Monday, January 2

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas 2016


4:00 p.m. in the church
4:00 p.m. in the school
6:00 p.m.

7:30 a.m.
9:00 a.m.
10:30 a.m.
12:00 noon

Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Reconciliation Monday

Confessions will be heard at St. Columba Church on Monday, December 19 from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. This is the final opportunity for confessions before Christmas.  Come and experience the love and mercy of God!

Funeral Mass - Catherine Kirwan

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Catherine Kirwan on Tuesday, December 20 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Funeral Mass - Francis McPhillips

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Francis McPhillips on Monday, December 19 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family. 

St. Joseph

Do you want to sell your home?  Some people purchase a statue of St. Joseph, bury it upside down facing the home. One internet site has a 30 day money back guarantee!  Please dig him up after you sell your home and put him in a place of honor in your new home!

Joseph is so much more than selling real estate!
Stained glass window, Statue in our church and in Nativity
Chosen for Mary – Chosen by God

Man of Silence
Recorded words of St. Joseph  0
Padre Pio – What language does God speak – the language of silence
Cure of Ars would see old farmer in church – I look at Him, He looks at me.
Parents – sit is silence, spoke volumes.  
It is impossible to develop the interior life w/o silence.
Joseph – in silence – could hear God and learn how to act on God’s will.  This is the meaning of obedience – "ob audire" – to listen or to hear

Faith led him to Obedience
Mary expecting baby – journey to Bethlehem – no room in Inn, Flight to Egypt – lost in Temple
This is not what he had planned.
Don’t be afraid – I am with you!
St. Bernard – God does not give a challenge, call or duty without the grace to accomplish it.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words.
He did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.
He takes Mary home & takes the child as his own.
Woman tells priest – I am now a Baptist. When I became sick I told the priest and he promised to pray for me.  My Baptist neighbors cooked a meal for me and brought me to the doctor.  This is why our Ministry of Care is so important and I hope many more become involved – actions speak louder than words!

Joseph – a guardian and protector
We are also guardians and protectors.  So many of us are entrusted with the care of children – home, school , neighborhood, sports.  Task of guarding the Son of God that we meet in others.

Thank you Joseph – more than selling homes – Listen to God, Obedient to God, a Man of Action who Protected Children.   St. Joseph, pray for us!!!

(Thanks to Timothy Cardinal Dolan who inspired some of these thoughts in his book "Advent Reflections - Come Lord Jesus!) 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Prepare the Way of the Lord!

3rd Sunday of Advent – once again meet the unusual figure of John the Baptist
Sure can’t find him in Walmart! But on the way to Bethlehem, we must cross the Jordan River.
There he says -  “Prepare the way of the Lord!”

Very involved in preparing – buy presents – send cards – decorating house – gifts for poor
Putting up the Christmas Tree.

Think about it – strange thing – cutting down a tree – bring it inside – hang stuff on it.
There is something about evergreens – they stay green in winter – sign of eternal life.
Jesus – was very connected with trees:  carpenter – manger – boat - cross

The tradition of Christmas Trees comes either from Estonia or Latvia. Placed in town square.
Martin Luther may be the first person to put one inside the house. He walking through woods – sees star light through trees – idea of candles – Thought it would like great inside! I’m sure it did not go over big with fire departments! Then came tradition to put an angel or a star on top
Angel – Glory to God                       Star – star of Bethlehem

For a long while this was a Protestant thing  -  Took a while for Catholics to embrace it -  It was St. John Paul II 1982 who brought the 1st Christmas tree to the Vatican.

Largest tree in world – Gubbio Italy  2,100 feet tall! Side of mountain
Pope Francis  lit it in 2014: He had a wish:  “If you have something dark on your soul, ask the Lord's forgiveness. This is a beautiful chance Christmas gives us – to clean up our souls, eh! Don't be afraid – the priest is merciful, he forgives everything in the name of God, because God forgives everything.”    Sounds like the Baptist! 
Reconciliation Monday – Guide in bulletin

A few years before that, Pope Benedict blessed the tree – he also had some wishes:

When you look at the tree – do not just look at the bottom - not look just to material things  -  but look up – toward heaven – toward God.  “God never forgets us but He asks us not to forget Him!” Remember the Baptist  -   he must increase – I must decreased  - I am not worthy to untie his sandals.

