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

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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.

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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 ...by 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.

Blessed Palm Sunday! Holy Week has begun

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

April 14, 2019

Blessed Palm Sunday! Holy Week has begun. This week we commemorate, in a special way, Christ's passion, death, and resurrection. On Thursday we commemorate his institution of the liturgical celebration of his death and resurrection, namely the Eucharist and Priesthood . On Friday we commemorate his sacrificial death on the Cross. On Saturday evening we commemorate his resurrection from the dead.

As we commemorate these mysteries we recall especially the humility by which Jesus accomplished them. Though he is God, Jesus emptied himself and became a man. Though he is king, he rode on a donkey. Though he is master, he took the form of a slave.

Jesus is the master of humility. We who wish to follow him need to imitate his humility. 

Humility entails, first and foremost, obedience to the truth. We need to live according to God's wisdom. Only then may we come to know the truth about ourselves and the gifts God has given us.

The opposite of humility is pride. Out of pride Adam and  Eve refused to follow God's wisdom. As a result, they brought  sin into the world. Jesus overcame sin by his humble obedience to God even unto death on the Cross. Because of his humility Jesus was able to accomplish what human pride cannot, namely our reconciliation with God.

The world does not know the truth because it does not value humility. But we who follow Jesus in humility know the truth. We are committed to it. We admire the saints who sacrificed everything for it. The Lord calls us to do the same.

By our Baptism we have died to this world and have been given new life in Christ. Through our liturgical celebration of the Lord's passion and death, we grow in that new life. Moreover, the grace of the Eucharist moves us to work humbly for the building up Christ's body, the Church, so that more people will come to know the forgiveness of sin and new life in Christ.

-fr. Greg Maturi, O.P

God uses his power to show the depth of his mercy and love for us all.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

God uses his power to show the depth of his mercy and love for us all.

April 7, 2019

In the crucifixion narrative, God displayed his profound love for humanity, expressed by Jesus' passion and death on the cross. The fact that God willed that His only begotten son dies a criminal's death, the lowest death any human being could experience, is indeed a sign of God's plan for our salvation. Christ's death on the cross was vicarious, that is, Christ suffered and died on behalf of a sinful generation so that they might have the opportunity to receive everlasting life. As John 3:16 reminds us "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Christ's death on the cross is redemptive; his death redeems us from the bondage of all that which divides and thus unites us with our heavenly Father. Jesus came into the world to redeem humanity through his passion and death on the cross.

We have all sinned. We have all experienced irresistible shame. Even if the sin is not discovered, our own self-accusatory voice can be so loud in our head that it drowns out the gentle voice of Jesus, telling us to begin   ; again; to repent and sin no more. Hence, if we cannot believe ourselves forgiven, how will we ever be able to move out of what the philosopher Ivan Illich describes as "our self-imposed cages"? Mercy when we receive it helps us show mercy ourselves.

Lord, you who opened the ears of the deaf and the eyes of the blind, let me hear your words of forgiveness; let me see and believe in the possibility of a better life-a life of redeeming grace. The story of the adulterous woman brings us in touch with the body of Christ, of Jesus who is risen from death, and of Jesus who is all present among us to lead us to the father's forgiveness. Brothers and sisters if we sincerely trust in the Lord, He will not disappoint us. The Lord invites us today to restore our hope, faith, trust, and love in God our merciful, most kind, and ever forgiving Father. I implore you dear friends in Christ, to think about those areas in your life, where you need to experience love, mercy, and healing. If you seek the Lord, like the adulterous woman, with openness to God's grace and mercy, he will not fail your heart's desire. This is what the resurrection account is all about! Out of depth of His love for us, Jesus offered his life as a sacrifice to save us, and in particular Jesus came to reconcile us to God. Jesus is the bridge between God and us.

-fr. Peter Damian, O.P.

Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

Whoever is in Christ is a new creation:

the old things have passed away;

behold, new things have come.

How optimistic or pessimistic are we? What is our attitude toward life and others? Because we are one, unless we suffer from some psychiatric issues, we can only have a prevailing mood in our lives. We can either allow pessimism to control and shadow all our behaviors, moods, and relationships, and then we have a hard time discovering the good around us, or we can allow a positive and grace filled attitude to reign in our lives, and then our eyes are open to discover God's presence and gifts.

Each person's life is salt-and-peppered with all kinds of events. Those events at times leave a lasting impression on us. Nobody can claim that their lives are free from painful and tragic events. How we deal with those events, however, is where we can make a difference in our life. If we allow those events to leave lasting consequences on our attitude, if we allow those events to pockmark us in a permanent way filling our hearts with grudges and feelings of unworthiness, if we cannot let go of the past, Christian optimism will never be present in our lives.

