Monday, March 19, 2018

A Word from Your Pastor March 18

The Fifth Sunday of Lent indicates that we are moving right along in our journey toward Easter.  We have experienced many exciting steps along the way.  Last weekend, Alpha’s “Day Away” retreat was very moving for all who were present.  The call to seeing as Christ sees was heard by all and hearts opened to the Spirit of Jesus, Who is always at work among us.  This weekend, we hear the call to Life.  Jesus, Who Is the Resurrection and the Life offers us the invitation to live this life and the next to the full.  Faith frees us to live not according to the standards of the world, but according to God’s plan for us.

This year, I was invited to join the Focolare community for a retreat as the members from the east regions of the United States and Canada gather at Mariapolis Luminosa in Hyde Park, New York.  This is a gathering of all the various members, including men and women focolarini and families and priests who are associated with the movement.  I am pleased to be able to participate with them as a kind of reunion with the folks who hosted my sabbatical last fall.  I will also be part of the usual priests’ retreat after Easter.

God has chosen to share His own inner Life with us, the Life of the Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit Who Live in Unity at the very heart of Reality.  My prayer this weekend is that we may all grow in the Unity that comes from God so that the world may come to know Jesus, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Thanks to all who are filling in for me while I am away, especially Msgr. George Schlegel and the Dominican Father Stephen Dominic Hayes, “the other Father Hayes” in the Diocese of Columbus.  Blessings to you all.  May you experience ever more profoundly the invitation to the Abundant Life offered to us by Jesus Christ.

A Word from Your Pastor March 11

The theme of light and sight marks the Fourth Sunday of Lent.  We are called to see the world with the eyes of God.  This is not easy to do.  Our vision is shaped by our own limited human experiences, often tainted by our selfishness and sin and the wounds that life has dealt us.  The invitation to see as God sees is the call of Wisdom.  We are capable of seeing and loving as God Sees and Loves.  The Spirit of God can open our eyes, if we will cooperate.

In order to see truly, we must step out of ourselves.  We must learn to allow others into our hearts.  God has something more to offer us, but He has set things up so that it will be given to us only if we are willing to pass it on.  The Light of God is Light from Light.  In God’s Light, we see light.  This is a profound way of living.  It makes all the difference.  Being bathed in the Light of God makes all our human understanding closer to darkness than to that Light.

As Lent moves on, we continue our journey to Easter.  Prayer, fasting and almsgiving serve us as a way of formation in the Gospel.  Let us persevere.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

A Word from Your Pastor March 4

When we allow ourselves to experience silence and a depth of prayer that arises from our hearts, we discover that there is a longing, a desire, a dream, a hope for something more.  In the face of the limitations we encounter in the world, this inner hunger, thirst, zeal is not quenched, but strengthened.  The violence that we see around us comes from the simple truth that we have lost our way as a culture.  We no longer know how to “tame” what we find inside.  We make choices that fail to satisfy.

The Third Sunday of Lent is always a reminder to us that the hunger and thirst that we experience in the heat of the day has a fountain that can fill us and show us a new way of being.  We can open our hearts for a new zeal for God’s House that consumes us by taking us into a deeper relationship with the Living God.

The St. Timothy Spaghetti dinner, which we experience each year on the first Sunday of March, is one of the two events we are best known for.  (The other, of course, is the Parish Festival  - July 13 and 14 this year.)  It serves to satisfy an earthly hunger, and shows us how to work together to accomplish something that feeds a greater community.

I have been told that the first spaghetti dinner at St. Timothy was a “mixer” for the men of the parish, who used it to raise funds for needs of the parish in the early days, by selling raffle tickets to each attendee.  It lasted only one year as a men’s event.  The wives of the first members of the Men’s Club told them they wanted to be part of it.  And the rest is history.  Each couple was sold a raffle ticket and the funds were to be shared by the Men’s Club and the Women’s Club of the parish.

In its current incarnation, the Spaghetti Dinner receives high praise from parishioners and from our friends and neighbors all around the area.  Some families use it as an annual gathering and a celebration of special events.  We welcome all!

May the wonderful odor of spaghetti sauce fill your day today and may the deepest longings of your heart be satisfied by Jesus, Who fills us with Living Water if we ask.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

A Word from Your Pastor February 25 - Confirmation Sunday

Come, Holy Spirit! 

This weekend, we welcome Bishop Campbell as he imparts the Gift of the Spirit through the Sacrament of Confirmation to be received by our 8th Grade class.  As the Church celebrates the Second Sunday of Lent and hears about the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor, we pray for an outpouring of the Spirit among us by the ministry of our own apostolic leader.

Peter, James and John see Jesus in a glorified state as Moses and Elijah reveal the connection between Jesus’ Passion and Salvation History.  The People of God in every age are led by the Spirit on a journey of Faith.  The Law and the Prophets foretold the coming of the Messiah as the bearer of the Spirit.  Our journey continues and we seek to keep our eyes fixed on the glory that is promised.  May we open our hearts to the guidance of the Spirit and allow God to reveal His glory in us.

The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, also called the Mysteries of Light, which were suggested as an addition to the Rosary by Pope Saint John Paul II, include the Mystery of the Transfiguration as the Mystery of Light par excellence.  Meditation on this Mystery reminds us that God’s glory is shared with our human nature.  When the Apostles see Jesus transfigured, they are given a new understanding of Who He Is and the experience is meant to strengthen them in the ordeal of the Passion.  They do not understand right away, but after the Resurrection, it is the Holy Spirit that helps them to put it all together, and they remember the Transfiguration as a first glimpse of the glory of the Risen Lord and of the high destiny of our human nature.

