Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor March 19 - Third Sunday of Lent

Dear Parishioners:

The Holy Spirit is active among us.  In a short period of time, we have experienced our annual Confirmation for the 8th Grade class and an amazing day of Retreat for those who have been part of the first Alpha program.  Many have expressed real excitement about what God is doing.  Our Parish Penance Service last week allowed not a few the touch of the Sacrament of Healing.  We are all given something when God works in the hearts of any of our members.  How is God touching your heart?

Lent is always a time to review and renew our commitment to what God asks of us.  This year, we are concentrating on how the Sacraments function among us.  Part of the Examination of Conscience that was used at our Penance service may be useful to you to consider this aspect of your Catholic life.  I invite you to take this to your personal prayer.

How am I living a truly Sacramental Life?

Am I cooperating with the Holy Spirit to become more like Jesus?

Is my life a clear witness of the truth revealed in Scripture and in the Sacraments of the Church?

Do I bring the light of the Gospel to those who are part of my life?

The Sacraments of Initiation are Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist.

Do I conform my life to Christ through living in awareness of the power of the Sacraments I have received?  Am I faithful to my baptismal vows?  Do I exercise the Gifts of the Spirit?  Do I proclaim the Gospel?  Am I faithful to the Eucharist by receiving the Lord regularly and feeding the spiritually hungry?

Am I growing in Faith, Hope and Love by striving to put into practice the Gospel values?

Am I allowing the Spirit to lead me to a deeper relationship with Jesus and to open my heart more fully to God’s Will in my life?

The Sacraments of Healing are Penance, Anointing of the Sick.

Do I allow the Lord to heal me, bringing to Him my sins and my weakness?

Am I a means of healing for others?

Do I forgive and bring peace to others?

Do those who are sick find me as a true friend, bringing Christ to them and keeping them in touch with the Church’s ministry of comfort and healing?

The Sacraments of Service are Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders.

Do I live in true communion of life with those entrusted to me on the earthly journey?

Am I concerned about the spiritual wellbeing of others, as well as about their physical and emotional needs?

Am I faithful to my own state in life and to the relationships God has given me?

Do the Sacraments shape my mind and heart, drawing me more into a living relationship with the Lord?

As part of our observance of Pope Francis’ call to celebrate “24 Hours for the Lord” on March 24-25, the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available.  If you missed the Penance Service or if you need another go at spiritual cleanup, you are most welcome.  The Spirit flows best when our spiritual pipes are open.  Come and let the Lord love you with His grace.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor March 12 - Second Sunday of Lent

Dear Parishioners:

The Second Sunday of Lent highlights the Transfiguration of Jesus, revealing a hint of the glory God has in store for our human nature.  The Sacraments are an invitation to us to live this glory now.

The scene of the Transfiguration offers us a glimpse as to how God works in us.  He prepares us.  He gives us Himself in a very intimate encounter.  Then He invites us to live out and share with others what He has given us when the time is right.

The Sacrament of Confirmation follows just this pattern in our manner of its celebration in the life of our Parish.  Our youth – the 8th grade class in our School and PSR – have a time of preparation that includes their 7th grade year and more immediate preparation in the months before the Sacrament is given.  We have classes that are informational.  At the time same time, there are experiences that are “formational,” such as workshops and a retreat.  The wider community of their parents and the parish and school community also share in these.    The Bishop comes to celebrate the Sacrament.  Then, the newly confirmed are invited to take their place in the life of the whole community through service and exercise of the gifts they have received.

All of us who have received the Spirit as an indwelling Presence through Confirmation are called to continue to respond to the Spirit’s promptings.  We are interiorly transformed through the Gifts of the Spirit, deepening the Faith, Hope and Love that have been planted in us through Baptism.  We are sent forth to live the Paschal Mystery and to proclaim the salvation that is given to us in Jesus Christ.

How have you responded to the Gift of the Spirit?  Are you consciously making use of the Spirit’s Gifts of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord?  Do you seek out ways to share the Gospel with others?  We are charged by the Great Commission to “go out to all the world.”  Who in the world is waiting for you?

Our Parish Lenten Penance Service will be celebrated on Tuesday, March 14, at 7 p.m. 
Come to share in the Lord’s Gift of Mercy.   Confession is good for the soul.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor March 5 - First Sunday of Lent

Dear Parishioners:

Lent is a time of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.  It is a time of preparation for Easter.  We are invited to seek a conversion, a change of heart and mind, to open ourselves to the action of grace.  God’s Spirit is active, purifying us and freeing us to be who God calls us to be in Jesus Christ.

We discover that Prayer helps us to learn who we are, what God esteems and values in us, what He has made us to be.  We find that Fasting shows us how to enjoy what God gives us through our experience of His Creation in anticipation of the Kingdom.  We see that Almsgiving shows us how to go beyond our selfish wants and desires and to share God’s abundance, giving Him greater room to act in us with His own generosity.

This Lent, I invite you to consider these practices with a glance to three important aspects of our Catholic Faith: the Sacraments, our Mother Mary, and Saint Joseph.  Our School is focusing on the Sacraments this year.  2017 is the hundredth anniversary of Fatima.  And St. Joseph is the Universal Patron of the Church.  If we seek the Wisdom that each of these aspects of our Faith in our choice of how to pray, fast and give alms, we will find a very practical way to live and the witness of our Faith will be clear.

