Mercy is an essential virtue of the Christian life. It is also an attribute of God.

September 15, 2019

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

Mercy is an essential virtue of the Christian life. It is also an attribute of God. Some have said that just as God is love, so God is also mercy  because  mercy is also the revelation of God's love for us in the coming of the Son in the flesh to redeem the world. The word originates from the Latin, misericordia, which literally translates to the pity of the heart Athanasius writes in his treatise, On the Incarnation, that God did not want to see those whom he created in his own image destroyed in the corruption of sin, so the Father sent the Son to re-create the image in us which from the beginning was destined for immortality. God desired or pitied his creation from the heart to the point of sending his Son, so that we might not see destruction.

We see the unfathomable mercy of God in today's readings from scripture. God relents of punishing his people, Israel. St. Paul recognizes that he has re­ceived such a great mercy from the Lord, so that God's mercy and patience might be revealed to the world. Most importantly God's mercy is revealed in Scripture. We are given three great parables. The two which probably most notably we remember is the story of "The Lost Sheep" and the story of "The Prodigal Son."

The story of "The Lost Sheep" reveals much about God's mercy because it reveals exactly the kind of desire that Athanasius  points out. God  never  tires in seeking out the lost sheep. Even though we might hide, the shepherd is still searching. Sin hides us from God because we don't want to be found we'd rather be on our own, but God's love revealed in his mercy never tires of seeking us out. When our hearts tum to God with trust, we allow ourselves to be found. When the shepherd does find the lost sheep he rejoices, picks it up, and places it on his shoulders, so it can't escape. God wants each of us so close that he will place us with him so we can't stray. This is an unimaginable degree of compas­sion, love, and most importantly mercy. If you  or I were  the  only one's living on this planet, God would scour every inch and remove every  obstacle  in  his path just to possess you. That is the level to which God desires us.

The story of "The Prodigal Son" speaks of how our Eternal Father is always waiting for us to return. The important thing to notice is that before the son has the opportunity to even confess his sin, the fact that his heart had turned  back to the Lord. He was embraced by the father. The father had already forgiven him before a word was formed on his lips, his sorrow and desire to return to  the father. The younger son was renewed in life . The older brother, on the other hand, did not enter into the house. Though he was righteous, he lacked charity and mercy toward his brother. He excluded himself from the great feast.

If we only turn our hearts in sorrow, God forgives and embraces us before we can explain ourselves. He wants to carry us on his shoulders into life . Never fear God. If we seek him with an honest heart with mercy in our souls and  sor­row in our hearts, he will be merciful. Our Father is waiting to waiting to meet you in an embrace, to renew you in life, to have your heart beat in  sync with his own heart.

-Fr. Nicholas Reynolds, O.P.

7 ways to refresh your Sabbath Know your Sabbath Day roots

September 8, 2019

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

7 ways to refresh your Sabbath Know your Sabbath Day roots

The practice of Sabbath dates back to the very beginning- literally. The Gen­esis story tells of our creator God, who spent six days forming the world. Heav­ens, earth, light, darkness, sky, land, plants, animals, and people all came into being those first days. A period of rest seems only right after such a feat! The Genesis author writes, "So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation" (Gen. 2:3). Thus began the practice of Sabbath, a sacred time of rest reflecting God's own decision to rest.

Religious rituals soon formed around the Sabbath in early Jewish communi­ties. "Keep holy the Sabbath" stood as one of the Ten Commandments and  a sign  of the covenant. The Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, points out specific rules for Sabbath observance, such as no plowing fields (Exod. 34:21) and no kindling fire (Exod. 35:3). Owners must give rest to their animals and servants as well (Deut. 5:14). The God of the Old Testament is not messing around when it comes to Sabbath law. God tells Moses, "You shall keep the sabbath, because it is holy for you; everyone who profanes it shall be put to death" (Exod. 31:14).

The Christian practice of Sabbath stems from our Jewish roots. Jesus knew the importance of holy rest. He also knew sometimes people needed to eat or be healed- and those needs couldn't be contained to a timeline. He puts the rules into perspective when he tells the Pharisees, "The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27). Christians began observing the day of rest on Sundays with com­munal worship. The Eucharist became a defining celebration of the Lord's Day.

Ideas to inspire Sabbath practices in the midst of our busy lives follow.

Pause-Life isn't all about getting things done, especially when it comes to the Sabbath. On your holy day of rest, try taking a pause.

Work-   "Love begins at home."                                      - St. Teresa of Calcutta

Worry- "I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."                                                                                          -Thomas Merton

Practice-A little structure can go a long way for getting the most out of your Sabbath experience. Grow closer to God, yourself, and the world around you through the following practices:

Worship-Psalm 118, "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad!"

Withdraw-"Silence is the  best  response to mystery."           - Kathleen Norris

Wonder-  "Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it."

-Mary Oliver

Walk- "Earth is so thick with divine possibility that it is a wonder we can walk anywhere without cracking our shins on altars." - Barbara Brown Taylor

Welcome-"We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other."                                                                                             - Dorothy Day

For the full article go to www.uscatholic .org

- Jessie Bazan, M .Div.

Today's readings accentuate the importance of humility in our lives. Dictionary definitions accentuate humility as a low self-regard and sense of unworthiness

September 1, 2019

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

Today's readings accentuate the importance of humility in our lives. Dictionary definitions accentuate humility as a low self-regard and sense of unworthiness. In a religious context humility can mean a recognition of self in relation to God, and self-debasement with subsequent submis­sion to God.

