Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - September 25

Dear Parishioners:

How do we need to improve in our commitment to the Gospel as the center of our life together and in our fulfillment of our responsibility to St. Timothy Church? 

Over the past few years, I have been reading and studying a lot about leadership.  One aspect of leadership that all leaders find difficult is to hold accountable people who work with them as paid co-workers and especially as volunteers.  In response to my own call and in light of the challenges that we are facing as a parish these days, I am working to be accountable to my own “duties” and I am trying to meet the challenge of holding us all accountable in the Name of Jesus to the witness we are called to share. 

I would like to invite you to reflect on your responsibility to be accountable in your choices to God and His Church as well.  If you will do this, it will certainly make my job easier!  How are you meeting the challenge of living the Gospel in your life?  When you commit to something, do you take the necessary steps to make it a real priority?  How are you responding to the call to stewardship?

Pope Francis has offered us a challenging vision for the Church.  We are meant to be a hospital on the edge of the battlefield of the world, giving comfort and hope to all who are wounded and suffering.  How do we give hope to others?  Is our witness truly a witness that is worthy of the Gospel?  When others see us, do they say, “See these Christians – how they love one another!”?

As members of Saint Timothy Church, we are to follow the example of our Patron.  We are to be men and women of God.  We are to “fight the good fight” and not be caught up in worthless battles.  We are to keep our eyes fixed on Eternity and to pass on the fullness of the Faith to the next generation.  Parents, how do you do this for your children?  Elders, are you holding strong in the face of life’s new challenges and continuing the race to the end?  Husbands and Wives, are you fulfilling your vows and cherishing one another in your Sacramental bond?  Young people, are you beginning to make the Faith you have received truly your own?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - September 18

Dear Parishioners:

Go out to all the world and tell the Good News!”  This is the charge to proclaim the Gospel, the very reason for the Church to exist.  It tells us our purpose in life.  It is the Great Commission that we have received from the Risen Lord.  Jesus wants us to live so that others may come to know in Faith that He Lives forever and has the Gift of Eternal Life prepared for us.

Since this is so, Communication is at the heart of who we are called to be.  How do we communicate with one another?  There is one who tells the news, there is one who receives the news, and there is the medium or manner by which the news is told.

Each aspect of this is important.  If I want you to understand, I have to be clear about my message.  If you will truly understand, what I say has to be put in a way you can understand it.  And there has to be a clear transmission, without static or interference.

One problem we have regarding the proclamation of the Gospel is that it tells us news about the nature of the world itself.  Our own personal experience can only cover a part of the world, some limited aspect of the way things are.  So we have to use analogy, comparison, parables and stories to tell the news we have to share.

Over the past few years, in the St. Timothy community, we have shared an experience of mis-communication.  Having reviewed and reflected upon the surveys taken last Spring, it has become very clear to me that we need to go back to basics in regard to communication, to be sure that we understand one another.  So, my goals for the year are very basic: Communication, the Priority of Sunday Mass and Hospitality.

I will commit to the effort to be as clear and direct as possible.  I invite you to listen with an open heart.  When it comes to the Sunday homily, all are invited to pray, “Lord, give Your minister the homily you want me to hear; give me the ears to hear it, the heart to receive it, and the grace to put it into practice in my life.”

Let us seek the way of the Lord as we ask ourselves:  How do we communicate with the other members of the community and all who are part of St. Timothy?  What do we need to know and understand in order to meet our own responsibilities?  How can we grow together as a witness to the truth of the Gospel so that we may respond to the Great Commission?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - September 11

Dear Parishioners:

The events of 9-11-2001 forever mark the current generation of America, even though those who are now in High School and younger will have no memory of that day.  I recall it vividly, as the realization of what was happening unfolded for all of us in the midst of what appeared to be an ordinary day of School where I was at Blessed Sacrament in Newark.  The parish secretary told me to watch the news on television.  As I watched, it became clare to me that I needed to say something to our children, teachers and staff in our school.  As I walked over toward the school, a member of the staff met me in the playground and I made the decision to invite the whole community to the church to pray.  I sent out an email to parishioners inviting them as well. 

