Pastor’s Corner

Parish Picnic

Dear Parishioners,

Last week the Chairs of our Parish Picnic met. A lot of good discussion and planning took place. As we prepare for our Parish Picnic I ask that you do three things. First pray, second invite family and friends and finally volunteer. Once again I plan to roll up the shirt sleeves, sweat a little and help out.

Our Parish Picnic is our largest fundraising event. It is through these efforts that we are able to do the ministry we do here at Precious Blood. Below is a prayer that a parishioner gave me when I first came in 2009. It is a good prayer to use asking for God’s blessing upon our Picnic. We will begin to use this after communion at Mass beginning this week.

I hope that we have more people, more quilts, more food, more profits and a whole lot of FUN!! Join us on August 18th and spread the word; invite your family and friends to our Picnic.

Summer Picnic Prayer

Heavenly Father, we give you praise and thanksgiving for all that you have given us. We look forward to a day for worship, work, fellowship and good times.

Our prayer at this time of year, when we come together for our Parish Picnic, is to ask you to bless our gathering with your beautiful sunshine. We pray for a good response from our workers, parishioners, and your whole community of faith.

We ask you to guide us to do the very best to make our social a success. We place our faith in your hands, through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Blessings,

Fr. Gary

Corporal Works of Mercy

Dear Parishioners,

This weekend’s Gospel focuses on Mercy. Helping others can help us on our spiritual journey. When we are not spiritual our defenses are down to fight off evil temptations and too often we fall into sin. Spiritual sickness is far more dangerous than physical and emotional illness, because the spiritual can last forever. We strengthen our spiritual life in various ways including receiving God’s grace through the sacraments, prayer and another way is through making Corporal Works of Mercy.

The Corporal Works of Mercy are: feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; clothe the naked; shelter the homeless; visit the sick; ransom the captive; bury the dead.

There are many opportunities here in our own community to live out our faith. Our faith grows deeper as we make corporal works of mercy, we are connected with God as we live out our faith.

A few opportunities include helping serve meals with the local Community Meal program, volunteering at the St. Vincent DePaul store, working with Habitat for Humanity, visiting the imprisoned or you could donate to the program collecting plastic bags for the imprisoned to make blankets for the homeless (see the display in the gathering area) and/or by helping in our with our Parish Bereavement meals.

Feeling spiritually sick? Reach out to others in mercy and God will heal your soul. Make your faith a vibrant one and ask your self what have I done for God lately? After all everything you have, you owe to God.

Blessings,
Fr. Gary

Gospel Reflection – July 7

Jesus is God. He can do all things. Does he need the help of the seventy-two he sends out two by two in to-day’s Gospel? No, and yes. No, because he saves the world all by himself. Yes, however, because he wants humanity to assist him in building the kingdom and bringing salvation to all humankind. He is setting in motion the building up of the Church that will take up the reins of leadership after he has ascended into heaven.

Jesus sends these men out to heal the sick, forgive sins, cast out demons and announce the kingdom of God. The harvest is plenty, the laborers are few. By chapter ten of Luke, which we heard from today, Jesus has already begun his final journey to Jerusalem – and to Calvary. Jesus knows his days are numbered, but the whole world must be touched by his message.

The chosen ones are told to travel lightly. All they can carry with them besides the clothing on their back is total trust in the providence of God to meet their needs. Hospitality would be the measure by which they would gauge the success or failure of their mission. Where God’s word was welcomed, people would also we-come those who preached it. Likewise, where the Gospel was rejected, these disciples would shake the dust from their feet and move on to other towns. History shows acceptance and rejection from Jewish and Gen-tile communities alike.

The underlying truth of these instructions, it seems, is this: Whether people want to listen or not, regardless of whether they come to believe it or not, the Kingdom of God is [in fact] at hand. And this fact requires something of everyone – repentance and faith. Jesus has given the disciples power over serpents and scorpions – they have nothing to fear if they trust in the Lord. The same is true for all who believe.

Remember that Jesus said, the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few. The laborers are you and me. They are not some “other people.” So let’s start the work of the kingdom today by traveling lightly, shed-ding the excess baggage of sin and worry, and depending on God to complete the great work he has begun in us.

Isaiah said, The Lord’s power shall be known to his servants. This explains the unparalleled success of the early Church’s first missionary excursion. From Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, all will experience the comfort and love of a merciful God thanks to the preaching of a chosen few.

Independence Day

Dear Parishioners,

On July 4, 1776, we claimed our independence from Britain and Democracy was born. The Declaration of In-dependence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. As always, this most American of holidays will be marked by parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the country.

