Memorial Day

05-26-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I want to start by wishing everyone – especially the veterans of our parish – a very Happy Memorial Day! We owe the freedom we enjoy – and often take for granted – to those who sacrificed so much to defend it over the years. On Memorial Day, take a moment to say a prayer for those who died defending our country, and thank the veterans you know.

Holy Mass will be offered in our Church on Memorial Day at 7, 8, and 9 AM. The 8 AM Mass will be offered for all those buried in our parish cemetery. Those who were buried there since last Memorial Day will be mentioned by name in the intentions of that Mass. Everyone is welcome to attend.


May is the Month of Mary

05-19-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

By now you have all heard the sad news that our long-time secretary, Cathy Steigerwalt, died suddenly last weekend. She will most certainly be missed by our parishespecially by those who have worked closely with her over the years. I can honestly say that working with Cathy was a pleasure, and I will miss her immensely.

As per her family’s request, the Funeral Services will be private. However, we will have a Memorial Service for her in our Church this Monday, May 20th, at 7 PM. Everyone is welcome to come and pray for Cathy. We will ask God to care for Cathy’s soul, give comfort to her family, and strengthen our faith in Jesus’ Good News about Heaven and Eternal Life. I hope many of you will be there.


Happy Mothers Day!

05-12-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, and spiritual mothers in our parish. Today we do well to think of and thank all the special women in our lives. Let’s also thank God for sending them to us.

My own mother means the world to me. I’m sure most of you feel the same way about your mothers. Thinking of my mother today brings so many memories and thoughts to mind. Some of those memories are fond ones – like her being one of the only moms in our neighborhood who liked having her children home for summer vacation. Others are serious – like her taking little part-time jobs to help make ends meet. Still others are funny – like the time my brother-in-law and I were doing horribly in a batting cage on a boardwalk in North Carolina. My mother picked up the bat and started hitting line drive after line drive – wowing a bunch of local kids! You can’t make this stuff up.


The Month of Mary

05-05-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

May is, of course, the Month of Mary. With that in mind, try to do some little things to honor Mary this month. If you don’t already pray the Rosary daily, this would be a good time to start. If you can’t pray a whole Rosary, why not pray at least a decade of it a day? It is a powerful prayer – one of my favorites – and is recommended by countless saints.

As a parish, we will honor Mary by setting up a special statue of her near the side Altar. This statue will be crowned by our First Communion children at the 11 AM Mass next Sunday. It will be left in place throughout the month of May. My hope is that it will inspire us to think of Mary’s good example and strive to follow it in our lives.


A Great Easter!

04-28-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I had an absolutely wonderful Easter – and hope that you did, too. First and foremost, I was happy to celebrate Easter Mass with so many of you. The Easter Vigil and my Mass on Easter morning were the very heart of my Easter celebration. Concelebrating with Fr. Leo – who offered such a beautiful Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday – was another highlight of this Holy Week.

For many years, I have had a special place in my heart for the Solemn Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion at 3 PM on Good Friday. This year – as always – I was deeply moved during that Liturgy. Watching so many people come forward to venerate the Cross was truly inspiring. I especially enjoyed watching so many parents, grandparents, and even big brothers and sisters showing little ones how to kiss the Cross. This is how we pass on our Faith – and I’m glad that so many of you do so!


Joy We Really Need

04-21-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. 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.

Easter is so important to us that we celebrate it not just for a day – but for a season of fifty days. The Easter Season is longer than Lent because the joy of the Resurrection is greater than penance of Lent. As part of our celebration of this joyful season, our Church will be decorated throughout the Easter Season. The new Paschal (Easter) Candle will stand near the pulpit, rising high into the air as a symbol of Christ's glorious Resurrection.

The Rite of Sprinkling with Holy Water will replace the Penitential Rite at most Sunday Masses during the Easter Season. This is to remind us that the New Life Christ gave us in Baptism has as its goal our Resurrection and Eternal Life in Heaven. Additionally, the Gloria will be sung as a joyful hymn. May these beautiful ceremonies fill us with the joy that the first disciples felt when they saw the Risen Lord on the first Easter Sunday.


2019 Holy Week

04-14-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Last Saturday evening I had the real pleasure of attending the parish Faith and Service Dinner at Flynn's. This dinner is held annually to celebrate our school, its alumni, and people who have made significant contributions to our parish and school community. This year's honorees were Mrs. Jo-Ann Scott, our long-time Religious Education Director, and Frank Stettner, a lifelong member of our parish and graduate of our parish school. I was especially moved to hear both of them speak about the role their family, parish, and community plays in their lives. A special thank you is owed to everyone who made this event such a good time and a success.

