Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - July 5

Dear Parishioners:

This weekend we celebrate the wonderful gift of our United States of America as a nation dedicated to the principles of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  We express our gratitude for those who put their own lives, fortunes and sacred honor on the line for the freedoms which we all enjoy.  At the same time, we pray earnestly: “God bless America!”  As a nation and a culture, we are facing new challenges.  There is a spirit in the air that denies the inner meaning of life, liberty and happiness.  We have to open our hearts to the deeper truths, as did those who fought for our country at its beginnings and throughout its history.  Can we allow what was won at such a cost to be lost?

Recently, it was my privilege to preach at the Watterson Baccalaureate Mass.  In my homily, I quoted Victor Frankl, a survivor of several concentration camps in World War II.  When he spoke to audiences in the United States, he would tell them that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast ought to be complemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast of our nation.  As we exercise our rights and freedoms, we need to realize that we also have a duty to recognize consequences to our actions and our responsibility to those around us and those yet to be born.  This is a timeless truth.

Our Catholic Faith calls us to be free in the fullest and truest sense of the word.  We are free when we submit our bodies, minds and spirits, our hearts and our souls to God and to all that He has revealed.  God’s Word and the Truths of our Faith open us to a greater freedom, a liberty that this world does not understand.  May we who are part of these United States and members of the Catholic Church live in freedom and may we commit our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor to the task of living in the light of Truth.  The world is counting on our witness.  The Church is speaking hard truths, but living by the Truth that comes from God is what we are pledged to do.

Focolare Word of Life for July 2015
Take courage; I have conquered the world.  (John 16:33).

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - June 28

Dear Parishioners:

This weekend we have the traditional Peter’s Pence collection, the world-wide effort by the Church to gather means for the Holy Father to assist with needs throughout the world.  We have all been hearing news about how the words that Pope Francis sends out can lead to a dialogue about important issues.  He has, from the first moment of his election as Pope, been reminding us about our duty to keep the poor in mind.  Our generosity to this weekend’s collection can serve to help the him reach out in our name as Catholics to those in most need.

When the Catholic Church includes collections as part of Mass, the intention is to remind us that our acts of giving are part of the act of worship.  We have received all that we have and are from God.  With grateful hearts, we give back something of what we have received as a sign of our thanks and of our recognition that God calls us to be stewards of the gifts we have received.  What we have received as gifts we are to give as gifts in turn to others.

God cannot be outdone in giving.  An open and generous spirit becomes ever more ready to receive God’s gifts.  A heart that is closed and selfish has no room for what God wants to offer.  Can we learn to become more generous?

The Church is calling us to be more bold in our proclamation of the Gospel in a world that denies God a place in the public sphere.  We are also called to be more conscious of our duty to reach out to others.  What we do as a Faith Community is not about us, but about God and His plans for our world.  We have been commissioned to make disciples, to teach what Jesus has taught us, and to baptize others into Christ.  May we respond joyfully to this mission entrusted to us by God.  And may others come to know Jesus Christ through the life we share.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - June 21

Dear Parishioners:

This week, I celebrate my 30th Anniversary of Ordination.  The celebration with my ordination Classmate Fr. Jeff Rimelspach last weekend was a continuation of the journey down Memory Lane.  I thank all who were able to be part of that celebration and all who have given cards and gifts in response to this milestone in my priestly walk.  God is faithful to His promises.  I honestly feel the same wonder and awe that He has chosen me as a priest and I marvel at the amazing things He does with me as an instrument.  If everyone knew the depth of hearts that are open to the priest just because he is a priest, there would never be talk of a crisis in vocations.

Looking out at you who are part of my life and priesthood now, I am moved by what God can do when hearts respond to His grace.  You are God’s own.  He loves you.  He wants you for Himself, all of you and every part of you.  If only we could see one another with God’s eyes.  C.S. Lewis speaks of the “weight of glory.”  Every other human being we see is destined for Eternity.  To be in relationship with eternal beings is a gift that has to take us out of ourselves if we get a glimpse of it.  Those you encounter every day, those you worship with each week or even each day at Mass, those who never come across the threshold of our church are entrusted to you and me.  Can we carry them?  Not without God’s grace or without the mutual support we offer one another.

