St. Francis

  

Deacon's Corner

 

 

 

            Merry Christmas

              

     I will never forget the leading a group of St. Francis parishioners to the Holy Land a few years back.  Every place we visited filled my heart with abundant joy.  Watching the reactions of the pilgrims from our group were something I will never forget.  Once place we visited in particular stands out, especially at Christmas.  Bethlehem

     In Bethlehem we visited the Church of the Nativity.  We waited in line to go down to the grotto.  It would have been a long wait.  The tour guide mentioned to me that if we wanted to go to Mass in the Church of the Nativity we would need to leave the line and come back later.  I remember a few individuals we not happy we left the line, even though I mentioned that Mass was the most important event to attend.

     After Mass we were told to go into the main chapel and that we would process down to the grotto with the Franciscan Friars.  We were the only group that processed with the friars to the grotto where we participated in a prayer service and sang, Silent Night. We individually were able to kneel down under the altar and kiss the Star of Bethlehem.  The spot where Jesus Christ was born.  I’m getting goose bumps thinking about that as I write this. I believe the Lord rewarded the group for leaving the line and attending Mass.  Also, when you look at your Nativity Scene in your home or Church, thank St. Francis of Assisi.

     I ask you for your prayers for all the homeless men, women and children this Christmas that they may find a place of shelter, food and warmth. May the infant Jesus watch over them and keep them safe.

    My Prayer for all of you is that you, your family and friends will have a Holy and Merry Christmas, and that the Infant Jesus born in Bethlehem with bestow upon you many blessings.

                                                                        Pax et Bonum,

                                   Deacon John

 

 

Holy Land Flyer -2017

 

September 1-10, 2017

Join me, Fr. Sean Maher, and Fr. Bill Sheehan for an unforgettable trip of a lifetime as we walk in the footsteps of Jesus.  Visit Nazareth, Bethlehem, Capernaum, Sea of Galilee, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (tomb of Jesus)Mount Tabor (Church of the Transfiguration).  Take a swim in the Dead Sea. Enjoy a cable car to the top of Masada and much, much more.

 

St. Padre Pio Prayer Group

 

 

Starting Saturday October 1, 2016, St. Francis Parish will be starting a MONTHLY St. Padre Pio Prayer Group.  Thousands of Padre Pio prayer groups exist all around the world, where devotees and Spiritual Children of Padre Pio get together and Pray, Attend Holy Mass and Adore Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and listen to writings, meditations and learn more about this great saint of the church.  The main intention of this prayer group is praying for priests.

The monthly schedule will be as follows.

8:00a.m.  Prayer, Readings and Meditations of Padre Pio

8:30a.m. - Holy Rosary - Veneration of 1st Class Relic of St. Padre Pio

9:00a.m. - Holy Mass

9:30a.m. - 10:30a.m. - Adoration and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

 

Come and bring a friend.

 

The Process of Lectio Divina

 

A VERY ancient art, practiced at one time by all Christians, is the technique known as lectio divina - a slow, contemplative praying of the Scriptures which enables the Bible, the Word of God, to become a means of union with God.   This ancient practice has been kept alive in the Christian monastic tradition, and is one of the precious treasures of Benedictine monastics and oblates. Together with the Liturgy and         daily manual labor, time set aside in a special way for lectio divina enables us to discover in our daily life an underlying spiritual rhythm. Within this rhythm we discover an increasing ability to offer more of ourselves and our relationships to the Father, and to accept the embrace that         God is continuously extending to us in the person of his Son Jesus Christ.

 

Lectio - READING/LISTENING

 

THE art of lectio divina begins with cultivating the ability to listen deeply, to hear “with the ear of our hearts” as St. Benedict encourages us in the Prologue to the Rule. When we read the Scriptures we should try to imitate the prophet Elijah. We should allow ourselves to become women and men who are able to listen for the still, small voice of God (I Kings 19:12); the “faint murmuring sound” which is God’s word for us, God’s voice touching our hearts. This gentle listening is an “atunement” to the presence of God in that special part of God’s creation which is the Scriptures.

 

       The cry of the prophets to ancient Israel was the joy-filled command to “Listen!” “Sh’ma Israel: Hear, O Israel!” In lectio divina we, too, heed that command and turn to the Scriptures, knowing that we must “hear” - listen - to the voice of God, which often speaks very softly. In order to hear someone speaking softly we must learn to be silent. We must learn to love silence. If we are constantly speaking or if we are surrounded with noise, we cannot hear gentle sounds. The practice of lectio divina, therefore, requires that we first quiet down in order to hear God’s word to us. This is the first step of lectio divina, appropriately called lectio - reading.

 

       The reading or listening which is the first step in lectio divina is very different from the speed reading which modern Christians apply to newspapers, books and even to the Bible. Lectio is reverential listening; listening both in a spirit of silence and of awe. We are listening for the still, small voice of God that will speak to us personally - not loudly, but intimately. In lectio we read slowly, attentively, gently listening to hear a word or phrase that is God’s word for us this day

 

Meditatio -MEDITATION

 

ONCE we have found a word or a passage in the Scriptures which speaks to us in a personal way, we must take it in and “ruminate” on it.   The image of the ruminant animal quietly chewing its cud was used in antiquity as a symbol of the Christian pondering the Word of God. Christians have always seen a scriptural invitation to lectio divina in the example of the Virgin Mary “pondering in her heart” what she saw and heard of Christ (Luke 2:19). For us today these images are a reminder that we must take in the word - that is, memorize it - and while gently repeating it to ourselves, allow it to interact with our thoughts, our hopes, our memories, our desires. This is the second step or stage in lectio divina - meditatio. Through meditatio we allow God’s word to become His word for us, a word that touches us and affects us at our deepest levels.

 

 

Oratio - PRAYER

 

THE third step in lectio divina is oratio - prayer: prayer understood both as dialogue with God, that is, as loving conversation with the One who has invited us into His embrace; and as consecration, prayer as the priestly offering to God of parts of ourselves that we have not previously believed God wants. In this consecration-prayer we allow the word that we have taken in and on which we are pondering to touch and change our deepest selves. Just as a priest consecrates the elements of bread and wine at the Eucharist, God invites us in lectio divina to hold up our most difficult and pain-filled experiences to Him, and to gently recite over them the healing word or phrase He has given us in our lectio and meditatio. In this oratio, this consecration-prayer, we allow our real selves to be touched and changed by the word of God.

 

Contemplatio - CONTEMPLATION

 

FINALLY , we simply rest in the presence of the One who has used His word as a means of inviting us to accept His transforming embrace. No one who has ever been in love needs to be reminded that there are moments in loving relationships when words are unnecessary. It is the same in our relationship with God. Wordless, quiet rest in the presence of the One Who loves us has a name in the Christian tradition - contemplatio, contemplation. Once again we practice silence, letting go of our own words; this time simply enjoying the experience of being in the presence of God.

 

 

 

 

The Underlying Rhythm of Lectio Divina

IF we are to practice lectio divina effectively, we must travel back in time to an understanding that today is in danger of being almost completely lost. In the Christian past the words action (or practice, from the Greek praktikos) and contemplation did not describe different kinds of Christians engaging (or not engaging) in different forms of prayer and apostolates. Practice and contemplation were understood as the two poles of our underlying, ongoing spiritual rhythm: a gentle oscillation back and forth between spiritual “activity” with regard to God and “receptivity.”

