Friday, December 24, 2010

All in the Family

Dear Parishioners,

As we hear about family life today, more and more we hear about dysfunctional families, whose members cannot get along with one another. There is spouse abuse, child abuse, drug abuse, and even parent abuse by children. In short, American families are having problems.

Today as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, we need to examine ourselves and ask how we can better contribute to the peace and harmony of our own families. Then we need to pray for God’s grace to become better family members and imitate the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

- Fr. Carl

Come, come, my dear, don’t be
frightened at your burden; our Lord
will help you to carry it.
- The Saint Cure D’Ars

Friday, December 17, 2010

What's your sign?

Dear Parishioners,

Since the beginning of time, people have looked for signs of approval from God. Sacrifices were offered to win that approval and receive a sign of that approval from God.

In the Old Testament, God gave signs of his approval and love to Abraham, Moses, and David, etc. But the ultimate sign is the virgin who will give birth to the Messiah. That was fulfilled in Mary’s giving birth to Jesus.

Since we have received the grace of this sign in baptism, we are called upon to be signs to all we meet. Let us be good and inviting signs to all.

- Fr. Carl

When we give alms, we should
think that we are giving to our Lord,
and not to the poor. We often think
we are relieving a poor person, and we
find it is our Lord.
The Saint Cure D’Ars

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Lord is Near

We call this Third Sunday of Advent “Laetare Sunday.” Laetare is a Latin word meaning “rejoice” from the entrance antiphon “Rejoice in the Lord always; I say it again. The Lord is near.” Furthermore, the scripture readings are more up-beat than the first two Sundays of Advent.

People naturally rejoice when something good comes their way – holidays, family reunions, special dinners, and exchanging gifts. However, something better is coming in Jesus. Let us prepare for his coming and roll out the welcome mat through a little extra prayer, donations to the poor, and the sacrament of penance.

- Fr. Carl

Our Lord is never found in
Pomp, Pleasure, Luxury, but in
lowliness and humiliation.
The Saint Cure D’Ars

Friday, December 3, 2010

“I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.”

A Special Message from Our Deacon


There are times in our lives when we step up to meet a challenge. The challenge may be simply an individual effort or a team effort. We always try to do our best, but sometimes the challenge is difficult and maybe we don’t quite know how others will respond. That’s when we reach deep down inside ourselves and put that extra effort into the task at hand. After the event, we find that family, friends and perhaps our team mates tell us, “WOW, you were really great, you inspired us to do our best.” Those are the times I call, “A personal best.”

I can tell you that in all my years as a Deacon and in all the parishes I have visited, none can exceed the experiences I have had in ministry with the people of Saint Jane Frances. Not that those other parishes haven’t stepped up to the needs of the community, but not to the level I have experienced here.

November was a crucial month with the Thanksgiving celebration in front of us. NCEON provides people with something to be thankful for including GOD for being there when they and we need Him the most. Never before have the people of Saint Jane’s accomplished what was accomplished for the month of November. I call it “a personal best!” We were able to deliver 300 bags of groceries to care for others...and just in time for Thanksgiving.

There are those you will never know, or who will never know you, that you have cared for. So thank you and may God continue to watch over you, care for and bless you.

- Deacon Robert

Friday, November 26, 2010

Let us go to the house of the Lord

Dear Parishioners,

Today as we mark the beginning of the new liturgical or church year, we are invited to look also to the end. Both the first reading and the gospel talk about our Lord’s coming at the end of the world. Of course nobody knows when that will happen. Therefore the wise man or woman will try and live today as if the Lord will be coming tomorrow. That means we turn away from sin and selfishness and turn toward God. If we live that way, we will not have to worry; we can live in peace and joy. When we are called to that final judgment, we can echo the words in today’s psalm, “I rejoiced when I heard them say let us go to the house of the Lord.”

- Fr. Carl

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Man Who Would Be King

Dear Parishioners,

In Rudyard Kipling’s fictional story, “The Man Who Would Be King,” we are told of two English soldiers of fortune. They are petty, greedy, and dishonest as they use their wiles and wits to become King of Kafiristan near the end of the 19th century. Today’s Solemnity of Christ the King is a reversal of that story (only it’s true), for it celebrates The King Who Would Be Man – Jesus! He shows us what it is to be a real man – a real woman – a real human being as God intended all of us to be. Today we celebrate his manly example of loyalty, obedience, humility, and self-sacrifice by which he established his kingdom. May we, his subjects here on earth, imitate his example and so prove to be worthy as to be his subjects in heaven as well.