As we begin Holy Week, I want to encourage everyone to make a real effort to come to Church on both Holy Thursday (7 PM) and Good Friday (3 PM). Our church really should be filled on those most holy days. They are the days on which Jesus gave us His greatest gift – His Body and Blood, offered on the Cross to take away our sins so we can have eternal life in Heaven! Our presence in church on Holy Thursday and Good Friday are a token of our appreciation of all that He did.


Pope Francis on Confession

04-07-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

It was nice to see so many people take time to be with Jesus during last week's 24 Hours for the Lord. I made a holy hour between midnight and 1 AM – and counted about 15 other people who remained in the Church for that hour. Even more came in and out for brief visits with our precious Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Spending quiet time like that with Jesus is such a beautiful thing to do!

Believe it or not, next Sunday is Palm Sunday – which means that Lent is almost over! If you have not yet been to Confession this Lent, please do so this Saturday. Fr. Leo and I will be in the Confessionals this Saturday from 9:00-9:30 AM and 3:15 – 4:15 PM. If those times don't work, you can call one of us for an appointment.

Right now, I'd like to share some answers that Pope Francis gave to people who asked him questions about Confession.


Good things to do for Lent!

03-31-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

It was wonderful to see so many people at the Evening of Spiritual Awakening! Many people commented not only on the good crowd, but also on the evening itself. It was a prayerful and inspiring experience – and a good thing to do for Lent.

I want to thank the choir members and music ministers who provided such inspiring music for the evening. It really helped to set a prayerful tone. Thanks also to all the people who took time out of their normal schedule to spend extra time in prayer.

Remember that we will have our parish Lenten Penance Service this Monday, April 1, at 7 PM in Church. Many priests will be on hand to hear Confessions and help you experience God's loving mercy. While a lot of people went to Confession at the Evening of Awakening, I know that a lot more still need to make a good Confession this Lent. Coming to the Penance Service is another good thing to do for Lent.


24 Hours for the Lord

03-24-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

This Friday our parish will host 24 Hours for the Lord. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed in our Church (rather than the chapel) from 9 AM Friday until 9 AM Saturday. People are invited to come and spend some quiet time with our Lord that day and night. You may come and stay for as long or as little as you like. It would be great if you could spend at least an hour with Jesus.

There will be some special prayer services during this time. A special Holy Hour at 9 PM Friday evening, and prayers at 8:30 AM Saturday morning. Confessions will be heard after Stations of the Cross Friday evening and at 9 AM Saturday morning. Stations of the Cross will be prayed in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament at 3 and 7 PM Friday, and the Daily Masses will be offered as usual.


Awaken Your Faith

03-17-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of attending the Rite of Election at St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral. It was a special prayer service in which our Bishop prayed with the catechumens and candidates of our diocese. Catechumens are unbaptized persons who are preparing for Baptism. Candidates may be baptized non-Catholics or Catholics who were Baptized, but never received First Communion or Confirmation.

Several catechumens and candidates from our parish took part in the Rite of Election. They are preparing to be received into Full Communion with our Holy Catholic Church this Easter. Please keep them in your prayers as that day draws near.


Christian Spring Training!

03-10-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Today is the First Sunday of Lent. My favorite analogy for Lent is Spring Training. Just as baseball players get in shape during Spring Training, Catholics use Lent to get in better "spiritual shape". The traditional ways to do this are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We are encouraged to do a little more praying, fast as a penance for our sins, and be generous to the poor. What follows are some suggestions for doing this.

Try to get to Daily Mass during Lent. If you can't get there every day, at least try to get to Daily Mass at least once a week. The Mass is the most powerful prayer we have, and we do well to make good use of it. Another good way to pray this Lent would be to attend the Parish Lenten Mission on Wednesday evenings at 7 PM. Each evening will include time for prayer, as well as a Lenten homily, followed by Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. I would especially encourage families to come to these evenings – at least once this Lent – just to expose your children to the beautiful practice of Benediction.


Here comes Lent!

03-03-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Believe it or not, this Wednesday is Ash Wednesday – the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent. Masses will be offered in our Church that day at 6:45 and 8:00 AM and at 12:10, 5:00, and 7:00 PM. Ashes will be blessed and distributed at all those Masses.

There are several ways of looking at Lent. Some people see it simply as a time of penance. We give up treats we like to show that we are sorry for our sins and want to do better in the future. This is a good way of looking at Lent.

Other people look at Lent as a time to do something extra for God. They go to Daily Mass or practice extra charity as a way of going the extra mile for God during this holy season. This is also a good way of looking at Lent.