Pastoral Care for Families at Home

Zeal for your house will consume me.  ~John 2:17

Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy 

Spiritual Communion

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I Love you above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there
and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.


Sunday, March 7, 2021 | 3rd Sunday of Lent

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~Rm 5:1

“The tranquility of order” is how St. Augustine defines peace in The City of God.  This order results when something finds that for which it is searching.  The dog experiences peace when it finds its bone.  The runner experiences peace when he finds the finish line.  The human being experiences peace when he finds his home.  Ultimate peace is to be found in God alone, and truly only once we have completed our journey to God.  Often times we confuse peace with concord or agreement.  We believe that if we are able to arrive at the same opinion as another, to agree with another, this is peace.  This is how most in the world conceive of peace, like the Pax Romana, or other periods devoid of armed conflicts and marked by social stability.  Though peace does indeed include concord and agreement, these are not peace.  “Our hearts are restless, until they rest in you.” St. Augustine’s confession clarifies that merely agreeing with everyone around us is not enough to find peace.  We have to find God first.

Pope St. Paul VI once said: “If you want peace, work for justice.”  Justice is a necessary step towards reaching peace, for justice removes obstacles to that goal.  Justice alone, though, is still insufficient.  If we want peace, world peace, it will not come through government programs or the efforts of NGOs.  Peace, ultimate peace, is through Christ alone.  It is a peace that is first experienced, not as a global reality, but an inner reality.  In justice, now is the time to remove those obstacles to God’s peace within us: vice.  Our Lenten disciplines have as their ultimate objective God’s peace in our hearts.  The first step towards a more just social order is my deeper conversion, turning more intensely to the One who died for me, a sinner. 

Fr. Richard Hinkley

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The 2021 Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday, February 17, for Roman Catholics with Easter Sunday on April 4.

Lent 2021

Find information and inspiration throughout Lent: View/Download Ash Wednesday Special Bulletin 2021


Daily Spirituality

In an effort to continue the practice of our beautiful Catholic faith at home during this time, we invite you to:

Pope Francis' Prayer to Mary during the Current Health Crisis

Join us in prayer:

O Mary,
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you,
Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain,
keeping your faith firm.

You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection.

Under your protection, we seek refuge,
Holy Mother of God.
Do not disdain the entreaties
of we who are in trial,
but deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.


Previous Weeks’ Readings and Resources

We will keep up to 10 weeks of past resources accessible in this page. If the set of readings and resources you would like to revisit is not on the list below, please contact our web administrator to request it by email.

Sunday, February 28, 2021 | 2nd Sunday of Lent

If God is for us, who can be against us?
~Rm 8:31

During the season of Lent, we hopefully engage in some degree of self-reflection: what have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What will I do for Christ? Not infrequently, when confronted with our sins, assuming we are willing to acknowledge them and take ownership for the ways in which we fail to respond to God’s continual offer of friendship and grace, we become overwhelmed. For many of us, our sins are all too visible to us. Often times, it is easier for us to come up with a list of our faults and failings rather than our virtues and strengths. When we examine ourselves in our “spiritual mirror” we see nothing but defects. We are nothing but an object of divine wrath.

The words of encouragement from St. Paul in the Second Reading this Sunday, from his Letter to the Romans, need to be taken to heart seriously by all of us. God is on your side! He wants you to conquer with him (Christ the Victor – Christos Nike). He is your greatest fan and supporter, and loves you with a love that is greater than any love you will ever have for yourself. We call the Holy Spirit the Advocate for a good reason. While we can frequently engage in self-depreciating and self-destructive exercises, allowing our past sins to dominate our self-assessment, we forget that God is ever loving us and desiring that we move beyond self-hatred (which in the end is ultimately rooted in a form of spiritual pride), and consider how much God desires us to succeed spiritually. With God as our greatest proponent, can anyone or anything really be considered an opponent? Our greatest enemy is truly ourselves, but only if we fail to recognize the good God has done for us, is doing for us, and will continue to do for us, if we but allow him.

Fr. Richard Hinkley

Other Resources:

Sunday, February 21, 2021 | 1st Sunday of Lent

It’s Lent—and your covenant is “up for renewal.” A covenant is an agreement that binds two parties. In today’s First Reading from Genesis, we hear of the agreement God makes with Noah never again to destroy the earth by water. In return, Noah and his family were to populate the earth.

