Easter Season 2020

Reflections for Our Parish

Each day during Easter Season one of our staff members will reflect on the message of the daily scriptures.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Acts 20: 17-27; John 17: 1-11a

There is a sense of urgency in both of today’s readings; both Jesus and St. Paul are praying for and entrusting their flocks to God’s care. They are both moving on from lives and people they know and love, and are ready to step back and let the Holy Spirit take over and go wherever He chooses, poured out and urgently moving like fire and wind – unpredictable, unmanageable and untouchable.

Since one of my favorite pastimes on a balmy evening is to sit around a fire pit with friends, sipping wine, having snacks, but mostly enjoying one another’s company, I have had ample opportunity to ponder the beauty and power of fire and wind. As I gaze into the fire, many thoughts come to mind, especially how quickly the fire changes from minute to minute. It has to be stoked and the flame needs to be fanned. Sparks fly, especially on a windy night. And smoke certainly settles into your clothes, sometimes for days. Logs can burn out and embers die, if not tended to.

I realize now why the Bible uses images of fire and wind to represent the Holy Spirit. We are the logs that are useless unless lit by a flame. Unless we are ‘fanned’ by the Holy Spirit, we burn out. Unless we are ‘fanned’ urgently, we just smolder and smoke and go nowhere, settled in our little home in the fire pit. However, once our flame is fanned, sparks fly everywhere, and we have no idea where they land.

This is what I think Pentecost does for us. The Holy Spirit continues to fan the flame of faith within us, so that our efforts at love and discipleship spark a love for Jesus in those we touch, both near and far.

Like fire, our faith needs attention. You can harness it, smolder it, or let it blaze. One thing, however, is certain: you can’t ignore it!

Nina McGowan – Parish Pastoral Council

Monday, May 25, 2020

Acts 19: 1-8; John 16: 29-33

Today is Memorial Day, a celebration of freedom through the remembrance and honoring of all those who have given their last full measure so that we can remain free. In today’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that He will give His last full measure so that they, and all of us, can be freed from sin. He tells them that He has conquered the world, meaning, He has conquered sin. But they will be afraid and alone. Then Jesus says to his disciples that the Father is with Him and He is not alone, and they should take courage because they will find peace in Him. Jesus will not abandon them.

On this special day of remembrance, for all those who lost loved ones serving our country, Jesus also tells us that we are not alone. He brings us His peace and comfort. He tells us that He is our Shepherd and we will not want. He makes us rest in green pastures and leads us to quiet waters. This is the peace that Jesus brings to us.

Have you ever felt a deep-down peace? I like Billy Graham’s simple prayer,” Deep down I feel your peace, Lord Jesus, and the storms of my life are abated”. Have you ever had that experience? I think we all have felt it or seen it in others at one time or another. And remembering that feeling is always comforting, especially in these times of fear, challenge and shelter-in-place.

One of my memories of experiencing this peace was at Adoration on a Friday afternoon. I had just started praying the rosary when a young woman came into the chapel, fell to her knees and began crying and sobbing uncontrollably. This went on for several minutes and I became concerned, got up, retrieved some tissue, gave it to her and sat next to her.

I said a prayer that she be comforted from whatever storms she was going through. Eventually she stopped crying and just sat there. Finally, she straightened up, got up, thanked me and left. I returned to my chair wondering about what had just happened. Strangely, I felt both emotionally drained but coupled with an inner sense of peace. I have since come to believe we were both experiencing storms that day, and Our Lord helped us find that deep-down peace. It is our prayer on this Memorial Day, that you will also experience the peace and comfort of Jesus, a deep peace that Our Lord has promised to us all.

Larry Koskan – Parish Pastoral Council

Sunday, May 24, 2020 – Ascension of the Lord

Acts 1: 1-11; Ephesians 1: 17-23; Matthew 28: 16-20

The readings for May 24th emphasize that God is in charge. I can identify with the Apostles in Acts 1, before Jesus’ Ascension, wanting to know if their expectations for the future will come true. Jesus says it’s not for us to know. One thing this quarantine has reinforced is that I am not in charge. Jesus points to the power the Holy Spirit gives us to witness to Him and do His will. I can’t stay in one place waiting for God. I have to reach out and try new things, maybe outside my comfort zone. Like the “Men of Galilee” needed to be challenged “why are you standing there looking at the sky?” The Apostles needed to be reassured that Jesus was not gone. He will return and we are not alone.

