Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor July 30

Dear Parishioners:

By now, you may have heard the news that I will be on Sabbatical beginning next week.  This has been something I have worked toward for nearly a decade, but the timing and possibilities have only now come together.  I have served as Pastor for more than 20 years of my priesthood, starting January 1, 1996, and continuing up to the present day.  In that time of ministry, I have learned much.  The greatest wisdom that has come to me, however, is that I need to keep learning. 

Every assignment I have experienced has served to teach me more about the richness of our Catholic Faith.  I look forward to continuing to learn as I strive to deepen my understanding of the charism of the Focolare Movement and their work on behalf of unity.

I have also discovered new aspects of myself in each situation where I have been sent to serve, as Associate Pastor, high school teacher, Vocations minister, Seminary professor, spiritual director, and Pastor.  The People of God in each place have brought out in me gifts that the Lord planted in my priesthood for our mutual growth in holiness.  This time of Sabbatical will allow me the opportunity to continue to learn and grow as well as to reflect more profoundly on the journey we have had together and what we can accomplish in the future.

The Summer months have been very busy.  As you can imagine, I have been working very diligently behind the scenes to ensure that everything that needed to be set for my time away is arranged – calendars, schedules, etc.  This has been quite a task!  I thank all those who have helped.  If I have missed anything, I know you will get along fine under the leadership of Msgr. Schlegel, who was my second-to-last Pastor in my time as Associate.

Last week, I took the opportunity to spend time learning about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd by taking the first year of training that is offered in the Diocese of Columbus.  As a result of this, I have a better understanding myself of the principles on which this program is based.  No doubt this will help us all to move ahead with our plans to follow the Good Shepherd where He leads us in the years ahead.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor July 23

I am pleased to announce to you that Bishop Campbell has consented to allow me to experience a Sabbatical in order to renew and recharge over the next few months.  Each priest of the Diocese of Columbus is entitled to a time of three months for every ten years of service.  This June, I completed 32 years as a priest and for the first time have arranged for this Sabbatical time. 

Not to worry!  Although I have nine months stored up, I am only taking three of them at this time.  I will be leaving August 7 and will return November 22, just before Thanksgiving, which I always host for my family.  I will be participating in a special “School for Priests” sponsored by the Focolare Movement at Loppiano, a small town outside of Florence, Italy, known as a “Permanent Mariapolis,” one of the Focolare’s “Little Cities.”  


My purpose for choosing this sabbatical is to learn more from the Focolare Movement about the way to practice Unity, so as to fulfill Jesus’ prayer “That all may be One.”  I hope to return to you with new zeal in order to walk with you more intentionally along the path to Unity for our parish and for the world.

The Administrator Pro Tem for this time will be Msgr. George Schlegel, who is known to most of you.  He has assisted on many occasions at St. Timothy.  One of my own experiences as Associate Pastor was with Msgr. Schlegel at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Powell (in 1993).  He has also worked with Fr. Bill Faustner when they were both assigned to St. Paul, Westerville, many years ago.  I am sure that I am leaving the parish in capable hands.

Over the past several months, I have worked to establish the various Fall calendars and schedules and to fill in details so that everything can flow smoothly in my absence.  Msgr. Schlegel is officially retired and he is taking up this responsibility out of the goodness of his heart.  We don’t want to overdo it!  So, I ask you to be sure to give him a warm St. Timothy welcome and to work together to ensure that all goes well.  Wherever there is a need, do offer your assistance.

Please pray for me and the other priests from all over the world who will be part of this experience.  I am very excited about it and thank God for the opportunity.  I will remember you in my prayers and look forward to returning to join you once again at Thanksgiving.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor July 16

Dear Parishioners:

Our Festival on the Green is another proud moment in St. Timothy History.   We offer a thousand thanks to Festival Chair Joe Lorenz, Volunteer Co-ordinator Nicole Powell and to all who joined in as volunteers for the teamwork that brings it all together.  This is truly a “St. Timothy Moment.”  With all the preparation, execution and cleanup of the Festival that go on the week before and the week after the Festival, we have quite an enterprise.  We are truly grateful to all who have a hand in making St. Timothy Strong as a welcoming community.

As we rejoice in the fun that was experience this year and even now begin to prepare for next year (July 13-14, 2018), may we grow ever more in our capacity to draw others into an awareness of the joy of the life of disciples of Jesus Christ.  May we open our eyes and our hearts to discover where the Lord is leading us as a parish family.  All that we do together is meant to flow from our relationship with God in Christ.  We should all be ready to “give the reason for our hope.”

While energy and zeal for Community are fresh, be sure to put on your calendar the Fall Fest that will take place Friday, September 8.  This event for grown-ups will be a time to continue to build the bridges that enable us to work together toward our common goals.  We need one another more than ever.  September 8 is the Solemnity of the Birth of Mary.  May it also be a moment of rebirth for the St. Timothy family, Parish and School, that frees us to discover more and more how to live the Gospel and to follow Jesus as He leads us on the Way.

