This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - October 12, 2018


This Week – October 12, 2018

Dear All:     

Christ’s Peace.

This week’s This Week in Prayer, Service & Community begins with a special section “This Week in Our Mortgage History.”


As of about 2:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon, Thursday, October 11, we have ironed out the final details with our bankers.  The way it now stands, we will hand-deliver our final mortgage payment to TD Bank on Thursday, November 1.  Our lender will then hand us the “formal payoff letter” – and that is it.  No more mortgage.  Done – because of your generosity – four years ahead of schedule.

All the credit goes to each of you.  A robust “Thank you” to everyone who contributed to the debt-reduction.  Your generosity is quite an inspiration.  Special thanks go to the members of the Patriot Ministry who, for so many years, have been working very hard to raise debt-reduction funds at the Patriot’s snack bar stands.  Were it not for their effort, we would not be where we are tonight, three weeks from the finish line.  And hearty thanks to Monica McDevitt and to our Parish Finance Council.  Monica, our parish business manager has graciously and efficiently managed the sometimes very complex process of making sure that every debt-reduction donation has been applied precisely how and when the donor intended.  The Parish Finance Council has given me excellent advice about how best to pace the payoff.   This is a very big day for our parish and you all deserve great praise.

Please check the bulletin insert this week to obtain instructions on how to stop your debt-reduction contributions.  Our final payment to TD Bank will be only for about $1,500, not the usual $8,000.  A few donations will surely continue to drift in and we can accept donations of up to about $1,500.  After that, we will need to return the donations to you.

And above and beyond all else, we “thank God from whom all blessings flow.”


  • Blessings of the Brains and Aspirations – Attention all students in grades K-12.  Come to the 9:30 Mass on Sunday, October 21.  We will have a special blessing for your brains as you enter the new school year.  We will also bless your aspirations – e.g., to be great at Chemistry, to excel in basketball, to reach new heights in creating robots, to explain Shakespeare, to master the oboe, to swim the fastest mile in town history.  And here is the challenge . . .  PLEASE bring a symbol of your aspiration – your football helmet, your color guard shoes, your calculator, your tuba, your skates, your abacus or your collected works of Lord Byron.  You get the drift.  Make it fun (and church-worthy!)  Special donuts afterwards!

  • Our Bishop’s Visit – Great thanks to Bishop Checchio for celebrating the 9:30 Mass last weekend.  It was, as always, a blessing to have him with us.  Special thanks for his reference to our parish as “A city on a hill.”  Bishop Checchio’s very fine homily is available online through the parish website.

  • Walking with Purpose –  Blessings for the 60+ Women who have started this year’s WWP.  What a consolation it was to hear Fr. Bill Burns of Potomac Maryland , the speaker at this week’s gathering of the Metuchen priests, refer to WWP as a remarkably grace-filled experience for his parish.  And what a slightly guilty and interior pleasure it was to realize that we are the only parish in the diocese to have WWP.  Were it not for the hard work of Mary MacPhee, and now Suzanne Kral, WWP would not be what it is.

  • Spiritual Exercises – Great blessings for the 15 parishioners who, this week, started the 35-week retreat.  May God bless you and inspire you through all the adventures the Spiritual Exercises yield.

  • Sunday’s Taize Prayer – It was an amazing grace to share Sunday night’s Taize prayer with so many of you.  The music was superb and the words of Anthony Roberts were of historical significance.  Can we ever thank Anthony for enlightening us as he did?  Special thanks to Tony Varas and Thom DeLessio from the diocese and to Mary Beth Delisi and Bill Strawderman for reading so beautifully.  As always, thanks to Bob Ferretti for the tech set up.  If you missed the marvelous music and inspired words, you can listen to them through the parish website.  I encourage you to do so.

  • Animal Blessings – Congratulations to all who brought your pets to church on Saturday morning.  What a remarkably well-behaved bunch of animals.  And what joy you clearly derive from their company.

Sunday’s Homily – “Inspired Aspirations Part One: Inspired Relationships”

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

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


  • The Pie Sales Are Back –   Stop by the table in the Gathering Space to arrange your purchase of pies for Thanksgiving.  As always, the proceeds will support needy people in Guatemala.  In addition, a portion of this year’s proceeds will also help the victims of Hurricane Florence.

  • Help the Unborn – Thanks to our parish Respect Life Ministry for organizing the postcard drive that has made it so easy for us to contact our state legislators – to remind them that pregnancies of only five months can now produce babies that can survive in the world.  This technological advance surely requires a reconsideration of our laws.

