THOUGHTS BY REV KEV – January 20, 2019

Ordinary Time is here for the next seven weeks. May we enjoy
encountering with the Ministry of Jesus Christ on Sundays, as well as the many other opportunities to let the Saints encourage us to persevere to fulfill those Baptismal Promises! How can we fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ – – – building on the Unity within our community, offering support to those unborn children and the families who belong.
Take a moment to heal those words and actions of those we remember this week! The Dreams of Martin
Luther King, the life of Saint Agnes and Saint Vincent – Martyrs, the powerful Works and Words of Saint
Marianne Cope and Frances de Sales.
One highlight within our Ordinary week is that we can find hope in our weaknesses, mistakes, etc. openness to Change and, most importantly, Forgiveness as we Celebrate the Conversion of Saint Paul!
As I recently said, to have a Baptism we need to have the pain and joy of new life in the Birth of a child. Most importantly, Jesus had to die in order to offer forgiveness Eternal Life with His Resurrection!!!
Study, Pray, Listen and open yourself to the examples of lives of the Saints and those many who lives had changed!

January 13, 2019 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

Did you Know? The Baptism of Jesus at the Jordan is the anticipation of his baptism of Blood on the cross, and it is the symbol of the entire sacramental activity by which the
Redeemer will bring about the salvation of humanity. This is why this feast has so much meaning for each of us after the Passion, Death and Resurrection! Through the baptism of Christ the whole world is made holy!.
We hear how he wipes out the debt of our sins; we will all be purified by water and the Holy Spirit. For this reason there is a strict relationship between the Baptism of Christ and our baptism. At the Jordan the heavens open to indicate that the Savior has opened the way of salvation and we can travel it thanks to our own new birth of water and Spirit accomplished in Baptism. In it we are inserted into the Mystical Body of Christ that is the Church we die and rise with him, we are clothed with him as the Apostle Paul often emphasized The commitment that springs from Baptism is there-for listen to Jesus to believe in him and gently follow him doing his will. The priest reminds us of the History of Salvation of Baptism and clearly helps connect Christ Baptism to his Death in these words: Your Son willed that water and blood should flow from his side as he hung upon the cross. After his resurrection he told his disciples: “Go out and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Father, look now with love upon your church, and unseal for her the foundation of baptism.
With this in mind we are reminded by Saint Irenaeus who said that in so many ways God trains us and the entire human race to take part in the harmonious song of salvation. We are to understand that only life can drive our darkness, so carry this joy of your Baptism candle as we are to walk always as children of the light! May we continue on that same path that we may pass thought the shadows of this world and reach the
brightness of our eternal home.

January 6, 2019 – Liturgical Ruminations by Fr. Pat

The last time I spoke to you, I mentioned that the language that we use at Mass is our use of certain words, gestures, postures, and rituals. This Language is a part of how we ex-press ourselves.
By looking at the Language we use, we discover something about ourselves and our relationship with God. And by discovering some-thing about ourselves in this relationship, that bond that exists between us may grow stronger. When we understand, for example, the culture of a foreign nation, then we ourselves can have a better relationship and under-standing with the people of that nation Other-wise, they would be “foreign.” So too it is with our worship of God. By looking at what we do and by understanding what we do, that Faith, that Relationship of Love, may grow stronger.
Rituals, postures and gestures simplify this relationship. If a picture speaks a thousand words, our ways of acting do the same. During the Institution Narrative (some people call it the Eucharistic Prayer), when the priest imposes his hands over bread and wine, and acts in the Person of Christ, we know that some-thing special is taking place. Outside of the Narrative Prayer, they are just actions and words. When put together, however, we know that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. We may not know the How, so to speak, but we do know that it occurs. And when it occurs, we know that God is present in our midst.
They help define who we are. Look at your own family. There may be things that your particular family does, which everyone in the family understands. Those particular gestures help define who you are and unites you as a family. Rituals in the Church do the same. When we are on the same page, speaking the same language, we are drawn to one another. The Eucharist helps us define ourselves as worshipers and as Catholics. It draws us closer to the Lord.
Some things to think about: When you visit another parish, what are the particulars of that parish that would define them? What are the similarities that you would connect to?

