Friday, December 27, 2013

Feast of the Holy Family

Dear Parishioners,

Each year the Sunday following Christmas is celebrated as the Feast of the Holy Family. Each year a different gospel gives us a unique glimpse of our Lord’s family on earth. This year we hear how the Holy Family is threatened by King Herod who wants to kill Jesus. Today family life is threatened still but not by an evil king, but by more subtle forces of evil that eat away at family life, harmony, and support. The lure of materialism, consumerism, hedonism (the pursuit of pleasure) tend to make things more important than relationships. The bonds between family members often become brittle and break. The frantic pace of work, school, and extra- curricular activities prevent family members from joining together in common activities. Even regular meals are eaten at different times so that Mom and Dad can chauffer their children to different events.

The Holy Family did not have all the diversions that compete for our time and attention. They spent a lot of time together. If we want to prevent our families from becoming dysfunctional, and if we want them to become healthy and Holy, then we need to find ways and make sacrifices so that they can have more time together as a family. And if our families become Holy, they will be happier and more joyful.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, December 20, 2013

God With Us

Dear Parishioners,

Emmanuel, “God with us” reveals our Lord’s gift to us. At the soul of this season is a precious gift. In a few days, all of us will no doubt be someplace with folks who love us, and in whose presence, we feel love, to unwrap a gift or two… maybe more. We give and receive gifts in this season for many reasons, not the least of which is the gift we celebrate in this child born of the woman in Bethlehem.

“God with us” goes beyond announcing an event that took place some 2,000 years ago. “God with us” defines all our carefully worded creeds and honored traditions because of the gift of Jesus. He is why we celebrate this season. He is the heartbeat of all our music and memory, liturgy and celebration. So live knowing the gift who is our Lord is God’s presence and love among us in grace. Such is the Christmas miracle… God with us!

- Deacon Robert

Friday, December 13, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear

Dear Parishioners,

I can’t remember when I first heard it, but Christmas would somehow not be the same if I didn’t hear that sentimental carol, “Do You Hear What I Hear.”
Said the night wind to the little lamb,
  Do you hear what I hear?
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
  Do you hear what I hear?
The carol continues with numerous questions about what possibly can be heard in this season of expectation and wonder. It ends with an affirmation about the coming of the Christ child. With broad chords and all voices singing in parts, the carol affirms in an explosion of confidence, “He will bring us goodness and light!”

- Deacon Robert

Friday, December 6, 2013

Preparing for Christmas

Dear Parishioners,

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for good attendance at our Thanksgiving Day Mass and our youth group who served as lectors, greeters, ushers, and choir. They were very impressive in carrying out their duties in a very professional manner. At the end of Mass, they distributed small loaves of bread they baked earlier in the week. In the U.S. Navy, we would say “Bravo Zulu” which is the signal meaning “Well Done.”

In case you were away last weekend, you missed seeing our new Advent Wreath. I am very grateful to our Sodality and Knights of Columbus. Their generous donations made it possible to purchase this lovely symbol of the season as we prepare for Christmas.

Speaking about Advent and Christmas, I realize much energy and time is being spent in shopping and decorating. But don’t forget the most important decorating of all – that of your soul. This can best be done through prayer and the sacrament of Penance. If we want Jesus to enter into our hearts, we should make them as inviting as possible.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, November 29, 2013

Prepare Yourself For Good Things To Come

Dear Parishioners,

July 1st marked the beginning of the new fiscal year for most businesses, October 1st marked the beginning of the year for the federal government, and January 1st will be the start of our calendar year. However, the Church year or liturgical year begins on the First Sunday of Advent. It just so happens that this year the date is December 1st.

Each beginning offers new hope for the future as we look forward to good things to come. God tells us in the readings (Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:37-44) that good things will come to us if we make ourselves ready through prayer, penance, and almsgiving to receive them.

Let us prepare the way for the best thing of all, Jesus, to come into our hearts. May this new Church year be a happy and holy one for you and your families.

- Fr. Carl

“Before all else we need to keep alive in our world the thirst for the
absolute, and to counter the dominance of a one-dimensional
vision of the human person, a vision that reduces human beings to
what they produce and to what they consume. This is one of the most
insidious temptations of our time.”
- Pope Francis

Friday, November 22, 2013

Remember Me

Dear Parishioners,

The thief, dying on the cross alongside Jesus asks only to be remembered when Jesus comes to his rightful throne (Luke 23:35-43). He does not want to be forgotten. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Suddenly it occurs to us that this thief is playing our part in this drama. He is saying our lines and speaking our hopes… we do not want to be forgotten either.

And so Jesus’ answer to this thief, and to all of us who listen with faith for His response, is the ultimate word of grace and comfort. “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” It was more than the thief asked, and certainly more than he deserved. That Jesus would remember us when all human memories have ceased is incredible. But Jesus offers more. He promises that those who trust him with this gallant faith will actually be with Him, after our death, in paradise.

- Deacon Robert

“This is the invitation which I address to
everyone: Let us accept the grace of
Christ’s resurrection! Let us be renewed by
God’s mercy; let us be loved by Jesus; let
us enable the power of his love to transform
our lives, too; and let us become agents of
this mercy, channels through which God
can water the earth, protect all creation and
make justice and peace flourish.”
- Pope Francis

Friday, November 15, 2013

It’s Better to Be Toasted Than Roasted

Dear Parishioners,

Each day the hours of sunlight shining down upon us becomes fewer and fewer. The end of the calendar year is approaching. So, too, is the end of the church year, and with the passing of each year, so too our life on earth. Today’s readings call our attention to the end of time and God’s judgment.

In the first reading (Malachi 3:19-20a), Malachi uses the image of the sun. The sun can scorch and set fire, but it also heals with its warming rays. So it will be at the end of time. For the evildoer, judgment will be terrible, but glory and joy await the faithful steward. So let’s be generous with the time, talent, and treasure God has given us here to use on his behalf. After all, it’s better to be praised for our good deeds at the heavenly banquet, than punished for our bad ones at the gathering down below. Or to put it more succinctly, it’s better to be toasted than roasted.

