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Fr. Ron's Blog


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.

From the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist in Chapter 1 of Luke’s Gospel, to Paul’s final discourse to the community in Rome, in the last chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit is the guiding, teaching and empowering Divine Presence (1) in Jesus (“Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days,: Luke 4:1), (2) in the community (It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us,” Acts 15:28) and (3) in individuals (“While Peter was still speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word. The circumcised believers were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, “Acts10:44-45). For Luke, the Holy Spirit is no abstract third person of the Trinity, but the life-force, poured forth from God, and filling every Christian person, and the Church, to witness to Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior.

Sometimes, at the very beginning of walking with and working with couples preparing for marriage, the question is asked whether Confirmation is required to “get married in the church.” Without insulting anyone, this view of Confirmation (receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit) is very narrow and out-of-focus. It sees it as law and discipline, not as gift and life; as something to be done, rather than the Presence of One Who directs and animates the doing; as something static, which can be recorded in a register, rather than active, filling, empowering, motivating, strengthening for day-to-day living as witness in what can be, at best, an apathetic world and, at worst, a hostile world in which the living of the Christian message is seen as retarding world progress.

It is the Holy Spirit Who awakens in every Christian that call to be that witness, and to discover the role Christ has called us to fulfill in the plan for His Church. As pope Emeritus Benedict XVI spoke when he addressed a Parish Pastoral Council: “Every person carries within himself (herself), a project of God, a personal vocation, a personal idea of God, on what he (she) is required to do in history to build His Church, a living temple of His presence.” It is the Holy Spirit who makes us aware of this “project” and gives us the gifts to carry it out.

In the past, I have cited a prayer that Pope St. John XXIII prayed for a new Pentecost, a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit to enliven the Church once again so that it might truly give life to the world; for a new awakening in the Church and in every Christian, of the power that comes from the Spirit, a power to be the kind of believer that the men and women we meet in the Acts of the Apostles were. I present it again on this Pentecost Sunday and invite you to recite it every day, as this great Saint did, and as I do. More than ever, the world needs a new Spirit. Here is the Prayer of Pope Saint John XXIII to the Holy Spirit.

“O Holy Spirit, Paraclete, perfect in each one of us, the work begun by Jesus: enable us to continue to pray fervently in the name of the whole world: hasten in every one of us the growth of a profound interior life; give vigor to our apostolate so that it may reach all men and all peoples, all redeemed by the Blood of Christ and all belonging to Him. Mortify in us our natural pride, and raise us to the realms of holy humility, of real fear of God, of generous courage. Let no earthly bond prevent us from honoring our vocation, no cowardly considerations disturb the claims of justice, no meanness confine the immensity of charity within the narrow bounds of petty selfishness. Let everything in us be on a grand scale: the search for truth and the devotion to it, and readiness for self-sacrifice, even to the cross and death; and may everything finally be according to the last prayer of the Son to His heavenly father, and according to the pouring out of your Spirit, O Holy Spirit of love, Whom the Father and the Son desired to be poured out over the Church and her institutions, over the souls of men and of nations. Come, Holy Spirit, come. Amen.

On Saturday, May 26th, Cardinal Tobin will ordain nine men for the service of the Church of Newark as presbyters, priests. In the Preface of the Mass of Ordination, the ordaining Bishop prays, “For Christ not only adorns with a royal priesthood the people he has made his own (that’s the whole Church, every man, woman and child), but with a brother’s kindness he also chooses men to become sharers in his sacred ministry through the laying on of hands. They are to renew in his name the sacrifice of human redemption, to set before your children the paschal banquet (the Mass), to lead your holy people in charity, to nourish them with your word and strengthen them with the Sacraments. As they give up their lives for you and for the salvation of their brothers and sisters, they strive to be conformed to the image of Christ himself and offer you a constant witness of faith and love.”
Let’s also pray for them this week, as they spend this week of retreat in preparation for their ordination, that they fulfill in their lives the words of the Bishop. And let us pray in a special way for Deacon Jakov who has spent the last year with us, that he will be the kind of priest who truly is conformed to the image of Christ himself. Fr. Jakov will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving next Sunday at 12:30, with a reception to follow in the Parish Center. Please join him in wishing him our prayerful best for his service as a priest of the Church of Newark.

God Bless,
Fr. Ron

PS. Tomorrow (Monday) will be the last night of Monday night confessions, which are suspended from Memorial Day through Labor Day.


April 1-3
with Mike Patin
Click here for details

Mass Schedule

Weekend Liturgies
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
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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