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
Happy Easter! Today we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord with the entire Catholic Church around the world. The salvation of the world promised to us by God from the first fall of man by Adam is achieved by Jesus Christ when He conquered the power of death and rose to new life. At a time when all seemed lost, when evil appeared to triumph, when Innocence hung on cross and was placed in a tomb, God's glory emerged to show that He is Lord of all.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
When Pope Benedict left the Chair of Peter, in one of his last public addresses he said firmly and joyfully "the Church is alive!" As I have been caught up these last days watching and taking part in my own way, I see its' absolutely true; the Church is alive!
The crowds of people waiting for sometimes hours in St. Peters' Square, while waving national flags, singing songs and cheering and praying in the rain all testified to the truth that indeed we have a Church alive.READ MORE
While visiting a group of Catholics, our informal conversation turned into a profound discussion about distractions during Mass. We focused first on two questions: Do you feel distracted during mass? If so, what are your distractions?" The responses included the following summary:READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
In 2011, I was blessed to be able to visit St. Petersburg, Russia. The Hermitage art museum is located there. The museum has over 3,000,000 items and the largest collection of paintings in the world. It was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764. One of the six museum buildings was the Winter Palace where Russian emperors lived. It also happens to house the original painting: The Return of the Prodigal Son, by Rembrandt. The painting is over 8-1/2 ft tall and 6-3/4 ft wide. As I turned a corner, I saw this amazing painting. This small copy does not do it justice. But I mention it because it is the parable we hear today in Luke's Gospel. And the painting itself tells the story that we hear in the Gospel. How can the painting tell the story? Well, there are a few interesting details in the painting that help us understand the story. First, the son is kneeling before his father. He is in a total state of submission and is asking his father's forgiveness (perhaps this reminds you of confession). Secondly, a closer look at the son reveals that his clothes are all torn and tattered. He is missing one of his sandals. He is a wreck. But the father is well dressed; he is slightly stooped over, and he has his hands on his son's shoulder. It is the ultimate expression of mercy. And his hands are very different. The left hand is larger with stronger features- making it look more masculine. The right hand is smaller and smoother, suggesting a female hand. The implication is that there is both a strong guiding hand of a father and a soft nurturing hand of a mother. The older son is standing off to the side with his hands folded – judging this unconditional act of mercy by his father.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
I want to share with you that next weekend we will have our Stewardship Expo after all Masses in the Parish Center. This event was previously scheduled in the Fall but postponed due to Hurricane Sandy. Our Parish Center which is designated by the Red Cross as an emergency facility was very close to being utilized at that time for our community.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family-
"Look, he's wearing green today!" That's how I was greeted by one senior as I entered Independence Manor a few Sunday's ago for a morning Communion Service. She noticed that my stole was green as is the customary color for Ordinary Time, that is, the longest "season" of the church year, between all of the extraordinary seasons like Christmas and Lent.
And speaking of Christmas and Lent, what a trick the calendar played on us this year! In what seemed like a blink of an eye we quickly moved from the Christmas Season, briefly into Ordinary Time, and now into Lent. I wonder, on my next visit to Independence Manor, will that same senior say "look he's wearing purple today!"READ MORE
Dear Fellow Parishioners:
For those of you who do not know me, I chair the Commission for Evangelization and Adult Catechesis at St. Magdalen's. I am also the wife of Deacon Stephen, and we have three wonderful children, Stephanie, Kevin and Kristen. My previous letter for the bulletin was written just before the arrival of Superstorm Sandy and never made it to the printer! I hope you have all recovered from that storm and pray that you weather all the "storms" that life brings your way.READ MORE