New Testament exhortations to humility  are  found  in  many  places, for example "Blessed are the meek", "He who exalts himself will humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted", as well as Philippians 2:1-17 and throughout the Book of James. Also in Jesus Christ's behavior in general and submission to  unjust  torture  and  execution  in  particular,  are  held up as examples of righteous humility: "Who, when he was reviled, did not revile: when he suffered, he threatened not: but delivered himself to him that judged him justly."

Saint Augustine stresses the importance of humility in  the study of the Bible, with the exemplars of a barbarian Christian slave, the apostle Paul, and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8. Both learner and teacher need to be humble, because they learn and teach what ultimately belongs to God. Humility is a basic disposition of the interpreter of the Bible. The confidence of the exegete and preacher arises from the conviction that his or her mind depends on God absolutely. Augustine argues that the interpreter of the Bible should proceed with humility, because only a humble person can grasp the truth of Scripture.

Humility is said to be a fit recipient  of  grace; according  to  the words of St. James, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

"True humility" is distinctly different from "false humility" which consists of deprecating one's own sanctity, gifts, talents, and accomplish­ments for the sake of receiving praise or adulation from others, as per­sonified by the fictional character Uriah Heep created by Charles Dickens. In this context legitimate humility comprises the following behaviors and attitudes:

Recognizing virtues and talents that others possess, particularly those that surpass one's own, and giving due honor and, when required, obedience. Recognizing the limits of one's talents, ability, or authority. The vice opposed to humility is:

Pride-too great obsequiousness or abjection of  oneself; this would  be considered an excess of humility, and could easily be derogatory to one's office or holy character; or it might serve only to pamper pride in others, by unworthy flattery, which would occasion their sins of tyranny, arbitrariness, and arrogance. The virtue of humility may not be practiced in any external way that would occasion vices in others.

-Fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.

How do, we reconcile the God of Mercy  and,  Compassion,  especially when we hear

August 25, 2019

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

How do, we reconcile the God of Mercy  and,  Compassion,  especially when we hear: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation” (2 Cor. 1:3), with the God who chastises?

"God deals with you as with sons,” and you could not say, we cannot bear it: yes, as with sons tenderly beloved. For if they reverence their fathers of the  flesh, how  shall not you reverence your heavenly Father?

However, the difference arises not from this alone, nor from the persons, but also from the cause itself, and from the fact. For it is not on the same grounds that He and they inflict chastisement: but they [did it] with a view to what seemed good to them, that is, fulfilling [their own] pleasure oftentimes, and not always looking to what was expedient. But here, that cannot be said. For He does this not for a y interest of His own but for you, and for your benefit alone. They [did it] that you might be useful to themselves also, oftentimes without reason; but here there is nothing of this kind. Do you see that this also brings consolation? For we are most closely attached to those [earthly parents], when we see that not for any interests of their own they either command or advise us: but their earnestness is, wholly and solely, on our account. For this is genuine love, and love in real­ity, when we are beloved though we be of no use to him who loves us- not that he may receive, but that he may impart. He chastens, He does everything, He uses all diligence, that we may become capable of receiving His benefits.

- St. John Chrysostom

Our consolation and comfort is not in the feeling of pain or pleasure, but in true joy that comes from knowing that God has no other interest in us but our true good. That is true love when one seeks the good of another without personal interest.

We must be wary when we see God as one that punishes us into sub­ mission, making God into a tyrant. The chastisement we receive is not simply something for us to change behavior, but is to make us reliant upon the grace of God and the strength that He supplies, and therefore be open to the benefits God wishes to bestow on us. When we are op­ pressed by trials, we experience our littleness and our recognition that in comparison to God we are like children: often helpless to the frustrations of life. It is at that moment; we should realize we are in the correct frame of mind: that of a child before God. Therefore, when we feel oppressed, know that the Lord is training us to lean on Him and  to trust in his will.

-Fr. Nicholas Reynolds, O.P.

The gospels make it  clear  that  our  destiny  depends on the outcome of our encounter with Christ.

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

August 18, 2019

The gospels make it  clear  that  our  destiny  depends on the outcome of our encounter with Christ. He is the means by which we will be saved; that salvation depends on whether or not we 'know' Jesus Christ. Simply claim­ing to have spent time with  him does not count. True discipleship is not a casual relationship with Jesus nor does it involve careful approval of his teachings. The cost of discipleship involves a sacrificial kind of love which commits us to Christ and to all that he commands, both by word and example. We should strive to be more fully committed to Christ. The one who reaches their true des­ tiny is the one who enters by the narrow door of personal commitment, conversion, and an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

As Saint Paul insisted 'God wants all to be saved and to come to a knowledge  of the truth'. The narrow  door can be challenging, but  ask the Father  to let you keep your eye on that heavenly destiny as well as the strength to keep pushing towards it. Even though the door to our eternal kingdom may be narrow, it is open to anyone who seeks it. It will require not physical, but spiritual strength to pass through that gate. Spiritual strength that leads to salvation. This strength can only be developed  through discipline as written in the second reading. It takes prepa­ration, examination of conscience, deep prayer, active sac­ramental life, mercy, justice, and a disciplined way of life.

Jesus is asking us take up the cross and follow him every day of our lives. It is the cross that will bring everlasting life. Victory is not impossible, especially with Christ as our Savior. Jesus is challenging us to make our salvation a matter of deliberate and sustained effort.

-Fr. Peter Damian, O.P.

Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

August 11, 2019

Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.

Once someone told me that he was not pleased by the definitions of faith that the Church offered him. He searched and could not find a definition that would apply to him. He prided himself on being a rational person and none of the definitions fit his schemes of life. I told him that he was fighting a losing battle, that he needed to go to Saint Paul's letter to better understand faith.

Were we to look for a definition of faith, we would encounter all kinds of definitions. Hundreds of books have been written about it. Most of the time they miss the point. They try to give us a rational, or an emotional, or a purely pious definition of faith.