- Fr. Carl

“Sometimes it may seem as though God does not react to evil, as if He is silent. And yet God has spoken. He has replied, and His answer is the cross of Christ: a word that is love, mercy, forgiveness.” ~ Pope Francis

Friday, November 8, 2013

Heavenly Existence

Dear Parishioners,

Jesus affirmed that we have relationships and awareness in heaven, but the primary relationship, the primary focus of heavenly life is with God, not each other (Luke 20:27-38). Heaven is not a second chapter of this life, like a Hollywood sequel. Comparing heavenly existence to earthly existence is like comparing football to baseball, apples to oranges… similar in some ways, but certainly not identical.

The point Jesus makes to the Sadducees and to us helps us to imagine that the normal experience of earthly existence, limitation of time and space, cycles of life and death relationships and roles… all of these will be transformed in heaven. Ours is not to fret about these matters, since they will only sidetrack us from the one thing that makes heaven heavenly in the first place. We will be eternally present with the God who created us, loves, and redeems us. Everything else is secondary in detail, best left to God anyway.

- Deacon Robert

“The Lord never tires of forgiving – never! It is we who tire of asking
His forgiveness. Let us ask for the grace not to tire of asking forgiveness,
because He never tires of forgiving. Let us ask for this grace.”
~ Pope Francis

Friday, November 1, 2013

Shopping For Bargains

Dear Parishioners,

We are all looking for a good deal. We constantly shop for bargains. In older days, we would clip coupons to save money at the grocery store or scour the newspapers for the sales at department stores. Today, we look to the internet for the best deals.

In today’s Gospel (Luke 19:1-10), Zacchaeus finds the best deal of all. He finds Jesus. However, even the best deals cost something. The coupons saved money, but you still had to spend some money to take advantage of them. Items obtained on the internet still cost money. Even Zacchaeus’ finding of Jesus cost him. Half of his possessions he gave to the poor and reimbursed four times over those from whom he extorted. It cost Zacchaeus a lot, but did he mind it? The answer is “No!” He did it enthusiastically and generously. He knew that in finding Jesus, he had found a bargain. So thankful was Zacchaeus that he shared generously of his treasure and grew large in the eyes of God.

- Fr. Carl

“In this period of crisis, today, it is important not to turn in on ourselves, burying our own talent, our spiritual, intellectual, and material riches, everything that the Lord has given us, but, rather to open ourselves, to be supportive, to be attentive to others…. Set your stakes on great ideals, the ideals that enlarge the heart, the ideals of service that make your talents fruitful. Life is not given to us to be jealously guarded for ourselves, but is given to us so that we may give it in turn.” ~ Pope Francis

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sainthood by Surprise

In our Gospel story today (Luke 18:9-14), the Pharisee believes that he is saintly in the eyes of God while the tax collector can only express his sorrow and ask for forgiveness. But only God gets to decide who pleases Him. It is all a matter of heart according to Jesus. Do morals matter… of course! Does obedience to God’s commandments matter… you bet! But for God, every sinner has a future, a new course of action on the other side of repentance. The first step, the best step, is to begin that new journey with a humble heart. That is the path to sainthood. And as always, it will catch the true saint totally by surprise… and what a joyous surprise it will be. Keep your heart and attention focused on God alone, and “let the saints go marching in!”

- Deacon Robert

“We too should be clear in our
Christian life that entering the glory
of God demands daily fidelity to his
will, even when it demands sacrifice
and sometimes requires us to change
our plans.” ~ Pope Francis

Friday, October 18, 2013

When Does God Hear and Answer Our Prayers?

Jesus does not give us a tidy answer to solve the mystery of why God seems so distant at times and does not answer our prayers as we think He should (Exodus 17:8-13; 2 Timothy 3:14 - 4:2Luke 18:1-8). Saint Paul was persistent in his prayer for healing of his “thorn in the flesh,” yet God’s answer was to learn strength in the weakness that thorn gave him. On the cross, Jesus himself lifted a cry to the silent heavens that seemed to go unanswered… until Easter gave us all a new perspective of Good Friday. So this seems to be the point Jesus is teaching us about prayer today. Keep praying, not because prayer forces God to answer, but because prayer keeps us in relationship with our heavenly Father who can be trusted, even on the darkest days when prayers seem to go unanswered.

- Deacon Robert

“Being Christian is not just obeying orders but means being in Christ,
thinking like him, acting like him, loving like him; it means letting him
take possession of our life and change it, transform it and free it from the
darkness of evil and sin… Let us show the joy of being children of God, the
freedom that living in Christ gives us which is true freedom, the freedom
that saves us from the slavery of evil, of sin and of death!”
~ Pope Francis

Friday, October 11, 2013


Dear Parishioners,

Last week while I was out of the office, I received a call from one of the secretaries. It seems the Archbishop called. He left a message to give him a call. He said it was “all good” about what he wanted to discuss. I was glad he said it was “all good” because whenever you get a message from the “big boss” you start to worry. I didn’t get to talk to the Archbishop as he left a very nice, long message on my cell phone thanking me and the parish for reaching our goal and exceeding it for the Capital Campaign, Embracing Our Mission. By the way, we have received a rebate of $33,580.00 which has allowed us to pay for the repair of our church gutters – Bring on the rain! Of course, more work needs to be done in the parish hall and kitchen, and it will be as the rebates come in during the next several years.

This week the scripture readings deal with gratitude to God (2 Kings 5:14-17; 2 Timothy 2:8-13Luke 17:11-19). Naamon, the foreign general, in gratitude for being cured from leprosy, will return to Syria, but only worship and offer sacrifice to the God of Israel. In the gospel, however, only one of the ten lepers, a detested Samaritan, returns to offer thanks to Jesus. The others couldn’t be bothered! We all have so much for which to be grateful. The best way is the Mass each weekend where we celebrate the Eucharist. Did you know the Greek word “eucharist” means “thanksgiving”? Today, we Catholics need to develop a greater attitude of gratitude for God’s gifts. Stewardship, the generous sharing of our time (prayer), talent (community and church service), and treasure (almsgiving and church support) is the way we do this. It’s the way we are called to live our faith. We all want to hear Jesus say to us as he did the Samaritan at the end of today’s gospel—“Stand up and go your way, your faith has been your salvation.”

- Fr. Carl

Friday, October 4, 2013

Why is October the month of the Rosary?

Dear Parishioners,

On October 7, 1571 a famous naval battle took place near the Bay of Lepanto off the southwestern coast of Greece. What led up to this famous battle, the last major battle fought by oar-powered ships, was the military might of the Ottoman Turks. They had become the scourge of the Mediterranean Sea capturing Christian ships with their cargoes and turning Christian sailors into galley slaves to pull the oars. So successful had this Muslim force become, that along with their armies, Christian people in Europe were in severe danger of being conquered and being forced to surrender their faith.