 

        Practice - spiritual activity - referred in ancient times to our active cooperation with God’s grace in rooting out vices and allowing the virtues to flourish. The direction of spiritual activity was not outward in the sense of an apostolate, but inward - down into the depths of the soul where the Spirit of God is constantly transforming us, refashioning us in God’s image. The active life is thus coming to see who we truly are and allowing ourselves to be remade into what God intends us to become.

 

       In contemplation we cease from interior spiritual doing and learn simply to be, that is to rest in the presence of our loving Father. Just as we constantly move back and forth in our exterior lives between speaking and listening, between questioning and reflecting, so in our spiritual lives we must learn to enjoy the refreshment of simply being in God’s presence, an experience that naturally alternates (if we let it!) with our spiritual practice.

 

       In ancient times contemplation was not regarded as a goal to be achieved through some method of prayer, but was simply accepted with gratitude as God’s recurring gift. At intervals the Lord invites us to cease from speaking so that we can simply rest in his embrace. This is the pole of our inner spiritual rhythm called contemplation.

 

        How different this ancient understanding is from our modern approach! Instead of recognizing that we all gently oscillate back and forth between spiritual activity and receptivity, between practice and contemplation, we today tend to set contemplation before ourselves as a goal - something we imagine we can achieve through some spiritual technique. We must be willing to sacrifice our “goal-oriented” approach if we are to practice lectio divina, because lectio divina has no other goal than spending time with God through the medium of His word. The amount of time we spend in any aspect of lectio divina, whether it be rumination, consecration or contemplation depends on God’s Spirit, not on us. Lectio divina teaches us to savor and delight in all the different flavors of God’s presence, whether they be active or receptive modes of experiencing Him.

 

       In lectio divina we offer ourselves to God; and we are people in motion. In ancient times this inner spiritual motion was described as a helix - an ascending spiral. Viewed in only two dimensions it appears as a circular motion back and forth; seen with the added dimension of time it becomes a helix, an ascending spiral by means of which we are drawn ever closer to God. The whole of our spiritual lives were viewed in this way, as a gentle oscillation between spiritual activity and receptivity by means of which God unites us ever closer to Himself. In just the same way the steps or stages of lectio divina represent an oscillation back and forth between these spiritual poles. In lectio divina we recognize our underlying spiritual rhythm and discover many different ways of experiencing God’s presence - many different ways of praying.

 

 

 

 

The Practice of Lection Divina

Private lectio divina

 

Choose a text of the Scriptures that you wish to pray. Many Christians use in their daily lectio divina one of the readings from the Eucharistic liturgy for the day; others prefer to slowly work through a particular book of the Bible. It makes no difference which text is chosen, as long as one has no set goal of “covering” a certain amount of text: the amount of text “covered” is in God’s hands, not yours.

 

        Place yourself in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent. Some Christians focus for a few moments on their breathing; other have a beloved “prayer word” or “prayer phrase” they gently recite in order to become interiorly silent. For some the practice known as “centering prayer” makes a good, brief introduction to lectio divina. Use whatever method is best for you and allow yourself to enjoy silence for a few moments.

 

        Then turn to the text and read it slowly, gently. Savor each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the “still, small voice” of a word or phrase that somehow says, “I am for you today.” Do not expect lightening or ecstasies. In lectio divina God is teaching us to listen to Him, to seek Him in silence. He does not reach out and grab us; rather, He softly, gently invites us ever more deeply into His presence.

 

        Next take the word or phrase into yourself. Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories and ideas. Do not be afraid of “distractions.”         Memories or thoughts are simply parts of yourself which, when they rise up during lectio divina, are asking to be given to God along with the rest of your inner self. Allow this inner pondering, this rumination, to invite you into dialogue with God.

 

        Then, speak to God. Whether you use words or ideas or images or all three is not important. Interact with God as you would with one who you know loves and accepts you. And give to Him what you have discovered in yourself during your experience of meditatio. Experience yourself as the priest that you are. Experience God using the word or phrase that He has given you as a means of blessing, of transforming the ideas and memories, which your pondering on His word has awakened. Give to God what you have found within your heart.

 

        Finally, simply rest in God’s embrace. And when He invites you to return to your pondering of His word or to your inner dialogue with Him, do so. Learn to use words when words are helpful, and to let go of words when they no longer are necessary. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you in both words and silence, in spiritual activity and inner receptivity.

 

        Sometimes in lectio divina one will return several times to the printed text, either to savor the literary context of the word or phrase that God has given, or to seek a new word or phrase to ponder. At other times only a single word or phrase will fill the whole time set aside for lectio divina. It is not necessary to anxiously assess the quality of one’s lectio divina as if one were “performing” or seeking some goal: lectio divina has no goal other than that of being in the presence of God by praying the Scriptures.

 

 

 

 

 Conclusion

 

LECTIO DIVINA  is an ancient spiritual art that is being rediscovered in our day. It is a way of allowing the Scriptures to become again what God intended that they should be - a means of uniting us to Himself. In lectio divina we discover our own underlying spiritual rhythm. We experience God in a gentle oscillation back and forth between spiritual activity and receptivity, in the movement from practice into contemplation and back again into spiritual practice.

 

       Lectio divina teaches us about the God who truly loves us. In lectio divina we dare to believe that our loving Father continues to extend His embrace to us today. And His embrace is real. In His word we experience ourselves as personally loved by God; as the recipients of a word which He gives uniquely to each of us whenever we turn to Him in the Scriptures.

 

        Finally, lectio divina teaches us about ourselves. In lectio divina we discover that there is no place in our hearts, no interior corner or closet that cannot be opened and offered to God. God teaches us in lectio divina what it means to be members of His royal priesthood - a people called to consecrate all of our memories, our hopes and our dreams to Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta to be Canonized a Saint

     I am overjoyed by the news today, that our Holy Father Pope Francis has approved the second miracle that is required to make Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta a Saint.

     I had the great honor of meeting Mother Teresa in the summer of 1981 when I worked with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in the Bronx section of New York.  We ran a soup kitchen and also worked in a parish summer program with the kids of who lived in the Bronx.  The Missionaries of Charity worked with us.  It was at the profession of some of the sisters that we attended, where Mother came to the Mass as well.  We were fortunate to get to meet her after Mass in the parish yard.

     My friends John, Norman and I were standing about 3 feet from Mother when we noticed she started to walk alone back to the convent, behind the parish church.  We both had a prayer card from the profession and Norman was pushing me to go and ask for her autograph. (Live she was a sports figure).

     I ran up to her calling out MOTHER, MOTHER... It was then that she turned around and looked at me with a smile.  I asked if she would sign my prayer card, which she did so graciously. (I still have and cherish this prayer card, that is now a relic.)  After she took me by the hands and asked me my name and where I was from.  We told her we were in the Bronx working with her sisters.  She was delighted.  She kissed me on the cheek and walked to the convent.  I will never forget that moment as long as I live.  I stood there with tears in my eyes, realizing I just met, touched and spoke with a living Saint.

     Starting the homeless ministry has been a great blessing in my life and in the lives of the parishioners of St. Francis who go out every Saturday to feed and clothe those in great need.  The overwhelming support of parishioners has rendered me speechless, (which is a hard thing to do).  The clothes, blankets, hat, gloves etc. have been coming in by large quantities.  People are AMAZING... 