Every day thousands leave their homeland to come to the “land of the free and the home of the brave” so they can begin their American Dream. The United States is truly a diverse nation made up of dynamic people. Our Ancestors were greeted at Ellis Island by the poem that is on the plaque of the Statue of Liberty. The poem was writ-ten by Emma Lazarus in 1883 and is listed below.

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. ‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”

Happy Birthday America and God Bless this country. As we go through a time where immigration is being challenged may we hold true to our Catholic faith that men and women, children and elderly, rich and poor, criminal and law-abiding people all are created equal and are children of God.

Yours in Christ,

Father Gary

Corpus Christi

Dear Parishioners,

The feast of Corpus Christi is a time when Catholics show their love for Christ in the Real Presence by honoring Him in a very public way.
The real presence of the Eucharistic Lord is directly connected with His sacrifice. Jesus’ presence is both absolute and unconditional, but our response depends upon the degree to which we are present to Him and to one another in sacrificial love, ready to renounce whatever hinders and undermines such love. We honor God when we honor God’s self-revealing and self-giving love in the Eucharist. We recall that God remembers us and we are called to do this in remembrance of Him.

We who receive in the Eucharist, the word of God and the Precious Body and Blood of Christ must show a redeemed attitude toward all that we encounter in this earthly life.

When we celebrate the Eucharist devoutly, we let the Holy Spirit consecrate us to the loving will of God. We dedicate ourselves including our memory, heart, mind and will to Christ, who gives his body and blood as a gift to us. This is the spirit of adoration that marks Eucharistic worship.
This feast gives thanks and praise to God for the institution of the Eucharist, Christ’s Body and Blood. Church processions, in particularly the Corpus Christi procession, symbolize our pilgrimage on the road to our final destination with Christ accompanying us.

I invite all of you to take extra time to be before the Blessed Sacrament this week either before the tabernacle or exposed in the Divine Providence Adoration Chapel. May the Pre-cious Body and Blood fill you and sustain your soul for the journey we all look forward to make.

Yours in Christ,

Father Gary

Father’s Day and Holy Trinity Sunday

Dear Parishioners,
This weekend we celebrate the feast of the Holy Trinity. We worship in and through the Holy Trinity. Each Mass begins the same way, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The simple yet powerful prayer signifies the core of our faith the belief of one God in three persons. The Mass also ends with the blessing of the Holy Trinity to the entire congregation.

During Mass the high point of the Mass is the Eucharistic prayer as the gifts of bread and wine are consecrated and become part of the Second person of the Holy Trinity, God the Son. The Eucharistic prayer is Trinitarian in its structure. This is evident in the “Sanctus” or the “Holy, Holy, Holy.” The prayer gives thanks to the Triune God as we prepare for the Eucharist to nourish and strengthen us through grace.

The last words of Jesus command us to make the life of the Trinity real to others. We are then told that we will not do this alone. Even though He is ascending to the Father, He is still with us, always, until the end of the world. May the Presence of bring you comfort and give the courage to live with holy boldness the life we are called to live. May the grace given through the Holy Trinity strengthen us upon our journey toward eternal life.

Holy Trinity Catholic School celebrates its feast day this weekend. You will notice many children and adults wearing their Holy Trinity Catholic School shirts. When you see others wearing the School shirt. Ask them about Holy Trinity Catholic School. Say a prayer for the School and give thanks to God for the many blessings we continue to receive.

It is Father’s Day on Sunday. Father’s Day is an occasion to mark and celebrate the contribution that your own father has made to your life. Many people send or give cards or gifts to their fathers. Common Father’s Day gifts include sports items or clothing, electronic gadgets, outdoor cooking supplies and tools for household maintenance.

Father’s Day is a relatively modern holiday so different families have a range of traditions. These can range from a simple phone call or greeting cards to large parties honoring all of the ‘father’ figures in a particular extended family. Father figures can include fathers, step-fathers, fathers-in-law, grandfathers and great-grandfathers and even other male relatives. In the days and weeks before Father’s Day, many schools and Sunday schools help their pupils to prepare a handmade card or small gift for their fathers. I know I could never begin to thank my Dad enough for the sacrifices, advice and model he was for me. I plan on spending time with Dad and thanking him for the dad he is to me.

Traditionally, St. Joseph is called the foster father of Jesus, the Son of God.

Like Mary, St. Joseph was not absolutely necessary, but necessary because God’s plan was that the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity would become man in order to save humanity and would do this within a family. Joseph was chosen to be the father of that family. Today may St. Joseph intercede for all fathers and father figures and strengthen the family unit.
Yours in Christ,

Father Gary

Pentecost

Dear Parishioners,

What is Pentecost, it comes from the Greek word for “fiftieth” (pentecoste). The reason is that Pentecost is the fifti-eth day after Easter Sunday (on the Christian calendar). It, rep-resents the fulfillment of Christ’s promise from the end of Luke’s Gospel:

“Thus, it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and for-giveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high” [Lk. 24:46-49].

