This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - July 5, 2019


Special Edition: Graduation Days

This Week – July 5, 2019
Dear All:

‘Tis the season – for the Fourth of July and for graduations. What a mighty and loving God we worship, a God who gave us the people that gave us our country – the same God who gave all our graduates the grace to succeed. What a mighty God we serve!


The very impressive list below tells only a very small part of each student’s beautiful story. It indicates merely the school from which they have graduated and the adventure into which they are heading. The list doesn’t mention each student’s academic achievements, athletic accomplishments or artistic triumphs. Neither does it mention each student’s many successes that are grist for private reflection rather than public acclamation – wins like personal victories over formidable challenges, perseverance in prayer, generosity in service or selflessness in building up various communities. We would surely need many special editions of “This Week” to accommodate all that good news. May God continue to bless our high school graduates, especially as they head into their new adventures.
PS – A word of unsolicited advice to our recent grads from Fr. Hank [aka “Professor Hilton”] – For those of you who are going to college – I hope you have more fun than you have ever had, that you go to weird restaurants, stay up talking all night and read big fat books just because. And keep in mind that your first four weeks on campus are exceptionally important. Exceptionally. Without even realizing it, you will make many choices that will influence your four years. You will decide if you are truly going to use your intellectual gifts, if you are truly seeking an inspired balance in life, and if you are truly leaning on God. My suggestion? Especially for the first four weeks, maybe until mid-terms – study like your life depended on it, make mature choices about the study/play balance, and get to Mass every Sunday. That strategy will get you to a most excellent plateau. On that plateau, you can freely assess your successes, challenges and aspirations. That strategy will not dump you into Columbus Day in a state of shocked regret, dreading the moment when progress reports reach home. Come back glad about your choices. The people in your parish are pulling for you.

  • Julia Allan, Hillsborough HS, attending James Madison

  • Christina Androulakis, Hillsborough HS, attending Monmouth

  • Maryrose Angelo, Hillsborough HS, attending Coastal Carolina

  • Tyler Bales, Hillsborough HS, attending TCNJ

  • Joseph Peter Bijas, Hillsborough HS, attending Penn State

  • Jacqueline Brilliant, HHS & SC VoTech, attending Culinary Institute of America

  • Sean Cavanaugh, Hillsborough HS, attending Rider

  • Christopher Cusack, Hillsborough HS, attending Seton Hall

  • Allison Dorrler, Hillsborough HS, attending Kutztown

  • Derek Fenimore, Hillsborough HS, attending Raritan Valley

  • Jordan Gale, Hillsborough HS, attending Fairfield

  • Reilly McHugh, Hillsborough HS, attending Montclair

  • Jenna Mechler, Immaculata HS, attending Tennessee

  • Mika de Wet, Mt. St. Mary, attending Norwich

  • Lucy Faith Anderson, New Vista HS, attending Eckerd

  • Christian Slade Meader, Northern Regional, attending Maryland


Only the graduates themselves know how hard they have worked and how much they have learned and grown. Like the roster of our high-school grads, this list of our college and grad-school grads provides only the barest of glimpses of their academic, athletic, artistic, spiritual, and other personal accomplishments. We would need even more special editions of “This Week” to report all their successes. May God continue to bless our higher education graduates and may God bless them abundantly in their upcoming adventures.
PS – A word of unsolicited advice to our recent higher ed grads from Fr. Hank [aka “Professor Hilton”] – Relax, but not too much. Whatever you do, don’t get stuck on the question “What am I going to do for the rest of my life.” It is a very appealing and a very destructive question. The truth is you are not going to do any one thing for the rest of your life. With brains and backgrounds like yours you should probably count on two adventures in the next few years – a graduate degree and a job. And for those who already have a graduate degree, you too should relax. You will absolutely find the right job – not necessarily the one you have always had in mind, but you will find the right one. Make great use of your free time (no more homework!) and stay in touch with your closest pals from college and grad school. They are an extraordinary gift to you – as you are to them. Keep coming to church and remember – your credentials enable you, in ways you can discover only gradually, to be superb priests, prophets and kings. Our parish and our world are lucky to have you. Soak up the blessings.