Saint Paul in today's  second  reading  offers us  an existential  definition of faith through the person of Abraham, "By faith he obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as inheritance; he went out not knowing where he was to go." Faith, Saint Paul tells us, requires surrender of vision and logic-"he went out not knowing where he was to go."

"By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country, dwell­ing in tents..., for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God." By faith he believed that God has called to play  a  foundational  role  into  the  heavenly  Jerusalem.

"By faith he received the power to generate, even though he was the normal age." His faith in God enabled him to father into an impossible situation, with  a woman  who  was  sterile.

What do we learn from this definition of faith? Abraham teaches us to trust in God, even when our eyes and our mind do not have a clear vision. To trust in God when we are challenged  to walk into the dark.

Abraham teaches us that God has a plan for us and that we are all called to play a role in this plan. By faith we are challenged to see what others cannot see, and we are dared to embrace it, even beyond what is humanly  logical.

By faith Abraham teaches us to hope beyond all hope, because God's power and love is limitless.

Faith, Abraham teaches us, is to trust beyond all our fears. Only in the surrender of our wills will we ever be able to understand faith like Abraham teaches.

-Fr. Alberto Rodriguez, 0.P.

St. Dominic was born in Caleruega, Spain to Blessed Jane of Aza and Felix de Guzman.

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

August 4, 2019

August 8 marks the Solemnity of Our Holy Father Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers.

St. Dominic was born in Caleruega, Spain to Blessed Jane of Aza and Felix de Guzman. When Blessed Jane of Aza was trying to conceive her third and final son, she prayed at the shrine of St. Dominic de Silos. In a dream she was told that she would conceive and bear a son, he was in the form of a dog with a torch that would illuminate the world. In honor of the saint that interceded for this child, he was named Dominic.

The Church heralds the Dominicans, and especially St. Dominic as defenders of the faith, and while this is the Order of Preachers' patrimony, there is much more to St. Dominic. The Order of Preachers knows him as the "the Preacher of Grace," and St. Dominic not only preached about grace, but he lived it and was filled with it. To this day, that is why the common life of the friars is called the sacra praedicatio -the holy preaching, because we preach to one another out of abundance of grace we have in our lives. The life of grace was already infused in him as a young man. When at the age of 14, Dominic sold his expensive leather-bound books to care for the poor and the needy saying, "how can I study off of these dead skins, when living skins are dying?" Even though study was important for St. Dominic and though he enjoyed it, care for the needy always came first. Charity was after all his best teacher of the Truth.

When he became a canon regular at the cathedral chapter in Osma, St. Domi­nic was asked to travel to Denmark to bring back the bride for the prince. As they traveled through what is now southern France, they encountered the Albigensian heretics and their teaching. The Albigensian heresy was a resurfac­ing of an old Gnostic heresy, where a good god created all things spiritual and an evil god created all things material, and thus what was in the world must be evil. These heretics lived lives of extreme poverty and asceticism, a life that Dominic admired, but he could not abide by their teachings. He stayed up all night with an innkeeper in a village he entered, helping him to realize the error of the heresy. God made all things, visible and invisible. The body was good, and the prime example of it was the incarnation. This is why even to this day Dominicans are preachers not only of grace, but particularly of the grace of the incarnate Word, and Dominic studied and contemplated this Word in scripture daily. He was so infused with the life of grace and care for the heretics that he would stay up all night praying for them weeping and saying, "Lord, what will become of sinners?" He even set up housing for women who abandoned the heresy and were in danger of harm from their families. There they could continue to pray and live the ascetical life together, and this would become the first monastery of cloistered nuns of the Order. St. Dominic cared so much for these people that he embraced their asceticism to be authentic in his preaching of Christ, who impoverished himself, not disdaining the flesh but embraced it unto death.

Recognizing the need of preaching and the need for authentic witness to the life of Christ and Apostolic values, St. Dominic beseeched Rome to establish the Order of Preachers. The Order was established on December 22, 1216, by Pope Honorius III through a Papal Bull, giving the Order worldwide authority to preach. St. Dominic's life inspired many to enter the Order through his own preaching and the authentic Gospel life he witnessed. When the Order was fully established, but small, he entrusted the brothers to the providence of God and sent us out to the cities near universities to study, to preach the Word, and to witness to apostolic poverty.

St. Dominic died in Bologna on August 6, 1221, and before his death he assured his brothers not to grieve for he would be more useful after his death. Unlike some reli­gious congregations and Orders who strive to follow after the example of their founder, Dominic left us a way of life, not of imitating himself, but of imitating the incarnate Word and preaching the Word. St. Dominic urged his brothers to follow in the footsteps of the Savior and to speak to God or of God, always and forever preaching everywhere the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

-Fr. Nicholas Reynold s, O.P.


On the 51st anniversary of Humanae Vitae, it is still one of the most misunderstood and controverted teachings of the Church

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

July 28, 2019

On the 51st anniversary of Humanae Vitae, it is still one of the most misunderstood and controverted teachings of the Church and it's im­portant for all Catholics at least to understand what the teaching is, to whom it applies, and why it is taught. Could you defend the teaching? Let's try to answer those questions.

