Friday, July 1, 2022

Welcome to the SJF/OLC Pastorate!

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

This weekend we are entering into a new era as we launch the Pastorate of St. Jane Frances de Chantal and Our Lady of the Chesapeake! I am very excited to be beginning my ministry as Pastor of St. Jane Frances while continuing as Pastor at Our Lady of the Chesapeake. As many of us know, our two communities were actually one community for many years, until the continued growth in Riviera Beach and Lake Shore led to the establishment of OLC in 1980. Now as times have changed, we are being invited to work together once again to continue the Church’s mission in our beloved communities. And we have lots of work to do!

We also welcome one of the newly ordained priests for our Archdiocese as our Associate Pastor, Fr. Jim Bors. Fr. Jim will be living at St. Jane Frances while I will be living at OLC, but our living arrangements do not mean we will not be present to both communities. After the first couple of weekends of introductions, Fr. Jim and I will be celebrating Masses at both parishes each week. The presider schedule will be posted on our websites for both parishes, so you will know who will be where each week (and we will know where to be as well!)

As we all know, there can be some uncertainty with change. We get used to the routines of the past and don’t always know what to expect in the future. I want to let everyone know at both parishes that it is my desire and prayer that this first year of our Pastorate will be one we all use to get to know each other and/or reacquaint ourselves once again, including a chance for Fr. Jim and I to get to know all of you at both parishes. Hopefully, we will be gathering together not only for Mass but also for social activities, and realizing that all of us love our Catholic faith and desire to serve our Lord, Jesus Christ by our words and deeds. I believe the first step in becoming missionary disciples to others is to become missionary disciples to each other, and begin the work of re-evangelizing our own family members and friends who have drifted away from our parishes over the past few years. So let’s begin to dream about the positive ways we can do this together!

This is the dawning of a new era, with its share of joys and challenges, but if we remain focused on our mission as disciples, and the fact that we are all members of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, then I believe the Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us down the path we are journeying together. Welcome to the SJF/OLC Pastorate!

God Bless,
Father Steve

Friday, June 24, 2022

Fr. Carl’s Farewell

Dear Parishioners,

They say “All good things come to an end.” And this good thing of being your pastor at St. Jane’s is coming to an end and will happen in a few days on July 1st. I am grateful to the archdiocese for sending me here thirteen years ago and allowing me to stay three years past the mandatory retirement age of 75. But most of all, I appreciate the support and generosity of you, the people. I want to apologize to anybody I may have hurt or let down. That was never my intention, and I am sorry.

Last week when I was being interviewed by the Catholic Review, I was asked what impressed me the most about the parish. I said it was the generosity of the people. First, it was the warm welcome I received when I first arrived. Second it was the financial generosity in support of maintenance needs of the parish. While we had a significant amount of money in the bank, we had significant debts to pay. We were only $33,000 in the black. Nevertheless, we pressed on with the projects needed to be done. We retiled the lower church, renovated the parish hall and kitchen equipment, put a new roof on the church, and also put a new roof on the rectory, all to the expense of more than $500,000. At the same time, thanks to your generosity, our equity (assets minus liabilities) is in excess of $600,000. Of course, there is more to be done as the school needs a new roof, which should cost $400,000 or more. It’s a big project, but I am confident in the parish.

As I depart, I will not be going empty handed. I will be taking the memories of thirteen wonderful years and the confidence that Frs. Hook and Bors will bring about the betterment of St. Jane Frances and Our Lady of the Chesapeake.

Take care & God bless,
Fr. Carl

Friday, June 17, 2022

The Eucharist: Much More Than “Bread And Wine”

Brothers and Sisters,

This week we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ also known as the Feast of Corpus Christi. This celebration is a special opportunity to worship the Lord Jesus, the true and eternal Priest, who is really present in the sacrament of his Body and Blood. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life, and the grace and divine life that Jesus gives leads to ever greater holiness and joy in this life and eternal salvation in the next.

In the gospel reading (Lk 9:11b–17), the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand is a prefigurement of the Eucharist, in which Jesus continues to miraculously feed the crowds through offering us his body, blood, soul, and divinity under the form of bread and wine. The multiplication of the bread was a miracle for the people, and it still is today—a miracle that takes place every day on all of the altars of the world. The term for this miracle of changing the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood is called transubstantiation. And when the priest consecrates the body and blood of Jesus Christ on the altar, he stands “in persona” of Christ. He acts in the place of the Lord himself, for all of us. Jesus has no human body to do this, except for theirs, and that is why we need our holy priests. They are the treasure of our church.

Thank you Fr. Carl and all priests for your unselfish, loving service to the Lord and His people.

