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This is a special weekend, like so many in the last month and a half. By the time you get to read this 223 of our young men and women (finishing their 9th grade) will have received the fullness of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation. They come to this moment, presented by their families, having spent the last year in a program of preparation that included study (in their small group classes), prayer and reflection (especially during their retreats) and service (outreach to those in need).

While I don’t get the chance to sit in on their classes, I did spend the major part of five weekends with them at the Youth Retreat Center in Kearny (but I must admit I don’t stay overnight – just too old for that). I have always been impressed by their honesty and sincerity, even their wonderings about God and His presence in their lives. I am moved by their willingness to share with each other. I am excited by the enthusiasm with which they leave the retreat. Of course, as it is with adults, that enthusiasm can diminish when they return to their routine activities (and it is the challenge of parenting and parish leadership to try to keep up that level of enthusiasm).

 Because of scheduling conflicts, I was not able to attend the two sessions at which they reported on their service projects, but I have seen the summary of those presentations. Several groups collected much needed food and supplies for various food pantries, including Ridgewood Social Services, the Father English Food Pantry in Paterson, and the Center For Food Action in Mahwah. Other groups worked directly with age-specific institutions and organizations, the Veteran’s Home in Paramus, Oasis in Paterson, the Father English Center in Paterson and the Center for Hope and Safety (formerly known as Shelter Our Sisters), Share House and several local nursing homes. One group sponsored an “Open Gym” night for children with special needs, many with Down Syndrome, in our school gym. Some groups directed their efforts to the homeless, preparing, and serving meals in homeless shelters in Bergen and Passaic Counties, and cleaning up afterward, as well. One of the groups worked with the Family Promise Shelter, which OLMC houses twice a year. During this week long effort, they helped with the meals and clean up, played board games or basketball with the children in the school gym and even helped them with their homework. Other groups helped with non-profits such as the Kelly Creegan Memorial Fund and the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation. Confirmation is about the empowering by the Spirit to live as witnesses to Jesus in the world. Even before the pouring out of that Spirit, it was an inspiration to see the good works these teenagers are capable of. These young men and women experienced what it is to give of themselves in service, and also learned the sadness and struggles that people deal with every day of their lives. They fill me with great hope for the future of the Catholic faith community.

 It’s a wonderful thing to watch teenagers grow and mature, and to see the ways in which they begin to offer the world around them some small part of the gifts and talents with which they have been blessed. God can do great things with minds and hearts open to Him, filled with the enthusiasm for good that comes from the Sacrament. I’m thinking in a special way of our seniors, whose participation in our Youth Group was celebrated and honored at Senior Appreciation Night last Sunday. They have stepped up in so many ways in the parish and have provided real leadership and example for and with our younger teenagers. I can only hope and pray that those who follow will do the same and I have every confidence that they will. To those seniors I offer my thanks for their contributions in building up this community of faith, adults as well as teenagers; I offer them my congratulations and “God-speed” as they move on to college.

 On the front cover of our bulletin this week are the names of all those who were confirmed this weekend. Pray for them. If you recognize any you know, congratulate them and let them know that the parish needs them and expects really great things from them, because I know they have it in them.

 Speaking of witness, giftedness and mission, the examples of these newly confirmed, and of the seniors, are a reminder to all of us that what’s expected and hoped for from our youth is expected and hoped for from every one of us.  The Church needs your witness too. The Gospel needs your gifts and talents and your commitment. If not you – who????

 God Bless,  
Fr. Ron

 P.S. Due to scheduling conflicts, there will be no confessions Monday evening, June 15th.

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Mass Schedule

Weekend Liturgies
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday
8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,
11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m.,
3 p.m. (Spanish), 6:30 p.m.
Weekday Liturgies
Monday thru Friday,
6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m.,
and 12 noon
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. only
Holy Days
Eve: 7:30pm (anticipated)
6:30am, 8:30am, and 12noon 

 

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Click Here for the Video in English and Spanish

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