Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Word from Your Pastor - April 13 Passion Sunday

Dear Parishioners:

We now enter into Holy Week.  The days ahead will unfold the Mystery of the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, inviting us to contemplate all that He has done for us.  Since it is also a time of “break” for many people, the temptation before us is to let these days pass without much attention.  I invite you to do it differently this year.  Enter in.  Let each day of the week touch your heart.

Passion or Palm Sunday draws us into the scene of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  We process, carrying palms, reminding us of the cheering and welcoming crowd as Jesus came into the Holy City in fulfillment of many passages in the Prophets.  We also hear the whole story of the Passion and Death of the Lord as recounted by the Gospel of Matthew.  This gives us a glimpse of all the events we will be celebrating through the rest of the Week.

In the Diocese of Columbus, it has long been the custom to celebrate the Chrism Mass, which is properly a Mass of Holy Thursday morning, on Tuesday evening.  At this Mass, the Priests and Bishop renew their commitment to live the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Bishop blesses the three sacred oils that are used in the celebration of the Sacraments throughout the year: the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of Catechumens and the Sacred Chrism.  One powerful experience is the fact that at the Chrism Mass the whole Diocese is present around the altar: Bishop, Priests, Deacons, Religious and Laity are all gathered together in one act of Divine Worship.  The Church is visible in her unity.  Whatever else may happen, we are gathered together as the full expression of Church.  The power of the Church’s prayer in unity cannot be forgotten.

Wednesday at St. Timothy Church, we have our weekly Adoration.  This is a time to open your heart to the Gift of the Eucharist by sitting silently in the Presence of the Lord Who is with us through the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper with the Washing of feet and the Eucharistic Procession, is the solemn celebration of the Institution of the Priesthood, the Institution of the Eucharist, and the Call to Service.  We have had a tradition at St. Timothy for a number of years of including our Second Grade First Holy Communion class as an Honor Guard for the Eucharistic Procession that closes the Mass.  Adoration continues until Midnight.

Good Friday, we have two times for the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion – 3 and 7 p.m.   At Noon, the Stations of the Cross are prayed and then we hear a reflection on the Seven Last Words of Jesus during the time that He was on the Cross.

Holy Saturday, the Solemn Easter Vigil will begin at 8:30 p.m. With the Service of Light, followed by the procession with the Easter Candle and the singing of the Exsultet.  The proclamation of the Scriptures of our Salvation History is followed by Blessing of the Easter Water and then a renewal of Baptismal Vows.  (This year we do not have anyone being initiated into the Catholic Church.)

Easter Sunday, we again renew our Baptismal Vows as we welcome many guests to rejoice in the Resurrection of the Lord.

Come to all these events if you are able.  At least once in your life, you should!  This week reminds us of the journey we all will one day take into the Kingdom.  A Blessed Easter to all!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Word from Your Pastor - April 6

Dear Parishioners:

Lent is moving right along.  This Sunday we hear of the promise of Life through the account of the resurrection of Lazarus.  On a couple of occasions, I have had the privilege of visiting the town of Bethany, where Lazarus lived with his sisters Mary and Martha.  There is now a parish church, which is attended by ordinary folks, Palestinian Catholics, who live in the shadow of Jerusalem.  Unfortunately, access to their town is now behind a wall that divides.  How ironic it is that the very place where Jesus showed that the great divide between earth and Eternity, death and Life is in His power, there is a reminder that we are separated from one another by walls of our own making.

The promise of Resurrection serves to put into proper relief all our earthly concerns.  It also invites us to invest ourselves more fully in this life, since the New Life shared with us comes from Jesus Christ, Who shares this life in its fullness with us.

If you have not had the opportunity to approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation in preparation for Easter, I invite you to follow the example of Pope Francis.  He went to confession at St. Peter’s Basilica as a humble penitent.  If he is in need of Confession, no doubt all of us are as well.  As our children teach us, it is a joyful reality.  There are still a few local Penance services available in the neighborhood if you missed our celebration of the Sacrament this week and Confessions at St. Timothy are available on Saturday afternoons before the 5 p.m. Mass.

