Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Word from Your Pastor May 20 - Pentecost

Pentecost is the Birthday of the Church and the grand close to the Season of Easter.  We pray for the fulfillment of the Promise of the Father to send us an Advocate, the One Who will lead us to all Truth, the Truth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

This Feast is a reminder to us that we are called to share the very Life of God.  God the Father so loved the world that He sent His Son to be our Savior.  Jesus, the Son of God, returned to the Father in the fullness of Risen Glory, taking our human nature into the very heart of the Trinity, and the firstfruits of the Spirit came from the Father and the Son to form the Church.  We now live in time the Promise of Eternity.  The Presence and action of the Holy Spirit is the sign that all God has planned for us will reach its fulfillment.

Come, Holy Spirit!” is the prayer of the day.  We pray to receive anew the Gifts of the Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord.  We seek to live more truly the Theological Gifts of Faith, Hope and Love. 

We also look for the “fruits of the Holy Spirit” as signs of the work of the Spirit in us in practical ways.  The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: ‘charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.’ (Galatians 5:22-23 Vulgate version) [Catechism of the Catholic Church #1832]

Joy is the infallible sign of the Presence of God.  We know that the Spirit of God is within us when joy overtakes us and keeps us faithful to our calling.  We ask today that we may continue to be “overcome with Paschal Joy,” as we move from the Season of Easter into Ordinary Time.  As our children learn in the CGS Atrium: Ordinary Time is the time of growth.  The green of the season reminds us of the growth of life in in us in the brightness of the sun.  Let us open our hearts to the Spirit.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Word from Your Pastor May 13 - Solemnity of the Ascension

Mothers are God’s gift to the world to show us that He still has faith in us.  God’s first best gift to the human race was Mary in her Immaculate Conception, the perfect human nature, prepared by God to receive the Incarnate Word.  Jesus’ final gift to us from His suffering on the Cross was that His Mother is also our Mother in the journey of Faith.   Our earthly mothers are God’s continued gift to each new generation to remind us that He has high hopes and plans for His children.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we also observe the Solemnity of the Ascension, the moment of Jesus’ return to His Father in the fullness of His Risen Humanity.  Our human nature now has an eternal “place” in the very heart of the Holy Trinity because Jesus took with Him all that He received from us in the time of the Incarnation.

Through the Ascension, we are made “capax Dei,” that is, “capable of God,”  or in other words, “able to receive the very Spirit of God in our human nature.”  Pentecost, which will be celebrated next weekend, is the completion of the circle of relationship given to us with the Holy Trinity.

In the week ahead, we pray that the Holy Spirit may be poured out anew on the Church and on the world.  May we make our mothers proud by opening our hearts to God to receive all that He offers through the grace of Jesus Christ.  Come, Holy Spirit!  Fill the hearts of Your faithful. Enkindle in them the fire of Your Love!  Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created and You shall renew the face of the earth….

Sunday, May 6, 2018

A Word from Your Pastor May 6

May is the month of Mary.  This is a good time to review our own response to the Church’s invitation to learn with Mary how to respond to God’s call in our lives.

As Catholics, we have a living relationship with God through the Sacraments.  Baptism, which is available for human beings at every age, opens the doorway to Eternal Life and to the Sacramental Life that is its anticipation in time.

Parents bring their children to the Church and promise to raise them up in the Faith, giving them an example.  The idea that children ought to be left to decide for themselves on this matter is ultimately a failure on the part of their parents to discern their own responsibility.  “Let the children come to Me” is Jesus’ response to His disciples when the question comes up.

Often, children are the agents who bring their parents to Faith.  Recently, we have had many occasions where the children who have learned about Baptism and the other Sacraments have asked their parents to become Catholic and they have done so through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (the R.C.I.A.). 

We experience the touch of God’s Love through the Sacraments.

In Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, we are incorporated into the very Life of Jesus Christ and have a unique relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

In Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders, we live in a Communion of Love with God and with His children. These help to build up the Family of God, the Church.

In Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick, we are given the touch of God’s Love through His healing Mercy, strengthening us and enabling us to continue the journey of Faith through the limits of our human weakness.

Jesus calls us His friends.  Mary, His Mother and ours, makes known to us how to live in response to the grace that He offers.  The Sacraments are where we encounter Jesus, Who makes us His own, forms us as the People of God, and leads us to fullness of Life.  Let us live with our Friend as faithful members of His Church.

A Word from Your Pastor April 29

Jesus Is the Vine and we are the branches.  We draw life from Him and we bring what He gives to us out to the rest of the world.  This is God’s way of making Himself known in His creation and among all peoples.

We live in a time of incredible change.  Pope Francis has said that we do not live merely in an epoch of change, but rather in a change of epoch.  Something New is coming that involves everyone everywhere.  The Church has lived through such times in the past.

First, there was the Coming of the Messiah, Jesus, in the first century.  The longings of the People of God were fulfilled in a way that surprised everyone.  The Messiah expected was not a merely earthly ruler who took over power from foreign invaders, but rather a new kind of Messiah, One Who would suffer and die and rise and offer a deeper fulfillment than ever expected.

The Church, the community of believers in the Risen Savior was at first a Jewish reality, including those who had walked with Jesus and who experienced the power of His Spirit in their lives.  Soon, however, it opened to the Gentile world.  To the surprise of even the Apostles themselves, in Jesus Christ, God provided a way of unity for the Greco-Roman world.  The Hellenistic society of the Mediterranean opened to a conquering of the Roman Empire by the Church, now a community that saw no difference in the promise of salvation for all in the known world.

