Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - May 1

Dear Parishioners:

As we begin the month of May, we enter into a very hectic season.  It is important that we find a way to keep ourselves centered and to hold steady on our priorities.  God must be first in our lives.  As Catholics and Christians, we have to allow Church to be in our view at all times.  We live in the world, but we are not of the world.  It is all too easy to forget this in the face of schedules full of activity.

The Church invites us in May to keep Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our own Heavenly Mother in our minds and hearts.  Can we as a Parish, a School and as a family of families do our best to attend to our Mother?  I suggest that you consider establishing a family devotion to Mary.  Pray the Rosary together.  Create a May Altar in your home.  Include a Hail Mary with your usual daily prayers at meal time and at bed time.  Make sure that you have a picture or statue of our Blessed Mother in a place of honor in your house or yard.  Learn a new Marian prayer by heart: the Memorare, the Salve Regina, the Magnificat.  As your older relatives to recite their favorite prayer to your children.  Sing a Marian hymn as part of your own family prayers.  Be creative and don’t forget to honor your earthly mother and/or the mother of your children as well.

The best way to honor Mary, of course, is to show the respect and love due to her Son and to the God Who gave Mary the highest honor given to the human race.  Cooperation with the Holy Spirit in the work of proclaiming the Gospel is a truly Marian action.  Mary’s “Yes” to God is what allowed God to enter our world.  Our continued “Yes” to God’s Will in our own lives opens us to even greater gifts.  Let us pray for the outpouring of God’s Spirit on the Church and on the world.  “Come, Holy Spirit!” is a powerful prayer that can change everything.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - April 24

Dear Parishioners:

First Holy Communion weekend is always a high point in the experience of Church for parishes and families.  At this moment, we can know with a delight that goes deep into our hearts that our children are close to God.  Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time is a privileged moment.  It is a real joy to be part of this experience.  We congratulate our First Communion Class of 2016 on this happy occasion.

It is helpful to review what has happened just this past year in their preparation:

Their teachers and aides in the School and PSR have worked with the students to help them to understand the Gift of the Eucharist, Jesus giving Himself to us under the forms of bread and wine.  They worked diligently with them to prepare the Mass, which took place Saturday afternoon.  Last Monday, I visited with our second graders in the School, which I have done several times throughout the year in both the School and PSR.  Thursday we had their second practice with the School and PSR, and the Knights of Columbus gave them Rosaries. 

Earlier events in their lives this year were their First Reconciliation and Confessions with the rest of the School and PSR for Advent and Lent.  We had a workshop for them and their parents which included Benediction and the Enrollment in the Scapular to start First Communion Formation.  On Holy Thursday, they served as the Honor Guard for the Eucharistic Procession after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.  Throughout the year, they have had visits to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Atrium to learn various aspects of the Church’s understanding of the Eucharist.  We have done what we can to prepare them for this great event. 

Now, all we can do is pray that their families reinforce the knowledge by practice of the Faith.  That is often the greater challenge.  The practice of attending Mass as a family every Sunday is the most important preparation both for the first experience of the Sacrament and for the life-long faithfulness to Jesus that we are all called to live.  Parents promise in Baptism to raise their children in the ways of Faith.  Being present at Mass is a requirement of this commitment.

When Bishop Campbell comes for Confirmation, he always asks, “What is the only Commandment that includes a promise?”  The answer is: The 4th Commandment – “Honor your father and mother and you will have a long life in the Land the Lord your God is giving you.”  This commandment calls for respect and obedience to parents and all in authority.  And your Pastor adds: “What is the best way to teach your children to obey the 4th Commandment?”  The answer is: For you and your family to obey the 3rd Commandment – “Keep holy the Sabbath,” which for Catholics means to participate in Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.  How can we expect our children to obey the 4th in a series if we do not attend to living in obedience for the Commandments that come before it?