- Fr. Carl

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Dear Parishioners,

Jesus tells his disciples they will face persecution before He comes again in glory. Through their perseverance, they will emerge victorious when He finally comes. At the same time, the proud and doers of evil will have to answer for their sins.

As we journey through life let us pray for the grace to follow the example of the humble, obedient, and loyal followers of Christ.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, November 5, 2010

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Dear Parishioners,

This past week we remembered and prayed for the dead. This month we will continue to offer Masses for our deceased relatives and friends who might be in purgatory. This is an opportune time to think about our own funeral arrangements and not burden our loved ones with decisions and problems after we are gone.

A Catholic funeral consists of three parts: a wake service at the funeral home, a Mass of Christian burial in church, and prayers at the cemetery or mausoleum. The most important part is Mass, for the fruits of the Mass are infinitely more pleasing to God and effective in relieving any remaining temporal punishment due to sin. That is, it will help the deceased get out of purgatory much more quickly than a prayer service at a funeral home. Unfortunately, more and more often, the surviving family members are opting for a service at a funeral home; it’s quicker and easier. So if you want a full Catholic funeral, it would be wise to make specific arrangements well in advance.

Today the Catholic Church allows for cremation of the body, but prefers the cremation to take place after the funeral Mass in church. It also has some specific instructions on the disposition of the remains afterwards. The U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship says the following:

   "Any catechesis on the subject of cremation should emphasize that the cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the corporeal remains of a human body. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition."

While cremated remains may be buried in a grave, entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium, or even buried at sea, the practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires. The cremated remains of the body may be properly buried at sea in the urn, coffin, or other container in which they have been carried to the place of committal. (“Cremation and Burial at Sea”) See

- Fr. Carl

Friday, October 29, 2010

Silence is Golden

Dear Parishioners,

“Silence is Golden.” That’s an old saying I used to hear as a young boy. It was usually directed at an overly talkative or noisy child when he/she was disruptive. However, the world needs to rediscover the beauty of silence. From the ring of the alarm clock, through the constant sounds of radio, television, cell phone conversations; through the noise of traffic, there is hardly a moment of silence. The only place where silence is found is in church, and even there we try to minimize it, because we are uncomfortable with it.

In the First Book of Kings, God tells Elijah to leave his cave and stand by the mountain as He will be passing by. A strong, heavy, rock-crushing wind passed, but God was not in it. Nor was He in the earthquake or fire. Instead, God was in a tiny whispering wind.

So if we want to experience God, silence is necessary. Vatican II called for periods of silence during worship, but few listened or paid attention. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says:

     “Sacred silence also, as part of the celebration, is to be observed at the designated times. Its purpose, however, depends on the time it occurs in each part of the celebration. Thus within the Act of Penitence and again after the invitation to pray, all recollect themselves; but at the conclusion of a reading or the homily, all meditate briefly on what they have heard; then after communion, they praise and pray to God in their hearts.
     Even before the celebration itself, it is commendable that silence to be observed in the church, in the sacristy, in the vesting room, and in adjacent areas, so that all may dispose themselves to carry out the sacred action in a devout and fitting manner.”

So when the lector bows his/her head after the first and second reading, they haven’t lost their place nor are they having a senior moment. They are meditating and inviting you to meditate on the Word of God they just proclaimed.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Winds of Change

Dear Parishioners,

If you have been following Parish Trends and Challenges in the bulletin this last month or Archbishop O’Brien’s “Wake Up Calls” in the Catholic Review, you should know that the priest shortage is here. One of the reasons Fr. Jicha was not replaced is because there were no extra priests available. Currently, there are four parishes in the Archdiocese without a pastor. When they get a pastor, four other parishes probably will be without a pastor for a good while. Some pastors are now responsible for multiple parishes, and that seems to be the trend for the future. Still, morale among the priests is high. As a matter of fact, theirs is the highest degree of satisfaction and happiness among any vocation – 87%. Firefighters are second – 80%.

Obviously, some adjustments and changes are needed. No quick fix will satisfy the situation. A process involving bishops, clergy, religious, and lay people that is open and transparent is needed. Understanding, cooperation, sacrifice, and prayer will be the key ingredients.

