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Fr. Ron's Blog

Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,

First, I want to thank all the students from the Academy of Our Lady who participated in last weekend's liturgies. The readers, the greeters, the gift bearers and the speakers all did a wonderful job and are a testament to the success of the Academy as a CATHOLIC and a SCHOOL. It is a Catholic School worth supporting and worth considering for your children. My column on the Academy can still be found in the bulletin section on the website.

Today, after many delays, is what used to be called PLEDGE SUNDAY, for the Annual Appeal, which used to be called the Archdiocesan Annual Appeal. And Pledge Sunday used to be on Super Bowl Sunday. (Remember the monitors we used to rent to show the video?) That's a lot of "used to be's." This weekend one thing remains the same- we will show the video from the Cardinal and I will speak for a few minutes after it.

Dear Friends,

This weekend was to have been Pledge Sunday for the Annual Appeal of the Archdiocese of Newark, postponed from last weekend because of our celebration of The Sunday of the Word of God. But I have been listening to the weather forecasts (on as many channels as possible) for this weekend and even though they all predict the storm will be further east than originally forecast, I know that even 2 to six inches would pose a problem for attendance. So I am postponing the In Pew weekend until next weekend, the first weekend in February which had been the pledge weekend for many years.

Dear Friends,

Five "attention getters," - events which I would like to put in your minds today.

-This weekend, we celebrate the Sunday of the Word of God " On September 30, 2019 (only 6 months before the pandemic in the United States), Pope Francis proclaimed the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time as the Sunday of the Word of God In that proclamation, the Pope reminded us that the life of the Christian must be marked by his/her relationship with the "living word" that the Lord never tires of speaking to his people. He calls the Bible the "people's book," which speaks to us of Christ and helps us to believe in all that He has said and done. The Scripture is a fascinating treasure of God's relationship with the people He has chosen, first forming the people of the Old Covenant and then, the people of the New Covenant and their successors-us. We are "people of the Book. And the Book, Sacred Scripture, speaks to us, not only of the on-going formation of those relationships, but of our relationship with that very same God and His presence in our lives. To highlight the importance of Scripture in our relationship with our God, and especially with our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Book of the Gospels will be "enthroned" in the sanctuary after the reading of the Gospel at each Mass. Elsewhere in this bulletin you can find some practical suggestions about ways to incorporate more reading of Scripture in your daily lives.

Dear Friends,

Up and coming.

As the Second Vatican Council was ending, the Council Fathers expressed their desire to (now) Pope St. Paul VI that there be a way to continue the collegial experience that the Council exemplified, a way to be in communion with and assistance to the Roman Pontiff in the leadership of the Church. In response, on September 15, 1965 the Pope established the Synod of Bishops, a permanent body to enshrine the desire of the Council Father. The word synod comes from two Greek words meaning the "way" "together," basically an assembly, a people walking together on the road of life.

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year. Since I gave up my space last week to Fr. Frank, I'm late in wishing you every blessing for the New Year. I hope your Christmas was filled with a special experience of the presence of the Prince of Peace who brings you, not only peace, but hope for the future, knowing that His "enfleshment" is a real guarantee that He walks with us, accompanies us, is by our side in every moment of our lives. To enable us to get through the ever-present COVID-19, and all its variants (I just heard of a new one, from Southern France, on the news this morning), with all its twists and turns, we need to experience that presence which is Peace, itself. In this special season, I hope you have found that. I also hope your Christmas was spent with the people you love the most in the world and that your mutual love for each other was comforting and encouraging.

A Christmas Message From the Pastor

In this time of national anxiety and division, vaccinated/ unvaccinated, masked/unmasked, and world suffering and disruption, when omicron seems to be putting a pall over previously upbeat holiday plans, I repeat a Christmas column I wrote several years ago. At one time, the Advent Little Blue Book did a reflection on the word "merry." I quote. "Merry did not originally convey a sense of jolly, mirthful. It meant something more along the lines of 'blessed, peaceful'-a deep inner joy rather than revelry. One gets a sense of its original meaning in the well-known carol, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. As can be seen from the comma, the word is not used to describe jolly gentlemen, but rather a blessing from God invoked upon them."

Dear Friends,

As I mentioned in my column last week, Advent is the second longest it can be this year. You might be saying what is he talking about, isn't Advent always 4 weeks long. Yes and no. Advent always has four Sundays, but isn't always four weeks long. When Christmas is on a Saturday, as it is this year, the 4th Sunday of Advent will be followed by 6 days, including Christmas Eve. When Christmas is on a Sunday, as it will be next year, Advent will have a full week following the 4th Sunday. But the following year, 2023, Christmas will be on a Monday and so the 4th Sunday of Advent will also be Christmas Eve, and Advent will have no days following the 4th Sunday. Just a little ecclesiastical liturgical trivia.

Dear Friends,

I wonder if you're having the same feelings that I am. I can't believe Christmas is less than two weeks away (ok, by 1 day only). But I'm also having a feeling that I'm sure you're not-that we seem to have been in Advent forever. Advent this year is one day shorter than the longest it can be. And next year it will be the longest-4 full weeks. How these two realities play in my mind is that at one and the same time I know how much I have to do but I'm fooled into thinking I have a lot of time to do it, but I don't. And neither do you. And we're on the same page with that one.

Dear Friends,

As I write this on Wednesday evening, the government has just announced the first case of the Omicron variant in the United States in San Francisco. But the individual had been vaccinated, but not "boosted," the symptoms had been mild and the individual was on the road to recovery. What to make of these circumstances in light of the original predictions the day after Thanksgiving? Well, I might say, "your guess is as good as mine."

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! WHAT????? Has the pastor lost his mind? New Year's Day is still a month away. But not in the eyes and mind of the Church. This is the first weekend of Advent, the beginning of the new Liturgical Year in the life of the Church. Literally Advent means "to come to," to come to that moment when God would speak to us in an irrevocable way, assuring us of His presence, not just at that moment in chronological history (4 BC, when history tells us Jesus was born), but for all time. Advent is the time to remember that irrevocable moment and to prepare for His 2nd Coming in that remembering. It is a time of preparation.

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