Through prayer, I decided to name the ministry after Blessed Mother Teresa.  After that, the ministry has flourished greatly.  I know Mother is with us, and guiding us in the work we do for Jesus.

     I am excited to say that we will be making 200 backpacks to distribute to the homeless on December 19th.  They will love them.  The backpacks with contain the following items:

  1. Blanket
  2. Hat
  3. Gloves
  4. Socks
  5. Tooth Brush and Toothpaste
  6. Handwarmers
  7. Gospel of St. John
  8. Medal of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

     The backpacks with be blessed and touched by a First Class relic of Blessed Mother Teresa, that was given to me by the sisters in her community.  The relic is extremely rare, considering her body is buried in the tomb of the Mother House in Calcutta.

I plan on traveling to Rome for her Canonization..... Who wants to go?

 

Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.   Blessed Mother Teresa

 

 

Supernatural Visits, Messages,
and Warnings from Purgatory

 

Does purgatory really exist?
What about Hell?
Is there a difference between
ghosts and demons?

 

As Halloween approaches we are
suddenly surrounded by ghosts and
goblins - spirits who appear to have
returned from the dead.
You walk out of your house
and it is everywhere.

 

The seasonal isle in your local grocery store
is all ghost costumes and
goblin wrapped candy bags.
Most people say it is
simply child's play, innocent fun.

 

 

 

But history, the Church Fathers,
and the saints tell us otherwise.

 

On April 29, 1926, St. Faustina Kowalska was visited
three times by a recently deceased nun.
During the apparitions, the spirit begged
Sister Faustina for help so she
could be released from purgatory.

 

St. Padre Pio reported that "there were more souls
of the dead who come up the road
[leading to the monastery]
than souls of the living."

 

Today, fewer people say they believe in purgatory.
Their spiritual focus is often only on feeling good or
of a heaven where everyone is assured of
instant bliss.

 

Visitors from the other side tell us a different story.

 

Our Lady of Fatima and the Three Children

 

During the first apparition of
Our Lady of Fatima to the three children,
old Lucia asked Mary if they would go to heaven.
Mary answered yes, but that Francisco would
have to "pray many rosaries".

 

Next, she asked what happened
to two young friends who had recently died:
"Is Maria das Neves in Heaven?"
"Yes, she is" [answered Mary].
"And Amelia?"

"She will be in purgatory
until the end of the world."
*

 

Hungry Souls

 

A Lutheran minister, no believer in Purgatory,
is the puzzled recipient of repeated
visitations from "demons" who come
to him seeking prayer, consolation,
and refuge in his little German church.

But pity for the poor spirits
overcomes the man's skepticism, and he
marvels at what kind of departed souls
could belong to Christ and yet suffer still...

 

After a week of hearing ghostly noises,
a man is visited in his home by the
spirit of his mother, dead for three decades.
She reproaches him for his dissolute
life and begs him to have Masses
said in her name.
Then she lays her hand on his sleeve,
leaving an indelible burn mark, and departs....

 

Hungry Souls is a book that you won't
be able to put down after you start reading.
Inside are first-hand accounts of
meetings with souls who were sent to hell and souls
who were sentenced to suffer time in purgatory.

 

Souls in Purgatory

 

You will hear from their own lips
what happens after death, and they describe
in detail the reality and necessity of purgatory.
These are trustworthy, Church-verified accounts.

 

You will also be taken on a virtual tour
of a church in Rome which is home to
Piccolo Museo del Purgatorio
(Little Museum of Purgatory).

 

Inside is a collection of physical evidence left
during visits by souls
suffering in purgatory. These souls tell us
that they are experiencing a type of
cleansing fire. As their presence draws near,
witnesses report feeling intense heat.

 

Sometimes, the Holy Soul has reached out
to leave a reminder - and the slightest touch
of their hands leaves burn marks.

 

Burn Marks of Visitors from Purgatory

 

The message brought to us by these voices
from purgatory is this:
"You in the world have no inkling
of what we have to suffer!
Being abandoned and forgotten
by those who have been
nearest to us in the world: that is most bitter.
Sometimes they stand at the tombs of
our bodies and don't pray for us at all.
They act as if we don't exist any more.
God's justice commands us to be silent.
But we stand at the door of their houses,
of our former dwellings, and wait.
We stand there and wait.
Days, years.
We wait for them to give us a small
sign of their love by prayer and sacrifice.
But we stay there in vain.
We cry in vain for love. For help!
Tell them...Love should not die at death.
We are still alive and we are
hungry for love! For your love!"

 

Are any of your loved ones
waiting to enter heaven?
Will you help them?

 

Hungry Souls

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrated the Wedding of Edward and Kimberly Valliant last Saturday.  This picture was taken on the parish walkway.

Congratulations to you both, and may God Bless you with Joy, Health and Happiness

 

 

 

 Blessed Mother Theresa Homeless Ministry

     I would like to thank all those who have made donations to the Blessed Mother Theresa Homeless Ministry.  The donations that have come from parishoners have been outstanding. Thank you to the parishioners who continually donate sandwiches, socks, fruit and other goodies.  You are a blessing to all those we meet.  However, a huge thank you to all who come regularly on Saturdays to prepare the food and deliver it to the homeless.  You are a great blessing to all those we meet, and to me as well.  

     So team members can take a weekend off once and a while, I have created two teams.  Each team will have a team captain as well as team assistants.  As new team members join, I will update the list.  I have named Ed Goodwin and Miguel Ponte as the Team Captains.  It will be the responsibility of the Team Captains to make sure the food is obtained and prepared by the team, as well as making sure that prayers are said (Blessing of the Food)before going on the road.  I will be with both teams.

Team A   - Team Captain Ed Goodwin, Jan Dargue, Paul Rousseau, Lucia Ponte

Team B  -Team Captain Miguel Ponte, Joanne Clark, Fred Marion, Dean Marion, Barbara Howes, Trisha Lapointe.                                               

                                                                                                    

Again, thank you for all you do.  You are truly a blessing to the parish, to me and more importantly to those you minister to.

 

 

HOLY LAND 

What an AMAZING Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  We walked where Jesus was born, walked, preached, healed the sick, was crucified,died and rose from the dead.  It was a very Holy experience by all.  Fr. Brian celebrated Mass at several holy places and the most special was Mass in the Tomb of Christ. Mass here is extremely a rare occurance.

 

It was an great honor for me to recieve the Pilgrim Shell from the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.  As a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, we are required to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land once in our lifetime. Below is information on the Pilgrim Shell.

Receiving the Pilgrim Shell from Bishop Shomali - Jerusalem 2015

THE PILGRIM SHELL

The Pilgrim Shell is the choicest decoration of the Order, and is awarded by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.  Any Knight or Lady of the Order in good standing, who makes a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and prays at the site of the Holy Sepulchre of our Risen Lord, can earn the Pilgrim Shell.  It testifies that the Knight or Lady of the Order has seen the results of his or her charity and knows the importance of the mission of the Order and the fulfillment of the apostolate.  It is the goal of every member.

The Pilgrim Shell is a scalloped shell, the ancient badge of a pilgrim, oxidized in silver and overlaid with the Cross of Godfrey of Bouillon enameled in red and bordered in gold.  It is worn on the outside of the cape, scalloped edge down, centered on the red felt cross of the Order.