The second reading Ephesians 1: 17-23 is a powerful prayer to the Father that they may receive “a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him”. I can take comfort that God is in charge “for and above all rule and authority” and I pray for wisdom.

Matthew 28: 16-20 quotes that when the disciples saw Jesus “they worshiped but they doubted.” Jesus says that “all power in heaven and on earth has been given to me” He commands them to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” I have doubts because I know my faults and weaknesses. It is in Jesus that I am strong when I do His will. Jesus comforts and reassures me by saying: “I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Rob Allison – Parish Pastoral Council

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Acts 18: 23-28 – John 16: 23b-28

“I came from the Father and have come into the world, now, I am leaving the world to go to the Father.”

Jesus tells us he came from the Father into the world just as we all have come into the world as children of God.

As most children do, we should look to our Father for guidance. Jesus tells us to ask the Father for anything in his name and the Father will grant our request. By asking the Father for things and listening to His answer, our joy will be complete. Our Father in Heaven wants his children to be happy and to live believing that Jesus came from God. God wants us, by loving Jesus, to someday return to the Father.

Carol McCasland – Receptionist

Friday, May 22, 2020

Acts 18:9-18 – Psalm 47:2-7 – John 16:20-23

“You will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”John 16:20

For a very long time, I have felt that no matter what kind of difficulty we experience, if we observe closely, we can see the good that often comes from it. However, we do not always see it at the time. Example: a person with five children is devastated when he/she loses a very good job but after a few weeks is offered a much better job plus better benefits and closer to home.

As a country, we have suffered the most ignominious time in the life of most of us. In the midst of this overwhelming and reprehensible disease, we cannot ever imagine anything good coming from corona virus. However, let’s think about this a bit.

Have you ever in your lifetime seen our whole country come together in prayer? People don’t seem to be uncomfortable about speaking about the importance of prayer now and praying themselves. How often have we seen one country supply another with supplies and information? If you are a senior, when was the list time a neighbor came to your door and asked for your grocery list so she could do your shopping and keep you safe at home?

While being marooned in Florida, daily we are amazed at the restaurants cooking hundreds of free meals not just for those who are needy but for anybody nearby. There are numerous food trucks traveling the streets constantly offering free meals. In some areas, the children are being provided free breakfast and lunch so they don’t go hungry. I think we can accurately say that being in the midst of a crisis, people have come to realize that they can bring joy.

Eileen Cocco – Staff

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Acts 18: 1-8 – John 16: 16-20

These are troubling times and the unknown aspects of this Corona virus has given rise to much fear and doubt in not only a religious aspect but a governmental aspect as well. Many are struggling with the stay at home order and the restrictions being placed on us by our government. For us Christians we are struggling with the fact that we cannot worship in the House of the Lord with other believers.

During these most difficult times we, as Christians, need to be like Paul and be strong in our testimony that Jesus is the Messiah. Just as Paul “shook off the dust” we too must do the same. We must show those that are wavering or have not yet accepted Jesus Christ that there is NO DOUBT our Savior and our faith will see us through this struggle.

Jesus said to the disciples, “The world will greatly rejoice over what is going to happen to me, and you will weep. But your weeping shall suddenly be turned to wonderful joy when you see me again.” Many of us are weeping at the state of our situation currently; we are weeping over being shut out of our churches. Many feel lost, confused and frustrated and wonder why this is happening. We must remember that we have not been promised a life without struggles. Just as Jesus assured the disciples that sadness would turn to joy, he assures us too. I believe that when this pandemic is over and we can again gather as God’s people in His house/our church, it will be a resurrection of sorts. There will be so much to celebrate in the name of the Lord. There will be JOY!

Diana Vitela – Business Manager

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Acts 17: 15, 22—18:1 – John 16: 12-15

At this time after the resurrection, during the sixth week of Easter, we know that our Lord Jesus was still on earth. The Gospel for this day, few days before being crucified, Jesus promised his disciples that the Holy Spirit will be sent to them to guide them to the truth. That same promise was made again just before his Ascension: “…Holy Spirit has come upon you” [Acts 1:8]. He reminded them of the promise he made a short while back.

As Jesus ascended to claim his place at the right hand of God the Father, the disciples waited and prayed for nine nights in the upper room. Was this the first Novena? Note that Jesus ascended into heaven, he left them and said that he will send the Holy Spirit. That meant that the Holy Spirit was not even present with the disciples during those nights! Let us examine what transpired after the disciples went into the upper room: “ ….(disciples) devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” [Acts 1:14] Now, we can see that Jesus did not leave his disciples “orphans”. Our Blessed Mother was there!