Let the Joy of Lent flow into the ecstatic Joy of Easter and New Life by planning to be part of the Easter Triduum.  These are the High Holy Days of our Catholic Faith.  Don’t let them pass you by. 

Plan to attend the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:30 p.m. Holy Thursday, with the Eucharistic Procession and Adoration until Midnight to follow.  Good Friday, attend the Passion of the Lord at 3 p.m. or 7 p.m. and, if you wish, spend the time from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. reflecting on the 7 Last Words of Jesus on the Cross.  Holy Saturday, the Solemn Easter Vigil begins at 8:30 p.m.  Since we don’t have anyone being initiated into the Church this year, it will be a journey through Salvation History with Renewal of Baptismal Promises.  Let this lead you into a deeper spirit of commitment to the Lord and to your Catholic Faith.  If you come to the Masses of Easter Sunday (8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.), come ready to welcome all who will join us for the Day of Days.  We are all called to be ministers of the Gospel.  Put on your Gospel shoes and get ready to work for the Lord of Life!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Word from Your Pastor - March 30

Dear Parishioners:

This week we have experienced something of the richness of our Faith through the celebration of the drama “People of the Passion.”  Those who were present will be able to attest to the power of music, song, dramatic reading and dance to draw us into a profound encounter with the Love of God shown to us through the Passion of Jesus.  The characters of this drama are not the usual personalities so familiar through the Gospels and through the movies of the Passion we have seen in recent years.  Instead, we meet some “ordinary people” who are in the periphery of the story whose lives reveal to us the tremendous grace at work in those who come to know the Person of Jesus.

This weekend, too, some have responded to the invitation to carry the Gospel to the streets, praying with and speaking to our neighbors, those who live in the geographical boundaries of our parish.  The Josephinum seminarians who lead the New Evangelization Club have shared their joy in the Gospel and given several parishioners a taste of the kind of one-to-one witness that serves to keep bring the Love of Jesus to real people.

How are you doing in your response to the invitation to grace?  Are you open to the changes, the conversion of mind and heart that God requires of all who choose to follow Him?  The Man Born Blind reminds us that Jesus has the power to heal our blindness and to help us to see God’s plan for us.  None are so blind as those who will not see.”  Are you willing to see?

Begin to make plans now for your participation in the Sacred Triduum of Easter – the events from Holy Thursday evening through Easter Sunday.  These are the “High Holy Days” of our Catholic Faith.  If you are in town, please consider being present for all the events at St. Timothy Church.  We do not have any candidates for entrance into the Church this year, so our Easter Vigil will be the shortest one you can ever expect.  It can be your introduction to this Liturgy and after you participate in it, you will want to return when we do initiate new members.

If you are not in town for Easter, please do attend the events of the Triduum in a Catholic parish wherever you are.  Don’t let Easter pass you by.  The Lord is worth your time.  Many have been touched by the movie “Son of God” and other such representations of the events of the Life of Jesus.  At the Liturgy, you get to encounter Him in Person through the action of the Holy Spirit.  Be sure to open your heart to His Presence!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Word from Your Pastor - March 23

Dear Parishioners:

We all have desires and longings for something that is more than what is right in front of us.  There is a movement in our hearts that draws us out of ourselves and points to something greater.   Even our choice to fall into sin points to the simple fact of our dissatisfaction with what we can achieve by our own efforts.  The Gospel is the answer to our longing.  Cooperation with God’s grace at work in us through Faith will at once give us a concrete “taste” of something more and dispose us to be ready for God’s gifts as they are bestowed upon us.

The Samaritan Woman meets Jesus at a well in the heat of the day.  Where do we find Him?  Are we open to His questions and to the invitation He offers us to drink with Him?  He wants to drink of our Faith.  He wants to fill our hearts with Living Water, water that flows and never quenches our thirst until we are in the fullness of the Kingdom.

