Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - May 24 Pentecost

Dear Parishioners:

Be sure that you and your intentions were in my thoughts and prayers during the Pilgrimage I just completed.  It was truly an amazing journey.  As far as I can tell so far, things moved along well at St. Timothy in my absence.  I offer thanks to Fr. Bill Faustner and to all the staff and parishioners who held the fort.  Now we are together again and have to be ready to roll.  With the Solemnity of the Ascension last weekend and Pentecost this weekend, we bring to an end our celebration of the Easter Season.  Ordinary time begins, reminding us that as we count the days and weeks of our lives, the Risen Lord is always with us according to His promise through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost is the birthday of the Church.  Through the outpoured Gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus, our Risen Lord, equips His disciples for Mission, the proclamation of the Kingdom to all the nations.  St. Timothy Church and all our members are called to take part in this Mission.  Something new is happening in the Church and we are a part of it.  The invitation is going out to become an Amazing Parish, caught up in wonder and awe at the Presence of God among us, and conscious of our concrete responsibility in the world to build up the Kingdom through living discipleship.  If you have not heard that you are part of this, let the Holy Spirit whisper into your heart now.  You belong.  You have a place.  You have been charged to know the Living God and to share all that He has given to you with the world around you.

Rise up in splendor, People of God, and let the world see the power of the Spirit alive in you.  God has a plan for Peace and Healing in our world.  That plan demands a conversion of heart from each of us, an expansion of our vision to a deep understanding of God’s ways.  As we move into Ordinary Time, let us keep our hearts open and allow God’s Spirit to transform us into the People He calls us to be.

We offer special congratulations to all our graduates at every level of education.  May the achievements we honor now be just the beginning for you.  May your lives be a sign of what God can do in us through Faith.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - May 17 Ascension

Dear Parishioners:

The Ascension of Jesus, which we celebrate today (formerly celebrated on Ascension Thursday), is a great Mystery of the Lord.  It tells us something about God’s plans for our human nature.  Not only does death lose its power through the Resurrection, but, by the action of the Holy Spirit, the Risen Humanity that is given to us through Jesus is taken into the very Heart of Reality, the Life of the Holy Trinity.  Forever, by God’s sheer gift, we are to have a “place” in God in the fullness of Life.  It is beyond our understanding.  That is the nature of a Mystery.

While it might seem that this deep truth could move us to keep our “heads in the clouds,” on the contrary, it invites us to become more deeply involved in the things of earth, because it reveals them to have infinite value.  Through the Ascension, the Spirit took the “stuff” of this world into God.  The transformation of mortality into immortality, earthly flesh into Heavenly glory, is what the Ascension accomplishes.  We are invited to participate in the very transformation of the cosmos by our commitment to follow the path Jesus Christ mapped out for us:  “Men of Galilee, why gaze in wonder at the heavens? This Jesus whom you saw ascending into heaven will return as you saw him go.”  (Acts 1:11)  Our earthly journey is destined to lead to glory for us and for the world.

Next weekend, Pentecost Sunday, we come to the conclusion of the Easter Season.  The 50 Days of Easter serve to deepen our awareness of the power of the Holy Spirit.  As we prepare for Pentecost, we join the whole Church in prayer: “Come, Holy Spirit.”  May our hearts be open to discover what God wants to accomplish among us as we continue the earthly portion of our journey.  The Spirit reveals that God has amazing things in store for us.  What do you see unfolding around us?  How are you responding to the Spirit’s call in your heart?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - May 3 & May 10

Dear Parishioners:

Today, our Josephinum Seminarians and our Parish Evangelization Committee conclude this year’s efforts to take the Gospel to the streets of our parish territory.  They had a fruitful day April 19 and their effort today is promising.  They remind us of two important facts about our life in the Church: First, we are disciples, not consumers.  Our duty is to share the Faith concretely and to find ways to allow others to know our joy in it.  Second, we are charged with the responsibility of bringing Christ to those in our parish territory.  The boundaries of St. Timothy are not boundaries that keep others out (many of you live outside our official territory).  Rather, they are an entrustment of all the people who live in our neighborhood to us, whether they are Catholic or not.  We need to let them know we are hear and are holding them and their needs in our prayers.  Will you consider joining the Evangelizers today?  If you cannot walk with them, remember them in your prayers.