In our brokenness, Jesus still loves us. He has left us a room for repentance and forgiveness through the institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This sacrament is now available for us so that we can always be in communion with the Lord. The time after the Ascension reminds us to be with one another, for the disciples were united as one in the upper room. Jesus gave us His mother as our Mother. He did it while on the cross and again in that upper room. Jesus never breaks his promises.

Victor Feria – Parish Pastoral Council

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Acts 16: 22-34 – John 16: 5-11

The first reading describes God intervening to save Paul and Silas from prison. God willed the prison to be shaken and for their chains to be broken. God also opened the jailer’s heart, and the jailer and his household were converted. We believe these miracles occurred and that no man- made obstacles can withstand God’s will. The only thing that blocks God’s will is my own will. He gave me free will and sometimes I use it out of selfishness or fear to set up my own walls and chains and ignore his will. God can break down any walls and chains, but he will not force our free will.

This is why the Holy Spirit, the Advocate that Christ speaks of in today’s Gospel, comes into the world to aid in our salvation. The more we pray and contemplate God’s goodness, the more we invite the Spirit into our hearts to change us. The Holy Spirit isn’t defined only by the amazing events of Pentecost. The Spirit is alive in constant gifts of wisdom, understanding, fortitude, and more. These gifts help us see the right things to do and give us the courage and selfless love to do them.

Ed McMahon – Parish Pastoral Council

Monday, May 18, 2020

Acts 16: 11-15 – John 15: 26—16:4a

Prior to today’s portion of the Acts of the Apostles within Chapter 16, we see that Paul and the disciple named Timothy traveled from city to city. “The churches grew stronger in faith and increased in number”.

Following a vision, Paul was encouraged to come to Macedonia, concluding it to be God’s call to proclaim to the people the good news. (Acts 16:9-10) In doing so, a dealer in purple cloth named Lydia listened. And the Lord opened her heart to Paul’s preaching.

After that Paul commands an oracular spirit to come out of a slave, whose fortune telling brought her owners large profit. They seized Paul and Silas, threw them in prison and secured them to a stake. About midnight they were set free by a severe earthquake that shook the foundations of the jail. And all the doors flew open.

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells his disciples he will send an Advocate who will testify to Him. And the disciples, having been with Him from the beginning, will also testify to Him. Jesus informs them so that they will keep the faith and endure the persecution they will encounter. He does not want them to fall away, but be fortified by His truth.

In today’s first reading we see how Jesus’ disciples endured rejection, persecution, and ridicule. And we hear Jesus preparing His disciples in today’s Gospel reading. We too, as followers of Jesus Christ, are being called to endure rejection and ridicule—to go forth as His humble disciples to build His Church, to build His Kingdom, and to make disciples of all nations. To proclaim that Jesus is The Way, The Truth, The Life. To walk the path that leads to Jesus. There is no other!

Ray Auld – Parish Pastoral Council

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Acts 8: 5-8, 14-17 – 1 Peter 3: 15-18 – John 14: 15-21

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

One of the most important ways that parents show their love for their children is by establishing rules meant for their protection and moral guidance. Children don’t always like having to follow rules, but they nevertheless express their love for their parents by (hopefully, most of the time) respecting these boundaries and coming to understand in time that they are in place for their own good. Parents show love to their children not by always doing what they want, but what is best for them in the long run.

Taken at face value, this passage from today’s Gospel can seem severe. The idea of love being conditioned on obedience seems harsh, even authoritarian. However, thinking of it this way would be a gross oversimplification. Like any loving parent, God wants what is best for us. He loves us so much, in fact, that he sent his only son to Earth to lead us by example. We can express our love for God by doing our best to follow that example each day.

For me, the central question is how to put this into practice. Jesus taught us how to love by showing us how to live a selfless life. He fed the hungry, welcomed the stranger, and even forgave the very people who took his life. Jesus commands us over and over to similarly put others before ourselves. Simply put, he wants us to take care of each other. The pandemic we are all living through serves as a powerful reminder of this solemn obligation. This moment brings into focus our profound interdependency. What actions can we take today to express our love of Christ? Perhaps we can donate to a food bank, check in on a neighbor, or call a loved one to remind them that they’re not alone. Let’s take Jesus’s commandments to heart during this time when so many are in need.

