Saturday, December 25, 2010

Homily of His Holiness Benedict VXI (Midnight Mass: Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord)

At Saint Peter's Basilica
Friday, Dec. 24, 2010


Dear Brothers and Sisters!

“You are my son, this day I have begotten you” — with this passage from Psalm 2 the Church begins the liturgy of this holy night. She knows that this passage originally formed part of the coronation rite of the kings of Israel. The king, who in himself is a man like others, becomes the “Son of God” through being called and installed in his office. It is a kind of adoption by God, a decisive act by which he grants a new existence to this man, drawing him into his own being. The reading from the prophet Isaiah that we have just heard presents the same process even more clearly in a situation of hardship and danger for Israel: “To us a child is born, to us a son is given. The government will be upon his shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6). Installation in the office of king is like a second birth. As one newly born through God’s personal choice, as a child born of God, the king embodies hope. On his shoulders the future rests. He is the bearer of the promise of peace. On that night in Bethlehem this prophetic saying came true in a way that would still have been unimaginable at the time of Isaiah. Yes indeed, now it really is a child on whose shoulders government is laid. In him the new kingship appears that God establishes in the world. This child is truly born of God. It is God’s eternal Word that unites humanity with divinity. To this child belong those titles of honour which Isaiah’s coronation song attributes to him: Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Yes, this king does not need counsellors drawn from the wise of this world. He bears in himself God’s wisdom and God’s counsel. In the weakness of infancy, he is the mighty God and he shows us God’s own might in contrast to the self-asserting powers of this world.

Truly, the words of Israel’s coronation rite were only ever rites of hope which looked ahead to a distant future that God would bestow. None of the kings who were greeted in this way lived up to the sublime content of these words. In all of them, those words about divine sonship, about installation into the heritage of the peoples, about making the ends of the earth their possession (Psalm 2:8) were only pointers towards what was to come – as it were signposts of hope indicating a future that at that moment was still beyond comprehension. Thus the fulfillment of the prophecy, which began that night in Bethlehem, is both infinitely greater and in worldly terms smaller than the prophecy itself might lead one to imagine. It is greater in the sense that this child is truly the Son of God, truly “God from God, light from light, begotten not made, of one being with the Father”. The infinite distance between God and man is overcome. God has not only bent down, as we read in the Psalms; he has truly “come down”, he has come into the world, he has become one of us, in order to draw all of us to himself. This child is truly Emmanuel — God-with-us. His kingdom truly stretches to the ends of the earth. He has truly built islands of peace in the world-encompassing breadth of the holy Eucharist. Wherever it is celebrated, an island of peace arises, of God’s own peace. This child has ignited the light of goodness in men and has given them strength to overcome the tyranny of might. This child builds his kingdom in every generation from within, from the heart. But at the same time it is true that the “rod of his oppressor” is not yet broken, the boots of warriors continue to tramp and the “garment rolled in blood” (Is 9:4f) still remains. So part of this night is simply joy at God’s closeness. We are grateful that God gives himself into our hands as a child, begging as it were for our love, implanting his peace in our hearts. But this joy is also a prayer: Lord, make your promise come fully true. Break the rods of the oppressors. Burn the tramping boots. Let the time of the garments rolled in blood come to an end. Fulfill the prophecy that “of peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:7). We thank you for your goodness, but we also ask you to show forth your power. Establish the dominion of your truth and your love in the world — the “kingdom of righteousness, love and peace”.

“Mary gave birth to her first-born son” (Luke 2:7). In this sentence Saint Luke recounts quite soberly the great event to which the prophecies from Israel’s history had pointed. Luke calls the child the “first-born”. In the language which developed within the sacred Scripture of the Old Covenant, “first-born” does not mean the first of a series of children. The word “first-born” is a title of honour, quite independently of whether other brothers and sisters follow or not. So Israel is designated by God in the Book of Exodus (4:22) as “my first-born Son”, and this expresses Israel’s election, its singular dignity, the particular love of God the Father. The early Church knew that in Jesus this saying had acquired a new depth, that the promises made to Israel were summed up in him. Thus the Letter to the Hebrews calls Jesus “the first-born”, simply in order to designate him as the Son sent into the world by God (cf. 1:5-7) after the ground had been prepared by Old Testament prophecy. The first-born belongs to God in a special way — and therefore he had to be handed over to God in a special way — as in many religions — and he had to be ransomed through a vicarious sacrifice, as Saint Luke recounts in the episode of the Presentation in the Temple. The first-born belongs to God in a special way, and is as it were destined for sacrifice. In Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross this destiny of the first-born is fulfilled in a unique way. In his person he brings humanity before God and unites man with God in such a way that God becomes all in all. Saint Paul amplified and deepened the idea of Jesus as first-born in the Letters to the Colossians and to the Ephesians: Jesus, we read in these letters, is the first-born of all creation — the true prototype of man, according to which God formed the human creature. Man can be the image of God because Jesus is both God and man, the true image of God and of man. Furthermore, as these letters tell us, he is the first-born from the dead. In the resurrection he has broken down the wall of death for all of us. He has opened up to man the dimension of eternal life in fellowship with God. Finally, it is said to us that he is the first-born of many brothers. Yes indeed, now he really is the first of a series of brothers and sisters: the first, that is, who opens up for us the possibility of communing with God. He creates true brotherhood — not the kind defiled by sin as in the case of Cain and Abel, or Romulus and Remus, but the new brotherhood in which we are God’s own family. This new family of God begins at the moment when Mary wraps her first-born in swaddling clothes and lays him in a manger. Let us pray to him: Lord Jesus, who wanted to be born as the first of many brothers and sisters, grant us the grace of true brotherhood. Help us to become like you. Help us to recognize your face in others who need our assistance, in those who are suffering or forsaken, in all people, and help us to live together with you as brothers and sisters, so as to become one family, your family.

At the end of the Christmas Gospel, we are told that a great heavenly host of angels praised God and said: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). The Church has extended this song of praise, which the angels sang in response to the event of the holy night, into a hymn of joy at God’s glory — “we praise you for your glory”. We praise you for the beauty, for the greatness, for the goodness of God, which becomes visible to us this night. The appearing of beauty, of the beautiful, makes us happy without our having to ask what use it can serve. God’s glory, from which all beauty derives, causes us to break out in astonishment and joy. Anyone who catches a glimpse of God experiences joy, and on this night we see something of his light. But the angels’ message on that holy night also spoke of men: “Peace among men with whom he is pleased”. The Latin translation of the angels’ song that we use in the liturgy, taken from Saint Jerome, is slightly different: “peace to men of good will”. The expression “men of good will” has become an important part of the Church’s vocabulary in recent decades. But which is the correct translation? We must read both texts together; only in this way do we truly understand the angels’ song. It would be a false interpretation to see this exclusively as the action of God, as if he had not called man to a free response of love. But it would be equally mistaken to adopt a moralizing interpretation as if man were so to speak able to redeem himself by his good will. Both elements belong together: grace and freedom, God’s prior love for us, without which we could not love him, and the response that he awaits from us, the response that he asks for so palpably through the birth of his son. We cannot divide up into independent entities the interplay of grace and freedom, or the interplay of call and response. The two are inseparably woven together. So this part of the angels’ message is both promise and call at the same time. God has anticipated us with the gift of his Son. God anticipates us again and again in unexpected ways. He does not cease to search for us, to raise us up as often as we might need. He does not abandon the lost sheep in the wilderness into which it had strayed. God does not allow himself to be confounded by our sin. Again and again he begins afresh with us. But he is still waiting for us to join him in love. He loves us, so that we too may become people who love, so that there may be peace on earth.

Saint Luke does not say that the angels sang. He states quite soberly: the heavenly host praised God and said: “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:13f.). But men have always known that the speech of angels is different from human speech, and that above all on this night of joyful proclamation it was in song that they extolled God’s heavenly glory. So this angelic song has been recognized from the earliest days as music proceeding from God, indeed, as an invitation to join in the singing with hearts filled with joy at the fact that we are loved by God. Cantare amantis est, says Saint Augustine: singing belongs to one who loves. Thus, down the centuries, the angels’ song has again and again become a song of love and joy, a song of those who love. At this hour, full of thankfulness, we join in the singing of all the centuries, singing that unites heaven and earth, angels and men. Yes, indeed, we praise you for your glory. We praise you for your love. Grant that we may join with you in love more and more and thus become people of peace. Amen.

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Christmas Midnight: "Welcome, Prince of Peace!"

(Reference: Isaiah 9:1-6; Luke 2:1-14)

A child is born to us. Mary and Joseph hover over him, their faces bright as stars. Shepherds kneel in humble worship, and angels sing his glory. Brother Ox and Sister Lamb amble up to the manger. Christ our Light has come into the world. Our Advent journey ends in adoration.

As you gather with family and friends, how will you represent your loved ones, especially those who are absent, around the creche? With photos or figurines? In some other way? How will you prove the poet’s wisdom: “The joy that you give to others / Is the joy that comes back to you”? (John Greenleaf Whittier).