Finally, the pope, Pius V, called on the Christian people to gather an armada of ships to engage the Turks in battle. Ships were sent from Genoa, Venice, Naples, Spain, Malta, and even from the pope’s navy under the command of Don Juan of Austria.

When the two navies met, it was in the early morning on this very date. The winds were favorable for the Turks. Moreover, the Turkish fleet was superior in ships and manpower. Things did not look favorable for the Christians. However, at the last minute, the winds shifted in favor of the Christians, they won a decisive victory, and saved Europe from Muslim domination.

What caused the winds to shift? At the time of the battle, the pope and a number of his brother Dominicans were praying the rosary on behalf of the Christians. He, therefore, attributed their victory to Mary’s intercession and dedicated a feast which he called Our Lady of Victory. Later the name was changed to Our Lady of the Rosary and October has been called ever since – the month of the Rosary.

I encourage you and your families to pray the rosary together as we fight to save and preserve our families, our faith, and our religious freedoms which are constantly under attack from the forces of secularism and materialism.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, September 27, 2013

The More You Give, The More You Get

Dear Parishioners,

Last week we heard the story of the dishonest steward who wasted his owner’s property (Luke 16:1-13). He was fired, but before he lost his job, he enterprisingly reduced the debts of his master’s debtors so that he might get some help from them when he became unemployed. While his actions were devious, he was enterprising and using the talent he had been given. The parable reminds us that we are stewards or managers of God’s gifts to us in terms of time, talent, and treasure. One day we will have to give God an account of our stewardship and how we have used His gifts.

Today’s gospel parable of the rich man and Lazarus continues that theme (Luke 16:19-31). God blessed the rich man with tremendous treasure, yet he was so insensitive and self-centered that he shared nothing of his food and treasure with poor Lazarus. The rich man was a poor, ungrateful steward and rightly deserved the punishment he received after death.

Stewardship is about using God’s gifts of time, talent and treasure to help build up God’s kingdom on earth. It’s about caring and sharing with God and neighbor because we have developed an attitude of gratitude.

One thing we should remember is “the more we give in time, talent and treasure, the more we get” both here and hereafter. GOD WILL NOT BE OUTDONE IN GENEROSITY.

- Fr. Carl

“How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church? By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own…In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!”
- Pope Francis

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dishonest Wealth

Dear Parishioners,

Our gospel today shows us a shocking restoration (Luke 16:1-13). The dishonest, squandering manager who garnered no sympathy, suddenly discovers anew the boss’ blessing. Here we see a glimpse of the resurrection, life from death, hope from despair, grace from judgment. We are not sure if the man got his job back, but I believe he got his life back.

The story ends with our Lord’s charge to “make friends by means of dishonest wealth.” This ending, though difficult, is perfect! The only wealth God lavishes on any of us is the currency of dishonest wealth. None of us can earn it, none of us deserve it, and no printing press in the world can issue it. Grace is the ultimate “dishonest wealth” because it has no basis in anything we consider important or lasting. The way God does business, grace is the only wealth that matters, and surely the only wealth that endures. This is indeed a tough story to hear, but aren’t you glad you heard it?

- Deacon Robert

“Christ opened the path to us. He is like a
roped guide climbing a mountain who, on
reaching the summit, pulls us up to him and
leads us to God. If we entrust our life to him,
if we let ourselves be guided by him, we are
certain to be in safe hands, in the hands of
our Savior, of our advocate.”
- Pope Francis

Friday, September 13, 2013

Patience and Mercy

Dear Parishioners,

In case you haven’t noticed (and there is no reason you should), the gutters around the church have been repaired, relined, and repainted. So we shouldn’t have the leaks into the church we have had in the past. That’s because the $20,000 rebate we received from the Embracing Our Mission capital campaign enabled us to pay for the work. Thank you for your generosity. Our next phase is retiling of the parish hall floor next year.

We also did some landscaping in front of the school to enhance the entrance around the flagpole and flower beds. Since we did some work in front of the church several years ago, it was only fair that we do the same for our school.

Two weeks ago, I talked about the virtue of humility as per the scripture readings. This week, the readings talk about two more difficult virtues: patience and mercy (Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-32). We all appreciate God’s mercy and look forward to receiving it. Yet, when we are asked to show mercy after we have been wronged, it’s not so easy for us to dispense it. However, it would help if we never forget our great debt to Jesus and our hope for God’s mercy. As for patience, it only comes from prayer and the remembrance of God’s patience with Israel on Mount Sinai and in the desert, and Jesus’ example in the gospel, as well as regular reflection on the many stupid mistakes we have made in the past. Above all, be more patient with yourself; God hasn’t finished working on you.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, September 6, 2013

Lord, Take Over

Dear Parishioners,

I read this in one of my inspirational booklets and want to share it with you because like the author, one of my favorite prayers is only three words long, and I say it often: “Lord, take over.” In my sometimes longer form I find myself saying, “My plan is not working to well, and I’ve been told you have a better plan for me. Let’s see what you have for me.”

We need God’s guidance in inspiration to help us make good decisions. We need God to take over so we can give to others what they need from us. My experience has taught me that I cannot do this by myself. The insights must come from God.

The good news is that God’s guiding wisdom is within all of us. The bad news is that we’re often unaware of its presence in our minds and hearts. It seems that we can only discover this if we’re willing to spend time silently with God. In silent attentive prayer, we learn how to recognize and accept the guidance that God wants to give.
Lord, may I take the time to know your presence and to pay attention to the wisdom you want to share with me.

- Deacon Robert

Friday, August 30, 2013

Who Knows What Is Good Or Evil?

Dear Parishioners,

The great Anglican writer C.S. Lewis once wrote, “There are two kinds of people in the world – the proud who think they are humble and the humble who know they are proud. In other words, we all suffer from the sin of pride. After all, wasn’t that the problem of Satan who said “non servan” – I will not serve. And while Adam and Eve were not so bold as to refuse to serve, they wanted to be like God and so know what was good and bad so as to be like gods. Only God knows what is good or evil, and only by entering into a relationship with Him, can we know what is good or evil. Our modern culture wants to decide for itself what is good or evil without reference to the guidance of God. As a result, the world seems to be spinning more and more out of control. So, too, do our lives when we try to make decisions and act without God’s guidance and wisdom. It is good to be proactive in life, but it is wise to humble ourselves before Christ and the Church for guidance in our plan of life.