Michael Finlay – Asst. Music Director

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Act 16: 1-10; John 15: 18-21

Just as God called Paul to Macedonia, He is calling us to walk with the Risen Christ to continue our mission of discipleship in sharing His good news with people we meet. This time of Easter is a great opportunity to share with others that Jesus, out of love, has conquered death so we may live with Him in heaven. We are called to share the good news because as Jesus says in the gospel, “you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world.”

How wonderful to hear from Jesus himself that we are his chosen ones! That we do not belong to this world – a world of hate, selfishness and materialism. We are handpicked by the savior himself for his kingdom. This should light a fire in our hearts to go and spread the good news. So like Father tells us at the end of Mass, “Go forth and spread the good news!”

Anne Bohrer – Weekend Receptionist

Friday, May 15, 2020

Acts 15: 22-31; John 15: 12-17

Desperate times call for desperate measures. We’ve all heard the saying a million times, but it’s never been more applicable than it is right now, for these are desperate times indeed. We see it every day on the news. People separated from loved ones, doing desperate things just to get close enough to see the smile on a face or to place mirrored handprints on opposite sides of a pane of glass. We’re crowding Zoom channels desperate for a chance to catch up with those whom we love and miss seeing in person. Saint Michael School parents driving hundreds of miles to place a sign of appreciation on the front lawn of every single staff member just to show how much they are loved (very much appreciated, btw). It seems as though we are all feeling love a little more intensely than we did pre-pandemic and are getting desperate to show just how much we love and care for each other.

Today’s Gospel message is a favorite of many, I’m sure. “Love one another as I have loved you.” We’ve heard that a million times too and we certainly seem to be doing a pretty good job of it lately. I’m sure a lot of us have always thought that we’ve been doing a pretty good job of it. I know I always have. I love my students, my colleagues, my friends. I tell my family members I love them every day, every chance I get — so often it becomes habit. To be honest, though, I don’t always feel it as profoundly as I do when things get desperate. It’s at those times that I am struck by the second half of the sentence from the Gospel, “as I have loved you.” It’s overwhelming to think that God feels that profound, desperate love for each of us all the time. The kind of love you are so desperate to share that it hurts. Makes me wonder… Am I willing to take desperate measures to return that love? Am I always open to accepting what God is so desperate to share with me? Not nearly enough, certainly. I need to do a better job of that.

“These things I command you, that you love one another.” Let’s hope and pray that our willingness to show profound love and appreciation for each other continues long after this time of desperation has passed.

Sue Bailey – St. Michael School Teacher

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Acts 1: 15-17, 20-26; John 15: 9-17

Today’ reading from John highlights some ideas that we can truly identify with during these weeks of COVID 19 quarantine . Our Lord tells His disciples that they have been chosen “out of the world.” This is what makes them unpopular at times. The people wanted the disciples to “ belong to their world.”

This may not be a popular thought, but I feel that we have been given a gift of sorts over this past month… certainly there has been much sadness due to sickness, death, unemployment, poverty, and loneliness. What we need to look at is that this reflective time affords us the opportunity to belong to the other world foreign to us… the world that has s checking in on the lonely hearts, decorating our doors in an Easter mosaic, taking our littles on a nature walk to discover precious baby bunnies, focusing on our community’s small businesses when making a purchase. We are living DELIBERATELY…not just following the popular choices of THE WORLD and that was not always popular before this happened. We were rather occupied with the fast pace leading to… who knows where!

The important thing to remember is after we return to whatever our NORMAL will be, we need to ask Jesus for courage to maintain the DELIBERATE LIVING lifestyle that we are now experiencing. We need to remind ourselves that maybe we didn’t have the courage to take a stance that was unpopular with others before, but I am living a simpler and more focused life lately… and I kind of like it!

Linda Mata – Spanish Teacher and Virtues Coordinator

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 – Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima

Acts 15: 1-6; John 15; 1-8

I enjoy the beauty of nature. There is something about creation that brings me closer to the Divine. I also enjoy going to wineries. I enjoy tasting new wines but also looking at the vineyards. Looking at the vine and its various branches one can see the complexity and beauty of nature.

The vine is the “life-blood” of the branches. It provides nourishment, hydration, and filters out the waste from the branches. If a branch is not connected to the vine, it withers up and dies for it has no life. In this complex system the vine provides the branches with everything they need to produce their grapes. The grapes are the fruit of both the branches and the vine.