December 30, 2018 – Liturgical Ruminations by Fr. Pat

This article should actually be the fifth in a series of articles that I am writ-ing. So, to truly understand what is going on you have to read the other ar-ticles! This out of sequence article is an attempt to answer a particular question that has come up recently that people want answered.
~Part 2~
In Part 1 we looked at those things that occurred over time in the Liturgy. Instead of the direct actions of the People between them and God, substitutes to express the Sanctity of Mass began to appear. Stained Glass, Polyphonic music, High Gregorian Chant, more use of incense, precise movements of the Priest, Deacon and Sub-Deacon, praying the Stations of the Cross, and reading from Prayer Books —all during Mass— appeared. So, the basic Language of the Church, which we will talk about, was struggling to keep up. Instead of being an active Dialogue with the Lord, the rituals, etc. were inaccurately used to try to bring people back to focus on what was going on at the moment.
Attempts during the early part of the 20th century was made to bring people back on the same page. In 1905 Pope Pius X granted an Indulgence for people to receive frequent Communion. Before that people just did not go to Communion on a regular basis. In 1922 the Pope allowed what was to be called a “Dialogue Mass.” This was the time when Latin-English Missals officially began to appear. However, it was not universal. Technically, the Altar Server took the place of the Congregation (they weren’t needed for a valid Mass, don’t you know?).
During these times (and earlier, of course) one such action to draw people back to what was going on at the Altar was the use of bells during the Consecration. They were rung three times: once during the Invocation of the Holy Spirit over the bread and wine; once, during the Elevation of the Sacred Host; and, once, during the Elevation of the Precious Blood. Their use was to bring people to focus what was happening at the Altar, be-cause the people didn’t know what was going on. There were multiple Masses being said. Over the years it became a sentimental practice.
Frequent Communion, Latin-English Missals, and bells didn’t go far enough to bring people back the full act of Worship. Vatican II would be the beginning of a concerted effort to bring people back where they needed to be. It would cease certain practices, because they no longer had meaning. It would also try to have the peo-ple more involved in the life of the Church. It is still a work in progress.
As we shall see, if we are actively involved in Mass, things like bells are not needed, because their purpose is not needed. They are sentimentally nice, but their practice is unnecessary. Please remember, we can sing, say the prayers, kneel, etc. but still only passively participate. A fundamental change in how we think and act is needed. These thoughts are what we will look at in future articles.
Some things to think about: What are the core elements of Mass, and what are the luxuries? What is your role at Mass, and what is the role of the priest? Do they differ, or are they similar?

December 23, 2018 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

It is one of Western Civilizations best known stories. For two thousand years it has been told and retold, preached and sung about. It has been represented in art and by the purveyors of mass-produced lawn figures. We celebrate it every year with Christ-mas trees and lights with gifts cards, food and cookies, carols and hymns. You know the locale —a manger in Bethlehem. You know the cast of characters —Mary, Joseph, the angels, shepherds, the wise men and now each of us! You remember hearing the plot details—the census the long journey, the overcrowded people visiting with no room in the inn!
There is much more to the Christmas story than meets the eye. There are details we may have missed entirely. We pray that our liturgy and songs invite you to renew your faith and celebrate with great honor and glory this gift from GOD! Please take the time you have with family and friends to be grateful for that and that God continues to bless you and your families! Take time to enjoy the food that has been prepared, the cookies that have been baked, the cards that have been written, with love, and all of the decorations which brighten our lives!
To you and your family on behalf of the Pastoral Team and Parish Staff we pray that Christmas will be a Blessed, Joy filled Holy Day with family, friends and especially our prayers!