Let us pay close attention to the promptings of the Spirit in the days and weeks and months ahead on our continuing journey of Lent.  When Easter comes, may we be ready to soar with the Spirit into the New Life God has in store for us in Jesus Christ.

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Word from Your Pastor February 18

Lent has begun.  We had a lovely start with the Valentine’s Day observance of Ash Wednesday, being reminded of Jesus’ Love for us and His willingness to die for us.  We responded in good numbers with the acknowledgement that we are sinners in need of God’s Mercy.  We have begun the season of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.  May we be truly faithful and continue the journey persevering all the way to Easter and beyond.

This Sunday, the Gospel of Mark tells us simply that the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert where He was tempted.  It also mentions the curious detail that Jesus was “among the wild beasts and angels ministered to Him.”  Then we learn that the Jesus began His public proclamation of the Gospel: This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

In other years, we hear more about the nature of the Temptation.  This year, we learn only that it occurred by the action of the Spirit driving Jesus to the place where He would experience humanity’s limits.  Jesus’ call to us is to acknowledge that God is accomplishing His purpose and to open our minds and hearts to the Good News.  Opening ourselves to the truth of the Gospel, we are invited to realize that God knows us completely and that He has a plan for our salvation.

Each day brings a lot of “bad news.”  On any given day, we will hear about tragic events, both natural and of our own making.  At times there will also be reports of situations that are clearly demonic, involving more than just what human beings could do on their own.  In the face of all this, having already confronted the reality of it all, Jesus tells us that we can put our trust in God and believe the Gospel.  But we have to repent, to change our minds, to move beyond where we have been to where He wants to take us.  Are we ready to do so?

A Word from Your Pastor February 11

Lent begins this week.  I invite you to take this as an opportunity to deepen and renew  your Faith and to draw others into the riches we share.  Over the past number of years, we have heard many times about the New Evangelization.  This is the effort to proclaim the Faith with new zeal, new commitment and making use of all the new means at our disposal to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.  Take some time to consider ways you can draw your family into a deeper practice of Faith.  Here are some suggestions:

First, decide as a family how you will spend your Lent: prayer, fasting and almsgiving (practical works of charity) are the three traditional means.  Choose at least one action under the heading of each of these.  How will you pray together as a family?  What will you give up?  How will you put Mercy into practice?

Second, consider the options made available by the Parish and School and invite someone outside your family to be a part of something.  Attend Stations of the Cross on Friday at 7 p.m.  Come to the People of the Passion on February 23rd.  Members of the Confirmation Class – this would be something you could do with your Sponsor and out of town guests who come to share in your Confirmation.  Join with Alpha on Sunday evenings to learn more about the fundamentals of Christian Faith.

Third, prepare well for your Lenten Confession.  The children will have an opportunity to approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation durning School or PSR Classes.  Our Parish Lenten Penance Service will be Tuesday, March 6, at 7 p.m.  Do an Examination of Conscience individually and with others, reflecting on the need for conversion.  How is the Lord inviting you to invest more of yourself in the Mission entrusted to you.

Finally, as you journey through Lent, consider how you want to live your Faith more intentionally the rest of the year.  How will you celebrate Easter and the gift of the Resurrection?  Are you interested in finding a retreat or some other practice that will help you grow in your Faith?  Make plans now and put something new on your calendar.  What do you want to see happen in the Parish that will help you grow spiritually?

Happy Lent!

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Word from Your Pastor February 4

At the present time, due to the absence of our usual office staff due to illnesses, I find that I am doing a lot of “in house” work, attending to details that usually are taken care of by Lucy Hickey and Jane Imber.  This experience takes me back to the days when I was at St. Timothy Parish as a seminarian, the summer of 1983.  It just so happened that year that Fr. Ted Thomas, the Pastor, and Lucy Hickey, the Parish Secretary, had arranged to take their vacations at the same time.  Before she left, Lucy let me in on some of the secrets of how the Office functioned, so I could assist with the essentials while those in charge were away.

When Fr. Ted came back from his vacation, I mentioned something to him about what happened in the Office.  He responded, “Oh, that’s how we do it.”  I realized in that moment that parish priests often don’t know how things are done, but rely on the staff to do them.  Happily, since those days, I have kept in touch with the basics.  And so, in the absence of the usual workers, I am able to keep things moving, while not exactly seamlessly, at least in the right direction.  When I told a priest friend that I had to work on the bulletin, he told me that he would not have a clue as to how to do that.  I consider myself blessed to have worked with office staff through my years of priesthood who have let me know how they do what they do.

I am most grateful to Lucy and Jane and our bookkeeper Dottie Cocola and all who have kept things running smoothly both when I am here and when I am away.  Please join me in prayer for a return to health for our staff and to their speedy return to repair my mistakes while they are away.  Thanks go out to those who are volunteering to fill in, Rita Feige, Dan McCallister and Kathleen Carlson.  We ask for your patience as we try to figure things out to get back to you when you happen to call.

It has occurred to me that we really need to create a list of skills that our parishioners may have that can be useful. Do you have an office skill that you might be able to offer to us so we won’t have to rely on the Pastor in the future?  I would love to have a team of folks ready to cover what needs to be done.  Send us a note or give us a call to let us know what you can offer.  If God has given you a talent or a gift, it is for others.  Your parish might just have a place for you!  Thanks to all who work so diligently behind the scenes to keep us on track.  You are appreciated even if we don’t always mention it.  We certainly miss you when you are away!