Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - January 31

Dear Parishioners:

We now move into a discussion of the Spiritual Works of Mercy

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are acts of compassion by which we help our neighbors with their emotional and spiritual needs.  The first two are:

·       counsel the doubtful
·       instruct the ignorant

Human beings are made up of Body, Mind and Spirit.  When we attend to the needs of the body, our minds and our spirits are also involved.  Similarly, when our attention is focused on our mental and spiritual selves, there is an effect on our bodily selves.  We feel better when our whole person is engaged.  Doubt and ignorance can get in the way of our functioning.  To fulfill the spiritual works of mercy of counseling the doubtful and instructing the ignorant is to offer an opportunity for the Gospel to touch the whole human being.  We make ourselves available to God to be used for the good of others.

            The doubtful are those for whom a stumbling block has been put in the way as they seek to open their hearts to Faith.  To have a doubt is not the same as to have a question.  Questions about Faith are important because they free us to make Faith our own.  Doubts, on the other hand, stand directly in the way of our surrender to Faith.  To offer counsel, advice, a new way of seeing to someone who has doubts is a way of evangelizing.  Listening to what stands in the way for others and being willing to share our own journey of Faith as a way of removing stumbling blocks is truly a spiritual action and a work that allows Mercy to touch those we encounter.

            The ignorant are those who lack the requisite knowledge about the content of Faith and the true meaning of the teachings of the Church.  This lack of knowing may come from never having had the opportunity to learn, from being misinformed about the truth of Faith, or from a willful lack of openness to the Truth.  To instruct someone who does not have a knowledge of the Truth for any of these reasons is a spiritual work because it ministers to the intellect of the person.  It is a work of Mercy because it affords that person with a new opportunity to discover the Truth and to submit freely to an act of Faith.

            St. Timothy Parish and School are engaged in these spiritual works of Mercy all the time.  Attending classes and formational opportunities gives anyone who wishes the tools needed to take these works to their homes and neighborhoods.  Volunteering in our School and PSR programs allows you to perform these works of mercy as you build up the next generations of Faith.  Any good Catholic must continue to grow in knowledge of the Faith and must be willing to assist others in need of counsel and instruction.  Faith was given to be shared, not to be kept for ourselves alone.

Prayer for the Feast of St. Timothy in the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy 2016: 

That St. Timothy Church and School may become a truly welcoming community that draws others into an awareness of God’s great Mercy and helps them to know in practical ways the Love of God poured out in Jesus Christ.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - January 24

Dear Parishioners:

The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy are actions we can perform that extend God’s compassion and mercy to those in need.
Corporal Works of Mercy

The Corporal Works of Mercy are these kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their material and physical needs.
·       bury the dead

Our Parish has a wonderful ministry of support for those who experience the loss of loved ones.  We do our best to make this a communal experience of comfort and care.  From the first moment we hear word of the loss of loved ones to the time that follows, we keep the grieving members of their families in our minds and hearts. 

We pray for them by name at weekend and daily Masses.  At the time of death, our Bereavement Ministry Team enters into the scene, assisting the families in whatever way is needed with the planning of the Funeral Liturgy.  The Resurrection Choir accommodates musical needs at the Funeral Mass, supplying music and working with any family members or friends who wish to participate in some way.  They also serve as backup for Readers and Extraordinary Ministers as needed.  The Bereavement Luncheon Team works to arrange for a meal after the funeral when requested.  After the Funeral, The Bereavement Ministry continues to keep in touch, sending a card and letting the families know about the All Souls Day Mass on November 2 in the year of the death.

Being attentive to the living who are left behind by deceased loved ones is one part of the corporal work of mercy.  Another part is showing respect to the earthly remains of the person who has died.  Our current culture often misses the point that respect for the body, or the cremains if cremation takes place, is an affirmation of the worth of the human person as such.  Burial in the ground is the preferred method, allowing the grave to symbolize in a practical way our Faith in the resurrection of the body.  Interment of cremains is likewise the proper method to follow through with our belief that “we are dust and unto dust shall we return.”  It is not respectful to separate ashes or to scatter them, even when such a desire has been expressed due to the influence of the culture in which we live.  To bury the dead and to arrange for our own personal burial are an expression of the Catholic Faith in continuity with our Jewish heritage.  Jesus Himself was buried in a tomb.

Attending a funeral is an act of mercy.  Being present to the grieving family and friends even if you did not know the person who died is a sign of solidarity in the human family.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - January 17

Dear Parishioners:

The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy are actions we can perform that extend God’s compassion and mercy to those in need.

