This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - June 15, 2018


Dear All: 

Christ’s peace!


The Buildings and Grounds Committee decided more than a year ago that we were far overdue for a change of our outside locks. The diocesan safety experts shared that view. For a variety of reasons, the change took place this week. New locks have been installed on all the external doors. However, the locks on the main church doors, the doors to the parish hall and the door for wheelchairs need to be adjusted. Once the dust settles, new keys will be issued. (N.B. – the old keys still open the same interior doors they always opened.)

We have two types of new keys, traditional keys and electronic keys (fobs and cards). Our strong desire is to replace most of the old keys with electronic keys. The electronic keys are for people who need to get into the church but who do not need to open the church for Mass or major events. The traditional keys are for people who need to open the church for Mass or major events.


As best as we can tell, everyone who needs a key for this weekend (i.e., who was on the parish calendar for an event this weekend) has a key. Please contact the office on Monday to obtain a new key card.



  • Father Tholitho’s Ordination and First St. Joe’s Mass – Great thanks and blessings for all who participated in Father Tholitho’s ordination last Saturday. As experiences of shared prayer go, it was a profound one. Similar thanks and blessings for all who enriched the prayer and multiplied the joy at Sunday’s 6:00 pm Mass. Again, a powerful experience God made powerful by animating the hearts of the willing participants.

  • Prayers for our Graduates – Additional thanks and blessings for those who are graduating from High School and joined the prayer and the fun on Sunday at and after the 6:00 Mass. What a grace it was to be present for Bob Ferretti’s closing prayer for you. And what a blessing it is to be around you and your family and all who have helped you grow so well in the faith. Remember, you have a home parish where people know your name and love you and trust you and are most eager for updates on your brilliant adventures. Remember – when you get to college, (a) Go to church and (b) bust your butts on school work until mid-terms, and then keep it up!

  • Sunday’s Homily – "The People Who Help Us Believe, Part One: The non-Usual Suspects"

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

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

    • To listen to Fr. Tholitho's first homily, click here.






  • Last Weekend – Great thanks to all who contributed to last weekend’s marvelous community events – 

    • The 5K run
    • Tholitho’s Ordination and First Mass
    • The Pancake Breakfast (with chocolate chip pancakes!!!!)

It was a really fine weekend for the whole parish – thanks to so many of you!

  • 20th Anniversary – At the 4:45 Mass on Saturday, June 23, we will recognize the 20th anniversary of the dedication of our current church building. Refreshments to follow – BYOB!

  • Calling all motorcyclists – Ride with other St. Joe’s parishioners who gather periodically for area bike excursions.  Contact to learn more about the St Joe’s Motorcycle Club.


  • James Quesada – One of the highlights of my very excellent week was a surprise visit from James Quesada. You remember James. He is the fellow whose house we helped to renovate. Actually “George to the Rescue” did the renovation and we helped George. James continues to be extremely grateful to the parish for all we did to improve his quality of life. And we are all hoping that James’ next trip to Johns Hopkins will help him make the improvements that will enable him to graduate from college. He expresses the greatest gratitude to the entire parish.

  • The Kagne Family – The Kagne family, the refugee family we have been helping for the last few months, also wanted to express great thanks to all parishioners for the invaluable assistance recently received. As the family awaits the results of their asylum hearing, we continue to support them financially and personally. In her recent and beautiful letter to all of us, Mrs. Kagne recounted “You have been so close to us by your prayers and your help at every level. May God bless you. Thank you very very much.” Special thanks to Dennis George and Michelle Laffoon for organizing our effort. 

  • The Heifer Project – Get ready for the flying cows in the gathering space! They will be there to remind you about the summer CCD program’s Heifer Project – an endeavor that deserves lots of our attention.

  • Summer Work Trips – Also stay tuned for news about the parish’s two upcoming work trips – our Youth Group’s Trip to Pennsylvania and our Young Adult Trip to Appalachia. 

May God multiply the joy for all of you for whom Father’s Day is a happy day and may God divide the grief for those for whom Father’s Day is a day of sadness. And for all, may God continue to bless you abundantly.


Fr Hank 




Summary of this Week’s Homily:

The People Who Help Us Believe, Part One: The non-Usual Suspects



God uses all sorts of people to lead us further into the conviction that Jesus Christ is the way and the truth and the life. God uses all sorts of people to help us grow in faith, hope, and charity. God uses all sorts of people to plant us more firmly in the desires to know what God wants, to want what God wants and to do what God wants.


Many of those faith-helpers come from the ranks of the usual suspects. Parents, grandparents, pastoral ministers, CCD teachers, churchmates, pewmates, the pope and his bishops, the heroes in our history, and countless others who share our faith have fed our faith. But not all faith-helpers come from our own ranks and not all faith-drainers come from outside. Sunday’s readings illustrate three of the four possible mixes of others’ faith and their help to ours.


Faith-mates Who Help Us – Sunday’s gospel (Mark 3) contains two mentions of “the crowd” that followed Jesus. Members of this group clearly shared an enthusiasm for Jesus and, it seems logical to infer, they reinforced each other’s passion for Jesus. They are a good example of how the usual suspects – people who share our belief – help us to believe. They encourage us to follow Jesus and to take his words to heart.


Faith-mates Who Do Not Help Us – The first reading’s depiction of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3) reminds us that people who share a faith sometimes discourage each other from growing in the faith. Both Adam and Eve, who had identical relationships with God, knew very well what God wanted them to do and what God wanted them not to do. Still, despite their shared wisdom, they decided to do what they knew God wanted them not to do.


Others Who Drain Our Faith – The Scribes in the story remind us that people who do not share our belief sometimes make it hard for us to believe. Their accusations that Jesus was possessed by Beelzebul would surely have made many wonder if Jesus of Nazareth was all he was cracked up to be.


Others Who Help Our Faith – This group is the one not mentioned on Sunday – people who do not share our Catholicism or our Christianity or our Theism, but who still help us to believe. Several gospel passages describe people who were neither Christians nor Jews but who helped others believe. The non-Jewish centurion who helped build the synagogue (Luke 7) is a classic example. So are King Cyrus of Persia who liberated the captives and the Muslims who protected Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land in the 15th and 16th centuries.


What about you? Maybe you had a Jewish grandfather who encouraged you to learn the gospels. Or a Congregationalist colleague who opened your heart and your mind to the importance of Christian fellowship as a way of growing the faith. Perhaps you have known a Hindu or a Muslim neighbor whose devotion to their faith challenged you to engage yours more deeply. Maybe you have entertained heartfelt questions from one who no longer believes and your efforts to answer those questions led you to a deeper affection for Jesus. Maybe you have a non-religious old pal who made it possible for you to visit a very holy place.


The usual suspects are a great gift from God; people of faith have a marvelous way of helping us to grow. And God uses other people to achieve the same end. What persons from another faith or no faith have helped you toward deeper faith? And what might God have in store in your future?