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.

Pastor’s Note, December 12 & 13

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,

Father Langan

Pastor’s Letter-December 5 & 6

December 5-6

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.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Christmas Schedule-2020

Vespers and Benediction

Sundays During Advent

November 29, December 6, 13, 20

4:00 PM at St. John the Evangelist

Confessions will be heard every Saturday at St. Mary Magdalen from 10:30 AM to Noon

MASSES

2:00 PM-St. John the Evangelist

4:00 PM – St. John the Evangelist

6:00 PM St. Bernard, Beach Lake

9:00 PM – St. John the Evangelist

Christmas Day

7:30 AM – St. Mary Magdalen

9:00 AM – St. Joseph, Rileyville

10:30 AM – St. John the Evangelist

12:15 PM – St. John the Evangelist

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Area Penance Services

Sunday, December 6 – 2:00 PM, St. Thomas More (by reservation only-570-698-5584)

Monday, December 21 – 6:00 PM, St. Mary Magdalen

Pastor’s Letter, November 28-29

November 28-29

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We come now to the Holy Season of Advent marked by the stillness and sobriety of a world afflicted.  Unlike previous Advents where people are wrapped-up in manic activity perhaps this Advent can be very special in that it’s a time of quiet waiting and anticipation.  The waiting is to be centered on Christ’s coming.  We await, like ancient Israel, for a Savior and Redeemer.  He came, but a great many did not recognize Him.  He comes, daily in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and still myriads do not recognize.  Indeed He will come again, and for sure there will be no uncertainty and ignoring the almighty Judge and Lord of the world.

Our Scriptures remind us to prepare.  As we wait for the Lord, it is not passive exercise.  Isaiah, the Advent prophet, prays that God “might meet us doing right,” rejecting our sinful ways, hence the need for making a worthy Confession.  Our Lord Jesus warns His disciples that they must keep watch because, like the servants not knowing when the Lord of the house will return, we don’t want to be asleep when we should be ready to receive Him.  St. Paul assures the Corinthians that they “are not lacking in any spiritual gift” as they want.  Neither are we!  But are we engaging these gifts?

Please remember the Mass schedule for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is expanded. 

There will be 4 Masses on the Eve, December 24th:  2 PM-St. John; 4 PM-St. John; 6 PM-St. Bernard; 9 PM-St. John.

Christmas Day:  7:30 AM-St. Mary Magdalen; 9 AM-St. Joseph, 10:30 AM-St. John; 12:15 PM-St. John.

Reservations are required by December 15th.  If you must cancel after making reservations, please call the Parish Office so that others may be able to attend.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Pastor’s Letter, November 21-22

November 21-22

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On this final Sunday of the liturgical year we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.  Most of our solemnities, like Christmas and Easter, are focused on biblical events.  In contrast, “Christ the King” is focused on an idea.  The original motivation for the feast was to celebrate the dominion of Christ that transcends national boundaries and that makes war a sacrilege against the Body of Christ.  Today as it its inception, war, hatred, terrorism torment many areas of the world.  Our work as peacemakers is never over.  Charity and love of the broken are the hall-marks of those who belong to the Kingdom of Christ.

Our Lord in today’s Gospel very poignantly reminds us of the Day of Judgment.  Yes, He will come as King and Judge.  We must be ready for that day.  If we have been faithful and charitable the day or reckoning should not disturb us.  Thanks to today’s Gospel we know how we can inherit eternal life:  feed the hungry: welcome the stranger; cloth the naked; visit the sick and the imprisoned.

At today’s 10:30 Mass we recognize our 8th grade students who will be receiving the Bishop’s Youth Awards.  We commend our young parishioners who have attained this honor because of their faithfulness to Christ and His Church and for their service to our community.  The recipients are:  Mason Avery, Christopher Bateman, Jeanine Busnel, Elizabeth Meagher, Eric Meagher, Abigail Suhosky, and Cassie Ursich.  May God continue to enliven their faith and bring their good deeds to fulfillment.

