This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - November 2, 2017

ThisWeekStonePastor.png

Dear All: 

 

Today, on the Feast of All Souls, we pray for your deceased loved ones with extra vigor:

 

Eternal rest grant unto them oh Lord,

And may perpetual light shine upon them

May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed,

Through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

 

For what deceased loved ones do you want to pray that prayer with particular passion today?

 

All are encouraged to come to this evening’s 7:30Mass, at which we will read the names of all loved ones who have died since last All Souls’ Day. We will also read the names of the deceased children and grandchildren of all parishioners, regardless of when those children died.

Also, I apologize for a recent misstep and I thank the parishioner who pointed it out. To the 11/12 celebration of our veterans, I absolutely should have invited the spouses of deceased veterans. I apologize for not thinking of that and encourage all spouses of deceased veterans to join us. Please contact me directly to let me know if you can attend the 11:30Mass and the Veterans’ lunch on 11/12.

 

This Week in Prayer

 

Last Sunday’s readings pointed us back to the question of the preceding week: “What does God seem to expect of our relationships with people of other faiths and with Catholics who have suspended their participation in the Eucharist?” 

 

Two weeks ago, the readings asked us to do two things: (a) connect with those others in ways that are charitable and that uphold our personal integrity, and (b) respect the ways in which God works through those others. Last week’s readings added a third reminder: protect them.

 

Sunday’s first reading, Exodus 22: 20-26, invites the children of Israel to remember their sorry lives in Egypt: “Thus says the LORD: ‘You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.’” God wants the Israelites to recall that misery, not so that they will want to get even or hurt others. God wants them to remember that sorrow so that they get motivated to make sure nobody else goes through it. They are to make the Promised Land a place that holds no trace of Egypt, no mistreatment of aliens. They are to welcome and protect those others. 

 

Jesus’ executive summary of the law and the prophets, Matthew 22:34-40, makes a similar point. Jesus tells his listeners and us to keep it simple: love God and love our neighbors. Luke’s version of the passage leads into the story of the Good Samaritan, a powerful reminder that the aliens in our midst – i.e., people who belong to minority religions and Catholics who do not receive the Eucharist – have much to teach us and deserve our welcome and our protection when the situation requires it.

 

What about you? Right here in Somerset County in 2017, as we welcome people of faiths not formerly represented here, as we continue to love Catholics who are not receiving the Eucharist, how have you been particularly welcoming or even protective? When have you stood up for those folks when idle chatter turned against them or when they were made to feel unwelcomed? And what about current opportunities to get it even more right? What person – at work, at school, at the gym or in the neighborhood – could use a little more welcome from you? A little more connection or respect? A little more evidence that active Catholics habitually welcome others? Where might God be nudging you to be even more of an “ambassador for Christ,” even more of an imitator of Christ?

  • It has been a pleasure to pray with you during this week’s many extra Masses. The turnout has been most excellent and the prayer a real consolation.

  • GREAT thanks to all who labored to organize the Trees of Remembrance in the Church. Superb.

  • We will be adding a special Thanksgiving Eve mass at 5 pm on Wednesday, November 22followed by a blessing of the food (and some light refreshments). In addition, Fr. Hank will bless the Thanksgiving food after the 8:35 ammass on Thanksgiving day.

  • Listen to this week's readings and homily

  • Read last Sunday's readings 
  • Read the coming Sunday's readings 

 

 

This Week in Community

  • Last weekend provided still more reminders that our parish is greatly blessed. Friday night’s dance for Becca’s Friends, complete with shocking Halloween edibles and music by our beloved DJ Count Graham, was another smash hit. At the same time, the Weekly AA meeting was in full swing down the Hall. On Saturday, several of our CCD teachersparticipated in a most excellent training session at the Chancery while a handful of volunteers, sort of a flashmob of landscapers, completely overhauled the Colonial Avenue approach to the Church. Then on Sunday, the Baby Bottle Collectionramped up in the morning and members of the youth group celebrated Halloween in utterly inspired costumes based on the theme “biblical twists.” The activity level was marvelous to behold.

  • The day for families to make Advent wreathsis almost here. Mark your calendars for Sunday, November 19 from 12:45 – 3:00 PM. Registration forms have gone out to all CCD families and are also available in the bulletin. 

This Week in Service

  • 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!

  • Calling all scouts (Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of all ages), remember that the 9:30Mass this Sunday is your “Young Minister’s Mass,” -- the Mass at which you help with all liturgical ministries. Come one come all.

  • Where would we be without our ushers and money-counters? Both groups keep our communal train on the track in very important ways. Thanks to all who give their time to both ministries.

  • Thanksgiving Food Collection: St. Joseph Youth  Ministry will be collecting food for Thanksgiving to feed those in the community. Please see the bulletin and pick up a leaflet in the gathering space for directions for food donations.

With all best blessings for you and your loved ones, especially your deceased loved ones as we pray our way through All Souls’ Day. 

 

Fr Hank