The Great Big Family of God

10-27-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I write these words having just returned from the Roast Beef Dinner. The Knights of Columbus, Columbiettes, and all their helpers are to be congratulated for a job well done! Not only was the food very good – I had three dinners, spread out over the afternoon – but there were lots of great people, too.

The whole event reminded me of the big family dinners I remember from many Sunday and holiday afternoons. Although most of the people at the parish Roast Beef Dinner are not related by blood – they are part of our spiritual family. It was great to get together with so many of them last Sunday!

Remember that this Friday, November 1st, is All Saints Day. It is a holy day of obligation on which every Catholic who is able to do so has a serious obligation to attend Holy Mass. Masses will be offered in our Church on Thursday, October 31st at 5:30 PM and on Friday, November 1st at 6:45 and 8 AM and at 12:10 and 7 PM. I look forward to seeing many of you there.


World Mission Sunday

10-20-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of making a pilgrimage with a busload of people from our parish. We went to the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was inspired by the beauty of the Church and prayerfulness of the people there.

For those who may not know, the Miraculous Medal was given by our Blessed Mother to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830. While appearing to St. Catherine, Blessed Mary asked that she have copies of the medals made and distributed for people to wear. She promised to obtain great graces from God for those who obeyed her request.

As usually happens in such cases, not everyone believed St. Catherine’s story right away. But her confessor did, and helped her begin spreading the message. He also asked for an official investigation by the Church. The Church found the incident ‘worthy of belief’ – meaning that Catholics should take it seriously.


A Busy Weekend!

10-13-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last weekend was a very busy one, as we welcomed Fr. Wojciech to our parish. Among the many activities was the Blessing of Animals in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. Fr. Pat conducted a beautiful ceremony – to the accompaniment of many dogs barking. About 40 people brought various pets and farm animals to be blessed. In addition to the usual dogs and such were a lamb, a goat, and a bunch of ducks! I want to thank everyone who came, and Fr. Pat for preparing and leading the celebration.

Later that afternoon, about 20 hearty souls took part in the annual Life Chain on South Main Street. I was afraid that the treat of rain might deter them, but they came out in defense of human life. It was a true privilege to be with them.


Welcome Father Wojciech!

10-06-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend our parish welcomes our new priest, Fr. Wojciech Kusek. Father Wojciech was most recently stationed in Christ the Redeemer Parish in Manville, New Jersey. Prior to that he has served in a number of places, including Latin America. He is a member of the Congregation of the Redeemer, also known as the Redemptorists.

I am sure that Fr. Wojciech will bring many blessings to our parish. As you might imagine, the celebration of the Spanish Mass will be one of his main priorities each week, but he will also be involved in most parish ministries. Please take a moment to introduce yourself to him and welcome him to our parish.

It was great to have so many students from our school together at last Sunday’s 11 AM Mass. Especially enjoyable was hearing all those young voices in the choir! I hope that many of them will make a point of joining with the young people who sing regularly at the 9 AM Mass each week. Your joyful voices are a great gift to God and an inspiration to all of us!


Pastor's News

09-29-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

It was great to have our choir back at 11AM Mass last Sunday, after their usual summer break. They add so much to our worship, and help us celebrate Holy Mass with joy and reverence. I’m sure they could use a few new voices – and would be glad to have anyone who loves God and wants to praise Him in song!

Later that afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending the annual choir picnic. It was hosted by our music director, Paul Kucinski, and his wife, Donna. I really enjoyed talking and eating with these wonderful people who serve our parish so well.

Last Sunday I also had the pleasure of joining our parish Boy Scout Troop at their annual Red and White Brunch. It was a time to celebrate the many merit badges and projects of these great kids – some of whom had just received their religious medals at the 11 AM Mass. These scouts do a lot for our parish, such as carrying the gifts we bring for the Giving Tree, collecting food for the Thanksgiving Food drive, and taking care of the fire during the Easter Vigil Mass. I appreciate all they do.


Breath of Life

09-22-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last Saturday evening, Aliento de Vida – the Spanish Prayer Group in our parish – celebrated their eleventh anniversary. Aliento de Vida means ‘breath of life.’ It is a name given to the Holy Spirit. Just as we breathe regular air to support our physical life, so the Holy Spirit is the breath that sustains our New Life as God’s Children.

I was happy to give the group a blessing as they began a Prayer Vigil in Church at 6 PM. About three hours later, when the Vigil ended, I had the pleasure of joining them for coffee and refreshments in the Parish Meeting Room. It was great to see so many people praying and enjoying themselves together.