In modern times, the Church came to realize that what has been held together in the former Roman Empire has to open itself to a true World Christianity.  The promise of Salvation is for the whole human race and for all of creation.  The Vine has extended branches truly to every nation on earth.  All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD; all the families of the nations shall bow down before him.

What has happened externally is also happening interiorly in hearts that are open to the Spirit of the Living God.  We are given a grace in our time to communicate at a depth both with God and with one another about spiritual matters.  Communities all over the world are learning to speak about Faith at a new depth.  You are called to share In this.  You are part of the Vine and where you are is a place where new living branches are growing.

Have you discovered the way in which God’s Spirit is at work in your life to bring Jesus Christ into new places and to the people who have not yet come to know Him?  Can you open your eyes to see?  Will you give God the place in your own heart and life that He seeks?

Hear the voice of the Shepherd Who speaks to you personally: “If you remain in Me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become My disciples.  May we truly cooperate with the Spirit and bear much fruit!

Monday, April 23, 2018

A Word from Your Pastor April 22

We were all saddened by the news of the sudden death of Msgr. George Schlegel, who has been an exemplary priest of the Diocese of Columbus and has served the St. Timothy community in many ways.  As I shared at Mass last weekend, Msgr. Schlegel was my second-to-last pastor before I became a pastor myself.  I was assigned as Associate Pastor with him at St. Joan of Arc Church in Powell in July 1993.  From there, he went to his final parish at Sacred Heart, New Philadelphia. 

After his retirement from Sacred Heart in 2010, Msgr. Schlegel has helped in many parishes throughout the diocese.  We were grateful to him for filling in for me as Administrator while I was away on sabbatical.  He was also a regular at all our penance services and School confessions.  He joined us for the celebration of the Easter Triduum on many occasions.  It was clear that he enjoyed being with us at St. Timothy Church.  Of course, every parish he assisted felt the same.

At the School Mass this week, I invited the children and all who were in attendance to think about Msgr. Schlegel and to learn what his example means to them.  His Faith, his willingness to put his intelligence to use for the Church and his joyful ministry as a priest can remind us all of the gift of our Catholic Faith and the invitation to serve in the Lord’s vineyard.  We pray that Msgr. Schlegel may find Eternal Rest and that God’s Mercy shine on him as he enters into the mystery of the Kingdom.

Bishop Campbell mentioned that Msgr. Schlegel went to his death with an attitude of serenity and peace.  He knew the One in Whom he put his trust.  May each of us prepare well for the completion of our own life’s journey.  St. Stephen, the first martyr, approached his death in imitation of Jesus, saying “Lord, into Your hands, I comment my spirit.”  What do you want your own last words to be?  We must all begin now to live as we want our life to end.  Lord Jesus, Son of the Living God, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

Today we will be acknowledging another kind of transition with a celebration with Fr. Bill Faustner of his retirement and move.  All are invited to join us as we hold a retirement reception (open house) for Fr. Bill this Sunday, April 22 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the cafeteria at St. Timothy's (after noon Mass).   Please plan to come to wish Father Bill the best and enjoy some food and refreshments provided by the Men's Club, Women's Club and several parishioners.

A Word from Your Pastor April 15

Last week at all the parish Masses on Divine Mercy Sunday, Fr. Bill Faustner announced his retirement from active priestly ministry, effective March 31, 2018.  Fr. Bill reached the age of 70 in January, the usual retirement age for priests in the Diocese of Columbus.  He was most recently active as chaplain to several area hospitals, with residence at St. Timothy.  We are grateful to him for the assistance he offered in the parish during the past 8 years of residence.

Fr. Bill let us know that he is moving into what he called “the St. Timothy Annex,” that is, the Forum at Knightsbridge.  Our diocese does not have a retirement home for priests, so each priest is free to find his own place to live.  Knowing that many of our parishioners are happy at the Forum – and that many Catholics at the Forum have found St. Timothy as a welcoming place for Mass on the weekends – Fr. Bill knew he would find a welcoming community there.  He will be among the youngest residents there and he has maintained his dark hair color (unlike your Pastor!), so it will be a place where he can feel young again.

As he described the upcoming move, Fr. Bill showed a sense of humor and got a laugh at all the Masses when he explained that his new residence will be on the first floor and that it has a straight shot to the dining room.  He promises that he will be around to assist with Masses and that he will continue to attend all the St. Timothy social events.  After 40+ years of ministry in the Diocese of Columbus, he is certainly ready for a rest.  We pray that he will experience the next phase of his journey as truly “Golden Years.”

The celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday last weekend was a real joy.  So many came forward for Anointing of the Sick at all the Masses and the Divine Mercy Devotion was well attended in the afternoon.  God’s Love and Mercy were poured out in abundance.

May we continue our Easter journey with joy.  Remember that the Easter Season lasts a full 50 days, all the way to Pentecost.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Word from Your Pastor April 8 - Divine Mercy Sunday

Easter continues with the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday.  This is a very powerful day of prayer for healing and Mercy for our world.  At our parish Masses, we celebrate the Anointing of the Sick, asking the Lord to take up the suffering and illness of our members into the power of His Paschal Mystery, helping them to persevere and allowing their plight to serve with His own Passion as redemptive for the world.

In the afternoon, we adore the Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar and take advantage of the graces promised to St. Faustina as we observe Divine Mercy Sunday and pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy before the Image of Jesus.  May the rays of healing and hope that flow from the Risen Lord’s Heart touch us and all the world.

All are invited to continue to celebrate Easter in its fullness through the Feast of Pentecost.  The Easter Season lasts a full 50 days.  Let us pray for an outpouring of the Spirit on us and on the whole world.

Eternal Father, we offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.