Friday, June 14, 2019

Happy Father's Day!

Dear Parishioners,

Happy Father’s Day!
The Trinity is the central and deepest mystery of our faith. How can there be 3 persons in 1 God? And yet, that is what Jesus and the Bible tell us. We get a clue in the Book of Genesis in the creation story where God said “Let us create mankind in our own image.” (Genesis 1:26–28) St. Iraneaus thinks that is the Father talking to the Son. However, in last week’s gospel, Jesus clearly refers to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit coming to live within those who love him by keeping his word.

What can we learn from the Trinity?
We learn that they are a community of persons living in harmony and love. And since we are created in the image and likeness of God, that’s how we are supposed to live—in harmony and love with God and one another. That’s not easy, but the harder we try and pray to God, the better we will be and the happier we will be as well.

God Bless,
Father Carl

Friday, June 7, 2019

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

Pentecost by Jean II Restout, 1732, oil on canvas, Louvre Museum, Paris
Dear Parishioners,

I can only imagine what it must have been like for the disciples to experience Pentecost!

These were unlearned men for the most part. They left their jobs to follow this young man whose wisdom, love, and challenge was intriguing and perplexing, yet deeply felt. Here they are going through the embarrassment and fear of the crucifixion to find out that he lives as he visits them and pronounces peace to them. What a whirlwind of experiences, hard to fathom and understand. Then they are given the Holy Spirit with tongues of fire and extraordinary capabilities. It is perhaps the same with us. (Acts 2:1-11; 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13; Jn 20:19-23)

What is this Holy Spirit given to us at Baptism and Confirmation?

This powerful force leads us to extraordinary situations and results. Did I know when I was a teenager that one day I would be preaching, baptizing, and standing in front of people readily sharing the word of God? No, it was a far, far off thought. Yet my life has come to this place, at this time, doing such things. Why? It is the Holy Spirit. Simply, the Holy Spirit has directed me, given me courage, opened up opportunities for me, given me the words to say. And I offer to you, how has the Holy Spirit affected you?

The disciples challenged the culture they were in, the religious authorities, the basis of their religious practices and beliefs. The Holy Spirit made that happen. It brought to them truth, motivation, and energy that resulted in their actions changing the world. We can do that as well. We need to do that. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created. And Thou shall renew the face of the earth. Amen.

Deacon Steve

Come, Holy Spirit, come!

And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul's most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue's sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.

From the sequence at today’s Mass.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Get To Work!

Dear Parishioners,

As the school year comes to a close and graduations take place, so too does the Easter season, with the Solemnity of Pentecost next weekend. But this weekend sets the stage for Pentecost as we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. Before the Holy Spirit could descend on the apostles and the Church, Jesus had to ascend to heaven. However, the Ascension is more than an historical celebration of Jesus’ triumphal victory over sin and evil; it is an invitation for us to join in the work of Jesus to spread the good news as we live our faith. After all, the two angels in the first reading said to the apostles “Men of Galilee why are you standing there looking into the sky?” (Acts 1:1–11) In other words, “Don’t just stand there. Get to work and spread the gospel.” Always in the gospel, what is said to the disciples is meant for us as well. Lent may be over, but we still have work to do—to help build up the kingdom of God. And that’s not just a job but rather a privilege.

Fr. Carl

Friday, May 24, 2019

Alleluia! Praise God!

Dear Parishioners,

I have been thinking about the word, “Alleluia.” It comes from Latin around the 14th century and means, “Praise God!”

In the Psalms, it is a request for the congregation to join in praise of God. In the Mass, it comes before the Gospel reading and accompanies an antiphon or phrase from the Psalms among other times. It is withheld during the penitential time of Lent, signifying that the kingdom of God is not yet here. It is a joyous statement of our faith and belief in God the Almighty. Alleluia is a statement of thanksgiving for all that God has done for us. We acknowledge God’s greatness and goodness in our enthusiastic alleluia. We join with the angels in heaven in proclaiming, “Alleluia!” We probably can’t say it quietly or with a stern face, it has to come deeply with enthusiasm. Yet I know at times it is hard to be in an “alleluia” mood. Sometimes we can’t get to the place where alleluia fits us and where we can honestly and joyfully proclaim it. Maybe we need to pause then and turn to God asking for his help and support. Maybe it is then that we need to see that God is present even in our struggles, that he is at work in us, shaping us, clarifying us, focusing us. For we cannot praise God only when things are good and we feel blessed. He is present at all times, and I believe cries with us, knows our sorrow and our pain, our laughter and joy.

