Index of Titles 


December 25, 2022


From the Pastor…     Merry Christmas


     As we look ahead to Christmas, it seems that the world has not caught on to the “Christ-event”. A persistent question has to do with the perennial problem of evil. If Jesus is the Savior of the world, as the Church claims, what constructive changes has His coming effected? Indeed, there are many who would taunt us with the claim that Jesus was a failure, and that we should put aside our religion as a holdover from centuries long past that has no real relevance today. Jesus was not an inventor. He authored no books. He held no office. He lived 2,000 years ago in a land and a culture far removed from our own. And yet, to the dismay of some, we continue to recognize Him as our Savior and celebrate His coming with great festivity.

     Pope Benedict, in His trilogy on Jesus, makes it clear that Jesus did something that no one else had the power to do. He brought God to earth. For a brief period in His earthly life, a young woman was able to look into her arms and see the face of God in her infant son, as she held Him. We note that God allowed Himself to become helpless and completely dependent upon two of His human creatures: Mary and Joseph. This flies in the face of a worldly conception of God that overemphasizes His power. Yes, God has “power”, but (as St. Paul said), “power reaches perfection in weakness” (2 Cor. 9). In Jesus, God became very weak (i.e., He took on the human condition).

     In Jesus, God was not “play acting”. He entrusted Himself, in His weakness, to human beings who are free. Freedom, of course, can be used for good or evil. Jesus was threatened by an evil king who wanted to put Him to death in His infancy. Later, Jesus was crucified by people who were bent on His destruction. Was Jesus, then, a “failure”? If you define “success” only in terms of “power”, Jesus was a failure. It is not “success” that is important (as St. Mother Teresa reminded us), but fidelity. Jesus did the will of His Father until the end. As a result, Jesus conquered death by His resurrection.

     Countless people continue to be brought into His kingdom and maintained in the life of grace. He promises no one an easy life, but an “abundant life”, one that is ultimately perfected in the resurrection, if we persevere in our faith. As Jesus Himself once warned us, “Blessed is he who does not find in me a stumbling block” (Mt. 11.6). Stay close to Jesus every day. He is our Savior (the only Savior).


December 18, 2022


From the Pastor…     Take time. Christ is coming soon


     Many people lament (rightly) the disappearance of Christian trappings that, at one time, were inextricably connected with the celebration of Christmas. Christmas, for many, has become more of a winter holiday. I remember reading about a man who was surprised to learn that Christmas had anything to do with our religion at all. The word "holiday" (which, ironically, comes from "holy day") does not do justice to the occasion, because there are many holidays. Christmas, on the other hand, means exactly what it says, "Christ's Mass". The term goes back to the days when England was Catholic.

     What is it about our culture that has caused the eclipse of Christmas? The momentum has been building for a long time. Charles Dickens's classic, A Christmas Carol, is only one of many "Christmas stories" that never brings up anything explicit about Jesus's birth. Christmas, for him, was a humanitarian observance. No one gave more of an impetus for works of mercy than did Jesus, but isn't that the point? Shouldn't we recognize the origin of so much good that takes place in the world, in the name of charity? The origin is found in the manger in Bethlehem. In recent times, since Dickens, Christmas as a celebration of humanitarianism has given way to Christmas as a marketer's paradise. Even Dickens would have recoiled at such a thing (although, by leaving Jesus out of Christmas, even in the name of humanitarianism, he helped to set the stage for it).

     How should we respond to the demise of Christmas? First, we need to keep Advent holy. Adding an Advent wreath to a home's decor, and lighting a candle, with an accompanying prayer, can help to keep the focus on the coming of the Christ-Child. Each Sunday we add an additional candle for lighting. When the fourth candle is lit, we recognize that Christmas (Christ) is coming soon. A home ritual of this type has positive influence, especially on children. Advent is a season of spiritual preparation. Take time to pray each day. Rely on the Blessed Mother's influence (she awaited Jesus for nine months). A daily rosary is fitting. And don't forget to make a good confession. Jesus came, not to give us a "holiday", but to save us from our sins."

     Happy and holy Advent.....


December 11, 2022


From the Pastor…     .. for true joy


     The third Sunday of Advent is only one of two Sundays of the year when the priest wears rose colored vestments. Whereas purple is a penitential color, rose represents the joy that comes with knowing that the Lord is near. Indeed, we are urged to "Rejoice always!" These words were written by a man who was beaten numerous times, put in jail, accosted by angry mobs, deprived of eating or sleeping for protracted periods, shipwrecked, etc. Who am I speaking about? St. Paul.... How could Paul even speak about joy under these circumstances?

     He was not speaking about any kind of joy, but the deepest and most enduring kind: the joy that comes from having a relationship with God. It is a joy that the world cannot give, nor is it dependent on external circumstances. It is even possible to be sustained by this joy in time of pain or sorrow. (I can think of the St. Therese, smiling through her tears.) In another place (Gal 5), Paul tells us that this kind of joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit: "Love, joy, peace, patience, etc."

     The world has many counterfeits for true joy. One such counterfeit is pleasure. Now, there is nothing wrong with pleasure per se (many would starve if they derived no pleasure from eating). But it does not take the place of true joy. As our society becomes more and more de-Christianized, people resort to false substitutes for joy: the use of recreational drugs, overindulgence in alcohol, promiscuity, etc. So what does one have to do to be "joyful"?

     The person needs an abiding relationship with the Lord, that is nurtured by prayer. St. Paul says, "Pray without ceasing." He urges people to be grateful: "In all circumstances give thanks." St. Paul also tells us (in Galatians 5) that joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Pray to the Holy Spirit. Live according to the Spirit, and not the flesh. Be reconciled to others. Go to confession. Forgive others. (There isn't anything that makes people less joyful than unforgiveness.) Avoid the traps of the world. Materialism has never made anyone happy. Blessedness does (see Matthew 5.1-12).


December 4, 2022


From the Pastor…     Behold Your Mother


     December 8th is our patronal feast, and a holy day of Obligation: the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The mystery is depicted in the beautiful painting behind the altar in our sanctuary. Fr. Mulholland, the pastor who erected our church in 1953, saw to it that a prominent spot would be given to the painting. The painting is actually a handmade copy of the original. Looking at the painting, what did the artist depict? He painted the Blessed Mother (not Jesus). And he painted her in glory. What does this have to do with the Immaculate Conception? The answer is that the Immaculate Conception is not Jesus (He is the Son of God), but it is His mother.

     It was Pope Pius IX who solemnly proclaimed this truth about the Blessed Virgin, in 1854. Where did the Pope get the idea? Did he pull it out of thin air (invent it himself)? Actually, he did not. It was commonly held by many Catholics and others, (such as the Eastern Orthodox Christians) throughout the centuries, but had never before been formalized as a Catholic dogma by any Pope. (In fact our country was dedicated to the Immaculate Conception eight years before Pope Pius IX made this pronouncement.)

     Is such a thing mentioned in the Bible? We have to be careful about expecting everything to be articulated in the Bible, as we understand it today. (The Bible is not a catechism.) For example, there are religious groups that do not celebrate Christmas because the Bible does not tell us to do so. A better way of putting it is: is such and such a teaching consistent with what's in the Bible? The answer, regarding the Immaculate Conception is "Yes".

     The archangel Gabriel gave Mary a new name. He did not call her "Mary". Instead, he said, "Full of grace". This means that Mary was immaculately conceived in the womb of her mother (i.e., she was holy from conception). She also maintained her holiness throughout her life (she never committed a sin). We call her "full of grace". As such, she reminds us that our vocation is to be holy. This is not to suggest that we will be as holy as she is, or that we were conceived in a state of holiness, but only that we have access to grace and should maintain ourselves accordingly: through prayer, use of the sacraments, acts of charity, penance, etc. When someone commits a mortal sin, he has lost his holiness (which he received through baptism). A Catholic in this position must go to confession to recover the life of God that he lost through sin. Ideally, we should strive to grow in holiness, and not be satisfied with mediocrity (or worse).


November 20, 2022


From the Pastor…  Make room for Him


     This Sunday, Nov. 20th marks the culmination of the Church's liturgical year with the feast of Christ the King. On the following Sunday, we enter into a new year with the first Sunday of Advent. Beside the Church's calendar of feasts, seasons and saints, we have the secular calendar, which is punctuated by its own holidays and seasons. Some of these holidays have religious underpinnings. Thanksgiving Day is one example. It is the least secular of civic holidays because we render thanks to God. (It is quite fitting to attend Mass on that day.) Immediately after Thanksgiving, many Americans plunge into an orgy of spending and consumption, which lasts until New Year's Day. The protracted period of consumption is called "the holidays" or "the holiday season". This is the secular counterpoint to Christmas.
     We, as a Church, must stand for a higher set of principles to govern the way we live. Our season of Advent, for example, if properly observed, will curb tendencies toward excess that so mark the secular "holiday season". As such, it will allow people to be suitably prepared to celebrate our Lord's birth. The de-Christianized society in which we live has little room for Jesus. We must make room for Him in our hearts, in our homes and wherever we go. And if Jesus is our King, we must let Him lead us and rule over us. Otherwise, we may allow ourselves to be subject to the rule of advertisers, peers, public opinion, dubious secular assumptions and so forth.


November 13, 2022


From the Pastor…  Is Christ your King?


     A week from this Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King of the Universe. It is the last Sunday of the Church's year. This is appropriate because Christ's kingship will be fully established when He comes again at the end of the world. In the meantime, we can help usher in His Kingdom by giving Him authority over all aspects of life. We will only benefit from this (and so will others).
     Jesus wants to be king of your family. There is the story of the poor family living in a tiny French village: the Soubirous family (St. Bernadette's family). One observer who lived in an apartment over the Soubirous family said that he never heard anyone in the family raise his voice. The only vocalization that came through his floor was when the family prayed the rosary together. Jesus can be king of any family, to the extent that the family members give themselves to His reign. Family prayer, observing the Lord's Day, being devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, using the sacrament of penance regularly, etc.
     People spend most of their lives working. Is Jesus Christ the king of your work-life? If we're not serving Him while on the job (whether salaried or not), we're not living the Christian life. Col 3.23: "Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being. Do it for the Lord, rather than for men, since you know full well that you will receive an inheritance from Him as your reward...." Jesus affects our attitude. For what are you working? Jesus told us not to labor for the food that perishes (Jn 6.27), but for food that remains unto life eternal. Jesus affects our motivation.
     Is Jesus King of your financial life? In Mt 5.3 He says: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, the reign of God is theirs." Poverty of heart will allow Jesus' kingship to be a reality in our life. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light (much lighter than the burden of debt which many people incur). Many Americans live on credit and are unable to get out of debt. The spirit of poverty, of Jesus's kingdom, would urge us to live a debt-free life. St. Paul says, Owe no debt to anyone except the debt that binds us to love" (Rom 13.8). Many people live beyond their means and use credit to make this possible. The Christian who desires to be free of the worry and the enslavement to creditors will live below his means.
     Have you given your mind over to Christ's dominion? St. Ignatius's famous prayer included the line: "I give you my memory, my imagination and my will." St. Paul said that we must put on the mind of Christ. In fact, this is what makes a Christian. Jesus warned us that sins come from the deepest recesses of the heart (which the Jews believed was the seat of thought): fornication, adultery, murder, theft, etc. They all start with what is on the inside. Don't be satisfied with outward conformity. In Mt 11.29, Jesus says, Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart." When was the last time we asked Jesus to help us be like Him on the inside: in the heart and in the mind. This is where the greatest battles are waged. His kingship can change us on the inside.
     Jesus must be king of the road. The Apostleship of Prayer has the answer. The driver puts an image of the Sacred Heart on his dashboard and says a prayer before getting into his vehicle that he will be a safe and courteous driver.