During this  Lenten season, we are all invited to reflect on our deepest attitudes, to discover within ourselves the hurts and grudges we have been carrying all along. We are all invited to recognize the reconciliation which Christ offers to us, the healing touch of a God who loves us beyond all telling.

As we rediscover the deep meaning of our baptism as a process of union with Christ, let us be willing to address the negativity and pessimism in our lives and approach the One who can reconcile us with God and with ourselves. Let us listen to the words of the apostle Paul who reminds us that 'the old things have passed away' and 'new things have come.'

And remember that Christian optimism is not a Pollyannaish optimism, but it is an optimism born of the fact that we have been redeemed by the blood of the Cross; and through baptism Christ has called us into a new life and given us a final destiny and purpose to share eternal life with him in heaven.

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P

4th Luminous mystery of the Rosary.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

March 17, 2019

Today's Gospel recounts the mystery of the Transfiguration (4th Luminous mystery of the Rosary). Jesus went up the mountain to pray along with Peter, James, and John. While He is praying, the face of Jesus changed in appearance, his clothes became dazzling white. Moses and Elijah appeared and conversed with Him.

The Transfiguration reveals Jesus as the fulfilment of the Law and the Prophets, represented by Moses and Elijah. He is the Messiah of the Jews and the fulfilment of the covenant. All that God sought to accomplish in the Jewish people becomes a reality in Jesus who is, in His person, personal union between God and man.

The Transfiguration reveals the divinity of Jesus. Though fully man, He is also God, who lives in the splendor of eternal light. He is the Son of God in whom the Father is well pleased. All united with Him in His humanity, through the grace of the sacraments, will share in His divine glory. That union includes death and resurrection. Only those who bear the Cross may hope to wear His glorious crown.

Jesus wanted to show His disciples the goal of following Him. Though they would encounter hardship, persecution, and suffering, they will win the prize of victory. It is not an easy road. It requires continual effort. But the Transfigured life that awaits them will make the struggle worth it.

Abraham foreshadowed the call of a disciple of Jesus. God called Abraham to leave this world and journey to a new, promised land. God sealed His covenant by sacrifice. We hear about it in today's 1st reading from the Book of Genesis. The animal sacrifice symbolized how Abraham would die to this world and live according new life. His change in name-from Abram to Abraham-symbolized this new life. God would always be with him to help him.

At Baptism God made a similar covenant with each oi us. He promised to give us new life. The name we receive at Baptism symbolizes this new life. It means leaving this world of sin and journeying to the promised land of heaven.

Such a journey is impossible without the grace the Lord gives us in the Eucharist. It is the bread of life-food for the journey. It is a pledge of future glory. Only the grace of the Eucharist allows us to attain the Transfigured life in the midst of life's oppositions.

-fr. Greg Maturi, O.P

In the wilderness Jesus did not engage with the devil's temptations.

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Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

March 10, 2019

In    the    wilderness     Jesus    did    not    engage     with    the    devil's temptations. He simply quote the Word of God in scripture. God's Word has power, even over the demons. Jesus' experience teaches us that there is , nothing wrong with being tempted. It's how we react to the temptation that matters. Pope St. Leo the Great tells us that "Virtue is nothing without the trial of temptation, for there is no conflict without an enemy, no victory without  strife."  The  temptation  of  Jesus  throughout  his  ministry  was widely  held  in early  Christianity. The  Letter  to  the  Hebrews  tells  us, "For do we not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. " The source of grace for us is the word of God. On Ash Wednesday  the  invitation  was  to  believe  the  good  news  and  repent. That  is where  we  may  find  life  and  strength  to persevere.  We remain followers of  Christ not because  of bishops, but because of Jesus Christ.

The word  of  God  in His  gospel  remains  life-giving  and  strong. Jesus I shows us that temptations  happen  often to take us off  the path. But as the Palmist reminds us "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto ' my path."(  Psalm 119:105) At a time where scandals of the Church have left us broken,  tested,  and dismayed, it is the spirit who led Jesus into the  desert  (tempted) keeps him  strong there,  will  do the  same for  us . who believe. As St. Teresa of Avila rightly states "His Majesty [the Lord ]   '

rewards great services with trials, and there can be no better reward, for out of trials springs love for God."                                    

