Pastor's News

09-29-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

It was great to have our choir back at 11AM Mass last Sunday, after their usual summer break. They add so much to our worship, and help us celebrate Holy Mass with joy and reverence. I’m sure they could use a few new voices – and would be glad to have anyone who loves God and wants to praise Him in song!

Later that afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending the annual choir picnic. It was hosted by our music director, Paul Kucinski, and his wife, Donna. I really enjoyed talking and eating with these wonderful people who serve our parish so well.

Last Sunday I also had the pleasure of joining our parish Boy Scout Troop at their annual Red and White Brunch. It was a time to celebrate the many merit badges and projects of these great kids – some of whom had just received their religious medals at the 11 AM Mass. These scouts do a lot for our parish, such as carrying the gifts we bring for the Giving Tree, collecting food for the Thanksgiving Food drive, and taking care of the fire during the Easter Vigil Mass. I appreciate all they do.


Breath of Life

09-22-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last Saturday evening, Aliento de Vida – the Spanish Prayer Group in our parish – celebrated their eleventh anniversary. Aliento de Vida means ‘breath of life.’ It is a name given to the Holy Spirit. Just as we breathe regular air to support our physical life, so the Holy Spirit is the breath that sustains our New Life as God’s Children.

I was happy to give the group a blessing as they began a Prayer Vigil in Church at 6 PM. About three hours later, when the Vigil ended, I had the pleasure of joining them for coffee and refreshments in the Parish Meeting Room. It was great to see so many people praying and enjoying themselves together.


Signs of Hope

09-15-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I was truly inspired by the presentations by the gentlemen from the Corona Self Help Center that spoke briefly at Holy Mass last weekend. We are all well aware of the problems that come with the epidemic drug and alcohol addiction in our country. Hearing the testimony of these men, who are beating this addiction with the help of God, was very uplifting. To me it was a sign of hope!

Thank you to everyone who supported them. Please keep them in your prayers each day. I kept their contact information in my files, in case you know anyone who might need their help!

I was also happy to see the nice crowd at the Communion Breakfast in honor of our Blessed Mother’s Birthday (September 8 th). It was a simple, but very nice affair. What I especially enjoyed was seeing so many parishioners – of different ages and backgrounds – having a good time together. It fills me with hope for our parish and community.


Getting in shape for the Lord

09-08-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

It has come to my attention that some of our parishioners have begun taking steps to prepare for the Walking Pilgrimage on September 21st! Specifically, they have been walking each day to build up their stamina for the pilgrimage. Their efforts remind me that we all have to work at getting our soul in shape each day.

St. Paul used this analogy in his First Letter to the Corinthians. “While all the athletes in the arena compete, the award goes only to one. Therefore, compete so as to win!” (1 Cor. 9:24). His point is that – as Christians – we should work as hard at getting to Heaven as athletes do at winning games. We do this best by regular prayer, works of charity, and frequent Confession and Holy Communion.


Christians in the Holy Land

09-01-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John 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.


Back to School

08-25-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

It was really good to see so many people at Mass for the Holy Day last week. It was a real testimony to your love of our Blessed Mother and faith in her Son, Jesus. I really enjoyed the Masses I celebrated on the Assumption with each and every person who took the time to be there.

It was also good to see the wonderful response to the Sneakers for Small Souls program. I just walked into Mercy Hall and saw several tables full of sneakers, socks, crayon and other school supplies. These will be distributed to children who need them as the new school year begins. Thanks to everyone who took part – and to those who organized this wonderful event. It is a great act of charity.

Believe it or not, this will be the last weekend that Tim Eck, our summer seminarian, will be with us. He will take a little time to visit his family before returning to Rome the beginning of September. Please keep him in your prayers as he does so.


We need what Jesus gives.

08-18-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend our parish is happy to welcome Pam DiMartile, who will speak at most of our Masses. She will give us more information about the Walking Pilgrimage that will take place on Saturday, September 21. The pilgrimage is part of the Year of Spiritual Awakening that is being observed throughout our diocese.

Bishop Checchio decreed this Year of Spiritual Awakening as a year of spiritual preparation for his consecration of our diocese to our Blessed Mother under her title of "Our Lady of Guadalupe." The Evening of Spiritual Awakening – which was so well attended in our Church – was one of the events in this year. So is the personal consecration to Our Lady of Guadalupe that so many of us did this past Lent.


