The Bishop is Coming!

07-15-2018From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I am happy to announce that our Bishop will celebrate the 11:00am Mass in our Church next Sunday, July 22. Bishop Checchio likes to visit the parishes of our diocese for Sunday Mass, and I am happy he will be with us next Sunday. It is a good way for him to get to know our community and its wonderful people.

From the earliest times, Christians made a great effort to attend Masses celebrated by their Bishop. St. Ignatius of Antioch, a priest and bishop from Syria who was martyred for his faith in the early 100’s, encouraged people to gather with their bishop for the Eucharistic celebration. The priests and people, gathered around their bishop, was (and still is) a visible sign of the unity of the Church.

For us today, the Bishop is one of our clearest links to the universal Church. Bishop Checchio was sent to us by Pope Francis, whom he knows personally from the days when our bishop was rector of a seminary in Rome.
Our bishop also connects us back to Jesus and the apostles through the apostolic succession. Just as the Pope is the successor to St. Peter, so each bishop is a successor to the apostles. In other words – if you go back to the Bishop who consecrated Bishop Checchio, then to the Bishop who consecrated that Bishop, and so on and so on back through Church history, you will eventually arrive at one of the Apostles!

For all these reasons, I encourage everyone who can to attend the 11:00am Mass next week. I know it’s the middle of summer and all that – but we should not take lightly an opportunity to celebrate Holy Mass with our Bishop. Let’s be sure to really fill the Church so that Bishop Checchio can meet and pray with the largest possible cross section of our community!

In addition to this good news, I am also happy to announce that Bishop Checchio has assigned a seminarian, David Keyes, to join our parish for the remainder of the summer. David is transferring to our diocese from one in the Midwest. I will let him tell you more about himself next week and know we will make him feel at home here in P’burg.

I had a very quiet Fourth of July this year – which was fine with me! But last Saturday evening I went to my sister Natalie’s home for a birthday party. We were celebrating the 21st birthday of my niece, Catherine Frances (whom we call Cate). A lot of family and friends were there, and we all had a good time.

Seeing my niece turn 21 reminds me of how time flies! Indeed, it’s hard to believe that the summer is almost half over. Let’s be sure to use well the time God gives us – for prayer and good works – while we can.

Please say a Hail Mary for me today – and every day. Know that I pray for you daily. Let’s also say a prayer for all those suffering from poverty, violence, and the chaos which seems to infiltrate so many lives these days. Let’s also pray for peace!

Have a great week!

Fr. John