Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor January 22

Dear Parishioners:

St. Timothy School is taking time this year to reflect upon the Sacraments.  It is fitting to do so in light of the fact that the Sacraments are an aspect of our Catholic Faith that distinguishes as Catholics.  I thought it would be a good idea to offer some thoughts about the Sacraments in my column as well.

The foundational Sacraments are the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.  All Catholics share these Sacraments as the expression of their belonging to the Catholic Church.  To be a Catholic who is fully initiated is to have experienced the celebration of these Sacraments.  There are, of course, some Catholics who have only received one or two of them; they are not fully initiated until they receive all three.

In the early Church, the three Sacraments of Initiation were celebrated at the Easter Vigil.  This continues into our day for those who enter the Church as adults through the R.C.I.A., the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.  As time went on, due to the growth of the Church, the Sacraments began to be celebrated at different times.  Baptism, which we share in common with all Christians, continued to be the doorway to the other Sacraments, and was most often celebrated for infants born into the Catholic Family.  The Bishop is closely associated with Confirmation, as the successor to the Apostles, and so it would fall to him in the West, that is, in the Latin Church, to complete the initiation through Confirmation at a later time.  In the East, among the Byzantines, priests celebrate the three Sacraments of Initiation even for infants.

The custom in early years was to keep the order of the Sacraments for all.  Confirmation was given later and Holy Communion would be done at a greater age as well.  Pope Pius X created a situation where this changed by opening Eucharist to children who reached the age of reason, about age seven.  This resulted in the change of order that most of us experienced if we grew up in a Catholic family, namely Baptism as infants, First Holy Communion in second grade, and Confirmation in a later grade, usually around the eighth grade.

Think about your own experience of the Sacraments.  Do you know when they were celebrated?  What are your memories of these days of your life that forever marked you? 

In the weeks and months ahead, I will offer some thoughts about each of the Sacraments and suggestions concerning how they can be highlighted in the life of our parish.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor January 15

Dear Parishioners:

The Baltimore Catechism gave the definition of a Sacrament as follows:  “A Sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.”  It indicated that the sign given was “a sensible sign,” that is, a sign that is perceivable by the five senses.  When we want to understand the Sacramental Life of the Church, we first have to grasp that it is the continuation of the Incarnation, the very Life of Jesus Christ, handed on to each generation through the instrumentality of the Church.

We understand that Sacraments are holy actions that allow Jesus Himself to touch us with His power and His grace.  They can happen only through the action of the Church.

The wonderful gift of the Sacraments is opened for us first through Baptism.  This Sacraments offer us the Life of God through sanctifying grace, that destines us for the glory of Heaven and gives us access to the Sacraments as the ordinary means of obtaining grace.

There are three groups of Sacraments: The Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist); The Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation – also called Penance or Confession – and Anointing of the Sick); The Sacraments of Relationship (Holy Orders, with its three levels of Deacon, Priest and Bishop; and Holy Matrimony, Christian Marriage).  As we enter more deeply into an understanding of the Sacraments, we grow in our capacity to respond to God’s Grace.

May 2017 be for us all a time of deepening awareness of the Sacraments.  May our children, who are being taught to open their hearts to Jesus through the Sacraments find in the adults who share their lives a reverence and a hunger for the Sacraments that teaches them how to put Jesus at the center of their lives.

This week, the children of St. Timothy School will be anticipating the celebration of St. Timothy, our Patron, at their Wednesday School Mass.  All are welcome to be a part of this celebration.  As we follow the example of our heavenly guide, may we be a sign to the world of the truth of the Gospel and the power of the Spirit to bring light and healing to the world.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor January 8 - Epiphany

Dear Parishioners:

Epiphany calls to mind three moments of the “Manifestation” of the Glory of God: The Arrival of the Magi, the Baptism of the Lord and the Wedding Feast of Cana.  In each of these three moments, there was a revelation of the Glory of God shining through the Humanity of Jesus Christ. 

The Magi, with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, remind us that Jesus, the Baby of Bethlehem, is King, God and the Redeemer destined to die for all of humanity.

The Baptism by John in the Jordan is celebrated with its own feast either on the Sunday after Epiphany in most years, or – as it is this year – the Monday right after Epiphany.  It serves as the first revelation of the Trinity in a public way with the voice of the Father and the visible sign of the dove as the Holy Spirit.  God’s Glory is revealed in Jesus as His Beloved Son, the Bearer of the Spirit in His human nature.

The Wedding Feast of Cana allows Jesus’ first disciples to begin to see His Glory and to believe in Him.  It also makes known the power of intercessory prayer as manifested in Mary’s request on behalf of the bride and groom, “They have no wine.”

If we have the eyes and heart to see it, we begin to realize that God is at work in our own human nature through grace.  Jesus Christ has poured His own divinity into the life of the Church in the celebration of the Sacraments and in the life of Prayer that we share as we gather for Liturgy.

May we walk together in Faith and open our hearts to the Glory of God made known in Jesus.  May our life allow God to use us to show all the nations His Glory and the power of the His Love.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor January 1, 2017 - Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Dear Parishioners:

A Blessed New Year to all! 

