January 5, 2020 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

The clock of history strikes an important hour that we will begin to be one family under the patronage of Saint Andrew the Apostle; be open to the many things that have never been.

As we cross the threshold as a new Parish Family, I am excited and looking forward to the many fulfilling and grace filled moments to pray and celebrate our faith in each of our com-munities of Monongahela, Donora and Charleroi.

May each of you always be certain of God’s love for us. As we have just celebrated the birth of Christ, today we reflect on those who followed a star. May our community allow the Gospel to guide us and lead us to the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, our lives, and our homes.

May we all continue to build the bridges within our communities, homes, in our programs, festive events and the chance to celebrate our gifts. Let us create many new ways to create that One Parish. If we find a wall, let’s build a door to welcome others to our Parish!

January 5, 2020 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

This week we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. And whenever we think of the word Epiphany, we think (rightly) of the three kings (how many of you are singing in your head at the moment, We three kings of orient are…?)

The three kings, however, are only part of the Christmas story, besides Jesus’ birth. The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek epiphainen, a verb that means “to shine upon,” “to manifest,” or “to make known.” Thus, the feast of the Epiphany celebrates the many ways that Christ has made Himself known to the world, mainly the three events that manifested the mission and divinity of Christ: the visit of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12), the Baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:9-11), and the Miracle at Cana (John 2:1-11).

Jesus, with His manifestations, is the King of Israel, the Messiah born to set His people free. Thus, we have the gift of Gold, a proper gift for a king. He is the High Priest of the New Covenant. Thus, we have the gift of Frankincense, a costly incense due only to God. And we have Myrrh, a gift for the Ministry of Jesus, which would be used at his burial.

If you truly want to understand how Jesus is manifested to the people of the earth, read the beginning of John’s Gospel, which sums up what this feast is all about:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be4through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.

December 29, 2019 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

Wishing you and your family a Blessed and Happy New year, bursting with fulfilling and exciting opportunities, especially as we become a New Parish Family! As we now welcome the new year, pause, think and pray that as a new Parish Family we have a chance to give thanks to God to yesterday’s achievements and tomorrow’s bright future.

Moving forward, always forward, I invite everyone to learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow.

As Mary was open to the news that she would be the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, may the Solemnity of Mary on New Year’s Day inspire us to be open to the many things that have never been as the Parish Family of Saint Andrew the Apostle.

December 29, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

Last week we celebrated the Birth of the Lord and how Salvation was brought into the world. This week on January 1, we celebrate a Feast of Mary.

At different times in the life of the Church, the Feast day had different Names. It was known as the Circumcision of the Lord, A World day for Peace, and Mary, the Mother of God.

It was known as the Circumcision of the Lord because it occurred eight days after the birth of the Lord, the time in Jewish Law when the child was Presented in the temple. On this day the child was given his/her official name. If we think about this gesture, it is God Manifesting Himself to the Jewish People. In the Gospel of Luke, Simeon said: and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

The World Day of Peace was instituted by Pope Paul VI in 1968. However, its roots can go back to the days of the Roman Empire. January 1 was known as the feast of Janus, the two-headed god. Janus was the god of change and beginnings. Janus was seen as symbolically looking back at the old and ahead to the new, and this idea became tied to the concept of transition from one year to the next. It was also the day when Roman Consuls, the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic, began their political office.

In today’s age we celebrate January 1 as the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God. This title of Mary actually goes back to the Council of Ephesus, held in A.D. 431, when the Church Fathers were trying to understand who Jesus is; it is the oldest Marian Feast celebrated in the Church. They described Mary as the theotokos, the God-bearer. The title was used to defend that Jesus is both God and Man. There were factions that claimed that Jesus was human but not God, and vice-versa. This title reaffirms Scriptures that claimed that Jesus was both.

Whatever the focus, we celebrate Jesus’ Mission on the earth. We celebrate his birth as both God and human. We celebrate His Mission to the World, that brings Peace and Salvation of the soul. We celebrate that through Him comes Peace and new Beginnings in Life.