In his editorial two weeks ago, the Archbishop said, “For starters, our liturgical schedules need to be adjusted throughout the archdiocese for the sake of our mission and our goal of nurturing vibrant liturgies and making good use of our priests.” Pope Paul VI said something similar in 1976 when he suggested fewer Sunday Masses with more people attending each to encourage more sense of community. “Sunday assemblies are so much more penetrating when they are well attended, well put together, and pastorally alive.”

The Archbishop has asked area pastors to begin a dialogue regarding Mass schedules, but our area has not yet started, and I don’t know when it will. Eventually everybody will be given an opportunity to provide input. For the foreseeable future, and I think for a long time, St. Jane’s schedule will remain the same. In the meantime, pray for vocations.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Priesthood: We need your help!

Dear Parishioners,

Here is the final segment of the information which I have been sharing with you over the past few weeks.

Pope Benedict XVI
(Meetings with Italian Priests July 2007)

Q: How can priests handle growing responsibilities and multiple parishes?
A: "[Bishops] must see clearly how to ensure that the parish priest continues to be a pastor and does not become a holy bureaucrat.”

“Furthermore, I think it very important to find the right ways to delegate…; [the priest] should be the one who holds the essential reins himself but can rely on collaborators. This is one of the important and positive results of the council: the co-responsibility of the entire parish, for the priest is no longer the only one to animate everything.”

Wrap Up
  • We have a challenging vision of parish
  • There are significant changes in parish life
  • Key question: How best do we organize parish life to maximize
    the gifts and talents of pastors and the community?
- Fr. Carl

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Priesthood: We fight fires, too!

Dear Parishioners,

For the past two weeks, I have shared some interesting ideas and data which I received at a convocation with Archbishop O’Brien. Today, I’ll share a little more of that information with you.

In a study of various Christian denominations in the U.S., it was found that Catholic priests work the longest hours per week – an average of 56 hours per week. Percent of time per week administering parish/congregation’s work and attending meetings:
  • Protestant Pastors    14%
  • Catholic Priests        31%

Satisfaction Levels
  • 30% of parish priests say they are too busy to adequately
    meet the pastoral needs of the people they serve. 
  • 88% of all non-retired priests agreed that they were satisfied with their lives. 
  • 87% in a 2007 survey said they were “very happy” with their jobs –
    well ahead of the second place, firefighters, who came in at 80%. 
  • 86% of U.S. Catholics agreed, in a 2007 survey, that their pastors
    were doing a good job. 

Catholic Optimism
73% of Catholics were optimistic about the future of the Church despite some recent difficult issues.

(To be continued...)
- Fr. Carl

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Priesthood: Growing diversity

Dear Parishioners,

Last weekend I began to share some interesting ideas and data which I received at a recent convocation with Archbishop O’Brien. Today, I’d like to share a little bit more of that information with you.

Growing Diversity
One third of all Catholics in the U.S. are Latinos. Over half of Hispanic Catholics identify themselves as charismatic. 68% of all Latinos are Catholic. Hispanic population will nearly triple by 2050 expanding to 497 million from 132.8 million. (Census Bureau Statistics) In 2010, 25% of all 5-year olds in the U.S. are Hispanic – up from 19% in 2000.

Catholic Stewardship
Percent of income donated to Church:
Protestants: 2 - 2.4%
Catholics: 1 - 1.2%
Average hours volunteered to Church:
Protestants: 3.0%
Catholics: 1.6%

Declining Youth Attendance at Mass
62+          52%
44-61       38%
18-43       21%

(To be continued...)
- Fr. Carl

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Priesthood: Doing more with less

Dear Parishioners,

Last week Archbishop O’Brien met with the priests of Baltimore to discuss ministry in the Archdiocese in view of the declining number of priests, and how to do more with less. Some very interesting ideas and data surfaced in those two days which I will share with you today and over the next several weeks.

Between 2004 and 2020 there will be a 21% drop in the number of priests for parish ministry. 54% of those ordained 5–9 years are pastors and believe their preparation for administration is very low. 17% of all priests in the U.S. who began ministry since 1985 are foreign-born, and the number is rising (survey 2006). In 2007, 33% of new Ordinands were foreign born.

            Parishes     Catholics
1985     19,244     53 million
2010     17,958     65.6 million

(To be continued….)
- Fr. Carl

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Plan for the Future... today!