As we open 2017 with the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, on a Sunday, we see how our Heavenly Mother brings us to her Divine Son.  Our Faith tells us that Mary is the highest honor of our race after her Son.  She ushered in the action of God by her consent and cooperation with grace.  She shows us how to do the will of God.

The title Theotokos, “God Bearer,” which we translate as “Mother of God” is primarily an expression of our Faith in the Divinity of Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Mary.  It is through Mary that God chooses to enter our world and to invite each one of us to a free response to His call.  When we acknowledge Mary as “Mother of God,” at the very same time, we have to realize the potential given to human beings who cooperate with grace.

A New Year is a time to make resolutions and to renew commitments.  Let us at St. Timothy Church renew our own commitment to open our hearts to the grace God is offering to us.  May we be truly one in Faith and in our efforts to be the Body of Christ.  May we continue to strive earnestly to give God all the glory.  And may we open our eyes to see those whom God has entrusted to us as companions on the journey of Faith, welcoming them among us and offering willing service to them as our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, form us in the life of grace and help us to live as brothers and sisters to Jesus Christ, your Son!  May the divine life that began to dwell among us in you grow in us and lead us to holiness so that all the world may come to know the glory of God poured out in Jesus, the Lord.

Focolare Word of Life for January 2017

“The love of Christ compels us.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-20)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - December 25 Christmas Day

Dear Parishioners and Guests for Christmas:
We welcome you to St. Timothy Church as we join together to celebrate the Coming of Immanuel, God with Us, in Jesus Christ.  The joy of this celebration is a reminder to us that God is present to us in every age.  The Church Fathers tell us that Joy is the infallible sign of God’s Presence.  We know the Story of Bethlehem is true because we discover that the Spirit of God brings the Son of God to birth in our own hearts and leads us to give glory to God in the highest.

This year at St. Timothy, we are embarking on a new adventure with the launching of the Alpha Program, beginning January 22.  Happily, all the spaces for this first course are filled.  We invite you to consider joining us in the future. 

Blessings to you and to all who are dear to you.  May Christ find a home in your hearts and may your life help others to know His Mercy.

A Blessed Christmas to All!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - December 18 Fourth Sunday of Advent

Dear Parishioners:

One of the most wonderful aspects of our Catholic Faith is the promise of Healing that touches the full human person, body, mind and spirit.  Our hearts and souls are open to receive the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, when we experience the touch of Mercy that heals us where we hurt.  The Sacraments of Healing are Reconciliation – known also as Penance or Confession – and Anointing of the Sick.  Each of these Sacraments plunges us into the Paschal Mystery, the power of the Living God to bring us from death to Resurrection through Jesus Christ.

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we are freed from sin.  By the Anointing of the Sick, our human limitations – illness and death – are put into contact with the healing Mystery of the Cross.  Acknowledging our need for God and opening our hearts to His grace, we give God room to act in our lives and we discover that our limitations themselves become a means of grace in us.  This transformation enlivens in us the Hope that reaches all the way to Eternal Life.

The Sacramental Life is the life that points beyond this world.  We are made for Love, that is, a sharing in the very Life of God, Who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a Trinity of Persons United in Love.  The nature of the Sacrament is to be, as the old Baltimore Catechism put it, “a sensible sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.”  Jesus is the Sacrament of the Father: He reveals God to us.  The Church is the Sacrament of Christ.  The Sacramental Life of the Church, in the Seven Sacraments, forms us to be living witnesses of the power of God’s Grace, given to us through our Faith in Jesus Christ.

This weekend, as we offer the Blessing of all involved in the ministries of health care, and as we experience the communal celebration of the Anointing of the Sick, may we all find the healing we need to be an effective witness to God’s Love and Mercy.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Word From Your Pastor - December 11 Third Sunday of Advent

Dear Parishioners:

Advent is moving right along!  We are celebrating Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday with the rose vestments and pink candle that reminds us that we are almost there.  This year, since Christmas falls on Sunday, we have a full four weeks of Advent.  Have any of you found yet that it gave you more time to get things done?  That certainly hasn’t happened for me!

I have wanted to share for awhile that we are experiencing a rather interesting phenomenon lately.  Various families are working with us to see to it that their children and other members of the family are getting “caught up” on the Sacraments.  We have had several children experiencing Baptism, First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion at varied times with their families and others in attendance.  Just before Thanksgiving, we we delighted to welcome the Mays family into Full Communion in the Catholic Church.

We are also finding that various families who have come to join our parish from different cultural backgrounds are seeking to find ways to integrate themselves among us.  They come often due to educational opportunities at O.S.U. or one of the nearby hospitals.  They walk with us for a time, then seek to establish formal ties and to work with us to pass on the Faith to their children.

These situations often require special efforts outside the norm to catechize and to ensure that there is a clear understanding of the Faith and the Sacraments they are receiving.  We are in need of helpers who would be willing to work with us and these families as they appear.  Can you see yourself helping some children or even whole families find their place in the Church?  Would you – and even your own children if they are peers to the newcomers – be willing to assist?  In the near future, I hope to arrange a time to meet with you and to let you know how you can begin to prepare for such opportunities.

We are a growing community and the fact that we are meeting friends from the world over who want to join us tells us that we are on the right track.  The Faith we share has something for everybody.

Let us rejoice to know that the Lord is Coming!