Graduation, Retreat, and Father's Day

06-17-2018From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers, grandfathers, godfathers, and spiritual fathers in our parish! Although my own father has been deceased for many years, I have so many fond memories of him. Even today, I am very aware of all the positive ways that he influenced my life! For this reason, I am always inspired when I see fathers spending time with their children – in church, on sports fields, or just around the parish. You are all in my prayers today.

My father had an especially positive influence on my academic life. Prior to college and seminary, I was the kind of kid who really hated school. Left to my own devices, I would have rarely – or very poorly – completed homework or studied for tests. But my father kept on top of these things. Although he and my mother were married shortly after high school, he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees by going to college at night. I remember the two of us sitting at the kitchen table doing homework together (him more willingly than me!).

Speaking of school, I want to congratulate all the graduates of our parish. Whether you're graduating from college, high school, middle or elementary school, this is an important milestone in your life. My prayer is that you will use what you have learned to do good things for the people around you, and for God.

The graduation season is a good time to think about our religious education, too. Our parish will have its annual Vacation Bible School the week of June 25-29. It is a fun-filled week of puppet shows, movies, and other activities that help young people learn more about our Lord and His great love. There are yellow flyers with more information at the entrances to the Church, or you can get one at the Parish Office. I hope to see lots of you there.

After Mass tomorrow (Monday) morning, I’ll leave for Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland – where I studied for the priesthood years ago. I’ll be joining a number of other priests – most of whom are fellow alumni of that seminary – on retreat. Going back to the place where I prepared for the priesthood does a great deal to renew my "priestly roots!"

In addition to the seminary itself, Emmitsburg is where Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton – the first American born US citizen saint – is buried. I often prayed at her tomb while in the seminary, and know her prayers helped me answer my call to the priesthood. I also know that her prayers have helped a number of people in my family – most especially a cousin who suffered a life-threatening illness as a child.

With all this in mind, I will be praying for all of you at Mother Seton’s tomb this week. If you have special intentions for which you would like me to pray, please tell me about them. Whenever I go to Emmitsburg, I make a list of people and things to pray for, and bring it with me to Mother Seton’s tomb. I mention each intention by name and spend a few minutes asking her to pray for that intention. I will be happy to include whatever intentions you may have in my prayers. Please remember to say a Hail Mary each day for me.

Have a great week!
-Fr. John