Message from Father Langan, June 12-13

June 12-13

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Within the next week or so many schools will begin the summer break.  During those 7-8 weeks families will vacation, travel or simply enjoy the weather outside.  Upon their return to the classroom in late summer, students will be greeted by teachers and administrators with remarks like:  What did you do so get so tall? Or, boy have you changed!  It’s all about the mystery of growth.  Growth is mysterious, hidden and surprising.

In today’s Scriptures we likewise hear about the mysteriousness of growth.  That which is alive grows, and to stay alive things must continue to grow.  Our Lord speaks today of the growth of the Kingdom.  That Kingdom advances not only externally, remember that the Church started with 12 and now there is over 1 billion, but also internally.  Did He not say, “The Kingdom of God is within you.”

So how well is that Kingdom advancing and growing within YOU?

Two years ago our parish subscribed to a very important and helpful resource to facilitate your continued growth in the wisdom and understanding of the Faith.  It is called FORMED.  To date only a few parishioners have taken advantage of this excellent online platform filled with over 4,000 Catholic studies, movies, audio dramas, talks, e-books, even cartoons for children.  FORMED has content from over 60 apostolates, including Augustine Institute, Ignatius Press and the Knights of Columbus.  As your pastor, I thought this would be an excellent means to keep you not only informed, but help to develop your understanding of what it means to be a Catholic.  It is a very expensive program and it would be unfortunate if it were to be discontinued for lack of interest.

For the time being our parish will continue to be using the material on FORMED to support our ministries and provide continuing education for staff members and parishioners, as well as outreach for our sick and homebound members.  You have easy access to all the material on FORMED.  It can be enjoyed on your computer or on your television with an inexpensive Roku device or Apple TV.  You can even listen on your phone.  Many relevant topics are covered.  Perhaps you are hesitant to return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) after a long absence?  Watch “Forgiven:  The Transforming Power of Confession.”  Or, would you like to be more confident in answering your teenager’s questions about the Gospels?  Watch “Lectio: The Case for Jesus.”  Have you despaired of finding good movies that your family can enjoy together on Friday night?  There are hundreds of engaging titles from which to choose.

My hope is that the content on FORMED will enrich, deepen and inspire your faith.  Please let me know if you are interested in continuing our subscription and how it has benefited your life.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, June 5-6

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

There is a famine in the land!  That is not meant to startle you or make you anxious about another catastrophe in our mists, but rather to draw your attention to a great hunger if not starvation that is prevailing.  Just as there are belly pains when we do not receive essential nourishment so too there are pains in our heart and soul when we do not receive Our Blessed Lord’s Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.  In truth, this lack of reception of the Bread of Life is a far greater deprivation to our wholeness and spiritual and psychological well-being.

Granted, this has been a most challenging time because of the pandemic and many have struggled to stay connected with Christ, at least by hearing His Word and remotely viewing Holy Mass, but it is no substitute for being in the Real Presence of Our Savior and offering our lives in person and in turn being filled with God.

It has been so gratifying to see parishioners returning to Sunday Mass and once again being so deeply and intimately connected with the Lord.  I am sure upon your return home you were overcome with the joy and satisfaction of again being in the presence of Christ.  This Sunday we celebrate God’s greatest gift to the world.  Corpus Christi or the Body and Blood of Christ.  Our Lord left us this mystery beginning on Holy Thursday night and completed by His offering of Himself on the Cross and fulfilled in His glorious Resurrection.  Every time the Mass is offered we joined in the Paschal Mystery and all the graces God could possibly bestow upon us.  You cannot get THAT in live-streaming.

We are extremely grateful to those who have worked so diligently to provide the live steaming of our Masses.  Our parishioners who are homebound are very happy to receive this service and we shall continue the broadcasting.  Your priests and deacon regularly bring them the Holy Eucharist so they may receive the fullness of heavenly grace.

At the 10:30 Mass, we shall have the Eucharistic Procession around St. John’s.  It is our way of declaring to the world  our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and our joy in knowing that He is with us always.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, May 29-30

May 29-30

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  We proclaim the Name of God every time we begin our prayers; when we enter Church; when we begin Holy Mass.  Our  Lord Jesus has given us the Name of God and it is who we are – our identity.  Today on Trinity Sunday we reflect on Who God is and who we are as Christians.  The indwelling of the Holy Trinity took place in our lives on the day we were Baptized.  Henceforth, we are no longer our own, but we belong to God forever.

The Sacred Presence of the Holy Trinity in our souls is not static, but dynamic.  The Father loves us beyond our comprehension.  He desires us to be fully the person He has created us to be.    The Son has shown us how to respond to the Father’s love and bestows the grace we need to accomplish our growth in Faith.  The Holy Spirit is ever prompting us to sanctify that we might more and more reflect the Presence of God in our lives.  Just as God’s Presence is not static within us nor must we be static in our response.  God awaits ever so patiently our cooperation with the wisdom and grace He freely bestows.  The extent to which we cooperate with His grace we grow in sanctity and affirm that God is truly with us.  Holy God we praise Thy Name!