November 6, 2022


From the Pastor…  Remembering those who have died


     It is an ancient custom to pray for the dead. The Book of Maccabees tells us that the Jews were already doing it 200 years before the coming of Jesus. The general, Judas Maccabeus, prayed for his fallen comrades who had all died in battle. It was discovered that they were wearing pagan amulets. Judas arranged for an expiatory sacrifice to be made on their behalf in the temple.
     It is clear from early inscriptions in the catacombs that the first Christians (Catholics) did the same. St. Augustine writes of his mother St. Monica. It seems that he and his brother were discussing, at her bedside, where she should be buried (she was near the end of her life). She interrupted her sons and said, "Never mind where you bury me. Remember me at the altar." St. Monica was a very devout Catholic who understood the power of the Mass for the living and the dead. (She lived in the fourth century.) To this day, the Catholic Church offers Masses for the dead. Any parish bulletin will list daily Masses along with the intention of the Mass. The intention is usually for someone who has died.
     The Church teaches that those who have died in God’s grace and friendship, but who are yet perfectly purified, are indeed assured of their salvation, but after death they undergo purification in order to achieve the holiness necessary to enter heaven. Purified of what? Selfishness, defects in devotion, faults, attachments to venial sin, laziness, etc. (I recall the vision of the priest who appeared to a village girl who didn’t recognize him. He said that he was in purgatory for celebrating many Masses perfunctorily.) The name for this state or process of purification is "purgatory". Purgatory is like a "finishing school" which gets people ready for heaven.
     Our belief in purgatory should be a consolation in that it allows for people, who are otherwise in a state of grace, but in need of purification from the effects of sin, to be prepared for heaven. Otherwise, these poor souls could never get into heaven. (How merciful God is.) I recall the story of the man who jumped off of a bridge to take his own life. His wife had been praying for his conversion for many years. She was rightly distraught and went to the parish priest, St. John Vianney. St. John Vianney had the gift of knowledge. After the lady told him what had happened to her husband, Vianney said, "Your husband repented before he hit the water. He is in purgatory." Anyone in Purgatory is on the way to heaven. But, they benefit from our prayers and Masses.
     November is a special time for remembering those who have died. Please pray for them with renewed ardor. When we die, we may very well need the prayers ourselves.


October 30, 2022


From the Pastor…   All Saints' Day/All Souls' Day


     This week there are two special days on the Church's calendar: All Saints' Day (Tuesday) and All Souls' Day (Wednesday). The former is a holy day of obligation (see the Mass times listed in this bulletin).

     Why are these days important? All Saints' Day (originally known as "All Hallows") reminds us of the call that we have to be holy. We are called to be saints. This does not mean canonized or officially recognized saints, but holy people who are conscious of their vocation to reach heaven. Jesus said, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect". He died on the cross to open up the gates of heaven to as many people as possible. We are wise if we respond to this call with open hearts and daily application.

     The Catholic Church does canonize certain people who have demonstrated heroic holiness. Most of us are familiar with St. Francis, St. Anthony, St. Therese, and a host of other holy men and women. There are even infants who are officially recognized as saints. These are known as the "Holy Innocents". These babies died during King Herod's campaign to kill the Divine Infant. Thanks to St. Joseph, the Divine Infant was protected from certain death.

     The greatest saint is the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose holiness in unsurpassed (except for that of Christ). She is called the "Immaculate One" or the "Immaculate Conception". She was not only conceived without original sin, but also, she never committed any personal sins during her life on earth. She is the only saint who is in heaven bodily because she was assumed into heaven, both body and soul, taking after her Son's Ascension into heaven. All other saints are in heaven but disembodied (until their bodies rise from the dead when Jesus comes again).

     On All Saints' Day we celebrate the great family of saints who await us in heaven. On All Souls' Day, we remember all those who have died and pray for them. People in heaven do not need our prayers (they pray for us, instead), but people who are undergoing purification after death ("purgatory"), do benefit from our prayers and Masses. This is why we pray for the dead, and have Masses offered on their behalf. Among the last words of the great St. Monica, to her sons was, "Remember me at the altar", in other words, in case I am undergoing purification after death, please send up prayers so that I get into heaven.


October 23, 2022

From the Pastor    The Call to Humility


     Our culture does not have much to do with humility. If you were to take a poll and ask 100 people, “What does humility mean to you?” many would probably say that they had never given much thought to it. Others would consider humility a negative thing, demonstrated by the person who is always saying that he is no good or is not worthy of this or that. “I am a nobody.” Putting oneself down is not real humility, but, rather, a distortion or caricature of the virtue.
   Humility is not the most important virtue. It is not more important than faith, hope, love, or prudence. But without humility we cannot build any kind of a spiritual life. Conversion itself is not possible. (How often do people shy away from confession because they do not want to humble themselves, i.e., tell the truth about themselves, that they are sinners?) Forgiveness is not possible. Prayer itself cannot be effective. (Think about the publican and the pharisee praying in the temple.) And the list can go on.
Jesus taught many lessons about humility. Some of His most famous parables concern this subject:
    the Pharisee and the tax collector,
    Lazarus and the rich man, and
    the parable about taking the lowest place at the table.
The point here is that one is not supposed to have an calltohumilityexaggerated idea of his worth. By default, because of our state of fallenness, people tend to be prideful. The solution is to try to practice humility. (It does not come automatically.) The Lord chose it, by coming down to our level and dying on an instrument of torture normally meted out to criminals and slaves.


How does one spot pride in one's life?  Here are some examples:


    • Always to think that what one says or does is better than what someone else says or does,
    • always to want one's way ("my way or the highway"),
    • to argue with stubbornness or bad manners whether one is right or wrong,
    • to give one's opinion when it has not been requested or charity or justice does not demand it,
    • not to look at one's gifts and abilities as lent,
    • not to recognize that we are unworthy of all honors and esteem:
    • not even of the ground we walk on and the things we possess,
    • to brag....,
    • to refuse to take correction, or
    • to excuse oneself when corrected (i.e., to make excuses),
    • to refuse to take "no" for an answer,
    • to take undue pleasure in praise and compliments,
    • to be saddened becaucalltohumilityse others are held in higher esteem,
    • to refuse to perform inferior tasks,
    • to seek to stand out,
    • to be ashamed because we lack certain goods,
    • to refuse to admit one's faults...

   The acid test of practicing humility is indicated in a way that a person takes criticism or correction. Even more so, how does a person deal with false accusations? A humble person has the right to defend himself, and innocent third parties, of course. But he has to be careful about how he does it. When St. Vincent was falsely accused of a theft, he responded by saying that the truth would make itself known. It did, although not right away. St. Vincent humbly bore with the accusation, putting his trust in God. Finally, St. Vincent was vindicated.


October 9, 2022

Rosary for Life Meditations




Jesus is baptized in the Jordan
The Holy One makes holy the waters of baptism. Through these waters God imparts His grace even to babies and small children. Help us adults to be mindful of our baptismal promises to profess the faith and to reject sin and Satan, who is behind the abortion industry.
The Wedding at Cana
Jesus was sent by His Father to rescue a fallen world. To help bring about the new creation He made marriage into a sacrament. Most of the mothers whose children are aborted are not married to the fathers. Help us to promote the dignity of the marriage bond by teaching our young people to avoid the contraceptive mentality and to practice perfect continence until married.
The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
Jesus calls all to conversion and forgives all the sins of those who humbly draw near. Help us to make proper use of the sacrament of penance and to encourage others to do so. There are millions of men and women who have cooperated in the sin of abortion, who are yet to be reconciled to God. We pray that they will open their hearts to the Lord's mercy before it is too late.
The Transfiguration
Jesus encourages us in the midst of our sufferings by showing us a glimpse of His glory. As Christians we are called to share in this glory. Help us to live lives transfigured by the Holy Spirit so that we can give hope to so many people who have been victimized by the culture of death.
The Institution of the Eucharist
At the Last Supper, Jesus offers the first Mass and makes His apostles the first priests. The Mass is an unbloody form of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. May we have unbounded confidence in the ministry of Christ our High Priest, and ask Him to take our prolife intentions to our Father who always hears His Son.


The Agony in the Garden
Even Christ found it difficult to do His Father's will at Gethsemane. May each father and mother who agonizes whether to choose life or death for their child have the courage to say, "Thy will be done" and choose life.
The Scourging at the Pillar
As Christ was scourged, His skin was torn. The pain was agonizing upon His innocent flesh. May the merits of Christ's suffering bring an end to legalized abortion.
The Crowning with Thorns
As Christ was crowned with thorns, He suffered great humiliation. May we never be afraid of human opinion, pain, or humiliation in our pro-life apostolate. May we always offer it up for the love of Jesus, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary and for the conversion of the poor souls of sinners.
Carrying the Cross
Lord, by the time You carried the cross, You were near total exhaustion. Yet You went on, giving totally of Yourself. Help us to go on with our pro-life efforts, no matter how tired or discouraged we may be. May we never rest until we have given of ourselves completely.
The Crucifixion
From the cross you said, "Forgive them, they know not what they do." Although You gave Your life, You bore no malice. As Your heart was pierced, it poured forth love. By the merits of Your death help us to work without malice, wishing like You only the conversion of the sinner.


The Resurrection
On that glorious Easter morning life triumphed over death. Love overcame evil. So it will always be. You came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. Thank You, Lord. Help us always to remember that we are children of the Resurrection.
The Ascension
Your work done, You returned to the Father, saying, "You will be my witnesses...even to the ends of the earth." So many who are considering abortion are at the ends of the earth - unloved and unloving, hurt, scared, poor, near despair. Help us to lead them upward to You.
The Coming of the Holy Spirit
Through the Holy Spirit you live within us. We are Your apostles for life. May the Holy Spirit guide us as we pray for the unborn, their mothers, their fathers and to soften the hearts of abortionists and their supporters.
The Assumption of Mary
Mary, you were assumed body and soul into Heaven because of your great purity. Pray that we may all live lives of purity and chastity.
The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth
Mary, as Queen of Heaven you are Mother of us all. Beg for us the graces always to have a mother's love for all those seeking to abort their children or grandchildren, that they may come to know your Son, Jesus.


October 2, 2022

From the Pastor    October's Double Significance



From the Pastor


     For Catholics, October is the month of the rosary, as well as being Respect Life month. The rosary reminds us that the power of God often manifests itself through the tiniest among us. The Annunciation, for instance, brings to mind the virginal conception of Jesus. The Son of God elected to take on a human nature, beginning at conception, proceeding through all nine months of gestation, birth, childhood, and manhood. The Incarnation, more than anything else, should prove that human life is good.
     After the miraculous conception of Jesus, Mary proceeded in haste to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who was in the sixth month of her pregnancy. If it took Mary ten days to make this journey, then Jesus would have been a little over an inch long. Yet, when she reached her destination, Elizabeth recognized that Mary, too, was a mother: "Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" How did Elizabeth even know that Mary was pregnant? Elizabeth explains, "The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy." Elizabeth was speaking for her unborn child whose leap was interpreted as a response to the presence of the Savior. The first prophesying in the New Testament involved two mothers and their unborn children.
     Please pray the rosary regularly and ask that people in our society come to their senses about the dignity of all human life. Pray for the conversion of everyone who promotes or makes money from the killing of pre-born children. Join us for the monthly Rosary for Life Mass at the Benedictine Abbey in Cleveland, if you can. Support Lake County Right to Life. Support pregnancy care centers, such as Mya, on Route 20 in Ashtabula. (Many babies are saved when mothers see their pre-born children on ultrasound.) Be educated on the issue. 65 million babies have been killed, in our nation alone. This needs to stop.