December 9, 2018 – Liturgical Ruminations by Fr. Pat

Since October 15, 2018, when Fr. Kevin, Deacon Al, and myself were assigned to the Mid Mon Valley churches, there has been a major shift in how we worship as a Church Family. First of all, there are, for at least two parishes, 3 new clergy members. Second, the Mass schedule has dramatically changed. We are now asked to Offer Mass at 3 different places within a new time schedule. If you think YOUR heads are spinning, think about what I, Fr. Kevin, and Deacon Al are going through; we are constantly using Google Calendar just to remind us where we need to be each day and when. It is daunting, to say the least. Over the next few articles I am going to ask you the reader to think about your Faith and how Worship is integral to everything we as Church do.
One of the most basic points of information to know about the Liturgy and Mass is that of the Language of the Church. I am not talking about the use of English, Spanish, or Latin. What I am talking about is more fundamental and some-thing that is not really thought about, mostly be-cause it is just done. That Language is our use of certain words, gestures, postures, and rituals. Why is it that when we visit a non-Roman Service, for example, a Protestant Service, we can become disconnected and lost. Why is it when Protestants visit a Catholic Mass, they are just as befuddled? It is because Catholics and Non-Catholics use different Language to express Worship. Remember, we are not talking about English, Spanish, or any other Cultural Language. We are talking about Rituals, Procedures, and the like.
Here are the upcoming pieces of information I intend to share: What do the rituals at Mass do? When we make the Sign of the Cross, for example, what are we trying to say by that action? When the priest imposes his hands over the bread and wine, what is supposed to be happening? When you visit a non-Catholic Service, what makes you disconnected? What are their actions and phrases trying to get across?

December 2, 2018 – Thoughts from Rev Kev

Advent (from, “ad-venire” in Latin or “to come to”) is the season encompassing the four Sundays leading up to the celebration of Christmas.
The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas. The final days of Advent, from December 17 to December 24, focus particularly on our preparation for the celebrations of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas).
One devotion for Advent includes the Advent wreath, a visual to remind us of God’s unending love seen in the circle/round wreath, the evergreens showing us the ongoing of life, the gradual brightness of the candles as we come to the shortest day of the year and look forward to the Bright Light of that Star otherwise known as the Light of World—Jesus Christ! The scriptures each week will offer us personal reflections which can assist us to welcome the Christ Child, the reason for the Season!
Within the First Week of Advent we can pray,
“Lord Help me to make time for you in these busy days of December!”
Within the Second Week of Advent we simply pray,
“Lord open my eyes to see you in the many that we may encounter along our journeys and busy activities of the season!”
Within the Third Week of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) we pray,
“Lord help me hold onto my joys, especially when I face the difficult challenges of life, and the many pressures I may feel in this time of preparation for your birth!”
Within the Fourth Week of Advent, although very short, we still are invited to pray,
“Lord Jesus thank you for your love. Thank you for your sacrifice, thank you for doing your Father’s will.”

November 25, 2018 – Thoughts from Rev Kev

During this Thanksgiving weekend we are invited to celebrate our Feast Day that units us with Jesus Christ. The Feast of Christ the King invites us to gain inspiration and understanding through the example of Jesus who is a King which unlike any other.
Many times the images of Kings come out of our small experiences whether it is from the movies or television shows or from British Royal Family. The roles and lifestyles of the King is not the experience and image of what Jesus offers us.
Ponder and reflect how Jesus Christ the King who will celebrate His birth is a simple Stable with animals and how throughout the life of Jesus emulate for us how we can live out our daily lives. He is the one who seeks to bring peace into the midst of conflict. His wisdom mercy and justice are a pattern for our own deliberations and actions. He is willing to offer us life by laying down his life for us on the cross.
Jesus teaches us by his example that true kingship is not about glamour power or wealth. It is about service as our King who is an example and model for our daily living. Jesus shows us by this life that we are called to humble loving service. Our King shows us that we are to be merciful, just and truthful, who is willing to bring God’s peace to challenging situations and our daily lives. Like Christ our King we are called to lay down our live so that others may live.
Today is also our feast day as this is the kind of kingship into which each of us has been baptized. This sort of kingship offers each of us as vision of a new heaven and new earth. It also demonstrates that we life Jesus must be willing to serve all people, willing to stand in tatters before the powers of the world.
For this simple reason the Church invites us to spend quiet time with the true presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Do not forget that at Our Lady of Valley we will offer adoration of the Blessed Sacrament prior to the Sunday Evening Mass. Come to pray and listen to what our King has to offer us in our journeys of life from 4:00 to 5:15 Sunday, November 25th.

