Palm Sunday

03-29-2021From Fr. John'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.

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The Homestretch

03-21-2021From Fr. John'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!

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Discerning the Priesthood: Be Not Afraid

03-16-2021Vocations

Perhaps priesthood has crossed your mind, but fear pushes the idea away:

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Two Great Saints!

03-14-2021From Fr. John'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.

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Back to Church!

03-07-2021From Fr. John'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.

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Discerning the Priesthood: Gaining Peace Through Prayer

03-05-2021Vocations

Is God calling me to be a priest? How can I know for sure? What's the best way to make a decision like this?

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Off to a Good Start!

02-28-2021From Fr. John'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.

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Lent: A Time to be Better.

02-23-2021From Fr. John'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.

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Lent in the Year of Saint Joseph

02-14-2021From Fr. John'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.

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Discerning the Priesthood: The Most Important Decision You will Ever Make

02-14-2021Vocations

If you were about to make one decision that would dramatically impact the rest of your life, how would you go about it?

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Things I Love About this Parish

02-07-2021From Fr. John'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!

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Teaching by Word and Example

01-29-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

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.

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If You Want to Know Jesus, Know His Word.

01-26-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

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.

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'Every human being is always sacred.

01-17-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

“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.

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Baptism

01-10-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

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)

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Epiphany – and more work in the Church!

01-03-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

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.

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