June 17, 2018

Festival Thank you: I want to say thank you to everyone who helped make the festival such a wonderful success. This includes those of you who prayed for good weather: you did a great job! It also includes everyone who volunteered for set-up and clean-up, worked a booth, worked the
kitchen (or cooked), tended the bar, called and worked bingo, worked the many areas of Keane Hall, worked the money room, or did any of the many jobs I accidently failed to mention. Please know that there was no work that was done, no matter how small, that is not deeply appreciated. Also, a special thank you to those from our neighboring parishes who volunteered to help our festival; we greatly appreciate the help and your fellowship. In a special way, I want to thank those who co-chaired this year’s festival, Frank Porco and Liz Kostandinu. The work
you gave to the parish (and the stress involved) is a true witness to living the Christian life and the precepts of the Church. Thank you.

Festival Observation: I was really moved by the help that was extended to us by the parishioners of our On Mission grouping. We have been working for the past two years to build an extended community of cooperation and collaboration and that work paid off. This year’s festival really showed how our different communities came together to be one in assistance and generosity. This is a great sign of what the future holds as we continue with the On Mission process. It also wasn’t a surprise at all. The people of our grouping are already the Church Alive! and I am happy that I have the opportunity to experience your Christian witness.

Our part of the Love Story: As I preached last week, Ordinary Time in the Church is a perfect time for each of us to deepen our personal relationship with the Lord. Although many of our ministries take time off during the summer, we, and the diocese, offer special activities during these vacation months. I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities. Please see our bulletin, website, Facebook page, twitter account or video board messages to learn about events at our parish. You will also find information about events across the diocese via their social media
accounts and the Pittsburgh Catholic.

Confessions next weekend will not be heard at St. Maurice: Due to many different activities occurring in our diocese next Saturday, I was unable to find a Priest who could cover our normally scheduled Confession time. Please know that I am available to hear your Confession during the week by appointment. If you want to go to Confession on Saturday, our neighboring parish’s Confession times are listed below and are posted on the Church front door.

Happy Father’s Day: To all our fathers, grandfathers and godfathers, I wish you a very blessed day. May St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus and chaste husband of Mary, protect you, assure you that you do not labor alone, and teach you to find Jesus in the ordinary elements of life. May St. Joseph also intercede on your behalf with Christ to provide you with the graces you need in this moment.

June 10, 2018

Some questions that have come up since the use of the Sequence at Mass this past weekend:

What is the Sequence and why did we do it? A few times during the year a sequence is part of the Liturgy of the Word. It follows the second reading and is either sung or read. Both Easter and Pentecost — the bookends of the Easter season — have required sequences while other celebrations have optional sequences (e.g., the Body and Blood of Christ). The Easter Sequence, known as Victimae paschali laudes in Latin, is a beautiful and ancient poem, telling a short narrative story of Resurrection morn, set to a wonderful Gregorian chant melody. It is claimed that historically the Sequence fulfilled the congregation’s desire for an extended expression of the beauty within the Liturgy of the Word, as processional music as the deacon processed from the celebrant to the ambo to proclaim the Gospel and as a preemptive meditative piece preparing one for the Gospel.

I chose to use the optional Sequence to help highlight the significance of the Liturgical Celebration. I could have used other elements, such as the sprinkling rite or incense to heighten your senses with the hope of increasing your attentiveness to the liturgy. (It is often ‘good’ to get lost in prayer during the Mass, especially during Ordinary Time; however, the hierarchy of feasts in the Church does teach us important elements of our faith and I think using permitted options is a wise practice.) It was, however, simply my choice to go with the reading of the Sequence rather than to “smoke you out,” although I do love using incense. Hopefully, the addition of the Sequence caught your attention and reminded you of the importance of our celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

Another question asked was: When a part of the Liturgy is not followed exactly as required has the Sunday obligation of the people in attendance been fulfilled? For example, if due to human error a different reading is proclaimed or a different responsorial is sung or a sequence is omitted, or the celebrant accidentally skips a prayer, is the Mass valid? The short answer is… yes. Accidental mistakes in the Mass do not affect the validity of the Mass. The Church is wise enough to know that things happen and realizes that the liturgy belongs to the Church Universal and not simply to one individual. Do not let a small mistake cause you stress. I promise you that I would not allow anything to happen˗or fail to happen˗that would impact the validity of the Mass.

Another Thank You:
We held a very nice social gathering this past week for our college students. Hopefully, we will continue to reach out to these parishioners and better serve them. I would like to take this opportunity to say  Thank You to the  parishioner who donated a picnic table for our Parish Center patio. It was a great addition to our campus and worked  wonderfully for our event (until the bad weather forced us indoors).

Thank you to everyone who helped with the Parish Festival, either by volunteering or supporting the event. (As I write this the festival has not yet begun but know that I am praying for its success and that you and your family and friends will have a wonderful time.)

