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Pastor’s Pen

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“God has found me worthy to be a minister of His Gospel, and so when I speak, I strive to please God and not men.”     1 Thessalonians 2:4

December 10, 2017

+Dear Friends,

We gather on this Second Sunday of Advent. St. John the Baptist’s cry reaches out to us: “Prepare the way of the Lord!” In 2017-18, just how do we recognize and prepare “the way of the Lord?”

Isaiah, once again, gives us a glimpse of this way. After hearing this reading proclaimed at Mass today, allow the richness of its imagery to transport you to God’s holy comfort where we glimpse the way of the Lord.

In a world torn by war, terrorism and religious persecution, we must express our sadness that the way of the Lord seems so far away. Injustice, tyranny, terror, greed, don’t just float “out there,” waiting for someone to help alleviate them. Advent calls us to reflect upon how well WE help to bring about the way of the Lord in our midst. Let today’s Mass inspire us to recognize the many ways in which we, in our daily lives, can make the Lord ever more present to others! Come, Emmanuel!

At the 10:30 Mass last weekend, we as a parish welcomed through THE RITE OF ENROLLMENT, our Candidates and Catechumens in this year’s RCIA class. We welcome: Amy Springman, James McClain, Joan Valentine, Steven Vogel, Linda Streeter, Sarah McGarry, and Josh Butler. May our parish and the good Lord continue to lead, guide and support them always on their journey of faith!!

May God bless you all!
“O, Come, O, Come, Emmanuel!”
Father Michael Fritsch

 

 

December 3, 2017

+Dear Friends,

Welcome to Advent! The new year of liturgical grace, 2018, has begun! The first words spoken by our Lord Jesus in today’s Gospel set the tone for this holy season of expectant longing: “Be watchful! Be alert!”

We stand ready at the beginning of this holy Advent season, for we do not know when Jesus will return in glory. We open our hearts to Scriptures and reflections that call us to be mindful of the ways of the Lord.

If our faith lives have become “withered like leaves,” as Isaiah laments, let God’s word instill new life in all of us! Let that word penetrate our hearts and fill us with life and joy. One of the beautiful aspects of Advent is the prospect of yet another “new beginning.”

Advent offers us the opportunity to prayerfully reflect on how we are doing when it comes to living, celebrating and praying our Catholic Faith. Whether it is taking the time to come and celebrate the Sacrament of Penance, attending a daily Mass when one can, remembering the Holy Day of Obligation of the Immaculate Conception or taking part in our Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Advent is the time to begin anew. As we reflect on the message of today’s Mass, let this be our prayer: “Come, Lord Jesus!”

And, speaking of reflection, please take a copy of The Magnificat’s Advent Reflections to use during this holy season. It is an excellent resource for Advent reflection and prayer!

You all are aware of the tradition I have done each Advent Season. Each year, I ask that a second collection be taken up to go toward a Christmas gift for each of our seminarians. This goes directly to the guys as a personal “thank-you” and sign of our prayers from our parish. I have often shared with the parishes later just how truly grateful our seminarians are for the support and prayers offered them by our parish. The weekend of December 16-17, we will take up this annual second collection for the seminarians’ Christmas gifts. Let us be generous to them again this year!

Don’t forget, the Holy Day of the Immaculate Conception is upon us! Vigil Mass on December 7th will be at 7:00 p.m., and on December 8th, Mass will be at Noon!

Also, our annual Advent Penance Service is this coming Wednesday, December 6th at 7:00 p.m! A total of 5 priests will be here to assist in the holy Sacrament of Penance.

May our Advent Season be one of prayerful, expectant prayer, repentance and joy!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

November 26, 2017

+Dear Friends,

The readings for the entire liturgical year of 2017 led us to today’s celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King and today’s Gospel from St. Matthew.

On this final Sunday before the holy time of Advent begins, the Lord Jesus tells us just how our activity will be judged when we finally “meet our Maker” face to face. The text is nothing short of chilling, for there is no escaping its central questions.

We are each asked to examine how we have or have not fed the hungry, given or not given drink to the thirsty, welcomed or shunned the stranger, clothed or ignored the naked, and visited or turned away from the imprisoned.

The Holy Spirit is our strength and our guide as we are formed into disciples. At the close of this liturgical year, let us turn to the Holy Spirit, seeking His help to respond to what our Lord Jesus commands of us in today’s Gospel!

Of course, it goes without saying that one can interpret our Lord’s commands in a spiritual sense, also. When it comes to spirituality and knowledge of Christ Jesus, His Church and most especially His Presence in the Holy Eucharist, there are many “hungry, thirsty, naked and imprisoned” people. Perhaps even more so, aiding in another’s eternal salvation is of utmost charity and kindness.

Let us think back to one year ago, November 26, 2016. In what ways in the past year have I fed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked, and visited the imprisoned?

As of today’s bulletin, our parish stands at $8,995 in this year’s United Catholic Appeal. If you have not completed your pledge card, please do so by the end of the month. Again, THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMITMENT AND GENEROSITY TO OUR PARISH AND ARCHDIOCESE!

Father Michael Fritsch

 

November 19, 2017

+Dear Friends,

During the earthly life of Our Lord, a “talent” was an extremely large sum of money. Sixty minas made up one talent and a mina equaled one hundred dinarii. (Now that we have all of our economics straight!)

In Jesus’ day, an average worker earned one dinarius a day. When Jesus told the parable we share today, He knew His listeners would realize that each of the servants had been entrusted with a huge sum of money by their master. This money, well invested, had the potential for earning a tremendous amount more.

The spiritual talents entrusted to us during our lifetime on earth also have the potential for yielding extraordinary results! These gifts must be invested! In other words, they must be used!

When used, they build up Christ’s Bride, the Church. They bring others the treasure that is our Catholic Faith. They bring the Good News of Christ Jesus. They bring us the great privilege of sharing in the sacramental life of the Church, of gaining the necessary graces to reach our goal of eternal life, of bringing others into the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus!

As the liturgical year of grace 2017 draws to a close with next weekend’s celebration of Christ the King, this parable asks us to assess the extent to which we have invested our spiritual talents. Their potential is extraordinary! How extraordinary are the results of our investment in them this past year?

Thanks to all who have returned their pledge cards of Time, Talent & Treasure for the UCA. I thank you for your generous response! As of this printing, our total pledged equals $8,995.00. We are well on our way of reaching our goal! Again, many thanks to you all!!

Remember, our Mass of Thanksgiving will take place on Wednesday, November 22, at 7:00 p.m. Again this year, we’ll celebrate on the eve before in order to help those who wish to travel or are busy that next morning. It’s the perfect way to say “thanks” to the Lord for our blessings! Join us for Mass on the 22nd!

Many thanks also, for your kind greetings and wishes for my birthday, November 11th! They say 60 is the new 40….right!!

God’s richest blessings be yours today and always!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

November 12, 2017

+Dear Friends,

On behalf of the parish of St. Mary and the Archdiocesan family, I THANK YOU for your generous support and involvement in the 2017 CHRIST OUR HOPE – UNITED CATHOLIC APPEAL this weekend! Intention cards will remain in the pews next weekend for those who could not participate in this weekend’s Intention Sunday. Again, THANK-YOU for your fine stewardship of your Time, Talent & Treasure shown to our parish of St. Mary!

Today’s readings offer us words of consolation and words of warning. (Funny how they often do that, isn’t it?) The first reading draws our attention to the person of Holy Wisdom, whose presence can free us from the worries and anxieties of this passing world. Not by magic but by faith are we to live. St. Paul’s beautiful words to the Church in Thessolonica are a comfort for those who recently lost a loved one. In this month of November in which we especially remember and pray for our deceased loved ones, his words strike a deep cord within our hearts.

As Ordinary Time begins to wind down, we start to hear about the “end times.” We are warned to “stay awake,” to be prepared for the coming of the Lord. These scriptural words of warning, which always resound at the end of the Church year, remind us we are to live our lives in preparation for the life that is to come. This time of November always speaks of endings as well as new beginnings. It’s a time to pray for what has passed, in the person of our loved ones. It is also a time to prepare, once more, to celebrate a new beginning of graced opportunity in the coming season of Advent and to mark once more, the coming of Jesus Christ!

The responsorial psalm said it all today: “My soul is thirsting for You, O Lord my God.” Let’s make that our prayer as we journey through these days of November and prepare our hearts during the coming Advent season to welcome the Lord once more!

As a nation, we continue to find ourselves at war. This weekend, the nation celebrates Veterans’ Day! It’s a great day to thank our veterans for their service to our country and the perfect day to offer Mass for the vets, their intentions and for those who lost their lives in service to our freedoms. Having a Dad who served as a B-17 pilot during WW II, and of course celebrating a special birthday that day, Veterans’ Day has always been a very special day for me. Of course, back in the good ole days, going to a Catholic school, we never had school on Veterans’ Day either! We join together in prayer to mark this very special occasion!

And, remember to thank a vet!!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

November 5, 2017

+Dear Friends,

As this Year of Grace, 2017, nears its completion with the great Solemnity of Christ The King in just a few short weeks, once more our readings at Mass zero in on true humility and gratitude; both of which you’ve heard me say more than once, are pretty good definitions of one another. Jesus promises us today: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” In a nutshell, which one shall we choose? The question beautifully dovetails into the great Feasts we celebrated just a few days ago: ALL SAINTS AND ALL SOULS.

As you heard me mention at Masses last weekend, through the generosity of a parishioner who wishes to remain anonymous, we will be taking up a second collection at all the weekend Masses this week. All monies collected will go directly into our operating budget. Our anonymous fellow parishioner will match dollar for dollar ALL MONIES COLLECTED in this second collection! I am so deeply humbled in the face of such generosity to our parish by a parishioner who noticed that our collections are down from where they need to be at this point in our fiscal budget. Therefore, I was contacted and given this tremendous news of generosity! What a beautiful example of stewardship of treasure to our parish! For all who contribute to this special second collection, I offer a sincere and heartfelt THANK-YOU! We will certainly make known the total amount in the weeks to come after all is counted. Again, DANKE!!

I try to watch the budget very closely but as you all know, at times things can be tight. St. Mary is a wonderfully generous parish! We have gained from our ancestors in the faith as well as from the Archdiocese. Now, it is up to us to continue their fine, Catholic example of generosity and gratitude! Remember, also, next weekend is the commitment time for this year’s UNITED CATHOLIC APPEAL throughout the Archdiocese. Our goal this year is $29,499. Each parish has benefited in some fashion over the years from the Annual Appeal, our parish did when building our current church.

May God continue to bless you and our parish!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

October 29, 2017

+Dear Friends,

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” This commandment, described by our Lord in today’s Gospel as the “greatest and first commandment,” is a fitting credo for every Catholic.

In order to fully comprehend this commandment, one must always remember to “link” it with the second com- mandment: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” With these two commandments at hand, we can live the lives Christ Jesus has called us to embrace.

Some wise man pointed out that a beautiful way to visualize these two great commandments is to think of the crucifix. The crucifix is made up two beams; one vertical and one horizontal. Of course, the vertical beam is our relationship with Christ. The horizontal is our relationship with neighbor. You can’t have the crucifix without both beams. AND, you can’t have the crucifix without our Lord Jesus upon it! In other words, you can’t live the two great commandments without Jesus Christ firmly a part of both “beams” of your life!

This coming Wednesday, November 1, is the Solemnity of All Saints. Obligation means just that…it is a solemn Obligation AND Privilege to offer Mass! Masses offered for ALL SAINTS’ DAY WILL BE AT 7:00 P.M. ON ALL HALLOWS’ EVE, OCTOBER 31, AND AT NOON ON NOVEMBER 1ST. All Saints’ Day is a perennial reminder to us to “stay the course;” to live lives consistent with the dignity given us at our Baptism. It is a celebration honoring all those holy men and women who remain our “superheroes” of living the Faith. They show us all that, yes, the life of Christ can be lived with joy!

While not an Obligation, the Feast of All Souls’ on November 2nd is a beautiful Feast of the Church as well. Mass will take place at the usual 5:30 p.m. on that Thursday, followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 9 p.m. Come, pray for and remember your beloved gone before us marked with the sign of faith!

I have written on this before but it does bear repeating from time to time; because many people still do not understand the ‘Rubrics” for the Holy Mass. “Ad Orientem,” “Ad Deum” and “Versus Populum.” What??

For those of you who remember, from time to time I offer the Holy Mass in the optional manner given the priest of the priest and people facing the Lord together. At last year’s celebration of the All Saints’ Day Mass, as well as All Souls’ Day Mass, you may remember that I offered the Mass in a position that differed from the “usual” position of the priest. I offered the Mass “ad orientem” or, “to the east.” Another name for this is “ad Deum,” or “to the Lord.” The opposite is called “versus populum” or, “against the people.”

Those of who are becoming ancient need to remember that Vatican Council II can never be seen as a “rupture” with our past; it is a continuation of the unbroken truths of Jesus

Christ and His Church. This is seen and lived both in teaching as well as in practice. Unfortunately, the Council’s implementation was not always brought about with this eternal wisdom in mind. Sadly, quite often it was incorrectly taught and practiced that what came before the Council was over and done with, while what came afterward was now the “new” truth and practice. This leads directly to the point of “ad orientem” or “ad Deum” and “versus populum.”

The Church has always believed and taught that the Second Coming of Christ would come from the east. Most Catholic churches were built in order that the priest and people both faced east, or at the least, liturgical east, at Mass; in Latin….”ad orientem.” It was never a question of the priest, as some would say of “having his back to the people.” Rather, it was understood that the priest and people join together in turning toward the Lord (In Latin, “ ad Deum.”)

Jesus leads the people of the New Covenant to the heights of Calvary, to the sacred presence of God. Physically as well as spiritually, He leads and we follow. The Church continues this belief; this practice to this day. As a matter of fact, it was and still remains the rightfully assumed position of the priest to be “ad orientem” during portions of the Mass; leading the people, in Persona Christi (in the Person of Christ), to the heights of the divine presence in the Holy Eucharist offered to the Father, (“ad Deum”). The rubrics (from “red” in Latin) in the Roman Missal spell out this directive very clearly.

Following the Second Vatican Council, the practice arose for the priest to stand “versus populum” or, “against the people” for portions of the Mass due to the repositioning of many of the altars from being attached to the rear wall to a position of being freestanding.

This position, (“versus populum”) however, was never mandated nor was “ad orientem,” or “ad Deum” abrogated. It was mistakenly simply assumed to be the norm. As mentioned, it is important for us to know the theological, ecclesial and liturgical beliefs behind the actions of the priest and people at Mass.

Mass at St. Peter’s in Rome is offered “versus populum” when the Papal Altar is used due to its position under the great dome. At all other altars however, the norm of “ad orientem” has been in force. For the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord last January in the Sistine Chapel, for example, the Holy Father offered the Mass “ad orientem/”ad Deum.” When I’ve been on pilgrimage, no one has batted an eye when Mass was offered “ad orientem,” or “ad Deum;” it was presumed.

I’ve again taken this opportunity to engage in some catechesis for a couple of reasons. First, all of us need to be aware of the teachings and practice of the faith; not what we may think they are but what they actually are. I have attempted to explain this one aspect of our liturgical life and practice as Catholics. Second, those of you who regularly attend daily Mass already are aware that I sometimes offer the Mass using the “ad orientem,” or “ad Deum” position.

As mentioned, for the upcoming Holy Day and Feast, I will use the “Ad Orientem” posture. Will this become the “norm” for each and every Mass? No. I will, however, cotinue to offer Mass using both “ad Deum” and “versus populum” positions. As the Church continues to show us, ours is a rich and treasured Liturgy. It is important for us to know and celebrate that Treasure!

May God continue to bless us all!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

October 22, 2017

+Dear Friends,

“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” None of us needs to be reminded about the fundamental meaning of this exhortation of our Lord. Nor, do we need reminded about what it means to “repay to Caesar.” It’s the “repay to God” part that somehow gets us into trouble.

Jesus was telling His disciples that, in the earthly realm, God has given and provided authorities and governments over us. And, just as we benefit (hopefully!) from these governments, we, in turn, owe the government our loyalty and support in all areas of just law. The emphasis here being on “just” law. A law that rejects the respect of life and dignity of each human person requires a collaborative effort to be repealed; all within the framework of government. Again, I believe most people have a good grasp of this.

Now then, what about the “repay to God” part of the equation? Take a deep breath. You have just experienced once again what it means to “repay to God.” It was God Who created us! To give back to God means to give our lives back to Him. This we do in our attitudes, actions and spirituality.

Living life in this way is the way of the good steward who sees everything as a reflection of our Father’s total generosity of love and justice given and shown us through His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ!

Remember our “Welcoming Gathering” immediately following the 10:30 Mass on this Sunday. It’s an opportunity to welcome newcomers to our wonderful parish and to visit with one another! Hope you all consider coming downstairs for the event!

In the narthex you will find a basket on the gifts table with this year’s ALL SOULS ENVELOPES. You are invited to list the names of your beloved dead and return no later than Sunday, October 29th. (Please print the names in order that they might be easily transcribed…thank you!) These names will then be inscribed in our parish Book of Remembrance. The Mass stipend is $10. All of these stipends will be used for Masses for the “Poor Souls” throughout November and the following months. As the Book of Maccabees tells us: “it is a good and holy thing to pray for the dead.”

Our beloved are always with us through the Communion of the Saints. As we pray for them, may they in turn pray for us!

Not too early to again remind everyone of the upcoming Holy Day of Obligation of All Saints on November 1st! Masses will be offered at 7:00 p.m. on All Hallows’ Eve, October 31st and Noon on November 1st. Mass for ALL SOULS’ DAY, November 2nd, will be at 5:30 p.m. with Adoration following until 9:00 p.m. See you all here on those special days!

God’s blessings to you all!
Father Michael Fritsch

October 15, 2017

+Dear Friends,

The parable about the Kingdom of God presented by our Lord in today’s Gospel includes this invitation: “Tell those invited…everything is ready; come to the feast.”

We received this invitation on the day of our baptism into Christ and His Holy Church. In a sense, our entire Catholic life here on earth is like a long procession from our mother’s womb to the place awaiting us at the heavenly banquet.

So much seems to get in our way as we proceed along this processional route, doesn’t it? Sometimes we forget that we were even invited in the first place! Worse still, sometimes we turn our backs, like those in the parable who ignored the invitation.

And yet, our Father is always there, as is that divine invitation. As we depart from the church today, let us remember that the invitation still stands. And, that holy invitation does require an RSVP!

Beginning this weekend, a basket will be placed in the narthex with “All Souls’ Day Envelopes” for you to use this year as we prepare to observe ALL SAINT’S DAY and the FEAST OF ALL SOUL’S DAY. Simply write the names of your beloved dead on the envelope, include a stipend for Mass and return no later than Sunday, October 29, to be inscribed in our “Book of Remembrance” which will remain in the sanctuary the month of November as we, in a very special way, remember and pray for the Poor Souls and our own beloved gone before us. The stipends will provide for Masses for the “Poor Souls” throughout the coming year. The Mass schedule for the Holy Day and Feast Day is: OCTOBER 31-7:00 p.m., NOON, and on ALL SOUL’S DAY-5:30 p.m. WITH ADORATION UNTIL 9:00 p.m. BENEDICTION AND MASS ARE THE USUAL TIME ON FIRST FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3.

God’s blessings be upon you all!
Father Michael Fritsch

October 8, 2017

+Dear Friends,

This coming Wednesday, October 11, an important gathering will take place here in our parish. The Building Committee, along with others, will be meeting to discuss how to proceed with the upcoming Capital Campaign to improve and expand our parish facilities. I ask your prayers for this gathering. Many will be asked to take part in some level of committee work to insure the success of our Campaign. Together, the future is being built for our parish!

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” (Mt. 21:42) Of course “the stone” is our Lord Jesus Christ. Rejected by His own people, He came as the Messiah and Savior of all mankind. Therefore, we build upon the solid cornerstone that is Jesus. To build upon anything else would be to build upon shifting sands; ultimately, all collapses.

As Catholics we build upon Jesus and His Bride, the Church. Given to us by the Lord Himself, we remain in the Church to fully live the fullness of truth, revelation and teaching He shared with the Apostles and their successors. Simply put, to stray from our Eucharistic Lord is to stray from eternal life. We have been given all the necessary “tools” in order to enjoy eternal life, which is a free gift from Jesus Christ. If only we do so! To remove Christ Jesus from our lives and the life of our culture leaves a vast void. Exactly what will fill that void my friends?

So many people are left questioning when faced with the recent Las Vegas massacre. Yes, it was a massacre. As of this writing, 59 souls were lost. Everyone seems to be asking the same question: “why does this continue to happen in our nation?” Some, immediately try to politicize such atrocities…left against right, etc.

I could not believe my ears when I heard one reporter or commentator, not sure exactly what she was, actually say in effect: “I won’t shed one tear for those people; they were probably all Trump supporters anyway.” I do not think I have ever heard such despicable language or comments in my life. Justly, the woman was immediately fired. Still, for someone to utter such a vile statement, speaks volumes in regard to answer to the question of “why?”

In speaking with my good friend Fr. Jim Koressel, we came to the same basic answer to the question. Our culture has become, in the words of St. Pope John Paul II, a “culture of death.” Life is cheap and a throw-away “thing,” not a person with an eternal soul.

When it seems anything will be done to remove any vestige of our Judeo-Christian foundation and yes, moral qualities of other faiths as well, from the public arena, a deadly vacuum is created. Some “thing” will fill that void. When, for example, you even have a “Catholic” school removing statues and crucifixes from its buildings and rooms in order to be “non-offensive,” what exactly remains to fill the obvious void?

Well, I propose to you what St. John Paul, Pope Benedict and now Pope Francis have all stated quite clearly: INCARNATE EVIL. When you remove the INCARNATE SON OF GOD, who exactly do you think rejoices? Without Christ, you have Lucifer. When you have a weekly series entitled, not “Jesus” or “St. Michael,” but “Lucifer,” why do people question “why?” when such heinous acts occur? Can you even fathom TV having a respectful, prayerful series each week about Jesus? NO WAY!

Now some may find my “answer” simplistic; that’s fine, they can think whatever they want. To Fr. Jim and myself, the reason is staring us right in the face and so many refuse to accept it. As followers of Jesus Christ and His Church, our concern is regard and respect for ALL and their immortal souls. Founded on Jesus Christ, let us remain even closer to the True Source of Eternal Life! Just perhaps, our witness will gradually spread. It all begins with one heart and one soul. May St. Michael, Prince of the Heavenly Hosts, protect us in the battle we find ourselves. Oh, yes, my friends, it is a true battle. Not one of guns but of a spiritual nature.

 

October 1, 2017

+Dear Friends,

Missed opportunities. Life seems filled with them. We’ve all had them. Today at Mass we heard another parable. This one concerned the landowner who plants a vineyard. I hope you heard the final line of the parable carefully: “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”

Sometimes we have to wonder if we realize that we were given the responsibility of building the kingdom of Jesus when we were baptized. This doesn’t mean accomplishing great feats of herculean effort in life. Not everyone is cut out for that. What it does usually mean for us is that we nurture and sustain not only our own Catholic faith but we also nurture and encourage the Catholic faith of others. We help to build His kingdom of truth, peace and respect. We willingly invite and encourage others into the Church. We unashamedly let others know how important the Eucharist is in our lives.

Unfortunately, in the days in which we live, deny it or not, overtly signs of our Catholic/Christian Faith, are barely tolerated by many people. We need to always remember the prophetic words of Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI when he was first elected. The Church may be smaller in the future; grand edifices we once built and used may be closed and merged, but the Church will be much more faithful and united in the proclamation of our Catholic Faith. It will be so out of both obedience to the command of Our Lord but also out of necessity.

These are the fruits of the vineyard of the kingdom of Jesus. When we depart from Mass today let’s not roll through this life missing the opportunities to help build Jesus’ kingdom by our acts of stewardship!

As we have entered this month of October, remember it is traditionally known as the Month of the Holy Rosary. As individuals and as families, pray the rosary! Our Religious Ed students will be participating in the praying of the rosary this month also. Our Liturgy Commission will be leading the parish in the recitation of the Holy Rosary 20 minutes before each weekend Mass during this special month. Remember, also, we offer Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament this coming Thursday and First Friday for a generous increase in vocations! Come, let us adore Him!

 

September 24, 2017

+Dear Friends,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.”

It is close to impossible for us to grasp the depths of God’s mercy and generosity, isn’t it? We need look no further than the parable in today’s Gospel for an example.

Most people today would think that the landowner is clearly in the wrong for paying someone who worked a full day the same wage as someone who worked only the last hour of the day. Fair is fair, right?

Obviously the parable is not about social justice or the federal minimum wage act, or labor unions. It is meant to grab our attention and to get us thinking about God’s MERCY. Very simply, our Father’s ways of thinking and acting are often times not our ways of thinking and acting. Our Father wants us to know that we have the need to turn our lives around. God always, always desires us each and every moment of our lives.

Perhaps you could reflect on one way you have experienced the Father’s generous mercy. How does this find expression in your daily life?

Our parish church is beginning to show its age (aren’t we all!?) As with any facility, things wear out and need replacing. For example, there are several spots in the church that need serious repair to dry wall where leaks have taken place over the years. Or, perhaps things can be added to beautify existing space. One thing I often hear from visitors and parishioners alike is, “Father, the church is nice, very ‘Catholic-looking,’ but it’s also somewhat dark and ‘cold.’ Often, while alone in the church, I find myself looking around and thinking the same thing. But, I also ponder, ‘what could we do to make the space ‘warmer’? I haven’t a concrete (no pun intended) conclusion. I will continue to ponder…

So many folks worked SO HARD to insure the success of OKTOBERFEST ’17. As I mentioned last week, I cannot list everyone but the Fest continues to grow each year, which is awesome! BUT, with growth, we always will need more volunteers to make it happen successfully.

We have no final totals as far as funds raised but I am certain it will be fruitful! Again, DANKE, TO ALL!!

May Our Lady bless you all!!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

September 17, 2017

+Dear Friends,

As we gather for Holy Mass this weekend, perhaps in our minds, we think back on the anniversary we observed this past Monday, the sixteenth anniversary of the horrible and diabolical attacks of September 11, 2001. Today’s scriptures are timely and incredibly challenging for us because they speak about forgiveness.

Sirach tells us “to forgive your neighbor’s injustice.” Our Lord tells St. Peter that he must forgive not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Forgiveness in the face of incalculable tragedy, hate and enormous brutality can be unthinkable for many, even for devoted Christians and those who survive such attacks.

Yet, here we are with these words of Our Lord Jesus, calling us to forgive. There simply is no easy answer on an anniversary like last Monday. Perhaps, all many of us can do is simply to pray for an end to violence and hate and those systems of mankind that breed and support terrorism of any kind. Our Lord knows none of us will do this perfectly. He does, however, expect us to try. Today, let us pray for this grace. And, let us pray for our nation and for peace.

We continue our prayers for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. We are SO blessed here not having to face what Texas and Florida experienced. While devastating, it was so good to see folks helping others; putting aside all the rancor and bitterness that has come to characterize our national landscape so much. Let us pray the spirit continues!

Because of bulletin deadlines, I am writing this before Saturday’s celebration of OKTOBERFEST. While difficult to predict, I feel as I write that the event was a success. I want to thank EVERYONE who helped in ANY way with the Oktoberfest-’17! I always look forward to it and I know many others do as well.

A quick reminder that the Parish Council has a meeting this coming Wednesday, September 20, at 6:30 p.m. Work continues on preparations for an upcoming coordinating meeting for a Capital Building Campaign. Together, we CAN do this for our parish! If asked to become involved in a specific manner….please say “YES!”

Have a prayer-full week, everyone!

 

September 10, 2017

+Dear Friends,

In today’s Mass we hear “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” We’ve heard that many times before. Sadly it seems that it goes in one ear and out the other. It’s always good for us to be reminded of this “great commandment.”

We don’t have to look very far to see that this great commandment simply has not taken root in our hearts. What are we called to do? First, we can heed this commandment in our marriages, families, parish and school. Second, we can acknowledge the truth of the great commandment. It comes down to basic respect and Christian charity and kindness. It sounds so very simple but amazingly, we seem to have a hard time putting it to practice. At times, it boggles the mind doesn’t it?

Let us welcome Christ Jesus in this holy place and look to Him to be our strength as we strive to live the great commandment each day of our lives! Perhaps you could name one opportunity you will have in the coming week to respond to the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Our boys and girls have returned to Religious Education Class. It’s a perfect opportunity for us all to pray for them. And, to pray for all parents and catechists as they commit themselves once more to the tremendous heritage we share in the Catholic Church! An informational meeting will take place this Tuesday, September 12th, for RCIA, at 7:00 p.m. If you or someone you know is interested in the Catholic Faith, come along!

This is the FINAL weekend to purchase tickets for our OKTOBERFEST-2017! This is the fundraising event for our parish, so let’s all make it a huge success this year! Volunteers are working very hard to make sure everyone has a great time! See you there!

God’s blessings upon us all!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

September 3, 2017

+Dear Friends,

“What profit would there be for a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” This question, posed by Jesus in today’s Gospel, is without a doubt one of the critical questions for us in the twenty-first century.

A great temptation of us is to fall prey to the notion that the accumulation of wealth, possessions and power is the goal to be achieved above all else. When you stop to think about it, having the blessing of being able to have things in this world is just that – a blessing. Yet, at the same time, what really controls our lives? How generous are we with our time, talent and treasure? What legacy do we really leave behind? The old saying: “I’ve never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul” certainly is true!

Perhaps saying “no” once in awhile to something that I don’t really need in my life is a good thing. It seems that this is what Jesus is trying to get across to us when He asks us to deny ourselves and take up our crosses. The very idea of doing that sometimes leaves us rather uncomfortable. For in our age, the cross is certainly not what we are told is important, or for that matter, necessary in order to follow Christ. I think it’s important for us to pray for one another; to pray for strength and courage to do the will of Jesus; to do all we can through Him, with Him and in Him!

Tickets continue to be on sale for our THIRD ANNUAL PARISH OKTOBERFEST ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16TH! ALL TICKETS MUST BE PRE-PURCHASED. GET YOURSELF ONE OF OUR PARISH MUGS AS WELL!

God bless you all!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

August 27, 2017

+Dear Friends,

Last week’s Gospel focused our attention on the persistent (remember, some would say pushy!) Canaanite woman, to whom Jesus said, “O woman, great is your faith.”

Today our attention is drawn back to Saint Peter, whom our Lord names as the “Rock” upon which He will build His Church. It was to St. Peter that Jesus proclaimed, “You are Peter…to you I will give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

At times it can be somewhat difficult for us to see the correlation between the readings that comprise the Liturgy of the Word at Mass. At other times, it’s not difficult at all. Today is one of those occasions.

For the people first hearing the Gospels, the imagery of “keys” being entrusted to another was quite common. They knew well the Old Testament story from Isaiah we shared today; the story of Shebna and Eliakim.

Eliakim became in effect, the Prime Minister of the Palace; carrying the keys of the palace upon his shoulder and chest. He acted in the person of the king. To him was given the responsibility of either allowing people access to the king or barring their entrance. It was no idle or insignificant position.

Borrowing this truism, our Lord Jesus Christ declared Peter to be His representative; to be the one entrusted with the keys to His eternal Kingdom both on earth as well as in heaven. This, too, was and remains an office of supreme importance in the Church. It was to Peter and his successors, that Christ entrusted His Bride, the Church. He would never leave the Church without leadership and without His voice.

At times, I don’t believe we really appreciate the great treasure and comfort Christ has given us. In a world filled with contrasting and conflicting voices and values, we look to the Successor of St. Peter for reassurance and the authority of Christ Himself. Pope Francis is not the Vicar of Peter; he is the Vicar of Christ!

Ultimately, we have to confess we are a people who don’t much care for others telling us what to do. It is somehow “wired” into our minds to rebel and resist, even when we know it is in our best interest. It is an unfortunate consequence of Original Sin really. First, Lucifer rebelled against God. Next, our first parents, Adam and Eve, fell to the same obsession of pride to rebel against the voice of God. They chose to be “gods” themselves. And, we live with the results to our very day.

Yes, in the Sacrament of Baptism, we were “set aright” and washed clean of this Original Sin. However, the propensity to resist remains a part of us. Like St. Peter himself, we, too, can fall and deny Jesus; choosing our own authority; our own “gods.”

Next weekend, Fr. Mark Gottemoeller will be with us here at MQP. I thank Fr. Mark for filling in for me. He enjoys coming here. I know you will make him feel welcome once more! Danke, bitte!

This week, the parish will offer the gift of Eucharistic Adoration on Thursday, August 31, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. There will NOT be Benediction or Mass offered on First Friday.

Father Michael Fritsch

August 13, 2017

+Dear Friends,

“The Lord will be passing by.” These words, spoken by the Lord God to Elijah, are meant for us as we gather in this holy place for the celebration of the Holy Mass.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that God constantly desires us. It is truly awe-inspiring to think that God is always lingering near, desiring us to turn to Him. God is passing by during each and every moment of our lives; in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.

At times, we discover or experience the presence of God in moments of intense joy, challenge or even sorrow. Remember that God our Father will be “passing by” here in church today; that He will be “passing by” as you get in the car to go home or to grab a bite to eat; that He will be doing so as you settle into your home for some time of leisure.

Of course, it goes without saying that our God remains always with us in the Blessed Sacrament. He awaits us; He invites us, He calls to us. Come, still your hearts and listen!

We pray today to always welcome this “still small whisper” of the Holy Trinity into our hearts, minds and souls as we reflect on the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel: “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”

REMINDER…THE HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY WILL BE CELEBRATED WITH MASS ON AUGUST 14TH AT 7:00 P.M. AND AUGUST 15TH AT NOON! It is a Solemnity of OBLIGATION, my friends! It is also a PRIVILEGE!

Our students are returning to school; I know, it’s way too early! Let us pray for our boys and girls who will be taking part in our parish Religious Education Program, as well as for their catechists. Let this year be a year of true growth in the wisdom of Jesus Christ and our Catholic Faith! THIS is the “still, small voice” which brings us to eternal life!

Have a prayer-full week, everyone!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

August 6, 2017

+Dear Friends,

This weekend, the flow of “Ordinary Time” is interrupted in the yearly cycle. That is due to the fact that Sunday, August 6, is the celebration of THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD.

The Gospel reveals our Lord at a particular point in His ministry when He was especially discouraged. He seriously wondered whether or not He would achieve His mission from the Father. In a moment of intense prayer with Peter, James and John, the Father communicated to the Lord in a unique way. The presence of Moses and Elijah, representing both the Law and the Prophets, reassured Jesus that, yes, His mission would be fulfilled; that He was the fulfillment of the Old. His Messianic Kingdom would endure forever and by His death and resurrection, all peoples might be saved. It is not automatic; we must actively strive for salvation! The Transfiguration was also the Lord’s chosen manner in which to strengthen Peter, James and John for the horror of His coming Passion, Death and glory of Resurrection. Almost as if to say “when it happens, do not forget this miraculous sign of My Divinity.” It is a good thing for us to remember when we face our own trials in our lives as well. This is not the end; Christ has won in the end!

It is not too early to remind everyone of the upcoming HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION OF THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY! Or, in German: “Maria Himmelfart.”(no kidding, that’s the real translation! It means the “going up or rising). Masses will be at 7:00 p.m. on August 14th and Noon on August 15th. Let us honor our Mother and Queen through our attendance at Holy Mass!

“To Jesus, through Mary!”
Father Michael Fritsch

 

July 30, 2017

+Dear Friends,

These several Sundays of parables continue this weekend as Jesus teaches three final lessons about the kingdom of heaven. The first two, the parables of the treasure and the pearl, point to the inestimable value of the kingdom; and, by extension, our Catholic Faith.

The third, about the fish and nets, is similar to last weekend’s parable about the weeds in the field. It focuses our attention on the separation of the good from the evil at the end of time. Jesus’ question to His disciples….”Do you understand all these things?” is directed to US as well.

The goal of our Lord in preaching the parables has been to bring us closer to the very nearness and presence of His kingdom. That kingdom is not something up in the sky or down the road for which we idly wait.

In the sacrament of baptism, we are called to be active builders of His kingdom. As people drawn together and united by the Holy Eucharist, we are called to bring His Eucharistic presence to our world, in order to give the world a glimpse of the fullness of that kingdom that is to come!

On July 20th, Joe Franchville, our Council Chair, and myself, met with the Archdiocesan Building Committee. They gave approval to continue with our building campaign to expand and improve our facilities here at MQP. It was decided to delay the beginning of the campaign until the first of the year, given school is resuming, the fall United Catholic Appeal and, of course, coming Holiday Season. The rendering of the proposed project can be found in the narthex, where it will remain. Prayerfully consider YOUR level of commitment to the upcoming campaign. Without everyone’s support, we will not be able to accomplish the desires of the parish regarding increased space and renovation of current outdated facilities.

Remember this coming Thursday and Friday we will again offer ADORATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT FROM 6:00 TO 9:00 P.M. ON THURSDAY EVENING AND BENEDICTION AND HOLY MASS ON FIRST FRIDAY, BEGINNING AT 8:15 A.M.! Join us as we pray for a generous increase in Vocations to the Holy Priesthood and general intentions as well!

Have a “prayer-full” week, everyone!

 

July 23, 2017

+Dear Friends,

As we gather to celebrate Mass this weekend, we are continuing our journey into the land of parables that I mentioned in my homily last weekend.

Today we hear three parables about the kingdom of heaven. The passage ends with those same words as last Sunday’s: “Whoever has ears ought to hear.” The meaning of Jesus’ parables is often difficult to grasp. This is why the disciples repeatedly ask Jesus for a little help; a little clarification, if you would be so kind!

I suppose we are not that different from the chosen Apostles are we? All of us need a little help in not only understanding the parables but in living them. It’s one thing to hear them; it’s quite another to put them into practice!

You know, that’s why we have the Mass. That’s why we have confession. That’s why we have the catechism. All lead and guide us in the ways and truth of Jesus Christ! Jesus did not leave us orphans. He established His Church, with His Vicar, now Pope Francis, to lead and guide us. Thank God for that! One need only look about at the various factions, all proclaiming to possess the truth; the fullness of Christ’s presence and teaching and recognize the pandemonium which exists without the Vicar of Christ to guide us! It’s up to us to listen!

As simple as that sounds, when you stop to think about it, we must humbly admit that it is not always easy to do so. While we are in the humility mode, I think we would also have to “own” that it is our own sense of pride that keeps us from following Christ in His fullness; at times we actually think we know more than Jesus! Surprise….we don’t!