In every Mass during the Eucharistic Prayer we hear Christ’s words, “This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant….” In Christ, the ancient relationship between God and humankind has taken on a human face.

Why do I say Lent is a time to renew your covenant? Well, in centuries past, Lent was observed as a time of penance. With the renewal of the catechumenate—the process of becoming a Christian—the Church now sees Lent as a time of preparation for those to be baptized at Easter, and a time of renewal of baptism for all the rest of us. The Lenten penances we choose—and they’re still appropriate—are signs of “covenant renewal,” our pledge to deepen our commitment of love and service. 

In Mark’s Gospel this Sunday, Jesus calls us to that kind of repentance and renewal. In the Lenten Sunday readings this year, listen for the theme of “covenant.” In these weekly reflections, I’ll be pointing out the “covenant connection” from each Sunday’s Scriptures.

Sunday reflection by Father Greg Friedman, from St. Anthony Messenger Press, find it on the web at Franciscanmedia.org.

Other Resources:

Sunday, February 14, 2021 | 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A common experience of human illness—no matter how serious—is isolation. A simple cold or the flu can cut us off from other people. A common experience of healing comes when the human touch of another shatters our isolation: the touch of professional healers or the embrace of friends.

Mark’s Gospel knows this human experience. In today’s story, Mark shows Jesus reaching across a huge cultural barrier to touch and heal a leper. For Mark this story is one of many that identify the mission of Jesus as a struggle against evil, manifested partly in human sickness and suffering. Sickness doesn’t mean the sick person has necessarily sinned, rather illness is part of the evil that Jesus is battling.

The story of the healing of the leper is full of emotion. We sense God’s power at work. The man is invited to re-connect with the community, signaling the end of his isolation through a ritual visit to the priests. The power at work in Jesus cannot be kept secret. Word spreads far and wide.

How have you or I become isolated from the community of believers? How is Jesus calling us to re-connect? At Sunday Eucharist we’re invited to lay aside our isolation, and to witness to one another what Christ has done for us.

Sunday reflection by Father Greg Friedman, from St. Anthony Messenger Press, find it on the web at Franciscanmedia.org.

Other Resources:

Sunday, February 7, 2021 | 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

When disasters–personal or communal–occur in our world, it’s likely that religious people will be asked: What does God have to do with this?

This short reflection can’t hope to answer that question, but perhaps today’s Sunday readings can help. In the First Reading, we hear from that Biblical expert on suffering—Job. It’s a short description of Job’s—and humankind’s—miserable condition. If we read more of the Book of Job, we discover that it doesn’t try to resolve the question of human suffering either. Rather it ends by bringing us face to face with the very mystery of God. With Job we’re invited to turn ourselves over to God, and to trust in God’s infinite wisdom and care for us.

The Gospel personalizes that invitation. Mark depicts Jesus embarked on a journey that again and again brings him face to face with evil: manifested in the sin and suffering, sickness and death Jesus encounters in the world. Each time he proves himself master over evil–the one who brings God’s forgiveness, the healer of human suffering. Eventually he conquers death itself on the cross.

What does God have to do with human suffering? The best answer I know is God’s answer–Jesus himself–the only answer we need.

Sunday reflection by Father Greg Friedman, from St. Anthony Messenger Press, find it on the web at Franciscanmedia.org.

Other Resources:

Sunday, January 31, 2021 | 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I have a seminary classmate who will occasionally chide me when we’re having a conversation—or rather, when he’s talking to me. If he perceives me not really paying attention to him, he’ll say, “Gregory, are you in my world?” What he means is, “Are you listening to me?”

Listening is crucial. When it comes to the word of God, listening is absolutely essential. Today’s First Reading and Gospel share the theme of “listening.” Moses tells the people that God will raise up a prophet for them. God is giving them a prophet since the people were too frightened when they heard God address them directly—the people feel that a human intermediary would be easier to listen to. But Moses warns them: They’d better listen to God’s prophet in that case—not listening will have consequences!

In the Gospel Jesus performs an exorcism. In doing so, he demonstrates that even the unclean spirits whom he drives out listen to him. The people who witness the event are amazed at all this and Jesus’ fame spreads. He’s the fulfillment of that request from the people long ago. He’s prophet par excellence, speaking God’s word. But even more: He is God’s Word enfleshed. Hidden in the Gospel story is the unspoken question: Will we listen to him? Will we choose to be part of his world, the Kingdom of God which Jesus is bringing into our midst?