The Pilgrim Shell and the 2000 Jubilee medal are the only decorations to be worn on the cape. When worn with other decorations on business or formal attire, no decoration is placed above the Pilgrim Shell.

The identification of a seashell with a pilgrim is of ancient origin.  In the beginning, the shell was never awarded or conferred on the recipient as it is today.  Instead, it was a self-chosen decoration that the pilgrim proudly pinned on his own cloak, so that as he returned homeward, other pilgrims would know that the wearer had made it to the place of pilgrimage.

Legend has it that Saint James, the apostle, had been the apostle of the Iberian Peninsula and had first brought the Good News of salvation to the people of that part of the world.  He subsequently made his way back to Palestine to die and after death his body was returned to Spain to be buried in his own mission land in the city now called Santiago de Compostela, in honor of the apostle.  In the 9th Century, the place of his burial was rediscovered and gradually became a place of pilgrimage.

Before the first Crusade in the 11th Century, Christians were not allowed by the Seljuk Turks to visit the Holy Land and Jerusalem.  As a result, the faithful started to flow from all parts of Europe by different routes and streams, to pay homage to Our Lord at the spot where one of His apostles lay buried - Santiago de Compostela.  Each year thousands of pilgrims visited and prayed at the tomb of St. James.  Since Santiago de Compostela is so close to the sea, seashells were abundant and they became the badge of one who had traveled there.  As they started the long walk home, the shell on their garment was a symbol of encouragement to those whom they passed who were on their way to visit the Tomb of St. James.

As history changed, pilgrims once again started their arduous trips to Palestine and the land of Jesus, but the Sea Shell of Santiago de Compostela had become the sign of a successful pilgrimage, and out of faith and tradition it remained the badge of pilgrims.  To this day, the Pilgrim Shell is the most coveted award to be earned by a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem who has made a prayerful pilgrimage to the Holy Land.


PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND

A pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre and Holy Land is a moral obligation of every Knight and Lady of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and should be realized, with the help of God, at least once during each one's lifetime. The pilgrimage helps us to attain a better insight into our lives as a "pilgrimage of faith" and to understand their foundation in the Resurrection of the Lord, it opens us to mutual ecumenical and charitable understanding with our brothers and sisters in the Faith, and it reminds us that the "Way of the Cross" is the way that leads to life and hope. The pilgrimage to the Sepulchre of the Lord and to other Holy Places is also an act of solidarity with our Brothers and Sisters in the Holy Land. Our presence among them is an encouragement to the minority Christian people of the land, living amid so many problems, pressures, and difficulties. Pilgrims' deepened faith and new experience of the "Land of the Bible" and its people enables them to give a particular witness to those with whom they live and work.

The pilgrimage besides visits to the Holy Sepulchre and other Holy Places and to the Patriarchate, should include provision of time for person-to-person contacts with the local Church of the Holy Land - e.g. a visit for Sunday Mass with an opportunity to meet with the pastor and parishioners, a visit to Bethlehem University with an opportunity to meet with faculty and students, or small groups of pilgrims visiting individual homes of Christian families in a given parish or area. The nature of the trip to the Holy Land is a pilgrimage, not merely a tour

 

 

 

 

Elijah Cup

Starting Sunday November 10, 2013, our parish will start praying for vocations with the “Elijah Cup”.

Praying for vocations is a responsibility and privilege of the laity.  The ‘Elijah Cup” is a chalice that will be presented to a family each Sunday at the conclusion of Mass.  The Mass you receive the chalice will be your choice, however you must return the chalice to the assigned Mass the following week. That family will take the “Elijah Cup” home and use it as a focal point while praying daily for an increase in religious vocations.  In successive weeks, the Elijah Cup” is passed to other families.

 

The purpose of the Elijah Cup, a consecrated chalice is to provide a focal point for prayer.

We are all aware of the need for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life.  But sometimes we forget just how powerful praying for vocations can be.  If we pray with the faith of the widow of Zarapeth, our cup will never run dry.  We will always have priests to bring us Jesus in the Eucharist.

In 1:Kings 17, during a drought, Elijah tells the poor widow of Zarapeth that if she makes him a small loaf of bread with the last of her flour and oil, her “ jar of flour will not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the Lord sends rain upon the earth.”  In faith, the widow baked the bread and fed Elijah.  For the next year, the widow, her son, and Elijah ate bread made from the bowl of flour and jug of oil..

The 2nd Vatican Council instructs us that it is the job of the laity to pray and raise up vocations, and this has been echoed by Blessed Pope John Paul II in many of his teachings.

The Custodian and Parish Coordinator of the “Elijah Cup” is Deacon John C. Hunt Jr.  Please see Deacon John for more information.

Listen next week for more details from the pulpit.

 

Are you Anxious...Worried??

 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)

 

Who doesn’t know that verse, right?  We see it on greeting cards and on signs at football games and hear it proclaimed by televangelists.  And while it may be the most familiar verse in the Bible, however, you may wonder what it has to do with anxiety.  In reality, it is a GREAT verse for calming our nerves and helping us to remember that God is in charge. Here are a few reasons why…

 

1. If God loves you so much that He sent His only Son to redeem you, don’t you think that He loves you enough to care about your personal problems?

 

2. Looking at the big picture (which is sometimes difficult), Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection makes it possible for each one of us to live forever in Heaven with NO PROBLEMS OR SUFFERING.  What a sweet deal!

 

3. All we have to do is BELIEVE in Him and OBEY His commandments (don’t forget this part) and that possibility (of eternal life) will become a reality!

 

I recommend that you spend some time meditating on this verse, especially if you’re worried or suffering.  Remember that God loves you and He knows what you’re going through.  If He’s allowing you to suffer, know that some good will come out of that suffering.  Remind yourself that He’s right there with you.  Recall the fact that one day your earthly problems will be gone and that you’ll have the chance to live with Him in Heaven…FOREVER!

 

That should be enough to get you through even the most difficult struggles!

 

Desperate Businessman

A man has been in business for many, many years and the business is going down the drain. He is seriously contemplating suicide and he doesn't know what to do.

He goes to his Rabbi to seek advice. He tells the Rabbi about all of his problemsin the business and asks the Rabbi what he should do.

The Rabbi says "Take a beach chair and a Bible and put them in your car and drive down to the edge of the ocean. Go to the water's edge. Take the beach chair out of the car, sit on it and take the Bible out and open it up. The wind will riffle the pages for a while and eventually the Bible will stay open at a particular page. Read the firstwords your eyes fall on and they will tell you what to do."

The man does as he is told. He places a beach chair and a Bible in his car and drives down to the beach. He sits on the chair at the water's edge and opens the bible. The wind riffles the pages of the Bible and then stops at a particular page. He looks down at the Bible and his eyes fall on words which tell him what he has to do.

Three months later the man and his family come back to see the Rabbi.

The man is wearing a $1,000 Italian suit, The wife is all decked out with a full-length mink coat and the child is dressed in beautiful silk. The man hands the Rabbi a thick envelope full of moneyand tells him that he wants to donate this money to the synagogue in order to thank the Rabbi for his wonderful advice.

The Rabbi is delighted. He recognizes the man and asks him what words in the Bible brought this good fortune to him.