Perhaps during this coming week, we can ask ourselves in prayer, “how open am I to continue the formation of my Catholic Faith according to the Church Jesus Christ gave to us?” Not a bad topic for our reflection.

This coming Thursday, July 27, there will NOT be a Mass offered at the usual 5:30 p.m. I must attend the Solemn Vesper Service at the Cathedral welcoming our new Archbishop, Charles Thompson. The public is invited to attend. It will be a beautiful prayerful experience at which the priests of the Archdiocese will present Archbishop Thompson with a new pectoral cross, miter, crozier and ring. If you can make it at 5:00 p.m., please consider coming!

On Friday, July 28, after the 8:30 a.m. Mass, I will scoot out to the Cathedral once more, this time for the Solemn Installation of the Archbishop beginning at 2:00 p.m. It is by ticket only due to all the priests from Louisville, his home diocese, Evansville and, of course, Indianapolis in attendance. Pray for our new Archbishop, the Archdiocese and my fellow priests as we begin this new journey together!

God bless you all!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

July 16, 2017

+Dear Friends,

In last week’s readings, our Lord Jesus summoned us to develop the trait of humility. This week we are asked to develop the trait of receptivity.

Due to family obligations, work obligations and the general busy-ness of our lives, often we do not take the time we need simply to allow Jesus to speak to us. The metaphors used in today’s scripture readings remind us that we need to be like the fertile soil, awaiting the rain and nutrients that will enrich that soil.

For us, the “rain and nutrients” are the Word of God, the Sacraments of the Church and the teaching of the Magisterium. Without these key necessities, we will not be the fertile soil, nor will we sprout new life and provide nourishment for ourselves and others. Perhaps today, we could ask ourselves two questions. One, how receptive am I to Jesus? Secondly, how can I become even more so in the future? As always, let us pray for one another on our journey of faith!

A very important and crucial anniversary is fast approaching us. On July 25, 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical letter Humanae Vitae. I was reading Paul Thigpen’s editorial in The Catholic Answer. In part, he said that in this prophetic Magisterial letter, Pope Paul laid out the reasons why artificial contraception is gravely immoral. In it, he noted that the desire to contracept is only one of many modern attempts to extend our control over every aspect of life, including those aspects that represent a mystery not of our own making, much less of our own understanding.

In short, it’s an endeavor to play God, and a dangerous one indeed. When much of a society comes to believe-as ours has-that the miracle of life’s transmission is simply one more mechanical function to manipulate at will, then the “products of conception,” as they are now termed (we once called them “children”) are viewed as nothing more than a disposable commodity.

So, many feel free to abort them. We buy and sell them. We use them as lab rats. We figure their costs to see whether we can work them into our lives.

Pope Paul VI very courageously declared that children are gifts from God to be gratefully received, not assets to be calculated or, even worse, liabilities to be disposed of. Over forty years later, we must acknowledge the Holy Father’s prophetic insight and mourn a world that has largely rejected his warning.

Isn’t it wonderful….we are right in the midst of the season of summer. Sure, we complain about the heat but we also complain about the cold in winter! Perhaps it’s part of original sin; we like to complain! The building committee will once more go before the Archdiocesan Building Committee this week to discuss our feasibility study regarding our possible campaign to renovate and expand our facilities. Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit moves our parish to commitment to this very important asset to our faith family!

God’s blessings to you all!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

 

July 9, 2016

Dear Friends,

Each week we have the privilege to gather in this sacred place we call St. Mary, Queen of Peace to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There is a statistic that someone put together that says that two out of every four people who attend some sort of worship liturgy on a regular basis in this country are hurting in some way. This means that if you happen not to be ‘hurting’ in some way this week, chances are that two of the people sitting near you are.

One reason many people attend Mass is to bring the cares and worries to the altar of God in the hope that the Lord will somehow lift them from their shoulders. It’s not the best reason to attend Mass, but it’s a good one.

Today’s Gospel is a wellspring of comfort and strength. As we depart from Mass today, let us pray that the Lord will give rest to those who are weighed down. Pray that all of us will find rest in the Lord Jesus, whose yoke is easy, and whose burden is light!

This weekend, our parish welcomes Fr. Joseph Cox of St. Meinrad Archabbey and Seminary. Fr. Joseph will share with us their work and ministry. Primarily of course, St. Meinrad was founded and their main mission remains, the education of our future priests. Most priests of the Archdiocese were, at some point in seminary training, at St. Meinrad. Welcome, Fr. Joseph!

It is hard to believe but on July 2nd, I began my 4th year here at St. Mary! Where does the time go? Danville and our parish are both great places to be but YOU all make it feel like home. I thank you for that!

God’s blessing be upon us all!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

July 2, 2017

+Dear Friends,

This week’s Gospel affords us the very consoling words of Jesus, “Come to Me, all you who are heavily burdened and I will give you rest.” Now, who among us does not feel the need once in a while, for a little rest….perhaps much rest! The beautiful image Jesus offers us of the yoke should nudge us to recall that it takes two oxen to pull a yoke. Jesus Christ is our partner you might say. Without Him we couldn’t do it, could we? And yet, how often we forget this important part of the image and concentrate only on the yoke.

You know, each one of us, no matter our vocation or state in life, knows that at times we will stray off the path and fall into sin. Yet, Christ is there to welcome the repentant sinner back; to once more take up His part of the yoke and walk beside us! Thank God He is!

This weekend we as a nation, begin the celebration of our Fourth of July this Tuesday! We pray at Mass this weekend in thanksgiving we have received as a people and for the work that remains for us to do. As President Kennedy said in his inaugural address way back in 1961; “God’s work must surely be our own.” Where does the summer go??!

I would like to announce that Ricardo Laranja, our wonderful accompanist, is now our new Music Director for our Music Program. Ricardo has been playing here for a year now and will direct the choir as well as playing and planning music along with myself. Ed Hennes chose not to renew his work agreement as of July 1, 2017. We wish Ed the best in the future.

Have a great week, everyone! God bless us all!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

June 25, 2017

+Dear Friends,

As was announced on June 13th, the Archdiocese has been blessed with the appointment of a new Archbishop-elect! Bishop Charles (Chuck) Thompson of the Evansville diocese, is going to be formally installed at our Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul on Friday, July 28th. I do not know him personally; only through priests friends in the Evansville diocese. He is said to be very personable. Finally, we have a new Archbishop! It will be a big job to follow Cardinal Tobin but we wish Archbishop-elect Thompson our prayers and support and our welcome!

The Gospel passage we have focused on the reasons why the Lord Jesus came among us: to save the sinner and to call those same sinners into discipleship. So much for falling back on the old canard of “I’m not worthy,” right?

This week, our Lord tells His disciples (and us, of course) that this road of salvation and discipleship is not an easy one. So much for “warm and fuzzy,” right?

If we truly live our Catholic faith we will be faced with hardships. In a society that often values the accumulation of wealth and popularity above all else, it is often very difficult to swim against the tide.

We will endure inner divisions. In other words, our hearts will at times be torn on which way to go, what to believe, what to do. Others will ridicule our values; our solid dedication to life and the teachings of Jesus given us.

Even in the midst of hardship, St. Paul reminds us that the grace of God and the gracious gift that is Jesus Christ will overflow for us; giving us inner peace and joy. Now granted, we all know this is sometimes hard to experience but that’s due more to our own lack of trust than the presence and offer of Jesus. Let’s pray today that the message of Jesus both challenges and offers us hope, grace and joy!

I want to share a true story about Eucharistic Adoration. At one parish, I was in the church and a little guy, I’d say around four, was there with his mom. All of a sudden, he got up, went to the step in front of the altar, and knelt down, gazing up at our Lord in the monstrance. I thought to myself, “THAT’S what it’s all about!” If our parish does nothing else, instilling in our youth a true love for Jesus present to us in the Blessed Sacrament, will take care of all the rest. It was a beautiful example of the young being led to Jesus Who comes to us at each Mass and humbly remains in our midst in our Tabernacles, inviting and awaiting us to come to Him!

May Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, continue to bless you and our parish!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

 

Corpus Christi Sunday, June 18, 2017

+Dear Friends,

“Ecce, Agnus Dei!” What a grand and joyous celebration of our Catholic Faith draws us to Holy Mass this weekend! Today, we proclaim our faith and reverential awe for the “source and summit” of our Faith….CORPUS CHRISTI, the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ!

Allow me to share with you some thoughts of Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI:

“The Solemnity of Corpus Christi is the solemn, public Feast of the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ: on this day, the Mystery instituted at the Last Supper and commemorated every year on Holy Thursday is manifested to all, in the midst of the fervor of faith and devotion of the Ecclesial Community.”

“Indeed, the Eucharist is the “treasure” of the Church, the precious heritage that Her Lord has left to Her. And the Church preserves It with the greatest care, celebrating It daily in holy Mass, adoring It in churches and chapels, administering It to the sick, and as Viaticum to those who are on their last journey.”

“The Eucharist is the Lord Jesus Who gives Himself “for the life of the world.” In every time and place, He wants to meet human beings and bring them the life of God. The transformation of the bread and wine into Christ’s Body and Blood is in fact the principle of the divinization of creation itself.”

“On this Feast day, the Church proclaims that the Eucharist is Its all, Its very life, the source of life that triumphs over death. From communion with Christ in the Eucharist flows the charity that transforms our life and supports us all on our journey toward the heavenly homeland.”

“Let us pray through the prayers of the Virgin Mary, that all Christians may deepen their faith in the Eucharistic Mystery, to live in constant communion with Jesus and be His effective witness.”

In today’s bulletin, you will find the form to commit to one half hour of Eucharistic Adoration each month here at St. Mary. We are always in need of others to join in Adoration of our Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist! There are SO many in our parish who could sign up to participate! Consider offering this time each month to Jesus!

Pray about it. Great things happen in parishes where our Lord is adored in Eucharistic prayer each month! If you have further questions, please SIGN UP USING THE FORM!

As we worship and honor our Eucharistic Lord, let us pray for His divine mercy and grace to shower down upon our families, our parish and our hearts! To quote Saint Alphonsus Liguori:

“Frequent visits to Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar are a great help to the souls that love Him!”

May we always truly treasure this most precious Gift among us!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

Holy Trinity Sunday, June 11, 2017

+Dear Friends,

Today we are given the opportunity to ponder the mystery of God. That should keep us busy for awhile! In a conversation with Moses in today’s first reading, the Lord God declares, “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” Reacting to this, Moses calls the Lord’s people “stiff-necked” and asks the Lord to pardon their sins and to receive them as the Lord’s own.

In the famous passage from St. John’s Gospel, we hear that “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

Today’s Solemnity of the Holy Trinity invites us to praise our Father for His mercy, kindness and fidelity…shown us through the life, death and resurrection of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, through the power of Their Holy Spirit!

A central tenet of Christian faith, we worship One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Just think of the many times we proclaim this faith. Each time we begin prayer, we do so “In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Whenever we enter and leave the church, we sign ourselves with the Sign of the Cross in the Name of the Holy Trinity. When we bestow a blessing, we do so in the same Name. Jesus Christ revealed to us His Father and Holy Spirit….you can’t get a higher authority than that!

May the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with you today, and all the days of your life!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

 

Pentecost Sunday, June 4, 2017

+Dear Friends,

A GLORIOUS PENTECOST TO ONE AND ALL! It is traditionally seen as the day on which the Church went forth to spread the Gospel truth of Jesus Christ. Because each and every one of US, no matter our vocation or state in life, no matter our age or social status, by virtue of our baptism is required to do the same, it is proper to speak of today as our “birth” to evangelization; our “birth” to spread the truth and life of our Catholic faith!

The disciples of Jesus went forth from locked rooms to the big, wide world, armed with Jesus Christ, to speak in His Name, the message of salvation open to all peoples. This serves as a beautiful symbol for all of us to break forth from the locked rooms we often place ourselves into and walk courageously on our own journey of faith, united in the Holy Eucharist!

Perhaps one of the most touching elements of Pentecost is the fact that what once was broken and wounded has now been healed. Through Jesus Christ and His gift of the Holy Spirit, our broken and wounded world has been renewed! On a much more personal level, this healing is ours for the asking!

Today, let us renew our dedication and commitment to the Sacrament of Penance! Jesus Christ gave His Church, through the ministry of Her priests, the power to absolve sins in His Name. That’s a pretty awesome demonstration of the presence and working of the Holy Spirit if you ask me! And so, celebrate healing! Celebrate His presence in YOUR life!

With the celebration of Pentecost Sunday, the Church moves into “Ordinary Time” once more. We will celebrate next weekend the Feast of the Holy Trinity followed by the Feast of Corpus Christi. Why not make your week anything but ordinary by attending a DAILY MASS? You’ll be glad you did (and so will He!)

May the Holy Spirit guide our hearts and minds during this exciting time in the Church!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

May 28, 2017

+Dear Friends,

This weekend, we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Ascension! We hear the somewhat familiar “Jesus said to His disciples” in today’s Mass. Perhaps it is too often we listen to the words as if they were a bit of historical writing and not much more.

We might instead perk up our own ears when we hear these words. Instead of hearing “Jesus said to His disciples” why not hear, “Jesus says TO ME.”

That would be very fitting at this celebration of the Ascension. For His words to His disciples and to us, today call for a renewed dedication to sharing the truth and life that come to us from Jesus through His Bride, the Church. The world is hungry for this life and truth. It is our privilege to share this!

Next weekend, our annual celebration of Easter concludes with the Solemnity of Pentecost. Jesus promised His infant Church that He would send an Advocate; One Who would remain with the Church for all ages to come.

The Holy Spirit comes that we might have life. Life in the Holy Spirit is a life that is dedicated to continuing the life and work of Christ Jesus on this earth. As the fifty-day celebration of Easter draws to a close next weekend, let us pray that the same Holy Spirit given the first Apostles at Pentecost, given us through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, will strengthen us in our own personal efforts to live a life of service and loyalty to Christ and His Church!

I’ll close with the greatest Gift our Ascended Lord gave to His Church: the essential matter of the Holy Mass is its participation in the Liturgy of heaven. In other words: “that’s what the Eucharist is all about! The Eucharist we celebrate on earth has its source in the heavenly Liturgy. And the heavenly Liturgy is the summit to which our Eucharistic celebration looks.”

“And yet, how many of our people in the pews… how many of our priests at the altar…feel that they are being lifted up to partake in the heavenly Liturgy?”

Thanks for reading and God bless us all!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

May 21, 2017

+Dear Friends,

“Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” Taken from today’s second reading, this awesome summons should strike us on at least two levels.

First of all, it is a tremendous gift for us to have this opportunity. After-all, one has to be gifted with Christian faith and hope to offer a witness to it. As members of the Mystical Body of Christ, we have this gift as our heritage and responsibility! As part of this, we need to prayerfully ask ourselves if others even notice that we are people of hope; hope that is Incarnate, Jesus Christ!

Secondly, we need to ask ourselves if we would even share this hope with others. How hesitant are we to even make the sign of the cross before eating our meal at a restaurant? Do we think that others will “look” at us like religious fanatics or something? When someone attacks or maliciously maligns the Pope, the Church, priests, religious or Catholic practices, are we willing to step up and state the truth and defend our Faith?

The glorious season of Easter invites us to ponder the power and mystery of the Lord’s resurrection. The power is meant for a purpose and that purpose is to enable us to respond to the Lord’s call, which we will hear again and again in the next few weeks. That call asks us to go out and spread the truth of Jesus Christ…to let others know that we have been gifted with the power of the Risen Christ to help change our lives and the lives of others!

Ask yourself today: has anyone ever noticed that I am a Catholic? If they have, was it in a good way and how so? If no one ever has noticed anything, why not? Not bad “homework” for the coming week!

Just a brief “heads-up,” the Solemnity of the Ascension of Jesus has been permanently transferred in the majority of dioceses in the USA to the Seventh Sunday of Easter; this year, May 28th.

Therefore, what you may read on your calendar is not correct!

May the Risen Savior shine upon us all this week! God bless you all!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

May 14, 2017

+Dear Friends,

A VERY BLESSED AND JOYFUL MOTHERS’ DAY TO ALL THE MOMS OF OUR PARISH, BOTH LIVING AND THOSE GONE BEFORE US!

Today, we find ourselves on the Fifth Sunday of Easter….yes, the Easter celebration continues. In fact, it continues for fifty days!

The Lord Jesus has “called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.” We hear Him do that very concretely in the Gospel today. He reassures us with these stirring words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled…Have faith in God and faith in Me…Where I am you will be…I am the way, the truth and the life…Whoever believes in Me will do the works I do.”

This is the how the Church, through the actions of Her members (that’s you and me), has “continued to spread” so that the number of disciples “increased daily.”

This increase is what the risen Christ continues to offer the Church through the ministry of Her priests. This increase also continues through all the baptized. As you all have heard me say on numerous occasions, it is up to ALL of the parish to invite others into the Faith; to invite others to come home if they have left for whatever reason over the past few years.

I know what you might be thinking: “Oh, Father, I don’t want to be pushy or judge others.” Is it being pushy or judging to encourage others in your family or the parish family to return to the Holy Eucharist after a good Confession? What’s more important to folks than their immortal soul? And no, “one place is NOT as good as another.” We need to drop that fallacy; and drop it quickly. Jesus Christ established ONE Church and through His Bride, the means unto eternal life…the Seven Sacraments!

We need to get over the false humility which tells us, “oh don’t bother, or let folks alone.” Like I said, we INVITE, we do not judge, we do not condemn. But, we do not “dumb down” truth either. Springtime is the perfect time to begin anew….things are blooming, new life is all around us. What better metaphor for the new life Jesus offers us through His very Body and Blood in the Mass?

As we continue our Easter journey of faith, let us ask the Good Lord, to bless our endeavors and bless those for whom we pray! God bless you all!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

May 7, 2017

+Dear Friends,

“I came that you may have life and have it more abundantly.” With these words, proclaimed in today’s Gospel, the risen Lord summons us to ponder anew the mystery of sharing in His resurrected life.

To embrace this mystery is to embrace a life filled with both abundance and challenge. Far too many people think that following Jesus should mean that their lives run smoothly all the time, they have no anxieties or worries; basically that everything is warm and fuzzy, sunshine and rainbows. Well, Easter surprise….it isn’t!

The only way to the kind of abundance Jesus speaks of is through the gateway He has shown us…His total giving of Self for us. You know what that means… “So I have done, you must do also.”

As we continue to celebrate the glory that is Easter, let us ask the Lord today for the grace and strength to ponder His promise with renewed faith. Remember, two weeks ago we celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday. The awesome words Jesus gave to St. Faustina need to remain in our hearts and lips always: “Jesus, I Trust In You!”

The Good Shepherd sometimes needs to knock the sheep in the rump with his staff in order to get them to go where they need to go and hear what they need to hear! That’s kind of the stuff we don’t want to think about, isn’t it? But, it’s true!

A wonderful witness to all of the above is what our parish celebrated last week at the 10:30 a.m. Mass. When we saw our children making their First Holy Communion, it should have rekindled within us that Eucharistic flame of faith and trust that we profess. When we witnessed their innocence and wonder at receiving Jesus for the first time, it should have made us pray for that same innocence of faith; that same innocence and trust to follow the lead of our Good Shepherd. It served as an occasion of renewal and rededication not only to the Holy Mass and the Sacred Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, but also to learning more about our Catholic faith, our traditions, devotions and truths!

May Jesus, our Good Shepherd; our Eucharistic Jesus, always smile upon us all!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

April 30, 2017

+Dear Friends,

As our Easter Season continues to unfold, we are invited once more to ponder the mystery of the Resurrection. St. Peter’s inspiring words in the first reading call us to an unwavering Easter faith.

St. Peter urges us to hold fast to the things that truly matter, namely the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, to the Holy Eucharist. We also join the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

On that journey, which is actually a microcosm of a lifetime’s journey of faith, we are reminded that it is in the “breaking of the bread,” again the Holy Eucharist, that we encounter the very Presence of the risen Christ! Here we find Him in one another, in the sacred word proclaimed and preached. Here we are called to receive Him, truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in Holy Communion! Let us always come with grateful hearts to this most Sacred Banquet!

Part and parcel of coming with grateful hearts to the celebration of the Holy Mass, is to come with hearts filled with humility as well. A grateful heart is a humble heart. Far too often we come to Holy Mass with our minds totally preoccupied with other things. Naturally, part of this is human reality; we are beset with issues, problems, joys and sufferings. Between all those and the economy, it’s a wonder we can center ourselves on the Divine Mystery unfolding among us at all! But, that is our sacred call. We do well to remember, as did the disciples who recognized Jesus “in the breaking of the Bread,” that this unfolding; this Presence among us comes to us on HIS terms, not our own.

In other words, the Holy Mass is celebrated according to the norms of the Church, not your personal preference; or my own for that matter. How much more we would all gain from the Holy Mass if we would humble ourselves to accept It as It is given us by the Holy Church, rather than It NOT coming to us according to my personal desires or tastes. When we open our hearts, truly open our hearts to Sacred Mystery, we gain so much. So much so, that at the time, we may not even recognize the fact that we are receiving. But, receive we certainly do!

As the disciples on the way to Emmaus humbly came to see and know Jesus, so may we all do the same! God help us to do so!

And, of course, on this special weekend, we congratulate our First Communion boys and girls: Andrew Bratt, Jakob Colclasure, Cawood Florence, Eva Florence, Sean Hartley, Dylan Haught, George Laranja, Oliver Riggs, Theo Pritchett, Chloe Semler, Angel Snavely, and Logan Thompson. May the Risen Eucharistic Christ continue to lead and guide them all through the guidance of the Holy Mass!

Are you interested in being of service to your parish family? Both the Finance Committee and Faith Formation Commission could use a couple new members! If interested, contact either Paul Adams for Finance or Dave Adams for Faith Formation. Pray about it!

Christ has Risen; Indeed He has Risen!!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

April 23, 2017

+Dear Friends,

Each year on this Sunday following Easter, we listen to the Gospel story of St. Thomas, “the doubter.” He has become synonymous with someone experiencing doubts, fears and anxiety in life. He refused to believe that the other Apostles had seen the risen Jesus.

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Poor guy. Let’s give him a break! None of us gathered here for Mass has ever had an encounter of seeing the risen, physical Jesus either. In faith, we gather each week, and even daily, for the celebration of the Mass to be caught up once again in the love that flows from the death and resurrection of our Eucharistic Christ!

Sometimes we allow that flow to ebb like St. Thomas the doubter, especially in the face of trials and pain. That’s only natural. We are human after all. But we need to remember the words of Jesus to St. Thomas: “Blessed are they who do not see yet believe.”

Let us turn to St. Thomas, praying that through his intercession our faith will remain strong, that through the grace of the Sacraments, it will be made ever stronger!

This Sunday following Easter is designated Divine Mercy Sunday. Saint Faustina, a young nun of Poland had the vision we see depicted in the image of Divine Mercy. The words “I trust in You!” are placed below the feet of Jesus. How very appropriate that, during the glory of the Easter season, we proclaim and celebrate the Mercy that is Jesus Christ! We pray that the Divine Mercy that is Jesus, will always be with us!

Our parish of St. Mary will once again be hosting a DIVINE MERCY SERVICE this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. We welcome all from our neighboring parishes who will join with us this afternoon. May Jesus, Divine Mercy Incarnate, bless our parishes, our families and our individual lives!

***An early note concerning the Sunday, April 30th’s 10:30 a.m. Mass: We will be celebrating First Holy Communion for our young boys and girls. Due to the normal high number of folks attending this Mass, if you do NOT have a family member making his or her First Holy Communion, you might consider attending either the Saturday 5:00 p.m. or Sunday 8:00 a.m. Mass.

May you continue to bask in the glow of Easter joy! God bless!
Father Michael Fritsch

 

Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017

+Dear Friends,

A HAPPY AND GLORIOUS EASTER TO YOU ALL!! May the Spirit of the Risen Christ shine upon you on this most joyous day! To those visiting St. Mary, Queen of Peace, a hearty welcome!!

Today hundreds of millions around the world gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. From St. Peter’s in the Vatican to Danville, IN; throughout the world, the defining event for the Church draws people from every race and culture to praise God for the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Each year, today’s celebration of Easter allows the believer to ask in his or her heart: what difference does the resurrection of Jesus make in my daily life? In the past year, since we last gathered to celebrate this holy day, have there been moments in my life in which the risen Christ truly shone forth? Have I lived my life in the light and joy of Easter faith or remained sealed in the tomb of sin, sarcasm and fear?

The Beloved Disciple, St. John, goes to great lengths in narrating the event of the Resurrection of Jesus. He wants us to know that, with his own eyes, he saw the burial cloths, folded neatly in the tomb. To arrange the cloths neatly, as they were found, suggests something quite unique. So his account is precious evidence of a truly extraordinary event. The Beloved Disciple allows us to share in his own experience, to share in the moment when everything began to fit together, when he began to understand fully that death is not the end; Christ triumphs!

Today is the day of days to allow the joy of Easter to ring through our lives! Today is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! Alleluia!

Today, the parish of Mary, Queen of Peace congratulates our chosen Elect who have entered into full communion with the Catholic Church: Matt Maraldo, Joseph Shelton, Cooper Rockwell, Maggie Rockwell, Jessica Bramstedt, Mary Ann Watts, Andrew Watts, Keely Watts, Kathleen Owens, Alex Kent Owens, Coen Carter Smith, Macee Jo Smith. Let us continue to pray for them as they begin their life within the Catholic Faith!

I would like to personally thank ALL those who helped in any way with the planning, decorating and supporting connected with Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum. Your dedication, often unknown, is invaluable! Thanks to the choir and musicians for their hard work and prayer in adding to our liturgies! I could never have done everything myself!

Again, I wish one and all a very joyous Easter Season!

God bless you all!

 

April 9, 2017

+Dear Friends,

This weekend, the Catholic Church throughout the world and the majority of all Christiandom, enters into the most significant days of the entire liturgical year: HOLY WEEK.

On PASSION or PALM SUNDAY, we offer a joyous demonstration of our loyalty to Christ our King. The Mass, however, with its solemn reading of the Passion, is under the shadow of the cross. “Hosanna to the Son of David!” is thus followed very soon by the cry, “Crucify Him!” In many Christian lives, too, the recognition of Christ, by attendance at Mass, is contradicted by sinful acts which nail Him once more to the cross. This weekend is the time to sincerely renew once again our loyalty to Jesus Christ.

On Tuesday, many throughout the Archdiocese will gather at the Cathedral to celebrate the CHRISM MASS. At this Mass, the holy oils to be used throughout the year in the celebration of the Sacraments will be blessed and distributed to all parishes. At this Mass, the priests of the Archdiocese renew our ordination promises. It is a beautiful symbol of our unity and oneness with the larger Church, represented by the Archbishop. It will take place at 2:00 p.m.

On Thursday, the Catholic Church throughout the world begins the SACRED TRIDUUM. The days of HOLY THURSDAY, GOOD FRIDAY, and the EASTER VIGIL are the holiest and most profound days of the Christian soul.

HOLY THURSDAY solemnly inaugurates the “Triduum during which the Lord died, was buried and rose again.” On this day our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist; at the Last Supper He prepared the Sacrifice-Meal that would through the ages unite His members in Himself. We are gathered with the Apostles, to receive from Jesus the great gift of His own Flesh and Blood. Through the ministry of the priesthood, Christ remains present at every Mass. We solemnly commemorate the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Orders as well. Following the Mass, the Holy Eucharist is borne throughout the church to the Altar of Repose for private adoration and prayer until 10:00 p.m. In the garden, Christ asked, “Could you not wait one hour with Me?” On this night, let us join with Him in prayer! The Holy Mass begins at 7:00 p.m.

GOOD FRIDAY solemnly commemorates Jesus Christ’s sacrifice FOR US! We listen once more to the story of His Passion and then venerate the instrument of our salvation, His Cross. We pray for the needs of the world and finally receive our Lord in Holy Communion. Following the liturgy, until the Easter Vigil, Christians experience something of the great void felt by the Apostles after the death of the Lord. The church is locked, like the tomb of our Savior. The Liturgy begins at Noon.

We gather in darkness on the night of the EASTER VIGIL at 8:00 p.m. to celebrate the Passover of the Lord! The light of Christ dispels the darkness of sin in our world and in our hearts as we welcome the newest members of the Church through Baptism and Profession of Faith. We renew our own baptismal vows and join in celebration of the resurrection.

As your pastor, I invite you all to join in the observance and celebration of the SACRED TRIDUUM! These days take priority in our lives; we leave the clocks and watches behind and touch eternity! Please note the times of all Masses and Liturgies of this most Holy Week in the bulletin as well as on the doors of the church. Let us join in solemn prayer and keep vigil; for the Passover of the Lord is at hand! God bless you all!

 

April 2, 2017

+Dear Friends,

With this Fifth Sunday of Lent, the Church enters into “Passiontide.” Gradually, the sacred is removed from our sight; the statues are covered, as are all crucifixes. Our attention is being drawn to the holy of holies: the days of HOLY WEEK and the SACRED TRIDUUM.

Throughout this holy and graced-filled Lenten Season, our Father has been tugging at our hearts, pulling us out of our sinful behaviors and attitudes.

Today we heard what is perhaps one of the greatest miracles related by the Gospel writers. That account; the raising of Lazarus, is the third story of conversion that forms the foundation of this holy time of repentance.

We have witnessed Jesus call the Samaritan woman to conversion. We have seen the Lord heal the blind man and call others to conversion of heart and attitude. With today’s proclamation of the raising of Lazarus, we hear the Lord Jesus summon us out of our own graves of complacency, apathy and reluctance to a new way of life freed from the bonds of sin and selfishness.

We do not need to fear death. “O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them.” Jesus wants us to believe this! A surprising note to the raising of Lazarus is that our Lord tells Martha that believers never die because eternal life begins now, the instant we believe. “I am the resurrection and the life. Do you believe this?”

Within a week, we will begin the solemn observance of Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum. Perhaps we could name one “grave;” one area of our own lives that needs an infusion of new life. Ask the Lord Jesus, Who raised Lazarus from the dead, to enter your life more and more as this holiest of holy times unfolds!

Please note in today’s bulletin the entire Liturgical Schedule for Holy Week! Of all the celebrations of the liturgical year of the Church, this week, this Sacred Triduum, is the most honored and most important for us as Catholics. Make it a priority for you!

God’s blessings upon us all!

 

March 26, 2017

+Dear Friends,

On this Fourth Sunday of Lent, we heard the second of three conversion stories that form the heart of this Lenten Season of repentance and renewal. It’s Laetare Sunday; from the Latin for “rejoice!” The glory of Holy Week and Easter draws near!

Last week we witnessed the conversion of the Samaritan woman at the well. This week, the Lord Jesus calls those who are “blind”, to acknowledge that our Father can and does work in marvelous ways.

In today’s case, the accepted belief was that people afflicted with any sort of disability or disease were so afflicted due to their own sins or the sins of their parents. Our Lord turns this notion upside down and calls His hearers to a new way of acceptance and belief.

Each one of us owns some sort of spiritual blindness when you stop to think about it. Whether that be apathy, indifference, pride, despair, the lack or willingness to forgive another, all of us need the true light that only Jesus Christ can bring to us. I suppose the saddest of all are those who do not even recognize their blindness; therefore they “see” no reason for repentance and the making of a good confession. Pray God that does not include you and me!

Perhaps this week in prayer, we could name a way that we have discovered the presence of Jesus during this Lenten Season. Not a bad suggestion for times of prayer!

It’s hard to believe but in two weeks it will be Palm Sunday! Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum will be upon us before we know it! I will always remember Fr. Spicuzza, when I was a young altar boy, telling us, “If your Lent has proven to be less than you wanted it to be, …you still have Holy Week!” Let us make the good resolve now, to make Holy Week and the Triduum the priority of our lives!

Even though I have already said it, my deep THANKS to ALL who helped in any way, make our recent Parish Mission with Fr. Wade Menezes, such a spiritual blessing for our parish! No wonder it took three years to get Fr. Wade here…he is an excellent missioner! And, he was quite impressed with our parish as well. Coming from someone who travels all over the country, that is quite a compliment!!

God’s blessings be upon each and everyone of us!

 

March 19, 2017

+Dear Friends,

I begin today by thanking ALL of you who helped in any way with our very successful Parish Mission this past week! Fr. Wade did an excellent job in leading our mission and the number of folks attending was wonderful! I pray everyone gained from this beautiful opportunity of grace during our Lenten Season.

Today we hear the first of three Gospel stories of conversion that will unfold in the next three weeks of Lent. They are proclaimed to help the Elect; those chosen and preparing for reception into the Church at the Easter Vigil, to complete their conversion to Christ Jesus and His Church. However, they are also meant for each of one us “old Catholics” as well!

As they travel to Baptism and reception, we walk with them as witnesses to all the Lord has done for us on our own road to conversion. We walk to that same font where, at Easter, we will renew our baptismal promises, recalling the day we were joined to Christ and His Church. He is the living water that springs up to provide eternal life!

As you leave Mass today, reflect on the Gospel story. Imagine yourself sitting at the well with the Lord Jesus. What questions would He ask you? What are the sinful traps into which you have fallen and from which you want to be freed? That’s what Lent is all about for each one of us!

As we continue our Lenten journey, remember, Daily Mass and the Stations of the Cross are excellent means of making this a prayerful Lent for YOU! Our Stations attendance has been very impressive. Of course, there is the Youth Fish Fry going on also, so a great way to take care of both body and soul!

Have a prayer-full week, everyone!

 

March 12, 2017

+Dear Friends,

We welcome Father Wade Menezes of the Fathers of Mercy to Mary, Queen of Peace! Fr. Wade is with us to offer our annual LENTEN MISSION. Each household should have received a post card with all the information regarding various presentations, times for Confession each day, etc. Fr. Wade appears regularly on EWTN and is very sought after missioner. Welcome, Father Wade!

Lent is a forty-day journey of repentance and conversion. Sometimes we do not know where this journey will take us. It demands of us the same kind of faith exhibited by Abram in today’s first reading.

Abram is called to leave all that is familiar to him to go to a place that the Lord will show him. Today we are called, as throughout our lives, to leave sinful ways; ways that perhaps have become so routine and familiar that we are quite comfortable, to go to a new place the Lord has prepared for us.

The Transfiguration of Jesus gives us just a glimpse of that new place, that place of glory where we are one with the Holy Trinity. Jesus purposefully allowed His chosen ones to have and experience this glimpse in order to strengthen them for their own “Lenten” journey of life. The same holds true for us. It is good for us to see and know what the Lord has in store for us….if we follow in His way and remain steadfast.

Let today’s Mass call us to embark on that journey Jesus calls us to whose ending promises great blessings!

As we continue our Lenten journey, let us continue to pray for one another. Together we walk the way of Jesus. Together we strengthen and encourage one another.

God bless you all!

 

March 5, 2017

+Dear Friends,

Today’s first reading on this First Sunday of Lent, describes the moment when our first parents gave in to temptation by eating of the fruit of the tree that God had forbidden.

In stark contrast the Gospel relates the story of the Lord Jesus Who, weak, tired and hungry from fasting in the desert for forty days and forty nights, resisted the temptations posed by Satan.

The second reading presents us with a theological reflection on these two events, reminding us that through Christ’s obedience we have been made for righteousness. As Lent now unfolds before us, let us ask for the strength to be more and more like Jesus, making the refrain of today’s responsorial psalm our own throughout this holy and sacred season: “Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.” In fact, make it even more personal by praying: “…for I have sinned.” One resource for Lent asked a pertinent question for today: What sinful attitude or behaviors do I wish to be freed from during this Lenten Season?

Lent affords us the opportunity to explore the mystery of how sin and death entered the world because of disobedience. And, how that disobedience is “undone” by the obedience of Jesus Christ. We are asked to apply both the disobedience of Adam and Eve and the obedience of Jesus to our own personal lives. In other words, where am I “disobedient” and where am I “obedient?” It’s very personal and answerable only by ourselves. We’ve got forty days to ponder. I wonder if we will?

Don’t forget our exciting upcoming LENTEN PARISH MISSION WITH FR. WADE MENEZES THE EVENINGS OF MARCH 12-15! EACH EVENING WILL BEGIN AT 7:00 P.M. CONFESSIONS WILL BE HEARD EACH EVENING (with the exception of Wednesday night) AND EACH DAY AS WELL! Fr. Wade is an outstanding preacher and is often on EWTN.

You will see in this bulletin that there will be NO MASS on this Tuesday and Thursday. Why? Tuesday I must attend an all day Priest’s Prayer Day at Fatima Retreat House. On Thursday, I am helping at St. Malachy’s Penance Service. Sorry for the inconvenience!

What a wonderful treasure is our Catholic Faith! Let us share it! God bless you all!

 

February 26, 2017

+Dear Friends,

This weekend’s Gospel is a tough one. Jesus tells us: “Do not worry about your life.” If it were only that easy, right? He tells us of the birds of the air and reminds us that our Father provides all life. So, why then worry?

Though He doesn’t come out and say so, I believe it is because of Original Sin that we worry and fret so much. In the innocence of created beauty, Adam and Eve had nothing to worry about. In today’s lingo, they had it made! But then, they chose sin and they “covered themselves because they were naked.” It is the way Genesis describes the lasting effects of their choice of sin; they were no longer innocent and thus ashamed.

It is true however, that the more we can place our trust in Christ Jesus, the more we experience a freedom from worry. Short this side of heaven, I don’t believe that we ever set aside all worry, but it becomes manageable; it no longer controls us. Another way of saying it is, God’s grace takes over.

It is also true that each of us fails to ask the Lord to take worries from our hearts. I heard a wise priest say once that we all fail to specifically ask the Lord for the grace we need in regard to specific things. We seem to believe that to do so shows we are trying to tell God what is important and what is not. But, remember, we do believe in “actual grace.” Now, remember what that grace is? In case you don’t, it simply means the graces we need to address a specific issue or factor in our lives. Actual grace is not magic; we don’t pray to make a free throw in a basketball game, for example, and then lose all faith if we don’t make it. No, I’m speaking of specific temptations, specific healings, specific peoples or purposes in our lives in which we can and should call upon the Lord for His grace to assist us….that is actual grace.

Today’s Gospel offers us the perfect opportunity to remind ourselves of this treasury given to us by Christ Jesus. Let’s do so!

FINALLY, it is time for ASH WEDNESDAY! Masses will be offered, along with distribution of ashes on Wednesday, March 1, at NOON and at 7:00 p.m. Let us begin this holy season of renewal, repentance and grace with open hearts and generosity to the Lord’s guidance! AND, don’t forget that the STATIONS OF THE CROSS will be prayed each Friday of Lent at 6:00 p.m.

 

February 19, 2017

+Dear Friends,

I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t wrestled with how to handle someone they know can’t stand them. In today’s Gospel, such a person is referred to as an “enemy.”