October's Double Significance

     Have you ever wanted to explore the life of Jesus and Mary in a deeper way? Each decade highlights a sacred episode:

Joyful Mysteries:
  Through the Annunciation (1) and Visitation (2), we get a glimpse at Mary's joyful yes to God. She gives birth to Jesus in the Nativity (3). Mary and Joseph present their son at the temple (4) and bring him there again when he is a teenager (5).
Luminous Mysteries:
  Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River (1) before Mary gives him a nudge to his first miracle at Cana (2). Jesus proclaims the Gospel (3), is transfigured on Mount Tabor (4), and institutes the Eucharist (5). The light is shining!
Sorrowful Mysteries:
  Jesus prays in agony in Gethsemane (1), knowing his hour of suffering has come. After his betrayal and arrest, Jesus is scourged (2) and crowned with thorns (3). He carries his cross (4), and Mary stands at the foot of the cross as he is crucified (5).
Glorious Mysteries:
  Christ is risen in glory (1)! After appearing to those he loves, he ascends into heaven (2). Jesus' followers receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (3). Mary, unaffected by original sin, is assumed body and soul into heaven (4), where she is crowned queen, humble mother of Christ the King (5).


September 25, 2022

From the Pastor    The Rich Man and Lazarus



          In today's gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Lazarus, the poor man, dies and is taken to heaven ("the bosom of Abraham"). The rich man dies and finds himself in a place of torment ("the netherworld" or hell). Why did the rich man end up in the place of torment? Not because he was rich, but because he could have helped the poor Lazarus, who was camped in from of his door, but failed to do so. The rich man was negligent in letting his faith make any difference in the way he lived. We are told that the rich man was quite "successful". He was well attired and feasted sumptuously every day. Perhaps if he were living today, he might even have his picture on the cover of a glossy magazine, as a celebrity admired for his success.

     The parable is a dramatization. All of the details are not to be taken literally. For example, the rich man's plea that someone be sent to warn his brothers lest they end in the place of torment (as it is called) is not meant to be a description of the attitude of people who have separated themselves irrevocably from God and die in this state. They will not care about anyone's salvation because in hell there is no room for feelings of compassion towards one's neighbor. (Compassion means love and love is of God. To reject God is to reject compassion.)

     What do we make of the comment that there was a "chasm" between the poor man and the rich man in the afterlife? It means that once having attained the vision of God in heaven (or even purgatory) there is no chance that a person can sin grievously and relinquish his life of beatitude. Also, a person in hell is beyond any hope of repentance. For us on earth, we have yet to work out our salvation. We must put our faith in God and live the consequences of what our faith demands.

     Faith is obedience to God. It does not stand alone, however. Faith must go with hope and love (charity). The rich man may have had a certain degree of faith, but he did not exercise charity toward Lazarus. In the Last Judgment scene of Matthew's gospel (chapter 25), Jesus says that whatever we do unto the least brethren of His, we do unto Him. Our Judgment will not only concern what we have done, but also, what we have failed to do. With that in mind, it is a good idea to use not only the Commandments to examine our consciences before going to confession, but also looking at the works of mercy. There are seven corporal works of mercy. (Corporal means, what pertains to the body.) The corporal works are feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned, burying the dead, clothing the naked, and sheltering the homeless.


September 18, 2022

Forgiveness Prayer



     One of the most powerful healing Prayers anyone can say - do it as a novena for 9 consecutive days - and let go of past hurts.
The following prayer covers most significant areas of forgiveness. Often, such a prayer will bring to mind other areas that need forgiveness. Let the Holy Spirit move freely and guide your mind to persons or groups that you need to forgive.

+ In the Name of the Father,
   And of the Son, And of the Holy Spirit, Amen

• Lord Jesus Christ, I ask today to forgive EVERYONE in my life. I know that You will give me the strength to forgive and I thank You that You love me more than I love myself and want my happiness more than I desire it for myself.

• Father, I forgive YOU for the times death has come into the family, hard times, financial difficulties, or what I thought were punishments sent by You and people said, "It’s God’s will," and I become bitter and resentful toward You. Purify my heart and mind today.

• Lord, I forgive MYSELF for my sins, faults and failings, for all that is bad in myself or that I think is bad, I forgive myself; and I accept Your forgiveness.

• I further forgive MYSELF for taking Your name in vain, not worshipping You by attending church, for hurting my parents, getting drunk, for sins against purity, bad books, bad movies, fornication, adultery, homosexuality. Also, for abortion, stealing, lying, defrauding, hurting peoples’ reputation. You have forgiven me today, and I forgive myself. Thank You, Lord, for your grace at this moment.

• I also forgive MYSELF for any delvings in superstition, using ouija boards, horoscopes, going to sé- ances, using fortune telling or wearing lucky charms. I reject all that superstition and choose You alone as my Lord and Savior. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit.

• Lord, I truly forgive my MOTHER. I forgive her for all the times she hurt me, she resented me, she was angry with me and for all the times she punished me. I forgive her for the times she preferred my brothers and sisters to me.

• Lord, I truly forgive my FATHER. I forgive him for any non• support, any lack of love, affection or at- tention. I forgive him for any lack of time, for not giving me his companionship, for his drinking, arguing and fighting with my mother or the other children. For his severe punishments, for desertion, for being away from home, for divorcing my mother or for any running around, I do forgive him.

• Lord, I extend forgiveness to my SISTERS AND BROTHERS. I forgive those who rejected me, lied about me, hated me, resented me, competed for my parents’ love, those who hurt me, who physically harmed me. For those who were too severe on me, punished me or made my life unpleasant in any way, I do forgive them.

• Lord, I forgive my SPOUSE for lack of love, affection, consideration, support, attention, communica- tion; for faults, failings, weaknesses and those other acts or words that hurt or disturb me.

• Jesus, I forgive my CHILDREN for their lack of respect, obedience, love, attention, support, warmth, understanding; for their bad habits, falling away from the church, any bad actions which disturb me.

• Lord God, I forgive my IN-LAWS, MY MOTHER-IN-LAW, FATHER-IN-LAW, SON/DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AND OTHER RELATIVES by marriage, who treat my family with a lack of love. For all their words, thoughts, actions or omissions which injure and cause pain, I forgive them.

• Jesus, help me to forgive my CO-WORKERS who are disagreeable or make life miserable for me. For those who push their work off on me, gossip about me, won’t cooperate with me, try to take my job, I do forgive them. •  Lord, I forgive my FRIENDS who have let me down, lost contact with me, do not support me, were not available when I needed help, borrowed money and did not return it, gossiped about me.

• Lord Jesus, I especially pray for the grace of forgiveness for the ONE PERSON in life who has HURT ME THE MOST.

• I ask to forgive anyone who I consider my greatest enemy, the one who is the hardest to forgive or the one who I said I will never forgive.

• Lord, I beg pardon of all these people for the hurt I have inflicted on them, especially my mother and father, and my marriage partner. I am especially sorry for the three greatest hurts I have inflicted on each of these.
Thank You, Jesus, that I am being freed of the evil of unforgiveness.
Let Your Holy Spirit fill me with light and let every dark area of my mind be enlightened.

• In the Name of the Father, And of the Son, And of the Holy Spirit, Amen

   ■ Printable Forgiveness Prayer (PDF format)


September 11, 2022

From the Pastor      The Mercy of God is too Good Keep to Ourselves



     Over the years, I have asked people the question, "If you were to die tonight, and the Lord asked, "Why should I give you eternal life,' what would you say?" Only once did someone answer using the term that hits the nail on the head. Typically, a person would say, "I have always thought myself to be a good person", or "I go to church," etc. One man put it all in perspective when he used the term "mercy". Eternal life (salvation) is a function of God's mercy. Practicing our faith is important, but it, too, is a function of the mercy of God.
     This Sunday's second reading includes St. Paul's testimony that he owed everything to the mercy of God. He said that he had been an arrogant man, in fact, a blasphemer. His life changed because of God's mercy. The Blessed Virgin Mary, who never committed a sin in her life, took no credit for herself. When Elizabeth lauded her as a woman of faith, Mary said, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord... who has remembered His promise of mercy." How did God "remember His mercy"? By sending His Son, who incarnates mercy.
     I remember the story of Dr. Beverly McMillen, who opened one of the first abortuaries in the south. She plied the grisly trade for a number of years and then saw the light, turned from the error of her ways, and seriously pursued living her Catholic faith. She spoke at my home parish. Some people were upset that she had been invited. They couldn't forgive her for her past, even though God had forgiven her, and she had truly repented!
     For those "older brothers" who might feel slighted by the mercy of God, today's gospel is not suggesting that the Lord does not appreciate those who have always been faithful to Him. It is merely making the point that there is hope for salvation even for those who have strayed
     How can we be proactive as agents of God's mercy? Make use of the sacrament of penance on a regular basis. It keeps us humble, and it keeps us healed. Sin can have devastating effects on people: mentally, physically, psychologically, spiritually, etc. The mercy of God is healing. Pray for sinners. The Hail Mary contains such a plea. Also recommended is the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Intercessory prayers can be remarkably effective, especially groups of pray-ers. Pray for people by name. Tell the Lord your concern. Praying for people is a form of loving them. If we love someone we will (more than anything else) be desirous of his salvation.
     The Mass, of course, is public prayer, in which the intercessor is Jesus Himself. The Mass is offered so that sins might be forgiven (listen to the priest say this at the consecration). Mass intentions can be "special intentions"; i.e., for the conversion of sinners. We can (and should) bring our own prayers of this type, to take with us to Mass.
     Reach out to others. Use personal testimony: what does the mercy of God mean in your life? Have you been converted from a life of sin? How you receive support from God in your weakness, etc.
     Invite people to pray. Invite them to come to church. Invite people to confession. If the person is unchurched altogether, invite him to find out about the Catholic faith (RCIA). Give people literature to read. Invite people to watch Eternal Word Television Network. or listen to the Station of the Cross
(89.5 FM) . The list is endless. Use your ingenuity.
     Never give up on anyone's salvation, but don't sit there idle, either.


