Friday, December 30, 2016

Reflecting In Our Hearts

Dear Parishioners,
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. It brings a bright light into the darkness of the long winter nights. It gives us hope and joy in the midst of whatever struggles we may be undergoing in life.

I am very grateful to everyone who helped prepare for and took part in our celebrations: the liturgy committee; our decorators; our musicians, cantors, and choirs; our Knights of Columbus who helped arrange the outdoor nativity scene and the church Christmas trees; our lectors, altar servers, and extraordinary ministers of communion. But I am especially thankful for you, our parishioners, who not only attended the Masses but also brought the spirit of Christmas in their hearts.

Today, on the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, the gospel takes us to Mary and Jesus in Bethlehem (Luke 2:16-21). The people were all amazed when the shepherds reported what they saw. And Mary kept all these things reflecting on them in her heart. May this season awaken in us a spirit of amazement at God’s love. May we regularly reflect on this in our hearts as did Mary. For if we do so, the long dark days of winter and life’s difficulties will be brightened by the sun that the Son of God brings into our hearts, not just at Christmas but throughout the year.

Happy New Year,
Fr. Carl

We must be like the shepherds in the fields during the
winter. They have a f ire, but from time to time they search
about for sticks to keep it alive. If we knew how to keep up
the f ire of the love of God in our heart by prayers and good
works, it would not go out.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Word From Our Deacon

As Christmas approaches and the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ nears, I wish to express my gratitude to all of you for your warm welcome and hospitality. I am grateful for my wife, my children, my diaconal vocation, and this faith community. This beautiful season of the year when we glorify the birth of Christ always grabs me in its simplicity and power. From Mary’s “yes” to the angel chorus, the mystery of Emmanuel, God with us, is a profound moment in history. Our world has never been the same. As we settle in with some time off work or in a moment of quiet from the hustle and bustle of the season, let us reflect on how our lives need the presence of the new born Savior. Be with us Lord! Come into our lives with your grace and love. Caste out from us all sin and weakness and open our hearts to your peaceful being. Now as always, we need the touch of God so that we may have hope, so that our faith may grow, so that we may not despair and so that we may know the peace of God’s love. May the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you and your family this Christmas season. May the little child, dressed in swaddling clothes, lain in a manger, be the light your life needs, the joy our community needs, the wisdom our leaders need, and the peace our world needs.

Many Christmas blessings to all of you!
Deacon Steve

Merry Christmas!

Dear Parishioners,

“God writes straight with crooked lines.” That’s an old adage that means not only does the Lord use good people to carry out his plan, but sometimes he uses the wicked as well. In the first reading from Isaiah last Sunday, God asks the wicked king of Judah, Ahaz, to ask for a sign so Judah will know that God is on its side. Ahaz doesn’t ask for a sign, because he doesn’t want to trust the Lord. However, God will not be denied; so he promises a sign “the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” In today’s gospel (Mt 1:18-25, Vigil Mass gospel), Matthew uses those very words from Isaiah to show the prophecy fulfilled in Mary and Jesus.

So God is not limited to the use of holy people; he uses sinners as well. That includes you, me, and all of us. Of course, we should not relax and imagine God will use us the way we are no matter what. He wants us to become the best version of ourselves we can. He wants us to become saints so as to draw others to Himself and bring true joy to the world and ourselves.

May you and your families experience the joy that our Lord’s birth brought to the world not just now but always.

God bless,
Fr. Carl

“A Saint has told us that one day at Mass he saw
Jesus Christ with his hands full of gifts, looking for
souls to whom he might give them.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, December 16, 2016

Signs of Christmas

Dear Parishioners,


It’s getting harder and harder to find Christmas cards with a religious image on it. There are plenty of cards with Santa Claus, Christmas trees, snow covered landscapes, holly, and colorful decorations. But something with Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the Magi, the Shepherds, and the Star is hard to find. I guess it’s more politically correct to turn Christmas into a seasonal celebration than a religious remembrance. Still, we might try to put Christ back in the season by saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.”

Since the beginning of time, people have looked to God for signs. It might be for a sign of guidance in making a decision about a vocation, where to go to high school or college, where to live, or what the future holds. In the reading from Isaiah (Isaiah 7:10-14), God encourages King Ahaz to ask for a sign, but Ahaz is reluctant. His mind is made up, and he doesn’t want a sign from God which might tell him to pursue a different course of action. Nevertheless, God gives him a sign anyway “the virgin shall be with child and bear a son and shall name him Emmanuel.” This sign to Ahaz was also a sign to Israel and to the world of God’s love and his plan to send the Messiah to save the human race. This sign was finally realized in the Blessed Virgin Mary’s giving birth to Jesus (Matthew 1:18-24).

Since we have received the grace of this sign, Jesus Christ, we are called to be living signs of God’s love to all we meet. May we be good and welcoming signs to all.

- Fr. Carl

“Remember that when the priest gives you absolution, you
have but one thing to think of—that the Blood of the good
God is f lowing over your soul to purify it and make it as
bright as it was made by its Baptism.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, December 9, 2016

Be Patient

Dear Parishioners,

When there is no entrance hymn sung at Mass, there is an entrance chant or antiphon. You can find this week’s chant on page 3 of the missalette. It serves as the theme for the Mass of the day. This Third Sunday of Advent, it is “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice. Indeed the Lord is near” (Philippians 4:4-5). Since the readings reflect this theme, we call today (Sunday, Dec. 11) Gaudete Sunday which in Latin means “rejoice.” Why? Because when the Lord comes, there will be new life (Isaiah 35:1-6a,10) and healing (Matthew 11:2-11). However, it will not happen as soon as we might wish. So James in the second reading (James 5:7-10) gives, us advice on our attitude as we wait. “Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord.” In this busy world amid the many activities calling for our attention, it’s easy to become frazzled and impatient. St. James encourages us to guard against impatience, for while the virtue of patience is difficult to acquire, it is well worth the effort. It will help give us peace of mind and the joy Jesus wants us to have this season.

- Fr. Carl

“Our Lord is hidden in the Blessed Sacrament, waiting
for us to come and visit him… See how good He is! …
If He had appeared before us now in all his glory, we should
not have dared to approach Him; but He hides himself
like one in prison, saying: ‘You do not see me, but that
does not matter; ask me for all you want…’”
~
Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, December 2, 2016

Spiritual Exercise

Dear Parishioners,

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, Advent invites us to prepare for Christmas and celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world. But Christmas is also a time when families and friends come back together again. Please feel free to invite them to Mass. If they are not Catholic or they haven’t been to Mass for a while, please remind them of the proper respect that should be shown to our Lord in his house. For instance food, drink, and chewing gum should not be brought into the church. Those who are non-Catholic are invited to come up in the communion line with their arms crossed to receive a blessing but not Holy Communion as it is a sign of one’s faith and membership in the Catholic Church. If some are non-practicing Catholics, invite them to come to the sacrament of Penance so that they might worthily receive the Eucharist. Our Lord is most merciful and would love to come into their hearts again.

This week, John the Baptist urges us to reform our lives (Matthew 3:1-12), for sin tends to twist our lives out of shape. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving can help us return to be once more in the image and likeness of God. When we get out of shape, exercise is at first painful; but with continued work, it becomes less so, and we feel better and better. It’s the same with spiritual exercise. We all feel better at the end.

