Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
Today we commemorate Christ. Today we commemorate Catechetical Sunday, recognizing the beginning of this year’s instructing our young parishioners in the love of God and the practice of the Faith. Parents, of course, are the first and foremost educators of their children in the ways of the Faith and emphatically made that commitment on the day of their child’s baptism. However, in order to assist parents in this awesome duty, pastors are morally obliged to provide guidance, encouragement, and resources for parents. Obviously, a pastor cannot do this on his own, and therefore, relies on selfless and committed workers in the vineyard to assist him and you. We are blessed to have an astounding grove of catechists and director of Faith Formation in our parish. At our 10:30 Mass we shall recognize them and invoke God’s blessing upon them. We are deeply grateful for their service to our children and their parents.
This past year, your priests have been offering a holy hour with Confessions on the Wednesday evenings before First Friday. It seems that this was not and opportune time for parishioners since few or no one attended. Therefore, we will cancel that particular service. Instead, the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered EVERY Saturday morning from 10:30am until Noon in St. Mary Magdalen. In the event of a Saturday morning funeral, Confessions will be heard at St. John’s. Because of the COVID restrictions and the virtual catechesis of our young, we encourage parents to bring their families to the Saturday morning Confession.
We enter this week into the month of the Rosary. Family life willingly grows stronger if families will pray together the Rosary. You are inviting the Lord and Our Blessed Mother into your homes. There is no better way to bring harmony and peace into family life. Please remember that we have our annual Rosary Rally in Central Park on Saturday, October 10 beginning at 2:00 PM. Let us come together as witnesses to the Faith and the power to heal the ills of our country.
Finally, next Sunday, October 4 is the Feast of the beloved St. Francis of Assisi. As is our custom, there will be the blessing of your pets in St. Mary Magdalen parking lot at Noon.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
How often have we heard, especially these days, “Oh, it isn’t fair!” Most of us indeed have a sense of fair-play, fair-pay; and what is rightly due me. This is the way we perceive justice is to be administered. Human nature doesn’t change much over the centuries because the same attitude prevailed in the days that Our Lord walked the earth. But once again Our Lord upsets the apple cart. In today’s parable of the hiring landowner, we hear of workers being engaged throughout the day and all ending up with equal remuneration. It causes a most unhappy stir. Cries of unfair and unjust rouse those who feel they have been poorly treated. Sadly, jealousy rears its ugly head and co-workers in the field nearly come to blows. Anger than flare-ups and even the generous landowner comes under attack.
Should we not hear the echo from today’s passage from Isaiah: “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.” Faith, of course, demands far more from us than a worldly sense of fairness. The Lord asks us to be generous like God, forgiving like God and think like God. Certainly this is a tall order, but God is happy to give us the grace to fill it if only we avoid the pitfalls and sin of jealousy and anger.
Recently I had the privilege of ministering to an elderly man whose final days, if not hours had come. He had a profound love of God, but somehow had not got around to being a member of the Church. He asked for Baptism and Anointing. After a brief catechesis I happily Baptized, Confirmed, Anointed and fed him with the Body and Blood of Christ. I told him there was great joy in heaven and you had to be there to see the joy of his face. A late comer, to be sure, but one who nonetheless received the “landowner’s” generous wage.
We offer our profound congratulations to Eric Diehl and Emily Jonas who married yesterday. In the midst of these trying times love prevails and hope for the future endures. Thank you Eric and Emily for being witnesses to God’s love for the world and in the world.
And our heartfelt congratulations this day (at 7:30 Mass) to Lucie Frey Henry, D.O. who has been received into the fullness of Faith by Confirmation and the reception of the Holy Communion. Lucie and Philip Krupka, M.D. will be married next Saturday at St. John’s. We are privileged to share their joy and assure them of our prayers and support.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Rather coyly, Peter asks Our Lord, “How often must I forgive? As many as 7 times?” Peter is hoping to “look good” in the eyes of Our Lord by being so generous with his forgiveness. And then, of course, comes the shocking response: “Not seven times, but seventy times seven times!” This is the Hebraic formula for infinity. No doubt Peter and the other disciples were speechless, but once again the Master challenges us to leave our preconceived notions of justice and mercy and expand our hearts and minds to think as God thinks.
Consider how many times we have prayed sincerely the Lord’s prayer and utter aloud or in silence: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Innumerable times we have pleaded for the Lord to forgive us, but as we realize there is a condition. And the condition is our forgiving others who have done us wrong. Our Lord clearly points this out in the parable of today’s Gospel. Indeed it is an eye-opener and forces us to examine our conscience and our ability to forgive and seek reconciliation.