Signs of Hope

09-15-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I was truly inspired by the presentations by the gentlemen from the Corona Self Help Center that spoke briefly at Holy Mass last weekend. We are all well aware of the problems that come with the epidemic drug and alcohol addiction in our country. Hearing the testimony of these men, who are beating this addiction with the help of God, was very uplifting. To me it was a sign of hope!

Thank you to everyone who supported them. Please keep them in your prayers each day. I kept their contact information in my files, in case you know anyone who might need their help!

I was also happy to see the nice crowd at the Communion Breakfast in honor of our Blessed Mother’s Birthday (September 8 th). It was a simple, but very nice affair. What I especially enjoyed was seeing so many parishioners – of different ages and backgrounds – having a good time together. It fills me with hope for our parish and community.


Getting in shape for the Lord

09-08-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

It has come to my attention that some of our parishioners have begun taking steps to prepare for the Walking Pilgrimage on September 21st! Specifically, they have been walking each day to build up their stamina for the pilgrimage. Their efforts remind me that we all have to work at getting our soul in shape each day.

St. Paul used this analogy in his First Letter to the Corinthians. “While all the athletes in the arena compete, the award goes only to one. Therefore, compete so as to win!” (1 Cor. 9:24). His point is that – as Christians – we should work as hard at getting to Heaven as athletes do at winning games. We do this best by regular prayer, works of charity, and frequent Confession and Holy Communion.


Christians in the Holy Land

09-01-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

This Monday is Labor Day – a day to honor all those who work for a living. As Catholics we believe that work is part of God’s plan for us. St. Paul – in one of his letters – tells us to "earn the food we eat by working quietly." He also admonishes those "who do not keep busy – but act like busybodies." He even goes so far as to say that "those who do not work should not eat."

In this St. Paul is certainly not putting down those who cannot work due to age, disability, or circumstance. Neither is he, who constantly commands us to practice charity, discouraging us from helping those who truly are in need. But St. Paul is reminding us that work has a place in God’s plan – and we do well to reflect prayerfully on the good we can do by working according to His will.


Back to School

08-25-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

It was really good to see so many people at Mass for the Holy Day last week. It was a real testimony to your love of our Blessed Mother and faith in her Son, Jesus. I really enjoyed the Masses I celebrated on the Assumption with each and every person who took the time to be there.

It was also good to see the wonderful response to the Sneakers for Small Souls program. I just walked into Mercy Hall and saw several tables full of sneakers, socks, crayon and other school supplies. These will be distributed to children who need them as the new school year begins. Thanks to everyone who took part – and to those who organized this wonderful event. It is a great act of charity.

Believe it or not, this will be the last weekend that Tim Eck, our summer seminarian, will be with us. He will take a little time to visit his family before returning to Rome the beginning of September. Please keep him in your prayers as he does so.


We need what Jesus gives.

08-18-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend our parish is happy to welcome Pam DiMartile, who will speak at most of our Masses. She will give us more information about the Walking Pilgrimage that will take place on Saturday, September 21. The pilgrimage is part of the Year of Spiritual Awakening that is being observed throughout our diocese.

Bishop Checchio decreed this Year of Spiritual Awakening as a year of spiritual preparation for his consecration of our diocese to our Blessed Mother under her title of "Our Lady of Guadalupe." The Evening of Spiritual Awakening – which was so well attended in our Church – was one of the events in this year. So is the personal consecration to Our Lady of Guadalupe that so many of us did this past Lent.


The Assumption

08-11-2019From Fr. Antony'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.


Who will be the next priest from our parish?

08-04-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend, a number of the Masses in our Church will be offered by priests who are natives of our parish. Fr. Matt Marinelli, who was ordained just over a month ago, and Fr. Pat Boyle, our weekend assistant for years, both grew up in P’burg and said their First Holy Masses in our Church. It is a blessing for our parish to enjoy their priestly ministry this weekend – and at any time.

Many of you are well aware that these two priests are part of a large number of men from our parish who answered the call to the priesthood. Fr. Joe Illes, who was ordained with Fr. Matt, Fr. Joe Sands, and Fr. Jim Duffy, both members of the Jesuit order, and Msgr. Lawler, pastor of St. Mary’s in Alpha, are just some of the others. St. Philip and James really has a long history of vocations to the priesthood.