The words Jesus spoke were contrary to common belief and cultural practice. In other words, if someone wronged you, you not only had the right to exact revenge, you were expected to do so! As humbling as it may be, we must admit that there remains a part in each one of us that feels and believes the same way, isn’t there? We know we should feel differently, but when wronged, especially with no justification, it is so very difficult to “let go and let God.”

It should come as no surprise to any of us that without the grace of God, we can never forgive; it’s simply not in our make-up to do so. We are fallible human beings. Without His grace, we won’t be able to do it, plain and simple. Rather than bringing us down in despair, we, as people of faith, should rejoice in this truth. We know that “with God, all things are possible.”

Jesus promises us that if we acknowledge our need; acknowledge our need of His grace, we can be changed from a people seeking revenge to a people of faith! But, it’s still hard to do!

I think one way Jesus allows His grace to work within us in situations like these, is when we are able to recognize that when someone hurts us and continues to do so, they are saying much more about their hearts and their lives than whatever “the issue” may be on their minds. In other words, we may be object of their derision or scorn, but it is they who are in need of healing. When you see someone scowling all the time; someone who never speaks a word of welcome, then you can be certain that their life contains much suffering; real or imagined. Rather than feel slighted, it’s our call to pray for them. And, this is sometimes much more difficult to do than it sounds, right? It is possible however.

This weekend, let us ask the good God to strengthen our desire to be a people of forgiveness; not revenge.

May God, Who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion!

 

February 12, 2017

+Dear Friends,

In today’s Gospel, our Lord instills His divine light deeper into our hearts. He surprised the people, who normally judged others according to their outward actions, by telling them that they would ultimately be judged on a deeper level: the attitudes of their minds and hearts.

The Lord goes on to explain that we may appear calm on the outside, all the while harboring sin and darkness in our hearts. God, however, sees everything in our hearts and sends the light of Christ to shine on this inner self, our soul. There, in the shimmering light of truth that is Jesus Christ, we can no longer deny who and what we are; perhaps who and what we have become by our sins.

The Father alone can replace sin with humility and compassion. As a result, we are able to grow in the love that is the Holy Trinity!

The Feasibility Study is continuing to determine the amount of interest within the parish to pursue the next phase of a Building Campaign for a new Parish Life Center, new or renovated RE building, and administrative offices therein. Much more will be reported as items progress! It is an exciting time here!

It is not too early for you to begin returning blessed palms from last Palm Sunday to be burned for this year’s celebration of Ash Wednesday, March 1st. You will find a nice basket for this purpose near the baptismal font. ALL palms must be in no later than February 26th!!

The parish pays for all subscriptions to The Criterion which individual households do not pay for themselves. PLEASE use the envelopes provided in your packet to pay for YOUR subscription! It saves our parish thousands in funds when folks pay for their own subscriptions. THANK YOU!

I now have hyacinths starting to bud forth from the soil! Spring is coming! Laudetur Jesus Christus!

Have a prayer-full week, everyone!

 

February 5, 2017

+Dear Friends,

Do you seek light in your life, healing for your wounds, answers to your prayers? Who doesn’t, right?

Isaiah tells us in the first reading today, that we shall receive all this and much more, if, and that’s a big “if,” we do the will of God. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

Isaiah spells out for us just how to do His will: share our bread with others, clothe the naked, remove false accusations and malicious speech. Each of us can do these things; it doesn’t take a nuclear physicist to figure out what he’s telling us to do.

St. Paul tells us these things are possible only through the cross of Jesus Christ. In other words, it is the truth of Christ that emboldens each of us to live as He calls us to live.

We make things so hard for ourselves most of the time. How so? Jesus has given us all truth, all life. These are given us in our day through His Bride, the Church. Why do we not embrace His truth, His life? We would rather stand and knock our heads against the wall, so to speak, rather than humble ourselves and admit that Christ and His Church know best; not me.

Christ is the Light of the world! When He calls us that in the Gospel, He isn’t saying that “it’s all about you.” We are not the Light that saves men’s souls…..He is! He is telling us that we must share His light with others; bring others to Him. That is our call; that is our privilege!

We live in a day and time when everyone thinks that he or she knows best; “I’ll follow my conscience,” if they even think in those terms. However, one’s conscience must be “formed” by the teaching of Jesus Christ and yes, His Church, in order to be formed correctly. As I heard a priest say one time: “…we can do things one of two ways. Either we humbly follow the way of Christ or we do not. One way is “easy,” One is not.” Pretty sage advice really.

The Building Committee of the Parish Council is moving ahead. We are in process of soon beginning a “feasibility study” to ascertain level of interest in the general parish for enlarged facilities, such as a Family Life Center, remodeled classrooms and office space. More, of course, will be forthcoming and each registered household will be contacted. We desperately need more space here at SMQP and deferred maintenance must be addressed. Do you know for example, that the costs of operating the 1954 building are MORE than all the other facilities we have in total? Hey, I am from 1954 and I know it costs more to keep me operating!

God’s blessings upon you all!

 

January 29, 2017

+Dear Friends,

To begin, a big thank you to everyone who made our visiting missionary priest feel at home at St. Mary’s this weekend! Every priest that visits here comments on how friendly folks are and welcoming. I know he appreciated your kindness very much!

“I belong to Christ.” This statement, taken from today’s second reading, sums up the message of today’s Mass. Each year, the first few weeks in Ordinary Time include passages about the call of the first disciples.

It sometimes seems unbelievable or startling how immediately these first chosen ones of Jesus abandon everything to follow Jesus, to “belong to Christ.” And just what exactly does “belonging to Christ” entail?

The passage from the prophet Isaiah, quoted by St. Matthew in today’s Gospel, says it all: “The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death, light has arisen.”

As we hear of the call of the first apostles, let us remember the call made to US at the moment of our baptism, at moments we celebrate the sacrament of penance, at those graced moments after receiving our Lord in Holy Eucharist, the call that brings us out of the darkness of sin into the light of redemption in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Remember, this coming First Friday is the upcoming feast of St. Blase, Bishop and Martyr on February 3rd. We will offer the annual blessing of throats at Mass offered at 8:30 a.m. It also happens to be First Friday therefore we will be observing Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 8:15 a.m. before the start of the Mass. Hope to see many of you there!

Stay warm, pray much and attend Mass! It will warm the cockles of your heart! God Bless You All!

 

January 22, 2017

+Dear Friends,

The Gospel today tells us that Jesus “called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed Him.” The call of the first of the Apostles, heard in today’s Gospel, is always placed at the beginning of this span called Ordinary Time as a reminder to us all that WE, TOO, have been called by Jesus and must make a response.

Saint Paul, whose response to the Lord’s call resulted in a dramatic conversion, reminds us that we all “belong to Christ.” We belong to Him primarily through our Baptism, at which we were made members of His Mystical Body, the Church. We are nourished throughout our lives with His Sacred Body and Blood and cleansed of sin through His gift of Penance. What a life! What a gift! What a responsibility to live!

This, then, is our call from Jesus. Perhaps we could reflect today and at times of prayer this week on how we have responded to the Lord’s call to “Come, follow Me.” Let’s do so!

Now a note on the Sacrament of the Sick. Formally known as “Extreme Unction” or the “Last Rites,” this Sacrament is offered to individuals as a Sacrament of healing and strength. Whether it is before serious surgery, chronic illness or sudden need, the Sacrament provides us with the grace of the Lord’s healing mercy.

One aspect that is misunderstood is this: in order for the grace of the Sacrament to have an effect of spiritual and physical benefit, the person themselves needs to make manifest a belief in the efficacy of the Sacrament. In other words, if someone has not lived their Catholic Faith and has no intention of returning to its practice, should they be able to do so, then the Sacramental grace is not conferred. This would reduce the Sacrament to mere superstition or “magic.” Another aspect, while it is certainly understandable that members of the individual’s family would like the person to be anointed, again, if the person themselves has not manifested any desire to receive the Sacrament or does not intend to live their Catholic Faith, the graces of the Sacrament are not conferred.

Similarly, if one were to approach the Sacrament of Penance without true contrition and purpose of amendment, the grace of absolution would not be conferred. One might “fool” the priest, but one cannot fool God. Again, the Sacraments of Christ are not magic or superstition.

Give thanks for the gifts that Jesus Christ has given to His Church!

 

January 15, 2017

+Dear Friends,

“Here am I, Lord; I come to do Your will.” This refrain from today’s responsorial psalm is a beautiful prayer for all believers as this brief bit of Ordinary Time opens before us.

Today, as baptized and practicing Catholics, how fitting that we hear all about being “called.” All three readings speak of listening and following the voice of God. We also hear today the Lord Jesus call the Apostles to follow Him. It’s as if the Liturgy of the Word is speaking directly to us…and, you know what? It is!

In the same manner, through His holy word, the Lord Jesus calls each and every one of us into service for the sake of His Kingdom. As we often hear, whether or not that is as dedicated, faithful married folk, a chaste single life, or as priests or religious, each one of us has been called by Christ!

There is an age-old axiom in the Church universal: “how we pray shows how we believe,” and it rings as true today as it ever has. I truly believe that more and more Catholics throughout the world, are coming to a deeper and clearer understanding of both What and Who the Mass is! The more we believe that, as a recent convert to the Catholic Faith put it so very well, “when we enter the doors of the church, it becomes all about HIM; not me; not about my desires, likes or dislikes,” then we are grasping the true meaning of the Mass. Remember, we are all still learning!

In closing, I would like to mention a future topic I plan on addressing here in my Pastor’s Column….that is the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Even among active, participating Catholics, there is much misunderstanding about this holy Sacrament.

May our Lord’s richest blessings and grace be upon us!

 

January 8, 2017

+Dear Friends,

Again, HAPPY NEW YEAR ONE AND ALL! Today, the Church celebrates the ancient Solemnity of the Epiphany. The three magi, or kings as we call them in song, spent a good deal of their lives searching for the Christ. We are privileged to find Him every day of our lives right here, in Mary, Queen of Peace Church! He is in our midst as the Bread of Life, the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament!

On the Solemnity of the Epiphany, which commemorates the visit of the magi to Jesus, it is tradition that the Epiphany Proclamation is read. I reprint it here for you to enjoy:

“The glory of the Lord has shone upon us and shall ever manifest itself among us until the day of His return. Through the rhythms and changes of time, let us call to mind and live the mysteries of salvation.”

“The center of the whole liturgical year is the Paschal Triduum of the Lord, crucified, buried and risen, which will culminate in the solemn Vigil of Easter, during the holy night that will end with the dawn of the 16th of April.”

“From Easter there comes forth and are reckoned all the days we keep holy: Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten spring, the 1st of March; the Ascension of the Lord, the 28th of May, and Pentecost, the 4th of June; the First Sunday of Advent, the 3rd of December.”

“To Christ, Who was; Who is; and Who is to come, the Lord of time and history, be endless praise for ever and ever. Amen!”

Many Catholic households pray to ask God’s blessing upon the family home on the Solemnity of the Epiphany. The family gathers inside the front door. Using chalk, the following is inscribed over the door: 20 + C + B + M + 17.

Caspar, Balthasar and Melchior are the names given to the Three Wise Men; the Magi. Consider doing this blessing as a family!

My sincere thanks to ALL for your prayers and remembrances offered at Christmas. I thank all who helped in any way with the Liturgies of this Holy Season. I hope and pray your New Year, 2017, is off to a great beginning! God Bless You All!

 

January 1, 2017

+Dear Friends,

A HAPPY AND JOYOUS NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

As the new year dawns, we gather to be placed under the guidance and protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God! Not a bad way to start the new year, right?

She is the Queen of Peace, to whom we can pray for an end to violence, terror and war. She is the Mother of Sorrows, who joins her heart and voice to ours as we lament the sufferings of life. She is Theotokas, Mother of God, through whose intercession we raise our prayers to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who reigns in eternal glory!

This coming Friday, our parish once again offers the First Thursday/ First Friday observance of EUCHARISTIC ADORATION AND BENEDICTION FOR VOCATIONS. Each month, your fellow parishioners spend an hour in prayer and adoration of Jesus Christ present in the Most Blessed Sacrament in humble prayer for more vocations to the holy priesthood and for those young men discerning their vocational call. Each hour someone is present with Jesus in prayer. BUT, YOU are welcomed to join in prayer as well!

The parish that participates in Eucharistic Adoration is the parish in which priority and importance is kept in proper perspective. NOTHING we do as the parish of St. Mary, Queen of Peace in this new year of grace 2017, is of more importance than devotion and reverence to the Most Holy Eucharist!

I invite and encourage YOU to become part of the monthly time of adoration and prayer. Sign up forms are always available in the vestibule of the church.

As our Blessed Mother “treasured all things in her heart,” we, too, have the opportunity as a new year dawns, to treasure the gift of our Catholic Faith in all its fullness within our own hearts.
Mary is our model, our witness, our finest intercessor before her Son. It is so easy to make resolutions; it is quite another to keep them though!

One we can all make and keep is devotion and nearness to Mary, Our Mother. “To Jesus through Mary” is not just a pious sentiment; it is truth! Mary gave us our Savior in the Flesh for our salvation. She draws us ever closer to Him. As this new year dawns, what better resolution to make than to draw nearer to Jesus?!

On this occasion, I would like to personally thank one and all for your kind wishes and expressions of prayer and support offered me at this holy time of year. God bless each and every one of you! God bless you all! Best wishes and prayers for a grace-filled and healthy new year!

 

December 25, 2016, The Nativity of the Lord

+Dear Friends,

A MERRY AND BLESSED CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL!

May the celebration of Christ’s humble birth once again fill your hearts and lives with a spirit of simplicity and hope! To our visitors, welcome! I pray that everyone truly finds these holy days of Christmas to be ones of peace!

Our Advent longing has been fulfilled as we gather to celebrate the birth of our Savior. The joy of Christmas is that the Son of God comes into our lives to proclaim eternal life. Too often we may see the celebration of the Incarnation as just a fond memory of something that happened over two thousand years ago. But always remember my friends, that Christmas is not about a thing; it is about a Person!

Like the shepherds that once hastened to Bethlehem, we have come to this holy place to find and meet Jesus Christ. We come into His Eucharistic Presence; we come to celebrate His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity!

Here we embrace the eternal promise of hope in a darkened world. Jesus, Emmanuel, has come! Let us join our voices with the angelic choir who raised a song of gladness and thanksgiving!

When our old world is in deepest darkness of the longest nights and the shortest days, Catholics dare to revel in feasts of Light! While the powers of darkness speak ever more loudly of doom, terror and war, we celebrate with faith and hope! Christ Jesus offers us the means to not only live in but to overcome the world. We celebrate His everlasting Presence among us!

Jesus, Emmanuel, has come!
Come, let us worship Him!

Let us praise our Father for the Gift
beyond measure!

Please note in today’s bulletin the Mass schedule for next weekend’s celebration of the Holy Day of Obligation, Mary, Mother of God. We will observe the usual Mass schedule.

Know of my every good wish for you and all the families of our parish as we celebrate Christ’s birth! God bless and keep you all!

 

December 18, 2016

+Dear Friends,

As we gather to celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we do so just days away from Christmas Eve and the glorious celebration of Christmas! The fourth week of Advent is always sort of “lost” in the final preparations which need to take place. As you can see, the church is already taking on the look of the Christmas Season. That’s okay; the stable was there waiting for the Holy Family wasn’t it? That’s how the liturgical year falls at times.

As our Advent Season winds down and the upcoming glory that is Christmas soon begins, the readings this weekend pose an interesting question: Have I ever asked God for a “sign?” Most would say “yes, I have.” Today we hear God Himself inviting King Ahaz to “ask for a sign from the Lord,” revealing that the sign will be Mary, a Virgin, expectant with the Holy Child, Jesus, Emmanuel.

Likewise, in the Gospel today, when St. Joseph is shocked to find that his wife is with child, he receives a sign from an angel telling him not to be afraid to have Mary as his wife. The Lord has a good sign waiting for each of us also, if we ask for it. It may not come today or tomorrow, but it will come.

Do not expect to find your sign in superstitions, horoscopes or the like. Expect your sign from Jesus, as He reveals Himself in prayer, the holy Sacraments and most especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, when He becomes miraculously present in the Holy Eucharist!

Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, “God with us.” So go ahead and ask for a sign, expect it to be given and follow it like St. Joseph, with confidence, joy and hope!

Please note the schedule of Holy Day Masses in today’s bulletin as well as those posted on the bulletin boards and doors of the church!

On a side note, the parish offices will be closed for a few days in observance of the wonderful Christmas Season!

As we prepare to celebrate the glorious season of Christmas, I wish you all the peace and spirit of hope the Christ Child offers us!

 

December 11, 2016

+Dear Friends,

If your heart feels like a dry desert and God seems so very far away, then the reading today from the prophet Isaiah is meant for you. Truly, it is meant for all of us.

He speaks to us today that God is coming (indeed, He has come!) with life-giving “rain” to save us, then the desert “will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song.”

In this holy time of Advent, Jesus wants to bless us with rain from heaven in order that our lives may bloom with hope. Are we afraid? Isaiah tells us: “Fear not!” We may think it impossible to live unafraid; at times it seems that way. And yet, we are repeatedly encouraged and commanded to live without fear. God wants us to be fearless. Trust Christ and live free from fear.

In the second reading, St. James says we may need to be patient for this trust to flower in our lives. Be patient, like the farmer awaiting his crops. “Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

Finally, our Lord showers divine “rain” upon us: “The blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed.” His holy “rain” is the grace given us through His Bride the Church in the seven Sacraments. Incarnate within Himself, He offers us the means of eternal life. It’s no small wonder then, that the Church calls this Third Sunday of Advent “GAUDETE SUNDAY”….rejoice!

When I first became a pastor, it was at St. Paul the Apostle in Greencastle. When that first Christmas rolled around, I began a custom which I continued through my time there as well as St. John’s in Bloomington, and have continued the custom here at St. Mary’s. Each Advent, I ask that a second collection be taken up in order to give each of our seminarians a personal Christmas gift from the parish; letting them know that we pray for them at each Mass and for a generous increase in vocations to the priesthood. This is a personal gift to the men, not to the diocese. It means so much to them to know that there are parishes that think of them at Christmas and pray for them and their holy vocation to priesthood!

NEXT WEEKEND, we will continue the custom and take up a collection for them from Mary, Queen of Peace! I THANK YOU for your generous support of our seminarians! Never forget, they pray for us as well! Again, thank-you!

As we continue our Advent journey to the glory of Christmas, let us continue to pray for one another and for all those who have asked us to pray for them at this special time of the year!

God bless you all!

 

December 4, 2016

+Dear Friends,

The Liturgy of the Word today is like the shoot that sprouts from the stump of Jesse…that wonderful image described in the first reading. God’s living word blossoms in this place and shows us the ways of peace and hope!

St. John the Baptist announces the coming of Emmanuel, summoning us to prepare the way of the Lord. Each one of us is called to work toward the day of the Lord, when there will be no more war, no more fear. It will be a day when peace blossoms in our hearts and shapes us as true builders of Christ’s truth and peace.

Some find it a tad difficult to blend the expectant joy of Advent with it also being a season of repentance. But, in reality, you can’t have the one without the other. It boils down to the reality of life that the more one is aware of his or her own need for continual conversion to Jesus and His truth, the more one is able to experience true joy and true peace. We stumble our way through life in feeble attempts to find these apart from Jesus but we know that only Emmanuel can offer us this gift. As throughout the entire holy season of Advent, we pray this day: “Come, Emmanuel!”

A reminder….our ADVENT PENANCE SERVICE WILL TAKE PLACE WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14TH AT 7 P.M. Of course, confessions are heard here as usual on Saturday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Take the opportunity to make a good confession before Christmas!

Note in today’s bulletin the Mass times for the Holy Day of Obligation of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary! Mass will be offered on December 7th at 7:00 p.m. and again on December 8th at noon. Mary is OUR Mother as well as Mother of the Church and Mother of our Redeemer….and we each need Her prayers! Advent is truly a “Marian Season;” a season of expectation; of patient waiting and of faithful trust and joy. Honor our Mother and make sure you make it to Holy Mass for Her Holy Day!

God’s blessings upon you all as we journey through Advent to the joy of Christmas!

 

November 27, 2016

+Dear Friends,

Throughout the Christian world, believers join together this weekend to begin a new Church year; the Year of Grace 2016!

The Holy Season of Advent, reconnects us to the waiting of our ancestors in the faith; all fulfilled in Christ’s humble birth. The Advent season proclaims the renewed vision of the prophets of old. Advent re-kindles in us that sense of holy awe in watching and waiting to recognize once more Christ breaking into our daily lives!

Christ has come among us. Christ is among us. Christ will come again in glory to be adored by those who keep vigil in the darkness and cold of a culture of death at odds with Him.

From this First Sunday of Advent until December 16th, the focus of the season is on Christ’s glorious return at the end of time. It is filled with apocalyptic imagery and drama. From December 17th to 24th, the focus shifts more directly to the glorious celebration of Christmas. As we begin, let us truly Prepare the way of the Lord!

As your pastor, I pray that you all reflect on the opportunities of grace we have before us this Advent season. Celebrate Penance some time before Christmas. Stop by the church for a little extra prayer time with Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament. If the church is locked, use the key pad entrance. Pray especially for vocations to the priesthood and religious vocations. Pray for peace in our families. Make the attempt to offer a Daily Mass now and again in this holy time of waiting and preparation.

Our Advent Penance Service will be on Wednesday, December 14th, at 7:00 p.m. Come and relish in the gift of Christ’s welcome compassion and mercy for those of a truly contrite heart. We will have FIVE priests (including myself) with us to hear Confessions that evening. For your reflection, you will find in an upcoming bulletin, a wonderful “Examination of Conscience” to be used in prayerfully preparing to make a good Confession.

During this coming week, help “Prepare the way of the Lord!” Use those twinkling lights and cheery music to remind yourself of the “reason for the season.”

“O, Come, O, Come, Emmanuel!” God Bless You All!

 

November 20, 2016

+Dear Friends,

I’ll begin with a reminder….our Thanksgiving Vigil Mass will be offered on Wednesday, November 23rd at 7:00 p.m. Come as the entire family and give thanks for all of God’s blessings to us!

The readings for the entire liturgical year of 2016 have led us to this weekend’s Solemnity of Christ the King. This is where the “rubber hits the road.” In the past few weeks, the readings have challenged us to look at the way we use the gifts Christ showers upon us so generously.

This week the Lord Jesus tells us just how our lives will be judged when we finally meet Him face to face. The Gospel is chilling in a sense, for there is no escape from the central question how we have or have not fed the hungry, clothed the naked, welcomed the stranger. It’s not an occasion to be accusatory of others. It’s an occasion to be introspective and prayerfully look at our hearts as we offer glory to Christ our King. Perhaps we will see that it’s time to do a little re-ordering of attitudes and behaviors.

Today’s Solemnity of Christ the King is a symbol and celebration of the endurance of Christ’s Church and a sign of hope. Just call to mind all the kings and kingdoms of the world over history, of how they once ruled with power and oftentimes mercilessly. Think of those governments that persecuted the Church with such viciousness that countless scores of faithful became martyrs for Christ and the Faith. Think now that most are now all gone and the only one that has endured to celebrate the Kingship of Christ is the One True Church that He founded!

As we gather this coming week to celebrate our national day of Thanksgiving, we must call to mind the greatest blessing of them all……The Holy Mass! For this timeless, priceless Gift of Jesus Himself, our hearts, minds, souls and voices need proclaim our thanksgiving!

May our Eucharistic King bless us, our families, our parish and our world with His peace and His grace! Deo Gratias!

 

November 13, 2016

+Dear Friends,

One need only glance briefly at today’s readings to realize that the liturgical year of the Church is once more drawing to a close. These readings are visionary ones describing the “end times.”

Jesus’ exhortation in the Gospel alerts us to the importance of heeding His words: “You will be hated by all because of My Name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” In other words, His words are the words of eternal life. Nothing of this earth will last forever. Nothing else we “hang our hats on” will truly bring us fulfillment and lasting joy.

As the liturgical year draws to a close next weekend with the glorious Solemnity of Christ the King, let us be vigilant at all times, strengthened in our resolve to better live the treasure that is our Catholic faith and welcome the Lord Jesus into our hearts at all times, most especially in the reception of Our King in Holy Communion and through His forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance. In every time and place let us strive to welcome Jesus into our hearts, our minds and our souls! Let us receive him worthily and often. Let us abstain when in mortal sin. Let us remain following the reception of Holy Communion in order to thank Him!

Wow, Thanksgiving is almost upon us already! I don’t know about you, but it sure seems early this year! Remember we will offer our Thanksgiving Vigil Mass on Wednesday, November 23rd at 7:00pm. What better way to celebrate all that God has given us than by offering the Sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ…the Holy Mass?!

On a personal note, my sincere thanks to all who expressed best wishes on the occasion of my birthday! It’s nice to know that there are friends praying for you!

On this Appeal Sunday, I would like to thank each and every member of MQP for your contributions of your Time, Talent & Treasure shown toward the parish as well as the Archdiocese! Extra cards are in the rows and may be returned anytime within the next two weeks. Your support allows our wonderful parish and Archdiocese to continue the various ministries offered. On a local level, the parish is ALWAYS in need of volunteers to make things happen! Prayerfully look over the Time & Talent side of the card and volunteer for something!

I ask for your continued prayers for Mom. She is failing very rapidly. I believe she is ready to go home. Even with that said, her German stubbornness is still very much alive! She and St. Joseph, Patron Saint of a holy death, will work something out for sure. If you sense a certain preoccupation in my spirit, now you know why. It is a day-to-day existence. For all asking for our prayers, let us be generous!

 

November 6, 2016

+Dear Friends,

Notwithstanding the Sadducees’ verbal trickery, the issue raised in today’s Gospel passage is very important: What will heaven be like? You’ve wondered, haven’t you? If in our Father’s Kingdom we “neither marry nor are given in marriage,” will spouses who loved each other in this life experience a complete loss of that love and relationship? No. Think of our Lord’s words, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

This truly suggests that in heaven we shall find no need. The woes and loves of this world will be completely filled by the Beatific Vision of the Holy Trinity. The fullness of God’s love includes our beloved in this life. All the good in our hearts in this life will be retained; only more fully.

The first paragraph of today’s second reading is a prayer of encouragement fitting for our own spiritual journey of faith. The other readings focus our attention on the life that awaits us on the other side of the grave.

During this special month of November when we remember our beloved dead in a heightened manner, it is so appropriate to recall that what we do in this life is done in preparation for the life to come. This can become a little overwhelming at times, can’t it? All of us at times harbor a natural fear of death, while at the same time, giving very little thought to eternal life.

On Friday of this week, we as a nation observe Veterans’ Day. It’s an honored day to give thanks to those men and women who sacrificed for our country and her freedoms from the days of Valley Forge to the sands of Iraq. Many gave the “last full measure of devotion” and never made it home to loved ones. They are remembered as forever young; full of life and hope. The somber lines of markers, each marked with individual flags, tugs at our hearts. I know when I go home and visit Dad’s grave, there is always a flag and, of course, his stone has a B-17 plane etched into it since he was a pilot during WW II. Being born on Veteran’s Day, I guess it’s made me appreciate patriotism and be a great flag waver! I had birthday cakes with flags on them, decorated in red, white and blue and, of course, always got out of school on November 11th! Awesome day to celebrate a birthday! Today of all days, thank a vet for their service!

Our goal this year for the UNITED CATHOLIC APPEAL IS $27, 413.00. As of today, we have already collected pledges and gifts of nearly $6,000.00! Let us generously support the work of the Archdiocese and our parish!! Intention weekend is next week-end, November 12-13.

May we remember and pray for All Poor Souls in this holy time of November! God bless always!

 

October 30, 2016

+Dear Friends,

Today’s reading from the Book of Wisdom makes a fitting prayer to offer before we come to Mass. It provides a backdrop to the Gospel. In the familiar story of Zaccheus, we learn many things. The last line of the passage sums up a main point in all of St. Luke’s Gospel: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Looking into our hearts, I think it’s safe to say that each one of us feels lost at some point or another in life. Jesus catches sight of Zaccheus in the tree. He stops His journey and seeks out the short of stature Zaccheus. Every one of us is “small” spiritually. Our sins keep us that way. Let us pray today that in moments when we feel “small” or insignificant, the good God will catch sight of us and change everything!

We are a day early but… Happy All Hallows’ Eve! All Hallows, All Saints and All Souls, form a liturgical “triduum” of prayer. On Monday and Tuesday, October 31st and November 1st, the Church celebrates the SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS. The Church calls all the baptized to come together in celebration of the promise of eternal life for those who put their faith in Jesus Christ! The promise has been fulfilled in the heroic lives of all the saints who have gone before us in faith. All Saints’ Day is a reminder to us to “stay the course”, to live lives in faithful witness to the great gift and treasure received in Baptism. The saints stand as models of charity, courage and faith. Mass will be offered at 7:00 p.m. on October 31st. On November 1st, Mass will be offered at Noon.

On Wednesday, November 2nd, the Church celebrates the Feast of ALL SOULS. It is the special day set aside to gather for Mass in prayer for all those who have died. In a particular way, we pray for those who await the fullness of the Beatific Vision. Those in Purgatory need our prayers as we need theirs. Through the COMMUNION OF THE SAINTS, we ask those on earth to pray for us; we ask the saints to intercede on our behalf; we in turn pray for our beloved dead.
Come to Mass on All Souls’ Day at 8:30 a.m.! Remember your beloved dead. Pray for them. They pray for us!

May all the Angels and Saints pray for us all!

 

October 23, 2016

+Dear Friends,

When one considers the vastness of the universe, made by God, it is sometimes sort of difficult even to conceive that our Father hears our individual prayers, is it not? Yet, this is exactly what the readings at Mass this weekend tell us: “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest until it reaches its goal.”

So, who is the “lowly” person? It is the humble person. It is the person who recognizes and admits to the good God that He is in control. It is the person who freely submits to Christ Jesus and His teachings and Gospel. It is the person who knows in his or her heart that we have the assurance of faithful teaching and life in the person of Pope Francis and the Magisterium of the Church.

Last week we were reminded to be persistent in prayer and to support one another in the practice of prayer. This week calls for honesty in prayer. It may be as simple as making the words of the tax collector in today’s Gospel our own: “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

Be sure to return your ALL SOULS’ ENVELOPES this weekend, if you have not done so! The names will be inscribed in our BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE and remain in the sanctuary in special prayer throughout the month of November. Remember, these must be in by October 25th!!

You will note in this weekend’s bulletin, that there will NOT be a daily Mass offered this Tuesday, October 25th or Thursday, October 27th here at St. Mary’s. Tuesday is our mandatory Fall Priests’ Business Meeting to be held way down in Jennings County. Thursday is a mandatory session explaining the new, revised Rite of Marriage Preparation and Ceremony. I won’t be able to be back in time for those evening Masses. Would that I could! More meetings. Sometimes you feel like good old Job: “why me Oh, Lord?” Oh well, we try to maintain “an attitude of gratitude!”

You all have a prayer-full week!

 

October 16, 2016

+Dear Friends,

The arms of Moses grow weary in today’s first reading. As long as he kept his arms raised high, the Israelites had the better of the fight, but when his arms were lowered, the Israelites would fall low in battle.

Aaron and Hur assist Moses by keeping his arms held high when he grows weary. Their persistence pays off as the Israelites win the decisive battle. Persistence is also the main point in today’s Gospel.

As Catholics we are blessed to express our faith in the company of a nurturing community both locally as well as universally. Sometimes we grow weary, don’t we? Sometimes our prayer needs the support and compassion of those who will lift us up. At these times it is important for us to hold one another up so that our persistent prayers are constantly offered to our Lord! As we go forth from Mass today, let us pray in a spirit of thanksgiving for the gift of one another in the unity of faith and belief grounded in the Holy Eucharist!

This weekend you will continue to find the ALL SOULS’ DAY envelopes available on the gifts table in front of the baptismal font. Please feel free to place the names of your beloved dead on the envelope and return them no later than OCTOBER 23RD in order that the names can be inscribed into our BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE for this year’s month of All Souls, November.

ALL SAINTS’ DAY VIGIL MASS WILL BE OCTOBER 31ST, ALL HALLOWS’ EVE, AT 7:00 P.M. ON NOVEMBER 1ST, MASS WILL BE AT NOON! Mass for ALL SOULS’ will be offered on WEDNESDAY, November 2nd at the usual 8:30 a.m.

Growing up, I always looked forward to the month of November. True, going to a Catholic School, we always had November 1st as a free day so we didn’t have to go to school the day after Halloween! And, yes, I never went to school on my birthday because of Veterans’ Day!

But, the month was and still remains very special to me for another important reason. I always felt close to my family and loved ones who had died. As a Catholic, I always appreciated and loved the prayers offered for deceased aunts, uncles, cousins, grandfathers, etc. As I lost my two grandmas and now of course, Dad, November continues to hold a powerful hold. There’s something about the COMMUNION OF THE SAINTS that I find very comforting. As the circle of family grows closer here on earth, it grows ever wider in heaven.

As we remember and pray for those gone in death, they pray for us! I find that very comforting. I feel sorry for those outside the Church who have jettisoned the belief in the saints and their intercession in our lives. Whether we are cleansed and purged of our sins in this life, or in purgatory, we all need the prayers of others!

Of course, I must make mention of the tremendous honor given to Archbishop Tobin and the Archdiocese! For the first time in our history, Indianapolis now has a CARDINAL-ARCHBISHOP! He is now a Cardinal-Elector in the next Papal Conclave to elect a new Pope! Just for future reference, when you now meet the Archbishop, call him “Your Eminence!” Let us continue to pray for him as he now undertakes this responsibility!

God Bless You All!

 

October 9, 2016

+Dear Friends,

You know, there are many responses to the reception of a gift. Remember back to Christmas Days in the past when you opened something and it just wasn’t what you really wanted? Sort of hard sometimes to hide disappointment, isn’t it? Or, when you’ve gifted someone else and you can just tell that they don’t particularly like your choice of gift?

Some people like to flaunt their fortune. Others become self-absorbed. Today’s readings in- vite us to respond to God’s gifts in a simple way. We are called to offer thanks. Each time we gather for the offering of Holy Mass; for the offering of the Eucharist, a word that means “thanksgiving,” we have the opportunity of a life time to say “thank-you” to the Father.

Like Naaman and the grateful leper, we come before the Lord to give thanks for our families and friends, for our Catholic Faith, for the many blessings we have each received and, most of all, for the Gift of Jesus Himself in the Most Holy Eucharist!

I think quite often, we can learn much from the grateful leper. This one grateful leper returned and perceived that with Jesus, something more and something better is offered than simply returning to our old way of life.

We all know, at times it’s hard to be anything but thankful when we dwell on the problems, sufferings and real pain that confront us in life. This life is not heaven, no matter how much we wish it were. As the hymn says: “We walk by faith.” And because of faith, we are called to thanksgiving.

The Mass this weekend affords us the time to reflect upon blessings and thanksgiving. Are we a people who walk through life with grateful hearts? In what ways in the coming week can we offer thanks to God our Father for all we have been given? How can we share this with others?

It is somewhat hard to believe but it’s that time of year again when we make available to the parish, the envelopes for ALL SOULS’ DAY. The envelopes will be in the narthex for the next three weekends for you to include the names of your beloved dead which will be written into our BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE, which will remain in the sanctuary during the holy month of November when we traditionally make a special effort to remember and pray for the dead. It is asked that all envelopes be returned no later than Sunday, October 30th to be inscribed into the book.

God’s blessings to you all!

 

October 2, 2016

+Dear Friends,

“The Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce fruit.” This final line from today’s Gospel continues to challenge us, as have the Scriptures for the past several weeks.

It asks us to remember what happened when we were baptized. For some, that important event was long ago. For others, it has been rather recently celebrated. Either way, we were “christened;” we ‘put on’ Jesus Christ and His mission, His truth, His life. These were made our own.

This certainly doesn’t necessarily mean accomplishing ‘great feats’ of discipleship in this life. Much of what we are called to live and truly be, is hidden from the eyes of this world. What it usually means is that we nurture and sustain our faith life by active participation in the liturgical life of the Church, adoration of Christ in the Eucharist purely for love of Him, prayer for others and acts of Christian charity. These are all the fruits of the vineyard of the Kingdom of God.

On this Respect Life Sunday, let us all renew our commitment to the protection of all human life, from conception to natural death. As Catholics, it is of eternal consequence that we “practice what we preach.” The support of life is the utmost “issue” of our faith and its practice. Yes, it trumps all other “issues” and concerns.

All Catholic teaching stems from the firm belief in the dignity of each life; therefore, life must be protected from the first moment of its conception. It is NOT a matter of “choice.” It is a matter of life!

Some of you are aware that I was originally to be away this next week leading a pilgrimage to Italy. This was set up long before knowing I was being transferred to Mary, Queen of Peace. The pilgrimage didn’t materialize due to lack of numbers able to go. Therefore, having already secured a missionary to come, I am taking some days to learn more about Spiritual Direction….how to serve as a Director as well as gaining more advantage from having one personally. As priests, we are to do this on a regular basis. I’ll pray for you as you pray for me!

God Bless You All!

 

September 25, 2016

+Dear Friends,

Today’s Liturgy of the Word continues last week’s focus on the use of our material possessions. I know, you’re thinking, “here we go again.” But let’s focus on the present moment.

The first reading is a condemnation to those who hoard their own wealth. The Gospel paints a vivid picture of what awaits those who ignore the poor (whether in body or soul) by choosing to make material wealth and possessions the center of their lives. As mentioned in my riveting homily, a modern day question could be: “Am I simply coasting on my faith as it is now, along with whatever possessions I’ve managed to accumulate?”

Much of today’s advertising, some would say ‘brainwashing,’ urges us to place our hopes and desires in the promise of happiness supposedly offered by this or that. We’ve all bought into the lie before. Everything that we amass in this life will remain behind when we die. Remember the old joke: “I’ve never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul before!”

The promise of eternal life is the ONE promise that will never pass away! Again, it boils down to the hard and yet comforting truth that it is our Catholic Faith, its practice and zeal that calls for our attention, dedication and commitment! I know at times it seems like the same old record (remember those?) playing over and over again but it TRULY is the most important part of our lives! I wonder why at times it’s so hard for us to remember that? Let us ask the Lord for the strength to make the right choices in this life.

Each year the Archdiocese assigns a missionary priest to visit our parish, speaking on their ministry, their need for support and prayers. Next weekend, MQP will welcome The Reverend Michael K. Ocran from the Archdiocese of Cape Coast, Ghana. Father will be hearing confessions on Saturday from the usual 3:30-4:30 p.m. before our Saturday Vigil Mass. I know that you will make him feel very welcome to our wonderful parish!

