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Fr. Ron's Blog

Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,

Over the last three months or so you have been hearing about the House Gatherings we’ve celebrated around the parish. As I have mentioned at the gatherings, the idea was that we would have these gatherings in the fall of 2020, right after the three month lockdown. The purpose was simply to get people together, in small numbers, to reintroduce themselves to one another. Then DELTA hit and we needed to cancel. We tried it again in the fall of 2021 but OMICRON hit and we had to cancel again. We decided to do them in the fall of 2022 even though most of us had been “out and about” for many months. I think they were a success. People came who didn’t know each other and got to meet “new” (even if only to them) members of the congregation. I want to share with the parish the thoughts I shared at the “gatherings” I was able to attend.

Dear Friends,

An abbreviated column this week because the deadline for the bulletin is today (Monday) and my brain is not yet recovered from the weekend.

As I mentioned in my column last weekend and as the bulletin cover reminds us, this weekend is the Academy of Our Lady Weekend. It is a reminder that a Catholic School Apostolate is alive and well in Mount Carmel (and in St. Catharine, Glen Rock) in the Academy of Our Lady, an excellent place to form the Catholics of today and, especially, of tomorrow. I don’t want to repeat everything I’ve said already last week, I just want to remind everyone of its existence and to ask for your continued financial support for the school. As I do every year (except through the pandemic), I ask every parish household to make a contribution of $100. to help us keep the opportunity for a Catholic school education alive and well in our parish. I know that not every family is in a position to handle the cost of tuition, especially in these difficult times, but everyone could be in a position to help so that others who are able to make the sacrifice can do so. If you can do so, please take an envelope home with you, fill it out and drop if off next weekend or send it directly to the school. You can do a onetime gift or make a pledge payable over whatever time you choose. Maybe a gift of $25 a week for the four weeks of Advent would be a good way to prepare for God’s greatest gift to us, His Son, Jesus Christ. Please help keep Catholic school education alive and well at Mount Carmel. Envelopes are available in the pews and on all the tables at the doors of the church this weekend.

Dear Friends,

Two weeks ago I mentioned the cruise I would be on when you read that Sunday’s bulletin. It was a great time, plenty of rest, relaxation and sunshine. I am grateful it was not this most recent past week because it appears from the forecasts hurricane Nicole would have been a constant “companion on the journey,” and an unwanted one at that. I’m grateful to the staff, and especially, Fr. Anthony, for holding down the fort, especially in light of Fr. Frank’s unanticipated illness (of which he’s recovered). But the real reason I bring this up is something I observed on the cruise. We were told the ship was full which, according to its website, that means 4,180 passengers. What struck me was the uninhibited freedom of movement and action these passengers exhibited. Whether on the elevators, the lounges, the dining rooms, in fact, throughout the whole ship, very few wore masks or shied away from contact with others, most of whom would have been strangers. Without wanting to “bite my tongue” sometime down the line, it appeared that everyone acted as if the pandemic was over. Certainly there was no hesitation in engaging with other people. I hope that’s the sign of both the present and things to come.

Dear Friends,

Varia—a Latin word meaning characteristically different, the root of the English word various.

- If you attended the 9:30AM or the 6:30PM Mass this past weekend, I hope you were as thrilled as I was about the attendance. At both masses, the church was filled with parish families. It was part of their Religious Education program in which they were invited to attend a “Teaching Mass.” You may wonder what a teaching mass is. Simply, it’s a regular mass during which someone, in the case of last Sundays masses, that would be me, stops at different times of the mass to explain what’s happening and why it’s happening. It’s an attempt to understand the Mass better with the hope that it will become a deeper prayer/spiritual experience. I can’t tell if that actually happened (although I’ve gotten a few emails indicating it did), but I hope it did and I hope it leads more of our parish families to come more regularly. Both masses ran almost 70 minutes and many stayed for the refreshments that were served outside afterwards. Thank you to all who participated and especially to the children who served in the liturgical ministries and all the families who helped in any way.

Dear Friends,

Because we’re getting closer to the “cold” season, we’re once again getting warnings about the possibility of an increase of Covid infections or the appearance of new strains resistant to the present vaccines. I suppose this is inevitable, even if unwelcome.

February/March will mark the third anniversary of the emergence of the pandemic and as we look back we learned many lessons about ourselves. I think one of those is our need for community, in the broadest sense of that work. We came to realize that we live in many communities, each of which supports us in our journey. The first, of course, is the immediate family. Especially during the months of the lockdown we came to appreciate those members of our immediate family with whom we live. We talked more, played together more and learned more about each other than ever before. Hopefully those intimate days, weeks, months together brought us closer together in love and appreciation.

Dear Friends,

A week ago this past Friday, Sept. 30th, we held the first of our House Gatherings. Just to refresh your memories about the history of this initiative. They were first envisioned to be held within six months of coming out of the “lockdown,” when the church was closed for three months. These gatherings were to be the first attempts to reconnect with one another after that lockdown. Then Delta struck and it was thought it would not be prudent to gather people in so intimate a setting. So we put them off until the following year. And Omicron struck and it was just as imprudent then as it would have been with Delta. Finally in this Fall of 2022, two years after the initial planned initiative, it was decided to go ahead with the project.

Dear Friends,
As I mentioned in my column in the bulletin of Sept. 11th, “there are a host of things clogging the calendar.” And there still are. Last weekend, you heard the invitation (and saw the video) to attend the Catechesis, which began on Monday evening. You are still invited to attend the sessions every Monday and Thursday at 8:00PM in the Parish Center. It’s not too late.

Dear Friends,

I hope you had the opportunity last Sunday to stop by the Block Party. Even with the difficulty in finding parking, it was every bit worth the effort. Unfortunately, because of the crowds, we did run out of some foods, but, overall, it was a great success and everyone seemed to have a great time. From the perspective of those who “manned” the Dunk Tank, myself, Fr. Anthony, Deacon Bob Liwanag, the kids certainly enjoyed themselves. I think they set a record for the number of times we got dunked. Some have even suggested that the Block Party leadership rigged the tank to ensure that happened. In any case, because the weather was so beautiful, the cool water was a welcome refresher.

Dear Friends

First, thank you to all who attended the 9/11 Memorial Mass last Sunday. Because 9/11 was a Sunday we did not add a special Mass but used the regularly scheduled 6:30PM Mass as the Memorial Mass. It somewhat changed the character of the remembrance but, nonetheless, the families of the victims were appreciative of the presence of those who still remember.

Dear Friends

We all know that statistically all four seasons are of almost equal length. But somehow, summer always seems to be the shortest or go the quickest. For some reason, this summer seems to have raced through in double time. Even though I generally consider myself a winter person, I did really enjoy this summer, with its high temperatures and abundant sunshine. And even though it may have left us in a little bit of a drought, the fall looks like we’ll make up for that shortage.

In any case, here we are at the eve of fall, the start of the new school year and the new program season, the first real start as we have known it since 2019, the last fall before the pandemic hit in late winter, 2020. And as in the past, there are a host of things clogging the calendar.



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