Dear Parishioners,

In today’s gospel (Luke 16:1-13), Jesus tells the parable of the manager or steward who dissipated or wasted his master’s property. He was not guilty of theft or embezzlement, he simply did not take care of it. Perhaps he was careless or lazy or didn’t pay close attention to the details of over-seeing his master’s property. Fortunately, he learned of his master’s return in advance and used his initiative to ingratiate himself to some people who needed help. Certainly they would not forget him in the future. He was clever in setting himself up for his future in this world.

Jesus encourages us to set ourselves up for the world to come by sharing with the needy – giving them some of our time, talent, and treasure. The time to start is now because when we honestly look at our lives, we are that careless manager. We have not always used our Lord’s gifts of time, talent and treasure as he would have liked. Let us pray for the grace to become better stewards of the gifts God has bestowed upon us.

- Fr. Carl

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Is it okay for Catholics to receive communion in a Protestant church?

Last week a parishioner told me he was going to a wedding in a Protestant church where holy communion would be offered. He asked if it would be okay for him to receive. I told him there are a number of things we believe about the Eucharist that are different from our Protestant brothers and sisters. Among them is the belief that the Eucharist is a sign of unity. When we receive Holy Communion, it is a sign of our common Catholic faith – seven sacraments, heaven, hell, and purgatory, the primacy of the pope, the real presence of Jesus (body, blood, soul, and divinity) in the Eucharist, apostolic succession of bishops, and the necessity of valid orders to confect the Eucharist. We are in communion with the Church and one another. However, since we are not in communion in faith with our Protestant brothers and sisters, it would be a false sign for us to receive communion in one of their churches and for a Protestant to receive communion in a Catholic church. Furthermore, the Catholic Church does not believe that Jesus is present in the host at a Protestant service. To respond Amen (I believe) when offered a host at a Protestant service, is not what the Catholic Church believes, and we would be disloyal to do so.

All of this is not to put down our Protestant brothers and sisters, there are many good people among them and there is much good in their churches. They just don’t have the fullness of what Christ wants in his church. That only subsists in the Catholic Church.

Let us pray for our Church and for the day when all Christians will be united in faith.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Heartfelt Thank You…

Dear Parishioners,

It has been a gift from God to be part of St. Jane Frances Parish these past 2-1/2 years. The support shown to me, and the sincere faith of the parishioners, has been inspiring. I’m also grateful for all of the wisdom and camaraderie of Fr. Carl and the parish staff, and also the efforts of the parish secretaries to help keep me organized.

Please keep me in your prayers as I embark on my new adventure in ministry at Sacred Heart and St. Charles parishes. I will remember you frequently in my prayers and as I celebrate the Eucharist.

In The Lord,
Fr. John Jicha

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Very few of us would be as crass as the man in today’s gospel (Luke 14:1, 7-14). However, we all seek approval and appreciation of one kind or another. That’s human nature, and there is nothing wrong with it. It’s how we go about it that matters. The man in the gospel arrogantly grasped for it. He assumed that it was his entitlement to have the place of honor. It was an act of self-pride. However, pride is not a virtue, humility is. The person most highly honored by God was and is, Mary, who is noted for her humility. If we want the highest honor and sign of approval, then we must imitate Mary. Only God’s final approval really counts for anything.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, August 20, 2010

When It Rains, It Pours!

It’s hard to believe that the summer is coming to an end. It seems like only yesterday that I made that wonderful pilgrimage to see the Shroud in Turin and attend the Passion Play in Oberammergau. In addition to the personnel changes I mentioned in last week’s bulletin, we have been busy sprucing up the campus here. The tiles under the pews received some much needed attention. They received several coats of sealer and several coats of wax which will, hopefully, extend their life span. The floor of the school/parish hall has been cleaned and waxed. Finally, the bathrooms in the hall have been completely renovated and are beautiful. With all the expense and hard work put into these projects, we ask you to treat them with TLC so that we can be proud of our facilities and enjoy them for many years to come.

However, there is more to be done. Isn’t there always? The rain these past several weeks revealed some leaks in the church, sacristy, and hall roofs which will need repairs. Thanks, again, for your extra donations to our building and maintenance funds. Your generosity has helped us keep on functioning.

God Bless,
Fr. Carl

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hail and Farewell

“Ave atque vale.” That’s Latin for “Hail and farewell.” This month we say “Hail” to Joanne Haney who joins us as our new Director of Faith Formation or DRE. She will also be our new Youth Minister. Joanne comes to us with vast experience in both ministries, and we are blessed to have her join our staff.