December 22, 2019 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent my prayer for each of you is:

May our lives lead us to a deeper awareness of God’s love and new blessing of His Goodness. May the Spirit of Christmas which is Peace, the gladness of Christmas which is Hope, and the Heart of Christmas which is Love fill your lives with His Solace and the Joy as we welcome the newborn Christ Child.

December 22, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

This week we celebrate the Solemnity of Christmas. On behalf of Fr. Kevin, myself, and Deacon Al, we wish you all a Blessed Christmas celebration.

Most people, when they think of the holiday, think of the secular side of Christmas. They think of gifts, family, celebrations, and the like. But there are a couple of things to keep in mind about the holiday that has nothing to do with this way of thinking.

The first thought I would like us to think about is the word holiday. We think of a no work day, a fun day, a day of celebration. These thoughts are proper. We do need to remember that the word HOLIDAY comes from the word HOLY-DAY. All the camaraderie and enjoyment start by looking at the reason for the day off, etc. When we look at the holiday of Christmas, we need to look at the holiness of Christmas. The reason for the joy of family, etc. comes from the fact that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” The joy of Christmas comes from God’s love for us in sending His Son to be born of the Virgin. We celebrate in the Birth of the Lord. Family life and togetherness comes from being united in Christ. Everything starts with Him, and every-thing ends with Him.

Celebrating the Holy Day of Christmas, we look to Mass. According to the World Book Encyclopedia, the word “Christmas” comes from the old English “Cristes Maesse,” which means “Christ’s Mass.” Why the Mass? Remember what Mass is all about: it is about being one with Christ in His Suffering, Death, and Resurrection. Mass is not just something we watch, or passively participate in; it is Christ’s Gift to the world, al-lowing us to share in His Salvific Act of Love.

All the gifts, all the family life, all the revelry – All these point to a celebration and participation in the joy of the Love of God. “…behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.”

December 15, 2019 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

REJOICE!! REJOICE!!

Today as we begin the third Sunday of Advent, we are invited to celebrate with JOY in the midst of our Advent Journey and Preparations for the Birth of our Savior Jesus Christ!!

Salvation through our Christ Child can offer the meaning of Healing, Wholeness and a renewed opportunity for our relationships with family and friends.

When you consider the many messages and wishes we hear in our songs, and read the messages in Christmas Cards and see the many surprises of the season, you will notice that these days prior to Christmas offer us hope, as we celebrate Joy, Laughter and Love.

Please consider to Pause, Ponder and Pray in the midst of our busy days and hectic weeks before Christmas. Most importantly remember, we have the Entire Christmas Season to Celebrate — The Baptism of the Lord on January 12th.

December 15, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

As we continue our journey through the Season of Advent, we now come to the half-way point. This Sun-day is known as Gaudété Sunday, and you will notice that we have a rose candle (NOT PINK! ). The term “Gaudété” (pronounced Gow-DAY-tay) comes from the Roman Missal as the opening Antiphon:

Gaudété in Domino semper: iterum dico, Gaudéte ….

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

In our Spiritual journey we now start to celebrate that the Lord is near to us in the Feast of Christmas. Most people during the month of December rejoice in the season by going to Christmas parties, going shopping, decorating, and the like. It is a bubbly time of preparation.

However, as a Spiritual journey, the Coming of the Lord is much different. Joy is different from happiness. Pope Francis recently said: “To be happy is good, yet joy is something more. It’s another thing, something which does not depend on external motivations, or on passing issues: it is more profound. It is a gift.” Happiness depends on external stimuli; Joy comes from God. Joy is the response of the soul to a great and wonderful discovery, such as truth or communion with God.

If we look at our preparedness for the secular side of Christmas, what would happen if those things that make us happy are taken away? We become sad. But with joy is contentment, even in the midst of difficulties.

Think of How the Grinch stole Christmas. Even when the Grinch took everything from Whoville, they gathered in the town square and sang. They didn’t allow the loss of physical things to detract them from the true meaning of the season.

When we welcome Christ into our lives, beginning with His birth, we are starting a life that will always keep us fulfilled and joyful, even in the midst of trials and tribulations. If Jesus is the “reason for the season,” our hearts will always celebrate; our bodies will always be happy.

Happiness can fail. Joy can be forever.

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 .