Most of you know that I just came back from my vacation. I had a wonderful trip. It was restful, and I saw lots of trains, which is exactly what I wanted to do! While it was nice to go on this trip, it is always nice to be back home.
While on the road I read (or listened to) some good books. The first was The Guns of August by Barbara Tuckman. It is a very thorough, yet enjoyable, account of the opening days of World War I. One of the things I most enjoyed about this book was the way the author went beyond the names and dates and explored the personalities of so many of the generals, leaders, and other people involved.READ MORE
In today’s Gospel reading Our Lord encounters the unbelief of those who follow Him, but are not prepared to follow any farther. The evangelist tells us that “Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray Him.” What a sad knowledge it must have been for Him. May we not be among them. Fortunately, the Twelve Apostles have given up everything to follow Christ and are not prepared to turn back now. Their time spent with Jesus has helped them to grow in thevirtue of faith. St. Peter says, “Master to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
As I look back today on my first year of priesthood, all but the first week of which has been spent here at St. Philip and St. James, I see the biggest growth in my spiritual life. Of course the priesthood is one of many vocations that God may call any of us too, all of which are ultimately a vocation to become a saint. If we truly live our vocation, holiness should naturally follow. But it helps to stand in the presence of the Lord Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, every day at Mass.READ MORE
As you read these words I will be on vacation, probably in western Nebraska. Knowing I would be on vacation, I prepared this column before I left in order to share a few things with you.
A few weeks ago, I told you that our parish received a grant of some $7,500 from the Works of Mercy Collection that was taken in our diocese. That money was given to support our parish Soup Kitchen and Food for the Needy Program. Last week we received an additional $50,000 from the Works of Mercy Collection to help support our parish school.READ MORE
After Mass last Sunday I had dinner with my mother. We met at my sister Natalie’s home and had a great time. It was a quiet gathering for us, my brother-in-law Phil was the only other person there. But it was great to enjoy the time and meal with them.
Next Sunday, August 15th, is the Solemnity of the Assumption. It is one of those few times a year when an important Holy Day of Obligation falls on a Sunday. The good part is that we will celebrate this Feast of our Blessed Mother at all the regularly scheduled Masses that Sunday.READ MORE
Can you believe it’s already August? Summer is flying by. I hope you are enjoying your summer as much as I’m enjoying mine.
Last Thursday evening I enjoyed a good time with many of our Altar Servers and their families. We attended an Iron Pigs Baseball game together. While I certainly love baseball, most of my fun that evening came from visiting and talking with the servers and their families. It was nice to spend an evening with the servers who do so much to help our priests at Mass, and the families who support them in that good work.READ MORE
I want to thank everyone for their generosity to last week’s Mission Co–op Collection. As usually, the good people of our parish were welcoming and supportive of the missionary who visited us. Fr. Cesar wanted me to express his thanks to all of you, not only for your donations but, most especially for your prayers.
You can see the results of the mission elsewhere in this bulletin, where the weekly collection is listed. Your generosity is a testimony to your embrace of Jesus’ command to ‘teach all nations.’ Thanks!READ MORE
This weekend we welcome Fr. Caesar Santa Cruz to our parish. He is here to make the annual Mission Co–op Appeal. I know we will make him welcome.
As most of you know, the Mission Co–op Appeal happens every year in all the parishes in the United States. Missionaries, like Fr. Santa Cruz, visit and speak at all the Masses about the missions. A second collection is taken for the support of that mission.
Our parish has a long history of strong support for the missions. Several men and women from our parish have served as priests and sisters in the missions over the years. Moreover, the good people of our parish have been generous to the Mission Co–op Appeal and Mission Sunday collections over the years. Add to that all the prayers so many of you offer for the missions and it makes a great tradition of support for the mission in our parish.READ MORE
We all know that, before ascending to Heaven, Our Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples to spread the Gospel to all people. Strengthened by the Holy Spirit, those disciples made a great start at this mission. Within a generation after Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension, the Gospel had been preached in most of the Roman Empire, and many people had been converted to Christ.
Today, our Church continues the mission that the apostles began in many ways. One of them is the annual Mission Co–op Plan. As part of this plan every parish in our country, and in many others too, is visited by a missionary who preaches about the missions at Sunday Mass. A second collection is then taken to support the work of that missionary and his or her community.READ MORE
I want to begin by wishing everyone a very happy Independence Day. While most people call it the Fourth of July, I prefer Independence Day because it reminds us of the holiday’s connection to the founding of our nation. Recalling and celebrating our nation’s beginning rightly leads us to give thanks for the many things we have accomplished as a nation over the years.
At the same time, it is good for us to remember how much room we have for improvement. The continued existence of abortion on demand in our country reminds us that we still fall short of realizing the ‘inalienable right to life’ promised by the Declaration of Independence. Incidents of discrimination and prejudice, sometimes truly shocking incidents perpetrated by people who truly should know better, remind us that we still have a way to go to realize the Declaration’s assertion that ‘all men are created equal.’READ MORE
Last Saturday I had the blessed occasion to attend the ordination of four new priests, and one deacon, for our diocese. It was held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima (the Blue Army Shrine) in nearby Washington, New Jersey. The Mass was long, but beautiful.
Among those ordained to the priesthood was Fr. Timothy Eck. Many of you undoubtedly remember when, as a seminarian, he served the summer of 2019 in our parish. It was really a pleasure to see him ordained to the holy priesthood and to attend his First Holy Mass at St. Jude’s Church in Blairstown last Sunday afternoon.READ MORE
I want to begin by offering a very Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers, grandfathers, and spiritual fathers in our parish.
Seeing so many Father’s Day envelopes come in, with the names of fathers both living and deceased on them, tells me that many of us both appreciate and want to pray for our fathers and grandfathers. We will keep those envelopes near the Altar throughout this month, and include the names on them in all the Masses that are offered. Let’s also be sure to keep our fathers and grandfathers, and all those men who have been a blessing to us, in our personal prayers as well.READ MORE
I’m my own man! I’m self-made, and I alone should determine my destiny! I will let nothing stand in the way of what I want. There is no other road to happiness!READ MORE
It was wonderful to see so many people at Holy Mass on Corpus Christi. I especially enjoyed celebrating the 11am Mass, with the Procession and Benediction that followed. As I carried the Blessed Sacrament around the Church, I could not help seeing the devotion on the faces of so many people as they gazed at our Blessed Lord. It was moving for me, and I hope for many of you, too.
As I thought about my homily from Corpus Christi, it occurred to me that I made a little mistake! I told you, correctly, that a shrine in Paris called Sacre Coeur has had Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for 155 years without interruption! My mistake is that I also said that Sacre Coeur was built some 800 years ago to house the Crown of Thorns.READ MORE
This weekend is Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is a day to celebrate and reaffirm our Faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, under the appearance of bread and wine. As many of you know, it is also one of my favorite holy days of the year.
It seems appropriate that things have improved so much that our dispensation from attending Holy Mass due to the pandemic has been removed on Corpus Christi. It was a year ago that we began having public Masses again, after several months of just virtual ones. Now we are blessed to be pretty much back to normal, with our bishops reminding us that we need to be at Holy Mass personally each Sunday, unless we are truly sick or have other just cause to be excused.READ MORE