This Week – October 26, 2018
Three headline notices – one about Mass times, one for our vets, and one about our Becca’s Friends Ministry.
Mass Times -- Next Thursday (11/1) is the Feast of All Saints, a holyday of obligation, and Friday (11/2) is the Feast of All Souls. Mass times for Thursday are 7:30 Wednesday evening, 8:35 am and 7:30 pm Thursday. All are also welcome to attend the Masses for the CCD kids at 4:15 and 6:00 pm Thursday. Masses for the Feast of All Souls will be at 8:35 am and 7:30 pm on Friday 11/2.
Hello Veterans – Several of you have asked if last year’s registration works for this year’s celebration. The truth is that this year, we need you to fill out another card and put it in the box in the gathering space. That way, the Knights will have just the right amount of ridiculously great food. We look forward to celebrating with you on 11/11! At the 11:30 Mass and at the lunch afterwards. The celebration is for all veterans, their spouses, their widows and widowers, and all parents and spouses of active duty military.
Congratulations to all who serve in our Becca’s Friends Ministry (for young adults with special needs) – Get this – The Somerset County Board of Freeholders has conferred its 2018 Disability Advocates Award on our parish’s Becca’s Friends Ministry. The award is given to those who "demonstrate exemplary inclusion, service or advocacy for persons with disabilities." What a gift to know that others recognize their superb work! We congratulate our co-winner, Pluckemin Medical Services. Three cheers for our Becca’s Friends Ministry and those it serves!
THIS WEEK IN PRAYER
Blessings of the Brains and Aspirations – Greatest blessings for all our students and special great blessings for those who brought symbols of their aspirations to Sunday’s 9:30 and the 6:00 Masses. What a great happiness it was for us to see the abacus, the ballet slippers, the basketballs, the rare coins, the many varieties of athletic shoes, the lax sticks and field hockey sticks, the weightlifting cards and the many books from so many disciplines. Great thanks to each one of you for multiplying the congregations’ gladness and for helping us to understand the beautiful aspirations that God has placed in your marvelous hearts. Thanks to the many who are already suggesting symbols for next year.
Meeting Christ in Prayer – The program starts this Monday at 7:00 pm in the Hospitality Room. There is nothing for the 16 of you to do between now and then – just relax and trust it is a good investment.
The Trees of Remembrance – as November approaches, many dedicated parishioners are preparing our Trees of Remembrance, the birch-like trees on which hang the names of the deceased loved ones for whom we pray this month. Because we, fortunately, have so many names, we are re-arranging things a bit this year. The area near the baptism font will contain the trees with the names of parishioners’ children and grandchildren, and the tree with the names of those who have died in the last year. The other trees will be along the walls near the Saint Joseph statue. In response to popular and inspired requests, we are arranging the trees alphabetically and at heights that will allow people to find and touch the names of their loved ones.
Sunday’s Homily – “Inspired Aspirations Part Three: Inspired Successes”
To listen to Sunday's homily, click here.
To read a summary of it, go to the bottom of this page
THIS WEEK IN SERVICE:
Buy Your Pie – Our pie people are back in the Gathering Space this weekend to sell Thanksgiving pies. Proceeds go to Guatemala and the victims of Hurricane Florence. Bring cash or checks.
Our Music Ministries – Thanks and blessings to all who enhance the Masses with their musical talent. What a great gift you are to all of us. Keep up the great work!
Thanksgiving Food Drive: Help us feed those in need this Thanksgiving by providing a food basket for a family. This year our High School Youth Ministry has set a goal to fill 100 baskets for families and we need your help! Grab a shopping list from the Moses' Table on your way out of church (or download it here). If you can't do a whole basket we are also collecting other non-perishable items. All food can be brought to the Memorial Hallway starting November 10.
Prayer Shawl Ministry - Ten members of our thriving Prayer Shawl Ministry delivered 52 beautifully knitted or crocheted prayer shawls and prayer squares to Avalon and Bridgeway this week.