Please note that we will be celebrating 8 Christmas Masses. Bishop Bambera has allowed us to have a Christmas Eve Mass at 2:00 PM. It will be held at St. John’s. Also on Christmas Eve 4:00 PM at St. John; 6:00 PM at St. Bernard, and 9:00 PM at St. John. On Christmas Day – 7:30 AM at St. Mary Magdalen; 9:00 AM at St. Joseph; 10:30 AM at St. John; and 12:15 PM at St. John. Please make your reservations by December 15. We hope having 8 Masses will accommodate everyone who desires to be at Christmas Mass. If you have to cancel your reservation, please do so no later than December 15.

Thursday is Thanksgiving and we shall offer the great Thanksgiving of the Holy Eucharist at 9:00 AM in St. Magdalen.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Pastor’s Letter, November 14-15

November 14-15

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Trust is a very important word and practice in our present circumstances.  It is so important to Our Lord that He makes it the focus of the parable we hear today.  “Talents”, of course, were a form of money in our Lord’s day; today we use the same term when it comes to recognizing the abilities and capabilities that we uniquely possess.  The talents that we possess may indeed be refined and should be refined by us, but ultimately, they are God’s gifts to us and our recognition of those particular talents in a sense define who we are what God’s purpose may be for our proper use of those talents.

By God’s beautiful and mysterious design, He has entrusted us with the talents that are for returning His glory and serving our brothers and sisters.  A proper education from parents and educators and catechists assist us in developing and expanding the talents already latent in our person.  What a great and fulfilling venture that can be.  Not to mention how many will benefit from the employment of our personal gifts.

But, to be sure, there will come the day when we have to give an account of how well or not we have used the gifts God has given us.  As our liturgical year draws to a close, (remember next Sunday is the Solemnity of Christ the King – the culmination of this strange and unique year), we set our hearts on being prepared for whatever God has in store.  Wisely, like the ideal wife in the reading from Proverbs, we are about the Lord’s work.  Should he find us occupied with using His gifts in service to others we have nothing to fret about.  May the lessons to today’s Scriptures encourage us to be faithful stewards ever ready for the Lord’s return.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Pastor’s Letter, November 7-8

November 7-8

Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

In the Eastern or Greek rites of the Catholic Church and in Orthodox Divine Liturgy there is this proclamation by the deacon or priest:  “Wisdom be attentive”. These words prepare the congregants to listen actively to the Words of the Holy Gospel. Though this command is not part of our Latin rite, we could very well learn to prepare ourselves for the Wisdom that will penetrate our ears, our hearts, and our minds as Our Lord speaks to us through His Sacred Word.  What, after all, is wisdom? God has something to say to us for our benefit, and then He freely allows us to either accept it or turn a deaf ear to it. There certainly are consequences for what we decide.

When the wisdom of God enters into us, we start to see things in a different way. The parable of the wise and foolish virgins makes this quite clear. The unattentive, foolish virgins are mindful only of themselves. They lacked foresight; they were unprepared for contingencies; they expected others to bail them out.  As a result of their self-concern, they missed out on the joyous celebration to which they had been invited.  On the other hand, the wise virgins anticipated a longer wait; they did not think so much of themselves as they did of the bridegroom who they were waiting to honor. They made prudent judgments and so were well-prepared for the unexpected arrival.  How then, are we prepared for the unexpected? Have we been prudent in attending to the wisdom of God’s urgings in our life? Do we take time to ponder the mystery of our existence and its culmination when our earthly journey comes to an end. Those who are always ready and prepared through a life of repentance and grace (Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist) never need to fear. When Jesus, the Bridegroom comes, they will be welcomed into the heavenly banquet.

Following the 10:30 Mass on Sunday, 10 of our seniors will receive the Bishop’s Youth Award. This recognition is bestowed upon those young Catholics who demonstrate a love for their Church and exemplify discipleship by their faithfulness to Christ and His teachings. We offer our heartfelt congratulations to them and pray that in the years ahead they will grow in wisdom and

devotion to the Faith. the recipients are: Nathanael Bateman, John Christiansen, Conor Coar, Azlyn Fritz, Brooke Landers, Eric Lukan, Hannah McConnell, Abigail Meagher, Paul Meagher III, and Shannon O’Day.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Pastor’s Note-October 31-November 1

October 31-November 2, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Only every 8 years are we able to celebrate All Saints Day on a Sunday.  We remember all those holy men and women and children who have gone before us and are waiting for us to join them in Heaven.  This Solemnity gives us a glimpse of eternal life for all who hope in the Lord.

