My Dear Friends,
July 31st is the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). He was a Spaniard and a soldier. It was while recuperating from an injury that St. Ignatius began reading the lives of the saints. The more he read of the saints, the more he fell in love with his Catholic faith and his desire to become a saint himself. The Jesuits were famous for missionary work and educational work throughout the centuries. Jesuit priests traveled to India, China, Japan, Africa, Mexico, South America, North America and even the Soviet Union. Many Jesuits have been declared saints.READ MORE
As human beings, we are both spiritual and corporeal. We are body and soul. This makes us unique in all creation. No other physical creature -- plant or animal -- possesses an immortal soul made in God's image and likeness. Like the distinction with plants and animals, angels have an entirely different sort of existence. Angels are pure immortal spirit, and they have been so since the moment of their creation. While they may take on an appearance of a body in Biblical history, they are not a body like we are. Angels are neither male nor female, despite the art we often see.
As the result of the Fall, human beings experience death. Our souls are temporarily separated from our bodies. However, we do not become something other than human. Every Sunday in the Creed we profess "I believe in the resurrection of the body." As Jesus was united with his body on the third day, so, too, will we be united with our bodies at the end of time.
My Dear Friends,
On July 25th, 1968, fifty years ago, Pope Paul VI promulgated an encyclical that started a revolution in the Catholic Church; a revolution that has change the face of our church ever since. On that day, he issued the encyclical Humane Vitae, which reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s teaching on the morality of regulating births. Bishops, priests, nuns and other lay theologians, as well as prominent lay Catholics, took out a full page ad in the New York Times excoriating Pope Paul VI and questioned papal authority. These priests, the most famous being Fr. Charles Curran, a moral theology professor at Catholic University of America, argued that artificial means of birth control were licit and fell under the role of conscience for Catholics, Pope Paul VI did not get the full support of bishops and priests to uphold the teaching that artificial birth control was sinful.READ MORE
Joachim and Anna are the parents of Mary, the mother of Jesus, yet there is absolutely no biblical reference to them whatsoever. So where do we get their names, and what is their story?READ MORE
The many images we have of God help frame our relationship with Him. Have we ever imagined Jesus so deeply moved with emotion and engulfed with pity for us? We often are sheep without a shepherd who are lured by the emptiness of worldly attractions and superficial desires. We become lost.READ MORE
Sin is a deliberate thought, word, action, or omission contrary to God's law. Since the beginnings of the Church, sin has been distinguished by its gravity. "Grave matter" is traditionally defined by the Ten Commandments. If a person commits a grave sin with full knowledge of the action's evil and with the complete consent of their will, this is a mortal sin. The effects of mortal sin are grave - the loss of sanctifying grace, which can be restored by a fresh outpouring of God's mercy in the sacrament of Reconciliation.READ MORE
For many, becoming holy may not be seen as a desirous goal. We are all called to be holy but maybe not in the way we often imagined. Holiness is nothing more than doing ordinary things with great love and faith.READ MORE
My Dear Friends,
Many of you will be seeing my friend, Father Maciek Pawlowski, at Masses and hearing confessions for the next three weeks. He is visiting from Poland, where is a Diocesan priest. He and I were ordained deacons together in 2005, and the following year, since we both wanted to be ordained in our home parishes, we were ordained two weeks apart in 2006. I was ordained on April 28th, and Father Maciek was ordained on May 13th. We were both members of the Society of Mary (Marist Fathers) entering around the same year and attending seminary together in Washington DC. He has been here on two other occasions, last year and also in 2015.READ MORE
My Dear Friends,
On July 8th, 1984, I was visiting my grandmother in Petersham, Massachusetts, when I received word that my older brother, Michael, had passed away due to complications from Lupus. He was 23 years old. I was a little over two weeks away from my 15th birthday. I was home in Watertown the week before when he was rushed to the hospital because of pain in his shoulders. I remember that final week of his life vividly, and I still remember when my brother Frank came to pick us up from Petersham and bring us home. Needless to say, it was a long ride home. Death is a reality that no one can escape. Most of us have lost a loved one, and if we haven't yet, we surely will sometime. Despite this reality, and the evil of death, we know by our faith in Jesus Christ that death is not the end.READ MORE
Another term for the Sacrament of Confession is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We go to this sacrament not only to confess our sins, but to be reconciled with God. Of course, this begs the question, "If I can pray to God on my own, why can't I be reconciled to God on my own?" In the seven sacraments, we recognize the importance of community. Sacraments like Baptism or Matrimony happen in the context of the wider church to remind us of the communal impact of our lives. We are not alone in our walk of faith!READ MORE
It seems that Jesus is always facing some kind of opposition. Today, those from his native place amaze him because of their lack of faith. We oppose Jesus as well. It is not easy to be challenged and realize our great need to change. We grow comfortable with ourselves and our surroundings and resist change. We become defensive when the wisdom Jesus utters asks us to leave ourselves and our concerns and think more about others. We lack faith in God, faith in ourselves, and faith in one another. We are asked to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord and allow ourselves to be stretched. Jesus knows what he is talking about.
Do we really believe this?
God does not rejoice in our demise or our destruction. Rather, He made us in His image and desires that we have life. He also desires that we be healed and know His loving touch. There is great power in an embrace. The touch of another can heal wounds and restore life. There is also power in faith. Faith can turn us toward the truth and turn us toward God. God can profoundly change how we see Him, ourselves, and one another. God desires that we turn toward Him and be healed of all that wounds and binds us so that we can be free and enjoy the fullness life. Reach out and share your faith with someone this week so that they can receive God's life-changing embrace.
How can we show Jesus to others today?
There is always a struggle between culture and religion, and part of that struggle is politics. To be politically correct means that you must embrace the secular virtue of the moment so that you are "enlightened," "sensitive," "aware," and, most importantly, "open-minded." Unfortunately, common sense can be sacrificed in the race to be "PC."READ MORE
My Dear Friends,
This weekend we have completed our first year as St. John Paul the Great Parish. It has been one year since our new name. I can honestly say, as your pastor, that I am very proud of you. The resilience and the patience and the hard work that so many of you have exhibited as we became one parish was amazing. We have taken a very sad situation and, through much prayer and sacrifices, we have been able to come together as one church community. This is a testament to you and your love for the Catholic faith and for the Blessed Sacrament, the source and summit of our faith. You are to be commended for your willingness to make this work. Our Catholic Church in Torrington will only become strong and full of life when we can come together in a spirit of love and fellowship, putting aside our differences and focusing on what unites us. What does unite us? First and foremost, unity is found in the Blessed Sacrament. We come together as brothers and sisters in the Lord to worship Him at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We have eight Masses every weekend, as well as a daily Mass Monday through Friday.READ MORE