THIS WEEK IN COMMUNITY:
Welcome New Parishioners! – All best blessings for the newest members of our parish. May our years together be many and may they be years of great blessings for you and your loved ones. And may you be a source of great blessings for all of your new fellow parishioners.
John and Kathi Burkhart and their daughter Jenn
Joseph and Madeline DeLuca
Marie Fortin and Charles Banville and their children Juliette, Elaine, and Laurent
Saulus and Colette Galette and their children Valerie, Nicolas, and Jessica
Christian and Michelle Hauser
Danielle Levatino and her son Brady MacKenzie
Joseph and Marietta Maiorana
Anthony and Donna Zamarin
The Artifacts Roadshow Will Be Back – Not sure what to do with those inherited statues, rosaries, crucifixes or other “holy items”? Keep them safe at home until Lent. We will then be collecting them in the gathering space and deliver them to the organization in PA that then finds them new homes in mission territories of every sort.
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.
With blessings for every parishioner,
Summary of October 21 Homily:
Inspired Aspirations Part Three: Inspired Successes
You can succeed at many things. You cannot succeed at everything. So succeed at the inspired thing.
Like the fundamental human desires for inspired relationships, and like the fundamental desire to make inspired choices, each of us comes pre-equipped with an aspiration for inspired successes. When was the last time you or anyone you know woke up and thought “Gee, I hope I fail today, I hope I make costly blunders, I hope my life, in general, is one big flop?” Right. None of us does that. God has oriented us toward success.
Each of us defines “success” in different ways. Some of our notions of success align closely with God’s hopes. Others, not so much. Given the many talents God has given us, each of us can succeed at many things and achieve many of our definitions of “success.” The challenge is to pursue inspired successes.
How do we know which notions of success are inspired? We look to Christ and at Christ. His bold declaration in Sunday’s gospel (Mark 10: 35-45) eliminates the guesswork. We know how he wants us to define “success.” He instructs us “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.” Jesus does not tell us to disavow greatness, reject preeminence or eschew success. He simply tells us that true success entails service. The inspired success is the success that makes life better for others, according to Jesus’ definition of “better.”
Jesus’ life shows us what that means. He could have achieved any imaginable success. He could have defeated the Romans or had himself crowned king. But he chose humble service. He traveled about healing and teaching and pointing the way to true peace. He continued to do so even when his opponents threatened to kill him. He served his way to Calvary where he provided the ultimate service. He opened heaven’s gates. Jesus success, which is all about service, is unmatched. He is exactly the person referred to in the first reading (Isaiah 53: 10-11), “the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him” and “through his suffering, my servant shall justify many.”
James and John seem not to have gotten the message. The gospel opens with them asking for the seats of honor in Jesus’ heavenly kingdom. That level of recognition might surely be gratifying and provide them with great influence. But where is the service in that? How does them getting great seats make others better off? Easy. It doesn’t. And Jesus lets them know that. The task is to succeed at the inspired thing, the thing that makes life better for others, according to Jesus’ notion of “better.”
Where do we go with that? One might infer that we should stop what we are doing and start pursuing inspired notions of success. But, for just about every St. Joe’s parishioner, that would be a big mistake. Just about every St. Joe’s parishioner is currently pursuing inspired definitions of success. The challenge is not to abandon those pursuits, but to see them for what they are.
Moms and Dads – you are pursuing your notion of successful parenting as you do the loving work of raising your children. Jesus observes your notion of success and your pursuit of it and is happy. The same is true of parishioners caring for relatives and friends in need. And it is true of students using their brains well, and athletes training their bodies, and professionals of all varieties – in the private and the public sectors. Of course, we can all do better. But that does not mean we are doing nothing. A big piece of the challenge is to recognize the ways in which our current definitions of success and pursuits of success serve others and to keep pursuing. The challenge is to connect the dots between your daily choices and God’s bliss. Maybe the better phrase is:
You can succeed at many things. You cannot succeed at everything. You are succeeding at inspired things. Connect the dots between your successes and God’s hopes.