Dear Parish Family,
There is nothing like a sudden summer thunderstorm. The air becomes very still, the light dims and, off in the distance, the faint rumblings of thunder can be heard. Then the skies darken, the wind blows, lightning flashes, thunder roars, and rain falls from the heavens in torrents. But after the storm, one can step outside with arms raised in praise. The air smells fresh and clean. The dry earth welcomes the wetness and the plants seem alive to growth. Perhaps one might even see a rainbow in the sky. In wonder God reveals himself to us in the imagery of his creation. How like the account of Pentecost in the “Acts of the Apostles”!
In stillness the disciples, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the holy women, wait in prayer. Their spirits are dimmed as they recall Jesus’s words resounding in the back of their minds to return to Jerusalem and await the coming of the Holy Spirit. Suddenly from up in the sky there comes a loud noise like a strong driving wind. In tongues of fire the Holy Spirit pours down upon those gathered in the Upper Room and they are filled with the gifts of the Spirit. Renewed in mind and heart, the apostles rush out to proclaim the message of the Risen Lord. A large crowd has gathered because of the noise that was heard and Peter begins to speak to them. Like the parched earth those in the crowd are ready to absorb the words of eternal life and that day about 3000 repent and are baptized. The seeds of faith are planted and the Church begins to grow!READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
If you think of everything you do every day in order to be healthy, how long would your list be? I think for many of us we know we should do more than we actually get done. It could be eating right and exercise, personal hygiene, laundry, cooking organizing and investing in personal relationships. If we let anything go for too long, it catches up with less than happy consequences.
Today we celebrate “Corpus Christ Sunday” or “The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ” this feast came into existence precisely at time in history that people were losing their personal faith and devotion to the great truth that in our Mass, the very presence, body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ is made present for us. It is our “daily bread.” Yet too often we human beings can go stale in our fervor. We can take spiritual things for granted because we don’t perceive their immediacy like we do our physical needs. If we don’t eat for day, we know it. Believe me I’ve tried it. I feel weak, irritable and tired. The same is more true in our spiritual dimension. However many people think it is possible to get by without Mass, because they are spiritual people. It’s ironic how true the statement is and how badly applied is the conclusion that the most spiritual activity we could do is commune in the flesh with the living God is somehow “not necessary.” There is a spiritual maxim: the more we grow in our spiritual lives, the more we recognize our sinfulness and the things that must change in our lives. The Bread of Life, that is Jesus is the source and summit of orienting us to holiness of life and helping us to put everything else into perspective.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
The opening sentence of John's Gospel today does a good job of describing how God feels about us: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." But if you look at the sentence closely again, John says that those who believe might not perish and might have eternal life. He doesn't use the definitive verb will but the conditional verb might. That's because there is no guarantee that we will achieve eternal life in heaven. So what does it take to get to heaven and achieve eternal life? Great question. I'm not sure I know the answer, but I can put forward some ideas. If we go to church every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation and go to confession once or twice a year, is that enough? Well, we know that receiving Jesus' body and blood is both the source and summit of our relationship with Jesus Christ. And certainly going to confession absolves us of our sins, no matter how serious. It's a great start…and an essential ingredient to punching our ticket to heaven. But there's more to it than just a checklist. And I know that because of that sacrament called baptism. Through our baptism, we are called to be a light to the world. Striving to be a light to the world signifies a much more active participation on our part then sitting in the pew every Sunday. And for those of us who are cradle Catholics, we really didn't have a choice in our baptism. But then through confirmation we received additional graces and were filled with the Holy Spirit to go on our mission as a light to the world. And this happened just three weeks ago when Bishop Paul confirmed 133 young adults at St. Magdalen's. And it also happened this past Pentecost Sunday when14 adults were confirmed at the 10:30 am Mass.READ MORE
Bless me Father, for I HAVE been singing!! It's been 50 years since Vatican II.
Yes – fifty years since Pope John XXIII (now Saint John XXIII) convened the Second Vatican Council. Pope Saint John XXIII was perhaps the most influential pope of the twentieth century. One of the greatest reforms resulting from Vatican II is the full and active participation of the assembled congregation.
What exactly does that mean for us? The opportunity to enter into the sacred liturgy with all of our senses, heart, body, mind, and voice - - a sacred, prayerful dialogue with the celebrating priest in spoken and sung prayer.
I am grateful for all the parish cantors, musicians, and a singing congregation! Together we praise and thank God, the angels and saints, the Blessed Mother in joyful hymns and songs. I encourage all ages, men and women, boys and girls, to please… Don't be shy…..Give Music Ministry a try! Summer is a great time to join the team who lends support to our congregational song. Sacred song, united to biblical text, forms a necessary and integral part of the treasure of the Catholic Church – our solemn liturgy.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
I'm happy to invite you to a parish meeting for anyone interested in touring our present Parish Center and to hear a brief presentation on the needs and potential plans of the building. As many of you know, the building is aging, built in 1974, it has never had any significant improvement over the past 40 years. This is presenting us with a number of decisions that must be made to responsibly address the deteriorations and end of life issues of several vital systems. It also presents us with the challenge of how it could be used more effectively in the future.
While we have a number of organizations, ministries and events that currently take place in the Parish Center, we also need to ask the deeper question of how can this building serve the heart of the mission of the parish for the next generations? This is a visionary question that I wish to consult you about.
We are in the initial stages of working with an architectural firm to begin to work with concepts that will then allow us to develop the best possible use of the current space with our needs and vision for the future.READ MORE
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."