I am renewing my commitment to live in response to the Lord’s call in my life.  I invite you to join me in this renewal.  Pray that our parish may be the Amazing Parish we are called others may want to know Jesus Christ.

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, grandfathers and godfathers among us!  Know that your witness is incredibly important to your children, grandchildren and godchildren.  Your example is observed and plants seeds for the future in ways you can never know.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - June 14

Dear Parishioners:

As most of you have heard, I recently participated in the funeral of my cousin Dawn Gideon Altomari in Pittsburgh.  It was celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Pittsburgh and I was able to concelebrate with my classmate from seminary, the Very Reverend Kris Stubna, who is rector of the Cathedral Parish.  This was a trip down memory lane for me in many ways.

My cousin Dawn was only a year older than me and we saw each other growing up now and then on my family visits to relatives in Pittsburgh.  She became a remarkable woman who worked in administration in many hospitals throughout the country, including Pittsburgh, New York and Washington, D.C.  She was truly “successful” as far as the world is concerned in many ways.  But what was highlighted at the funeral Mass was the reality of what motivated her – namely her Faith (she and her husband Kevin were faithful members of the St. Paul Cathedral Parish) and Love.  The gathering brought my family into contact with many cousins and others whom we don’t see often enough.  It also included people of many different faiths involved in health care work who knew her and joined the family in mourning the loss.  What I came away with from the experience of the celebration of her life was a renewed awareness of the impact each of us can have on those around us.

A second aspect of the journey down memory lane was the opportunity to spend time with Fr. Kris.  30 years ago, he and his parents came down to Columbus for my ordination (June 22, 1985), and a week later, I and my family were present for his ordination in Pittsburgh on June 29.  We had a chance to talk about all that has happened in those years.  Again, I have returned home with a sense of renewed appreciation for the gift of priestly ministry and the recognition of what these 30 years of experience of labor in the Lord’s vineyard have brought to me.

Today, my ordination classmate Fr. Jeff Rimelspach and I are celebrating a special Mass at St. Margaret of Cortona at 2 p.m.  Please join us in a prayer of thanksgiving for all that the Lord has done for us in these years.  May we continue to serve the Lord in His People with joy for the Gospel.

As we welcome Fr. Henry Byekwaso this weekend for the Mission Appeal on behalf of the Archdiocese of Kampala, may we all be generous in our response to the Lord’s call to share what He has given to us with those who are so in need.  The truest sign of the work of the Spirit among us is our willingness to share what we have received.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - June 7 Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

Dear Parishioners:

Many exciting things have happened the past few weeks.  The Ordination of six new priests and the news that three of them will be assigned to parishes in our neighborhood offers a great sense of hope.  I attended the ordination on May 30 and two of the First Masses of Thanksgiving on May 31 and found the experience to be a trip down Memory Lane, especially since one of the Masses was celebrated at St. Mary Church in Lancaster, which was my first assignment as a priest.  At that Mass, I looked out at the congregation and realized that most of those in the pews were too young to remember me from my time there.  But there were a lot of folks who came up to me to greet me who did remember me.  It was a reminder of my own early zeal in the priesthood. 

My prayer is that I can recapture something of that zeal as I approach the celebration of my 30th Anniversary of Ordination this month.  By the way, you are invited to join me in that prayer as Fr. Jeff Rimelspach celebrate a special Mass on Sunday, June 14, at 2 p.m. at St. Margaret of Cortona Church (with a light reception to follow) as our observance of the 30th Anniversary.  We are the Class of 1985 for the Diocese of Columbus.  How quickly the years have flown by!

The privilege of preaching at the Baccalaureate Mass for the Watterson Class of 2015 was exciting.  My nephew Tyler Carter, who has often served here at St. Timothy Church, is in that class.  He is planning to discern the priesthood in the Diocese of Columbus at the Josephinum next year.  I also concelebrated the Baccalaureate/Graduation of St. Charles Preparatory High School, from which I graduated in 1977.  This past week, we celebrated the Graduation of the St. Timothy Class of 2015.  Many families rejoice in these new steps in the lives of our youth.  All of these events are a reminder that the work we do is an important: we prepare the next generations for the future.