At the same time, we say “Farewell” to Melissa Boyle who has been our Youth Minister for the last seven years, and has been involved in extensive volunteer work for many more years. She will be teaching religion at Seton Keough High School where I know she will do a fantastic job. However, Melissa will not be leaving the parish; she will continue to volunteer here wherever her talents are needed. We wish her all the best in her new career as a teacher and as a mother when her baby arrives this fall.

Finally, we say “Farewell” to Father John who leaves for a new assignment at Sacred Heart Glyndon. Fr. John stepped in and kept the parish running smoothly in the interim between Fr. Cunningham’s departure. He was also a tremendous help when I arrived, providing wisdom and insight into the parish operations and personalities. I wish him all the best in his new assignment.

There will be a farewell reception with light refreshments to honor and thank Fr. John on Saturday, August 28th after the 5:00 p.m. Mass in our Parish Hall.

- Fr. Carl

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Antidote for Greed

Last Sunday we heard the story of the rich man whose crops yielded such a rich harvest that he had to build bigger ones to store the extra grain. Jesus said he was foolish because he thought only of himself. He was a poor steward of God’s material blessings because he did not share with the poor and needy, nor did he give anything to support the temple. He was a greedy and selfish steward. This week Jesus gives us the antidote for greed. He tells us to give alms to the poor, for in giving our money to those in need, we gain a treasure we cannot lose, a treasure that cannot be destroyed, a treasure that will last for eternity. All we have to do is be generous stewards of God’s gifts.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, July 30, 2010

Be Both Wise and Happy

The other day on the radio, I heard that many of us are not saving enough money for retirement. We are spending but not saving. In short, we are very foolish, for the day will come when we find ourselves in a financial crunch. We are very unwise.

In today’s Gospel, we hear the story of a rich man who does just the opposite. He saves and he stores away tremendous wealth for the future. Yet Jesus calls him a fool. He is a fool because he saves his wealth for himself only. He was selfish. He should have spent some of his wealth on the poor and the needy. Had he been generous with his wealth, he would have been storing up riches in heaven. He would have been a wise man and a good steward of God’s gifts.

Let us pray for the grace to become better stewards of God’s gifts. Certainly we have to save for our future financial needs and not waste money on frivolous pleasures. But we also need to be generous in giving of our time, talent, and treasure to God. Then we will be both wise and happy.

- Fr. Carl

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Appreciate the Giver

Near the end of World War II, my father’s ship was in Shanghai, China for some time. One day he came upon a beautiful cedar chest with all kinds of figures and scenes carved into the wood. When he approached the man who carved it, the man asked for more money than my father could afford. So each day my father went back to bargain, and each day the price dropped a little. Finally, after a week the price came down enough to where my father could afford it, and he bought it. His persistence paid off.

Today’s scripture lessons teach us a similar lesson with regard to prayer. Abraham’s persistence delayed the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham’s bargaining with God would have spared these two cities from destruction if only 10 good men could be found. Unfortunately, there were not even 10 good men, and those two cities were destroyed. In the gospel, after Jesus gives his disciples the Lord’s Prayer, he reminds his disciples to be persistent in their prayers. Basically the God to whom we are praying is a loving God who wants to give us what is good for us. However, he wants us to appreciate what he gives, and if we get what we want too easily, we neither appreciate the gift nor the giver.

-Fr. Carl

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Be Present to God

This week’s readings deal with the theme of hospitality which was so very important in the mid-East. As a matter of fact, it still is today. A number of years ago I was on a tour of Egypt and the Holy Land. On a free day, my aunt and I hired a car and took a drive to that part of Israel called Samaria. I wanted to see the place where Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well, and Mount Gerizim where Joshua called upon the Israelites to choose between their God or the gods of Canaan. After we visited the well which is very deep, we went up to Mount Gerizim where some Samaritans live today and sacrifice a paschal lamb each year. Our guide introduced us to the high priest who invited us into his house. He was very friendly and gave us a banana to eat. He apologized for not being able to offer a meal because it was the Sabbath and no work could be done. He was as hospitable as the law would allow.

Because Abraham showed such wonderful hospitality, he was rewarded. Yet when Martha showed great hospitality to Jesus and complained that Mary was not helping, Jesus seems to rebuke her. Perhaps he is letting us know that while hospitality is important, being present to God is more important. After all, love of neighbor is second to love of God. Let us try to improve on both loves – of God and of neighbor.