-fr. Peter Damian, O.P

Lent

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Lent

As outlined on the U.S. Conference  of Catholic Bishops' website  on

Lenten  fasting  and  abstinence,  fasting  is  obligatory  for  all  who  have completed  their  18th year  and have  not  yet  reached  their  60th  year. Fasting allows a person to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may be taken, not to equal one full meal. Abstinence  (from meat) is obligatory for all who have reached their  14th year. Fridays in Lent are obligatory days of  complete  abstinence  (from meat)  for  all who  have  completed their 14th year. Abstinence  means not eating meat. All persons  14 years and older are bound by the law of abstinence. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are Days of both Fast and Abstinence. If possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night) as the . . 'paschal fast' to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, and to prepare  ourselves to share more fully and to celebrate more readily his Resurrection.

Through our works of prayer, fasting, and abstinence, let us heed the prophet Joel's exhortation to return to God with our whole heart (2:12). Lent is a penitential season and as such religious practice such as daily Mass, reception of the Sacrament of Penance, the devotion of the Stations of the Cross, works of charity and justice, and acts of self-denial are highly encouraged.

Fasting allows one full meal, but a light breakfast and lunch are not forbidden. All adults, 18 up to the beginning of their sixtieth (60) year, are bound by the law of fasting. Pastors and parents are to see to it that children, while not bound to the law of fast and abstinence, are educated and introduced to an authentic sense of  penance.

It is recommended that on Fridays, when abstinence is not required by law, acts of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety are suggested. Abstinence from meat is especially recommended but under no obligation by law.

See the articles in the bulletin for information on Holy Week schedule.

We live today in a world of great violence, of terrorism, of increasing litigation.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

For many people, even those who identify themselves as Christians, this may be one of the most difficult passages in the Gospel. We live today in a world of great violence, of terrorism, of increasing litigation - suing and counter-suing, violence and murder, of vicious vendettas often stirred up in the tabloid press. Even in our country, we have become a divided nation and so intolerant of each other. We have a hate problem that we cannot deny nor ignore. Every day we witness the horror of political attacks on immigrants, hateful and demeaning rhetoric from white-nationalist militias against Blacks, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and the LGBTQ communities, and the slaughtering of the unborn.

As Christians it is easy to get discouraged and even  fearful as we consider circumstances in our nation and world. But God is up to something - God is up to love. And He is still calling His [you] people into that great plan. Jesus invites us today to respond to the world as he did - loving, blessing, praying and offering. We are called to do this not only where there is something of which we approve, but in all circumstances. The love of which Jesus speak of is not just emotion: it is a commitment of the will. It is extravagant and limitless, and it includes us all, good and bad alike. This is the true love that frees up our country's gridlock of hatred. As St. Francis de Sales said, "In mensura sine mensura est amor, ut amor" - 'The measure of love is to love without measure.' It is an active loving based on going the extra mile.

God is very serious about His love for the world. His greatest commandment is love. This is the core of Jesus' teaching, which he himself practiced. The Golden Rule which is often expressed as "Do not do to others what you would not want done to you" is expressed here in positive terms. Now it's time for the Church to be His vessel of love to the least, the last, the lost! 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-specially to my enemies!

Forgiveness is never easy. Loving our enemies and  those  who  hurt  us  is never easy. But Jesus usually does not ask us to do the easy thing; he asks us to do whatever brings about the most love. Crossing racial, cultural, socio-economic, or even emotional barriers to share God's love can seem scary. As John writes "there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear." (1 John 4:18). But instead of fear, let God's love penetrate your heart with compassion. Jesus calls us to follow the model of God himself: "Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate." As followers of Christ, we see things in a completely different way and we want to behave differently. Pray then, that He may help you to focus on His indiscriminate love. And grant you a profound appreciation of this limitless gift. Transformed by this love, may I in tum show unrestricted love to others.

Perhaps words of the late Mother Teresa are appropriate here: "Love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no love in me and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me."

Now, let us to respond to the world as Jesus did - loving, blessing, praying and offering. Amen.

-fr. Peter Damian, O.P.

Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD!

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD!

The words of today's Gospel reading always leave us with a feeling of uncertainty about ourselves and  our own  Christian life. We are able to discover the beauty of Jesus' words but at the same time they leave us with a sense of 'unaccomplishment'. Do we really feel like Jesus is setting goals too high for all of us, an unattainable dream? How can we find blessing in poverty or in hunger? How can we find blessing in sorrow or in tolerance of hate?

The real challenge behind Jesus' words is the question: How much do you trust in God? How much do you wholeheartedly believe that God takes care of his children and specifically you?