- Fr. Carl

“With Christ, the heart never grows old!”
- Pope Francis

Friday, August 23, 2013

Who Will Be Saved?

Dear Parishioners,

When we ask that question, we face the stark but amazing answer that all of us have an invitation (Lk 13:22-30). Engraved with our name on it, addressed to our heart of hearts, delivered by nail-scarred hands. God says the likes of you and me can be saved if we will simply stop trying to be saved. So stop trying to be saved, walk through the narrow door of simple faith and say “Yes” to God’s invitation to the Kingdom.

- Deacon Robert

“Wisdom is like a good wine that improves with age.”
  - Pope Francis

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Communion of Saints

Dear Parishioners,

Sometimes people ask about the communion of saints and where the Catholic Church got this notion. This week’s second reading from the letter to the Hebrews gives us a clue—“Since we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses…” This surrounding cloud of witnesses refers to the heroes of the Old Testament and those of the New Testament, and those holy ones living afterward, i.e. the saints. It’s so fitting that this reading from Hebrews always takes place in August. Of all the months, August celebrates the feasts of more saints than any other.

We have an apostle (Bartholomew), 3 popes (Sixtus II, Pius X, Pontian), 3 doctors of the Church (Alponsus Liguori, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Augustine), 1 king (Stephen of Hungary), 3 martyrs (Lawrence, Teresa Benedicta, and Maxmillian Kolbe), a mystic (Rose of Lima), 2 founders of religious communities (Dominic and our own Jane Frances), a long suffering mother and wife (Monica), and one parish priest (John Vianney). As if that were not enough, we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration, the Assumption, the Queenship of Mary, and the Passion of John the Baptist. None of these people had an easy time of it, but they all followed the advice of St. Paul as he likened the road to holiness to a race where perseverance is the key to victory. As St. Paul reminds us at the end of today’s reading, “do not grow despondent or abandon the struggle.”

- Fr. Carl

Friday, August 9, 2013

Looking Ahead

Dear Parishioners,

The letter to the Hebrews described faith as the willingness to keep looking forward (Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19). That is, Abraham and Sarah did not get bogged down looking around at their circumstances or comparing their lives to others… they looked ahead. They did not get lost in nostalgia, looking backward over their shoulder at an idealized past, those “good old days” gone by, as if the path to happiness and fulfillment was behind them… they looked ahead. They did not get to see the fulfillment of all that they hoped, not during their lifetimes. But even at the end, as they drew their final breaths, they were looking forward, believing that the best was still coming, that God’s goodness was just getting started. And that, the writer of Hebrews said, is what faith is all about.

- Deacon Robert

“My child, we must not be afraid of doing good,
  even if it costs us something.”
- Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, August 2, 2013

Capital Campaign goal reached! Thank you!

Dear Parishioners,

WE DID IT!!! We finally reached our goal for the Archdiocesan/Parish capital campaign, Embracing Our Mission, Shaping Our Future. I am very pleased to announce that we have received pledges of $1,035,557 which is $557 over our goal. The pledges will be collected over the next five years. Thank you all for your support—be it prayers, donations, or both. I am very grateful. Our share is 20% or $207,000 which will be used to repair the church gutters and downspouts, retile the parish/school hall floor, and renovate the kitchen in the school/parish hall. Already we have begun on the church gutters. If you have been observant, you might have seen around the church the big lift to access the high gutters and the men on the sacristy/chapel roofs working on the lower gutters. Hopefully, the rain will hold off until the work is finished. As for the kitchen renovation and new tile for the hall floors, we need to wait for more of the pledges to be paid to the Archdiocese before receiving our rebate. I hope to start the remaining projects next summer.

Again, I thank everyone for their support especially those of you who worked on the campaign committee. It would not have succeeded without you!

God Bless,
Fr. Carl

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lord, Teach Us to Pray

Jesus used an intimate word in the prayer we know today as “The Lord's Prayer” or “The Our Father.” He used the word “Abba” which is a word a child uses when calling out to a loving Daddy.

But the prayer also recognizes God’s holy name and exalted place. God is not our buddy, just because Jesus taught us the intimate relationship of Fatherhood. God is still the God, the sovereign Lord of all creation and all history. The prayer gives us permission and instruction to go to God continually in a spirit of confession, petition, dependence, and hope. This model prayer gives guidance to our spirit that it is God to whom we can go with our worship, our physical needs and our spiritual failures.

The most mature Christian follower still recites and prays this prayer as part of a daily discipline. It is the starting place for prayer but also the finish line of life’s prayer marathon.

- Deacon Robert

“The heart is drawn towards what it loves most. The heart of a good
  Christian turns towards Heaven, where God is, who is his treasure.”
- The Cure D’Ars

Friday, July 19, 2013

Are You Paying Attention?

Dear Parishioners,

The other day as I was taking a walk, I noticed two girls walking down the street, and they were talking. However, they weren’t talking to one another. They were talking on their cell phones to two other people. Today we are plugged into cell phones, the internet, iPads, and various other electronic devices. But the one thing we are not plugged into is real, personal relationships with God or one another. Have you ever been having a conversation with a friend and he/she gets a call on their cell phone? What do they do? The considerate thing to do would be to ignore it or turn it off and check for a message later as we give our full attention to the friend.

The sacred scripture readings (Genesis 18:1-10a; Colossians 1:24-28; Luke 10:38-42) are about paying full attention to the other person. Abraham stops what he is doing right away and makes them welcome by attending to their needs. When Jesus visits Martha and Mary, they both pay attention to Jesus in different ways. Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to his words, while Martha is busy with the details of hospitality. While it is important to meet the physical needs of others, it is also important to meet their spiritual and emotional needs by listening to them attentively. As for God, not only do we care for him when we help our brothers and sisters, but he helps us when we listen to him in prayer and worship.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, July 12, 2013

Can We Be Too Careful?

Dear Parishioners,

Our Gospel today is not a Divine command to pick up every hitchhiker or throw caution to the wind (Luke 10:25-37). But it does call us to reexamine our cowering fear that makes us miss the opportunity to make a difference in the world, and to face our fears for the sake of love. The fireman knows all too well the danger of the burning building, but rushes in while others are rushing out. A friend stays up all night providing a shoulder for the tears of her broken-hearted friend. Getting involved in that domestic problem is messy, time and energy-consuming; but she can do no other because her love for her friend draws her in.

