Dear Parish Family,
Have you seen the book "Why Catholics Can't Sing"? My thought is that the author never attended mass at St. Magdalen de Pazzi!! Mid-summer, I was blessed to become a part of your parish community as Director of Music and Sacred Liturgy. I have enjoyed hearing you raise your voices in joyful song and praise. Shortly after I arrived, a new parishioner came to me and asked how many music groups or ensembles are there at St. Magdalen's? Well, it took me several weeks to give her an accurate answer, because at every turn a new musician, singer, or choir member would approach me and introduce themselves! Now I can confidently say there is something for everyone, every age, every level of musicality or commitment.
Adult Choir – rehearses every Thursday evening to sing each Sunday at the 10:30 a.m. Mass as well as special events and holy days. The ability to read music is helpful, but not required. If you have a song in your heart, please come and share the joy of singing with us!READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
I have lots of questions today…and maybe a few answers. Without peeking, do you remember the last sentence of the Gospel today? Or if you are reading the bulletin prior to Mass, pay attention to that last sentence in Luke's Gospel: "But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" What did Jesus mean by this? One definition of faith is: a belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. Easy question, right? Faith is our belief in God. I'm pretty sure everyone reading this believes in God. But what does that mean? If we say we have faith and believe in God, how does that translate into our daily lives?READ MORE
This past Monday our parish was blessed to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in which several hundred parishioners consecrated their lives to the Blessed Mother. They had prepared with intense prayer, spiritual reading and sacrifice for thirty three days in order to be open to the working of the Holy Spirit. The mass was beautiful and we ask the Blessed Mother to continue to guide these individuals as well as our entire parish into a more intimate relationship with Her Son, Jesus. We pray that Mary will shower St. Magdalen's with grace as we honor her for the month of October.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
Life is a gift, pass it on. This weekend we are invited to reflect on the gift of life. Most of the time we forget that life is a gift. It is easy to take life for granted. When health is good, when the job is good, when things seem to be working out…the reality is that discouraging things can come our way quite abruptly, we lose a job, we get a bad diagnosis at the doctor, a loved one dies. These are moments when we become sober and ask the hard questions of what "life is all about." Why am I here? Where am I going? These kinds of questions let us know that life cannot be taken for granted. We need more than things to fulfill us, but rather we need meaning and purpose. These are the things that make life.
The most fundamental proclamation of the Christian faith is that every life is unique and every life has value. The Church never tires of proclaiming the truth that life matters. Even life that is most vulnerable and considered by the wider society as dispensable; the unborn, the aged and the disabled.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
It was about nineteen years ago, while I was sitting in the pew, that Father Maccarone made a plea from the pulpit, "Please, we need catechists for our program. Please someone, do something!" My heart began to beat faster, I felt flush and knew he was speaking directly to me. "But I am not qualified and I certainly don't know enough," I thought. With fear and trepidation, I walked to the narthex and signed up to teach. Little did I know at that time, what God had planned for me. Since that day, I have been serving as a catechist, teaching 1st, 4th, and in the John Paul II Evangelization Program since its inception. In addition, to teaching, my husband Raul and I served on the Pre-Cana ministry team and also as high school youth ministers for a more than five years. This year, Father Tim asked me to serve in the role of the Parish Catechetical Leader to oversee the program through which our Catholic faith is passed on to children from kindergarten through high school.
The love of Jesus Christ is at the core of all the efforts of our catechetical program for children. Our parish is blessed to have 129 catechists whom couple their unique God-given gifts with a desire to share in Christ's mission here on earth. Together with Maggie Castles, the Assistant Parish Catechetical Leader, we do our earthly best to serve over the 950 students who are currently enrolled in our program. Of these, 120 will be preparing to receive First Penance and Holy Eucharist and 143 will be preparing to be fully initiated into the Catholic Church when they receive the sacrament of Confirmation.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
We are currently in the season of last chance vacations and shifting into the mode of "School" and resuming our regular activities that begin in the fall. Whatever we find ourselves doing these days of August: rest, relaxation, family reunions, back yard BBQ's…we always belong to God. It's a choice to recognize and see with the eyes of faith God's love and presence is everywhere.
I am excited to share with you a new way that our parish is taking a regular local summer activity and bringing the gift of faith to life. This week (August 21-25) St. Magdalen's will be at the Hunterdon County 4-H Fair with a booth for the whole duration of the fair. The purpose of St. Magdalen having a booth at the fair is very simple: to meet people where they are at and to let the community know that we are a presence here in Flemington and that they are welcome here at our parish. We are not going to the fair to try to convert people or to try and start arguments with people of other faiths, but rather we are going to engage people in conversations and be the face of Christ to them. This has been something that we have wanted to do for awhile and the Lord is just now opening the doors to make this possible. We were on a waiting list up until this past week when another parish dropped so we were next on the list. After we discerned the movements of the Holy Spirit, we decided that the Lord was inviting our parish into the great opportunity of evangelization and we are happy to see what the fruits of our yes will be. The fair runs from 10am-10pm, Wednesday through Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday. There will be people from our parish staffing our booth the whole time so I encourage you to stop by and check us out and invite your friends to stop by too. We should be reminded that inviting others is a great tool of evangelization that we can never underestimate.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
As the Beatles song goes, "all you need is love…"
Although it is nowhere near Valentine's Day, the past week or so has found me noticing all kinds of "love" all around me. Even in places I never expected to find it!
