December 8, 2019 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

St. Francis of Assisi sought to awaken the Christ Child in the hearts of the faithful by creating the world’s first Nativity scene. We carry on that wonderful tradition today in our homes and our churches, each glimpse of the humble baby in the manger reawakening a love for the Child Jesus in ourselves, our families, and our communities. You are invited to bring your Wrapped Baby Jesus to have them blessed the weekend of December 14th and 15th.

I would ask that each family wrap your special figure of baby Jesus in a box and label it with a tag clearly marked ———— To: (Your family’s name), From: GOD. The tag is important as it will identify your gift.

I will use my family as an example of how the tag should be written:
To: KEVIN DOMINIK FAMILY
From: GOD

During the third Sunday of Advent, “Guadette Sunday” we will bless any of your wrapped Baby Jesus’s that have been placed near the Altar. Following the mass you may take your Blessed wrapped Jesus and let this be the first of the gifts that your family will open on Christmas!

December 8, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

Last week we were meditating generically on what the Season of Advent is. It is the coming of the Lord. If you remember, there are two aspects of Lent: waiting for the Second Coming of the Lord, and, with rightful dispositions, waiting for the Birthday of the Lord.

When Advent was first inaugurated into the Liturgical Calendar, one of the hymns that was used was called the Dies Irae. It was about God’s Judgement on the world. Later on, that hymn was transferred to a hymn used at a Funeral.

Listening to the hymn in Latin can be soothing, as when we listen to any chant hymn. But if we translate the hymn, the words tell a different story, especially at the beginning:

That day of wrath, that dreadful day, shall heaven and earth in ashes lay, as David and the Sybil say.

What horror must invade the mind when the approaching Judge shall find and sift the deeds of all mankind!

The mighty trumpet’s wondrous tone shall rend each tomb’s sepulchral stone and summon all before the Throne.

Then shall with universal dread the Book of Consciences be read to judge the lives of all the dead.

For now before the Judge severe all hidden things must plain appear; no crime can pass unpunished here.

These words may seem disturbing in today’s world, where everyone almost expects that all people will go to Heaven, and where some people have no sense of personal sin. However, these words do give us pause. What ARE our expectations for the end of the world, or even our own death? The four last things are: Death, Judgement, Heaven, or Hell.

How will the Lord judge us or the world? How will we be judged? While there may be dread, as the hymn above states, there is also hope. The hymn will go on to say:

O Judge of justice, hear, I pray, for pity take my sins away before the dreadful reckoning day.

Your gracious face, O Lord, I seek; deep shame and grief are on my cheek; in sighs and tears my sorrows speak.

Divorced from the accursed band, o make me with Your sheep to stand, as child of grace, at Your right Hand .

December 1, 2019 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

We begin a new Liturgical Year on this First Sunday of Advent. This is a very special Advent as we Journey as a new community under our new Parish Name and look forward to the new life of Jesus Christ this Christmas and the new life as one Parish in the Mid Mon Valley.

Just as in each of our lives we always need to begin again to get up again, to rediscover the meaning of the goal of our lives, so it is also always necessary to rediscover the common horizon toward which we are journeying. As our Parish communities moves to the Unity under One Parish Name, let us allow this Season of Advent which we begin today, restore hope. Our Hope in the Gift of our Faith seen in the Christ Child and each other. A hope which does bot disappoint simply because God never disappoints, God is faithful.

Like Mary, who did not understand completely what the Angel invited her to accomplish. May each of us have the Faith and Trust on our Journey together this Advent to create one new Parish.

December 1, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

Meaning “Coming Near,” Advent is the time that we await the Coming of the Lord. It is a time of preparation, where we prepare our bodies, minds and souls for Jesus’ arrival.

A question for you to think about: “How are you preparing for the Coming of the Lord?” Are we waiting for Jesus, or are we just waiting for the secular side of Christmas? How about the religious side of Christmas? Let’s go one step further; are we preparing for the Second Coming of Christ, with the end of the world as we know it?

If we were left to our own devices, there would be many things that we would forget about. Just because of human nature, we would not be as vigilant about things that may happen in the future, let alone things that happen now. This is one of the reasons we have the Church calendar, the Liturgical Year. Different parts of the Year focus on different aspects that deal with Salvation.