The First Sunday of Lent confronts us with Temptation.  Jesus overcomes the devil’s wiles my putting His Father’s Will first.  We can do the same.  When God is our ideal, and when we are guided by the Sacraments, by our Heavenly Mother, and by St. Joseph, we will grow in holiness and our life becomes a means by which God is made known to others.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor February 26

Dear Parishioners:

We welcome Bishop Frederick F. Campbell to St. Timothy Church once again for the Sacrament of Confirmation.  The successor to the Apostles who has been given to us in the Diocese of Columbus to safeguard the sacred deposit of Faith is coming to us to impart the Gift of the Holy Spirit to members of the next generation of Catholic Christians. 

This simple celebration puts us in contact with the living Tradition of the Church, the handing on of Faith and the outpouring of the Gifts of the Spirit to strengthen and sustain our witness to Jesus Christ.

As we pray for our Confirmation class, we also ought to seek a renewal of the Gift of the Spirit in our hearts.  The occasion of the offering of the Sacrament to a new generation is always a moment of invitation for us to commit ourselves again to the common life of the Spirit.  Each spark of the Spirit is capable of bringing God into the world.  Every heart that opens to Him and accepts the responsibility to witness His Love draws us closer to the Kingdom.

Come, Holy Spirit!

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor February 19

Dear Parishioners:

This week I am returning from an extended time of vacation – the longest I have taken all at once.  Since the bulletin is going to press before my return, I am writing in anticipation of the return.  No doubt I will have lots of stories to tell, and maybe even a few pictures to share.  Every experience of travel is an adventure.  This trip has been my sharing in one of my ordination classmate, Fr. Jeff Rimelspach’s dreams for his “bucket list,” – that is, what he wanted to do before he “kicks the bucket.”   It is really a privilege to do something with someone who approaches it with zeal, as a dream.

Our entering into the life of Grace with Jesus through the Sacraments is just this kind of experience.  It is an adventure that takes us into places we never dreamed of going.  I opens to us new horizons and new ways of seeing the world around us.

Have you entered with enthusiasm and zeal into what God has offered you through your Baptism?  What are the signs in your approach to Faith that this is so?  How do you share it?  What “souvenirs” of the journey are reminders to you of the fun of it?  Who is with you on the journey?  What do you plan to do as the Lord Jesus shares His “bucket list” with you?

Next weekend, we will experience the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation with our 8th Grade class.  Please keep them in your prayers.  “Come, Holy Spirit” is the simplest prayer for the grace of this Sacrament.

A Word from Your Pastor February 12

Dear Parishioners:

The Baptismal Font of St. Timothy Parish is always flowing.  When I arrived here and discovered that it was so, I was especially delighted because I believe that this is a subtle way of teaching us how to think of our own Baptisms.

The simple truth is that once Baptism begins, it does not end.  We are baptized into Jesus Christ.  His Life begins to be lived in us as soon as we are touched by the Sacrament of Baptism.  Although we can “block” the flow of grace by sin, we cannot be “un-baptized.”  The Sacraments that follow after Baptism deepen the flow of grace and renew it when we go off track.  The Life that we enter into through Baptism never ends.  We share in God’s glory through the touch of the Sacraments in different ways, but it is always the flow of the grace that started in us at Baptism.  The Christ-Life in us becomes a source of grace for us and for the world through us.

How powerful God’s grace is in us!  If we only recognized the holiness to which we are called through the gift of Baptism!

Parents bear a great responsibility in helping their children to know the Faith both by teaching them, and by giving them a living example.  When children are taught in our Parochial School or in Religious education classes, they can learn the facts.  Their teachers and other students serve as examples to them.  But no one more than parents can help them come to understand what it means to live in the light of the Sacramental grace that is theirs through Baptism.

A Word from Your Pastor February 5

Dear Parishioners:

A few days ago, the Church celebrated the Feast of the Presentation, that moment when Mary and Joseph presented the Infant Jesus at the Temple, in fulfillment of the Law of Moses.  On that occasion, Scripture tells us, Simeon and Anna were present and observed the grace.  Simeon’s prayer, the Nunc Dimittis, continues to be prayed by the whole Church as part of Night Prayer each night before sleep, and we continues to do what Anna did, telling everyone about the Child, especially those awaiting the consolation of the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Lord, now you let Your servant go in peace; Your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which You have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of Your people Israel.

This encounter at the Temple mirrors the celebration of Baptism that most experience: an infant brought to the Font of Baptism by parents and godparents.  Baptism is a joyful experience that brings families of Faith together as they rejoice in the gift of their children and as they express their hopes and dreams for what will become of their children.

Unlike the role of Simeon and Anna, however, the role of the participants, especially parents and godparents, in the life of the children brought for Baptism is just beginning.  Parents are required to attend a pre-Baptismal class in order to reflect upon the promises they will make.  Godparents are chosen not for social reasons, but for reasons of Faith, as examples to the children as supporters for the parents in bringing up the children in the Faith.

At a Baptism, parents are given a particular instruction about the duty they have toward their children and godparents are asked about their willingness to assist the parents in fulfillment of this duty:

You have asked to have your child baptized. In doing so you are accepting the responsibility of training him/her in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring him/her up to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?

Baptism begins the Life of Grace and the Life of Faith.  It is not a mere ceremony celebrated and then forgotten.  The Church takes very seriously the responsibility to invite parents to live up to their promises.

What does it mean to practice the Faith?  How do parents teach their children to obey God’s Commandments?  Do you who are parents understand clearly what you have promised?

Focolare Word of Life for February 2017

“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you.”  (Ezekiel 36:26)