Sometimes we just have to face our fears and walk into the path of potential danger or inconvenience for the sake of doing the right thing, for the sake of our higher calling as followers of the one who gave us this parable in the first place. Apathy, that makes us see injustice or suffering and simply shrug our shoulders as if to say, “Well, at least it is not my neighbor,” cannot define our lives.

Fear that makes us see the suffering of others and run the other way into our safe cocoon, cannot define our lives. We can be too careful. Lord have mercy. And may we find the courage and compassion to have mercy, too.

- Deacon Robert

Friday, July 5, 2013

Let All The Earth Cry Out With Joy

Dear Parishioners,

The theme of today’s readings is JOY. Isaiah tells us to rejoice and exult with Jerusalem (Isaiah 66:10-14c); the psalm response tells us, “Let all the earth cry out to God with joy;” and the gospel (Luke 10:1-12, 17-20) shows the seventy-two returning to Jesus jubilant from their missionary work. It has been said that joy (not pleasure or excitement), is the unmistakable sign of God’s presence. People who have a good relationship with God so very often exude that joy in their demeanor and dealings with other people. However, lest we become too caught up in our successes in life that bring us natural joy, Jesus reminds us that the greatest joy is that our names are inscribed in heaven.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, June 28, 2013

Let Freedom Ring

St. Paul tells the Galatians “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery!” (Galatians 5:1, 13-18) In just a few days, we celebrate the birthday of our nation. Let freedom ring!

Let it ring celebrating the good gift these United States are to all of us. With all of our challenges, we are still the envy of the world. For many reasons, not the least of which, is the right to elect our own government, and then when voters choose to transition to a new government, we do so without armed conflict. The freedom we know as citizens ought to cause us as Christian believers to thank God once again for the freedom first found in Jesus Christ.

Let freedom ring most of all by living out God’s generous love given to others. No one can compel another to believe. But by our lives lived in love, we show others Christ’s way and Christ’s love and the awesome freedom Christ gives to all who follow him. Reject anything in your life that would enslave your soul or another and in its place, let Christ’s freedom ring out from your life and in so doing become God’s good gift of freedom to others.

- Deacon Robert

Friday, June 21, 2013

God’s Beloved Family

We who are clothed with Christ are family. Saint Paul says we “are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.” God has written all of us into God’s estate plan and wants to lavish on us all the wealth of His love.

Clothed with Christ, we are heirs with Christ, God’s beloved family. Look around… see Christ in your brothers and sisters… and understand the good news, that by God’s grace, we are all clothed with Christ.

- Deacon Robert

Friday, June 14, 2013

Humility, the Mother of All Virtues

Dear Parishioners,

The greatest king of Israel, a law abiding Pharisee, and a well-known sinful woman come together this week to teach us about sin, humility, and forgiveness (2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13; Galatians 2:16, 19-21; Luke 7:36 - 8:3). We see the great King David revealed to be a murderer and an adulterer. He who was so powerful and blessed by God succumbed to temptation, sinned, and then sinned even more severely. However, when his evil deeds came to light, he humbly repented and discovered, to his great relief, that God had forgiven him.

The Pharisee’s sin was slight in comparison to David’s. He omitted the usual hospitality of having his guest’s feed washed and judged Jesus not to be a prophet. Furthermore, in his pride, the first of the capital sins, he judged the woman. Only God judges. When we judge, we put ourselves in the place of God.

We don’t know for sure what the woman’s sin was, but we can make a good guess. She knew what she had done and humbled herself in repentance for her sins, and showed her love for God by washing, drying, and perfuming our Lord’s feet. Of the king, the Pharisee, and the woman, she outshines the other two, for humility, the mother of all virtues, is the first step to the greatest – LOVE.

- Father Carl

Friday, June 7, 2013

God Does Not Abandon You

Dear Parishioners,

So many of the things that populate our daily schedules are routine. We rise in the morning, have breakfast, bathe, dress, go to our job, perhaps volunteer or meet a friend for lunch. In moments of leisure, we may read a book, watch a baseball game, play a few hands of bridge, or turn up soil in our gardens. Errands get notched here and there in the day’s schedule like going to the dry cleaners, grocery store, gas station… and attend church? You know the drill… things to do, people to see, day after day. Nothing much here that would be considered life and death issues.

But there are days that none of us welcome. Days when we learn of a friend’s sudden passing, the news of a neighbor’s loss of work, the awareness that health has suddenly taken a turn for the worse, or that a child has lost his or her way.

Our scripture stories today tell us that God does not abandon us in those moments of darkness (Luke 7:11-17). In fact, the stories tell us quite the opposite… when darkness shows up and hope seems to move out, God moves in, because God has never moved out! God is with us, reminding us, as Paul wrote the Romans long ago, “neither life nor death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” When our resources are totally gone, God’s resources are just beginning.

- Deacon Robert

Friday, May 31, 2013

Solemnity of Corpus Christi (“The Body of Christ”)

Dear Parishioners,

Our current celebration of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ), was started in the 1270s. It was originally set on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Why Thursday? Because it was on Holy Thursday that Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper. However, after the Second Vatican Council, some Bishops’ Conferences around the world transferred the feast to the following Sunday, and the United States was one of them. Still some countries maintain the feast on Thursday and have wonderful processions in honor of the Blessed Sacrament.

St. Thomas Aquinas composed many of the hymns for this feast: Adoro Te Devote, Pange Lingua, and Humbly We Adore You. While it is a wonderful tradition to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, it is more important to receive Him at Mass. After all, Jesus tells us, “I am the living bread come down from heaven…, if anyone eats this bread, he will live forever.” (John 6:51-52). That’s the best reason to celebrate this feast and the Eucharist as we give thanks and praise to God.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Most Holy Trinity

Dear Parishioners,

God reveals himself to us in a Trinity, as a gracious Father, giving Son, and guiding Holy Spirit. Jesus is a perfect revelation of God, the presence of God in human form. Jesus became for us the interpreter of who God is, just as the Holy Spirit now interprets for us ways we are to follow Jesus in our day.

The Spirit not only reveals the full nature of Jesus to us, but the Spirit becomes our Advocate saying to others that we belong to God. Today, the Spirit vouches for us, claims us as belonging to Christ, and helps us define who we are as followers of Christ.

