Two parishioners who attended last Sunday’s Mass at St. Joseph’s, Rileyville have tested positive for COVID. A professional cleaning service was hired on Christmas Eve afternoon to completely sanitize the entire church. Please use your own discretion regarding Mass attendance.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Within this octave of Christmas, we take time to meditate and wonder at the Incarnation, i.e. God – became – man, and the setting in which it takes place. Poor and, in the eyes of the word, insignificant persons, Mary and Joseph. They have little to offer by way of material possessions, but the love and gratefulness with which they surround the Christ Child is immeasurable. Love makes this family holy. First, they recognize the love that comes from God. Without that love all human love becomes paltry and fickle. The sacrificial love we see in the Holy Family is based on what they can give NOT on what they can get. Mary and Joseph, in spite of difficulties they face are 100% obedient to God. They have place all their trust in Him, most especially in caring for God-dependent-on-them in Jesus.
Family life is the bedrock of society and culture, at least a society and culture, that seek to preserve humanity and advance God’s kingdom on earth. We look to the Holy Family to provide that example and, of course, to discover the precepts by which all families may flourish. In today’s scripture passages, we find all the values necessary for families to treasure. The Book of Sirach teaches the way we ought to treat each other. St. Paul lists the qualities we should manifest in our families. And St. Luke recounts the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Ever faithful to God and obedient to His Will, Mary and Joseph fulfill the prescriptions of the Mosaic law. There is more than enough in God’s Holy Word this day to give parents and children all they need to effect a tranquil and beautiful family life.
As we begin the new civil year, on January 1st, 2021, we honor Mary as the Holy Mother of God. She reminds us that God wanted and still wants to save us with our cooperation. If She had turned down the Angel Gabriel’s message would we be here today? A humble human being said “yes” to God and our salvation became a reality. As Mary has set the perfect example so, too, we as her children, should follow.
Begin the New Year making the resolve to always say “Yes” to God, even in the most difficult circumstances. May the joy and peace of this Holy Season remain with you.
Monsignor Peter P. Madus, the retired priest who helps us celebrate Mass at Saint Joseph Church, Rileyville, has tested positive for COVID-19. Monsignor Madus is currently resting and hopes to be back with us soon.
Monsignor Madus last celebrated the 9:00 a.m. Mass on Sunday, December 20, 2020 at Saint Joseph Church. Monsignor did not begin experiencing symptoms until after that Mass. He later received a COVID-19 test as a precaution and got a positive result. Out of an abundance of caution, the parish is notifying parishioners in order to fully inform and protect our community.
In continued alignment with Diocesan, state and federal public health and safety guidelines, social distancing and mask wearing is always maintained during all Masses.
In accordance with established protocols from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the areas visited by anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 undergo additional cleaning and disinfection measures. With this in mind, Damage Control has been contacted and will be disinfecting and sanitizing St. Joseph Church by the end of today and will be ready for Christmas Day celebration.
Everyone in our community is encouraged to know and keep alert for any potential symptons of COVID-19, which may include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breaking, muscle pain, headache or a loss of taste or smell.
The staff of Saint John the Evangelist Parish extends prayers for healing and comfort to Monsignor Madus who is experiencing illness and for all those affect by the coronavirus.
The Parish Office will be closing at noon on Wednesday (December 23); all day December 24, 25 and 26. The office will reopen on Monday, December 28 at 9:00 AM.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In five days time we shall celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Savior. The promise of these 4 weeks of Advent will soon be reaching its fulfillment and perhaps the final scramble is on. The most important person during this expectant time is Mary of Nazareth. We have rejoiced in her Immaculate Conception, been exceedingly grateful for her appearance and message in our hemisphere (Guadalupe); and are in awe as we hear the messages sent from God through the Angel Gabriel that she had been chosen to bear and bring the Messiah into the world.
Pondering the Annunciation in today’s Gospel leaves us in wonderment. How would you react if an Angel appeared out-of-the-blue with a message of universal significance and asked you to cooperate in the Divine Plan? No doubt we would be “shaking-in-our-boots.” Such is not the case with Mary. From her infancy no other human being had been closer to God. Surely, she was Immaculately conceived, completely without the stain of Original Sin, but nonetheless God’s will. “Fiat!” – let it be done, according to Thy Word. Her response is simple, straightforward, direct and without hesitation. Aside from her Son’s ultimate humility during His passion and death, Mary’s resignation in humble surrender is ‘par excellence’ humankind’s cooperation with the Divine. Without the slightest foresight of what her cooperation entails her “yes” to God is complete.