The Assumption

08-11-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I am happy to report that, as I write these words, workers are making repairs to the loose stone on our Church. Their work is part of the overall repairs that will be made to our steeple (and some roof areas of the Church.) It will be completed in stages and finished before winter.

I am also happy that the school’s parking lot was repaved last week, and it looks great! Like the repairs to the loose stone and steeple, this project was made possible by the generosity of each and every person who supported our parish campaign. Thanks to one and all!

Remember that this Thursday, August 15th, is the Solemn Feast of the Assumption. On that day we celebrate how, when her life on Earth was complete, our Blessed Mother Mary was taken, body and soul, to be with Jesus in Heaven. It is a Holy Day of Obligation, meaning that every Catholic who is able to do so has a serious obligation to worship God at Mass on that day.


Who will be the next priest from our parish?

08-04-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend, a number of the Masses in our Church will be offered by priests who are natives of our parish. Fr. Matt Marinelli, who was ordained just over a month ago, and Fr. Pat Boyle, our weekend assistant for years, both grew up in P’burg and said their First Holy Masses in our Church. It is a blessing for our parish to enjoy their priestly ministry this weekend – and at any time.

Many of you are well aware that these two priests are part of a large number of men from our parish who answered the call to the priesthood. Fr. Joe Illes, who was ordained with Fr. Matt, Fr. Joe Sands, and Fr. Jim Duffy, both members of the Jesuit order, and Msgr. Lawler, pastor of St. Mary’s in Alpha, are just some of the others. St. Philip and James really has a long history of vocations to the priesthood.


As summer rushes by

07-28-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

One of the things I enjoy in the summer months is having a seminarian in our parish. Believe it or not, Tim Eck is the tenth to spend a summer with us since I arrived in this wonderful parish. Getting to know these future priests gives me great hope for the future of our Church.

I have heard good things about the Bible Study that our seminarian is conducting on Wednesday evenings. People who spoke to me said they found it informative and helpful. If you haven’t yet attended, it will run on Wednesday evenings in the Parish Meeting Room beneath Mercy Hall (enter through the door by the parking lot and follow the signs) at 7 PM.

Beginning this week, Tim will also be leading the Miraculous Medal Novena in the chapel on Monday evenings at 7 PM. Each evening will include the praying of the novena prayers, a brief reflection by our seminarian, veneration of the relic of St. Catherine Laboure, and the Holy Rosary. I am very grateful that Tim will be doing this and hope many people will join these prayers each Monday.


Our Journey to Jesus

07-21-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Ever since I was a child, I always associated summer with the outdoors. It always seemed like, once the weather got warmer, my family and friends did more outdoor things. I particularly remember things like swimming, picnics and going for long walks in the woods near my home as outdoor things I enjoyed doing with my friends.

As Catholics, we have a tradition of religious ‘long walks’ called pilgrimages. From the time the Church began, Christian people would make pilgrimages, journeying to see and pray at the places where Jesus was born, preached and performed miracles, died, and rose from the dead. They did this in imitation of the Holy Family who used to make pilgrimages of their own, such as journeying to the Temple of Jerusalem to celebrate Holy Days. More than just a holy road trip, a pilgrimage reminds us that our whole life on earth is a journey towards Heaven.


Summer Happenings

07-14-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I want to start by thanking everyone for their generous support of the Mission Co-op Collection last weekend. As usual, our parish responded generously to the call to "teach all nations" by supporting Franciscan Works in Liberia. Thanks again to one and all.

As I write these words, our historic pipe organ is being dismantled and carried from our Church. It will be transported to the workshop of the Peragallo Pipe Organ Company where it will be completely renovated and returned for service in a few months. Our music ministers will use a keyboard and other instruments in the meantime to support our singing and chanting.


No Lazy Summer Here!

07-07-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Those who know me well know that winter is actually my favorite season of the year. Ever since I was a kid, the heat bothered me a lot more than the cold. Perhaps that’s why I always loved the winter.

But there have always been some things I love about the summer, too. The longer daylight, baseball, summer vacation (a bigger deal when I was a kid than now,) and the generally slower pace of things are a few things I love about summer.

That being said, this summer is not shaping up to be very slow at all. Instead, it’s looking like we will have a very busy summer here at St. Philip and St. James, which is certainly fine with me.