2) Tree is made up of many lights -  Looks strange to see just one light   His wish is that we step out of selfishness that makes us think only of ourselves  to  become lights for others  - bring light to family, work, neighborhood –“ every act of kindness is like light of the tree.”  John – a light shining in the darkness.

Let us pray - God of all creation,
we praise you for our Christmas trees
which brings beauty and memories and the
promise of life to our homes.
May your blessing be upon all who gather around our trees,
all who keep the Christmas festival by its lights.
We wait for the coming of the Christ,
the days of everlasting justice and peace.

You are our God, living and reigning, for ever and ever. Amen

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: http://aleteia.org/2016/12/07/21-regrets-people-confess-on-their-deathbeds/?utm_campaign=NL_en&utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_en#sthash.ZqRkLFP1.dpuf

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!

Funeral Mass - Muriel Scully

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Muriel Scully on Monday, November 21 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Christ the King

Prince William of England spoke this week about becoming a husband and a father. Big change – with highs and lows – he struggled at times. Thankful for support from his wife - Princess Catherine – an amazing mother and fantastic wife.
He hopes that he will be able to teach his children to live simply.  That will be a hard task!
Reading guidelines for royal photographers:
-          Do not photograph royal while they have food or a glass in their hand or during a meal, although one may take a photo during a Royal Toast or immediately before food is served.
-          One may only take pictures during the first minute of a speech.
-          One may never photograph a royal at prayer.
Today we have a picture of our Royal at Prayer – on the Cross.  Sign over his head  INRI – In Latin as ordered by Pontius Pilate – Jesus of Nazareth – King of the Jews – a sort of joke – but later – understood to be prophetic.
He is indeed the King – the One who gave his life for us – that we might live forever.
Soon we will sing at Christmas – this, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing – the King who became one of us!
Among us we have Republicans and Democrats – but before that, we are Americans. And I would say – even before that – we are children of God – and we have only one ruler – Christ our King!
Today we end the year of mercy – Pope Francis asks us to entrust everything to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  For that we need a Copernican Revolution.
Change – thought EARTH was at center – that WE were at the center - realized SUN was at the center – need to believe now the SON is at the center!   Put God at the center!
This is always a challenge – always putting something else at the center:
-          What I possess  (what possesses me!)
-          What I can do
-          What people think of me.
This is often how we measure our worth and the worth of others.
World says:
-          You are not enough
-          You don’t have enough
-          You don’t do enough

God – You are my beloved Son. You are my beloved daughter.     This is what it is to be truth free!    Put God at the center.     Christ our King!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Funeral Mass - Michael Smith

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Michael Smith on Saturday, November 19 at 11:30 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Funeral Mass - Rita Mazzeo

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Rita Mazzeo on Saturday, November 19 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Funeral Mass - Diana Acaron

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Diana Acaron on Monday, November 14 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Christian Initiation

On Saturday, November 12, our parish celebrated the Rite of Acceptance. The following have begun a period of study and prayer leading to full Initiation in the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil:

Catechumens (never Baptized) – Kimberly Lachawicz, Linda Welch, Pamela Burke

Candidates (Baptized Catholic) to Complete Full Initiation – Jennifer Green, Ellen Faulkner, Hazelmary Jaronczyk, Carolyn Torella, Matthew Burke, Amanda Macaluso

We congratulate them, their godparents and sponsors for undertaking this journey, and we promise our prayers, support and good example as they walk with us on the road to God’s Kingdom!

On A JourneyTogether To The Kingdom

We come now to the end of the Liturgical Year.
We began last Advent:  John the Baptist, Mary and Joseph,
Culminated in the Birth of Jesus – God becomes Flesh! Christmas Season.
Then, during Ordinary Time – after the Christmas Season & the Easter Season – we reflected week after week about our Faith and how we are called to live as followers of Christ.
Two months later – Ash Wednesday & Lent – “remember you are dust and unto dust you will return.” A time of conversion, spiritual growth and renewal.
When Palm Sunday arrived we entered into Holy Week – when we recalled the great mysteries of our Faith – the suffering of Jesus and his Death on the Cross
Finally, on Easter Sunday, we proclaimed the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead – the one who was dead walked out of the tomb.
Forth days later, Jesus ascended into glory – but he would not leave us alone – “I will send the Holy Spirit.”
Pentecost – the day the Spirit came – uniting us into one church – truly God’s people – we are the Catholic Church – universal – for all – all languages, cultures and peoples. in a country now filled with division – it cannot be that way with us!   We must be known for our love for one another and for every human being – all made in the image and likeness of God!
And now – end of the Liturgical Year - we come to the end times – We see this in two ways – the end of all time, and the end of our time on earth.
Creed – “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.”
Memorial Acclamation – “We proclaim your death O Lord, and profess your resurrection, until you come again.”
End of Our Father – “As we await the blessed hope, and the coming of our savior Jesus Christ.”
Then, we must give an account – Did I love as Christ called me to?  Show mercy as Christ was merciful to me? Forgive as I have been forgiven?  Did I see Christ in the hungry, poor, sick and suffering?
So we are on a journey together, a journey to the Kingdom.  Tonight we will be joined by Linda, Kim & Pam, who have never been Baptized.   By those who wish to complete their Initiation.

