Sunday, January 20, 2019

Do Not Build This Death Star

letter from Bishop Edward Scharfenberger to the governor of New York:
Dear Governor Cuomo,
Although in your recent State of the State address you cited your Catholic faith and said we should “stand with Pope Francis,” your advocacy of extreme abortion legislation is completely contrary to the teachings of our pope and our Church. Once truth is separated from fiction and people come to realize the impact of the bill, they will be shocked to their core. By that time, however, it may be too late to save the countless lives that will be lost or spare countless women lifelong regret.
The so-called Reproductive Health Act (RHA) will expand abortion under the pretenses of choice and progress, which, in fact, it will do little to enhance. At the same time, this legislation threatens to rupture the communion between the Catholic faith and those who support the RHA even while professing to follow the Church, something that troubles me greatly as a pastor.
Contrary to what its proponents say, the RHA goes far beyond Roe vs. Wade in its aggressive extremism. Granting non-doctors permission to perform abortions does nothing to advance the security and health of women. Condoning coerced or involuntary abortions by repealing criminal sanctions even in cases where a perpetrator seeks to make his partner “un-pregnant” through an act of physical violence does not represent any kind of progress in the choice, safety or health of women. Removing protection for an infant accidentally born alive during an abortion is abject cruelty, something most people of conscience would deem inhumane for even a dog or cat. Finally, allowing late-term abortions is nothing less than a license to kill a pre-born child at will.
It is very difficult to understand how you can align yourself with Pope Francis and so vehemently advocate such profoundly destructive legislation.
I find myself wondering how it can be viewed as “progress” to have gone from a society working to make abortion “rare” to one that urges women to “shout your abortion” as some advocates of this bill boldly announce.
How is it progress to ignore the harm that this will do, not only to innocent infants, born and unborn, but to their mothers? Does the heartache of so many New York women who have been pained by their abortion decisions matter? Is anyone listening to them? How is it really “pro-choice” when a law, which claims to guarantee choice, moves to expand only one option for women?
If abortion is deemed a fundamental right in New York State, will the State then still be able to issue licenses to pro-life nurses or physicians? Will health facilities which do not provide abortions be certified? Will the law allow that even one dollar be given to maternity services without offering women the “choice” of abortion? These are unanswered questions, but I shudder to think of the consequences this law will wreak. You have already uttered harsh threats about the welcome you think pro-lifers are not entitled to in our state. Now you are demonstrating that you mean to write your warning into law. Will being pro-life one day be a hate crime in the State of New York?
Our young people especially, who have seen their sonograms and who follow the discoveries the sciences have made, know the lies and the despair that proponents of such dangerous and death-dealing legislation are promulgating, even if blindly or unwittingly.
Giving up on life is no excuse for us as a responsible and compassionate people. In so doing, we evade the challenge of accompanying women and the families they are trying to nurture on the long journey. They deserve our courageous and ongoing support in creating conditions under which they will be free to bear and provide for their children.
As a society, we can and must do better. The teaching and intuition of our common faith readies us to help. It is an essential part of our mission to support the lives of all, especially the voiceless, the most vulnerable and marginalized, as Pope Francis always reminds us to do.
Let’s not bequeath to our children a culture of death, but together build a more humane society for the lives of all of our fellow citizens.
Mr. Cuomo, do not build this Death Star.
Sincerely yours,
Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger
Bishop of Albany

Dr. King Holiday

Monday, January 21 is the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday. Morning Mass is at 8:00 a.m. All Parish Offices are closed. The Adoration Chapel is closed.

