Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Word from Your Pastor - November 23 Solemnity of Christ the King

Dear Parishioners:

Thanksgiving is a time to renew our awareness of the many gifts we have received.  The greatest and most important gift that is ours is Faith.  Through Faith we are brought into a living relationship with God and we are formed as a Community of Disciples.  As we enter into the time of celebration with our families this Thanksgiving, let’s count our blessings.

I thank God for the gift of priestly ministry and for the privilege of serving as Pastor.  This week, once again, I will be hosting my family at St. Timothy for the Thanksgiving meal.  This year, all my siblings are in town for the first time in many years.  We are grateful for the hospitality this parish has shown us now for the past seven Thanksgivings.  Being able to gather my family here is a joy because in a lovely way, it brings my two families together – all of you and the family that raised me.

We offer a warm welcome to all who come to be with us at St. Timothy through the holidays.  Please join us for the Mass on Thanksgiving Day.

Next week, we begin a new Liturgical Year.  Advent will open us to a new season of grace.  May this year be a time of growth in our unity as a family and in our realization of who we are as a Community of Faith.

Please read carefully the inserts about our State of the Parish regarding Finances and about a Vision for a Catechetical Center we hope to create in the years ahead.  Parish Council and Finance Committee have discussed these efforts and will be working closely with all our members to reach the goals we set and our dreams for an ever more vibrant response to God’s call to share our Faith with the next generations.  Pray that all of us may be open to the Spirit and respond to the voice of the Good Shepherd Who leads us to green pastures.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Word from your Pastor - November 16

Dear Parishioners:

This week we hear about the call to Stewardship.  This is a universal call, sent out to all of us as individuals and collectively as a community of disciples.  What we have received we are to give as a gift.  As a sign of our acknowledgement that we are grateful for what we receive from God, we give first to God and to His Church.  This is the Biblical concept of Tithing – giving to God first from the fruits of our labor.  We give to God from our first and best, and then apply ourselves to other responsibilities.  Of course our current culture has this backwards, telling us always to be “looking out for number one,” namely ourselves.

We are called to share our Time, our Talents and our Treasures.  The measure of our giving is not so much an external yardstick as a check of our interior attitude.  “God loves a cheerful giver.”  (II Corinthians 9:6-7)  We make choices about our sharing of ourselves in friendship and relationships of all kinds.  The attitude of a Steward is the realization that all belongs to the Master and that we are making use of something that ultimately is on loan to us.

November reminds us first of the Communion of Saints.  Then it invites us to be thankful.  The weeks ahead will be full of activities that prepare us for family celebrations of the holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day – and that call to mind memories of past seasons.  May we be ever mindful of our duty to be stewards and disciples, ready to return in gratitude to God what we have received.

Last weekend, we had seven teams of New Evangelizers walking our neighborhoods.  They went out full of zeal and returned in jubilation.  We thank the seminarians of the Josephinum for their efforts in our parish and we are grateful too for those who have responded from among our parishioners to join them in walking or to pray for their success.  The Gospel is alive and it is being taken to our streets.  May it continue to grow in our hearts.

New Evangelization Door-to-Door Ministry
St. Timothy Church
November 9, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Word from Your Pastor - November 9 Dedication of St. John Lateran

Dear Parishioners:

Just in case you have not noticed, life at St. Timothy Parish and School is incredibly full and busy.  We have our usual meetings and gatherings of all the groups and the ordinary activities associated with parish and school.  We have also experienced many deaths of loved ones in our community and beyond, with the funerals and luncheons that offer consolation and support.  Our children are entering into fervent preparation for the Sacraments – First Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Holy Communion.  We are also doing “catch-up” for children who have not received Sacraments and whose families are renewing their efforts to train their children in the ways of Faith.

All of this is prelude to my admission of the fact that I have been personally harried by the busy-ness.  If you have contacted me (or tried to) and you have not heard back from me, I assure you that it is nothing personal.  I try to save messages that I pick up by e-mail or phone to respond when there is a lull.  But I don’t always manage to keep track of my lists of messages.  Sorry!  If you need something, please do keep trying.  After Mass on a Sunday is not a good time for anything but general information.  My mind does not hold all the little details the way it once did!  Email is the best way.  It sits in my “In” box until I get to it.  (Current count is 215 messages, down from 500 or so a day ago.)

When we are busy, we need to recollect ourselves and remember just why we do what we do.  What is the most important to us may get lost in the details of the busy-ness of our lives.  The Feast of St. John Lateran, which we observe today, is a reminder that we are God’s Temple as a community of believers.  The Basilica of St. John in the Lateran is the Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, the mother church of all churches.  As we recall this structure and its history, we seek to build up our own parish and to share the Good News of the Kingdom with one another.  The primary reason for our existence as a Parish and a School is to promote the growth of God’s Kingdom.