May we have a prayerful week! God bless you all!

 

September 18, 2016

+Dear Friends,

“At times being a Catholic can be a real drag.” Have you ever heard that before? Maybe you’ve even felt that way. Human nature being what it is, it’s not unusual for this feeling to be in our lives from time to time. Coupled with the words we’ve been challenged with in the Gospels we’ve been sharing these past few weeks, it can sometimes feel that being a follower of Jesus is “a drag.”

This week’s Gospel is perhaps the most challenging for it calls into question many of our own personal choices in life. We live in one of the most blessed, wealthiest nations of the world. While many in the world go hungry each night, a majority of our nation’s citizens are obese!

These are the facts that we can’t ignore. The Lord Jesus does not say that we should not have food, money and possessions. His is a challenge that has everything to do with what we do with our food, money and possessions. As I have mentioned in past homilies, it’s to see that we possess things; they don’t possess us. While it may be uncomfortable for us to do so, perhaps it’s good for us all to pray “how have I used the blessings God has given me; that I have worked hard to obtain?”

Liturgical Question: “Father, why, during the praying of “The Confiteor,” do you strike your heart/breast/ chest, three times?” Good question. For those of you old enough to remember the “Old Mass” (which there really isn’t such a thing), when we prayed: “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa,” we were praying the exact words we pray today: “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.” As these words are prayed, striking the heart, breast, chest, whatever you want to call it, is a sign of true repentance and contrition for our sins. Back in 2010 when a more accurate translation of the Mass was reinstituted by Pope Benedict XVI, this gesture was restored to the Mass and should be done when praying The Confiteor. So, it’s really that simple; and yet very profound.

I would like to thank ALL who made our OKTOBERFEST 2016 so much fun! It took many hours, volunteers and sponsors, and I think those who attended will agree with me that it was worth the effort!

This weekend, the parish formally accepts and presents our Candidates for Confirmation next spring. We pray for: Nick Beaman, Benjamin Cassity, Braiden Cassity, Hayden Deno, Benjamin Dooley, Alexandra Earl, Audrey Fox, Preston Fox, Ryan Grudman, Daniel Hazelton, Marisa Kelly, Dillon Kottkamp, Toby Kult, Sarah Larson, Rachel Lathrop, Nathan Lauth, Grace Long, Clara Petree, Jordan Riddle, Blake Saylor, Leo Schack, Callie Sharkey, Jacob Steinway, Grace Thomas, Braden Walliser, and Abby Yarnell – and pledge them our prayers and support!

Our parish has received official approval to proceed with a financial feasibility study as the next step in a building campaign. The design of the new renovation of the 1954 building and new Parish Life Center will soon be available for everyone to examine. Much more information will be forthcoming!

May our Eucharistic Christ continue to bless us, our families, our parishes and our youth!

 

September 11, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

“This Man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” This complaint, voiced by the Pharisees and scribes in today’s Gospel against Jesus, describes the behavior of the Lord Jesus throughout St. Luke’s entire Gospel.

That behavior is no less true right here and right now in our own day. Whether we like to admit it or not, as Pope Francis has said about himself, each of us is a sinner. Each week the Lord Jesus gathers us around the altar of the Eucharist to celebrate a Feast of reconciliation. Here we know the love and forgiveness of God. Here, as at the tables at which Jesus ate with sinners, we know the fullness of His grace and mercy.

I doubt that most of us would care to own up to saying it but, while we ourselves ask the Lord for pardon and mercy, we have difficulty at times in extending this request for others. I suppose it’s part of the original sin of pride which makes us more interested in our own forgiveness rather than that of another soul. And, by extension, we often times fail to offer this forgiveness to another on our own behalf; we like to hold grudges, resentment and disrespect as if this somehow proves our superiority over another. In truth, it shows forth our own spiritual immaturity and sin.

Our Lord desires this forgiveness for us all. He gave us His Church and instituted the Sacrament of Penance for just this purpose. How sad when we fail to understand this and not avail ourselves of His Divine Mercy! As we depart today from Mass, let us try to remember the message Jesus shares with us….and extend that message to one another!

Because of your continued thoughtfulness and prayers, I’d like to share an update on Mom. She is out of rehab now and back at home. There is a brand new assisted living place opening in late October in Brazil, so she has two months to decide which is best for her. It’s a big decision as many of you know and have been through. Please continue to pray for her (and me!) I have a tendency to feel a bit torn between the parish and Mom when I have to be there for her on unexpected days, like doctor’s appointments, etc. I sincerely thank you for your understanding!

God bless you all! To Jesus Through Mary!

 

September 4, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

“Who can know God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends?” These opening words of today’s first reading describe what should be our approach to the Sacred Mysteries each Sunday.

We listen to words that both challenge and comfort us. This week’s Gospel challenges us to keep our priorities in right order by steadfastly following Jesus Christ. We do this by taking up our crosses each day and using our God-given resources for the good of the Church, our parish and society.

It sounds much easier than it is my friends. We talk a good talk but sometimes we have to admit, we don’t “walk the walk.” Rather than to get discouraged however, we need to remember that our Eucharistic Lord is here in the Blessed Sacrament to help us, guide us and strengthen us! This is exactly how we “walk the walk” of Jesus Christ! Why stay away from His Presence? Why not come to Him for solace and hope? Why try to “go it alone” when we can experience His being right with us; in good times as well as challenging?

I praise the good God when I think of how times have changed over the past twenty-plus years. When I began seminary studies back in 1980, devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was all but discouraged. As a matter of fact, it WAS discouraged in no small manner! It chills me to the bone when I remember a priest saying to me, concerning Benediction: “No! We’re not going backwards!” It was as though devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist was somehow “backward”! It has slowly dawned on such folks that in order to “carry your cross,” as we hear in the Gospel, one needs to be strengthened and devoted to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament!

Our Lord Jesus Christ remains, twenty-four seven, in our tabernacle; inviting, waiting and loving us to come to Him. He is here before each Mass, during each Mass and after each Mass; His Eucharistic Heart calling to us! Let us come to Him!

Remember next Saturday is OKTOBERFEST! REMEMBER, TOO, THAT THE MASS ON NEXT SATURDAY WILL BE AT 4:00 PM, RATHER THAN THE USUAL 5:00 PM! This is the last weekend to purchase your tickets, as all must be pre-bought in order to prepare the correct amount of food!

God Bless You All!

 

August 28, 2014

+ Dear Friends,

Today’s Mass invites us to consider the Lord’s call to be humble and generous disciples. Humility and generosity go hand in hand and are not touted as values to be sought in our society. This is an example of how Jesus challenges us right here and right now.

The Gospel parable, told during a meal, is all about sharing a meal. In it, the Lord Jesus teaches us what must be at the heart of our behavior during this time we’ve been given to spend on this earth: caring for the poor; both in physical and spiritual need.

As we depart from Mass today, perhaps we could ask ourselves, “How does the message of Jesus challenge me?” I believe I have shared this before but it bears repeating. A perfect definition to “humility” is “gratitude.” Why so? Well, to be truly thankful; grateful, means that one is humble enough to know and admit that he or she has been blessed by God in many ways. Sure, not everyone is blessed in the same way; with the same gifts, but we have to be blind not to see that each of us, in some varied capacity, is indeed blessed by God. Think about it in your own life….humility equals gratitude and vice-versa. Can you see it in your life? When one stops to prayerfully think about the connection, it makes much sense. And, once we make the connection, it becomes easier for us to share generously with others.

A special note to all parents: When you presented your child to the Church for holy Baptism, the priest addressed these words to you: “Parents, you have asked to have your child baptized. In doing so you are accepting the responsibility of training them in the practice of the Faith. It will be your duty to bring them up to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us…Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?” I think you all know where I am going with this.
It is the sacred duty and privilege of parents to see that their child(ren) is brought up in the practice of our Catholic Faith. Our dedicated Catechists can only enhance what is taught and lived at home. In other words, simply dropping a child off for religious education and then skipping Mass or not following up on lessons, assignments, projects, is not acceptable.

When I had graduated from Annunciation Catholic School in Brazil and moved on to high school, it was never a question in our house IF I was going to attend CCD class. It was a given. Mom and Dad made it a priority. Anything else simply worked around CCD time.

One might say, “Oh, okay Father but times were more simple back then.” Believe it or not, we had sports, band, school functions, dates, and all those things WAY back then too! Sure, there can be extenuating circumstances and these can be addressed. But, as a general rule, attendance at and living of our Catholic Faith must be number one! I simply share these thoughts with you parents as Religious Education Classes will SOON begin! Make the growing faith of your child a priority for your family!

Have a prayer-full week one and all!

 

August 14, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

Being a follower of Jesus is not easy. At least not without all the roadblocks we put up in our lives! Saying “yes” to the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church can cause division from those who do not embrace the Gospel. It can result in rejection, even by family members.

The teachings of Jesus and the living of these, often flies in the face of the kind of life that TV and movies portray as fulfilling. Today’s readings remind us that, even though the life journey of a Catholic is difficult at times, help is always available! Just as Jeremiah was rescued from the well, we, too, are helped through Jesus, His Sacraments and His Church! Praise be to God for that!

I was reading some words of the Archbishop: “There are signs that God doesn’t rate very highly for some of us. I am told that far less than 50 percent of our Catholic community attends Eucharist on the weekend. I am told that less than half of the Catholic students in our high schools and elementary schools attend Eucharist on Saturday or Sunday. One pastor told me that perhaps 100 or so youth attend weekly religious education, but if there is a social activity, say a soccer game, only 50 % show up.”

“I can usually tell when candidates for Confirmation (and their sponsors) are accustomed to being in church and when they are not. Understandable nervousness aside, when candidates and sponsors approach for the anointing at Confirmation (or for Communion) chewing gum, I know they are not!

“It is so easy for us to forget what truly counts in our lives. No matter how much we may wish it, or how much we may try, this life is not the final kingdom.

“Religious education and Sunday Eucharist and the sacraments of penance and reconciliation are the basic helps available for strengthening our vision of faith. For the life of me, I cannot understand why parents would sacrifice so much to offer their children the opportunity of a fine Catholic education, and then not see they attend Sunday Eucharist.

“Apparently some parents do not attend Eucharist either. Is it because some of us do not understand that the purpose of the Mass is to give thanks and worship to God who gives us all that we have or supports us in our struggles? The Church establishes a Sunday and Holy Day obligation to attend the Holy Eucharist in order to remind us to thank God for saving us from sin and death.

“Providing religious instruction and formation is as important as looking after our children’s need for food and clothing and good health. Religious education and Sunday Eucharist and the sacrament of penance and reconciliation are minimal aids to the life that really counts. I don’t think we should frighten our children and youth (or ourselves) into having reverence and gratitude for God, but a good dose of the sober truth about the final thing is wholesome for our spiritual health.”

Great Advice from our diocesan shepherd! You know the Third Commandment: Keep Holy the Sabbath. Exactly what does this mean for us Catholics? The Israelites set aside the Sabbath in honor of the One God, Yahweh. The commandment was given by God as a constant, weekly reminder to reverence and honor the God who gives life, creation and purpose. Surely, out of all the days of the week, one could be set aside for God’s will and not our own.

Being Catholic doesn’t mean that the Third Commandment binds only the Jewish people! The Ten Commandments form the basis and foundation of all Christian teaching. For we who call ourselves Catholic, the Commandment takes concrete form in what is called the FIRST PRECEPT OF THE CHURCH: “YOU SHALL ATTEND MASS ON SUNDAYS AND HOLY DAYS OF OBLIGATION.” This first precept requires all of us to participate in the Eucharistic celebration on all Sundays (or Saturday evenings) and Holy Days.

The obligatory character of these positive precepts is meant to guarantee to us the INDESPENSABLE MINIMUM in the spirit of prayer and communal worship. In other words, if we do nothing else when it comes to daily prayer, we need to gather together with the Church to offer the One Sacrifice of Jesus Christ! We need to pray the prayer of Christ Himself! We need to know we are not in this world ALONE!

God did not say to the Israelites, “if time permits,” or “if you have nothing else to do.” He made it a commandment. The Church does the same today.

Our Cohort Parishes of Mary, Queen of Peace, St. Malachy and St. Susanna are offering a special “YEAR OF MERCY PENANCE SERVICE” ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17, HERE AT MQP, BEGINNING AT 7:00 PM! The priests of the three parishes will be hearing confessions. Frs. Vince Lampert and Peter Jagan from St. Malachy along with Fr. Glenn O’Conner from St. Susanna, will be joining yours truly. Plan on attending!

Because the ASSUMPTION OF MARY falls on a Monday this year, it is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation this year.

May God, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion!

 

August 7, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

Let’s begin with our Liturgy of the Word for this weekend. Abraham has always been honored by the Jewish people not only as a distant ancestor but as the very model of a man before God, whose life made others desire to know God.

This desire blends very well with the Letter to the Hebrews, wherein the vibrancy of Abraham’s faith is emphasized. As embodied in Abraham, faith is much more than simply assent; faith is a commitment to the living God.

Faith shapes our lives; it touches every aspect of our lives. None of us is perfect; that much is also a given. Therefore, each person at times “struggles” with his or her faith. Does God really hear me? Why doesn’t God answer me? Does it do any good to have faith in prayer? All of the above are the result of our fallen human nature. Beneath these and similar questions, lies the original sin of pride. We don’t say it, but what we are expressing at times is: “Why am I not God?”

Our Lord, in today’s Gospel, gives us warning….we must remember to live our faith; our life, in the awareness that one day this life will cease and we will stand before our God. He issues His warning with hope and comfort as well. How so? Well, live your Catholic faith as you are supposed to and you need not fear death and judgment! It’s really our choice. He forces no one; that’s what free will is all about. But, we need to remember, choices do indeed have consequences. “To whom much has been given, much will be required.”

Our Cohort Parishes of Mary, Queen of Peace, St. Malachy and St. Susanna will be offering a special “YEAR OF MERCY PENANCE SERVICE” here at MQP on Wednesday, August 17, beginning at 7:00 p.m. All the priests from our three parishes will be hearing confessions. Plan on attending!

Making a correction to my column of a few weeks ago. The correct date for the upcoming OKTOBERFEST 2016 event is on Saturday, September 10th immediately following the 5:00 p.m. Mass.

On a much more serious note, I would like to address an issue I never thought as a priest I would need to do. The issue is security; more specifically, security for you, our parishioners, and for my staff. Given the recent barbaric murder of the French priest while offering Holy Mass by Islamic terrorists, the parish council, as well as our new police chief, and I have broached this serious issue of protecting our campus. While I have no fear for myself, I do have concerns about your security, as well as staff security at the offices/rectory.

The most obvious first step is installing security cameras around the campus, both inside the church as well as outside. This is being looked into. I know many parishes that have these already installed. Many parish offices have also installed a camera, buzz-in device for the parish offices; much like our schools. We do not wish to turn our campus into a fortress but we must be realists about the world in which we find ourselves today. If you have concerns or ideas to share, please feel free to do so with a member of the parish council. Know that I am taking this very seriously.

Let us pray for peace and ask Our Lady of Peace to watch over us!

 

July 31, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

Today’s Gospel is, without a doubt, one of the most challenging for American Catholics to hear. We live in a society in which the buildup of wealth and material possessions is constantly drummed into us. It’s as though these things are the ULTIMATE value. This is remarkably similar to the man in today’s Gospel who tears down his perfectly good grain barns in order to build even larger ones….only to lose his life suddenly.

The challenge, of course, is to figure out how to use our God-given resources and blessings in ways that balance the need to ensure we will have what we truly need to survive AND the Gospel mandate to live life dedicated to the faith we say we have. It’s a delicate balance my friends. There is absolutely nothing wrong with owning things, having money in the bank, providing for one’s future. There IS, however something wrong when these things become THE number one priority in a person’s life with little or no thought given to the fact that this life is NOT the end of the line! There IS an eternal life awaiting us; either for good or for bad. It’s up to us.

That is the ultimate message of the mysteriously named Qoheleth in our first reading. On first reading the Book of Ecclesiastes, one came away with the assumption that there is no purpose to our lives and so just live the way you want to live whether moral or immoral. However, the true message of the Book is the same as the one in today’s Gospel: be rich in the matters of God, not man.

On another topic, related to the Liturgy, because of the importance of the Mass in our lives as Catholics, we have an established Dress Code in keeping with the dignity of the Mass and the ministry of service at the altar. It is good for us to be reminded of it once in awhile. For both Readers and Extra-Ordinary Ministers, the following is established practice: proper attire to be worn for all service. NOT appropriate are the following: flip-flops, shorts, short skirts, plunging necklines, blue jeans, tennis shoes or tank tops. As I pointed out to all present, the dignity of the Sacrament of the Altar, the worship of Christ and the service at His altar, all call for dignity in dress and deportment. What we wear on the outside mirrors our interior disposition and attitude. Everyone agreed. It is also a good idea for our Ministers of Hospitality to be conscious of the fact that THEY are the first people folks meet in visiting our parish. I thank YOU ALL for your conscientious and dedicated service to our parish!

Next weekend, our parish will be blessed to welcome Fr. Dennis Robinson, OSB, the President-Rector of St. Meinrad Seminary. Fr. Dennis will be sharing the work and ministry of forming future priests, particularly those of our own Archdiocese. Please make him feel at home here at St. Mary, Queen of Peace!

Have a blessed week everyone!

 

July 24, 2016

+Dear Friends,

You know, Abraham’s bartering with God should not prompt us to do the same. Whenever you have heard this story, don’t you always wonder how Abraham had the gall to argue over and over with God? I know, all of us do this in some fashion from time to time but I don’t honestly believe we make it a regular habit!

The moral of the story is to convince us of God’s mercy; not His righteous anger. God had every right to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Each time we pray the Confiteor at Mass, we strike our chest three times as we admit our sins of both commission as well as omission. God has every right to “punish” us as well if we’re honest with ourselves.

But, as I said, the true moral is God’s almost unbelievable mercy shown to us every day of our lives. It is simply beyond us; we who like to hold onto the resentment, grudges and our “me first” mentality.

When we pray the “Our Father,” we admit our sins while at the same time, imploring the Father’s forgiveness. I think an important line of the prayer is this: “… forgive us AS WE FORGIVE…” That’s the punch right there. Only to the extent that we forgive will we ourselves be forgiven. Sort of makes you stop and think doesn’t it?

We should never forget our Lord’s call: “…ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” The very best way for us to “ask, seek and knock” is in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament! Whether or not the Holy Eucharist is exposed in the monstrance or reposed in the tabernacle, prayer before our Eucharistic Lord is the very best prayer, second only to the offering of the Mass, that we can offer Jesus Christ. Stop in church and visit He Who waits for YOU! Let us always make an offer to take part in our monthly Adoration on First Thursday/First Friday for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. As the Sacred Heart told St. Margaret Mary: “The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you!” Now that is speaking to God!

Have a “prayer-full” week everyone!

 

July 17, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

For several weeks now we have been listening to Gospel stories that focus on our behavior and relationships as we follow Christ Jesus. This week, the first reading and Gospel remind us that Christian hospitality has always been a hallmark of the Church. In a nutshell, we are both Mary and Martha. What we do is certainly important: like Martha. However, who we are, like Mary, even more important! Who we are in the sight of God and our actions in light of our Catholic identity define us.

We are called to extend a welcome to those who come into our midst. Like the message from last weekend’s parable of the Good Samaritan, this call to hospitality has challenging implications for us all. In welcoming the stranger or visitor, we not only imitate Jesus, we also have the potential of welcoming Christ Himself into our midst.

At times, hospitality is thought of as merely smiling at someone or saying “hello.” While that is sometimes true, it goes much deeper for those of us who call ourselves Catholic. How so?

As a priest, I can’t tell you the number of times people have shared with me that one big reason they converted to the Church was because they were invited to Mass or invited to pray about the Faith by a member of the parish or Catholic friend. That is the truest form of hospitality that we can offer! What could compare with welcoming someone into the Church established by Our Lord Jesus? Being there for someone who is inquiring about the Church, about the Holy Eucharist, about those “things” we Catholics “do”; that’s being hospitable! And, that’s the “new evangelization” that the late St. Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis urge us to live. When you stop to think about it, how do I approach God? Do I approach Him with my “to do” list, or with a spirit of humility and gratitude? May the Lord give us the will and joy to do so!

God’s blessings upon us all!

 

July 10, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

The Church offers us wonderful Scripture for this weekend’s Mass. The first reading reminds us all that the command of the Lord, the truth of His message and way of life, is not something remote and far away. It is very near to us; already within our minds and hearts. Some would say all we need do is to carry it out. But, we all know that it is never that easy.

We are so very familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan. Here is a person who fulfilled the command of the Lord even though he had never been formed in the fullness of Jewish tradition and faith. Those who first listened to this parable of Jesus, couldn’t even bring themselves to utter the name Samaritan. They despised one another as a people. Imagine the young man’s inner struggle when Jesus told him to “Go and do likewise.” In other words, “Go, imitate your enemy’s charity and kindness.” His story brings us an important facet of our own lives that we sometimes fail to acknowledge, let alone appreciate.

It’s called NATURAL LAW. Natural Law is that innate sense of right and wrong we have within us as human beings created in the image and likeness of God. Through practical reason and the dictates of a correctly formed conscience, all persons are able to know objective, moral law. While many it seems wish to deny its existence, we can no more set it aside than we can stop breathing. To some, they may experience this divine truth as restrictive, confining and limiting. To Catholics, it is the complete opposite….it is freeing! It’s that freedom of Jesus Christ and His Church.

Let us allow the Liturgy of the Word to settle into our hearts and inspire us to reach within and allow the truth of Christ, already planted deep within us through the Sacrament of Baptism, nourished by the Sacrament of the Eucharist and strengthened by the Sacrament of Penance, to grow and flourish into actions and attitudes that bring peace to our hearts and to our lives!

I would like to thank Jim Disney, Kylie Kult and Julie Petree for their great contributions to the Pastoral Council and to announce and congratulate the new Officers for our Parish Council. Joe Franchville was chosen to be Chair. David Glover was chosen to be Vice-Chair and Helen Corbitt selected to serve as Secretary. On behalf of the parish, I thank them for their willingness to serve!

God Bless You All!

 

July 3, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

This weekend as we gather for the offering of Holy Mass, we as a nation, observe the annual celebration of our Independence. A HAPPY AND GLORIOUS FOURTH OF JULY TO ONE AND ALL!! It’s a time for hot dogs, apple pie, fireworks and get-togethers. It’s also time for us to reflect upon our tremendous blessings and freedom we as a nation have been given to enjoy and cherish.

Even with the truly difficult issues our nation faces, ours truly is a blessed land. Filled with a bounty of natural resources, our greatest resource is the American people! Drawn together by a mutual desire to be free and desiring this freedom for their children, our ancestors, both civil and religious, laid the strong foundation on which we, their sons and daughters, now live.

With great blessing comes great responsibility. All too often it is easy to sit back and simply take what America (or even more importantly, the Lord!) has to offer without much thought given to how these blessings are used and shared.

In truth, our true freedom was won for us not on July Fourth, but on a hill outside Jerusalem called Calvary. It is THAT freedom won for us by Jesus Christ that we gather to celebrate each time we gather for Holy Mass!

On this weekend of national celebration and Independence, let us thank God Almighty for our nation and our people! Let us, above all, give thanks for our Catholic Faith and the rich treasure that is ours to live and share! May we truly be grateful! I like the saying: “God Bless America; America, Bless God!” Very, very true.

The Knights of Columbus plus many volunteers are already in the planning stages for this year’s OKTOBERFEST! It will take place on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19. Many additions are planned, making the event even bigger and better than last year’s. The parish is asking YOU to consider volunteering in various ways to make this event THE event of the parish’s social/fellowship year!

Again, A HAPPY AND JOYOUS FOURTH OF JULY TO ONE AND ALL! Have a happy and safe weekend!

 

June 26, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

How truly appropriate it is that, as we gather to celebrate Holy Mass this weekend, we hear St. Paul speaking to us of the freedom we receive as men and women who bear the image of Jesus Christ through the Sacrament of Baptism.

He encourages us to use this freedom to love God and neighbor as we love ourselves. The Gospel reminds us that our focus needs to always be on the Lord Jesus, Who invites us to follow Him unreservedly.

We are free to make this choice and once we do, we will be a people dedicated to serving others.

When thinking about our freedom, I cannot help but to continue thinking about the massacre in Orlando two weeks ago at the hands of a radical Islamic terrorist. With freedom, comes great responsibility and the choice to either act for good or for evil. Compound this “choice” with doing evil in the Name of God is simply beyond words to comprehend. We are again forced to think about and discuss the freedoms we enjoy in our nation and how to handle such maniacal madness. I don’t have the answers; only God does. We do the one thing we Catholics do best: PRAY. You all know I speak of my great pastor, Fr. Spicuzza a lot. I will always remember him saying that we will never have lasting peace in the world until everyone accepts the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ! That simple but profound statement has stayed with me all the rest of my life. Whenever such evil takes place in the so-called name of religion, his words come right back to my mind. We know that the murderer targeted, in this case, the gay community. But the reality is that it could be any one of us singled out. I somewhat disagree with those who think that the “target” must be considered as the “cause.” The true cause goes to the core of our being: free will. As I mentioned above, we either chose good or evil. As we prepare to celebrate the great celebration of our Independence Day, let us double our efforts to pray for our nation and her citizens.

On a much brighter note, I’d like to announce to the parish some adjustments in job descriptions of staff, following the guidance of the parish council. The adjustments come as a result of much thought, prayer and consultation. They will be implemented July 1st and I pray good things will continue to happen. Matthew Fallon will continue as Administrator of Religious Education as well as assuming the duties of Adult Education and assisting in the RCIA program.

Our new part-time Youth Minister will be Beth Dieckmann, who has been very involved in the youth of the parish for some time. She will continue to be assisted by Cassie Vandermolen. Jeff Earl will continue to be the primary instructor of the RCIA program. I thank both Tonya Earl and Maureen Devlin, for their past endeavors in the areas of Adult Ed and RCIA and we look forward to their continued involvement! If you or someone you know would like to become involved as a volunteer in these areas, just let us know!

God Bless You All & God Bless the USA!

 

June 19, 2016

+Dear Friends,

A HAPPY FATHERS’ DAY TO ALL THE DADS OF ST. MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE! May your special day be just that….a special day!

We have completed the Easter Season and the great feasts celebrating the Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi. Last weekend, we entered the long stretch of the Church year commonly called “Ordinary Time” that will take us to the threshold of Advent.

One would tend to think that following all of these grand and intense weeks of celebrating, the Church would give us some “easy” readings! Not this time around! We should listen carefully to today’s Gospel, which will help set the tone for the coming weeks and months.

Once we have placed our faith in Jesus as Messiah and Lord, we are IMMEDIATELY told that, in order to be counted as one of His, WE must take up OUR cross and follow Him each and every day.

Strengthened by the power of Christ’s Eucharistic Presence, celebrated so fully over the past few weeks liturgically, we pray to willingly accept the crosses of this life and pray that we will know the fullness of life in the world to come!

On a somewhat related matter, I was reading an article entitled “Benefits of Religious Practice.” The article reported that those who attend Mass or some other religious service for those who are not Catholic, have healthier immune systems than those who don’t. Immune systems aren’t the only things that function better when people regularly practice their faith.

For example: “Regular church attendance is the most critical factor in marital stability. Similarly, the rate of cohabitation before marriage is seven times higher among people who seldom or never attend Mass or religious services, a significant finding since couples who live together before marriage experience higher divorce rates.”

Interesting thoughts, right? While the above may be true, we celebrate the Holy Mass not because of the added benefits of health improvement; not because the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to do so (even though They did!); not simply because it’s mortally sinful to deliberately miss Sunday Mass (even though it is!); we come and worship and offer Mass because our Father deserves our prayer and worship. If we fail to gather as His Church and worship Him, then who or what DOES get our worship? We celebrate because it benefits US to know that we’re in this life together with others who support us in faith! And we in turn support them!

Maybe, just maybe, our society is finally getting the message that the practice of one’s faith, and our Catholic faith in particular, is the number one priority in one’s life! Join your fellow believers for Mass whenever you have the opportunity!

With ordinations coming up next Saturday at the Cathedral, I would like to personally thank each of you, who, from time to time, express to me the fact you are praying for me and my fellow priests. On behalf of my brother priests, thank-you for praying for us and please continue to do so! When you stop in church to visit Jesus or come to Mass, pray for your priests. Pray for us as we pray for you!

May God our Father, through His Eucharistic Son, in Their Holy Spirit, continue to bless us all!

 

June 12, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

Today we embark on a long journey. Well, all things in perspective, it isn’t really all that long. This weekend, the liturgical year continues into what is commonly called Ordinary Time.

If today is any indication, we can expect to share some wonderful and challenging Gospel stories of healing and reconciliation from St. Luke the Evangelist. Many of his settings for important epiphanies in the life of Jesus, take place at various meals. It seems as though Our Lord does a lot of eating in St. Luke’s Gospel!

Today Jesus delivers a sharp rebuke to the Pharisee who offers very little hospitality to Him, in stark contrast to the sinful woman who anoints His feet. There’s something very important happening in her actions.

First, she is acknowledging that it is Jesus Who can forgive her sins. To publicly acknowledge this fact was blasphemy! Secondly, despite her fear, she was still trusting enough to approach Jesus and bow in humility before Him; seeking forgiveness.

Those are two very powerful proclamations of faith that you and I need to remember! The reason is quite simple. It IS Jesus Christ and His Church through which the forgiveness of sin flows! We MUST have the trust to approach Him, through the actions of His priest and Church, to humbly seek this forgiving compassion in the Sacrament of Penance!

Sometimes summer time can just sort of lazily drift along. (Nothing wrong with that, right?!) However, like the sisters told us in grade school, we never take a vacation from the practice of our Catholic Faith; from Mass and Confession! I can still see the holy card I was once given and on the back were reminders to attend Sunday Mass; daily if possible and to go to confession regularly. It was good advice that remains good advice!

Remember to continue praying for the six young men who will be Ordained to the Priesthood on Saturday, June 25th! And, on behalf of all the seminarians and the Vocations Office, a BIG thank-you for your generous collection of $1,291.00 taken up last weekend for the education and formation our future priests!

God Bless You All and God Bless America!

 

June 5, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

Jesus came to call us sinners from our sinful behaviors and attitudes. As this long portion of Ordinary Time opens before us, let us cast off indifference and name our own sins, asking the Lord Jesus, through His holy Sacrament of Penance, to deliver us from the power these sins may hold over us!

A beautiful quotation from Emilia Vergani, who was an Italian wife and mother who died in 2000, sums up our prayer: “When you suffer a lack of freedom; an enslavement, a turmoil of the affections, when you are out of sorts, if you offer to Christ, starting over again from Him, then the tension is released. It is as though we find ourselves at a lower level of struggle, and we feel better.”

Emilia echoes the words of the Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI, who once said that in surrendering to Christ, one looses nothing; one gains everything! St. Matthew discovered this, as we hear in the Gospel. We pray for one another to experience the same awesome discovery!

Much of the Gospel stories this summer will deal with things such as being “called” by Jesus and discipleship. It’s a good opportunity for us all to really think and pray about how Jesus continues to call each of us to follow Him. Of course, it’s important for us to know that any authentic call from Jesus comes through His Church; in other words, the Church assures us that the voice we hear and follow is that of Jesus and not one of this world. It’s a bit like a vocation to the priesthood. First, no man has a “right” to be ordained a priest. IF he feels called, that call is ratified by Christ through His Church. When one desires to marry, that vocational call is ratified through the action of the Church, if it is meant to be.

This wonderful time of summer is a great time to try to spend some quality “down time” with the Lord. It provides us with the opportunity to perhaps listen a bit more intently; particularly at times of question or struggle. And, I assure you, THE best time to do this is with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, either before Him in the Tabernacle or at times of Eucharistic Adoration! Let us pray for one another always!

God bless you all!

 

May 29, 2016

+Dear Friends,

“Ecce, Agnus Dei!” What a grand and joyous celebration of our Catholic Faith draws us to Holy Mass this weekend! Today, we proclaim our faith and reverential awe for the “source and summit” of our Faith….CORPUS CHRISTI, the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ!

Allow me to share with you some thoughts of Pope Benedict XVI.

“The Solemnity of Corpus Christi is the solemn, public Feast of the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ: on this day, the Mystery instituted at the Last Supper and commemorated every year on Holy Thursday is manifested to all, in the midst of the fervor of faith and devotion of the Ecclesial Community.”

“Indeed, the Eucharist is the “treasure” of the Church, the precious heritage that Her Lord has left to Her. And the Church preserves It with the greatest care, celebrating It daily in holy Mass, adoring It in churches and chapels, administering It to the sick, and as Viaticum to those who are on their last journey.”

“The Eucharist is the Lord Jesus Who gives Himself “for the life of the world.” In every time and place, He wants to meet human beings and bring them the life of God. The transformation of the bread and wine into Christ’s Body and Blood is in fact the principle of the divinization of creation itself.”

“On this Feast day, the Church proclaims that the Eucharist is Its life, the source of life that triumphs over death. From communion with Christ in the Eucharist flows the charity that transforms our life and supports us all on our journey toward the heavenly homeland.”

“Let us pray the Virgin (Mary) that all Christians may deepen their faith in the Eucharistic Mystery, to live in constant communion with Jesus and be His effective witness.”

On this glorious Solemnity, I would encourage you to commit to one hour of Eucharistic Adoration each month. Consider offering this time each month to Jesus!

Pray about it. Great things happen in parishes where our Lord is adored in Eucharistic prayer. Use the sign-up sheet found in the bulletin this weekend to spend some time each month in Eucharistic Adoration. If you have further questions, please call the office.

As we worship and honor our Eucharistic Lord, let us pray for His divine mercy and grace to shower down upon our families, our parish and our hearts! To quote Saint Alphonsus Liguori:

“Frequent visits to Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar are a great help to the souls that love Him!”

And from St. Paul of the Cross:

“Visit the Blessed Sacrament often; there is your true life.

 

May 22, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

Today we are given the opportunity to ponder the mystery of God. That should keep us busy for awhile! The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that “by sending His only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed His innermost secret: God Himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and He has destined us to share in that exchange.” Pope John Paul II wrote: “In the communion of grace with the Trinity, man’s ‘living area’ is broadened and raised up to the supernatural level of divine life. Man lives in God and by God.”

Today’s Solemnity of the Holy Trinity invites us to praise our Father for His mercy, kindness and fidelity…shown us through the life, death and resurrection of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, through the power of Their Holy Spirit!

A central tenet of Christian faith, we worship One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Just think of the many times we proclaim this faith. Each time we begin prayer, we do so “In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Whenever we enter and leave the church, we sign ourselves with the Sign of the Cross in the Name of the Holy Trinity. When we bestow a blessing, we do so in the same Name. Jesus Christ revealed to us His Father and Holy Spirit….you can’t get a higher authority than that!

Today’s Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity is a day that reminds us to rise above the world and without hesitation, proclaim our faith!

A wise priest once said to me, “You know, it’s not a sin for someone to attend a daily Mass!” For those of you who are retired or otherwise able, consider joining us for the daily celebration of the Mass! Consider joining us one half hour earlier for the Liturgy of the Hours, the official prayer of the Church! Prayer for the Church, for our parish and for individual needs is so very important. It is said, “What a difference a day makes.” Well, our Lord Jesus says through His Bride, the Church: “What a difference a MASS makes!” Join us…..

May the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with you today, and all the days of your life!

 

May 15, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

HAPPY PENTECOST! It is traditionally seen as the day on which the Church went forth to spread the Gospel truth of Jesus Christ. Because each and every one of US, no matter our vocation or state in life, no matter our age or social status, by virtue of our baptism is privileged to do the same, it is proper to speak of today as our birth to evangelization; our birth to spread the truth and life of our Catholic faith!

The disciples of Jesus went forth from locked rooms to the big, wide world, armed with the Truth that is Jesus Christ, to speak in His Name, the message of salvation open to all peoples. It serves as a beautiful symbol for all of us to break forth from the locked rooms we often place ourselves into and walk courageously on our own journey of faith, united in the Holy Eucharist!

Perhaps one of the most touching elements of Pentecost is the fact that what once was broken and wounded has now been healed. Through Jesus Christ and His gift of the Holy Spirit, our broken and wounded world has been recreated! On a much more personal level, this healing is ours for the asking! Who among us does not need healing and hope?

Today, let us renew our dedication and commitment to the Sacrament of Penance! Jesus Christ gave His Church, through the ministry of Her priests, the power to absolve sins in His Name. That’s a pretty awesome demonstration of the presence and working of the Holy Spirit, if you ask me! And so, celebrate healing! Celebrate His presence in YOUR life!

With the celebration of Pentecost Sunday, the Church officially marks the close of the glorious season of Eastertide. We will celebrate next weekend the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity followed by the awesome Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Why not make your week anything but ordinary by attending a DAILY MASS? Jesus will be glad you did!

May the Holy Spirit bless, console and strengthen us all! “Come, Holy Spirit, renew the face of the earth!”

 

May 8, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

This weekend, we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Ascension of Jesus. We hear the somewhat familiar “Jesus said to His disciples” in today’s Mass. Perhaps it is too often we listen to the words as if they were a bit of historical writing and not much more.

We might instead perk up our own ears when we hear these words. Instead of hearing “Jesus said to His disciples,” why not hear, “Jesus says TO ME, right here and right now?”

That would be very fitting at this celebration of the Ascension. For His words to His disciples and to us, today call for a renewed dedication to sharing the truth and life that come to us from Jesus through His Bride, the Church. The world is hungry for this life and truth. It is our privilege to share this!

In my humble opinion, we Catholics have been way too timid in bearing witness to our Lord and our Faith. Far be it that we be “labeled” as intolerant or bigoted for merely standing up for our Catholic values and teachings. Ever hear the expression, “the most closed-minded person is a liberal?” It seems that everyone can profess and believe whatever they desire….except us! What results is that many Catholics simply do not say anything; do not stand up for our Church or our Faith in Jesus Christ. Don’t you think it’s time for this to change? Who cares what the world says of us? Isn’t it more important to stand with Christ than to be “correct or popular?”

Next weekend, our annual celebration of Easter concludes with the Solemnity of Pentecost. Jesus promised His infant Church that He would send an Advocate, One Who would remain with the Church for all ages to come.

The Holy Spirit comes that we might have life. Life in the Holy Spirit is a life that is dedicated to continuing the life and work of Christ Jesus on this earth. As the fifty-day celebration of Easter draws to a close next weekend, let us pray that the same Holy Spirit given the first Apostles at Pentecost, given us through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, will strengthen us in our own personal efforts to live a life of service and loyalty to Christ and His Church!