Therefore it is alleluia at all times. It is praise this God of ours who knows us and who always walks with us. And when we are most crippled by our difficulties, he carries us. So, alleluia, alleluia! Praise God for his companionship and salvation, his creative force in our lives and his great mercy!

Deacon Steve

Friday, May 17, 2019

Sacramental Sponsors

Dear Parishioners,

From time to time, we get requests from people who have been asked to be sponsors for the Sacraments of Baptism or Confirmation. However, I am not always here to sign these letters of eligibility. But, if the person has been using the envelopes on a regular basis or has a history of on-line giving, the office can issue that letter provided all the other requirements are met.

The sponsor must be a Catholic who is at least 16 years old, not the parent of the candidate, and has received the Sacraments of Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation. If married, the sponsor must be in a valid marriage (i.e, marriage recognized by the Catholic Church). Basically, the sponsor is to be a good Catholic role model to assist in the candidate’s growth and maturing in the faith.

Before asking a person to serve as a sponsor, it’s always good to explain the role and requirements beforehand, so that any subsequent embarrassment might be avoided. While it’s an honor to serve as a sponsor, it’s much more. It’s an important responsibility that will play a significant role in the faith development of the candidate for Baptism or Confirmation. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call me.

Fr. Carl

Friday, May 10, 2019

Yes, Lord

Dear Parishioners,

We are in the fullness of May. The spring rains have come. The daffodils, hyacinths, and forsythia have bloomed and are gone. We have had the May Crowning. I have on my desk in front of me a small statue of Mary, with her arms open wide, eyes closed, in a pose that suggests she is in prayer. It is the perfect example of her contemplating the mysteries of her life, the things she pondered in her heart, the special relationship she had with Jesus. What an example for us! The Mother of our Lord quietly contemplating her love for her son, thanking God for the gift of her life, saying “yes” again to the Father in obedience and trust.

I have had my own issues of trust, and so to think about Mary’s “Yes” opens up in me an important avenue for spiritual growth. To say yes is to lay down my will, to believe, to trust in the will of God, to say “yes” to walking into the unknown, to going not where I want but where I am led by God. This was Mary’s journey, and it is ours as well. Can we close our eyes and say yes to the power of God to lead us, to guide us, to carry us? Can we open our hands, lift up our arms, close our eyes, and say to God, “I am yours?” Can we live out the saying, “Not my will, but yours Lord?” Mary did. Mary did, and marvelous things happened, miraculous things, transforming things. Her life was not the same, nor will ours be. There is a popular Christian song whose refrain is “Yes Lord, yes Lord, Yes, Yes Lord, Amen.” It is a simple, yet profound refrain. Let us seek Mary’s courage, openness, and love. Let us “let go and let God!” It’s Mary’s month. Why not now?

Deacon Steve

Friday, May 3, 2019

A Season Of Change

Dear Parishioners,

This past Holy Week was wonderful! The liturgies were all so beautiful and inspiring thanks to our musicians, lectors, altar servers, extra ordinary ministers of Holy Communion, decorators, sacristans, and you, our parishioners who came out to worship. In spite of the negative press the Church has been getting, our attendance remained steady – 1638 this year and 1637 last year. And again, our parishioners were just as generous as last year. My thanks to everybody.

Summer time is the time of personnel changes. We will be seeing a number of priests retiring and/or receiving new assignments, but thankfully, I will not be among them. However, there will be some changes here among the staff. Our Director of Religious Education, Katie Torrey—who has done such good work here—will be taking a position with the Archdiocese in Missionary Discipleship aka Faith Formation. We will miss her but know the Archdiocese will be fortunate to have her talents and make good use of them. Taking her place will be our current youth minister, Claire Horvath, who having worked with Katie the last 8 years, will bring continuity to the program along with energy and enthusiasm. Taking Claire’s place will be Melissa Boyle who had the Youth Ministry job when I arrived here 10 years ago before taking several high school teaching assignments. She, too, has a great deal of energy, enthusiasm, and experience in working with young people. We are blessed to have her back.

Finally, our organist/choir director, Marianne Gregory, is retiring to spend more time with her family. Having worked with her 9 years at my previous parish as well as the past 4 years here, I will miss her. Taking her place will be J.J. Klapa who brings a wealth of experience as an organist and choir director in several other parishes. I look forward to working with him in the years ahead.

Hopefully, things will settle down now and for the foreseeable future. May the rest of the Easter season be good to you and your families.

Fr. Carl