The Precepts of the Church

Dear friends in Christ: Do you remember The Precepts of the Church? For those of us who are of a certain age and had the Baltimore Catechism, these precepts (laws/obligations/rules) were drilled into us and committed to memory. In some ways they may seem a little odd or peculiar today and need a little bit of an explanation, but they are still very much in effect. To refresh our memories, The Precepts of the Church are: You shall attend Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. You shall confess your sins at least once a year. You shall humbly receive...

One Church, One Body In Christ

Dear friends in Christ: I’ve got some good news and I've got some bad news.  The bad news first.  In meeting with our contractor, we have been informed that due to weather delays and continued difficulties in obtaining materials, the completion date for our project has been pushed back.  This comes as a disappointment, but there are things that are beyond control of those of us here at the parish, the General Contractor and even the sub-contractors.  Many of our pieces are custom made and are being manufactured just for our project (sky lights, doors, locks etc.) and we just have...

Holiness, Discipleship and Community

Dear friends in Christ: The last several months have provided me with some time to sit, read, be quiet, think and pray.   As I have reflected, one of the more difficult challenges has been to sort through things (what needs to be done, what to do and what to do first).  As I have pondered on where we are as a parish, I’ve concluded there is much for which to give thanks to God.  SJV has always been a wonderful parish and continues to be so.  I joke with my brother priests that being pastor of SJV is the easiest job...

Continuous Renovation

Dear friends in Christ: Work is continuing on our project.  Obviously, we had hoped to have been completed long before now. However, in construction, there is always something.  The biggest issue we have been facing lately has been the manufacturing of doors and skylight glass.  The architects give the specifications, the General Contractors meet with the engineers, sub-contractors and manufacturers. Then gremlins came in the middle of the night and do whatever gremlins do to cause delays and delays and more delays.  Oh well.  If everything always worked according to schedule, we could never learn patience and understanding! Please be assured that...

The Diaconal Ministry

Dear friends in Christ: Some weeks ago, a terrible mistake occurred here at the parish. Fr. Chuck had offered the 8:00 a.m. mass and I offered the 9:30 and 11:00 masses. It was one of those rare Sundays that I did not have to worry about marriage preparation classes or baptisms in the afternoon, so Fr. Chuck and I enjoyed a nice lunch in the rectory. There was only one problem, well actually two problems. The visiting priest who was scheduled to offer the 12:30 Mass got confused about the schedule and didn’t show up and no one thought to come...

Discipleship, Witness and Ministry

Dear friends in Christ: Slowly but surely, we are making headway in many areas of our parish life. During the Fall, we have been blessed to welcome some new members to our terrific parish staff. Many people were unaware that we have been understaffed. The reason for this is how hard our staff works and what a good job they do. Even with these additions, we remain a couple of positions shy of where we need to be. The reasons are simple. It is difficult to find qualified people. The hours are long and to be honest, the pay is not...

Four Devotions for 2017

Dear friends in Christ: What are your New Year’s resolutions? Most folks generally list things like shed 10 lbs., save more money, start exercising or read more books. In addition to whatever your resolutions are, I would like to propose that you consider making some resolutions inspired by Holy Scripture. In The Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke describes the early Christians in this manner: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ instruction and the communal life, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42). Notice that they just didn’t do a couple of these things or attempt them for a time....

Each Mosaic Depicts a Virtue

As you can see, our renovation project is really coming together. Over the last few weeks one of the major elements to be completed has been the mosaics in the floor. These mosaics fit into the major narrative of our building, “layers and light”. The narrative illustrates our Christian life as a journey, a pilgrimage that is directed to bring us to Christ and as we enter into communion with Him, we bring His love the world. One can see that from the entrance onto the campus, we are on a journey that takes us through the “layers of trees”...

Christmas Sermon of Pope Leo The Great (c.400 – 461)

Our Savior, was born today: let us be glad. For there is no proper place for sadness, when we keep the birthday of the Life, which destroys the fear of mortality and brings to us the joy of promised eternity. No one is kept from sharing in this happiness. There is for all one common measure of joy, because as our Lord the destroyer of sin and death finds none free from charge, so is He come to free us all. Let the saint exult in that he draws near to victory. Let the sinner be glad in that he is...

New Liturgical Furniture

As I write this letter, the liturgical design team is preparing to begin work to install the new altar. In our original plans, we were only going to modify the altar, enlarging the mensa (the top). As we progressed it became apparent that would not be feasible. The liturgical designers, the original design company who manufactured the liturgical furniture for the church, our marble supplier, and several other companies, looked literally around the world and could not find any stone that would prove to be a suitable match to our stone. It was actually funny that during the search some...