We had a total of three affirmative responses from three parishioners who were nominated to seek election to our Parish Council. Since there are three open positions, and because we received no more nominations, there is no need for an election. I congratulate and thank: Derek Brown, Kathy Stamper and Leo Schubert for their sharing of their time and talent by serving on the Council!

This weekend, as a nation, we observe and celebrate the honoring of someone very special: MOM! Whether our Moms are still with us or have gone before us in faith, this is a special time to pray for her and remember with love and thanks all she has done for us. May the good Lord bless them always! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOM!!

We continue to pray for one another!

 

May 1, 2016
Sixth Sunday of Easter

+ Dear Friends,

Today our Lord Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will remind us of everything that He taught; more on that a bit later. As the holy Feast of Pentecost draws near, let us pray for an ever-stronger outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and souls. We need the Holy Spirit to keep reminding us (there’s that word again) of all that Jesus did and taught.

Just think of last weekend’s commandment from our Lord to “love one another” and then look around at the people in your life….how are you doing? This is where the “reminding” comes in.

Today, Our Lord speaks of “peace;” another somewhat nebulous word in our current society. He tells us: “Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” Here’s the clue. Too often we think of “peace” as the absence of conflict, struggle, disagreement or suffering. In other words, we think of “peace” in negative terms. For Our Lord, however, “peace” is the presence of something….a something that the world or for that matter, our very selves, can never supply. It is an internal harmony; an internal sense of well-being and security that, even in the face of all of the above, with Jesus, true trust and peace is possible. How does one explain the horrific deaths that all the martyrs of the Holy Church have undergone throughout the last two thousand years? It is the peace of Jesus Christ within them! By continuing to love, even those who hate us, brings us the inner peace that only Jesus can offer us! Remain close to Him in the Holy Eucharist; that is the very best way to find this “Peace of Christ!”

How did our Lord intend and establish that we are “reminded” of all that He taught us? Did He just leave this up to individual whim and belief, because we think the Holy Spirit told us something? Did He simply ascend into heaven; leaving us to figure out for ourselves what He taught? I don’t think so!

We have been gifted with the authority and wisdom of the Magisterium, the official teaching authority of the Church, to lead, guide and comfort us unto eternal life. Jesus never would leave His Bride alone to blunder through the centuries trying to find Her way. He gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to His Bride! And, He gave St. Peter and his successors, with the bishops in union with him, the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them, as they in turn lead and guide us. Everyone, from Pope Francis to Joe and Jane Catholic, is both guided by, and answerable to, the Holy Spirit, led Magisterial teaching of the Church. What a gift and what a blessing! Praised be Jesus Christ!

Just a reminder, the SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION has been permanently transferred to the Seventh Sunday of Easter in the United States. Next weekend, May 7-8, we will observe the Feast. Do not forget, however, our monthly First Thursday/Friday observance of Eucharistic Adoration this week! Adoration runs from after the 5:30 p.m. Thursday Mass until 9:00 p.m. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is at 8:15 a.m. First Friday immediately before Mass. Come, pray especially for an increase in vocations to the holy priesthood!

May the Good God bring to completion the good work He has begun in us!

 

April 24, 2016
Fifth Sunday of Easter

+ Dear Friends,

As the Easter continues to unfold, even with the “Alleluias,” life can be tough. We live in an imperfect world, one marked by terrorism, war as well as the “ordinary” crosses that each individual may carry.

To this imperfect world and life of testing, the Lord Jesus proclaims in today’s Gospel: “I give you a new commandment: love one another.” We can look with sadness upon the world today, a sadness born from the knowledge that we simply do not love one another.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we simply must not allow this sadness turn into despair, for if this holy Easter-tide gives us anything, it gives us hope for our world and our lives as well. The commandment of Jesus begins in our own heart. It is within our heart that commitment and growth in our Lord Jesus comes about. However, we must realistically admit that this can sometimes feel overwhelming don’t we?

I was reading a reflection on this weekend’s Liturgy of the Word and it ended with this: Name a time when you found it difficult to love someone. How did you overcome this? A good thought for us all.

On Tuesday, May 3rd, several of our young men and ladies of the parish will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at 7:00 p.m. at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral. We congratulate Austin Arnold, Matthew Bratt, Isaac Brown, Cody Burd, Kailey Burkett, Liam Fallon, Derek Garzinski, Ellie Howard, Grace Larsen, Alicia Lombardo, Hannah Long, Matthew Monzingo, Janelle Morris, Leslie Pell, Jacob Petrunich, Meredith Perry, Juan San Martin, Maggie Van Laere, Logan Walliser, and Jacob Yarnell

“’Tis the month of our Mother.” Remember that hymn? I sure do. Very quickly, May will be upon us. May is traditionally celebrated as Mary’s month. We honor the Blessed Mother as our Queen and in a special way, ask for her continued intercession. Of course Thursday and Friday, (May 5-6), are the First Thursday/Friday of May, therefore, we will be offering Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament! Come, and be with Our Lord! Pray the rosary of Our Lady during this month for an increase in vocations to the priesthood!

 

April 17, 2016
Fourth Sunday of Easter

+ Dear Friends,

“My sheep hear My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.” Very appealing and comforting isn’t it? Or, is it? The words of Jesus offer us a unique challenge.

We all recognize certain TV shows or movies from their theme music. Who among us of the middle-aged variety, doesn’t remember the music of “I Love Lucy” or “Hogan’s Heroes”? How about theme music from “Jaws”? The same holds true for the younger folks among us; every generation or age group can relate.

We know the familiar melodies of favorite songs we hear on the radio, also. How many of you remember the theme of your junior or senior prom? When you were dating someone special you no doubt had “your” song, right?

All of this is important to call to mind when we reflect on today’s Gospel. Given the cacophony of music, sound and voices in our lives, just how easy is it for us to listen to the sound of our Good Shepherd? I submit to you that it is difficult. But, that’s the message of this weekend’s liturgies; listening AND acting upon the call of Jesus Christ! We hear of those in the Book of Revelation who are singing the praises of the Lamb, those are the ones that have listened with all their hearts and souls to the voice of Jesus and are with Him eternally. That’s our call and that is our privilege. What we have heard from Him; we must share. We pray for one another that it may always be so!

On a pastoral note, I’d like to say THANK-YOU! to all of the parish for the growing awareness and reverence shown to Our Lord Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle since its placement in the center of the sanctuary. Along with the chant music played before Mass, a noticeable prayerful atmosphere is growing. We still need to work on after Mass but that is coming along also!

This Sunday we celebrate with our young boys and girls and their families on their First Communion Day! Congratulations to Addison Baker, Addison Bean, Mei Li Clark, Andrew Earl, Abram Fallon, Autumn Muncy, Nathaniel Origer, Andrew Owens, Andrew Petree, Damian Snavely, Sabastian Snavely, Veralyn Vicente-Infante and Gabriel Williams

May Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, bless them all! May they always receive Jesus with the same wonder and awe with which they do this day!

God bless you all!

 

April 10, 2016
Third Sunday of Easter

+ Dear Friends,

Our first reading recounts that the Apostles received what amounts to a court order to cease and desist speaking in the Name of Jesus. Their response? They left “rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the Name.”

I think we stand in awe at the depth of the Apostles’ faith and courage don’t we? We also need to pray that our own faith will be strengthened!

The Lord Jesus questions each one of us today, as He did St. Peter, asking us time and time again “do you love Me?” We know that either answer, “yes” or “no” bears consequences but most especially if we answer in the affirmative. Those consequences are all around us and are all about loving and feeding those whom the Lord entrusts to our care.

Strengthened by Christ’s Holy Spirit in the Sacraments, instructed and guided by the teaching of the Church, we are, like those fish, brought to Christ by the Church, symbolized here by the disciples. Brought to Christ, Who then teaches us, as he taught St. Peter, that to remain in communion with Him, we must look after and love one another; nurturing one another in the beauty of our Catholic Faith!

Next weekend, we have a beautiful example of this. Parents, entrusted with the development and nurturing and practice of the Catholic faith in the lives of their children, will present their sons and daughters for their reception, for the first time, of the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. That joyous celebration continues the wonderful journey in the spiritual development of these chosen young people.

Let us congratulate and pledge continued prayers for: Addison Baker, Addison Bean, Mei Li Clark, Andrew Earl, Abram Fallon, Autumn Muncy, Nathaniel Origer, Andrew Owens, Andrew Petree, Damian Snavely, Sabastian Snavely, Veralyn Vicente-Infante, and Gabriel Williams! May the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bless them today and always!

As is the usual case, a Mass of First Holy Communion, can be a highly attended Liturgy. Therefore, I ask that if you do not have a child or relative making his or her First Communion, to consider attending either the Saturday 5:00 p.m. Mass or the Sunday 8:00 a.m. Mass.

On a different note, due to the unfortunate events in Brussels and Holy Land recently, the pilgrimage which Fr. Jim Koressel and I were going to lead has been postponed for now. The sad and tragic news of an American tourist being stabbed to death in the Holy Land, was responsible for us to begin reconsidering whether or not we should make the pilgrimage. Finally, a warning from the State Department about the danger of traveling abroad, finalized the decision. We regret taking this action but the potential for danger became too great. When one goes on pilgrimage and does not feel safe, it ruins the journey. Perhaps in the future the pilgrimage may take place. Let us pray for peace!

God bless us all as we continue on our Easter journey of faith!

 

April 3, 2016
Divine Mercy Sunday

+ Dear Friends,

Each year on this Sunday following Easter, we listen to the Gospel story of St. Thomas, “the doubter.” He has become synonymous with someone experiencing doubts, fears and anxiety in life. He refused to believe that the other Apostles had seen the risen Jesus.

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Poor guy. Let’s give him a break! None of us gathered here for Mass has ever had an encounter of seeing the risen, physical Jesus either. In faith, we gather each week, and even daily, for the celebration of the Mass to be caught up once again in the love that flows from the death and resurrection of our Eucharistic Christ!

Sometimes we allow that flow to ebb like St. Thomas the doubter, especially in the face of trials and pain. That’s only natural. We are human after all. But we need remember the words of Jesus to St. Thomas: “Blessed are they who do not see yet believe.”

Let us turn to St. Thomas, praying that through his intercession our faith will remain strong, that through the grace of the Sacraments, it will be made ever stronger!

This Sunday following Easter is designated Divine Mercy Sunday. Saint Faustina, a young nun of Poland, had the vision we see depicted in the image of Divine Mercy found to the right of the sanctuary here in our local parish church. The words “I trust in You!” are placed below the feet of Jesus. How very appropriate that, during the glory of the Easter season, we proclaim and celebrate the Mercy that is Jesus Christ! We pray that the Divine Mercy that is Jesus, will always be with us!

The celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday will take place here at St. Mary, Queen of Peace, beginning at 2:30. I will be celebrant and Fr. Vince Lampert, former pastor, will be our guest speaker. Let us come together in this Jubilee of Divine Mercy, to celebrate God’s infinite love and mercy FOR US!

***An early note concerning the Sunday, April 17, 10:30 a.m. Mass: We will be celebrating First Holy Communion for our young boys and girls. Due to the normal high number of folks attending this Mass, if you do not have a family member making his or her First Holy Communion, you might consider attending either the Saturday 5:00 p.m. or Sunday 8:00 a.m. Mass.

May you continue to bask in the glow of Easter joy! God bless!

 

March 27, 2016
Easter Sunday

+ Dear Friends,

A BLESSED AND JOYOUS EASTER TO YOU ALL! I pray the spirit of our Risen Savior shine upon you, your families and our parish on this most holy day! To all those visiting St. Mary, Queen of Peace parish, a most warm welcome!

Today, hundreds of millions of Christians around the world gather to celebrate the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. From small adobe churches in desert climates to grand cathedrals and basilicas, the defining event for the Church draws people from every race and language to praise God our Father for the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection!

Today, the Paschal Candle burns brightly before us, announcing that Jesus Christ is the true Light of the world. Today, the church is adorned with lilies and flowers of all sorts, announcing that our Lenten fast is completed and that Christ Jesus has emerged from the grave!

Today, we renew our baptismal promises and encounter the waters of Baptism as a lasting remembrance that we have “put on Christ” and are forever changed!

Today, gifts of bread and wine are placed on our altar, as at each and every Mass and they become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ given us in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist!

Today, we are given the hope of everlasting life by a Savior Who suffered and died for our salvation. A Savior Who rose to glory and sustains His Bride, the Church, with the Bread of Life!

CHRIST IS RISEN; INDEED, HE HAS RISEN!!

As the parish community of St. Mary, Queen of Peace, let us today congratulate and welcome Cheryl Burg and Glenda Sluss who were received into the Church and for Joe Sluss who received Confirmation at the Easter Vigil! We continue to pray for them as they continue their lives within the Mystical Body of Christ!

I would like to personally thank ALL those who helped in any way with the decorating, planning, supporting and follow through connected with Holy Week and the Triduum! Your dedication to the Lord is outstanding. For, when we serve our parish, we serve Christ!

This next week, I will be taking a few days away with some priest friends. Again, I wish one and all a very joyous Easter Season! ALLELUIA!!

 

March 20, 2016
Palm Sunday

+ Dear Friends,

This weekend, the Catholic Church throughout the world and the majority of all Christiandom, enters into the most significant days of the entire liturgical year: HOLY WEEK.

On PASSION or PALM SUNDAY, we offer a joyous demonstration of our loyalty to Christ our King. The Mass, however, with its solemn reading of the Passion, is under the shadow of the cross. “Hosanna to the Son of David!” is thus followed very soon by the cry, “Crucify Him!” In many Christian lives, too, the recognition of Christ, by attendance at Mass and living His eternal truths through His Bride, the Church, is contradicted by sinful acts which nail Him once more to the cross. This weekend is the time to sincerely renew once again our loyalty to Jesus Christ.

On Tuesday, many throughout the Archdiocese will gather at the Cathedral to celebrate the CHRISM MASS at 2:00 p.m. At this Mass, the holy oils to be used throughout the year in the celebration of the Sacraments will be blessed and distributed to all parishes. At this Mass, the priests of the Archdiocese renew our ordination promises. It is a beautiful symbol of our unity and oneness with the larger Church, represented by Archbishop Tobin.

On Thursday, the Catholic Church throughout the world begins the SACRED TRIDUUM. The days of HOLY THURSDAY, GOOD FRIDAY, and the EASTER VIGIL are the holiest and most profound days of the Christian soul.

HOLY THURSDAY solemnly inaugurates the “Triduum during which the Lord died, was buried and rose again.” On this day our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist; at the Last Supper He prepared the Sacrifice-Meal that would through the ages unite His members in Himself. We are gathered with the Apostles, to receive from Jesus the great gift of His own Flesh and Blood. Through the ministry of the priesthood, Christ remains present at every Mass. We solemnly commemorate the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Orders as well. On this night, Christ’s example of humble service is also brought to our minds through the Holy Gospel. Following the Mass at 7:00 p.m., the Holy Eucharist is borne throughout the church to the Altar of Repose for private adoration and prayer until 10:00 p.m.

In the garden, Christ asked, “Could you not wait one hour with Me?” On this night, let us join with Him in prayer!

GOOD FRIDAY solemnly commemorates Jesus Christ’s sacrifice FOR US! We begin at NOON. We listen once more to the story of His Passion according to St. John, and then venerate the instrument of our salvation, His Cross. We pray for the needs of the world and finally receive our Lord in Holy Communion. Following the Liturgy, until the Easter Vigil, Christians experience something of the great void felt by the Apostles after the death of the Lord. The church is locked, the Blessed Sacrament is removed. We enter into the tomb of our Savior.

We gather in darkness on the night of the EASTER VIGIL at 8:00 p.m. to celebrate the Passover of the Lord! The light of Christ dispels the darkness of sin in our world and in our hearts as we welcome the newest members of the Church through Baptism and Profession of Faith. We renew our own baptismal vows and join in celebration of the Resurrection.

As your pastor, I invite you all to join in the observance and celebration of the SACRED TRIDUUM! These days take priority in our lives; we leave the clocks and watches behind and touch eternity. Please note the times of all Masses and Liturgies of this most Holy Week in the bulletin as well as on the doors of the church. Let us join in solemn prayer and keep vigil; for the Passover of the Lord is at hand! God bless you all!

 

March 13, 2015

+Dear Friends,

Traditionally, PASSION-TIDE begins with this Fifth Sunday of Lent.

The statues and crucifixes are covered as a visible means of the holy and glorious being withdrawn as our Lord faces the heart of His Passion and ultimate death. On the Fifth Sunday of Lent, St. Augustine contrasts the writing of the Law of Moses with what our Lord writes here on the ground. At Sinai, the Law was written on tablets of stone. Stone is excellent for recording…we still speak of something “set in stone” for example. It speaks of permanence and durability.

Stone, however, also possesses the hint of death; think of headstones in a cemetery, for example. Stone can be used to kill: we see in this reading of the Gospel the intention of the people to stone Jesus. So, Jesus writes on the ground. Unlike stone, earth has the ability to bring forth life and produce good fruit. Stone can identify and make permanent a record of our sins; in a metaphorical sense of the word. Jesus desires to write of Divine Mercy on our hearts, that we might produce good fruit.

Today Jesus gives the adulterous woman a chance to turn away from sin and turn back to God. A remarkable part of the encounter is that she admits her sin; we often do not. We have a tendency to blame others; either personally or societal, for OUR sins. Jesus today offers us the same opportunity He offered the adulterous woman. Shall we take it?

Perhaps your personal Lent hasn’t been that great. Has it? Passion-tide is an excellent time to “reignite” and prepare for the glory of Easter. Use these last precious weeks of Lent to truly prepare for the Holy Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil!

Remember next Saturday’s “SHARE YOUR HEART FUNDRAISER,” March 19th! Things begin at 6:00 p.m. with dinner then auction at 7:00 p.m.

May God, Who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion!

 

March 6, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

Once again, this time of Lent, the Church observes Laetare Sunday. From the Latin meaning “rejoice,” it is a day to pause for a brief moment in our Lenten journey to rejoice over the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which we celebrate most especially during the Sacred Triduum, ending with Easter Sunday. The solemn violet vestments are laid aside and the beautiful rose ones take their place. When I was younger, we always looked forward to Laetare; it meant Easter was on the way!

The first reading reminded us that the Father removed the reproach of Egypt from the Israelites. In other words, He removed their subjection to slavery, misery and years of oppression.

Like the ancient Israelites, we, too, have been freed, through the holy Sacraments of Baptism and Penance, from the oppression of sin and death. As we hear in the familiar parable of the Prodigal Son in today’s Gospel, “your brother was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.” And that is definitely cause for our rejoicing!

St. Augustine has an interesting notion: the elder son’s resentment at the mercy shown his irresponsible younger brother, shows that what truly upsets him is not his brother’s sin, but his own lack of opportunity to sin… or so he thought. Naturally, this entire parable prefigures the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord. So, whenever our Father sees a repentant sinner coming back to life in grace, He sees His Beloved Son. No small wonder God “runs” out to meet us in the holy sacraments!

St. Paul today expresses this as he says: “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away.”

Today, a day of rejoicing, focus on the ways that you have moved from the oppression of sin to a life of freedom. Have you? Through the Most Holy Eucharist, have you experienced being a “new creation?”

Remember to gather on Friday evenings at 6:00 p.m. to offer the Stations of the Cross. Also remember, Confessions are being heard each Wednesday of Lent from 6:00-7:00 p.m. as well as the usual Saturday afternoon time period!

Have a prayer-full Lenten week everyone. See you at Daily Mass!

 

February 28, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

The very familiar story about Moses and the burning bush reminds us today that our God is shrouded in mystery. (And that’s a good thing!) Our life’s journey, as does our journey during the holy time of Lent, has only one goal: eternal life with Jesus Christ.

The way to God is made clearer and clearer each time we gather to celebrate the Mass in this holy place we call Mary, Queen of Peace. The way is made clearer and clearer each time we celebrate Penance. Jesus is The Way.

We listen, hopefully like eager children hearing a fascinating story for the first time, to words that bring us closer to Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus’ words today remind us that the more we come to know Him, the more we are expected to respond in word and deed.

Jesus makes it quite clear in today’s Gospel that we are all sinners and have often times fallen short of His way. The wonderful thing is that He offers us the means by which to return to Him and to His Bride, the Church!

Perhaps we could each reflect and name one way that we have grown closer to Jesus during this season of Lent.

As we continue our Lenten journey, remember that the Stations of the Cross are offered each Friday of Lent beginning at 6:00 p.m.!

Masses on Tuesday, March 1st and Wednesday, March 2nd will be said by Father Tom while I am attending our annual Lenten Prayer Day for archdiocesan priests at Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis. Archbishop Tobin is going to be leading the day of prayer this year. Pray for all of your priests!

Remember, this coming First Thursday/Friday of March! We will be offering Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Thursday and Benediction on First Friday at 8:10 a.m. before the 8:30 Mass!

Let us continue those good Lenten resolutions!

 

February 21, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

This weekend, our parish welcomes Rev. John Fischer, of Cross International. Priests of Cross International have visited us many times before. I thank you all for your hospitality shown to Father!

“Your presence, Lord, I seek.” These words from today’s responsorial psalm sum up the mind-set of Lent. Amid the many distractions that can draw our attention away from God, we come to this holy place called Mary Queen of Peace to not only seek, but find, Christ’s eternal Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist!

On Mt. Tabor, our Lord allowed Himself to be recognized in the fullness of His Divinity by three of His disciples. He reveals Himself in glory so that, when there occurs in Jerusalem all that must pass in His Passion and death, these three would remember and understand that Jesus freely gave Himself up for us and our salvation. The Transfiguration of our Lord gives us all a hint of enduring Eucharistic Presence!

In the person of Christ’s priest, in the proclaimed word, in the gathered assembly but above all, in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is present with and for us. What a gift! Let us open our eyes, our ears and our souls to the transfiguring love and compassion of Jesus on this Second Sunday of Lent!

Don’t forget that the Stations of the Cross and Holy Communion are offered each Friday of Lent beginning at 6:00 p.m. I want to thank Nick Schmutte and Dave Adams for filling in for me at the Stations! The first Friday of Stations, I was down at the Retreat Center in Bloomington getting things ready for our Confirmation Retreat. The 21st, OK, I admit it, Monsignor Stumpf, our Vicar General, and I are someplace warm! I will be leading the remainder of the Stations this Lent. It’s a great opportunity for families to pray together in Lent. Also, remember Confessions are heard each Wednesday from 6:00-7:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 3:45-4:30 p.m.!

As we continue our Lenten journey, let us continue to pray for one another daily. Offer little sacrifices for the parish and individuals you may know in need of heightened prayer. May God, Who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion!

 

February 14, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

We have begun. The holy season of Lent is with us. At the beginning of Lent, the Holy Scriptures summon us to a posture of remembrance.

Just as the Israelites of old remembered the mighty acts that the Lord their God had done for them, so, too, are we called to remember what God has done for us.

As we continue our Lenten journey, let us focus on the gift that this holy season can be for each one of us. We celebrate the gift of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection! We grow closer to the Lord Jesus, Who suffered, died and rose to new life to save us from sin and opened the way to everlasting life!

Occasionally St. Luke likes to use a literary technique called inclusion, a phrase or theme appearing early in a book and then resurfacing approximately the same distance from the conclusion. Today’s Gospel includes one.

In the fourth chapter, the devil tempts and then departs from Jesus…for a time. Satan returns in the twenty-second chapter, entering into Judas, who then of course betrayed our Lord. We know Satan is not even remotely an equal to Christ. Jesus doesn’t bump into Satan by mistake, but is brought to the desert to triumph over him! Only much later is Satan allowed to re-appear and evil do its worst; an illusory triumph eternally reversed by Christ’s Resurrection!

What is central is not Satan’s temptations, but the nearness of God, which our Lord acknowledges by quoting Scripture to repel him. Lent is our time to pray about the nearness of God in our lives and how many times we push Him away by our sins and selfishness. The Church’s mandate that we pray, fast and give alms, are meant to help us acknowledge both our sins and the nearness and compassion of a forgiving God. Let us take advantage of this holy Season of Lent and all the many offerings afforded us to “repent, and believe in the Gospel.” Remember, the “Light is On For You”, the hearing of confessions, each Wednesday of Lent from 6:00-7:00 p.m. as well as the usual Saturday afternoons from 3:45-4:30!

Stations of the Cross will be celebrated each Friday of Lent at 6:00 p.m. Come as a family and share in Christ’s journey to the cross and resurrection. You can either go the annual Lenten Fish Fry before Stations or after!

“EUCHARISTIC ETIQUETTE #2”:

It should come as no surprise that respectful etiquette in the church calls for no eating or drinking (except for water when necessary). This includes no gum chewing. We are in the very Presence of our God! We make a habit of speaking with Him before and after Mass. We’re blessed here at SMQP to have a narthex for fellowship and visiting. Let’s remember to respect those who are at prayer before and after each Mass.

As we journey together this Lent, let us keep one another in prayer. Pray that we will grow closer to Jesus in the Eucharist and in reconciliation.

God bless one and all!

 

February 7, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

Please note….as noted in my Pastoral Letter available to everyone last weekend, Confessions are now being heard in the “Confessional Chapel”; formerly the Chapel housing the Tabernacle. You will now see the signs posted by the door. When the door is open, the priest is available to hear your confession in the chapel. Of course, both options, face-to-face or anonymous are available.

As for “Eucharistic Etiquette,” please genuflect or offer a profound bow if physically unable to genuflect, when entering and leaving your row. Because Our Eucharistic Lord is now present in the Sanctuary, as noted, a respectful quiet and prayerful atmosphere is called for. This is an excellent opportunity for parents to “be the first teachers of your children” as noted in the Rite of Baptism! “He is there, Who loves us so much!” (St. Jean Marie Vianney)

Of course, the coded door may still be used for entrance to the church when the main doors are locked!

Most of us would regard good memory as a blessing. Good what? Oh, yeah, good memory! Yet a great Doctor of the Church, St. John of the Cross, warned that spiritual growth requires memory to be brought under strict control. Why?

For St. John of the Cross, an undisciplined memory churns up past sin, recalling the momentary enjoyment/ pleasure…and the lasting regret. So it was with the prophet Isaiah and St. Peter. Just when growth in the spiritual way beckons, sin rises from the dust of memory, points an accusing finger and asks, “Are you sure you desire to grow closer to God, with me in your baggage?”

When are we most likely to understand the full horror of our sins than when we truly appreciate the compassion and mercy of God? We overcome those sad memories when we have offended God through the virtue of hope, telling us to look not back, but forward to the life in and of Christ.

We cannot and should not forget our sinful past, but our past must be just that: past. Remembering what Jesus in effect told St. Peter: “Fear not the past. I have something better for you.” Step out into the deep and trust in Christ. Now, that is a good memory to hold on to!

My thanks to the all who helped with our Parish Mission last week! I especially thank John and Kathy Chapin for looking after the needs of the presenter and everyone else who helped in any way! The Mission was a good lead-in to the upcoming holy Season of Lent.

REMEMBER, ASH WEDNESAY is on THIS COMING WEDNESDAY! Masses will be February 10th at noon and 7:00 p.m.

Have a prayer-full week, everyone!

 

January 31, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

Returning to His hometown, having become somewhat of a celebrity, our Lord Jesus neglects to abide by certain etiquettes of polite society. One could say, a local boy makes good, comes home, puts on a grin and asks that a fuss not be made about him. Genuine humility cannot embrace lies, even polite ones.

So Jesus speaks the truth. Nazareth is told to ask itself why miracles being made present in Capernaum were not being done there. Why, indeed. Nazareth declines the implicit offer of conversion and tries to throw our Lord off a cliff; great homecoming, huh?

Genuine humility and love, extolled by St. Paul, exemplified by our Lord, is not the empty affirmation that polite society exalts. Instead, Jesus looked His neighbors in the eye, looks us in the eye, and when necessary says, “No, it’s not all right, the way you are. But you don’t need to stay that way. Hear and accept the Good News.”

Ask yourself today: would Jesus say to me, right now, “are you ready to live in My Kingdom?”

Don’t forget this week’s First Thursday-Friday Adoration and Benediction for Vocations to the Priesthood! Come, spend time with the Eucharistic Lord. Young men of our parish are praying and discerning their call…let’s help them with our prayers and encouragement!

Also, Wednesday, February 3rd, is the feast day of the holy martyr St. Blaise. The traditional blessing of throats will take place immediately following the 8:30 a.m. Mass.

Our parish mission begins Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. Each day of the mission, there will be Mass at 8:30 a.m., followed by a presentation, and then each evening there will be a presentation at 7:00 p.m. followed by refreshments in the lower level. The mission will conclude Wednesday evening. Join us!

God bless you all!

 

January 24, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

Here we are, more than half way through the month of January; can I have an “Amen?” Just keep telling yourself, “Spring is coming, spring is coming!”

At the time of St. Luke, those who read his Gospel account, took very seriously the call to discipleship and evangelization. The Church was in Her infancy and the followers of Christ, in the leadership of St. Peter and the other Apostles, knew that it was also up to them to spread the Eucharistic faith and truth of Jesus Christ.

St. Luke asserts: “you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.” There was no ambiguity, no dissenting opinion, they knew the truth of Jesus and many would give their lives for it! Some nowadays would discount the Gospel because of personal bias. It’s been that way from the beginning; one either accepts the truth or one rejects it. We each have free will. The sad thing today seems to be that some wish to wear the mantle of “Catholic” all the while undermining Catholic teaching because it fits a particular bias or agenda.

Well, that’s not what St. Luke believed, now is it? Remember his use of the word “certainty.” With Christ and His Bride, the Church, we have certainty of truth. Whether it be in the first century or the twenty-first century, truth is truth. As Pope Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis have noted numerous times, a “dictatorship of relativism” can never replace Gospel truth. One can call himself or herself a kangaroo, but that doesn’t make them one!

I call your attention to the upcoming Parish Mission which will begin Sunday evening, January 31st and run through Wednesday, February 3rd! Mass will be offered that Monday – Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. with a short session following. A second session will take place in the evening at 7:00 p.m. with fellowship following in the lower level of the church. Prayerfully consider this opportunity; especially as Lent approaches!

Each Mass celebrated is normally offered for a specific intention for which all at Mass pray. Naturally, all present may add their own personal intentions privately as well. If you would like to have Mass offered for a deceased loved one, or a “special intention,” contact Anna in the office to schedule this request.

May the Good God, bless and keep us always in His way, truth and life! (“Stay warm and well-fed.” St. James).

 

January 17, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

“To each individual,” writes St. Paul, “the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” We might think that being given the Spirit means having all the answers, or for that matter, having no questions!

Holy Scripture provides little support for such supposition. All that the Holy Spirit gives us…and blessed are we if we can handle so much…is an awareness of, an openness to, Christ’s Presence and activity in our lives.

Let’s consider our Blessed Mother at Cana. She simply tells her Son what she sees: “They have no wine.” Are you thinking, “just like a mother?” Her implied petition is not given an immediate reply. Mary does not ask again or assume Jesus isn’t interested. Mary simply accepts that Her Son will answer her prayer/petition as is best for all.

Next comes one of the most powerful statements of New Testament faith and the faith of the Church: “Do whatever He tells you.” In that simple and deeply faithful directive, Our Lady undoes terrible words screamed at God by Lucifer: “I will not serve!”

Whatever Jesus decides will be for the best. He doesn’t need a script or teleprompter. Better we turn to Him trustingly, turn over the things we cannot handle alone. In the Holy Spirit, we invoke God’s power, not for our own good or selfish desires, but for the good of salvation. We pray always, “Thy will be done.” Can we honestly utter that statement of faith? To help us, we have Our Lady and her motherly advice: “Do whatever He tells you.” Mothers do know best you know!

A reminder that our second town hall meeting regarding possible building/remodeling of our parish facilities is coming up on Tuesday, January 19th, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the church. Everyone is invited to attend! It should last no longer than an hour and a half.

May God bless you and keep you always! May Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, lead, guide and compassion you!

 

January 10, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

We continue to bask in the glow of Christmastide. Following last Sunday’s celebration of the Epiphany, the Mass readings for the daily Masses this past week have all centered on further “epiphanies,” or “Theopanies” of Jesus Christ. In other words, further manifestations of His Divinity as God.

Today, Holy Mother Church officially closes the Christmas Season with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. His is a Baptism of inauguration; ours, a Baptism of forgiveness and incorporation.

Our Lord’s Baptism marked the beginning of His public ministry of salvation. He “immersed” Himself into our humanity, becoming like us in all things but sin. He shouldered our sin, our guilt, and showed us that the way unto eternal life lies in both the Holy Eucharist and the suffering of the cross.

The flame entrusted to our parents, or ourselves, at Baptism, is to be “kept burning brightly.” It is this flame of faith which we will present to our Lord when we stand before Him at death.

Sadly, many times we choose to forget or, worse still, ignore, this flame of faith. We call these times sin. Whether mortal or venial, we selfishly choose our own way rather than that of Christ and His Church. Faith is freely given and must be freely accepted; Jesus forces no one to follow Him. BUT, if so chosen, one MUST humbly follow as revealed by Christ and His Bride. In other words, it’s not up to me or you to define Christ’s revelation. That belongs to the Church. If one has a “problem” with official Church teaching, then one has the obligation to pray, study and be open to Christ’s guidance.

May we use this celebration of Christ’s Baptism to joyfully give thanks for our own! We have been chosen. Let us live in that joyful awareness!

Continued best wishes for a blessed new year, 2016!

 

January 3, 2016

+ Dear Friends,

Again, HAPPY NEW YEAR ONE AND ALL! Today, the Church celebrates the ancient Solemnity of the Epiphany. The three magi, or kings as we call them in song, spent a good deal of their lives searching for the Christ. We are privileged to find Him every day of our lives right here, in St. Mary, Queen of Peace Church! He is in our midst as the Bread of Life, the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament!

On the Solemnity of the Epiphany, which commemorates the visit of the magi to Jesus, it is tradition that the Epiphany Proclamation is read. I reprint it here for you to enjoy:

“The glory of the Lord has shone upon us and shall ever manifest itself among us until the day of His return. Through the rhythms and changes of time, let us call to mind and live the mysteries of salvation.”

“The center of the whole liturgical year is the Paschal Triduum of the Lord, crucified, buried and risen, which will culminate in the solemn Vigil of Easter, during the holy night that will end with the dawn of the 27th of March.”

“From Easter there comes forth and are reckoned all the days we keep holy: Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten spring, the 10th of February; the Ascension of the Lord, the 8th of May, and Pentecost, the 15th of May; the First Sunday of Advent, the 27th of November.”

“To Christ, Who was, Who is, and Who is to come, the Lord of time and history, be endless praise forever and ever. Amen!”

Many Catholic households pray to ask God’s blessing upon the family home on the Solemnity of the Epiphany. Printed here on this page of the bulletin, you will find the blessing prayer to be offered by the family gathered inside the front door. Afterwards, using chalk, the following is inscribed over the door: 20 + C + B + M + 16.

Caspar, Balthasar and Melchior are the names given to the Three Wise Men; the Magi. Consider doing this blessing as a family!

Once again, my sincere thanks to ALL for your prayers and remembrances offered at Christmas. I thank all who helped in any way with the Liturgies of this Holy Season. I hope and pray your New Year, 2016 is off to a great beginning! God Bless You All!

 

December 27, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

As we continue to bask in the Octave days of Christmas, Holy Mother Church calls us together to observe the Solemnity of the Holy Family.

Two holy, elderly couples are presented to us in today’s Mass – Abram and Sarah, and Simeon and Anna. The common thread that weaves through each of these people’s lives is that they longed for something. Who among us has not experienced this same feeling and desire?

For Abram and Sarah, it was for a child. For Simeon and Anna, it was to behold the Messiah before they died. Perhaps the message of these holy people is that for a people of faith, often what we greatly desire comes only after a very long wait; and waiting is not something most of us are very good at! We can draw inspiration from the great faith and patience shown us by Abram, Sarah, Simeon and Anna!

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, also offers us an example; an example that seems almost impossible to imitate. Well, that’s OK really because we are called to do our best and that means acknowledging our failings and beginning once more to better imitate the Holy Family.

Today, we also reflect upon the upcoming Holy Day of Obligation of the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. Mass on December 31st will be offered at 5:30pm. On January 1st, Mass will be offered at 10:30am.

As the New Year prepares to dawn, we gather to place ourselves and our world under the protective mantle of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God! She is the Queen of Peace, to whom we can pray for an end to violence and all threats against the dignity and protection of human life; from conception to natural death. She is the Mother of Sorrows, who joins her heart and voice to ours as we bring to God our prayers and needs. She is Theotokas, the God-Bearer, through whose intercession we raise our prayers to the Lord Jesus, Who reigns in eternal glory! Mary is the Mother of the Church and our Mother. Who better to turn to in prayer than the Mother of Christ Himself? Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

My humble thanks for your kind remembrances at Christmas! I wish you all a very Happy New Year! May this coming year be a time of blessing for all of us, our families and our friends! Ad multos annos!

 

December 20, 2015

+Dear Friends,

Advent is a time to live in joyful expectation at the coming of the Lord Jesus. We hear in today’s Mass that it is to the smallest and humblest that the Lord comes. Consider Mary, a simple Jewish girl living a seemingly insignificant life. It is in her womb that the very Son of God dwells.

Today we consider ourselves as well. Perhaps at times we consider ourselves too small or insignificant to count for much in God’s eyes. When we gather to celebrate Mass we are given the opportunity to become the very dwelling place of Jesus by listening to God’s Living Word and receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus in Holy Communion! In the womb of the Blessed Mother grew the One Who would save the world from sin and death. And within each one of us lies the potential to bring peace and good will to all we meet. Too insignificant? I don’t think so!

While we gather this weekend to celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent, this bulletin is also the final one before the glorious Solemnity of Christmas. Therefore….

A VERY BLESSED AND MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL!!

May the celebration of Christ’s humble birth once again fill your hearts and lives with a spirit of simplicity and hope! I truly desire that everyone finds these days to be ones of peace!

When we assemble for Mass in the Season of Christmas, we are a Church haunted by a Child with many faces. Each of us brings to Mass the image of the Holy Child within. We proclaim the Child in Whom meet the ironies of life: divinity and humanity, birth and death, innocence and suffering.

God calls us at the time of Christmas, “My delight.” We are called to take these words to heart. We see, through the Gift of Jesus Christ, that even though we may feel desolate or abandoned at times, we can be assured that we ARE His delight! Our world waits for a day of lasting peace, freedom, protection and justice. All these were made visible in the form of a tiny Child born in a manger. His birth was the beginning of the promise. As a people who have been called to make a home for Christ within our hearts, we are called also to share that promise with our waiting world!