The man replies: "Chapter 11"

 

 

 

Parish Picnic

 

     What an awesome job done by the team who put together the parish picnic. A couple of comments:

  1. Outdoor Mass.  If it wasn't nailed down, it would have blown away.  The heavy winds started at the beginning of Mass and ended right after Mass.  Hmmmmm.  My hair (what I have left) looked like I put my finger in a light socket after those 100mph winds.  Also,Great job on the music by the Instruments of Faith.
  2. Food  I have to say, I was looking for the Cheeseburgers, and was disappointed until I tried one of the bread bowls with Fr. Brian's FAMOUS Chili.  TOTALLY AWESOME.  The soups were also TOTALLYAWESOME.  Also, the amazing dessert room.  I could see myself getting locked up for the Deacon in the Dungeon in that room with all those desserts.
  3. It was great seeing so many people there, of all ages.  Truly a parish family.

I salute all of you who planned, prepared, served, cleaned and gave your precious time for this great picnic.  Thank you for all you do for our parish family.

 

Pope Francis presides over a day of Prayer and Fasting for peace in Syria.

     Our Holy Father Pope Francis, recently presided over a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria.

I watched the prayer services on EWTN, and I have to say, I was extremely impressed with the Holy Father and the 100,000 plus lay faithful who were present at St. Peter's Square and the millions who watched via television.

     I was also overjoyed by the response of the parishoners of St. Francis Parish who attended the the parish Holy Hour for peace.

     We must pray for peace.  Violence of any kind, leads to more violence.  Peace must start with each of us, as St. Francis of Assisi said so well, in his famous prayer.  "Make ME a channel of your peace."  He didn't day Make THEM a channel of your peace.  He understood that peace starts with ourselves.

     Let us pray for our president and for all those politicians who are involved in the decision of military action against Syria, that Our Lord may touch their hearts, and guide them to a peaceful solution.

Our Lady Queen of Peace, Pray for Us.

 

 

A teenage boy had just passed his driving test and inquired of his
father as to when they could discuss his use of the car.

His father said he'd make a deal with his son: 'You bring your grades
up from a C to a B average, study your Bible, and get your hair cut. 
Then we'll talk about the car.'

The boy thought about that for a moment, decided he'd settle for the
offer, and they agreed on it.

After about six weeks his father said, 'Son, you've brought your
grades up and I've observed that you have been studying your Bible, but I'm
disappointed you haven't had your hair cut.

The boy said, 'You know, Dad, I've been thinking about that, and I've
noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the
Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair ~ ~ ~ and there's even strong
evidence that Jesus had long hair.'

You're going to love the Dad's reply:

'Did you also notice that they all walked everywhere they went?'

 

 

Stay with me, Lord

Prayer of St. Pio of Pietrelcina after Holy Communion

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.

Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervor.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness.

Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.

Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You.

Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much, and always be in Your company.

Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.

Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of love.

Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes; death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You. It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!

Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all it’s dangers. I need You.

Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.

Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by communion, at least by grace and love.

Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but the gift of Your Presence, oh yes, I ask this of You!

Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.

With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity. Amen.

Deep Sea Fishing

The deep sea fishing trip was a huge success, with everyone catching numerous fish.  Cod, Haddock, Pollack, Cusk and Red Snapper were caught and fileted.

I even ate shark for the 1st time.  Not bad.  The largest fish caught goes to Jessica Keefe.  Great Job Jess.

Catholic Dog Tags

A few months back, I was getting a haircut and the individual cutting my hair noticed that I was wearing some sort of cloth “necklace”, but I told this person; it’s not a necklace, it’s the Brown Scapular. Having no idea what I meant by that word, I said, it’s like Catholic Dog Tags. As soldiers wear dog tags to identify them, the Brown Scapular should identify Catholics who wear them.

Today we celebrate the dual feasts of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the “Scapular of Mount Carmel.” The first feast commemorates the place of honor, Mount Carmel, where tradition tells us that the Blessed Virgin Mary assumed into heaven. It’s also the primary feast day for the Carmelites who take their name from the same site. The second feast commemorates the event that happened on this day in 1251. Tradition says that the Blessed Mother appeared to Saint Simon Stock (1165-1265), Prior General of the Carmelites in England, and showed him the scapular.

As taught by the Carmelites,

“The Blessed Virgin appeared to him with a multitude of angels, holding in her blessed hands the Scapular of the Order. She said: “This will be for you and for all Carmelites the privilege, that he who dies in this will not suffer eternal fire” that is, he who dies in this will be saved.”

Brown Scapular 1The Brown Scapular (scapula – Latin for shoulder) is composed of two small pieces of cloth united by strings that is worn over the shoulders as a sign of protection and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It’s brown because it’s connected to the Carmelite order who wear brown habits. The scapular provides the “scapular promise” – which states that anyone who wears it faithfully will be saved from eternal damnation from Hell and will attain graces for final perseverance into Heaven.

On March 25, 2001, during the 750th Anniversary of the Bestowal of the Scapular, Blessed Young Karol Wojtya as a young factory workerJohn Paul II said in regards to his own devotion to the scapular, “I too have worn the Scapular of Carmel over my heart for a long time! Out of my love for our common heavenly Mother, whose protection I constantly experience…” Since the year 1280 A.D., every Pope has worn the Brown Scapular.

We must be careful not to enter into formalism when it comes to the Scapular. Formalism is “an exterior act that is not accompanied by the necessary and corresponding interior disposition of the will” (Introduction to Mary, page 173). When one wears the scapular externally it should be mirroring the person’s internal thoughts of mind and heart to serve the Almighty God, to love the Blessed Virgin Mary, and be obedient and truthful to the teachings of the Church.

The Scapular assists one to live in the station of life that they currently abide and to follow in service to Christ and his Blessed Mother. Wearing the Scapular does not substitute living a Christian life and will not keep you from sin, but can provide the necessary motivation to live a life according to Jesus Christ.

Through Our Lady’s motherly Queenship and Advocacy, the Scapular has a strong spiritual ability since she intercedes for the graces when things seem dark and hopeless. There are countless souls throughout the history of the Church that have found themselves in darkness and despair. However, many of these people have found a conversion of heart simply because they were wearing the Scapular. The spiritual graces of the Scapular should never be underestimated.

Encompassed in the Scapular devotion is what is known as the “Sabbatine” privilege. Its origin begins with Pope John XXII who was inspired by the Blessed Mother to declare a papal bull. The magisterial document stated that the souls in Purgatory who wore the Scapular during their earthly life would have the intercessory power of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They also were to be chaste, according to one’s state in life, and prayers were offered for this intention at the request of their confessor. Other Popes after John XXII have also mentioned this privilege that focuses its attention on First Saturdays (Introduction to Mary, pages 174-175).

The Brown Scapular which has a very heavy Marian focus, should be understood that she is not the end all for us as Christians, that is only reserved for Jesus Christ himself.  However, she as our Heavenly Mother assists us and leads us closer to Jesus Christ. St. Louis DeMontfort states, “to do all our actions through Mary, with Mary, in Mary, and for Mary: so that we may do them all the more perfectly through Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus, and for Jesus.”

Our-Lady-of-Mount-Carmel

As one who has been wearing the Brown Scapular since the summer of 2009, I would encourage my Catholic brothers and sisters to purchase one immediately and follow the consecration enrollment.

As the persecutions begin for us as Christians today, we all need our Catholic Dog Tags as we put on the armor of God (Eph 6:11) and engage the spiritual and rhetorical battles that are before us. With the Brown Scapular upon our shoulders, we will have the grace of Jesus Christ through the intercessory prayer of the Blessed Virgin Mary to guide us in all things.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel…Pray for Us

 

 

 

 

There were more than twelve apostles? What does it take to be an apostle?

