Saturday, June 10, 2017

Graduation Homily - Feast of St. Columba

As we mentioned earlier, today is the Feast Day of St. Columba, the Patron Saint of our parish, and one of the Patron Saints of our school. Twenty-five years ago, Cardinal O’Connor split the parish of St. Denis and created the new parish of St. Columba. Fifty years ago, the people of St. Denis Parish, which included the Mission Church of St. Columba, founded our magnificent school. And so, we are celebrating two significant milestones this year!
St. Columba was born in Donegal, Ireland many years ago. When he began his studies for the priesthood, he used to spend much time praying in church. His fellow students called him Columkille – the Dove of the Church. He was a brilliant man who would travel about Ireland teaching about Jesus. He founded many churches and monasteries.
Eventually, St. Columba left Ireland with a small group of monks and landed off the coast of Scotland on Iona Island.  There he founded a monastery that became famous all over Europe. From there, Columba and his monks spread the faith all over Scotland. At one point, he even banished an evil creature to the deeps of a lake – the Loch Ness Monster! Years later on Iona Island, his monks created the famous “Book of Kells” which can be seen today at Trinity College, Dublin.  
Two years ago, I traveled to Iona to visit his monastery and his grave. Sadly, the Vikings beat me there. To protect his relics, they were moved to Downpatrick in Ireland where he rests next to St. Patrick & St. Bridget.
Monasteries were and still are special places of learning. Throughout history, Catholics have built schools and colleges to educate their young. Fifty years ago, the people of Hopewell Junction stepped out in faith to create a school. It has educated generations of young people like yourselves.  A school cannot work without a dedicated principal, outstanding faculty and staff, supportive parishioners and parents who understand the unique role of Catholic education – Education of the Whole person: Body, Mind and Soul. My dear graduates, you have much to be thankful for tonight.
As you go forward from St. Denis – St. Columba, what is my wish for you?
Before age of cable TV and cell phones., town streets were lit by gas lamps.
Couldn’t just hit a switch, had to have a lamplighter who would go out each evening and light the lamps.
One night, an English writer named John Ruskin was sitting on his porch.
Across the valley, he could see the torch of the lamplighter as he went to each gas lamp.
Because it was getting dark, he could not see the lamplighter.
After a while, he pointed to the trail of lights and said to a friend:
That is a good example of how Christians are to live. You may never have seen them. But you know they passed through the world by the trail of lights they left behind.

Jesus said, you are the light of the world – in a world where there is so much darkness - my dear graduates, let your light shine!!! God bless you!!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Great Letter!

Some days ago, Fr. Andrea, the pastor of Milan’s parish of St. Michael the Archangel and St. Rita, found pro-abortion graffiti scrawled on the wall of his church.
Not only did the vandalism promote abortion, it added some blasphemy: “Abortion on demand (for Mary too).”
Fr. Andrea took to Facebook to respond to the anonymous criminal, encouraging him not only to see abortion for what it is, and to be brave about changing the world for good, but assuring him that the very community he had violated was ready and able to love him.
Here is a translation of the priest’s letter, which has gone viral:
Dear anonymous writer on the wall,
I’m sorry you couldn’t take an example from your mother. She had courage. She conceived you, carried on the pregnancy and gave birth to you. She could have aborted you. But she didn’t. She raised you, fed you, washed you, and dressed you. And now you have a life and freedom. A freedom you’re using to tell us that it would be better if people also like you weren’t in this world.
I’m sorry, but I disagree. And I admire your mother very much because she was brave. And she still is, because, like every mother, she is proud of you even if you behave badly, because she knows that there is still good inside of you that only needs to manage to come out.
Abortion makes nonsense of everything. Death wins against life. Fear defeats a heart that wants to fight and live, not die. It means choosing who has the right to live and who doesn’t, as if it were a simple right. It is an ideology that conquers humanity and wants to take its hope away.
You obviously have no courage. Given that you’re anonymous.
And while we’re at it, I would also like to tell you that our neighborhood has already experienced a lot of problems, and we don’t need people to vandalize the walls and ruin the little beauty we have left.
Do you want to show how brave you are? Then improve the world instead of destroying it. Give love instead of hatred. Help those who are suffering to endure their sorrows. And give life instead of taking it away! This is real bravery!
Luckily our neighborhood, which you are destroying, is full of brave people! Who know how to love you, too — you, who do not know what you are writing.
Fr. Andrea

Information For Funeral For Sister Kathleen's Sister

Scarponi-Bright Funeral Home
26 Main Street
Lebanon, NJ 08833
 Janice Marie Prostak, age 53, of Greenwich Twp., NJ passed away on Monday, June 5, 2017.
 She was born on June 4, 1964 in Staten Island, NY.  She was a resident of the Hunterdon/Warren County area her entire life, moving to Greenwhich Twp. in 1988. 
 She was the daughter of the late Robert Andrew and Maryann Sicora Gerritse.
 Janice was the wife of Thomas S. Prostak, celebrating 30 years of marriage.
 She was a 4th grade teacher at Greenwich Elementary School where she taught for 21 years.
 Janice was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alpha, NJ.  She loved traveling and running.  Most of all, she loved her family and she loved education.  She was a very dedicated teacher who would spend a great deal of time thinking about what she could do for her students. 
 Survivors in addition to her husband include her son; Thomas W. Prostak and his fiancee Lauren Perlingero of Stewartsville, NJ. She is also survived by two sisters; Sister Kathleen Marie Gerritse of Hopewell Junction, NY and Karen Gardineer and her husband David of Ewing, NJ.  Two brothers; Thomas Gerritse of NE and John Gerritse of CA. 
 Calling hours will be Thursday, June 8, 2017 from 2-4pm and 7-9pm at Scarponi-Bright Funeral Home, 26 Main Street, Lebanon, NJ.  
Funeral Mass will be Friday, June 9, 2017 at 10:30am at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church,  830 5th Ave., Alpha, NJ. 
Inurnment on Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Mausoleum in Alpha., NJ. 

 Memorials can be made to the Cysic Fibrosis Foundation  (