God Bless,
Fr. Carl

“I LOVE St. Joseph so much because
he had the care of the Blessed Virgin.”
~
Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Parishioners,

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoyed your fill of food and football. But now it is time to change gears as we jump right into Advent without the usual time between these two seasons. As we begin a new liturgical/church year, we look forward to a new beginning, which offers new hope for the future as we look forward to new 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

“We ought to ask the Blessed Virgin, the angels and
the saints to pray for us that we may receive the
good God as worthily as it is possible for us to receive him.
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, November 18, 2016

Feast of Christ the King

Dear Parishioners,

Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in 1925. At that time, it was celebrated on the last Sunday of October, the Sunday nearest All Saints Day. It is now placed as the last Sunday of the Church Year. The symbolism is obvious. Jesus Christ is the beginning and end of all things. He is the alpha (1st letter of the Greek alphabet) and omega (last letter) - see Revelation 1:8.

This feast was instituted to counteract several problems of the times. One was the totalitarianism of Naziism, Fascism, Communism and Socialism which was the attitude that the state was the most important thing in life.

Another problem was quietism, a tendency toward pietism and sentimentalism—the attitude that prayer alone would save the world. So the honoring of Christ the King means that he is the most important thing in life. He sums up the theology of “king” in the Old Testament. The king was to bring the people to God; he was to rule in the name of God; he was to deliver the people from all dangers and provide for all their needs.

May we ask Jesus to do all those things for us. May we make him King of our hearts.

- Fr. Carl

“My friend, dwell on the patience of our Lord!”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, November 11, 2016

Patient Endurance

Dear Parishioners,
St. Nilus of Sinai

Last week the readings, in focusing our attention to the resurrection, led us to think about the end of our earthly lives. This week, the scriptures call our attention to the end of the temple, the end of time, and the many trials that precede it (Malachi 3:19-20a; Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19). Jesus concludes the gospel by saying, “By your perseverance you will preserve you lives.” That was good advice to the people of our Lord’s time, as the Temple would be destroyed 40 years later. But it’s also good advice for any time, including the times in which we now live. Perseverance is the key to success in every human endeavor, for it’s often the case that less talented athletes, business-men, and people in all walks of life succeed because of their perseverance. As St. Nilus of Sinai wrote, “By the patient endurance in every trial that overtakes you, and in every affliction, whether this be insolence and contemptuous treatment or any kind of disgrace, either small or great; whether it be bodily weakness or belligerent attacks of Satan or any trial what so ever caused either by other people or evil spirits, you will win life for yourself.” St. Paul adds: “With patient endurances we run the race of faith set before us.” This virtue, the queen of virtues, endurance for God’s sake, will make those who practice it stronger than steel.

Let us pray for the grace to acquire this virtue.

- Fr. Carl

“You must close your heart against pride, sensuality, and all other passions—just as one shuts doors and windows so that none may enter. ”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, November 4, 2016

Death Isn't The Final Answer

Dear Parishioners,

Autumn is my least favorite time of the year. I much prefer warm weather, sunshine, and longer daylight hours to the cold, dreary, and shorter periods of light that will lead us into winter.

However, as the leaves fall off the trees and the grass and flowers die, I am grateful for this reminder that life is short, and my need to prepare for death. So I check my will to make sure to show my gratitude for my family, especially my sister. I also make sure that I am generous to the poor and needy, for they are God’s special friends. But most of all, I want to make sure to show my appreciation to the most important lady in my life, Holy Mother of the Church. After all, it was through her that I was born into spiritual relationship with Holy Trinity and became a friend of Jesus, nourished with Eucharist to grow stronger in the faith, healed of the spiritual illness of many sins, and called to serve the Church as a priest. I owe her everything.

Of course death isn’t the final answer. The scripture readings today remind us of that (Maccabees 7:1-2,9-14; Thessalonians 2:16—3:5; Luke 20:27-38). The mother and her seven sons had such strong faith and loyalty to God that they willingly lost their lives lest they offend the Lord, because they believed in the resurrection. As the seventh son said in his dying words, “It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by him… ” (2 Mc 7:1-2, 9-14)
And Jesus reaffirms the truth and reality of the resurrection using the words of Moses from the Bible to prove the resurrection is truly real (Lk 20:27-38). May God give us the grace to never doubt it and show that we want to be part of it along with Mary and the saints.

God bless,
Fr. Carl

“Directly anyone feels they are losing their fervour, they
should at once make a Novena to the Holy Spirit, asking

him
to give them Faith and Love. ”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, October 28, 2016

Recognizing Short Comings

Dear Parishioners,
Niels Larsen Stevns: Zakæ (Christ And Zacchaeus), 1913

Zacchaeus was short in height and short in moral integrity, for he was a tax collector. Back then, tax collectors were usually dishonest and gauged the people for all they could get. They had a quota from the Roman government, and any excess money collected, they could keep. But then he met divine mercy when he met Jesus and was forever changed. He grew! But he didn’t grow taller, he grew in moral stature; he grew in faith, holiness, and generosity. He would give not 10% of his possessions to the poor but 50%! In his encounter with Jesus, he saw his short comings and decided to change for the better (Luke 19:1-10).

Jesus invites us to grow as well. But like Zacchaeus, we must first recognize our short comings and resolve to grow. The sacrament of Penance is the best place to meet Jesus, encounter our short comings, and receive mercy.

- Fr. Carl

“If the friendship of saints living in this world ills us
with love for God, how much more then shall we
gain by considering the saints in glory, by invoking
them, and taking them for our protectors!”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, October 21, 2016

Open Letter from Deacon Robert

An open letter to my St. Jane’s family and friends… let me begin by thanking you for your many cards, well wishes, and most of all your prayers… prayer works.

Back in March of this year, I was taken to the hospital in extreme pain, diagnosed with a tumor, and had to have emergency surgery. The doctor successfully removed the tumor, but when I woke up, I found myself completely paralyzed… I couldn’t even move my fingers. My son, Michael, told me that I was slurring my words so badly it was assumed that I had had a stroke. Thankfully, I hadn’t, but that was the extent of the paralysis.

I had no idea how to deal with the problem and was ready to give up on life. However, I found myself in a rehabilitation facility (I don’t know how I got there), and the therapists there had other ideas. A young lady (therapist) lifted me out of the bed while I quite loudly protested for fear of being dropped and put me in a wheelchair. She took me to a gym and my therapy began.

I was to remain a resident in a rehabilitation facility, first in Maryland, then in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, until September. You can only begin to imagine my confusion and the roller coaster ride I was on during those months. I could barely use my fingers or talk but somehow learned to walk with a walker. When my health care insurance ended, I was forced to find a place to live but couldn't go home because I was unable to live alone or take care of myself.

My sister offered to have me stay with her family in New Hampshire, another roller coaster ride. Thanks to you and all the prayers, I somehow found the strength and courage to tackle the problem and soon found myself in out-patient therapy in a hospital in New Hampshire. I have to tell you that the exercises caused me considerable pain and frustration, but I am determined to win this battle.

Today, I am still living with my sister and her family and am able to walk (not very far or very long) without using the walker. I hope to soon be able to care for myself, live alone again, and return home. When that happens, I will return to Saint Jane's, perhaps be able to resume my duties as a Deacon, and return to life as I knew it. Until that happens, please continue to pray for me… prayer works and I still have a long way to go before the therapist here will approve my release.

Thanks again for your prayers and support, I hope to see you soon.

Deacon Robert

“I know sure ways of becoming poor: to work on
Sunday and to take the property of others.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, October 14, 2016

To Whom Much Is Given

Dear Parishioners,

It’s that time of the year when we report our finances from the prior fiscal year. The school did well and the income exceeded the expenses by $46,000. The combination of expert financial management, excellent fund raising efforts, an improved luncheon program, and increased enrollment in day care led to this wonderful result. On the other hand, the parish didn’t so well. For the first time in the past six years, there was a loss (-$55,000). The parish still has ample funds in the bank, but a more positive result is needed to continue the mission of the parish in growing the faith of the people. While expenses have been growing, the offertory collections have been declining as parishioners have been dying, moving into retirement /nursing facilities, or moving to other states.