As one universal family, we welcome you, Son of God and Prince of Peace. Alleluia!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Christmas Eve: "A mighty savior"

(Reference: 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Luke 1:67-79)

Like the proud Jewish papa that he was, Zechariah greeted John’s birth with an animated song of thanksgiving for the mighty Savior his son would serve. On this eve of Christmas, we join in giving thanks for “the tender mercy of our God” who comes to guide us in his ways of peace.

How will you, like the repentant Scrooge, “honor Christmas in [your] heart, and try to keep it all the year”?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Thursday: "Celebrate the little ones"

(Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24; Luke 1:57-66)

What a party they must have had at the home of Elizabeth and Zechariah when their only child was born. The relatives were floored when Elizabeth gave him a name that was new to the family tree. But Zechariah agreed. The child would be called John and he would be great in holiness.

How will you celebrate your own favored children and grandchildren this season?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Simbang Gabi

Guests reach for the goodies attached to a pabitin at a Simbang Gabi reception at St. Bernard's on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010.
The Fil-Am Association presented the annual celebration of Simbang Gabi with a Mass and a reception afterward in the parish hall on Wednesday.

The event featured refreshments, Filipino food and the Filipino game of pabitin.

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Wednesday: "Sing out!"

(Reference: 1 Samuel 1:24-28; Luke1:46-56)

Mary is so moved by Elizabeth’s tribute to her and to her Son that she has to sing out her joy. Her Magnificat brims over with praise for the Lord, confidence in the holiness God graced her with and prophetic protest against powerful oppressors. Mary’s song suggests that our prayers are sometimes too domesticated. Late Advent is a season for singing out because “Love, the Guest, is on the way” (“People, Look East,” Eleanor Farjeon).

Shopping mall safety tips

It’s easy for kids to get sidetracked with all the sights, sounds, and smells surrounding us at holiday time. It is especially important to monitor your children when taking them through the mall during the Christmas season.

If children become separated from you, teach them to look for a “safe stranger” who can help them. For example, a mom with kids or the cash register person can help a child who is lost. Avoid telling children to go to the “manager.” Any adult in a suit, who looks important, can look like the manager to a child.

Children must be told never to leave the mall or store to go looking for you in the parking lot. Let them know that you would never go outside or leave until you are reunited — no matter what anyone else tells them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Tuesday: "Honor the mothers"

(Reference: Song 2:8-14; Luke 1:39-45)

How easy it is to miss the reality that Elizabeth, the aged mother-to-be of John the Baptist, is the first person in the Gospels to be described as “filled with the Holy Spirit.” Overcome with joy at her young relative’s pregnancy, Elizabeth shouts her praise of holy Mary and the blessed boy in her womb.

How might you, in memory of Mary and Elizabeth, honor a pregnant woman or an overworked mother?

Monday, December 20, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Monday: "The Favored One"

(Reference: Isaiah 7:10-14; Luke :26-38)

Mary must have been stunned by an archangel’s greeting her as the “favored one” and by his assurance that the Lord was with her. Whatever her concerns about how God will empower her to accomplish his plan, Mary dares to go forward, knowing that she is loved and that she will suffer.

We, too, are favored ones in God’s eyes.

What does this mean to you?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Fourth Week of Advent: "God with us"

We have heard the angel’s announcement to Joseph so many times that we forget to be wowed by it. A virgin will give birth to a son. His name will be “God With Us.”

Amy Grant’s song “Emmanuel, God With Us” speaks of Jesus as “A voice of peace / To the weary ones.”

If today you are burdened with holiday cares, how will you let them go into the arms of the God who is right here, right now, right with us, always?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Posadas!

Todos están invitados a celebrar las tradicionales posadas todas las tardes a las 7 empezando este jueves 16 de Diciembre.

Rezaremos el Rosario y cantaremos villancicos sin faltar las famosas piñatas repletas de dulces y caramelos. Traigan a sus niños y a toda su familia.

***

All are welcome to attend our annual posadas every night at 7.

We will pray the rosary, sing carols and hit pinata filled with sweets. Bring your entire family.

A very blessed and peaceful Christmas

A very blessed and peaceful Christmas to all our parishioners and their families.

Christmas is a special time to celebrate family. We are a parish family and our celebration of Christmas is a grace filled time for us. We will remember you all at our Christmas Masses and pray that God may bless you abundantly. It is our joy to serve you during the year.

— Monsignor Gerald McSorley
Monsignor Patrick McNulty
Rev. Paul Henson
Rev. Tim McGowan

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Saturday: "Angelic voices"

(Reference: Jeremiah 23:5-8; Matthew 1:18-25)

The Gospels reveal precious little about the man who became Mary’s husband, and how he overcame the cultural and religious traditions that stood between them. What we do know is that Joseph had the courage to listen to an angel in a dream so vivid that it could not be ignored.

In what ways have you listened to angelic voices?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Trust in God

On this final Sunday of Advent, our scriptures focus on the historical birth of Jesus, who is son of David and Son of God, child and king, Jesus and Emmanuel.

Isaiah the prophet begs Ahaz to ask for a sign, to allow God to offer him reassurance of the survival of the Davidic dynasty. The king hypocritically refuses to “tempt the LORD” in that way (Isaiah 7:12), but the prophet foretells the birth of a son, an heir to the throne, who will prove the Lord’s enduring protection of God’s chosen lineage on the throne of David. The child will be called Emmanuel.

Matthew’s reference to this history in his description of the birth of Jesus highlights the contrast between the faithless refusal of trust shown by Ahaz, and the complete trust in God shown by Mary and Joseph in bringing about the birth of Jesus Christ.

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Friday: "Family connections"

(Reference: Genesis 49:2, 8-10; Matthew 1:1-17)

We can imagine how pleased Jesus would have been to hear a recitation of the 42 generations connecting him with Abraham and David. But he would have been saddened by how few of his great-grandmothers were mentioned by name.

Strengthen your own family bonds by putting together a family tree with your children, giving special appreciation to all the mothers and grandmothers who gave birth to the next generation.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Thursday: "Embrace God’s purpose"

(Reference: Isaiah 54:1-10; Luke 7:24-30)

Both Jesus and the Baptist were rejected by the Pharisees and legal scholars who insisted on their own version of who the Messiah was and what his message should be. As the Gospel puts it, “[they] rejected God’s purpose for themselves.”

In silent prayer, consider how you are fulfilling God’s purpose. And rejoice at all the good you discover.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Wednesday: "Discern the signs"

(Reference: Isaiah 45:6c-8, 18, 21c-25; Luke 7:18b-23)

When John the Baptist needed to know if Jesus was truly “the one who is to come,” Jesus responded by listing his deeds of compassion. He spent himself in love for all those who needed him. By this sign, we will know him.

By what signs will others know us as Christ’s disciples?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Tuesday: "Be true to the Word"

(Reference: Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13; Matthew 21:28-32)

We can hold up the parable of the two sons like a mirror that reflects how well we are doing the Father’s will.

Do we say yes to the works of mercy but neglect the poor because we “can’t find the time” to serve them? Or do we admit to our upside-down priorities and set out to do what God desires of us?

St. John of the Cross, jailed for being true to the word, advises us to pray for “a will that is wholly with God, and a mind truly set upon him.”

Monday, December 13, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Monday: "Water the seed"

(Reference: Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17a; Matthew 21:23-27)

Our Advent readings are lush with portrayals of God as a wondrous Creator of earthly abundance and a Sower of good seed. He turns barren ground to fertile purposes, giving life where there was only a wasteland. We invite our God to water the seeds of faith within us.

On St. Lucy’s Day, how will you be a light for someone who is suffering the holiday blues?
The celebration of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ renews our hope and trust in God.

Through the gift of his son, God has blessed us with love, peace and salvation. May this beautiful feast bring us closer to Jesus and to one another in the family of God.

We pray that every child may be seen as a gift from God and welcomed into a loving family home. We look forward to celebrating Christmas Mass with you. May God bles you and your family with joy and peace.

— Monsignor Gerald McSorley,
Pastor

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas.

On Dec. 9, 1531, the Blessed Mother made the first of her appearances to St. Juan Diego on the hill of El Tepeyac, five miles north of Mexico City. She left behind not only her message, but also her beautiful image miraculously imprinted on the tilma (cloak) of Juan. The tilma and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is revered by millions each year in the shrine built to honor her and to be a place of prayer.

“Let nothing trouble or afflict you — am I not here who am your mother?” were the words of Mary to St. Juan Diego.

Our thanks to all the Guadalupanos for preparing this beautiful celebration to honor our Blessed Mother.

All are welcome to the celebration in her honor at our school’s volleyball courts today.

— Monsignor Gerald McSorley,
Pastor

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Third Week of Advent: "Be patient"

Like children pining for Christmas morning, we know what it means to wait for what we desire. Whether it is the safe arrival of loved ones from afar or a recovery from cancer, we wait in prayer and patience, hope and trust. Angelus Sibelius advises, “If in your heart you make / A manger for his birth, / Then God will once again / Become a Child on earth.”

