July 29, 2018

Celebrating Sister Judith’s time as Principal: Sister Judith has served as principal of both
Saint Maurice Parish School and East Catholic School, Inc. for 21 years. She has decided to retire and deserves the well earned rest! A “Thank You Celebration” has been planned. On Saturday, August 4, beginning with the 5:00 PM Mass at Saint Maurice and continuing afterwards with a reception in Keane Hall, our school community will join in celebrating Sister Judith’s service to our children. Please plan to join us and say Thank You to Sister for her many years of dedicated service to Saint Maurice in particular
and to the entire East Catholic community. Please feel free to come to either the Mass or the reception – – or better yet, to both. Hope to see you there. And once again, Sister Judith, thank you for your dedication and ministry to our students.

Moving of the Food Pantry and Diaper Bank Scout Project Update: To better serve our St. Vincent de Paul food bank and to accommodate our school and afterschool programs, we will be relocating the food bank from the parish/school garage to the old rectory office space. This space will also be utilized by Matthias Brucker as his distribution point for his Eagle Scout project of forming a community diaper bank. Matthias is progressing with his project as he continues to build relationships with the other churches in our community and researches the nuts and bolts of diaper distribution.

CALL FOR HELP: On August 5, following the Noon Mass, you are invited to join our St. Vincent de Paul members in moving the food from the garage to the rectory offices. The more hands involved, the easier and faster this important task will be accomplished. Please consider lending a hand.

July 22, 2018

July 25, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. How much do you know about this important Church document? While the world was running into a revolutionary transformation of sexual morality in human history, the Church dared to ask the question no one else was asking: What are the consequences? The papal encyclical, Humanae Vitae, written by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1968, provides beautiful and clear teaching about God’s plan for married love and the transmission of life. In 1963 Pope Saint John XXIII wanted a serious answer to the question of regulation of birth, so he established a commission. Paul VI enlarged the commission to 75 members who studied the question for four years — completing their study in 1968. Paul VI studied the evidence of experts in various scientific fields, weighed moral arguments, conflicting opinion, and the Church’s unbroken tradition of teaching on life.

This depth of study is why Humanae Vitae remains relevant today. The Pope’s desire to consult fellow bishops and experts is important because one of the most repeated accusations, after the publication of Humanae Vitae, has been that the Pope decided in solitude, in a non-collegial way. This simply is not true. In fact, new research shows that Bishop Fulton Sheen and Bishop Karol Wojtyla (the future Pope Saint John Paul II) were among the bishops who urged Pope Paul VI to double-down on the Church’s infallible wisdom on life.

In Humanae Vitae Blessed Paul VI reflects upon how God designed the nature of married love. He drew this from Sacred Scripture and the Catholic Tradition. The Holy Father wrote that married love is fully human (involving the body and soul). Married love is total, faithful, and fruitful. This affirms basic beliefs in how God made men and women, the nature of human sexuality, the nature of marriage, the nature and meaning of the conjugal act, God’s call to husband and wife to co-create with Him, and the centrality of the family are all intertwined. They speak of our God of love who desires to build a people of love. In fact, we read that “to experience the gift of married love while respecting the laws of conception is to acknowledge that one is not the master of the sources of life but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator (n13).”

Ten years ago, on the 40th anniversary, the USCCB released a statement that the world so desperately needs to hear again. Therein, we hear proclaimed that “the Church is not against sexual pleasure as some of her opponents allege; but, more importantly, we are for the happiness of the human person. The fostering of that happiness requires understanding the gift of our sexuality as God has intended it. Sex, in God’s plan, is more than just a “recreational activity.” As Catholic feminist and philosopher Janet Smith says: “…sex is for babies and bonding. If people are not ready for bonding and babies, they ought not to be engaging in acts of sexual intercourse.” And what are nuptials (marriage) but the public expression of a couple’s readiness to do just that?