Many great men in our national history have attributed their success to the teaching, example, and guidance of their mothers. Just read the biographies of George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, to name a few. From the Cross Jesus gave us His mother to be our own. We could not possibly have a greater, wiser or more noble example to lead us to her Son. We do as she herself has done and said: “Do whatever He tells you.” If we do, no angelic visitation would set us aright.
On behalf of Father Sahd, Deacon Paul and myself, we wish all of our parishioners and their families a joyful, healthy and deeply spiritual Christmas. For many it has been a challenging 10 months or more. The uncertainties of those days have perplexed us and even have shaken the faith of some. Always we put our trust in God and implore His grace of healing and mercy. Let echo in our hearts His consoling words: “Be not afraid. I am with you always.”
A Blessed Christmas,
The deadline for reservations for the Christmas Masses is Tuesday, December 15th. 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM, Christmas Eve and 7:30 AM Christmas Day are full. There is availability at St. Bernard’s at 6 PM and St. John’s at 9 PM on Christmas Eve and 10:30 AM and 12:15 PM on Christmas Day at St. John’s.
December 12 & 13
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today is Gaudete Sunday. The Introit or Entrance Antiphon echoes the passage from St. Paul’s first letter to The Thessalonians: “Rejoice, always!” And why are they called to rejoice? The world back then and even 500 years before during the time of Isaiah, was turbulent and frightening. People were wondering what calamities were coming next. And yet both prophet and apostles are speaking words of encouragement and hopefulness. Surely we need to take to heart the same joyful advice.
The very nature of this rejoicing Sunday is to lighten up. The priestly vesture changes to rose instead of purple; the third candle on the Advent Wreath is lighted, thus radiating more brilliance. Even though daylight is diminishing celestial lights are becoming more prominent. Isn’t there coming a brighter light in the heavens reminding us of the Star of Bethlehem.
A healthy curiosity is expressed by those who hear the preaching of John the Baptist. Is he the long-expected one? No, but he is preparing the way from Him. How then are our preparations coming? The most important is the elimination of all darkness that may reside in our souls. The remedy for that is a good and thorough confession. Indeed, we may be infatuated with all the external lights around us, but just think of the holy glow that comes from a soul cleansed from sin. That’s the light that Our Lord wants to see. Then, both He and we can rejoice together.
We have a recurring Advent-Christmas mystery in our parish. Each year “someone”, unbeknownst to pastor or parishioners (because I have inquired of many), drops off two glorious wreaths for the front doors of St. Mary Magdalen. Though I have my suspicions, I really do not know who makes them. Nonetheless, on behalf of your priests and fellow parishioners, I want to thank you for your kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness. Also, our profound thanks for the great artistry and talent given to decorating our Honesdale parish grounds. What God has given to Cindy Williams, she has given to us. One simply wants to linger and enjoy our own winter wonderland. Thank you Cindy from all of us for your beautiful work.
Keep the Advent Spirit,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Advent is a season of preparation and today’s Scriptures emphasize our need to prepare for the Lord’s coming. Last week we heard the Lord say, “Be watchful! Be Alert!” You do not know when the time will come (Mark 13:33). Today we are consoled, as was the people of Israel during a time of great duress by the prophet Isaiah. Further St. Peter reminds us that the Lord does not delay in keeping His promises and someday, be it a year, a millennium, or a “million” years He will come. So be ready!
How then do we make ourselves ready for Him? The herald of the Lord, John the Baptist calls us, beyond the centuries, to repent. We need to seek forgiveness from the Lord and, if need be, from one another. Our merciful Savior has provided the means by which we can assuredly be forgiven – the Sacrament of Reconciliation. What, after all is more important? Decking the halls with boughs of holly or offering the Lord a purified soul cleansed by the works of absolution? In order that you may present God with the latter we remind you of the many opportunities for Confession posted in last week’s bulletin. Every Saturday from 10:30 AM until noon, Confessions are heard at the Mary Magdalen; everyday prior to Mass and afterwards as well. This Sunday, beginning at 2 PM a number of priests will be hearing confessions at St. Thomas More, Lake Ariel (by reservation) and December 21st (Monday at 6 PM) in St. Mary Magdalen.
Also, remember that Vespers and Benediction are celebrated Sunday evenings at 4 PM in St. John’s – no reservations necessary.
This coming Tuesday, December 8th is the patronal feast day of our nation dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Mary. It is a Solemnity and Holy Day, but because of the Covid 19 virus the obligation to attend Mass is mitigated. Nonetheless, Masses for the Solemnity will be Monday at 6 PM, Tuesday at 7:25 AM, 12:05 PM and 6 PM. All Masses are at St. Mary Magdalen.
Finally, December 12th is the Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe, Mass will be offered Saturday morning at 8 AM in St. Mary Magdalen.