Last word of Bible – last word of Creed is AMEN.  Comes from Hebrew “Believe”  God is faithful. We are called to trust in God alone,   If we do, every day becomes an AMEN!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day 2016

Prayer Before An Election

Lord God, as the election approaches,
we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our city/state/country,
and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community.
We ask for eyes that are free from blindness
so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters,
one and equal in dignity,
especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty.
We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn and those abandoned,
Men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.
We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.
We pray for discernment
so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word,
live your love,
and keep in the ways of your truth
as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles
and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

What We Believe - 32nd Sunday

Every now and then – phone call – change the name of a godparent. Why?
Had a fight, not behaving well, don’t like them any more.
Cannot change – historic fact.
Once – remove my name from baptism register. Why? 
True Bible teaching church – does not celebrate Christmas or Easter – teach about Trinity or Immortal Soul.
Just believe what is actually written in Bible. She wants no development of doctrine by the Church that wrote the Bible!
Sadducee's were like that – only first 5 books – Torah – no teaching about resurrection – eternal life.
Jesus himself shows danger – who are mistaken - Burning Bush – God of Abraham, Issac & Jacob – God of the Living

Another phone call – what Bible should I purchase?  How about Catholic Bible?  Are they not all the same?
No. Exact same New Testament  - But OT 7 books short –
Part of problem – Protestants friends do not believe in Purgatory – just heaven or hell.  So, no need to pray for the dead.
We believe in a period of purgation – to become perfect love. So we pray for the dead.  Book of Maccabees – prayers for the dead.
Used to be – all Catholics have a Funeral Mass for their loved ones.  Now less.  Why?  Time, money, don’t practice faith.   Pray for dead!!!

Maccabees talks about period of persecution. Government tells them how to worship and what to believe.  Sound familiar?
Seven brothers threatened with death – but they refuse to change their beliefs.  They paid the price.

Last year – Coptic Christians working in  Libya  were attacked while they slept by ISIS.  Told to renounce their faith or lose their lives.  They refused.   They were brought down to the Mediterranean. Captures wearing orange jumpsuits like prisoners in Guantanamo.  They would die at the water so their blood would be mixed with the blood of Osama Bin Laden, who was buried at sea.  As they lost their lives, spoke of their faith.   20  but also a 21st from Chad.  Not a Christian.   Their God is my God.    Belief in Resurrection!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Funeral Mass - Edward (James) Pega

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Edward (James) Pega on Thursday, November 3 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Pope Francis on Saints

The best description of the saints — in fact, their “identity card” — the pope said, is found in the beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which begins, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
And, he said, as Christian saints have done throughout the ages, Christ’s followers today are called “to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus.”
New situations require new energy and a new commitment, he said, and then he offered a new list of beatitudes for modern Christians:
— “Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.
— “Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness.

— “Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.
— “Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.
— “Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
— “Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.”

“All these are messengers of God’s mercy and tenderness,” Pope Francis said. “Surely they will receive from him their merited reward.”

The Rosary - Path to Sainthood

Shortly after he converted to Catholicism in the late 1930s, Thomas Merton was walking the streets of New York with his friend, Robert Lax. Lax was Jewish, and he asked Merton what he wanted to be, now that he was Catholic.

“I don’t know,” Merton replied, adding simply that he wanted to be a good Catholic.

Lax stopped him in his tracks.

“What you should say,” he told him, “is that you want to be a saint!”

Merton was dumbfounded.

“How do you expect me to become a saint?,” Merton asked him.

Lax said: “All that is necessary to be a saint is to want to be one. Don’t you believe that God will make you what He created you to be, if you will consent to let him do it? All you have to do is desire it.”...