We are living in a time and culture that require us to be intentional about living our Faith.  The School’s mission is: “Live in Faith.  Love and Serve.  Learn for Life.”  As a community of believers, we need to show the world that the Sacraments we receive bear fruit in our lives.  Take the opportunity this week to renew your own commitment to be faithful to Jesus in the Eucharist.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - April 17

Dear Parishioners:

Next weekend we will have the celebration of First Holy Communion for our Second Graders.  This event is always a wonderful moment of joy in the life of each Communicant’s family and in the life of our Parish community.  The Holy Eucharist is a reminder to all of us that the Risen Lord Jesus is with us until the end of time.  It is the center of our Catholic life.  Jesus is present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, that is, in the fullness of His Divine Person and in the complete reality of His glorified Human Nature.  We feed upon Him, receiving the Bread of Life and the Chalice of Salvation.  Our lives are intended to make Him known to the world.  We are incorporated ever more deeply into His Body and we are called to feed those who are hungry for the Life of the Spirit.

The only adequate response to Jesus’ Gift of Himself to us in Eucharist is to give thanks.  That is the very meaning of the word “Eucharist.”  We return to God all that we are and all that we have in gratitude to Him for the New Life He offers us.

These days, we are concentrating as a Parish family on our collective responsibility for Welcome, Hospitality, and Communication to the world the truth of the Mercy and Grace granted to us by Jesus, the Risen Lord, through the power of His Holy Spirit.  As we open our hearts to the call to commit ourselves to God and to one another, may we continue to grow in our love for the Catholic Faith and for the Church that claims us in the name of Jesus.  St. Timothy, our Patron, pray for us!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - April 10

Dear Parishioners:

In the Season of Easter, we “unpack” the meaning of the Resurrection of Jesus.  Our Faith tells us that we have a share in the Lord’s Suffering and Death, but that we also share in His Resurrection and Ascension into Glory.  This is not just a pious belief, but the very heart of our Christianity.  It has practical consequences.  Who we are comes from our Faith.  What we are to do must flow from who we are, from who God intends us to be.

As St. Timothy Church, we belong to Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord.  He has created us as individuals, as families and as a Parish for a particular purpose.  The Gospel tells us that our call is to make disciples and to teach and baptize others in the Name of Jesus.

How we do this is often up to us to discover and decide together.  As a Community of Faith, we are in the midst of a process that will help us to chart our course to the Future.  Every member of our Parish and School Community is invited to enter in at every level.

Who are you and what is your personal mission?  How does your family relate to this call?  How do the groups and organizations of which you are a member allow this to be lived?

The Parish Finance Council has led the charge to create a Stewardship Team for St. Timothy Parish and School.  Their “job” is to be the cheerleaders who assist us all to discover the treasures that God has store up among us for all of us and for the world around us.  All the groups and organizations of the Parish and School are invited to take part and to help to discover what we need to do and how to accomplish it.

In the days and weeks and months ahead, keep your eyes and ears open.  Begin to reflect on your own gifts and talents and those of others around you.  What do you have that ought to be offered to our Parish and School and to the world around us?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - April 3 Divine Mercy Sunday

Dear Parishioners:

Divine Mercy Sunday is a day of great graces in the Church.  This is a moment where Heaven and Earth collaborate to allow the greatest of God’s attributes, His Mercy, to flow.  All that is required is the heart open to receive what is offered and a willingness to do simple things that express that inner disposition.

You are invited to collaborate with the Parishes of the Northwest Columbus Deanery to ask for this Mercy by participating in the Divine Mercy Devotion to be held this Sunday at St. Brigid of Kildare Church in Dublin at 3 p.m.  It will be preceded by an hour with confessions available from priests of various parishes of the Deanery.  This is our common effort as a Deanery, that is, as a region of the Diocese of Columbus, to celebrate the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.

In our own parish this weekend, we experience Mercy by way of our communal celebration of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.  The reality of illness and our experience of the fragility of human life unite us in our recognition of human weakness.  We see clearly our need for God’s touch of Mercy.