Advent is one such aspect. Its purpose is to remind us to prepare – to prepare ourselves for the Second Coming, and once having achieved that dimension, to prepare for the First Coming of Christ at Christmas. It is not about counting days; it’s about preparing for an encounter with the Lord. Regular calendar days are used only because we think that way. Don’t think about the Season as a Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Those days come and go. Advent is about something permanent. God doesn’t want you for a day or a period of time; He wants us for ever and beyond. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world – so that we can be happy with Him in the next.

In our Prayer, are we ready to receive the Lord, possibly physically, in our lives? Can we live with Him being part and parcel of our everyday living? Advent is the time in our lives where we are asked to think about this display of Faith. It is the time of the year that we are to reevaluate our degree of closeness with the Lord. Once we can accept what the Lord has to offer, then we can look at what His Birth is all about and focus on how he has already affected our lives. If we cannot accept what He truly has to offer, how can we accept the Grace when it is given?

Maranatha! Come Lord, come!

November 24, 2019 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

Advent begins a new Liturgical year, all Christians are invited once again to examine their lives and reflect on how they might become more and more Christ-like and selfless. This is a journey that each of you are invited to take a journey that we encounter people along the way. From the scriptures of Advent we have two major people who we can look at and look up to as we try to become SELFLESS, John the Baptist and Mary! John the Baptist is the cousin of Jesus who reminds us that he is the one who prepares us to meet Christ. John the Baptist says “He must increase and I must decrease.” (John 3:30).

In our lives we ought to consider how we can take the attention off ourselves and direct that toward Christ.

Then we will focus on Mary a young Jewish woman whose world is shaken by the visit of the Angel who asks her to be the mother of God. Her simple response “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38) showing her selfless nature and reminding us of our own call to serve as the Lord Calls us.

Like Mary and Saint John the Baptist they had to trust, may our communities in the Mod Mon Valley continue to trust in God as we journey to that one Parish!

November 24, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

In many a car that may be owned by a Catholic, one may see, in one way or another, a medal dangling from the rearview mirror or clipped on the visor. For many a Catholic, a religious medal may be worn about the neck. Where did this practice come from? Is it something new?
Actually, wearing a religious medal is something that is very old, both in the Church and in the secular world. In the Roman world people wore amulets, which were supposed to guard the person from curses, or which gave them supernatural powers. It was a very common practice. They used them as “magical” items, in order to protect themselves from various evils of the world or to ward off disease.
When the Roman world became Christianized, the Church Christianized the use of medals. The Church sanctified the practice, removing the perception that the charm had “power” and replacing it with the under-standing that wearing a medal is intended to remind the wearer of the power of Jesus in their life. Within the Church the practice of wearing medals for religious reasons reminds Christians of their bond with Jesus Christ. Archeology has discovered medals bearing the image of St. Peter and St. Paul manufactured in the second century. In fact, there was a St. Zeno of Verona (d. 371) who had the custom of giving religious medals to newly baptized Christians to commemorate their baptism and reception into the Church.
There is one very important item that needs to be understood. Many people think of medals as good luck charms. The Church, from the very beginning, has condemned this type of thinking. Currently, the Catechism states: All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion (#2117).
Medals are reminders to help the believer to pray, or to perform acts of reverence to God. They may help the believer directly pray to God. They may be reminded that the Saint is praying for them. Remember, the medal itself does not give any help to the believer, but inspires occasions of Faith and Hope in God. They are not to be perceived as good luck charms. Wearing the medal of St. Michael doesn’t protect us; it is his prayers to the Lord which protects us. By wearing the medal, we are reminded of that fact. Wearing a medal of the Blessed Mother doesn’t force her to help us. It is a reminder that she does help us because of her love for us and her Faith in her Son.

November 17, 2019 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

Christ the King is one week away, will you come and pray with Our Lord Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament?

Following the 9:00 AM Sunday Mass at Mary, Mother we will offer the parish a chance to pray with the Blessed Sacrament until 12:00 Noon.

Please come and pray with our Christ, our Savior and our King!

