This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - July 6, 2018


Dear All: 


Christ’s peace! “This Week” will be on a different schedule for the next few weeks. I will be away on retreat next week and not writing “This Week.” And even if I were here, Bob Ferretti is away with the young adults and might have a hard time sending it. Two weeks after that we run into a similar challenge. Thanks for reading “This Week” and thanks for understanding that, until early August, we might not be sending “This Week” every week. 



  • Prayers for Gloria – Great thanks to all who came to pray the rosary on Monday night for Gloria Realbuto. Special thanks to Gloria’s Hillsborough High schoolmates who came out to pray. Both the 6:30 and 9:00 pm prayers were very well attended and inspiring. It was another of those moments when I and many others were acutely aware of what a great blessing it is to be a part of this parish. Gloria has a considerable road ahead of her and still has some obstacles to overcome, but between her determination and all the prayers, things are looking better. As of this writing, she has had 12 very good hours.
  • Prayers for the Appalachia-bound – Our 20 young parishioners (ages 18-30) and their five drivers/facilitators will be heading for a workweek in Appalachia on Sunday morning after the 7:15 Mass. Actually, they will start out heading due west – for breakfast at the Star diner on 206 – and then head west by southwest for Wheeling, West Virginia. It would be great if everyone could send up one prayer each day, Sunday through Saturday, for their safety and inspiration. 
  • Prayers for your pastor – I leave Monday morning after Mass for the second and shorter part of my annual retreat. The six-day, silent (alligator-free) retreat was in January. This week I go for a three-day, preached retreat in Connecticut. For several years I, along with my great Jesuit friend Fr. Bill Dolan, have participated in this retreat for priests. It is preached by the Benedictine scripture scholar, Father Gene Hensell. Say one for me and all the retreatants, for great availability to grace. And perhaps we should think about some retreats for parishioners?
  • Planning Ahead – Once again, a fleeting mention of two Prayer opportunities for the fall – Meeting Christ in Prayer (the six-week program) and The Spiritual Exercises (the seven-month program). Email me if you want to be on either list. More details will be forthcoming this summer.


  • Sunday’s Homily – "Talitha koum, Part One: Jesus loves our beloved"

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

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






  • The Heifer Project – (The word “Heifer” – pr: HEFF-er – as in “a young cow that has not had a calf,” looks funny, right?) Our CCD Summer School Students are, for their service project, learning about world hunger and doing what they can to reduce it. Their preferred method to combat world hunger is to support the Heifer Project, a program that provides farm animals to people who very much need them. The flying pictures in our Gathering Space, for the next three weeks, are all about the Heifer Project.

  • Our Parish Prayer Shawl Ministry — Our parish Prayer Shawl Ministry is alive and well and knitting up a storm! It currently consists of two groups. The evening group meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. The morning group meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday. More than thirty ladies, and ONE brave man gathering to pray, knit, crochet and chat in our Parish Hall. Just this week the ministry gave 25 children’s blankets to Safe and Sound of Somerset County. Please consider joining the fun and productivity – even if you do not yet know how to knit or crochet. The Thursday morning group will be offering “Knit and Crochet Camp” and, yes, they will help you and your youngster(s) learn. 


  • Altar Servers’ and Ice Cream – Thanks to Mrs. Cessiano (outgoing moderator of the server ministry) and Mrs. Cappobianco (incoming moderator of the server ministry) for organizing Saturday’s ice-cream party for our altar servers. Thanks too to all the servers who added to the good time and made sure we didn’t have to worry about leftover ice cream! Most of all, thanks to all our altar servers. You make an enormous contribution to our shared experience of prayer. You are doing a bang-up job. Thanks!

  • Saint Joe’s Motorcycle Club —The motorcycle ride originally scheduled for two weeks ago, the one that was so thoroughly rained out, is now rescheduled for 8:00 am this Sunday (July 8). Riders will exit the parking lot (gracefully) right after the 7:15 Mass. Even if you have not yet joined the club, get on your bike and get over here to join the ride. You will be glad you did. Unlike the Appalachia-bound who will eat and then travel, the bikers plan to travel and then eat.

Best blessings for all of you priests, prophets, and kings. May you be blessed with extra fun, safe travels, and healthy air conditioners. 


Fr Hank 




Summary of this Week’s Homily:

Talitha koum, Part One: Jesus loves our beloved


“Talitha koum.”


The expression forms the crescendo of Sunday’s gospel passage (Mark 5). Some say it means “Little girl, arise.” Others interpret it as “Little lamb, rise up.” Still, others understand it differently. Differences notwithstanding, most agree that the phrase conveys affection (“little girl” or “little lamb”) and empowerment (“arise” or “get up”). Most experts also agree that Jesus probably spoke that specific Aramaic expression to Jairus’ desperately ill child.


Jesus’ words and their miraculous results would surely have left Jairus awash in joy and gratitude and amazed by the awareness “Jesus loves my beloved”? Moments before the healing, Jairus had no reason to hold that belief. Moments after, he had no reason to doubt it.


The healing and the insight (“Jesus loves my beloved”) come at the end of the story. They occur after Jairus approaches Jesus, Jesus agrees to go with Jairus, Jesus offers his insight, Jairus’ family ridicules Jesus, and Jesus touches the child. Only then is the child revived and Jesus’ love for Jairus’ beloved rendered unquestionable.


Our stories, in some ways, seem unlike Jairus’. Jairus got just what he wanted from the Lord. He sought help for his loved one and he received it. We, evidently unlike Jairus, sometimes ask and seem not to receive.


In other ways, our stories are identical to Jairus’. Jesus devotion and affection for Jairus’ daughter is identical to Jesus’ devotion and affection for our loved ones. Even when our loved ones are going through a rough patch, when it seems Jesus is either not caring about or not taking great care of our beloved, Jesus is loving our beloved.


In what circumstances do you crave a Jairus moment? In what ways do you need that heavenly reassurance from Jesus “I love your beloved?” Perhaps one of your loved ones is physically ill, or in a rough emotional state, or going through relational difficulties or professional or financial reversals – and you need that reminder that, despite the lack of persuasive evidence, Jesus loves your beloved. The quiet conviction “Jesus loves my beloved” can make an important difference in the way we approach our loved ones. It makes a difference in the way we pray and in the resolutions we are willing to receive. Where might you want to ask Jesus for a Jairus moment, a moment of being able to say to Jesus “I know you love the ones I love”?