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Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,
Six years ago, in a newspaper I never mention by name, there was a story of two young children. They were both eight at the time and their names are Orel and Marya. At the time, they had been neighbors for nearly a year. They talked, they watched television together, they shared favorite foods and treats. She liked his mother’s eggplant dish. He liked her father’s rice and lamb. They are best friends. He is wild and impulsive; she is smart, up-beat and strong-willed. But friends put up with that in each other.

Dear Friends,
Below is a repeat of an article I wrote a few years ago. The importance of Holy Week hasn’t changed; neither have my thoughts on the subject. There has been some up-dating to reflect our current circumstances.
With Palm Sunday, the Church begins the remembrance of Jesus’ last days on earth. Of special importance are the days of the Easter Triduum, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday/the Easter Vigil. On these days, the Church looks at the events which have become the center of our salvation.

The single Mass on Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, remembers the institution of the Eucharist, the source and summit of the Church’s life of grace. It is from the Eucharist that all of us draw our spiritual strength. It is from the Eucharist that we are fed with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Himself, as food for the journey. The Eucharist is the pledge of the Pascal Feast of Heaven. In addition, at this celebration of the Lord’s Supper we remember the institution of the ministerial priesthood, a priesthood by which Jesus has chosen to continue His own priestly presence through the ages. Most especially, the ministerial priesthood is entrusted with the sacramental ministry through which grace (the divine life) is offered to the Church from the hands of Christ, Himself. Also, at this Supper, we remember His example of charity and service, in the washing of the feet, a call which Christ speaks to the whole Church, also as a sign of His continued presence in the Church, so that the Church may be a sign of His presence in the world.

On Good Friday, the Church remembers the death of her Lord. The principle worship service is not a Mass but is officially called the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. It has three principle parts: (1) the Liturgy of the Word, especially the Passion, which recounts the Lord’s suffering and death, (2) the Veneration of the Cross, in which each of us are invited to venerate the Cross as the instrument of our salvation, and (3) the Communion Service, in which Holy Communion, consecrated at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper the previous evening, is distributed to the faithful. Good Friday is the most solemn day on the Church’s calendar. The faithful should make every effort to celebrate it as such. I have mentioned before that in this one, we could learn from our brothers and sisters of Jewish or Moslem adherence. It would be considered a rarity that they would not celebrate their “high holy days,” Yom Kippur or Ramadan. And yet, we Catholics have become so cavalier about the way we commemorate Good Friday, our high holy day. We think nothing of scheduling ball games (coaches, please note) or going to work, or even leaving for vacation & spring break. What kind of message are we giving to our children and our world? Please, make an effort to reverse that, even if it means taking a personal day from work, to witness to your co-workers and your family and your neighbors that Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross means something to you. And if you do take off, honor the day by celebrating with us and by leaving household chores, shopping, the lawn & garden, etc. to another day.

The Easter Vigil is often called the “mother of all vigils,” because it was an ancient custom of early Christians to stay up on the eve of Easter to wait, with the whole Church, for the Resurrection of the Lord. It was a time to remember, through the many readings, the history of salvation, culminating in that final act of God on our behalf, the Resurrection. In addition, all those who wished to join the community were baptized at this Vigil. It is a beautiful celebration of hope and joy. Join us for the special vigil that begins at 8:00 PM Saturday evening. At the Vigil, those who are to be baptized into the Catholic Church and with whom we have shared a journey these weeks of Lent, especially if you attend the weekly 11:00 Mass, will join our Eucharistic community for the first time. This year, Kimberly Michel will join this local Catholic community when she is baptized. It would be a wonderful thing if, as a parish, a large part of our community were there to welcome her. I know Mass will take longer than usual, but when you think of the fact that Kimberly has now found Christ, what a wonderful sign to her that our community truly appreciates her decision for the faith. And what a continuing encouragement to us to rekindle the faith that brought Kimberly to this moment. Please come. You might be inspired to speak an invitation to the faith to someone who is searching for God in their lives.

How has your Lent been? If it has gone well, cap it off by your participation in the liturgies of these special days. If it has not gone well, if your Lenten resolutions have left something to be desired, you can make up for it by your participation in these liturgies. Unlike Christmas, which is a one-day event, Easter comes at the end of a Holy Week, so I encourage everyone to truly make it that – a holy week in your spiritual journey of 2016.

To help, why not try getting your spiritual house in order. Clean out the dust and the cobwebs by celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Join us for our Lenten Penance Service, and individual confessions, on Tuesday evening at 7:30, or confessions on Wednesday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.

As a sign of how important the Church considers the Triduum, in places that have Perpetual Adoration, such Adoration is supposed to end before Holy Thursday. To facilitate the proper cleaning of the church in preparation for the Triduum, everyone is reminded that, once again, Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration will end Palm Sunday evening at 8:00 PM and will resume after the 6:30 AM Mass on Easter Monday.