- Deacon Robert

“Faith is a gift, it is the Father who
gifts it. We must continue on this path. But
if we travel this path, it is always with our
own baggage – because we are all sinners
and we all always have things that are wrong.
But the Lord will forgive us if we ask for
forgiveness, and so we should always press
onwards, without being discouraged.”
- Pope Francis

Friday, May 17, 2013

Understanding God's Message

Dear Parishioners,

It’s a shame our first reading is not the story of the tower of Babel. As you might remember, in the book of Genesis, the people all spoke the same language using the same words. However, their pride and arrogance led them to build a tower reaching up to the sky so as to be equal to God. Perhaps they intended to go up and talk to God about the world situation and how he could have done a better job. Who knows? Anyhow, according to the story, God gave them different languages to confuse them and prevent them from understanding one another, and thus thwarted their plan. God humbled them in their pride as he does with all of us when we exalt ourselves.

Today in the first reading (Acts 2:1-11), we see a reversal of Babel as the Holy Spirit unifies the people, enabling each one to hear and understand the apostles in their native languages even as the apostles speak only Aramaic (the language of Jesus). That’s one of the roles of the Holy Spirit – to unify us and help us to understand God’s message. Of course, we have to do our part. We have to be open.

Let us humbly pray that the Holy Spirit will unite us to our families, our parish, the Church, and the Holy Trinity. Amen.

- Father Carl

Friday, May 10, 2013

We Are Witnesses

Dear Parishioners,

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he taught his disciples to be witnesses to his life and his love to everyone they met beginning in Jerusalem and then to the far reaches of earth (Luke 24:46-53). The risen Lord’s teaching has been passed on to us to this very day. We are witnesses who have a simple story to tell; we are all created in God’s image, marred by sin, broken by life’s struggles, but lavishly loved and freely forgiven. We are witnesses that in Jesus Christ, God visited planet earth as a human being to show us the only way another person can experience God’s love is through another human being who loves as Jesus taught us to love.

- Deacon Robert

Friday, May 3, 2013

Peace in the Church

Dear Parishioners,

Last Sunday afternoon I attended the Italian Buffet put on by our Youth Group. It was fantastic! I had some of the best Italian food ever thanks to our chefs, Dave Horvath and John Sullivan. Our Youth Group, led by Claire Horvath, served and waited on tables in a most professional manner. Many others told me as well, how good the food and service were. I can’t wait for the next buffet.

Very often people have an idea that, in the early days of the Church, all was bliss and peace. We see in today’s first reading, that was not the case (Acts 15:1-2, 22-29). There was a controversy in Antioch that was sent to the apostles in Jerusalem to be settled. The case was decided and Antioch was informed by letter of the decision. The same is true today. When a controversy cannot be settled on the local level, it is sent to Rome for settlement. Thank goodness we have such a system in place so that justice may prevail, and peace restored to the community.

Finally, as we get ready to celebrate Mother’s Day next week, let us not forget Our Blessed Mother – this is her month. Wouldn’t it be nice to give her the gift of a daily rosary? I suspect she will give us something in return.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, April 26, 2013

Love One Another

Dear Parishioners,

Jesus gives us a new commandment, to love one another as he loves us (John 13:31-33a, 34-35). Being commanded to “love” is difficult for us to understand. Yet, God’s grip on us and Jesus’ command of theology is supreme. God’s love, goodness and mercy knows no limits.

A child afraid to cross a busy street, and standing beside his mother cried for the mother to hold his tiny hand. Mom’s arms were already full so she told the child to reach up and take hold of her outstretched finger. But the child refused to cross the street even with the offer of the mother’s finger to hold. The child protested, “I don't want to hold your hand, I want you to hold my hand.” Mom rearranged her load, and offered her child a full hand into which the child’s hand slipped confidently. And together they crossed the busy street.

You may meet someone fearful of the busyness and chaos in this world and in need of Christ’s love. Why not take their hand and help them to safely cross to the other side?

- Deacon Robert

“No prayer is ever lost.”
~ The Cure D’Ars

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pray for Our Shepherds!

Dear Parishioners,

I hope you and your families all had a joyful Easter and were able to relax a bit during Easter week. This weekend we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday, and rejoice in the fact that we have Jesus as our good shepherd who will give us eternal life and never allow us to perish. This year the Catholic Church on earth has a new shepherd, Pope Francis, who never tires of asking people to pray for him. Of course, between Pope Benedict’s resignation and the election of Francis, there were worries and some apprehensions concerning the future. That’s part of the human condition when any flock is without a shepherd.

Last Monday, April the eighth, the shepherd of our school, Michelle Jones, informed me she and her husband, the principal of Arthur Slade School, were not renewing their contracts. Right now, I imagine there are some concerns and worries here at St. Jane Frances. There need not be. I have formed a search committee to look for a new principal, contacted the Archdiocese to put an ad in the Catholic Review and on the archdiocesan website, and am meeting with human resources to help in our search and selection process. Our school is blessed with great, dedicated, and loyal teachers, has an outstanding curriculum, and has the best STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program in the Archdiocese. This year, thanks to a new online registration program, we are ahead of last year’s enrollment numbers. While Mrs. Jones’ leadership, hard work, and dedication will be missed, I am not worried at all and quite confident that our school will continue to be a beacon of academic excellence in Pasadena and the surrounding areas. In the meantime, like Pope Francis, I ask for your prayers for the school, the new principal, and the pastor.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, April 12, 2013

Follow Me

Dear Parishioners,

After each of the three times Jesus asked Peter to profess his love, Jesus said, “Feed my lambs… Tend my sheep… Feed my sheep.” Jesus said so much more than the words, “I forgive you.” Jesus gave Peter a ministry. He trusted him again with responsibility, leadership, and care of the Church. And then he said again, the very first words Peter ever heard him say to him, “Follow me.”

If Jesus can forgive Peter for his failures and restore him to great usefulness, both to his fellow man and to God, why can’t he do the same for us? Our risen Lord knows about your past, but you still have a future with him. He rose from the grave to tell us that he still loves us and still has a place of service for each and every one of us. And maybe, like Peter and all his disciples from so very long ago, you will recognize him, hear his voice, and accept his forgiveness. All it takes is your “yes” to accept your ministry and follow him.