As you know, this week and next I will be leading a pilgrimage to several sites in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy.  The bookends of our journey are Fatima and Turin.  Along the way, we will visit locations associated with our Blessed Mother and with many Saints who have taught us about the spiritual journey, as well as places connected with the history of the Church.  It promises to be an enlightening experience.  I have personally never been to most of these shrines and I look forward to learning more about our Faith.

I offer you the itinerary of our pilgrimage day by day so you can follow us along in prayer:

Day 1 – Monday May 4: We depart U.S.A.   Our pilgrimage begins today as we depart on our overnight flight to Portugal.

Day 2 – Tuesday May 5: Arrive Lisbon / Fatima.  After a morning arrival in Lisbon, we will meet our knowledgeable local escort who will be with us throughout our stay.   Begin our drive north stopping in Santarem to visit the Church of St. Stephen, famous for its venerated relic, "the Bleeding Host". Then on to Fatima, one of the world's most important Marian Shrines.

Day 3 – Wednesday May 6: Fatima. Today we will celebrate Mass on the spot where Our Lady appeared at the Chapel of Apparitions. Visit the Basilica to see the site of Francisco and Jacinta's graves and then on to the hamlet of Aljustrel where the three children lived during the Apparitions. Continue to Valinhos, the site where Our Lady appeared following the children's release from prison. This evening participate in the Stations of the Cross along the Via Sacra, site of the first Apparition.

Day 4 – Thursday May 7: Fatima / Salamanca.  This morning we leave Portugal for Spain. En route we will stop in Coimbra, a famous university town, to visit the Convent of Santa Clara La Nova where sister Lucia resided until her death in 2005. We continue on across the Portuguese-Spanish border to Salamanca, one of Spain's foremost cultural centers, a great university city and a showcase of intricately sculpted Renaissance architecture in golden stone. Visit the Plaza Mayor, which is regarded as one of the most attractive squares in Spain, and the Cathedrals Vieja and Nueva.

Day 5 – Friday May 8: Salamanca / Burgos.  After breakfast depart Salamanca for the walled city of Avila, the birthplace of St. Theresa. Visit the Monastery of the Incarnation where St. Teresa spent many years of her life, then to the Monastery of St. Joseph, herfirst foundation. Continue to Segovia where we will visit the great Gothic Cathedral, the extraordinary Alcazar fortress, the splendid Roman Aqueduct, and the tomb of St. John of the Cross. Drive on to Burgos, the cradle of Castille and the gothic capital of Spain, for overnight.

Day 6 – Saturday May 9: Burgos / Azpeitia.  This morning we will have a guided city tour of Burgos including the famous Burgos Cathedral, the third largest church of  Spain and one of the country's most magnificent for its beautiful Spanish gothic style. Its construction was carried out in stages over three centuries and involved many of the greatest artists and architects of Europe. We will also visit the Arco de Santa Maria, the Old Town, and the Abbey of Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas. After Mass at the Abbey we will drive to Azpeitia for overnight.

Day 7 – Sunday May 10: Azpeitia / Lourdes. Following breakfast drive to Oñati to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Aranzazu and after a guided tour proceed to Loyola. Here, in 1491 Iñigo Lopez de Loyola Oñaz was born in the Castle of Loyola. We know him as St. Ignatius of Loyola. Visit and celebrate Mass at San Ignacio Basilica where our Lady appeared with the Christ child to St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuit
order. Then drive across the Spanish-French border to Lourdes, one of the great pilgrimage shrines in the world. It was here where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette in 1858 proclaiming herself the "Immaculate Conception".

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers, Grandmother and Godmothers!

Day 8 – Monday May 11: Lourdes. We have all day to experience the special atmosphere of this beautiful town. Attend Mass at the Grotto of Massabielle, visit the Basilica of St. Pius X, see the house where Bernadette lived during the Apparitions, and visit several of the sites where miraculous cures have taken place. After dinner, join the candlelight procession.

