This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - March 15, 2019


This Week – March 15, 2019

Dear All:

Christ’s peace.

I look forward to seeing many of you on Saturday morning at our Lenten Morning of Recollection for volunteers from every parish ministry. And whether that gathering is part of your plans, I hope your Lent is continuing down consoling paths of self-denial and of next steps in prayer, service and community-formation. Good stuff.


  • Monday Evening Mass – Sorry the announcements about the additional Monday evening Mass didn’t come out until Sunday. But there will be an additional Mass during Lent – at 6:15 p.m. Monday evening – for those who would like to participate in an additional Mass during Lent, but who cannot get to the 8:35 a.m. It was good to celebrate Mass with Monday evening’s cheery group and it will be good to share the prayer with a few more people this Monday. 

  • The Little Black Books (LBBs) – Most of the special stash of LBBs will be on the Moses table this weekend. Thanks for taking only one per household up until now. Now that we have provided time for every household to secure one, we can make more available to those who are sharing LBBs at home. Enjoy them and keep praying. What is your favorite passage so far?

  • Stations of the Cross – What a consolation it was to learn that we had sizeable groups, both in the morning and the evening, praying the Stations last Friday. Feeling the urge? Join the prayer! 

Sunday’s Homily March 10, 2019 – First Sunday of Lent
A Deeper Our Father? Part 1: “THY Will Be Done” or “MY Will Be Done?
To listen to Sunday’s homily, click here.To read a summary of it, go to the bottom of this page.


  • Ministry Morning of Recollection – Tomorrow – The gathering begins with Mass at 8:35. We then migrate down to the Parish Hall for coffee, carbs and chat time. My talk will last 30-40 minutes and will be followed by two rounds of conversation for people in your ministry. It will be lunchtime before you know it and then time to go home and gussy up for your St. Patrick’s celebrations. As always, many folks must choose which of their multiple ministries to spend the morning. The good news is that there is plenty of time to extend the conversations during breaks and lunch. It will be good to be together.

  • Caregivers Morning of Recollection – Last Saturday – What a terrific bunch! Great thanks to the highly dedicated organizers and to the speakers who provided a consoling and informative morning for more than 60 caregivers. Many of those caregivers are Saint Joe’s parishioners and many came from other parishes and other faiths. People also came from a wide array of caregiving situations. Some are caring for spouses, others for parents or children or siblings or other loved ones. It was a blessing to reassure our caregivers that they are appreciated and loved.

  • The Parish Meals Ministry – Thanks again to the 15 cooks who answered the call to help our parish meals ministry. We have regained our ability to balance demand and supply! Extra thanks to the ministry leader Lee Parasol. If you or another parishioner is in a difficult period, especially if you are undergoing demanding medical treatments, please let your parish help. Contact Lee at or call the church office.

  • Young Adults and Corned Beef ― Our recently launched Young Adult Ministry (think 21 to 40 year- olds) will be making a Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner for Elijah's Promise Soup Kitchen on Saturday, March 16 at 1:30 in the St. Joe's kitchen. If you are actually in that age group (don’t just wish you were) join the cooks in the kitchen. It is an excellent project and a great way to serve and connect. If you would like to learn more, email Bob Ferretti at 

  • The Bishop’s Annual Appeal – This weekend is the “In-pew” weekend for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. Part of the homily time will be devoted to viewing Bishop Checchio’s message and to filling out the pledge cards. Once again, if this is a rotten financial year for you, do not worry about the Appeal. Give a dollar or two to help increase our participation rate. If it is a good financial year, do what you can – and then some. The Appeal funds greatly inspired and inspiring works.


  • Where You Sit – Now that we know how to describe our respective sections/folds, the next step will be to make our sections/folds a bit more familiar. Stay tuned.

  • Mark Your Calendars – We are moving into the peak season for Fellowship Events:

    • Our Annual Fish Fry with Irish Dancers – Friday, March 22.

