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!