As the shepherds, may we be inspired to share the truth of Jesus with our families, friends, coworkers and with all who long for the life that only Jesus can give! In our own small ways, let us allow the light of Christ to shine in our hearts. Pray that we can show those who dwell in darkness (and that includes all of us at times) that there IS hope!

Please note the schedule of Masses during the Holyday Season! Again, know of my every good wish for you and all the families of our parish as we celebrate Christ’s birth! “God Bless Us, Everyone!

 

December 13, 2015

+Dear Friends,

“The Lord, your God, is in your midst.” We hear those words on this Third Sunday of Advent, words that remind us to continue our joyful vigilance. This Third Sunday is called Gaudete Sunday. Its name comes from the Latin for “rejoice.” The rose vestments are worn, the rose candle of the Advent wreath is lit, all as reminders that the joy and miracle of the Incarnation of Christ at Christmas is near. Truly, as the Scriptures tell us this weekend, “Rejoice in the Lord always!”

These holy days leading up to Christmas are a time of preparation, of reflection and, as St. John the Baptist reminds us today, ones of sharing. They are days in which to give thanks and also to share with those less fortunate than ourselves. This is one way in which we make present the Lord in our midst. Whether or not it consists in taking a name from the giving tree, contributing to St. Vincent de Paul or some other random act of kindness and charity, sharing and giving to another makes our Lord ever more in our midst.

Our second reading today from St. Paul has been one of my favorites for many years. Quite honestly, while a favorite, it is also one of the most difficult to live. I can usually handle the “rejoice in the Lord” part; it is the “have no anxiety at all” part that I find difficult! I realize that almost everyone else finds this admonition to be very challenging as well. While we profess faith; while we do indeed have faith, still it is not always easy to “let go” and not fret about things, is it? I don’t believe I’ve ever read any writer put this forth but perhaps St. Paul wrote these words of encouragement because he himself knew what it was to live with anxiety. And, perhaps we live with this because of our fallen human nature. Until the fall of man, humanity knew no anxiety or fear. So, ever since that choice away from God, we live the struggle to believe and truly believe without fear; with no reservations. I know that each of us has probably known people who live this way and we all admire them, don’t we? Their example can give us courage and strength too. What a perfect Advent prayer for us to offer!

I think our Advent Penance Service last Wednesday was very well attended! It was great having the number of folks we had come for Confession! In this “Year of Mercy,” experience the forgiveness of God in this holy Sacrament!

I’ll be a tad early but I want to put this in bold, dark type so none of us forgets: Masses for Christmas are: Thursday, December 24th at 4:00 p.m. and Friday, December 25th at Midnight and 10:30 a.m. Please pass along these Mass times to someone who may not be aware of the special holiday schedule!!

Better go for now. May the good God help us as we continue our Advent journey to Christmas! God bless you all!

 

December 6, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

Last weekend, the parish of St. Mary, Queen of Peace, began the holy Season of Advent. In in the midst of sometimes frantic activity, it is a season of love. Yep, love. In the midst of our activities, Holy Mother Church offers us opportunities to “discern what is of value.” Celebrating a daily Mass, taking a gift tag from our annual Christmas Giving Tree, celebrating the Sacrament of Penance, using The Magnificat meditation booklet, and the list goes on.

In this time of preparation for the way of the Lord Jesus, the old prophet Baruch (there’s a name you don’t hear any- more!) reminds us that mercy and justice are our companions. As we extend the love of our Eucharistic Jesus more and more, we are called to bring that mercy and justice to those around us.

And so, ask yourself this weekend, “how do I recognize what is of real, true, eternal value, even when I get caught up in my preparations for Christmas?”

As the parish did last Advent, this weekend, we will take up a special second collection to remember and support the seminarians of the Archdiocese. This goes directly to the guys as a sign of support and prayer for their vocation and discernment. If you forgot a little “extra” this weekend, please drop it off in the office this week! I like to get this personal gift from our parish to the guys near the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Let’s show them we care and pray for them all!

Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. we will celebrate the Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Mass will also be celebrated at Noon on December 8th. Mary is our model and intercessor to better imitate our Savior. As we honor Her Immaculate Conception, we honor Her Holy Child, Jesus Christ. Mary always leads us to our Lord… always! I love the quote by Bishop Fulton Sheen: “How can one not honor Her, Whom Jesus loved so very much?”

Also, find in this weekend’s bulletin, the Examination of Conscience. Our Advent Penance Service is this Wednesday, December 9th at 7:00 p.m. We will have six (6) priests here to hear confessions. Like I said last week, we can always find a spot for you!

“Prepare the way of the Lord!” Come, let us do so! God bless you all!

 

November 29, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

If you are like me, God love you(!), it is always hard for me to believe that Advent Season has come again. Where does the time go?! As the first words of Advent, Christ Jesus tells us, “Be vigilant at all times.”

As Catholics, our stance of vigilance is one of love, albeit imperfectly. When we love one another, the Lord Jesus is made present in our relationships, at work, at school and most of all in our hearts and souls. This is the call of our Advent Season.

What ways will this first week of Advent be a time when you will take the stand of being “vigilant”: how will you expand your love for your spouse, children, family, friends, co- workers and fellow parishioners?

You know, Advent comes from the Latin word, adventus, meaning “coming”. And so in a way, what the Church is encouraging us all to do is open our hearts and souls to the myriad of ways Jesus comes into our life each day. For us, the most grace-filled manner in which our Lord comes is of course in the Holy Eucharist. To actually receive God; imagine that! But that is exactly what we do when receiving Holy Communion. To encounter Him through the healing words of absolution in the Sacrament of Penance is awesome! To come and spend just a short time with Him in the Blessed Sacrament is inspiring!

What ever it is you choose to do this Advent, do it with an openness of heart and spirit. I know it’s hard to do. What with everything telling us to buy this, buy that, go here, go there, entertain everyone and their brother, it can be overwhelming. But, the Lord compassionately encourages us to make the effort…..He will do the rest…thank God!

I hope you afford yourself of the wonderful opportunity of grace coming this week with our monthly Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction for Vocations! Remember also, the upcoming Holy Day of Obligation of the Immaculate Conception on December 7-8! As decreed by Pope Francis, the Holy Day also inaugurates the special Jubilee Year of Mercy! MUCH more will follow on this Jubilee Year. What a great way to begin this holy season!

Also coming up soon will be our Advent Penance Service to be on Wednesday, December 9th, beginning at 7:00 p.m. We will have six (6) priests here….so we can squeeze YOU in! Be sure to check out next week’s bulletin for the inclusion of an Examination of Conscience.

Remember….each year our parish of St. Mary’s offers a small, personal gift to each of our seminarians for Christmas. This second collection will be taken up next weekend for this parish gift. Let’s show our continued encouragement, prayers and support for the twenty-four young men studying for the priesthood for us!!

God bless you all! Our holy days and time of waiting and expectation have begun. Let us continue to pray for one another!

 

November 22, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

I’ll begin with a reminder….our Thanksgiving Vigil Mass will be offered on Wednesday, November 25th at 7:00pm. Come as the entire family and give thanks for all of Christ’s blessings to us!

The readings for the entire liturgical year of 2015 have led us to this weekend’s Solemnity of Christ the King. This is where the “rubber hits the road.”

This week the Lord Jesus tells “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.” As this text is proclaimed and we take it out into our world, let us ask for the strength to listen more attentively to the voice of the Lord in our daily lives. On this last Sunday of Ordinary time, let us remember that our call to listen to, and put into practice, the voice of the Lord, is a constant call in our lives; it is not something done once and forgotten; it is something that never ends. We must continually open our hearts and souls to do our humble best to “belong to the truth” and listen to the voice of Christ! How powerful is today’s Gospel passage which we hear on every Good Friday during Holy Week. Before Pontius Pilate, His life hanging by a thread, our Lord stands as Truth Incarnate….and Pilate misses Him. So do we, don’t we? We either innocently miss Him, or we consciously choose to miss Him….either one is tragic. Perhaps at today’s Mass, we will see that it’s time to do a little re-ordering of attitudes and behaviors.

Today’s Solemnity of Christ the King is a symbol and celebration of the endurance of Christ’s Church and a sign of hope. Just call to mind all the kings and kingdoms of the world over history, of how they once ruled with power and oftentimes mercilessly. Think of those governments that persecuted the Church with such viciousness that countless scores of faithful became martyrs for Christ and the Faith. Think now that most are now all gone and the only one that has endured to celebrate the Kingship of Christ is the One True Church that He founded!

As we gather this coming week to celebrate our national day of Thanksgiving, we must call to mind the greatest blessing of them all……the Holy Mass! For this timeless, priceless Gift of Jesus Himself, our hearts, minds, souls and voices need proclaim our thanksgiving!

As of today, our parish has given/pledged $29,945 toward the United Catholic Appeal. I THANK-YOU for your gen- erous giving of Time, Talent & Treasure to our parish and Archdiocese! There’s still time for you to return your card if you have not done so!

For all our parishioners who will be traveling this week for Thanksgiving; drive safely and return safely! May our Eucharistic King bless us, our families, our parish and our world with His peace and His grace! Deo Gratias!

 

November 15, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

In today’s Gospel, we hear the series of events that will signal the second coming of Christ. “Heaven and earth will pass away,” Jesus tells us, “but my words will not pass away.”

Jesus is reassuring us that His return will not signal a final end to life. The Lord promises us a life that will endure after this earth passes away. Today’s readings are fitting as we experience the ending of another liturgical year and stand on the threshold of another, which will begin with the First Sunday of Advent.

Our Lord’s words do, however, give us warning and significant pause for prayer. How will we each appear before Him at His return? What will the “scales” look like regarding our lives? No one is able to answer for our own personal lives and the decisions, for good or bad, which we have made. That, will be our sole responsibility.

Rather than make us paranoid or scared stiff, this fact of our religious lives, should make us grateful for the Lord’s blessings and our faith! It should make us more cognizant of our actions, words and attitudes in our daily lives! It should make us take our Catholic Faith much more seriously than we normally do; its practice, its fervor and its commitment! Apathy and indifference are two of the deadliest sins we each will no doubt present before the throne of God. Today’s Gospel gives us an opportunity to prayerfully reflect and reprioritize if need be….thanks be to God!

I thank ALL who have thus far made a pledge to the United Catholic Appeal AND thank those who also have made inquiry and commitment to share their time and talent with our parish as well! If you have not made your pledge or turned in your card, PLEASE do so this week! Extra cards remain in the pews for your convenience!

My personal thanks to all for your kind gifts of cards, words and remembrances shown for my birthday this past Wednesday, Veterans’ Day! I know, one does not get older; one gets better. Yeah, right! I wonder who ever came up with that one?! May the good God continue to bless us, one and all!

 

November 8, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

Today’s liturgy of the word summons us to reflect on all the gifts our Father has given us, and urges us to be generous with these gifts. As we adore and offer prayers of gratitude to God, Who has so blessed each of us, we must always remember those who are in need. In a way, we can say this is the two sides of one coin.

It is our privileged obligation to care for our neighbor in whatever way we are able. Again, it’s important for us to remember that we acknowledge the fact that we cannot do everything for everyone. However, we must and can help when and where we can!

The poor woman in today’s Gospel demonstrates the way in which we are to be generous. From her heart, she gave her all!

On this second commitment weekend for the United Catholic Appeal, the above reflection is very timely and apt. The parish of St. Mary, Queen of Peace, has benefited greatly from the generosity of the Archdiocesan family when the parish built our current church. Without this shared stewardship, the parish would not have been able to accomplish what needed to be done.

Catholic Charities serves an unbelievable number of clients each year. The “home missions” which means they benefit from the annual appeal as well, serves many parishes which simply could not make it financially without Archdiocesan help.

Our gifts of time, talent and treasure to our parish are incalculable as well! Without volunteers and generous stewardship, things would not/could not, be done. Prayerfully consider YOUR pledges as you return to the Lord from His blessings to you!

We pray for one another; we protect one another as well. Don’t forget our Veterans on this coming Veterans’ Day! Together let us thank the vets who have protected our nation and continue to do so throughout the world! Mass is for ALL Veterans, living and deceased, on November 11th!

May the good God continue to bless and protect us!

 

November 1, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

The month of November is upon us. In the rich history of the Church, November has been seen as a very special time to pray for and remember our beloved dead. Regardless of the language one wishes to use in speaking of this holy practice, it is good to reflect upon this foundational facet of the Creed; the Communion of the Saints.

Let us take a look at this tenet of our Catholic Faith; in fact, of all Christendom. The Saints in heaven are named the Church Triumphant. The Church on this earth (that’s you and me and all of our brothers and sisters in faith) is named the Church Militant. The word is used very deliberately. Like it or not, aware of it or not, you and I are in spiritual battle. The forces of darkness and death buffet us daily. At times, we are simply too dull to see it or be aware of it. It is not paranoia; it is a mature, faith-filled reality that we must be cognizant of. The third component, if you will, of the Communion of the Saints, is the Church Suffering. All segments of the Church unite in prayer. Our Faith teaches us that death does not end our relationships with those who have gone before us; they are merely changed.

One aspect of the Communion of the Saints we need to clear up is that Vatican II “did away with” the doctrine of Purgatory. In no way was or is this the case. Quite frankly, I could never understand why some were so hasty to believe this falsehood or even seem to propagate this mistaken notion. When properly understood, the Church’s teaching on Purgatory is one of comfort. We ask those on earth each day to pray for us, don’t we? We ask the Saints to intercede on our behalf (or we should!). We, in turn, pray for our beloved dead. That, in a nutshell, is the Communion of the Saints. That, in the same shell, is what Purgatory is all about. At times, when conducting a funeral service at the funeral home or at a committal service, I can see in the faces of those who do not share our belief in prayer for dead, a blankness or stare that mirrors an interior sadness.

Being born in November, as were three of the four of my immediate family, November has always been a special month for me. The falling leaves, the crispness of the cold air, and anticipation of what is to come, has helped shape me, if you will. I often find this time of All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, to be a time of remembrance and reflection.

I loved All Hallows’ Eve, aka “Hallowe’en.” I always made the connection with the Feast of All Saints and, going to a Catholic school meant we always had a free day the next day! Remember? Oh, how we liked to tell our Protestant friends we had a free day!

I loved All Saints’ Day Mass; the incense, the resplendent white and gold vestments, the hymns. For, even though it was a free day from school, it was never a question of whether or not to celebrate Mass that day!

I loved the black vestments of Masses for All Souls and the emphasis placed on praying for loved ones gone before us. Somehow, it always made them seem closer and still with us. I suppose in a little boy’s mind, it helped make the Communion of the Saints come alive. It still does. Remember Jesus’ words about becoming like little children? Well, much of faith calls for this open, trusting attitude, doesn’t it?

Next weekend is the commitment weekend for the United Catholic Appeal! Please remember to bring your time, talent and treasure commitment cards! Extras will be in the pews, also. Our parish goal this year remains the same as last year, $27,413. Our parish has greatly benefited from past appeals and monies made available to us when St. Mary’s built our current church back in the 1990s. This is our annual opportunity to recall this act of the larger Church and do our part as well. Of course, on the local level, our parish benefits from donations of time and talent and treasure from this appeal also! This year, 75% of any monies raised over our goal, will be returned to the parish. When praying for our ancestors in the faith, we remember that we build on what they lived. In like fashion, those that come after us, will build on what we ourselves live!

“May the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.”

October 25, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

This weekend, our own Phil Schneider shared with us about his involvement of Time, Talent & Treasure in preparation for the upcoming “Christ Our Hope” campaign and the parish’s “Time, Talent & Treasure” commitment weekend, which will be on November 7-8. Thanks, Phil!

Today we hear another story of the power of faith. A blind man, Bartimaeus, sought pity from the Lord and asked for healing. He believed that the Son of David could grant what he asked. Would that we had such faith!

At the conclusion of the Gospel Jesus states that it was Bartimaeus’ faith that saved him. Bartimaeus is an inspiration to us all, isn’t he? He reminds us to turn to Jesus with faith, seeking His protection and healing. In order to do so, we need to remain vigilant as we seek to discover more and more the Lord’s actions in our individual lives.

I am reminded by Bartimaeus of the pilgrimage I made to Lourdes, France. It truly is an inspiring place. To take part in the night time candle light procession with the pilgrims from all across the world was awesome. The dip in the waters was a spiritual experience as well…and cold! They do NOT heat the miraculous waters. I am reminded of Lourdes because the vast majority of healings that take place there are of the spiritual sort; not the physical. I think too often we think of “healing” in only the physical sense. The truth is, most of us need spiritual healing more than physical. Bartimaeus serves to remind us of this spiritual hunger and thirst. This, too, requires much faith and persistence. And, we need to pray for one another as well! This is an example of Christian service as well. May we always do so!

This is the weekend to turn in the All Souls’ Day envelopes for inscription in our Book of Remembrance. I didn’t get to go on retreat with Cardinal Burke, so I will be away on a private retreat until the evening of the 30th. Ergo, no daily Masses next week.

Have a great week, everyone. Pray for me on retreat! Enjoy our beautiful fall colors!

 

October 18, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

“The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” There you have it…the message and life of Jesus Christ.

We are reminded of the sacrifice the Lord Jesus made when He willingly gave up His own life to save us from our sins and death. That eternal truth flies in the face of our society and culture.

We are bombarded with the false idea that we can never have too much of anything. So much in our culture encourages a person to be so focused on “self” that “others” fall by the wayside. You know this is true.

In today’s Gospel, we are reminded to reject this line of thought and embrace service to neighbor. The Letter to the Hebrews offers us insight and encouragement as we sometimes struggle to achieve this goal.

Here were some “basics” that I’d like to share.

First, every baptized Catholic is called to be of service to their neighbor in some fashion or another. As Pope Francis reminds us, we believe that the love of God moves the hearts of all to this call and life.

Second, at times this call of discipleship can seem to be too daunting; too much. “What can I do to alleviate hunger, poverty (of both belly and soul)?” is a legitimate question. An important truth: do something for some one; choose one area or activity in which to become involved in service. That’s good for us all to remember. We are not asked to do everything; do some-thing!

Third, everything we do as Catholics flows from and to the Holy Eucharist! Too many “service-people” have lost sight of the indispensable fact that prayer before the Eucharist, participation at Mass, prayer time, are the ‘non- negotiables’ for ALL service! And, conversely, too many “prayer-people” have lost sight of the fact that our worship and prayer must lead us to service of neighbor.

A good rule to follow is this: for every hour given in service, spend an hour in prayer with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

As we approach our Archdiocesan “United Catholic Appeal,” these are important Catholic “facts of life” to remember and live!

This weekend, you will find the basket with the All Souls Day envelopes in the narthex. Please feel free to take one, inscribe the names of your loved ones and return it no later than October 25th in the collection basket. These will be inscribed in our parish Book Of Remembrance which will remain in the sanctuary throughout the holy month of November, as we especially remember our deceased relatives and friends. “It is a good and pious thing to pray for the dead.” Let us do so with loved memories.

On behalf of the Parish, I would like to offer a very sincere “thank-you” to ALL who made donations in memory of, or in honor of, someone that are going toward the purchase of the new statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Joseph, as well as toward the votive candle stands and pedestals on which the statues will stand! The new additions to our church should be in place very soon! Your generosity will add to the devotion and beauty of our church. Thank you all so very much!

God bless you all!

 

October 11, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives quite a challenge; not only for the “rich young man” but for each of us. He insists, not suggests, that we give all we have to the poor and follow Him. I mean, come on; You can’t be serious, Lord!

This may seem impossible and too much to ask, especially when we consider our own true needs in this world. Yet, our Lord is telling us to focus on the needs of others. We are called to “love our neighbor as ourselves,” which includes making sacrifices for others.

Of course, our Lord teaches by example, He made the greatest sacrifice…His life…for the life of the world; for our life. That’s giving all!

Our Lord is not telling us that possessing things is evil, wrong or unjust. Over the years, His words have been twisted by some resulting in many feeling guilty or ashamed of owning things. As a matter of fact, it was an early heresy that said that it was sinful to own anything! So, Jesus is not telling us to have a gigantic yard sale and become homeless. He is telling us that no-thing should ever take the place He occupies, or should occupy, in our hearts and lives. This is true wisdom, as spoken of in our first reading.

It can be said that knowledge is of man; wisdom is of God. There is a difference!

As pastor, I would like to personally invite the men of our parish and their teenage sons and older, to attend this year’s Indiana Catholic Men’s Conference on Saturday, October 31st! It’s time to register and there is no reason that our parish can’t have at least 20 men attend. It is always an awesome experience to witness up to 1,000 Catholic men praying, going to Confession, taking part in Adoration and listening to very inspirational speakers, being together. Honestly, guys, you need to step up! Too many think that the practice of our Catholic faith is only for women! It’s for ALL Catholics! Sure, it means taking a Saturday and traveling to the convention center in Indy, but so what? Aren’t you worth it? Isn’t your family? Pray about it and register to attend!

May the good God bless and keep you all!

 

October 4, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us that the bond of marriage is a holy one. Honestly, we have to admit that the holiness of this sacred bond and union is overlooked, discounted or even mocked in our ever-so-modern society. Rather than being defended, the attempt now is to “redefine.”

Day after day we witness couples struggling in their relationships; I know I do. Sometimes they choose to sever that sacred bond rather than live the hard work required to restore a trust and love that has perhaps been broken. Of course, one can never make assumptions nor pass objective judgment on any married couple.

As Catholics who celebrate marriage as a Sacrament “instituted by Christ to give grace,” we believe Jesus’ words: “The two shall become one flesh…Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.”

I often tell couples in preparation for marriage that it takes much love and hard work to make any marriage faithful and fruitful. At times couples can have that ‘stars in the eyes’ look that, while sweet, can mask the reality of making a marital relationship last. Our society, and almost everything one hears or sees, if not ridiculing marriage, certainly can warp its true meaning, purpose and joy.

There exists two purposes of Christian marriage. One, is the unitive aspect; where the two pledge mutual respect, love, acceptance and support. This aspect in turn brings about the second necessary aspect of Christian marriage which is procreative. When either of these is removed or hindered (thus the ban on all forms of artificial contraception), then the sacred bond is severely strained, if not completely broken.

Today’s Mass offers us an opportunity to do several things. First, if married, to renew your vows to one another in mutual and lasting fidelity. Second, the opportunity for everyone to pray for couples preparing for marriage and to assist and pray for couples known to be experiencing struggles. Third, to pray for those who have gone through the pain and loss of divorce, oftentimes as the innocent partner.

On this Respect Life Sunday, a renewal in the acknowledgement of the sacredness of marriage is a good thing! May the Lord preserve all in Christian marriage and protect the sanctity of all human life from womb to natural death!

Let us pray: “God, may this may be so!”

 

September 27, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

Today’s Mass readings advise us to be cautious about the way we live our lives. No big surprise there, right? Even so, St. James warns us of the consequences when greed consumes us in any of its forms.

His message beautifully dovetails into our Lord’s words in today’s Gospel when He tells us to rid ourselves of anything that causes sin. We need to be careful when hearing these words of Jesus. He does NOT desire us to maim ourselves, which could easily be misinterpreted from the Gospel. His truth points out that we should give nothing the power over us to commit sin. Whatever the sin; whatever the cause, from within or out, we are to never allow sin to reign in our hearts and souls.

Our Lord also brings to our attention once more to the child-like. He uses pretty graphic words in describing the fate of those who cause others to sin. For parents, those who teach the Faith, for priests and catechists, it is particularly poignant. To be quite honest, the example shown us by some “Catholic” politicians falls into our Lord’s message as well. Whoever sows the seeds of confusion or dissent among others is leading them astray according to Jesus’ words. And, they will be held responsible for that confusion and dissent. It’s a sobering thought isn’t it?

Next Thursday and Friday are the First Thursday/Friday of October. Come, take part in the Masses and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as we pray for a generous increase in vocations to the priesthood, for our seminarians and priests!

Have a prayer-full week, everyone!

 

September 20, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

Today’s readings are among the most challenging for people who live in a world and culture such as ours. In the Gospel the disciples are arguing with one another over which of them is the greatest; isn’t that funny?

The Letter of St. James tells us that “where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. That’s pretty strong language.

In a culture that seems to value being “number one,” these words cut to the heart. Jesus, in choosing to place a small child in the midst of His bickering disciples, is perhaps telling us that living a more simple life of trust in Him, is what is of true, lasting value.

These readings today are all about becoming good stewards of the gifts God so freely bestows on us. Each is different; each is valued. Maybe we could pray this coming week that we will be given the strength to embrace a life of grateful stewardship of our blessings.

One manner in which to show gratitude is how we treat our neighbor and what we can do to further life. Never be embarrassed to share the treasure that is our Catholic Faith! While called to further life in this life, our most important call is to impart the knowledge of eternal life through Jesus Christ and His Church.

I would like to thank ALL those who helped with the Oktoberfest 2015 this past Saturday night! The food was great, the music wonderful and the fellowship grand. Thanks, especially to our Knights of Columbus for organizing and making our first annual Oktoberfest such a great evening! It was a nice evening together. Thanks, too, for your compliments on my lederhosen!

Next weekend, the Crosier Fathers will be with us here at St. Mary, Queen of Peace. Each year we are assigned a missionary from the Archdiocese and this is our weekend to host. Welcome Father!

Each calendar year we diocesan priests are given by the Archdiocese, four weeks of vacation time. It does not accrue from year to year. Because the Italy pilgrimage did not achieve the number of folks needed to happen and because the Crosier Fathers are coming to MQP, I will be using more of my allotted days. Yes, “there he goes again!” We are also required by Canon Law, to make a retreat each calendar year. His Eminence, Cardinal Raymond Burke, will be offering such a retreat at Mother of the Redeemer Center in Bloomington, October 5-9. I am booked for that retreat. I will keep the parish in my prayers during these days! Pray for all of us priests as well!

“May the Lord, Who has begun this good work in us , bring it to completion!”

 

September 13, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

The first line of today’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah seems to pick up the themes from last week’s readings, doesn’t it? Isaiah tells us that “the Lord God opens my ear that I may hear.”

When we come to Mass, we try our best to open our ears to His word. We do so in order to fashion an answer to the question posed by Jesus to His Apostles: “Who do people say that I am?” I think that each one of us has experienced the presence of Jesus in our lives in some manner. At times it can feel that we have not, when we are in the depths of a suffering or cross.

St. Peter already believed in Christ or he would not have been able to make his profession of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” But, he was not yet ready to accept the whole truth about Christ. Peter was thinking of the Messiah in human terms; he saw Jesus as the one Who would restore freedom to Israel. But the full truth about Jesus soon became evident at the Passion and Crucifixion. Only then did St. Peter fully believe: Jesus was the crucified and risen Christ!

Where this took place is highly significant as well. On pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I specifically asked that our group travel to Caesarea Philippi. Why? Because St. Peter’s profession took place at that place. There was a long standing tradition of the cliff there being filled with niches containing pagan idols. It was at this place that Jesus chose to reveal His true identity as the Messiah; the Son of God. It was also thus the sight of the beginning of the primacy of St. Peter and his successors as the leaders of the Church…the succession of Popes down to Pope Francis today! It is an awesome place when one realizes what took place there!

Perhaps today’s question posed by our Lord is an opportunity to invite Him into our hearts in a renewed way. It can be scary though, right? Let’s face it, by inviting Jesus in, we are in effect, surrendering control and self-will to Jesus. That’s easy to say that we are able to do so, but look deep into your heart. Is it? But it’s the real path to peace and joy. Let us pray for one another!

As a new school year has begun, it’s a great time to recognize and thank all those men and women who so very generously volunteer their time and talent in the Catholic religious education of our youth and adults. Together with dedicated parents, the awesome task of imparting the great treasure of our faith is entrusted. We pledge to them our prayers and support! The appeal for needed catechists was successful! All classes are now fully covered with two catechists. THANK- YOU for your spirit of stewardship of your time and talent!

Another big THANK-YOU to those who have donated toward our purchase of the statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Joseph and votive candle stands! We are over half way there! All donations are tax deductible! If you wish to remember a loved one or honor someone, please consider helping us reach the amount needed!

May the Lord Bless and Keep You All This Week!

 

September 6, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

In today’s Gospel, our Lord Jesus bids the deaf man with a speech impediment, “Be opened!” Note the choice of words. Jesus does not say to the deaf man, “Hear!” or “Speak!” He rather says, “Be opened!”

It shouldn’t take a theologian to figure out that each of us can take this as an indication of how we are called to live our lives as followers of Jesus Christ!

Each one of us should be open and receptive to the voice and teaching of Jesus Christ. This receptivity and openness then urges us to tend and care for those who need us in this life. Opening ourselves up to Christ’s truth enables us to be open to others and truly follow His example.

This openness and receptivity can only occur when we humble ourselves before Christ. Most of our problems when it comes to prayer and trust come from this lack of humility. Admit it to yourself. Don’t you normally come to Holy Mass or approach other moments of prayer with an agenda? Don’t you normally want to tell Jesus: a) what you want and, b) when you want it? We all do at various times. It’s part of our fallen human nature. When one struggles with a particular teaching of Jesus or His Church, nine times out of ten, part of the struggle is a lack of humility and openness. We simply think we know best and that’s all there is to it….even when speaking with the Lord!

A beautiful practice that St. Therese, the Little Flower, often used was to go before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and simply say: “I offer You my nothingness; my emptiness.” Then, she would quietly wait for the Lord’s word to her; often hearing nothing. Still, she was persistent in her faithfulness. She offers us a wonderful example of how to approach the Lord in prayer and at the same time, be as the deaf man in today’s Gospel; “Be opened!”

St. John Vianney would often say that some things cannot be accomplished without prayer and fasting. It was his way of being open.

Fasting implies a need to be filled. Rather than with food we don’t really need, St. John Vianney echoes the Lord’s call today…be open to ME!

As you heard me mention at Mass, the donations are coming in for our new statues of the Sacred Heart and St. Joseph, and votive candle stands. BUT, we still need YOUR donations! We are approximately $5,000 short right now. I’ve made my donation. So, if you’d like to honor someone or remember a loved one, please call Anna in the office to make your donation! They are on their way from Italy! THANKS SO MUCH!

God Bless and Keep You All!

 

August 30, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

This weekend, the Church returns to the regular cycle of Gospel readings taken from St. Mark. Our journey through the glorious “Eucharistic Chapter” of St. John, has given us the renewed awareness that it is through the Holy Eucharist that we can indeed strive to be disciples and followers of Jesus!

“Be doers of the word and not hearers only.” This summons from today’s second reading applies to all of us…in our own day and time…just as it did for those who first heard St. James’ Letter.

Each week we come to Mass and hear the word of God proclaimed. This weekend, we are challenged to do more than merely hear the word. We are asked to act upon that word!

There are times when someone will opine on the Sacred Liturgy and the norms we follow in its celebration. It can appear that way too much effort is put into the ritual of the Mass. It’s good for us Catholics to remember the why behind the manner in which we celebrate! Our Lord deeply cherished the liturgical life of His Jewish heritage. He faithfully attended the services of the local synagogue and, of course, carefully fulfilled all the duties and challenges of His faith. His celebration of the Last Supper was done “to the letter” and was forever altered when He instituted the Holy Eucharist within that Seder Supper.

There is an ancient saying in the Church: “the way we pray is the way we believe.” In other words, the correct and faithful celebration of the Holy Mass speaks volumes on our faith life. Jesus today is calling us to be faithful to His Mass and Its celebration and take that faithfulness out to others in the manner in which we live our lives.

The Holy Mass is not some man-made ritual that is changed as one changes one’s socks! Every rubric is done for a purpose. If I don’t know why, I research and find out. I find that “yes, that makes sense now.” As I mentioned in my homily, what a comfort and privilege the Holy Mass is!

May the Good God bless and keep you all!

 

August 23, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

The parish of MQP welcomes Fr. Adrian Burke, OSB, from St. Meinrad this weekend. Fr. Adrian will be sharing the work and ministry of the Benedictine monks and staff of the Archabbey and Seminary. Welcome, Fr. Adrian!

In both the first reading as well as the Gospel today, we hear of people who recognized God’s presence among them. The stark and eternal consequences of their choices must be reflected upon.

Joshua recalls God’s protection during the time when the Israelites fled the yoke of their Egyptian masters. Because of this, Joshua swears, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Alas, others of his company did not make the same choice.

In the wonderful passage from St. John’s Gospel, St. Peter recognizes Jesus as “the Holy One of God.” Alas, others of his company did not.

Each time we gather to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we proclaim that we, too, recognize the very Presence of Jesus Christ in our lives and in our midst in the Holy Eucharist. This reverential recognition, coupled with our willingness to serve Christ, impels us to extend His Presence into our daily lives. Alas, at times we do not do this.

Any serious study and prayer of the Holy Scriptures includes the awareness that numbers play a very important role. Beginning with the days of creation to the days Noah spent in the ark, to the days the Jews wandered in the desert, the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve Apostles, the seven Sacraments; all point out the sacred writers’ awareness that God uses these to teach truth.

Therefore, one must conclude that it is no mere coincidence for St. John the Apostle’s “Eucharistic Chapter,” the sixth chapter, to include a rather ominous warning and statement of fact in the sixty-sixth verse: “As a result of this, many of His disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him.” (JN. 6:66) Does that number sound in any way familiar to you?

It is the same series of numbers St. John would later use in the Book of Revelation to refer to “the Anti-Christ.” He is making it quite clear that in his revelation, to reject the reality and truth of the Holy Eucharist, is to make one’s self another “anti-Christ.” One cannot claim allegiance to Jesus Christ and at the same time reject His own proclamation of the Holy Eucharist!

It is so important for us to realize that our Lord did not force anyone to accept this supreme teaching; this sublime reality. He allowed those who would not or could not believe, to leave Him. We need to remember the same thing today. No one can be forced to believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. At the same time, we need not apologize for the fact that we do! Nor should we feel constrained to not share this belief with others and ask that they respect our belief and His True Presence in the Tabernacles of our churches.

What a Gift! What a Treasure, is the Most Blessed Sacrament! As St. John Vianney wrote:

“What happiness do we not feel in the Presence of God, when we are at His Feet before the Sacred Tabernacle! Redouble your fervor; you are to adore your God; His Eyes rest upon you!

 

August 16, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

We continue this week on our Eucharistic journey with Jesus. We hear very familiar words proclaimed in today’s Gospel: “I am the living Bread.”

Let us pray today that the words of profound truth, mystery and life we encounter at this Mass, will find fertile soil in our hearts and souls! There are at times, periods in our lives when we hear the awesome teaching on the Holy Eucharist without truly understanding or giving sufficient reflection to this most central and important truth of Christ Jesus.

As we go forth from Mass today, pray that we truly savor the words and truths proclaimed. When we allow the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus to penetrate our hearts, we become more and more attuned to His presence throughout our daily lives. Quite honestly, if we believe the words of Jesus and, if in the state of grace receive Him in Holy Communion, we cannot remain the same. We are called to give witness to how the Holy Eucharist makes all the difference in the world, in our lives. If this is not happening, then we need to examine just how much we are allowing the Blessed Sacrament to impact our lives. Parents, explain how much the Holy Eucharist means in your life to your children! Explain to them that the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the center, the “source and summit” of our lives as Catholics! Explain to them how it is that nothing is more important in our lives than taking part in the Holy Mass!

I love this quote from Redemptorist Father Michael Miller:

“When the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar is not revered and loved, scandals will abound, faith will languish and the Church will mourn. On the other hand, if this Sacrament be worthily frequented, peace will reign in Christian hearts, the devil will lose power and souls will be sanctified.”

On the Feast of the Dedication of Saint Mary Major in Rome, the oldest church in the West dedicated in honor of our Blessed Mother, the beautiful statue purchased by students in the Religious Education program several years ago, was installed in our church! The “gray Mary,” which hung on the wall, is now in storage. This fulfills the desire of the majority of our parishioners who desired such a change.

With this arrangement, several have asked if I would consider adding a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of St. Joseph, along with two additional votive candle stands. The answer is: of course. IF YOU would like to make this happen and are interested in donating towards the purchase of these additions, please contact Anna in the parish office. When and if the monies have been collected, I will start the process of ordering. I thank you all for your dedication to making our church even more lovely!

This next week, I will be away with my good friends, Fr. Jim Koressel and Monsignor Bill Stumpf, our Vicar General, for some fellowship and prayer. I will keep the parish in my daily prayers!

May the richest blessings of our Eucharistic Lord be with you always!

 

August 9, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

What a joy it is for us to continue our “Eucharistic Journey” through St. John’s sixth chapter of the Holy Gospel!

The continuous Presence of Jesus with His Church until the end of the world is the source of incalculable benefits to us all. All the gifts and blessings of His Incarnation and offer of salvation are thereby made unceasingly available to souls in the measure that is proportionate to their eagerness to receive them. In other words, the effectiveness of the graces offered us in Holy Communion depend entirely upon our openness, humility and lack of serious sin.

Our primary attention must always be centered on He Who is the Bread of Life. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, Christ Jesus bestows upon each individual person the same life of grace which He brought into the world by His Incarnation and among the people of His day. Again, it is up to us, to allow that Presence and grace to work in our hearts and lives.

As formerly when the people of Palestine touched the hem of His garments, so upon contact with Christ in the Sacred Host the same great power again goes forth from Him!

No one is excluded from Christ’s invitation to “Come to Me, all you who labor.” All that is needed to approach is humility, openness to learn the truths of Jesus through His Church, and allow one’s self to accept the gracious invitation to come to the Supper of the Lamb. Oh, that it be so!

May our Eucharistic Lord continue to bless and keep our parish in unity, fruitfulness and faith!

 

August 2, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

In today’s Gospel, our Lord makes the startling revelation: “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to Me will never hunger and whoever believes in Me will never thirst.”

These words of Jesus foreshadow His words spoken at the Last Supper; the first Mass. At every Mass, from that first Holy Thursday night, we remember and rejoice as His Eucharistic Presence is once more represented in our midst through the miracle of Transubstantiation.

Together, we share in Christ’s eternal love for His Bride, the Church, in His eternal Sacrifice. Jesus Christ, the Eternal Bread come down from heaven, is our promise and foretaste of life everlasting! We need always to prepare our hearts as we gather for this holy and sacred offering. If in the state of mortal sin, we need to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance before receiving our Lord in Holy Communion. We need to receive Him reverently; offering the customary bow in recognition of His Eucharistic Presence. Our parish can be duly humbled in the outstanding witness we give when receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. It is so obvious that we take seriously WHO we are about to receive! As I said, outstanding!