Thomas Merton knew his friend was right. Merton, of course, would go on to become one of the great spiritual thinkers and writers of the last century. His friend Bob Lax would later convert to Catholicism himself -- and begin his own journey to try and be a saint.

But the words Lax spoke ring down through the decades to all of us today. Because they speak so simply and profoundly to our calling as Catholic Christians.

You should want to be a saint. And to be one, all you need is to want to be one.

Of course, if you only want to be a run-of-the-mill, average Christian, that’s probably all you’ll ever be. Every one can do just enough to get by. It’s not hard.

But the message Christ sends to all of us is an invitation to be something more. In the words of the old Army recruiting ad: be all that you can be....

A great path to sainthood – the Rosary

“Continue to pray the Rosary every day.”
Our Lady of Fatima to Sister Lucia
 “If you say the Rosary faithfully unto death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins, ‘you will receive a never-fading crown of glory’ (1 St. Peter 5:4).”
Saint Louis de Montfort
 “The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary.”
Saint Francis de Sales
 “One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.”
Saint Dominic
 “The Rosary is THE weapon.”
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)
“You must know that when you ‘hail’ Mary, she immediately greets you! If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you!”
Saint Bernardine of Siena

 “The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary.”
Pope Saint Pius X

Special thanks to Deacon Greg Kandra for information about Thomas Merton!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

All Souls Day

Wednesday, November 2 is All Souls Day. Masses will be offered at 7:00 a.m. and at 7:30 p.m. (this is the Annual Mass For Deceased Children). A Novena of Masses for All Souls will be offered each day this week.

All Saints Day

Tuesday, November 1 is the Solemnity of All Saints. It is a Holy Day of Obligation. Masses will be offered on Monday evening, October 31 at 5:30 pm and on Tuesday, November 1 at 7:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m. and at 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ordination Anniversary

Father Michael will celebrate his Thirty-Fifth Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood on Monday, October 31. He will gather with his Ordination Class on Thursday, October 27 at Epiphany Church in NYC for Mass and a private dinner with classmates. Please pray for the Ordination Class of 1981 from St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie and for more Vocations to the Priesthood.

Funeral Mass - John R. Bleakley, Sr.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of John Bleakley on Saturday, October 29 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Funeral Mass - Edward Moszczynski

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Edward Moszczynski on Friday, October 28 at 1:00 p.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Funeral Mass - Anthony Esposito

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Anthony Esposito on Wednesday, October 26 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


He looked like a red rose between two thorns!
There was Cardinal Dolan at the Al Smith Dinner seated between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

He was asked – what was it like?  They did try before the dinner to be courteous to one another. But during the dinner . . .

In the past – self depreciating humor – make fun of yourself – a humble humor – but now: at the expense of the other. Not humility but humiliation.

Thinking of Odell Beckham, star receiver of the Giants. Last week he scored a touchdown, waved his teammates away & took off his helmet – hey, look at me! Forgetting that Eli threw the pass and his other teammates blocked for him.

Two people went to the temple to pray:
1) Pharisee  -  by and large: good and holy people  “the separated ones”  not priests, but lay people – must strictly observe the laws
- fasted 2 x week     -  10% income to God   -  prayed 4 x a day    pretty good.

2) Tax collector – the publican    most considered him a traitor – he worked for a foreign government (Romans)   earned his pay by over taxation    ritually unclean   should not have even been there  -    O God, be merciful to me, a sinner!

Shocked – tax collector justified by God  -  why?

1) Pharisee prayer -  did not even need God – all about himself   I  I   I      Humility from the Latin word – humus – earth.  God created Adam from the earth. God created us! All I am is a gift from God.  Humility.

2) All about comparisons -  compared to others like this tax collector    grew up comparing, still do it!   Mom,  Dad!!!  Maureen got a bigger slice!!!

What tax collector did was compare himself to God!  
Reconciliation -  cilia – eyelash      eyelash to eyelash w God     & who will win???!!!

St. Augustine: What are the ways to God?  “The first is humility, the 2nd is humility, the third is humility”

St Therese “Beginning of holiness is humbly admitting that without God, I can do nothing, but - that  with   in  and through him,  everything is possible.

St. Mother Teresa   to experience JOY
Jesus   Others   You.

O God, be merciful to me, a sinner!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Funeral Mass - Richard Carroll

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Richard Carroll on Saturday, October 22 at 11:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Keep Praying!