We have completed another successful academic year of Faith Formation for the children of our Parish.  Because of the Covid restrictions it was a most challenging time for our devoted catechists and our youth.  As pastor I wish to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all our Faith Formation catechists and our director Anastasia Legg who did such a great job.  Thanks also to our parents who cooperated so well in this important work and our children for their enthusiastic participation.  In September we expect to be back in the classroom and once again see your happy faces.

The month of May ends with the Feast of the Visitation of our Blessed Mother to her cousin Elizabeth.  This joyful mystery draws our attention to the Divine Presence of the Son of God in the womb of Mary and the holy presence of John the Baptist in the womb of Elizabeth.  The Visitation is not just a happy meeting between two women, but also the recognition of the sanctity of the unborn child.  Just as we recognize the preciousness of life on this Memorial Day weekend and give honor to those who have sacrificed their lives for the preservation of the truths we hold dear, we be ever more committed to protecting defending the life of the unborn child.

A Happy Memorial Day,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, May 22-23

May 22-23

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We have come to the Great 50th Day also called Pentecost.  For our ancestors in Faith, the Jewish people.  Pentecost was celebrated in thanksgiving to God for the plentitude of the first harvested crops in the Promised Land.  Later it took on a more spiritual meaning as the people of Israel glorified God for the reception of the Ten Commandments which both bound them to the Lord and one another as a community of believers.  From then on the Chosen people bore a grave responsibility to bring to all nations the Truth that there is One God of all peoples Who desires us to live harmony and peace with each other.

Understanding the nature and purpose of the Jewish Pentecost, we as disciples of Christ, appreciate all the more our responsibility to bring the Gospel into the world today.  This mission is entrusted not only to priests and religious, but to all who bear the mark of the Most Holy Trinity by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation.  We cooperated in this great and noble work by unleashing the power of the Holy Spirit and His seven-fold gifts in our lives.  How sad it would be if we left dormant in us these precious gifts by which the world could be converted to Christ.

Today at the 10:30 Mass four of our confirmands will receive these gifts from the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands and the anointing with the Sacred Chrism.  The effects of Covid-19 prevented them from receiving the Sacrament with their classmates when Bishop Bambera was with us three weeks ago.  We are very happy to pray for the support them today as they become fully initiated into the Faith.  May God do great things for these young disciples.

On behalf of our parents and the children of our parish, I wish to thank Anastasia Legg, our Director of Religious Education and our catechist for the First Communion class, Kathy Costa and our Confirmation class catechist, Michael Rosar and all of our dedicated and self-giving catechists, who during the most difficult year continued to teach the Faith in spite of difficulties.  They have been an inspiration to us all.  We are deeply grateful for whole-hearted service.  May God bless them abundantly.

A Blessed Pentecost to all,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, May 15-16

May 15-16

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are coming to the culmination of the Easter season on this last Sunday before Pentecost.  Since Easter Sunday we have been reading in consecutive fashion from the Acts of the Apostles, tracing the development of the young Church.  Today’s passage records the first formal action of the Church in providing a replacement for the betrayer Judas.  From her very beginning, the Church was concerned about Apostolic Succession.  We affirm our belief in this divine truth every time we profess the Creed.  Apostolic Succession is necessary for the preservation of the Truth revealed to the Apostles by Our Lord and the lifeline for bringing Jesus’ Presence to us in His Word and Sacraments, most especially the Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders.  Bishops, the successors of the Apostles, are bound to preserve Christ’s teachings unaltered and unaffected by the faddish trends of the world.  To do otherwise would negate their authority and gravely jeopardize the salvation of their souls.  Daily prayers are necessary for our Bishops who have such spiritual and moral responsibility for the flocks entrusted to their care.

The Gospel brings us once again to the intimacy of the Upper Room on Holy Thursday night.  Our Lord speaks His final discourse to the Apostles and draws them by His Priestly Prayer into union with Our Heavenly Father.  They are moments away from exiting that quiet space and going to Gethsemane where the suffering begins in earnest.  They seem to quickly forget Our Lord’s word of comfort and solidarity and are caught up in the raucous around them; fear overcomes and all but one flee for their lives.   It seems that the pressures of the world have overcome, but in the end the Lord prevails.  It reminds us of how temporary trials and troubles are.  Rather than fleeing we need to remain close to Him Who gives the strength and courage to withstand it all.  This is why have the Advocate, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit with us to conquer our fears and to remain steadfast in the Lord.  As we continue in our Novena to the Holy Spirit may we be confident that the Lord never abandons us and that in the long run He will conquer.

This Sunday our seventh graders will make their commitment to prepare diligently and faithfully for the reception of Confirmation next year on Pentecost.  May they also be assured to our prayers and spiritual support.

