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Fr. Ron's Blog

Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends:

The bulletin company has given us another early deadline, so l write this on Tuesday, December 8th, the Solemnity of the lmmaculate Conception.

Each day, every priest in the world prays the official prayer of the Church. It is called the Liturgy of the Hours. In the past it has been referred to simply as the Breviary (or Brev.) or the Divine 0ffice (or Office). One of the intentions in praying it was to sanctify the parts of the day by requiring it to be prayed at certain times of the day. Its composition is a combination of the psalms, readings from Scripture and spiritual writers, intercessions and prayers.

Dear Friends:

Normally I would have been on retreat last week with the Hermits of Bethlehem, a beautiful, secluded spot in the woods of Morris County. Just another change to life, thanks to Covid 19. But even without a physically "apart" retreat, Advent, itself, can be a kind of retreat for me and for you as well. It is the time of readying our hearts to once again welcome God's greatest gift to us - His Son, Jesus the Christ, and in His Son, God's very self. Last Sunday's Responsorial Psalm started us off, "Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved." (Psalm 80). The invitation was there - shine forth, look down, give us new life, rouse your power and come to us. This is God's invitation to all of us in this season that, turning toward Him, we might find new hope.

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:

Thursday of this week is Thanksgiving Day, which each of us, no doubt, will celebrate in a far different way than ever before. In my column it would have been my custom to encourage everyone to attend our special Eucharistic celebration with the blessing and distribution of bread to take to your Thanksgiving tables and "break" with all those gathered. We thought it best not to do that this year. While most articles I have read say the virus is not carried on food, I m not sure many families would be comfortable with this ritual. A Blessing for your Thanksgiving Table appears in this bulletin which could be offered by the oldest, or even better, the youngest at the table. And I certainly wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Dear Friends,

More varia - unrelated but necessary info.

-If you didn't get the chance to be here, in person or virtually, for Cardinal Tobin's 12:30 Mass last Sunday, you can still catch it on the homepage of the website. I think you'll find it an inspiring few moments to lift us to a better place, even as we face the numerous headlines of a "second wave." As he, himself, noticed, it was an uplifting celebration, especially with the music and singing, led by our "mini" choir. One advantage of catching it on video - if you get bored, you can always click it off.

Dear Friends,

Some more varia - unrelated items that run through my head.

-The Annual Fund for the support of our Catholic School apostolate, the Academy of Our Lady. Together with St. Catharine's, we have a strong school in the Academy of Our Lady. We wish we could take all the children on the waiting list. Maybe someday. But we need to keep the school strong, to continue to offer, for those who want it, an environment in which Christ is preached and His love is practiced as we form faithful, committed and active Catholics for the future. To do this, we need to keep the tuition as reasonable as possible, which is accomplished by the many fund raisers the parents sponsor throughout the year. In addition, we ask the general population of both parishes to help through the Annual Appeal. Envelopes were available on the tables at the doors of the church last weekend and also will be this weekend. They may be placed in the boxes at the doors, dropped off at the rectory or mailed directly to the Academy. In addition, you may go to the homepage of our parish website, click on the Academy icon and it will take you to the support page of the Academy's website. Because we realize that the numbers of people who either were present for the appeal last weekend, or saw it live-streamed or read the on-line bulletin, a solicitation letter should be coming to you shortly in the mail. Please help us keep the Academy strong, for future Catholics. I donate. I ask you to do the same.

Dear Friends,

As I have for many years now, I write once again on the occasion of the celebration of the Academy of Our Lady Weekend. It is a time when we try to highlight one of the most important, but often unrecognized, ministries of our parish-our Catholic School. Even in this year of the pandemic, some of our ministries at our weekend liturgies will be filled by students from the Academy, just to remind us about the school's presence as one of our apostolates.

Dear Friends,
Varia - a number of unrelated items.

  • A week late, I want to acknowledge all Ridgewood Firefighters. Last Sunday the 8:00AM Mass was offered for the Deceased Firefighters of Ridgewood. I always like to recognize this dedicated group who serve on the Fire Department and as EMTs, especially in these days of Covid. From my experience they serve this community in an extraordinary way, not only in their dedication to their "job," but also in their commitment to strengthening the ties that bind us together as a community. I congratulate them and thank them for the good they do and pray God keep them all safe.

Dear Friends,
A couple of fall items.

For Catholics, October has always traditionally been the month of the Rosary. As I write this on Wednesday, Oct. 7th, the Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The feast celebrates the Christian naval victory over the forces of the Ottoman Empire of October 7, 1571 at Lepanto, ascribed to the intercession of the Blessed Mother through the praying of the Rosary. Pope Pius V decreed that the day be observed on her honor. It was originally called the Feast of Our Lady of Victory but later changed to Our Lady of the Rosary to commemorate the Rosary itself as the instrument of that intercession. For many generations of Catholics, the Rosary has been the supreme act of devotion to Mary, the Mother of the Lord, whose yes to God's invitation and will has become the Model of the Church.

Dear Friends,
In these unusual, complicated and difficult times, I try to keep my eyes open for encouraging reflections and meditations. Here is one I read a few weeks ago. It was authored by Benedict XVI when he was Pope, I think, perhaps, as an Easter homily.

In an ancient Easter Vigil homily...we hear what we may imagine to be the words of Jesus Christ. He says to Adam, "I am your God, yet I have become your son. I am in you, and you are in me. We together are a single, indivisible person." Thus it is clear that this Adam does not signify an individual in a dim and distant past: the Adam addressed by the victorious Christ is we ourselves - "I am in you and you are in me." Having taken a human nature, he is now present in human flesh, and we are present in him, the Son. From the Letter to the Ephesians we read: 'Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light. I have not created you to be in prison forever. I did not make you for the dungeon.' This pronouncement contains the whole Christian message.


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