How might you do this on Gaudete (Rejoice!) Sunday?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

American Red Cross at St. Bernard's Dec. 13

The American Red Cross will be at St. Bernard’s from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Please sign up to donate blood. Your one-pint donation may save up to three lives. You must be at least 17 years old, 110 pounds and in general good health to be able to donate.

For more information on donating blood, visit www.redcrossblood.org.

Retirement Fund for Religious

Retirement Fund helps senior religious.

“As expenses continue to increase and economic difficulties tighten our income, we appreciate more and more the help of the Retirement Fund,” notes a woman religious.

Your tax-deductible donation to the Retirement Fund for Religious supports the day-to-day care of thousands of elder sisters, brothers, and religious order priests.

Please share in the care and give generously to this week’s second collection. Special envelopes are in the pews.

For more information or to securely donate online from home, visit www.retiredreligious.org.

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Saturday: "Living simply"

(Reference: Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11; Matthew17:9a, 10-13)

During the countdown to Christmas, we are bombarded by glittering commercials urging us to spend freely. But now is the time to remember John the Baptist, dressed in camel skin and dining on insects. He receives high praise from Jesus for calling the people to repentance and paving the Savior’s way.

How will you be moved by the Baptist’s simple, God-centered lifestyle as a “commercial” for the true spirit of Christmas?

Friday, December 10, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Friday: "Don’t pan the prophets"

(Isaiah 48:17-19; Matthew 11:16-19)

God sends us in every age teachers and prophets. But when they do not fit our image (the wrong color, gender, ethnic group) we criticize and belittle them, refusing to accept their message. Neither Jesus nor John the Baptist could satisfy everyone’s expectations. But, “Wisdom is vindicated by her works.”
 
Name a contemporary prophet whose deeds inspire you to greater goodness.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Thursday: "Praise God’s creation"


(Reference: Isaiah 41:13-20; Matthew 11:11-15)

The bad news of oil spills, climate change and endangered species calls us to practice good stewardship of God’s glorious creation. God delights in making springs gush forth in the wilderness as much as he must have in bringing forth roses in December for St. Juan Diego.

How will you put your praise of creation into environmental action?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Wednesday: "Immaculate Conception: Say yes"

(Reference: Genesis 3:9-15, 20; Luke 1:26-38)

When Mary received a shocking invitation to mother the Messiah, she wisely inquired how a virgin could bear a child. In faith, she accepted the assurance that nothing is impossible with God. Conceived without sin, Mary, like the son of God himself, always said yes to God.
 
If you have been saying “Maybe later” to any of the Holy Spirit’s promptings, how will you pray your way to “Be it done to me according to your word”?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Tuesday: "Seek the lost"


(Isaiah 40:1-11; Matthew18:12-14)

If Jesus had a favorite self-image, it was most likely the Good Shepherd. Even if 99 of his 100 sheep were fine, he would still head out to track down the wanderer. Like his father, he does not want to lose a single “little one.”
 
If you have friends or family members who have left the church or lost their faith, how will you invite them home during Advent?

Monday, December 6, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Monday: "Be forgiving and giving"

(Reference: Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 5:17-26)

God’s endless generosity to Israel and to us is depicted as the riotous blossoming of the desert, the strengthening of the weak and the end of sorrow.
 
Jesus shows this same generosity to the paralytic, forgiving his sins and gifting him good health.
 
In honor of St. Nicholas today, secretly leave a gift in a child’s shoe or otherwise enjoy being generous.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Second Week of Advent: "Live in harmony"

We long for the peaceable kingdom in which predator and prey live side by side, never threatening or harming one another. John the Baptist boldly warns us to repent of our sinfulness and prepare to welcome the Savior in whom the Kingdom comes.

On this eighth day of our Advent journey, rejoice. “Your world is journeying to the birth / Of God made man for us on earth” (John Betjeman, “Advent 1955”).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Saturday: "Walk this way"

(Isaiah 30:19-21, 23-26; Matthew 9:35—10:1, 5a, 6-8)

Isaiah shares his vision of God as our Teacher who does not leave us to find our way alone. God is there, just over our shoulder, whispering in our ear, “This is the way; walk in it.”

It is that same voice that instructs us today to be Christ’s ears for the elderly neighbor we listen to, Christ’s arms for the pregnant woman we comfort, Christ’s voice for the child we guide in living by faith.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Friday: "Be healed"

(Reference Isaiah 29:17-24; Matthew 9:27-31)

The two blind men need to express their faith in Jesus and he needs to be affirmed as the healer before their sight can be restored. We sometimes doubt our ability to make a crucial difference in the lives of those who are sick, addicted, misguided.

Spend time with Jesus in prayer, asking him about a specific compassionate deed: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” What will his answer surely be?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Thursday: "Build on the rock"

(Reference: Isaiah 26:1-6; Matthew 7:21, 24-27)

Advent is a good time to do a house inspection. Is the house of your life resting on a rock foundation of hearing and doing the word of God? Or might it be slipping onto the sand of good intentions that get washed away with the tide of events?

It isn’t saying “Lord, Lord,” but doing what the Lord says that prepares our hearts to be his dwelling place.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Wednesday: "Feeding the hungry"

(Reference: Isaiah 25:6-10a; Matthew 15:29-37)

Isaiah paints God as a magnanimous host, providing rich food and the finest wines for his guests. God not only welcomes and feeds but comforts and forgives. The son of God shows us this maternal face of God when he has compassion on the hungry crowd. He is the one for whom we have waited, the one we embody when we serve at the soup kitchen, invite the lonely to our family feasts and fuss over the meal as though it were Christmas dinner.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Tuesday: "Answering the call"

The brothers Andrew and Simon had no idea their lives would change drastically when they cast their nets into the sea one fine day. Then along came Jesus with his “Follow me.” That was the first day of their new lives as fishers of people who would say yes to the Gospel.

How will you follow Jesus by making your faith life a priority during Advent?

(Reference: Romans10:9-18; Matthew 4:18-22)

— American Catholic

Monday, November 29, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

Monday: "Believers without boundaries"

Isn’t it wonderful that the prayer we all offer before receiving the body and blood of Christ comes from a so-called pagan?

In his humility, the Roman centurion insists that Jesus can cure his servant without even traveling to his bedside. This man’s faith amazes Jesus and frees him to fulfill it.

How has your faith been enriched by others from outside the Church?

(Reference: Isaiah 4:2-6; Matthew 8:5-11)

— American Catholic

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A joyful journey: Advent day by day

First Week of Advent: "Wake from sleep"

Daily life lulls us into forgetting what we are here for and where we are heading. Advent rouses us with a robust “Be prepared.” We do not know the time of Christ’s coming, at the end of the world or the close of our earthly lives. When he comes, will he find us using swords or plowshares?

Name one way you will keep watch over your use of any wounding language that blames or belittles others.
 
— American Catholic

From the Back Pew: Reaching out through remodeling

By Michael J. Arvizu

Anytime a parish or church begins the process of remodeling its facilities, it piques my interest.

What will the architect come up with? What will the new facilities look like? And most importantly, how will these new buildings help the church or parish spread its message across its community?

It has always been the norm, at least to me, to consider church buildings as an extension of a church's overall mission. The buildings themselves don't make up the church. The people inside them do.

Consider St. Finbar's Catholic Church in Burbank, where this Thanksgiving, the church will open up its new kitchen facilities for the first time for the parish's annual Thanksgiving dinner, set for noon to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, where roughly 300 meals are expected to be served.

According to St. Finbar Deacon Frank Kolbash, the kitchen resides in the church's new community center, which was dedicated in June. The community center was built after the old parish hall was torn down. The old parish hall was the first church when the parish was founded in the 1938, said Kolbash.

The new community center is part of what Kolbash calls the "revitalization" of the parish. According to its website, St. Finbar is remodeling its facilities in a project dubbed The Keystone Plan (named after the church's cross-street, Keystone Street). The Keystone Plan is said to be the largest construction project at the church in 60 years.

Sure, the project will see the rise of shiny new buildings, no doubt increasing the church's property values. So why is building buildings important? Why is the Keystone Project relevant to St. Finbar now?

Well, for one thing, the parish hopes to bring in new people, which Kolbash says St. Finbar's is seeing more of in its weekly Masses. These new people include Catholics who have left the church and are looking to return, he said. The facilities that will open at St. Finbar, including a new youth center at its former convent across the street and a daycare or classroom facility next door, will help the church reach out to these individuals.

"The thing that we are trying to instill on everyone is that it's more than just going to Mass on Sunday," said Kolbash. "It's a seven-day-a-week job. That's part of this revitalization. It's to get people to know that when they leave Mass on Sunday, we are sending them out to spread the message of God."

Of course, money is always the issue when it comes to projects like this, so the church has entered into a state of prayer and meditation such that the work — projected to cost upward of $2.5 million, with some help from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles — is completed (with guidance from St. Paul, wrote St. Finbar Pastor Rev. Albert Bahhuth in 2009 on the parish website).

