Message from Father Langan, January 16-17

January 16-17

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In all of our Scriptures today, we see the positive interaction among individuals.  Eli, who was one of Israel’s judges (rulers before the chosen people had a King), directs  Samuel (an eventual prophet) to be attentive to the Lord’s call.  If Samuel did not heed his mentor he may have ignored God’s call and special mission for him.  This reminds us we need the sage wisdom of those who have experienced life and have place their trust in God.

St. Paul in writing to the Corinthians admonishes them NOT to follow the ways of the world.  Corinth was a city filled with corruption and licentiousness of every perversion.  The Christians are reminded that they are members of the Body of Christ, each one as a “living cell” contributing to the health and well-being of the body as a whole.  That is why no sin is private.  A sickness, be it moral or physical in one cell, one person, effects adversely all.  Therefore, we live in conjunction and harmony with all of humanity.

This week we begin the octave of prayer for Christina Unity.  The Body of Christ has suffered immeasurable from division.  The Lord’s desire is that we be on as the Son, the Father, and Spirit are one.  When personal opinions trump basic revealed Truths, rifts have sadly occurred.  The Truth may never be compromised and it is incumbent upon all people of good will to ascent to The Truth that will set thy free and advance the Kingdom of God.

The primary Truth of the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death is a belief that should and must unite all humanity.  Sadly, there are those who abide in darkness regarding this Truth, and so we pray in earnest that they may come into the Lights.  On Friday, January 22nd we remember that dreadful decision by the United State Supreme Court, 48 years ago, that legalized abortion.  Our nation has never been the same since.  Nothing can possibly bring peace and concord to our land until hearts and minds are converted the The Truth of protecting the innocent life of the unborn child.

As in today’s Gospel, John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and that all should follow Him and likewise Andrew bringing his brother Peter, to the Lord,  We, too, have our call, like Samuel, and our mission, like John and Andrew to bring others to the Christ, who is The Truth, the Light and the way.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

P.S.  On Friday, January 22, we will offer the Mass:  “Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human life” and observe the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.  Following the 12:00 PM Mass.  Rosary and the Liturgy for Life will be offered.

Covid Update

Two parishioners who attended  Mass at St. Bernard’s on Saturday,  January 9, 2021 have tested positive for COVID-19. 

They did not begin experiencing symptoms until after that Mass.  They 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. Bernard Church by the end of this week and will be ready for this Saturday’s Mass.

Everyone in our community is encouraged to know and keep alert for any potential symptoms of COVID-19, which may include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, 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 the parishioners who are experiencing illness and for all those affected by the coronavirus.

Message from Father Langan

January 9-10

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Last Sunday we celebrated the Epiphany, when’s newborn Son was revealed to all the Nations, people of every time and place, as King and Savior.  Today, we hear God the Father’s voice revealing Jesus as the Son of God.  The Scriptures of the day prepare the whole world for the Lord’s public ministry.  This ministry begins with the call to repentance on the part of all humankind.  Repentance is the honest and humble recognition of our broken and sinful nature.  We cannot save ourselves no matter technologically or politically astute we may think we are.  Christ alone is the Savior and Lord, and He has given us every means possible, most especially through the seven sacraments, to attain His mercy and salvation.

Our Lord’s Baptism by John in the Jordan River inaugurates the reconciliation between God and man.  Our Lord takes familiar elements and infuses them with supernatural grace.  At our Baptism with water and in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, original sin, or actual sin if baptized as an adult, is washed away.  We were told “you have become a new creation and have clothed yourself in Christ.”  Even if we are not aware of it, we present ourselves before the Lord as a new creation wherein God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit dwells within our souls.

As we contemplate our Lord’s Baptism, it is always important to remember our own.  Unworthy though we be, God has come to us and stays with us.  When you bless yourself give glory to God that He has claimed you as His son or daughter.  He is well-pleased in us.  May we never disappoint Him.

 This week we begin  Ordinary Time marked predominantly by the color green.  In less than six weeks, we will begin the Holy season of Lent, on Ash Wednesday,  February 17th.  A year has passed since we have been under the shadow of the pandemic which sadly has taken lives and dreadfully disrupted lives.  Nonetheless, with Christ, we do not despair, rather let us continue to “Walk by Faith” and trust as we long for the Lord and the day we shall be together again.

As we bid “adieu” to the Christmas season, may I once again thank all who made an extra effort to keep and promote the joy of the season.  And let us not forget our diligent custodians who kept our walks and lots snow free…..a thousand thanks.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan

January 2-3

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On this 10th day of Christmas, we commemorate the Lord’s manifestation to the non-Jewish/Gentile world.  We call this revelation to those living in darkness the Epiphany.  For those of us who are not Jews it reminds us of God’s infinite love and mercy for all people.  The chosen people of Israel had a special mission from God, which was to make Him known to the rest of the world.  The adherence to and living of the covenant of Sinai that there is only one God, Lord and Creator of heaven and earth was to be worshipped and obeyed.  The obedience was and is based on the Ten Commandments given to Moses and those set free from bondage.  Ten simple and direct commands would directly benefit and exalt the wandering tribes until an even more perfect covenant would be made with all people for all time.  The New Covenant would be in and through Jesus Christ.  All the Old Testament and prophecies testified to this and through natural intelligence and indirect knowledge all people longed for this new relationship with the DIVINE.

Wise men from the East, the Magi, searched for this New Covenant, this eternal truth.  And just as any human person who longs for the truth, these men of old found it in Jesus Christ.  This most profound mystery for God-Became-Man for the sake of man’s redemption and advent of peace upon this world is available for every nation on the earth.  Sadly, not everyone accepts this embrace from God.  Indeed some even combat it for the exaltation of self or state.  Rather than be liberated by Truth and Light they prefer enslavement and darkness, succumbing to their passions instead of the Passion of Christ.

The Magi, who honestly and humbly sought the truth, found Him.   They are the example for all to follow.  As they departed from the presence of the Divine Infant we know that left on “a different route.”  After encountering the Infant Christ, may we do likewise.

A profound thanks to all our parish staff who took on the difficult task of coordinating our Christmas Mass schedule and outreach to those who needed extra assistance during these days of pandemic.  Our custodial staff and decorators, our music ministry are all to be commended.

Thanks to all for your patience and kindness and remembrance of your parish needs during a time of financial strain and uncertainty.  And behalf of Father Sahd and myself a heartfelt thanks for your generosity and beautiful cards, novenas, and sweets and fruits which have overwhelmed our pantry.  God bless you for your kindness.

One again we are grateful to Hessling Funeral Home, Brendan Murray, supervisor and Richard Hessling for their donation of our beautiful parish calendars.  The calendars will be available as you leave the churches this coming weekend.

May the New Year bring joy and peace and draw you closer to the hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Father Langan

COVID Info

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.

Message from Father Langan, December 26-27

December 26-27

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.

Father Langan

Important Notice regarding Covid

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.

Message from Father Langan, Dec. 19-20

December 19-20

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,

Father Langan

Christmas Eve/Christmas Day Reservations

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.