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Fr. Ron's Blog

Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,

At the beginning of summer I wrote that I would not write through the summer unless I thought there was something important to write about. This is that moment. Not earth shattering, but important as a special glimpse into the minds, hearts and dedication of our youth. You know that the Youth Group has sponsored a monthly food collection almost since the beginning of Covid. The collected food is then sent to the Father English Center, Ridgewood Social Services and Ridgecrest. What you may not know is that in these difficult times, the amount of food collected has decreased as the need has increased. Not to just sit back and accept that, the Youth Group decided to do a fund raiser to help the cause. Last Saturday, on a perfect weather day for a car wash, they held—CAR WASH. Take a look at the pictures on the parish Facebook page or the homepage of the parish website. They had a great time, they did a good job on the cars they washed (I can personally testify to that), and they raised $1,700. to help those who are food challenged. What a great witness. Thank you, Youth Group members and congratulations. I thought letting the parish know about this was something important to write about.

Dear Friends,

On the nitty gritty of parish life:

1. Last call-an out of date phrase that usually meant the bar was about to close at some social or sporting event. Get your drink while you can because time is running out. It is the last call to make a pledge to the Annual Appeal of the Archdiocese that will be counted toward the rebate the parish will receive in January, 2023. All such pledges must be made by June 30, 2022 which is this Thursday. Once again, and for the last time, I make a plea for every parish household to join in this parish commitment to both help the Archdiocese maintain its ministries and the parish and the rebate we receive, especially in these days of pandemic shortfall. Thank you to all the 436 households that have joined in this commitment and I hope many more will do so in the closing days. Envelopes are still available on the tables at all the doors but the easiest way is to go to the homepage of the parish website and scroll down on the left hand side until you come to the Annual Appeal link. Be sure to identify our parish so your gift gets credited to Mount Carmel. Thank you.

Dear Friends,

First things first-HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all our Dads. I hope this is a great day for you in every possible way and that your family shows you the love they have for you. May the words expressed in these lines from Robert Louis Stevenson apply to all our parish fathers, and to every man.

Dear Friends,

This weekend, we celebrated the last of our three confirmation ceremonies for 164 teenagers in our Confirmation program. The names of all appear on the front cover of this bulletin. I want to congratulate them and, as I do at all of the ceremonies, thank them for their willingness to receive this sacrament of Christian witness and ministry, which is what it is. The Sacrament empowers us with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to give witness to Christ and to bring Christ to others by the way we live. I am always heartened by so many of our teens who choose to seek this Sacrament. I am also heartened by their parents who believe Faith is still so important a part of lives as to encourage, or maybe even "push" their children in the reception of the Spirit in Confirmation. Thank you, parents, as well.

Dear Friends,

Over the last two weekends in May, 5/22 and 5/28, Cardinal Tobin celebrated the Rite of Ordination for nine candidates for Sacred Orders, four as deacons and five as presbyters (priests). Prayerfully, and by the grace of God, the four new deacons will be ordained priests next May. One of the new deacons is Frenel Arry Phanord, from the Turks and Caicos Islands. I confirmed Deacon Frenel on the Islands many years ago when he was in high school and so it was a special moment to be at his ordination to the diaconate.

Dear Friends,

As I was preparing to write this week's column, the news brought yet another horror into our lives, minds and hearts, the incomprehensible shooting of (at the most recent count) 19 students and 2 teachers at a school in Texas. 10 year olds! 10 year olds! What on earth runs through the mind of anyone, even those with serious mental issues, to lead them to such a violent attack on such innocent and helpless children? And the description of the event, as I heard it this morning (Wednesday) conjures up such a painful picture as to want to cry out loud. These children are the "Holy Innocents," victims of the cruelty of a broken world. While we know they share the light of the Kingdom, we hold their grieving families close to our hearts and certainly in our prayers.

Dear Friends,

Thank you to all who took the time to stop by the mock up pew and share their reaction with me or one of the other priests. What surprised me most was that the overwhelming choices were either of the two extremes, either the lighter end on the right or the darker end on the left. The "odd man out" was the one in the middle. A final choice has not yet been made. But as you can see, the project has begun with the removal of the first section, the two transepts, as phase 1. First, the pews will be stripped and after that stained. We've been told that each phase will take approximately 4 weeks. Please be patient if your favorite place to sit is "out of commission" for a few weeks. And as the old sign would say, "pardon our appearance." Hopefully, the floors will be done in each of those areas while the pews are missing. If you've ever tried to coordinate the different trades in your own renovation projects, you know what I mean by "hopefully." Let's all hope that it works out.

Dear Friends,

If you looked at the cover of last weekend's bulletin you would have seen the names of 160 2nd graders who approached the altar for the first time as they received their 1st Holy Communion. Before each of the six masses on those three Saturdays (4/23, 4/30, 5/7) I spoke to the children, telling them it was a special moment for them, for their families and for the parish family. That's all of us. And I thanked them for the gift they gave to the parish family. Their gift to us was their desire to receive Christ in the Eucharist, their faith, and the faith of their parents and families, that receiving Christ was a special moment to allow Christ to walk with them in their journey of life, to be one with them each time they come to the Sacrament. I hope all of us see that as the children's gifts to us-to see that, with everything happening in our world, there are still families who want God in their lives and want to follow Jesus as disciples. So often we hear things in the media which lead us to question whether there is a future for faith. 160 children, and their families, have given us the answer. Yes, there is. How blessed we are as a community to have been given that example.

Dear Friends,

Today is Mother's Day. With all the political rhetoric surrounding and engulfing any possible decision of the Supreme Court that has filled the airwaves recently, on this special day let's remember the special place a mother has in the hearts of her children. I offer this prayer for all our mothers and hope that your families have extended to you their deepest love, affection and appreciation for all you have done for them , especially as you helped your families through these two years of pandemic. In addition to this column, we will show a special tribute to mothers at the conclusion of all our masses.

Dear Friends,

This weekend is the middle of three weekends for the celebrations for one of the happiest moments in the life of a parish, the reception of the Eucharist for the first time for our children, 160 in all. After eight months of preparation, they will come to the altar to receive Jesus' greatest gift to His Church, HIMSELF, IN HIS REAL PRESENCE, for the life of the believer. And in less than a month, I will give the gift of the Holy Spirit to 162 of our 9th graders in the Sacrament of Confirmation. And all of these celebrations have returned to normal.

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