THIS WEEK IN PRAYER
Confirmation – Great blessings for our 75 confirmandi, their sponsors, their families, and those who prepared them for confirmation. It was a privilege for all of us to pray with you and for you. Thanks too to Abbot Elias Lorenzo, O.S.B. for making the prayer so special and thanks to the dozens of parishioners who did their bit to make the evening beautiful. (N.B. – Confirmandi – each of you looked like a million bucks and did very well on the hand-shake test. Clearly, you are ready to be church big-kids.)
May Crowning – For those of you who recall fondly the May Crownings of your youth, great news. We will crown our brand-new blessed mother statue on Wednesday, May 2, right after the 8:35 Mass. Giant thanks to those who donated the statue and who will remain anonymous until after the crowning.
A Morning at Lourdes is just around the corner. JoAnn Carey will share her very well-developed introduction to Lourdes right after the May Crowning (and after the abbreviated First Wednesday party) on Wednesday, May 2. The presentation promises to be first-rate and to reactivate your affection for Mary.
Sunday’s Homily – “Jesus’ Names, Part 3: The Good Shepherd”
To listen to Sunday’s homily, click here.
To read a summary of it, go to the bottom of this page.
THIS WEEK IN COMMUNITY:
Save the Dates:
- Saturday May 19 – Michael Tabernero will serve as deacon at the 4:45 Mass and will preach – after having been ordained a deacon that morning. Refreshments to follow.
- Sunday June 10 – at the 6:00 pm Mass, Father Tholitho will say a Mass of Thanksgiving, after having been ordained a priest the day before.
- Saturday June 23 – after the 4:45 Mass – celebrate the 20th anniversary of the dedication of the new church – and quite possibly another achievement that you will read about next week. But even if that other achievement does not materialize, 20 years is worth celebrating. It will be BYOB after Mass for an hour or so.
Spring Cleaning happens on Saturday morning. Thanks in advance to all who are able and willing to join the effort and thanks to Walt Rusak for organizing it. It is terrific of all of you to spend the time – when you surely could be spending the 2 hours working on your own yards!
Comedy Night was a rollicking great time on Saturday. Huge thanks to the staff and volunteers who made it an evening of such great fun for nearly 250 parishioners and their pals. Comedy Night was the fifth time this year that a few hundred people gathered in the parish hall for food and fellowship. The calendar for next year’s fellowship events, starting with the September picnic, will be published before you know it. Please email me if you have any suggestions for next year’s events. In all of it, extra special blessings for those who made an effort to meet a new person.
Building and Grounds – Along with the 20th anniversary come many of the improvements that need to be made after 20 years. Owing to your generosity, and the outstanding work of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, and our staff – especially Bryan DeLisi, Bob Ferretti, Monica McDevitt and Bill Jannone – we have been able to stay on top of the to-do list:
The New Sound System for the church is scheduled to be installed the week of May 7
The New Boiler for the Parish Hall will also be installed the week of May 7. By the way, we are greatly blessed that the old boiler made it through the winter. Thanks to all who learned how to reboot it on cold days.
All new LED light bulbs and fixtures have been installed throughout the buildings, except in the worship space.
Thanks to the hard work of several folk, the state is subsidizing the light bulbs and the boiler.
All of our parish funerals will be held at Mary Mother of God during the week of May 7 -12. The parish staff and I will conduct the funerals but they will be held at MMOG. Great thanks to Fr. Sean and our GREAT pals in Flagtown for being such great neighbors.
Stay tuned for more information about updating your parish records. The diocese has adopted a new database management system that allows us to undertake the large and very productive task of updating our records – so the parish can serve all more effectively. CCD families have already updated their files – and report that it takes only a few minutes.
THIS WEEK IN SERVICE:
HELP – Our parish is hosting the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) the week of May 6-12. We still need greeters, overnight volunteers and folks to do some of the miscellaneous jobs. Help us fill all the spots this week! Please contact Sue Calamoneri at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please consider getting VIRTUS trained – Many parish ministries require the parishioners to be Virtus trained. Even if you aren’t committed to a ministry that requires Virtus, there are many occasions when we need a sub – not to do much. Our next training is May 2 at 6:30. Sign-up here.
Members of our Youth Group will be making their 30-hour famine this weekend. Please pray for them and those who are guiding them. This experience provides important life-long lessons. Thanks in advance for supporting them as you do.
With all best blessings for all of you and all you do –
Summary of this Week’s Homily:
Jesus’ Names, Part 3: “The Good Shepherd”
We call Jesus by many names and each name carries a mountain of meaning. Three weeks ago, the Sunday readings invited us to wonder about calling him “Lord.” Two weeks ago the appellation was “Christ.” Last week it was “The Good Shepherd.”
The Good Shepherd is one of the four people Jesus references in John 10: 11-18. The other three are the sheep, the hired shepherd, and the wolf. The wolf scatters the sheep.
The hired shepherd protects and upbuilds the flock when doing so is convenient and profitable. The Good Shepherd always loves and serves the flock, even when that service demands great sacrifice.
We play the wolf when we let our selfish appetites divide the flocks/communities to which we belong. We play the wolf when we urge others to choose sides rather than to stay neutral when we slander other community-members when we impose a my-way-or-the-highway ultimatum on family members or colleagues or team-mates.
We imitate The Good Shepherd when we value “us” more than “me.” We imitate The Good Shepherd when we put some of our plans on the back-burner so that others can flourish, when we tweak our schedules to get the work/home balance right when we wait to calm down before addressing an egregious slight. In these ways and countless others, we imitate The Good Shepherd.
Sunday’s passage from Acts 4: 8-12 depicts Peter blasting Caiaphas and his cronies for their excessive selfishness. They “crucified (Jesus) whom God raised from the dead” largely because they wanted to protect their lavish lifestyles. They were so stuck on “me” that they could not begin to consider “us” and the great good Jesus might do for “us.” Caiaphas was not only a bad shepherd, he was a world-class wolf. (N.B. – Jesus was also upbraiding Caiaphas in the gospel.)
In more ways than you can imagine, you imitate The Good Shepherd. You are probably so used to loving and not counting the cost that you lose sight of your inspired, good-shepherd habits. So, go ahead. Name five of your best good shepherd habits – and then give God the glory. Every time you do what is best for the community rather than what is most rewarding and convenient for yourself, you are being a good shepherd. God gives you that grace and you use it well.
Then name your strongest wolf tendency, the greatest single temptation the evil spirit waves in front of your face and heart to coax you to make the choices that, intentionally or not, divide the community. It might be your way of recreating, or your way of managing money, or the way you overdo or underdo your physical fitness or the way you try to make yourself look good at another’s expense. Then ask God for the help you need to quit wolfing and start shepherding.
And remember – your good shepherd choices vastly outnumber your wolf choices, because God loves you and gives you the grace to maintain that ratio!