June 3, 2018

A Quote from Star Wars (The Last Jedi): If you have seen the movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi you heard “That’s how we’re gonna win – – not fighting what we hate, but by saving what we love.”  Since last weekend I have been spending a good bit of time thinking about that vote in Ireland and how a Catholic country could fall so far from the truth of compassion and love.  While I was pondering this, that quote from the movie kept coming back into my mind.  When I first heard it, it struck me to the core.  I think it provides the light we need to understand not only why the Truth is fading in Ireland but why it is so dim in our own nation. We, and here I mean Catholics, have been fighting what we hate.  It isn’t working.  While we fight, all that is seen is the anger and rage. We need to turn to saving what we love.  We will save it by preaching it,
living it, sharing it, promoting it, and celebrating it.  This truly is the Gospel.  Think of Jesus in the desert for His 40 days (see Matthew chapter 4). He didn’t attack the devil but, rather, stayed focus on the Love of the Father.  People are attracted to beauty and love. Nothing is more beautiful than our faith, our liturgy, and our communal prayer; and there is no greater love than the love God has for each one of us. It is time to stop focusing on the evils we want to see stopped and start stopping them by immersing ourselves in the love our faith provides.  May we be a
people, a Church, which gives the positive witness to why the Catholic faith is the place for healing and love, a family open to all who believe and follow the Truth.

Our Mission Week Trip Theme: In light of what I preached last week and of what I just wrote, I would like to share with you the theme for this year’s Mission Trip.  It is LIVING THE TRUTH IN LOVE with the focus verse being Ephesians 4:15: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ.”  Our nightly talks will include the following themes: Speaking truth in love, which will emphasize the idea that our faith is both truth and an act of love.  We will grow, which will address the complexity of the mystery of God which unfolds over our lifetime and how we can’t let the world become more complex without counterbalancing that with a deeper knowledge of God.  In every respect, which will focus on the fact that each of us has a gift to share with the world and no one gift is more important than another.  Without the use of each of our gifts, the body is incomplete, our Church is incomplete, and we will not be able to grow individually or communally.  The mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ, here we will touch upon what it means to be part of the Church, the body of Christ, and that in maturity we live and remain in truth, via the Eucharist, helping all
people journey toward our end goal of loving our neighbor and ultimately getting to heaven.  If you would like to help cover some of the costs of our Mission Week, your generosity would be greatly appreciated.

May 27, 2018

Mary, Mother of the Church. Did you know that this year there was a new memorial added to the Church’s calendar (celebrated this past Monday)? It was the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church – – a very fitting celebration to recall what transpired on Pentecost. You see, Mary had a special mission in the Upper Room as she prayed with the Apostles in anticipation of the coming of the Holy Spirit, as her Son had promised. Pentecost is the birth of the Church – the Mystical Body of Christ. It is only fitting that the Mother of the one being born be present at the birth. Thus, Mary the mother of Christ, the Head of the Church, held a special place of importance in the Upper Room because she is also the Mother of the Church. This new celebration, the day after Pentecost, stresses for us the unity and reality of the Church as the True Body of Christ.

The Second Vatican Council said that Jesus “communicating His Spirit, Christ made His brothers, called together from all nations, mystically the components of His own Body” (Dogmatic Constitution. Lumen Gentium, 7). Too often, we Catholics do not understand that we belong to Jesus, the Head, and to His Body, the Church, and that this belonging is meant to be a lived, relational, transforming reality as Pope Francis often preaches. Bishop Ireneaeus of Lyons said: “We need to take refuge with the Church, for the Church has been planted in the world as a paradise.”
Do we see the Church as a living body, as our unity with each other, as a place of refuge/regeneration? Do we see it as a paradise?

The Church can be this for each one of us. But this will only occur when we understand what Pope Francis has preached about during his weekly Wednesday message to all the faithful. In the Church there exists true communion and unity: we are all in a relation to each other and we all come together to form one living body, deeply connected to Christ. Let us remember: being part of the Church means being united to Christ and receiving from Him the divine life that makes us live as Christians. This means remaining united to the Pope and the Bishops who are instruments of unity and communion, and also means overcoming personal interests and divisions in order to understand each other better, to harmonize the variety and richness of each member – – in a word, to love God and the people who are next to us more, in the family, in the parish, in our associations.

Let us remain united to Jesus, let us trust in Him, direct our life according to His Gospel, nourish ourselves with daily prayer, listen to the Word of God, participate in the Sacraments, and be fed through Holy Communion by and of Him who is the Head of our body, the Church, the One who has never left us and never will.

July 25 Special Speaker dealing with Forgiveness will be at Saint Maurice: Forgiveness is something that is hard to understand, to offer to others and most especially to give to ourselves. I am happy to say that our parish family will be able to have a truly remarkable opportunity to better understand forgiveness. On July 25, Saint Maurice will be hosting internationally known speaker Captain Guy Gruters. This will be a talk you definitely do not want to miss.

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