God Bless,
Deacon Howard

Friday, June 10, 2022

Love And Harmony

Dear Parishioners,

BRR… that’s what we sometimes say in the winter on very cold days. Yet we also say it in the summer in well air-conditioned places like movie theaters and restaurants. Recently, I heard the same about the church. Unfortunately, we are not able to vary the settings to change as the outside temperatures do, and as the day progresses the outside temperature rises; doors open and close; people come and go. So if you want to be comfortable, I advise you to bring a jacket or sweater to Mass. Last Sunday, it was a bit chilly during the 8:00 a.m. Mass, but by 10:00 it was comfortable. By the way, does anybody remember the 50s before air conditioning, when men wore coats and ties and ladies wore dresses and stockings? I do. But I also remember the Mass lasting only 40 minutes and being celebrated in Latin. They were certainly interesting times.

Perhaps you noticed I haven’t been around the last 3 weeks. I contracted the COVID virus and am now fully recovered. I wasn’t that sick; I only a bad cough and no fever. After my quarantine, I went on a scheduled 2-week vacation before returning to the parish. Currently, I am preparing to turn over the parish to Fr. Hook and welcome Jim Bors as the new resident priest. In the meantime, I will be packing, moving, and organizing for a turnover with Fr. Hook.

Last but not least, today we celebrate Trinity Sunday and the fact that our God is a Trinity of persons living in love and harmony with one another. Created in the image and likeness of God, that’s how you and I are supposed to live. Let’s pray for the grace to do just that.

Fr. Carl

Friday, June 3, 2022

Happy Birthday!

Dear Parishioners,

Happy Birthday! Pentecost is the official birthday of the Church. All living things have a birthday. The Church is a living organism, and Pentecost is her birthday. The Church Jesus established nearly 2,000 years ago. The feast also commemorates the official inauguration of the Church by the apostolic preaching of St. Peter, which resulted in the conversion of 3,000 Jews to the Christian Faith (Acts 2:1–41).

Pentecost marks the end of the Easter season. For Christians, it is a memorial of the day the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and the Virgin Mary in the form of fiery tongues, an event that took place fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus. The Paschal mystery—the Passion, the Death, the Resurrection, and the Ascension of Jesus—culminates in the sending of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ disciples. 

Today’s Scripture readings remind us that Pentecost is an event of both the past and the present. The main theme of today’s readings is that the gift of the Holy Spirit is something to be shared with others. In other words, the readings remind us that the gift of the Holy Spirit moves its recipients to action and inspires us to share this gift with others. Pentecost enables us to be powerful instruments of the transforming grace of God. And there is no doubt that the world around us needs this grace.

God Bless,
Deacon Howard

Friday, May 27, 2022

Remembering On Memorial Day

Dear Parishioners,

This weekend, our country celebrates Memorial Day as we remember and pay tribute to all the men and women who have sacrificed their lives in war serving our country to keep us free and safe. Initially, they fought and died to liberate us from the tyranny of the English crown; but later on, it was to defend not only our rights but the freedoms of other nations from unjust aggression and conquest. Today, we see that continuing in the Ukraine, and pray for an end to hostilities over there.

Of course, this Sunday and every Sunday, we Catholics should focus on Jesus who is the model of self-sacrifice for the good of others, namely the human race. He defeated the unjust aggression of Satan, not by the force of arms but by stretching out his arms on the cross and surrendering his life in obedience to the Father’s will. So today we celebrate the final act of the Paschal mystery the Ascension of our Lord following the Resurrection, Death, and Passion of Jesus.

Several weeks ago, we celebrated V E Day, the victory of the allies in Europe that put an end to war over there. But while Satan and the forces of evil have been overcome, they continue, in a diminished way, to do battle with us. And the only way we can win is by following the example of Jesus and surrendering our wills in obedience to that of the Father.

Happy Memorial Day!
Fr. Carl

Friday, May 20, 2022

The Gift Of Peace

Dear Parishioners,

We might think that peace is the absence of war or chaos around us which is totally conditional and fleeting; but the peace Jesus gives is a lasting, deep inner calm that is available to anyone who accepts it.

One of the profound verses in the Gospel this week is: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (Jn 14:23-29) Peace is a commodity we sorely need in our world and is absent for far too many people. But into this passage, Jesus reassures the disciples—and us—that they will never be alone, and bestows peace on them.

However, He does more than gently wish them peaceful lives—He gives them peace. This is not a wish. This is a gift. It is a gift of profound importance. And like love, peace is a mark of true discipleship that is required of His disciples, then and now. Jesus’ presence with us brings His peace into our present circumstances.

The presence of this peace reminds me of a wonderful quote for life: “Breathe in peace, breathe out love.” It is with the presence of this peace, given by God in Jesus’ name, which enables the disciples—and us—to live lives of faithfulness. May Christ’s peace be with you.

God Bless,
Deacon Howard