We are approaching the “High Holy Days” of our Catholic Faith.  Now is the time to make plans and to prepare ourselves to enter into the wonderful feasts we will soon celebrate.  Make plans, first of all, to be at the Easter Vigil.  All are invited to be renewed by this most sacred of liturgies.  In preparation, plan to approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Our Parish Lenten Penance Service will be held April 3rd.

This week, the People of the Passion will be a powerful reminder of what Jesus our Lord has done for us.  You won’t want to miss it.

How are you doing with almsgiving this Lent?  Here are some invitations for you to consider:  In addition to attending to our prayer and fasting, we are called to be generous in our contribution of ourselves to God and others.  In our culture, it is a question of money and our attachment to material things.  Test your attachments by giving up something (fasting) and balancing that by giving away what you have “saved” by your giving it up.  Drop the money you would have spent on coffee in the Catholic Relief Service Collection or give it to St. Vincent De Paul. 

Look at your use of time.  Add five minutes to the time you give to your spouse or your children when you first see them after returning home from work.  Let someone else control the remote for your television (if you haven’t given that up already!).  Choose an active charitable organization and offer your time – to a soup kitchen, to St. Vincent De Paul, or to Habitat for Humanity. 

Reach beyond your family and its needs.  Look up your Alma Mater and send a donation to assist a family with tuition.  Adopt a student in your own parish school and lighten the load for someone you know anonymously.  Increase your stewardship contribution to your parish. 
 
Remember:  The Lord loves a cheerful giver.  He also accepteth from a grouch.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Word from Your Pastor - March 16

Dear Parishioners:

 
Pope Francis has now passed his first year mark as our Holy Father.  How time flies!  How have you responded to his invitations in this year? 

Have you renewed your own commitment to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?  As a member of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, the Pope reminds us all that Jesus is the very reason for our being.  Our relationship to Him is in the Church.  Have your likewise renewed your commitment to live your Faith in communion with your brothers and sisters in Christ, your fellow Church members?  Sadly, news reports are indicating that the Pope’s invitation has not translated into increase numbers in church.

Have you renewed your sense of Joy in the Gospel?  In his first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, and in his warm smile given to everyone he meets, the Pope has reminded us that Joy in the Gospel is the hallmark of Christian Life.  Our Joy has to be real and evident, or no one will believe us when we speak to them of Jesus Christ.

Have you renewed your willingness to go out to the outskirts, to move beyond your comfort zone, in your sharing of what God has given to you?  The clarion call of Pope Francis, even from the name he chose to be known by as Pope, is to be mindful of the poor and to be aware of the effects of all we do on those who are on the margins of society.

Jesus  and His Church, Joy in the Gospel and a living relationship with the Poor are the hallmarks of Pope Francis’ invitation to the Church and the world today.  How do you respond?

The Transfiguration of Jesus points to the glory that is to be revealed in Christ and in our human nature.  We are called to be aware of the power of the Gospel and the proclamation of the Paschal Mystery – the suffering, death, and Resurrection of Jesus – to begin the transformation now and to strengthen us to live our Faith in the world today.  Where do you see hints of Glory?

How are you doing with fasting this Lent?  Here are some invitations for you to consider:  Give up watching T.V. and use of your electronic gadgets for the whole of Lent or for one day or part of a day.  Give up complaining about the one person or situation you complain most about, and see the cause of your complaint as a gift from God to free you from yourself and to strengthen you in a virtue.  Take time away from something that preoccupies you and invite someone to join you to take a walk or to do some activity that you have been putting off; share your time with someone who deserves more of your time.  Set aside some activity that you have been doing and replace it with reading a spiritual book or listening to a book on CD.  Turn off the car radio and spend the time reflecting on a spiritual theme such as prayer, glory, suffering, sacrifice or God’s Love.  Choose to be a person of joy in the face of difficulty.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Word from Your Pastor - March 9

Dear Parishioners:

Temptation is part of life.  We are all tempted.  Jesus Himself, in His human nature, experienced and showed us how to overcome temptation.  “Resist the devil and he will take flight.” (James 4:7)  For each one of us, there is a unique kind of temptation, tailored to our personality and attachments.  For Jesus, as the Son of God, the root temptation in His human nature was to bypass that very nature: to be self-sufficient, to make a show of power, and to worship something other than God.  Each one of us can fall into the same traps.  Self over God and self over others is the measure of our temptations.