Humanae Vitae raises up the question of planning births in a family. The Church has always taught that it is reasonable for husband and wife to space and even limit births in their marriage for just reasons; however, they are called to support God’s design not to reject it. Use of contraception or sterilization rejects God’s gifts. That is because contraception and sterilization do harm to the nature of married love and the gift of life–they separate the unitive and procreative nature of conjugal relations. Saying this another way, husband and wife express their committed love not only with words, but with the language of their bodies. The mutual gift of fertility is an integral part of the bonding power of marital intercourse. To reject one’s fertility by using contraception or being sterilized is to reject God’s gift to husband and wife.

A careful rereading of Humanae Vitae – or more likely a very first reading˗ especially in the light of the “sexual revolution” can help us appreciate how prophetic the Pope was in his warnings of the dire consequences that a “contraceptive mentality” would have on society. The numbers of unwanted pregnancies and abortions have not decreased with the widespread acceptance of contraception – they increased. And the ‘pill’ [which has been proven to contain Class 1 carcinogens] far from freeing women from male domination made them more likely to be victims of sexual exploitation. The breakup of families and the epidemic of divorce in our culture, the increasingly high incidence of women bearing children out of wedlock, the flight from adult responsibility and the extended “adolescence” of men, all point to – in hindsight –the rightness of Paul VI’s and the Church’s teaching on human sexuality.

Pope Francis, in his 2016 Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation On Love in the Family, stresses that “the teaching of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae and the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio ought to be taken up anew, in order to counter a mentality that is often hostile to life (222).” I urge you to read these documents and learn the TRUTH so that you may share it with all you meet. The sexual revolution has brought about death, violence, confusion, isolation, fear, loneliness and despair. Only by embracing God’s original plan for our sexuality will this darkness be driven out. Become a light in this darkness. Live your Love truthfully!

This article includes sources taken from the USCCB and twitter at #AskTheQuestion and #HV50. You can access the above documents via the USCCB or Vatican websites

July 15, 2018

Mission Week 2018: Living the Truth in Love: The following testimonies are from youth who attended the 2018 Mission Week. The week’s theme was Living the Truth in Love, based off this passage from 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.” The evening reflections focused on this verse and the promotion of the growth of the body of Christ. That time allowed youth to think and pray about the work they are doing and how their faith impacts that work. Please enjoy what our youth have to share, and may you be inspired just as much as the youth were.

Mission week was one of the best experiences I have had in my life so far. Over the course of the four working days, my group worked at three different sites. Most of the work I did consisted of lawn mowing and other forms of yard work. I also became a skilled duster while cleaning up an elderly woman’s home. On the last work day my fellow group members and I worked together to paint a woman’s back porch. I saw God a lot during this mission, but the most memorable moments of seeing God occurred at the end of the day when we were thanked for all the hard work my group had accomplished. The people we helped were in tears each day and were so grateful for what we had done for them. My favorite memory of the week was probably the talent show on Thursday night. Father Ken showed us all his amazing dance moves. I don’t know if I have ever laughed as hard as I did that night. Also, I will never forget the night we attended Adoration. I truly felt closer to God that night more than ever before. I made many new friends throughout the week, grew closer to the friends I already had, and I especially grew closer to God. – Josh Reder

Mission Week was a great time for me. I’m so glad I was able to go again. This year I helped with putting up drywall, carpeting, and wood paneling in an elderly family’s house, along with painting a porch and fixing a railing for a woman in need. This program gives me a great deal of opportunities to strengthen my relationship with God and reflect on qualities of mine that can be improved upon to be a more virtuous and helpful member of any project or community I’m a part of. It’s very satisfying using the gifts God has given me to help others. I met up with many friends and made new ones as well. I can’t wait to go next year! – AJ Markiewicz

