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Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,
As we begin this week, several significant spiritual moments lay before us. The first is today’s celebration of Fr. Jakov’s Mass of Thanksgiving. As I have mentioned several times over the last weeks, Fr. Jakov was ordained a priest at the Cathedral Basilica in Newark yesterday. While I understand the special connection of being ordained in the Bishop’s church, sometimes I wish each deacon could be ordained in the parish where they served as a deacon, so people could experience the beautiful rite that is ordination. Two moments always stand out in my mind as special, the prostration after the call and the laying on of hands. The candidates are first called by name, for the service of the Church of Newark. Their response, “Present,” expresses their willingness to offer their lives in service to Christ and His Church, the People of God. After promises to the Bishop, they prostrate themselves, lying on the sanctuary floor, while the people ask God, Mary, all the angels and saints, in a long, sung litany, to intercede for them and those they serve, keeping them faithful to the call they just answered. The prostration is a reminder to the priest-to-be that he gives up his life, offered to Christ and His Church, for the sake of the Kingdom, and that he humbly puts aside all pride and places both strengths and weaknesses in the hands of God to share in the Priesthood of Christ, Who is, Himself, the High Priest.

Dear Friends,
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost, the gift from the Father and the Son of their Spirit to the disciples, gathered again in a room, which officially makes them the Church. And so, as we used to say in times past, today is the Feast of the birthday of the Church. We old timers remember the days when Pentecost would have been highlighted as the birthdate of the Church. And this is something that can’t be denied. As it is with all birthdays, so it is with the Church, born from the side of her crucified Lord, (as many great spiritual writers have reflected down through the ages), and brought to life by the power of the Holy Spirit. And so, Happy Birthday, Church! I repeat below some thoughts from years past because, I believe they help us reflect on the full reality of this great gift the Church receives from her Lord.

Since the Second Vatican Council, there has been a different focus for this Feast, one that helps us get a greater grasp of the reality that we celebrate today, and it is not so much on the Church as it is on the Holy Spirit as the Divine presence that animates the Church. Of all the references to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, more than half are to be found in the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. The Acts of the Apostles is often referred to as the Gospel of the Holy Spirit.

Dear Friends,
This being Mother’s Day, we offer this prayer:

God Our Creator, we pray:
For new mothers, coming to terms with
new responsibility;
For expectant mothers, wondering
and waiting;
For those who are tired, stressed or
depressed;
For those struggling to balance the tasks of work and family;
For those unable to feed their children due to poverty;
For those whose children have physical,
mental or emotional disabilities;
For those who have children they do
not want;
For those who raise children on their own;
For those who have lost a child;
For those who care for the children
of others;
For those whose children have left home;
And for those whose desire to be a mother
has not been fulfilled.
Bless all mothers, that their love may be deep and
tender, And that they may lead their children to know and do what is good, Living not for them-selves alone, but for God and for others.
Amen.

Dear Friends,
On a happy note, I share with you the great joy of the parish in welcoming to the Table of the Lord for the first time, the 165 children whose names are listed on the front of this bulletin. The last two celebrations were held yesterday. To be with them at all of these celebrations is a great privilege of being the pastor of this local Catholic community. They not only represent the future of the Church but also it’s present. They come from families who believe that faith is an important part of family living and that these children, themselves, contribute to the deepening of the faith life of our parish community. I congratulate all of them, their families, relatives and friends and pray that, together, we all will continue on the road of building the Kingdom of God’s love among us.

Dear Friends,
Thanks to all who wondered if I was OK because I didn’t write a column for last Sunday’s bulletin. I’m fine, just a little bout of mental laziness.

Speaking of last week, there may have been some confusion about the raffle for the Academy of Our Lady. In the past, raffle tickets cost $100 for the Grand Prize of $25,000. I think it’s been harder and harder to sell those $100 tickets so the Committee has replaced that raffle with this new one—A Calendar Raffle. I’ll admit, I never heard of this before. In the Calendar Raffle, a prize is drawn every day in June, July, August and the first five days of September, $100 on most Fridays with the last Friday of each month being $300, $50 on all the other days and $4,000 on the last day, September 5th. And even if you win, your ticket stays in the pot for the whole 97 days. That gives the ticket holder multiple chances to win. And the tickets cost only $20. All proceeds go for the benefit of the school. I hope and encourage everyone to take at least one ticket. It’s definitely worth it. Raffle tickets will not be available this weekend because of the “Shake the Can” drive of the Knights of Columbus, for the benefit of the developmentally disabled but tickets will be available on several weekends in May.

