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Fr. Ron's Blog



There will be NO CONFESSIONS this coming Monday, February 18, 2019 (Presidents' Day)

Fr. Ron's Blog

By Katharine Clemente, 4th Grade Teacher at Academy of Our Lady


Once again the title of this article shamelessly references our Spring musical, Beauty and the Beast Jr. and of course, I encourage everyone to join us the first weekend of May for our theatrical presentation, but advertising the show is not the purpose of this message.

Last year’s piece focused on the feeling of nostalgia and family that I have experienced since coming back to work at Academy of Our Lady. It focused on how wonderful I think our school is, and has always been. I assured readers that our faculty, staff, and students felt that way too.

Well, Readers, it is time you saw for yourselves.

Dear Friends,
What a pleasure to feel warmer temperatures, even if they’re not exactly spring-like. But it appears, even as you read this, that they might be heading down again, with the possibility of more snow. Oh well, it is, after all, only January.

I write today about two things, one spiritual, one material.

First, the spiritual. By now, after mentioning it for so many years, I am sure most of you know that I make my annual retreat at the same time and in the same place every year (the one exception being 2005 when I made it in the Holy Land). I make a hermitage experience with the Hermits of Bethlehem, in Chester, New Jersey, always during the first week of Advent. From the time I make the reservation, I have a picture in my mind of how everything will go, including a well-timed snowstorm, cold, blustery weather and the like (it rarely happens that way, in fact, this year, it was fairly balmy).

And without fail, in the week or so preceding the start, I’m tempted to postpone or cancel until it’s “more convenient.” After all, it’s at the start of the pre-Christmas rush, with planning, shopping, partying, Christmas cards to be sent, etc., etc. Especially this year, with the Advent season so short, the temptation to postpone was very great. So, it’s a harried time, filled with a lot of activity and important “stuff” to do.

Dear Friends,
Because the last day of the year (2017) fell on a Sunday, the Sunday we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family, and therefore the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, was not a day of obligation this year, many did not come for Mass on January 1st and so we didn’t get a chance to wish you a happy new year and so I do it now, Happy New Year. 2017 was certainly a difficult year in many ways and I must admit many, including myself, are not sorry to see it pass, and with its passing, the hope that life will improve in this new year, with less terrorist threats, more civility in our political and social dialogue, a renewed heart to solve the worldwide ills that afflict so many and greater efforts for peace in our time. I can think of no greater prayer for this than the prayer given to Aaron and quoted in last week’s 1st Reading: “The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you and give you peace.” So may it be for all of us.

Dear Friends,
Before we turn to the celebration of Holy Family Sunday, a word about tomorrow, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and New Year’s Day. Some years ago, the Bishops of the United States decided that when a holyday fell on a Saturday or a Monday that, while it was retained as a Solemnity, it would no longer carry the obligation to attend Mass (with the exception of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord). This is what happens this year. Tomorrow’s Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is not a day of obligation. Consequently, you are not obliged to attend Mass. Because of this, the Sunday evening Mass this weekend is celebrated as the Mass for Holy Family Sunday, and not an anticipated Mass of tomorrow’s Feast. Also please note the times for tomorrow’s masses, at 8:30 and 10:00 AM, 12:00 noon and 3:00 PM in Spanish.

Dear Friends,
In the Christmas Message, sent to all the parish households, Jesus is identified as “light to our path.” There is still so much darkness in our world. The recent attacks in New York, as well as the security precautions we face every time we board a plane, reminds us of the potential for terror that lurks just below the surface of our daily lives. There are still thousands who are homeless and jobless, still living in darkness, three months after the devastation of Hurricanes Irma & Maria, in South Texas and numerous islands of the Caribbean. Thousands are still dying of starvation and genocide in the Southern Arabian Peninsula and Southeast Asia. And there is the daily anxiety for the safety of the men and women in our Armed Services, our relatives and friends, in far-off Iraq and Afghanistan, and the “peace-keeping” mission in Africa, which recently saw the deaths of five American soldiers. Yes, there is plenty of darkness around us.

Dear Friends,
A big thank you to the members of our 5 choirs who helped us all get into the spirit of the Christmas as they performed for us in the Christmas Concert a week ago this past Friday evening. Every one of them was outstanding and the extraordinary thing is that we have 5 choirs; the Children’s Choir, the Contemporary Choir, the Spanish Choir, the Adult Choir and the Bell Choir. And four of these choirs sing every week to help us celebrate the Eucharist better, the Children’s Choir at the 9:30AM, the Contemporary Choir at the 6:30PM, the Spanish Choir at the 3:00PM and the Adult Choir at the 11:00AM. What a great tribute to the generosity (of time) and talent of so many who offer their voices in praise of the Lord. Thanks again, choir members. And we can’t forget the instrumentalists who both accompanied them and did a solo themselves. They also play on Sundays. And to the cantors for the inspirational and magnificent harmony of the variation on the Ave Maria. And to the directors who keep it all together. And to the volunteers who handled the wonderful reception and to Bartlett Tree who did an exceptional job with the tree lights this year.

Dear Friends,
As I mentioned last week, I have been on retreat all week and so I turn my column over to five young people who share their reactions to their attendance at the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis a couple of weekends ago.

Dear Friends,
This is the first weekend of Advent, the beginning of the new Liturgical Year in the life of the Church. I’m sure you remember that the Sunday readings for the Liturgical Year are celebrated in a three-year cycle, simply referred to as Years A, B and C. Having completed a journey through the Gospel of Matthew (Year A in the Lectionary), we now begin a similar journey through the Gospel of Mark (identified as Year B). This means that except for certain seasons, and certain feasts, our Sunday readings are generally taken up with a continuous reading of Mark’s Gospel. As I have in the past, I want to share a few thoughts with you on this Gospel.

Dear Friends,
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King, and the last Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year. As feasts go, Christ the King is really the late-comer. As I have written before, it was inaugurated by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as a counterweight to the growing trend to deify the state as the ultimate source of both power and loyalty. This was most especially exemplified by the totalitarian governments of the time, especially the communists in Russia, the fascists in Italy and, later, the Nazis in Germany. The Church was reacting to systems of government that sought to place themselves, instead of God, in the hearts of their citizens. While all three may have gone away, the errors they propounded have stayed, taking other forms.

Dear Friends,
If you read the Mass schedule for daily or Sunday masses you might have realized that my name has been missing. No, I didn’t secretly retire and sneak off in the middle of the night. I saved ten days from my summer vacation to take a cruise and so, hopefully, I am sailing the Caribbean under some very warm and sunny skies. By the time you read this, those ten days will be almost over and unless I stow away, I’ll see you next weekend.

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 



Click Here for the Video in English and Spanish