You, the parishioners, have been very generous, and I thank you. I remember six years ago asking you to make a pledge to increase your donations to the parish which you overwhelmingly did. In subsequent years, I felt no need to do so again. But now it’s time to take a look at our giving history. If you are like me, you may be still giving what you decided upon six years ago. So I encourage you to do two things. Take your gross income and divide it into your contributions to the church. That will show you what percentage you are returning to God the giver of all good gifts. Then take 1% or ½ % (.01 or .005) of your income and add it to your yearly contributions to see if you are able to help a little more than last year. I know some of you are on very tight budgets and I appreciate whatever you can do.

If you are wondering about my commitment to the parish, I try not to ask you anything that I’m not doing. So I put my envelope in the basket every weekend, because I am not just the pastor. I am a registered member of the parish. And while I am not the biggest contributor, I am in the top 10. For as Jesus said, “When much has been given a man much will be required.” (Lk 12:48) God has given me so much that I need to show my gratitude by giving back to him. Besides, St. Paul tells us, “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7)

- Fr. Carl

“All difficulties, temptations, sickness and humiliations
become sweet and easy to endure, if one bears them in
union with our Lord.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, October 7, 2016

Introducing Deacon Steve House

Dear Parishioners,

I would like to introduce myself. I am Deacon Steve House. I have been assigned to serve as deacon at St. Jane Frances. My wife, Rochelle, and I moved to Annapolis from Columbus, Indiana this past June. I am a retired psychologist. My wife is a retired high school guidance director. We have been married for 41 years. We have three children. One son’s family lives in Leesburg, Virginia. A second son lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We live with our daughter here in Annapolis. You can see that our move brings us closer to our children and our 6 granddaughters. That is great for us, I’m not sure how it is for them! Although I grew up in Philly, we lived in Indiana for 35 years. The church has been a big part of our lives, and we had a wonderful parish community there. Our move here was planned but probably hastened by the fact that our daughter has Natalie, a two year old special needs child. She and her husband asked if we would come and live with them to provide support. It was really a no-brainer. I was getting tired of the 10 hour trip anyway! Now we are just down the stairs. I think my job is to color with Amelia, their 4 year old. I have so far avoided dirty diapers!

I was ordained in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 2012. Unlike the Archdiocese of Baltimore, in Indy, ours was only the second class of deacons ordained. I am very excited about being assigned to St. Jane Frances. I have to admit however, that when I was first aware of the parish, I had to ask what saint is that? But Rochelle and I have been praying for God to lead us, and he has not let us down. We have greatly changed our lives, leaving what we knew and were comfortable with to find a new normal. God has blessed us with opportunities beyond our dreams, and we look for his continued guidance as we seek to live out his will for us. St. Jane Frances will be a part of that. I look forward to meeting you, learning about the parish and how best to be a servant to all of you.

May God bless you,
Deacon Steve

“He who does not see, does not know; he who does not
know, does not love; he who does not love God, loves
himself, and at the same time loves his pleasures.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, September 30, 2016

Guardian Angels

Dear Parishioners,

This Sunday, October 2nd, is the Feast of the Guardian Angels where we celebrate the fact that God gives each of us a guardian angel to watch over, guard, and protect us. We get this idea from Jesus himself who said, in Matthew 18:10 concerning children, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.

Devotion to the angels is an expression of faith in God’s everlasting love and care of each person until the end of our earthly love.

Pope St. John XXIII had a great devotion to his guardian angel and often used him as an intermediary. For whenever he was due to meet a difficult person about a troubling situation, he asked his guardian angel to talk to the other person’s guardian angel before hand. The talks often went well. So it would be good for us to talk to our guardian angel each day. “Angel of God my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard to rule and guide. Amen.”

- Fr. Carl

“Our Guardian Angels are our most faithful friends, because they are with us day and night, always and everywhere. We ought often to invoke them.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars


Friday, September 23, 2016

Cheerful Giving

Dear Parishioners,

My old boss in the Navy used to say, “The best surprise is no surprise.” Usually that’s true, especially if the surprise isn’t good news. Last Sunday at the 10 o’clock Mass, I was surprised by our Knights of Columbus. I knew they were going to make a donation to the kitchen/hall renovation project, but the check was much more than I expected. It was for $30,000.00! Knights thank you ever so much for your generosity.

In this week’s gospel (Luke 16:19-31), the rich man experienced a very different surprise after he died. Back in those times, wealth was thought to be a sign of God’s favor and that the person had a good relationship with the Lord. The rich man did not, and upon his death, he found himself in Hell because of his greed and insensitivity to poor Lazarus. Had he shown some generosity and concern for Lazarus, he too would have been welcomed by Abraham.

May we be grateful for God’s blessings and share what we can with the poor. As St. Paul tells us, “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7)

- Fr. Carl

“People talk about Lazarus who had the joy of
entertaining the Divine Saviour in his home; but
Lazarus only had him by his side, while we, if we will,
may have him in our heart just as often as we wish.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, September 16, 2016

Generosity

Dear Parishioners,

Halleluia! The hall/kitchen renovation is complete. Those of you who saw it last weekend know how nicely it was done. I appreciate the members of the committee who worked on the planning and over-sight team: Mike Wist, John Sullivan, Mike Little, Carlita Unger, Dave Horvath, and Gerry Rather. They put in many hours and came up with a wonderful plan. I also appreciate the Knights of Columbus who not only cleaned the chairs but also put on the protective chair boots to protect the floor. All we have to do now is treat everything with care.

The gospel this week reminds us that we are God’s stewards (Luke 16:1-13). All we have ultimately comes from him. It comes from his generosity. None of us can match God’s generosity to us. He held nothing back not even his son. However, he does expect us to do what we can in our treatment of others sharing with them our time, talent, and treasure. The psalm response tells us the Lord lifts up the poor. I believe he also lifts up those who are generous to the poor as well. At least that’s what Jesus says about the final judgement about feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, and clothing the naked, etc.

- Fr. Carl

“A MERCHANT does not consider the trouble he undergoes in
his commerce, but the prof it he gains by it.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, September 9, 2016

Mercy and the Prodigal Son

Dear Parishioners,

It’s all about Mercy. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we finally have a Sunday where all the readings deal with mercy. In the first reading (Exodus 32:7-11,13-14), Moses pleads for the Israelites who have merited God’s wrath by worshiping the golden calf. So in his mercy, God relented. The psalmist also calls not only for God’s mercy but also a clean heart and a steadfast spirit (Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19). St. Paul, in his letter to Timothy (Timothy 1:12-17), rejoices in the fact that God has treated him mercifully. And finally, we hear the famous parable of the “Prodigal Son” and his merciful father who not only forgives his selfish, wasteful, and inconsiderate son, but holds a great celebration to welcome him home (Luke 15:1-32).

In view of all this mercy in the readings, it would seem that we are all called to receive God’s mercy in the sacrament of Penance as soon as possible, and on a frequent and regular basis as the Church recommends.

- Fr. Carl

P. S. Once we receive God’s mercy, we need to show that same mercy to others. It’s only just.

“To what outrages does our Lord expose himself in the
Blessed Sacrament that he may remain in the midst of us! He
is there to console us, and therefore we ought often to visit him.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, September 2, 2016

What's God’s Plan?

Dear Parishioners,

“Plan your work and then work your plan.” That was an old saying we had in the Navy to accomplish our tasks whether they were easy or difficult. That’s good advice in human affairs but also in spiritual affairs as well. The key in both areas is to find the plans of our boss so that our plans lead to his/her goals. The reading from Wisdom (Wisdom 9:13-18b) tells us that God’s plans are superior to ours and need the Lord’s guidance to have a positive outcome.