As we continue our journey through St. John’s “Eucharistic Chapter,” let us pray for one another and for those searching for the Presence of Jesus in their lives. We need to always know and believe the words of Jesus: “Come to Me!”

Tuesday, August 4th, is the Feast of St. John Vianney! We will have Mass at the usual 5:30pm. A first class relic of St. John Vianney will be present at the altar. Come, and offer prayer for vocations and all of our priests on our feast day! On August 6-7, the parish will observe the monthly First Thursday-Friday time for Adoration for Vocations as well!

May God continue to bless each of you!

 

July 26, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

Last Sunday we listened to the Gospel account of how Jesus was moved with pity for the people who were “like sheep without a shepherd.” In today’s Gospel, the Lord again looks upon the enormous crowd that had followed Him and performs the miracle of the loaves and fishes.

“Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” This question, posed by the Lord Jesus to Philip, signaled the beginning of the miracle. In recent times we have witnessed tremendous devastation in various places throughout the world due to natural disasters. It sometimes leaves us asking today the same sort of question posed by Our Lord. What can I possibly do in the face of such tragedy and want?

The Gospel serves to remind us all that when even our small or meager efforts at helping another are multiplied, a miracle of comfort and healing is the result. Rather than doing nothing because we assume, wrongly, in the face of huge want that our gift or sharing is to no avail, Jesus calls us to do it anyway! This is one of the ways we are called, through the power of the Holy Eucharist, to become more and more like Christ, Who fed thousands with what seemed to be so insignificant!

How truly blessed we are this summer! How so? Well, again in this year of “Cycle B” readings, we hear of the tremendous Gift of the Most Holy Eucharist. I personally look forward to the Year B cycle each time it comes around; it offers me the opportunity to really “zero in” on the “Source and Summit” of our lives as Catholics. Without the Holy Eucharist, we cease to be Catholic…plain and simple. It is good for us to hear of this most Precious Gift at this time in our nation’s history. My friends, we are in a battle if we truly live our Catholic faith. When one listens to a person truly “fired up” about being Catholic, it cannot but reignite our own fire. When one meets a fellow Catholic who has a deep love and respect for the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Mass and the priesthood, one cannot help but be changed. When we priests are reminded that we are here to preach the truth of Christ again and again, even when some don’t want to hear it or it’s hard to hear, one cannot help but become stronger in his or her Catholic Faith!

What a Gift! What a Treasure! Remember the words of St. John Vianney: “When you come before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, open your hearts; He will open His!”

On a very practical note, we need to institute a somewhat new opportunity for folks to volunteer here at St. Mary, Queen of Peace. It’s called “Mass Coordinator.” This person arrives a bit earlier than usual and sets up the sanctuary vessels and bread and wine for the Mass. They make sure everything is in place and ready for the Mass to begin. Personally, when I have celebrated Mass in other parishes and they have no one to do this, I am left wondering “Where is this or that? What do I do?” Believe me, visiting priests very much appreciate having such a helpful person there for them! So, we could use about six folks to volunteer to be trained to do this. If interested, contact Judy Schneider, our Liturgy Coordinator! Judy and I will be happy to see that you are ready to go! Thanks!

On a personal note, I thank all of you who continue to pray for Mom. As her condition continues to weaken, I find myself dedicating more and more time and energy to important decisions that must be made. We are exploring assisted living places, when, where, yes, cost, all while trying to insure she remains safe at home for the time being. She fell again last week; nothing serious, thank God. I offer a proactive apology if you feel slighted by your pastor at this time. At the same time, I recognize the need to take care of myself. I have planned some time away coming up in late August and late September….God willing. Please continue to pray for Mom.

God bless one and all and have a good week!

 

July 19, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

After hearing last week’s story of the calling and commissioning of the Twelve Apostles, we now hear Jesus telling them to rest. In our hectic world, where it seems as though we can never get away from the office, school or responsibilities to enjoy a quiet evening at home, we too, need to rest.

The rest spoken of by our Lord and enjoined on the Apostles and each of us as well, is not exactly sitting around and doing nothing….although that is rather enjoyable at times! In the Biblical sense, rest is done in imitation of God’s rest following creation as well as our Lord’s rest after ministering. It is a time of reflection and thanksgiving for blessings.

The rejuvenation that comes with taking a step back and resting our minds and bodies is essential to maintaining healthy relationships; with God and with others. While each of us is called by Jesus to lead lives of adoration and discipleship, that does not mean that we cannot take time for ourselves to feel grateful, refreshed and renewed so that we can continue our journey of faith with renewed dedication particularly to the Holy Mass, Adoration and works of charity. It’s good for all of us to take heed of the Master’s invitation!

A note concerning Daily Mass and funerals….I have always, wherever I have served as Pastor, established the practice that a funeral Mass serves as the Daily Mass for the parish when at all possible. Why so? Well, I have found it encourages parishioners to attend the funeral Mass and this is SO important to families, especially ones very small in number. I will try my best to make sure this is always announced when possible as well as have a notice placed on the front door of the church.

As they say in Italian, “Basta,” enough. Enjoy these days of summer; a perfect time to practice the “rest” that Jesus offers us! God bless you all!

 

July 12, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

In today’s Gospel, our Lord sends His Apostles out on a mission. This mission is one in which all of us who are baptized are called to participate on a daily basis.

While we may not all be called to drive out demons (although we may think we know a few) or anoint with oil and cure people, we are still called to share the truth of Jesus Christ.

When you think about it, there really are a variety of ways one can “cure” another person. Sometimes all it takes is a smile and a nod of the head or an inquiry as to how the other person is feeling. Showing basic Christian kindness and respect goes a long way in offering someone the needed light they may need.

At times Catholics are a little hesitant about sharing the faith with another person. We don’t want to come across as pushy or “judgmental.” But, it is precisely in sharing the beauty and mystery of the Catholic faith that we follow the command of Jesus and go out and bring others to Him and to His Church. The days of Catholics being somehow timid or even seemingly ashamed of being Catholic are past! For those of us old enough to remember Confirmation in the “old days,” we were taught by the sisters that we would now become “Soldiers of Christ.” That image and truism always has stayed with me.

St. Paul tells us to proclaim Christ “in season and out of season.” On the surface that seems sort of an odd thing to say, doesn’t it? He is actually telling us that there is no time in which we are not to proclaim with conviction and compassion, the invitation of Jesus to “Come, follow Me.”

As you all go about your lives in the marketplaces of our world, remember, you take Christ with you! Your Catholic faith is a part of you, which all should know and see. Remember, little things mean a lot. You may never know what a word or gesture on your part did for another’s journey of faith!

Have a prayer-full week!

 

July 5, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

As we gather on this Independence Day weekend, let us once more thank God for our blessings and the graces we need to work to make our glorious country even more just and free! We have so very much to be thankful for as a people, and we have much to pray and work for to ensure a deeper respect and justice for all human life! “Pro Deo et Patria”; “For God and Country” should always be our motto. As St. Thomas More said as he faced his beheading: “I am the king’s (country’s) good servant; but God’s first.”

Let’s take a look at the readings for this weekend’s Mass. They offer us an ironic twist on this Independence weekend.

The people of Jesus’ “native place” had begun to measure Him based on their own inadequate preconceptions and presuppositions. In other words, even before Jesus spoke or acted, some had already closed their minds and hearts to His word and presence….not totally unlike our own day, right?

Because they were filled with contempt right off the bat, they ruled out even the remote possibility of experiencing the “mighty deeds of the Lord.” How much better are those who, like St. Paul, approach the Lord from the perspective of the “thorn” in their flesh, even taking comfort in their weakness. For “power is made perfect in weakness.”

This brings me to a point in an article written by Fr. Peter John Cameron, OP. Father wrote: “What God desires is our trust, our dependence, our reliance, our certainty, our surrender. God loves to be acknowledged by nothingness. In the nothingness that we offer to God, the Everything He gives appears ever more glorious. Our greatness and freedom derive from this dependence.”

“All of this shows our fundamental human desire to give God something.” Pope Benedict XVI once said that sacrifice consists in our becoming totally receptive toward God and in letting ourselves be completely taken over by Him. The point of the bread and wine that are presented at each Mass is not for them to remain bread and wine but for them rather to become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. “We hope that what we offer will be completely taken over by God…will be filled with His Presence. Our gifts symbolize ourselves.”

Thus, we gather on this Independence Day weekend as Americans to celebrate our national independence. But, as Catholics and as Christians, we gather this weekend, indeed at each offering of the Holy Mass, to celebrate our total dependence upon Jesus Christ and His Gift of the Holy Eucharist!

Ironic, isn’t it?

Let us go forth from this Mass with a renewed vision that true “independence” is only possible within the arms of total dependence on Jesus Christ and His Bride, the Church! For it is “through Him, with Him and in Him” that we live and move and have our being. Now that is cause for rejoicing!

God bless you and may God bless America!

 

July 28, 2015

+Dear friends,

Let’s take a short look at the Liturgy of the Word for this weekend.

“Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and constraints, for the sake of Christ,” wrote St. Paul. I wonder if any of us could truly say the same? It certainly is not an easy statement to make, is it? But St. Paul’s faith was strong enough that he could truly accept the persecutions of all sorts he endured “for the sake of Christ.”

As followers of Jesus, we are called to be as accepting as good old St. Paul. We accept our strengths and our weaknesses, good times and hard times in a spirit of trust, hope and faith. Today’s message once more reinforces the message of last weekend’s Liturgies…trust. I can’t help but think of St. Faustina’s famous vision of the Divine Mercy which includes the famous words: “Jesus, I trust in You.” It is a good message and sentiment for us to call to mind each day!

We have entered the Bishop’s “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign of prayer and witness for religious freedom in our beloved land. ALL of us need to be praying for the upholding of this basic right guaranteed by the constitution, from being overturned or abolished by the Obama administration. Religious freedom is NOT just about the ability to gather in church and worship. It is about our right to publicly witness to our values and teachings of the Church! Make no mistake, if we are not vigilant, we WILL lose this right. And so, pray and work to protect our right to religious freedom!

How very appropriate that this campaign takes place this weekend as we prepare to celebrate the glorious FOURTH OF JULY next Saturday! As we gather to celebrate Holy Mass on the Fourth and, of course, on Sunday, let us be especially thankful for our nation and her freedoms! Let us pray for our veterans and all who have fought and helped secure…”life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!” There is NO better prayer to offer for our nation than the Holy Eucharist!

On behalf of our parish, I congratulate: Joe Franchville, Helen Corbitt, David Glover, and Joe Pecar, who won election to our Parish Pastoral Council in last weekend’s election! Again, I thank ALL who ran for a seat on the council.

On a very exciting note…this Thursday, July 2nd our parish begins extended Eucharistic Adoration! Adoration will begin following the Thursday evening Mass at 5:30 p.m. and extend to 9:00 p.m. Then on First Friday mornings, Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament will be offered at approximately 8:10 a.m. before the 8:30 a.m. Mass. A list of those who have signed up to be regular monthly adorers of Jesus is on the bulletin board. There is space for volunteers to also join in. What a blessed opportunity for our parish! Our specific intention is an increase in vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life, but we, of course, will offer prayers for our intentions and those who have asked us to pray for them as well. May God, Who has begun this good work in us, bring it to fulfillment!!

God bless and keep you all! And, God Bless America! America, Bless God!

 

June 21, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

“Do you not yet have faith?” Our Lord challenges His disciples in today’s Gospel. Without a doubt, many of us can readily identify with the disciples in the Gospel story.

We all have times in our lives when we are afraid; or at least, uncertain of what to do, where to go, whom to ask, especially in situations that seem to be beyond our control.

Like the Apostles, we can be frightened by “severe weather” and this can also be seen in an analogical manner as well. In our home and work lives, as well as in our personal lives, there have been and no doubt will continue to be, times when we find ourselves in frustrating and anxious situations.

In the midst of times and events that are not always easy, Our Lord Jesus asks us, “Do you not yet have faith?” In the recesses of our hearts, how do we answer that question of Jesus?

Naturally, for those of us who find ourselves within the Barque of Peter, the Church founded by Jesus Himself, we have the divine luxury of our Lord’s Eucharistic Presence with us at all times. Where better to go then into His Presence when we face these times of “severe weather?” Where better to come then to the celebration of Holy Mass and also Sacramental Confession? You might be surprised to know how many times people will stop by and make a visit with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. They are coming to visit their Lord and it is highly commendable and laudatory.

As we depart from this celebration of Holy Mass, let us always remember to bring to our Lord, our “severe weather” moments. He is here for us; come, let us adore Him!

Remember to VOTE next weekend at Mass for the four (4) nominees you choose for election to our Pastoral Council! And, a sincere thank-you to all those who agreed to seek election!

On this Father’s Day weekend, we wish all our Dads a very HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! Whether still with us in this world or with us in spirit and prayer, we remember Dad in prayer and thanksgiving!

A note about Adoration…it’s a GO! We have just enough folks to insure Adoration can take place each eve of First Friday from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.! Benediction will begin to take place on each First Friday (as a norm) around 8:10 a.m. THANKS to ALL who signed up to make this special time of prayer with our Eucharistic Lord Jesus happen for our parish! Special prayers will go up for vocations to the priesthood and religious life as well as our own intentions!

On behalf of our parish, I would like to extend a very heartfelt “thank-you” to Addie Gill, who has served as our Chair of the Finance Commission for the past several years. Addie and her husband, Keith, are moving at the end of this month. Addie’s professionalism, dedication and expertise have served our parish in an outstanding manner. We will miss her and wish both Addie and Keith happiness in their new home. Thanks, Addie, and God Bless Always!

 

June 14, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

The Heart of our God aches to “tear off a tender shoot” from a mighty cedar and “plant it on a high and lofty mountain” so that “birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it.” Well now….

That is, the Lord wants to reveal His glory by taking up our nothingness and our insignificance and turning it into something “majestic” by the pure force of His Divine Love.

For this to happen in us of course, Jesus asks that we pay the same attention that He does to the little things of life; like the mustard seed. All of us are that mustard seed! Seemingly unimportant but priceless in the eyes of Jesus Christ!

Our Lord speaks in parables because as our Pope Benedict once said: “reality itself is a parable. The parable does not approach our experience of the world from without; on the contrary, it is the parable that gives this experience its proper depth and reveals what is hidden in things themselves.” When we “walk by faith, not by sight” the hidden depths of things become ever so apparent. Another way of saying this is, “the Kingdom of God is within,” as Scripture puts it.

By our participation in the Sacramental life of the Church, we have the inner grace and faith to make the Kingdom of God present. How tragic it is that some Catholics don’t seem to appreciate this eternal truth! How very sad to see someone receive the dear Lord in Holy Communion and then rush from the Church without even a prayer of thanksgiving. How sobering to realize that all of us fail to take the opportunity to learn more deeply about our Catholic Faith and Liturgy!

I believe, without hesitation, that those who may leave the Faith do so because they do not understand it. Thus, they are open to other avenues that promise “fellowship” or perceived advantages. After all, HOW could one LEAVE Christ Jesus in the Holy Eucharist if he or she truly understood His Reality and Presence? Simply, they could not. They cannot defend Its Truth and, thus, fall prey to forces pulling them in this way or that.

For this reason, two things are vitally important: First, KNOW YOUR CATHOLIC FAITH AND PRACTICE IT! Second, PRAY ALWAYS for those we all know who have walked away from Our Lord and His Eucharistic Heart and Presence in the Holy Mass and the Tabernacles in our Churches. There is no greater gift we can give someone!

An “update” on the Mary statues…it has been discovered that the “Gray Mary” is attached in such a way to the concrete block wall, that she cannot be removed without damaging her. Therefore, she will be staying put. However, I am looking into her appearance and what possibly could be done to make her stand out more. At the same time, the beautiful statue of Mary and Child is now in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel; where more can view her and pray in the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. It seems to fit in there wonderfully!

Next Saturday, at the 5:00 p.m. Mass, the “Schola Cantorum” from Holy Rosary Parish, will be with us. They are a group of very talented singers who asked if they could come to Mass here at MQP and take part in the music. Naturally, I agreed. They will be offering beautiful Gregorian Chant and singing along with our own organist and cantor for that Mass. It is a pleasure to welcome them and benefit from their outstanding musical talents!

As of this printing of the bulletin, we do NOT have enough signed up to begin Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament each Thursday before First Friday of each month! It seems as though several have signed up for the first hour of 6:00 to 6:30 or 7:00, but then just two. My friends, WE CAN MAKE THIS HAPPEN FOR THE GOOD OF OUR PARISH! If we do not have at least two (2) adorers for the time between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., we will not be able to begin this extraordinary opportunity of grace for our parish, for vocations and for our families. PRAY about signing up!

Have a prayer-full week, everyone!

 

July 7, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

Today, the glorious SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI, is a day for holy remembrance. Each of the three scripture readings contain reminders of the fact that our God nourishes us for our journey through this life. Moses tells the people not to forget the Lord, Who fed them with manna in the desert and remains always with them in the holy covenant. (Of course, this prefigures our Lord’s Gift of the Eucharist). The Letter to the Hebrews stresses that the Precious Blood of Christ is the divine vehicle that enable us to participate in the life of Christ; apart from the works of evil.

At the heart of it all, today we hear the Lord Jesus announce that He is the Living Bread as He institutes the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper; the First Mass! “Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” When we gather, let us pay close attention to the words and gestures of the Mass and when it comes time for the reception of Holy Communion, let us approach, if in the state of grace, the Lord with humility of heart and offer a prayer of gratitude for this Gift that is beyond measure!

When ascending to the Chair of St. Peter, Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI, continually drew our attention to the central mystery of our faith, the Sacrament through which we meet the Lord Jesus in a real, substantial manner. It is in the Mass; in the Most Holy Eucharist, that we “move and breathe and have our being.”

We are blessed at Mary, Queen of Peace to have a growing devotion to the Blessed Sacrament! I note the following as evidence of the faith of our parishioners in the Most Holy Eucharist:

  1. Mass is well attended, and there is always a good number celebrating Mass during the week.
  2. There is attentiveness and reverence shown at Mass.
  3. A prayerful, respectful atmosphere pervades the church before Mass as people prepare themselves for the celebration of the Eucharist and offer prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
  4. The Blessed Sacrament is beautifully tended to in our Tabernacle; one’s attention is drawn to Jesus present among us.
  5. Holy Communion is taken to the sick and homebound weekly, thanks to the devoted and devout Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
  6. Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is being instituted monthly with a (please, God!) good number of parishioners taking part.
  7. Parishioners and others make regular visits with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament throughout the day.
  8. The vast majority attending Mass remain until the end of the final hymn, showing a true attitude of gratitude for the Lord’s Gift of Himself.
  9. The parish demonstrates a very commendable love and reverence for the Holy Eucharist by the offering of a profound bow at the reception of Holy Communion.

Such growing devotion at St. Mary is a sign of a living, active faith for which we rightly thank God. The only way our young children learn about the Most Holy Eucharist is through the example of their parents and parish who cherish the great Gift that Jesus has given us!

As we celebrate this great Solemnity of Corpus Christi, I pray that we be attentive to maintaining existing piety toward the Holy Eucharist and foster even greater devotion and reverence!

I would also suggest the following:

  1. Fostering a sense of respectful quiet in church after Mass in recognition that others are praying and that our Lord remains present in the Blessed Sacrament, by moving into the narthex for conversation and fellowship.
  2. Calling Holy Communion “the Blessed Sacrament and the Precious Blood,” not “the bread and wine.” Yes, bread and wine are brought to the altar at the offertory, but at the consecration, they become the Lord’s Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. And finally,
  3. Participating in the monthly Holy Hours and Adoration offered the Thursday evening before each First Friday and continuing until 8:30 a.m. on First Friday, and praying for Priestly and Religious Vocations during this special time of prayer. (See bulletin insert today in order to sign up!)
  4. A deepening awareness that, as members of the Mystical Body of Christ, our actions, words and very attire affect one another as we gather for the Sacred Liturgy.On this Solemnity of Corpus Christi, let us recommit ourselves to a deep, abiding love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist! As the late St. Pope John Paul II once wrote: “Our essential commitment in life is to grow spiritually in the climate of the Holy Eucharist….the best, surest and the most effective way of establishing peace on the face of the earth is through the great power of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.”

The Holy Eucharist is our life! Come, let us adore Him! O, Sacrament Most Holy, O, Sacrament Divine, all praise and thanksgiving be every moment Thine!

I would like to offer a sincere “thank you” to ALL who had a part in helping me celebrate my 30th anniversary of Priesthood last Sunday! I especially want to thank those mentioned in the Time & Talent section of this bulletin and let us always continue to pray for one another and for a generous increase in vocations to the Priesthood! A heartfelt thank you also, for your kind words, prayers and gifts shared with me!

 

May 31, 2015

+Dear Friends,

Today we are given the opportunity to ponder the mystery of God. That should keep us busy for awhile! Moses today says to the people: “Ask now of the days of old, before your time, ever since God created man upon the earth; ask from one end of the sky to the other: Did anything so great ever happen before?” “You must keep His statutes and commandments that you and your children after you may prosper.”

Today’s Solemnity of the Holy Trinity invites us to praise our Father for His mercy, kindness and fidelity…shown us through the life, death and resurrection of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, through the power of Their Holy Spirit!

A central tenet of Christian faith, we worship One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Just think of the many times we proclaim this faith. Each time we begin prayer, we do so “In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Whenever we enter and leave the church, we sign ourselves with the Sign of the Cross in the Name of the Holy Trinity. When we bestow a blessing, we do so in the same Name. Jesus Christ revealed to us His Father and Holy Spirit….you can’t get a higher authority than that! Faith and belief in the Holy Trinity; Three Divine Persons; One Eternal God, rests entirely on God’s revelation of Himself in the economy of salvation. In other words, we would not even know the Holy Trinity if God Himself did not wish it to be so. Therefore, we believe because God Himself has revealed this Truth to us; that should be proof enough for almost anyone, right?

As mentioned in my homily this weekend, because I will be attending the Ordination and First Mass of Deacon Michael Keucher, I will not be present next weekend for the magnificent Solemnity of Corpus Christi. That’s why today, I sort of “co-opted” Holy Trinity and spoke on the Most Holy Eucharist! I ask that YOU prayerfully consider committing time to the parish’s new program of Eucharistic Adoration, which you heard me speak about today! EVERY parish which takes part in Eucharistic Adoration thrives…it’s that proven! Use the invitation in the bulletin this weekend or next, and sign up for a time of Adoration and come to First Friday’s Benediction before the morning Mass!

A wise priest once said to me, “You know, it’s not a sin for someone to attend a daily Mass!” For those of you who are retired or otherwise able, consider joining us for the daily celebration of the Mass! Prayer for the Church, for our parish and for individual needs is so very important. It is said, “What a difference a day makes.” Well, our Lord Jesus says through His Bride, the Church: “What a difference a MASS makes!” Join us…..

May the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with you today, and all the days of your life!

 

May 24, 2015

+Dear Friends,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! It is the “birthday of the Church”….PENTECOST! It is traditionally seen as the day on which the Church went forth to spread the Gospel truth of Jesus Christ. Because each and every one of US, no matter our vocation or state in life, no matter our age or social status, by virtue of our baptism is privileged to do the same, it is proper to speak of today as our birth to evangelization; our birth to spread the truth and life of our Catholic faith!

The disciples of Jesus went forth from locked rooms to the big, wide world, armed with the Truth that is Jesus Christ, to speak in His Name, the message of salvation open to all peoples. It serves as a beautiful symbol for all of us to break forth from the locked rooms we often place ourselves into and walk courageously on our own journey of faith, united in the Holy Eucharist!

Perhaps one of the most touching elements of Pentecost is the fact that what once was broken and wounded has now been healed. Through Jesus Christ and His gift of the Holy Spirit, our broken and wounded world has been recreated! On a much more personal level, this healing is ours for the asking! Who among us does not need healing and hope?

Today, let us renew our dedication and commitment to the Sacrament of Penance! Jesus Christ gave His Church, through the ministry of Her priests, the power to absolve sins in His Name. That’s a pretty awesome demonstration of the presence and working of the Holy Spirit if you ask me! And so, celebrate healing! Celebrate His presence in YOUR life!

And, in our day and time, the Faith, our Catholic Church, is under constant attack and persecution; listen to the news or watch EWTN and be sure of this. It falls to ALL of us to defend and proclaim our Faith and the right of freedom of religion in our beloved land. All we need do is look back through history to see how easily the right of religious freedom has been taken from believers and the tremendous struggle and yes, martyrdom, which has won it back. Pray daily for our Church and our national freedoms!

With the celebration of Pentecost Sunday, the Church officially marks the close of the glorious season of Eastertide. We will celebrate next weekend the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity followed by the awesome Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Why not make your week anything but ordinary by attending a DAILY MASS? Jesus will be glad you did!

May the Holy Spirit bless, console and strengthen us all! “Come, Holy Spirit, renew the face of the earth!”

 

May 17, 2015

+Dear Friends,

It would be rather disheartening if we saw the glorious Solemnity we observe today, The Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, as merely the day on which the Lord left this world for good. As a matter of fact, we would be in some rather distinguished company if we did indeed do so…that of the Apostles! As they stood gazing into the sky into which our Lord had just ascended, they were disheartened. Jesus had become Incarnate; had become Man, in order that mankind might find salvation and eternal life. He had suffered an ignominious death by crucifixion. He had miraculously returned through the power of the Resurrection and endowed the Apostles with the powers of Holy Orders, to confect the Holy Eucharist, to forgive sins, to cure the sick and be evangelists of His truth and life. Now, it seems, He had left them. What were they to do? What are we to do?

I think it’s easy to simply do what the Apostles initially did; stand and gaze into the sky. At times the world can seem pretty overwhelming. We don’t know which way to turn; what path or decision to take. Quite often, if we care to admit it, these feelings arise because we’re trying to “go it alone.” We’re trying to live our Catholic Faith forgetting the great promise Jesus made to the twelve and to each one of us!

His promise of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost and His promise to remain with His Holy Bride, the Church, for all time, is the promise the Apostles came to believe, and it is the same for each one of us. Today, on Ascension, we celebrate our Lord’s promise to both remain and return!

It is a celebration of great faith and a celebration of great promise and hope!

It is truly a celebration of the True Church in the world, the vehicle of Sanctifying Grace and Guardian of all that Jesus taught and willed for His chosen people!

So, let us celebrate this great Solemnity with great faith! Remember, Jesus promised us His joy; that our joy might be complete. The coming of the Holy Spirit and the continued presence of Jesus in the Holy Mass and teaching Magisterium of the Church, is our joy! Laudate, Jesus Christus!

May our Risen and Ascended Lord Jesus Christ, continue to bless us all! AMEN!

 

May 10, 2015

+Dear Friends,

“If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love. I have told you this that your joy might be complete.” The resurrection of Jesus has the power to transform death into life, lives of sin into lives lived in the image and likeness of God our Father, and a world torn by war and terrorism into a world where peace can reign!

Today’s Gospel lets us all know exactly what role WE play, as baptized believers, in this possible transformation. Our responsibility, our privilege, is to imitate Jesus Christ: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

How awesome it is to hear Jesus today say to us: “It was not you who chose Me, but I Who chose you.” To think that each and every one of us has personally been called by Christ Jesus through His Holy Church! I don’t think we will ever adequately comprehend the love of God toward us. Do you? It is simply beyond us that the One True God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, calls us BY NAME! And, He calls us “friends,” not slaves. It is THAT love that our Lord challenges us to show forth by the way we act and speak in our daily lives. Oh, if it were only that easy, right? I like this quote from a Jewish victim of the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz: “I fold my hands in a gesture that I have come to love, and in the dark I tell You silly and serious things, and implore blessings upon Your honest, sweet head….Goodnight Beloved.”

As we go forth from this Holy Mass today, let us ask for the strength to love even more, breaking down any walls of hostility, revenge or calumny that perhaps we have helped build!

A VERY HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY TO ALL MOTHERS OF OUR PARISH!!

Today is Mom’s day, so treat her to an extra special day. If Mom has gone before you in death, today is a day to remember all the kindness, all the acts of love, she shared in your years together. It’s a day to pray for Mom in a special way. And, through the Communion of the Saints, it’s also a day to ask Mom to continue to pray for YOU! God Bless Them All!

You all have a blessed week! God Bless You All!

 

May 3, 2015

+Dear Friends,

This weekend the readings invite us to live in the Name of Jesus. After Saul was converted, he preached Jesus’ Name and told others of his own conversion.

St. John’s letter reminds us that we love God by loving God’s Son and showing that filial love through our love and respect of one another.

He also reminds us of the commandments and of our responsibility (there’s that ugly word we don’t like to hear) to follow them.

In the Holy Gospel we hear our Lord Jesus compare Himself to a vine pruned by God the Father. It’s important for us to recall His words: “Whoever remains in Me and I in him will bear much fruit.”

Jesus also tells us that remaining in Him and bearing fruit is the way we glorify our Father. We give glory to God when we live as Jesus lived and do all things in His Name! Oh, if only we would do so. Quite honestly, I have to say that given the current cultural climate in which we live, it is FAR past time that Catholics step up and proclaim our faith and allegiance to Jesus Christ and His Church! We are going to be judged as hopelessly, even maliciously, “out of step” but then again, wasn’t Jesus? “If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you also.”

The imagery of our Lord Jesus as the True Vine very aptly fits our observance this weekend of May Crowning. We crown and honor our Blessed Mother during this “Month of Our Mother.” Mary nurtures and feeds us through her Divine Son, from conception and throughout our earthly and heavenly lives. How appropriate that we pause and honor her in a special way on this day!

I would like to invite all the boys of the parish, thirteen to eighteen to attend this year’s Bishop Brute Days coming up in June. It’s a great four-day event and the talks, team events, adoration, prayer, Masses and opportunities for confession are awesome! More information is available in the pamphlet rack of the vestibule and also online at archindy.org/bsb. Is Jesus calling YOU to priesthood?

As many of you know, Mom has fallen twice since Easter. Nothing was broken but bruised and scratched up. She gets weak and being prone to UTIs, she gets even weaker. I spent five hours Easter in the ER with her. We checked her into a rehab place in Brazil but she was mistreated and yelled at. We immediately made arrangements for her to transfer to rehab at St. Mary of the Woods where my aunt served as a Sister for 74 years. It is much nicer and the room and staff are very nice. Needless to say, it has felt like one long Good Friday rather than Easter! I appreciate your understanding that I may be here and there for awhile. I do not wish to be unavailable to our parish but I must do the best I can at juggling things. I apologize for any slights. Please continue to pray for Mom…and the family! God’sblessings!

In this month of our Lady, may Mary continue to bless and lead us to Her Son!

 

April 26, 2015

+Dear Friends,

“I came that you may have life and have it more abundantly.” With these words, proclaimed in today’s Gospel, the risen Lord summons us to ponder anew the mystery of sharing in His resurrected life.

To embrace this mystery is to embrace a life filled with both abundance and challenge. Far too many people think that following Jesus should mean that their lives run smoothly all the time, they have no anxieties or worries; basically that everything is warm and fuzzy, sunshine and rainbows. Well, Easter surprise….it isn’t!

The only way to the kind of abundance Jesus speaks of is through the gateway He has shown us…His total giving of Self for us. You know what that means…”So I have done, you must do also.”

As we continue to celebrate the glory that is Easter, let us ask the Lord today for the grace and strength to ponder His promise with renewed faith. Remember, two weeks ago we celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday. The awesome words Jesus gave to St. Faustina need to remain in our hearts and lips always: “Jesus, I Trust In You!”

The Good Shepherd sometimes needs to knock the sheep in the rump with his staff in order to get them to go where they need to go and hear what they need to hear! That’s kind of the stuff we don’t want to think about, isn’t it? But, it’s true!

A wonderful witness to all of the above is one our parish celebrated last week at the 10:30 a.m. Mass. When we saw our children making their First Holy Communion, it should have rekindled within us that Eucharistic flame of faith and trust that we profess. When we witnessed their innocence and wonder at receiving Jesus for the first time, it should have made us pray for that same innocence of faith; that same innocence and trust to follow the lead of our Good Shepherd. It served as an occasion of renewal and rededication not only to the Holy Mass and the Sacred Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, but also to learning more about our Catholic faith, our traditions, devotions and truths!

Another wonderful witness came on Tuesday, the 21st. Our candidates for Confirmation received the Sacrament from Archbishop Tobin at the Cathedral. We congratulate our Confirmandi: Eli Brown, Dillon Compliment, Hannah Deno, Danny Edwards, Harrison Fletcher, Jackson Franchville, Jacqueline Freed, Collin Genin, Emily Hazelton, Sarah Lathrop, Samantha Price, Megan Quandt, Kyra Shelley, and Brenna Shelley.

May Jesus, our Good Shepherd; our Eucharistic Jesus, always smile upon us all!

 

April 19, 2015

+Dear Friends,

What a glorious weekend! We celebrate with our young boys and girls and their families, their First Communion Day! Congratulations to Matthias Pfister, Aiden Whetstone, Brody Saylor, Averie Wray, Addison Beaman, Jack Hearld, Camden Brewer, Nicholas Knostman, Thaddeus Brown, Martina McDowell, Kade Clayton, and Noah Origer. May Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, bless them all! May they always receive Jesus with the same wonder and awe with which they do this weekend!

How appropriate that we hear the continued Gospel story of the journey to Emmaus on this First Communion Sunday. The two disciples of Jesus were in the depths of despair following the crucifixion of Jesus. As they made their way from the Holy City to Emmaus, they simply couldn’t believe that Jesus was gone. Note well that they were on their way from Jerusalem. They were not sticking around to face possible repercussions for being followers of Jesus.

And so, how did our Lord choose to reveal Himself to these two frightened disciples? He chooses the exact manner in which He reveals Himself to our boys and girls today….in the Holy Eucharist!

Today, we have the benefit of two thousand years of proven history on our side when we begin to lose hope; historical proof that the two disciples did not have. We stand on their shoulders in Eucharistic hope and truth! We know, without a doubt that Jesus Christ remains in our midst in the Most Blessed Sacrament, always inviting, always awaiting us to come to Him.

In the midst of their recounting their encounter of meeting Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, Our Lord gives the Apostles the power to forgive sins in the Sacrament of Penance! What a gift; what a joy!

As we celebrate this weekend with our children, their First Communion Day, let us cling with joy to the Eucharistic, Merciful Heart of Jesus!

 

April 12, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

Each year on this Sunday following Easter, we listen to the Gospel story of St. Thomas, “the doubter.” He has become synonymous with someone experiencing doubts, fears and anxiety in life. He refused to believe that the other Apostles had seen the risen Jesus.

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

None of us gathered here for Mass has ever had an encounter of seeing the risen Jesus either. In faith, we gather each week, and even daily, for the celebration of the Mass to be caught up once again in the love that flows from the death and resurrection of our Eucharistic Christ!

Sometimes we allow that flow to ebb like St. Thomas, especially in the face of trials and pain. That’s only natural. We are human after all. But we need to remember the words of Jesus to St. Thomas: “Blessed are they who do not see yet believe.”

Let us turn to St. Thomas, praying that through his intercession our faith will remain strong, that through the grace of the Sacraments, it will be made ever stronger!

This Sunday following Easter is designated Divine Mercy Sunday. Saint Faustina, a young nun of Poland, had the vision we see depicted in the image of Divine Mercy found to the right of the sanctuary here in our local parish church. The words “I trust in You!” are placed below the feet of Jesus. How very appropriate that, during the glory of the Easter season, we proclaim and celebrate the Mercy that is Jesus Christ! We pray that the Divine Mercy that is Jesus, will always be with us!

Our parish observance and celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday will be later this afternoon, beginning at 2:30 p.m. It will include Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a brief reflection and, of course, time for silent prayer. Come and join your fellow parishioners as well as guests!

***A note concerning next Sunday’s 10:30 a.m. Mass: We will be celebrating First Holy Communion for our young boys and girls. Due to the normally high number of folks attending this Mass, if you do not have a family member making his or her First Holy Communion, you might consider attending either the Saturday 5:00 p.m. or Sunday 8:00 a.m. Mass! You might ask, “Why celebrate First Communion at a “regular” Mass?” Well, quite simply, it is a parish celebration; not a private one. It SHOULD take place within the context of a “regular” Sunday Mass celebration because the young boys and girls belong to us all! Let us pray for them on this very special day!

Important Notice!! On Wednesday, April 22nd at 6:30 p.m., Richard Sontag, from Tekton Ministries who is in charge of the hoped-for Pilgrimage to Italy in the fall, will be here to conduct an informational meeting plus show a presentation on all the places we hope to visit on the Pilgrimage! The meeting will be held in the church basement. IF you have been pondering whether or not to go, this is the perfect manner to find out information and see for yourself “The Glory That is Rome!” Hope to see you there!

 

April 5, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

A HAPPY AND GLORIOUS EASTER TO YOU ALL!! May the Spirit of the Risen Christ shine upon you on this most joyous day! To those visiting St. Mary, a hearty welcome!

Today hundreds of millions around the world gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. From St. Peter’s in the Vatican to Mary, Queen of Peace in Danville, IN; throughout the world, the defining event for the Church draws people from every race and culture to praise God for the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Each year, today’s celebration of Easter allows the believer to ask in his or her heart: what difference does the resurrection of Jesus make in my daily life? In the past year, since we last gathered to celebrate this holy day, have there been moments in my life in which the risen Christ truly shone forth? Have I lived my life in the light and joy of Easter faith or remained sealed in the tomb of sin, sarcasm and fear?

The Beloved Disciple, St. John, goes to great lengths in narrating the event of the Resurrection of Jesus. He wants us to know that, with his own eyes, he saw the burial cloths, folded neatly in the tomb. To arrange the cloths neatly, as they were found, suggests something quite unique. So his account is precious evidence of a truly extraordinary event. The Beloved Disciple allows us to share in his own experience, to share in the moment when everything began to fit together, when he began to understand fully that death is not the end; Christ triumphs!

Today is the day of days to allow the joy of Easter to ring through our lives! Today is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! Alleluia!

Today, our parish congratulates our chosen Elect who entered into full communion with the Catholic Church: Chris & Abigail Bender, Amanda Smith, Ken & Nick Campbell, and Lauren Pfister. Let us continue to pray for them as they begin their life within the Catholic Faith!

I would like to personally thank ALL those who helped in any way connected with planning, decorating and supporting Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum. It takes much work to decorate, practice and prepare for these most holy days. Your dedication, often unknown, is invaluable! Thanks to Ed and all the vocalists and musicians for their hard work and prayer in adding to our Liturgies!

Again, I wish one and all a very joyous Easter Season!

God bless you all!

 

March 29, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

This weekend, the Catholic Church throughout the world and the majority of all Christiandom, enters into the most significant days of the entire liturgical year: HOLY WEEK.