In the gospel today, Jesus uses this beautiful image of the vine and the branches to remind us that with- out Him (the true vine) we (the branches) can do nothing. We need Jesus for our life. Over the years of my life I have watched people try to live without Jesus. They can go on for awhile, but soon they realize that they are empty, without purpose, alone and not bearing fruit. They have been cut off from the vine, their “life-blood.”

The shelter-in-place order has many of us feeling like we are no long part of the vine. The Eucharist that is our “life-blood” has been taken away from us. It is true that we are not physically connected, however we are still spiritually connected to the true vine. We still can remain with Jesus who refreshes, nourishes, and cleanses us. We cannot have life without Jesus. The Good News is that Jesus desires us to be attached to him. By attaching ourselves to Jesus, we can bear fruit in the world, and by this, glorify the Father in heaven.

I know I could have written on Our Lady of Fatima. However, I wrote about the Rosary in this weekend’s bulletin. Please see Father Frank’s Fire.

Fr. Frank A. Kurucz – Pastor

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Acts 14: 19-28; John 14: 27-31a

“I do not give you peace as the world gives it… do not let your hearts be troubled, do not let them be afraid.”

These days we do find our hearts troubled, we are afraid.

When can I see my loved ones? When will we be able to go to a restaurant or sporting event? How long before we will be able to gather as a worshipping community? Will we be able to enjoy summer events? Will this pandemic come back in the fall? Will we ever be able to travel, safely, again?

We have so many questions and, often, our hearts are troubled and we are afraid. We are tempted to look at the half empty glass… but, then, after embracing our solitude, we experience our many blessings… a call to experience peace that the world cannot give, a call to our deepest self before God.

Recently, I read: “ When you go out and see empty stadiums and empty train platforms, don’t say: “ It looks like the end of the world.” What you are really seeing is love in action.

We all wonder about “ the new normal”. Perhaps, we will have experienced a peace that the world cannot give and a burning desire to share it.

Pat McCabe, c.s.c.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Acts 14: 5-18 and John 14: 21-26

We are a society obsessed with what’s “trending now.” Whether it’s Dalgona Coffee, baby Yoda, or Lori Lightfoot memes, we flock to it in droves. No wonder when the crippled man in Lystra jumped up and started walking around, the crowds became obsessed and wanted to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas – they were what’s “trending now!” The crowds did not want to hear that it was God who healed the man.

How often do we get caught up in what is trending, that we forget to focus our sights on God and all His works?

How many times do we take to social media to “share” a trending story? We need to do our part to make this person / event / story / comment / meme famous now! THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW!!

I understand why Judas asked Jesus why he would only want to show himself to the disciples. How does Jesus NOT want to be world famous?! But Jesus knew the big picture. He told us that the Holy Spirit will speak to us and remind us of everything He said.

One of my favorite songs from the recent Disney sequel, Frozen II, is titled, “Show Yourself.” In the song, Elsa sings to the “voice” she hears throughout the movie. She follows this voice far and wide to find out who it is and what she can learn from it.

Do we find ourselves searching for answers far and wide?

My favorite lyric from “Show Yourself” is “you are the one you’ve been waiting for.” Why do we spend so much time and energy searching for answers in what’s trending, or what the world can give? Jesus tells us that Holy Spirit will teach us all things – ALL THINGS – as in everything we need to know! As we prepare for the celebration of Pentecost, let us remember that we have already been given the gift of the Holy Spirit that lives in us. “You are the one you’ve been waiting for!”

Melanie Stanko

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Acts 6: 1-7; 1 Peter 2: 4-9; John 14: 1-12

Miracles! Ministers! Martyrs! Have you ever read an entire “book” of the bible? Since Easter Sunday the first readings each day have been from the Acts of the Apostles. Read it! The Acts of the Apostles tells the story of our church – from bumbling, scared followers of Jesus, to bold, brave “soldiers for Christ,” as I was taught in Confirmation prep.

It starts with the risen Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit. We read about miracles, and ministers, and martyrs. What’s not to like? A riot in Ephesus, a shipwreck, why we have deacons, Paul’s conversion – while I’ve been hunkered in at home I’ve been reading from beginning to end.

Today we learn about the first deacons, chosen to support the apostles. “And so the word of God continued to be spread.”

The gospel today reminds us that there are many rooms in God’s house. Thanks to the quarantine I know the corners of every room in my house. And they are all dusty. And I’d rather sit and read the Acts of the Apostles.