  • Chris Aggabao, graduated from Rider with an MFA, pursuing a Piano Career

  • Daniel Ryan Antohi, graduated from Hunter with a degree in Biology/Psych. and will be heading to Medical School

  • Becca Coviello, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America as a Culinary Arts Pastry Chef and will be taking a position as an Executive Pastry Chef

  • Samantha Coviello, graduated from Catholic University of America with a degree in International Economics & Finance, pursuing a career as an International Political Risk Analyst

  • Robert (RJ) Fanelli, graduated from Rowan with a degree in Communication, pursuing a career with the Trenton Thunder

  • Jack Fenimore, graduated from RV with a degree in Criminal Justice and will be going to Rutgers

  • David Michael Fullam, graduated from Hartford with an MBA, pursuing a Career and Marriage!

  • Shannon Gillooly, graduated from Rutgers with a degree in Criminal Justice and will be heading to Law School

  • Kaitlyn Irwin, graduated from Villanova with a degree in Psych/Spanish heading to Occupational Therapy School

  • Alyson Kreideweis, graduated from Rutgers with a degree in Biology going to Veterinary School

  • Sarah Lazaro, graduated from Quinnipiac with a degree in Health Science continuing with Occupational Therapy School

  • Scot Levonaitis, graduated from Ohio State with a degree in Finance, pursuing a career with the PNC Finance Department

  • Nkolika Obi, graduated from Rutgers with a degree in Geology/Biology pursuing a career

  • Anthony Yakely, graduated from Yale with an MPH, pursuing a career in Public Health Career

INDEPENDENCE DAY – May your celebrations of our nation’s freedom be both fun and inspired. We pray for all who have fought for our freedom since the 1770s. First on our list are those who fought in the armed forces. We remember too all those who have, in ways too numerous to count, enriched our love of freedom, our experience of freedom and our determination to stay free.

Best blessings

Fr Hank
June 30, 2019 — Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Interior Freedom, Part I: “The freedom to choose the greater good.”
To listen to Sunday’s homily, click here.To read a summary of it, go to the bottom of this page.

June 30, 2019 — Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Interior Freedom, Part I: “The freedom to choose the greater good.”

Life rarely seems to present us with choices between good and evil. Most of our day-in-and-day-out choices involve two goods, a lesser good, and a greater good. And what makes the greater good greater? The fact that it aligns more closely with God’s desires. Our ability to choose the greater good, once we recognize it, requires a great deal of the interior freedom that God doles out in great abundance.

Elisha required interior freedom to choose the greater good in Sunday’s first reading (1 Kings 19). He was a prosperous farmer. No poor man could have afforded twelve yoke of oxen. He was also a good man. God would not have sent Elijah to recruit a schlump. Elisha’s life was a darned good one. Enviable in fact. Then comes Elijah with his call and his cloak, inviting Elisha to quit his good life and follow him (Elijah) as a sort of executive-vice-prophet. Elisha said yes. He chose the greater good. He chose the path that was more aligned with God’s hopes. Had Elisha lacked interior freedom, had he lacked the ability to let go and follow God, he never would have joined Elijah. Elisha had interior freedom and chose the greater good.

Jesus challenges his would be followers to do the same. Sunday’s gospel (Luke 9) describes two people who wanted to follow Jesus but had to sort through their priorities. Both would-be followers felt the urge to do a good thing, a thing the bible praises. One wanted to bury his father. The other wanted to say “goodbye” to his family. Both would-be followers had to choose between a good deed (follow custom) and the greater good (say “yes” to Jesus’ unconventional request).

Both stories involve people facing a good and a greater good. Both stories come to inspired conclusions only if the person who faces the two goods has the interior freedom to choose the greater good, the one that lines up even more closely with God’s hopes.

What about you? How is it that you are feeling the tug to choose a greater good? Even if that greater good is unfamiliar or potentially unpleasant? Perhaps some of your most important relationships are in good shape and you somehow feel God is calling you to a next step, to a greater good of greater dialogue or candor or selflessness? Perhaps your job is a downright good one, and still, you feel that God might be calling you to a job that involves a greater good, in terms of your family or your personal growth or your friendship with Jesus? Perhaps God is nudging you to revisit your customs concerning summer vacation or the upcoming school year or your choice of major or your preferred sport or artistic medium? Like Elisha, chances are pretty good that what you are doing is very good – and you are being called to an even greater good. Once we get clear on the nature of that greater good, we rely on our interior freedom – our lack of inner constraints that keep us tethered to the currently gratifying – to get us to “yes.” Where are you feeling the nudge? How are you doing on the interior freedom scale?