November 10, 2013 Pastor Corner
THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS COME ONCE A YEAR
HUNGER IS AN EVERY DAY EVENT!!!!
Our Food Pantry has been very active lately and therefore we are running out of food. Please, when you come to Eucharist, bring an almsgiving – food for those in need. This will bring a blessing to you and allow God to bless others through you. Baskets will be placed in the Sanctuary from now until Christmas. Your love is real and real important!
This year our Ecumenical Thanksgiving Prayer Service will be held at Mt. Olive Baptist Church on Atlantic Avenue, just a few blocks away. Pastor McGlurken has just added a large meeting room and would like to share prayerful hospitality with the community. The service will be celebrated on Wednesday, November 27th at 7:30 PM. Please make every effort to attend. We will also celebrate a Thanksgiving Mass at 6:15pm in our Church and again on Thanksgiving morning at 8:00 am. What better way is there to celebrate Thanksgiving than to actually praise God for the many blessings we have received?
We are still enjoying Fr. Barron’s “Catholicism”. There are three sessions left. Even if you haven’t attended any you can still come to the final three. They are:
Session 8: A vast company of witnesses: communion of saints
Session 9: The fire of his love: Prayer and the life of the Spirit
Session 10: World without end: the Last Things
We are now taking orders for Holiday Scrip cards. These are a great way to “shop at home” and also take care of “God’s House”. A larger than normal number of stores is participating in this event so there will be something for everyone. This weekend is “Investment Sunday”. I remind everyone that we have a mortgage of $8000 a month. The scrip cards and this collection are the primary vehicles for paying this bill. Thank you for taking this investment in our parish seriously.
Speaking of seriously: Scripture this week reminds us that postponing accountability is to postpone discipleship. We do not have to wait for death to experience heaven and hell. They begin in this world each day by our choices either to love others or to isolate ourselves. Material comfort can numb our conscience, which cuts us off from the real sources of life: telling the truth, giving and receiving mercy and sharing our joys and needs with others.
Jesus’ confrontation with each of the power groups of his time was really an appeal to liberate them from assumptions that imprisoned them. They were becoming dead men instead of being open to the living God Jesus revealed.
It is no different today. Daily, Pope Francis reminds us that God hears the cry of the poor and He answers them through our “yes”. Live it loudly.
November 03, 2013 Pastor Corner
Was Zacchaeus a Saint? According to tradition he was indeed a saint. He was one of the 70 disciples sent out to prepare the way for Jesus, a companion of St. Peter after the Resurrection and the Bishop of Caesarea.
How could such a great “sinner” become a saint? Part of the answer lies in his name: Zacchaeus means ‘pure and righteous one’. As God formed him in his mother’s womb He gave Zacchaeus a mission. His lifestyle blinded him to the fact that he was a gift and had a gift to give. Underneath all that worldliness was the ‘call’ to know Jesus. This ‘vocation’ could not be silenced, it had to be acknowledged. The encounter with Jesus created a place were repentance could take place. Repentance led to the desire to reform, reform to understanding love and love to service.
Today, there is a great cacophony of worldliness that tries to drown out the call to serve Jesus. It is affecting us all but especially those called to the “Vocation of Priesthood”. Our Diocese has been severely affected and infected. In the mid-sixties we had 650 priests and 1000 seminarians. Today we have 130 active priests and 16 seminarians. This year 14 priests died and 11 priests retired. They were replaced with “one”. Next year and the year after we will have no Ordinations to the Priesthood in the diocese. We are more and more becoming a “mission” diocese, dependent on priests from other countries to take care of the spiritual needs of the diocese.
It is imperative that we pray for vocations to the Priesthood. Bishop Sullivan has made this one of his top priorities but without your assistance, pray and witness it will not prove fruitful. Our priest have been under serious attack for some time but statistics reveal that those serving in the Priesthood are among the happiest and most joyful people simply because they choose, like Zacchaeus, to seek Jesus. Pray daily for vocations and for all the priests that have already chosen to “come down quickly” and follow Jesus.
On Monday evening, we will celebrate our annual “Mass of Remembrance”. During the past year we buried 54 people from our Church. Each of these families has received an invitation to come to the Mass. I invite the whole parish to come and pray with them for their own healing, for our families and for all of our deceased. It is a gift we bring!
Last month, Jane DeShan, one of our most faithful parishioners died quite suddenly. We will celebrate a Memorial Mass for her on Saturday, November 9th at 10:00 am. Please make an effort to attend this Mass and support her memory and family as she has supported so many through her work and love in our parish.