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!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - August 7

Dear Parishioners:

The Gospel is an invitation.  We have to face two very difficult truths in our time:  First, the Gospel, which was once a “public” bedrock in our culture has been systematically rooted out as a foundation.  At times, we are not even permitted to speak the Name of God without facing rejection.  Second, we, as a community of believers have not as yet created a witness in the world that is strong and clear enough to win the world to Christ.  Our unity is not always evident.  Many of our actions work against unity.

This is not an easy admission to make.  But it is necessary, or we cannot hope to move forward.  We are blessed, because the Lord has chosen us to be His own.  How do we share this blessing?  Abraham was called to leave a place where he was comfortable and to move to a place unknown to him.  We are now invited to put our trust in the same Lord Who led Abraham to the land of Canaan in promise of giving that Land to his descendants.  When the Spirit leads, and we follow, God’s purpose is made ever more clear.

At St. Timothy, we have learned to acknowledge that we are called to be a welcoming community.  Some have experienced that welcome.  There are others who are looking for it, but have not yet found it.  We are to promote God’s glory – indeed His “greater glory” – by seeking to grow in our capacity to welcome and to live ever more truly a deeper spirit of welcome to all we meet.  We are called to give willing service to one another as brothers and sisters, united in heart and mind, as we pray calling God “Our Father.”

Jesus gives us fair warning:  “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”  No one can doubt that we are entrusted with much.  Much more is required of us than what we are already giving.  We cannot stay where we are.  We must grow.  We must be ready to take a journey to a place we do not yet know.  Are you willing to go?

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - July 31

Dear Parishioners:

As July comes to its close, we are all wondering just where the Summer has gone.  We begin again all too soon to gear up for our busy Fall schedule.  In the meantime, it is important to take stock of what is most important in our lives in order to be able to discern direction as the busy-ness comes.  We have to remind ourselves of our priorities.

As Catholic Christians, there is no priority greater than our Faith in God and the connection to God that being members of the Church makes possible.  That has to be center of our lives.  We must be ready and willing to live for our Faith, and to die for our Faith, if we find ourselves confronted by the circumstances that warrant it.  How we choose to live our time in the ordinary “busy-ness” in our lives will set the pattern we will follow when things get difficult.  This Summer, we have heard of many who have been unexpectedly attacked due to their Faith and of so many who have lost their lives in the clashes of culture that are all around us.  As we enjoy what remains of Summer’s leisurely pace, let us renew our commitment to one another to put Jesus Christ at the center and our willingness to live and die for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

St. Ignatius of Loyola’s prayer is a fitting way to renew this covenant with God: 

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me

In our daily “routine,” it is possible to set a pattern of response and to discern our actions based on priorities we have chosen.  If God is our Ideal, our First Choice, then we want to please Him in everything.  We avoid sin and pursue virtue because we love God first and best.  For those who share the covenant relationship created by the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, your spouse is first after God.  Then comes your family, and all the other host of relationships and responsibilities that are given to you in your personal state of life.  If we keep these thoughts in mind, many other decisions are made easier, even if they are harder to put into practice.  God is with us through His Spirit and in the community of the Church, to build us up and free us ever more to belong to Him.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - July 24

Dear Parishioners:

The Gospel reminds us that God is interested in hearing from us.  Jesus invites us to ask, seek and knock, and He tells us that we will receive, find and have doors opened to us.  In other words, He teaches us that we must be engaged by “getting involved” with our own salvation.  God has the power and He has the gifts He wants to give, but He has set things us to allow it all to flow only if we are open.

We are called not to judge our enemies, but to intercede.  Abraham has a face-to-face encounter with God as he prays for the territory of Sodom and Gomorrah, where His nephew Lot lived.  In the end, God saves Lot and his family (though Lot’s wife is lost by her failure to obey) for the sake of Abraham.  We have a relationship with God that is more intimate than that of Abraham because Jesus has taught us to call God Father.

Perseverance in prayer and persistence in asking, seeking and knocking at the door, are effective because they dispose us to be open to God’s will, which we pray is done “on earth as it is in Heaven.”  Prayer is the heart of the life of a Christian.  When we are too busy to pray, we are too busy.  When we pray, we find that God gives us the time to accomplish more than we can ask or imagine.

Unity of mind and heart come from prayer together.  May we find such unity among us that world will discover through our witness the truth of the Gospel.  Unity is a Gift from God.  It requires a Commitment on our part.  And we must see it as a Goal that will not be accomplished fully until all experience welcome.

Let us pray that all unity may one day be restored.  And they’ll know we are Christians by our love…..

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - July 17

Dear Parishioners:

As I have shared with you in the past several years, I have found great support through a connection with the Focolare Movement, one of the new developments in the Catholic Church that includes all the diverse members of the Church in a spirituality of Unity.  I first met the Focolare (pronounced “FOH-koh-La-Ray”) as a student in Rome during my years of seminary. 

This movement had its beginnings in Trent during the Second World War.  A group of young women decided together that they wanted to take God as Love the Ideal by which they would live no matter what happened.  They told one another that they were willing to die for one another - taking the example of Jesus Himself in the Gospels, as He teaches about the Vine: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:3).  We looked each other in the face and each one declared; ‘I am ready to give my life for you.’”  When they began to live this way, what they named “the Pact of Mutual Love,” they began to experience the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise that He would be with them since they were gathered in His Name.  With “Jesus in their midst,” they began to know a growing sense of a call to service and to work to build unity in the world.

The willingness to die for one another in Jesus’ Name is the hallmark of Christian Love.  You may read more about the story of the beginnings of the Focolare Movement that speaks of the "Pact of Mutual Love" here:

The Focolare Movement has been given formal approval by the Catholic Church.  Chiara Lubich, the Foundress, worked closely with several Popes, including Pope Saint John Paul II on this.  She was instrumental through the years in drawing various religious leaders together across denominations and religions.  Even people of good will with no religious affiliation are associated with the work of the Focolare.

I share this with you now because this weekend, I am participating in a Focolare gathering called a “Mariapolis,” that is a “City of Mary,” in Valparaiso, Indiana.  This is a kind of retreat, shared by members of the Movement and others who want to share an experience of unity.  I will be praying for you and ask you to pray for me and all who are part of the Mariapolis.  I hope that the fruit of Unity will be able to overflow into our life together at St. Timothy Church.

In my absence, St. Timothy Church welcomes the Missionary Appeal for Our Blessed Mother of Victory Mission that cares for the most disadvantaged Filipino children.  I know you will be welcoming and generous in your response.