April 15, 2018

Fish Fry people, to you I say Thanks! As I know you all can imagine, it takes a great effort to host the fish fry. I have so much admiration for all the workers who dedicated so much time to making this not only a successful fundraiser but also a pleasant experience for everyone who attended. The food was great, the volunteers even better. Yet, once again, I know that I cannot thank by name everyone who was instrumental in helping with the fish fry. Know that I remember you in my prayers and am deeply thankful for all you do. I am sure that the entire East Catholic School community is also deeply thankful for your time and effort in supporting the school via this fundraiser. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

I need to say thank you to another large group: To all of you who sent me cards, gifts, food, and prayers this Easter, please know of my appreciation for your gifts and kindness. My greatest pleasure is truly found in my attempt to bring to you the best liturgies possible; however, I also greatly benefit from your wonderful acts of kindness and thoughtfulness. Thank you! I know that God will reward you richly due to the kindness you have shown to me, one of his priests.

Spring Cleanup day: As I write this, the weather man is predicting temperatures in the 70’s for when you read this. Let’s hope for two great weekends in a row! Our spring cleanup is going to be a casual come-if-and-when-you can day. Saturday, April 21, will be the day we tackle the grounds. Our main goals are to pick up trash, clean up fallen branches and such, prep flower beds and “garden” areas, and continue some work on the rectory hillside and around the outdoor stations. We also have an aggressive goal―to reclaim some of the top parking lot. In order to accomplish that, we will have a chipper in the upper lot and would love to have a few adults come out with chainsaws to clean up some of the smaller nuisance brush. If you can help in that way, please contact me and let me know.  Of course, everyone is welcome to come out and help in any way. We can use the method of if it looks like it needs to be cleaned, go ahead and clean it! As I said at Mass last week, if you cannot help in the cleanup, please pray for good weather!

Confirmation: Please remember to pray for all of those being confirmed on Monday the 16th. May the Holy Spirit enliven their faith and inspire them to become fully active members of our Church.

Our Next Becoming Confidently Catholic: April 21 at 6:30 PM. Our guest speaker will talk about what the young adults are seeking from the Church. This should be a great way to learn how to make that first level of connection with the generation that is either going to fall completely away from the faith or radically energize it.

March 25, 2018

I cannot encourage you strongly enough to actively and fully participate in all the liturgies and celebrations of Holy Week. Our faith depends upon the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection and our participation in this week’s celebrations will deepen our understanding of this mystery of our salvation. This Truth is what sets us apart from the world and makes us a light of hope for all to see.

March 11, 2018

Get on the Bus: The parish will be hosting a bus for our 7 Church Walk taking in the churches of the 2-1-4- of the 4-1-2 (our proposed On Mission Grouping). The bus will depart our parish immediately following the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Sign up at the Welcome Desk to reserve your spot.

Information about Bishop Zubik’s call for a new class of Deacons: The Bishop has called for a new class of Deacons. Men between the ages of 30 and 59 who have a college degree are eligible to make inquiry. You can learn more about this call and the Office of Deacon by stopping by the bulletin board outside the Cry Room. Anyone interested in becoming a Deacon should contact Fr. Ken directly via e-mail.

Start planning now for a great Holy Week: We only have three weeks until Holy Week. That is not much time.
Don’t let it sneak up on you. Get your faith events on the calendar and let the rest of your life fill in around what is truly the most important thing in life. Palm Sunday includes Mass w/palms (Saturday at 5:00 PM/Sunday 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, and 12:00 Noon) and our Seder Meal (3:00 PM); Monday has Mass with Novena (7:00 PM) and Holy Hour (7:35-8:35 PM); on Tuesday there is Mass (9:00 AM) and East Catholic will put on the Living Stations (7:00 PM in Church); Wednesday Mass (9:00AM); Thursday is the Mass of the Lord’s Supper (7:00 PM) and the 7 Church Walk immediately following; Friday has Stations of the Cross (Noon), Prayer Service (1:30 PM), and Tenebrae (7:00 PM); and there is the Blessing of the Easter Baskets/Easter Food on Saturday (12:30 PM).