    • An Evening of Praise and Worship with Rea Larangeira – Saturday, March 30

    • Trivia Night – Friday, April 5

    • Parish Spring Cleaning – Saturday, April 27

    • The Gubitosi Golf Classic – Monday, April 29

Your Pastor’s Brag – 

  • John Reilly’s Blood – John (9:30, S 1 or 11:30, S 1) has very unusual and appealing blood. His type is O-, a type that anyone in the world can receive. It is extremely valuable blood, but only 7% of the world’s population has O- blood. John feels strongly about giving his blood to others. He is particularly eager to share his platelets, which aid in clotting and are particularly helpful to people in treatment for various forms of cancer and for accident victims. John has already donated more than 125 times and continues to do so. Three cheers for O negative and attitude positive.

  • Rowan de Wet Wrestles on the Frontier – Girl’s wrestling is a new thing and new to the area. Earlier this month, fifth-grader Rowan de Wet (11:30, S 6) won second place in her division at the statewide match, the “Wrestle Like A Girl Challenge” in Bound Brook. This was the first time the girls-only statewide competition was held. It attracted 70 athletes, including Rowan. How excellent that Rowan is out there on the athletic frontiers and doing so well.

  • Maritza Arango Teaches above and beyond – Maritza (9:30, S4) was recently selected for special recognition by the South Brunswick Board of Education. Teachers can only receive this award if a student writes a very persuasive letter about the teacher. Keep up the great teaching Maritza. What profession is more important than yours?

    Please email me some of the good news you know about parishioners for “The Pastors Brag.

With gratitude and all best blessings,
Fr Hank

March 10, 2019 – First Sunday of Lent
A Deeper Our Father? 

Part 1: “THY Will Be Done” or “MY Will Be Done?

Lent’s scripture readings invite reflection on that most familiar of all prayers, the Our Father. The readings that lead us further into the Our Father help us take a very valuable next step in prayer.

Each synoptic gospel (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) describes the temptations as events that occurred immediately after Jesus’ baptism. Jesus went from the unimaginable consolation of hearing the Father’s affirmation to the inconceivable desolation of confrontation with Satan. The abruptness of that transition boggles the mind. So does the content of the temptations.
In Sunday’s gospel (Luke 4), the second temptation is the one in which Satan promises to give Jesus power over the whole earth if only Jesus will worship Satan. Of course, Jesus refuses, rebutting Satan with another quote from Deuteronomy “It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God and him alone shall you serve.” Jesus will have none of it.
But, because it was a temptation, there were aspects of the proposition that Jesus found attractive, at least until he thought it through. To what human does the prospect of greater influence not hold some appeal? Who doesn’t want things to go their way? Would the ability to call the shots all around the planet not appeal to each of us, including Jesus? One need not be a control freak to enjoy that prospect.
The Our Father teaches us the main drawback to possessing that power. The Lord’s Prayer instructs us to tell God “Thy kingdom come” and “Thy will be done” not “my will” or “my kingdom.” If Jesus had succumbed to that temptation, he would have been ditching “Thy will be done” and “Thy kingdom come” and adopting “My kingdom come” and “My will be done.” Succumbing to that temptation would have been incompatible with the prayer he taught us, with the life he lived, and with his own prayer on the night before he died, “Let not my will but thine be done.” He felt the urge to seek “my kingdom” and “my will” but ultimately chose “thy kingdom” and “thy will.”
What about you? You have surely imitated Jesus’s choice. There have been moments when you felt inclined to impose your will on a situation and then your good angels persuaded you to choose God’s hopes. Maybe you were thinking of retaliating, and then recalled that doing so insulted God. Maybe you were trying to force someone to make the choice you wanted them to make, and then you thought of God’s hopes and changed your approach. Maybe you were determined to think only of yourself when making a choice that affected many and then Christ’s light went off in your heart? You have surely felt the urge to seek your will and then regained your spiritual wits and prayed earnestly “Thy kingdom come” and “Thy will be done.” When have you imitated Jesus in facing down that temptation? And maybe just maybe where do you need to check in on your thy/my balance now?