Day 9 – Tuesday May 12: Lourdes / Avignon. After Mass depart Lourdes for Avignon which is often referred to as the "City of Popes" because it was the seat of the Papacy during the Catholic Schism from 1309 to 1377 instead of Rome. Upon arrival we will visit the impressive Palais des Papes (Papal Palace) before checking into our hotel.

Day 10 – Wednesday May 13: Avignon / Turin.  After Mass this morning we will depart Avignon and drive along the French Riviera to Nice for a panoramic view of this
beautiful resort. Continue on to the Principality of Monaco and enjoy a visit of Monte Carlo. Then continue our drive across the French-Italian border to Turin for overnight.

Day 11 – Thursday May 14: Turin / Milan. Today we will view the Shroud of Turin in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The Shroud is said to be the burial cloth of Christ and it bears the distinct image of a crucified man. We will have what is perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the Shroud. After viewing the Shroud we will enjoy a tour of the city including visits to the Palazzo Real, Palazzo Madama, and Mole Antonelliana. Then depart Turin and drive to Milan for overnight.

Day 12 – Friday May 15: Milan / U.S.A. This morning we will transfer to the airport to catch our return flight home.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - April 26 Good Shepherd Sunday

Dear Parishioners:

We are a very active community.  The Spring calendar fills up so quickly.  In a short time we will be finishing up another academic year an moving into the Summer.  As this happens, let us take the time to be sure that we are centered on what is most important.  Every decision we make is a revelation about what we hold most dear.  God ought to have first place in our lives.  Church, Family, Friends and all those entrusted to us by our vocation and by God are next.  Then come work and leisure pursuits.  Living in a world that has long taught us “looking out for number one,” meaning myself and my own desires and interests, my wants and my preferences, it is hard for us to think differently.

Good Shepherd Sunday reminds us that Jesus is our Shepherd and it is His responsibility to lead us.  We are to follow and hear His voice.  If we listen to Him, we will discover that He has a plan that will lead us all to green pastures.

This weekend, we congratulate our First Holy Communion Class who received Jesus for the first time in the Holy Eucharist on Saturday afternoon.  May they always know the joy of the Gift of Jesus as the Bread of Life.  May their families work diligently to ensure that these children may receive Holy Communion every Sunday and so grow in their love for the Lord Who hides Himself under the forms of bread and wine.

All are invited to make plans for May as a month of Marian Devotion.  Pray the Rosary.  Sign up to welcome the pilgrim statue of Our Lady into your home.  Learn a new Marian prayer.  Create a May altar.  Do something beautiful to acknowledge our Heavenly Mother for her prayer and intercession in your life.

As you make plans for the summer and next year, keep your priorities straight and let God lead you to the life He has in store for you.  We are destined to live forever!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - April 19

Dear Parishioners:

This weekend, on Sunday afternoon, our Parish Evangelization Committee and a team Seminarians of the Pontifical College Josephinum will be doing their Evangelization Walk in our neighborhood.  All are invited to keep this in mind, either to join as part of the team or to be “prayer warriors” who give them a boost of the Spirit through your intercession.  We are taking to heart Pope Francis’ call to take Christ to those who live around us.

Many parishes of the Diocese of Columbus, including St. Timothy Church, will be participating in The Amazing Parish Conference, taking place in Denver this week.  This was made possible by a grant from The Catholic Foundation.  Several members of our community will be attending together: Fr. Tim Hayes, Rita Feige, George Mosholder, Mary Ballantyne, and Kathy Lutter.  Represented among these are Parish Pastoral Ministry, Religious Education, St. Timothy School, St. Timothy Alumni, St. Timothy Revolution Youth, and St. Timothy Women’s Club, and the various Parish Ministries at the Altar.  The conference will give us and opportunity to hear what is going on in the most dynamic parishes in our nation.  Pray for us this week!  May we return renewed and energized to continue our path to growth along the spiritual journey we share in the Risen Lord.