The Light is On For You will be held Wednesday, March 21, from 6:00-9:00 PM. There will be NO CONFESSIONS ON HOLY SATURDAY, MARCH 31.

March 4, 2018

An On Mission inspired 7 Church Walk: I have taken to calling our proposed On Mission grouping the two-one-four of the four-one-two (based upon the use of the number 412 to identify Pittsburgh). It is a way for me to discuss the impact of On Mission as I engage people in what is best for Saint Maurice parish in light of the possibility that we will be grouped with the six parishes of Saint John Fisher, Saint Jude the Apostle, Saint Colman, Good Shepherd, Word of God, and Madonna del Castello. As you hopefully know, on April 26 the Bishop will make the official announcement of parish groupings (as well as clergy assignments) for On Mission for the Church Alive!. At this time, however, we are working on the assumption that the last publicly stated grouping (#214) is going to remain unchanged. With that in mind, it has been suggested that this Holy Thursday we do a 7 Church Walk of the 2-1-4. (In total there are eight churches in this grouping as Good Shepherd parish consists of the two church buildings of Good Shepherd and Sacred Heart.)

What is a 7 Church Walk? The tradition of visiting seven churches on Holy Thursday is an ancient practice, probably originating in Rome, where early pilgrims visited the seven major basilicas as penance. Pope Boniface VIII revived the pilgrimage tradition in 1300 with the establishment of a Jubilee Year; it is believed that around 1553 Saint Philip Neri popularized this practice. Today, the 7 Church Walk is a Lenten tradition to visit seven churches on the evening of Holy Thursday.  Following the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Blessed Sacrament is placed on an Altar of Repose in the church
for Adoration. Pilgrims set out to visit each Church/Altar of Repose to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, remembering Christ’s Agony in the Garden.

This year all eight church buildings of our anticipated On Mission grouping will be open for visitation. This is a wonderful opportunity to visit and pray in the churches that may soon be functioning under one leadership team, sharing many ministries, and working toward forming one new vibrant faith community. Saint Maurice will be sponsoring a bus for those interested. The bus will depart following our Holy Thursday celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and will visit the other seven churches in the 2-1-4 of the 4-1-2. Hopefully, you will be able to join us in this wonderful opportunity to not only see these other churches but to pray before our Lord in these wonderful and sacred spaces.

More information on the bus tour will be in next week’s bulletin.

February 25, 2018

Please be mindful and safe: This winter has been brutal on our physical plant. Right now we have parts of some stairways falling apart and a few holes developing near our drainage grates, not to mention the potholes in the parking lot. We are attempting to mark each hazard with either a cone or both a cone and bright orange paint. However, this past week the wind and the rain actually moved most of the cones and created a dangerous unmarked situation for a time. I ask that you be very mindful on our campus and if you see something that needs our attention and isn’t already marked/barricaded off, please let me or the office know. Thank you!

Father Daniel is safe at home: Fr. Daniel made it home safely and once again wishes to extend his appreciation to all of you. Let us keep him in prayer and pray that he returns to us safely.

I tripped you up last weekend: Let me take a minute to refresh our memories about the penitential act of the Mass. I may choose from three different ways to pray during the Penitential Act. In each option, I begin by calling us to prepare with the words: “Brothers and Sisters, let us acknowledge our sins…” We then have a moment of silence to give us time to think about why we need God’s mercy as we reflect on our own faults and shortcomings.

The first option (A) is to pray together the Confiteor (I confess to Almighty God…). We pray this together admitting our sinfulness and asking for God’s mercy: We echo the humble words of King David in 1 Chronicles 21:8 and when we strike our chest, we recall the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector that Jesus told in Luke 18: “but the tax collector standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” I mainly use this option on the days of highest solemnity.

The second option (B) is a dialogue between the priest and the assembly whose origins are found in the Old Testament in Baruch 3:2 and Psalm 85:8. I believe it has a very nice connection to Lent and so I use it during this liturgical season.

In the third option (C) we pray three invocations followed by “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy and Lord have mercy” (or in the Greek: Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison). There are many options of invocations available and I use these to match the theme of the Mass according to either the scripture or Mass prayers. This is the option I most often use.