September 4, 2022

From the Pastor      How to Understand Jesus's Strong Words



     In this Sunday's gospel, Jesus tells us that we must "hate" our families. What does He mean by this? (Leo Tostoy deserted his family after doing some Bible reading.) We must not take this literally or we may end up breaking the 4th commandment (and maybe the 5th): "Honor your father and your mother".
     We must remember that Jesus did not speak a word of English. Our idiom would probably put it something like this. "We must give the Lord priority of place, before family ties and one's very self. How might this play out in practice?
     For a son or daughter it might be the case that the Lord calls them to a special vocation in the Church. At the same time their parents want them to do something else. St. Rose's parents wanted her to marry. She resisted them for ten years. It was not her calling. Parents are not to impose on their children regarding priestly or religious vocations that come from God. For a husband or wife, it might be the case that one's spouse does not practice the faith. Do you think the Lord would be pleased if the practicing partner said, "I stopped going to church because my spouse doesn't"? Or, "I miss Mass because I go only when my husband goes (even though I can drive). Practicing the faith is not to be motivated by what others in the family expect of us. They will not be our Judge at the moment of death.
     Sometimes a spouse (even a Catholic) does not understand the other, when it comes to decisions made in conscience. St. Thomas More's wife could not understand why he was not going along with everyone else in supporting King Henry VIII's repudiation of the Pope, when the king decided to take over the Catholic Church in England. Thomas More loved his wife, but he loved Jesus more. (As he should have.)
     Sometimes people in families will collaborate in sin, without taking a stand as Christians. Over the years I have heard people say that they supported a spouse in a decision to be surgically sterilized. Advising someone to commit a sinful act, or consenting to it, is itself a sin of cooperation. We can't control other people, but we can let them know the truth. (A Christian is supposed to witness to the truth.)
     Jesus also says that one must "hate" his own life. What does this mean? Again, we do not take this literally. It means that we must prefer Jesus and His kingdom to our own comfort, interests, ego, etc. The Church has raised up countless martyrs for the faith. They made the ultimate sacrifice out of love for him. There are many saints (and saints to be) who demonstrated that they did not live for themselves. Edel Quinn, a young woman from Ireland, did missionary work in Africa. She belonged to the Legion of Mary. Miss Quinn had a persistent cough. Most people did not realize that she had tuberculosis. She died at a young age.
     To "hate oneself" means to be unselfish, open to service and willing to live for Jesus and His kingdom. The moral of the story: No one is a Christian by accident. We have to work at it.


August 28, 2022

From the Pastor      The Call to Humility



      Our culture does not have much to do with humility. If you were to take a poll and ask 100 people, "What does humility mean to you?" many would probably say that they had never given much thought to it. Others would consider humility a negative thing, demonstrated by the person who is always saying that he is no good or is not worthy of this or that. "I am a nobody." Putting oneself down is not real humility, but, rather, a distortion or caricature of the virtue.
     Humility is not the most important virtue. It is not more important than faith, hope, love, or prudence. But without humility we cannot build any kind of a spiritual life. Conversion itself is not possible. (How often do people shy away from confession because they do not want to humble themselves, i.e., tell the truth about themselves, that they are sinners?) Forgiveness is not possible. Prayer itself cannot be effective. (Think about the publican and the pharisee praying in the temple.) And the list can go on.
     Jesus taught many lessons about humility. Some of His most famous parables concern this subject: the Pharisee and the tax-collector, Lazarus and the rich man, and (especially) today's parable about taking the lowest place at the table. The point here is that one is not supposed to have an exaggerated idea of his worth. By default, because of our state of fallenness, people tend to be prideful. The solution is to try to practice humility. (It does not come automatically.) The Lord chose it, by coming down to our level and dying on an instrument of torture normally meted out to criminals and slaves.
How does one spot pride in one's life? There are many examples.
   1.   Always to think that what one says or does is better than what someone else says or does.
   2.   Always to want one's way ("my way or the highway").
   3.   To argue with stubbornness or bad manners whether one is right or wrong.
   4.   To give one's opinion when it has not been requested or charity or justice does not demand it. When someone asks for your opinion, then give it.
   5.   Not to look at one's gifts and abilities as lent.
   6.   Not to recognize that we are unworthy of all honors and esteem: not even of the ground we walk on and the things we possess.
   7.   To use oneself as an example in conversations. (To brag....)
   8.   To refuse to take correction, or to excuse oneself when corrected (i.e., to make excuses).
   9.   To refuse to take "no" for an answer.
  10.   To take undue pleasure in praise and compliments. (There is nothing wrong with praise or compliments, per se, but be careful. Beware of flatterers.)
  11.   To be saddened because others are held in higher esteem.
  12.   To refuse to perform inferior tasks.
  13.   To seek to stand out.
  14.   To be ashamed because we lack certain goods.
  15.   To refuse to admit one's faults.


August 21, 2022

From the Pastor      Are there Many who will be Saved?



     This is a question that Jesus does not answer directly. Why not? Because He was not one for indulging people's curiosity. Today, I'm afraid, while many people are interested in this question: "are there many who will be saved?" Many people, seemingly, assume that salvation is nothing to be that concerned about. I mean, after all, isn't God good? Why would He send people to hell? Etc.
     God is certainly good. And He has never sent anyone to hell. People do it to themselves. Hell is not like being sentenced to prison. It is, rather, the result of a person's own choice to live without God. Even heaven would be hellish for people who want nothing to do with God or His kingdom. "Well," someone might say, "perhaps there is a hell, but isn't it reserved only for the worst perpetrators of evil the world has ever known?" The problem with that interpretation is that a person gets himself off the hook. This is why Jesus tells His questioner not to be seeking information about how many are in heaven. Rather, make sure that you get there, yourself. "Strive to enter the narrow gate." The only people in heaven are saints (holy people).
     Instead, He issues a challenge: Never mind how many people there are who are saved. Work on your salvation! "Strive to enter through the narrow gate." If you want to be among the saved, you have to work at it.
     Any of the lives of the saints will tell you the same thing. As St. Thomas said, the first step in becoming a saint (a future citizen of heaven) is wanting to be one. Do you want to be a saint? I hope so… The alternative is grim, to say the least. Let's take St. Paul as an example. "I continually buffet my body, lest after having preached to others, I myself should be rejected." In other words, even St. Paul, the fearless missionary for Christ, never took his salvation for granted. He did penance and he was vigilant. (Jesus tells us to "keep awake".)
     What do we need to do to enter through the "narrow gate" and make it to heaven?

Live a sacramental life. Go to Mass at least every Sunday and receive the Eucharist regularly and devoutly. Go to confession regularly. Be holy.

Practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

Be a disciple of Christ. Imitate Him. Read the Gospels for more information.

Keep the Commandments (the Ten Commandments and the two great commandments of love).

Pray regularly: every day. A half hour each day is suggested…

Live the faith. Defend the faith, if challenged. Spread the faith.

Hope in God. He will save us if we trust in Him and not rely on our own presumed merits.


August 14, 2022

From the Pastor      The Assumption of Our Lady



     The Blessed Virgin Mary prophesied that all generations would call her blessed. Beginning with the Archangel Gabriel and Elizabeth, this prophecy has been fulfilled countless times. Arguably, the most reiterated prayer-formula in the world, for centuries, is the Hail Mary. Catholics have been venerating her for the past 2,000 years. In 1950 the Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, officially pronounced that Our Lady was assumed into heaven, body and soul.
     That Mary was assumed into heaven is a belief that goes back many centuries. For centuries Catholics (and others, such as the Orthodox) believed that the Blessed Mother was bodily assumed into heaven: long before the solemn papal definition of 1950. So, we see, for instance, St. Bernadette and others, meditating on the glorious mysteries 150 years ago. We see beautiful church art (stained glass windows) depicting the mystery. Dante (in his Divine Comedy, considered a masterpiece of world literature from the 13th century) writes poetically about entering into heaven and encountering the Blessed Mother who is there bodily. We can go back from the 13th century to the earliest known legends of Mary's bodily Assumption, which takes us to the fifth century.
     In the 1950 document promulgating this teaching, Pope Pius XII referred to the many cares, anxieties, and troubles that weighed down upon him during his pontificate, and at the same time the consolation he derived from Catholic devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Interestingly, World War II, which was largely responsible for Pope Pius's cares, anxieties and troubles, ended on Aug. 15, 1945. One can't imagine the number of prayers directed to the Mother of God to bring an end to the war. (Within eight blocks of the atomic explosion in Hiroshima, Japan, was a Jesuit church called "Our Lady's Assumption". The church and the four priests stationed there survived the explosion, unscathed.)
      What can we learn from the Assumption?
    • That Our Lady is alive and well. She conducts a ministry of intercession and is our powerful advocate before God.
    • We are invited to become saints and citizens of heaven. God's grace can do this for us, provided we do not squander his gift (such as by unrepented serious sin). We are all going to die, but with the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity, we can overcome death and corruption.
    • We must live our faith. Our Lady was assumed into heaven because she was the first person to welcome Jesus into the world and was completely dedicated to Him as a woman of faith. The assumption of our Lady is a sign of the truth of Jesus being the Resurrection and the life.
    • Be obedient to God and to his Church's teachings. (Faith is a form of obedience.)
    • Be holy, stay holy and grow in holiness: prayer, the sacraments, and practicing Christian virtue. The sacraments alone will not make someone virtuous. Conversely, trying merely to be a "good person" without going to church is misguided.
     Finally, the deepest aspiration of every person is to be happy. Only God can make us perfectly happy. And, He is in heaven, where we hope to be, after our time on earth comes to an end.


August 7, 2022

From the Pastor    Faith and Miracles



     Today, there are few more controversial topics than those having to do with the faith. Which topics? God, Jesus, the Church, heaven, hell, the Eucharist, etc. We live in an age not known for faith. "Two thirds of Catholics do not agree with the Church….", according to a Pew poll on the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The headline missed the point: it is not a merely a matter of "disagreeing with the Church", in this case. It is a matter of disagreeing with Jesus (God). There are even some people who would suggest to us that it is not reasonable to believe in God and in what He has revealed to us. They would prefer to be skeptical. Yet, if we cannot trust God, whom can we trust? Besides, in human affairs, even unbelievers exercise "faith" in the testimony of other people whom they trust.
     The Catechism lists many indicators of the truth of the faith. For example, miracles, saints, prophecies, Scripture, charismatic gifts …. I once traveled to four places where Eucharistic miracles took place. The first such miracle took place in the 8th century, in Italy. The relics of the miracle are preserved and on display today. Scientists have examined the tissue. It is cardiac tissue from a human being. No surgeon in 750 could have cut the heart tissue precisely that way. The blood, which is in five globules, is human blood, type AB. Neither the flesh nor the blood has ever been refrigerated or artificially preserved with chemicals. No one can explain it via merely natural causes. It resulted from a priest's consecration of bread and wine. There are approximately 125 such miracles of the Eucharist. (There seems to be one going on, now, in Mexico. You can find it on YouTube: a consecrated host is pulsating in the monstrance.) The point is, a religion without miracles is wishful thinking. They point to the truth of our faith: whether it be in the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, the existence of God, the power of Jesus, etc. During the Second World War, allied pilots had been instructed to bomb a monastery in Italy at St. Giovanni Rotondo. The monastery was never bombed. The pilots reported seeing a "giant monk" in the sky. From photographs the monk was identified as Padre Pio, one of the residents of the monastery.
     When the Blessed Mother appeared at Fatima, to the three shepherd children, she left a sign that everyone could see: the spinning and dipping sun. 70,000 people witnessed the fantastic gyrating sun. Needless to say, even the atheists and freemasons in the crowd were quite shaken by what they saw. Perhaps some of them converted.
     Some people are put off by the many challenges to faith: evil, suffering, injustice, and death itself. We must remember, though, that our time in this world is a time of testing. This is not heaven. And some day, if we remain faithful to God, we will join Him for all eternity (along with the communion of saints and angels). Faith, understood in this way, is the beginning of eternal life.


July 31, 2022

From the Pastor    Avoid Greed in All of its Forms



     Avarice or greed is one of the seven deadly (capital) sins. It is pervasive in our society. From an early age, our culture encourages people to consume and to possess as much as they can. This is considered “success”. Wealth is not an evil. There is nothing wrong with having an abundance of material things per se. The question is, what do people do with what they have? Do they recognize that their endowment is a gift from God? Or are they bent on serving themselves? In other words, being “rich and successful” is not a sin (as having good health is not a sin) but putting one’s success before God certainly is. If accumulation of wealth is the main focus of one’s life, he has made it into a false God.