Peace. And be safe.

Donna McDonough – Staff

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Acts 13: 44-52; John 14: 7-14

Does anyone else want the clear vision that Jesus had? He had the ability to know a person or a group or a situation for exactly what it was. I can’t remember the last time I have even seen an example of that anyplace in society. Our phones have cameras that are really great but often times the pictures are discarded when we don’t like what’s in the picture or how we look. Jesus had the ability to clearly see what was right in front of him and accept it. He had the clarity of judgment to know what to worry about and what situations and people needed attention and others that didn’t. At times his own disciples didn’t even see Jesus when he was right in front of them. That must have blown his mind. I wonder what it is that clouds my vision. Is it just as simple as not taking the time to see and reflect more carefully on things, people, events or ideas? Is it not having a singular focus in life as Jesus did? Is it information overload and I am impatient and only look at things halfway? I’m searching for some clarity of vision and thought, the kind that Jesus had.

So much of what we can’t see can do a lot of damage. I feel like the present situation on earth is a mystery for us all. Jesus would not have been able to see the coronavirus either. He had many unseen challenges just like us when on earth. The difference is he was so clear eyed and clear minded because he was very focused on the work he was doing for all. I don’t know how to deal with so much of this but I am sure that Jesus’ love for us will see us through.

Elizabeth Kochniarczyk

Friday, May 8, 2020

Acts 13: 26-33; John 14: 1-6

During these uncertain times we find ourselves looking for signs of hope… signs of Jesus. Everyday, I wake up and try to sort through the different stories and statistics and decide what is best for myself and my family. At this time I may not know the way, but by reflecting on these passages I am reminded that all I need to do is to look inward to God.

There are signs… Jesus is right here with us working through the acts of his people who are giving of themselves to care for others. We must let go of trying to control what we cannot and give everything up to God. We must trust in Jesus, he has a plan, he will guide us and lead us to his father. While these may be frightening times, we can all take comfort in knowing that no matter what happens, Jesus has prepared a room in his Father’s house.

Lisa Y. Zenawick – Office Staff

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Acts 13: 13-25; Psalm 89: 2-3,21-22, 25 +27; John 13: 16-2

The date of May 7th is very significant to me because on that day, at the age of seven, I made my Confirmation. The reason I probably remember is that my Uncle Vic, who was my sponsor, gave me a Clinton watch.

As I read the psalm, I too, like the rest of us, have found favor with the Lord, like David. We have been anointed with the oil of catechumens and the oil of chrism at our Baptism. In that ritual, we become one with Christ, part of the Mystical Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. It plants the seed for receiving the Eucharist.

Also in the Baptismal ritual, we are called to be priest, prophet and king. This is a great opportunity for growth in our relationship with the Lord. We, too, are called to share our many gifts with the faith-filled people of God. And like the psalmist, too, we can say, “You are my Father, My Rock, my Savior.”

Deacon Tony Cocco

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Acts 12: 24- 13: 5; Psalm 67: 2-3,5,6,8; John 12: 44-50

In today’s first reading Paul and Barnabas have journeyed from Jerusalem to Antioch. It is there in Antioch among fellow prophets and teachers where their mission is announced, “Set apart Barnabas and Saul for me to do the work for which I have called them.” Hands were imposed on them and they were sent off – and so began Paul’s journey to spread the “good news” to men of all nations. Despite his fervent enthusiasm, how daunting, how doubtful, how dark, this mission must have seemed at times to Paul. To now go out and preach what you had so vehemently opposed not long ago. Yet he did go, with the faith and hope that he walked not in darkness, but in the true light of salvation through belief in the Lord Jesus.

In today’s second reading from John, Jesus reveals himself with the words he proclaims in the synagogue: “I am the light of the world. No follower of mine shall ever walk in darkness, no, he shall possess the light of life… I have come to the world as its light, to keep anyone who believes in me from remaining in the dark.

How powerful are John’s words to us as believers of our Lord. Our entire lifetimes are made up of journeys. And, how often on that journey do we encounter the doubt, the despair, the darkness, the uncertainly of knowing where that road will lead:

  • how to proceed with the diagnosis of an illness;
  • how to adjust to a major change in lifestyle;
  • how to cope with the loneliness and despair of isolation – real or imagined, physical or mental;
  • how to move forward with the loss of a loved one.

But like Paul, we too have been given the gift of faith, and because of this gift we can move forward on our journey no matter where it takes us with the assurance that the “light of love” will be waiting for us in the end. How truly blest are we!