This “clothing with power” comes with the bestowal of the Holy Spirit upon the Church.  When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. There appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

In the form of tongues “as of fire,” the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with him-self. The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit’s ac-tions. “Do not quench the Spirit” [CCC 696].
As one of the most important solemnities on the Church’s cal-endar, it has a rich depth of meaning, but here is how Pope Benedict summarized it in 2012:

This Solemnity makes us remember and relive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and the other disciples gath-ered in prayer with the Virgin Mary in the Upper Room (cf. Acts 2:1-11). Jesus, risen and ascended into Heaven, sent his Spirit to the Church so that every Christian might participate in his own divine life and become his valid witness in the world. The Holy Spirit, breaking into history, defeats aridity, opens hearts to hope, stimulates and fosters in us an interior maturity in our relationship with God and with our neighbor.

Yours in Christ,

Father Gary

School is Out

Dear Parishioners,

School is out and Summer has begun. During Summer many games will be played. I support young people playing sports or getting involved in extra curricular activities. God gave us magnificent bodies that need exercise and it is good for our spirit to have healthy competition.

Over the years I have attended many of my nephews’ and niece’s ballgames. I realize the extra challenge of commitment that playing on these teams can create. Not only do we have local but also traveling teams. Both my nephew, Cody, and my niece, Brianne, played on traveling Soccer teams. I often heard how the games went. I didn’t have to ask; they always told me, “We went to Church, Uncle Gary.”

A Parishioner shared with me that her children are on a traveling team. She makes certain no matter where they are, they go to Mass; it is an expectation. Hearing this warmed my heart. I am proud of this Mom. This parent is teaching more about sports, discipline and our faith than the average. What some parents don’t realize is, the example of allowing their kids to skip Mass introduces exceptions. Once this is done, it changes the young person. They also expect exceptions in sports, school, relationships and work. A great lesson we can teach our young people is commitment.

The fact is this: when Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he shared the Ten Commandments the Lord gave to all of us. The Third Commandment is: “Keep holy the Lord’s Day.” This means we should give the Lord His time. It is our obligation as Catholics to attend Mass on the weekend. If not, it is a mortal sin.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
(2180- 2181) “…On Sundays and Holy Days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass. The Precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the eve of the preceding day. The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason, the faithful are obliged to attend unless excused for a serious reason (for example illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.”

As your pastor, I am concerned for the salvation of your souls. I can not turn my head and say oh well it is summer. I must remind you this, it is who we are, this is what we teach and this is the expectation. Is it easy to follow these rules…no but to whom much is given much is expected; so Play ball and Go to Mass!!

Yours in Christ,
Father Gary

Memorial Day

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Memorial Day is a United States national holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was expanded after World War I. Today many traditions continue around this holiday.

Please keep those who sacrificed for all of our country and peace in our world in your prayers. Here is a prayer I offer for all veterans who have died. May they rest in peace.

“God, lift the hearts of those for whom this holiday is not just diversion, but painful memory and continued absence. Bless those whose dear ones have died in accident or misadventure. We remember with compassion those who have died serving our country in the futility of combat. Comfort all those who mourn. We believe that you will provide for us as others have been provided with the fulfillment of “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Yours in Christ,

Father Gary

Congratulations Graduates!

Dear Parishioners,

This weekend, we have a Mass and meal for the High School Graduates at Precious Blood. The tradition has gone on for years and is a way for us to honor our parishioners who are going to begin a new stage in their lives. Some will go to college; some may stay here in the area and begin work and maybe even a family. Others may learn a trade, while some may decide on a life in the armed services. Some may be discerning a vocation to Priesthood or Religious Life. To each of them, the future is ahead and filled with many different opportunities. I encourage each one to become the best version of yourself and that is an authentic one, the being who God created you to be. To the parents of the graduates, teachers, and all who helped educate and form these young people, I thank you from the depths of my heart and soul. The graduates this year are filled with talent and skill. They demonstrate good manners and etiquette. Several of them assist around the Altar in various ministries. We have encouraged them to get involved in their parish; we have empowered them to make a difference and they have! This year, it was an honor to work with our seniors. I was able to witness the great men and women our parishioners have become. As a Pastor, I am overjoyed at the solid foundation they have in their Catholic faith. What a joy it is for me to watch people grow in their nature, becoming the person God called them to become. Already this weekend the famous graduation parties begin. I will go to as many as time permits. We are so proud of each one of our graduates. Please join me and pray for them. Graduates keep striving; never, and I mean never, accept mediocrity. Bloom where (God) life plants you and make the most of the life given to you. Blessings and God love you.

Yours in Christ,

Father Gary