In the gospel (Luke 14:25-33), Jesus reveals God’s plan for us—to become his disciples no matter what. In some cases, “the no matter what” will result in alienation from our closest family members. We need to always remember that. If not, we might not be able to withstand their hatred for us when we choose God’s ways over theirs.

Basically, our plan is to enter into a committed loving relationship with Jesus and loving our brothers and sisters. And each day, we should remember that plan and ask ourselves each morning “How am I going to work that plan today?”

- Fr. Carl

“Where are the Christians today who would be ready, I do not
say to give their lives for God, but even to put up with the least
unpleasantness or inconvenience rather than disobey Him?”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, August 26, 2016

Catholic Olympians

Dear Parishioners,

The Olympics are over, and the United States did very well. However, what impressed me the most was a story dealing with the Christian faith of some of the athletes. The world’s fastest runner, Usain Bolt, makes the sign of the cross before each race and offers a silent prayer; he wears a miraculous medal, proudly reveals his middle name, Usain St. Leo Bolt, and is very open about his Catholic faith. The wonderful gymnast, Simone Bailes (4 gold medals and one silver), travels with a statue of St. Sebastian, patron saint of athletes, carries a rosary given by her mother, and is up front about her faith and not shy about giving public testimony about her faith. Katie Ledecky, the great swimmer from Bethesda/Silver Spring, with 4 gold and one silver medal who prays a Hail Mary before each race says, “My Catholic faith is very important to me. It always has been and always will be.” Unlike some of our so-called Catholic politicians who don’t stand up for the faith, these athletes do. We can be very proud of them and hope to imitate their faith, even if we can’t imitate their athletic achievements.

As I indicated at several of the Masses last week, we are coming down the home stretch on our parish kitchen/hall renovation project. Last week, the last of the tiles were removed from the hall, the asbestos was abated, and air samples proved that all is asbestos-free. Currently, the hall is being painted, and next week the new tiles will be installed. The kitchen equipment is being set up and calibrated tomorrow. Hopefully, we will be ready to open on September 10 and 11.

Finally, I would like to thank our Knights of Columbus for power washing the chairs for the hall. They worked hard so that the chairs will match the fresh beauty of our new hall and kitchen.

Thank you, Jesus, for your assistance, guidance, and support throughout this whole project.

- Fr. Carl

“To be loved by God, to be united to God, to live in the Presence of
God, to live for God! Oh! how wonderful life is—and death!”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, August 19, 2016

Gold Medals

Dear Parishioners,

As many of you know, Deacon Robert has not been with us in a while. He has been in and out of the Baltimore Washington Medical Center and the rehabilitation center next door. He is currently in a rehab center in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and is doing better. Please pray for him. I am sure he would be happy to receive cards from the good folks at St. Jane Frances. Cards can be sent to the Gettysburg Center Genesis Healthcare, Robert Vlcej, Room 207A, 867 York Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325.

With all the TV and media coverage of the city of Rio de Janeiro, we find ourselves transported to the Olympic Games. There we can’t help but admire the talents of the many fine athletes. They are in wonderful condition because they worked and trained hard. No matter whatever natural talent an athlete might have, it’s unrealistic to expect to win without training, preparing, and working. In short, these athletes have sacrificed much just to win a medal of gold, silver, or bronze.

In the gospel, Jesus is telling us that we too must work hard and make sacrifices if we want to get to heaven (Lk 13:22-30). It’s foolish and naive to think otherwise. After all, the resurrection didn’t happen until three days after the cross. And Jesus says, “Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his own cross each day, and follow in my steps.” (Lk 9:23) Since Jesus faithfully, obediently, and lovingly carried his cross, he set the standard for you and me.

What inspires the Olympic athletes? I suspect it is the desire to be all that they can be. They want to excel and push their talents as far as possible. Our talent is being a son or daughter of God created in His divine image. And our goal should be to become the very best reflection of God’s goodness, love, and mercy here and now, so that we can receive a medal of gold in heaven that will neither tarnish nor can be stolen.

- Fr. Carl

“The eyes of the world see no further than this life, as mine see no
further than this wall when the church door is shut. The eyes of a
Christian see deep into eternity.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, August 12, 2016

Building Up The Kingdom

Dear Parishioners,

If you find the words of Jesus shocking, and seemingly out of place, you are not alone (Luke 12:49-53). After all, he is the Prince of Peace and calls peacemakers “Blessed.” We are quite comfortable when he rebukes the legalism of the scribes and Pharisees. But now he says that his followers will sometime have trouble at home and among family members. His invitation to follow is going to challenge some of the comforts of our lifestyle, for discipleship calls for radical changes in our perception of what is good and what is bad, what is acceptable behavior and what is not, and what change God expects in our lives. Friends and family members do not like it when we change, especially when those changes challenge them to reexamine their lives. Thus, living according to the gospel values will cause tension and perhaps conflict among those who are close to us. But hopefully it will cause them to change and grow with us in a new and deeper relationship with Jesus as we do our part to build up the kingdom here on earth.

- Fr. Carl

“After God, we should have a great confidence in the Blessed
Mother of Jesus, who is so good…”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, August 5, 2016

Good Stewardship

Dear Parishioners,

If you have been observant, you might have noticed some maintenance work here at St. Jane Frances. First of all, the concrete ramp leading into the side of church, which was in bad condition was repaired by some of our Knights of Columbus. The big rut and crumbling portions were cut out and fresh concrete was poured along with the sidewalk by the chapel entrance and the back sidewalk of the rectory. Thank you to George Fischer, Jerry Dooley, Jack Fowler, and Rick Przybylski for your time and talent.

We also had a number of trees pruned, shingles on the church roof replaced, and a new sidewalk in front of the school poured. Currently we are in the process of removing the tiles in the hall and abating the asbestos in the mastic beneath them. Furthermore, we are renovating the school bathrooms on the ground floor for the new school year.

This week, the gospel calls our attention to the theme of stewardship (Luke 12:32-48). Jesus tells the parable of a good steward and a bad steward, each in charge of managing his master’s property, and the results. The good steward will be rewarded and the bad steward punished. This parable is meant for you and me. After all, everything belongs to God, we are just stewards for a short while on earth of God’s time, treasure, and God-given talent. May God give us the grace and strength to be good stewards and use all these gifts so as to make God proud to call us His children.

- Fr. Carl

“If we are tempted to thoughts of envy against our neighbor, far
from letting him see it by our cold manner, we must go out of our
way to be friendly, and do him any service that lies in our power.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, July 29, 2016

Is Growing Rich a Waste of Time?

Dear Parishioners,

We are progressing with our kitchen/hall renovation. The epoxy floor in the kitchen was poured last week. It looks beautiful. The new equipment is being assembled and moved into the kitchen this week. This coming week, we will start the process for removing the tiles and abating the asbestos in the lower tile. I expect this will take several weeks. Then we can paint the hall and install the new tiles. Hopefully, we will be finished in a month or little bit more. Meanwhile, let us be patient and pray that all goes well.

This week Jesus calls our attention to one of the Seven Deadly Sins—GREED. In our consumer driven culture, it is a temptation for so many of us. From designer clothes, to expensive cars, to the latest technological gadget, to high cost homes, to exorbitant salaries, we are encouraged to want more. The first reading (Ecclesiastes 1:2) talks about the vanity of acquiring much property. It is all in vain, because in death, everything is left behind. Jesus makes the same point (Luke 12:13-21). Growing rich for ourselves is a waste of time. We are to grow rich in the sight of God.

This we do by being good stewards of God’s gifts—using the gift of time in prayer and worship; the gift of talent in our jobs, parish, family and local community; the gift of treasure in giving generously to the poor and the Church.

In giving generously of our time, talent, and treasure, we do not become poor. Instead we grow rich in the sight of God. So when we die, we can look forward to Jesus saying, “Well done good and faithful steward. Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.”

