I never thought this day would come so soon, but this is my last bulletin letter. Being the pastor at St. Joan of Arc has been a wonderful gift and something I’ll always be grateful for. From the moment I arrived I felt like I was a part of this family. In April of 2019 I really didn’t know quite what to expect. It has been a privilege to be a part of your lives in so many ways. Having the opportunity to baptize your children and grandchildren, preside at marriages and offer Mass for you has enriched my priesthood. Not only these joyous moments, but visiting the sick in their homes, care facilities, and hospitals, celebrating funeral Masses when the Lord called your loved ones back to Himself, each of these moments has been a privilege for me to experience. I am grateful for being welcomed into your homes for meals, hearing about your journeys in the faith, listening to your struggles, all the while doing my best to accompany you. Thank you for being so patient with me as I learned and continue to learn what it means to be a pastor.READ MORE
A very happy Father’s Day to all of our fathers in the community. This weekend we are also celebrating the Solemnity of St. Joan of Arc. Her calendar feast day is May 30th, however, since she is our patroness, we are able to move it to the closest available Sunday so that more people in the parish can celebrate it. Since the Sunday after May 30th was Trinity Sunday and then Corpus Christi, the next closest Sunday is this weekend. The readings and antiphons will not be the same as are in the Lumen Christi missal.READ MORE
This Sunday the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, or Corpus Christi. This solemnity always reminds me of the great Eucharistic processions that occur throughout the world on this day. After my second year of theology studies I spent the summer in Antigua, Guatemala. I had arrived there just in time for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Throughout the city families and different devotional groups were preparing “alfombras” for the Eucharistic procession. While the word “alfombra” typically refers to a rug, in this case the alfombra was about the size of a rug, but it was a design of flowers or religious symbol such as a monstrance. These designs would be created with flower petals or different colored sands.READ MORE
Summer is a great time for reading. Remember summer reading lists from school? I used to ride my bike down to the library in the first weeks of break and check out all the books I was supposed to read. Then I would find other books, too. Remember browsing the shelves? Then I would set up and read and read until all the summer reading was done. After that I was free to read on my own and what I liked.READ MORE
Monday the 29th will be Memorial Day, and while it is not a Church holy day, it is a day well worth observing. I have memories of many years of remembering those who have died in the service of our Country. And love of our Country is certainly part of love for our neighbor. Many years we have visited cemeteries, typically the VA cemetery, of course. There is a Vietor there. But one year we went to another cemetery, a Catholic cemetery. We pushed the stroller along the uneven ground (the kids were younger then) and read the stone markers. We thought about those who had died and of our hope of heaven.READ MORE
Easter season is now coming to an end with the celebration of the Ascension and then of Pentecost. Then we celebrate Trinity Sunday and then Corpus Christi, and so there are a number of major celebrations ahead of us. This is probably the richest time of the year from a liturgical point of view. Families especially will want to take the time to explain and discuss the meaning of these celebrations. Of course, along with these events in Church life, regular life continues ahead as well. School is ending and summer break is beginning. It is time for Vacation Bible School! People are going on vacation. We are all shifting into summer mode. It is great to have seasons of the year: times when we work harder and times when we take a break, when our schedule can change up a bit. May everyone find a way to really rest this summer, at least for a time and as we are able.READ MORE
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a letter in the bulletin but I’m glad to get back to it now. First off, I want to wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers in the parish. It is always so wonderful to see all the mothers with their young children at Mass on Sunday. Of course many mothers have grown children and grandchildren! For all of you we are very grateful and wish you a very blessed day!READ MORE
If you had to summarize the essential core of the Christian life, what would it be? Mercy, truth, or love, perhaps? The readings today suggest another word which may surprise you. That word is priesthood.
St. Peter says to us, “You are a ‘chosen race, a royal priesthood…’” To be part of a priesthood is to offer a particular sacrifice in order for the community to survive and thrive. Jesus is the great high priest because he offers the one perfect sacrifice which heals and perfects the entire human race. Peter the Apostle wants us to know that all the baptized share in this priestly ministry. The whole of our lives, including every detail, is meant to become our acceptable offering to God.READ MORE
Some people have asked me what I think about Fr. Connealy leaving and also about my situation. My answer is that I don’t so much see him as leaving as simply having been reassigned. He didn’t ask to leave. The bishop had a need and thought that Fr. Connealy would be the best person for the job and Fr. Connealy accepted this. This is the way it is with priests. The fact is that we priests are moved around quite a bit. Yes, it can be a little hard on the people in the parish. At a minimum, it means change and change is almost always a little hard. But change also means growth and new opportunities. I think God always gives us a new priest who will be good for us at that point in our lives. When you think about it, you have many priests over the course of your life, and each one is there for a purpose.READ MORE
I always feel a little sad when someone begins to speak to me with the words, “Father, I know you’re so busy, but …” It happens a lot. And I get it. He or she is trying to be respectful of my time. But it saddens me because a priest makes Jesus present to people in a special way, and Jesus always has time for us. Don’t we all feel at times that God just doesn’t have time for us?READ MORE
A young, engaged couple sat on the couch in front of me as we chatted about their upcoming marriage. The young lady was struggling to trust her future husband. She told me her father had been unfaithful to her mother. She said of her fiancé, “I want him to prove to me that he won’t cheat on me.” The young man looked at me helplessly, raised his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders. What evidence could he possibly give to validate such a proof? Nothing. All he could do was invite her to trust him.READ MORE
Jesus Christ is Risen indeed! I wish each of you a grace filled Easter during this beautiful spring time. The mystery of the empty tomb points us to the Risen Christ. I am always struck by the simplicity of the announcement of the angel, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.” There is no explanation of what the Resurrection “looked” like, just the announcement that Jesus “is not here”. And yet, the Easter glory is one of those beautiful Christian paradoxes. Jesus is no longer in the tomb, it is empty! But now, He is more present to mankind than before.READ MORE
Happy Palm Sunday!
Last weekend was a tough weekend. Bishop Dolan asked us to announce last weekend that he has given me a new assignment. He has appointed me the pastor of San Francisco de Asis Parish in Flagstaff, AZ. As many of you know, this was my first assignment as a priest. While I did not ask for a new assignment, I am grateful for Bishop Dolan’s confidence in me to lead the community in Flagstaff. I have loved my time here at St. Joan of Arc and am grateful to God for the four years here. Each of you has been such a blessing to me in my life and in my priesthood and I look forward to enjoying the next three months here with you. As you know, I also announced that Bishop Dolan has named Fr. Daniel Cruz the Parochial Administrator of St. Joan of Arc. Both of our assignments will be effective July 1, 2023. Many of you know Fr. Cruz from his time here a few years ago. He is very excited to return and be a part of this parish once again. Please keep us all in your prayers during this time of transition.READ MORE