Saturday, July 21, 2018

New Faith Formation Programs announced for 2018-2019!

For more information on these programs and/or to register, please visit our Faith Formation 2018 Page!

Booklets with further information and paper registration forms may be found at the entrances of the Church and in the Parish Hall following the Sunday Morning Masses.

Any questions may be directed to the following contacts:
Family of Faith, RCIA: Christine Smith
Faithways: Deacon Frank Lucca
Sacramental Prep: Fr. David 


Here is a short summary of the programs for children and youth:

Family of Faith is a program designed for children ages 5 through 18.  This program provides parents with the resources to teach their faith to their children within the ordinary life of the family.  Parents decide which activities are developmentally appropriate for their children. This program follows a four-year cycle which includes: The Creed, Sacraments, Christian Living, and Prayer.  A Family of Faith book will be provided to each family.

·       Class time is Sunday Mass (at a time convenient for your family).  Mass times are Saturday 5pm, Sunday 8:30am, 10:30am, and 5pm.  This program will begin on September 9th, 2018.
·       There will be resources after Mass to help you discuss the readings and liturgy as a family.
·       Once a month there will be a meeting for parents/guardians that will introduce you to the materials.
·       Retreat days will be offered throughout the year that families can participate in.

First Penance preparation is for children who are at least in Grade 1 and who wish to receive First Communion the following year in Grade 2.  Both First Penance and First Communion will take place in Grade 2.  The requirements are as followed:

·       Once a month student will be dismissed at the beginning of Mass and meet with a catechist who will provide additional catechesis for them to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
·       Students must attend at least one Family Retreat Day.

First Communion preparation is for children at least in Grade 2 and who wish to receive their First Communion is the Spring. Students will need to have completed First Penance preparation before beginning First Communion preparation.  The requirements are as followed:

·       Families will participate in the Family of Faith program.
·       Twice a month student will be dismissed at the beginning of Mass and meet with a catechist who will provide additional catechesis for them to receive First Communion.
·       Students must attend at least one Family Retreat Day.

Faithways is for students in Grades 6-8.  This process prepares middle school students to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation through catechesis, service, prayer, and spiritual development. Participants are not required to participate in all activities, but rather earn a number of credits to processed throughout.  Each activity is worth a certain number of credits.  Those students who attend Catholic Schools would still participate in Faithways, but their theology courses would take the place of the catechetical components.

Credit hours work as followed:
·       Grade 6 - 30 hours required
·       Grade 7 - 30 hours required
·       Grade 8 - 30 hours required
·       Service hours - 10 hours over 3 years
Note: To move to Confirmation 2 you will need to earn 100 credit hours

Confirmation 2 Preparation is meant to help Confirmation candidates spiritually prepare for the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation and to introduce them to the richness of the Catholic intellectual tradition. The requirements are as followed:

·       Attend Mass each week.
·       Gather twice a month as a small group.

·       Participate in a weekend retreat in the Spring (March 8,9,10, 2019 at Cathedral Camp in East Freetown)


Monday, May 7, 2018

May 7, 2018

The stage is set for the celebrations of the Ascension and Pentecost.  It is at this point that the Apostles and disciples will be called upon to witness to the Risen Lord and His Gospel, not just by their worship and the manner of living their lives, but in the proclamation of the Gospel. The Readings from Acts we have heard throughout the Easter season has told us how that proclamation occurred.

Listening to these accounts we heard about the persecution they endured. We know that this persecution continued as the Church grew and throughout her history.  The readings remind us today that such persecutions are not a thing of the past. We, too, will experience forms of persecution: personal attacks, criticism or worse.

The Scriptures also give us reason to pause.  These persecutions will sometimes occur by those who see themselves as defenders and promoters of truth and justice.

Two thoughts concerning this:

1.     We shouldn’t be surprised, indignant or even offended.  Jesus told us this would happen. So, what are we to do?  We remain true to ourselves as children of God. We remain connected to the Lord in prayer and in the Sacraments. We remain connected to His Body the Church. And we remain in ‘mission mode’, not campaign mode.  Remember Jesus’ example during his trial and crucifixion?  He continued to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed.
2.     If the one initiating the persecution is doing so in the name of truth or justice, it revelas that they may be an opening to hearing and accepting the Gospel.  After all, we believe that truth and justice find their perfection in God.  That opening may be quite small, but it is there and it is all God needs. 
We need to remember that we are called to be instruments of the Lord. We heard in Acts today that it was the Lord who opened Lydia’s heart to hear Paul’s words.  We set the table and prepare the way, God does the rest.