To Persist – she kept after the judge, Moses kept holding up hands in prayer. Made me think of a parishioner of St. Stephen’s Warwick – Dolores Murphy & her brother – Stephen McDonald. Through Dolores I met this amazing man.

Thirty years ago, while on patrol in Central Park, the then Officer McDonald was shot three times –head – throat and spine. He is paralyzed from the neck down. At the time, he and his wife Patti were married only 8 months and she was carrying her soon to be son Conor – who is now a 4th generation Police Officer. Stephen was in the hospital for months. Every day was a struggle to live.

Card O’Connor once described them: “They are ordinary New Yorkers . . . but they are extraordinary, too, imbued with the spirit of forgiveness, faith and fidelity to each other beyond earthly measure . . . their conscious effort to conquer death and hatred with a spirit of life and love ennobles them.

Forgiveness – Go 2 ways:  hate or love:  “I forgive the boy who shot me, and I hope he can find peace and purpose in his life.”
Fidelity – She never thought to go back on her yes – “we did not get married to be divorced”
Faith – Stephen speaks to many young people and he encourages them “to grow in relationship with God and our Blessed Mother. Life is important and has meaning. You are a special and rare creation of God with enormous value. God creates you for a purpose!”

Relationship with God . . .     Friendship with God

1)      Spend time – intentional, even put on schedule

2)      Learning – what to know as much as possible about the other person – Bible & saints

3)      Honesty – let self be known to the other – share everything with God, not just what we think God wants to hear.  Even anger, disappointments, sadness

4)      Listening – create a space for the other to be heard.    Listen to physical signs, other people, scripture, emotions, memories, daily life    connects with:

5)      Silence – Mom & Dad would sit in room - not say a word – intimacy.  Electronic: disconnect to connect.

6)      Changes – Relationship with God can and should change over time.

Stephen said last July: I am not here by accident. There is a purpose and plan to my life. God has been involved in this story from beginning to end.    So persist, be strong, do not be afraid!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Funeral Mass - Mildred Murphy

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Mildred Murphy on Wednesday, October 19 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Funeral Mass - William Meyers

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of William Meyers on Monday, October 17 at 11:30 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Funeral Mass - Sylvia Holt

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Sylvia Holt on Monday, October 17 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Funeral Mass - Deacon George Stewart

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Deacon George Stewart on Saturday, October 15 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family. Deacon Stewart previously served as Deacon at St. Columba. His son, Father George Stewart, is Pastor of St. Augustine - Our Lady of Victory Parish in the Bronx.

Funeral Mass - Michael McHugh

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Michael McHugh on Friday, October 14 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Funeral Mass - Dina Scecchitano

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Dina Scecchitano on Monday, October 3 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Respect Life Sunday

Faith the size of a mustard seed – great things can happen.
Life begins with a seed, doesn’t it? And something amazing begins to happen:

-          5 weeks – the heart begins to beat
-          6 weeks – the nose, mouth and ears begin to take shape
-          7 weeks – hands and feet are forming
-          8  weeks – baby is moving
-          10 weeks – all organs and structures are in place, ready to grow
-          13 weeks – the baby has fingerprints and foot prints.

This child – all children, are uniquely loved by God.  On this Respect Life Sunday, we are reminded that They deserve our love and protection.

Today we welcome the Little Sisters of the Poor. They essentially began on a cold winter night in 1839 when Jeanne Jugan noticed an old woman out in the cold with no place to go. Jeanne took her into her apartment and put the old woman in her own bed. People began to notice, people wanted to help, and the Little Sisters of the Poor were born.

They try to make sure the neediest of the elderly have a home. They are welcomed as Christ.

These last two years they have received much national attention. They told our government that, while providing medical coverage for their employees, that do not want to pay for anything that might destroy human life.  The government insisted that they must and the Little Sisters appealed right up the Supreme Court.  This past March, the Supreme Court instructed lower courts to work with the Sisters to make sure their religious beliefs were not violated. 

We thank you Sisters for standing up for the truth and teaching us how to Respect Life – from conception until natural death.

We at St. Columba, want to support the Sisters in their work. We also want to continue our good works on behalf of Life.  We are grateful to all parishioners who are involved in:
-          Our Respect Life efforts, including 40 Days For Life
-          Our SVDP Food Pantry, which feeds 100’s of individuals each month.
-          Our Ministry of Care, which shows that a simple phone call can make all the difference in the world.
-          Our Midnight Runs to assist the homeless poor.