     Greed has brought in its wake many evils. How many families experience rifts over property issues? I remember a man whose son (or daughter) wouldn’t talk to him because he wouldn’t sell his house to him. Why would property be more important than interpersonal relations? Greed is certainly behind a great deal of crime. It is behind the pornography industry (which is vast) and the trade in illicit drugs. Greed can lead to killing and even war. It is behind the abortion industry.
Greed can corrupt people even professionally. There are people whose primary motivation into going into certain professions is mostly about what they can accrue from the financial gain.

     Let Jesus be the standard. The Son of God became poor (when He took on our condition), that we might become rich (in the things that pertain to God’s kingdom: justice, love, peace, etc.). Jesus lived a life of voluntary poverty. In those days, such a life was unthinkable. Material prosperity was considered a blessing and a sign of divine favor. Not only was Jesus poor (“the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head”), but also He chose to be poor. Keep the Commandments. Use the confessional frequently. Note the 7 th commandment and the 10 th . Be generous with your gifts. And, remember, as today’s Gospel reminds us, when we die, we leave all of our possessions behind.


July 24, 2022

From the Pastor    What are the Seven Most Important Prayer-Petitions?



     The seven most important things to pray for are indicated in Jesus’s revelation. He was asked by His disciples to show them how to pray. Jesus said that we should bring the following petitions to our Father:
  1. “Hallowed be thy name”: may people everywhere recognize the true God and believe in Him (faith). We are praying for the conversion of the world and as well as making reparation for the rampant abuse of His name. Abusing His name takes many forms. Profanity is one form. Giving people bad example is another.
  2. “Thy kingdom come.” Here, we are looking forward to God’s dominion in the world becoming a greater and greater reality. Ultimately, we are praying for Jesus to come again and usher in the Lord’s kingdom in its complete form (which is a kingdom of justice, love, and peace).
  3. “Thy will be done.” We want everything that the Lord wants. What does He want? That all men come to the knowledge of the truth (and be saved), that people love one another, etc..
  4. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Here, we recognize the Lord as the source of all that is good. We entrust to Him our daily needs (while not shirking our responsibilities).
  5. “Forgive us our trespasses.” This is the only petition with a condition attached to it: “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In other words, we make a pledge of our ongoing responsibility to forgive all who have hurt us (and anticipate doing so for anyone who will hurt us in the future). Forgiveness is one of the important ways of applying what Jesus said about His yoke being easy and His burden light. Forgiveness of others is one of the keys to happiness (even in this world).
  6. “Lead us not into temptation,” does not mean to suggest that God leads us into temptation. “God tempts no one”. It means only that He spare us from being tempted. Failing that, we are praying that we do not succumb to temptation. We must be vigilant, lest we fall into sin. The Lord’s Prayer helps us with this challenge.
  7. “Deliver us from evil” was originally, “deliver us from the evil one. This includes all evils (past, present and future) of which the devil is the author or instigator. We do not know why the Lord permits evil spirits to have a certain freedom in the world. We must not be naïve to think that we can stand up against them without God. Ultimately, the devil has one aim, to subvert us so that we will never go to heaven. We are praying for deliverance from such a terrible fate.


July 17, 2022

From the Pastor    Are You Anxious and Upset About Many Things?



     If so, heed the advice that Jesus gave to His friend, Martha, who was complaining about her sister not helping her with the details of hospitality. Jesus said, “Your sister has chosen the better part.” What was the sister doing? She was sitting at the feet of Jesus and paying attention to Him. These two sisters, Martha and Mary, traditionally represent (respectively) busyness and contemplation. We can certainly learn from both. It is important to work, but it is essential that we take time for prayer and contemplation.

     Anxiety is common in our society, and so is worry. What contributes to the state of unease? Superficial living... A life without prayer opens the door to anxiety. In prayer, a person surrenders himself to the Lord: "Lord Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything." (He will....) A noisy environment: radio, television, noise, incessant talking, telephones, cell phones, headsets, the Internet. Distractions of all sorts abound. There is nothing wrong with listening to good music or watching television, but often people demonstrate that they can’t live without continual distraction.

     Unbalanced living: work without prayer:
Jesus chides Martha for suggesting that what her sister was doing was not as important as the tasks at hand. We have people today who would question the significance of cloistered communities of monks/nuns. What good do they do? (Listening to God is always a good thing. This is how EWTN came to be.) Have a work ethic. Work hard, don't be lazy, but don't go overboard.

How should a person pray?
     • Start each day with the Morning Offering.
     • The daily rosary is an excellent way to pray.
     • Retreat from the busyness of life
      and retire to a quiet place to pray.
      (Jesus frequently withdrew to quiet environments.)
     • Have a “prayer-corner” in your house,
      with appropriate religious icons,
      e.g., a crucifix and image of the Blessed Mother.
     • Make the sign of the cross throughout the day,
      with reverence and devotion.
     • Come to church, even outside of Mass-time,
      to pray before the tabernacle
      or exposed Blessed Sacrament.
     • Pray before Mass (to be ready to enter into the liturgy).
     • Pray after receiving Holy Communion
      (there are prayer-cards for this in the pews).
     • Meditate on the daily Mass readings.


July 10, 2022

From the Pastor    Pray for a Culture of Life



     After almost 50 years, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the disastrous Roe V. Wade decision that prohibited any state from protecting children in the womb from the scourge of abortion. As a result, 65 million babies perished (over 3,000 each day). If you were to set up a memorial wall to these children, giving each a name (similar to the Vietnam Memorial), the wall would go 90 miles. Needless to say, we are talking about a genocide, six times the number of people who perished in Hitler’s holocaust. This has been a massive blood-letting, unparalleled in world history, it seems. How do we account for this terrible loss of life?

     It is an example of man’s inhumanity to man. When evil is permitted by a body such as the Supreme Court, it opens the door to corruption on a massive scale. The court set the stage for Roe V. Wade with its Griswold V. Connecticut decision, that prohibited states from clamping down on the sales and distribution of contraceptives. On a societal level, contraception and abortion always go together. What is common to each is that children are unwanted. A favorite tactic of Planned Parenthood is to distribute contraceptives so as to enable its abortion industry. This organization realizes that encouraging people to use contraception is like putting gasoline on a fire. Another thing is that 45% of those seeking abortions have already had at least one abortion. Planned Parenthood knows this and seeks to encourage its cliental to continue doing what it has been doing. The baby-killing industry is a massive money-maker.

     On a spiritual level, whenever there is bloodletting of innocent human beings, we are seeing the work of evil spirits. St. Augustine said that if evil spirits had their way completely, no one would survive the bloodletting. Historically, we have seen evil spirits fill the vacuum left by unbelief in the true God. For example, the pagan peoples who surrounded the Israelites, in Old Testament days, conducted sacrifices of their children to the false gods (who were really demons). Even some of the Jews started doing this. (They did it in the Valley of Gehenna, which Jesus uses as a symbol for Hell.). The Aztecs had a massive bloodletting industry in pre-Columbian Mexico. It took the appearances of Our Lady of Guadalupe to put and end to the false religion and its barbarism.

     At one time we were a Christian culture. Unfortunately, God has been marginalized or rejected altogether, by many. So, once again, we live in an environment susceptible to the influence of evil spirits, and the people who do their bidding. Please continue to pray for our nation and for the state of Ohio. We need a massive conversion.


July 3, 2022

Chaplet of the Most Precious Blood



This devotion consists of seven mysteries in which we meditate on the seven main shedding of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. The Our Father is said five times after each mystery except for the last, when it is said three times------in all thirty-three times in honor of the thirty-three years of Our Savior's life on earth.

 V.    O God, come to my assistance.
 R.    Lord, make haste to help me.
 V.    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
 R.    As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

  1st Mystery
Jesus shed His Blood in the Circumcision
Let us ask for chastity of soul and body.

Our Father five times. Glory be to the Father once.
V.  We pray Thee, Lord, help Thy servants!   
R. Whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood!

This invocation to the Precious Blood is said after the Our Father and Glory be of each mystery.

  2nd Mystery
Jesus shed His Blood while praying in the Garden of Olives.
Let us ask for the spirit of prayer.

  3rd Mystery
Jesus shed His Blood in the scourging
Let us ask for patience and self-control.

  4th Mystery
Jesus shed His Blood in the crowning with thorns
Let us ask for humility to atone for pride.

  5th Mystery
Jesus shed His Blood while carrying the Cross
Let us ask for acceptance of our daily crosses.

  6th Mystery
Jesus shed His Blood in the Crucifixion
Let us ask for contrition.

  7th Mystery
Jesus shed His Blood and water when His side was pierced.
Let us ask for perseverance.


June 26, 2022

From the Pastor …   Jesus and Would-Be Disciples


        What does it take to follow Jesus? It takes more than mere enthusiasm. This Sunday’s gospel tells of the enthusiastic person who says to Jesus, "I will follow you wherever you go" Jesus responded, “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head". In other words, if you're looking for an easy, comfortable life, you had better think again. Following Jesus often requires work and detachment from our own comforts. Many of the saints demonstrate this; viz, Thomas More followed Jesus to the point that he lost everything he had and ended up in prison. (Eventually he was beheaded for his commitment to the Lord.)
     Would we follow Jesus if He asked us to relocate to another part of the country or the world? This has happened. Would we follow Jesus if He were to ask us to leave a job that paid the equivalent of $100/hour and do something else? I know someone who did. He is now a priest. What about a young couple having a large family? (I remember the young married woman who bragged to me that she was “finished” having children. She had one or two. I asked her, “Suppose the Lord wants you to have more children?” She was speechless. She had never even thought of letting the Lord influence her life, apparently.)
     Sometimes, when it comes to following Jesus, people make excuses, as in, “Let me bury my father first.” What is wrong with this excuse? There is nothing wrong with performing the customary rituals for the deceased. The problem, here, is that the person is using it as an excuse to delay discipleship, as in, "I'll wait until my father is deceased, and then I'll follow Jesus, or take my religion seriously". (In other words, the father is not dying.) I have run into this type of approach. I remember the junior high boy who said that he would try to be holy when he was older, like his Dad. Putting off discipleship can be a big mistake. How does one know how long he will live? St. Augustine, who came into the Church at age 32, lamented to the Lord, "Late have I loved thee." St. Therese was holy from an early age. It's a good thing she was. She only lived to be 24!
     Another excuse that Jesus heard was, “Let me take leave of my family”, to which Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God". He is talking about people who are too attached to their families to the point that it interferes with their relationship with God. (...even to the point of supporting a family member's immoral lifestyle: "This is my son, and I love my son, therefore I support his lifestyle.") I have run into Catholics who seldom go to Mass because they do things with their families on Sundays. Others do not go because their spouses are unbelievers (or lazy Catholics). Support your family, love your family, but don't put family members before God.
     Sometimes one's attachment to his family is so great that it affects his vocation. "I won't go into the seminary because my parents won't like it". (St. Francis De Sales obeyed his father, but not in the matter of his vocation, which his father was not supportive of.) The same is true with EWTN’s Fr. Mitch Pacwa. His father wanted him to be a doctor, but it was not to be. Fr. Pacwa knew that the Lord was calling him to the priesthood.


June 19, 2022

In the Catholic Church, the month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.



