As we come to the end of the year, we look back with profound gratitude for the many blessings we have received as individuals and as a parish. Aware that it is often very easy to overlook the many good things we were gifted with and focus only on the negatives, I felt it very necessary for us to take a moment to audit the year and be grateful to God for all the gifts we have received. While I leave it to you individually to count your own blessings, I can say as your pastor that this year, as a parish, we received many blessings. A few of these key blessings include the following:READ MORE
Adults/Teens: In the Gospel today, we learn about how Jesus fulfills the prophesies about where the Savior was to come from. His father, Joseph was visited multiple times by an angel and told what to do and how to protect Mary and Jesus. Take some time this week to speak with and thank your father for all he has done and continues to do in order to protect you and teach you what is right and good.
Take a moment to reflect on Jesus and His presence in your life. Pray together, aloud, the Our Father.READ MORE
In the Gospel reading today, we meet Joseph as he is visited by an angel of the Lord. The Angel tells Joseph to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife. This greeting is important because it addresses how Joseph was feeling and it addresses how we often feel during this time as well. Advent presents its own set of challenges for us and often times, this season we spend our days dwelling on the stress of the season and the obligations we have. We fear and dread "Christmas" and just wish it would be over. Take time now, this final week of Advent, to refocus on Christ. Refocus on the beauty of the Incarnation and the impact Christ has made on the world, the impact Christ makes in your life, and the impact Christ will make if only we, like Joseph, awake and do what we have been commanded to do.
Take a moment to reflect on Jesus and His presence in your life. Pray together, aloud, the Our Father.
We have come to that special moment of the year when we once again rejoice and celebrate the birth of God's only son Jesus, as our savior. Even though this event has been celebrated for over two thousand years, each year is very unique in very many ways and this is no exception. As we celebrate this year's Christmas Day, we do so by giving gratitude for the many blessings we have received as individuals but also as a family. Among the many blessings to be grateful for as a parish include the opportunities we had to host two major diocesan events such as the Marriage Conference and the Vocation Sunday. Both these events emphasized our focus on the centrality of Marriage as the foundation of family life and the beauty of the vocation to the priestly and religious life in our diocese as a whole and in our parish in particular.READ MORE
Last weekend, I addressed briefly the questions surrounding the use of Latin in our Liturgy and promised to give you more detail in this article. I wish to fulfill that promise now.
As you might have already known, Vatican Council II introduced many significant reforms in the Church but many of these have been either misinterpreted or grossly misunderstood. Perhaps, one of those widely misunderstood reforms concern liturgy, which to me is the linchpin of our Catholic life. Regarding liturgy, it is important to note that one of the liturgical reforms called for by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council was to give to local bishops the authority to allow the celebration of Mass in the "vernacular" language, meaning the spoken language of the people in their local territory. And, this was NOT intended to abolish use of Latin. But the fact that almost every Mass you attend today is in the vernacular has led many people to believe that it was the intention of the Council to eliminate the use of Latin altogether; and some have even developed a spirituality of the Mass which makes them believe that they cannot participate fully in the celebration unless it is in a language they can understand.READ MORE
Adults/Teens: In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus points our attention to John the Baptist. John has one mission, to prepare the way for Christ. John is a prophet proclaiming that the Messiah is coming, like many others, but the interesting thing about him is that his own birth was also foretold! John is special among the prophets because of his proximity to Christ and his likeness. Like John, we are called to be messengers to the world for Christ. Like him, we are called to share the GOOD NEWS of Jesus with a hurting world. Advent is a time for us to take inventory of our own lives and prepare to proclaim the coming of the Savior to others.READ MORE
Adults/Teens: In the Gospel reading this week, we meet John the Baptist proclaiming the coming of the Messiah. He warns those who are not humble that they should be more concerned with helping others than with attempting to do something to save themselves. What he means is that it is not enough for us to acknowledge that Jesus is Christ, that He came to save us and redeemed the world, rather, it is necessary for us to allow our entire lives to be transformed because of this truth. We must bear good fruit, not of our own efforts, but because of the mercy of God flowing through us.READ MORE
In my homily last week, I emphasized the reality and certainty of Jesus' coming and the need for us to be always prepared; especially by being found doing good when He comes. Allow me to share part of an article I read somewhere that highlights the same theme of being always prepared and being found doing the right thing.
One day in 1870, the State of Connecticut was enveloped by a mysterious darkness. The same thought came to all: The Last Day had arrived. In the House of Representatives, members were heard asking for an adjournment so that they could go home and wait for the Lord's coming together with their families.
The Chairman, Colonel Davenport, made a short speech: "Either it is the day of Judgment or not. If not, there is no need for adjournment. If it were the Day of Judgment, I would rather be found doing my duty. I wish candles to be brought." Part of our preparations for the Advent Season focuses on the unpredictable return of Jesus and our need to be prepared not only for His birth but also for His return. He's saying to us, "ready or not, here I come." Normally when we think of being ready, we usually think of being prepared for the worst that could happen; locks on the door in case of thieves, life jackets in the event of a boat accident, bank account savings for a decent retirement.READ MORE
As part of our focus on the liturgy and some of the "updates" we will begin to notice during Mass, beginning this Advent season, the choir will stop their pre-Mass rehearsal ten minutes before Mass begins. This "tenminute warning" is not meant to give us time to chit-chat and catch up with news, rather it is an invitation to us all to prepare our hearts to enter into an intimate encounter with the Lord whom we will be receiving in the Eucharist. We will have plenty of time to continue "building community," in the Narthex or courtyard after Mass.
In line with observing silence before Mass, allow me to share with you what our Holy Father says during his regular address last Wednesday. On the said Wednesday, Pope Francis called out the common habit of chatting with people (in Church) before Mass, stressing that this is a time for silent prayer, when we prepare our hearts for an encounter with the Lord. He said that when we go to Mass, maybe we arrive five minutes before, and we start to chitchat with those in front of us. However, it is not a moment for chitchat. He emphasized that this a moment of silence for preparing ourselves for dialogue, a time for the heart to collect itself in order to prepare for the encounter with Jesus. For this encounter to happen, he said that silence is so important.READ MORE
Children: During the Advent season we have the chance to prepare for Christmas. We all do that in many ways and usually, we think of decorations and Christmas music; but there is more to it. We are challenged to also prepare our souls for Jesus, to prepare the way in our heart for Him to come and transform our lives.READ MORE