The Greatest Gift

Dear friends in Christ: A few weeks back, you may recall that I wrote about the Precepts of the Church. The Precepts of the Church 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 your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter Season. You shall keep holy the Holy Days of Obligation. You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence. The faithful have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according...

Forty Days of Lent

Dear friends in Christ: This coming week is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  This is one of the two penitential seasons of the Church year.  Lent and Advent are also preparatory seasons.  We prepare for the great celebrations of the moments of our redemption by performing acts of penance.  While Advent is four weeks long, Lent is forty days long.  In fact, in the romance languages Lent is referred to as the forty days (Latin – Quadragisma, Spanish – La Cuaresma, French - La Careme, Italian – La Quaresima).   These forty days harken to the biblical notion of a...

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”...