   The Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
   to St. Margaret Mary

 (1) I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
 (2) I will establish peace in their homes.
 (3) I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
 (4) I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.
 (5) I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
 (6) Sinners will find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
 (7) Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.
 (8) Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
 (9) I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart is exposed and honored.
 10) I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
 (11) Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart.
 (12) I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."


June 5, 2022

From the Pastor... Come, Holy Spirit



     We need the Holy Spirit to live a "spiritual life". St. Paul refers to the Christian life as one lived in the Spirit. He opposes this to a life lived in the flesh. When he uses the word "flesh", he is not implying that the body is evil. "Flesh" means everything about us that pertains to sin (any kind of sin). A person who lives his life in the flesh is prone to selfishness, egoism, impurity, sloth, false worship, gluttony, etc. A person who lives in the Spirit experiences good fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness, and chastity.
     We need the Holy Spirit to recognize God as our Father (cf. Rom. 8.15) and Jesus as Lord (1Cor 12.3).
In other words, to relate to God properly, to believe in Him and to love Him.
     We need the Holy Spirit to rise from the dead (Rom. 8.11Rom 8.11): " If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will bring your mortal bodies to life also, through His Spirit dwelling in you".
     We need the Holy Spirit to pray (cf. Rom 8): " The Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself makes intercessions for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in speech" (Pope John Paul used to groan when at prayer).
      Where do we find the Holy Spirit? If we have been baptized and are in a state of grace, He is in us already.

How effective His presence is, is another question.
What things block or soften the Holy Spirit’s influence in us?
Unforgiveness, of one’s neighbor can impede us in making progress in the spiritual life. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are not experienced (love, joy, peace….)
Unrepentance. "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven….." The Holy Spirit and sin do not go together. Sometimes people live double lives. They "practice their faith" (formally), but are not honest with themselves or the Lord about how they are living.
Not engaging in serious, regular prayer,
Not abiding by the teaching of the Church’s magisterium, (cf. 1 Jn 4 for more information) in matters of faith or morality….

Have a devotion to the Holy Spirit. Pray to Him. Love Him. Think of Him. Call on Him frequently for understanding, wisdom, fortitude, etc.
Pray the Sequence from Pentecost,. Pray/Sing the Come Holy Ghost.
Have a devotion to the Blessed Mother,. She was so filled with the Holy Spirit, that she gave birth to Jesus. If we have her in our life, the Holy Spirit and Jesus are not far from us.
If you are not confirmed, seek the sacrament,.


May 22, 2022

Chaplet Of The Holy Spirit



( On the first bead) Sign of the Cross
(On the second bead) Act of Contrition
(On the third bead) Come Holy Ghost
On the Our Father beads, pray the Our Father
on the first bead and the Hail Mary on the second bead.
On each Hail Mary bead, pray a Glory Be

1st Mystery,
By the Holy Ghost is Jesus conceived of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Meditation: "...The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will
cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God." (Luke 1:35)

2nd Mystery,
The Spirit of the Lord rested upon Jesus when he was baptized.
The Meditation:
"And when Jesus had been baptized he at once came up from the water,
and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God
descending like a dove and coming down on Him." (Matthew 3:16)

3rd Mystery,
By the Spirit is Jesus led into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
The Meditation: "Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the desert
for forty days being put to the test by the devil." (Luke 4:1-2)

4th Mystery,
The Holy Spirit in the Church.
The Meditation:
"...suddenly there came from Heaven a sound as of a violent wind
which filled the entire house in which they were sitting...
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and
began to speak different languages as the Spirit
gave them power to express themselves." (Acts 2:2, 4)

5th Mystery,
The Holy Spirit in the soul of the just man and just woman.
The Meditation:
"Do you not realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you and whom you received from God?"
(1 Corinthians 6:19)
"Do not stifle the Spirit." (1 Thessalonians 5:19) and
"do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God who has marked you with his seal,
ready for the day when we shall be set free."
(Ephesians 4:30)

Conclude by praying the Apostles' Creed
(as a profession of faith)
Pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be
(For the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff)


May 15, 2022

From the Pastor…  Eucharistic Prayers



Prayer for / after Holy Communion


      My Jesus, I love and adore you. You have come to me; I am one with You. I want You to remain with me forever, in this life and in the next. Thank You for allowing me to share Your divine life. May I become more like You through this sacred Food. Let me never take You for granted, but always pray for those whose lives are dark with sin and ignorance and selfishness. Let me remember, in the words of Saint Paul, that "there, but for the grace of God, go I." Each day, I can become more like You, O Lord. And each day I can pray for those who have never heard the Gospel, or who have heard it and rejected it. Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer


      O Lord, may my eyes that behold You elevated above the altar only look upon what is pure and good.
May I use my eyes to see others as You see them, as Your precious and beloved children.
May my hand that holds Your precious body touch others only with love and compassion.
May my tongue which touches Your Precious Body and Precious Blood for a moment only speak truth, kindness, and love.
May my mind which contemplates You understand the value and great love You give me.
May my heart understand the true and sacrificial love You have for me.
May my soul one day be in Heaven with You. Amen


May 8, 2022

From the Pastor… Pray for Vocations



     It is fitting that Good Shepherd Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Easter, is the Sunday that is also designated as World Day of Prayer for Vocations, with a special emphasis on priestly and religious vocations. Having said this, it is necessary to realize that everyone has a vocation (a baptismal vocation). It is not only priests and religious who are called by God to service. The lay vocation is a legitimate and necessary vocation. It is the vocation to be a committed Catholic, bringing Jesus into family life, and to the world of work, culture, business, etc.
     The Church is 98% lay. The priests are not the Church. However, without priests there is no Church. Without the Church there is no salvation. What do priests offer that brings about the Church? Most of the sacraments necessitate the involvement of a priest. One can-not have Mass without a priest. There is no absolution from sin without a priest.
     The priest is to be a teacher and preacher of the gospel of Jesus. He brings to the world Jesus Christ. He is even a sacrament of Jesus himself (even though the priest is a mortal man with sins and defects). Do not let this fool you. Jesus was criticized for being a man whom everyone knew (at least they thought they knew: "Isn't this the carpenter, the son of Mary? How is it that such miraculous deeds are accomplished by hands…? They found Him too much for them.") He was even criticized for forgiving people of their sins. No mere man can do such a thing. This is true enough, but Jesus is different. What about a priest, isn't he a mere man? Yes, he is, but he has the power to absolve because of the sacrament of holy orders, which he has received.
     How do we understand the phenomenon of the wayward priest? If you ever hear about a priest who goes astray, the defect is not in Holy Orders. He (like everyone else) has to deal with the effects of original sin. A priest needs to pray, to go to confession, to profess his faith, to do penance, etc. We are all needy people. We need Jesus. The priest needs Him, too. (Satan knows what a priest is. If he had his way completely, he would destroy them all.)
     Pray for priests and for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life. Also, pray for holy, Catholic families, which are the source for priestly and religious vocations.


May 1, 2022

Pastor's Column .... How do we know that Jesus is risen? What is the evidence?



     Let me spell it: C-h-u-r-c-h. The Catholic Church is the only church that can directly trace its roots back to the original apostolic community: to the people who ate and drank with Jesus, heard His preaching, and witnessed to the events of the first Easter. St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians [15:3-8] names names. "I receive what I hand on to you, that Jesus suffered, died, was buried and on the third day rose and appeared to Peter, James, 500 other brothers and, last of all, to me." Note, the prominence of Peter. Why? Peter was in charge of the Church. This is why John deferred to Peter and allowed him to enter the empty tomb first. Pope Francis is the 266th successor to St. Peter. Without the risen Christ, there would be no Church. Without the Church, we would have no way of knowing anything about the resurrection. Indeed, we would have no way of entering into it.

     The oldest person I ever knew, was a woman who lived to be 107. She spent the last 20 years of her life flat on her back in one of the area nursing homes. The high point of the week was when the priest or lay minister brought her Holy Communion. In John 6, Jesus connects reception of the Eucharist with rising from the dead. Imagine, this woman who had become a "sack of bones" regaining all of her vitality, taking on a spiritual body, a body no longer subject to the laws of physics, a body no longer subject to weakness and death! We must never forget that Jesus' resurrection is the principle and source of the future resurrection of the faithful Christian!

     The resurrection of Jesus should mean everything to us. It does to the Church. In fact, she celebrates Easter (at least on a smaller scale) every Sunday. At Sunday Mass we renew our baptismal promises, in the Creed. These are the saving truths, such that, if we embrace them and live them we are living a resurrected life, which starts here. It is the life of faith. Faith is something that we must work at, though. One observation made by a woman who converted to the Catholic faith I found to be quite insightful. She said, "I used to think that if I knew someone's religion, I could tell where he was coming from. I learned that this is not the case, because, for many people, their religion is merely a label." Labels aren't bad things, of course, but they had better reflect reality. Indeed. Let's be people of the resurrection, in name and in fact.

Happy Easter


April 24, 2022

From the Pastor... How do we witness to Jesus' resurrection?



     How do we witness to Jesus' resurrection? (I.e., that Jesus is alive and continues to work in His Church today?) We witness to Him by participating at Mass each Sunday (which is the day of resurrection). We witness to the resurrection be putting our faith in the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, Jesus is present in a way unlike any other presence. John 6 also speaks of His body and blood leading people to eternal life (their own resurrection). The Eucharist is sometimes called the Easter sacrament for this reason. We witness to His resurrection by receiving His word. Every Mass has a liturgy of the word. The word we receive is not that of a dead religion, but that of the living Christ. We not only remember Jesus, but also, we hear Him speaking to us today.
     We witness to His resurrection by keeping His commandments (see 1 John ). St. John says: "He who has this hope in Him keeps himself pure as He is pure." A pagan, for example, is a person whose hope is not in Jesus. The resurrection means nothing to him. There is no motivation for him to live a life of moral purity. As St. Paul indicates, lack of faith in God (a God who is living) is the basis for all moral deviance. If we should sin, we witness to our faith in the living Christ, by repenting. For this reason, Jesus laid the foundation of the sacrament of penance on the evening of the first Easter Sunday (St. John speaks about this. It was the gospel from last week.)
     We witness to the resurrection by praying. We pray because we believe that Jesus is alive. He hears us and brings our prayers to the Father. Pray every day. It is far more important than the many trivial things that people do that clutter up their lives and take up their time.
     We witness to the resurrection by living our faith when we are out in the world, with our families, co-workers, friends, associates, strangers. How do we conduct ourselves? We cannot be afraid of being different. We are not different just to be different (that is missing the point). We must be conformed to Christ. And if people notice that we are different, that is a good sign. You see, people cannot see Jesus, and they never will (before the judgment after death, barring a miraculous appearance). So, they have to see Him in us, His people, His Church.


April 17, 2022



     The Divine Mercy Chaplet can be said anytime. The Lord specifically asked that certain souls be prayed for each day of a Novena beginning on Good Friday .. in preparation for the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday. Following are specific intentions Jesus gave St. Faustina, as follows:

Today bring to Me ALL MANKIND, ESPECIALLY ALL SINNERS, an immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.

Today bring to Me THE SOULS OF PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS, and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy.

Today bring to Me ALL DEVOUT AND FAITHFUL SOULS, and immerse then in the ocean of My mercy.


Today bring to Me THE SOULS OF THOSE WHO HAVE SEPARATED THEMSELVES. FROM MY CHURCH, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.

Today bring to Me THE MEEK AND HUMBLE SOULS AND THE SOULS OF LITTLE CHILDREN, and immerse them in My mercy.