On Friday, June 12th, at 7:30 p.m., at a Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral, the Diocese of Columbus will be consecrated anew to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Bishop Frederick Campbell.  Please join us in prayer at that time and consider making a consecration of your family to the Sacred Heart.  We need to keep Jesus at the center of our lives so that we can be a true witness of the Truth of the Gospel to the world around us.

As Summer begins, remember, Jesus wants to see you every weekend at Mass!  He offers Eternal Rest to those who stay close to Him.  When you visit other parishes, pick up a bulletin and bring it home with you to let your Pastor know you have been to church.  Have a great Summer!

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, let us all reaffirm our Faith in the Eucharist.  Remember that Wednesdays our Eucharistic Lord is waiting for your visit in the air-conditioned comfort of St. Timothy Church.  Come to keep Him company and to allow Him to speak to your heart.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - May 31 Trinity Sunday

Dear Parishioners:

The Sunday of the Most Holy Trinity celebrates the most intimate knowledge we have of Who God IS.  St. Paul tells us that through merely human knowledge, we can come to know that there is a God and that He IS One God.  But the Triune Mystery can only be known because the Son of God has revealed it.  Jesus reveals the Father and the Father and the Son send the Spirit so that we may be caught up into the Mystery of Love and Unity that is shared among the Three Divine Persons.  To know God as He IS will be the Joy we will experience in the next life.  Even now, we can know something of Him and of each unique Person of the Trinity.

Look at Abba, the Father, as Jesus reveals Him.  Who is God for you?  

Look at the Son, Jesus, Who has come to live among us and Who has taken our human nature into the very Reality of God.  Who do you say that Jesus is?  

Look at the Holy Spirit, Who offers us the entry into the life of grace.  How are the gifts of the Spirit operating in your life?  

How does your life reveal the Truth of the Trinity?

This weekend, the Diocese of Columbus welcomes six new priests into the ranks of the presbyterate, ordained Saturday, May 30, at St. Paul Church in Westeville: Father Anthony Davis, Father Sean Dooley, Father Tom Gardner, Father Michael Hartge, Father Brian O'Connor and Father Nicola Ventura.  Please pray for that their first experiences of ministry will serve to lead them to a fruitful time in the vineyard of the Lord.

We offer congratulations to all who graduated this week.  May your accomplishments of today lead to a brighter tomorrow.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Word from Your Pastor - May 24 Pentecost

Dear Parishioners:

Be sure that you and your intentions were in my thoughts and prayers during the Pilgrimage I just completed.  It was truly an amazing journey.  As far as I can tell so far, things moved along well at St. Timothy in my absence.  I offer thanks to Fr. Bill Faustner and to all the staff and parishioners who held the fort.  Now we are together again and have to be ready to roll.  With the Solemnity of the Ascension last weekend and Pentecost this weekend, we bring to an end our celebration of the Easter Season.  Ordinary time begins, reminding us that as we count the days and weeks of our lives, the Risen Lord is always with us according to His promise through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost is the birthday of the Church.  Through the outpoured Gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus, our Risen Lord, equips His disciples for Mission, the proclamation of the Kingdom to all the nations.  St. Timothy Church and all our members are called to take part in this Mission.  Something new is happening in the Church and we are a part of it.  The invitation is going out to become an Amazing Parish, caught up in wonder and awe at the Presence of God among us, and conscious of our concrete responsibility in the world to build up the Kingdom through living discipleship.  If you have not heard that you are part of this, let the Holy Spirit whisper into your heart now.  You belong.  You have a place.  You have been charged to know the Living God and to share all that He has given to you with the world around you.

Rise up in splendor, People of God, and let the world see the power of the Spirit alive in you.  God has a plan for Peace and Healing in our world.  That plan demands a conversion of heart from each of us, an expansion of our vision to a deep understanding of God’s ways.  As we move into Ordinary Time, let us keep our hearts open and allow God’s Spirit to transform us into the People He calls us to be.

We offer special congratulations to all our graduates at every level of education.  May the achievements we honor now be just the beginning for you.  May your lives be a sign of what God can do in us through Faith.