One last thing. I call your attention to the schedule of Masses for Easter Sunday. You will notice three masses celebrated in the auditorium, at 9:30, 11:00 and 12:30. With the enormous crowds for Easter, we’ve added extra Masses to help alleviate the overcrowding. The Masses in the auditorium will have full ministries and full musical programs and you will hardly know that you are in an auditorium; it will be decorated so well. So please, if you get here and the church is already crowded, you will find a warm celebration in the auditorium.

May Holy Week be, for each of us, a time of renewal in faith, deepening in hope, and growth in charity by the way we walk with the Lord through these saving mysteries.
God Bless,
Fr. Ron

Dear Friends,
First, the spiritual, then the material.

Today is the 5th Sunday of Lent. In the pre-Conciliar Church it was called Passion Sunday, or the First Sunday of Passiontide and all the statues and crosses were covered in purple because the Gospel of that Sunday referred to Jesus, “who hid himself from the crowd.” The custom of covering the statues has returned as an option and some churches have returned to it, although we have not. And that Gospel has also been retained as the Gospel of the 5th Sunday of Lent in Cycle B. And this week before Holy Week retains some of that pre-passion reflection as it has its own preface called Preface I of the Passion of the Lord, as the Church begins to turn her attention to the suffering and death of her Lord.

Dear Friends,
Today is the 4th Sunday of Lent, also known as Laetare Sunday. Like the 3rd Sunday of Advent (Gaudate Sunday), the Church takes a little breather this weekend from the seriousness of the Lenten Season to remind us that Lent is not the end of the story, the end of the story is Easter, the joy of the Risen Christ and the fullness of life and grace He bestows on those who believe in Him. And the Church does this by signs and symbols, the Rose Vestments, instead of the somber violet. Lent is a journey, a journey to the Easter Alleluia, and we should never lose sight of that.

Dear Friends,
I call your attention to the two new banners above the hymn boards in the front of the church. Both banners depict an ocean-shore scene with large boulders or stones. On one, there is the simple wording, “We are Living Stones.” On the other, a quote from Pope Francis, “Dear Brothers and sisters, the Church loves you! Be an active presence in the community, as living cells, as living stones.” His words echo the words of Pope St. John Paul II, at Evening Prayer at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, upon his arrival in Newark and the United States when, praising the beauty of the Cathedral, he nonetheless reminded the over-flow congregation that, as Church, we were the living stones of God’s Kingdom.

Dear Friends,
As you read my column this weekend, I will be on the slopes in Vermont and, hopefully, it won’t be as cold as it was last weekend. Mass attendance took a triple hit last weekend: (1) it was President’s weekend, and with schools closed for three days, many families were away, (2) Sunday was Valentine’s Day, and many went out somewhere on Sunday and (3) finally, it was cold, too cold to go out. I can tell you that it was cold, we lost heat in the rectory overnight Sunday into Monday and it was very cold.

Dear Friends,
In last Sunday’s Gospel, we heard Luke’s account of the call of the first disciples, by name, Peter, James and John. Peter’s two responses to Jesus are worth noting. In kindly terms, those responses could be labeled “excuses.” The first excuse is the reason not to put out to sea again, because they had been hard at work all night and caught nothing. The second excuse is the reason not to accept Jesus’ invitation, because, Peter says, he is a sinful man. In Jesus’ eyes, neither excuse holds water (pardon the pun).

Dear friends,
Because many were unable to attend Mass last weekend, I repeat the first part of my column about “We Are Living Stones.”
“Dear brothers and sisters, the Church loves you! Be an active presence in the community, as living cells, as living stones.” These words of Pope Francis recall the words of St. Pope John Paul II on his visit to the Archdiocese of Newark in 1995. As he presided at Evening Prayer at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark, he referenced its beauty, but it was a beauty that was outshined by the beauty of the people of the Archdiocese, the “living stones” which truly make up the living Church.

Dear friends,
“Dear brothers and sisters, the Church loves you! Be an active presence in the community, as living cells, as living stones.” These words of Pope Francis recall the words of St. Pope John Paul II on his visit to the Archdiocese of Newark in 1995. As he presided at Evening Prayer at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark, he referenced its beauty, but it was a beauty that was outshined by the beauty of the people of the Archdiocese, the “living stones” which truly make up the living Church.

Dear friends,
For this week, I’d like to get away from things of concrete and asphalt, and turn to things of soul and spirit. In this first part of my column, I write to the men of the parish, especially men struggling to balance work and family.

You all know what a time out is in sports and the reason for one. (The Ranger goalie was looking for one recently and didn’t get it). There’s the injury time out, when a player is injured in some way and needs either to get his wind back, or medical attention. There’s the time out that’s called because the team is in disarray, unsure of the play or the strategy, or because the noise in the stadium is so great (usually against the visiting team) that the quarterback can’t be heard.

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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 

 

weshare

 

sgbcross 
Click Here for the Video in English and Spanish

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