- Fr. Carl

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Who is the head of the Catholic Church?

If you were to ask the average man or woman, “Who is the head of the Catholic Church?” most would probably answer, “the pope.” But they would be wrong as we hear in today’s second reading. Here is what St. Paul says, “He is the head of the body, the church.” The “He” St. Paul is talking about is Christ Jesus. The Catholic Church has always believed and taught this. The pope is simply the “vicar of Christ.” He stands in the place of Jesus here on earth as a sign of unity and protector of the faith and its truth.

Today many are cynical when they think of institutions like the government and banking institutions. They have not always lived up to the faith people placed in them. The Church, too, as an institution has failed in some instances especially in the area of clergy abuse. Right now she is trying to correct past mistakes made by a few of her members. However, the Catholic Church is more than an institution; it is the mystical (spiritual) body of Christ with Jesus as the head, the Holy Spirit as the heart and soul, and we the people in heaven, purgatory, and on earth. Our country just celebrated its 234th birthday while the Church has been around for 2000 years because God is ultimately in charge. Let us pray that God will always be in charge of our lives and have a greater influence on our governments.

- Fr. Carl

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

As we celebrate our country’s birthday, we rejoice in its many blessings and the freedoms we enjoy. Our freedom was won after a long war for independence, liberty, and justice for all. However, we did not win all these rights when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown in 1781. Our immigrant forefathers from Ireland, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, etc. encountered discrimination and harsh treatment afterwards. Our African brothers and sisters came to America as slaves and did not become free until the Civil War. Women were denied the right to vote until the 20th century. Children and women worked in sweat shops during the industrial revolution until labor laws were enacted well into the 1900’s. In the west, Chinese coolies labored in the cities to eke out a living and on the prairies, building the railroads in difficult and dangerous lands. We Catholics, too, suffered discrimination and harsh treatment, even in Maryland. Arthur Schlesinger Sr., the eminent Harvard historian, said that anti-Catholicism is the longest, most persistent prejudice in the history of our country. Today there is another class of people who enjoy no freedom and have no rights. They are the unborn in the wombs of their mothers.

This weekend as we celebrate, let us be thankful for the blessings and freedom we enjoy and the many who worked and fought for our country. Let us also be grateful for the men and women in uniform who protect our freedoms. But let us also pray for those helpless, unborn children that one day they may be granted the most basic of human rights – the right to life.

- Fr. Carl

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Young Church of Today

This weekend our gospel passage encourages us to set aside all material and psychological supports and trust in the providence of our God. In this way we open ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and are better able to show our love of God in service to others.

In light of this scripture passage, it is very fitting that this Wednesday is the kick-off of Summer Mission, the annual middle and high school service experience at St. Jane’s. Approximately 51 middle school students, guided by 16 high school peer ministers and multiple adult advisors, will visit and work at a soup kitchen, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and help out here at the parish. It is always inspiring to see the energy of our young people engaged in helping others. As Pope John Paul said, “our young people are not just the future, but the Young Church of today.” On behalf of the entire parish, I thank our Director of Youth and Religious Education Ministries, Melissa Boyle, for organizing this program.

As we approach mid-summer, please note that the Parish Hall will be closed to most activities for the month of July, due to the long awaited refurbishment of the restrooms. Please check the bulletin or call the parish office for alternate meeting places for events that must be shifted from the Parish Hall during the renovation.

- Fr. John

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Blessings

This weekend our scriptures remind us of the cost of discipleship. As we strive to follow in the footsteps of Christ, the way is sometimes difficult, and sacrifices must be made. Christ gave all that he had, including his life, in sacrifice for us, that we might have a destiny of fulfillment with God. As disciples, the choices that we make and the ways we interact with our fellow human beings must reflect the selfless love of Christ, as difficult as this may be. This gospel message is all the more poignant as we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend. With thanksgiving to God, we remember the men in our lives who have strived to be good and loving parents, and have made, and continue to make loving sacrifices for their children. May God bless all the fathers among us.

- Fr. John

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Your sins are forgiven… Go now in peace."

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” That was the famous line of Jenny in the movie, “Love Story” a good number of years ago. Of course that’s not at all true as the first reading and gospel clearly indicate. In the gospel, the woman shows her love for God through the tears she spilled on the feet of Jesus as she washed them, dried them with her hair, and perfumed them with oil. Jesus holds her up as a model of great love and humility. In the first reading, the mighty King David, by admitting his guilt, expresses his love for God.

