December 24, 2017

Happy 4th Sunday of Advent: This advent season I have preached on the idea of preparing the way of the Lord by deepening our understanding of Church. As I have said, it is the normative way God enters our lives on a day-to-day basis, most especially via the sacraments. Yet, it−the Church−is so much more. It is us, we are the Church! It is our daily living and loving of our

brothers, sisters, and neighbors. The Church is all encompassing. It can be with us, supporting and sustaining us, at every moment of our lives. I hope that this Advent season has been a true experience of growing in your knowledge of the Church so that you have made ready the way of the Lord and are prepared for the awesome gift that comes with the birth of Jesus who is true God, true man, and head of His body the Church.

Merry Christmas! On behalf of Father Daniel, Father Elmer, the parish staff and in my own name, I extend to you our prayerful best wishes this Christmas day and Season. Merry Christmas. May the true meaning of Christmas rest deeply within your heart so that it may refresh you the whole year through.

This Advent we have been preparing the way for this moment. So, what does this day bring? The answer is the simplest of words whose meaning is as deep as any mystery of God. Love. Yes, love is the gift that Christmas brings. It is a gift we can choose to accept and should not return for an exchange! It is a gift that will feed, fuel and inspire us. It is a gift that the more we share the more it gives back in the process (so we should re-gift it). Nevertheless, it is a gift that does require some “assembly.”

What do I mean by that? Well, love is something that is freely offered to us by God, but we must first allow ourselves to accept such a gift. For many, that is not an easy thing to do. Let us pray for all people who find themselves struggling with the belief that they are worthy of such great love. Once accepted, many people find it difficult to share true unconditional love with others. Let us remember these people in prayer as well, for the idea of giving away so great a treasure as one’s love, asking nothing in return, is a frightening thought to many. Love is also sacrificial. Because making sacrifice isn’t part of our current culture it is difficult for many to properly share the Love Christmas brings. Let us pray for all those who are burdened by fear and selfishness and unable to offer sacrifice for others.

Love: the greatest of all gifts. Love: the gift of Christmas. Love: our lived experience of Church and the result of our participation in the Mass. Wait. What? Participating in Mass is about love? Yes! The Mass is our place to receive Love, learn about Love, and be strengthened to share Love. Our On Mission prayer tells us this when we pray to “learn Jesus, love Jesus, and live Jesus.” It’s a Christmas message. If you haven’t been to Mass recently, or don’t come faithfully, I invite you to return. Return to the place where love is always present, always flowing. This weekly respite from the world is the means by which we are strengthened to carry out our Christian duty to love the Lord our God with all our heart and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves. If you have prepared the way for the Lord this Advent, then reward yourself with the continual gift which is brought into our lives through the Church, specifically through the Mass. Thank you for celebrating Christmas Mass with us. I look forward to celebrating every Sunday and Holy Day Mass with you too, as we continue to receive the great Christmas gift of God’s true and unconditional love. Merry Christmas.

December 17, 2017

Is the Pope changing the words to the Our Father? No. But you might have heard the story on the news. That story pertains from the recent updated translation to the Our Father implemented in the Churches of France. It is a change of translation, not a change of the words themselves. Basically, the issue is how people today understand the words we use. One way to fix misunderstandings is to update translations. Another way is education. For your education I offer the following:

Text seemingly being misunderstood: Lead us not into temptation. People were understanding this as God being the one who places temptation into our lives as if he were attempting to cause us to sin. He is not! As St. James tells us “No one experiencing temptation should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one. Rather, each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (Jas 1:13-14).

What the text actually means: As St. Thomas says, “To be tempted is human, but to consent to it is diabolical.” The prayer says “lead us not into temptation,” rather than “let us not be tempted.” This aspect of the Our Father seeks for us the Virtue of Temperance which enables one to encounter, and even at times enjoy, pleasing entities in a moderate and reasonable manner (in accord with one’s station in life). The temperate person is not “led into temptation” when faced with tempting situations but rather is blessed by God with the virtue needed to use all of God’s creation rightly and justly.

You can stop by the Welcome Desk to pick up a handout that describes the Lord’s Prayer as Petitions for the 7 Virtues or one that describes the Lord’s Prayer as a Weapon for Spiritual Conflict.

