This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - May 5, 2017

Dear All: 

And as the old May-crowning hymn requested “May our Lady bless you in every way.”

This Week in Prayer

Our Easter-season, Sunday readings name many of the sacred desires God places in our hearts. Those holy desires make our holy hearts burn with an inspired fire. Each Sunday reminds us of a different inspired desire and our call to honor it and experience the profound peace that comes from doing so.

Last Sunday, the Third Sunday of Easter, reminded us that our hearts contain a God-given desire to know Jesus more profoundly. That deeper knowing leads to greater love, more vibrant service, and more pervasive peace. 

It all starts with the knowing him more profoundly. It’s not just about being able to recite facts, although the facts provide the basis for our relationship. It’s about understanding him more, coming to a deeper appreciation of who Jesus is, how he loves us, and how he encourages us to love. 

Cleopas and his walking companion on the Emmaus Road became overwhelmed with a deeper knowledge of Jesus. As Jesus explained all that the scriptures said about him and connected countless dots, he enabled the walkers to understand him more than ever before. That deeper understanding caused their hearts to burn within them with a newfound love of the lord. That deeper love, in turn, launched them into service; they became overwhelmed with the desire to share the news with others. The deeper knowing led to deeper loving which led to more active service and finally to deeper peace. 

Saint Peter’s speech in Acts 2 highlights the perils of not knowing Jesus. He accuses his listeners of deliberately not understanding Jesus even though they observed his “mighty deeds, wonders and signs.” That failure to know and understand Jesus caused them to reject and kill him rather than to accept and love him. The ignorance and rejection carried them away from service and peace and toward turmoil.

What about you? What helps you know Jesus more? Do programs at church – like Walking with Purpose or Cornerstone – give you that occasional spark of deeper knowing? Is it a favorite author or TV program? Is it something on the internet or perhaps a friend or two with whom you have spiritual conversation? What is working for you these days in terms of growing your knowledge and understanding that you might love him more dearly, serve him more energetically, and feel his peace more completely? What is helping you to know him more?

And, how are you helping others to know him more? Is it by participating in your children’s CCD program? Explaining to your children what the gospel might mean? Helping them to know how Jesus wants us to love him? Encouraging friends who are going through rough times, enabling them to trust God more? As the old saying goes, the best way to learn it is to teach it.

How are you coming to know Jesus more? How are you helping others to do so?

  • Congratulations and best blessings for our newly baptized and their families. Since Easter, we have welcomed six new babies into our community: Grayson, Aubrey, Brooklynn, Simon, Emma and Dazby.

  • Congratulations and best blessings for the 40 youngsters who will be making their first communions this week at the 9:30 and 11:30Masses.

  • All best blessings for the dozens of people who participated in Wednesday morning’s May crowning. May your prayers with our Blessed Mother be particularly efficacious this year.

  • Listen to this week's readings and homily
  • Read last Sunday's readings 
  • Read the coming Sunday's readings 

This week in service:

This was a week that was in service – in terms of our young people leading the way!

  • Hats off to the 55 members of our youth group who fasted for 30 hours last weekend. They raised over $18,000 for Elijah’s Promise, S.H.I.P., World Vision and Catholic Charities and provided greatly valued service at four locations around the area. The people who benefited from their service were extremely impressed with their kindness.

  • More hats off to Mrs. Kelly Hoefele and the members of her seventh-grade CCD class. Their car wash and bake sale raised more than $600 for Visions and Pathways (formerly the Somerset Home for Temporarily Displaced Children). The car washers did a bang up job, working long stretches without breaks to keep the line humming along. And fine car washes they were! Bravo!

  • IHN – Starting Monday we will have the privilege of hosting three families through the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN). We have made excellent progress toward filling the dozens of jobs that still need filling and we still need a handful of folks to complete the roster:

    • Sunday, May 7, 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., to unload cots from the truck and set up IHN rooms for our guests.  2 adult helpers still needed

    • Sunday, May 14,  7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., 3 adults for loading cots into truck, cleaning up parish center at close of IHN week.


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.

  • You probably know already that (a) the St Joe’s 5k is taking place on June 10 and (b) you can sign up for it through the parish website or through 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.

  • Good news - Comedy Night is sold out for tonight. Bad news if you don't have your tickets, comedy night is sold out.

  • 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!

  • Be sure to check out the signup sheets in the gathering space for the Patriots Ministry. The rules of the project have changed somewhat this year (better to sign up further in advance), so see what weekends you might be able to join in the work and hilarity. GREAT thanks to all the ministries that have collectively agreed to help the members of the ministry get the job done. More slots are still available for other ministries to sign up.

Continued Easter Blessings for all of you and your loved ones.

Fr Hank.