- Fr. Carl

“There is one thing everyone can do, whether they find it
hard to meditate or not, and that is to make up their
minds in the morning to cultivate some particular virtue
during the day, to practice the interior Presence of God,
and to live their life in union with Him.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, July 22, 2016

Praying for Daily Needs

Dear Parishioners,

Our kitchen/hall renovation project is progressing but not as quickly as we had hoped. In preparing the kitchen floor for an epoxy covering, we found some asbestos in the lower levels of tiles. There was no danger since each level contained whatever was beneath it. However, since we were removing all three levels of tile, we had to have an abatement company come in and remove all of the asbestos. It was completed last Thursday, air samples were tested by an industrial hygienist, and the kitchen was found to be asbestos free. Praise God.

This week we will be pouring the epoxy in the kitchen and next week installing the new kitchen equipment. Then in early August we will start the abatement process in the hall after which we will lay some new tiles and then painting the walls to finish the job. Since the scripture readings this weekend deal with prayer, and in particular, prayer for our daily needs (Genesis 18:20-32; Colossians 2:12-14; Luke 11:1-3), let one of our daily petitions be for the timely completion of our kitchen/hall renovation project to give the good people of St. Jane Frances a facility of which they can truly be proud.

- Fr. Carl

“How pleasing to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is
the short quarter of an hour that we steal from our
occupations, from something of no use, to come and pray
to Him, to visit Him, to console Him.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, July 15, 2016

My Favorite Summer Reads

Dear Parishioners,

Looking back on my youth, I remember playing baseball and tennis, going swimming, family vacations at Bethany Beach and Ocean City, and watching the Orioles at Memorial Stadium or on television. Sometimes the games weren’t televised, so we listened on the radio. Imagine that! But it wasn’t all leisure. There was work to be done such as cutting grass and painting fences. And while I was away from school, there was summer reading to be done. It wasn’t always easy to discipline myself to sit still, but it helped develop my love for reading which I enjoy to this day. David Baldacci, John Grisham, and Tom Clancy. But the best book of all is the Bible, because God is its author. So do yourself a favor and open up your bible each night. If you like adventure and history, the Books of Genesis and Exodus are excellent; if you want to know Jesus better, read the Gospel of Matthew; if you like poetry, try the Psalms (Jesus prayed them) or Song of Songs; if you like female heroes, read the Books of Judith or Esther; if you want a whale of a tale (pardon the pun) read Jonah; and if your are having problems, The Book of Job will show you somebody who had it even worse before winning in the end.

However, to get the most out of these books, don’t try to read them at one sitting. Do a little bit at a time each morning or evening so that God, the author, can help you understand and grow.

- Fr. Carl

“Those who practice devotion, who go often to
Confession and Communion, and fail to do works of
faith and charity, are like trees in blossom. You think
there will be as much fruit as flower; but there is a
great difference…”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, July 8, 2016

Helping Those In Need

Dear Parishioners,

Many years ago, I was on a bus tour from Jerusalem to Jericho. The road was full of twists and turns as it went from 2,300 feet above sea level in Jerusalem to 1,300 feet below sea level in Jericho. The road was narrow with a barren landscape, rocky hills, and mounds, and a good hunting place for robbers. St. Jerome in the 4th century called it the Bloody Way, and as late as the early 1930s, people were warned to get home before dark, because a certain Abu Jildah was good at stopping cars and robbing travelers. So you can imagine how dangerous it was in Jesus’ time and so could our Lord’s audience.

With all that in mind and the possibility that the man might be dead or a decoy, you could see how the priest and Levite passed by without helping. That the hero turned out to be a Samaritan — must have been quite a shock to the Jews who were great enemies of the Samaritans and vice versa. Remember, two weeks ago we heard how a Samaritan village would not welcome Jesus? (Luke 9:53) Of course, the point of the parable means that we have to help anyone in need, be they mortal enemy or life long friend, because that’s who our neighbor is.

 - Fr. Carl

“We love God, truly in so far as, when finding ourselves
with people who differ from us, we behave graciously to
them, speak charitably of them, are willing to meet them
again, and to do them a kindness.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, July 1, 2016

Rejoice!

Dear Parishioners,

This weekend we rejoice in the celebration of our independence from tyranny and many freedoms we enjoy in the USA.

How fitting it is that the Sunday readings (Is 66:10-14c; Gal 6:14-18; Lk 10:1-12,17-20) have as their theme “Rejoicing.” The first reading takes place as the Jewish captives from Babylon return to Jerusalem. Although they find the city in ruins, Isaiah tells the people to rejoice, for God is with them and will help the city to flourish and grow once more. The psalm echoes the theme of rejoicing, “Let all the earth cry out to God with joy,” as the author reminds the people of all God has done for him in the past. Finally, the gospel describes the joy of the 72 returning from their mission in spreading the gospel of Jesus. That is a cause for rejoicing, but the greater reason is the knowledge that in serving God on earth, their many names are written in heaven. So, too, are our names written in heaven if we continue to serve God on earth.

- Fr. Carl

Jesus on the Cross said to the disciple whom he loved:
Behold your mother!” How sweet are those words to
the Christian who is able to understand what depths of
love they contain!
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, June 24, 2016

One Nation Under God

Dear Parishioners,

Next weekend we will be celebrating Independence Day and the signing of our Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. We will rejoice in the freedoms won for us by that document and the War for Independence. Liberty and freedom are precious gifts here in America, but they can be abused and used in the wrong way. In the second reading (Galatians 5:1,13-18), St. Paul reminds us of that possibility. “My brothers, remember that you have been called to live in freedom — but not a freedom that gives free rein to the flesh.” In other words, freedom should be used to do good, not to engage in sin. Unfortunately, our culture has raised freedom to a form of idolatry where nothing is sinful or wrong so long as it is not against the law. And if it is against the law, then the law should be changed. Even God’s Divine Law is up for grabs if a person feels it is against his/her desires.

More and more there is the danger of intolerance with regard to freedom of religion and conscience. If a person’s religious beliefs do not agree with those of the current culture, he/she is labeled a bigot whereas religious institutions are threatened with fines or law suits should they remain faithful to their beliefs. As Catholics, we must actively engage in the culture wars and fight for freedom of religion. Our struggle for independence and freedom 240 years ago was not won overnight. It took years, and so will our struggle for freedom of religion. Let us pray for perseverance and the return of our country to being again “one nation under God.”

- Fr. Carl

“God is everywhere ready to hear your prayers.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, June 17, 2016

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Dear Parishioners,

Near the end of today’s gospel Jesus says, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:18-24) In short, action speaks louder than words. To be an authentic follower of Jesus, we must be willing to make sacrifices for God and one another. At Mass after the gifts and collection are brought forward, we are reminded of this. The priest invites us to “Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.” So we should ask ourselves, “What sacrifices have I made this week? Have I given God adequate time with prayer. Have I used my talents to benefit my family and given them the time and attention they need? Have I sacrificed some of my treasure to help the poor, the needy, and the parish, or have I just given a little of my surplus?” The way we answer these questions will show whether we “walk the walk or just talk the talk” about following Jesus. Hopefully, we are doing both.

- Fr. Carl

“Alas! O my God, if there are so few to bear the Cross,
there will only be few to adore thee in eternity.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, June 10, 2016

God Is Merciful

Dear Parishioners,

How fitting it is that during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we hear from the gospel of Luke (Luke 7:36–8:3). More than all the other gospels, Luke deals with mercy and is rightly called the Gospel of Mercy as we hear about the Prodigal Son, the Lost Sheep, and today’s story about the sinful woman. What her sins were we don’t know, but they must have been serious, for her repentance is of the greatest magnitude. However, I doubt it could compare with the sins of David. Today’s first reading shows David condemned by the prophet Nathan. David not only committed adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, he tried to cover it up by having Uriah killed in battle. David finally admits this doubly sinful deed, repents, and is forgiven by God. David had been so richly blessed by God in so many more ways than the sinful woman. He should have been held to a higher standard. Yet God forgives him! We do have a merciful God. Have you experienced his mercy lately in the sacrament of Penance? If not, confessions are held each Saturday at St. Jane from 3:30pm–4:30pm.