Sunday reflection by Father Greg Friedman, from St. Anthony Messenger Press, find it on the web at Franciscanmedia.org.

Other Resources:

Sunday, January 24, 2021 | 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

How about a real “fish story” from today’s Sunday Scriptures?

A fish story is usually an outlandish, exaggerated tale. Our First Reading fits the bill—part of the story of Jonah. Besides featuring a pretty big fish, it tells a rather fantastic account of the instantaneous conversion of the ancient pagan city of Nineveh!

Scripture scholars see the story as a kind of folk tale—short on history but long on spiritual truth: God calls each of us—even if we’re reluctant prophets like Jonah. Jonah resisted God’s invitation to preach to the Ninevites and wasn’t all that happy with the outcome. Perhaps he would have enjoyed a dose of fire and brimstone rather than the mercy God shows the repentant Ninevites.

The story of Jesus calling the fishermen in today’s Gospel is no tall tale. Unlike Jonah, Simon and Andrew, James and John respond instantly, and willingly leave all to follow Jesus.

These readings make me think of my own “vocation story.” How did God call me? How have I responded? I know I haven’t always been immediate, willing, or whole-hearted in my response. Luckily, God seems to keep on calling, continuing to invite me to my own personal conversion. God always offers me yet another opportunity for a change of heart. And that’s no fish story!

Sunday reflection by Father Greg Friedman, from St. Anthony Messenger Press, find it on the web at Franciscanmedia.org.

Other Resources:

Sunday, January 17, 2021 | 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Despite all the slick, hi-tech forms of advertising around today, “word of mouth” is still an effective way to find out about things. Take movies for example. If people are talking about a film around the water cooler at work, you can be sure the weekend attendance figures for that movie will increase.

Today’s Gospel depicts the effectiveness of word of mouth in spreading the news about Jesus. John the Baptist points out Jesus to two disciples, who meet the Lord and then in turn begin to share what they’ve found with others. Their early “evangelization” efforts continue beyond the verses we read in today’s selection. One disciple after another invites a friend to “come and see” Jesus. Each new disciple shares what he has discovered. Eventually a small circle of disciples gathers around Jesus—all through word of mouth.

Catholics don’t often consider themselves “evangelizers.” We may see other Christian denominations making more aggressive efforts to acquaint people with Jesus. But perhaps we should take a cue from John the Baptist, Andrew and the other disciples portrayed in John’s Gospel. What might we tell others about Jesus today? How has he changed our lives? Can we confidently invite others to “come and see”–and perhaps find the new life that flows from him?

Sunday reflection by Father Greg Friedman, from St. Anthony Messenger Press, find it on the web at Franciscanmedia.org.

Other Resources:

Sunday, January 10, 2021 | The Baptism of the Lord

While the following is taken from a homily by St. Proclus of Constantinople (5th century archbishop of Constantinople) for the feast of the Epiphany, the content of that feast in the Eastern Church focuses on the Mystery of the Lord’s Baptism, and therefore is appropriate for our celebration today.

Christ appeared in the world, and, bringing beauty out of disarray, gave it luster and joy. He bore the world’s sin and crushed the world’s enemy. He sanctified the fountains of waters and enlightened the minds of men. Into the fabric of miracles he interwove ever greater miracles. For on this day land and sea share between them the grace of the Savior, and the whole world is filled with joy. Today’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord manifests even more wonders than the feast of Christmas.

On the feast of the Savior’s birth, the earth rejoiced because it bore the Lord in a manger; but on today’s feast of his baptism it is the sea that is glad and leaps for joy; the sea is glad because it receives the blessing of holiness in the river Jordan. At Christmas we saw a weak baby, giving proof of our weakness. In today’s feast, we see a perfect man, hinting at the perfect Son who proceeds from the all-perfect Father. At Christmas the King puts on the royal robe of his body; at the Baptism the very source enfolds and, as it were, clothes the river.

Come then and see new and astounding miracles: the Sun of righteousness washing in the Jordan, fire immersed in water, God sanctified by the ministry of man.

Today every creature shouts in resounding song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is he who comes in every age, for this is not his first coming.