This year’s Mission week to Enon Valley was a refreshing experience that I will never forget. My group was assigned on the first two days to serve food to the homeless who came to a rehabilitation center. I was really shocked to see how many homeless people there were in the area, and this made me realize that I shouldn’t take anything God has given me, even the little things, for granted. The last two days at our work sites, we helped another group move furniture and lay down a carpet for this elderly couple who weren’t physically capable of doing it themselves. They watched us work the entire time and tried to help out when they could. When they saw our finished work they were so overwhelmed with joy that they were crying. Overall I can say that doing this really impacted my faith in God because we have to live out what we believe in, and we can do that by helping those around us that are in need. Some people might have lost their faith in God because they didn’t get the help they asked for in life, or given the opportunities other people might have, but we can help bring them back to God by being the answer to them. – Christian Markiewicz

July 8, 2018

Mission Week 2018: Living the Truth in Love: The following  testimonies are from youth who attended the 2018 Mission Week. The week’s theme was Living the Truth in Love, based off this passage from 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.” The evening reflections focused on this verse and the promotion of the growth of the body of Christ. That time allowed youth to think and pray about the work they are doing and how their faith impacts that work. Please enjoy what our youth have to share, and may you be inspired just as much as the youth were.

This was my second Mission Week. I felt more comfortable and confident with myself this year compared to last year. Matthew, a Junior Leader from our parish, was in my group, as well as one of my cabin mates, Bella, from St. Bonaventure. I had an amazing time with my cabin mates. Even though I had to leave early due to some medical reasons, I still feel like Mission Week 2018 was a success. I saw God, in the fullest and purest way, during Adoration. I’m not really one to go to Adoration and embrace the Lord, but this time it was so powerful that I felt heat through my whole body, as if I was given a huge hug. I honestly loved the music this year (shout out to Jonah, our music minister for the week)! Overall I feel like it is/was an amazing experience, and hope that more decide to join us next year!

-Julianna Kustra

I went to Mission Week for the first time this year. Going into it, I wasn’t sure what to expect or what my experience would be. As we got further into the week, I realized that it was the right decision to attend. I helped people who couldn’t help themselves, and grew in my faith and as a person while I did so. My favorite part of the week was when we went to Adoration, and we got to sit quietly in the Lord’s presence and talk and listen to God.   – Owen Kostandinu

July 1, 2018

Mission Week 2018: Living the Truth in Love: The following testimonies are from youth who attended the 2018 Mission Week. The week’s theme was Living the Truth in Love, based off this passage from 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.” The evening reflections focused on this verse and the promotion of the growth of the body of Christ. That time allowed youth to think and pray about the work they are doing and how their faith impacts that work. Please enjoy what our youth have to share, and may you be inspired just as much as the youth were.

Mission Week was very fun and exciting, but it was also very inspiring as I became closer to God. My group went to the Sisters of St. Joseph’s in Baden to help with weeding and other outdoor work. The main director that led the outdoor work was driven by God in his job, which inspired me to live my faith a little bit more. After we finished our work each day, we were able to go swimming, play mini-golf or sports, or just to relax and socialize back at the SNPJ property where we stayed. During the week we either had Mass in the morning or in the afternoon, which was a good way to start off or to end the day. Later in the week, we had Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which led me closer to God than I have ever been. All in all, the week was a very good time to become more active in my faith and to be around people just like me. – Gregory Parrish

My worksite this year at Mission Week involved helping out at a summer lunch program and working with kids ages 5-11. The kids were so energetic and kind! I loved it so much. The joy they brought me, along with a lot of laughs, made my week. I think the way I saw God most was in the kids. A lot of them come from underprivileged families. They were always happy and smiling. The kids were amazing and were truly very strong and high spirited. My favorite Mission Week memory would be jamming out in the car with my group mates and Fr. Ken. I also enjoyed talking about Bigfoot and other conspiracy theories with Fr. Ken. Mission Week was wonderful. I hope more youth decide to join us next year. The experiences I’ve had and friends I’ve made will last a lifetime. – Maggie Scifo

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