Please consider taking home a Baby Bottle today and filling it with change this October. You gift, no matter how big or small, will help your parish put into practice our faith – all human life is sacred and loved by God. 

Monday, September 12, 2016


The painting is called “The Last Supper” by Leonardo DaVinci. It is said that while Leonardo was painting it, he was in the middle of a nasty feud with a fellow painter. To take revenge, he decided to use the face of his enemy for Judas. As he continued to work on the painting, he seemed to have no problem with the faces of the Apostles. But he could get nowhere with the face of Jesus.  Why?
Today we read from the Chapter 15 of Luke – the Chapter of Mercy. We have become so used to the stories, we forget how unusual they are.
-          Search of a lost coin. This coin is worth about 5 cents. When I was little, we were happy to pick up a penny – gum ball machine. Not any more. No one cares. Turn your house upside down for a coin? No way!!
-          Search of a lost sheep. Has 100. He has lost one. Not bad at all. USA 1.5% stolen. This is only 1% loss. Write it off. You are going to risk losing more if you go off to search.
-          Lost son.  Really, would you bother after he has told you to drop dead. But since you are not yet dead, give me my share of the inheritance now!    Yet, this crazy father is waiting, looking watching – robe, ring, shoes.
Pope Francis keeps teaching us – this is the mercy of God – and our worth to him.
So now – in turn – forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us! As we have received mercy – we are to show mercy.
Mercy First to God. Yes God.  Some of us hold God accountable for everything, every bad thing, every sickness. Yet God loved us so much He gave us the gift of free will, which includes enormous risks. Some choose a dark path, and it affects all of us.  Can we forgive God for loving us in this way, and trust in that love?
Forgive others. I did not dare speak of mercy after Sept 11. It was too raw. And it still hurts. And it will always hurt. What should our response be – more hate, more anger, more bitterness? Do we want to become like them? Mercy.
Forgive self. I read in the paper today about a man, Aaron McClamb who loved firefighters. And, when Ladder 115 left Brooklyn to go to the World Trade, he took pictures. His famous picture is of Ladder 115 on the Brooklyn Bridge. It symbolized all who gave their lives. No one on that truck returned. For 10 years after he suffered survivor’s guilt.  
There are lots of thing we wish we said, would have done or should have done. Learn to let go! You see, today is the day, today is the gift.  Today is the opportunity to make a difference. Will we?

What did DaVinci have to do? In time, he began to understand what was wrong. In order to paint the face of Jesus, he had to change the face of Judas. He had to show mercy. He had to become like Jesus. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Anna O'Connor

Our prayers are with Anna O'Connor as she leaves our parish to discern if she has a call to Religious Life as a Sister of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George. We promise her our love and prayers and, if it be God's Will, she may become a Sister!

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was made a saint this morning. It had no effect on her. It was done for us – that we might learn from her holiness.
When I was growing up, if you asked the question – who is the holiest person on the planet – we would all have said Mother Teresa.
Born in what is now Albania, she began to consider religious life at age 12. At 18 she joined the Sisters of Loretto, studied in Dublin, Ireland and went to Calcutta, India to serve as a teacher and as a principal.
At one point, she made a promise to Jesus – to do whatever he asked. Well, September 10, 1947, she experienced her “call within the call” while traveling to a retreat.  Would she give up everything to serve the poor?
She began in Calcutta with an open air school and a home for the dying. By her death, almost 5,000 sisters were serving as Missionaries of Charity in over 100 countries, including NYC.
I met her once, a junior in college. She was tiny as could be. As she spoke at our college graduation, you could hear a pin drop. She did not speak long, but we listened to every single word.
Her secret – as she met the poor = every single one of them was Jesus in disguise. This had a huge impact on me – especially when I was working with the poor, homeless and the sick – look beyond to see Jesus.
Many of her sayings still have a great impact:
-          Let us meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
-          Spread love wherever you go. Let no one come to you without leaving happier.
-          Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do . . . but how much love we put into that action.
-          If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each another.
-          It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.
-          What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.
-          We ourselves feel that we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
-          In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.
-          If you cannot feed 100 people, then feed just one.
-          One, by one, by one, by one . . .
-          I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness.
-          When we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask: how many good things you have done in your life? Rather: how much love did you put into what you did?
-          Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come yet. We have only today. Let us begin.

-          SVDP        ST. TERESA PRAY FOR US!