We gathered in record time and I set up for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  I led the children in praying the Rosary and invited the upper grades to lead each decade.  I told the children that they would need to carry a message to their parents: that God would be with us no matter what happened and that we would be all right.  Of course, I was near tears as I offered this Word of the Lord, but I spoke from the heart and they heard me.

It was very moving in the weeks ahead to see how many turned to Faith to find strength during that time.  The churches were full.  We prayed for those affected by the terrorism and for those who were fearful in the face of it.  It was sad that this condition did not stay on course.  Everything has changed.  But it has all gone “back to normal” and, in fact, is now even worse than before.  Statistics say that there is a whole new class of persons among the current generation that consider themselves “Nones,” that is, not having any religious affiliation.  In the past, some drifted away from church during high school and college, but then returned after Marriage or when children were born.  That is not so any longer.  They leave and do not come back.  Some now are raised without any religious education at all because their parents have no interest in it.

Jesus asked a question: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find any Faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)  This question is a serious question.  How do we help to ensure that there is Faith among us and our children?  Two simple answers: we live our Faith, making Sunday Mass a priority, and we invite others to join us in learning about the Faith.  We must communicate Faith in a way that it can be understood – by a living witness.  We must hold ourselves accountable by at least a weekly “checking in” with the Master.  And we must welcome others to share the Faith by our evident joy in a living relationship with Jesus.

Let us pray for one another, that we may be the disciples that the Lord calls us to be.  May we open our hearts to God’s grace and be generous in our response to His call.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - September 4

Dear Parishioners:

Labor Day weekend is always the sign that Summer is really over.  As we begin the next season, I want to share with you three areas I hope we will all work on together this year: Communication, Making Sunday Mass a priority in our common life, and Hospitality. 

We are seeking to discover a way to attend more closely to God’s plan for our Parish and to ensure that all of our activities are directed by the Will of God for us.  This means that we must make a commitment individually and all together to be intentional in our discipleship.  We must commit and follow through.  We are responsible to and responsible for one another.

Our Patron, St. Timothy, was a young disciple of St. Paul and he worked closely with Paul on the Mission of Evangelization, making the Gospel known to others.  He was faithful through a long life to the call he had received and to the tasks entrusted to him by St. Paul.  He fanned into flame the Gift of Faith and he persevered until the end and fought the good fight, accepting martyrdom at an elderly age.  Our Parish calls us all to live in accord with the example of St. Timothy.  To the King of Ages, the Invisible, the Immortal, the Only God Be Honor and Glory forever and ever!

As the year unfolds, I will come back to these themes again and again: Communication, Sunday Mass, and Hospitality, following in the footsteps of St. Timothy.  I invite every group in our Parish and School and every family who walks the journey of Faith with us to be part of this endeavor.

This week, enjoy the family time that Labor Day allows.  Make plans, too, to be part of the Blue Mass to honor those who give of themselves courageously to keep us all safe.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - August 28

Dear Parishioners:

As a community of believers, we are pledged to God and to one another to take responsibility for living the Faith we profess and for sharing that Faith with others. This is our true “job,” our reason for being.  While living in the world, we are not of the world, that is, this world that is passing around us.  We are destined for Eternity, and this has to be the guiding principle for all that we do.

The world around us belongs to God.  It is His Creation.  It is good.  It is beautiful.  As God created it, it is true.  As human beings, we are created connatural to the Truth.  That is, the Truth fits us as God created us to be.  We fit the Truth.  When we are in accord with Truth, God said that we are “very good.”  Sin has introduced a distortion into the world and this makes things more complicated.

Our mind, our intellects, our capacity to make judgments about what is true and good are distorted and confused.  We reach for apparent, temporary goods and we find that they do not satisfy our hearts.  Only God, Who IS Goodness Himself, satisfies.  As St. Augustine reminds us, God has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they rest in God.

 The challenge we face now is to live in a world that is actively pursuing a path that tries to leave God entirely out of the equation, as if God’s participation in His own creation is an optional part of the world’s existence.  We can be duped.  If we think that we are the authors of our own being, rather than co-creators with God, we are destined for nothing but dissatisfaction with our very selves and with the world around us.