- Fr. Carl

We ought to have a charity like that of St. Augustine, who
rejoiced to see anyone very good: “At least,” he used to say,
“here is someone who will make amends to God for my want
of love.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, June 3, 2016

Time Well Spent

Corpus Christi Procession at St. Jane Frances de Chantal, May 29, 2016
Corpus Christi Procession at St. Jane Frances de Chantal, May 29, 2016 (photo by Katie Torrey)

Dear Parishioners,

Last Sunday on the Feast of Corpus Christi, we had a lovely Eucharistic Procession after the 11:30 a.m. Mass. We took the Blessed Sacrament with 22 altar servers, several first communicants, and a crowd of 75 parishioners outside to four altars and gave a benediction (blessing) to the group and the 4 directions of the compass—North, South, East, and West—singing hymns along the way. It was a beautiful occasion, and I received many compliments. Thank you, Ms. Claire, for the idea and organizing the event. Next year I hope more of you will be able participate.

This week we are back in ordinary time celebrating the 10th Sunday. Time is never ordinary; it’s a gift from God. Before God created the world, nothing existed except the Trinity. It was His expansive, all-powerful love that inspired God to create time, space, and matter (the material world). As the time of daylight hours increase, may we use God’s gift of time not only for rest and recreation but time in God’s presence through prayer, spiritual, reading, and worship. It will be time well spent.

- Fr. Carl

“At the hour of your death you will see that you have saved
more souls by your illness than by all the good works you
might have accomplished in health.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Real Presence

Dear Parishioners,

A long time ago, a pious Augustinian nun named Juliana, in the diocese of Liege, had a vision. The year was 1209. This vision repeated itself many times. What she saw was the moon all in splendor except one dark spot. She finally came to realize that the moon represented all the great feasts of the Church. The dark spot represented the one feast that was missing, a feast in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. This vision was revealed to Archdeacon of Liege, Jacques Panteleon and Bishop Robert of Liege, who instituted a local feast in 1247 but not a feast of the Universal Church.

Sixteen years later, a priest named Peter of Prague was having difficulty believing in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. He was on a pilgrimage to Rome to seek a stronger faith. He spent the night in a little town called Bolsena. The next day when he celebrated Mass and said the words of consecration, the host turned into flesh and began to bleed on the corporal. Word was sent to the pope, who was in the neighboring city of Orvieto. Peter then gathered the host and the corporal and went to the pope. When they met on a bridge and the pope saw the Eucharistic miracle he said, “Now there can be no doubt about the Lord’s real presence in the Eucharist.” In August 1264, Pope Urban IV proclaimed the universal feast of Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ) we celebrate today. By the way, his name was Jacques Pantaleon, the former archdeacon of Liege. In divine providence, there are no coincidences. However great that Eucharistic miracle was, it is not as great as what it does for us. It makes us one with Jesus who comes into our soul every time we receive him in the state of grace.

- Fr. Carl

“To content His love, He must needs give himself to us
separately, one by one.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Most Holy Trinity

Dear Parishioners,

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” — That’s the way we begin and end Mass; it’s the way we begin and end our prayers; it is how blessings are given. What this means is the Trinity is at the heart and center of our faith and sacramental life and is the most important mystery of our faith. Our God is three persons in one. This reveals that God is a community of persons who live in perfect love, harmony, and unity. (Proverbs 8:22-31; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15)

The Trinity reminds us how we, who are created in the image and likeness of God, should live with all members of the human race. Of course that won’t happen until our natural families begin to live like the Holy Trinity. Let us pray that our individual domestic families and parish family may become more like the Holy Trinity living in love, harmony, and unity.

- Fr. Carl

“Those who are lead by the Holy Spirit have true ideas; that is
the reason why so many ignorant people are wiser than the
learned. The Holy Spirit is light and strength. When we are
led by a God of strength and light, we cannot go astray.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, May 13, 2016

In All Things Charity

Dear Parishioners,

Last week we celebrated the Ascension, our Lord’s reentry into heaven to be with his Father and the Holy Spirit. This week, we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit to energize the apostles and the Church (Acts 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7; John 20:19-23). The Holy Spirit also came to give guidance and unity to the Church. In the vigil reading from the Book of Genesis (Gn 11:1-9), we see the pride of early humanity in its desire to build a tower to the sky, The Tower of Babel, and make a name for themselves. Instead they should have been trying to develop a relationship with God. As a result of their sinful pride, God confused their language so that they were no longer able to communicate with one another. Their foolish venture came to an end as the multiplication of languages led to a division among the peoples and set the stage for tribal and national conflicts, which lead to the chaos and confusion that we see in the world today.

On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was sent not only to unite the various factions of the Jews but also the Gentiles, as well. It worked for awhile in the Church, but then again division returned, and we have a divided world, country, and Church. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will help humanity to heal the wounds of strife and division, as St. Augustine said, “In essentials unity, in non-essential liberty, in the all things charity.”

- Fr. Carl

“DIRECTLY anyone feels they are losing their fervor,
they should at once make a Novena to the Holy Spirit,
asking him to give them Faith and Love.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, May 6, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

Dear Parishioners,

Never before have the Ascension and Mothers Day been celebrated on the same day. And while the preeminent celebration is the Ascension, how can we forget all the love, goodness, and sacrifice of countless mothers throughout the ages. Besides, in order for Jesus to accomplish his saving mission, he needed a mother to give him flesh and blood. He needed Mary! And so, too, do we.

Today the Church throughout the world celebrates the Ascension of Jesus into heaven (Acts 1:1-11; Ephesians 1:17-23; Luke 24:46-53). It’s a sign of our ultimate destination as well, and it marks the end of our Lord’s visible presence here on earth. But our Lord’s work in this world is not complete. His work will be carried on under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the Church. As part of the Church, we are called upon to share in Jesus’ mission of living the gospel values and sharing the gospel message as best we can. To do that requires ongoing faith formation through scripture readings on a regular bases, daily prayer, inspirational DVDs, CDs, books, and periodicals, etc. One new opportunity is giving one night through a series entitled “Discovering Christ” in which a number of our parishioners are currently engaged. We hope to offer it again, perhaps in the fall in our remodeled hall. I have heard very favorable reports by many past participants.

Finally, as we are in the month of May, Our Lady’s month, I encourage you to deepen your relationship with Mary through her favorite prayer, the rosary.

Happy Mother’s Day!
Fr. Carl

“If you look for God you will find him, and in the hour of
your death he will say to you: ‘See, I am here whom you
have ever sought!’”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, April 29, 2016

I'm So Excited!

Dear Parishioners,

Anyone who attended one of our First Communion Masses the last two weekends would have been edified by our young boys and girls. They looked so angelic in their nice outfits and well excited as they prepared to receive Jesus for the first time. I asked one little girl bubbling with enthusiasm how she felt, and she replied “I’m so excited! I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time!” Actually, it’s the way we should all feel. We should be excited every time we come to Mass to receive Jesus. The entire world cannot contain our Lord, yet he wants to be contained in us. He wants to be in our hearts as a great guest. However, the years have a way of diluting that youthful fervor, and so the Eucharist can be taken for granted. It saddens me to see some people receive Holy Communion and then walk right out the door as though they had just picked up a burger at fast-food drive-in window. No time for a proper thanksgiving for such a great gift.

