June 23, 2019 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

On this feast of Corpus Christi I would invite you to take some time to listen to these simple descriptions for our personal relationship with the Most Blessed Body and Blood of Jesus.

Meditating on the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, fill my heart with that same love that burned in your heart. May I become the love and mercy to those who live in pain and suffering. May I become the living gospel of your compassionate love.

Meditating on the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, fill me with faith, hope and love. When I find myself lacking in Charity, help me to see your presence in those around me. Increase my faith when I find it hard to understand. Give me hope when life around me seems empty and forsaken. May your presence in the Blessed Sacrament of the alter be my courage and strength.

Meditating on the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, may your gift of the holy Eucharist strengthen me on the journey of life. Transform me into your disciple and send me to those who are helpless. May I be your heart to those who are unloved. Surround me with your life and allow me to be an instrument to your peace and joy!

June 23, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

Last week we reflected on the role of Prophets in our lives, that is, how we listen to other people – through praise or criticism. The Israelites didn’t want to listen to God; they thought they knew better. Because of their disobedience, Israel was punished.

During a long stretch of time, the Israelites began to have an identity in the world. This time was still before there was a king in Israel. Without the Prophets the Israelites went through a time of what the Scriptures call Judges. These people were not judges as we know them from the Law courts. These were individuals who would lead them through various stages in their journey. Think of them as superheroes. They were to be leaders that were supposed to lead the Israelites through difficult times. The primary book of the Bible that talks about them is the Book of Judges.

The main theme in this book is that if the Israelites followed the authority of God, they would prosper. However, they thought they knew better, and they used earthly politics to guide them. Judges (21:25) states In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in their own sight. Keep in mind that this book was probably written after Israel was a kingdom and had a monarch (Saul). In writing the book the author was probably looking at the mistakes that were made. There were disasters after disasters. The writer of Judges points out that God, Himself, was to be the Israelites King. However, the Israelites looked to their neighbors for an identity. Because of those thoughts, they suffered.

We make the same mistakes today. When it comes to Spiritual matters, how often do we apply earthly solutions, and utterly fail? How often do we think that we, ourselves, have all the answers? How often do we think that the Church is backward and doesn’t think like her followers? How often do we want to be like everyone else? How often do we think the Church is a Democracy instead of having God as our Leader? How many times do we act as if the Church is a cafeteria, letting us pick and choose what we want to believe?

Politics isn’t the answer. Jesus Christ is. Remember His teachings. Jesus would not permit people to politicize Him; He would not allow them to make Him an earthly king. The main point of the book of Judges is that the answers we need are not political; Politics cannot save. God saves.

June 16, 2019 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

Today we honor the Holy Trinity that brings together all the mysteries that we have celebrated during the seasons of Lent and Easter; the creative, saving and sanctifying work of God that not only freed us from the powers of sin and death, but which also unites us as a community of Faith- – – the Church.
The astounding truth about the Trinity is that it is the perfect realization of perfect love. God’s secret is; there is “I and Thou” without “Mine and Thine”. The Father is not the Son; the Son is not the Father; the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. Each is a real person, and still there is no “Mine and Thine” no egoism. The Father gives to the Son literally all that He Himself has, all that makes Him God, all that makes Him Love. The Son, perfect image of the Father, loves the Father to selfless perfection and Son love each other, that love is a person. The love is the Holy Spirit.
Let us take time to pray; God, I believe that you are the Farther, Son and Holy Spirit. Help me to know you in a more personal way!
As a final point not to overlook that today, Father’s Day, that we may find a moment to honor those who we acknowledge as our fathers, grandfathers, godfathers, and step fathers.
May we be open to the love and forgiveness seen through the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