First, what is the teaching? Humanae Vitae teaches that when husband and wife consummate their marriage that act must be open to new life. Notice, it applies to "married couples". For all others the teaching is chastity, not prohibition of contraception. For other cases the Church does not say "don't use contraception", she says, "don't have intercourse outside of marriage". That clarification alone can clear up a fair amount of ignorance because oftentimes you'll find that an argument framed as a rejection of Humanae Vitae is in fact a more fundamental doubt about the teaching on chastity which clarifies the conversation. The basis of the teaching is that the union between husband and wife is sacred and that in this sacred action husband and wife must absolutely give their whole selves to each other, including their fertility, which is not something to be despised, but something to be treasured as an incomparable gif t from God. In giving all of themselves and in bringing forth new life, spouses even imitate God Himself, Who is Creator of new life and Who gives Himself totally and unconditionally to us in Jesus and in the life of the Trinity. To give all of oneself, then, is godly, and not to give all of oneself in such a noble action is ungodly. The issue with sexual unions outside of marriage is that they go all the way physically but not all the way with the mind, the will, the heart, the spirit. There is a physical sharing but no commitment. Since this is a sacred action given by God, this union must never be cheated of its full potential and glory. It should not be cheated at all by the will or fears of man.

So that's the teaching, who it applies to, and why it is taught. The teaching itself is rather simple. So why has there been so much contro­versy? There seems to be at least three obstacles. Three crises. The first is the crisis of faith, which is a crisis of trust. Now sometimes we should make judgments about what we're told, but when it is God revealing what is true, if we do not accept it and instead make judgments about it, against it, for instance the sacredness of this action as revealed by God, then we are having a crisis of faith. And if we struggle this way, it's a very important struggle which should be brought to the Lord Jesus. We have to decide if we want our plan or God's plan for our lives.

Second is a crisis of weakness. Practically no one has difficulty with this teaching for intellectual reasons. Rather, they have difficulty because they find it hard to live. Because among the Church's more difficult teachings, contracep­tion is far and away one of the easiest to accept intellectually. For instance, if we line up the teachings on the Trinity, the Incarnation of Jesus and the Eucharist we can see that the teaching on contraception is just much easier.

So most people don't reject Humanae Vitae on intellectual grounds but because they find it difficult to live and if this is the case it is important to recognize that just because something is difficult doesn't mean it's not true. So you might be having a moment of weakness, this doesn't mean that you have to have a crisis of faith which is much more serious. If we can accept that it is true but we find it difficult to live we should bring that to Jesus in prayer. Especially in the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist, which is precisely the recom­mendation that Paul VI made in this encyclical. The Gospel that leads us to glory is, at times, very difficult.

Third is a crisis of moral vision. We can cheat on this teaching and get away with it. Many people would say that adultery has an effect on a marriage but many think that contraception, while it may be wrong, is not going to have an effect on marriage. This is a crisis of moral vision because what I say and do affects me, it changes me, it forms my way of thinking. Our actions form our interior disposition. We become what we do. We form ourselves this way. And this is true of contraception. If spouses make a habit of holding back on gener­osity, not giving their whole selves, this has an effect on marriage. Sacredness has been detached from this action.

Many find this teaching difficult because our society is sexually addicted . The worldly view of sex that leads away from responsibility and respect toward darkness and addiction is the idea that sex is trivial: "what's the big deal? why is the Church hung up on this?" The Church recognizes and teaches that this is not trivial. You are sacred, how you use your body sexually is very significant.

Humanae Vitae is liberating because it affirms our dignity and freedom. What husband and wife do is not trivial but sacred and profound. The contraceptive mentality blunts generosity and even manifests a distrust in God's providence. It injures the intimacy of marriage. God invites husband and wife to share in what is properly His own ministry, that is, to create life where before there was nothing. In the sacrament of marriage, He elevates a natural friendship to the level of a sacrament where husband and wife are the instruments of salvation to each other. They are to be partners in leading each other to glory. May the Lord in His great kindness strengthen couples to embrace with joy the wondrous vocation He has given them.

-Fr. Joseph Mary Hertzog, O.P.

My name is Fr. Nicholas Reynolds, and I am your new parochial vicar.

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

July 21, 2019

My name is Fr. Nicholas Reynolds, and I am your new parochial vicar. I was just ordained to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ on June 8, 2019.

I was born in Savannah, Georgia and raised in both Savannah and St. Simons Island, Georgia. I went to parochial schools growing up, where I first felt pulled toward the priesthood, seeing the priest say Mass as a young boy. It wasn't until college that I discovered I wanted to be a religious, inspired by my campus chaplain who was a Franciscan. I attended Furman University, a small university in the city of Greenville, South Carolina, where I majored and received my Bachelor degree in Physics. He had a profound love for the poor, was a hard worker, and always had an infectious joy that was palpable. In college I had the opportunity to do an internship at the Franciscan parish, where my college campus chaplain was also the pastor. There, I stayed in the old friary with four other of my college friends from the Catholic Campus Ministry (CCM), and grew to love living in community and praying the office together every morning and evening. I knew then that I desired to be a religious priest. My campus chaplain encouraged me to find a religious order which would benefit from and appreciate my love for the natural sciences.

I found the Order of Preachers mostly through a divine providence. I looked at several orders and congregations, but none seemed quite right. After college I talked to my pastor and the former Bishop of the Diocese of Savannah, who suggested the Dominicans and knew a contact. Within a few days I received a phone call from the vocations director from the Province of St. Martin de Porres who happened to be coming near Savannah for a vacation and wanted to visit. I drove up from St. Simons Island, and we met in Savannah and talked about our vocations. I was basically sold. I visited the brothers and both New Orleans and St. Louis and had a profound experience of family and camaraderie. I entered the Order in 2012, and I haven't looked back.

Please pray for vocations. There is a great need for good men and women to join religious life, to give their life in a new and radical way to the Lord. I hope as I begin my time here at Holy Rosary that you will help call me to a fuller joy and growth in my priesthood and to be true to the call of my vocation. Like any state in life, being a religious is both a challenge and a great joy. It matters not whether we are ultimately called to marriage, religious, or a single vocation, but that we heed the call of God for us to follow Christ, not weighing the cost and to pray for those in other vocations. So please, continue to pray for the vocations in our Church.