Today bring to Me THE SOULS WHO ESPECIALLY VENERATE AND GLORIFY MY MERCY, and immerse them in My mercy.

Today bring to Me THE SOULS WHO ARE DETAINED IN PURGATORY, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy.

Today bring to Me SOULS WHO HAVE BECOME LUKEWARM, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy.

     To pray the Chaplet, begin with the Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary and Apostles Creed.
Using Rosary beads, on the single beads pray,
"Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world."
For each group of ten beads pray,
"For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world."
Finish with reciting three times,
"Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world."
These words are Jesus' words given to St. Faustina,
pray them with trust in the mercy He earned for souls through His suffering, death and resurrection. Jesus, I trust in You,


April 17, 2022

From the Pastor... Death, where is your victory?


            "It is in regard to death that man's condition is most shrouded in doubt" (VaticanII). No one wants to die. The human person recoils at the prospect of bodily decay and the end of earthly existence. Leo Tolstoy, in The Death of Ivan Ilyich, tells the story of a man who coped with his death by simply not thinking about it. He was able to do this until he had a fatal accident. The looming specter of death terrified him. Today, there are, likewise, many successful, worldly people, whose horizon is limited to what they can see and touch.


      Faith in Christ is urgent because it is the only thing that is able to address, adequately, human mortality. Jesus, who rose from the dead bodily, promises a like resurrection to all who embrace Him in faith. What amazes me is that there are many Catholics who do not make any connection between Jesus's resurrection and the hope that is in store for those who love Him. For them, the resurrection of Jesus is limited to Him and has nothing to do with us on a practical level. We must get the word out that we believe in the resurrection of the body, not only Jesus's body, but also our own (provided that we persevere in the faith).


      Jesus set up His Church to provide the means for people to live the life of resurrection, starting with baptism. The sacrament of penance ("confession") allows people to maintain their baptismal purity. (Jesus founded this sacrament on the evening of Easter. See John 20). In the sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus fills people with the seeds of eternity: "He who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal, and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6.54).


      What can we do, then, about death? Live the faith. Live a sacramental life. Pray. Make the Sunday Mass the high point of the week. Keep the teachings of the Church. Strive to be Christ-like in thought, word, and deed. With Jesus, we will not perish after death. Sure, the body will decompose after death, but God will re-create it, spiritualize it, and perfect it. We will rise to a new and glorious life.


      What about people who reject Christ and die in a state of serious sin? They will rise to the resurrection of judgment and experience the unending torment of a life of self-imposed separation from God, which is called "hell".
     Choose life.   Choose Jesus.   Choose resurrection.


March 13, 2022


Are you ready for a good confession?       


[1]  I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
Do I give God time every day in prayer? Do I seek to love Him with my whole heart?
Have I been involved with superstitious practices or have I been involved with the occult?
Do I seek to surrender myself to God's Word as taught by the Church?
Have I ever received Communion in a state of mortal sin?
Have I ever deliberately told a lie in confession or have I withheld a mortal sin from the priest in confession?

[2]  You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Have I used God's name in vain: lightly or carelessly?
Have I been angry with God?
Have I wished evil upon another person?
Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?

[3]  Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.
Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation?
Have I tried to observe Sunday as a family day and a day of rest?
Do I do needless work on Sunday?

[4]  Honour your Father and your Mother.
Do I honour and obey my parents?
Have I neglected my duties to my spouse and children?
Have I given my family good religious example?
Do I try to bring peace into my home life?
Do I care for my aged and infirm relatives?

[5]  You shall not kill.
Have I had an abortion or encouraged anyone to have an abortion?
Have I physically harmed anyone?
have I abused alcohol or drugs?
Did I give scandal to anyone, thereby leading them into sin?
Have I been angry or resentful? Have I harbored hatred in my heart?
Have I mutilated myself through any form of sterilization?
Have I encouraged or condoned sterilization?

[6]  You shall not commit adultery.
Have I been faithful to my marriage vows in thought and action?
Have I engaged in any sexual activity outside of marriage?
Have I used any method of contraception or artificial birth control in my marriage?
Has each sexual act in my marriage been open to the transmission of new life?
Have I been guilty of masturbation?
Have I sought to control my thoughts?
Have I respected all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as objects?
Have I been guilty of any homosexual activity?
Do I seek to be chaste in my thoughts, words and actions?
Am I careful to dress modestly?

[7]  You shall not steal.
Have I stolen what is not mine? Have I returned or made restitution for what I have stolen?
Do I waste time at work, school or at home? Do I gamble excessively, thereby denying my family of their needs?
Do I pay my debts promptly? Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?

[8]  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Have I lied?
Have I gossiped?
Have I spoken behind someone else's back?
Am I sincere in my dealings with others?
Am I critical, negative or uncharitable in my thoughts of others?
Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential?

[9]  You shall not desire your neighbor's wife.
Have I consented to impure thoughts?
Have I caused them by impure reading, movies, conversations or curiosity?
Do I seek to control my imagination?
Do I pray at once to banish impure thoughts and temptations?

[10]  You shall not desire your neighbor's goods.
Am I jealous of what other people have?
Do I envy the families or possessions of others?
Am I greedy or selfish?
Are material possessions the purpose of my life?
Do I trust that God will care for all of my material and spiritual needs?

February 13, 2022



Pastoral Column        "Lead us not into temptation"


On the first Sunday of Lent, we hear of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the desert. Why would Jesus be tempted? He was tempted in order to teach us that we, too, will be tempted, and we need to follow His lead, lest we are overcome by the temptation. Jesus bested the devil not by relying on His divine power, which He could have done, but by relying on His obedience to His Father, His knowledge of the Bible (the devil tried to tempt Him by misusing a passage), and by His humility (the devil wanted Jesus to do something spectacular so as to draw attention to Himself, and forget about serving His Father).

Our baptismal vocation is life in Christ. Jesus was tempted. We will be. (Cf. 1 Cor 16.13, Col 4.2, 1Thes 5.6, 1 Pt 5.8: "Stay sober and alert, the devil is like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.") Even holy people are tempted. St. Francis de Sales, as a young man, had a terrible battle with the temptation to despair. He had this awful feeling that no matter what he did, he was going to hell. He finally broke it, though after much struggle: "If I am to spend an eternity separated from you, O Lord, at least let me love you here." The Lord permits temptations in order that we may grow. Gold is tested in fire.

St. Philip Neri was tempted to impatience. He prayed for the virtue and was tempted again. Eventually, he got the message that temptation, if resisted courageously, will lead to the strengthening of one's character and growth in holiness. At one point, St. Catherine of Siena was repeatedly assaulted by strong temptations against purity. She trusted in the Lord and did not yield to them. God later consoled her and said He was helping her to withstand these torments.

What can we do when faced with temptations? Make the sign of the cross. It strengthens us to face temptations and difficulties. Put yourself at the foot of the cross and pray for strength. Do not look temptation in the face, lest you waver. Keep your mind's eye on Jesus. Do penance: pray, fast, read the Scripture, make use of the sacraments (be honest with your confessor/spiritual director; be honest about your feelings, tendencies, and affections). When the devil wants to seduce a soul, he urges it to keep silent, whether from pride or shame.
Avoid occasions of sin. If you know that certain persons, places, things are sources of temptation, stay away from them as much as you are able. St. Paul reminds us, "Bad company corrupts morals." Maybe it's the internet or cable television, which (for some) are occasions of sin. Maybe it's alcohol.

Take small temptations seriously (otherwise, how can we face big ones?) It may be easy enough to refrain from murder, but it can be extremely difficult to restrain all the angry feelings for which occasions are offered at any moment. It may be easier to refrain from adultery than to guard one's glance or speaking or listening to flattering words. It is easy enough not to steal our neighbor's property, but it may be difficult not to covet or desire it. It is easy enough not to bear false witness in court, but it can be difficult not to lie in conversations.

The supreme antidote against vice of every kind is the love of God. Worship Him, adore Him.


February 13, 2022



From the Pastor       "Blessed are who?


      Jesus lists the characteristics of blessed people. He lists the attitudes that can be found among the saints, which He and His mother perfectly fulfilled. They are called the "beatitudes". The Gospels of Matthew and Luke list beatitudes. Luke's list is shorter. It is the gospel for this Sunday.
     The first on the list is "Blessed are the poor in spirit". There is nothing wrong with making money or winning money, but many people are preoccupied with acquisition. Instead of making money to live, they live to make money. Jesus said to avoid greed in all of its forms. Being poor does not make one holy per se. But those who are holy are detached from what they have. They are poor in spirit. There are people who take vows of voluntary poverty to remind the rest of us of the necessity to maintain a spirit of poverty. These are the "religious" (monks and nuns): no personal bank accounts, salaries, automobiles, credit cards, etc.
      "Blessed are you who hunger now and woe to you who are full." Beware of gluttony (a capital sin, and a common one). Gluttony does not mean liking or appreciating food. Jesus himself attended many a dinner and was unjustly called a "glutton". Gluttony is an inordinate desire to eat and drink. Eating and drinking are necessary for life, but we do not live to eat and drink. There is a place for fasting. This will work to counteract gluttony. Many of our people do not know what this is, outside of Lent. Jesus speaks of the effectiveness of prayer and fasting to drive out demons. There are many who are deprived of food It is a good idea to try to empathize with their plight, which is difficult to do when one is continually surfeited with food.
      "Blessed are those who weep v. woe to you who laugh." Why would a person who weeps be considered blessed? It depends on why they are weeping. Jesus wept over Jerusalem for its failure to accept salvation. St. John Vianney wept in the confessional because the penitent was not weeping. St. Francis wept because he saw that too many people did not love God.
     " Blessed are you when men hate you because of me v. when all speak well of you." If anyone ever persecutes you for being a Catholic, it is a good sign that you are living the faith. Jesus remains a sign of contradiction in the world. Beware of desiring to be well thought of by worldly opinion.
     The sufferings and privations of the world remind us that Jesus came that we might share in His happiness, a happiness ("beatitude") that the world cannot give, and which will be fulfilled perfectly in heaven.

February 6, 2022    


From the Pastor       The Church thrives on vocations


     What is a vocation? A vocation is a call to serve God in some capacity. One has a call by virtue of being alive. Life is His gift to us. What we do with it is what we give to the Lord in return. Everyone is called to make a sincere gift of himself to God. Baptized members of the Catholic Church are called to serve God in one of three ways: the lay state, the priesthood, or the religious life. Most people are called to the lay state. A lay person has a legitimate vocation. (He is not just a spectator who watches what the priests do.) The lay state is distinguished from the other two vocations by its predominantly secular character. Jesus must be made present in the world: at home, school, the world of business and industry, the arts and culture, etc. (These areas are not the priest's domain.)

     At least 98% of the Church consists of lay people. People often speak of a priest-shortage, but it goes much deeper than that, viz., we have a shortage of committed lay people. The second largest "denomination" in the U.S. consists of inactive Catholics. This is the vocation shortage at its most fundamental level. This Sunday, though, we turn our attention to the need for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. The Church, though predominantly lay, could not exist without priests, and would be impoverished without the witness of religious.

     What is a priest? Why do we need him?
Listen to what a priest says: "I absolve you from your sins…."; "This is my body…." The reference in both cases is to Jesus our High Priest and Shepherd, of whom the priest himself is a sacrament. The priest is not merely a religious functionary. He is a sacrament of Jesus, the High Priest. We need priests because we need Jesus. Jesus provided the sacrament of holy orders so that we would not be left orphans. We can think of it this way. What is the fundamental truth celebrated each Sunday? That Jesus Christ is risen (i.e., He is alive). If He is alive, He is active. He still teaches, rules, and sanctifies His people. He employs men who are commissioned to carry on His ministry. Without priests, there would be no Eucharist, and no Church. How could anyone get to heaven?