The issue of trust is fundamental in our life and faith. Faith is more than knowledge. It is grounded in trust - trust that there is a God who loves and cares for us, trust that God sent his only begotten Son into the world to show us the way, trust that there is a life after death and that we will share in Jesus' resurrection. Saint Paul reminds us in today's second reading, that if Jesus has not been raised from the dead, our faith is in vain, and we are still in our sins.

In whom  do we place  our trust? The prophet Jeremiah proclaims and warns us that "cursed is the one who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord ."

If we but believe that the words  of Jesus in today's Gospel reading are impossible to realize in our lives, we need to question ourselves: In whom do we trust? If we trust in God, those words become goals to realize in our lives, and we trust that God's grace will enable us to achieve them. If we only trust our own strength and the human realities around us, those words become unreachable goals for our life. Our faith tells us that we are called to holiness, and the beatitudes become the path to achieve closeness to the Lord.

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P 

Luke tells us that Jesus was being pressed by yet another crowd of people.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

Luke tells us that Jesus was being pressed by yet another crowd of people. They didn't yet know just who he was but they had surely heard of his miracles and teaching. They were crowding around him to hear the word of God.

The story of Jesus' ministry to this point has him preaching and teaching in the Temple. This is the first account of Jesus going out among the people, into the streets, meeting them where they were and entering into their everyday lives. Jesus gets into Peter's boat, summoned him and asked him to put out a way from shore so the people could gather on the shore and listen to him. After speaking, he told Peter to go out to the deep water and let down his nets for a catch. Now, Peter and his partners had already finished a very hard day's work and like many of us who have tried our hand at fishing, he had come up empty. They had already washed their nets in preparation for the next day and were surely exhausted, disappointed and ready to just give it up for the day. But Peter, in an act of obedience says, OK, if you say so I'll do it. Nothing more than that, just simple obedience to Jesus.

I certainly have times when I am totally worn out, tired of dealing with rude people, parishioners' who demand more than I can ever hope to deliver, and at the end of those days there is always something like hospice or hospital emergency awaiting me at the end of the day. It is specifically in those times that I hope Jesus doesn't call me and ask me to do even more before I rest! There are times when I hope the ringing phone isn't one of my clergy colleagues or a brother asking me to do something right away. It won't surprise you that when the call comes and I'm required to stretch just a bit more before the end of the day, God always seems to bless those efforts. Sometimes it is the blessing of holding the hand of a very sick person. Sometimes it is the blessing of sharing a meal with the homeless and sometimes it is the blessing of entering into another's sadness and grief. I believe those blessings are indeed as great as a fisherman's boat overflowing with fish. I admit that I only recognize some blessings in hindsight but they are always there. I would suggest that it is in the times when we have given ourselves over to worldly problems and done everything we can to control our lives that we are most likely to be pressed into the work of living out the Gospel.

Acting on Jesus' command, the nets are raised and are overfilled with fish. So many that another boat is needed to hold the  catch. Needless  to say, the fishermen  were  astonished and certainly had to have a feeling of discomfort and uncertainty, as one would _expect after witnessing a miracle. Peter's response to the miracle of abundance was to protest that he is unworthy  because he is a sinful man.

In our first reading we see the Prophet Isaiah is in the presence of God and is being called by God to take a message to God's people. Isaiah protests and says "Woe is me! Iam lost, for Iam a man of un clean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!" Both Isaiah and Peter feel the magnitude of their unworthiness. A seraph cleanses Isaiah's lips with a burning coal and Jesus has a cleansing word for Peter. Whatever troubled their hearts was let go as God set them on a new course and empowered them for new work in the kingdom. Peter, James, John and others leave everything they have and follow Jesus. They dropped everything they were doing, walked away from their possessions and families and followed Jesus. Through out years as a Dominican Friar, what I've learnt is that following God's call is not a single event, it is a life long process filled with much failure punctuated with occasional bright points of success. God's call to follow can be as subtle as something that moves us to ask questions. It can be the pain and agony suffered by federal workers that spurred Food Banks and community organizations to compassionate action two weeks ago. I believe that we are called to continue Jesus' ministry to bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, and to let the oppressed go free. The message in Luke's Gospel is not so much one of acceptance of, or recognition of a call, it is one of obedience. A call to discipleship is something that God has both commanded and enabled. Simon Peter and the others saw something in Jesus that moved them to hope and to do his bidding. Lord, this is what it comes down to: Do I trust you?

-fr. Peter Damian, O.P