The Very Heart of Being Catholic

04-25-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

We have reached that time of year when many sacraments will be celebrated in our Church. Approximately 45 children, mostly second graders, will receive their First Holy Communion this and next weekend. In May, a similar number of young people, mostly 8th graders, will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on various Friday evenings.

This being the case, I thought this might be a good time to talk about sacraments, and why they are so important to us as Catholics. When I was in the seminary, Monsignor Carroll Satterfield, of blessed memory, taught us several semesters’ worth of classes on the sacraments. I remember him stressing, over and over, that having a sacramental relationship with Christ is at the very heart of being Catholic.


Lots of Good News

04-18-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

It’s always nice to have some good news to report, and we have lots of it this week. Our second-grade school and CCD students will be receiving their First Holy Communion over the next couple of weekends. First Communion is always an uplifting celebration, perhaps my favorite of the whole year.

Please pray for the children and their families. May the children’s reception of Jesus in Holy Communion be for them and their families a powerful inspiration to stay close to Jesus throughout their lives.


My Favorite Part of Holy Week!

04-11-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

It was wonderful to have so many people at the Liturgies of Holy Week and Easter. Although the number of people is a far cry from what we’ve been used to, when people literally crowded into the Church, it was a lot better than last year, when you could only watch online. Thanks to all who took part in the Liturgies, and all who watched and prayed with us from home. I hope these celebrations were as much a source of grace and comfort to you as they were to me.

I suspect we all have our favorite parts of the Holy Week and Easter celebrations. One of my favorite parts of Holy Week is watching people venerate the Cross on Good Friday. It was so nice to be able to do that again this year, if only by bowing our heads and not actually kissing it as is our custom.


Happy Easter!

04-04-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I want to begin by wishing each and every one of you a blessed and happy Easter. The Resurrection of Jesus stands at the very heart of everything we believe as Catholics. It is my favorite day of the year, and I am always happy to celebrate it with you.

Just being able to celebrate Easter Mass with at least some of you in Church is perhaps the best Easter gift I could get. It sure beats the chocolate rabbit I get from the Easter bunny!


Palm Sunday

03-29-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Palm Sunday has always been one of my favorite days of the year, and I’m so glad that many of us can celebrate it together in Church this year. We know there is still a long way to go until things are truly back to normal. But celebrating Mass on Palm Sunday with at least some of you in Church is a wonderful step in the right direction.

Palm Sunday begins the holiest week of the year for us. This is when we remember the events that stand at the very heart of our Catholic Faith. I usually encourage everyone to fill our Church to overflowing on these days, and most years you do just that.


The Homestretch

03-21-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

It’s hard for me to believe that next Sunday is already Palm Sunday! We are clearly in the ‘homestretch’ of Lent.

Please know that, in addition to our usual Confessions on Saturday (9:00–9:30am and 3:15–4:15pm) we will have Confessions this Friday evening from 6–7pm. Two visiting priests will join Fr. Gilbert and I in hearing Confessions that evening. My hope is that will keep the lines short and give people a choice of confessors.

Know that we have set up the Confession areas to maintain distancing, etc. Please also wear a mask to Confession. Finally, if there is a line, please remember to maintain social distancing between you and other families on line. I really appreciate everyone’s cooperation with this!


Two Great Saints!

03-14-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

This week our Church celebrates feasts in honor of two great saints. Everyone knows that St. Patrick’s Day is this Wed, Mar 17. Not as many people know that this Fri, Mar 19, is St. Joseph’s Day.

Saint Patrick served God primarily as a missionary, one of the greatest missionaries in history. While he was not the first bishop of Ireland, he followed a bishop named Palladius there, he was the bishop thru whom God worked to bring the majority of the Irish people to Christ. When Patrick arrived in Ireland, the Christian community there was small and paganism dominated the country. By the time Patrick died in 461 the country was largely Catholic.


Back to Church!

03-07-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

It is so good to be back in Church for Mass this weekend. While celebrating Mass in Mercy Hall worked out well enough, it is good to be back in Church. As I said last week, there are some finishing touches that still need to be completed, but it’s good to see a job well done.

Since we are now able to celebrate Holy Mass with the Church at 50% capacity, which means about 325 people, it is no longer necessary to call ahead and reserve a spot. The one exception to this will be Holy Thursday (7 PM), Good Friday (3 PM), Holy Saturday Easter Vigil (7 PM), and Easter Sunday (7, 9, 11, AM in English and 1 PM) in Spanish). I would ask you to call ahead for those days, just to make sure we will have room for everyone who wishes to attend.


Off to a Good Start!

02-28-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Lent is off to a good start in our parish. The circumstances created by the pandemic and weather made it impossible for the usual number of people to come to Church on Ash Wednesday. But it was great to see as many people as there were.

Attendance at Stations of the Cross on the first Friday of Lent was likewise affected by the seemingly never ending snow. But a faithful, if smaller than usual, group was there. Remember that we will have Stations of the Cross in English every Friday this Lent at 3:00pm and 7:00pm in Church, and on Tuesday evenings in Spanish.

Included in this weekend’s bulletin is an Examination of Conscience. It is based on the Ten Commandments and should help you prepare to make a good Confession this Lent. We will have two confessors on duty every Saturday of Lent from 9-9:30am and 3:15-4:15pm.


Lent: A Time to be Better.

02-23-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

My family and I want to thank everyone who offered their condolences and said a prayer for my Uncle Angelo. It was a blessed privilege to offer his Funeral Mass.
Seeing so many people pay their respects and speak so well of him was both comforting and inspiring.

As usual, my faith and my family were such a blessing and source of strength at this time. This parish, my spiritual family, has also been a big help. I really don’t know what people do without family, or faith, at times like this.

Several people who knew my uncle told me he was the kind of man who made them want to be better. They spoke about his goodness to his family, his faith, and his patience, which made them want to be better at those things! It also made me think about Lent, which has just begun.


Lent in the Year of Saint Joseph

02-14-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent. Masses will be offered in Mercy Hall that day at 6:45am and 8:00am and at 12:10pm, 5:00pm, and 7:00pm. Ashes will be blessed and distributed at all those Masses. We will also have a priest or deacon in Mercy Hall after the 12:10pm Mass until 2:00pm for those who simply want to stop by and receive ashes without a crowd.

Like everything else this year, Lent will be a little bit different. Until the Church painting is finished, probably the beginning of March, all of our Lenten devotions will be in Mercy Hall rather than the Church. This includes Stations of the Cross, Daily and Sunday Mass, and Confessions.


Things I Love About this Parish

02-07-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I want to begin by thanking everyone for their cooperation while we have been celebrating Holy Mass in Mercy Hall. While it is not the ideal situation, it is working out fine because so many of you are following directions and doing all you can to make it work. Thanks!

This kind of cooperation is one of the things I really love about our parish. We tend to be very good at adapting when we have to, whether it’s things like social distancing and calling ahead for Mass or having to temporarily worship in Mercy Hall while the Church is being painted. I truly believe this spirit of cooperation is born of a real sense of community among our parishioners, who do what they can to make our parish all it can be!