This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - June 28, 2019


This Week – June 28, 2019

Dear All:

Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart. I love this feast and everything it expresses about Jesus’ love. His love for you is not some tired, old, grudging, deflated, off-the-rack thing. His love for you is freely chosen, energetic, personalized, and celebratory. The same is true of his love for every one of our parishioners and for all people. He loves you with an infinite, personal love. Savor that truth!


  • FATHER MICHAEL’S ORDINATION AND FIRST MASS – A hearty thanks to all who participated in Fr. Michael’s ordination last Saturday. I hope you came away from the cathedral with a greatly inspired heart and with a deeper understanding of the ordained priest’s ministry. GREAT thanks to the dozens of people who pitched in to make Fr. Michael’s first Mass beautiful and inspiring. More GREAT thanks too to the many who organized the reception. It was a ton of work and your effort was a gift to many. (Click here to listen to a recording of the mass).

  • READINGS FOR SUNDAY AND DAILY MASSES – One of the very best ways to “get more out of Mass” is to take a few minutes to read the day’s readings – before you come to Mass. One of the easiest ways to do that is to bookmark the readings provided by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Pay a visit to and poke around the calendar and the indices.

  • HOLYDAY MASS TIMES? – Do we need to tweak our Holyday Mass times? The 8:35 am seems about right but the times of the evening Masses (the Vigil Mass and the actual Holyday Mass) might need some adjusting. Several people have suggested that the current arrangement for evening Masses – 7:30 pm for both the Vigil and the Holyday is a problem. So – how about changing one of the evening Masses from 7:30 PM to either 5:00 PM or 7:00 PM? Preference cards will be on the Moses table this weekend and next. Please check the appropriate boxes, sign your name and put the card in the Communications Box. We will only consider the signed cards. These Mass times are not a giant issue, at all. It is just that enough people have mentioned it to raise the question.

  • RELIQUARY CASE – Our parish has been blessed with a small number of relics of canonized saints. If we were to build a small reliquary (a case that holds relics), where should we put it? In the Blessed Sacrament chapel? In the main church? Elsewhere? We will supply those preference cards in a few weeks.

Sunday's HomilyJune 23, 2019 — Corpus Christi Sunday
Millstone Missionaries Say, Part III: “Your talents matter.”
To listen to Sunday’s homily, click here.To read a summary of it, go to the bottom of this page.


SUMMER SERVICE TRIPS – Say some extra prayers for both of the upcoming service trips:

  • Young Adults – Seventeen of our college students, along with five chaperones leave next Saturday July 6 at 3:00 am, for a week of service in San Juan, Texas. They will be spending some long days at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center. God bless all 22 of our parishioners.

  • High School Students – Twenty-six high school students and five chaperones leave on Sunday July 21, at 7:00 am, for Oil City, Pennsylvania. Catholic Charities will also play a major role in this trip, deploying students throughout the area. Many will be working on home repairs for low-income senior citizens. Several others will be sprucing up day care centers where children from low-income families spend their days.

How great is it to be part of a parish with such highly involved young people? All best blessings for our student workers. May your trips be exceptional experiences of prayer, service and community that help you to become even more exemplary priests, prophets and kings.

Extra special blessings for the chaperones – many of whom are using their vacation time to make this trip. That’s right. They are spending their vacations working their tails off, sleeping on gym floors, eating what’s available and providing our young people with extraordinary examples of Christian dedication to prayer, service and community. And as always, boundless thanks to Bob Ferretti for putting it all together. God works powerfully through all of you.


THE RECORDS UPDATE PROJECT – Did you know that we have 37 parishioners who are 115 years or older? We really don’t but our parish records think we do. And there lies the trouble.

Our Parish Council includes several sub-committees that work hard to improve specific areas of parish life. One of those groups is the Parish Planning Committee. They strive, with impressive results, to understand emerging trends that are influencing parish life – trends such as changes in local demographics, parish membership, age categories of parishioners, participation in ministries, and enrollments in area schools that portend changes in CCD registration. Recent efforts to use our parish records have produced information like the bit about the people who are 115 years old. Our data contains a great deal of flawed information. It doesn’t allow us to gather the information we need to understand our parish more fully.

Three of our parishioners have been working very hard with the diocesan IT people and with the firm that provides the database all parishes in this diocese use. We are making some progress.

Meanwhile, we are working to update all parish records. We were fortunate to recruit Kelly Mackiw to spend a few weeks this summer working on the project. Kelly was baptized in our parish hall and will be a senior at King’s College (University of London) in September. Kelly is packaging all our parish records and will get them ready to supply to you. Stay tuned – you will soon be hearing more about how to update your records. We hope the update will not require more than 5-10 minutes from each family. Kelly will assemble all the records this summer and you will be asked to update them in a few months. Thanks in advance for helping out. The goal is simple – a better handle on the next steps God is asking us to take.