Nella Ebli, 92, has been a parishioner of St. Finbar's since 1955. In those days, space was limited, she said. On one end, you had the kitchen, on the other, the parish hall.

"I used to belong to the ICF [Italian Catholic Federation]," Ebli said. "We had big dinners there and big crowds there."

Those big crowds, she said, is something she still sees at the church to this day. She hopes that people will be attracted to the new facilities and the services they offer free of charge, such as Thursday's Thanksgiving dinner.

"I think it's wonderful," said Ebli. "We have a beautiful church."

MICHAEL J. ARVIZU writes for the La Cañada Valley Sun. Reach him at (818) 637-3263 or e-mail michael.arvizu@latimes.com.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Sunday readings

This Sunday's readings come from the book of Isaiah, Psalm 122, Romans and the Gospel according to Matthew.

As of this Sunday, we are in Cycle A of the Sunday readings and Weekday Year I for the daily readings.

QUESTIONS:

When have you realized you were unprepared for Christ's appearance in your life? This Advent, how can you strengthen your faith to respond to needs that come before you?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come" (Matthew 24:42).

— Courtesy Catholic News Service

Hopeful expectation

Our liturgical year begins with the season of Advent — a time of hopeful expectation of the coming of the Lord.

On the First Sunday of Advent we look forward to the end of time when we will awaken to the dawn of Christ’s new day. Today we hear Isaiah speak of a day when God’s power will have brought universal peace and God’s Word will have instructed all people, radiating God’s “light” (teachings) into all of human society.

Only when humanity walks “in the light of the LORD” (Isaiah 2:5), when all people desire to be instructed “in [God’s] ways” (Isaiah 2:3), will the world be set aright and our deepest longings fulfilled.

The reading from Romans calls us to “awake from sleep” for this final “day is at hand” (Romans 13:11, 12). Together this Sunday’s scriptures proclaim our Christian faith that Jesus is the One who will finally come to fulfill God’s plan of salvation.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

From the Back Pew: Their power is faith

By Michael J. Arvizu

This past Sunday, more than 350 worshipers gathered at Jesus Sacred Heart Antiochene Syriac Catholic Church in North Hollywood to memorialize the 58 people who were killed Oct. 31 during a siege of Baghdad's Sayidat al-Nejat (Our Lady of Salvation), a Syriac Catholic church.

According to news reports, the siege lasted several hours and has been linked to Al Qaeda gunmen. And after all was said and done, 58 people were dead, including two priests, 17 security officers and five gunmen.

Syriac Catholic Noel Habash of Burbank lost four family members in the attack. They were the nephews of his father-in-law.

I tried to imagine for a moment what it would be like if those had been my relatives who were killed, if those had been my relatives who were rescued by police.

With anger and frustration in his voice, Habash says of his family's turmoil, "Of course you're going to get mad; of course you're going to get nervous."

Now imagine for a moment that this happened in some far-off country where you were powerless to do anything. And imagine for a moment that you had relatives living in one of the most violent cities in the world.

Habash does. He has a brother and sister, each with their own big families, he said, and aunts and uncles, living in Baghdad.

"What kind of thought are you going to have?" he asked. "How are you going to hold up yourself and think normally? Every day you will keep thinking. Every day you will keep praying. Every day you will be angry. You need to see your own family live in peace."

When he s

aid that last sentence, I thought to myself, this is not unlike what the people in Ciudad Juarez are going through every day, with almost daily murders, kidnappings and unexplained disappearances. I have relatives who say they, too, fear for their lives at times, never seeming to know where the next bullet is going to come from.

I echo your sentiments, sir. I need my family to live in peace, too.

Habash believes what is happening in Iraq is nothing short of genocide, not unlike what Armenians and Jews went through. And he now has had a taste of what those families went through, he said. "Where is the government? Where is the United Nations? Where is the American government? Where is the European government?" Habash asks, his voice cracking with anger.

Yes, Habash's voice is full of anger and frustration over the attacks — anger that the attacks took place, and frustration over what he believes is the Iraq government's — which he says is composed of a bunch of gangs just sitting there, doing nothing — inability to suppress attacks that have killed not only Christians, but Muslims and people of other faiths. But on top of all that, Habash feels powerless, he said, with notable sadness in his voice.

"The government is very weak, and I don't think they're doing anything," said Sata Nasi of Glendale, a Syriac Catholic.

He turns to his faith, however: "Jesus Christ taught us to forgive people even if they insult you or attack you. That's the teaching," Nasi said. "We just pray to God for the rest of the people in Iraq, like Christians, so that they won't be harmed."

Nasi grew up and attended services at that church in Baghdad and had a house directly across from it.

"Everybody was mad, upset," said Nasi, who feels anger, he said, at the attackers that targeted a group of peaceful people. "They did not do any harm to any people. The Christian people in general, they are not fighters. We don't have a militia. We don't have weapons to fight or anything like that. It's targeted only because of the mentality of these attackers."

The only power he has, Habash said, is his faith in Jesus.

"We have no power of weapon. We have no power of gun. We have no power of violence," Habash said. "We have only one power. It's simple. People think of it as a stupid, idiot thought, but I would think that the huge power that we have is thinking, praying, and faith in Jesus."

MICHAEL J. ARVIZU is a reporter for the La Cañada Valley Sun. Reach him at (818) 637-3263 or e-mail michael.arvizu@latimes.com.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Advent 2010 Message:
A new beginning — and a time of preparation and renewal

By Cardinal Roger Mahony

The Preface for Mass for the First Sunday of Advent helps us focus upon the deep meaning of our Advent journey: "When Jesus humbled himself to come among us as a man, he fulfilled the plan you formed long ago and opened for us the way to salvation. Now we watch for the day, hoping that the salvation promised us will be ours when Christ our Lord will come again in his glory."

Advent is rightfully called a "new beginning" since God's plan of salvation in our lives is given new clarity and strength through these four weeks of preparing for the Birth of our Messiah, Jesus Christ.

But Advent 2010 has added importance since we now begin a year-long preparation for the introduction of a new English translation of the Roman Missal which we use at Mass. The new translation from Latin to English is more accurate and theologically correct than the former translations. This third edition of the Roman Missal in English will be used starting with the first Sunday of Advent 2011.

I recall being ordained a priest in 1962 in the midst of the Second Vatican Council. One of the Council initiatives was to make the celebration of the church's sacraments and liturgies available in the language of the local people. When the first full English translation of the Roman missal was published in 1973 — and revised in 1985 — there was no preparation of any kind for the celebrating priests of our liturgies nor of you, God's people. As soon as the English missals arrived, we just started using them.

This time, we are hopeful that far more thorough preparation and catechesis will result in a broader understanding of the newer translation by all of us.

Priests, deacons, religious, various ministers, choirs and all of the Catholics of our archdiocese will be given special sessions to prepare to celebrate the Mass in English according to the new translation. The new translation has many word changes because this translation is more fully faithful to the original Latin text.

Preparing ourselves for new wording and new responses at Mass is only part of the "new beginning" which we will celebrate as Advent 2011 begins next year. I am hopeful that these months of catechesis will help us renew our understanding of the Eucharist in our lives as Catholics. As Catholics, we are singularly a "Eucharistic Church." Our celebration of the Eucharist from the earliest days of the apostles, and down through history, distinguishes us from all other churches who call themselves Christian.

The Eucharist is one of God's greatest gifts to us in and through his Son, Jesus Christ. Recall the two men journeying to Emmaus on that first Easter Sunday afternoon who encountered the risen Jesus without knowing it was him, and then their eyes were opened as he sat at table with them and "broke the bread" for them — then vanishing from their sight.

We must recall that in the consecrated bread and wine, we truly receive Jesus Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity. The bread and wine are totally changed from the appearances of bread and wine into the very body and blood of our risen savior, Jesus Christ.

As Catholics, our faith in the total transformation of the bread and wine distinguishes us from many other Christian churches. We do not believe that the bread and wine simply serve as "reminders" or "symbols" of the Last Supper. Rather, we believe that the bread and wine are changed substantially into Christ's body and blood — usually referred to with the term "transubstantiation."

The Advent season we begin this year will be a time of preparation and renewal of our love for the Eucharist. The changes in wording and translation are only secondary to the great mystery of our faith — receiving the sacred body and blood of Jesus Christ!

Cardinal Roger Mahony is archbishop of Los Angeles. He blogs at http://cardinalrogermahonyblogsla.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Listen to the Sunday Readings

The Sunday readings for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading (Malachi 3:19-20a): There will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.



Second Reading (2 Thessalonians 3:7-12): Paul speaks of his hard work among the Thessalonians.



Gospel (Luke 21: 5-19): Jesus foretells the destruction of Jerusalem, the persectuton of his followers. But their perseverance will be their salvation.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Sunday readings

This Sunday's readings come from the book of Malachi, Psalm 98, 2 Thessalonians and the Gospel according to Luke.

QUESTIONS:
When disasters and unrest occur in the world, how do you usually respond to these reports? How do you engage in the daily practice of ... peace and justice?

