Month of Mary

04-26-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Next weekend we enter the month of May, which is traditionally dedicated to our Blessed Mother, Mary. I spoke in this column about praying for Mary’s intercession as helper of the sick. Today I want to remind everyone to honor our Blessed Mother this month by praying her Rosary – daily if possible.

I often tell you that I keep all of you in my daily Rosary – which I do. I find that, as I pray the Rosary, thoughts of people who have asked for my prayers come to mind. For that reason, I have developed the habit of mentioning the many people who have asked my prayers before I begin the decades of the Rosary. During the current pandemic, I have been praying several Rosaries daily. Not only do I find that time spent with our Lord and His Blessed Mother very comforting, it also gives me lots of time to pray for everyone.

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Divine Mercy

04-19-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

It’s odd to write to you as I do today, the day after Easter, without having any family gatherings or things of that sort to speak of. My Easter was very different this year – as I suspect yours was, too! I did speak with my mother – and my sisters – over the phone.

After offering Holy Mass Easter morning, I spent some time praying in our Church. It was very quiet, and I couldn’t help thinking of how busy it would be at that time on a ‘normal’ Easter Sunday! Nonetheless, I said my Divine Office (prayers priests promise to pray each day for their parish, the universal church, and the whole world), followed by a couple of rosaries. I held all of you in prayer, especially those dealing with illness or special challenges at this time. I also prayed – as I’m sure you did – for an end to this pandemic!

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Blessed and Happy Easter!

04-12-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

I had the pleasure of speaking on the phone with my mom on Palm Sunday afternoon. We spoke – among other things – of how odd it was to celebrate Palm Sunday without visiting. We spoke as well about how different Easter will be this year.

The good news is that it was not a sad conversation – as we all understand that this is simply how it must be right now. I’m sure many of you feel the same way. Being with family and friends is a big part of our Easter celebration. But, if we have to stay home to keep our loved ones safe, it’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make.

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Holy Week and Easter

04-08-2020Daily Updates from Fr. JohnFr. John Barbella

During the current pandemic, we are called by our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and our Bishop, Most Reverend James F. Checchio, to unite spiritually in prayer during these most sacred times. Following the guidelines set forth by the Holy See (Pope Francis), Bishop Checchio has suspended all public worship until further notice.

Although all public celebrations in Church have been suspended until further notice, you can watch the Liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday on our parish website. Just watch for the banner headline wishing you a that has the Holy Week and Easter schedule and tap the Mass Schedule button. We can also continue to watch Sunday Mass from our parish on our website.  

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A Very Different Holy Week

04-05-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Anyone who knows me even a little bit, knows that Palm Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year! That being the case, I’m sure you can imagine how sad I am that we have to celebrate this Palm Sunday so differently than usual. The same, of course, is true of Holy Week and Easter. While we will most certainly post the Liturgies on our parish website – where I hope you will prayerfully watch them – it’s just not the same!

Perhaps we can take some comfort and hope from the example of some of our Catholic ancestors who likewise had to maintain their faith without being able to celebrate Mass or receive Holy Communion. One such group was the Catholics of Japan, who were without a priest for nearly 300 years! By the early 1600’s, the Japanese government had either killed or exiled every Catholic priest in the country – hoping to stamp out the Catholic faith.

But the good Catholics of that country maintained – and even passed on – their faith just the same! Parents taught the Gospel, catechism, and prayers to their children. While they could not have Mass or receive Holy Communion, they prayed and received Spiritual Communion by asking Jesus to come at least spiritually into their hearts.

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