- Deacon Robert

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Easter Octave and Divine Mercy

Dear Parishioners,

This weekend we celebrate the Second Sunday of Easter (or Sunday of Divine Mercy), which falls at the end of the Octave (8th day) of Easter. Today, we fail to understand the importance of an octave. In the Old Testament, there were many feasts that lasted 8 days. The last day was always considered the greatest day—the grand finale. The early days of the Church celebrated many octaves. Today, there are only two—Christmas and Easter. The greatest is Easter with even the weekday Masses being the greatest feast, a solemnity, during which the Gloria is recited. At the end of the Easter Octave, a special gift is available—a plenary indulgence (remission for all temporal punishment due to sin). All that’s needed is for the person to attend Mass on the Second Sunday of Easter (or Sunday of Divine Mercy) are the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff), and recite in any church the Our Father, the Creed, and add a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you). For the plenary (full) indulgence, a person must be completely detached from affection to sin, even a venial sin. Still a partial indulgence will be granted to those who at least, with a contrite heart, pray to the merciful Lord Jesus a legitimately approved invocation.

- Fr. Carl

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter!

Dear Parishioners,

HAPPY EASTER! Now that the somber season of Lent is complete, our time of penance gives way to the joy of the resurrection. Death gives way to new life and darkness is replaced by light.

Last night in the darkened church, I raised the Paschal Candle with its solitary flame, and sang, “The light of Christ.” From that one candle others were lit so that when I reached the altar, the church was bathed with light. Similarly, when Jesus came into the world, evil was rampant and God seemed to be absent. However, our Lord’s death and resurrection was the flame that has spread light and life back into the world. Unfortunately, sin still remains and evil still tries to extinguish the light of Christ. The temptations of materialism, individualism, hedonism, and relativism are very much a part of our culture, trying to block out the light of Christ. Let us look to Jesus and his bride, the Church, to lead us to truth and eternal happiness.

May you and your families have a Blessed and Happy Easter.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, March 22, 2013

We cannot save ourselves

Palm Sunday

Anytime we hear a narrative from one of the Gospels, we have a fundamental choice to make. Will we simply listen to the story, or will we take the more challenging step and find ourselves in the story.

Who among us doesn’t want to see ourselves as the champion of righteousness and doer of good? But then it happens. Stepping into this story, we realize that, come Friday, we are part of an angry mob, unaware of God’s love for us and our need for grace.

Like the waiting Father, God’s love rushes to us because God knows we cannot save ourselves. So as you make your way through this week we call “holy,” dare to step into this story and hear from the depths of your soul the telling of God’s great love for the likes of you and me. With open hands and a willing heart, with deep humility and overwhelming gratitude, receive from God the gift of life eternal that God offers us through His only Son our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, our Savior and Redeemer.

- Deacon Robert

Friday, March 15, 2013

Embracing Our Mission

Dear Parishioners,

Those of you who were at Mass last weekend know that we have started a project with the Archdiocese called Embracing Our Mission. It’s a capital campaign to address some needs here in the parish and throughout the archdiocese. I welcome this opportunity as it gives me a chance to meet with a number of you to share the vision of our parish and the archdiocese. But more importantly, it gives me an opportunity to get to know a number of you in a more personal way, other than a friendly greeting at the church doors, on the parking lot, or in Lauer’s. So far, I have met with a small number of couples who have, in the course of our meeting, shared a bit of their personal history including their faith experiences. I have found it to be a very beautiful and humbling experience. I look forward to many more such meetings. Obviously I can’t meet with everyone, so I have recruited some volunteers in the initial phase of the campaign, but will need more in the future. We will let you know when. In the meantime, when you get a call, please be kind. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet and get to know some of your brother and sister parishioners. Although our goal is significant, I am very confident we will not only reach it, but surpass it. You are a faith-filled and generous people. In the next few months, I ask you to pray for the success of our campaign.

Finally, as Lent comes to an end, we hear the gospel of the woman caught in adultery and the great mercy Jesus extends to the woman (John 8:1-11). You, too, can encounter the mercy of Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Come with your family on Wednesday evening from 7-8:30pm, Saturday from 3:30-4:30pm, or call the rectory for a private appointment. Also, please pray that those who have been away from the Church for a long time will come back home to Jesus.

- Fr. Carl

Friday, March 8, 2013

God Is Waiting For You

Dear Parishioners,

One of the most famous parables Jesus told his listeners, people like you and me, was about the return of the Prodigal son (Luke 15:1-3, 11-32). The far gaze of God seems to reach all the way to the end of the road where we one day come limping over the horizon. And yes, to be sure the far gaze of God sees you and me at the end of the road. God is waiting for us.

The only condition is that we take the first step toward him. So come to know yourself and where life's journey has taken you. Make your way home. God, our father, is looking down that road waiting for you.

Deacon Robert

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Shot in the Arm

Dear Parishioners,

We had an excellent mission given by the president of Archbishop Curley, Fr. Joe Benicewicz. A good number of you attended. For those of you unable to attend, there are several excellent opportunities this Lent.

First, on Saturday, March 16 from 8:30am – 4pm, the Archdiocesan Men’s Fellowship will be held at Calvert Hall High in Towson. See the ad in the bulletin for further details. Second, St. John’s in Severna Park will have a mission on March 10, 11, 12 at 7:15pm by a Catholic convert and former Protestant minister, Michael J. Cumbie.

Of course, we still have Stations of the Cross each Friday at 10am and 7pm, as well as daily Mass at 8:30am. However, these other opportunities listed above might give you the shot in the arm you need. Even the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI goes on a retreat each year. (He just got back last week). If the pope does something extra special each Lent, shouldn’t we?

- Father Carl

Friday, February 22, 2013

Our Lenten Road to Calvary

Dear Parishioners,

Earlier in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus began telling his disciples clearly, that his journey was headed for a cross in Jerusalem. Golgotha was not an unexpected ambush for Jesus. It was a planned destination to which “he set his face” with focused determination. How did he endure the suffering that was coming, how did he keep choosing the path of obedience in the face of temptations to take an easier road? Jesus lived a perfect life of obedience to a higher call. He would give his life in service to God and as a sacrifice for humankind.

And so for us, pilgrims along the Lenten road to Calvary, our endgame is also to find that higher calling from God, to match our deepest longing with the world’s deepest needs, to find something to live for, big enough to die for, and to live every day with that end in mind.

