Dear Parish Family:
The Easter Season continues to bring forth new life. We just finished celebrating our parish First Communions, and this weekend we celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation. At the center of all of our sacraments is the risen Jesus Christ. He promised to remain with His Church until the end of time for the sake of personal encounter with each of us. This is why He with the Father sent the Holy Spirit into the world.
Confirmation is the completion of Baptism. It was at Baptism that we were reborn of water. We were washed clean of original sin. We were made children of the Father and heirs to the Kingdom of God. The Holy Trinity came to live with us intimately in the depths of our soul. Yet, we still need to be sealed with the Holy Spirit in Confirmation, which empowers us for our Christian mission in this world. Baptism incorporates us into the life of the Church; Confirmation sends us on mission for the sake of the gospel.
I am proud of our young people who are now empowered to fulfill their Christian vocation. This is no easy task in today's world. Perhaps now, as in the early Church, to be a Christian is costly. It is much easier to blend in and accept the prevailing values of our day. St. Paul instructing the infant Church in Rome in the first century wrote: "Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind in Christ Jesus." Rm 12:12. This is a good description for all of us to live by today. The essence of the life in Christ is day by day transformation of our mind according to Christ, not the world. This means that we need to consciously nourish our relationship with Christ and His Church. We adopt the thinking and customs of those we associate. If we do not associate with Christ each day in His Holy Word and weekly receiving the Holy Eucharist, "we have not life in us." The world takes over our thought patterns and then we begin to become resentful of the Church and the teachings of Christ and begin to search for those who agree with the world's compromises. In the words of the scripture we can "back slide."
Let us pray for these newly confirmed and their families that the gifts of the Holy Spirit will grow and flourish in them. May they understand well what Pope Emeritus Benedict once said " Dear young people, do not allow any adversity to paralyze you. Be not afraid of the world, nor the future or your weakness. The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history so that by your faith His name may continue to resound throughout the world." May it be so right here in Flemington!
The Holy Spirit is at work in another powerful sacrament. This coming Saturday, May 16 Bishop Paul will ordain three men to the diaconate. They are seminarians who will, with the grace of God, next Spring be ordained to the priesthood. This year we are very blessed because one of these newly ordained deacons, Mauricio Tabera, will be assigned here at St. Magdalen's after his ordination. He will serve both English and Spanish speaking parishioners as he is fluent in both languages. It is a great blessing for any community to have a newly ordained deacon and we want to nourish and support him as he continues his journey to priesthood next year.
I invite and encourage you to attend his ordination which will be next Saturday, May 16 at Our Lady of Peace Church in Fords, New Jersey. The following week he will move into St. Magdalen's and begin his summer assignment here.
May is the month of Mary. Let us renew our devotion to her and her motherly care. Please say one Hail Mary every day for me and our parish. May we be pleasing to her Son.
In the promised Spirit,