Other than my vocation, I enjoy going to the movies, finding a book to read, cooking, going to local coffee houses and  teahouses,  and  playing  board  games. My favorite Spiritual Masters are St. Augustine, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Aelred of Rievaulx, and Blessed  John Ruysbroeck. They have each influenced my life in profound ways. I also enjoy reading sources from the Eastern Catholic tradition  and the  Early  Church Fathers.

I am extremely happy to be here, and I look forward to serving you as a priest. In Christ,

-Fr. Nicholas Reynolds, O.P.

Is it OK to leave Mass after communion?

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

Is it OK to leave Mass after communion?

No. It's really not. Because it's not just about us. It's not OK to leave Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma's early because it's not just about eating good food, seeing the relatives once a year, and letting them see how big (or thin or old or pretty) you've become. It's about family, loving, and being loved even if-€specially if-you and they are not perfect. It's about tradition, hearing the old stories and the new ones and adding yours; it's about recalling the past while the present surrounds you and the future lurks nearby. It's not OK to leave until the dessert and coffee and maybe an after-dinner drink because it's not just about you; it's about all of you as a family. So you stay until it's over, and you say goodbye with hugs and kisses and leave with a renewed understanding of what being part of this family means.

The Mass and Thanksgiving  dinner have much in common, but the Mass is so much more. It is our celebration of the paschal mystery, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world. We gather as God's family, the church, holy and imperfect, to hear again the story of how God has loved us and pursued us throughout history to this very day. In praying for the whole church and its needs, for the whole world, for those who suffer and those who die, we learn that we are to be mindful of them and to serve them. As we offer our thanks and praise for all God has done for us and given us, we come to recognize God's greatest gift to us, Jesus Christ, who feeds and strengthens us in the form of bread and wine, the body and blood he gave for the life of the world.

The Mass not only celebrates our faith, it teaches us what we believe and how we are to live. That is why we can't leave Mass  after  com­munion. Because communion  is  not  just  about  us  and  our  salvation. It's about the salvation of the world. In celebrating and receiving the Eucharist, "We proclaim your death, 0 Lord , and profess your resurrection until you come again. fl Who are we professing our faith to? Not just to ourselves but to the world. We become  part  of  the  story  of  how  much God  loves  all people  and  wants  them  to  know  God  through  Christ.

If we leave Mass before the dismissal, we miss out on celebrating and being taught why we celebrate the Eucharist in the first place. We are fed and strengthened on the body and blood of  Christ not only for ourselves but also for  all those he gave his life for. We are dismissed  from Mass not because it's over, but because we have  work  to  do. We are to go to the world to proclaim Christ. And so we stay to the end of Mass to be blessed and commissioned: "Go and announce the gospel of the Lord .fl "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.

-Victoria M. Tufano

"the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head"

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

June 30, 2019

In this Sunday's gospel Jesus speaks of the severity and the unconditional nature of Christian discipleship: "the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head", "let the dead bury their dead", and "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God." My brothers and sisters in Christ, I want to talk to you about a sustained effort in following Jesus in daily life.

Do not be afraid nor discouraged at hearing His instructions about the way to perfection and the demands of the kingdom. Pray for a burning desire to follow Him along this way. Make a daily effort to do so. Many people refuse even to consider such an effort. Others make a halfhearted attempt, but they turn away at the first sign of difficulty. Jesus' loyal followers try again and again, in spite of repeated failures. By their refusal to quit, they go far in the work of self-perfection.

Make your resolution to follow His example in your daily life. Then do your best to fulfill the resolution. Do not judge your progress by your feelings, nor by visible signs. Just purify your intention, concentrate on the virtue you need or desire, and strive to eliminate all natural self-seeking. How few are those who are really all for Jesus, those who try to please Him in all things simply because He deserves it.

True, this perfection is not reached in a day. However, it will never be reached if you never start trying. It is not easy to live entirely for the Lord, continually trying to control and direct your feelings and selfish desires for His sake. He shall stand by you to guide and strengthen you. Still, you will have to do your part. Make every effort to guide your thinking throughout the day, so that you may not lose sight of Him in your various activities. From time to time test your pure intentions by contradicting your natural desires.

Remember: it is not enough to make good resolutions. You must also make plans, practical plans about keeping the resolutions. Having done this, and hav­ing begged God's blessing, you should get busy with the virtue or fault in question. Failures need not discourage you. Rather, they should strengthen your determination to see this matter through. Your loyalty to Jesus will show itself in your refusal to abandon this glorious effort for Christian perfection. As far as Jesus is concerned, if you are willing to try, and to continue to try in spite of failures, He will be content with you. Sincerity and honest effort are the surest signs of unselfishness with God.

Let our prayer today be the following: Dearest Lord, this work of self-purifi­ cation is not the work of a day, nor is it easy. We long to make whatever daily ef­ fort is necessary. We yearn for the day when our thoughts will turn easily, almost naturally, to the higher things in life. We desire to see the eternal importance of the temporal matters which occupy us today. This will come with our spiritual growth. We must do what reading, reflecting, and praying we can, in order to gain the graces necessary for this degree of union with You. As we continue to practice mortification and self control, we shall come closer and closer to this spiritual  state. Amen.

-'-Fr. Joseph-Mary Hertzog, O.P.

Lo! the angel' s food is given to the pilgrim who has striven;

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

June 23, 2019

Lo! the angel' s food is given to the pilgrim who has striven; see the children' s bread from heaven, which on dogs may not be spent .

The solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus closes a series of liturgical celebrations that follow the closing of the Easter season. Through today 's celebration we are reminded of  the impor­tance of the Eucharistic mystery in the lives of every baptized person. It is through the Eucharistic mystery that we are fully engaged in the mystery of the Risen Lord in our lives and our world.

You might have noticed that I used the word mystery twice. A mystery in the Christian tradition refers to the sacred reality of what we know about but cannot fully describe or understand; but brings about concrete consequences in the lives of those who  partake  of them.

Whenever we participate in the Eucharist we have a concrete and close encounter with the divinity manifested to us in the Eucharistic species: bread and wine. Bread and wine become the shroud  that hides for us the fullness of the divinity, but the reality of the Eucha­ristic mystery goes even beyond that. We are not only exposed  to the divine mystery, but we are also allowed to become one with the mystery of God. We become what we receive. The presence of the living Risen Lord enmeshes with our lowly and sinful humanity. We become one with the Lord.

There is no higher moment in the life of a Christian than when we become one with the Risen Lord in the Eucharist. It is a moment that goes beyond devotion; it is a moment of deep silence in the presence of the mystery. We ought always to be fully aware of what we are doing when we receive the most sacred Body and Blood of Christ. We are to allow the fullness of God's love to overcome us after receiving the Eucharist. Saint Thomas Aquinas was very much aware of what he was trying to convey to us when he wrote the words quoted above from the sequence for today's Mass. We are not to make light of receiving the Eucharist. It is the greatest gift we can hope to receive from God. It is the opportunity of the close encounter with the divinity. God will be in front of us and become part of us.

-Fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.

What Jesus has revealed to us, and what the Church, relying on His word, teaches us about the Trinity

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

June 16, 2019

What Jesus has revealed to us, and what the Church, relying on His word, teaches us about the Trinity, is sufficient to prove the existence of this mystery, but it does not suffice to enable us to understand it. Furthermore, it is the mystery of our faith which is least accessible to human reason, making us realize more than ever the infinite dispro­portion between our intelligence and the divine mysteries, giving us a vivid awareness of the vast distance which separates us, mere creatures that we are, from God, the Supreme Being, the Most High. All this is good-very good-because it makes us  take, with regard to God, an attitude truly proper to creatures: an attitude of humility, of humble acknowledgement of our insufficiency, of respectful self-abasement, of reverent adoration. Thus, when we put ourselves in the presence of the great mystery of the Trinity, we feel the need to repeat humbly, "Nihil sumus, nihil possum us, nihil valemus." We are nothing, we can do nothing, we are worth nothing (St. John Eudes), while at the same time praising the inaccessible greatness of our God: "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth!" Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts! Though only art holy, Thou only art almighty, Thou only art worthy, Thou alone art He who is.

Unaided reason is blinded by the greatness of the mystery, but this same reason enlightened by faith is not misled. It admits its limitations, and submitting itself to divine revelation, it believes. This act of faith is all the more meritorious and  supernatural, the less it leans on human reasoning. It gives greater honor to God the more blind its adherence to His word. St. Teresa of Jesus says, "The less of a natural foundation these truths had , the more firmly I held them and the greater was the devotion they inspired in me. I saw I had every reason for praising God" (Life, 19). This is the faith of a humble soul in the presence of the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity.

Consideration of the mystery  of  the Trinity inspires us not only with an attitude of humble reverence and  blind  faith,  but  also  with  one  of deep filial love. "This is the characteristic of friend ship," says St. Thomas Aquinas, "that the friend confides his secret s to another." This is also characteristic of the love of God for us, because by revealing to us the mystery of the Trinity, He has unveiled to us the secret of  His intimate life, toward which we had no right to turn our gaze. If we had no other proof of the love of friendship which God has for us,  the revelation  of this mystery would be more than enough to convince us of it. He has confided to us the secrets of  His Heart; He has opened to us the mystery of His personal life  and  has  admitted  us  into  intimacy  with  Himself. All this justly strengthens our conviction of the exceeding charity  with which  God  has  loved  us.

-Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

June 9, 2019

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.

Pentecost Sunday is one of those liturgical celebrations which at times disconcerts us. We know that we are remembering a historical event which was pivotal in the development of the incipient Church. It was the birthing moment of the Church, the discovery moment of its mission to the whole world. All that is fundamental truth. But is there more to this celebration?

The day of our baptism we became, without exception, temples and dwellings places of the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit that moved the Apostles to speak in different languages and sent them off into the world dwells within us. And it is the Spirit who enriches our lives with his different gifts. Nobody  can claim that he or she has not been gifted.

Saint Paul reminds us that there are different gifts and that those gif ts are given to us with a purpose. We have to learn to understand us-the Church-as a great mosaic built with an immense multitude of forms and colors. We all belong in this mosaic. We are like pieces which help build this image of Christ in the world. Left to ourselves we are nothing but stray pieces without purpose. Inserted by the Spirit into the great mosaic, we not only find our place but our mission.

It is our mission in life to find our place of insertion into the great mosaic of the Church. No baptized person can claim to be excepted from this mission and purpose . It is in finding our place and insert­ ing ourselves into the great plan of God that we suddenly come to the realization of what real fulfillment and happiness is. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. It is the Holy Spirit who will help us to find the final meaning of our existence. We live to become one in Christ through the Spirit in the midst of the Church.

-Fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.

The feast of the Ascension seems to be more about the apostles going out than Jesus going up!

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

June 2, 2019

The feast of the Ascension seems to be more about the apostles going out than Jesus going up! As Jesus goes to his Father, the message is to take over the gospel now, and to be witnesses to him. We are to share what we have received, speak of what we have seen and heard.