Next weekend, on Saturday, April 25, our First Communion Class will be receiving Jesus for the first time in the Eucharist.  They are very excited.  Their whole year has been a build-up to this highlight.  May we take the opportunity to renew our own zeal for the Lord as He nourishes us with His Body and Blood.

Before we know it, Graduation season and the end of another academic year will be here.  May these final days before the Summer serve to renew our commitment to learn our Faith and to put it into practice for all the world to see.  The Risen Lord is counting on us to share the Good News of His Resurrection by the way we live.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - April 12, 2015 Divine Mercy Sunday

Dear Parishioners:

Divine Mercy Sunday is a wonderful celebration that deepens our understanding of the Glory of Easter.  As the Octave, that is, the 8th Day, of Easter, it is the culmination of the Easter Proclamation.  The promise of Mercy gives us room to become a People united in Faith who have come to trust more fully in God’s promises.

Pope Saint John Paul II, inspired by Saint Faustina Kowalska, declared this Feast of Mercy.  His own day of death was on the vigil of the Feast.  Now, Pope Francis is taking the opportunity of this Feast to use to formally declare the “Year of Mercy” that will be observed from December 8, 2015 (the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception), until November 20, 2016 (the Solemnity of Christ the King).  Mercy is clearly the theme for our times.

How do you understand Mercy?  There are two aspects.  First, mercy is given to those in need of forgiveness.  It creates room for repentance and renewal.  Second, mercy is the response of those who know the Love of God to give room to all who have not yet understood.  It invites in those who have been kept “outside” for whatever reason.

St. Timothy Parish will experience the Feast of Mercy through the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at all our weekend Masses and by a special time of Adoration and Prayer following the Noon Mass today.  The Sacrament of Confession will be available during the time of Adoration.  The Divine Mercy Chaplet and Benediction will conclude the celebration.  All are invited to open their hearts to Mercy and to share Mercy with others.

Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord, is the Lord of Mercy.  He breaks through all barriers and reveals the Love of God offered to all who are in need of His Mercy.  May we trust in Him and lead others to the Fount of Mercy.

Thanks to all who participated in the events of Lent and Easter.  We have now entered into the Easter Season.  It lasts until Pentecost.  Let us learn to be docile to the Holy Spirit Who makes known to us the Love and Mercy of God poured out in Jesus the Risen Lord. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - April 5, 2015 Easter

Dear Parishioners and Easter Sunday Guests:

Happy Easter!  Jesus Christ is Risen, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

As we celebrate the Good News of the Resurrection of Jesus, we are invited to realize that what God has accomplished in Him, by the power of the same Spirit Who raised Jesus from the dead, He will do also for us.  We are destined to a Life beyond this life and that makes all the difference.

The Resurrection of Jesus is not one of those “feel good” stories that we can only wish would be true.  It is the Story that is “more true” than all the others.  It is the Story that tells us that our lives have a purpose and a meaning so that we can put our trust in life itself and in the God Who created us.  The Resurrection of Jesus and the consequences that flow from it show us the plan God has had in mind for us from the moment He created us.

Putting our Faith in Jesus the Risen Lord is the best response of our human nature.  Hope and a capacity to love with God’s own Love are ours through this Faith.  People of Faith are called to serve the Risen Lord as witnesses to the Resurrection now more than ever.  How does your Faith that God raised Jesus from the dead change the way you view what happens in the world?  Are you able to see beyond the troubles of the present circumstances in which we live to the Life beyond life that is opened to us through the Resurrection of Jesus?

As we live the Easter Season, the fifty days that now unfold ahead of us, let us continue to grow in our capacity for an ever deeper understanding of our Faith.  This is the Season of the Holy Spirit.  May we be docile to the Spirit Who raised Jesus from the dead and so be formed by the New Life that is poured into our hearts through Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord.

Please keep me in your prayers during Easter Week.  I will be taking my annual retreat.  This year, I am joining priests who are members of the Focolare Movement at Mariapolis Luminosa in Hyde Park, New York.  The spirituality of the Focolare is one of Unity.  Pray that we may all grow into the Unity of mind and heart the Risen Lord wills for us as we seek to follow Him through Faith.  Come, Holy Spirit!