There was a Wedding at Cana

During the Advent & Christmas Seasons we worked our way through the Joyful Mysteries. Annunciation – Visitation – Birth of Jesus – Presentation of Jesus – Finding of Jesus in the Temple.  In 2002, Pope John Paul II created the Luminous Mysteries – the Mysteries of Light – to help us reflect upon the mysteries of Jesus life and ministry – usually on Thursdays.
Baptism in the Jordan – Wedding Feast of Cana – Proclamation of the Kingdom – Transfiguration – Last Supper.  
Last week Baptism – now The Wedding Feast -  Had the joy of visiting the church in Cana built on the spot – I led couples in renewing their wedding vows – people outside the church were selling Cana wine – we brought a bottle – lets just say they needed another miracle!
3        Thoughts
1 - Years ago Johnny Carson interviewed an 8 year old boy on TV.  The boy had rescued two friends in a coalmine in West Virginia. As Johnny questioned the boy, it became apparent to him and the audience that the young man was a Christian. Johnny asked him if he attended Sunday school. Yes.  Johnny inquired, "What are you learning in Sunday school?" "Last week, our lesson was about when Jesus went to a wedding and turned water into wine." The audience roared, but Johnny said, "And what did you learn from that story?"  "If you're going to have a wedding, make sure you invite Jesus!"
A couple came in the other day to talk about their wedding. I thanked them. They told me – we want God to be part of our marriage. Fantastic! Father Connolly & I are here to help! Also to help couples that did not get married in church.
2 - Mary said to Jesus: they have no more wine.  A bit of a disaster – guests will simply leave. Mary intercedes on their behalf. We are reminded of her role as Intercessor. We do not pray to her as God, but rather “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners.”
Jesus said “Why does this concern of yours involve me? My hour has not yet come.”   Understandable - Not time yet – so much to do – gather the apostles, proclaim the Good New – before the hour of his Death & Resurrection.
3) Then we hear the last words of Mary recorded in St. John’s Gospel:  Do whatever he tells you!!!  She knew her Son. He would not stand by. He would act. They fill the water jars – 6 of them = to the brim – 20 or 30 gallons.  And now the water has become wine.   Perhaps to prepare us for the great miracle of the Eucharist?  A great way to live our lives.  Do what he tells you… Honor your marriage vows.   Pray together. Pray for one another.  Forgive one another.  Walk together in holiness and love.   Offer up the irritations.   Pray for consolations.  Listen to God.  He will always show us the right path!!
This event begins the Book of Signs – 7 Signs – 7 Miracles to show he is the Son of God. Then the Hour comes – the Book of Glory – his Death and Resurrection.
And think – it all begins when they invited Jesus to their wedding – invite Him into your life, and it will never be the same!

Funeral Mass - George Geary

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of George Geary on Friday, January 25 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Funeral Mass - Steven Page

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Steven Page on Wednesday, January 23 at 11:30 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Funeral Mass - Eleanor Rokes

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Eleanor Rokes on Wednesday, January 23 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Funeral Mass - Dominic Luango

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Dominic Luongo on Monday, January 14 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family. 

Baptism Of The Lord

Intro to Mass – Bless self?  Jordan River!
Walk into a Catholic Church – expect to see certain things:
Altar – Pulpit – Tabernacle – Statues – Stations – Holy Water Fonts
Holy Water Fonts – Baptismal Water – bless ourselves: reminding ourselves we are entering Sacred Space & to remember our Baptism.
We are all so different – yet one thing almost all of us have in common is our Baptism!
Feast of Baptism of the Lord – Great opportunity to recall what happened to us at our Baptism:
1)     What Name Have You Given This Child – unique identity “this is my beloved son/daughter” Pope Benedict: “Every baby, every child carries the face of God.”
2)     Signed with the Cross – In the Name of . . . Holy Trinity & Cross – death & Resurrection of Jesus. Mark of a Christian – part of God’s family, the Mystical Body of Christ. I am not alone.  1 Billion Catholics
3)     Oil of Catechumens – prayer is to be set free from Original Sin. Sometimes a baby is born addicted to drugs/because mother used drugs. Baby is innocent but needs to be saved. We all need a Savior!
4)     I Baptize You – a washing, a cleansing from sin – into the death and resurrection of Jesus – children of God.
5)     Anointing with Chrism – Dwelling place, temple of the Holy Spirit.  Will be strengthened in Confirmation.
6)     Clothed with White Garment – clothed in Christ – outward sign of our Christian dignity. – we belong to God.
7)     Lighted Candle – Mission – let your light shine – bring light to a darkened world.
Do you know the date of your baptism? January 20, 1955.  Find out – because that day changed everything!!!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Msgr. Thompson New Address