February 18, 2018

My Eucharistic Miracle that might have been: A couple of weeks ago, during the Saturday evening Mass, I spoke of a possible Eucharist miracle here at St. Maurice. I shared the story as part of my homily dealing with the need for us to share our experiences of faith and encounters with God.
I have had a wonderful time engaging many people about this “miracle” and their special encounters with the Lord through the Eucharist. Sharing that story has been a true gift of joy for me as I have been able to hear others speak about their great love for Christ.

In a nut shell, this is what happened. One of our Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion had gone on a call and the individual to whom she gave communion spit up the host. So, doing the correct thing, she brought the host back to the Church to be properly disposed of. In that situation, I had two options. I could have consumed the host or I could have dissolved the host in water. Being slightly germaphobic, in this situation I went with the second option. I placed the host in water and sealed it in a ciborium for safe keeping until it dissolved. Then something mysterious happened….

When I checked on the host what I saw shocked me. It seemed, to me, like the host was turning into something fleshy and there was clearly a red blood-like substance present. Needless to say, I kind of freaked out and immediately told Fr. Daniel about it. We both decided to give it a few more days to see what would happen. After that Saturday night Mass some parishioners asked to see the host, and so I showed it to them. They saw the red substance too!

A few days later I once again checked on the host. However, this time all I saw was basically clear water―what I had originally expected to see when dissolving a host in water. So, was it a short lived miracle? Most would say no. I’d probably say no, too. However, it has helped many of us open up about our faith, what we believe, and how the Lord has touched our lives, especially through His true presence in the Eucharist. That isn’t miraculous. That is what we are called to do. We should be spreading the Good News of the Lord’s existence in our lives with those around us.

This past Wednesday we wore ash on our foreheads to proclaim to the world that we are Christians. For the rest of Lent may our voices call out this same message as we share the stories of how God is truly alive in our hearts and lives.

January 11, 2018

Should I celebrate Valentine’s Day or Ash Wednesday: Okay, for me, a priest, that is an easy one! It would have been easy for me as a single guy, too (hard to believe that I normally spent Valentine’s Day alone). Hopefully, for you this isn’t a difficult choice either and not because you have no one to spend the day with. Many dioceses across our country have been putting out statements about this overlap. I like what Bishop Gainer of Harrisburg said: “As Catholics, we recognize Ash Wednesday as the solemn beginning of a period of prayer, penance, and works of charity. Its spiritual importance is evidenced by the large number of faithful choosing to attend Mass on this day. In view of the significance of Ash Wednesday, the obligations of fast and abstinence are naturally the priority in the Catholic community. Valentine’s Day can appropriately be celebrated on another day, such as Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which happens to be Mardi Gras, a time of celebration prior to the Lenten journey.” Bishop Baker of Birmingham adds that “those who wish to celebrate Valentine’s Day may fittingly do so the day before (Mardi Gras) or on another non-penitential day. The good Lord, who suffered so much out of love for us, will surely reward our fidelity and sacrifice!” May we all prioritize the Lord and our 40-day Lenten journey over secular celebrations. May you have a blessed Ash Wednesday and Lenten Season.

February 4, 2018

The Blessing of the Throats, a sacramental of the Church, is celebrated on February 3, the feast day of Saint Blaise. Saint Blaise was the bishop of  Sebaste in Armenia during the fourth century. From the eighth century he has been invoked on behalf of the sick, especially those afflicted with  illnesses of the throat. The blessing of throats, when conferred during Mass, follows the homily and general intercessions or, for pastoral reasons, the  prayer of blessing may take the place of the final blessing of the Mass. This weekend, the blessing will be provided during  Mass and those wishing to have their throats touched by the candles may do so after Mass. Please note, the blessing is valid without the additional optional step of presenting yourself at the end of Mass.