On the other hand, when we choose to cooperate with God’s grace and to work with Him to establish a resting place for His Goodness in our world, we are capable of doing greater things than we can every ask or imagine.  When we are humble and accept God’s gifts to us as gifts, as an undeserved sharing in His Love, we receive great riches, wealth untold.  We begin to approach the City of Zion, the dwelling place of the Living God.  This is our reward for true discipleship.  May our hearts be open to such grace!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - August 21

Dear Parishioners:

This week, I will be away for a few days to experience something new.  A seminary classmate of mine will be ordained as a bishop in Boston.  Fr. Bob Reed, who has served in the Archdiocese of Boston, will be one of two ordained to the episcopacy to serve as auxiliary bishops in Boston. Bishop Elect Reed has been the directory of The Catholic TV Network in Boston, so I liken him to a modern-day Bishop Fulton Sheen.  I look forward to the chance to connect with some of my seminary classmates as we rejoice with our brother.

If you want to watch the event yourself, you can do so at this link:

This Wednesday, St. Timothy School will open its doors for a new School year.  We welcome back all our returning students and staff and pray that we will have a great year together.  Summer went by very quickly to say the least!  To those who are new among us, we offer a warm welcome and thanks for joining the St. Timothy family.

Remember that our St. Timothy School Mission Statement is this:

Live in Faith.
Love and Serve.
Learn for Life.

We are first a Community of Faith and we are called to reach out to others in need, sharing the Love God has for us.  This is a life-long project.  What begins here and now opens us to Eternity.

Parents, remember that the students you entrust to us need your witness as well.  When you throw in your lot with us to live and love and learn, they “catch” the Faith and Values we seek to share.  The mind can be given information, but only heart-felt practice of the Faith forms us as true disciples of Jesus Christ.  Let us live and love and learn together as we grow in the ways of Faith.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - August 14

Dear Parishioners:

This week is one of the last open weeks before School begins again.  We are saying our fond farewell to Deacon Dan Olvera.  It is hard to believe that his time with us is coming to its close.  He will be spending some time with his family and then will head back to the Seminary in Boston where he will complete his final year before priestly ordination.  We wish him well and thank him for his efforts among us through the summer.

As Deacon Dan leaves, I want to take the opportunity to invite you all to two simple tasks in regard to support of Vocations to the Priesthood for the Diocese of Columbus. 

First, make a commitment to remember Deacon Dan Olvera in your prayers throughout this year.  He will return next May to be the only priest ordained for the Diocese of Columbus in 2017.  Make plans now to be present for his ordination at St. Joseph Cathedral May 27, 2017.  Since he is the only one to be ordained, there will be plenty of room in the Cathedral and so this is a chance to see one of the most impressive ceremonies of our Church.  Have you managed to experience all Seven Sacraments of the Church?  If you have never directly witnessed the Sacrament of Holy Orders, this is your chance to do so!

Second, take the opportunity now to suggest the priesthood to boys among us who show an aptitude for caring service.  We have been blessed at St. Timothy Church to have many priests assigned to St. Timothy or in residence with us through our more than fifty years.  We have also had many seminarian interns assigned to work with us through the years.  We are happy that our own Jonathan Smith is advancing in his studies for the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia.  Let’s continue to seek out those who can follow the example that has been set.

The Serra Club has an annual picnic for priests and seminarians every August.  This past week as I attended that event, I was happy to find among our Columbus seminarians two who were grade school students at Blessed Sacrament School in Newark when I was Pastor there.  My prayer is that many St. Timothy youth will also hear the call to serve and be the Priests, Religious Sisters and Brothers, and Deacons who will respond to the grace God is offering in the years ahead.  They can do so only with the support of their families and parishioners to point out the possibilities.

Monday will be the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Since it falls on a Monday, the obligation for Mass is dispensed, but the Feast is still celebrated.  We will have a morning Mass (9 a.m.) and an evening Mass (6 p.m.) to honor our Blessed Mother.  Come with your family to make your Mother proud!