Part of the journey of Lent is to come to terms with our own limitations.  We pray, we fast, and we give alms in order to reach beyond our selfishness to and humble our pride.  We resist the devil each day and do our best not to do his work for him.  We strive to grow in virtue and to overcome our vices.  We seek to worship God alone, to open our hearts to His grace, and to rely on Him and not on ourselves.

Sin is missing the mark.  Grace, God’s life in us, is what puts us on the mark and keeps us on track.  Let us pray for Grace.  We will discover that it is available in abundance.

How is your prayer this Lent?  Here are some invitations for you to consider:  Come to Mass early on Sunday and take time to read the Scriptures that will be proclaimed at that Mass.  This will help you to hunger for the Word.  Come to sit in the Lord’s Eucharistic Presence in church on Wednesday following the School Mass.  He is on the Altar in the Monstrance silently waiting to speak to your heart.  Reflect on the Passion of the Lord through praying the Stations of the Cross on Friday.  Pray the Rosary with your family.   Recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet with a friend or neighbor.  Read the Bible to your children.  Find a form a prayer that you start in Lent and continue as part of your routine when Easter comes.
 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Word from Your Pastor - March 2

Dear Parishioners:

Last weekend’s celebration allowed us to put forward the best of St. Timothy Church.  Our 8th graders were “on” – once they got passed their shyness! – and were able to answer the Bishop’s questions.  He asked them public questions that everyone could hear and they responded.  The Bishop even commented that they were the first group to get the right answer to the question; “What is the only commandment to include a blessing?”  (Do you know?  Ask an 8th grader!)  Their proud Pastor applauded for them from the sanctuary on that one. The Bishop also asked them private questions as they came forward to receive the Sacrament, most often about their chosen patron.  In every case, the student was able to respond right away to the question asked.  What was most impressive was the variety of confirmation names chosen.  This year, there was even a Timothy!

Our Parish and School community has been blessed by the Gift of the Spirit just in time for Lent.  This week, Ash Wednesday opens the cycle that celebrates the Paschal Mystery – Lent-Easter-Pentecost.  All are called to renewed discipline so that we can be docile to the work of the Spirit in our hearts.  This year, as the Church prepares for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, and as we continue to hear the call to the New Evangelization, let us enter into Lent with a family spirit.

When you choose your Lenten practices of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving (works of Charity), do so in the key of Family.  Turn your attention toward devotions and prayers that include your family.  Pray together.  Join together in a common act of “giving up” something that is good, but that serves to free you for the Lord.  Find a way of contributing something of yourself to your family and with your family to those in need.  Don’t miss your chance to grow in the Spirit!  Happy Lent.

The Bishops of the United States offer some suggestions at their website:

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-resources/lent/index.cfm
 

Catholic Lenten Regulations

1) Abstinence on all the Fridays of Lent, and on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
  • No meat may be eaten on days of abstinence.
  • Catholics 14 years and older are bound to abstain from meat. Invalids, pregnant and nursing mothers are exempt.
2) Fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
  • Fasting means having only one full meal to maintain one's strength. Two smaller, meatless and penitential meals are permitted according to one's needs, but they should not together equal the one full meal. Eating solid foods between meals is not permitted.
  • Catholics from age 18 through age 59 are bound to fast. Again, invalids, pregnant and nursing mothers are exempt.
Focolare Word of Life for March 2014: If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. (Jn 15:10)
http://www.focolare.org/en/news/category/parola-di-vita/