When we think of Our Lord’s final words from the Cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” This should give us a great incentive to heal any festering wounds of anger and resentment. As hard as it may be this is what the Lord asks of us.
Many thanks to all who contributed to our outdoor yard sale (flea market) and to all who worked so hard to bring it about. It was a great success and thank the dear Lord for such beautiful weather.
Blessings upon catechists, teachers, students, and administrators and staff as they begin the new scholastic year in which any way they shall be participating. God keep you safe and healthy.
Tomorrow, Monday, September 14 is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. We commemorate this date in 326 when the mother of emperor Constantine, Helena, discover the True Cross of Our Lord, buried with 2 other crosses in an abandoned cistern near the Holy Sepulcher (the tomb of Christ) in Jerusalem. The Cross, of course, is the hallmark of our Faith – the proof of the Father’s love for us and the ultimate reconciliation that takes place in, with and through His Son. Your Pastor is privileged to have a splinter relic of Our Lord’s Cross and will happily bless, from a distance, those attending the Monday Mass.
Lift High the Cross!
If you have not picked up your Faith Formation Material please come on Sept. 8th 5-7pm at CFCC (Cliff St.)
Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if additional appt. is necessary.
Online sessions start Sept. 13th so please check your email this week for Zoom invites from your child(ren)’s teacher(s).
The Sunday Outdoor Mass will be celebrated at noon on the grassy area behind St. John’s Church.
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
This Labor Day weekend we honor all those who work to do those things which contribute to the health and well-being on a farm or factory, or in an office, powerline or hospital or roadways they help to build up the “earthly city.” All work that seeks the good of the human person is sacred. St. Teresa of Lisieux the Little Flower relished in performing the most menial jobs in her religious community for she saw her efforts as a way of glorifying God and serving her fellow sisters.
For the glory of God and service to the community our faith gives labor a whole new perspective. Instead of seeing it as a curse or punishment as a result of original sin, we embrace it as a means of sanctification. In today’s Sacred Scriptures we are challenged to love our neighbor and be responsible in helping them get to heaven. This “holy labor” is a charge given to all of us by Virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation.
Another most vital labor is the education and formation of our children in the ways of Faith and in academic pursuits. Especially, we ask God’s blessing upon teachers, students, and administrators as they begin their noble task. We pray for all those who are off to college and universities that they may responsibly interact on campuses for their safety and that of their fellow students and professors. May all their labors prove fruitful in fulfilling God’s plan for them.
And as we prepare to celebrate the birthday of the Blessed Mother this coming Tuesday, September 8, let us ask her intercession and protection on all.
Please be aware of the collection for the Holy Land that will be taken next weekend. Because of the restrictions during Holy Week this important assistance for our Fellow Christians in the Land of Our Lord was postponed until now. Please be as generous as we possibly can.
St. Joseph’s A and R Society will begin its “Gift of Prayer Christmas Card” Fundraiser starting October 1. You will be able to see a sample at the back of each church soon. Please watch for more details in the October 4th bulletin.
August 29 – 30
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“O God, You are my God whom I seek; for You my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.” (Psalm 62).
Generally, these pastor’s notes are an opportunity to comment upon the Gospel message of Our Lord, however, this poignant phrase from one of the 150 Psalms expresses the interior thoughts of many these days. Longing for God comes from the very depths of our being and St. Augustine, the fifth century heretic – turned – Christian, whose feast we just celebrated also puts those same sentiments succinctly: “Lord, our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”
Sometimes people haven’t a clue as to what they are longing for. There is the knowing emptiness that can lead to despair and cynicism, or it can motivate a person to honestly search for fulfillment. The fulfillment can only be found in one person – Jesus Christ.
So much time and energy is wasted in pursuit of that which time turns to dust. Finding and following Christ is eternal happiness. Even though the road of life may be bumpy and filled with potholes the journey is with and for Someone who will not forget what we may endure and certainly never abandons us on the way.
We can never say: “Oh, but He is the Son of God, how can He understand what I’m going through.” Did He not indicate to His disciples the very purpose of coming into the world – to show us the Father’s unconditional love, to bestow mercy on us?
This indeed is the God for whom my soul longs and yours as well.
We offer our joyful congratulations to our young parishioners who have received the Sacrament of Confirmation this afternoon. We pray for them that their hearts will always long for the Lord despite the many distractions of this world. As they have now been received into the fullness of Faith by the power of the Holy Spirit. May they be energetic disciples of Christ and by their witness bring others to know and love Christ.
Material Pick-up –
Aug. 29th 1-4pm at CFCC (Cliff St.),
Sept. 5th 9-12pm at CFCC
Sept. 6th 11-12pm at Damascus front parking lot.
Check email for more information!