Jesus says in the gospel, “Unless your become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (Matt 18:3) May we all recapture the attitudes of our young First Communicants.

- Fr. Carl

“One ought always to be ready to give up one’s own will
to do what God wants… ”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, April 22, 2016

Encountering Christ in the Eucharist

Dear Parishioners,

Last week and this week we have had our first communions. So I was reminded of a reflection by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

In a small village in modern day Tunisia [in the year 303 A.D.], forty-nine Christians were arrested one Sunday while they were celebrating the Eucharist (which was against the law of the Roman emperor Diocletian) and taken to Carthage to be interrogated. A man named Emeritus gave to the proconsul who asked him why he had disobeyed the emperor’s severe orders the following answer:

“We cannot live without joining on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist. We would lack the strength to face our daily problems and not to succumb… Christ is truly among us in the Eucharist… It is dynamic presence that grasps us, to make us his own, to make us assimilate him. Christ draws us to him, he makes us come out of ourselves to make us all one with him… Communion with the Lord is always also communion with our brothers and sisters… This means that we can encounter him only together with others. We can only receive him in unity…”


Then Benedict himself goes on to say this. “The consequence is clear: we cannot communicate with one another… To do this we must learn the great lesson of forgiveness: we must not let the gnawings of resentment work in our soul but must open our hearts to the magnanimity of listening to others, open our hearts to understanding them, eventually to accepting their apologies, to generously offering our own.”

- Fr. Carl

“During the day, and even at night if you wake, say to
God : ‘My God, give me the grace to love you as much
as it is possible for me to love you!’”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Good Shepherd

Dear Parishioners,

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday, and we rejoice in having Jesus as our “good shepherd” who will watch out for us, guard us, protect us, and lead us to the green pasture of heaven (John 10:27-30). However, we might not like being likened to sheep who are noted for their intelligence. Yet in one sense, they are far wiser than human beings. How? They always recognize and follow the voice of their shepherd. They only get lost when their shepherd isn’t around to lead them. We, on the other hand, hear not only the voice of the Good Shepherd but also other voices from the culture around us and sometimes from the Devil himself. And sometimes those other voices are so appealing, attractive, and popular that we follow them instead of Jesus.

Let us pray for the grace to listen more attentively to the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who always has our best interest at heart so as to arrive safely into God’s eternal pasture.

- Fr. Carl

“AH! If only God saw in us the same humility and selfabasement
as he saw in the Centurion who said to him:
‘Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my
roof,’ with what pleasure and with what abundance of
graces would He not come into our hearts!”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, April 8, 2016

Mercy

Dear Parishioners,

Last week I thanked the various ministries and committees who helped with Holy Week Services. However, there was one very important group I forgot to thank, and that was you, the parishioners who attended the services and who were so generous in giving St. Jane’s your time and treasure. I deeply appreciated all your support!

The renovation project for the parish kitchen/hall is moving along on schedule. So far the electrical system and additional lighting along with a stainless steel backing behind the ovens have been installed. We have received contracts for an epoxy floor in the kitchen, a tile floor in the hall, painting the kitchen, and rolling counter shutters/doors at the service windows. We will begin the majority of the project after school lets out in mid June and hope to be finished by the time school opens in late August. Please pray for the success of this much needed and well deserved upgrade.

In this Holy Year of Mercy, we see St. Peter on the receiving end of Jesus’ mercy (John 21:1-19). Three times Peter had denied knowing Jesus on the evening of betrayal. So it is only fitting that Peter be asked to attest to his love for Jesus, three times, and he willingly does just that. Of course, Jesus extends his Mercy and forgiveness to St. Peter after his repentance. It must have been very embarrassing for this strong fisherman so confident in his faith before the passion, to have to humble himself before Jesus. Yet his faith was stronger than his pride, and Peter did what we must do when we fall—humble ourselves before Jesus in the Sacrament of Penance. There we can expect the same treatment as St. Peter—mercy and the call of all disciples of Jesus “Follow me.”

- Fr. Carl

“We notice in the Gospels that there were very few who
confessed their indebtedness to Jesus Christ openly;
people only thanked him for as long as they remained
at his feet.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, April 1, 2016

God Never Tires of Forgiving

Dear Parishioners,

It was wonderful but exhausting Holy Week. The weather cooperated, the liturgies were well attended and well celebrated. I never received so many compliments on the liturgies as I did this year.

Every year I hesitate to list all those who helped because I am afraid I will omit some group or person. So please forgive me if I do. First our maintenance men, our church cleaning crew, our liturgy and decorating committee, our lectors, our cantors, choirs, and musicians, our extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, our sacristans, and our altar servers, all did so very, very well. They were wonderful and I appreciate all the extra time they put into our liturgies.

One new assist was provided by Atlantic Maintenance Group who put in many hours to help make our grounds so attractive. The leaf removal and mulch around our flower beds and trees was provided at no cost to the parish. What a blessing!

This Second Sunday of Easter, also known as Divine Mercy Sunday, celebrates the great mercy God through Jesus offers us in the Sacrament of Penance. Jesus passes that mercy through the priests of the Church. God never tires of forgiving. So let us never tire of asking.

- Fr. Carl

“Jesus on the Cross said to the disciple whom he loved:
‘Behold your mother!’ How sweet are those words to the Christian
 who is able to understand what depths of love they contain!”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Apostle to the Apostles

Dear Parishioners,

The “Apostle to the Apostles”—that’s what the early Church fathers called her. You and I know her as Mary Magdalene. Today at the Easter Vigil or Easter Sunday, the gospels show her on center stage for two reasons (John 20:1-9). First, unlike the apostles who were nowhere near the tomb on Easter Sunday morning, she was there. Her love and faith were so strong she had to be as close to Jesus as possible no matter what. That’s the role of any good apostle or follower of Jesus. Second, she was sent to bring the good news to the apostles, for the word apostle means someone who is sent. Subsequently, the apostles would regain their faith and be sent to preach the good news to all the world.

While Easter Sunday is a day of great joy and celebration because our Lord’s resurrection conquered sin and death and opened the gates of heaven, let us not forget Mary Magdalene and the apostles. In following Jesus, we are going to encounter difficulties and defeats. Hopefully, we can press on faithfully as did Mary Magdalene. However, if we falter as did the apostles, let us start out anew to try to spread the good news. Happy Easter to you and your families.

- Fr. Carl

“Jesus on the Cross said to the disciples whom he loved:
‘Behold your mother!’ How sweet are those words to the
Christian who is able to understand what depths of love
they contain!”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, March 18, 2016

Palm Sunday

Dear Parishioners,

The weeks have passed all too quickly and now, with the sun making its way across the sky, we are here with our Lord outside the silent stone walls of old Jerusalem (Luke 22:14–23:56). We have come a long way. We have witnessed this One now robed in love feed the hungry, give sight to the blind and strength to the lame. We have heard stories about a woman accused of adultery and two lost sons. With our Lord walking before us, we now see him on the Mount of Olives rising to sit on a donkey whose back has never felt the weight of a human being.

Palm Sunday, this day when the stone walls would shout even if we were silent, is a day to remember. With God's presence and in God's loving embrace, nothing can ultimately keep us from God's love and grace.

- Deacon Robert

“To preserve Purity, three things are necessary; the practice of
the presence of God, prayer, and the Sacraments; and again,
the reading of holy books– this nourishes the soul.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, March 11, 2016

Becoming Like Our Lord

Dear Parishioners,

It’s early in the morning. Jesus is teaching a small gathering of pilgrims when some religious leaders forcefully bring a woman to him with a lethal accusation. “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. The law of Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:1-11)

Jesus knelt down and, on dusty pavement, scribbled something with his finger. What he wrote is lost forever, but what he did is remembered for all time. Rising to his feet, Jesus said, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. With wordless silence, the accusers leave the woman and walk away.”

