This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - April 27, 2017

Dear All: 

He is risen indeed. Alleluia Alleluia. 

This Week in Prayer

It’s the season of “Holy Heartburn.” Not the heartburn that too much hot sauce causes. It’s the season of hearts burning with zeal for the risen Jesus. It’s the season when, as this coming Sunday’s Gospel reports, “our hearts burning within us” when He speaks with us. It’s a season for noticing the very inspired desires God places in our hearts. Those God-given desires set our hearts on fire.

One such God-given, heart-igniting desire is the desire to participate in the unfolding stories of God’s love, of the renewal of the face of the earth, of Christ’s action, of vibrant prayer and vibrant church. Deep down inside each of us is a desire to be more of a participant and less of an observer.

The first reading, from Acts 2, describes a church in which everyone who wanted to participate did participate. They learned together, ate together, prayed together and performed good works together. No one was pushed to the sidelines to observe. Everyone had a role to play and evidently relished it.

The Gospel story of Saint Thomas paints a picture of 10 participants and one unhappy observer. Those who were together for Jesus’ appearance participated fully in the encounter. Each heard Jesus say “peace” and “as the Father sends me so I send you.” Thomas didn’t experience the encounter and he was not content simply to observe the other disciples’ reports. He wanted to participate, not to observe. And Jesus worked with that. He cautioned about over reliance on proof, but he encouraged participation.

What about you? Who are the Thomas’ in your life? Who in your orbit is feeling both (a) a deep God-given, heart-igniting desire to participate more fully in the church or in the experience of God’s love and (b) some sort of unwanted constraint that leaves them feeling like an observer? The resulting frustration often prompts criticism or even cynicism about the church and about faith, but beneath the harsh words one frequently finds a frustrated desire for a deeper sense of participation in the glorious story. In the shadow of Divine Mercy Sunday, it can be useful to recall that those who feel prevented from full participation and who harbor rough attitudes are frequently requesting compassionate listening and a hope for deeper participation. Does anyone in your life fit that description? Does someone you love feel unable to act on a God-given desire for fuller participation? And how did Jesus answer Thomas?

  • As mentioned at all weekend Masses, the parish’s Mass intention book is currently filled for the year. We will soon be opening the 2018 book and it will allow for two Masses each week (Tuesday at 8:30 and Sunday at 9:30) when the Masses will have more than one intention. Meanwhile, we will soon make arrangements with the right missionaries to have Masses offered this year.
  • Listen to this week's readings and homily
  • Read this week's readings (Palm Sunday)
  • Read next week's readings (Easter)

This week in service:

  • 30 Hour Famine: On Friday and Saturday April 28-29 50 over 60 St. Joe's teens and adults will be going without food - all for a great cause. Their goal is to raise $15,000 for charities that are part of the solution to world hunger including Elijah's Promise, S.H.I.P., World Vision and Catholic Charities. Take a prayer/pledge card after mass and support a teen making a difference – the project needs your financial support AND your prayers. $30 makes a huge difference in the life of a child. Project success truly encourages our young people to be great priests, prophets and kings. 

  • Need more impetus to donate? Read this blog post on the Scholastic Teen Voices site written by our own Michael Atlas, a junior in our youth ministry program.

  • Spend a night at Church! – During the week of May 7-14, St. Josephs will host the IHN homeless shelter in our Parish Center.  We need 7 more folk who are willing to spend the night in church. We already have one Virtus-certified person for each night but we also need a helper for each night and that helper does not have to be Virtus-certified. This could be YOU! If you can help, please contact Sue Calamoneri, our IHN Coordinator, at

  • Bring your dirty car to church early Sundayafternoon! Let the fifth graders and their chaperones wash your car and send your donation to local homeless shelters! 

  • Especially since the start of our Sesqui year, many people have expressed desires to follow up on great ideas for service projects and community-builders. The efforts have been terrific. In our effort to make sure the word gets spread as thoroughly as possible, the following publicity guidelines have been prepared. So if you want something in the bulletin or the other parish media, check out the project submission form (mobile devices, below, computers look to the right). Your project is most surely a great gift to many. 

This week in community:

  • Check out the monitor in the gathering space this weekend for a beautiful review of many great things that have been going on at church this Spring.

  • Last Call: COMEDY NIGHT is Friday May 5. Get your RSVP in by Sunday - either online or stop by the table in the Gathering Space on Sunday. It promises to be another wildly fun night.

  • You probably know already that (a) the St Joes 5k is taking place on June 10 and (b) you can sign up for it through the parish website. What you might not already know is that our 5k is part of a local “triple crown” of 5k races. The other two are the Steps together at Steeplechase in September and the Gigi's playhouse /HRC fitness 5k run in October. This “I Run Hillsborough” series will have one grand prize winner. Invite your running friends and relatives to run Hillsborough and feel the invigorating burn – starting with the St. Joe’s 5k.

  • Thanks to the Lew family and all who sponsored and helped organize Friday’s very fun movie night!

  • Our new parish cookbooks will be available in the gathering space after all Masses the weekend of May 13-14.  We are selling the books for $5.00 each.  Everyone who contributed one or more recipes gets a free copy.  So does every parish household’s chief cook.  Cook well!

  • The envelopes for Easter Flowers will be available until Pentecost. Thanks for helping out. If you want to make a contribution in memory of a deceased loved one or in honor of a living loved one, please take an envelope from the Moses table and eventually put it in a collection basket. Thanks.

  • Thanks to the Knights of Columbus who turned out to help staff the stands at Patriot Stadiumon Friday night for the season opener. Reports are that it was great fun for a great number. Stay tuned to this page and to other church publications for news about when YOU might join the fun.

All best blessings for you during these magnificent days when we recall our baptisms, refocus on the Great Commission, and celebrate our salvation. 

Fr Hank.