- Deacon Robert

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lent: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

Dear Parishioners,

The “desert,” that’s where we find Jesus on the first Sunday of Lent (Luke 4:1-13). Each of the 3 synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) show our Lord fasting and then being tempted by Satan. Satan is very clever, for he knows our weaknesses and the best time to exploit our weaknesses. He tempts Jesus when he is physically weak from fasting. Satan knows that we have sensual appetites for food, drink, and sex which are good in moderation and when used properly. He knows that we desire earthly goods like cell phones, automobiles, clothes, etc. And he knows that we want to be independent and self-sufficient. Those are good things to want as long as they don’t get in the way of our relationship with God. St. John describes these temptations when he says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15-16).

Our Lord’s entry into the desert and fasting did not make him weak, but instead strengthened him to stand up against the devil. May our Lenten observances of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (donations to the poor) enable us to resist temptation when it comes our way.

- Father Carl

Friday, February 8, 2013

We’re looking for a few good men

Dear Parishioners,

“We’re looking for a few good men.” That was an old recruiting slogan for the U.S. Marine Corps. But it’s not just the Marine Corps looking, so, too, is God and the Church. Both are looking for a few good men to serve as priests. Today, in the United States, the need is greater than ever as recruiting is not keeping up with retirements and deaths. Here, in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, half of the priests in active ministry will be eligible for retirement in the next fifteen years. Furthermore, the priests we have in parishes are increasingly being asked to pastor several parishes at the same time. So let us pray for more vocations and encourage suitable candidates to consider following Jesus to be fishers of men, women and children. Let us also pray for the priests we have that they become holier servants of God and their people.

- Father Carl

Friday, February 1, 2013

There is a God and I’m not Him

Dear Parishioners,

In a 1993 film, “Rudy,” Father Cavanaugh gives some sterling counsel to young Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, who wanted to play football for Notre Dame. The wise priest told him, “Son, in 35 years of religious study, I have only come up with two, hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God and I’m not Him.”

Isaiah, Saints Peter and Paul… all these champions of faith met the Lord, and were made acutely aware of their own sinfulness. They never got over the awareness that there was a God, and that they were not Him. They were not perfect when the Lord revealed himself to each of them, and they would not be perfect even afterwards. But God can use those who are not perfect, in fact, it is the only kind of people God has been using through the ages.

So can God use you and me, even though we are imperfect? Oh yes, God is the perfect Lord for people who aren’t. Holy are you, O Lord. Unholy are we. But if you ask who will go for you, like Isaiah and Peter and Paul before us, we will find ourselves saying, “Here I am, send me.”

- Deacon Robert

Friday, January 25, 2013

Christ has no body now on earth… but yours

Dear Parishioners,

Christ has no body now on earth… but yours. Some 25 years after our Lord’s resurrection, Paul wrote to the Corinthians words that still apply to us (1 Corinthians 12:12-30): “Now you are the body of Christ and each of you is a part of it.” Being God’s presence in this world is not the sole responsibility of those who have taken holy orders or had hands laid upon them for ordination. Being God’s presence to the poor, the blind, the lame, the captives and the oppressed is ours… our responsibility, opportunity and yes, even our joy.

- Deacon Robert

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Case for Marriage

Dear Parishioners,

In the first chapters of the first book of the bible, Genesis, we see God establishing the marital relationship between man and woman. The purpose is procreation and support of one another which is what the Catholic Church still teaches today. So is it any wonder that John’s gospel (John 2:1-11) has Jesus performing the first of his signs (miracles) at a wedding in Cana? While turning water into wine is awesome, this miracle points to a more important sign. The water (Old Covenant), while good, pales in comparison to the wine (New Testament), which brings joy and spirit to the feast of life.

Still today would be a good time to reflect on marriage because it is under attack from many sides. There are those who think it an old-fashioned concept, so they simply co-habit or live together. There are others who are afraid of commitment. There are still others who have seen the ravages of divorce and don’t want to risk failure or the pain it would cause possible offspring should a divorce occur. Many so-called experts believe marriage is not worth the effort. However, a new book, using a great number of studies, provides statistics that show otherwise. It’s entitled, “The Case for Marriage,” by Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher. The book contends that married people live longer, have better health, earn more money, feel more fulfillment in their lives and have happier, more successful children than those who remain single, co-habit, or get divorced. According to the Wall Street Journal - “Makes the absolutely critical point that marriage has been misrepresented and misunderstood.”

By the way, there is a retreat for married couples sponsored by Elaine & Frank Galeone at Priestfield, WV on the weekend of March 1st. For more information, call Elaine at (410) 252-5355.

Today and this week, let us pray for our married couples at St. Jane Frances.

- Father Carl

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Blessing

Dear Parishioners,

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:15-16, 21-22) The Father’s blessing was not a reward for good work Jesus had done. At this point in his life, Jesus had performed no miracles, taught no multitudes, called no disciples, cured the sick or cast out demons. All of that lay ahead. The Father’s blessing here is an affirmation of Jesus in front of everyone.

What child does not long for such a blessing from their parents? All too often parents wait for the child to accomplish something before affirming them or bestowing a blessing on them. Surely, Jesus received many blessings from Joseph and Mary during his childhood. At his Baptism, he received it from his heavenly Father as well.

So parents don’t wait for your child to be successful, affirm and bless your children today… because as every child who has received such a blessing knows, it can make all the difference for a lifetime.

- Deacon Robert

Friday, January 4, 2013

Peace… what a great New Year's resolution!

Dear Parishioners,

Cologne, Germany is the site of a magnificent cathedral built by Frederick Barbarosa. After World War II, it was the only building left standing amidst the rubble of the city destroyed by the bombing runs of allies. Why it survived when all else was destroyed only God knows. Why it was built is a different matter, and it is connected to today’s Solemnity of the Epiphany. The word “epiphany” means manifestation or revealing. Today is the first revealing or showing of God in Jesus to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12). And so today, we celebrate the fact that Jesus came not just to save the Jews, but the non-Jews or the Gentiles. He came for us as well! Getting back to why the cathedral in Cologne was built. Frederick Barbarosa acquired the relics of the Magi, and erected the cathedral to house them where you can still see them today if you visit Cologne.

However, we have something far better at St. Jane’s. We have Jesus here in the tabernacle, in the church, and in the chapel where you can visit him throughout the day. Perhaps that would be a good New Year’s resolution. If you give him some extra time before the Blessed Sacrament, I’m sure the Prince of Peace will bring some extra peace into your hearts during the coming year.

- Father Carl