Happy Easter! What a beautiful gift the Church gives us: 50 days, from the first Sunday of Easter until Pentecost, to celebrate and meditate on the "joy of glorified life and victory over death." Our faith is predicated on this truth, as St. Peter affirms: "If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, is your faith." (1 Cor 15:14). The resurrection is the reason for our joy. In one of his letters, Pope Francis wrote "Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved." (EG 6).
This past semester, I took a course on the Nicene Creed we profess each Sunday. At the beginning of the course, I came across a sentence in my readings that stopped me in my tracks. "…if a man loves God knowing a little about Him, he should love God more from knowing more about Him: for every new thing known about God is a new reason for loving Him." After I read this, I thought about my marriage of 26 years. I was able to see the journey my husband and I have taken, how we got to know each other and how that led to a deeper more meaningful love for each other––a selfless love. It is the same way with God. Like my marriage, my relationship with God has been a steady process of opening to grace, of having courage to seek, and learning more about the immensity and majesty of God––and His perfect, infinite love.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
I love the springtime for so many reasons. Nature shows in dramatic form what God wants to do for each one of us in our heart. That is the reason why Sacraments of Initiation happen during the Easter Season and on a Sunday.
Easter Sunday is the Center of the Church year and every Sunday is a "little Easter." We celebrate the Resurrection and keep in mind that this day needs special significance in our week. If we don't mark any special time during our week, everything looks the same. We forget that God orders our lives. We think its all up to us. Ultimately, life becomes very boring without Sunday as a special day. Try to reclaim Sunday as a family day. Try to reach out to someone who is left alone on Sunday and visit them or invite them to your home. Pope Francis continually asks us to go out of our comfort zones to find where life sad, depressed and lonely. We might need to just look in our own families. Perhaps all the frenetic activity that families can get involved in with so many complicated schedules actually takes people into more isolation rather than into an experience of loved, recognized and cared for. We definitely need more quality time with those who love us and depend on us.READ MORE
The Church is still rejoicing at the Resurrection of our Lord as we conclude the Octave of Easter today. Easter is too big to be contained by just one day so the Church celebrates for eight days, and since Palm Sunday two weeks ago, the Catholic Church has been in full swing with one big celebration after another. The liturgies at Saint Magdalen's were wonderful and mystical and awe inspiring, reaching their apex on Easter Sunday morning with crowds that overflowed into the narthex at every Mass. How exciting and invigorating to see so many Catholics come out to celebrate their faith. It gives us a foretaste of how things will be in heaven and a look at how things could be here on earth. A special thank you goes out to all who made the liturgies so moving and prayerful and thanks to each of you in the parish for making St. Magdalen's the wonderful place to encounter Jesus Christ. There were so many volunteers involved in decorating the Church, serving at the altar, Lectors, Cantors, and the choir. The list goes on. Thank you!
Today, the celebrations continue with two events – the Universal Feast of our Lord, Divine Mercy Sunday and the canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. Divine Mercy Sunday falls each year on the first Sunday after Easter. It concludes the octave of Easter. This was our Lord's desire as He revealed it to St. Faustina. Jesus tells us, through St. Faustina, "My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity." He goes on to say, "The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment." We know that when we go to Confession we are forgiven, but we still must make amends for our sins. That is what purgatory is for. But on this day, God's Divine Mercy even takes the temporal punishment away from us. No purgatory! That means we are restored to our Baptismal perfection by Jesus Christ. This is a great gift from Almighty God that we are wise to take advantage of and develop a true devotion to the Mercy of Jesus Christ.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
This is the Day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!
We can't underestimate what those emotions must have been like for Peter and John racing to the tomb, after they heard the words from the women "He is alive." It was news almost too good to be true.
If it was true then, everything Jesus said was all entirely true. Everything He did made so much more sense. All that they knew from the Scripture were fulfilled. If it was true they would have to respond to the news; nothing in their world could stay the same. Everything in their life would be different because they would now be the witness of this great story. Somehow they would have to make it known to others. It would not just be for them. The apostles running to the tomb is a good image of us this morning.
We all need this kind of expectant faith. The world we live in is rapidly becoming a world absent of wonder and awe for God. Many people have lost a sense of spiritual direction in their lives. We have only to look at our local sad statistics of heroin overdoses and suicide of young people. The rising tide of such statistics point to a severe lack of hope and a loss of spiritual energy. The answer is a need for significant meaningful relationships. The most significant is a relationship with the Risen Christ. Christ is God and He wants a personal relationship with each of us.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
Priests and deacons pray the Liturgy of the Hours (the Divine Office) every day (or at least parts of it). The very first prayers recited each day are called the Invitatory. For the first five weeks of Lent, one of the two Antiphons prayed as part of the Invitatory goes like this: "Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts."
Now as a general rule it is probably not a good idea to harden your hearts, voice of the Lord or no. Nonetheless, most of us certainly do harden our hearts at certain times, perhaps because it is easier to deal with emotional or difficult situations if we put up a stony facade. And so, in moments of weakness, I have found myself walking in the opposite direction of a parishioner who looks like he or she wants to talk about something important to them. (If I have ever done this to you, I ask your forgiveness! ...and for a second chance.) In the same way, we might ignore a co-worker or friend who is hurting and needs a shoulder or sympathetic ear; we might give wide berth to a homeless person on the sidewalk as we walk by; we might persist in fooling around on the computer when we know our spouse has been waiting for us to do something that is important to her or him that she/he asked us to do days ago.READ MORE