The Assumption

08-11-2019From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

I am happy to report that, as I write these words, workers are making repairs to the loose stone on our Church. Their work is part of the overall repairs that will be made to our steeple (and some roof areas of the Church.) It will be completed in stages and finished before winter.

I am also happy that the school’s parking lot was repaved last week, and it looks great! Like the repairs to the loose stone and steeple, this project was made possible by the generosity of each and every person who supported our parish campaign. Thanks to one and all!

Remember that this Thursday, August 15th, is the Solemn Feast of the Assumption. On that day we celebrate how, when her life on Earth was complete, our Blessed Mother Mary was taken, body and soul, to be with Jesus in Heaven. It is a Holy Day of Obligation, meaning that every Catholic who is able to do so has a serious obligation to worship God at Mass on that day.

Mass for the Assumption will be offered in our Church on Wednesday evening at 7 PM and on Thursday at 6:45 and 8 AM and 12:10 and 5:30 PM. I look forward to celebrating this day with all of you at Holy Mass! Indeed, I truly love our Holy Days of Obligation. They gather us as a Church family in the middle of the week to celebrate Mass and ponder some of the great events of the Catholic Faith.

Speaking of great events, we will have a Communion Breakfast on Sunday, September 8th, following the 9 AM Mass. As most of you know, a Communion Breakfast is an old and lovely Catholic custom in which people gather for breakfast after Holy Mass. For the past several years, our parish has held a Communion Breakfast at this time of the year to celebrate our Blessed Mother’s Birthday, which is September 8th. I hope many of you will come, and bring your children and grandchildren, too.

Tickets for the Communion Breakfast can be obtained by calling the Parish Office or completing the tear-off in the bulletin. We ask a donation of $1 per person, or $5 for the whole family. We do this to encourage as many people as possible to join their fellow parishioners at the Communion Breakfast. Come, honor Mary, and have a good time!

On a somber note, I write these words saddened by a series of events that, I believe, indicate a serious erosion in our society’s respect for the dignity of human life. 1) The Federal government is planning to begin carrying out executions of certain criminals. 2) Our own state of NJ has legalized assisted suicide under the guise of ‘compassion’, and 3) the recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio and so many other places over the years.

While I certainly understand the temptation to punish criminals with the death penalty, our Church has long taught that there are better ways to keep innocent people safe. As my mother always says, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

I also understand the temptation to believe that allowing a terminally ill person the ‘right’ to end their own life as an act compassion, but the temptation is misguided and fraught with many dangers. Who of us has not seen a person diagnosed as terminally ill defy the doctor’s prognosis and get better? Who of us really believes that, given the enormous costs of healthcare today, people will not be pressured (however subtly) to end their life?

When will we recognize that all life is a gift from God? When will we acknowledge, in law and in practice, that no one – not the federal government, not a terminally ill person, and certainly not some crazed and angry person – has the right to assume God’s power over life and death.

My guess is that it will be when all people truly believe in and build a real relationship with the Almighty God and when every person is truly guided by His grace. When each of us takes to heart Jesus’ words about loving one another and about our accountability to God for loving one another. Let’s pray for that this week.

Have a great week!

Fr. John