Slowly getting back to normal!

07-12-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of seeing my mother and having brunch with her. We were at my sister and brother in law’s home, where my niece was visiting. It was only the second time I saw my mom since the ‘stay at home’ orders were issued due to the coronavirus.

It was nice to see some family – even if it was just a couple of us. I’m sure many of you are having similar experiences as things begin getting back to normal, however slowly.

As we get back to normal at Church, I want to take a moment to really thank those who have been helping make this happen. The ushers who are helping people find their reserved seats and those who clean up after each Mass are offering our parish a truly indispensable service at this time. So are all of you who call ahead to reserve a spot at Mass. I know this is a nuisance for some of you, but it’s helping us ensure everyone’s safety. For this, I thank you!

READ MORE

St. Peter and St. Paul: Great examples for us!

07-05-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

I wrote these words this past Monday-which was the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul. As I wrote I could not help thinking of how these two great apostles are great examples for you and me. Although they lived long ago both St. Peter and St. Paul have a lot to teach us about following Jesus today.

Jesus gave both St. Peter and St. Paul a great mission in this world. As Catholics we believe that St. Peter was the first pope. Although Peter would not have used that term, the fact that Jesus made him the leader of the Church on earth is obvious from even a casual reading of the New Testament.

Peter is mentioned 191 times in the Bible-more than three times as much as any other apostle. After Jesus ascended to Heaven, Peter took the lead in many different ways. He proposed and led the process of picking a new apostle to replace Judas Iscariot, he preached the homily after the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost explaining why the crowd heard all of the apostles in their own languages. In the first disputes that arose in the early Church, Peter took the lead gathering the others, leading the discussion, and speaking for the Church once a decision was made.

READ MORE

Independence Day

06-28-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

As most of you know, I made my spiritual retreat a week ago. While it was very different than usual – since we listened to the retreat talks via a zoom meeting – it was better than I expected. If nothing else, I have a better idea of what it’s like for you to watch Mass online!

The speaker, Fr, Charles Connor, was excellent. Many of you may know him from presentations on EWTN and things like that. His words gave me a lot of spiritual ‘food for thought’ and inspired me to increase my time in prayer and spiritual reading!

This is our third week back to public Mass in our Church. So far, it seems to be going well. Please remember to call the parish office to reserve a space–so we can maintain proper distancing. Remember also that our Bishop continues to dispense everyone from the obligation to attend Mass at this time–especially those whose health places them at a higher level of risk. As I’ve said throughout this ordeal, the Spirit’s gift of counsel, which helps us make prudent decisions, is a big help right now.

READ MORE

Happy Father's Day!

06-21-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers, grandfathers, godfathers, and spiritual fathers in our parish! Although my own father has been deceased for many years, I have so many fond memories of him. Even today, I am very aware of all the positive ways that he influenced my life! For this reason, I am always inspired when I see fathers spending time with their children – in church, on the sports fields, or just around the parish. You are all in my prayers today.

The fact that so many of you sent in your Father’s Day envelopes – with the names of fathers living and deceased written on them – tells me that many good men are in our prayers this week. As always, we will keep those envelopes near the altar for the rest of the month of June – and remember all the men named on them in our Masses and prayers.

READ MORE

Corpus Christi

06-14-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Today we celebrate one of my favorite feasts of the entire Church year: Corpus Christi. Corpus Christi means ‘the Body of Christ’ – and today’s feast celebrates our Catholic Faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, under the appearance of bread and wine. This is – as the priest chants after the consecration at Holy Mass – ‘the Mystery of Faith.’

So many of you have told me how much you miss receiving Holy Communion during this pandemic. Although you make a Spiritual Communion – and ask Jesus to come spiritually into your heart – we know it’s not the same as truly receiving His precious Body and Blood in Holy Communion. That – I believe – is why so many of you have experienced a deep sense of loss at not being able to come to Mass and receive Holy Communion.

READ MORE

Back to Ordinary Time

06-07-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

With last Sunday’s celebration of Pentecost, we brought the Easter season to a close. The Church now reenters the season she calls ‘Ordinary Time.’ The official reason for this name is the fact that its weeks are ‘ordered’ – meaning they follow a certain order. This past week was the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time, and this coming week be the Ninth.

But I find it helpful to see Ordinary Time – when we’re not focusing on special seasons like Advent or Lent or Christmas or Easter – as a time to remember that we serve God best by living our faith in the midst of ordinary, everyday life. Being patient with those around us. Performing acts of charity within our means. Finding time for prayer in the midst of a busy day. Striving to see Christ in the people with whom we interact with each day. Serving God in these ‘ordinary’ ways is our true path to holiness in life.

READ MORE

Return to Public Masses - June 13/14

06-03-2020NewsFr. John Barbella

My dearest parishioners,

By now you may have heard that we can finally begin returning to Church for Holy Mass. I know that the absence of public Masses has been very hard for you, and that some of you have been waiting very anxiously for this moment. That being said, we should remember that it is very important for us to use good judgment and every ounce of common sense with which we have been blessed as we begin gathering for Mass once more. The Holy Spirit’s gift of counsel (right judgment) will be most helpful to us in this!

These guidelines are intended to help you do this – and to know what to expect at Mass in St. Philip and St. James Church at this time.
Those who are considered high risk for infection should not come to Church just yet. Rather, you should continue to follow the guidelines of your doctor and the public health authorities. Those who are or feel sick must not come to Church at this time, for the good of everyone – including themselves.

READ MORE