Your Pastor’s Brag

DANCE! DANCE! DANCE! – Congratulations and great blessings for nine-year-old Juliana Skolnick (9:30 S2). Juliana received a platinum rating and placed in the top ten dancers for her solo, Lyrical Dance, at the National Dance Competitions held in Cape May on June 25. Juliana is the daughter of Judie and Josh Skolnick (9:30 S2) and the granddaughter of Barbara and Jim Paterno (you guessed it, also 9:30 S2) Congratulations to Juliana and all who have supported her development as a dance star.


May God bless our nation as we celebrate Independence Day and may God bless you and your nearest and dearest and whatever you have planned for July 4. May your love of country grow even deeper. May your fireworks be extra bright. And may your dog not get too wigged out by all the noise! With continued blessings and gratitude for all,

Fr Hank

June 23, 2019 — Corpus Christi Sunday
Millstone Missionaries Say, Part III: “Your talents matter.”

God blesses each of us with special abilities. Each of us, by virtue of our baptism, receives special talents. St. Paul puts it eloquently in a passage we recently heard: “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” Notice “to each.” NO exceptions.

Paul does not suggest that every gift and talent will be a crowd pleaser. Not every gift yields great interest or excitement. Most gifts of the Spirit do not work that way. Some do. Most do not. Sunday’s readings call our attention to the all-important low-profile gifts God distributes quite widely. Those readings remind each of us, “Your talents matter.”

Melchizedek, Abraham’s co-star in the first reading (Genesis 14), continues to mystify us. He speaks a total of 26 words, yet he is heralded in the Psalms and emerges as a major hero in the letter to the Hebrews. Melchizedek does not join the battle that sets up his encounter with Abraham and, despite his title, he lacks local status. But he does have one important talent. He sees that Abraham is a very special man and he (Melchizedek) gives him gifts of bread and wine. Local tradition reserved those gifts for exceptional leaders. Melchizedek’s treatment of Abraham thus signals to the locals and to Abraham himself that God had special plans for Abraham. Melchizedek’s inspired intuition might have registered as a minor talent, but it made a big difference.

The same is true of the disciples in Sunday’s gospel (Luke 9). The crowds that come to see Jesus overwhelm the neighborhood’s hospitality infrastructure. The locals cannot begin to feed and shelter 5,000 men and their traveling companions. The disciples want Jesus to dismiss the crowds but Jesus refuses. He tells the disciples, “Give them some food yourselves” and then enables them to do so. Jesus uses his dazzling talent to multiply the fish and the loaves. The disciples then use their less flashy gifts to complete the miracle. They use their faith to follow Jesus’ orders. They use their physical stamina to feed 5,000+ people. They use their remaining energy to clean up. The disciples’ gifts might not have earned headlines all around Galilee, but God used their gifts in marvelous ways. Their talents mattered.

What about you? What are some of the lower profile talents God has given you? Chances are pretty good that you have become so used to them that you don’t frequently notice them. When considering the gift-inventory, it can be helpful to think of our fundamental roles as priests, prophets and kings – the roles into which we were all anointed at our baptisms?

What about your priestly gifts? Your ability to pray? Your God-given knacks for speaking to God and listening to God? What gifts delight you and God the most? Perhaps you have been given the gift of great perseverance in prayer? Maybe you keep petitioning God when answers are slow to come? Maybe you keep contemplating the scripture even when God seems not to be speaking to you? Maybe you are a brilliant steward of your prayer list? Maybe you perceive the deeper truths of the Eucharist or the other sacraments? What are your special prayer talents? Are you clear that they matter?

How about your prophetic gifts? Your abilities to console others and to challenge others? Maybe you have an exceptional gift to “speak to the weary the word that can rouse them?” Perhaps you can challenge others in ways that enable them to keep trusting that they are loved AND that God is inviting them to follow new paths? Are you good at challenging or consoling one subset of the population? What are your special prophetic talents? Are you clear that they matter?

Finally, what are your kingly talents? Are you particularly good at encouraging the original formation of communities? Are you better at stewarding communities once they are up and running? Are you the life of the party? The voice of reason? Are you wonderful at forging new paths? At keeping the home fires burning? What are your special kingly talents? Do you trust that they matter?

Last thought. Who in your orbit has lost sight of their special talents? Who needs to be reminded that they have gifts to offer and that those gifts matter? No exceptions. Is it someone who has grown weary? Been disappointed? Who needs to hear, “Your talents matter”?