We human beings can take a lesson from the sinful woman and David because we find it difficult to express our sorrow to those people we offend or hurt. Either our pride gets in the way or our fear of embarrassment keeps us from approaching the person offended. The same holds true when we sin and offend God. We are reluctant to approach him in the sacrament of Confession. That’s so tragic because when we do go, we hear the words of Jesus “Your sins are forgiven… Go now in peace.”

- Fr. Carl

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Reflections on a Pilgrimage

Having just returned from a pilgrimage to Europe, I was privileged to see some amazing sights and partake of some wonderful experiences with Archbishop O’Brien and our tour group. I celebrated Mass in the Cathedral in Milan where the great St. Ambrose served as archbishop and baptized St. Augustine. I was able to see the Shroud of Turin, the burial cloth of Jesus. And you could see the image of his face and body visible to the naked eye. We traveled through the beautiful Italian Dolomite mountains where Pope Benedict liked to vacation in the summer on our way to Innsbruck in the German Alps. We attended the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany. This play is put on only every 10 years since 1634 in thanksgiving for having been spared from the Black Plague that was ravaging Europe at the time. The play was a spectacle the likes of which I had never seen before. The actors were all townspeople with goats, donkeys, and camels on stage as well, when called for the the scene. There was a wonderful chorus of fifty men and women with an excellent orchestra. At times there were as many as three hundred people on the stage. The Passion Play lasted five and a half hours. Fortunately, there was a three hour intermission for dinner. It was truly a memorable experience.

The pilgrimage ended with a visit to Salzburg, Austria and then Munich, Germany before returning to Baltimore. But as amazing as this trip was, it can’t begin to compare with what happens here every Sunday when Jesus descends upon the altar where the bread and wine become his body and blood to nourish us. This weekend, Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ), we especially celebrate this miraculous gift. May we never take it for granted; may we always cherish and hunger for the Body of Christ which alone can satisfy our deepest hunger.

- Fr. Carl

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Thanks

This weekend we celebrate Trinity Sunday, giving thanks to the God we know as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As our schedules grow more hectic with graduations, weddings, and all sorts of warm weather events, it is good to take some time to pause and think about how God in the three persons of the Trinity continues to guide our lives and take care of us. Scheduling in time to read the scriptures, or perhaps attend one of our weekday morning masses, or dropping in for Monday or Friday Eucharistic Adoration are some ways to do this.

If you recall, last weekend the election of new parish council  members was held. The votes have been tallied, and I congratulate Mary Brodowski, Tony Topita, Bernard Kreitzer, and Phyllis Kreisher who are our new council members. It is very gratifying to see that our parish has folks who are willing to block out time each month to discuss, share their wisdom, and offer advice to the pastor, regarding many, many parish issues.

You may have noticed that the statue of St. Anthony has moved from behind the bushes at the rear of the Rectory, to a much more visible spot at the garden at the rear entrance of the Parish Center. Our High School Youth took care of moving the statue, and replanting the garden at the parish center, thus providing a very nice spot to honor St. Anthony. The Boy Scouts will be adding mulch to the garden in a week or so. The St. Anthony garden also makes the Parish Center rear entrance a very welcoming place for all who enter the building. I know I speak for all of us as I thank Youth Minister Melissa Boyle and all the youth who took part in this effort. We’re also very grateful to the Girl Scouts who planted flowers in front of the Rectory, and at the Mary Garden, and the Boy Scouts who planted vegetables adjacent to the parish garage.

Monday is Memorial Day. St. Jane’s will remember those in our armed forces who have died  preserving the freedoms we enjoy in this country at a memorial mass at 8:30 am. All are invited to place the names of those who have died in service to our country in the memorial book on the Holy Family side of the sanctuary in the church.

- Fr. John

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tongues of Fire

Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to his apostles shortly after his resurrection. We receive the Holy Spirit with each sacrament even though Confirmation gives us the Holy Spirit in a special way. On Pentecost, fifty days after Easter, the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles in a most dramatic way like tongues of fire setting their tongues and spirits ablaze with courage and enthusiasm. The Holy Spirit made effective the New Covenant of Christ. The Spirit changed weak, timid people into zealous persons who were eager to proclaim the Good News. May God give us the courage to boldly live the Good News in all we say and do.

- Fr. Carl