The Very Heart of Being Catholic

04-25-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

We have reached that time of year when many sacraments will be celebrated in our Church. Approximately 45 children, mostly second graders, will receive their First Holy Communion this and next weekend. In May, a similar number of young people, mostly 8th graders, will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on various Friday evenings.

This being the case, I thought this might be a good time to talk about sacraments, and why they are so important to us as Catholics. When I was in the seminary, Monsignor Carroll Satterfield, of blessed memory, taught us several semesters’ worth of classes on the sacraments. I remember him stressing, over and over, that having a sacramental relationship with Christ is at the very heart of being Catholic.

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Lots of Good News

04-18-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

It’s always nice to have some good news to report, and we have lots of it this week. Our second-grade school and CCD students will be receiving their First Holy Communion over the next couple of weekends. First Communion is always an uplifting celebration, perhaps my favorite of the whole year.

Please pray for the children and their families. May the children’s reception of Jesus in Holy Communion be for them and their families a powerful inspiration to stay close to Jesus throughout their lives.

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Discerning the Priesthood: Why Celibacy for Priests?

04-14-2021Vocations

St. Joseph is a model of chastity for those who seek to bring Jesus to others by living a celibate life.

You might think that the issue of priestly celibacy is a “newer” matter in the Church. After all, the Roman Church has continually reiterated the law of priestly celibacy for most, if not all, of her history. So it seems that celibacy must have been pretty well accepted by the Church and the clergy, right?

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My Favorite Part of Holy Week!

04-11-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

It was wonderful to have so many people at the Liturgies of Holy Week and Easter. Although the number of people is a far cry from what we’ve been used to, when people literally crowded into the Church, it was a lot better than last year, when you could only watch online. Thanks to all who took part in the Liturgies, and all who watched and prayed with us from home. I hope these celebrations were as much a source of grace and comfort to you as they were to me.

I suspect we all have our favorite parts of the Holy Week and Easter celebrations. One of my favorite parts of Holy Week is watching people venerate the Cross on Good Friday. It was so nice to be able to do that again this year, if only by bowing our heads and not actually kissing it as is our custom.

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Happy Easter!

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

I want to begin by wishing each and every one of you a blessed and happy Easter. The Resurrection of Jesus stands at the very heart of everything we believe as Catholics. It is my favorite day of the year, and I am always happy to celebrate it with you.

Just being able to celebrate Easter Mass with at least some of you in Church is perhaps the best Easter gift I could get. It sure beats the chocolate rabbit I get from the Easter bunny!

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Palm Sunday

03-29-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Palm Sunday has always been one of my favorite days of the year, and I’m so glad that many of us can celebrate it together in Church this year. We know there is still a long way to go until things are truly back to normal. But celebrating Mass on Palm Sunday with at least some of you in Church is a wonderful step in the right direction.

Palm Sunday begins the holiest week of the year for us. This is when we remember the events that stand at the very heart of our Catholic Faith. I usually encourage everyone to fill our Church to overflowing on these days, and most years you do just that.

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The Homestretch

03-21-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

It’s hard for me to believe that next Sunday is already Palm Sunday! We are clearly in the ‘homestretch’ of Lent.

Please know that, in addition to our usual Confessions on Saturday (9:00–9:30am and 3:15–4:15pm) we will have Confessions this Friday evening from 6–7pm. Two visiting priests will join Fr. Gilbert and I in hearing Confessions that evening. My hope is that will keep the lines short and give people a choice of confessors.

Know that we have set up the Confession areas to maintain distancing, etc. Please also wear a mask to Confession. Finally, if there is a line, please remember to maintain social distancing between you and other families on line. I really appreciate everyone’s cooperation with this!

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Discerning the Priesthood: Be Not Afraid

03-16-2021Vocations

Perhaps priesthood has crossed your mind, but fear pushes the idea away:

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Two Great Saints!

03-14-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

This week our Church celebrates feasts in honor of two great saints. Everyone knows that St. Patrick’s Day is this Wed, Mar 17. Not as many people know that this Fri, Mar 19, is St. Joseph’s Day.

Saint Patrick served God primarily as a missionary, one of the greatest missionaries in history. While he was not the first bishop of Ireland, he followed a bishop named Palladius there, he was the bishop thru whom God worked to bring the majority of the Irish people to Christ. When Patrick arrived in Ireland, the Christian community there was small and paganism dominated the country. By the time Patrick died in 461 the country was largely Catholic.

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Back to Church!

03-07-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

It is so good to be back in Church for Mass this weekend. While celebrating Mass in Mercy Hall worked out well enough, it is good to be back in Church. As I said last week, there are some finishing touches that still need to be completed, but it’s good to see a job well done.

Since we are now able to celebrate Holy Mass with the Church at 50% capacity, which means about 325 people, it is no longer necessary to call ahead and reserve a spot. The one exception to this will be Holy Thursday (7 PM), Good Friday (3 PM), Holy Saturday Easter Vigil (7 PM), and Easter Sunday (7, 9, 11, AM in English and 1 PM) in Spanish). I would ask you to call ahead for those days, just to make sure we will have room for everyone who wishes to attend.

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Discerning the Priesthood: Gaining Peace Through Prayer

03-05-2021Vocations

Is God calling me to be a priest? How can I know for sure? What's the best way to make a decision like this?

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