SCRIPTURE TO BE  ILLUSTRATED:
"By your perseverance you will secure your lives" (Luke 21:19).

— Courtesy Catholic News Service

From the Back Pew: Homies and acts of kindness

By Michael J. Arvizu

I first met Father Greg Boyle three years ago when he came to speak to the young-adult ministry I was involved in at the time. We were thrilled and honored to have someone who has made a difference in thousands of lives take time out of his busy schedule to come speak to us about his two decades of work with gang members.

Father Boyle is known around the country for his work with some of Los Angeles’ fiercest gang members. His flagship company, Homeboy Industries, based in downtown Los Angeles, is a staple in the community and serves as a beacon of hope for young men and women looking to turn their lives around. What awed us the most was that the men and women he worked with were no younger than we were — mostly in their 20s and early 30s.

On Sunday, Boyle spoke at St. Bede’s Catholic Church in La Cañada. The talk was hosted by St. Bede’s and the Alumnae Association and Parents’ Guild of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. Earlier in the day, Boyle had been in San Diego giving a similar talk. He was also there to promote and sign his new book, “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,” a book chronicling 20 years working with gang members.

Boyle maintains a steady pitch in his voice when he speaks. He is never too loud or too soft. However, when speaking about the difficulties, or even the deaths, of some of his gang members, his voice deepens such that it seems as if he is almost groaning. And the pain of his loss is evident.

Then he picks up again and continues with another story. Perhaps he’ll tell you of the time he and three of his gang members, or homies, were invited to the White House.

“Surely crooks have been in this house before,” Boyle says of their visit. “But I think this is the first time gang members have been inside the White House.”

Funny, yes. But one homie almost didn’t make the trip because his probation officer wouldn’t give him clearance to leave the state. It’s almost as if, Boyle said, they were telling the parolee, “Who are you to think that you deserve the honor of visiting the White House?”

Or he’ll tell you the story of a former crack dealer, “Bandit,” who arrived at Homeboy Industries 15 years ago and today is married, has three kids, owns a home and recently saw a daughter off to college.

“¿Sabes que?” — “you know what?” — Bandit paused to say to Boyle, “I’m proud of myself. They used to call me a bueno para nada — a good for nothing.”

Then there’s the story of “Chico,” a skinny, 17-year-old kid with floppy ears with a single tattoo on his neck, who called Boyle one day out of the blue seeking employment. Chico got a job and found that earning a paycheck was the best thing that had ever happened to him. He and Boyle would spend their time having conversations about God, with Chico asking questions like, “Is God pissed at us?” and “Does God listen to us?”

Four months later, Chico was shot in the neck while standing on the street with his friends and died a week later, one of 169 young people Boyle has buried.

Boyle explains the essence of a homie story.

“It’s a story about the self being made to feel too small from having been bombarded with messages of shame and disgrace,” Boyle says. “How is that not our job description, as Christians, to reach right in there and to tell the truth all over again and to return people to themselves because of our kindness?”

MICHAEL J. ARVIZU writes for the La Cañada Valley Sun. Reach him at (818) 637-3263 or e-mail michael.arvizu@latimes.com.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thanksgiving

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s program to assist low income families enjoy Thanksgiving Day will be accepting applications at the church office on from noon until 6 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

All applicants need to bring some form of personal identification with them.

For more information, call the church office at (323) 255-6142.

Monday, November 8, 2010

From the Back Pew: The leadership competition

By Michael J. Arvizu

I've been quite amused by the News-Press and Burbank Leader sports departments the last couple of weeks, as all eyes were locked on our little newsroom television as it showed images of various baseball competitions played to determine who would be the next World Series champion.

Had you been sitting in my office seat, you would have been witness to some very intense arguments about who should win and why, in addition to arguments about who most deserved to clinch the title next year, what the odds are of that happening, and why.

The World Series competition got me to thinking about competition within the church — that is, the discussion that surrounds who will clinch the next papacy, cardinalate, monsignorship or pastoral assignment.
The papal election, of course, is the mother of all competitions, in my book, and the biggest example of promotion from within. For this election, the College of Cardinals will choose from within its ranks, in conclave, the next pope when Benedict XVI dies. Since the days of Michelangelo, each cardinal's choice has been a tightly held secret, known only to the cardinals and punishable by excommunication if revealed. Betting pools spring up around Rome during this time, each favoring a particular cardinal or the country the future pope will be from. (Network news also gets into the fray by analyzing the odds on whom the next pontiff might be — as if you could ever really analyze the workings of a conclave, in my opinion.) A pope from a country that hasn't had a pope in centuries can mean a great deal of pride for that country, as was the case with Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, who was elected pope in 1979 and become Pope John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope in four centuries.

Cardinals themselves are chosen by the pope, and with little competition. As a cardinal, you are created and placed strategically anywhere in the world where the pope thinks you will do the most good, as is the case with our new Co-adjutor Archbishop Jose Gomez, the first Latino archbishop in many decades, who will serve a predominant Latino population of faithful. Arguments, for and against the appointment, arise. And people try to predict the future of the appointee. Will he become a cardinal? Is he a future pope? What are the odds that his appointment won't be a colossal mistake and make things worse for an archdiocese already neck-deep in controversy?

What hits close to home for me is the appointment of a new monsignor and pastor, which my parish has gone through, and will go through, respectively. Monsignors are also chosen by the pope and are announced to the parish to much fanfare and celebration. Eligible priests can apply for a pastoral assignment when one becomes available, much like an open managerial position in a company. The one with the best qualifications usually is offered the job. However, these are always a thorn in a church's side, especially when a beloved, long-time pastor retires. Will the new person be the right choice? What are the odds that the appointment won't be a colossal mistake?

This was the case with the appointment recently of Skip Lindeman as pastor of La Cañada Congregational Church. Although the church scored a home run in selecting Skip as its permanent pastor, it was not for certain that he would be that pastor. The odds were in his favor, of course, as he had already been there for nearly a decade. Just down the street at St. Bede's Church, a similar thing was taking place. Parishioners were betting that their new pastor would be a good fit. If only the betting pool was real, we'd be seeing a lot of new cars in town.

MICHAEL J. ARVIZU is a reporter for the La Cañada Valley Sun in La Cañada Flintridge. Reach him at (818) 637-3263 or e-mail michael.arvizu@latimes.com.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A message from Father McSorley

Next year, God willing, I will reach the age of 70, celebrate my 47th anniversary of ordination and complete 18 years as pastor of St. Bernard’s.

At my request, Cardinal Mahony has granted me retirement, which will be effective on June 30, 2011.

The normal process for the archdiocese to appoint a new pastor is to invite eligible priests to apply for the position. An open meeting for the parishioners to express the needs of the parish and the skills that the incoming pastor should have is held by the clergy placement board of the archdiocese. Prospective pastors are interviewed by the same board; the Vicar for Clergy makes the final decision.

The process will take place over the next several months, and the incoming pastor will assume his position on July 1, 2011. I will not have a voice in determening who the next pastor will be.

I ask that you pray for the Holy Spirit to guide those who have the responsibility for providing St. Bernard’s with the next spiritual leader.

I will have more to say later about how blessed I am and have been to serve as the pastor of such a wonderful parish community.

— Monsignor Gerald McSorley

Friday, November 5, 2010

Annual November Mass for the deceased

A Mass for the deceased of the last 12 months will be celebrated at St. Bernard's at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22.

Family members are invited to participate in the liturgy and must be in the church by 7:15 p.m. to receive instructions. You may give the name of your deceased loved one to the church office.

Please note that only the names of those who have died since last November will be read at this Mass.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

St. Vincent de Paul Thanksgiving

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s program to assist low income families enjoy Thanksgiving Day will be accepting applications at the church office from noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 12 in the church office, and 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 14.

All applicants need to bring some form of personal identification with them. For more information, call the church office at (323) 255-6142.

All Souls novena of Masses

The annual novena of Masses for the deceased continues at St. Bernard's.

Submit the name of your deceased loved one by e-mail stbernardla [at] stbernardla.cc, dropping it in the collection basket or visiting the church office.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Get to know your Muslim neighbors

By Michael J. Arvizu

Muslims are getting such a bad rap these days — let's find out the truth!

When I heard the Islamic Center of Glendale would hold on Oct. 17 the first open house of its mosque in Glendale, I thought it could not have come at a better time.

Muslims have had a presence in Glendale, including La Cañada and Burbank, for many years — albeit "disorganized," according to Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, in a 2009 Glendale News-Press article. But there was no nearby, central place to meet, no location where area Muslims could pray and have enough time to get back to work. A few local Muslim families conducted research and found there was a need to hold at least some kind of service. Subsequently, Friday services were organized on the second floor of the Pacific Community Center in Glendale.

More than 100 people showed up at those early prayer services.

After two months of Friday services, and motivated by the large attendance figures, efforts began to find a more permanent home — filling a void some area Muslims believed existed within Glendale, Burbank and La Cañada. The Center closed escrow on its new mosque, at 700 S. Adams St., this summer and now holds daily prayer services.
The open house was part of national Open Mosque Day, and is one of many held around the country in an effort to "reclaim its image," according to one newspaper.

