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29 Dec

St Joseph the Tekton

Letters from a Pastor to His People- December 29, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

Saint Joseph is often in the background of Nativity Sets and we know little about him, so let's reflect a little on "the second greatest saint." 

We can surmise Joseph was a man of moderate wealth.  He and Mary could not afford a lamb for the presentation of their son in the temple—they sacrificed two pigeons instead.  And yet, after Joseph's early death, there is no record of Mary working.  Joseph had earned enough in his life so that Mary did not need to work.  Also, they made the trek up to Jerusalem each year for Passover and other festivals.  These trips were not cheap.  But they rode in a caravan, since they could not afford their own protection from highway bandits. 

29 Dec

Jacques de Jesus

Lucien-Louis Bunel, a Carmelite friar known as "Jacques de Jesus," was the headmaster of a French prep school during the second world war.  The three Jewish boys he was hiding in the monastery were discovered by the Gestapo and they, along with Bunel, were transported to Auschwitz and executed.  Bunel would be named by the state of Israel "Righteous Among the Nations." The 1987 movie Au revoir, les enfants was based off the life of Julien Quentin, a twelve-year-old student under Bunel.

29 Dec

Gospel December 29, 2019

In the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the First Reading is taken from the Book of the Prophet Sirach. This reading is a commentary on the fourth commandment: ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ The Prophet Sirach gives us his idea of the ideal family, with all the responsibilities, honors and benefits that are bestowed on each member. Sirach lists the rewards that come with such respectful conduct: atonement for one’s sins, gift of offspring, answer to prayers, and a long life.

22 Dec

Oh Come Oh Come Emanuel

Letters from a Pastor to His People- December 22, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

I'd like to "dedicate" this letter to our very own Father Emanuel.  Why?  Well, first of all, Father Emanuel is just awesome, so why not?  Second, because Father Emanuel's birthday is December 25th (that's right, he shares Jesus' birthday!).  And, third, because we hear the name Emmanuel mentioned in our readings this 4th Sunday of Advent and on Christmas.  Isaiah prophecies, "the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel" (Isaiah 7:14), and Matthew repeats this passage.

22 Dec

Prisoner 22356

For many, the day after Christmas is one of the saddest days of the year.  The thrill of opening presents has evaporated and is perhaps replaced by disappointment in what we did not receive or, even worse, something we did receive but thought would be better.  (Take note: material items never completely satisfy.) Trees and decorations are, in some households, already taken down and we are confronted by the sober awareness that it will be another 364 days before we experience a similar excitement.

22 Dec

Gospel December 22, 2019

In the fourth Sunday of Advent, the First Reading is from the Prophet Isaiah. We have the familiar story about the Prophet's confrontation with King Ahaz of Judah. Isaiah tells Ahaz to ask God for a sign so that God can show him that he is with him. Ahaz says he will not tempt the Lord. Even though Ahaz refuses to ask God for a sign, Isaiah says that God will give a sign: “The virgin will conceive a child and give him the name Emmanuel (God-with-us).” The essence of this story is that God's plan will triumph in spite of mankind's refusal to cooperate.

15 Dec

Don't Be Captive to Impatience

Fr. James, Deacon Dolan, Deacon Ryan, and servers on the third Sunday of Advent.

Letters from a Pastor to His People- December 15, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

I want to say a few things about our second reading, and not only because it's a letter from my namesake, but because the very important topic of patience is addressed.  "You too must be patient," says Saint James.  "Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord."

15 Dec

Give Me God What You Have Left

It is that time of year when we ask for gifts for ourselves.  What if we replaced our Christmas List with the following prayer?  It was composed by André Zirnheld, a paratrooper in the British Special Air Service killed in action in Libya in 1942.  This was found among his personal effects:


Give me, my God, what you have left.

Give me what no one ever asks of you.

I do not ask you for rest or tranquility, neither of soul nor of body.

I do not ask you for wealth or success or even health.

15 Dec

Gospel December 15, 2019

In the third Sunday of Advent, the First Reading is from the Prophet Isaiah.  The people of Israel are in exile because of their infidelity to their covenant with God. But God’s prophet announces the good news that their time of exile is about to end. The prophet is describing the joy that will come over the people of Israel who have been patient and didn't give up hope while waiting for deliverance from captivity in Babylon. God will lead his people through the desert and back to the Promised Land.

08 Dec

Repent and Live Authentically

Letters from a Pastor to His People- December 8, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

John the Baptist was a man who was anything but superficial.  He wasn't into appearances or externals. He lived in his Cousin's shadow his whole life, and it didn't bother him one bit.  John was a "no-nonsense" kinda guy.   If you're a person who struggles with appearances and 'keeping up with the Joneses', then perhaps you could think of praying with John.