The Opening Prayer of Mass today offers a wonderful vision:  O God, who from living and chosen stones prepare an eternal dwelling for your majesty, increase in your Church the spirit of grace you have bestowed, so that by new growth your faithful people may build up the heavenly Jerusalem.” May we cooperate with the grace God gives in answer to this prayer.

Today, also, we welcome the New Evangelization Club of the Pontifical College Josephinum, who along with members of our own parish Evangelization Committee, will literally take the Gospel to our streets.  May we all learn to cooperate with the breath of the Spirit and to be the witnesses God calls us to be.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Word from Your Pastor - November 2 All Souls Day

Dear Parishioners:

This weekend’s celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day invite us to consider what the Church calls “the Four Last Things”: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell.  Every human being is destined, that is, created with the intent, to have a place in Heaven.  Nonetheless, because we are given Free Will, we are able to choose to accept that place or to reject it. 

At death, there is an experience of an immediate encounter with God.  In the “moment” beyond time, we will know ourselves as God knows us and a personal judgment will take place.  Our earthly life will be sifted to discern our orientation: toward God or toward ourselves alone.  God asks that we do His Will and say by our lives, “Thy Will be done.”  Yet, because we are free and He is Just, He allows us to choose our own will.  In that case, the just judgment is God’s saying to us “thy will be done.”  Hell, Scripture tells us (Matthew 25), is the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  Human beings go there only by a free choice.  God gives us the passage on the train that we have bought the ticket for by our manner of living and by our choices in the world.

It is unpopular these days to mention Heaven and Hell, as if expression of these realities somehow takes away from attention to the world around us.  Quite the contrary is true.  Believing in Heaven and Hell, we know that life has a goal, a purpose, an aim that is beyond this world.  As Catholics, we know the Mercy of God in the face of judgment.  If we are weak and sinful, but not turned inward on ourselves completely, He has made provision for an encounter that washes us clean so as to go into Heaven with the proper Wedding Garment, the purity and transparency that is necessary to be there.  We call this Mercy “Purgatory.”  At the Last Judgment at the end of Time, Purgatory will no longer be needed.  All that will remain are Heaven and Hell.

Note that Purgatory is a reality that is always on the way to Heaven.  If you choose to “go to Hell,” you do not pass “Go,” you do not collect $200, and you do not make a stop to say goodbye to your friends in Purgatory.  The choice of “my will” over “God’s Will” is the one-way ticket to Hell with no local stops.  The choice of “God’s Will” over “my will,” even if imperfect, is also a one-way ticket to Heaven, but there is a possibility for most of us who will need it of a purifying encounter that cleans out the pores and gets us ready for the Fire of Love with which Heaven is always burning.  Purgatory is prepared for human beings on the way to the Kingdom.

The celebrations of All Saints and All Souls also remind us of the Communion we share with all the Saints – those in glory, those in Purgatory, and those on the face of the earth.  We are able to pray for one another no matter what side of the Mystery of Death we happen to be on.  We on earth and the Saints in Glory pray for those on earth and those in the process of purification.  The “Holy Souls” in Purgatory can pray for us and ask us to pray for them, especially using the means available to us and not to them – the Mass and the Indulgences the Church offers through prayer and pious activities that keep us close to the Church.  All Souls Day helps us to keep them in mind.

As we consider the Communion of Saints and the Four Last Things, let us put our Hope in God through the action of Jesus Christ, Who is our Savior.  When death comes to us, we shall all discover that for those who believe, life is changed, not ended.  We are destined to live forever in the Love of God.  That is Heaven.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Word from Your Pastor - October 26 Priesthood Sunday

Dear Parishioners:

This weekend has been designated a Priests’ Sunday and some of the organizations of the parish are highlighting the priesthood at the 10 a.m. Mass.  I thank you for the recognition of this wonderful ministry.  The priesthood is a gift to all of us.  All of us share in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, and when we are aware of the different aspects of that One Priesthood, we can work together for the good of all.

The ministerial priesthood, that is, the priesthood of those who are ordained in the Sacrament of Holy Orders, has unique and indispensable gifts for all who seek to follow Christ.  This Ministry functions in many ways.  It is a ministry of prayer, healing and leadership.  In a Diocese, the Bishop is the chief priest, the one who stands in the place of Jesus Christ as the sign and symbol of our unity with the Church Universal.  Pastors represent the priesthood in collaboration with the Bishop, shepherding the People of God in the field of the parish.  Other priests, parochial vicars, teachers, hospital chaplains, etc., bring various aspects of the priesthood into relief.