On PASSION or PALM SUNDAY, we offer a joyous demonstration of our loyalty to Christ our King. The Mass, however, with its solemn reading of the Passion, is under the shadow of the cross. “Hosanna to the Son of David!” is thus followed very soon by the cry, “Crucify Him!” In many Christian lives, too, the recognition of Christ, by attendance at Mass, is contradicted by sinful acts which nail Him once more to the cross. This weekend is the time to sincerely renew once again our loyalty to Jesus Christ.

On Tuesday, many throughout the Archdiocese will gather at the Cathedral to celebrate the CHRISM MASS, beginning this year at 2:00 p.m. At this Mass, the holy oils to be used throughout the year in the celebration of the Sacraments will be blessed and distributed to all parishes. At this Mass, the priests of the Archdiocese renew our ordination promises. It is a beautiful symbol of our unity and oneness with the larger Church, represented by Archbishop Tobin.

On Thursday, the Catholic Church throughout the world begins the SACRED TRIDUUM. The days of HOLY THURSDAY, GOOD FRIDAY, and the EASTER VIGIL are the holiest and most profound days of the Christian soul.

HOLY THURSDAY solemnly inaugurates the “Triduum during which the Lord died, was buried and rose again.” On this day our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist; at the Last Supper He prepared the Sacrifice-Meal that would through the ages unite His members in Himself. We are gathered with the Apostles, to receive from Jesus the great gift of His own Flesh and Blood. Through the ministry of the priesthood, Christ remains present at every Mass. We solemnly commemorate the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Orders as well. On this night, we also hear of Christ’s humble service of washing the feet of the Apostles. Following the Mass, the Holy Eucharist is borne through the church to the Altar of Repose for private adoration and prayer until 10:00 p.m.

In the garden, Christ asked, “Could you not wait one hour with Me?” On this night, let us join with Him in prayer!

GOOD FRIDAY solemnly commemorates Jesus Christ’s sacrifice FOR US! We listen once more to the story of His Passion and then venerate the instrument of our salvation, His Holy Cross. We pray for the needs of the world and finally receive our Lord in Holy Communion. Following the liturgy, until the Easter Vigil, Christians experience something of the great void felt by the Apostles after the death of the Lord. The church is locked; the holy Tabernacle is empty.

We gather in darkness on the night of the EASTER VIGIL to celebrate the Passover of the Lord! The light of Christ dispels the darkness of sin in our world and in our hearts as we welcome the newest members of the Church through Baptism and Profession of Faith. We renew our own baptismal vows and join in celebration of the Resurrection.

As your pastor, I invite you all to join in the observance and celebration of the SACRED TRIDUUM! These days take priority in our lives; we leave the watches behind and touch eternity. Please note the times of all Masses and Liturgies of this most Holy Week, in the bulletin as well as on the doors of the church. Let us join in solemn prayer and keep vigil; for the Passover of the Lord is at hand! God bless you all!

 

March 22, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

On this Fifth Sunday of Lent, or the First Passion Sunday, the refrain of today’s responsorial psalm is a fitting summation of the Scriptures for Mass today: “Create a clean heart in me, O God.”

When one stops to think about it, the entire season of Lent is about a “clean heart.” It is about conversion and repentance; about renewing our baptismal promises and innocence. It is about dying to ourselves and living with and for Christ Jesus. When Jesus is “lifted up,” He draws us all to Himself. What a fitting reflection as we enter these waning days of Lent!

“As much as things change, they stay the same.” Know that old saying? Well it’s a good one for us to recall today. No doubt when you entered the church for Mass today, you noticed something different. In the days prior to Vatican II, on this First Passion Sunday, the statues and crucifix were covered. The Gospel for that Sunday was from St. John’s Gospel, 8:46-59, wherein we hear of the crowds trying to stone Jesus and so “…He hid Himself.” In commemoration of that fact, the Church “hid” all statues. Most crucifixes were either gold or bejeweled and therefore, they too were covered. In a certain sense, the “Holy” is hidden until the revelation of Resurrected glory on Easter Sunday!

Well, after the Council, this practice was all but done away with, even though the Council said nothing about it. As time passed however, liturgists in the Church came to realize that the practice was a good one and should be “resurrected” as a means of vividly calling to mind this event in the life of Jesus as well as heightening our expectation of Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum. When the Church gathers for the celebration of the great Easter Vigil, the glory of the cross and the Saints of the Church will once more be revealed. Does every parish do this? No, they don’t. However, I feel it is a great “teaching moment” for all of us.

It provides parents with a great opportunity to talk to their children about the sacred days that approach and why we do the things we do during that holy time. I invite you parents to do so!

Our participation in the Stations of the Cross has been very good! I think by having the fish fry each Friday provides an excellent opportunity to come on upstairs for the Stations. Join us….you’ll be glad you did…and so will Jesus!

Anna has placed the Holy Week schedule on the doors of the church and it will be published in upcoming bulletins as well. Please make a note of all the Liturgies and their respective times!

God bless you all!

 

March 15, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

Today the Church celebrates Laetare Sunday. Taken from the Latin for “rejoice”, we today hear of rejoicing in the readings. Rejoicing during Lent? Well, yes. The Church points out to us, while in the midst of Lenten prayer, fasting and charity, that the glory and joy of Easter are approaching! The solemn violet of the vestments is set aside and the rose vestment is worn. Mixing the violet with the glorious white of Easter, we have rose. And so, let us rejoice in our hearts!

We hear on this Laetare Sunday of the greatest mercy shown us by God our Father: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” We gaze upon the Son, “lifted up” for our salvation. We look upon Him “Whom they have pierced.” We behold the Son of God, the source of everlasting life! What perfect thoughts for a rejoicing Sunday! And, it is important for us to remember, that it is not merely by LOOKING upon Jesus that we may gain salvation. We must LIVE Jesus, the One Who was pierced for our offenses!

I remind one and all of the continuing “The Light Is On For You” confessional schedule. Each remaining Wednesday of Lent, I will be in the confessional from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Of course, the regular Saturday time (3:45-4:30) continues as well. If you haven’t made a good confession during Lent….there is still time! I also will be helping at St. Susanna when they have their penance services as well. Pick up an “Examination of Conscience” flyer in the vestibule to help make a good confession!

It is not too early for you to start thinking and resolving to make the upcoming HOLY WEEK & PASCHAL TRIDUUM your priority as we soon approach those holy and sacred days of our Catholic Faith. Set aside those watches and have the resolve to be HERE for the holiest days of our Faith! PALM SUNDAY MASSES will be at the usual times. HOLY THURSDAY MASS will be at 7:00 p.m. GOOD FRIDAY LITURGY OF THE LORD’S PASSION will be at Noon. EASTER VIGIL will be at 8:00 p.m. EASTER SUNDAY MASSES will be at 8:00 & 10:30 a.m.

Remember, Stations of the Cross are prayed each Friday evening of Lent, beginning at 7:00 p.m! We have had excellent attendance. Hope to see you there!

Let us continue to pray for one another!

 

March 8, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

Believe it or not, we have come to the halfway point in our Lenten journey of prayer and conversion! The Ten Commandments (notice, they are not suggestions!), the guiding principles of our Christian way of life, are set before us in today’s first reading.

The responsorial psalm is a beautiful reflection on these commandments. At times of prayer this week, spend some time reflecting on this text, for these truly are “words of everlasting life.”

Sometimes people, for various reasons and agendas, try to paint our Lord Jesus as a “namby-pamby” Who never raised His voice, never grew angry at anyone, never challenged anyone. It’s good for those folks, as well as for all of us, to hear today’s Gospel. Our Lord does grow angry and voices that anger at those who subvert the faith for their own ill-gotten gain. He does grow angry at those who are “white-washed tombs”; looking good on the outside but inside are filled with sin and filth. He does grow angry with those who want to put the bare minimum into the practice of the faith, while ignoring its fullness and truth.

The emphasis today is not on the anger of our Lord. It is on putting the rubber to the road and practicing what we profess. It is about truly being Catholic and not in name only. It is about living the fullness and truth of the Faith and not pushing our own agendas and biases. It is about treating our neighbor with respect and kindness rather than with gossip and calumnious talk. Of course, some will heed His message while it will go right over the heads of others; particularly those who really need to hear it! It’s really up to us, isn’t it? With the grace of God, with the strength of the Sacraments and with the teaching of the Church to guide us, we’ll make it just fine.

Remember, the Stations of the Cross are prayed each Friday of Lent here at St. Mary’s beginning at 7:00 p.m. It’s a great family devotional. Bring the kids and journey with Our Lord!

This Sunday evening, our annual PARISH MISSION begins! Dr. Wood will speak Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings, beginning at 7:00 p.m. There will also be a social time downstairs each evening following the presentations.

A Parish Mission is ALWAYS a blessed time, especially during Lent, to gather, pray, reflect and act in growing closer to Christ Jesus and His Church. I hope you all can make at least some of the Mission this year!

After spending a great time with Monsignor Stumpf last week, this weekend finds me at St. Meinrad with our candidates for Confirmation on their retreat. To quote General MacArthur: “I shall return!” I miss being with you all! Pray for our candidates while on retreat.

God’s blessings on you all! Spring is on the way…hang in there!

 

March 1, 2015

+Dear Friends,

Today we listen to two stories that take place on mountaintops. In the first we hear the story of how Abraham was “put to the test.” I would say requesting a father to sacrifice his only son is a “test,” wouldn’t you? Remember, these were the days of child sacrifice when it was quite acknowledged and accepted that “the gods” desired such atrocities. Therefore, for Abraham to be instructed to do just such a thing by this “new God,” was no different than all the others. But, we know the rest of the story, don’t we?

When Abraham stands ready to offer Isaac, the Lord God intervenes, prevents the sacrifice and blesses Abraham in great abundance. Abraham is willing to give all to God and for this; he will be blessed by numerous ancestors and become the great father of the Covenant. Naturally, it is a pre-figuration of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ FOR US!

In the second mountaintop story, Jesus takes Sts. Peter, James and John with Him in order that they might witness His transfigured glory. The passion lay before Him and our Lord knew in His Heart that the Apostles needed this spiritual epiphany in order to withstand it. Even so, we know that only St. John remained by our Lord’s side at the foot of the cross. So, even a direct sign from God didn’t seem to be enough for belief!

On this Second Sunday of Lent, to quote St. Peter: “…it is good for us to be here” in this sacred place, for this Sacred Act that is the Mass. It is also good for us to pray that we, too, may be transformed more and more into the beloved sons and daughters of our Father which we have been made through our Baptism. Our faith, too, needs strengthened; our trust needs to be made more real. For many “passions” lie in our lives as well.

Remember how Martin Luther King once famously said: “I have been to the mountaintop?” Well, our mountaintop is right here in St. Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church! Here, the glory of the Lord has been revealed and remains in our midst…the Most Blessed Sacrament of His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity…The Most Holy Eucharist!

“It is good for us to be here.” You bet it is!

Remember this Friday, the 6th, to attend Stations of the Cross at 7:00 p.m.!

Next weekend, the parish will welcome Fr. Mike Welch, retired pastor of St. Christopher in Speedway. I will be at St. Meinrad, attending our Confirmation retreat for our students. Thanks to Fr. Mike!

Have a prayer-full week, everyone!

 

February 22, 2015

+Dear Friends,

As we gather for Holy Mass on this First Sunday of Lent, the Church teaches us that two spiritual threads weave together to form the fabric of the season of Lent.

The first and most familiar to us is the character of repentance: intensified prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The second is the baptismal character of this holy season.

The unbaptized (the Catechumens) spend Lent in heightened preparation for their baptism and the rest of us who are already baptized, are called to spend this time preparing to renew once more the promises we made when we were baptized. Recently at Mass, the parish observed the Rite of Sending. During this Rite, our Catechumens, signed the Book of the Elect and later in the day, were presented to Archbishop Tobin at the Cathedral in the Rite of Election. We welcome and continue our prayers for our Catechumens and Candidates!!

Today’s Liturgy of the Word echoes this theme of the covenant between our Father in heaven and His people, the Church. We hear once more, the stories of the powerful conflicts between good and evil. As we enter into this holy time of year, let us enter the Lenten “desert” of repentance, mindful of the promises made at our baptism when we rejected Satan, his temptations and professed our faith and belief in the One True God!

A reminder and “heads-up” for the Stations of the Cross this coming Friday, February 27, at 7:00 p.m. Attend the Fish Fry then come up to church for this beautiful devotional prayer! Another reminder, since I will be away this coming week, there will NOT be Wednesday Confessions on the 25th! Of course, there will be on Saturday as usual and the “Light Is On For You” will return on the 4th from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

As I am away next weekend, I thank the Cross International Priests for covering for me! I know they will be welcomed in true St. Mary, Queen of Peace fashion!

May God bless you all!

 

February 15, 2015

+Dear Friends,

This is one of those Sundays when we should especially stand back and marvel, truly marvel, at the works of our Lord Jesus. In curing the leper, Jesus broke down barriers that had existed for centuries. With one simple gesture of healing (like that is “simple!”), Jesus changed everything.

He stretched forth His Hand to the leper and touched him, making the unclean clean. The image of healing is so very beautiful, isn’t it? Jesus touched the man. The beauty lies not only in the physical healing of the leper but in the sacred and joyous act by our God of touching man.

It should be easy for all of us to reflect in our own hearts on the areas of our lives that need this healing touch of Jesus Christ. Perhaps it is a hardened heart; filled with bitterness and bile, distorting our facial expressions and all but hanging a sign around our necks that says: “Get outta my way. I’m not interested in anything you may have to say to me. I’ve formed my opinion about you and I’m not open to changing it.” Sound familiar to you? Or, perhaps it’s an apathetic and, I might even say pathetic, prayer life. “I’m too busy to pray. I don’t think God cares if I am at Mass or go to confession. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.” Again, sound familiar? Sadly, one can see these attitudes each day; even at Mass.

Let us be reminded, dear brothers and sisters, that at our Baptism we were washed clean by the touch of Christ Jesus through the hand of His priest. Let us remind ourselves that each time we come to confession, we are washed clean by the touch of Jesus through the hand of His priest. Let us remind ourselves that we are fed and nourished by the Sacred Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ through the hand of His priest at each Holy Mass. Let us remind ourselves that our dear Lord remains a “Prisoner of the Tabernacle” of His own divine choice, for us and our salvation. Why do some stay away?

Let us pray at this Mass for one another. Let us pray for those who have stopped attending Holy Mass or have left the True Church, that they may come home. Let us pray for one who is truly hurting.

An important reminder:

This Wednesday is ASH WEDNESDAY!

Masses will be offered at NOON and again at 7:00 p.m. The day is one of FAST AND ABSTINENCE. Please see the handouts for more information on those regulations. Remember also, STATIONS OF THE CROSS will be offered on the Fridays of Lent beginning at 7:00 p.m. CONFESSIONS will be heard on ALL Wednesdays of Lent (excluding the 25th) from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Come, let us begin Lenten journey together!

May God, Who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion!

 

February 8, 2015

+ Dear Friends,

“I shall not see happiness again.” With these mournful words, Job concludes his lament to the Lord. Job was obviously in the depths of despair. His words are echoed in our own lives at times, are they not?

Jesus has something else in mind for us. The simple story in St. Mark’s Gospel of the curing of St. Peter’s mother- in-law shows us that the Lord wants to lift us up out of despair when it buffets us!

The Gospel is good news for us! If today is one of those days or times when we are feeling particularly burdened by illness, disappointment or despair, let us, like the townsfolk in today’s Gospel story, bring our cares and gather them at the Lord’s altar. The healing of Jesus continues in His holy Church. Now, it is our turn. We come to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. We dare not end there. Certainly each one of us knows someone who is waiting for the healing touch of Jesus. Perhaps He looks to US to extend His healing touch. With hope, let us be attentive to the healing power of our Eucharistic Lord!

Please note today’s announcement concerning your blessed palm from last year. Again this year, we will collect the palm in the basket near the baptismal font beginning the weekend of February 7-8 and continuing the following weekend, February 14-15. It will be burned to make the ashes for Ash Wednesday, February 18th. Masses for Ash Wednesday will be offered at NOON and 7:00 p.m. From the word meaning “spring,” Lent always heralds both a season of utmost repentance as well as serving as a reminder that the glory that is spring and holy Easter, are drawing near! During the dreary, cold and damp days of the waning winter, our spirits are uplifted knowing that a glory is dawning. Begin thinking NOW of what you might “offer up” for Lent this year! And no, if you hate pea soup or green peppers, you can’t offer them up! Remember the traditional three aspects of holy Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. It’s also a time to not only abstain from things but to DO extra things spiritually. Think about daily Mass, Stations of the Cross, Confession, acts of charity. The important thing is to truly join the spirit of the holy Season of Lent.

And, speaking of Lent, this year, I am trying something different. Rather than hosting a Penance Service, I will be offering “The Light Is On For You” each Wednesday of Lent. Confessions will be heard each Wednesday evening from 6:00-7:30pm in addition to the usual Saturday time of 3:45- 4:30pm. (The only exception will be February 25th when I will be away that week). Our neighbors of St. Malachy and St. Suzanna will be having penance services and they will be announced as well.

God bless you all and have a great week!

 

February 1, 2015

+Dear Friends,

One commentary on today’s Gospel makes the point that one line of the Gospel stands out: “The people were astonished at His teaching.” St. Mark, of course, is speaking about Jesus’ teaching in the synagogue at the beginning of His public ministry. The reason for their astonishment? It was because Jesus taught truth and with perfect conviction.

Looking at our own lives sometimes we come to Mass or other times of prayer and the words of the Scripture or prayers wash over us. Like the man with an unclean spirit in today’s Gospel, we can have too many “spirits” of our own that distract us and make us less receptive to the grace of God. We’re not possessed, but we could very well be obsessed with the cares and worries of life when we try to pray.

As we hear how Jesus drives the unclean spirit from the man, let us ask the Lord to drive from our hearts any distractions or sins that prevent us from knowing the true power and joy that only He can offer us! As we gather for Mass and then go forth, let us pray that our hearts will not be hardened, but open to His grace and mercy!

This coming Tuesday, February 3rd, the Church celebrates the feast day of the martyr, St. Blaise. Long invoked as the patron saint of those suffering from diseases of the throat, the prayers of St. Blaise are sought in a special blessing on his feast day.

St. Blaise first studied and became a physician. He was later ordained to the priesthood and made bishop of Sebaste in Armenia, where he was seized and carried off to prison by Agricolous, the governor.

On his way to prison, a mother whose child suffered from a disease of the throat implored his help. At his intercession the child was cured and since that time, his help has often been solicited. After cruel torture, the Saint was beheaded in the year 316 AD.

During the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Tuesday, throats will be blessed through the intercession of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr. It is a sacramental of the Church by which we invoke the healing power of Christ. Perhaps you can join us! If a large number attend, it could take a bit. But, that’s OK; we’re in church!

Have a good week everyone. God bless you all!

 

January 25, 2015

+Dear Friends,

In today’s first reading we hear the story of the people of Nineveh, who repented of their sinful ways and offer a shining example of our Father’s divine mercy and forgiveness.

Our Lord Jesus calls us to repent and believe in the Gospel. It is noteworthy that our Lord’s call to follow Him is issued within the context of repentance. Sometimes, we don’t make the connection in our own lives. Following Jesus entails conversion and repentance; it must always do so in order to be authentic and graced.

When we forget this connection, we are actually attempting to follow Jesus on our terms, not His. It’s as if we say to the Lord, “I will follow You, Lord, BUT allow me to bring this old habit, sin or attitude along with me.”

Well, sooner or later we learn that we can’t have it OUR way. We need to always remember, we are members of the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH. Therefore, there are many aspects of our faith life that are simply bigger than we are! We are not St. Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church alone….we belong to the Church Universal as well as the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. We are not a community that can “pick and choose” what we believe or profess or do. Our freedom and unity are ours precisely because we belong to the Church! Sometimes it takes a bit of hardship or “skinned knees” for us to learn this but, God willing, we do learn! How good and gracious is our Father!

Want a note of good cheer? Spring is less than two months away! That should lift our spirits! God bless you all!

 

January 18, 2015

+Dear Friends,

“Here am I, Lord; I come to do Your will.” This refrain from today’s responsorial psalm is a beautiful prayer for all believers as this brief bit of Ordinary Time opens before us.

Today, as baptized and practicing Catholics, how fitting that we hear the call of the prophet Samuel, who is told by Eli to respond to the Lord’s call with the words: “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.” We also hear today the Lord Jesus call the Apostles to follow Him. It’s as if the Liturgy of the Word is speaking directly to us…and, you know what? It is!

In the same manner, through His holy word, the Lord Jesus calls each and every one of us into service for the sake of His Kingdom. As we often hear, whether or not that is as dedicated, faithful married folk, a chaste single life, or as priests or religious, each one of us has been called by Christ!

There is an age-old axiom in the Church universal: “how we pray shows how we believe,” and it rings as true today as it ever has. I truly believe that more and more Catholics throughout the world are coming to a deeper and clearer understanding of both What and Who the Mass is! The more we believe that, as a recent convert to the Catholic Faith put it so very well, “when we enter the doors of the church, it becomes all about HIM; not me; not about my desires, likes or dislikes,” then we are grasping the true meaning of the Mass. Remember, we are all still learning!

May our Lord’s richest blessings and grace be upon us!

 

January 11, 2015

+Dear Friends,

Today Holy Mother Church concludes the Christmas Season with the celebration of The Baptism of the Lord. How fitting it is that the refrain for the responsorial psalm is “You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.”

Each week we gather in this sacred place to be nourished with the Eucharist of Jesus Christ. Isaiah the prophet beckons all who hunger and thirst to come to the Lord. This is precisely what has happened to each of us who have been baptized into Christ and His Church. In our hunger and thirst, we come to the Holy Mass. We come, not with any agendas or expectations, but with openness and surrender to worship the Father through the Sacrifice of Jesus!

As we celebrate the continued manifestation of Jesus to the world, we recognize the awesome potential for compassion that exists in the hearts of all who have been baptized into Christ and His Holy Church.

Isaiah also tells us that God’s chosen ones are those who follow this belief: “A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench.” What’s that all about? Well, quite simply it means that Jesus, and by extension His Church, and you and I are called to encourage others to the compassion and truth that exists only in Jesus Christ. It means that the wounded are to be welcomed and brought the good news that healing and reconciliation are made manifest through Jesus and those who follow Him. It means that we are witnesses to this and are quite ready, willing and able to invite others into the fullness of Truth that is His Mystical Body on earth, the Church.

The celebration of Jesus’ baptism is an occasion for us to contemplate our own baptism and the responsibilities that came with it. Pray, that we may be up to the challenge and the privilege!

*** I now have an important announcement: due to the severe outbreak of both viral as well as bacterial flu in Indiana, and at the urging of several in the parish, I am making the pastoral decision to suspend the use of the Chalices until Holy Thursday. This is a VERY important opportunity for us all to contemplate and remember the teaching of the Church that when one receives the Sacred Host, one is receiving the TOTALITY of Jesus Christ! In other words, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord. The same holds when one may choose to receive only from the Chalice; one is receiving the totality of Jesus Christ. I have made this decision with prayer and I feel the best interest of our parishioners. On a separate note: IF you are suffering from a severe cold, coughing, sneezing, etc. PLEASE offer a simple nod of the head and a “Peace be with you” at the Sign of Peace. We need to take care of one another this winter! I thank you all for your understanding and cooperation. Dennis will be contacting the Extra-Ordinary Ministers concerning fulfilling this change in the schedule of EMs assigned for each Mass.

May God’s blessings be upon you this week! Let us continue to pray for one another!

 

January 5, 2015

+Dear Friends,

The holy Christmas Season continues! On this first weekend of the new year, we celebrate the wonderful Solemnity of the Epiphany! It is a celebration of the manifestation of Christ Jesus as the true Light of the World; the Savior of Jew and Gentile alike!

It is an ancient tradition in Catholic households to ask God’s blessing upon the family home on today’s Solemnity. Printed below you will find the blessing prayer to be offered by the family gathered inside the front door. Afterwards, using chalk, the following is inscribed over the door:

20+C+M+B 15

Of course, the initials represent the names of the three Magi, or Kings, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. As the Magi represent the entirety of humanity coming to and proclaiming Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah of all peoples, may we, too, proclaim Him in our lives and actions! We, too, are called to bring others to the truth and life that is Jesus Christ. What we have been given, we freely invite and share. May the holy Magi pray for us!

It is also a liturgical tradition that the Epiphany Proclamation is read. I reprint here for your reflection:

“The glory of the Lord has shone upon us and shall ever manifest itself among us until the day of His return. Through the rhythms and changes of time, let us call to mind and live the mysteries of salvation.

The center of the whole liturgical year is the Paschal Triduum of the Lord, crucified, buried and risen, which will culminate in the solemn Vigil of Easter, during the holy night that will end with the dawn of the 5th of April.

From Easter, there comes forth and are reckoned all the days we keep holy: Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season, the 18th of February; the Ascension of the Lord, the 17th of May and Pentecost, the 24th of May; the First Sunday of Advent, the 29th of November.

To Christ Who was, Who is, and Who is to come, the Lord of time and history, be endless praise forever and ever. AMEN!”

 

December 28, 2014

 +Dear Friends,

As we continue to bask in the Octave days of Christmas, Holy Mother Church calls us together to observe the Feast of the Holy Family.

Two holy elderly couples are presented to us in today’s Mass. Abram and Sarah, and Simeon and Anna. The common thread that weaves through each of these people’s lives is that they longed for something. Who among us has not experienced this same feeling and desire?

For Abram and Sarah, it was for a child. For Simeon and Anna, it was to behold the Messiah before they died. Perhaps the message of these holy people is that for a people of faith, often what we greatly desire comes only after a very long wait. We can draw inspiration from the great faith and patience shown us by Abram, Sarah, Simeon and Anna!

Today, we also reflect upon the upcoming Holy Day of Obligation of the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. (Please note the Mass times!)

As the new year prepares to dawn, we gather to place ourselves and our world under the protective mantle of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God! She is the Queen of Peace, to whom we can pray for an end to violence and all threats against the dignity and protection of human life; from conception to natural death. She is the Mother of Sorrows, who joins her heart and voice to ours as we bring to God our prayers and needs. She is Theotokas, the God-Bearer, through whose intercession we raise our prayers to the Lord Jesus, Who reigns in eternal glory! Mary is the Mother of the Church and our Mother. Who better to turn to in prayer than the Mother of Christ Himself? Bishop Sheen once said, “How can we fail to love and honor her, whom her Son so loved?” Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

My humble thanks for your kind remembrances at Christmas! I wish you all a very Happy New Year 2015! May this coming year be a time of good health of mind and body for all of us, our families, and our friends!

 

December 21, 2014

+Dear Friends,

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, we hear of God’s promise of salvation. The Archangel Gabriel announces to Mary that a child will be born Who is to be called “the Son of the Most High.”

Advent is all about sacred promises. As soon as we open our hearts to listen to God’s voice, the promises continue to unfold in our lives as we await the joy of the Christmas Season!

While we gather this weekend to observe the Fourth Sunday of Advent, this bulletin also is the final issue before the glorious Solemnity of Christmas. Therefore….

A VERY BLESSED AND MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE!!

May the holy celebration of Christ’s humble birth once more fill your hearts and lives with a spirit of simplicity and hope! I pray that each and every one of us truly finds these days to be ones of peace!

Our Advent longing is now fulfilled! When our world is in deepest darkness of the longest nights and shortest days, we dare to revel in feasts of holy Light!

While the powers of darkness threaten, we gather to celebrate Emmanuel…God with us! May our joyous celebration of Christmas fill us with renewed hope, resolve and trust! Emmanuel has come. We celebrate His Presence among us! Our Tabernacle truly is the manger of Bethlehem. Just as the holy manger bore the sacred Presence of Christ on Christmas day, His Sacred Presence remains among us, inviting and awaiting our coming to Him. Come, let us adore Him!

Please note in today’s bulletin the schedule for Masses during this holy time.

Mom was released from the hospital and is resting at home. Please continue to keep her in your prayers.

Again, know of my sincere and every good wish for you and all the families of our wonderful parish as we celebrate Christ’s birth! God bless you all!!

FROLICHE WEIHNACHTEN!!

 

December 14, 2014

+ Dear Friends,

Here we are on the Third Sunday of Advent, traditionally called Gaudete Sunday. This comes from the Latin for “rejoice.” The wonderful rose candle is lit and the rose vestments are worn to rejoice that Christmas draws near. As you gaze around the church, you can clearly see that the glorious Feast draws ever near…even the building is getting ready!

The image of the reign of God proclaimed today by the prophet Isaiah is comforting and challenging at the same time. We are called to take these words to heart and put them into practice in our daily lives. As this Advent continues to unfold before us, our gaze is turned once again to St. John the Baptist, who prepares the way of the Lord.

Let us pray that we will be inspired by today’s Mass to become a Christ-like presence for others…bringing glad tidings and kindness to the brokenhearted. As we go forth on this Gaudete Sunday, let our continued prayer resound:

“Come, Lord Jesus!”

A sincere thank-you to everyone who is praying for Mom’s health, strength and recovery. We are hopeful she will be home before Christmas. 
I deeply appreciate your words of support, comfort and solidarity.

Also, a note of ‘thanks’ to everyone who contributed to our collection for our seminarians at Christmas! We raised $2600.00 which means they received $100.00 each.
On their behalf, “thank-you!”

May God continue to bless us one and all as we continue our Advent journey toward Christmas!

 

December 7, 2014

+Dear Friends,

We gather on this Second Sunday of Advent. St. John the Baptist’s cry reaches out to us: “Prepare the way of the Lord!” In 2014, just how do we recognize and prepare “the way of the Lord?”

Isaiah, once again, gives us a glimpse of this way. After hearing this reading proclaimed at Mass today, allow the richness of its imagery to transport you to God’s holy comfort where we glimpse the way of the Lord.

In a world torn by war, terrorism and religious persecution, we must express our sadness that the way of the Lord seems so far away. Injustice, tyranny, terror, greed, don’t just float “out there,” waiting for someone to help alleviate them. Advent calls us to reflect upon how well WE help to bring about the way of the Lord in our midst. Let today’s Mass inspire us to recognize the many ways in which we, in our daily lives, can make the Lord ever more present to others! Come, Emmanuel!

On December 8, 1854, Blessed Pope Pius IX, solemnly defined the Dogmatic teaching of the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY. Long held as a central tenet of the Deposit of Faith, the Holy Father formally defined and declared that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived without Original Sin in virtue of her exalted place in all time and creation as the Mother of God, Jesus Christ. As the tabernacle of the Most High God, Mary contained the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Thus, she was preserved from all stain of Original Sin. This week, the HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, will be celebrated. Mass will be offered at 7:00pm on December 7th and at 8:30am on December 8th. Come, let us celebrate in joy the Blessed Virgin Mary and Emmanuel her Son!

Also coming soon, on Wednesday, December 10th at 7:00pm, our parish will gather for our ADVENT PENANCE SERVICE. We will be blessed to have four of my brother priests with us: Fathers Danny Bedel, Joe Feltz, Tim Wyciskalla and Minh Duong.

It’s a perfect way for all of us to “prepare the way of the Lord!” May God bless you all!

“O, Come, O, Come, Emmanuel!”

 

November 30, 2014

+Dear Friends,

Welcome to Advent! The new year of liturgical grace, 2015, has begun! The first words spoken by our Lord Jesus in today’s Gospel set the tone for this holy season of expectant longing: “Be watchful! Be alert!”

We stand ready at the beginning of this holy Advent season, for we do not know when Jesus will return in glory. We open our hearts to Scriptures and reflections that call us to be mindful of the ways of the Lord.

If our faith lives have become “withered like leaves,” as Isaiah laments, let God’s word instill new life in all of us! Let that word penetrate our hearts and fill us with life and joy. One of the beautiful aspects of Advent is the prospect of yet another “new beginning.”

Advent offers us the opportunity to prayerfully reflect on how we are doing when it comes to living, celebrating and praying our Catholic Faith. Whether or not it is taking the time to come and celebrate the Sacrament of Penance, attending a daily Mass when one can, remembering the Holy Day of Obligation of the Immaculate Conception or taking part in our Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Advent is the time to begin anew. As we reflect on the message of today’s Mass, let this be our prayer: “Come, Lord Jesus!”

And, speaking of reflection, please take a copy of The Magnificat’s Advent Reflections to use during this holy season. It is an excellent resource for Advent reflection and prayer!

Because I am new to our parish, you all are unaware of a tradition I have done each Advent Season. Each year, I ask that a second collection be taken up to go toward a Christmas gift for each of our seminarians. This goes directly to the guys as a personal “thank-you” and sign of our prayers from our parish. I have often shared with the parishes later just how truly grateful our seminarians are for the support and prayers offered them by our parish. Next weekend, we will take up this annual second collection for the seminarians’ Christmas gifts. This is a gift given personally to each of our 26 seminarians at Christmas to show our continued support and encouragement as they prepare to become our future priests! Let us be generous to them again this year!

As the holy time approaches, if you know of a parishioner who is homebound or in a facility near-by and they would like for me to stop by to Anoint them before Christmas, or go to Confession, just let Anna or myself know! I will certainly make it happen!

May our Advent Season be one of prayerful, expectant prayer, repentance and joy!

 

November 23, 2014

+Dear Friends,

The readings for the entire liturgical year of 2014 led us to today’s celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King and today’s Gospel from St. Matthew.

On this final Sunday before the holy time of Advent begins, the Lord Jesus tells us just how our activity will be judged when we finally “meet our Maker” face to face. The text is nothing short of chilling, for there is no escaping its central questions.

We are each asked to examine how we have or have not fed the hungry, given or not given drink to the thirsty, welcomed or shunned the stranger, clothed or ignored the naked and visited or turned away from the imprisoned.

The Holy Spirit is our strength and our guide as we are formed into disciples. At the close of this liturgical year, let us turn to the Holy Spirit, seeking His help to respond to what our Lord Jesus commands of us in today’s Gospel!

Of course, it goes without saying that one can interpret our Lord’s commands in a spiritual sense also. When it comes to spirituality and knowledge of Christ Jesus, His Church and most especially His Presence in the Holy Eucharist, there are many “hungry, thirsty, naked and imprisoned” people. Perhaps even more so, aiding in another’s eternal salvation is of utmost charity and kindness.

Let us think back to one year ago today, November 23, 2013. In what ways in the past year have I fed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked and visited the imprisoned?

Please note in today’s bulletin, the Mass for Thanksgiving will be celebrated this coming Wednesday evening at 7:00pm. Come, let us offer the true “thanksgiving”….the Holy Eucharist! Hope to see you at Holy Mass for Thanksgiving Eve!

If you have not completed your pledge card for this year’s United Catholic Appeal, please do so by the end of the month. Again, THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMITMENT & GENEROSITY TO OUR PARISH AND ARCHDIOCESE!

To one and all, a very safe and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

 

November 16, 2014

+Dear Friends,

As we enter these final days of Ordinary Time and the liturgical year of 2014, our readings begin to turn our attention to the “end times.”

St. Paul warns us that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” It’s interesting to note that the season of Ordinary Time began way back in January with St. John the Baptist pointing out Jesus and declaring Him to be the “Lamb of God.” From the moment St. John sounded that announcement of faith, the Lord Jesus has been our Guide and Leader, calling us into greater discipleship.

Today, He asks us not to bury the treasures entrusted to us at our Baptism, but to invest them; our gifts and talents, to help further His Kingdom. It is both a challenge and privilege for us to do so!

The “end times” theme, which overarches the readings this weekend as well as next and into Advent, really have already begun. How so? Well, when Jesus Christ came into our world, taking on flesh, the miracle of the Incarnation, He ushered in the “end times.” One does not have to consult mediums (which is a serious sin, by the way) or horoscopes or try to figure out when the Lord will return in glory. The Bride of Christ, the Church, has been living in the “end times” since Jesus inaugu- rated it! This theology beautifully corresponds to the Gospel reading today. As I mentioned above, Jesus calls us to use the gifts and talents which have been given us, to further His Kingdom, that is, Holy Mother Church. The Church’s sole purpose is to be the means for souls to gain eternal life. This is our call, our graced honor, in which to participate. Now, more than ever, we need to step up to the plate and be the Catholics we say we are! There are positive signs that the Church is once again uniting to combat the Godless, secularist and relativistic culture in which we live today. IF Catholics step up and live the faith we profess, we can help change our world back to God! May God, Who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion!

As we stand at this point, our parish has reached $20,775.00. toward our goal of $27,413.00. for this year’s United Catholic Appeal. If you have not returned your pledge card of your Time, Talent and Treasure, PLEASE DO SO SOON! I thank you for your support and commitment shown to our parish and Archdiocese!

On a personal note, I wish to thank one and all for your kind cards and remembrances for my birthday this past Tuesday, November 11th, Veterans’ Day. Thank you all very much! It’s not easy crossing the threshold of 60, but one can handle it!

May you have a prayer-full week, everyone!

 

November 9, 2014

+Dear Friends,

Today we celebrate what, to some, seems like an obscure feast. One is tempted to wonder, “Why do we honor a church building in Rome in today’s Liturgy?” Good question and we have a good answer also.

         The reason has everything to do with the particular Roman church. The Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome is the cathedral church of the Bishop of Rome, aka, Pope Francis. It is the Pope’s diocesan cathedral and contains the papal throne.

Many Catholics mistakenly think that Saint Peter’s Basilica is the cathedral of Rome, yet it is not. One of the striking features of the Lateran Basilica (so named for the hill of Rome on which it is built and for the family who originally donated the property to the Pope) are the statues of the twelve Apostles which line the central nave. Larger than life, one can spend quite some time taking in each statue’s qualities and symbols. They are graphic signs of the Church being built upon the Rock of St. Peter and the Apostolic Faith which comes to us through the twelve.

St. John Lateran is the church in which the Pope delivers talks to the priests of the diocese of Rome. Outside, one finds the statue of St. Francis; arms outstretched symbolically holding up the Church of Jesus Christ. The image comes from the dream the Pope at the time of St. Francis had regarding Francis.

St. John Lateran is thus celebrated as the “Mother Church of Christendom.” It is for this honor that we here in Indiana, celebrate this holy church of Rome. The feast is also a celebration of our unity in and with the Holy Father. Thus, it is a grand feast and a time of prayer with and for Pope Francis!

This Tuesday is Veterans’ Day. It’s the perfect day to “thank a vet” for his or her service to our nation and in defense of our people. I well remember often going to the courthouse in Brazil for the annual memorial at “eleven o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month” for all the veterans past and present; especially remembering those who gave the last full measure of devotion and gave their lives for us. THANK YOU VETS!

“To Jesus, through Mary!”