This Week in Prayer, Service and Community - Aug 3, 2016

Dear Parishioners:

“This Week” is a joint effort by our youth minister, Bob Ferretti, and me. I write it and Bob sends it. Given how busy Bob was at Catholic Heart Work Camp last week – keeping things on track for our forty-two participating parishioners – I thought it better not to ask him to send last week’s “This Week.” Given his techno-wizardry, he probably could have done it easily, but I wanted not to put him to the test. And now we are back on schedule. 

This week in prayer:

Some call her “Drizella.” Other insist it should be “Drusilla.” Either way, she was one of Cinderella’s two wicked step sisters, a perfect example of one who could easily provide invaluable insistence but chooses not to. She is also a great example of both (a) unhelpful people who wander through our lives and (b) us when we lapse into unhelpful mode. Sunday’s readings name three forces that have a way of making us like Drusilla.

The first reading, from Ecclesiastes, reminds us that vanity can render us uncooperative. We can get so caught up in self-promoting activities that we become unable to answer calls for help that God wants us to honor.

The second reading, from Colossians, puts a special emphasis on “That greed that becomes idolatry” – i.e., a strain of coveting that makes us think that the objects of our desire are as important as God. And material greed is not the only problem. Emotional greed, reputational greed, spiritual greed, and many other forms of idolatrous lusting can make us say “no” when God is hoping for a “yes.”

The farmer described in the gospel warns us that tunnel-vision also gets us to say “no” when God is urging a “yes.” The successful farmer saw none of the need around him, saw none of the long-term consequences of his strategy, saw nothing other than a mountain of grain that needed shelter.

“No” is sometimes the answer God wants us to speak. “Yes” is more frequently the response God is hoping we will speak to requests for help. Chances are excellent that you say “yes” almost every time God is hoping you will. But what about your missteps? What about your Drusilla moments? What gets you to say “No” when God is hoping for a “Yes?” Does vanity misdirect you? Greed? Tunnel vision? Something else? When you look at your wrong answersr, what was it that steered you wrong?

And when it comes to the Drusillas that enter your life, are you managing to shake their dust from your feet or are you engaging them in uninspired ways?

Other Prayer Notes:

  • Because it falls on a Monday, The Feast of the Assumption is NOT a Holy Day of obligation this year. We will however have two Masses that day – the usual one at 8:30 am and another at 7:30 pm.

  • Check out The Imitation of Christ, our book of the month for August. Written in the 1400s, it is “after the bible, the best loved book in Christianity.” It consists of 120 very short writings about getting closer to Christ.

This week in service:

  • Our young people have recently tilted the service-meter

    • The students in summer CCD filled scores of backpacks with school supplies for foster children. Their effort was amazing and succeeded so robustly because so many parishioners supported the effort by donating backpacks and supplies.

    • 34 members of our youth group, along with eight adult chaperones, worked through last week’s blistering Newark heat to refurbish homes, entertain children, rehab public buildings and make Newark a better place. Remarkable stuff. Here’s aglimpse into their week.

  • We still need two overnight helpers for our Interfaith Housing Network Shelter the week of August 7. If you can help, call Sid Lentz

  • Calling all Servers – Our slightly tweaked way of scheduling starts in September. The new and improved system will work even more effectively if every server and every server’s parents “Affiliate” with the ministry through the parish webpage.

  • How is YOUR Point-of-Light project coming along? Check with Mike Seelig if you need any help bringing it to completion before mid-October.

This week in community:

  • PARISH PICNIC – Save the date – Sunday, September 11. Promises to be even more fun than last year.

  • SESQUI-PALOOZA – Save the date – Friday, October 7 – the party to celebrate our 150th and usher in our 151st! At Roycebrook. Adults $25. Kids $15.

  • Mass to close our 150th Anniversary Year – With Bishop Checchio – Saturday, October 8 at 4:45.

  • Have you already submitted your most unusual recipe for the parish cookbook?

  • Thanks to our Sunshine Ministry for writing to parishioners whose health keeps them from coming to church. Do you know of anyone who should be on their list?

  • How is YOUR Church Improvement project coming along? Check withFather Hank if you need any help bringing it to completion before mid-October.

All best blessings

Fr. Hank, SJ