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Fr. Ron's Blog

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Dear Friends,
Varia – A number of different subjects, sometimes unrelated

- As I write for this weekend, I have finished signing 164 1stCommunion certificates. This weekend concludes the five celebrations of one of the happiest moments in the life of a parish, the reception of the Eucharist for the first time by our second graders, all of whose names can be found on the front cover of this week’s bulletin. After eight months of preparation, they have come to the altar to receive Jesus’ greatest gift to His Church, HIMSELF, IN HIS REAL PRESENCE, for the life of the believer. Next weekend, Friday night and twice on Saturday, the parish will celebrate the conferral of the Holy Spirit by Bishop Manuel Cruz on 181 of our 9thgraders, and their names will appear on the front cover of next weekend’s bulletin. In just four weekends, 345 of our young people will be sharers in what stands at the heart of our Catholic experience – Jesus’ continued presence in us, the community of believers, the Church, through the Sacraments.

It is a good time to remember that we are a sacramental church, that we believe that Christ acts through designated celebrational moments, during which he has promised to be present in a powerful way to deepen the life of the believer’s union with Himself. This experience of Jesus’ presence in the life of the believer is what makes us tick. It motivates us to build the Kingdom of God, or at least, to try. It gladdens our hearts as we walk with Him on the road of our journey through life. It consoles us in our sorrows, encourages us in our struggles; gives us rest when we are weary and helps us trust when there doesn’t seem to be any answers to our searching. In short, our faith, our practice of religion is about HIS REAL PRESENCE in our lives. I congratulate all of our first communicants and our about-to-be confirmandi, for continuing to walk with the Lord, and I want to thank all their parents. Despite the state of the Church today, you still believe that Jesus wants to walk with your children in faith, that He wants to share their lives, and lead them to goodness, hope, peace and fulfillment. Thank you for not giving up, as difficult a struggle as that may have been.

- As I have already mentioned, next weekend we will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation, the conferral of the Holy Spirit, on 181 of our young men and women, finishing their 9thgrade. They come to this moment, presented by their families, having spent the last year in a program of preparation that included study (in their small group classes, prayer and reflection (especially during their retreat weekend) and service (outreach to those in need). While I don’t get a chance to sit in on their classes, I did spend the major part of four weekends with them at the Youth Retreat Center in Kearny. I have always been impressed by their honesty and sincerity, even their wonderings about God and His presence in their lives. I am moved by their willingness to share with each other. I am excited by the enthusiasm with which they leave the retreat. Of course, as it is with adults (after Cornerstone, for instance), that enthusiasm can diminish when they return to their routine activities, and it is the challenge of parenting and parish leadership to try to keep up that level of enthusiasm.

Because of scheduling conflicts, I was not able to attend the two sessions at which they reported on their service projects, but Glen McCall, our Director of Youth Ministry, has provided me a summary of those presentations. The projects included the collection of new socks and used coats for the homeless; household and kitchen items for single mothers moving into homes of their own; food for local pantries and books and art supplies. Groups worked with children and adults with physical and/or psychological disorders, made blankets and visited children at St. Joseph’s Hospital, spent time with those in the last stages of their lives at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Totowa, and purchased new toys for children with cancer and visited them at both Hackensack Hospital and the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation. Other groups worked at Camp Sunshine/Snowflake. A group raised funds for the Ignation Spirituality Group which runs retreats for the homeless and wrote notes to those who would be attending. Services and/or assistance were provided to the Fr. English Center, Paterson, Hilltop Homeless Shelter, Passaic County Women’s Center, Raphael’s Life House, Elizabeth, Paterson and Passaic Boys and Girls Club.

It’s a wonderful thing to watch teenagers grow and mature, and to see the ways in which they begin to offer the world around them some small part of the gifts and talents with which they have been blessed. God can do great things with minds and hearts open to Him, filled with the enthusiasm for good that comes from the Sacrament of Confirmation. Blessings on those to be confirmed next weekend.

- Finally a Mother’s Day reflection:
There are times when only a Mother’s love
Can understand our tears,
Can soothe our disappointments
And calm all of our fears.
There are times when only a Mother’s love
Can share the joy we feel
When something we’ve dreamed about
Quite suddenly is real.
There are times when only a Mother’s faith
Can help us on life’s way
And inspire in us the confidence
We need from day to day.
For a Mother’s heart and a Mother’s faith
And a Mother’s steadfast love
Were fashioned by the Angels
And sent from God above.
Author Unknown

Each of us has our own stories to tell about the special woman who so shaped our lives. Tell them again, today, even if it’s only to your own heart. There is an old Spanish proverb: “An ounce of mother is better than a pound of clergy.” How true. All the masses today are offered for all our mothers, the parish gift to you, and the carnations have returned as our gift, as well.

Happy Mother’s Day to all our mothers.

God Bless,
Fr. Ron

PS. And a special remembrance to that special woman God has given us to share a Mother’s love from heaven, Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother. “Gentle woman, quiet light, morning star, so strong and bright, gentle Mother, peaceful dove, teach us wisdom, teach us LOVE

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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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