This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - July 19, 2018


Dear All:     


Christ’s Peace.




Prayer after Communion – Last week’s retreat was very good.  In addition to the 15 very cheerful priests, Father Hensell the outstanding Benedictine retreat leader, and the beautiful place (Google “Ender’s Island CT,”) one of the really fine things about the retreat was the ability to pray quietly after communion. It has been a while since I have been able to spend such quality time with one of my all-time favorite post-Communion prayers, The Anima Christi. Maybe it speaks to your post-Communion heart:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me.
Permit me not to be separated from you.
From the wicked foe, defend me.
At the hour of my death, call me
and bid me come to you
That with your saints I may praise you
For ever and ever. Amen.

  • Your retreats? –  As Saint Ignatius understood so well, not everyone can escape for 30, 8 or even 3 days for a sleep-away retreat.  At-home retreats are not just a great alternative to sleep-away retreats, they can be the channel of graces that retreat-house retreats cannot always facilitate.  Keep thinking if you might be game for “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.  N.B. – most people need to have done “Meeting Christ in Prayer” before making the Exercises.

  • Sunday’s Homily –  (Warning: The following sentence is grammatically correct but requires considerable concentration.)  Since there was no “This Week” last week, this week’s “This Week” provides the link to last week’s homily and to the homily that would have been linked in last week’s “This Week,” i.e., the homily of July 8.

  • July 8th Homily – "Talitha koum, Part Two: Jesus and our cranky beloved."

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

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

  • July 15th Homily – "Talitha koum, Part Three: Our Talitha koum-mates."

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

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






  • Gathering Space Animals – The photographs in the Gathering Space mobile are part of the summer CCD program’s effort to support the Heifer Project, a program that provides farm animals to people who very much need them.  The poor boxes will support the project for the rest of July.  If you can help the youngsters help the cause, terrific.

  • Our Young Adults are “Home from the hills” — What was that poem?  “Home are the sailors, home from the sea and the hunters are home from the hill.”  Our young adults did no hunting but are safely and happily home from the hills of Appalachia.  They worked extremely hard cleaning, planting, cooking, and performing all sorts of tasks for people who live in and around Wheeling, West Virginia.  Many have reported how profoundly grateful they are for the people they met who candidly shared their stories of life’s challenges and triumphs in West Virginia.  We are all very grateful to the chaperones – Carlene Thompson, Billy Gibson, Rea Larangeira, Josh Huang and Bob Ferretti.   

  • Our High-school Students Are Heading Out – Great blessings for our forty high-school students who leave for Catholic Heart Work Camp near Paterson, NJ after the 11:30 Mass on Sunday.  Like the slightly older gang that just returned from Appalachia, they will be working hard in a wide variety of service projects.  They will also be praying together and enjoying the nightly prayer rallies.  Please say a prayer each day (Sunday-Saturday), that their trip will be safe and inspiring. 

  • Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen ― Terry Lee and Co. at it again.  This time, compliments of the Knights of Columbus, they served up Fish Tacos Luncheon at Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen.

  • Prayer Shawl Ministry ― The Prayer Shawl Ministry is running strong.  Just gave 25 blankets to Safe and Sound of Somerset County for the children in safe house, families victims of abusive relationships.  Great work Ladies, - and Man!!

  • Kagne Family Update ― If you saw a family of 5 kids at Camp Star last week, it was the Kagne Kids. Thanks to the Hillsborough YMCA who offered tuition assistance to give the kids a week out in the country.  Our parish is helping the family through a rough spot with mentoring from parishioner Dennis George.  Good things happening as the family moves forward.  


  • New Parishioners – Please join me in welcoming our newest parishioners, and in saying a prayer for each of them, by name, that God will greatly bless them in their years at St. Joe’s and that God will bless us greatly through them:

    • Roberto and Megan Carswell,

    • Anthony and Yvonne Comito,

    • Thomas and Kimberly Fleming and their children Alexandra and Sadie

    • Thomas and Diane Smiley and their children Megan and Thomas

    • Dodd and Angela Weisenberger and their children Emma and Deanna

    • Chris and Christine Wynkoop and their son Kyle

  • Summer CCD –  Blessings for all the students who are spending these two weeks in summer CCD.  Thanks and blessings too for their teachers and the program organizers.  It is wonderful to have their great vibe in and around the building as they learn their religion lessons and wonder what it really means to “Find God – and what to do when you do find God.”

