This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - November 17, 2017


Dear All: 


This Week in Prayer


Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians continues to inspire our November Sundays. In last week’s passage, Paul urged us to work hard at the at whatever mission God has given us. This week he urges us to persevere in that work, especially when the going gets rough.


Paul loved the Thessalonian Christians. He wanted whatever promoted their spiritual welfare. Thus, he worried when their excessive concern with the details of Jesus’ Second Coming threatened their faith. Rather than give up on them, he redoubled his efforts. Sunday’s explanation of the Parousia expresses Paul’s devotion. He wanted them to relax. He wanted them to trust that everything he had taught them about the resurrection was true. Paul could have washed his hands of the Thessalonians and their uninspired preoccupations. But he did not give up. He persevered.


Sunday’s gospel also underscores the need to persevere. The wise bridesmaids might have been tempted to share their oil with the others, but doing so would have been a bad idea. The sharing might have generated goodwill, but the sharing would have prevented everyone from achieving their goal. Had the oil been divided ten ways, nobody would have had enough to light the groom’s way back to the house. The wise women had to keep their oil so they could complete their task. They had to persevere in their task, even though doing so would have reduced their popularity.


Jesus gives us the perfect example of one who persevered in his God-given task, even when the going became unimaginably tough. He stuck to his mission even when giving in might have saved his life and rescued him from torture. Every effort to persevere benefits from contemplation of our persevering savior.


What about you? When have you persevered in your God-given mission, even though giving up and giving in would have reduced the hardship? When have you stuck with it – in relationships, in your work, in your prayer, in your vocation, in your avocation, in your inspired recreation or inspired studies, or in many other places – even though sticking with it made your life difficult? Our celebration of Veterans’ Day reminds us that many among us had to hang tough even when all seemed lost. They had to keep believing the goal was inspired and achievable and worth pursuing. When have you lived a similar resolution? When have you persevered and been glad you did? And where might God be asking you now to hang in there, to persevere, to “toil and not to seek” escape?


This Week in Community

  • Thanks to all who made our Veterans’ Day celebration a truly inspired event. Dozens of people pitched in to honor and thank our veterans. Special thanks to Debra Grimmer and her main co-pilots, Dianne Mantilla and Anna Maria Realbuto. Great thanks to the Knights and Columbiettes who did more than their share. Extra kudos to those who showed up before dawn to get the ovens going and the preparations started, especially John Rossi, Guy Gubitosi, Steve Tafaro, Tom Kelly, Rick Jankowy and Michael De Lucia. Big thanks too to the confirmation students who helped with the lunch. You looked quite spiffy in your white shirts and blue jeans. You were great and gracious help.

  • Light is on the way! The building inspector has just granted the permits we need to install additional lights by the church’s front door – to make it safer and easier to come to and go from Sunday Masses in this darker time of year.

  • We will have two Thanksgiving Masses and blessings of food. One on Wednesday evening at 5:00 and another at the usual time, 8:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. 

  • Yes, it is already time to mark your calendars for our parish’s Advent and Christmas events. 

    • The family afternoon for making Advent Wreathes is this Sunday, November 19 from 12:30 to 3:00 pm in the Parish Hall. You can still sign up on Friday. 

    • The Giving Tree has appeared in the Gathering Space. If you are in a position to buy a gift, take a tag and return your tagged gift to the Memorial Hallway. You will make someone’s Christmas a blessed day.

    • The annual Advent Pancake Breakfast is Sunday, December 3, Feast of St Francis Xavier! That is also the morning of the CYM Young Minister’s Mass.

    • The Raritan Valley Chorus will hold its Advent/Christmas/Winter concert here at St. Joe’s on Sunday, December 10 at 3:00 pm. Tickets are free for parishioners who stop by the office to pick them up. Otherwise, admission is $10.

  • Thank you very much to the many people who, after the 4:45 Mass on Saturday, helped get the Memorial Trees back in order – and got the names alphabetized, no small task. 

  • The Blue Storm uniforms have now been distributed. And get this - - - This year we have more than 300 parish hoopsters. God bless the athletes, the coaches and all the program organizers.

This Week in Service

  • The list of remarkable service projects has a new and somewhat dazzling entry – the Shopping Cart Project. The Paul Gubitosi Charitable Fund – along with the Knights of Columbus, the Columbiettes and our Social Ministries coordinators – has purchased 75 shopping carts to be given to individuals who walk great distances to obtain food for their families at area food pantries. Think of how ingenious this project is. Many people who rely on the pantries must walk several miles to get there and several miles home. The collapsible shopping carts will make life much better for these people. God bless all who helped.

  • The Thanksgiving Food Collection was a resounding success! Thank you to everyone that donated food - your generosity will allow many families that would otherwise not be able to enjoy the holiday to celebrate Thanksgiving.

  • The Baby-Bottle Project is here. Proceeds from this collection enable young women to live in a safe and respectful setting as they “yes” to the graces and challenges of motherhood. Fill a bottle!

  • Great thanks to all who participate in our Music Ministries – as you head into the season of extra rehearsals and other demands. God bless you for all you do to help all of us to pray.

  • It is almost the season to start thinking about your ministerial life at St. Joe’s. All ministries will be recruiting in January. Might it be time to try a new ministry or return to an old one? Or maybe it is time to keep doing what you are currently doing well and enjoying. Either way, think about it.

May God bless each one of you as you head into Thanksgiving week. It will be a great grace to welcome back all our college students, especially those first-year folk who will be coming home for their first extended stay since August. May God multiply the joy of all for whom the holiday is full of delight. May God divide the sadness of those who will be missing someone this year. And for all who travel, may God bring you safely back home to St. Joe’s. 


Fr Hank