Wednesday, October 31, 2018

All Souls Day

November 2 is All Souls Day. While not a Holy Day of Obligation, it is an opportunity to pray in a special way for our beloved departed. Masses will be offered on November 2 at 7:00 a.m., 12:00 noon and at 7:30 p.m.

All Saints Day

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

37th Anniversary of Ordination

Pastors get letters – some – not so good – others – wonderful. Here’s one:
Preface – we invited Father Tom Berg from Dunwoodie to speak to our parishioners about what has been happening in the church.

“I attended the talk with Father Berg the other night and while it was painful to hear about all that has happened in the church, I commend you and the parish council for providing a venue for people to vent their frustration and pain. 

At the very end, I raised my hand, not to ask a question but just to say that as horrible as all of this is, I’m still proud to be a Catholic.  Of course, I’m appalled by the scandals but I’m deliberately choosing to focus on the goodness of Christ that continues to manifest itself in the church and which has done so continuously for 2000 years!  I see that goodness daily in you, Father Connolly, Monsignor Thompson and the wonderful nuns that serve our parish, as well as in all who continue to come to church, my fellow parishioners. 

My prayer is that I can be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem.  By praying for the Pope, praying for the Bishops, and praying for the healing of all victims, most especially those directly affected, but equally important to pray for those who have fallen away from the church because of this, those who are in the seminary, and for the good Priests like yourself who have remained faithful to their vows and yet at times have to suffer the cloud of suspicion surrounding all clergy.  Not by all but by some and I'm sorry for all good Priests that have to endure that. 

I guess it's a small thing but whenever I see a veteran, or a first responder, I thank them for their service, and the Lord has put it on my heart to say the same to Priests...Thank you for the gift and sacrifices of your Priesthood and for remaining faithful to your vows. “

I know that this is one of the reasons I remain a priest – the faith community – the support and love of so many people – how we journey together in the midst of all the brokenness – and all the baptisms, funerals, weddings, anointings, first communions, confirmations - because we have our eyes fixed on Jesus – who took it all, who continues to take it all upon himself.

I remain a priest because – when the towers were hit in NYC – and people were running out – the firefighters were running IN – despite all her brokenness I love the church because that is where Christ is.

I remain a priest – because someone must continue to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. There seems to be so much hopelessness – never have I done more funerals from drug overdoses and suicides. Who will bring the light of Christ into a darkened world?

I remain a priest – because somehow, despite my own imperfections and sinfulness – Christ wants to use me to make himself present – This Is My Body, this is my blood.

I remain a priest – because there is nothing like the ability to say – I absolve you from your sins – your are really and truly forgiven. It is such a joy to extend God’s mercy.

I remain a priest – because I have been called – and I remember the words of my mother – you took a Sacrament. That God will give me all the grace I need.

Dominican Priest - Lacordaire

To live in the midst of the world
without wishing its pleasures;
To be a member of each family,
yet belonging to none;
To share all suffering;
to penetrate all secrets;
To heal all wounds;
to go from men to God
and offer Him their prayers;
To return from God to men
to bring pardon and hope;
To have a heart of fire for Charity,
and a heart of bronze for Chastity
To teach and to pardon,
console and bless always.
My God, what a life;
and it is yours,
O priest of Jesus Christ.

Thanks for coming to share this moment with my class as we celebrate 37 years of priesthood – pray for us!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

To Be A Servant

The boy has been coming home late from school
He has no good reason, and no discussion seems to help.
Finally, his  Father sat him down
Next time you are late  -  you are getting bread and water for dinner & nothing else!
Do you understand? Boy said he understood.

This lasted, of course, a few days, but it happened – he was late.
His Mother met him at the door – she said nothing.
His Father came home, said nothing.

They sat down at table and There it was:
One slice of bread – one glass of water.
And here He was – very hungry.

His Father waited for the impact to settle in.
Then, took his boy’s plate and put it in front of himself.
He took his own plate and put it in front of the boy.

You see – the Father took upon himself the punishment of the boy. Isn’t that what Jesus did for us?
The Boy said: “All my life I’ve known what God is like - by what my father did that night.”

God did this for us –the apostles are arguing about who is the greatest – who sits and the right & left of Jesus.   No – instead – thank God – live in Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Funeral Mass - Victoria Casale

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Victoria Casale on Saturday, October 20 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Funeral Mass - Vikki Grencer

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Vikki Grencer on Monday, October 15 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

What Must I Do To Inherit Eternal Life?

