This Wednesday is the Feast of St. Blaise. As most of you know, Catholics traditionally have their throats blessed on St. Blaise’s Feast Day. Accordingly, throats will be blessed in Mercy Hall at the 6:45am, 8am, and 12:10pm Masses that day, and at a brief Prayer Service at 7pm. Everyone is welcome.
The Blessing of Throats will be slightly different this year, but not much. The priest will say a Prayer of Blessing over the assembled people. Then, those who wish to seek the blessing privately will come forward, as we do for Holy Communion. Rather than touch each person’s throat and neck with the candles, we will hold the candles over each person’s head and pray the Prayer of Blessing. This modification of the Rite was sent to us from the Holy See (Vatican) by way of our diocese.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
“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.READ MORE
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)READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! As often happens this time of year, bulletin deadlines required me to write this column before Thanksgiving, so I can’t tell you how mine went. I can tell you that I was looking forward to it, even though it will be a smaller gathering than usual this year.
Today we begin the holy season of Advent. While it’s easy to think of Advent as a time to prepare for Christmas, it’s really much more than that. The word Advent means ‘coming,’ and Advent is indeed a time to get ready for the coming of Christ.
As Catholics, Advent makes us think about not just one– but two–of Christ’s comings. While we are certainly getting ready to celebrate His first coming at Christmas, Advent also reminds us to get ready for His Second coming on Judgement Day. Indeed, it is that Second Coming that is the main focus of today’s readings. In the Gospel Jesus tells us to be ready for His Second Coming. He reminds us that we don’t know when it will be, so we should be ready for it all the time.READ MORE
Can you believe that Thanksgiving is this Thursday? Time really does fly these days.
Thanksgiving is a good time for us to take stock of the blessings God has given us, and be sure to thank Him. This, of course, is something we should do in our prayers each and every day. We should also remember that we thank God by remembering those who may not enjoy all the blessings that we do, and practicing Christian Charity towards them.
Today (Sunday) is the Solemn Feast of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe! It is a day to remember that–in addition to everything else He is for us–Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16). Christ the King Sunday is also a good time to remember that Jesus in very different from the Kings of this world.READ MORE
Last Saturday I had the pleasure of joining some of my family to celebrate my mother’s birthday. As you might imagine, it was not nearly as big a gathering as it would usually be. But both of my sisters and brothers in law were there, with three of my nieces and a few other family members. We were at the home of my sister Christine, who has lots of room and a spacious yard and patio. God blessed us with a beautiful day, and lots of time was spent outdoors. Like so many things these days, it was good but different.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching, I’d like to talk about a few good things we will do a bit differently this year. The first is the annual Thanksgiving Food for the Needy Food Drive. While social distancing makes it impossible for us to collect and sort all the food we usually do in Mercy Hall, we can still do some good things for those in need. Donations of food, cash, or grocery gift cards can be dropped off directly at Catholic Charities located at 387 South Main Street. TURKEYS are always a big need, and this year is no different. Please drop them off at Catholic Charities back door (on Sitgreaves Street – marked 387). It will be a big help!READ MORE
I’d like to start my words today by wishing a very Happy Veterans Day to all the veterans of our parish. We owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude and appreciate the sacrifices you made for our nation. I assure you of my prayers today and each and every day.
It always strikes me as appropriate that November 11, Veteran’s Day, is also the Feast of St. Martin of Tours (d. 379 AD). One of the most popular saints in the Middle Ages, St. Martin could well be called a veteran of two armies. He was a Roman Soldier who converted to Christianity as a young man.
There is a wonderful story from his days as a catechumen, someone studying the faith and preparing for Baptism. A beggar in very shabby clothing approached him for help. Moved by compassion, Martin cut his long red military cloak in two and gave half to the beggar as a blanket. That night, the future saint had a dream in which he saw a man using the makeshift blanket he’d given him, and realized the man had the face of Jesus.READ MORE
It’s said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. That old saying, which many of us have heard over the years, makes a lot of sense. If we really think highly of someone, we tend to want to follow their example. While we know we have to live our own life–we are well aware that we can learn a lot from many good people.
The saints are just such people. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a holy monk who was one of the best preachers of the 12th century, said that ‘the honor we show the saints does nothing for them, but inspires us to follow their good example.’ On All Saints Day, let’s remember that the best way to honor the saints is to do what they did.READ MORE