I want to thank the parish for the many expressions of love on the occasion of my 25th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. It is going to take me a while to appreciate all the kind words and gifts that were lavished on me. You are too good to me. I hope that I may serve you well as your pastor.
I had one fear about this celebration: that it would be about me. I wanted this to be a celebration of the priesthood and of our parish as a family. When we understand ourselves as a community of disciples of the Lord Jesus, we become united in joy. We are able to accept our blessings from God and to share them in service to others. In this spirit, I want to accept in humility your goodness to me as an expression of your discipleship of the Lord Jesus. He is the one who brings us together in loving service and who does all things well. Praise Him!
I want to thank the parish for celebrating with me 25 years of priesthood. As a diocesan priest, my priesthood is for you. I am most grateful that God has allowed me to serve in this way in a number of interesting and demanding assignments, most recently here at Saint Rose. After 25 years, I am still growing and learning.
The most important thing that I have learned is that God wants my weakness as His priest. Whatever strengths or talents that I may have are of no use to God. He doesn't need them. After all, He is the one who gave them to me. What I can offer to Him that He does want is my weakness and my need for Him. It is very difficult for me to embrace my weakness the way that God does. I want to see it as beautiful, as He does. My weakness keeps me close to Him, and by being close to Him I have something to offer you.
I regret my weakness if it has hurt or disappointed anyone I should have served better over these 25 years. Usually, I find that the people whom I am to serve are very like God in loving me for my weaknesses. I thank you.
We will be making a big change in the Spanish Mass time on the weekend and a small one for the Saturday evening English Mass.
The big change first: beginning on Sunday, March 24, the Spanish Mass will move to 2 p.m. on Sunday from 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The first day of the new schedule will be Sunday, March 24. There will no longer be a Spanish Mass at 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays beginning with March 23. There seems to be universal agreement that Mass on Sunday will serve the community better. We will also schedule confessions from 1-1:45 p.m. on Sundays before the Mass. On Tuesdays beginning this week, there will be Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 6:30 p.m., with confessions, until 7:15 p.m. before the Spanish Mass at 7:30 p.m. I ask that you plan to come to confessions at these times before the Masses rather than after. We will try always to have a Spanish-speaking, or at least Spanish-comfortable, priest for confessions at these confession times.READ MORE
I would like to encourage us to think more as a community when we are at Mass, rather than as individuals. In fact, we gather together at Mass to form a communion of faith for the praise and worship of God. That is why there can't be an app for Mass! We cannot do it alone. Since we are about forming a communion of believers at Mass, we need to be welcoming of all members of our community. In particular, I am thinking of the children and infants of our community. They belong at Mass as much as any other members of the community. They need patience and understanding (as do their parents) as they learn to participate in Mass appropriately. Sometimes they might need to go out from Mass for a break, but they and we are all God's children and belong in His house. It’s especially nice to see children sitting up front where they can see what is going on in the Mass.READ MORE
We tend to be creatures of habit. That is, we tend to make habits of the things that are important to us and that we need to accomplish. We have habits of when we get up, when we go to work, when we pray and go to Mass, when we do our laundry, etc. We should likewise have a plan for how we support the works of the Church. Bishop Spalding is asking us to give to support the ministries of the diocese. We also need to give to support the ministries of the parish. If we are good stewards of the gifts that God shares with us, then we give back in an habitual way -- we have a plan. We set an amount or a percentage of our income to give back to God through the ministries of the Church. We decide when and how we will make these gifts, and we follow through habitually. In this way, we develop the habit of good stewardship. When we have developed this habit or virtue of giving and of generosity, it becomes easier, even joyful, to give. The habit turns us into generous people.