Each of us is called into the ministry of Jesus in some way. We are called to be 'other Christs', to be people who wish to make known and spread the love of God and his care for his people in the world. We may never know how much we have done this; it is sufficient that we do what we can. God has some work to do that can be done only through each person.

Our mission is to change that. St. Paul puts it beautifully  in today's letter to the Ephesians: "Live in a manner worthy of the calling you have received ..”

The final departure of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit gave new strength and energy to the disciples. And now to us, from heaven the Lord continues his work on earth through us.

We are assured that he hasn't ever stopped being present with us throughout all time. The mysterious feast of the Ascension reminds us that Christ accepts our lack of self-confidence in ourselves, fear, and  our unworthiness.

And having accepted us, he calls us, gives us the eternal commission to be his people, and sends us to serve him and love him, in spite of ourselves and because of ourselves. John Henry Cardinal Newman said it well long ago:

"He calls us again and again, in order to justify us again and again and again and again, and more and more, to sanctify and glorify us. It was well if we understood this; but we are slow to master the great truth, that Christ is, as it were, walking among us, and by his hand, or eye, or voice, bidding us follow him. “

Let's get going and carry a piece of heaven into the world. This is the meaning of the Resurrection and the Ascension of our Lord, not one of divine abandonment of the human cause, but divine empowerment of the Gospel dream!

-Fr. Peter Damian, O.P.

Communion -Why kneel?

Communion -Why kneel?

May 26, 2019

Pope Benedict XVI, has noted that kneeling is "an expression of Christian culture, which transforms the existing culture through a new and deeper knowledge and experience of God." He reminds us that "the word proskynein alone occurs fifty-nine times in the New Testament, twenty-four of which are in the Apocalypse, the book of the heavenly liturgy, which is presented to the Church as the standard for her own liturgy."

In his book The Spirit of the Liturgy, Pope Benedict speaks of a "story that comes from the sayings of the Desert Fathers, according to which the devil was compelled by God to show himself to a certain Abba Apollo. He looked black and ugly, with frightening thin limbs, but, most strikingl y, he had no knees. The inability to kneel is seen as the very essence of the diabolical." Communion -Why receive on the tongue?

Despite the widespread practice of Communion in the hand, the universal discipline of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue has not changed . A bishop, for example, may forbid the practice of Communion in the hand but not the practice of Communion on the tongue. The Church strongly encourages the latter but not the former. With respect to Communion in the hand, the Church speaks only in a cautionary tone because of the many abuses that often accompany this practice.

St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us, with respect to Communion in the hand that rever­ence demands that only what has been consecrated should touch the Blessed Sacrament. He writes: The dispensing of Christ's body belongs to the priest for three reasons. First, because . . .he consecrates in the person of Christ. . .Secondly, because the priest is the ap­pointed intermediary between God and the people, hence as it belongs to him to offer the people's gifts to God, so it belongs to him to deliver the consecrated gifts to the people. Thirdly, because out of reverence toward this sacrament nothing touches it but what is consecrated, hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest's hands, for touching this sacrament. Hence it is not lawful for anyone else to touch it, except from necessity-for instance, if it were to fall upon the ground, or else in some other case of urgency.

In his apostolic letter Dominicae Cenae, Pope John Paul II also states:

"How eloquent, therefore, even if not of ancient custom, is the rite of the anointing of the hands in our Latin ordination, as though precisely for these hands a special grace and power of the Holy Spirit is necessary. To touch the sacred species, and to distribute them with their own hands, is a privilege of the ordained , one which indicates an active participation in the ministry of the Eucharist ."

Mother Teresa reportedly said, "Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand ." Even the great Pope John Paul II reportedly said: "There is an apostolic letter on the existence of a special valid permission for this [ Communion in the hand]. But I tell you that I am not in favor of this practice, nor do I recommend it."

Communion on the tongue helps to foster a proper sense of reverence and piety. To step up to a communion rail, and kneel, and receive on the tongue, is an act of utter and unabashed humility. In that posture to receive the Body of Christ, you become less so that you can then become more. It requires a submission of will and clear knowledge of what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what is about to happen to you.

Frankly, we should not only be humbled, but intimidated enough to ask ourselves if we are really spiritually ready to partake of the sacrament. Kneeling means you can't just go up and receive without knowing how it's properly done. It demands not only a sense of focus and purpose, but also something else, something that has eluded our worship for two generations.

Itdemands a sense of the sacred. Just like Peter, James, and John before our Transfigured Lord, it challenges us to kneel before wonder. It insists that we not only fully understand what is happening, but that we fully appreciate the breathtaking generosity behind it. Itasks us to be mindful of what "Eucharist" really means: Thanksgiving for GOD we are receiving.

-www.romancatholicman .com

Two weeks ago, we thought about that amazing encounter between Jesus and Peter on the beach by Lake Galilee

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

May 19, 2019

Two weeks ago, we thought about that amazing encounter between Jesus and Peter on the beach by Lake Galilee, where Jesus re-commis­sioned Peter to 'feed his sheep': to show love and compassion and pastoral concern for those who were in need. This is a commission that rests on each one of us to varying degrees because each one of us is called to a life of love, and care, and compassion: to support, encourage, and help those who are feeling feeble and vulnerable and to stand with others in their pain.

The gospel this morning is indeed the  perfect  complement  to  the gospel two weeks ago because it goes to the very heart of what it means for us to follow Jesus.  In this  gospel, Jesus  sums up  Christian  teaching in a couple of short, simple sentences: "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another."

"Love" is the essential word of today's reading. The mutual love of the Father and the Son provides the foundation for both Jesus' love for his disciples, and the love that he commands the disciples to have for one another. However, Judas' heart is eroded by greed: he moves from light into shadow-land, into the night. Hate replaces love, and betrayal replaces committed friendship. Love-in the scriptural sense, caritas or agape-refers to a self-sacrificial love for others that lifts them up without regard to our own status.