The Corporal Works of Mercy are these kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their material and physical needs.

·       visit the sick
·       visit the imprisoned

Humble, practical, down-to-earth actions on behalf of those who are left out of society for reason of illness or imprisonment are actions that expect no return.   Precisely these kinds of activities mirror God’s grace in our lives.  The Church invites us to be in contact with those who are left out and to ensure that their needs are met, respecting their human dignity. 

In times past, illness was often understood as a punishment due to sin.  Those in prison were considered as having forfeited their right to respect by transgressing community laws and standards.  Many a Saint has found his or her road to Heaven by reaching out to these classes, showing respect and understanding, and inviting others to do so.  They find Jesus in the most distressing of disguises (as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta put it).

At St. Timothy, we have a variety of ways that members of the parish connect with the Sick.  A number of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion visit the Sick in their homes or in hospitals and nursing homes in the area.  Hospice volunteers and members of the healthcare professions are members of our parish who remind the sick that we are here for them.  Our prayers of petition often include those who are ill.  We can all be grateful for the ministry of Sr. Carolyn Thomas, S.C., who used to live in our parish and to cultivate care for the Sick and Homebound.  Many of our EMs got their start under her guidance.  I am sure that she is smiling happily upon us from her place in the Kingdom and keeping our parishioners in her prayers.

Those in prisons have from time to time benefited from members of our parish serving them in Kairos Ministry.  We have been invited to bake cookies for the Kairos Retreat and had a great response.  Becoming pen-pals with someone in prison is a possible way to help.  At times requests for Bibles and other religious literature have come our way.

It is helpful to realize that prisons are also created by false barriers being put up between persons.  Some feel unable to contribute due to a sense of rejection.  We are called by Mercy to break down these kinds of walls wherever we can.

Sacred Heart Image to be hosted at St. Timothy January 18-30

St. Timothy Parish will be hosting the image of the Sacred Heart from the Re-Consecration of the Diocese of Columbus celebration from Monday, January 18 to Sunday, January 30. The image will serve as a focal point of prayer for all members of the St. Timothy Community.  All groups and organizations are invited to make a collective visit to the church where the image will be on display and to consecrate their efforts to the Sacred Heart.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - January 10

Dear Parishioners:

As we enter into 2016, I want to concentrate on the theme of Mercy through comments on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.  Each week, I will highlight one or two of these works with concrete suggestions as to how they apply to our life together at St. Timothy Church.

The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy are actions we can perform that extend God’s compassion and mercy to those in need.

The Corporal Works of Mercy are kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their material and physical needs.  This week, we will look at two more:
·       clothe the naked
·       shelter the homeless

A number of organizations in our Diocese and Parish collaborate among themselves and with other people of good will to attend to the works of clothing the naked and supplying shelter to the homeless.  Our monthly St. Vincent DePaul collection goes a long way to help many, as does their annual campaign Christmas for Christmas.  Ash Wednesday, we join other parishes who take up a special collection for J.O.I.N. the Joint Organization for Inner-City Needs.  A number of our parishioners work with this organization.  A few years ago, our Women’s Club sponsored a campaign to gather dresses so girls who could not afford them could attend their high school proms in style.  That was a real joy for all involved.

The broader aspects of these works of Mercy include a responsible lifestyle ourselves, being generous with our own material benefits.  Welcome is an attitude as well as a concrete practice.  We give a home to those who experience rejection due to their appearance and on account of broken family ties.  When elders “adopt” or are themselves “adopted” into families as surrogate grandparents, this is a way of giving a sense of home and their generosity of offering wisdom as well as material gifts covers over the lack due to distance from immediate family.

We can be creative about these works of Mercy and bring our children into a greater awareness of our responsibility for others.  Clothing and Homes help to ensure that members of society have a place and can participate in all efforts to promote the common good.  It is important to realize that whatever we do for the least, we do for Jesus, and in the end, we will be judged on the basis of how we cared for Jesus in His hidden disguise.

A Word from Your Pastor - January 3, 2016

Dear Parishioners:

As we enter into 2016, I want to concentrate on the theme of Mercy through comments on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.  Each week, I will highlight one or two of these works with concrete suggestions as to how they apply to our life together at St. Timothy Church.

The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy are actions we can perform that extend God’s compassion and mercy to those in need.

The Corporal Works of Mercy are kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their material and physical needs.  This week, we will look at two:
·       feed the hungry
·       give drink to the thirsty

The first two needs are most basic.  Human beings require food and drink for survival.  In times past, every family had to work to supply its own needs.  Hunger and thirst were the motivation for most activities performed by all the members of the community.  As history unfolded, certain members of society were assigned the roles that allow for the needs that sustain us.  Now that we have diversified roles, it is possible for us to forget that the food and drink that are readily available to us are made for us by the work of human hands.