The past two years of encounter with Parishioners of St. Maurice have been a blessing for me. It has broadened my perspectives of life and, more particularly, the priestly ministry. The overwhelming support and love lavished on me cannot be overemphasized. Through this same encounter, Sacred Heart of Jesus building project has reached the roofing stage and I believe the monies accrued now will suffice for the roofing as I return to Ghana on February 12. I want to use this medium to communicate my heartfelt appreciation to all donors for your unflinching and generous contributions. I particularly want to thank Fr. Ken, Fr. John Skirtich, the parish pastoral council members, and the entire faithful who have supported this project ever since it was introduced. I assure you that your contributions would be put to good use for the glory of God.  Again, any donation for the next stage is welcome. Till I return for PhD, hopefully in August, I leave you all with the peace and joy of Christ.

Love you all and God bless you.

Fr. Daniel

January 28, 2018

A new ministry highlighting the dignity of work: The Service and Outreach Committee will be launching a new ministry in the hopes of  reaching those in need of employment and those wishing to strengthen their careers. The Saint Maurice Parish Career Networking Ministry is for parishioners seeking employment or entering a new career. The mission of the ministry is to provide career transition information, resources,  mentoring, and networking. It is designed to use the skills, talents, and resources of our parish to support one another as we fulfill our God-given call  to healthy work.

Recall the words of our Holy Father: Work should be the setting for rich personal growth, where many aspects of life enter into play: creativity,  planning for the future, developing our talents, living out our values, relating to others, giving glory to God. It follows that, in the reality of today’s  global society, it is essential that “we continue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone,” no matter the limited interests of  business and dubious economic reasoning. We were created with a vocation to work. Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a  path to growth, human development and personal fulfillment. Our broader objective should always be to allow our brothers and sisters a dignified life  through work (Pope Francis, On Care for Our Common Home [Laudato Si’], nos. 127-28).

A voluntary survey will be available in the bulletin the weekend of February 3 and 4 (copies will also be available at the Welcome Desk). Please read  the survey, and then complete and return it to the Welcome Desk if you are seeking services, if you wish to share your expertise, or if you wish to be a  mentor. More information about this exciting new ministry will be available in next week’s bulletin along with the survey. Please contact Diana Hardy  with questions, hardy_diana@comcast.net.

Janury 20, 2018

What does the word Mass mean: Last weekend, in my homily, I talked about how we don’t come to Mass to follow God. The point I was making was that we follow God as we live our lives in the world, which IS our call to holiness and evangelizations. But this idea should have been obvious to all of us even before I spoke it. Why? Because of the word Mass itself. The English word “Mass” comes from the Latin word missa, which means to be “sent.” This Latin word has been used since about the 6th century to describe the Catholic celebration of the Eucharist. The word is used during the conclusion of the celebration when, spoken in Latin, it is said, “Ite, missa est.” Pope Benedict XVI expanded on these words. He wrote, “In antiquity, missa simply meant ‘dismissal.’ However in Christian usage it gradually took on a deeper meaning. The word ‘dismissal’ has come to imply a ‘mission.’ This succinctly expresses the missionary nature of the Church. Viewed in this framework, the “Mass” is not just an isolated celebration on a Sunday, but rather a startingpoint for our Christian witness. The Mass sends us forth into the world to be followers of Christ and his hands, feet, and voice. Let us all go forth on mission!

Update on Lumbar Fusion and Laminectomy Surgery and a Thank You

Dear Christ’s Faithful,
For seven years I have endured lower back pain and have sought medical attention, but to no avail. A recent MRI revealed a ruptured disc and damaged nerves. Based on the severity of the rupture, the orthopedic surgeon recommended Lumbar Fusion and Laminectomy surgery as the best option. Due to the excessive cost of the surgery, I considered living with the pain even though it impedes my efficiency in ministry and diminishes the quality of my life.

I had decided to follow the doctor’s recommendation and proceed with surgery which was scheduled for Tuesday, January 16. But I then took into consideration my travel home, the long flight and long drive that I must take, and decided that this is not the right time for surgery. Therefore, I have postponed my operation until I return to the United States in the Fall.

I appreciate your prayers and concern and ask that you continue to pray for me. Thank you again for the constant support and care I have received since coming to your welcoming parish. Thank you for assisting me with my bills – – medical, travel and otherwise. Your generosity is a sign of God’s love alive in you. Always in my prayers and may God richly bless you.

Sincerely,
Fr. Daniel A. Adjei