Using the Mass as the model for Priesthood, we can see that the priest gathers the people, proclaims the Word among them, touches them with Sacraments, and sends them forth in Mission to evangelize.  This is also true in its own manner and degree for all who share in the One Priesthood of Christ.  Together, we, priests and people united in Christ as Church, are meant to be a means of grace for all the world.

On this Sunday, I invite you and your family to reflect on the priests you have known.  Who baptized you?  Who celebrated the other Sacraments for you?  How have priests brought you to a deeper knowledge of Jesus and His Church?

As you know, we have had quite a variety of priests and pastors at St. Timothy Church.  You can see the pictures of the pastors since our foundation in the hallway behind the church.  We are hoping that some of our own young men may one day have their pictures in other parishes of the Diocese of Columbus as pastors.  We owe the Church a debt of gratitude for all who have served among us as priests.  We thank God for their ministry and pray that they may receive the reward of their labors.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Word from Your Pastor - October 19

Dear Parishioners:

Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.  This is the central advice Jesus offers us in regard to discernment of how we spend our resources and how we respond to the world around us.  As the Gospel account of today’s Mass shows, this world places demands on us as it supplies the coin by which we pay the taxes that are due.  So, too, God reveals to us that He wants back from us what He has given.  He wants us to return to Him the gift we have received.

At the present moment, once again, the teachings of our Catholic Faith are held up for scrutiny and often ridicule.  How do you respond to this?  We are entrusted with the Truth.  Our Church has endured and held fast to the Truth across two millennia.  The martyrs of every age have given their lives in witness to the Truth.  Even in our day, there are men and women and children who sacrifice their lives because they refuse to deny Jesus, Who IS the Way, the Truth and the Life.

In this time of testing, I invite you and your family to hold fast to a witness of the Faith.  Although you may have to endure ridicule for your fidelity, know that the prize is greater than this suffering.  God is worth your life.  The Church is teaching the Truth, often a Truth that is unpopular, but that remains true nonetheless.  Don’t be fooled by the media.  The Church has one purpose in the world: to witness to the Truth.  Those who hear the voice of Jesus seek the Truth.

The Synod in Rome is a gathering of representatives from the whole world.  This Synod is not re-defining our Faith.  Its purpose is to work together with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to find a way to speak the Message of the Gospel to families in order to lift them up.  The results of this year’s gathering will set the agenda for another Synod that will meet next year.  It will also likely help to shape the content of the Gathering of Families that will take place next year in Philadelphia.  In the meantime, it invites all of us to hear the Gospel and to put it into practice with the family in mind.  How is your family creating a culture of Faith?  Have you begun to listen to the voice of the Shepherd?  How do you spend your resources?  Do you give to God what is God’s?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Word from Your Pastor - October 12

Dear Parishioners:

Your prayers are requested for the Church universal as the Synod on the Family is underway in Rome at this time.  This is the first part of a two-year process that will continue with a similar gathering next year.  If all goes according to plan, Pope Francis will participate in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in 2015.  In the year ahead, we will be hearing more about this.

All of us belong to families in one form or another.  We are the products of the family that gave us life and raised us to adulthood – our family of origin.  Many are also a part of a family by choice – through marriage or by way of a commitment to a particular group of people.  Religious commitments and promises are the means by which such families come into being.  God Himself, Who IS a Family as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, draws us into His Family through the life we share in the Sacraments.  The Holy Family of Nazareth reveals the importance God gives to family life in the very manner by which the Son of God lived it, sharing the joys and sorrows of Mary and Joseph and being part of the clan of David the King.

At St. Timothy Parish, we are seeking to be formed as a family, united in mind and heart, with Jesus, our Good Shepherd.  A call is going out for us to deepen our welcome of one another and of those who come to worship with us.  We are also hearing the invitation to participate intentionally in the New Evangelization by sharing our Faith in Jesus Christ with those around us.  There is a hunger for belonging and for depth that only God can satisfy.

How do you experience Faith in your own family?  Does it have a priority for every member?  Parents are particularly responsible for setting an example that teaches their children in the ways of Faith.  Have you taken seriously this responsibility?

Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., used to say “The family that prays together stays together.”  In this month of the Rosary, I invite you to consider praying a family rosary or to find some other form of prayer that involves your whole family.  Ask your children to pray for you the prayers they are learning in School or in PSR.  Teach them the prayers you learned to pray as a child.  Pick a prayer that you call your “family prayer” or compose one of your own creation.  Welcome Jesus into your family home in a very practical way.  Find some way to unite your family with the Heart of Jesus.  Whatever you may do, entrust your family to God and stay close to His Church as a family.  You won’t regret it!