 
June 11, Feast of St. Barnabas
 
St. Barnabas is honored in the Church and in the Scriptures as an apostle. While not one of the twelve, he is given this title (together with St. Paul) in Acts 14:13 – The apostles Barnabas and Paul.
In her liturgy, the Church commemorates St. Barnabas as an apostle, though not with the same solemnity with which she honors St. Paul and St. Matthias or any of the Twelve.
Can we say that St. Barnabas is truly an apostle? If so, how many apostles are there? And, is St. Barnabas an apostle like St. Peter? Is he an apostle like St. Paul?
The twelve apostles, and two others
St. Matthew specifically employs the phrase “the twelve apostles,” when he lists their names in Matthew 10:2ff. St. John does the same in Revelation 21:14. While, St. Luke speaks of how our Savior chose twelve disciples and named them apostles (cf. Luke 6:13), there are no other passages which specifically use the phrase “the twelve apostles.”
However, although both Sts. Matthew and John refer to the concept of “the twelve apostles,” and although this concept is quite familiar to our thought, it is quite obvious that there are more than twelve men whom we honor as apostles.
Indeed, we must admit that there are at least fourteen, or perhaps even fifteen, apostles. Certainly, St. Matthias, who was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot, is rightly numbered among the twelve as an apostle. Furthermore, even St. Paul (who is never numbered among the twelve) must be called an apostle – indeed, we generally call St. Paul the Apostle!
Now, we certainly are correct in stating that there were “twelve apostles,” insofar as our Savior called those twelve men to the apostolic college during his sojourn upon earth. However, there can be no doubt that Sts. Matthias and Paul are “apostles” equal to the twelve. Though Matthias was not chosen by Jesus during his life, he was chosen by the Holy Spirit to replace Judas in the days between the Ascension of our Savior and Pentecost.
St. Paul, on the other hand, was chosen directly by our Savior and appointed by him as an apostle. This is what makes the apparition of Jesus to St. Paul so unique – unlike every other vision or apparition of Jesus since the Ascension, our Savior appeared to St. Paul in his own proper body and in his natural species. Whenever the Lord appears to a mystic, it is not in his own real body, but only by mode of vision (or by use of some other matter, after the manner in which angels have appeared in bodily form). However, St. Paul saw Jesus in his glorified body, just as really and truly as did St. Peter and the other apostles.
[for more on this point, see our earlier article (here)]
The conditions of the apostolate
Considering Sts. Matthias and Paul, we may recognize certain conditions and requirements of being an “apostle” in the strict sense of the term.
It is clear that an apostle must have seen the risen Lord. This was the one great condition placed on the election of a successor to Judas.
There are men who have walked in our company all through the time when the Lord Jesus came and went among us, from the time when John used to baptize to the day when he, Jesus, was taken from us. One of these ought to be added to our number as a witness of his resurrection. (Acts of the Apostles 1:21-22)
St. Matthias was one of these who had been with the Lord from the beginning, through the Passion, and he was further a witness to the Lord’s Resurrection and Ascension. It was necessary for him to have been present for these events, so that he could properly bear witness to the truth of the Resurrection. Any who were not eyewitnesses to these things could not be numbered among the twelve.
St. Paul, on the other hand, did not know Jesus during his earthly life. However, because he was a witness to the Resurrection of Jesus by means of this wholly exceptional bodily apparition of our Savior to St. Paul (something which will not occur again until the Last Judgment), St. Paul was indeed considered to be a true apostle.
While it is true that St. Paul was not with Jesus through his ministry and preaching, we must also affirm that the Apostle did receive the Gospel directly from our Lord just as the other apostles had. St. Paul affirms as much:
Let me tell you this, brethren; the gospel I preached to you is not a thing of man’s dictation; it was not from man that I inherited or learned it, it came to me by a revelation from Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12)
From this, we may ascertain the two major conditions of the apostolate: That he be a witness to our Lord’s Resurrection by having actually seen the risen Jesus, and that he have received the Gospel directly from our Savior and not through any medium.
We further specify that only men could be numbered among the apostles, as only men could properly hold the apostolic office of governing, teaching, and sanctifying in the Church, obviously.
Is St. Barnabas a true apostle?
This, then, brings us to the question of St. Barnabas. Is he truly an apostle in the same sense that Sts. Peter, Matthias, and Paul are apostles?
While it is true that he is honored by the Church as an apostle, and certainly has a share in the dignity of the apostles, it does not seem that we can consider St. Barnabas to be an apostle in the same way as St. Paul or St. Peter.
Although Clement of Alexandria claims that St. Barnabas was among the seventy disciples who were commissioned by our Savior, this seems to contradict Acts of the Apostles where Barnabas is presented as a new convert to the faith sometime after Pentecost.
There was a Levite called Joseph, a Cypriot by birth, to whom the apostles gave the fresh name of Barnabas, which means, the man of encouragement; he had an estate, which he sold, and brought the purchase-money to lay it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts of the Apostles 4:36-37)
Now, Acts is certainly not conclusive. It is possible that Barnabas was among the seventy and could therefore have been a witness to Jesus’ resurrection just as Matthias was. However, it is noteworthy that the Scriptures never present him as such.
One might object: But the Church honors him as an apostle! To this we reply that the Church does indeed give him the title of “apostle,” after the fashion of the Scriptures. However, his feast in the Church has never been kept with the same solemnity as those of the other apostles. While St. Matthias even is honored with a proper “feast,” St. Barnabas’ commemoration is only a “memorial” (we refer to the revised calendar, but the same holds true in the more ancient liturgical calendar as well).
Thus, while it is true that the Church honors Barnabas as an apostle, it is also true that she seems to indicate something of a difference between Barnabas and the others.
Why call him an apostle?
Still, although it is most likely that St. Barnabas cannot qualify as an apostle in the strict sense of the term, he is still rightly honored as an apostle on account of the fact that he was among the most prominent missionaries in the first days of the Church.
Furthermore, we must recall that it was St. Barnabas who testified in behalf of St. Paul and defended the authenticity of his calling as an apostle. Again, it was St. Barnabas who encouraged St. Mark (or John Mark) even when St. Paul had rejected him on account of his having abandoned an early mission.
Thus, because of his close association with the apostles, and most especially because of the manner in which he secured St. Paul’s acceptance as an apostle, St. Barnabas has rightly been honored with the dignity of an apostle (even if he did not strictly share in the office).
 
St. Barnabas, pray for us!

 

 

 

 Communion in the Hand.  Is it an abuse of the Eucharist?

Here is what a pastor in California has to say.

“I’m heartbroken to announce that last week, we discovered a crushed consecrated Host beneath one of the kneelers,” the pastor of a small yet devout Californian parish says. He pauses for a moment before he goes on, his voice choked by just indignation and sadness: “This is God, people. God.” Then he drops the bomb. “I’m writing to Pope Francis to do away with the practice of Communion in the hand altogether. I believe most of the abuses and blasphemies that the Eucharist has undergone is because of this practice.”