November 17, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

Like November 1st, All Saints Day, November 2, All Souls Day, is a day of Faith. All Saints Day is the day we remember all the dead who are in Heaven with the Lord. All Souls Day is a day to remember all who are on their journey via Purgatory.

One thing to keep in mind is the notion of family, with the notion of being connected, even through Death. Our Faith in the Lord is not just a personal thing; it has a communal aspect. When we speak of “Church,” we speak of the people, not of the buildings. We also speak of the Church as Family, not as of a Fraternal Organization.

A family talks together. A family prays together. Though separated by death, we are still one family. We still look out for one another. We ask Saints, like St. Anthony, or the Blessed Mother, to help us because that is what family members do – we help one another. The Saints in Heaven look out for us and put a good word in for us to the Father.

Why, then, would we not do the same for our brothers and sisters in need? People would say that they can pray to God themselves. That statement is true; they can. But have you ever put in a good word for someone? Have you ever tried to explain that a person is worth looking at because of some reason or another? That’s what we do.

Yes, God knows our wants and desires. He knows what our needs are. Maybe, however, the importance is in the relationship itself. If God created the world so that He can have an inti-mate relationship with us, to share His Love, maybe praying for people strengthens how we have relationships. By having a familial relationship, we can have a deep relationship with the Lord, also.

November 10, 2019 – Thougths by Rev Kev

On Sunday November 24th, the Catholic Church will celebrate Feast of Christ the King.

    In 1925, Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin were rising to power in the world. Pope Pius XI wanted to draw the world’s attention back to Jesus the only one who could bring lasting peace.

    While the world was increasingly telling Christians that they must compartmentalize their religion and give their highest allegiance to the government, Pope Pius XI invited the Church to celebrate and honor the Power and Gift of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who turns our concept of kingship on its head. Power made strong by humility and self-emptying influence and authority exercised through self-sacrifice and mercy, leadership displayed in service. Let’s embrace Jesus and his Kingdom.

    I invite as many as possible to come and pray to Jesus Christ our King as we honor him. On Sunday come and pray in the presence of Jesus at Mary, Mother of the Church. Following the 9:00 AM Mass the Blessed Sacrament will be present on the Altar for Adoration until Noon.

    Our hope is to teach our children how to appreciate the gift of silent prayer in the Church with the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  Similar to Pope Pius XI who wanted the Church to gain a new appreciation to know that with Jesus we can face the challenges that the world can offer.

    Please mark your calendars and come together to Pray as we honor Christ our King!

 

November 10, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

When we look at the Liturgical year, October is the month of the Rosary and of our Lady. November is the month that we look at both the Saints and of the Dead.

    Originally All Saints’ Day was in May. Like many holidays, the Church would take a pagan holiday and Christianize it. Why May? Because it coincided with a Pagan Holiday, which the Church could not get rid of, so they Christianized it for the Faithful.

    This pagan holiday was the Roman Lemuralia, which was celebrated in May. The Lemures were spirits of the dead who returned for only three particular days a year to threaten their descendants. They were restless, malevolent ghosts whose purpose was to torture the families they left behind. In order to propitiate them, a ritual was enacted by the head of the family household. At midnight, the family leader would walk barefoot through his own house to rid the lemures with this exorcism ritual: holding his hand upheld in what is referred to as a fig gesture (placing the thumb between the 2nd and 3rd fingers) and filling his mouth with dried black beans, he would make the circuit around his house spitting the beans onto the floor in order to bait the lemures. As he walked and spit out a bean, he would recite nine times the incantation “with these I redeem myself and mine” [cum hīs redimō ipsum atque familiam meam].

    When the lemures came out to eat the beans, the rest of the household – following along but forbidden to look behind them – would clash bronze together, like cymbals, and proclaim “ghosts of my fathers and ancestors be gone!” [manes paternī exite!]

    Over time when this practice was basically forgotten, the Church moved the holiday to October to combat the Pagan Celtic Samhain.

    Whatever the reason, All Saints Day is not a day to focus on the dead and the mischief that they can cause. For Christians it is what the Dead can do to foster Faith. Instead of being a hinderance to life, the Saints help foster how God works in our lives. They pray for us. We await their coming in Glory with the Lord. They give us hope for a better life, rather than dreading past actions.

Please note: Most of this article came from http://romae.org