To attend to our responsibility to feed the hungry and to give drink to the thirsty is to remind ourselves of our interdependence with nature and with those members of society who supply our needs.  Behind every bite and every drink that we take are human beings, our brothers and sisters, who share their lives with us by concrete work.  To be grateful for their efforts and to share in them ourselves in various ways are works of Mercy.

We must act to ensure that all human beings have their basic needs met.  We must be attentive to our duty to meet these needs before we can count ourselves blessed because our own needs are met.

Various organizations in our parish keep before us the task that we share to be generous in feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty.  Of note are the St. Vincent DePaul Society and the Knights of Columbus, Council 14345.  These groups often call upon us to be practical in our response.  St. Vincent De Paul takes up a monthly collection and makes sandwiches monthly for the poor. The Knights invite us seasonally to offer food and drink to Food Pantries around the Diocese of Columbus.  Other organizations often collaborate with them to create opportunities for a response to the needs of our brothers and sisters.  Our School children also sponsor many activities to attend to these works of Mercy.

How are you called to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty?  Do you share from what you have received with a generous heart?

The Magi gave the newborn Jesus gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.  They traveled a great distance to pay Him homage.  We continue to meet Him in the poor, our brothers and sisters who call us to service and to acknowledge that all we have is a gift from God.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - December 27 Feast of the Holy Family

Dear Parishioners:

Holy Family Sunday is a reminder to all of us that God came among us as a member of a human family.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived together in Nazareth, showing by the silence of those years just how valuable God holds the life of a family.  We are called to live in accord with the joy and peace of those years. 

We know that the Holy Family experienced many difficulties along the way.  The journey to Bethlehem, the Flight to Egypt, and the return to Nazareth were all moments of their lives where they had to travel in less than ideal conditions.  They knew the plight of immigrants and refugees.  The experience of the apparent loss of Jesus when they visited Jerusalem when He was 12 years old was a trauma for Mary and Joseph.  The loss of Joseph sometime before Jesus’ public ministry began was no doubt a hardship for both Jesus and Mary.  Then, Jesus’ departure from Nazareth, leaving Mary in the care of the wider clan was a time of sorrow for the Blessed Mother, anticipated what she would experience at the foot of the Cross.

When we realize that God chose to enter our world through the family, we can begin to see that how we safeguard family life is central to our witness of our Faith.  Fidelity and Commitment to those to whom we belong by the sacred bonds established by God are signs of the eternal significance of human life in light of our relationship with God.  God is the Father of a family, the People of God, who are made one in a Covenant established by Jesus Christ.  The Spirit empowers us to live in unity and to draw others into the circle of the family.

At St. Timothy Parish this weekend, we celebrate Holy Family Sunday by a special blessing offered to individual families at the end of Mass.  We are called in this Jubilee Year of Mercy to ensure that we attend to all the members of our families with a heart full of love and compassion because of the Mercy we have experienced ourselves.  May the family blessing enliven in your heart the zeal for the Kingdom that shows you are aware of the privilege of being a member of God’s Family in the Church.

A Word from Your Pastor - December 25 Christmas

Dear Parishioners and Guests for Christmas:
We welcome you to St. Timothy Church as we join together to celebrate the Coming of Immanuel, God with Us, in Jesus Christ.  The joy of this celebration is a reminder to us that God is present to us in every age.  The Church Fathers tell us that Joy is the infallible sign of God’s Presence.  We know the Story of Bethlehem is true because we discover that the Spirit of God brings the Son of God to birth in our own hearts and leads us to give glory to God in the highest.

Pope Francis has invited us all to celebrate this year as a Jubilee Year of Mercy.  We are called to acknowledge the Gift of Mercy, God’s Love offered to us after we have rejected it.  Opening our hearts to that Mercy, we are to become a sign of the availability of God’s Love and Mercy to all.  May we live this Jubilee of Mercy, showing the merciful face of God our Father to the world.

January 18-31, St. Timothy Parish will be hosting the Image of the Sacred Heart that was blessed at the re-consecration of the Diocese of Columbus made by Bishop Campbell on the Feast of the Sacred Heart this past year.  Special indulgences and graces are associated with this devotion.  May we all grow in our knowledge of God’s Love and of His call to share Jesus Christ with the world.

A Blessed Christmas to All!

 Rev. Timothy M. Hayes, Pastor