We also invite all who have shown zeal for the Festival to join us in our second experience of Alpha, which will begin Epiphany Sunday, January 7, 2018, and continue until Palm Sunday, March 25.  The first run this past year was such a community and Faith-building experience that we look forward to deepening its impact in the next year.  Alpha participants have expressed their delight in getting to know folks they have known for years at a more personal and spiritual depth.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor July 9

Dear Parishioners:

The Festival on the Green is coming quickly!  This week we will put it all together so as to be ready to welcome hundreds of people to join us for food, fellowship and fun.  Folks from the neighborhood, alumni and friends from surrounding parishes all come together to taste our festival food, listen to music, talk and enjoy the variety of activities that make people laugh and smile.  It is a simple reminder that we can work together for others to experience joy in being human.

Even as we enter into “festival mode,” we can begin to allow the call of the New Evangelization to remind us that there is a deeper purpose to this effort and everything else we do as a community.  We are destined for Eternal Festivity.  The fun that we experience in time is nothing compared to what God has in store for those who love Him.  We are meant to engage the world not just for earthly enjoyments, but in order to advance the Kingdom of God.

We have a Parish Mission that is expressed often:

United in the Body of Christ, we strive to promote the greater glory of God
through a spirit of welcome and willing service to our brothers and sisters.”

Each phrase chosen for this statement is important.  Unity is a hallmark of Christian community.  Common effort to do everything for the sake of God helps us to keep ourselves focused on our identity.  Welcome means reaching out to draw others in, not merely saying “hello” when they arrive.  Service in works of charity shows that we are in it not just for what we can get out of it.  And we acknowledge that we are all children of the same Father and that we are brothers and sisters to all we encounter because Jesus is our Brother.  The Spirit that fills us and animates our life together is the Spirit of Jesus.

So as we prepare to engage in yet another Festival on the Green, let’s open our hearts to the action of grace so that the Kingdom of God may grow in us.  Let’s plant seeds that will draw others into the garden of the Lord that promises a rich harvest.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor July 2

Dear Parishioners:

This weekend, we welcome Fr. Aristarco Escobal of the Carmelite Missions for our Annual Mission Appeal.  This is part of the Diocese of Columbus Mission Co-op.  Every parish of the Diocese welcomes a Missionary to share the needs of Missions throughout the world.

Preparation for the Festival – July 14-15, 2017 – is the primary activity going on in the life of our Parish and School community these days.  Each year, we look forward toward the “premiere festival” in our neck of the woods and we brag about the Festival Pizza and the community of welcome that we experience.  We pray for good weather (no rain all week and weekend) so that the Green can be accommodating.  Families are asked to pick up an envelope of raffle tickets and to begin to sell them.  Signs are put up in our yards to let the neighbors know that the Festival is coming.  Sign-up for volunteers is available online and in the church vestibule.  Plans for desserts are being made.  Sponsors are sought out to cover expenses.  Lots of work is being done in the background to make this year’s Festival the best ever.  And, we are also keeping in mind next year’s Festival – July 13-14, 2018 – even as we do this year so that improvements can continue. 

If you want to see what we have done for the past several years, check out the pictures available online:

You can volunteer for this year’s Festival at:

Even as all the Festival activities are going on, there are a variety of other events you will see in the months ahead.  The usual effort to clean the School and to get things ready for the next School Year is well underway.  We are always happy to welcome back graduates of our School to assist the Maintenance staff in this effort.  This summer we thank Patrick and John Foley for their hard work.  Keep it up, guys!  You will go far.

Our H.S. Youth Group will put on a one-day Vacation Bible School on Sunday, July 23.  Stay tuned for further details.  Other activities are under consideration by youth leaders working with our summer intern Seminarian Gordon Mott.

After the Festival, we will be moving church to the Parish Center/Gym for two weeks, including the weekend of July 29-30, in order to replace the threadbare carpet.  New flooring under the pews and carpet in the aisles will be put in with the generous support of members of the parish who have donated for this purpose.  From July 24 to August 4, you will be able to come to church as usual, but your place will be different.  Who knows? Perhaps you will meet someone new.  The pews will be stored in the Cafeteria while the work in the church is going on.

You will also see new doors in the front of the church and eventually in the lower School building.  Work has already been done in the classrooms and gym putting in new lighting, panic bars, and other maintenance needs, including cleanup of the basement under the middle school, have been attended to thanks to the efforts of our Maintenance committee and parishioners who have been generous with their time.  Gutters and resealing of the parking lot are on the agenda.  All of these have been done through the contributions of parishioners and others who have made targeted financial gifts.  Thanks to all who have assisted!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor June 25

Dear Parishioners:

This past week, I participated in the annual gathering of the alumni of my seminary, the North American College in Rome, which took place in Indianapolis.  Since this seminary serves all the dioceses of the United States its reunion is held all around the country.  I chose to attend this year because it was so close and in honor of a NAC classmate of mine from Indianapolis who died in 2014, Fr. Tom Murphy.

