This Week – December 1, 2018
This weekend’s parish fellowship events promise to feed the soul and the body in fine fashion. Last night’s PJ Anderson Concert – with a special performance by our very own Mike DeLucia on guitar and vocals and Pete Macor on bass – was both fun and prayerful and great for the spirit. Sunday’s pancake breakfast will, thanks once again to the great work by our Knights, be fun and delicious. Great thanks to everyone who has put these events together.
And on a less fun topic . . . the dirty rotten scoundrel who was impersonating my email has returned. Please be cautious with emails that purport to be from me. Before opening them, make sure that they are from my real email firstname.lastname@example.org I have no Gmail account. And be assured that I am not in jail in Turkey, do not need gift cards for typhoon victims, and do not need your help in liberating my confiscated lottery winnings. Evidently, many priests have stories similar to mine.
THIS WEEK IN PRAYER
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception – The Feast is NEXT WEEK – Saturday, December 8. We will have the vigil Mass for the feast on Friday, December 7 at 7:30. The 8:35 Mass on Saturday morning will also be for the feast. It being Saturday, however, the 4:45 Mass on Saturday, December 7 will be for the Second Sunday of Advent.
Taking Care of Business – Keelin Glennon has outdone herself yet again. Keelin has single-handedly replaced all the hymnals with the new hymnals and put a cover on each one. She has also purchased covers for the missalettes that are kept by the front door and put the new missalettes in their covers. Thanks to Keelin for the great effort that helps each of us to pray.
Thanksgiving Masses – Blessings for all who helped us to pray at the Thanksgiving Masses – both the 5:00 pm on Wednesday and the 8:35 am on Thanksgiving Day. The turnout for both Masses was great.
Sunday’s Homily – “Sunday’s Homily – HOPE, Part I: The virtue of Hope and the feelings of hope”
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:
THANKS – for the Thanksgiving Food Baskets – You have done an incredible job – again. Your donations filled 100 baskets. One hundred tables that might have been empty were covered with Thanksgiving dinner. Try to imagine the people on the receiving end of your generosity.
THANKS – to Our YOUTH GROUP – The scene here two Fridays ago was more than a little amazing. How many dozens of our teenagers came to church to organize the food and get it into the baskets? It was one of those moments of great rejoicing over the size of our parishioners’ hearts, including the young hearts.
THANKS – for Our Advent Giving Tree – You have already taken 700 gift cards. Another 75 were placed on the Advent giving tree yesterday. So you still have a chance to help. Again, try to imagine the gladness you are bringing to 700 of God’s beloved. Three cheers for you. (Friendly reminder – if you have an Appalachia tag, the gift needs to land at the church by Sunday afternoon)
Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) – How blessed are we to share the mission with our friends at Hillsborough Reformed Church (HRC)? We will once again be helping to staff the IHN’s shelter for homeless families when it moves to HRC for the week of December 9-15. Thanks to Sid Lentz for rounding up our share of the volunteers and thanks to Sue Calamoneri for all of her great efforts. If you can help, email Sue at email@example.com
THIS WEEK IN COMMUNITY:
Our Thanksgiving Gatherings – The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving was a wonderful night to be in church. What a treat it was to spend time with the tailgate crowd in the Hospitality Room. Just right. And what a blessing it was to see so many of our young people at the Youth Group Reunion in the parish hall. That was almost a little challenging to take in – all these kids home from college and their first stop was . . . church. Wow. And WOW about our Youth Minister, Bob Ferretti, who does such great work with our young people. Again. Think about that one. They come home from college and head right for church.
Put your church on your tree! – Starting this weekend, you can purchase a very special ornament for your tree – a delicate metal cut-out of the parish itself. The ornaments are being sold for $5 – which is just about exactly the cost of production.
Becca’s Friend’s Cards – Our Becca’s Friends Ministry – the parish recreational group for young adults with special needs – will be selling cards in the gathering space and at the pancake breakfast. All proceeds help pay for people with special needs to spend time at the ARC of Somerset’s Camp Jotoni.