One may ask, “How does one become a Saint?”  Well, from the moment you were Baptized you did become a saint.  All sin, original and actual (if you were Baptized after the age of reason) was washed away in those saving waters; you were then made a child of God with a heavenly destiny; and also a member of Christ’s Mystical Body – the Church.  So what happened to tarnish our saintliness – the reoccurrence of sin!  God in His infinite goodness does not leave us wallowing in our sinfulness. He provides the remedy – namely the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  When we cooperate with God’s mercy, the grace of our Baptismal innocence  is restored.  The penances we take on help to restore the justice due to God because of the destructive nature of our sinfulness.  Penance helps to restore the breach in our relationship with God and others.

The Saints in heaven were keenly aware of this during their earthly struggles and constantly had recourse of God’s healing forgiveness.  They emptied themselves of self-love and gave their lives completely to God and the service of others.  This heroism is what we must emulate as we honor them and hope one day to join them.

Those who did not break themselves off for the love of God and neighbor, but who did not reach that level of perfect love while on earth may find themselves in the waiting room outside of Heaven.  Their saintliness has to be perfected by the purifying fire of God’s consuming love and by our prayers and sacrifices for them.  Our love and concern for our beloved does not end with death.   Death  cannot conquer love and so we offer our love beyond the grave for those souls imploring our help, just as we implore the help of the Saints to assist us in our earthly challenges.  The offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the foremost means of assisting the Souls in Purgatory; the Holy Rosary; and the offering of our own inconveniences  and sacrifices can also be applied to the relief of their Souls.

During the month of November we give special attention to Souls in Purgatory and remember especially those who have been called from our midst.

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and may the perpetual light shine upon them.  May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.  Amen.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

P.S.  If you are planning on the Sacrament of Matrimony in the coming year, it is imperative that you immediately begin arrangements with your parish priests.  In addition to your personal catechesis, couples are required to participate in Pre-Cana classes.

Below is the list for 2021 classes.  Please register as soon as possible to be assured of space.  You may register on the Diocese of Scranton website.

Saturday, January 23, Tannersville (tentative)

Sunday, February 6, Wilkes-Barre)

Sunday, March 21, Scranton

Saturday, May 15, Duryea

Saturday, June 26, Dickson City

Sunday, July 25, Scranton

Saturday, August 21, Tannersville (tentative)

Saturday, November 6, Dickson City

Sunday, December 5, Scranton

Pastor’s Letter-October 24 and 25

October 24-25

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Remembrance is a powerful tool in setting our moral compass and making our way through life.  There is, however, a grave danger if our remembrance is not based on fact, but fantasy.  The desire for truth and honest appraisal of our past must be the criteria for a balanced present and hopeful future.  Sadly, a rant-mentality seems to be infecting our society and the pursuit of truth is literally thrown out the window.  It’s almost impossible to rationalize with those who have a fictitious notion of the past.

Honesty demands that we understand our human nature as broken by original and actual sin.  The only repairer of this brokenness is Jesus Christ.  It is complete folly to think we human beings can create a more just and peaceful world without Him.  In our scriptures today we hear Our Lord remind the Israelites of their past, where they had come from and what they overcame – and not on their own.  It was the commandments which gave direction and purpose to them, love of God and love of neighbor was to be their destiny.  Our Lord reminds them of that in today’s Gospel which He proclaims just a few weeks before He is put to death.

May our remembrances always be crystal clear and truthful. We remember what God has done for us and what we must do for one another.

This coming Sunday, November 1st is the Solemnity of All Saints.  We shall have our regular Mass schedule; the following Monday is All Souls and in addition to the 7:25 and 12:05 Masses, we shall have an evening Mass at 6 PM in St. Mary Magdalen.

Remember that next Saturday night the clock “falls back” one hour as Daylight Savings Time ends.  And finally, for your information, since January, 2020 we have had 28 new families join our parish family, that includes 49  persons totally.  We are very glad they have come to make their home among us and as soon as this pandemic ends we will welcome them at one of our monthly hospitality gatherings.

With Blessings,

Father Langan