The headquarters sit on a quiet stretch of road lined by trees and modest homes. The goal of the open house was to get people to visit their Muslim neighbors, begin a relationship with them and gain an understanding of what Islam is about.

More importantly, the open house was held so that people receive information on Muslims and Islam and to ask questions — any questions — from why Muslims pray five times a day to what Muslims think about Osama bin Laden.

"Muslims want to live in harmony with people of all faiths," said Center member Abdul Maleque, 71.

"So much of what people understand about Islam is misguided and focused through the prism of the media, sound bites, terrorism, this, that or the other," said J.D. Hall, a Center member and Muslim. "I hope people ask whatever is on their mind. Any question you have about Islam, get an answer from a Muslim who practices Islam in what we believe to be the correct way."

When you enter a mosque, it is customary to take your shoes off, whether or not prayers are being said at the moment. At the front of the mosque, which resembles a tiny auditorium, stood Hall. And he made me wish I had gotten there earlier.

Displayed on the screen were graphics illustrating the basic tenets of Islam, including who Adam and Eve were, what the Koran says about creation, Islam's approach to gender equality, Islam's take on diversity, and what jihad really means (clue: It does not stand for "holy war" as many have been led to believe). I also learned that Islamic banks charge no interest, because charging interest is forbidden. So consider that the next time you're choosing a bank.

"I don't understand it thoroughly, but I know someone who does, if you really want the answers," said Hall.
I felt I was way in over my head on this one. Quickly, however, those feelings went away as I started talking to the Center's members, who were more than willing to answer any question I had and literally swarmed around me to speak to me.

"This is our duty our Muslims to let our brothers and sisters know what Islam is about," said Center member Abo-Elkhier E. Serag, who proceeded to tell me about his neighbor, who after the 9/11 attacks, offered his assistance to Serag. As Muslims, Serag said, it is their duty to dispel any myths and untruths people may have about Islam and Muslims.
"I think the prayer discipline is very interesting; Christians don't have prayer [the] discipline [of praying] every day," said Wendy Stackhouse of Burbank First United Methodist Church. "It's a different way of getting to the same place, I hope."

So the Islamic Center of Glendale now has a home in Glendale, waiting for you to enter and ask your questions. The Center is not an exclusive, members only place. Its doors are open. Go in. Ask questions. For more information call the Center at (818) 243-2233, or visit www.icglendale.org.

MICHAEL J. ARVIZU writes for the La Cañada Valley Sun. Reach him at (818) 637-3263, or e-mail michael.arvizu@latimes.com.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Annual novena of Masses

The annual novena of Masses for the deceased whose names are given to us, will begin here on Nov. 2.

The envelopes for the names are on the tables near the altar and at the exits of the church. They can be returned by dropping them in the collection basket or at the church office.

Tips for a happy and safe Halloween

To help ensure that Halloween is a fun and exciting time for children, it is good to review a few common sense safety tips:

1. Parents shouldn’t allow their children to eat or sample any candy before it’s checked. Throw away all unwrapped
candy, popcorn and caramel apples unless they come from a trusted source.

2. Parents should accompany young children or groups of children when trick-or-treating.

3. Walk with friends and stay together. Stay within your own neighborhood or areas with which you are familiar, and only visit homes with lit porch lights. For more tips, visit: www.cvshealthresources.com/topic/halloween.

For particular help, call Assistance Ministry at (213) 637-7650.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Retirement celebration honoring Cardinal Roger M. Mahony

Reservations are due Oct. 25 for a retirement celebration honoring Cardinal Roger M. Mahony beginning with a Mass at 10 a.m. Nov. 11 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles. A luncheon in the cathedral conference center will immediately follow the Mass.

Cost is $30 for the luncheon (or $240 per table of eighth guests); and $5 for cathedral parking.

For more information, e-mail info@catholicwomanla.org.

Companion Hospice

Companion Hospice is recruiting volunteers for its upcoming training program.

Volunteers can become a needed friend to someone during the last part of their journey. Become a member of the team, whose goal is to promote quality of life and comfort measures. Applicants will receive 16 hours of orientation and training from Companion Hospice's professional team.

The training program will be held on Saturdays through Oct. 30 at 320 N. Halstead St., Ste. 100, in Pasadena.
For more information, call (877) 303-0692.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Retrouvaille

Registrations are now being taken for a Nov. 5 to 7 Retrouvaille retreat. The retreat is designed to provide the tools for better communications between husband and wife.

If your marriage has grown cold and distant, and if you are thinking about separation, consider this program that teaches communication skills to married couples.

For more information, call (661) 257-7980, visit www.helpourmarriage.com or e-mail retrouvaille4life@hotmail.com.

All Souls novena of Masses

The annual novena of Masses for the deceased, whose names are given to us, will begin here on Nov. 2.

The envelopes for the names are on the tables near the altar and at the exits of the church. They can be returned by dropping them in the collection basket or at the church office.

Father Timothy McGowan appointed St. Bernard associate pastor

I am happy to announce that the archdiocese has appointed Father Timothy McGowan as an associate pastor here at St. Bernard’s. His appointment is until July 1 of next year. Father Tim is a priest of our archdiocese and was ordained in Los Angeles on June 23, 1979.

 I look forward to his priestly ministry here, and on behalf of all of us, I welcome him.

— Monsignor Gerald McSorley

Saturday, October 16, 2010

From the Back Pew: Church doesn't need walls

By Michael J. Arvizu

This weekend, St. Luke's of-the-Mountains Anglican Church will celebrate its first birthday.

How could this be, you ask, if the church has been a staple of the community for decades?

Last year, St. Luke's Anglican underwent what I like to call a sort of rebirth. The church lost its building in a court ruling. The church and its people were uprooted.

Like any tree taken from its original home, setting down roots again can be tricky. The roots need to be watered and taken care of. If we were to apply this same analogy to the people of St. Luke's Anglican, I would say their roots once again are thriving in mustard-tree proportions.

To be honest, I had all but completely forgotten about St. Luke's Anglican after my colleagues and I finished our reporting on the turmoil the church faced in its clash with its central organization. I knew the church's congregation had been worshiping in a small chapel at Glendale Seventh-day Adventist, under the pastoral guidance of the Rev. Rob Holman, but I had no idea it had already been a year.

Out of the blue last Thursday, I received an e-mail from Jeanne Erikson of St. Luke's Anglican's communications ministry inviting a reporter to attend the church's one-year anniversary celebration Oct. 17 at the Adventist church.

"We would like to extend an invitation…to come and attend our one-year anniversary celebration … so you can see for yourself how we are doing," e-mailed Debbie Kollgaard of St. Luke's Anglican's communication ministry.

But other than the invitation itself, what caught my eye was the title of the piece, "Church without Walls." That title took me back to the original interview I had with Holman in September 2008, when he had just arrived at St. Luke's Anglican. I asked him if he was worried about what might happen if the church were to lose its buildings. He admitted to me he was worried. Being displaced is never easy. But his belief is that people, not buildings, make a church.

"We'll worship in tents if we have to," he told me. With that kind of attitude, I think the congregation could hold services on an ice shelf in Antarctica and it would still feel like home.

So here's to you, St. Luke's of-the-Mountains Anglican Church. Next week, I'll write about what the church has been up to this past year, and what it felt like for them to be accepted and welcomed with open arms by the people of Glendale Seventh-day Adventist.

MICHAEL J. ARVIZU can be reached at (818) 637-3263 or e-mail michael.arvizu@latimes.com.

Friday, October 15, 2010

St. Bernard School news

St. Bernard Catholic School is still accepting students for 2010-2011 school year, kindergarten through eighth grade.

For more information, call the school at (323) 256-4989.

***

Shop through Dec. 31 at Fresh & Easy and St. Bernard School will receive $1 for every $20 Fresh & Easy receipt.

Turn in all receipts to St. Bernard School or drop them off at church office.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

World Mission Sunday

Sunday is World Mission Sunday.

United with the Catholics of the world at the table of the Lord, we recommit ourselves to our vocation, through baptism, to be missionaries. Our prayers and Eucharistic celebration Sunday are directed in a special way toward our brothers and sisters throughout the world who are waiting to hear the joyous “Good News” of Jesus.

Our offerings, through the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, will support the work and witness of those who selflessly give up all for the sake of our Lord and his Gospel — the local priests, religious and lay catechists who daily provide loving service to the poor and suffering of the developing world.

Please find in the pews special mission envelopes.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

From the Back Pew: Religion by the numbers

By  Michael J. Arvizu

This week, our In Theory writers were asked to take a 15-question religion quiz published by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. The quiz is the shortened version of a larger quiz given to a randomly selected group of people from May 19 to June 6 called the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey. According to the Pew Forum, 3,412 adults were asked 32 questions about religion. The survey was conducted on landlines and cell phones in English and Spanish.