  • Summer Liturgical Ministers — Many dozens of parishioners do extra duty in their liturgical ministries as they cover for people who are on well-deserved vacations.  Great thanks to our servers, ushers, lectors, EMs, sacristans, musicians, and singers.  Special thanks to the leaders of all those ministries who do the difficult and important work of making sure all our bases are covered.  Our parish benefits greatly from your dedication.

  • The Becca’s Friends group enjoyed a movie day at Hillsborough Movie Cinema, compliments of a generous donor.  30 participants from BF, chaperones and ARC Group home enjoyed an outing this past Sunday.

  • Dane Klewsaat, one of our own of the Becca’s Friends Social Club members, won a Bronze Medal at the Special Olympics in Seattle Washington with his NJ Special Olympics Softball team.

  • Respect Life Ministry ― Huge thanks to the Respect Life Ministry for a well-attended seminar about End of Life decisions and information about doctor-assisted suicide. 70 people filled our Hospitality Room to listen to Jennifer Rogerio, as she spoke compassionately and shared good information about this topic. 

Best blessings for every single parishioner.  May this season be one of great fun and insight!


Fr Hank 




Summary of July 8 Homily:

Talitha koum, Part Two: Jesus and our cranky beloved


Talitha koum.” You say it all the time. You don’t speak the Aramaic expression that Jesus spoke when he healed Jairus’ critically ill daughter. But you convey the same message. You convey it in your words and – more frequently and more persuasively – in your actions. You tell people “you are precious and important to me and I want to help you find true peace.”


Sometimes you say that, verbally or nonverbally, to people who are a little cranky. Or maybe a lot cranky. You are trying to help them and they tell you, in their words and their actions, to “buzz off” or to “do a better job.” “Thank you” seems not to be their primary message.


The readings of Sunday, July 8, the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, remind us that we are in good company. For thousands of years, people have been saying “Talitha koum” and have received harsh replies. The first reading (Ezekiel 2) tells the story of God’s frustration with his chosen, rebellious and cranky people. Ezekiel is to try to turn them in a new direction, and to head into it with eyes wide open, realizing that God’s countless Talitha koums have elicited countless gnarly dismissals.


The Gospel (Mark 6) tells of Jesus’ visit to his hometown synagogue. He dazzled the hometown crowd but their amazement quickly morphed into petty jealousy and efforts to discredit Jesus. He was being perfectly kind and they were being awful. They gave “cranky” a new meaning.


The gospel reminds us that Jesus gets it when it comes to loving our cranky beloved. It was one thing for him to be rejected by the politicians and church leaders, and quite another to be mistreated by those he loved and was trying to help. He understands completely. He gets it. He’s been there. He loves your love for your cranky beloved. Just as the father loved Ezekiel’s care for his cranky beloved.


What about you? In what situation might you need to remember that? In what relationships might it be helpful for you to recall that Jesus fully understands the frustration of loving cranky people and trying to help them? He knows what it is like to say “Talitha koum” and to have the other reply “Get lost.” Recalling Jesus’ compassion toward us helps us react to him rather than to the cranks. Where do you need to pay more attention to Jesus’s gratitude and love for you and less attention to the cranky beloved you are trying to help?


Summary of July 15 Homily:

Talitha koum, Part Three: Our Talitha-koum-mates


The people with whom we share a room, we call “roommates.” Those who are on our team, we call “teammates.” And those with whom we say “Talitha-koum?” Of course. We call them “Talitha-koum-mates.” Right?


Whether or not we use that word, we know the concept. We all have people who stand by us as we try to affirm and help another who is going through a rough patch. And we have people by whom we stand as they say, by their words and actions, “Talitha koum” to their beloved.


Sunday’s gospel Jesus (Mark 6) reminds us that Jesus is all about Talitha-koum-mates. He sends the disciples out two-by-two, not one-by-one. He gave them power to cast out demons and, as some argue convincingly, perhaps that power was given to the pairs, not to the individuals. We know that Jesus has told us “Wherever two or more of you are gathered in my name, there I am with you.” Jesus seems to have a special dedication to teams of Talitha-koum-mates and that dedication lines up exactly with the Father’s belief (Genesis 2:18) “It is not good for the man to be alone.”


What about you? To whom are you being a good Talitha-koum-mate? Name two or three people who rely on you, at least a little, to help them do some good for their beloved? Perhaps they are caring for a sick relative and you do their shopping? Maybe they are working OT to earn their kids’ tuition and you let their dog out. It takes 101 forms. Name three situation ins which you are being a terrific Talitha-koum-mate and one where God is nudging you to up your game.