November 25, 2018

You’ve heard of ‘Black Friday’, right? The day after Thanksgiving? Big sales? The day of the year when retailers expect to make enough sales in order to “go into the black” for the year?

What about ‘Cyber Monday’? That’s a newer one – it’s the day that on-line retailers offer big discounts, hoping to insert themselves into the holiday sales frenzy.

Here’s one for you, though: have you ever heard of Giving Tuesday? It’s the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (this year, it falls on November 27). ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ kick off the holiday buying season, but ‘Giving Tuesday’ kicks off the holiday giving season. After spending time with friends and family, and stuffing ourselves full of good food, and then going out and buying lots of gifts… it might just be time to think about sharing our resources with those who don’t have the blessings that we enjoy.

There are many ways to help those who are less fortunate, and who need our help in this holiday season! One way that immediately comes to mind are the St. Vincent de Paul Society chapters of our four parishes. Some of our parishes already take up a collection on behalf of them, on months that have five Sundays. I’ve asked that all our four parishes do so. (The next one falls on December 30.) But, why wait until then? Call them today (412-321-1071) or visit their website (www.svdppitt.org/donate/donate) and offer your assistance.

Please consider making a donation to one of the many groups who are helping those in need this holiday season. This Tuesday – Giving Tuesday – is a great time to enter into the holiday spirit by sharing our resources with those who are most vulnerable and in need!

November 18, 2018

Every year, we gather with friends and loved ones and celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Whether it’s a meal, the football games, or shopping that is the focus of our celebration, we gather and celebrate in a way that’s meaningful to us.

As Thanksgiving approaches, do you mind if I offer a challenge for us all? This year, focus in on the people in your life, rather than on the activity. Instead of talking to Aunt Betty about her awesome pumpkin pie, spend time asking how she’s doing and what’s new in her life! Instead of focusing on the football game, ask your buddies how their kids and grandkids are doing! Instead of just plotting a strategy with your shopping buddies for hitting the best bargains, plot a strategy for how you’ll spend time together over the next few months!

Thanksgiving gives us an opportunity to thank God for the blessings that He’s given us over the past year. Yes, those blessings include food, clothing, and recreation. More importantly, though, those blessings include the people with whom we share our lives. Give thanks to God for them this year, by spending time caring for them!

November 11, 2018

Ninety-nine years ago this weekend, the first celebration of “Veterans Day” took place. (Back then, it was called “Armistice Day.”) It was instituted so that we might have the opportunity to pay tribute to those veterans of military service who served their country in the “Great War” – World War I.
These days, we honor all those who have served in our military, whether at home or abroad, in war and in peacetime.

Sometimes, though, we forget the service – and the hardship – that families of veterans face. Long separations from loved ones, anxiety over safety, financial hardships faced in the absence of their family members – to put it mildly, families of service members are beset by challenges that non-military families routinely do not face.

This year, as you celebrate Veterans Day, please thank a veteran (and offer prayers of thanksgiving to God for their selfless service!) – but also, please remember to thank their families (and offer prayers to God for them, too)! To paraphrase the often-quoted line from Milton: “they also serve, who stand and wait.”

Blessings,
Fr. Larry

November 4, 2018

This week, we tried out our interim holy day schedule for the first time, for All Saints day. I just wanted to spend a little time explaining what some of the thoughts were behind the holyday schedule.

Our daily schedules always attempt to allow us to have the ability to celebrate one or more funeral Masses. With this in mind, our holy day schedule attempts to allow us to celebrate two Vigil Masses, two holy day Masses, and also keep the normally scheduled Mass of the day. (In that way, Fr. Mohler or I would still be able to schedule a funeral if necessary.)

We decided to celebrate an early Mass on the holy day itself at Madonna del Castello, since those who want to go to Mass before work on a holy day of obligation would be able to do so, and then jump on the Parkway to go to work. We also decided to place an evening Mass at St. Maurice.

For some holy days, we’ll alter the schedule. (For instance, I’m thinking that if I offer a 7:00 AM Mass on New Year’s Day, I’m not going to get many people interested in getting up early on a day off; so we’re thinking of pushing that Mass to later in the morning.)

No schedule will be perfect, but we’re trying to take into account as many concerns as possible. As always, if you have any questions, please ask me!

Blessings,
Fr. Larry

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