Michael Buble has announced he is quitting the music industry. His son’s cancer battle has given him a new perspective on life. “How stupid I’ve been to worry about these unimportant things. I was embarrassed by my ego.”  “I will never read a review again and never use social media again.” Wow. You wonder if something similar happened to this man who ran up to Jesus: – good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? What a question! He is asking a very important question – a serious question. He is really thinking about the important things in life!!!

Jesus said - how about the commandments? Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth. For this we can thank his family and especially his parents.

I’m sure his parents did not begin with reciting the commandments – but rather, teaching him Virtues.

Virtues: Inner and consistent disposition toward the good.
And how do we develop Virtues – habits!

My dad loved baseball, and he wanted me to enjoy it too. He brought me a mitt and a ball, and we would play catch. Then, to a baseball field – a gorgeous field. Here’s a bat – let me show you how to hit. And he would pitch and pitch to me.   Now, you have to learn how to field.    After all that – now here is how you play the game. . . rules

I learned – I could not play any way I wanted.  Had to really learn to hit, field and throw.  And I had to work at it. Lots of practice. It became a habit.

Just as with life. My parents wanted me to love God, to live rightly, to seek the good.   To respect others, to speak correctly, to be willing to help as needed. And I had to practice these virtues. In time, they became habits. It helped that they tried to live them, and they pointed me to good examples, especially the saints.

Young man – I have kept all these commandments since my youth – Jesus looked upon him with love – could see his potential – the possibilities for his future.

One more thing – let go of all these material things. They are becoming your focus. You are forgetting about what is most important.

Part of the process is accepting correction. Listening to Aaron Boone, Yankee manager. He went through a list of ways his team needs to do to improve. Can they accept correction? Are they willing to change?  

This, of course, is an important role of parents – to lovingly, yet firmly, correct children. No correction, no growth in children.

Sadly, the young man would not accept correction. And, he went away sad.

What about us? Are we asking the rights questions? What must I do to inherit eternal life? Am I on the right path? Do I have good habits? Am I developing bad habits. Do I need to change? Am I willing to change?  The answer could mean Eternal Life!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Funeral Mass - Mark Trabakino

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Mark Trabakino (brother of Sharon Senno, our 2nd grade teacher) on Tuesday, October 9 at 10:00 a.m. Please  pray for him and for his family.

The Four Loves

Jesus caught in debate about marriage.
Genesis said – “let no one separate what God has joined” but Moses saw certain circumstances where divorce should be allowed.
Their understanding of divorce was much different then ours.
-          A very male oriented society. A woman could not seek a divorce
-          Some leaders – only when wife is unfaithful
-          Others – any reason, including a poorly cooked meal!
Jesus does not take the bait – he wants to point them back to the ideals of marriage taught in Genesis.
God – “It is not good for the man to be alone.” We are meant to be together. And so God gave us the gift of love. Paul – faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. Love is at the heart of Jesus teachings.
But Dictionary – love is - “an intense feeling of deep affection.”  Really?
Now, we are limited by the English word love – love you, love my dog, love work, love Alaska – all have different meanings.
Ancient Greeks had 4 words for love:
Storge  (stor-gay) – familial love – the bong we have in our families, with persons and even with animals. A love that is constant, a love that is often taken for granted. Took a ride with my brother – loves to ride with open Jeep – just  great to be with him & talk.
Philia – love or friends or relationships often based on compatibility and mutual interests. Often get together with priests, people I went to school with, or friends I  golf with.
Eros – a passionate love, which includes wonder, appreciation and desire for beauty. Summer I explored a lake – I saw no one else, just beauty of nature – mountains, beavers, egrets and eagles.
Agape  - this is the emptying out  of self in the service of the other, with no expectation of a reward.  Jesus – “love one another as I love you.”   And how did he love?   Crucifix.  Poured out. The meaning of true love “willing the good of the other” STA.
God put man into deep sleep – took out rib. Point is co-equality with Adam – bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. They become ONE.  Seems to me this ideal marriage has all 4 at work.
Storge - Family love, especially for children,  Philia – friends, share many things together,  Eros – a passion for one another,  and Agape     No longer about me – but about you and our children.