And who is he? Tell us more clearly, I beg you, blessed David: The Lord is God and has shone upon us. David is not alone in prophesying this; the apostle Paul adds his own witness, saying: The grace of God has appeared bringing salvation for all men, and instructing us. Not for some men, but for all. To Jews and Greeks alike God bestows salvation through baptism, offering baptism as a common grace for all.

Come, consider this new and wonderful deluge, greater and more important than the flood of Noah’s day. Then the water of the flood destroyed the human race, but now the water of baptism has recalled the dead to life by the power of the one who was baptized. In the days of the flood the dove with an olive branch in its beak foreshadowed the fragrance of the good odor of Christ the Lord; now the Holy Spirit, coming in the likeness of a dove, reveals the Lord of mercy.

Fr. Richard Hinkley

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Sunday, January 3, 2021 | The Epiphany of the Lord

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way. ~Mt 2:12 

“Epiphany” is from the Greek for “manifestation” especially of the divine.  While among Eastern Christians today’s feast revolves around the “manifestation” of the Blessed Trinity at our Lord’s baptism, in the West the feast focuses on the “manifestation” of Christ not only to the Jewish nation, but to all the nations, represented by the magi.  Our encounter with Christ cannot but change us.  While the route home for the magi was altered as a consequence of the instruction to avoid the evil King Herod, we might say that the altered route home was not merely a cartographical modification, but a spiritual one.  For your consideration, the following poem is by T.S. Eliot and provides one meditation on the “alternative route” created from the epiphany of the Christ Child.

Fr. Richard Hinkley

The Journey Of The Magi by T.S. Eliot

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

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Friday, January 1, 2021 | Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. ~Lk 2:19

Unlike other solemnities of the Blessed Virgin Mary (think of the Immaculate Conception, the Annunciation, and the Assumption), today’s celebration is in one sense fairly new.  Before the liturgical changes ushered in by the Vatican II Council, the feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated on October 11, (not coincidentally the date St. John XXIII inaugurated the Vatican II Council), but even this feast was a relatively new addition to the calendar given that Pope Pius XI had added it to the universal calendar only in 1931.  We have to go back, in fact, to at least the 8th century to find this celebration contained in the liturgical books of Rome.  It is this celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary that St. Paul VI desired to restore for the universal calendar with today’s solemnity.

Because of the “newness” of this celebration, and the fact that it is seemingly buried amidst the festivities of Christmas and New Year’s Day, to a certain degree we don’t know what to do with the day.  In fact, however, the Motherhood of Mary forms the basis of all the other mysteries of Mary’s life and is the root cause of our veneration of her.  Echoing the dogmatic declaration of the Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.), by celebrating Mary as the Mother of God, we are in fact professing the true identity of this mother’s child.  The Son of Mary is the Son of God.  At every birth there are always two persons present: mother and child.  While in this case the Child’s birth is celebrated on the 25th of December, one day is insufficient to do adequate justice to such a momentous event; there are too many things to be celebrated.  And so for eight days, the Christmas Octave, the Church celebrates Christmas a new – as if time were momentarily suspended to allow us to savor more deeply the sweetness of the moment.  Finally, on the eighth day, always a reminder of the day of resurrection, we celebrate the Maternity of Mary, the circumcision and naming of Jesus, and the beginning of a new year.  What an appropriate celebration, then, by which to inaugurate a new year, beseeching the Mother of God to protect us, to guide us, and to teach us the identity of her beloved Son.

Fr. Richard Hinkley

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Notes from Music Ministry

Our Music Ministry has recorded beautiful Hymns and Musical Meditations to accompany our families at home. We are delighted to share their recordings on our podcast: 


Additional Resources

For our latest updates and communications, please visit our Coronavirus Updates Blog, and Follow Us on Facebook.

To help our SJV families to stay safe and healthy during these trying times, our Social Service Ministries have compiled these Important Resources for Coping with the COVID-19 Crisis.

Find more resources at US Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB website.

Read the full Transcript of Pope Francis “Urbi et orbi” on Friday, March 27, 2020.  The Pope meditates on the calming of the storm from the Gospel of Mark 4:35

Find more resources at US Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB website.

With firm purpose you maintain peace;
in peace, because of our trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever!
For the Lord is an eternal Rock.

~Isaiah 26:3-4