And on behalf of all our parishioners I wish to extend thanks to Judy Poltanis and the crew of Honesdale public works for their rapid response to our recent flood situation in St. John’s parking and their getting it back to normal.  And our thanks to Mike Cavage and his crew from Pioneer Construction who restored the bank and sidewalk that were severely damaged by the heavy rains.  We are most grateful.

Blessings to All,

Father Langan

Ascension Thursday Mass Schedule

Wednesday    May 12 (Vigil)  5:30pm                        St. John the Evangelist

Thursday        May 13            7:25am                        St. John the Evangelist

                                               12:05pm                      St. John the Evangelist

                                                5:30pm                       St. Bernard, Beach Lake

                                                6:00pm                        St. Joseph, Rileyville

Message from Father Langan, May 8-9

May 8-9

Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ:

As the final days of Paschaltide draw to its fulfillment we hear in today’s Scriptures the expansion of the Church amongst the Gentiles and the meaning of Christian love.  Nowadays it is necessary to designate authentic Christian love from that notion of love defined by the present day culture.  The love that Our Lord taught us is sacrificial, that is an emptying of ourselves for the eternal good of others.  Jesus makes it very clear that true love is based on following the commandments, just as He obeyed the Father.  Any other “love” is shallow, selfish and ultimately unfulfilling.  True, one must have a proper love for oneself as a child of God with a heavenly destiny.  This requires a well-balanced reverence for our unique and precious being in the eyes of our Creator.  What we see then in ourselves, we must see also in others and thus help each other to get to Heaven.

On this Mothers’ Day we give special thanks to our dear mothers, those living and those whom God has called to Himself, who selflessly sacrificed for us.  Their tender love for us is something we carry with us all our lives.  We, as people of faith, have been blessed to have not only our earthly mothers, but also our Blessed Mother Mary who ever watches watches over us and accompanies us on the journey to the Kingdom.

Mother of God and Mother of us all pray for us as we pray to You and lead us to Your Son.

Remember, that this Thursday we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord to the Father’s right hand.  It is a Holy Day and Masses are scheduled in the bulletin beginning with 5:30pm Vigil Mass at St. John’s.  Please consult the bulletin for the remaining Masses.  On Friday, May 14th, we begin the Novena to the Holy Spirit.  Just as our Lady and the Apostles prayed for the coming of the Holy Spirit so also do we, with joyful expectation, implore His renewal of the Seven-fold gifts in our lives.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Updated Mass Reservation Protocol

Effective immediately reservations are no longer required for all Masses. However, masks covering face and nose are still required to be worn during the entire Mass. Pews will continue to be marked to indicate appropriate physical distance from others.

Message from Father Langan, May 1 & 2

May 1 and 2

Dear Brother and Sisters in Christ,

The 50 days of Easter carry a special significance for those who have entered the Faith during the Great Feast.  This time is known as the Mystagogical catechesis, meaning: the handing on of the Mysteries of Faith.  Not everything studied and taught during the period of preparation for the reception of Sacraments can be comprehended BEFORE the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.  It is only AFTER one is initiated that the Truths of the Faith become clearer and appreciated.  During the Mystagogy, the Neophytes (those who have received the Light) are exposed to the deeper realities of our spiritual and eternal life.  It is a time for further growth in the Faith.  We too can appreciate these days for our better understanding of the Sacred Mysteries.

In today’s Gospel, our Blessed Lord speaks with tenderness to those Apostles-to-be as He is about to enter His Passion.  The setting is the Upper Room at the Last Supper and He is giving His farewell discourse.  He reveals Himself as the Vine, the source of life and strength.  Have you ever noticed the nature of a vine?  It wraps around just about anything.  It goes where it wills.  It multiplies on its journey and it seems that nothing can stop it.  What a powerful image our Lord uses to describe Himself.  All secondary shoots draw their vitality from the main vine.  Their healthiness and strength depend upon their attachment to the Vine itself otherwise their renegade offshoots deplete their strength.  Thus, the need for pruning (the Sacrament of Reconciliation) is necessary in order to receive all that The Vine wishes to give us.

The month of May is dedicated to our Blessed Mother as the New Eve.  Our first mother’s disobedience brought dead into human history; our Blessed Mother, by her obedience, brought life.  We pay Her special honor this weekend at the beginning of Mass by our humble crowning of her image in all our churches.  May our love and devotion console Her Immaculate Heart as we implore Her assistance on our journey to Heaven.

Finally, may I ask those who generally attend the 10:30 Mass on Sundays to respond to this survey when you call to make your reservations.  Do you prefer to keep the Mass time at 10:30 on Sundays during the summer months – June, July, and August or shall we move it to 9:30 as we have been doing for the past several years?  Kindly make your preference known to our secretaries when you call by May 15th.  Following your input we shall announce the time chosen by the majority.  Thank you.

With Blessings

Father Langan