November 18, 2018 – Thoughts by Rev Kev

Very quickly we will see many things changing as the end of a calendar year comes quickly. We are invited to reflect how moving from our experiences and changes of 2018 we can prepare ourselves to the new and mysterious events of what 2019 may bring. Similarly the Catholic Church invites us to draw near to the end of another liturgical year. As we listen to the readings of today’s Liturgy, when during the time of the Babylonian Exile, the prophet Daniel speaks of salvation and damnation. In a time of war and enslavement, Daniel’s vision speaks of the ultimate triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness—a feat we know to be accomplished in and by Jesus Christ both on earth and in the heaven. Similarly, Jesus in Mark’s Gospel refers to the end of time when the Son of Man comes in the clouds with great power and Glory. Of that day or hour no one knows, as Jesus says. The Letter to the Hebrews captures these mysteries perfectly reminding us how in the Mass we see memorialized the one offering by which Christ has made perfect those who are being consecrated. As we prepare to celebrate the end of the liturgical year with the feast of Christ the King and then the beginning of a new one with the coming of Advent, let us be mindful that heaven and earth will pass away but the saving words of the Lord will endure forever.
Within this week and the weeks approaching may we take the time to say THANKS to God and those He has sent into our lives? During the festivities of this Thanksgiving week, let us reflect on the chance our forefathers encountered to come to America, the many new changes our grandparents made to offer and create a vibrant opportunity for each of us to enjoy today. Similarly I thank those who have welcomed Father Pat, Deacon Al and I as we also begin to offer a new vibrant opportunity to become a unified community of faith filled brothers and sisters. Our desires are to pray, celebrate and create lifelong a lasting relationship with God and each other.
We pray that your travels and opportunity to be with family and friends this Holiday brings laughter ,love and loads of good health!

November 11, 2018 – Thoughts from Rev Kev

As we reflect on the many men and women who have and are serving our country to protect and provide safety, I wanted to invite us to share information on the power of the Prayer to Saint Michael.
Facing the many challenges in our world and Church there are many unanswered questions, frustration, fear and anger. We can worry…..We can Blame…..We can Question…..We can become despondent at the many issues with the church to the many acts of senseless violence. The fact is that we have lost our overall focus to become as Holy as the Heavenly Father is Holy. November began with the feast of All Saints when we were asked to reflect on how each of us, like all of the Saints, can find the Mercy, Love and Grace from that Loving Father! Let us all become Childlike and return to that simple purity of heart focusing on the love of Christ and neighbor!
So can a prayer be inspired by a battle? Pope Leo XIII wrote the Saint Michael prayer in 1884 after supposedly seeing a frightening vision: evil spirits, trying to fulfill Satan’s boast to destroy our Lord’s church within a century, were engaging in fierce attacks against it. Although the Pontiff also saw Saint Michael casting Satan (also known as the devil) and his de-mons back in the Hell in his vision, he was so horrified by what he had seen he felt compelled to help de-fend our faith in this struggle.
In the Saint Michael prayer he throws down the gaunt-let to the “the Father of lies” as Jesus calls the devil in John’s Gospel (8:44), by enlisting the help of a very special Archangel:
Saint Michael the Archangel defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Divine Power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Prayer of Saint Michael at the Mass—In 1886 Pope Leo XIII decreed that this prayer to Saint Michael be said at the end of mass throughout the universal Church, however in 1970 this changed because of the new rite of the Mass. Our beloved Saint John Paul II in 1994 urged Catholic to recite this prayer to Saint Michael again. So I am asking that as we continue to work, listen and build our communities of the Mid Mon Valley that we engage the intercession of Saint Michael in our Liturgy.