This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - May 18, 2018


Dear All:     


Please join me in congratulating and praying for Michael Tabernero – a lifelong Saint Joe’s parishioner – who will be ordained to the diaconate tomorrow morning and who will preach his first homily at tomorrow’s 4:45 Mass. Greatest blessings for Michael, for his parents (Mary and Peter) and for his siblings (Nick and Maggie). 



  • First Communions – At Sunday’s 9:30 Mass, we will have the privilege of sharing Jesus’ body and blood with the 16 young parishioners who will be making their First Communions. Our whole parish is grateful to you for saying “yes” to Jesus. We are also grateful to your parents, your families, your CCD teachers and all who have brought you to this moment. May God make the Eucharist a source of consolation for you for many years to come.

  • Red – What to Wear on Pentecost Sunday? – Several parishioners have recently asked about the practice of wearing red to church on Pentecost (this Sunday). Great idea! Lots of people at lots of churches make it a regular practice. The real gift of it all comes when people comment on your red clothes and you get to tell them why you are wearing red and what the feast means to you. (N.B. – The invitation to wear red does NOT apply to first communicants!)

  • Green – Back to Ordinary Time – On Monday (May 21) we return to ordinary time. The vestments will again be green – for the first time since February 13. The big cross will be returned to its usual place behind the altar and the corpus will once again be on the cross. We will remain in ordinary time until December 1.

  • White – Sunday Solemnities? — Upcoming Sundays are exempt from the return to green. This Sunday features red (for the Feast of Pentecost) while the following two Sundays feature white, for the feasts of The Holy Trinity (May 27) and Corpus Christi (June 3). The colors are, of course, simply the visual expression of the deeper truths. Why do you suppose the feasts are arranged as they are?

  • Sunday’s Homily – “Jesus’ Names, Part 6: “Protector”

    • To listen to Sunday’s homily, click here. 

    • To read a summary of it, go to the bottom of this page.







  • Hokies and Huskies – Great thanks to some dear, old and anonymous pals from my grammar school days who recently treated us to some upgrades for our St. Francis garden – cushions for the patio furniture and an espalier apple tree for the west side of the garden. All are encouraged to enjoy the evolving space whenever time allows. It is a lovely place to chill/hide/pray/read/escape. 

  • The Sound System – Thanks again to all who engineered the installation of our church’s new sound system. Last weekend’s evaluations were most encouraging and the observations of problems to solve have been very helpful. Per the original schedule, the smaller speakers have been installed for the area behind the servers and the choir section. The speakers for daily Mass are almost ready for prime time. We think we have figured out what made my mic cut out. Thanks and onward!!! (it will be in the works for a few more weeks)

  • Saturday, June 23 – after the 4:45 Mass – celebrate the 20th anniversary of the dedication of the new church. It will be BYOB after Mass for an hour or so.

  • 5K – Now is the perfect time to sign-up for our 5th Annual 5K Walk/Run on June 9. This year we are supporting BoroSAFE (suicide prevention and awareness in our schools) and our summer service trips to Newark and Appalachia. 


  • Interfaith Hospitality Network – The cots have all been packed up and moved to their next location – and we can now lean back and thank God for a very successful week of hosting two homeless families in our Parish Hall. It takes an enormous amount of preparation, coordination, and generosity to make it all happen and happen it all did. Special thanks to all who coordinated and stayed overnight.

With all best blessings for you and your loved ones as we celebrate Pentecost and move forward into ordinary time.


Fr Hank 


Summary of this Week’s Homily:

Jesus’ Names, Part 6: “Protector”


The Sundays since Easter have invited us to reflect on what it means to call Jesus “My Lord,” “The Christ,” “The Good Shepherd,” “The True Vine,” and “My Friend.” Last Sunday’s gospel added another concept to our list, “Protector.”


Sunday’s gospel comes from John 17, “The High Priestly Prayer,” from John’s “Book of Glory.” (N.B. – It truly is worth a quiet read, to encounter Jesus praying for YOU.) One of the first things Jesus says to the Father is “When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them.” He subsequently adds “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one” and “As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.” 


Odd mix, isn’t it? Jesus protects and guards them while, at the same time, exposing them to the dangers of the world to which “they do not belong,” a world that “despises them.” Jesus’s way of protecting the disciples does not include isolating them from the world or deactivating them or removing them from the reach of all hurt of harm. Jesus intends to protect them, not to bubble-wrap them. He sends them knowing they will get hurt, praying that they will make inspired choices that align the Father’s hopes rather than with the devil’s designs.


Sunday’s passage from Acts aligns with Jesus’ way of protecting his disciples. Peter clearly longs to protect the newborn Christian community from the unraveling that Judas’ defection threatens to cause. To point the community toward growth rather than diminishment, Peter engineers the election of Judas’ replacement. After protecting the community in this way, Peter later participates in the missioning of the apostles in every direction. Peter, like Jesus, wants to protect the community without bobble-wrapping it into isolation or inactivity.


What about you? Most loving relationships entail a desire to protect the beloved. Sometimes, however, those protective impulses get carried away. Sometimes they cause us to stifle the beloved, to deprive them of experiences, some of which may be hurtful or harmful, that God might want them to have. Sometimes our protective impulses can drive us to deep, uninspired agitation as we strive to keep our vulnerable loved ones from every imaginable danger. It happens in our love for young people, old people, and everyone in between. It is sometimes difficult to reassess our “zero harm” policies and difficult to live with the reassessment, but you have done it. As much as you might like to bubble-wrap a loved one, to protect the beloved from all threats, you know that is not what Jesus is asking, and you have done the hard work of letting go a little. In what relationships are you getting it just right – i.e., loving and protecting your beloved as Jesus loved and protected his?