New Banners – Thanks to Kevin Lee for designing the banners on the parish’s light posts. The banners will be green for ordinary time, purple for Advent and Lent and white for Christmas and Easter. Notice the three designs. One depicts the bread and the wine. Another depicts the bible. The third portrays the Holy Spirit on the waters of baptism. Thanks to Kevin for designing them and to Carl Panzera and George Putvinski for helping to install them.
CCD Parents – Remember parents – if your child will making first reconciliation this Spring, please come to one of the parent meetings -- either December 3 or December 4. Both meetings are at 7:30 in the church.
Financial Report – Enclosed in this week’s bulletin you will find the summary of our 2017/18 fiscal year. You have done another wonderful job of supporting our parish. We paid all our bills, including some large capital improvement bills, gave staff raises, expanded some programs, and we still had $3,000 left over to put in the bank. Good for you.
Grace Signaigo’s Bequest – The financial summary also reminds us of Mrs. Grace Signaigo’s extraordinary gift to our parish. Her gift increases our confidence that future generations of parishioners will belong to a financially sound parish. Good for Grace.
With all best blessings for you and hoping to see you in the pancake line –
Oxford defines “hope” as “the feeling or the wish that a desired good can be achieved.”
The virtue of hope gives us the conviction that the ultimate good, eternal life, can be achieved. The virtue of hope enables us to trust that Jesus keeps all his promises, including the promises he made about the possibilities of eternal life. Sunday’s readings for the Feast of Christ the King sharpen our focus on eternal life and on our conviction that we can reach it.
Sunday’s first reading comes from the book of Daniel, a book written in the second century BC about events that might have happened during the sixth century BC. The author of Daniel wrote the book to remind his second century BC audience that they too could withstand the persecutions they were enduring. One of his most encouraging messages was that God will send an agent to end their misery and to establish a never-ending kingdom. As Christians, we know that Jesus is the one who will establish that never-ending kingdom, who is “the one like a Son of man” who will receive “dominion, glory, and kingship.” We know that Jesus will have “an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away” and that “his kingship shall not be destroyed.” We are convinced of that precisely because God has blessed us with the virtue of hope. Hope gives us the conviction that God keeps his promises, including His promise about the never-ending kingdom of light, happiness, and peace.
Sunday’s second reading, from the first chapter of Revelation, addresses the same belief. When John, the author of Revelation speaks of Jesus as “the alpha and the omega,” he is speaking of Jesus as the one who always was and who, when he returns, will reign forever.
The gospel passage from John’s 18th chapter describes Jesus’ conversation with Pilate. Jesus makes it very clear that his kingdom “does not belong to this world,” that it is unlike every other kingdom. As Christians, we know that one of his kingdom’s distinguishing features is that it will never end. Once he returns, he will reign over the earth “without end” in that kingdom of light happiness and peace. We know that, we trust that, we look forward to that – precisely because God has endowed us with the virtue of hope.
The virtue of hope (which enables us to believe that heaven will happen) is both like and unlike our feelings of hope. We know from experience that feelings of hope sometimes lead to disappointment, that we sometimes have the feeling or wish that some good thing can be achieved and then it is not achieved. The beloved dies. The job offer goes to another. The relationship withers. Our physical or financial health deteriorate. These experiences of dashed feelings of hope have a way of eroding our virtue of hope. If we cannot trust the Lord in little matters how can we trust him in great matters? The disappointments arising from unrealized hopes can make us wonder if Christ really will be the King forever if we truly will spend eternity with God and our beloved.
Might frank conversation with Jesus help when the disintegration of feelings of hope make it hard to trust that heaven will really happen? Might it help to recall the candid conversations Martha and Mary had with Jesus when their fervent hope for their brother’s survival came to naught? What about spilling it all out to Jesus and naming the ways in which disappointment erodes hope.
And what about others? Are there people in your life who have been through the wringer and find it hard to trust that the virtue of hope – with its conviction about eternal life – makes sense? Is there someone in your life who just needs you to listen to their story, just listen, in a way that enables them to regain hope, to regain the conviction that Jesus loves them and will be their king forever?