It is this love that will be the source of the disciples' joy and the condition of their intimate friendship with the Lord. Our life in Christ manifested in our love for him and for others, shows that we are friends of Christ today, living in imitation of him in the world . As John (15:15) tells us that the  Lord  loves  us  and  that  we  are not  his  servants  but his friends because we know what his mission is about, we know his teaching and his truth and only friends would know this.

We pray: Lord, I am the focus of your indiscriminate love. Grant me a profound appreciation of this limitless gift. Transformed by this love, may I in turn show unrestricted loving to others--especially to my enemies!

-Fr. Peter Damian, O.P.

Yes, Skipping Sunday Mass (Without a Good Reason ) Is a Grave Sin


Yes, Skipping Sunday Mass (Without a Good Reason ) Is a Grave Sin

Of the roughly 68 million people who identify as Catholic in the United States, only about a third go to Mass on any given weekend. This is obviously a big problem!

It's a problem for a number of reasons, not least of which that Mass is a source of necessary grace for our souls. But there's another serious reason that many self-identified Catholics may not fully understand: If a Catholic knows that Mass attendance is required on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, has Mass nearby he can attend, does not have a "grave cause" to miss Mass, but still skips Mass, he commits a grave sin.

Yes, you aren't just a bad Catholic, you're committing a sin you will need  to confess in Reconciliation for the sake of your soul.

Mass isn't just a nice thing to do if you're particularly religious or "super Catholic"; rather, it's the cornerstone of any authentic Catholic life. In fact, of the five precepts of the Church (what the Catechism calls the "necessary minimum" for being a practicing Catholic), attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation is the first one! This requirement is also made explicit in the Code of Canon Law (CIC 1247Jf).

Of  course,  as  mentioned   above,  it's  not  a  sin  to  miss  Mass  if  you  have a  good   reason;   for   example,   if   you   are   sick  or  have   to   care   for   others. If you are in that situation, know that you are still an integral part of the Church, that the Church prays for you, and that the Church covets any prayers you can offer.

What if you are one of the millions of Catholics who regularly skips Mass without a good reason? What should you do? The first thing you should know is that the Church still wants you! You can always come back - and you should for the sake of your soul.

If you  are ready to re-commit to the Catholic life, including weekly Mass attendance, you should go to Confession to get a fresh start. Remember, if we repent, Jesus is always willing to receive us back.

So we encourage all Catholics: go to M ass!

"Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives.


Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

April 28, 2019

"Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives.

Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.

I hold the keys to death and the netherworld."

With those words of encouragement, the' Lord takes away the fears of the apostle John. He  has  been  condemned  to  hard  labor  at  the  stone  quarries on the island of Patmos; it is there in the midst of physical torments that he experiences the presence of the Lord offering him hope and relief . It is precisely there that he receives the major revelation contained in the Book of Revelation. The Lord in his mercy offers him a vision of what is to come, and of the final battle between good and evil.

We live in a world of conflict and aggression where at times we doubt God's presence and mercy. There is so much pain and trouble around us that at times we can be tempted with the idea that God does not care, that he is indifferent to our struggles, but his love for us is everlasting. We are never abandoned to the violence of this world. God's love is always there supporting and encouraging us and this happens because his mercy knows no limits. It is up to us to open our hearts and accept God's mercy. We cannot conquer the world by our own forces, but together with the Lord we will be able to conquer any situation this world presents to us. We are strong in the Lord.

Let us echo the words of the psalmist in proclaiming that: His mercy endures forever.  If God is with us, who can be against us!

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.

"Jesus' resurrection offers firm evidence that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

April 21, 2019

"Jesus' resurrection offers firm evidence that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God. He is the one who through His resurrection redeems people from their sins. We, as Christians today, following the footsteps of the apostles, are called to be witnesses to the truth of the resurrection. Our witness must be authentically rooted in the gospel, which God send s His messengers to preach. Brothers and sisters, Faith in the Resurrection of Jesus says that there is a future for every human being; the cry for unending life, which is a part of the person, is indeed answered." (Pope Benedict XVI  Benedictus, 128). What makes the resurrection significant for us Christians is that the resurrection  demonstrates to us the power of the true God. That God raised His son from the dead reaffirms who Jesus said he was: "The son of M an must be delivered into the hand s of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again." Jesus was raised from the dead through the power of God.

Another significant part is that the resurrection creates a pathway between heaven and earth. "O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angel s rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead , is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages." (St. John Chrysostom, Easter Homily). The creation of the pathway in which I speak, is the most significant element of Christian praxis of the resurrection; it is the pathway for the new life in Christ, in service of  our brothers  and sisters.

St Paul affirms that Christ is "declared to be the Son of God with power the resurrection from the dead ." In the waters of baptism, we died with Christ so the we may rise anew to be followers of Jesus and enjoy the  fullness  of Christ's resurrection. Christ as the Son of God has the authority through the resurrection to redeem us from our sins. In addition, the resurrection  is significant for us Christians because it  affirms  everything  Jesus  taught  to be true. The Gospel of John clearly states: "Everyone who looks to the Son of God and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." Jesus' teaching concerning his people, forgiveness, his mission, hell, and heaven are all true.

As Saint Augustine writes, " 'Resurrectio Domini, spes  nostra' -the resurrection of the Lord is our hope." (Sermon 261:1). With these words, the great Bishop explained to the faithful that Jesus rose again so that we, though destined to die, should not despair, worrying that with death life is completely finished; Christ is risen to give us hope.

-fr. Peter Damian, O.P.