“The Murph,” as he was affectionately called, was a latecomer to a priestly vocation.  Before he entered the seminary, he was a soldier and later a lawyer and a legislator.  He was also a talented musician.  He entered the seminary at the age of 49 and was ordained as priest at the age of 53.  I always said that while the rest of us (in our 20’s or so) aged and matured in the seminary, Tom “younged.”  He grew more youthful as he entered more deeply into the studies for the priesthood.  Several years after our ordinations, at a college class reunion, I learned that one of my classmates from the Notre Dame class of 1981, Mary Murphy, was Tom’s niece.  What a small world!

One of the most moving parts of my time in Indianapolis was a visit to the grave of my classmate to pay my respects to him.  I found the cemetery and looked for Father Tom in the priests’ circle, but he was not there.  Wondering whether I had gone to the wrong cemetery, I checked in at the office and discovered that he was buried in a family plot.  Fr. Tom was buried in a grave near a large tombstone proudly displaying the name Murphy and surrounded by many other relatives.  As I prayed there, I thought of the years we spent together in Rome and all the other classmates who were with us, a few of whom have passed away since those years and others who are involved in various pursuits around the country.  A number of the Indianapolis priests I met remembered Father Tom with fondness as well.

Fr. Tom’s vocation story was always interesting:  He served as president to the Serra International, a lay organization that prays for Vocations.  He sold the product so well, he decided to buy it for himself.  His response and the almost thirty years he served as priest show that it is never too late to listen to the voice of the Lord and to respond to His call.

As I return to the parish for another weekend, I invite you to take time to remember those who have been part of your journey of Faith and what they have taught you.  Look around and see who may be waiting for your invitation – no matter what the age! – to serve the Lord in a life dedicated to His Church.  An be sure to listen to the voice of the Lord in your own heart.  What extraordinary things does the Lord want to do through you?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Word from Your Pastor June 18 - Corpus Christi

Dear Parishioners:

This weekend, we welcome Father Dan Olvera, newly ordained for the Diocese of Columbus, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.  May he have many happy years in the Lord’s Vineyard.  This July, Fr. Dan will be starting his ministry as Parochial Vicar (Associate Pastor) in the Knox County Consortium (Mount Vernon, St. Vincent DePaul and Danville, St. Luke).

The Eucharist is the center of our life together.  Jesus invites us to receive Him into our lives through the gift of His Body and Blood offered to us through the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.  The Solemnity of Corpus Christi is an annual reminder of the power of this gift.  When we complete the Easter Season, we celebrate Pentecost.  The Feast of the Holy Trinity follows and then Corpus Christi.  From there, we also move to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

This “flow” of liturgical celebration is meant to move us to a response.  God loves us.  He loves us concretely and personally.  He asks us to return His Love and so to share in His Life.  By the sharing of His Spirit and the intimacy of His Inner Life as a Unity of Three Divine Persons, God is opening us to the depths of His Being.  We can enter into this sharing only by a free response of Faith.

Catholics have a rich experience of this, but so often we miss it.  The Eucharist is our repeated Sacrament of Initiation.  When we fail to center our lives on the Eucharist, considering it as something “nice” or “optional,” we fail to grasp its power.

Every Eucharist we receive is present to us in the moment we encounter our Maker.  The act of accepting Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, into our persons by receiving the Eucharist is the highest gift we can give to God.  Jesus says, “Take and eat” and “Take and drink.”  When we obey His command, we are plunged into His Person and share in the very Life of God.

Often, Catholics who attend services celebrated in other Christian communities wonder why they are not able to receive their communion and why others who come to us do not have an “open invitation” to receive our Eucharist.  The reasons for this ultimately come down to the fact that we have a different understanding of what is happening.  The Mass is Jesus giving Himself to the Father and taking us with Him.  The Eucharist is our commitment to live this out, giving our own humanity to Jesus to allow Him to continue to thank the Father through the action of the Spirit in our lives.  This is no mere symbol.  It is a sign and there are symbolic actions that take place as we celebrate Mass, but it is Real.

The Eucharist is Jesus in His risen, glorified and ascended humanity.  The Eucharist is the Food that plunges us into the Paschal Mystery, the life, suffering, death and Resurrection of Jesus.  The Eucharist is the taste of the Eternal Heavenly Banquet to which all are invited.  How can we fail to respond to such a gift with anything less than full commitment?

In order to deepen your understanding of the great Mystery of Eucharist, try this prayer which is recited in the Byzantine Liturgy before reception of Holy Communion:

O Lord, I believe and profess that You are truly Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. Accept me as a partaker of Your mystical supper, O Son of God; for I will not reveal Your mystery to Your enemies, nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief I confess to You:
Remember me, O Lord, when You come into Your kingdom.
Remember me, O Master, when You come into Your kingdom.
Remember me, O Holy One, when You come into Your kingdom.

May the partaking of Your Holy Mysteries, O Lord, be not for my judgment or condemnation, but for the healing of soul and body. O Lord, I also believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly Your most precious Body and Your life-giving Blood, which I pray, make me worthy to receive for the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. Amen.

O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me.
O Lord, forgive me, for I have sinned without number