St. Francis of Assisi

09-25-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Many of you have kindly asked about my niece’s wedding, and I am happy to say it was beautiful. It was a great family gathering to celebrate a wonderful event. Thanks to all of you who were praying for my niece, Veronica, and her new husband, Stephen.

One of the things I most enjoyed about the wedding was seeing so many relatives I haven’t seen in a while. Between covid and other things, family gatherings have been more limited for the past year and a half. In fact, the wedding was the first time I saw all of my aunts and uncles at the same place in over two years! God willing, we will see more of each other in the coming months.

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The Power of Prayer

09-19-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

This week Father Gilbert will make his annual priest retreat. In her wisdom, the Church requires every priest to make a five day retreat each year. Experience has taught the Church that doing so not only brings many blessings to her priests, but also to the people they serve.

Please pray for Father Gilbert as he makes his retreat. Having enjoyed the assistance of your prayers when I made my own retreat back in June. I know how powerful it is to have many people praying for you while on retreat. God grants so many blessings to us in answer to our prayers for each other, and we should always be grateful to Him for that.

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A Very Busy Time of Year!

09-12-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I hope everyone had a good Labor Day weekend and is ready to get back into the swing of things! Our parish, which is always busy in some way or another, really seems to get busy this time of year. The beginning of school and CCD is a big reason for this, but there is much more happening.

One of those things is our annual Parish Communion Breakfast, which we had to cancel last year and are glad to have again. It will be held next Sunday (September 19th) following the 9 AM Mass. This year’s affair will consist of a Continental Breakfast. Many thanks are due the Knights of Columbus, who are providing the food for the breakfast.

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Christians in the Land of Christ

09-05-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

This Monday is Labor Day, a day to honor all those who work for a living. As Catholics we believe that work is part of God’s plan for us. St. Paul, in one of his letters, tells us to ‘earn the food we eat by working quietly.’ He also admonishes those ‘who do not keep busy, but act like busybodies.’ He even goes so far as to say that ‘those who do not work should not eat.’

In this St. Paul is certainly not putting down those who cannot work due to age, disability, or circumstance. Neither is he, who constantly commands us to practice charity, discouraging us from helping those who truly are in need.
But St. Paul is reminding us that work has a place in God’s plan, and we do well to reflect prayerfully on the good we can do by working according to His will.

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Nice To Go – and Nice to be Back Home!

08-28-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Most of you know that I just came back from my vacation. I had a wonderful trip. It was restful, and I saw lots of trains, which is exactly what I wanted to do! While it was nice to go on this trip, it is always nice to be back home.

While on the road I read (or listened to) some good books. The first was The Guns of August by Barbara Tuckman. It is a very thorough, yet enjoyable, account of the opening days of World War I. One of the things I most enjoyed about this book was the way the author went beyond the names and dates and explored the personalities of so many of the generals, leaders, and other people involved.

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A Message from Fr. Gilbert

08-26-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. Gilbert Z. Starcher

In today’s Gospel reading Our Lord encounters the unbelief of those who follow Him, but are not prepared to follow any farther. The evangelist tells us that “Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray Him.” What a sad knowledge it must have been for Him. May we not be among them. Fortunately, the Twelve Apostles have given up everything to follow Christ and are not prepared to turn back now. Their time spent with Jesus has helped them to grow in thevirtue of faith. St. Peter says, “Master to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

As I look back today on my first year of priesthood, all but the first week of which has been spent here at St. Philip and St. James, I see the biggest growth in my spiritual life. Of course the priesthood is one of many vocations that God may call any of us too, all of which are ultimately a vocation to become a saint. If we truly live our vocation, holiness should naturally follow. But it helps to stand in the presence of the Lord Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, every day at Mass.

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Works of Mercy

08-15-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

As you read these words I will be on vacation, probably in western Nebraska. Knowing I would be on vacation, I prepared this column before I left in order to share a few things with you.

A few weeks ago, I told you that our parish received a grant of some $7,500 from the Works of Mercy Collection that was taken in our diocese. That money was given to support our parish Soup Kitchen and Food for the Needy Program. Last week we received an additional $50,000 from the Works of Mercy Collection to help support our parish school.

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The Assumption of Mary

08-08-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

After Mass last Sunday I had dinner with my mother. We met at my sister Natalie’s home and had a great time. It was a quiet gathering for us, my brother-in-law Phil was the only other person there. But it was great to enjoy the time and meal with them.

Next Sunday, August 15th, is the Solemnity of the Assumption. It is one of those few times a year when an important Holy Day of Obligation falls on a Sunday. The good part is that we will celebrate this Feast of our Blessed Mother at all the regularly scheduled Masses that Sunday.

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As Summer Flies By!

08-01-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Can you believe it’s already August? Summer is flying by. I hope you are enjoying your summer as much as I’m enjoying mine.

Last Thursday evening I enjoyed a good time with many of our Altar Servers and their families. We attended an Iron Pigs Baseball game together. While I certainly love baseball, most of my fun that evening came from visiting and talking with the servers and their families. It was nice to spend an evening with the servers who do so much to help our priests at Mass, and the families who support them in that good work.

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God is Never Outdone in Generosity!’

07-25-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I want to thank everyone for their generosity to last week’s Mission Co–op Collection. As usually, the good people of our parish were welcoming and supportive of the missionary who visited us. Fr. Cesar wanted me to express his thanks to all of you, not only for your donations but, most especially for your prayers.

You can see the results of the mission elsewhere in this bulletin, where the weekly collection is listed. Your generosity is a testimony to your embrace of Jesus’ command to ‘teach all nations.’ Thanks!

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A Tradition of Support for the Missions!

07-18-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

This weekend we welcome Fr. Caesar Santa Cruz to our parish. He is here to make the annual Mission Co–op Appeal. I know we will make him welcome.

As most of you know, the Mission Co–op Appeal happens every year in all the parishes in the United States. Missionaries, like Fr. Santa Cruz, visit and speak at all the Masses about the missions. A second collection is taken for the support of that mission.

Our parish has a long history of strong support for the missions. Several men and women from our parish have served as priests and sisters in the missions over the years. Moreover, the good people of our parish have been generous to the Mission Co–op Appeal and Mission Sunday collections over the years. Add to that all the prayers so many of you offer for the missions and it makes a great tradition of support for the mission in our parish.

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07-11-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

We all know that, before ascending to Heaven, Our Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples to spread the Gospel to all people. Strengthened by the Holy Spirit, those disciples made a great start at this mission. Within a generation after Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension, the Gospel had been preached in most of the Roman Empire, and many people had been converted to Christ.

Today, our Church continues the mission that the apostles began in many ways. One of them is the annual Mission Co–op Plan. As part of this plan every parish in our country, and in many others too, is visited by a missionary who preaches about the missions at Sunday Mass. A second collection is then taken to support the work of that missionary and his or her community.

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Happy Independence Day!

07-04-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I want to begin by wishing everyone a very happy Independence Day. While most people call it the Fourth of July, I prefer Independence Day because it reminds us of the holiday’s connection to the founding of our nation. Recalling and celebrating our nation’s beginning rightly leads us to give thanks for the many things we have accomplished as a nation over the years.

At the same time, it is good for us to remember how much room we have for improvement. The continued existence of abortion on demand in our country reminds us that we still fall short of realizing the ‘inalienable right to life’ promised by the Declaration of Independence. Incidents of discrimination and prejudice, sometimes truly shocking incidents perpetrated by people who truly should know better, remind us that we still have a way to go to realize the Declaration’s assertion that ‘all men are created equal.’

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