If you like numbers, and if you'd like to compare your religious knowledge against that of other groups of people, this one's for you. At the conclusion of the shortened quiz, you will be able to compare your results against a number of statistics, including those who attend church and those who do not; race; religious affiliation; gender; and education level. The statistics are the final results taken from the official survey. Taking the quiz now does not affect those results, according to the Pew Forum, and is a quick, easy — and fun — way to test your religious knowledge.

I scored 12 out of 15, for a final score of 80%. This puts me above the overall population (50%) and 41 percentage points over the Hispanic Catholic population (39%). I scored below 7% of the public, with 87% of the public scoring zero to 11 out of 15. I failed the Ten Commandments question, the Jewish Sabbath question and the Reformation question. But I will get back to these numbers in a moment.

The real fun begins when we look at what religious affiliations scored in the top three — Jews, atheists and Mormons.

Atheists, you say? Yes, atheists. Without going too much into the numbers, "Mormons and Evangelicals know most about Christianity; atheists/agnostics and Jews do best on world religions," according to the Pew Forum.
The other fun part of this quiz is that you can view the Pew Forum's final report and compare how each religious affiliation did, down to a single question.

For example, my fellow Hispanic Catholics fared a measly 39% overall, scoring a little more than half the percentage points of the overall population (50%) and Jews (65%). But they came in last nonetheless. How can this be? We're supposed to be well-versed, well-read churchgoers who understand all of the different religions, right? Well, no, not really. Most formal Catholic education ends at confirmation, unless you attend a Catholic high school or college. And it's been my experience that most teens cringe at the idea of confirmation and giving up their weekends to attend classes. Confirmation, it seems, is just another thing to do and get over with. So how much information actually sinks in, I do not know.

Overall, Hispanic Catholics did well when speaking of their own religious figures, such as "What religion was Mother Teresa?" Eighty-three percent of Catholics surveyed said "Catholic." We tend to go downhill when it comes to questions about other faiths or specific questions about the Bible, such as what the first book in the Bible is (29%), when do Jews begin their Sabbath (33%), or what Protestants teach (8%).

To pick on our Jewish cousins a bit, it was interesting to see that 90% of Jews know who Moses is, but only 17% know the authors of the four Gospels. Ninety-three percent of Mormons know Joseph Smith — the founder of the Latter-day Saints movement — was a Mormon (I would hope so!), but only 25% can read from the Bible as an example of literature.

So what do all these numbers mean? I should have known when the Jewish Sabbath is, right. I've worked with rabbis and done several stories on Jewish celebrations. But even then, I had to guess — and it was the wrong answer. When I was preparing for my first holy communion, we were made to memorize all Ten Commandments, yet I couldn't figure out which commandment did not belong. And I know little to nothing about the Reformation, save for anything I've read on Wikipedia that I've long since forgotten.

For me, anyway, in researching the results of this quiz, it seems that we as faithful, believers and nonbelievers alike, could benefit from continuing our religious education, and then some.

Maybe I'll research and learn what the Reformation was. Maybe I'll get to know a little bit about who Smith was or why Jehovah's Witnesses visit you in the morning as you're about to leave for work. Maybe I should start rememorizing the Ten Commandments again. Maybe my Jewish cousin could read one or two chapters of Luke. Maybe I could remember that Jews have their Sabbath on Saturday, even though it may seem weird to us Sunday churchgoers.

MICHAEL J. ARVIZU writes for the La Cañada Valley Sun. Reach him at (818) 637-3263 or e-mail michael.arvizu@latimes.com

Friday, October 8, 2010

Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, East San Fernando District meeting

The East San Fernando District of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women will have its District Meeting from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at Incarnation Community Center, 214 W. Fairview Ave., Glendale. Sister Eymard Flood will speak on "Taking Up Your Cross and Stop Complaining." The meeting will conclude with Mass and luncheon.

Cost is $10 prepaid before Oct. 10.

For more information, call Marie Urrutia at (818) 244-0547.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

St. Bernard Religious Education/Youth Ministry Raffle Bazaar

St. Bernard Religious Education/Youth Ministry will hold its annual Raffle Bazaar on from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 24 in the parish Pastoral Center parking lot.

Spaces for sellers will be available for $25.

For more information, call (323) 256-6242 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Creation Sustainability Ministry launch

Writings of popes, bishops and religious women and men have and are encouraging all Catholics to respect God’s creation and to reduce our use of the Earth’s resources.

In Pope Benedict's 2010 World Day of Peace message, "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation," he writes: "Future generations cannot be saddled with the cost of our use of common environmental resources ... Our present crises — be they economic, food-related, environmental or social — are ultimately also moral crises, and all of them are interrelated. They require us to rethink the path which we are traveling together. Specifically, they call for a lifestyle marked by sobriety and solidarity, with new rules and forms of engagement, one which focuses confidently and courageously on strategies that actually work, while decisively rejecting those that have failed."

To celebrate the gift of God’s creation and the launch of the archdiocesan Creation Sustainability Ministry, attend the 12:30 p.m. Mass on Oct. 10 at Mary Immaculate Church, 10390 Remick Ave., Pacoima.

For more information, call (818) 899-0278.

Statement for Respect Life Month

By Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo
Chairman, Committee on Pro-Life Activities
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


During the Respect Life Month of October, Catholics across the United States will gather in prayer and thanksgiving, at charitable and educational events, and in public witness to the unique and priceless value of every human life, guided by the theme for this year’s Respect Life Program: “The Measure of Love is to Love Without Measure.” With each passing year, the need for personal and public witness grounded in God’s boundless love for each and every human being grows more urgent.

With over one million innocent children dying from abortion each year, the plague of abortion remains embedded in our culture. It is encouraging to see the continuing decline nationwide in the number and rate of abortions — due in large part to fewer teens becoming sexually active, and to growing recognition of the humanity of the unborn child. Yet the loss of even one child, and the pain experienced by the child’s mother and father in the aftermath of abortion, should impel us to redouble our efforts to end legal abortion, and to ensure that every pregnant woman has whatever help she needs to turn away from this heartbreaking choice.
For those the pro-life community could not reach and assist before they underwent an abortion, the Catholic Church throughout the United States offers compassionate, confidential counseling through its Project Rachel ministry. In contacting Project Rachel, no one need fear that they will encounter anything less than a reflection of God’s love and mercy and His constant offer of forgiveness and healing.

In many areas of public policy, the rift continues to widen between the moral principles expressed by a majority of Americans and the actions of government. For example, Americans oppose public funding of abortion by wide margins, with 67 percent opposing federal funding of abortion in health care in one recent poll. In early 2009, Catholics and others sent over 33 million postcards, and countless e-mails and letters to Members of Congress, urging them to “retain laws against federal funding and promotion of abortion.”

Yet in March of this year, Congress passed a health care reform law that allows for federal funding of abortion in some programs and could pressure millions of Americans to help subsidize other people’s abortions through their health care premiums. Ensuring that health care reform will meet the urgent needs for which it has been proposed, and is not misused to promote abortion or to trample on rights of conscience, will be an urgent task in the coming year.

Defenseless human life is also placed at risk today in the name of science, when researchers seek to destroy human life at its embryonic stage for stem cell research — and demand the use of all Americans’ tax dollars to support this agenda. In a recent poll commissioned by the Catholic bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, 57 percent of respondents favored funding only stem cell research avenues that do not harm the donor, using stem cells from cord blood, placentas, and other “adult” tissues; only 21 percent favor funding all stem cell research, including research that requires killing embryonic human beings. Yet the current Administration issued guidelines last year to fund human embryonic stem cell research, and some in Congress are preparing legislation to ensure continued funding despite a federal court’s finding that these guidelines may violate the law.

At the other end of life, seriously ill patients are again under threat from a renewed campaign for legalizing physician-assisted suicide. Instead of addressing these patients’ real problems by providing love, support and relief of suffering, this agenda urges us to eliminate the patient as though he or she is the problem. Marching under the false banner of “compassion” and “choice,” it raises the fearsome prospect of a future in which the only “choice” cheerfully granted to our most vulnerable patients is a lethal overdose of drugs.

Becoming a voice for the child in the womb, and for the embryonic human being at risk of becoming a mere object of research, and for the neglected sick and elderly is one of many ways we can teach our fellow citizens that “The Measure of Love Is to Love Without Measure.” While critics want to portray the church’s witness as a narrow and negative ideology, it is just the opposite: A positive vision of the dignity of each and every human being without exception, each loved equally by God and so equally deserving of our love and our nation’s respect.

Because we are created in the image of God, who is love, our identity and vocation is to love sacrificially for the sake of others. Pope Benedict XVI has called this “the key to [our] entire existence.” In a homily during his recent visit to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict reminded us that “our hearts can easily be hardened by selfishness, envy and pride,” and that “pure and generous love is the fruit of a daily decision.” Every day, he reminded us, “we have to choose to love.” In our homes, schools, workplaces, and in public, if we constantly witness to the inestimable worth and dignity of each human life through a loving concern for the good of others, if we allow the dignity of every human life to guide the decisions we make as voters and public policy advocates, we can surely succeed in creating a more just and humane society.