Since the practice of Communion in the hand has become the common observance in most countries, there has been, whether you like admit it or not, a spike in Eucharistic abuse. Communion in the hand has given those who wish to do harm and those who are careless the opportunity to do what they want with the Body of Christ. Unfortunately, the situation described above is not uncommon. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Furthermore, Communion in the hand has the potential to promote or at least foster a disrespect for the Body of Christ. As Catholics, we believe this small Host does not represent Christ, but is Christ Himself. How can we, then, possibly touch the living presence of God with our bare, dirty, unconsecrated, and unworthy hands? How? How have we even considered this as an option in the first place?

The answer can be given using one word: disobedience. The practice came about in the early 1960s (after Vatican II, though the Council never actually called for it), when certain parishes around the world began to disobey the Church’s rule of receiving the Host on the tongue, making their own rules as to whether or not you could receive on the hand. The Vatican immediately responded in disapproving words, saying that this disobedient practice would lead to “the possibility of a lessening of reverence toward the august sacrament of the altar, its profanation, and the watering down of the true doctrine of the Eucharist” (Memoriale Domini).

When Pope Paul VI in 1968 sent out a questionnaire to every bishop in the world asking if the Church should alter how Communion was being distributed, the answer came back loud and clear: in the hand was overwhelmingly disapproved of and should not be allowed. The Vatican agreed, stating that if the practice of Communion on the hand be allowed, “it would be an offense to the sensibilities and spiritual outlook of these bishops and a great many of the faithful” (Memoriale Domini).

Unfortunately, the practice continued to be promulgated by parishes and dioceses alike, most especially in France. So, in 1969, Paul IV granted the French bishops an indult—a special permission (not a norm)—to decide the question on their own. What happened next was an abuse of that indult: parishes around the world took advantage and permitted the practice of Communion in the hand. Despite the Vatican’s best efforts, the disobedience continued and today, most Catholics are under the erroneous idea that Communion on the hand is the norm, because it is seemingly most common. However, the norm does not mean the most common, but instead is the practice which is supported by the Universal Church and to which the laity should be adhering.

You want to know what that norm is? Kneeling or standing to receive the Eucharist on the tongue and, if standing, to receive with arms crossed or in another way as reverential. Look it up if you don’t believe me. (This is the norm of the Universal Church; in the US, however, as in other countries, the Conference of Bishops have established the norm of standing to receive, and that it is up the the communicant to decide whether he wants to receive in the hand or on the tongue).

Monsignor Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, was interviewed by the Vatican newspaper in 2008 after then-Pope Benedict XVI established that everyone should be kneeling when receiving Communion at a papal Mass. He said, “It is necessary not to forget that the distribution of Communion in the hand, from a juridical standpoint, remains up to now an indult” (emphasis added). He goes on to say that the pope’s return to the traditional practice “aims to highlight the force of the valid norm for the whole Church.”

These days, the practice of Communion on the hand is increasingly frowned upon by bishops, priests, and the laity. Several dioceses in South America have banned the practice altogether, while Sri Lanka never allowed it in the first place—both of which the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith fully supports.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis (at whose papal masses many people have been gently reminded to receive on the tongue if at first they extended their hands), and numerous Cardinals have all spoken publicly and loudly against the practice. Cardinals Thorne (Peru) and Caffarra (Bologna) have banned Communion in the hand, citing reasons of abuse and disrespect. Pope Benedict was asked why he chose to distribute Communion only to those kneeling and on the tongue and he responded, because it highlights “the truth of the real presence [of Christ] in the Eucharist, helps the devotion of the faithful and introduces the sense of mystery more easily.”

A Muslim man once approached a Catholic, asking him if he really believed that the Host was God Himself. The Catholic responded yes. The Muslim paused for a moment, thinking it over. “If I believed that was truly Allah,” he said, finally, “then I would crawl up on my hands and knees, bowing my head to receive Him.”

If the Eucharist is God, then why are we touching Him? Moses could not come within ten feet of the burning bush without taking off his shoes; the haemorrhaging woman crawled up to Jesus and barely grazed the hem of His garment; the saints have extolled the utter profundity of receiving the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, the mysticism, the beauty, the awesomeness of God are all present. We must, we absolutely must, remember this when we approach Him at Mass. We should never forget that we owe everything to Him, and if we do not receive Him respectfully out of sheer reverence, then we should at least do so out of gratitude.

As the pastor at this Californian church finished his short exhortation by saying, “I urge all of you to receive on the tongue, and if you don’t like to, offer it up!

Please email me your comments @ deacon@saintfrancis.net . In the subject line type, communion in the hand.   I am interested in your thoughts.

 

Joke of the Week

A man goes to Confession in Northern Ireland about 40 years ago:
"Bless me Father for I have sinned; last night I blew up fifty miles of British railroad track."
The priest answered: "My son, for penance you must do the stations".

 

Dancing With The Stars

 

Traveled to visit my friend Mark Ballas and to see him perform on the show with Aly Raisman, the Olympic Gold Medalist from Needham.  Aly is such a wonderful girl, who is a lot of fun.  Mark couldn't have a better partner. She is very polite and sociable, but most impressive was how down to earth she was.

 It was also great to see Mark's Mom, Shirley Ballas again.

I also got to hang out with Aly's dad, Rick Raisman.  He is such an awesome guy, and a lot of fun to be around. What a great dad, and  very supportive of his children.  His son Brett is a pretty funny kid.   We talked mostly about the Bruins, and of course the show.  Got to sit with Rick on Tuesday night for the results show, when Michael Buble performed.  FLOOR SEATS...VIP.  Fantastic.

Was nice to talk to Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet during commercials.

Mark performed at the Sayers Club with a full band in Hollywood.  Its amazing to see how great he has become as a musician, songwriter, singer and guitarist.  He definitely is underated.  Wait til his new album comes out, it is fantastic.  Hung out with Derek Hough's Dad Bruce and Shirley Ballas during the show.  I think we were the chaperones.

 

With Olympic Gold Medalist

Aly Raisman

 

With Tom Bergeron

 

 

With Mark Ballas Jr.

With Michael Buble

Michael Buble asking me if I was still available for singing lessons.  He heard I was an accomplished vocalist at St. Francis.  I told him he would have to register as a parishoner first.

JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN

HE IS TRULY RISEN

 

 

 

 

Holy Thursday

Mass of the Lord's Supper

 

I'm sorry Sir.  We do not have a reservation for you.  Can you please tell me again, what your name is.

 

HABEMUS PAPAM

POPE FRANCIS

 

 Boston Bruins Game

with

Mark Ballas and Olympic Gold Medalist

Aly Raisman

 

 Had a great time last night with my friend Mark Ballas from Dancing with the Stars, and Olympic Gold Medalist Aly Raisman.  Besides having several Gold Medals, nothing compares to her Golden personality.  She is down to earth, friendly and funny.  Aly's Dad Rick is a great guy who loves the Bruins, as well as her brother, who gave Mark a hard time and made me laugh.  Also, Connor Schmitt one of the producers of Dancing with the Stars joined us.  Mark was wearing his Boston Bruins game Jersey I gave him when he performed at St. Francis.

Vote for Team Rais N Ball.

 

 

 

Pope Benedict Resigns

 

     Pope Benedict XVI Resigns on February 28 at 12:00 noon.  I honestly have to say that this is a shock to the Church and the World.  It has been 600 years since a Pope has resigned from the Chair of Peter.  It takes great humility and love for the church to step down when he realized that he could no longer fulfill the office of Pope, due to his advanced age and health issues.