     What is a religious? A religious man or woman takes three vows (poverty, chastity, and obedience) and lives in a community of fellow religious. What service do religious perform? Some are contemplative, others are engaged in active apostolates. In either case, they remind all of the baptized of the fundamental requirement of the gospel, to be holy. They reflect in their conduct the sacramental consecration which is brought about by God's power in baptism, confirmation, or holy orders (i.e., they remind us that all Christians are consecrated to God).

     We are weakened, as a Church, by their absence. In the U.S. we lost 50,000 nuns in ten years (between 1965 and 1975). One young man, a Catholic, told me that up until recently, he had never seen a nun in the flesh (quite different from what used to be).

     Do not neglect to remember vocations in your daily prayer-time. Also, it is a good idea to encourage youth to be open to what the Lord wants of them.

January 23, 2022


From the Pastor … What is Love?


     St. Paul's descriptive definition of love. He wrote it in the form of a poem. It has been called the most beautiful passage in all of Christian literature. Everyone should read it, pray over it and even memorize it.
It is 1 Corinthians 13.4-13 . St. Paul tells us in a succinct form what love is, what it is not and what it does. He lists 14 points in his description. What he says should concern us because the soul of holiness is love ("charity").
      "Love is patient" . What is patience? The word comes from the Latin word that means to suffer. How is love connected with this? Love necessarily means the willingness to suffer the inevitable afflictions that come to us from others. How many homes have been broken up because there is no tolerance – no give and take, no patience? Jesus, of course, was the great example in suffering the injustices and misunderstandings of men. He never lost His composure. A patient person, though, is not a doormat. Patience, motivated by love of God and others, is a sign of strength, not weakness.
     St. Paul says that love is kind. Whereas patience refers to our response to what others might dish out, kindness is manifest in what we give to others. St. John Bosco (whose feast is 1/31) founded the first "Boys Town" (so to speak). He developed a very successful system of education for troubled/homeless boys based on reason, religion and kindness. And, of course, the kindest man who ever lived was Jesus Himself. How can we say this? Because kindness is good will toward others. During His passion on the cross He spoke only three times: all were to help others: "Father, forgive them…,"  "Behold your mother" , and "This day thou shalt be with me in paradise" . Otherwise He was silent (He was never unkind).
     St. Paul then tells us what love is not. It is not pompous. It is not jealous. It does not brood over injuries. It is not self-seeking. It is never rude. It is not quick-tempered. It does not rejoice over wrongdoing. Finally, the apostle tells us that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. (To "believe all things"  does not mean to be naïve. It means to believe the best about people, unless we have evidence to the contrary.)
     In short, St. Paul gives us a 14-point "program". Meditate on each of he points and strive to put each of them into effect, if not already doing so. Also, Paul's reflection can be used as a good examination of conscience to prepare for confession.

January 23, 2022


From the Pastor …


     One of the nation's most visited monuments is the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. The memorial is actually two walls, each spanning 246 feet in length. The walls' length was determined by the number of inscriptions. There are 58,000 names of service members who were killed in the war. If the same principle were applied to memorializing all of the infants who died in the womb, by the hands of abortionists, in our country, the memorial wall would span 93 miles. Over 60 million children have perished. I mention this because Jan. 22, 1973, is the day on which the Supreme Court made the ill-founded and disastrous decision that has deprived children in the womb of legal protection. The decision is called, "Roe V. Wade".
     Presently, there is a real possibility that the court may overturn this terrible decision. This would be the answer to many prayers, penitential offerings, and pro-life work. If Roe V. Wade is overturned, many of the 50 states would re-establish legal protection for children in the womb. We are not "out of the woods", however, because some states would do just the opposite and build more abortuaries to accommodate people who live in states where babies are protected. What to do?
     Please continue your prayers and pro-life work. Check the Internet for respect life petitions, rosary meditations, holy hours, etc. You can join us at St. Andrew's Benedictine Abbey, for Mass, on the first Saturday of each month, followed by prayers on the sidewalk in front of the last-standing baby-killing center on Shaker Blvd. in Cleveland. Also, on route 20, not far from here, is the Mya center, which helps women in "crisis pregnancies" by educating them through the use of ultrasound equipment, so that they can see the child they are carrying. (As a result, the vast majority of the women who come to the center elect to keep their babies.)
     And pray for our leaders. We need people in government, especially at the state and federal levels, who will defend the defenseless and work to stop the genocide. I shudder to think of the fate that awaits people who do all they can to support the culture of death, should they not repent, after they have died and gone to the Judgment seat of Christ. We also need bishops who do not tolerate so-called Catholics who do all they can to promote baby-killing. No one has the right to take an innocent human life.


January 16, 2022


From the Pastor … Jesus and Marriage


     In this Sunday's gospel, we hear of Jesus's first miracle: the changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana . Interestingly, St. John never uses the word "miracle". He always says, "sign": i.e., "Jesus performed many signs." In John's Gospel, every "miracle", in other words, points to something beyond itself (as is the case with a sign). Today's miracle is a good example. Jesus turned water into wine. The wine was of a better quality than what had been served. Even the headwaiter acknowledged this. What does this suggest about marriage?

     Marriage, before Jesus, was something like the original wine at the banquet. It was good. Sacramental marriage is even better (like the new wine that Jesus had made miraculously). There are two kinds of marriage. Both are good. One is non-sacramental. Many of these marriages are quite valid. I have officiated at many non-sacramental marriages, over the years. The other kind of marriage is sacramental: I have assisted at many of these, also. What is the difference?

     In a non-sacramental marriage, at least one party is not baptized. In a sacramental marriage, both parties are. Now remember, both are good, but one is better. If the non-baptized party gets baptized, the marriage becomes sacramental. And, after it is consummated, no party, under heaven can dissolve it. ("Let no man separate what God has joined.") Non-sacramental marriages can be dissolved under certain circumstances. The is not the case with sacramental marriages, which are validly contracted, where both parties are baptized. (Keep in mind the proper canonical form must be observed, for Catholics, if the marriage is to be valid, i.e., the marriage must be contracted before a Catholic priest/deacon and two other witnesses).

     Why is a sacramental marriage superior? Because it is a sign and a means of divine grace. It is a sign of Jesus' love for His Church. He is the Bridegroom, she is the Bride.

     If you are married, keep your marriage holy. Be spiritual friends (especially, if you are both Christians/Catholics). You won't be husband and wife for all eternity (marriage lasts until death), because Jesus said that people in heaven "live like the angels", but if you both get to heaven, you will know and love each other there.

     Have a close relationship with Our Lord and His mother, as a couple, and as individuals. There is nothing wrong with praying together, at least with some regularity. (Why not visit the Blessed Sacrament together?)

     And, of course, Mass and confession are a must for Catholics. Be pure, be holy. Live life as it needs to be lived: in union with God. Let Jesus do His work to keep and save your marriage, and to make it fruitful. And He will....



January 9, 2022


From the Pastor …. What to do about Baptism

     Baptism is one of seven sacraments. It is the most important one in that it is the gateway to all the others. It makes one a child of God. It takes away all sin and punishments due to sin. It remakes one in the image of Christ (sometimes we even call it “christening”). It incorporates one into the Church and into the life of the holy Trinity.
     Jesus spoke of the necessity of baptism. He said (in "John 3:5 ): “No one can enter into God’s kingdom without being begotten of water and Spirit.”  (Fundamentalists never cite this verse.) This fact raises a number of commonly asked questions: What about those who die without baptism, infants, perhaps? Salvation is tied to the sacraments, although the Lord is not tied to the sacraments. The Church has funeral rites for children who die before baptism in which she entrusts them, confidently, to the mercy of God. Children should be baptized relatively soon after birth (within the first weeks after birth.) Also, everyone should know how to confer baptism in an emergency. One must use the Trinitarian formula (i.e., “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”) and water. The water must be either poured on the person’s head, or the head is dunked in the water, while the formula is recited. Smearing water on the forehead, sprinkling water, or pouring water on a part of the body other than the head does not suffice.) Only an unbaptized person can be baptized. An adult, to be baptized, must give some indication of faith and repentance.
     A more important question is this. What about baptized people who are not faithful to the gospel of Christ? Baptism per se, for normal adults, is not a ticket to heaven. Baptism is a sacrament of faith. Unless one is an infant or an adult who is mentally handicapped to the extent that he cannot commit a serious sin, one must strive to live the Christian life (which is what faith requires). There are many famous people who were baptized who did not live very good lives, from the point of view of Christian holiness (it would seem). Napoleon (who kidnapped one or two popes), Josef Stalin, many members of the Mafia, Karl Marx, the writer Hemingway, people on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, Hitler, people who are active in the abortion industry, etc. Baptism without faith is fruitless. We are called to be holy and to grow in holiness which includes rejecting sin and Satan.
     We must not allow the exception, that the Lord is not tied to the sacraments, to cause us to forget about the Church’s missionary mandate and the necessity incumbent on all of us to preach the gospel to the unbaptized. 44% of Americans are unchurched. Many are unbaptized (2/3rds of the world’s people). Support the missions and spread the faith.

January 3, 2022


From the Pastor ….

     Were the Three Wisemen "Astrologers"?
     The older New American Bible translation refers to the wisemen as "astrologers from the east". This translation is not accurate and has been changed. The correct word is "magi". (The word "magi" is the root of our word "magician".) The "magi" were more like scientists and philosophers. They studied planetary tables but were apparently familiar with the Jewish religious traditions about a Messiah. To their credit they sought Him out, using all the means at their disposal, including the use of planetary tables. (Remember, they were not Jews. They were foreigners. They did not have the training in the true religion of the day.)
     But isn't it true that they followed the "wandering star" which took them to Bethlehem? The "star" (probably a conjunction of two planets) only took them so far. It took them to King Herod, who was greatly disturbed at the news of a newborn king. Herod's counselors informed the king of the precise whereabouts of the infant- Messiah. The counselors used the Bible to pinpoint Bethlehem as the place. The Book of the prophet Micah contains the famous prophecy of our Lord's birth in Bethlehem. Once arrived at Bethlehem, the Magi discarded the tools of their trade: gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and returned to their country changed men (we would suppose).
     With the revelation of Jesus as the Son of God and the Locus of all true worship, we must reject all forms of false religion. For example, divination, which seeks to learn hidden knowledge about the future via mean such as: horoscopy, palm-reading, tarot card reading, recourse to mediums and "psychics". Divination is an offense against God. The fortunes of men are not determined by the stars.
     The Magi teach us something about the place of Jesus Christ in true worship: "they prostrated themselves (before Jesus) and did Him homage." The verb used connotes recognizing Jesus as divine. And so He is. Even today, all true worship goes through Jesus (the Eucharist, liturgical prayers, Our Father). The Magi's gifts: gold (for Jesus's Kingship). We must acknowledge Him as our King and remain detached from the material wealth that we have. To what use do we put our resources in the service of God's kingdom? Frankincense: a life of prayer (represented by the smoke going up to heaven) and goodness (the aroma of Christ). Myrrh: He was offered wine mingled with myrrh, on the cross. His body was also anointed with this substance in death. It represents sacrifice and renunciation (mortification) and reminds us of the place of penance in the Christian life....


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