Our efforts, of course, must always be undergirded with prayer — the silent space for personal daily prayer that allows us to hear God’s voice deep in our hearts, and communal prayer that asks God to transform our culture into one that welcomes every human person.

Recently Pope Benedict made an unprecedented request for such prayer, by asking that Catholic bishops throughout the world, and all parishes and religious communities, observe a “Vigil for All Nascent Human Life” on the evening of Nov. 27, 2010. The U.S. bishops’ offices for pro-life activities and for divine worship will be working together to provide worship aids to assist pastors in planning these vigil services.

Speaking for the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, I heartily encourage all Catholics, whether at home or traveling over the Thanksgiving holidays, to take part in this special prayer, whose purpose according to the Holy See is to “thank the Lord for his total self-giving to the world and for his Incarnation which gave every human life its real worth and dignity,” and to “invoke the Lord’s protection over every human being called into existence.”

May God bless all who work tirelessly to build a culture of respect for every human life, from conception to natural death.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

St. Bernard School's Walk-a-thon

St. Bernard School's first Walk-a-thon is less than a month away, from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Oct. 23 at Cathedral High School, 1253 Bishops Road in Los Angeles. Register now at www.stbernard-school.com. For more information, call (323) 256-4989

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Sunday Homilies

Homily for 9:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, September 19, 2010 
(25th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

This week, we recognize members of our parish responsible for teaching our faith.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Sunday Homilies

Homily for 9:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, September 12, 2010 
(24th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

In his homily for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Monsignor McSorley speaks of two of three parables in the 15th chapter of the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus tells us about a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son. "The occasion for these parables of Jesus was the occasion of being in the company of people who were considered sinners — considered sinners by the pious people of his time."


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

St. Bernard Italian Catholic Federation

The St. Bernard Italian Catholic Federation will have its first fall meeting from 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 8 in the Pastoral Center.

The Italian Catholic Federation invites you to an open house at Mother Cabrini Chapel and Library, at 3301 Scott Road in Burbank, Sept. 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call (626) 372-7812.

St. Bernard religious education, youth ministry accepting registration

The Office of Religious Education is now open for registration for catechism and sacramental preparation.

For first communion preparation, you need the baptismal certificate and a passport size picture.

High School students for the sacrament of confirmation are requested to register for the new class beginning in September. Registration is every two years. For Confirmation preparation you need the baptismal and first communion certificates, and a passport size picture.

The schedule is as follows: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Saturday; and 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Friday. Classes will start on Sept. 11 for Saturday classes and Sept. 15 for Wednesday sessions.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Sunday Homilies

Homily for 9:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, September 5, 2010 
(23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time)

In his homily for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Monsginor McSorley tell us, "We are not to put anything ahead of our following of Jesus — not even family ties. For many Christians throughout the centuries ... they had to do that."


Saturday, September 4, 2010

'Group Wedding 2011'

The Legion of Mary Ministry Group along with the Guadalupano Group is inviting couples who are not married in the church yet and/or those who are married civilly to participate in "Group Wedding 2011" at 2:30 p.m. May 21 at St. Bernard’s Church.

For more information, call Mely at (323) 221-7214, Norma at (323) 258-2981 or Maybelle at (323) 747-0793.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

St. Bernard's childrens' choir

The childrens' choir will start practice in the multi-purpose room at 5 p.m. Sept. 10 and will sing at the 5 p.m. Sept. 11 Mass.

For more, information, call Choir Director Jean Jarin at (323)255-4909 or Madeline Paguio at (323)578-9422.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Sunday Homilies

Homily for 9:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, August 29, 2010 
(22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time)

In his homily for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Father Paul challenges us this week to "look at some of our addictions ... or those things that prevent us from really seeing closely the world, the way God sees the world, and say Lord, help me to strip myself bare. Help me to see you as you see me. Help me to see the world as you see the world."


Saturday, August 28, 2010

'Group Wedding 2011'

The Legion of Mary Ministry Group along with the Guadalupano Group is inviting couples who are not married in the church yet and/or those who are married civilly to participate in "Group Wedding 2011" at 2:30 p.m. May 21 at St. Bernard’s Church.

For more information, call Mely at (323) 221-7214, Norma at (323) 258-2981 or Maybelle at (323) 747-0793.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Sunday Homilies

Homily for 9:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, August 22, 2010 
(21st Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Father Denis O'Brien visits St. Bernard's to speak of the missionary work of the Pallottine Fathers. To make a financial contribution to the Pallottine Fathers, visit www.irishpallottines.org.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

We recommend: "The Path of the Wind"


After serving a 10-year prison sentence, Lee Ferguson (Joe Rowley) returns to the small town where he was raised. Looking to lead a simple life, he takes a job at the local grocery store where all he wants beyond a daily routine is to be left alone. But when Lee saves Katie (Liz DuChez) from being assaulted, his life becomes anything but simple. Lee’s budding relationship with Katie is threatened by a scheming coworker and a violent past which will not stay buried. When a mysterious stranger knocks on his door, Lee is suddenly confronted with the choices he made long ago. He must now decide how far he is willing to go to seek redemption. 

"The Path of the Wind" is a compelling story of love, vengeance, and forgiveness, and the powers we choose to let guide us.

'Group Wedding 2011'

The Legion of Mary Ministry Group along with the Guadalupano Group is inviting couples who are not married in the church yet and/or those who are married civilly to participate in "Group Wedding 2011" at 2:30 p.m. May 21 at St. Bernard’s Church.

For more information, call Mely at (323) 221-7214, Norma at (323) 258-2981 or Maybelle at (323) 747-0793.

Celebrate Mass with Archbishop Jose Gomez

Coadjutor Archbishop Jose Gomez is getting acquainted with the people of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles by celebrating a Sunday Mass at a parish in each of the 20 deaneries.

The Mass for this deanery will be celebrated at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, at 10321 Tujunga Canyon Blvd. in Tujunga at 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 29.

There will be a simple reception and an opportunity to greet the archbishop following the Mass. This will be a bilingual Mass (English/Spanish) and all are welcome to attend and meet Archbishop Gomez.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Special collection for Pallottine Missions

Next weekend, Father Denis O’Brien, SCA, an Irish Pallottine missionary priest, will visit our parish and share a few thoughts about the Pallottine Missions in East Africa where he has worked for a number of years. A special collection will be taken up at all the Masses to help support the Pallottine Missions in Tanzania and Kenya, east Africa.

Over the past 69 years, with the aid of donors, the Pallottine Fathers have helped build 25 churches, 56 primary schools and three vocational colleges. Together they have helped to educate 250,000 children. They have also established two hospitals and 31 dispensaries. Your financial help, support and prayers will be deeply appreciated by the Pallottines, their co-workers and the beautiful people they serve.

This appeal is assigned by the Mission Office of our archdiocese. Special envelopes are in the pews.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Congratulations

Congratulations to those from our parish who were honored by the Holy Father recently. They are:

Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice Award: Bernadette Gurule; Benemerenti Award: Remy Baluyut, Eva Perlas, Martin Villa, Carol Dal Ponte and Joseph Coughlin.

They have received these awards in recognition of their service to the church. Each has given many years of service in different ways to St. Bernard’s. They will receive the scrolls and medals associated with these awards, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Nov. 7.

I thank them and all who serve our parish community.

— Monsignor Gerald McSorley

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Together in Mission 2010

Sincere thanks to all those have pledged, making payments or donated to this year’s annual appeal. We encourage those who have not yet participated to consider contributing to this fund which helps parishes and schools in low-income areas of our archdiocese to continue their ministry.

Progress Report
Pledged: $40,053
Paid: $20,655

To reach parish goal: $19,425.

— Monsignor Gerald McSorley

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Father Paul's Online Corner

Elton John’s musical composition of “The Circle of Life” was popularized by the Disney film “The Lion King” (1994). The movie and the song introduced us to an animal kingdom whose experience of life was very much like the rising of the sun to its setting. Life was thrust upon new born blinking eyes and through natural maturation these animals learned to grasp life. Eventually, they too crossed into the night like the setting sun.

My summer pastoral journey with you was indeed a circle of life experience. The difference is our history and spirit is eternally transubstantiated into the Holy Trinity. We ushered seven beautiful souls from our parish to eternal life. By contrast, we welcomed over 30 babies into our Roman Catholic community. The requests for home and hospital visits were constant and large in number. We were there to assist. Our daily bread was the pivotal celebration of prayer — the holy Eucharist. Devotions like benediction, holy hour, the rosary and retreats sustained our life. We entreated Jesus’ Divine Mercy through the sacrament of Reconciliation. Our community focus was to recognize the “Imago Dei” in all of us by practicing charity, righting the wrongs of the world, and protecting human dignity. My prayer is that you continue to strive for holiness by following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.

I am indebted to Monsignor Gerald McSorley and to you, for allowing me to be a presence of Christ among you. May God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, continue to build what he has already begun.

— Father Paul Henson, O.Carm.