Dear Parish Family:
This coming week we are called to engage the great season of Lent. Lent is the Church's annual g retreat that we all can go on to seek renewal and to get awakened to what is critically important to our life, our relationship with Jesus and His Church. It is amazing to think that God is not finished with us yet. Not until we take our last breath in this world.
We would do well these days leading up to Ash Wednesday to consider where we are on our spiritual journey. Maybe we realize we have gotten into some bad habits due to some bad thinking or attitudes. We cannot change ourselves by our own strength. No, we need God's grace and a willingness to surrender to His grace, in the same way that Mary our Blessed Mother was willing to surrender to God's will in her life. St. Joseph had to surrender to God's will in his life. He had to trust that God's plan was being worked out as he accepted Mary into his home and welcomed her as his wife and chose to be a father to Jesus. The gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus was obedient to Mary and Joseph, and so grew in age and grace. The Holy Family is a good reminder to us that doing God's will takes place in relationships. The family is frequently the place where we can discover the places that God is calling us to greater holiness. In living out Christian life in the home we discover our need for conversion and to be more generous, patient and present to one another. May our Lenten practices help us to be more of the radiant witness that God calls us to be.READ MORE
2014 Christmas Message
Dear Parish Family:
There may be too much to say in this brief column this week with Thanksgiving right around the corner along with the start of Advent next Sunday. First of all, I have been happy to share this bulletin space with our other clergy and staff, who are working hard for the Kingdom of God. We are blessed to have all of them! They want to share with all of you what is going on from their view of parish life and I think they have been doing that well these past weeks. This makes our parish life so much richer; having all the gifts and talents of so many people all working to advance the mission of Jesus right here in Flemington.
Next Sunday we will celebrate the uniting glue of everything we do at St. Magdalen's: We will gather around our Eucharistic Lord and give Him honor, praise and worship. Every activity in our parish is to come to a halt in order to provide some intentional time of reflection, prayer, praise and worship of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. The more I live my life as a priest and as a man who has decided to follow Christ with my life, the more I realize how important sincere, sustained and open prayer before the Lord really is. Unless I am having a regular conversation with Christ and being united with Him in Holy Communion and going to regular confession, I find my energy waning for all the right things. I too, get distracted by so many demands on my time, deadlines, expectations and over commitments. When I bring my heart to Him, I find the real reason for my life.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
This first week end of October is filled with many things happening all at once. From my perspective it looks like most of us are settling into our fall schedules. I want to make several important announcements in this letter today.
First I want to share with you that Father Peter Delimat has told me he has decided to return to his native home of Krakow Poland to minister. He has been with us here since June. While he was only here a short time his good-natured presence at Mass has made a positive impact on many. I take this opportunity to thank him for his service to our parish and to wish him all the best in his continued journey in the priesthood. We will have an opportunity to wish him well and say goodbye as he celebrates the 12:00 Mass next Sunday, October 12. There will be a reception for him in the Narthex of the Church.READ MORE
You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel
basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may
see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace.
—1 Peter 4:10
Who is a Christian Disciple?
Through our baptism, we are all Christian disciples invited to answer Jesus' call to "Come and follow me."
Our Call to Self-giving
Just as Jesus in obedience to his Father offered his whole self for our salvation, we are called as his disciples to make this same selfgift in the service of others and in thanksgiving to God.
Dear Parish Family,
Each of us has been abundantly blessed by God the Father with our own unique gifts and talents. When we prayerfully identify our God-given gifts, and then strive to cultivate and share them with others, we glorify the Lord by our lives and become a glowing witness for Christ in the world.
"Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:14-16
Just as God the Father pours himself out for the Son and the Son back to the Father, each of us, created in God's image, has a deep inner desire to share what we have with others. It's how we're made!
There are many active groups, programs, and ministries here at St. Magdalen's that offer you the opportunity to share your time, talent and treasure in the service of others. This is the stewardship way of life and a concrete way to answer Jesus' call to "Come and follow me."READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
Greetings from Detroit! My summer courses are half over this past week. While I have missed the slower summer pace at home, the study here has been very fruitful for me. I have had the opportunity to spend longer periods of time in prayer and to re-contact the truth that I am dependent on prayer; I am dependent on God. It also gives me a chance to reflect on important aspects of parish life that can easily get lost in the daily routine of taking care of the business at hand.
This past Friday July 25th was an important anniversary that generally gets little notice. It was the 46th anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, which Pope Paul VI addressed with great clarity the burning question of conscience: "Is it morally acceptable for a married couple, for grave reasons, to contracept in their marriage act?" The prevailing spirit of the age gave a resounding "yes" and at that time there were so many reasons that made it seem so right and logical.
During the 1960's, many social influences converged to make the answer seem obvious. One strong influence was the rise of a new feminism represented by Betty Friedan who advocated that women be freed from the shackles of child bearing in order to take her rightful place alongside men in the workplace. Another influence was the population scare. Some social scientists were warning that the resources of the earth would run out if large families were to continue. Economic questions of how to support large families in a changing society was of equal concern. Another major influence was the development of the birth control pill, which was hailed as a great "medical achievement." However, it was the first "medical" advancement that was not about correcting a bodily system that was malfunctioning, but rather was designed to cause a system that was functioning correctly [the fertility cycle] to malfunction.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
Greetings from Detroit! As you may remember, part of my continuing education that I began on my academic sabbatical last year requires that I attend summer intensive courses in theology to complete the degree. This summer I am spending four weeks at Sacred Heart Seminary here in lovely Detroit, Michigan. It has been three days since I left, but I miss you already!
During these summer intensive classes, I am joining 12 other priests from around the country and from Africa and India. It is fascinating and fun to hear the experiences, trials and joys of the priesthood in all these places. We all have in common our desire to engage the New Evangelization. It was St. John Paul II who really articulated, almost thirty years ago, what is the new evangelization: "…it is not a new gospel, but rather the eternal gospel message made available to men and women today." He exhorts that it should be "new in ardor, method and expression."READ MORE
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