Msgr. George Thompson
St. John Vianney Clergy Center
Cardinal Egan Pavilion
5655 Arlington Avenue
Bronx, NY 10471

Msgr. George Thompson

I spoke about Msgr. George Thompson at all Masses this weekend. Here is an outline of my talk:

I wish to speak to you about Msgr. George Thompson.
Msgr. Thompson was away this summer for most of July-August and September.
When he returned, we knew something was wrong.  He was exhibiting memory issues. He was confused. He could no longer even say Mass. It happened so quickly! We decided to:
-         Ask him for his car keys
-         Take him for medical testing
-         Ask the assistance of our Vicar for Clergy, Bishop Walsh, and our Priest Wellness Coordinator, Deacon DiMartino.

Msgr. received a very difficult diagnosis – he did ask us not to share it – but it has to do with short term memory. Bishop Walsh and Deacon DiMartino met with Msgr. and recommended that he move to our St. John Vianney Clergy Center in Riverdale – where a section is devoted to priests with memory issues. Msgr. asked if he could stay at St. Columba until after Christmas, and his wish was respected.

Yesterday (Friday), he made the move to Riverdale where he will receive excellent care. His new address will be available in next week’s bulletin if you would like to send him a card.

I would like to thank our entire parish staff – most especially Gary Bartilucci, Laura Brady and Father Connolly for helping to give him excellent care, and our own Ministry of Care that helped us with doctor visits.

Msgr. Thompson is one of our finest priests, and we are going to miss him very much. Personally, he is a dear friend and a mentor. Please continue to pray for him.


They are known today as Caspar – Balthasar – Melchior:   the Magi from the East.
Asia – Africa - Europe       Young – middle age - old
Scripture tells us  -  they followed a star.
At the end of their journey, they found Christ!

1)    If we could interview the magi and ask them – why did you do this, why journey and follow a star?  -  perhaps they would say -  we were called
Carl Sagan once said that we are all made of star stuff – all matter comes from the furnace of stars.
But – that is ALL he would say.

The Christian would say more – Augustine – God became man that man might become God. We are infused with the gift of a soul. Made in image & likeness of God.  There is a purpose to our existence

Each person here has a purpose – a call  -  Know, love & serve God.
Stay true to your call!!!   Even when your husband or wife gives you a hard time!  Even when your college roommate thinks you are crazy!  Even when your friends make fun of you!  Even when your co-workers ask why do you bother???

2)    They came bearing gifts:
Melchior - Gold – for a king   a kingly gift!

Balthasar – Frankincense – from the Boswellia Tree -  worth the same as gold - Incense – prayers up to heaven – for divinity

Caspar – Myrrh – Mysterious - From Cammiphora tree. Can be used as incense – also used in anointing a dead body. Worth 7X more than gold.   For the sacrifice
They gave their absolute best!

My parents were very good in this – not so much the grade – did you do your best?
Give our best – to our marriages – our parents – our children - our families – work – school???
The question is – not the grade, but did you give your best?

3)    The Magi went back another way.
Did not trust Herod and rightly so -  but also
It is hard to encounter the baby and not want to go a different way
Could not go back to the old ways!

The hobbit Bilbo Baggins was about to depart on his Great Adventure– he asked Gandalf:  will I return? Gandalf said: I cannot guarantee it, but if you do return, you will be changed.

When we meet Christ – it changes everything -   how we look at ourselves – how we look at others - how we look at life – how we act toward one another – what we say – what we do.

Today we remember the story of the Magi  – they followed a star – they gave their best – and they went away, changed forever.  Sounds like it could be our story, too!