December 10, 2017

Proper Planning needed to make it to Mass on the 24th and 25th: With Christmas being on a Monday this year, it will be important to properly plan your attendance for the 4th Sunday of Advent and then the Christmas Mass. Please note the schedule!  Please share this information as it involves several changes.

4th Sunday of Advent Masses are Saturday, December 23, at 5:00 PM and Sunday, December 24, at 9:00 AM and 12:00 Noon. (There will be no 8:00 AM or 10:00 AM Mass this Sunday.)

Christmas Masses are Sunday, December 24, at 5:00 PM, 7:30 PM and Midnight. Then there is a Mass at 9:00 AM on Christmas day.

There are three (3) opportunities to make your Sunday obligation and four (4) to meet your Christmas day obligation. Please plan ahead to ensure that you and your family will meet both your Sunday and Christmas obligation to attend Mass. Seeing that this year January 1, Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is not a holy day of obligation, there will be no change in the weekend schedule. However, on January 1 the only Mass celebrated will be the 7:00 PM Mass.

Confessions will be: Wednesday, December 13, from 6:00-9:00 PM (The Light Is On For You), and Saturday, December 23, from 11:00 AM-12:00 Noon.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing … who is this Herald guy? Let’s not be obtuse in our knowledge of the Angels. The Adult Ed Committee invites you to our next BCC (Becoming Confidently Catholic) session where the subject will be … angels. Please join us in the Lawrence Room at 6:30 PM on Saturday, December 16.  Festive snacks will be provided; please bring the beverage of your choice.

December 3, 2017

Proper Planning needed to make it to Mass on the 24th and 25th: With Christmas being on a Monday this year, it will be important to properly plan your attendance for the 4th Sunday of Advent and then the Christmas Mass. Please note the schedule!  Please share this information as it involves several changes.

4th Sunday of Advent Masses are Saturday, December 23, at 5:00 PM and Sunday, December 24, at 9:00 AM and 12:00 Noon. (There will be no 8:00 AM or 10:00 AM Mass this Sunday.)

Christmas Masses are Sunday, December 24, at 5:00 PM, 7:30 PM and Midnight. Then there is a Mass at 9:00 AM on Christmas day.

There are three (3) opportunities to make your Sunday obligation and four (4) to meet your Christmas day obligation. Please plan ahead to ensure that you and your family will meet both your Sunday and Christmas obligation to attend Mass. Seeing that this year January 1, Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is not a holy day of obligation, there will be no change in the weekend schedule. However, on January 1 the only Mass celebrated will be the 7:00 PM Mass.

Confessions will be: Wednesday, December 13, from 6:00-9:00 PM (The Light Is On For You), and Saturday, December 23, from 11:00 AM-12:00 Noon.

November 26, 2017

Real Life Evangelization: Last week I found myself reading an article in the Post Gazette that was fascinating yet confusing. It concerned the US Bishop’s meeting in Baltimore and claimed that a message had been sent to Pope Francis indicating displeasure with the Pope’s leadership in the area of pro-life. I find secular articles about the Church to be highly misleading. The press, it seems, is always looking for the controversy even when none exists. The pro-life movement in the United States is enacted specifically to confront our cultural norms and national laws−our current state of life. The pro-life movement of the Pope is that of the Universal Church speaking holistically. This does not indicate conflict between the two but rather a more focused approach in our country to our most pressing pro-life need while adhering to the Truth of faith. We are all pro-life cradle to grave! We are all dedicated to respecting and honoring all life, in all forms, at all stages. When part of the church focuses on one area for a certain period of time, it does not indicate dissension with the whole but rather the reality of life.

This idea of being in the reality of life came up within the article in an interesting way as well. The author stated that the new head of the Bishop’s Pro-life Committee was at odds with the Pope’s “call for priests to accompany people in their struggles rather than preach black-and-white doctrines.” But to be in real life, every priest (every person helping their neighbor) needs to journey with the other not in stagnant misery but towards truth and healing. Thus, any real journey of Love involves a clear teaching of Truth. This means the teaching and adhering to of our doctrine. True Love involves proclaiming the Truth in word and deed while sacrificing for others as we journey with them into a deeper relationship with the Lord. Doctrine is not the enemy of Love! In real life we must balance our doctrine and our patient leading of others through their struggles. In this there is no conflict, only real life evangelization.