It started on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. The Trinity itself shows us the love within the three persons of the Trinity. The love between the Father and the Son is so complete, so perfect, that the Holy Spirit is that love. Usually shown as a dove, the symbol of love, and used often at marriages in the time of Jesus.
Next, Fr. Joseph asked me to assist him at a ceremony for a couple that wanted to renew their marriage vows on their 45th wedding anniversary. They mentioned the key to their staying together included a sense of humor, mutual respect, and a deep feeling of love and dependence on God and their Faith.READ MORE
The metaphor of "inviting myself to the mirror to see my nose" as applied to our parish family
Dear Parishioners and visitors,
Allow me to greet you with the words that St. Paul addressed the people of the Church in Rome: "To you all, God's beloved in Rome, called to be his holy people. Grace and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 1, 7). It is a very beautiful salutation because it inspires us to realize that we are also God's beloved people and we are called to be his holy people.
On the other hand, I have realized that even if my nose is so near to my eyes, I have never seen my nose, other than in a mirror or photographs. Have you ever seen your nose with your eyes? Try it now. Anyway, the point I want to make is that even if I work and live in this parish, I have not been aware of the many good things that people do in this parish, which in reality are concrete pathways to holiness.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
In his homily last weekend Father Tim spoke about this being the age of the New Pentecost, the time for New Evangelization. We are called to use our history and culture to bring the message of Christ to the world. The early church fathers preached and wrote about the faith; in the Middle Ages the power of the printed word and art were used, and today the media opens up a whole new way to evangelize. The Church has always taught the Truth and has produced saints in every age. What can we learn about evangelization from our patroness, St. Magdalen de Pazzi, whose feast day we celebrate this weekend on Saturday, May 25?
I must admit that I had never heard of St. Magdalen until I became a member of this parish. And yet, if you visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, she is one of five saints honored at the Carmelite altar, along with the more well-known St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. The first national church constructed for Italians in the United States was in Philadelphia in 1857 and was dedicated by Saint John Neumann to St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi. So who was this saint, and how did history and culture affect her life?READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
It's good to be home. As I have mentioned before there is nothing like celebrating Mass, the central mystery of our faith, with people that we have forged a spiritual bond in our lives. I certainly have missed celebrating with you every week and am so happy to be present again in the parish. Please keep me and the whole parish in prayer as we enter into a time of discernment and prayer and transition these next weeks.
This week end we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost: the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church. The first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles demonstrates the power of God changing people's lives. The timid and fearful, the ordinary and simple, people from all walks of life and from every nation are made bold with the coming of the Holy Spirit. Influenced by the prompting of the Spirit they began to witness in ways that would have been unthinkable prior to Pentecost. From that humble beginning a new age dawned: the age of the Church. We still live in the age of the Church. We are waiting in joyful hope for the coming of Jesus Christ. In the meantime, we do not sit idle. We have a mission entrusted to us.READ MORE
With the end of CCD a week and a half ago, summer quickly approaching and the Easter season drawing to a close, it seems the parish is already beginning to slow down. The summer months are typically less busy at the parish. There are fewer ministries that are active. The choir takes a break for the summer. Mass attendance begins to drop. The parish begins to slow down but we must ask ourselves "Why?"
While we look forward to vacation from work and school in the summer, we most certainly don't take a vacation from Almighty God. After all, He never takes a vacation from His promises to us. Besides, the months of May and June offer some beautiful opportunities for spiritual growth and devotion. Last week and this week our Second Grade classes received their First Holy Communion and having them make their First Communion at Sunday Mass helps to remind all of us just how essential the Eucharist is to our faith and our salvation. Do you remember your first Communion? The excitement and innocence that we possessed back then is recalled by seeing these children at Mass. I want to thank the parents of these children for honoring their commitment to Almighty God and teaching their children the faith. I want to thank their Catechists, as well as Bridget, Maggie and Marlene for all their hard work in preparing the children.READ MORE
Dear Parishioners and Visitors,
After a prolonged struggle with not knowing how to forgive myself, I thought it might be a good idea to share with you my journey and experiences to recovery. The reflection is on two fundamental questions:
1. Why is forgiveness of “self” important?
2. How do you forgive yourself?
"Do you love me?"
In today's Gospel, we come in touch with Peter, who in all probability is dismayed at having denied Christ, not just once, but three times. Peter hadn't gotten over his sin and he didn't yet understand the Resurrection so he returned to his former way of life. How often do we do the same thing? We become disillusioned by our sin. We can't see the potential and purpose for which we were created. We don't see ourselves as God sees us!READ MORE
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Practice your chanting. Attend practice for the Triduum liturgies. Prepare the Gospel proclamation for Easter Sunday and the Passion for Good Friday. Come up with a homily for Good Friday Morning Prayer. Run the practice for Easter Vigil. Study the Vigil notes. Be Master of Ceremonies at the Easter Vigil. These were just some of the thoughts and responsibilities swirling around in my head during the four days from Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday. For the clergy at St. Magdalen's, these are days of non-stop activity.READ MORE