September 24, 2017

On Mission Update: We are talking about Parishes not Buildings: As the diocese released the report from the On Mission Commission this past week many people have begun to talk about what it means. It is critical for us to remember the focus of the On Mission process at this time. Currently, we are dealing with parishes. Recall a Parish is a local Catholic community where, under the leadership and guidance of a pastor/administrator, the laity worship God, are educated in their faith, receive the sacraments and serve those in need. What we are not currently discussing are buildings and campuses. I know many people want to know which church (meaning building) will remain open in the new parish, but that discussion and decision will not be taken up for quite some time. The focus and goal right now is forming new parishes. What communities will come together to form these parishes and most effectively be a Church Alive! is where the focus needs to be for now.

PET BLESSING – We will do the annual Blessing of Pets on Saturday, September 30, at 12:30 PM in front of the Church doors. This blessing is in association with the feast of St. Francis on October 4. In the past we have blessed a vast array of cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, and even a few others! Please feel free to bring your pet for this annual blessing. For those unable to attend, special prayers of blessings for pets will be available at the Welcome Desk.

CONGRATULATIONS: On Sunday, September 24, our parish’s Manifesting the Kingdom Award recipient, Sue Zitelli, will be honored by Bishop Zubik at St. Paul Cathedral. Every parish is asked to nominate a parishioner who has been exemplary in reflecting the light of Christ through valuable service to the Church. Sue is an outstanding example of a servant leader. She is a Golden Apple Award teacher at East Catholic, Shakespeare director extraordinaire, Pastoral Council and On Mission team member, Eucharistic Minister and Lector, as well as an Adult Ed leader. Sue always gives her best to everything she becomes involved with and her educational spirit allows her to lead others to a deeper understanding of our faith and the mission we all have to proclaim the joy of the Gospel. As a parish, we are blessed by Sue’s ministry and happy that she is receiving this
Diocesan recognition.

September 17, 2017

Two shocking news stories: This past week I read two news stor ies which shocked me but ultimately didn’t surprise me. One dealt with the fact that in the United States white Christians are now a minority. The other dealt with the questioning of a judicial nominee, Notre Dame Law School Professor Amy Coney Barrett, by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein who was troubled by the fact that Catholic “dogma lives loudly within” her. The face of Christianity in our culture is changing, however, the anti-Catholic sentiment that has been a part of our nation’s history is not.

The article about white Christians was interesting to me for its reporting on the idea that only the “liberal” sects of
Christianity were in decline. Most of us know that all denominations of Christianity are currently in a state of decline in the US. It is not simply those liberal denominations which are in trouble. We must understand that all of Christianity is facing a crisis. I believe this is due to so many of the non-Catholic Christian traditions changing their teachings and dogma. Add in the lax practice/observance of the faith by so many Catholics and the problem is clear. It is, oddly enough, the problem Pontius Pilate had: “What is truth” (Jn 18:38b).

In my opinion, the idea that truth is open for interpretation is the downfall of Christianity. How can one faith
(Christianity) hold so many conflicting ideas about the truth? As I recently preached, the truth is the truth is the truth. That’s true. We, as Catholics, teach, believe and hold that the deposit of faith (the truth as handed down by God) is present within the Church and is protected by Tradition (note the capital T) and the teaching magisterium.  Yes, we have the truth. However, our current culture attacks truth and brings it down to sheer opinion. We are then told to respect the opinion of others−even above respecting the truth. When we fall victim to this line of thinking we become lost in a sea of ever changing ideas. Within that cultural sea of changing ideologies, oddly enough, one thing does become an anchor. That anchor is to view any absolute as dangerous. Thus we no longer have absolutes in dogma, faith, marriage, sexuality, or even gender.

Unfortunately, this ugly truth wielded its head during a recent U.S. judicial nomination hearing. Senator Feinstein, and a few of her colleagues, attacked a nominee, who is a practicing Catholic, because…well let me use the senator’s words… “when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern…” Is Catholic dogma (which is the truth) a concern for our nation? I hope not!

The dogma lives loudly within you is actually a beautiful compliment. It means I know the truth, hold to it, and others see it being witnessed within my life. I pray that these words will someday be spoken of me. May we all hold onto the truth even if it means we become the minority and/or face public ridicule. After all, that is the way of Christ!

You might like to check out Bishop Barron’s homily from this past weekend entitled Judgment and Love (easily accessible  online). I would also recommend looking up Word on Fire on the internet and viewing some of their great videos on truth versus relativism. For more information about the senate hearing and the anti-Catholic views expressed see the Washington Examiner September 7 issue, Diane Feinstein renews her decades-long crusade against Catholic judges.

