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.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - July 10

Dear Parishioners:

When folks think of St. Timothy Parish, many speak of the experience of the Festival.  It is old home weekend with a gathering of folks from all over for fun and simple enjoyment of being together.  This time is always a highlight of the summer for us at St. Timothy.  It also begins a countdown of festivals in our neighborhood parishes throughout the rest of the summer.

I offer thanks to the teams who put on the Festival, coordinated by Joe Lorenz and a group of leaders who oversee all the volunteers and the details needed to put it all together and then to take it all apart for next year.  Your efforts are deeply appreciated by the whole community.

As we observe the fun of the weekend and then the annual “miracle on the green” that makes it all disappear, let’s set our sights on next year.  The Festival for 2017 will be July 14-15.  Put it on your calendar now so you won’t miss it!

The Gospel calls us to love our neighbor as a sign that God is first in our lives.  When we respond to the invitation to follow Jesus, we are called into a deeper relationship with Him.  He draws us into His way of loving and we have something beautiful to offer to our brothers and sisters.  May the joy of this weekend keep us mindful of the call to live so we may inherit everlasting life.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - July 3

Dear Parishioners:

Freedom is a great gift.  God created us to be free to live.  As the old Baltimore Catechism put it: God made us to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this life, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.  As a nation, we acknowledge both the gift of freedom and the price that was paid for it.  The patriots of our American Revolution, the men and women who pledged their “lives and fortunes and sacred honor” to the idea of Liberty, along with Life and the Pursuit of Happiness, are brought to mind as we celebrate the 4th of July.  We also offer our gratitude to those who have put themselves in harm’s way do defend our values and our way of life.  To all who serve our nation and to their families who share in their sacrifice, we say thanks and we remember them in our prayers.

We also bear a great responsibility to live the freedom that we have received as a gift from God and by the sacrifices of those who have come before us.  It falls to us to defend that freedom by safeguarding it and by keeping a vigilant watch on the forces that would rob us of it.  May we live in freedom, pledging our own lives and fortunes and sacred honor to the task that is ours.  May our children and grandchildren and every generation to come continue to be free.  God bless America!

One of the great events of the Summer at St. Timothy, of course, is our Parish Festival, this Friday and Saturday evening.  Heartfelt thanks to all who have been working so hard to pull it together for another year.  This week, all are invited to pray for good weather and to contact family, friends, classmates of past years, and even enemies to join us for the fun. Let the festivities begin!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - June 26

Dear Parishioners:

This past week, we celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial for Dr. William Steller, Sr., one of the patriarchs in our St. Timothy Family.  This celebration was truly a St. Timothy Moment that brought out the best of who we are.  As most of you know, the field to the east of our property is known as “Steller Field” in honor of a man who spent much time there as a coach and a supporter of our youth.  If you were on campus before the funeral, you may have seen a most unusual sight: a hearse making a once around the field before taking its place in front of the church.


(Photos Courtesy of Facebook)

This sight is certainly one for our archives.  At St. Joseph Cemetery, Bill Steller’s children had some earth from Steller field to place on his casket, so a piece of our land will be forever with him.  The visitation at the funeral home and the Mass and bereavement luncheon were all truly an “old home week” for our community.  It was awe-inspiring to see the St. Timothy family surrounding the Steller clan in their time of loss.  It was also so beautiful to see the shared joy of families across the generations who gathered to acknowledge what we hold in common: Faith, Family and the Hope of the Future.

We offer again our condolences to the Steller family and all who mourn the passing of “Doc” Steller.  May we continue to live the St. Timothy tradition of which he and his family and so many other families are a part.  May he and all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

To all who had a part in the celebration of the Funeral Liturgy and showed support in so many ways, be sure of my personal gratitude to you for all you do to minister to those who experience loss among us.  Your efforts are truly a sign of the best St. Timothy Church has to offer.  Let us continue to be the community of Love and Mercy we are called to be.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - June 19

Dear Parishioners:

When Jesus chose a word to express the intimacy of His Relationship with God in our shared human nature, He chose the word “Abba,” which is really a word that defies translation.  “Daddy, Papa, Dearest Father” are all efforts to share the depth of meaning.  The closest might be “Da Da,” the first acknowledgement of the baby of his or her father, which competes with “Mama” for being the first word uttered in recognition.  When He teaches us to pray, Jesus says, “When you pray, say ‘Abba.’”

On this day, we give recognition to our earthly fathers.  This reminds us of the promise that is given to us in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  We pray to Him every day in awareness that we are brothers and sisters: “Our Father, Who art in Heaven….”  The best way to honor our fathers, grandfathers, godfathers and mentors on earth is to live in accord with the call of our Heavenly Father to love one another.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16)  We live in accord with Faith so that we may share the Eternal Life offered to us through Jesus Christ.

The program that many men of our parish and other parishes around the diocese have followed called “That Man Is You” reminds fathers that they are called to unite their families in prayer and worship, honoring our Heavenly Father and so giving example to their children.  It also points out that practice of the Faith by the next generation often depends upon the witness of the father in the family.  If Dad goes to church and prays, cooperating with Mom in the witness of Faith, it is more likely that the next generation will continue the tradition.  So Father’s Day is a call to all earthly fathers to collaborate with the grace of the Holy Spirit in leading us all to honor our Father in Heaven.

As summer opens before us, may we continue to grow as a community of believers united in mind and heart who strive together to promote the greater glory of God our Father.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - June 12

Dear Parishioners:

A great gift in our time is the simple fact that we can be in touch with people literally all over the world at the touch of a key.  There is something incredibly amazing about this reality of daily experience.  A phone call, an email or an instant message, a connection through Skype or Facetime or some other app on an electronic device can create the opportunity for an encounter with virtually every person on the planet.  Some of our elders have lived through the whole gamut of such devices: telephones with operators and party lines, radio, television, computers, cell phones, ipads, tablets, androids, iphones, etc., etc. etc.  Who knows what the next generations will see?

When we consider such advances in technology, we can come to understand more deeply by analogy the realities of our Faith that we have known through the centuries as Church.  Prayer puts us in communion with God, the Creator of the Universe, and with those who have gone before us into the mystery of the Communion of Saints.  We are able to pray now and to be in touch with the members of the Church in her three states: the Saints in Glory (the Church Triumphant), the Holy Souls of Purgatory (the Church Suffering), and the Saints in training all throughout the world (the Church Militant).

If we understand the Mass properly, we begin to realize that this is the “place” where the whole Church is present.  We one with the Saints in Glory in worship of the Living God.  In fact, Mass is our entry into the Mystery of Eternity in time.  The Light of Glory is present to us in our participation in the Mass.  We are in touch, too, with those who have gone before us in the Faith, our relatives and friends who are entrusted to God’s Mercy and whom we long to see again.  Various moments of silence, especially that which takes place right after reception of Holy Communion, are the closest we will be to them in this life.  The celebration of the same Liturgy of the Mass each day throughout the world reminds us that we are all destined for a glory that hidden from our eyes as we walk the journey of Faith.

May we all keep this in mind as we enter into the Summer months.  This may be a time of vacation from certain pursuits and activities, but it must not be a time away from the practice of our Faith.  Enjoy your Summer and keep the Faith alive in your family by continuing to worship together.  The family that prays together stays together!