June 16, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

Before Lent started, I was exploring the Jewish people as the teachers of Faith to the World. Looking at the development of Israel and how they were learning to become teachers, we were reminded that at some point of their development, they said No! to God; they wanted to follow their own path, not the one planned by God.
Since the Israelites kept saying No! to God by disobeying the Law, Prophets were sent to bring them back into God’s graces. If they listened and reformed their lives, all was well. If they did not change their lives, they were punished, or even exiled.
Many people misunderstand the Prophets. People think that the Prophets were soothsayers, predicting the future. They look at some of the Sunday morning televangelists and come to the wrong conclusion. Thinking that Prophesy is only about the future is far from the truth. Prophets were sent to the Israelites to tell them what was on God’s mind for a particular issue. It may have involved the future (If you continue on this way of life, this is what is going to happen….). It may also have involved the past (Because of your sin, you were exiled….). But the main Message would have been for the Present. God wants them to change their ways and continue of the right path. In today’s world we look at those prophetic messages and apply them to what is relevant in today’s world.
Keep in mind, however, that this approach did not work at times. Every major Prophet in the Old Testament had an assassination plot against them. The Israelites sometimes didn’t like what they heard from them, and would accuse the Prophet of being a False Prophet.
There are no longer Prophets in the world, but that fact doesn’t mean that you may not have a prophetic insight. Maybe it’s something from a homily, or something someone said. Whatever the message may be, it is speaking to you, asking you to change some aspect of your life or how you think about a certain subject.
How do you respond? Do you treat the message with respect? Do you objectively look at yourself and realize that you do need to change? Or, do you utterly reject it, because you don’t like what you are hearing? Do you criticize the messenger or message and refuse even to listen? Do you “write” him/her off as insignificant? How do you deal with constructive criticism or even hostile criticism?

June 9, 2019 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

Send Your Holy Spirit into the Church
Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, on this day the Holy Spirit appeared before the Apostles in tongues of fire and gave them his spiritual gifts. Then he sent them out to preach to the whole world and to proclaim all that believe and are baptized to be saved.
Pausing for a moment, try to think about the first time in scriptures that we hear about how the Holy Spirit was seen and heard as one being sent out to preach and baptize! When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit appeared as the Dove over Jesus.
Today as we commemorate this Feast we will renew our Baptismal promises and see the fire come down upon the church. As we celebrate this Feast I pray that each of you may be ready and open to sharing your gift of Faith as we build up the Body of Christ in the Mid Mon Valley and the World!!!

June 9, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost. This Feast originally was a Jewish Feast. In Judaism the Festival of Weeks was a harvest festival that was celebrated seven weeks and one day after the first Sab-bath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread in Deuteronomy 16:9 or seven weeks and one day after the Sabbath in Leviticus 23:16.
While a Harvest festival, it was also the date that Jews living around the Ancient World celebrated the Covenant of Noah. This Covenant included prohibitions against worshipping idols, cursing God, murder, adultery and sexual immorality, theft, eating flesh torn from a living animal, as well as the obligation to establish courts of justice.
This Feast Day also commemorates the anniversary of the day when God gave the Torah to the nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai.
From the Christian perspective it is no coincidence that this day is important. On this day God sent the Holy Spirit on the Church to help Her in preaching the Gospel to all the nations. From the 5th Century, Pope Leo I states: “As once to the Hebrew people, freed from Egypt, the law was given on Mt. Sinai on the fiftieth day after the sacrifice of the lamb, so after the Passion of the Christ when the true Lamb of God was killed, on the fiftieth day from his Resurrection, the Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles and the Community of Believers.”
We, rightly, believe that the Holy Spirit was given to the Apostles on this day, but think about how more in depth this action means. The giving of the Torah to the Jewish People solidified their Covenantal Relation-ship with the Lord, making them His Chosen People.
However, for Christians, the Holy Spirit gave the Church the other gifts and fruits necessary to fulfill the Great Commission – to go out and preach the Gospel to all nations. It fulfills the New Testament promise from Christ (Luke 24:46-49) that the Apostles would be “clothed with power” before they would be sent out to spread the Gospel.

June 2, 2019 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

Your prayers and support for the many who are discerning their Vocational Call as they prepare and make their journey to their Ordination is needed.
It is with joy that the Diocese of Pittsburgh will celebrate the ordination to the Diaconate on June 8, 2019 at Mary, Mother of the Hope Parish in New Castle. Please pray for the two candidates Michael Faix and C. Matthew Hawkins.
After years within Saint Paul Minor Seminary and present at Saint Vincent Seminary and Saint Mary’s Seminary Mi-chael Faix and Matthew Hawkins are freely responding to the Lord’s call and the Church’s need for priests.

“Do not forget that when the Lord Calls, he also
provides the necessary strength and grace to answer His Call.”  Saint John Paul

As I mentioned earlier it is with our support and their continual work that they will be called to their priestly Ordination in 2020.

USCCB World Day of Prayer for Vocations Prayer

O God, Father of all Mercies,  Provider of a bountiful Harvest, Send Your Graces upon those You have called to gather the fruits of Your Labor;

Preserve and strengthen them in their lifelong service of you.

Open the hearts of Your children
That they may discern Your Holy Will;
Inspire in them a love and desire to surrender themselves
To serving others in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ.