September 10, 2017

PLEASE NOTE!!! Side exit, through the school building, to the lower/back parking lot/playground: You will notice a new sign on the door by the main restroom of the church. This sign advises that this door is alarmed and monitored by security cameras. It also states that this delayed egress doorway is not an emergency exit (the emergency exit is to the right). Please note the following concerning use of this doorway and staircase. During the week, when school is in session, this doorway is NOT to be used. As indicated, the door is alarmed and monitored on both sides via our campus video security. Attempting to use this door will activate the alarm. Access to East Catholic School may only occur through the main entrance and in accord with the school’s policies. There is no access to the school from the church for non-school personnel. On weekends (and for special events) this door and stairway will still be used to grant access to Keane Hall, CCD classrooms, and the lower/back parking lot. The alarm will be turned off (security cameras are never turned off). If these doors happen to be closed on the weekend, you can ignore the sign and continue to use this as an exit of convenience. But please, in case of an emergency, use the designated church emergency exits which are to the right of these doors. This modification has eliminated the need to block off access to the church’s restroom and to the Davin Room during the week. Obviously, not having access to the restroom during the week, especially during funerals, is less than ideal.

What’s up with On Mission: Although we have not been talking about On Mission as much recently, it is important that you keep yourself informed of what is happening. There are several ways to do this. Our On Mission Bulletin Board will continue to provide you with the latest update−this is the bulletin board beside the sacristy. You are encouraged to read the Pittsburgh Catholic each week for updates. The On Mission website is constantly being updated and has wonderful resources helping to guide us through the process. Of course, if you use social media, you can check either the diocese’s sites or our own parish website, Facebook page, or twitter account.

A brief outline of On Mission events that are taking place includes: The On Mission Commission has reviewed all parish feedback and is preparing its recommendations for Bishop Zubik; the priests and deacons of the diocese are beginning to be interviewed in preparation for the announcements of assignments which should occur near the end of April; and Bishop Zubik has scheduled a number of meetings to review the recommendations of the boards who collected On Mission feedback.

It is important to note that, based upon the feedback the diocese has received, modifications have been made to previously announced timelines as well as initial groupings. The diocese is responding to the feedback that the church is providing which, while adding some stress to those who like things neat and direct, allows for the best possible plan to be in place upon initiation. So, yes, change is still a big part of the On Mission process−and will continue to be! It is still true that no final decisions have been made! May we all continue to pray for the success of On Mission and to keep ourselves informed of the latest news and events concerning the process and implementation of On Mission for the Church Alive!

September 3, 2017

Wow, wow, and wow! Thank you so much to everyone who made our campus cleanup day an overwhelming success! I was blown away by the turnout, the work that was done, the people who brought food, and the community feeling that abounded. Plus, I had several people stop me asking
that we do another because they wished they could have participated. A special thank you goes to Mary Beth Rushé for organizing so much of the day. Make sure you look at the video screen by the Welcome Desk to see pictures or visit our Facebook page.
Ministry/Discernment items and dates to keep in mind:

High School Students: Faith Afloat, a cruise on the Gateway Clipper Empress, October 15, register online as an individual by October 2 or sign up at the Welcome Desk.

High School Men: Come and See Event at Saint Paul Seminary: September 16. Register online but please also let Fr. Ken ( know you are attending.

Any Adult: Stephen Ministries, September 23. Stephen ministers are well-trained lay caregivers who provide high-quality, one-to-one Christian care to people experiencing various difficulties in life. They may be best described as the after-people−those who come alongside a person after a crisis occurs and walk with them for as long after as necessary. Pick up an informational packet at the Welcome Desk and register with the Parish Center Office, or the Welcome Desk, by September 13.

All Women: BRAVE: Fighting our daily battles with grace: This is the first-ever Catholic Women’s Fellowship Conference being held in the diocese on November 18, 2017, at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School. Amidst a world with conflicting ideals about womanhood and in the face of our own sins, we find that it’s easy to give in to our struggles, fears, and temptations. But now, perhaps more than ever, our world needs us — strong, intelligent, holy women — and it needs us to be BRAVE! Come together with women from all over the diocese and all walks of life to connect, pray, celebrate the sacraments, enjoy practical, inspiring talks, and (best of all!) spend time with the Lord.

Intentional Disciples: Missionary Discipleship Collaborative: Have you already taken the journey to becoming an Intentional Disciple? If so, you may have discovered that as a disciple of Jesus Christ it can be lonely territory. The opportunities for continued growth can be hard to come by; however, in response to this reality, the School of Missionary Discipleship in the Secretariat of Leadership Development and Evangelization is offering On Fire! A Missionary Discipleship Collaborative for disciple leaders for a Church Alive! Over the course of six months, participants receive the tools to discover who they are, how to persevere in their faith, and how they are being called to follow Jesus more closely. If you are interested in this collaborative, please stop by the Welcome Desk for an informational flyer and contact Fr. Ken ( to discuss your possible participation.

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