There is no Vacation from God

06-10-2018From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Last Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending a Holy Mass celebrating Msgr. Corona’s 50th anniversary as a priest. I was especially happy to see about 15 people from our parish at the Mass, which Msgr. Corona offered in St. Luke’s Church, where he is currently serving. A number of priests were there, including Fr. Tom from our parish, and many priests who served here with Monsignor over the years.

Please keep Msgr. Corona in your prayers, thanking God for his years of priestly service. As anyone who has been around long enough can tell you, fifty years of service is no small thing! It is only accomplished with the help of God’s grace, upon which Msgr. Corona has relied these many years.

I will always be grateful for Monsignor’s many kindnesses to me over the years – dating way back to when I was a newly ordained priest over at St. Mary’s. He was a good neighbor and a source of good advice. He also did a great deal to ensure a smooth transition when he left Phillipsburg nine years ago.

I was also happy with the Corpus Christi Procession last week. It was a very reverent and prayerful occasion, which focused attention on the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The choir – which is now taking a well-deserved summer break – did a great job, as did the Altar Servers and everyone else involved. I hope that all those who took part found it as uplifting and inspiring as I did.

With the advent of summer, I’d like to say a few words about Mass attendance. When I was a kid, our priest always used to remind us that "there’s no vacation from God!" I know it sounds obvious, but it’s also obvious that Mass attendance does dip a bit during the summer months. In fact, it seems that the dip is starting already!

Some of this is due to people going on vacation. I’m sure that many of them find places to attend Holy Mass while they are away. I know I have become fond of the small parish where I attend Mass the one Sunday that falls during my vacation each August. Indeed, it is pretty easy to Google Mass Times and find a place to attend Mass almost anywhere these days!

Wherever you go or whatever you do this summer – make sure you get to Mass. God gives us so many blessings and graces – more than we can possibly count or imagine – every time we take part in Holy Mass. The greatest of these – sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ – is something our souls desperately need and cannot get anywhere else! Don’t deprive yourself – let alone your family – of these wonderful graces.

From the earliest days of Christianity, from just after Christ ascended to Heaven, His people have gathered on Sunday to remember and celebrate His resurrection. Indeed, by rising from the dead on a Sunday, Jesus has made Sunday His Holy Day, and we honor it by gathering for Mass. Indeed, coming to Mass has always been the Catholic "bare minimum" for keeping the Lord’s Day holy! It’s also a great way to find some time for prayer and peace and to see the rest of your parish family.

In the meantime, please say that Hail Mary for me each day – and be assured of my prayers for you! Remember that I will be heading to Emmitsburg for my retreat in a few weeks – and will be happy to pray for any intentions you give me.

Have a great week!

Fr. John