Today’s Psalm 67 tells us:

May God have pity on us and bless us; May he let his face shine upon us. So may your way be known upon earth; Among all nations, your salvation.

And our response so fitting:

R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

Marcia Farrell – Office Staff

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Acts 11, 19-26; John 10, 22-30

Can you imagine that- some things seem to never change? The Church has been disrupted by change, persecution, and moves into unchartered territory. Disciples are called to change and re-invent themselves and the Church increases. It is when we put all of our trust in the Lord our eyes are opened and we find a new path to grow.

Rejoicing in this season, the knowledge of God’s love for us, the gift of the Spirit and grace, we are the people sent out to proclaim the good news, Christ has risen. In the body of Christ, in His Church and in His people we find all that we need to continue the mission of changing this world. As I write this, isolated at home, I realize all the more that I, we, are never truly alone. God’s presence surrounds and empowers us to explore new options on serving Him and serving His people. His message that His people hear His voice and know that it calls us all to recognize that we are never alone but being sent out to a new world to continue our mission.

The peace of Easter Sunday, the love of Our Lord, the grace of the Spirit empowers us to go out and proclaim THE GOOD NEWS.

Deacon Mike McDonough

Monday, May 4, 2020

Acts 11: 1-18; John 10: 11-18

I believe God invites everyone, no matter who they are, or what they may call their religion, to live as brothers and sisters, as his children. Today, we read from the Book of Acts, “If then God gave them the same gift as he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?”

And I believe we are all guided by the same Good Shepherd.

Today our flock, (all of mankind) has been scattered by a world stopping threat, a predator that has no favorite, disliked or feared prey, COVID-19. But we do have Faith knowing we are protected by our Good Shepherd. And I am reminded of his love for us, the sheep of his flock, each time I pass that statue of the Good Shepherd on 104th Avenue.

I pray for the other shepherds he sent to watch over us like our Holy Father, our Cardinal and our pastor.

Let us also pray for those others who are laying down their lives as well; those in the medical field, the service industries, the grocers, merchants and delivery personnel.

Our flock has been threatened but our Good Shepherds are always there for us.

Sharon Janicek

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Acts 2: 14a, 36-41 1; Peter2: 20b-25; John 10:1-10

In today’s gospel Jesus needs to repeat Himself, clarifying for the people, the story He has just told them. He had used beautiful images that should have been very familiar to them. Sheep and shepherds were a part of everyday life.

The second paragraph, Jesus restates, “I am the gate”. As if to say, “Just in case you didn’t get that, folks, I’ll say it again!”

Sometimes, I feel like the people in that crowd. I need to be shaken by the shoulders and told, in no uncertain terms, that Jesus is the Way. “Here is the gate… I am opening it for you. All you have to do is find your way through, and I will care for you.” Why is it so hard sometimes to find my way? His promise is for all. His heart is that large.

But I must FOLLOW Him. He doesn’t come behind and push me through. Jesus asks us, simply, to follow Him. That is where I need to pay attention. And that is why the people in that crowd needed to hear it twice. Jesus told them that the sheep follow because they hear a familiar voice. I need to make that voice familiar to me… Hear it often… Follow it always.

Carlin Marie Glennon – Art teacher, St. Michael School

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Acts 9: 31-42; John 6: 60-69

What about you, do you want to go away too? – The teachings and ministry of Jesus left his listeners with often a choice of decision making: to believe and follow Jesus teachings or to follow the worldly teachings and pathways with Jesus. In Our World today we are not different: fewer Catholics practice their faith and have truly open themselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit when they have decisions to make. Ask yourself; on what grounds do people walk away from Jesus today? How much is He and His message distorted by Christians? To what extent have you walked away from Jesus and what makes you draw nearer to him and away from Jesus?

Faith is a gift but it also involves a decision making on our part. That is why at the end of today’s gospel reading Jesus turns to the disciples and asks them, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too’? Jesus was asking them, ‘Do you want to join the others who have decided not to follow me for whatever reason?’ He was putting it up to the disciples to decide for him, to choose him as he had chosen them. The Lord puts the same question to us, ‘Do you want to go away too?’ He waits for your response. We can do no better with our own response like Peter, ‘Lord, whom shall we go to? You have the words of eternal life’. This means, Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, He will help us to withstand the crisis of life that discourage us in our faith journey, and give us the courage to trust the Lord to enlighten our decisions and grant us the grace to move on. His own resurrection proves that our suffering, our pains, our sorrows have an expiration date and nothing is permanent, if we trust in his divine power.