Dear Friends,
Random thoughts that run through an idle mind

My column on Easter Sunday began, “As I write this on the Monday of Holy Week, the temperature outside is only 36 but the sun is shining and the sky is a bright blue, and so, I can be hopeful we have actually seen the last of winter.”

How wrong I was. The day after that appeared, on Easter Monday, I was scheduled to leave for my first posthurricane Irma visit to the Missio in the Turks and Caicos Islands. I drove to Newark Airport that morning in a blinding snow storm. None of the roads, including the Turnpike, had been either plowed or salted. I can’t remember the last time I ventured out in a storm like that. And then a three and a half hour delay, but at least my flight got out, unlike many others that day.

Dear Friends,
Much like Easter Sunday, the 2nd Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, requires mentioning a few of the same things, year after year. First on the list is to say, “thank you.”

So, let me express my thanks to all those who helped make the Holy Week and Easter services so moving. A thank you to the people behind the scenes, Peggy and Patti in the office and, especially to Sal and Chris, from the maintenance staff, for weeks of hard work on the floors of the church, to make vanish the effects of the late-blooming winter. I want to especially say thanks to Fr. Robert and the liturgical ministers who planned and carried out some unique Masses/services which really happen only once a year. The servers seemed especially attentive and experienced in their tasks this year. The liturgies were so well done and, therefore, so spiritually moving.

Dear Friends,
As I write this on the Monday of Holy Week, the temperature outside is only 36 but the sun is shining and the sky is a bright blue, and so, I can be hopeful that we have actually seen the last of winter. And while I wish it would get warmer faster, the week ahead promises to be better than the first three weeks of March.

For the last several days, I have been looking at the rites for Holy Week. Because these celebrations come only once a year, most priests look them over in advance to be sure we know what we’re doing. While I was looking into the Easter Vigil celebration, at which I will preside, as we welcome two new adult members, and three children of catechetical age, into the Church, my attention was drawn to one particular part of the Vigil. Very early in the Vigil, after the congregation has processed into a darkened church, lit only by the single light of the Paschal Candle, the preeminent symbol of Christ, Who lights the world, Deacon Jakov will proclaim The Exultet, the Church’s proclamation of her Easter faith.

Dear Friends,
Below is a repeat of an article I wrote a few years ago and have re-printed several times already. The importance of Holy Week hasn’t changed; neither have my thoughts on the subject. For us, who call ourselves Christians, this is, in fact, the holiest week of the year. May each of us see the significance of these days and observe them accordingly...

With Palm Sunday, the Church begins the remembrance of Jesus’ last days on earth. Of special importance are the days of the Easter Triduum, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday/the Easter Vigil. On these days, the Church looks at the events which have become the center of our salvation.

Dear Friends,
Through these Lenten readings, we continue on our journey with Jesus on this, the 5th Sunday of Lent. These closing verses of Chapter 12 mark the end of the so-called Book of Signs, the twelve chapters in the first part of the Gospel of John in which Jesus performs signs which point to Who He is – the Son of God. In today’s excerpted text, the arrival of Greeks is the fulfillment of the prophecy unknowingly uttered by the Pharisees (in verse 19) that the whole world is “going after him.” But their arrival gives Jesus the occasion once again to remind his disciples of his, now imminent, suffering and death for the life of the world. At Cana, He had told His mother that his hour had not yet come; now he announces His hour has come.

weeklybulletin1

Mass Schedule

Weekend Liturgies
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday
8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,
11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m.,
3 p.m. (Spanish), 6:30 p.m.
Weekday Liturgies
Monday thru Friday,
6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m.,
and 12 noon
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. only
Holy Days
Eve: 7:30pm (anticipated)
6:30am, 8:30am, and 12noon 

 

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