  • Becca’s Friends – Great thanks to Mr. James Lew for leading the participants in the Becca’s Friends Ministry in their latest painting adventure – whimsical snowmen.  The images will be reprinted on cards that will be sold at the annual Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, December 2.  If the printing gets ahead of schedule, you might actually see them on sale on Veterans Day or Thanksgiving Weekend.

  • Our Liturgical Laundry Ministry – Thanks and blessings for all launderers of all the cloths we use at every Mass – the purificators for the chalices, the corporals for the altar, and the large altar cloths themselves.  It is one of those ministries that we don’t always notice but without which we would be up a tall, liturgical tree.  Great thanks to all of you.


  • Celebrating Our Veterans – Attention all veterans, their spouses, and their widows and widowers – Please mark your calendar for Sunday, November 11.  All are invited to come to the 11:30 Mass and to be the guests of the parish for lunch after Mass in the Parish Hall.  You women and men have done so much for our nation and us – let us honor you.

  • PJ Anderson is Returning –  Mark your calendar for the return of Nashville recording artist P.J. Anderson.  P.J. will be here to lead us in song and fun on Friday, November 30.  See you there. 

  • Youth Ministry – A most robust welcome to all the young people who have gotten our new Youth Ministry Year off to a rollicking great start.  What a great privilege and blessing it is to see all the new young people join the journey. If you are in high school consider coming this Sunday night at 7pm.

  • Last Friday’s Bingo – Predictably, it was large fun and a great experience to be with parishioners of all ages in such a fun moment. Great job to all the high school youth. To all who were there, thanks for multiplying the good time.

  • Blue Storm – All best blessings for all our basketball players and all the adults who make the program happen.  May this registration season and this season of play be greatly blessed.

With blessings for each parishioner – and great thanks for the good you do and the inspiration you provide.  

Fr Hank

Summary of October 7 Homily:
Inspired Aspirations Part One: Inspired Relationships

 Aspirations – those deep-down desires that dwell in every human heart, desires to achieve something or to become something. Inspired aspirations, inspired desires to achieve and to become, are those aspirations that align with God’s hopes. In every human person dwells an inspired aspiration for inspired human relationships, relationships that align with God’s hopes. We all want them.

Adam clearly held this sort of aspiration. Sunday’s excerpt from Genesis 2, the second version of the creation story, depicts God’s awareness that Adam was lonely and craving inspired, human relationships. God provided animals to keep Adam company, but the animals could not satisfy Adam’s need for inspired human company. When God created Eve to be Adam’s partner, Adam shouted “At last!”, leaving no doubt that his relationship with Eve was the one he craved.

Sunday’s Gospel from Mark 10 addresses the perennially thorny question of divorce. The passage provides much to consider, including Jesus’ remark that “what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” This phrase, in turn raises the questions, “Has God joined together every couple that has ever been married?” and “Has God created all human relationships?” The answers are clearly “No.” That “no” then prompts us to wonder “How can we tell the difference between relationships that are truly inspired – i.e., are truly formed by God – and those that are not?”

In the realm of marriage and divorce, the annulment process can help us understand which marriages are truly of God and which are not. In the realm of relationships in general, we also wonder about the extent to which our human relationships help us to become the priests, the prophets and the kings that God calls us to be. Relationships that do all that are certainly inspired.

What about you? When you take a long, loving look at your most treasured relationships, the ones you trust “God has joined,” you can surely see evidence that those relationships support your prayer life. Even if the other does not pray as you pray, that other probably support your attempts to pray, to speak and to listen to God. Similarly, do you see the prophetic dimension in your inspired relationships – i.e., a practice of consoling and challenging each other in meaningful ways? Chances are good that if you can truly challenge each other according to God’s hopes, and can console each other in Christ-like ways, that the relationship is truly inspired. Finally, do you notice your most inspired relationships also generate experiences of community for other people? Because you and the other are connected, other people in your world and beyond it also feel connected.

Every human heart aspires to inspired human relationship. Every heart craves meaningful connection. Sunday’s readings underscore the truth that God affirms those aspirations. Are you seeing the priestly, prophetic, and kingly dimensions in your most inspired relationships? Are you thanking God for them? Are you taking good care of them? And maybe, just maybe, might God be asking you to take a next step in those most inspired relationships – the relationships that fulfill our most basic human aspirations?