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Fr. Ron's Blog

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Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,

If this were a normal year, on the 1st Sunday after Easter, officially called the Second Sunday of Easter, and also, Divine Mercy Sunday, I would be writing a column filled with thank-yous to all of the people who made our Easter celebrations possible. This year, that list would be a little shorter. First on that list would be the three people who were responsible for getting the Holy Week/Easter celebrations into your homes, Peter Sicko, our Director of Music, Glen McCall, our Director of Youth Ministry and Josip Zubac. Without these three we would have been in the dark, technologically speaking. All of the things that needed to be done, the production, the internet connections with our webmaster, Facebook, YouTube, and whatever else goes into live-streaming were done through their knowledge, expertise and dedication. A special “shout-out” (to use a phrase that seems to be popular with our Governor) to Josip. This is his line of work and he came forward, not only to offer his services, but his equipment as well which has made a world of difference in the production. I am so grateful to him and to Peter and Glen for all their efforts, and to Chris Wright of our maintenance staff who ran the necessary wiring to the equipment and who also saw to it that the church looked as close to normal “for the seasons” as we could possibly get.

Dear Friends,

As I write this on the Monday of Holy Week, the temperature outside is forecast to reach 65, the sun is shining and the sky is a bright blue. The weather outside belies the great war going on in our community, in our country and around the world against the latest enemy of our peace, COVID 19.

Dear Friends,

Thoughts that run through an idle mind, but these days my mind is filled with thoughts so it should read:

Idle thoughts that run through an over-active mind.
-First and foremost, I think of those who have passed from this virus, for the dying and the sick, especially the members of this community. They are always on my mind and in my prayers. If you have a family member who is sick, please let us know so we can put that person on our numerous prayer chains. But because of the HIPPA laws, only a family member can do this.

Dear Friends,

Before a reflection on today’s Scripture, I just put a few reminders out there.

1. On Sunday, 3/29, we will live-stream Mass at 11:00AM from the Mary Chapel (daily Mass chapel). Like last Sunday, I think the plan is to put the link on the homepage of the website. Also like last Sunday, it will only go live at 11:00AM so be patient.

2. At the direction of the Archdiocese, all churches are to be closed until further notice. In addition, all wakes, funerals, weddings and baptisms are suspended and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, (confessions) is suspended until further notice, with the exception of extreme emergency which means in the possibility of death. All these until further notice.

Dear Friends,
I hope and pray all are well, first and foremost physically. At daily Mass, during the Universal Prayer (at one time called the Prayer of the Faithful, then the General Intercessions, now the Universal Prayer) I add an intention for our present circumstances, first for the sick, then for their caregivers and all health care personnel, then for all of us and finally for a speedy end to the present medical emergency. I also hope and pray for your spiritual, emotional and psychological well being because this is certainly a time of stress and anxiety about so much in our lives that we have taken for granted. Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you.” (Matt. 11: 28). I fear those burdens will only increase over time. I pray the Lord fills you with a peace that comes from a faith in His presence in your lives and you draw strength from that to face every day, every challenge, every burden with renewed confidence.

Dear Friends,
First, 3 “current event” words. If plans hold true, Hudson Street should be closed this weekend, as it has been all week. As I understand it, this is to complete the placement of the large pre-cast concrete pieces in place, for which that huge crane needed to be on Hudson Street itself. According to plan, that work should be completed by March 20th. If, for some reason, there seems to be a delay in that time-line, we’ll put that info up on our website. I just remind you that the lot behind 106 Prospect, as well as our own lot behind the convent and two white houses are always available for parking on the weekend, as well as the spaces at 68 Passaic (not 74), so generously offered by the Vaughn Insurance Company.

Dear Friends,
We continue on our Lenten journey. Today, our 1stReading presents us with the beginning of the relationship God enters into with Abram, whose name God will later change to Abraham. God invites Abram to move, to leave his land to find a new home. It will be the beginning of many invitations to Abraham to follow Him and each time, Abraham listens. In a special way, it marks the beginning of God’s self-revelation that will continue and find its completion in the revelation of Jesus Christ—Son of God. For his obedience, God has designated Abraham, and his descendants, as those people through whom He will bless the entire world. We know those people to be the Jewish people. Abraham is their “father in faith,” but he is ours as well, for from him has come Jesus, through whom God’s blessings and grace will flow in abundance. And those people who believe in Him are now the new Chosen people, the new People of God — us.

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone made a good beginning of Lent by their observance of Ash Wednesday. Today is the 1stSunday of Lent. We all know about Lent. When I think about Lent, I think about “giving up,” about fasting, about the “color purple,” about A & P Catholics (ashes and palms, and for folks my age, “hot cross” buns (remember them?). Lent is filled with so many images. But Lent is really a journey. Theologically and liturgically it is a remembering, of Moses’ 40 days on Mount Sinai, of Elijah’s 40 day trek to that same mountain centuries later (and we will meet them again next week in the Gospel), of the 40 year journey of the Hebrews through the wilderness and the 40 day journey of Jesus through the desert. And for us, it is a 40 day reflection on our own journey through life, or, at least, through this past year. What it really should be for us is a 40 day examination of my interior life. Where am I in my life? How did I get here? Is this where I want to be? Where am I going? Where do I want to go? And how do I get there?

Dear Friends,
Today, I want to write on three separate themes. The first is the conclusion of my three columns asking for your support for the 2020 Annual Appeal. The first two areas of support were, I think, easy to understand, the support for vocations to the priesthood and the support for the work of Catholic Charities. The last two areas, while understandable, may not be as gripping. But they are as important, and even critical, to the work of the Church. They are Passing on the Faith and Proclaiming the Gospel. They are at the heart of what the Church is all about. In the last chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, before his Ascension, Jesus directs the Apostles, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” (Matt. 28:19). It is the primary work of the Church to announce the Good News. Both Proclaiming the Gospel and Passing on the Faith are lived in fulfillment of Jesus’ command.

Dear friends,
“You are the light of the world.” These are the challenging words of last Sunday’s Gospel. I said several times last week this is one Gospel where no detailed theological explanation is needed. “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” It is your good deeds that will bring glory to God. And the variety of those good deeds are as many as the stars in the heavens and the sands on the shore of the sea.

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