     I was so blessed to have attended his 1st Audience as Pope, on the Wednesday after his installation as Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.  We had great seats (right up front) in St. Peter's Square.  When the parish I was serving as deacon was announced at the audience, my friend Kevin and I jumped up and yelled.....YEAH....  Pope Benedict heard us and waved to the two of us.  If was an unforgettable experience.

     Let us pray for Pope Benedict on his retirement and ask the Lord to bless him abundantly.  Thank you for your service to the Church of Jesus Christ.

  

Holy Hour For Life

Please join us for the Holy Hour for Life on Friday Evening January 25, 2013 at 7:00p.m.

The Evening will include - Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Prayers, Homily.

Refreshments to follow in the Parish Hall.

 

 

 My First Joke of the New Year.

 

An Irishman moves into a tiny hamlet in County Kerry, walks into the pub and promptly orders three beers.

The bartender raises his eyebrows, but serves the man three beers, which he drinks quietly at a table, alone.

An hour later, the man has finished the three beers and orders three more.

This happens yet again.

The next evening the man again orders and drinks three beers at a time, several times. Soon the entire town is whispering about the Man Who Orders Three Beers.

Finally, a week later, the bartender broaches the subject on behalf of the town. "I don't mean to pry, but folks around here are wondering why you always order three beers?"

'Tis odd, isn't it?" the man replies, "You see, I have two brothers, and one went to America, and the other to Australia. We promised each other that we would always order an extra two beers whenever we drank as a way of keeping up the family bond."

The bartender and the whole town was pleased with this answer, and soon the Man Who Orders Three Beers became a local celebrity and source of pride to the hamlet, even to the extent that out-of-towners would come to watch him drink.

Then, one day, the man comes in and orders only two beers. The bartender pours them with a heavy heart. This continues for the rest of the evening - he orders only two beers. The word flies around town. Prayers are offered for the soul of one of the brothers.

The next day, the bartender says to the man, "Folks around here, me first of all, want to offer condolences to you for the death of your brother. You know-the two beers and all..."

The man ponders this for a moment, then replies, "You'll be happy to hear that my two brothers are alive and well... It's just that I, myself, have decided to give up drinking for Lent."

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Once again I was amazed on how beautiful the Church looked for Christmas.  The music, ushers, sacristans and everyone else who made this Christmas so beautiful, thank you.

 

 

Fishers of Men

Please join the Men of St. Francis Parish as we gather for a great breakfast, fellowship and a discussion of the book by Fr. Larry Richards - BE A MAN. We will be discussing chapters 3 & 4.  Come and bring a friend.  It is never to late to join us.

 

Fr. Brian's Famous Sauce

I have to be honest, Fr. Brian's pasta sauce is outstanding.  Karen DiBona and I helped him putting it all together....Too bad Karen left before the final touches were put on. ( The Secret ingredients).  I had to sign a document for security clearance, not to reveal the recipe to anyone.  All I can say is that there is some tomatoes in there amidst all the garlic.  With Garlic being a natural blood thinner, those who showed up for the spaghetti dinner probably had all their blocked arteries removed.  It should be called, Fr. Brian's famous Garlic sauce with SOME tomatoes.

 HOWEVER, I DO HAVE THE RECIPE....   Na Na Na Na Na.

 

 

 

St. Padre Pio

 

IT IS AN ENDLESS QUESTION...
HOW CAN I BECOME A SPIRITUAL CHILD OF PADRE PIO?

HAVE NO FEAR, PADRE PIO WANTED YOU. . .

Take the words of Fra Modestino, confrere of Padre Pio and fellow Pietrelcinese. In my article, The Evening Rosary at Our Lady of Grace, Modestino wished Padre Pio to adopt as his spiritual children not only those who could not visit him personally, but also those who would come much later in time, after Pio's death.

"He asked, 'Padre, I would like to take on as your spiritual children all those who will undertake to recite the Rosary every day and from time to time have Mass celebrated for your intentions. Can I do this or not?' Spreading out his arms and raising his eyes to Heaven, Padre Pio exclaimed: 'Fra Modestino, how could I renounce such a great benefit? Do what you ask me and I will assist you.' Another time, when Modestino asked, 'Padre, what must I say to your spiritual children?' Padre Pio replied, 'Tell them that I give them all my soul, so long as they persevere in prayer and doing good.' "

How much Padre Pio wanted more and more spiritual children, to save their souls and to help him succeed with his mission. Leaving his last Mass in a wheelchair, he cried to the congregation as he passed, "My children, my children..." Who can say how far into the future he was speaking, as Jesus spoke to the future from the cross. The ever-approaching future. The now we live in.

Padre Fernando of Riese Pio X wrote in THE VOICE OF PADRE PIO; Summer Number, 1991:

"There was an expression which Padre Pio always repeated to anyone who wished to become 'one of his': 'I welcome
you willingly as my spiritual children, but on condition that you always behave properly, and never make me cut a sorry figure before God and before men, and that you are examples of Christian life, otherwise I also know how to use the whip.' Since they had to help him to remake the world from its foundations, his children had to leap into action, dedication, self-sacrifice. All knew that Padre Pio had no use for children who were tepid and hesitant, incapable of action, unwilling
to live in his way."


The late Fr. Antonio Del Gaudio wrote in THE VOICE OF PADRE PIO; #4, 2001:

"A new generation of spiritual children has succeeded the first generation that had a direct and privileged relationship with Padre Pio. Today, for the most part, Padre Pio's spiritual children are those who choose him as model of life and guide toward Christian perfection....To be a spiritual child of Padre Pio is a serious thing and means we have an obligation to a life of asceticism, perfection and holiness, namely to become Christ-like, but it is also a guarantee of the Padre's protection and of his intercession before the throne of the Almighty.

"In the person of Padre Pio, moreover, Jesus makes himself closer to us, more human, easier to imitate and to reach, because Padre Pio, according to the words of Pope Paul VI 'was a marked representative of our Lord.' "


Your heart will tell you if you are are on the right path to being a spiritual child of Padre Pio. The Capuchins, themselves, whenever an opportunity presents itself, reaffirm what is necessary. The page below is from Fr. Pellegrino's book, Jack of All Trades; Fr. Joseph reprinted these necessary conditions in his column, THE VOICE OF PADRE PIO.

 

 

 

Hurricane Devistation

 

The Picture above is a picture of my friend Michelle Garofalo who lives in New Jersey.  She lost everything during Hurricane Sandy.  She had to be evacuated by boat.  Thank God she made it out alive.  If you can help in any way, I would appreciate it, and I know Michelle would as well.  Please see me if you can help out.  Cash contributions as well as toilettries are welcome.  Thank You.

  

Holy Land, Rome and Assisi

 

 

Bethlehem - 2011

 

Join the parishoners of St. Francis for the trip of a lifetime.  In Honor of the 50th Anniversary of St. Francis Parish.

 

April 21, 2013 - May 2, 2013

 Click on the Links below

 

 Itinerary

Application

Insurance

 

 

Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem

 

It is with great joy that I announce that our former Pastor, Rev. Robert M. Blaney, and Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Rauseo have been nominated and approved to be invested into the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.  More Info to come.

 

Pictures From My Investiture in the Order - November 19, 2011

 

 Me after my Investiture

Fr. Brain and I after the Investiture Mass with Cardinal O'Brien

My daughters and Son-In-Law.

Medallions given to the NEW Knight