If You Want to Know Jesus, Know His Word.

01-26-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend we celebrate the Sunday of the Word of God. I’m sure that many of you remember that Pope Francis established this new feast day last year. It will be observed on the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time each year, to remind us of the importance that God’s Word should have in our lives. Family and personal Bibles will be blessed at all the Masses this weekend, to remind us to make good use of them!

St. Jerome, a great Biblical scholar who died in 420, used to say that ‘ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.’ He meant that you really can’t know Jesus if you don’t know His story, and His story is told in the Scriptures, especially the Gospel. This is why the Church assigns three readings from the Holy Bible, plus a Psalm, to every Sunday Mass. The hope is that by listening to these readings will help us get to know the Lord thru His Word.

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'Every human being is always sacred.

01-17-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

“No human being can ever be incompatible with life, not for his age, nor for his health conditions, nor for the quality of his existence.”

Pope Francis spoke those words about a year ago. He was speaking of something that we, as Catholics, believe quite deeply, that every human being is sacred, created in the image and likeness of God, and has a God given right to life.

This Friday will be 48th anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade, which effectively legalized abortion on demand in our country. The statistics since then are staggering – with well over 53 million abortions since that time. While the number of annual abortions has actually declined in recent years for a number of reasons, the lives of nearly a million unborn babies are ended this way in our country each year. Add to that the fact that so many other lives are shattered by violence, hunger, and neglect and it is clear that we have much work to do.

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Baptism

01-10-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend we bring the Christmas season to a close with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. While many of us remember when Epiphany marked the end of this season, the Church, since just after Vatican II, has extended her celebration of Christmas to today’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Ending the Christmas Season with this celebration reminds us that the same Jesus Who was born as a Child in the manger chose to be baptized and to make baptism one of His holy sacraments.

That Jesus made Baptism one of the seven sacraments speaks to its importance. Indeed, the Church has always held that Baptism, received sacramentally, or by blood or desire, is necessary for salvation. As Jesus said: “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

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Epiphany – and more work in the Church!

01-03-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last week I told you that Christmas is so important that we celebrate it not just for a day but for a whole season. This season is filled with feasts (holy days) that help us celebrate and understand the meaning of Christmas more completely. We have already celebrated Christ’s birth on Christmas, the Feast of the Holy Family last Sunday, and the Feast of Mary, the Holy Mother of God on New Year’s Day.

Today we celebrate another great Feast of the Christmas Season, the Epiphany. The word Epiphany means to ‘reveal or make known something which was hidden.’ We call this feast epiphany because the star revealed to the Magi – or Wise Men – that the baby lying in the manger was no ordinary baby. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Savior of the World.

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Blessed Christmas!

12-20-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

I want to thank everyone who sent in donations for this year’s Giving Tree. Like everything else this year, the Giving Tree was done quite differently than usual. I mean, how different can you get than having a Giving Tree without an actual tree?

But, as usual, the generosity of the people of this parish was clear by the many checks and cash gifts that came in. These were used to purchase gift cards for the children and families whose information is usually found on the tags of the tree!

Such generosity is always a wonderful testimony to our faith in Jesus Christ. It is even a reflection of the generosity God showed in giving us His Son, Jesus Christ, on that very first Christmas. Jesus is clearly the best Christmas present any of us ever received, or ever will receive. Our gifts to each other, and to the poor, are a reflection of God’s generosity to us.

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Gaudete Sunday

12-13-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend the Church honors our Blessed Mother by celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. You may recall that, on this day last year, our Bishop re-consecrated our diocese to the Lord thru our Blessed Mother, Mary, under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This weekend, we will join Bishop Checchio in renewing that consecration by saying a special prayer at all our Masses.

It is important that each of us remember that we are indeed consecrated to our Lord and His holy Mother. To be consecrated means that we belong to Jesus and Mary in a very special; indeed in a sacred way. We should do our best to live our lives according to Jesus’ teachings and Mary’s example, and help others do the same.

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John the Baptist, Confession, and Perfect Contrition

12-06-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

I hope your Thanksgiving was as nice as mine. Mine was a bit quieter than normal, since we had far fewer people than usual. But it was still a wonderful day. We enjoyed a great meal with some close family.

Having fewer people meant that I actually had more time than usual to talk with those who were there, including my mother. Sometimes, at big family gatherings, there are so many people and conversations going on that it’s hard to really talk with one or two people. The small crowd made it easier to spend some time with the few people who were there, and that was good.

Ever since I was a boy, I have been captivated by John the Baptist. After Jesus, he is my favorite Biblical character. I was probably about six years old when I first learned his story, and I took a liking to him right away. His odd clothes and unusual food, as well as the fact the he was Jesus’ cousin, all made me take a liking to him right away.

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