Pope Francis, preaching on the Transfiguration, reflected on the Father’s words: “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”  The Holy Father encouraged us that during those times we are having difficulty, such as being criticized or persecuted in some way for our Faith, we need to ask ourselves “what is Jesus saying to me today?”  Then, he said, we should listen for His voice and let him inspire us.



Sunday, September 24, 2017

September 24, 2017

Pew Forum: 27% claim to be spiritual, not religious

Trend is noticeable—one indicator is declining Mass attendance;

We can come up with reasons and solutions: The Church needs to do this….. If only the Church did this….

Here’s the problem: 

WE ARE THE CHURCH.

Meaning, any Church reform is useless unless it begins with each of us.

Also, St. Paul will refer to the Church as the Body of Christ.  It is the mechanism through which Christ continues to work in the world. This means we need to seek His will, His truth if we are to live as the Body of Christ.

This is the reason why there is a problem with being spiritual not religious.  It seeks to separate what cannot be separated.

Religion comes from the latin word, religare, meaning to bind to.

We as imperfect beings, made in the image and likeness of God, can only attain perfect by ‘binding’ ourselves to the one who is perfection, God.  We don’t use the word bind, we say uniting ourselves mind and heart to God. 

This union allows us to live true to our ourselves, our true nature. It allows us to experience joy and love, not just temporarily, but for the long haul.

Spirituality involves those practices that allow us to be aware of the intersection of the divine with our everyday lives.  Spirituality is how we unite or bind ourselves to God.

One without the other makes no sense because they are incomplete.

The ‘spiritual but not religious’ isn’t something to be mocked or criticized. Rather, we should recognize what is being said. It reveals a longing within the person for something more; for truth and love and goodness. 

It is our role as Christian disciples to help them recognize that they will find what they are looking for in Jesus Christ.

That role is one we are not comfortable with, but I think that is because we are stuck on the image of what that looks like.

We need to look at the model St. Paul offers today:

“Christ will be magnified in my body.”

What does he that mean? St. Paul is saying that he will strive to give glory to God in his thoughts, words and actions. 

His faith isn’t going to be just showing up for Church, it will be that and more; it will be living in love with Jesus Christ.

Christianity can’t be anything less than lived relationship with Christ. If we keep our faith in the head, or just to our actions, we’ve missed the whole point.

  Last week we heard Jesus say in the Gospel that we need to forgive others ‘from the heart’.  This is more than tolerance, it is an act of love.

Love involves not just part of us, but the entire person.  Living in love with Christ changes us, hence the reason why if we want to change the Church, we need to change, we need to strengthen our love of Christ.

This commitment is more than just how we act towards others. 

For example, think of the person who drives you absolutely crazy. It could be a classmate or coworker, a neighbor or somebody you see or hear on TV or in the news.

Every time you hear this person you feel your jaw tense up, your fists clench, you feel anxious, annoyed, frustrated or angry.

Here is the thing: Nowhere in the Gospel does Jesus say: “Blessed are they who are driven crazy.”

In those situations, the others person’s faults, sins, weaknesses are not the issue. 

The issue is the anxiety, stress, frustration and anger we experience; these are indicators that I am focused on me, my way, my wants, myself.

Further problem:  I justify it.

“That person is so annoying!”  “He doesn’t know what he is talking about.” “Someone needs to straighten her out.”

A couple of weeks ago Jesus spoke about correcting others; but if you recall, our posture was to be one of love, mercy and patience—well actually more than that.  It was to be limitless love, mercy and patience.

Those are the characteristics of living in love with Christ.  They are actions that give glory to God. 

The reason why we can remain hopeful and joyful despire our failure at being Christ like: God’s mercy and love.

The Church is a collection of saints and sinners.  The saints are those in heaven, living in perfect love with God.

That leaves us, the sinners. All of us.  Oscar Wilde said “every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”

We have a future because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He offers us redemption, forgiveness of our sins and the graces to be drawn into the divine life itself: if we accept what he offers.  These are a gift of God to be received freely, not forced upon us.

We give God glory not just by living the Gospel virtues, but also when we recognize our failures and our brokenness and turn to the Lord for His healing and graces to overcome our weaknesses.

It is our confidence in the Lord’s generous mercy and love and our persistence in discerning and seeking to live His will that provides a witness to the others.

We don’t justify or excuse our sins, but we don’t allow them to paralyze us. We continually turn to God, receive His forgiveness and seek to bind ourselves to Him

The fruit of these efforts: Joy, peace of heart and inner strength that allows us to persevere as children of God despite the chaos we have to sometimes deal with in life.
Let this joy and peace be how we extol God as well as what attracts others to Him.