Teach all Your faithful to follow their respective paths in life
guided by Your Divine World and Truth.
Through the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary,
All the Angels, and Saints humbly hear our prayers
And grant Your Church’s needs, through Christ, our Lord.

June 2, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

Along with being the month of Marian devotions, May is also a month for Priestly Ordinations and their anniversaries. Fr. Bill Terza, the former Pastor at St. Damien, celebrates his 50th year of Ordination. Fr. Jerry Mikonis, the retired pastor of Mary, Mother of the Church, celebrates his 45th year of Ordination. Deacon Al will celebrate his 8th year. This year Fr. Kevin will celebrate 31 years in Ministry I will celebrate my 29th year in Ministry.
I can’t speak for the other priests, but, for me, each year serving is more humbling than the year before. Like many of you who are married, each year I learn more and more what it means to live a Vocation. I don’t mean the specific Vocation of priesthood, although it is part of the scenario. What I mean is that each year I learn more and more what God may want of me. That is what is humbling; that I realize that I don’t know as much as I once thought I had. Just as many of you have changed over the years and gained experience, so have I.
We all have the same Vocation – to Preach Christ Crucified. I do it as a Priest, preaching and celebrating the Sacraments. Many do it as a Married Couple, living in love and raising children. Some do it as Consecrated Brothers or Sisters, living the Christian Life in Community. Others do it as Single People, working and mentoring. As we grow in the Lord, Wisdom comes. And with Wisdom comes Respect and Awe, that the Lord is right in the middle of everything.
Pray for Vocations, yours and others. Here is a prayer that we used to say every evening during my stay as St. Paul Seminary.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest and Source of all grace, multiply vocations among us! The harvest is still great, the laborers few. Bless our diocese with many and holy priests. Give us fervent religious and a generous spirit in our families, so that we may honor You in Your church and may help spread Your kingdom to the ends of the earth – to the Glory of God, through the salvation of souls. Amen!

May 26, 2019 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

Amazing, this is the last week of May – – – with Memorial Day on Monday!

Take a moment and pray for all the veterans – – – say thank you to them! Take a moment and pray for all who are in the Military and our first responders!

Remember that we will celebrate the Holy Day of Obligation this week – – – Ascension Thursday. Remember to check out all of the opportunities to celebrate this Holy Day.
Pray for the many that have graduated and begun their new chapter of life, school and work! Let us also pray for their continual safety and openness for using their gifts and talents within our parishes!

May each of you know of our gratitude for your support, prayer and kind words as Father Pat, Father Jerry and I celebrate our priestly anniversaries. May we continue to support those who may be discerning their vocation and continue to invite those young men to consider serving the church as Priests. In fact within the Diocese of Pittsburgh we will have a Relic from the Patron of all priests, Saint John Vianney. Please consider making a visit to this authentic relic at Saint Paul Cathedral, Tuesday, June 4th and Wednesday, June 5th.

Finally, remember and pray over this quote from Saint John Paul;
“There can be no Eucharist without the priesthood and there can be no priesthood without the
Eucharist.” And “the Eucharist is the heart of the Church. Where Eucharistic life flourishes,
the life of the church will blossom!!

May 26, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

On May 30 we will celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. It is a Holy Day of Obligation. As with other Holy Days of obligation, there are questions that always arise. Do I have to go? What’s the point? What’s the thing about Mondays and Saturdays?

Except for a few Solemnities, like All Saints, Christmas, and The Immaculate Conception, those that occur on a Monday or Saturday have had their obligation to go to Mass lifted. This lifting of the obligation arose for those who cannot get to Church easily. In some dioceses the celebration of the Solemnity is transferred to the closest Sunday.

But why an obligation? Why does the church force me to go? Think about the relationship between husband and wife. A husband is obligated to forsake all women for his wife. That obligation is there because of love. The husband fulfills that obligation because he wants to, and it doesn’t even feel like an obligation.

It should be the same for us and God! I fulfill my obligation with God not because it’s something to drag myself through, but because I love him! The Holy Days are there to remind us of God’s Love for us. They are a focus to share, like an Anniversary. As humans we need reminded of special events, so that we can relish the importance of what is going on, lest we forget.

So…if we grumble about having to go to church for a holy day, what are we really saying about our relationship with God? Spouses do not really think about making sacrifices for their spouse. That is part of Marriage. Offering yourself to God on special days should hold the same importance; it is something that we do because of Love.

Six Holy Days of Obligation are celebrated in the United States.
• January 1—Mary, Mother of God
• Fortieth day after Easter—Ascension
• August 15—Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
• November 1—All Saints
• December 8—Immaculate Conception
• December 25—Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