Jesus faces the woman and tells her to go her way and from now on do not sin again. Standing with that crowd that day in the temple has us asking, “Is it possible to love and care for others the way our Lord cared for this woman? As Lent nears its end, is it possible to become like our Lord, sharing his love, being his disciple?”

- Deacon Robert

“God has given each of us our own work to do. It is for us to
pursue our road, that is to say, our vocation… When God
gives us such and such a vocation, he bestows upon us at the
same time his grace to fulfill it.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, March 4, 2016

Returning To God

Dear Parishioners,

As many of you know, Pope Francis inaugurated a Holy Year of Mercy last December 8th. It is a special Jubilee Year during which extra graces (indulgences) are available to whoever makes a pilgrimage to any of the many sites around the world. (An indulgence is the forgiveness of temporal punishment due to sin.) While Rome would be wonderful, we have sites right here in the Archdiocese of Baltimore – the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, the Basilica of the Assumption, St. Mary’s Annapolis, the Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City, and the Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton. To obtain the grace of an indulgence, simply go to confession, receive Holy Communion, go to a designated shrine/church and say a prayer for the pope’s intentions. Only one indulgence can be received each day, but you can go other days.

This week’s gospel (Luke 15:1-3,11-32) shows us how complete an indulgence can be as we hear the story of the Prodigal Son who finally came to his senses and returned home to his father. This indulgent father totally forgave him without any recrimination and restored him to his former position in the family. That’s what God wants for all of us during this Holy Year of Mercy.

What a great blessing! Why not come to confession, receive Holy Communion, and make a pilgrimage this week as we get ready for Easter?

- Fr. Carl

“Are you falsely accused, or loaded with insults?
It is a good sign; don’t worry about it.
You are on the road which leads to heaven.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, February 26, 2016

Asking The Best Question

Dear Parishioners,

It’s important we remember that our Lenten journey is not about the sins of others, failures of government, corruption, threats of ISIS, or a hundred other evils in our world. Lent is not about “them,” but about you and me, “I” and the journey into repentance and renewal God calls us to take in these days. We can spend our energies asking dozens of questions that focus on any number of contemporary problems, diseases, natural disasters, and all the misery the human family endures. The best question, however, always starts with each of us—the “I” and our relationship to God.

- Deacon Robert

“Some people are very careful about cleaning of their shoes,
but think nothing of leaving their crucifix undusted.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, February 19, 2016

Change For The Better

Dear Parishioners,

This Sunday, we see Jesus up on the mountain with Peter, James, and John (Luke 9:28b-36). While in prayer, Jesus is transfigured as his face is changed in appearance, and his clothes become dazzlingly white. Prayer will not have the same dramatic effect on us as with Jesus, but it is essential if we want to be changed for the better and become more like Jesus. Lent is a time when we pray more often and more fervently to grow in our relationship with God. However, fasting and almsgiving (donations to the poor) are necessary to elevate our prayers to please God the most. This Lent, Pope Francis encourages us to use the Bible with our prayers. You might start with the Gospel of Luke and read a short section (10 minutes) each night, and then the Acts of the Apostles. It will help in your relationship with God for sure. Hopefully, this experience will encourage you to read the rest of the New Testament as you grow in the friendship with the Lord.

- Fr. Carl

“All soldiers are good in garrison. On the field of battle,
we see the difference between the brave and the cowardly.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, February 12, 2016

Temptation

Dear Parishioners,

The third place the devil takes Jesus is the pinnacle of the temple (Luke 4:1-13). We are not sure exactly where that was in one of the ancient world’s seven wonders, but it seems to be a place where everyone in the temple could see you. There, the devil suggested that if Jesus would simply throw himself off that high, visible place, God’s angels would save him from his own folly, wooing the crowd with a miracle like no other. Jesus’ response is timeless: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” With that admonition, the devil “departed from him until” what Luke tells us would be “an opportune time.”

Times are, we think the goal of our relationship with God is living in such faith that God will smile on us, favor us, and whisk away all the unpleasantness and suffering of the human experience. And we use this place created for worship as if the building, the institution, the space is the reason we live and move and have our being. The temptation to confuse things with meaning, style with substance, space with faith will always be with us. We respect the church and are grateful to have such a beautiful place to offer God our worship, but tempting God to do our bidding, impress us and others with God’s power is a temptation we best resist.

- Deacon Robert

“After the example of St. Antony, my children, let us be
always ready for the combat…”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, February 5, 2016

Is It All About You?

Dear Parishioners,

At the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis was asked who he was. His response was short and sweet, “I am a sinner.” Interestingly enough, St. Peter says the same thing in today's gospel (Luke 5:1-11). Jesus had used Peter's boat as a pulpit to teach the crowd and then had Peter row out into the deep for an amazing catch of fish. As his boat was so overloaded with fish and in danger of sinking, Peter cried out, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Jesus then invited Peter to be one of his disciples.

Isaiah, too, owns up to his unworthiness, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips…” (Is 6:1-2a, 3-8)

By virtue of our baptism, we have all been called to be disciples of Jesus. But first we, like Peter and Isaiah, must humbly admit that we are sinners in need of a savior. In these days of self-love and self-actualization, that’s not always easy to do. The modern mantra “It's all about me” gets in the way.

When we start like Isaiah and Peter, God can rise to make a difference in those around us. May God give us the grace of true humility.

- Fr. Carl

“Some good Christians are in the habit of saying:‘I will make
so many acts of the love of God, so many sacrifices today.’
I like that practice very much.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, January 29, 2016

A Love Like No Other

Dear Parishioners,

God’s love is like no other. We only glimpse a tiny fraction of its power even as we are invited to share all that we know of it, known “only in part.”

Knowing “only in part” demands giving more, because we do not know how God will use all we give away to bless and encourage others. People who play it safe never have their heart rate go up, because they rarely do anything other than what is safe, measurable and easy. When we know “only in part,” we love more, love more often, love more completely, love more dangerously. So, expect to have your resources and your time given away in love in the good work of being God’s presence right where you live.

- Deacon Robert

“Our Lord took that good Heart of His that He
might love us with it.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, January 22, 2016

Telling the Story

Dear Parishioners,

Jesus announced Good News, telling his friends and family that God’s Kingdom was breaking into their lives through the story he would live and tell (Luke 1:1-4;4:14-21). He told his story of God’s love and grace his way, he lived the story his way. He suffered and died on the cross for many reasons, not the least of which was he could not help but tell the story of God’s presence in the world as only he could tell it.

How will you tell your story? What if you followed our Lord’s example, arming yourself with strength from God’s Word, aware of people who have placed good gifts in you, and that your own life story is worth telling? Tell your story your way. When you do, you will be in the same company with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, all who have told the Jesus story across the ages.

- Deacon Robert

“Those who have pure souls are like eagles and
swallows which fly in the air.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friends in High Places

Dear Parishioners,

One of the most memorable gospel stories is that of the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11). There Mary encourages Jesus to save a newly married couple from a disastrous wedding reception. Back in those days, the reception went on for days, not just a few hours as is the case today. Today it would be a bit embarrassing—2,000 years ago it would have been a catastrophe that would not soon be forgotten. Hence, Mary’s concern and our Lord’s reluctance. It reminds us of our Blessed Mother’s influence on Jesus and the importance of maintaining a close relationship with our Blessed Mother. You and I are bound to face difficulties in the coming years. How comforting it would be if we had someone like Mary interceding for us. Despite whatever difficulties we might encounter, 2016 would be a Happy New Year. So pray Mary’s prayer, the rosary.

God bless,
Fr. Carl

“Happy is he who lives and dies under the protection of
the Blessed Virgin.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars