Merry Christmas! Christmas day is almost a full week ago and for many it may seem like a very distant memory already as the chores of cleaning up the house, returning gifts, taking down decorations and paying the bills kicks in. However, Christmas, like Easter is too big to be limited to just one day so as Catholics we celebrate the Octave of Christmas. Eight days to celebrate the love God has shown to us through the Nativity of His Son. So I say it again, Merry Christmas. Do not allow the secular influences to strip away the joy that the coming of the Savior brings. Do not allow God's saving plan to be swept away as just another day. Hold on to the joy, peace and love that God dispenses through the Christmas season. Be transformed by that love even in the hustle and bustle of daily life; even in the frustrations that this world can bring.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
I am happy to be back in Flemington! When I arrived and saw the grounds of the Church all decorated for the season it filled me with a sense of warmth. The familiarity of the buildings, the rectory, the people, it is a great place to call home. It is home because of the spirit of the people here. I appreciate all of your kindness, patience and support while I have been away studying these past few months. But it is really good to be here!!READ MORE
Greetings to all with Anticipation and Joy,
So why is Fr. Jack wearing that pink garment today? Well, we would officially call the color "rose" and the outer garment is called a "chasuble," but somehow I like saying Fr. Jack is looking stylish and svelte in pink today! Today is the Third Sunday in Advent and is known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is Latin for "Rejoice." So, you might say to yourself: "Advent should be a happy time since we are getting ready for the coming of the Christ child. Yes! But not only. In addition to being a season of joyful expectation, Advent is also a penitential season like Lent. And Advent has a counterpart Sunday in Lent known as Laetare Sunday where the priest and the deacon wear rose-colored garments. The point of both days is to provide us encouragement as we progress toward the end of each respective penitential season.READ MORE
Dear Parishioners and Visitors,
First of all, I want to express my sincere thanks to all you for your Faith, Love and Hope in God as revealed by Jesus Christ. Thanks for your prayers, love of the Catholic Church, support of this parish of St. Magdalen, commitment to your families and all the good things you do in your lives. I give thanks to Fr. Tim who received me into his parish on January 5th, 2009 and all of you with whom we participate in the celebration of the Sacraments. Thanks also for your expressions of friendship, hugs, and generosity. I was amazed by the so many invitations I received for Thanksgiving Day. Even if I could not attend all the invitations on such an important day, I treasure and honor the love you have for your priests.READ MORE
As Advent season is upon us and a new Liturgical year begins we are called by Christ in our Gospel this morning to remain vigilant in waiting for His coming. Advent is a special season in the Church to remind us and to prepare us for the impending coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas. Year after year, Advent comes and goes and Christmas is celebrated, but do we ever stop and reflect on our preparation for the coming of the Savior of the world?
We probably have a lengthy list of all the preparations we need to make to be ready for December 25. There are gifts to buy, decorations to hang, a tree to trim, cards to send, parties to attend. We go through the same process every year, usually worn out by the immensity of it all. But so often in doing all these things we can forget why we celebrate in the first place. Our world has turned the anticipation of this Holy Night into a frenzy of materialism and secularism. The secular world obscures, veils and distracts from Jesus' birth with politically correct language and its "Happy Holidays" mantras. Jesus Christ is coming and that is infinitely greater than the bargain shopping extravaganza at our favorite mall or outlet.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
I am writing this letter the Thursday before Thanksgiving due to the early holiday deadline given by the bulletin company. Although this may not be an easy time for many people due to the storm, financial hardship, family conflicts or loneliness, I pray that you were able to give thanks to our almighty God for that which you have and our Catholic faith. At a recent weekday Mass, Father Joseph preached that we are most happy when we give thanks.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
I know it sounds cliché for me to tell you that "time is just flying by!" but that is exactly my experience. Since I have been involved in my full time studies here at Sacred Heart Seminary, it seems like all available time in the day is accounted for. My routine of study, prayer, meals, classes, sleep (never quite enough!) seems to always have me looking to my next deadline and working to meet it. I look up and it is already the next day . . . week . . . month!
I do have all of you on my mind. I pray every day, usually more than once, for you my parish family . . . "watch over them Lord and guide and protect them with your Holy Spirit." And I think of the many events that are going on at home and wish I could be part of them. I am so grateful to Father Jack, Father Joseph, Regina Edersheim and Geoff Stricklin for all of their extra effort and work while I am away. It is truly a generous and collaborative effort for the Kingdom.READ MORE
Dear Fellow Parishioners,
As I type these words, I am anxiously awaiting the outcome of the Presidential Election. I pray that as you read this our religious liberty has been preserved, and that a step has been taken toward fostering and promoting the sanctity of life in our country through the election process. I would like to especially thank all of our Veterans who have helped uphold and protect these rights.
Being the Director of Sacred Music at Saint Magdalen’s, I have the privilege of assisting with an integral part of the liturgy every week. According to the tradition of the Church and reaffirmed at the Second Vatican Council, sacred music is a treasure of immeasurable worth. It is greater than that of any other art form. These are bold words from the Council, considering such sacred art masterpieces as Michelangelo’s Pieta, or the architecture of the Gothic Cathedrals. The music most suited to the liturgy and considered by the Church to be the ideal, is Gregorian chant, followed by sacred polyphony. While sacred music from our tradition is to be fostered and is central to the liturgy, the assembly is also called to full, conscious and active participation. It is the goal of the music ministry at Saint Magdalen’s to meet both of these challenges.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
In the musical, The King and I, the king of Siam tries to reconcile his thinking with that of Anna, the English governess: "Tis a puzzlement!" he says. Several weeks ago I was asked to write a letter for this week's parish bulletin on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), but I have to admit that I am a procrastinator. If I had immediately written on the RCIA as directed, I would not have ended up with a "puzzlement" of my own. Instead, I put RCIA on the "back burner" and started thinking about all the things going on in our parish: the Year of Faith in which we are to focus on and reaffirm our beliefs found in the Apostles Creed, the New Evangelization that Father Tim is studying at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, our new parish website, the impact of the upcoming election and religious freedom, bible studies, etc. Then we have such a great calendar for this coming week: Halloween (which means holy evening), All Saints and All Souls Days, followed by the Stewardship Ministry Expo next weekend. How was I ever going to put all of that together along with RCIA? 'Tis a puzzlement!READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
As I look out the window today at the rich fall foliage - orange and crimson and brilliant yellow - can't help but notice that many of the leaves have already started to fall. Of course this reminds me of the colder days ahead, the inevitable dormancy which is a necessary part of the cycle of seasons. But that time is not here yet! We still have a few more weeks of this glorious milder weather which seems to invigorate us for our fall projects - planting and seeding, repair jobs on the house, schoolwork, a new exercise program, bike rides outside! The fall is a time that seems to inspire us to grow and get better and accomplish things.READ MORE
This past Thursday, October 11th, kicked off the Year of Faith declared by the Holy Father to be a year for learning the richness and beauty of the Catholic Faith. Every Saturday night or Sunday we profess the Nicene Creed and we pray "I believe in…", and this Year dedicated to the faith is meant to be a time of reflection, prayer, observance, and promotion of the faith that we hold strongly at our core. Our parish and our diocese have many different opportunities during this year to help the faithful learn about the faith, and grow in their love and understanding of all the Church teaches.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
I was on vacation last week. We visited my wife's Aunt and Uncle down in South Carolina. They are in the their mid 70's and could be considered "snowbirds" since they return back to their other home in Long Island for part of the year. They made a nice dinner for my wife, son and I (spaghetti, my favorite!). Just before we left, she asked me about the requirements to become an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. I told her that she needed to contact her parish, that the process is usually not a big undertaking, but that most pastors looked for candidates with an active faith life and devotion to the Eucharist, which she has. Later I thought about why she asked me. She said she wanted to help some of the homebound people she knew and of course she knew that I am a deacon. But I wondered why now, why now at this particular time of her life. And this is the question we all need to ask ourselves. How are we called to make a difference? How are we called to come and follow Him?READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
When Fr. Tim left for his studies, he asked certain staff members to write the bulletin letters in his absence. I was very ex-cited to be asked to contribute, and so this is my first attempt. Actually, since I am writing in place of Fr. Tim, you could say that I am writing in persona Christy (credit to my son Kevin for that one).
Seriously, I would like to reflect a bit on one of the prime responsibilities of a deacon: the proclamation of the Gospel. The Gospel holds a special place in the Liturgy of the Word, that part of the Mass where we hear the Word of God. In the case of the Gospel, it is not just the Word of God, but words spoken by The Word, Jesus. The specialness of the Gospel is evident right from the opening procession of the Mass where the Book of Gospels is carried in by the deacon, raised high so that you have an idea of its significance. As he enters the sanctuary, the deacon places the Book of Gospels on the altar, signifying to the assembly that Christ - who will become present on the altar in the bread and wine - is already present in the Gospel.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
As the Summer sadly draws to a close and September begins, life at St. Magdalen de Pazzi begins to pick up once again, and we begin the Fall season with some major changes. As students return to school for the year, Fr. Tim, our pastor, begins his fall returning to study the New Evangelization so he can bring this new information and new ideas to our parish and our diocese. We wish him great success on this endeavor. Please remember to keep him in your prayers during the year and know that he is praying for all of us as well.
Another change that will impact St. Magdalen de Pazzi, is the new assignment for Sister Christine Quense. Sister Christine was elected as Sister Servant for the Sisters of Jesus our Hope over the summer and has left our parish. Sister has been a great influence on so many people in the parish, especially on the youth, through her role as Parish Catechetical Leader. Sister has such a gift to impact lives by her great witness to God’s love which she shares naturally with those she meets and we were very blessed to have her in the parish for the past couple of years. Her obvious joy in the Lord, as well as her direction and support will be missed but we wish her God’s blessing in her new role.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
I am writing this letter only hours before my departure to Detroit. The last minute preparations are many. While I am used to encouraging everyone else to get ready for school, I had forgotten what it was like for myself! I am deeply grateful for all the well wishes, prayers and gifts that you extended to me this past weekend, right up to the cake I received a few minutes ago after daily mass for a belated birthday! I feel very affirmed and grateful to God for you, my parish community.
As I spoke about this past week end, this will be a time of renewal and learning for me. It will be a time of growing and cooperating with each other in the parish. I feel great confidence in the priests and deacons, the sisters, Geoff Stricklin, Regina Edersheim, our Pastoral Council and Finance Council, and the many good-hearted and zealous volunteers, stewards, and organizations here in the parish. We are indeed a vibrant community that truly wants more. I can sense the desire of our parish to grow. I am anticipating my return to the parish with great eagerness and the opportunity to share what I learn to enliven our parish even more.
The most important aspect of the New Evangelization is prayer. The Holy Spirit is in charge of conversion. God can and will do everything, but He has made us to cooperate with Him and to participate in the growth of the Kingdom of God. We must pray for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that the hearts and minds of people everywhere would become attuned once again to God. We can pray that if hearts become ready to receive His Word, that we might become the instrument or the witness to light the fire of faith. It is usually one person at time. So let us begin praying to the Holy Spirit now and doing all we can to repent, cooperate, and become docile to the promptings of the Breath of the Spirit.READ MORE