Mercy is the one quality of God that all the world religions that believe in God seem to agree on.  While there are many differences in our overall understanding of Who God IS, the simple fact is that we can all acknowledge that the God Who created the universe shows Mercy to His creatures.  In this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are invited to tap into God’s Mercy and to do all we can to ensure that it flows through us outward to those most in need of Mercy.

Prayer in common is powerful.  Let us join together today on this Divine Mercy Sunday to pray that God may have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - March 27 Easter Sunday

Dear Parishioners:

Alleluia!  Easter opens with this joyful shout, acknowledging that the bonds of death have been broken.  Jesus Christ gave His life for us, suffering a cruel death on the Cross, and He rose again to give us hope.  Jesus is Lord.  He is our Savior.  He opens for us the path to Eternal Life.  This is THE Truth. 

Whatever else may be in our world, the Gift of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central event of human history.  This is not a myth.  It is not a story invented by clever fishermen and tax collectors.  It is a Reality that occurred in our human history and added a dimension never dreamed of in our philosophies.

From this central Truth flows the call given to us to make disciples and to go out to all the world to reveal the Love and Mercy of the Living God.  Our lives have been claimed by Jesus Christ and He is deserving of all that we have and are.

Easter is a Feast that fills churches.  In Rome, the Holy Father celebrates the Liturgies of Easter in ways that gather together people of every nation and culture.  The Pope is most “Pope” in his proclamation of Easter.  Sitting on the Chair of Peter, Pope Francis does what St. Peter himself did on Pentecost morning in Jerusalem: he announces the Good News of Salvation offered to us in the Risen Lord.

How do you understand the meaning of Easter?  Has it yet dawned on you how central this Truth is to your life?  Have you truly acknowledge the power of God at work in Jesus for you?  If so, have you accepted your own responsibility to enter into a living relationship with Jesus in a way that makes all the difference?

We are living in a time of history where human beings are trying to go it alone.  Faith is marginalized.  In many parts of the world, people of Faith are being persecuted and driven out of their own homes because they are people of Faith.  How will you respond when you are asked to give your own witness to Jesus Christ?  Now is the time to answer this once and for all.  Give Jesus your heart and join in the acclamation: Jesus Christ is Risen!  Alleluia!

This week, I will be away on Retreat with priests who are involved with the Focolare Movement, an ecclesial movement whose charism is to promote Unity.  Please keep us in your prayers.  Pray that the Holy Spirit may bring us all to the Unity Jesus Himself prayed for the night before He died: That all may be One. (John 17:21)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - March 20 Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

Dear Parishioners:

We have reached Holy Week!  The Lenten Season has moved along rather quickly it seems this year.  This week brings us to the High Holy Days of our Catholic Faith.  Easter is the most important Feast of our Faith.  All are invited to live these days with intensity.

Passion Sunday with the Procession of the Palms is a time of great rejoicing in Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  However, at the same time, we recognize that the crowd who welcomed Jesus turned against Him a few days later.  We are reminded of our responsibility to welcome the Lord into our lives as our King and Lord.

The Chrism Mass in the Diocese of Columbus takes place on Tuesday of Holy Week.  This Mass is proper to Holy Thursday morning.  The Diocese gathers, Bishop, Priests, Deacons and People, Lay and Religious, all together around the Altar.  Priests and Bishop renew their commitment to the priesthood.  The Holy Oils are blessed for use in the Sacraments throughout the Diocese: the Oil of Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick, and the Sacred Chrism.  If you have never been to this Liturgy, make plans to be part of it at 6 p.m. at St. Joseph Cathedral.

The Easter Triduum, comprising the sacred time from the evening of Holy Thursday, through Good Friday and Holy Saturday, to Easter Sunday evening, is our greatest Liturgy.  We live with Jesus through the events of His final hours and into the triumph of Easter glory.  This is not just an ordinary weekend.

I invite all of you to be present for these celebrations wherever you may be, at home with us or traveling somewhere else.  Don’t miss the opportunity to come to know Jesus better through the Liturgy.  We all want Jesus to remember us when He comes into His Kingdom.  Let us keep Him ever in mind and open our hearts to His grace and mercy.

A blessed Easter to all!