Every time we come to Mass and pray, we are making our own Peter’s great act of faith. In choosing to come to Mass and learn more about our faith, we are choosing Christ as the Bread of Life; we are renewing our baptism and commitment to Christ. We are then sent from the Eucharist celebration to live out that choice of the Lord in our daily lives, allowing that choice for the Lord to shape all the choices that we make in the course of our day. St Irenaeus once said, ‘The glory of God is the human person fully alive’. I know that I’m only half-alive at best, so here and now I ask you to work on me so that I become more like you. You are fully alive as a human being, and this is because you are totally open to God.

Fr. Geofrey Andama

Friday, May 1, 2020

Acts 9: 1-20; John 6: 52-59

Have you ever thought about the day that you had your conversion? I’m not talking about sacraments but the day that you felt that God was talking to you with a loud voice. A turning point in your life that encouraged you to take a definitive action in a manner that was visible, different. Were you confused like Saul? Were you full of hope to have heard the voice of the Lord?

I know I was full of hope when I heard the voice of Jesus talking to me. I was about 8 years old when I heard the voice of Jesus. I was in mass and the choir was singing the song “Lord You Have Come.” In the refrain there is a part that says “gently smiling you have spoken my name.” After that I heard in my heart, “Abel one day you will praise me with this song.” I remember that I was joyous that I heard the voice of Jesus although I didn’t fully understand what that meant. Now I know that Jesus had sowed the seed of discipleship in me.

Ten years later a joined a parish choir in Chicago and my faith started to grow. Music was the beginning of my ministerial life. I continued to grow in faith by the grace of God and thru worship music the lord has used me to bring people to prayer.

Deacon Abel Trujillo

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Acts 8: 26-40; John 6: 44-51

There are many times in our life where doubt is so crippling that we need to look within and have faith. Sometimes it’s a lingering feeling or a way to search for certainty. Learning, living and experiencing life can help us to understand our purpose. Others can show us the way or we can be brave and take each day as a blessing, regardless of our fear to overcome challenges.

When you feel like you need direction, explanation, a little nudge of support, look around and you will be happy to find eager people who encourage and delight in your growth. God will always provide the journey, we just need to embrace it and know that we are loved. He hears conversations, sees things that we cannot and sometimes makes decisions when we are paralyzed in fear or doubt. There is always a reason to embrace and acknowledge.

Rejoice in your life, recognize your strengths, believe in your journey, spread the good Word of the Lord and your life will be full.

Kelly Real

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Acts 8: 1b-8; John 6: 35-40

Today’s first reading begins with the line: “There broke out a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria, except the Apostles.”

Today during this covid-19 pandemic, many believers feel as if they are being persecuted by the measures being taken to combat the virus, particularly the closing of their churches. They feel they are losing their right to gather and practice their faith in the fullest sense. They are scattered and isolated in their homes.

The scripture goes on to say that, despite the persecution, the apostles continued the necessary work of burying the dead and the faithful who were scattered continued to go about and preach the word.

We can get inspiration from these words today. Although the coronavirus crisis is a different kind of “persecution”, we have faithful priests who have volunteered to risk their lives to visit the dying and bury the dead. We who are relegated to our homes, still experience Domestic Church as we gather around our ipads, computers or TVs to participate in the Mass as we are able and join in Spiritual Communion. We are still the Domestic Church as we pray for one another—friends, relatives and strangers. We are Church as we do what we can either financially or by safely volunteering to provide PPE or food and shelter for the jobless or homeless. We are Church as we continue to form our children and grandchildren in the faith and help them to understand that the Risen Jesus is still among us.

In John’s gospel, Jesus tells us: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” So many are coming to Jesus today in this time of pandemic. We find comfort that even should we lose our jobs and become physically hungry and thirsty, Jesus and His Church are there with us – maybe not in a church building, but in the community of believers he left behind. We look for the signs of his presence, even in these dark days and we rejoice.

Pat Chuchla – Pastoral Associate

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Acts 7: 51- 8: 1a, John 6: 30-35

One of the worst things you can do when you’re thirsty is to try to drink seawater. That’s because seawater has such a high salt content, that it will actually dehydrate you if you drink it. So the effect is that seawater will not only fail to quench your thirst, but actually make you only thirst for more water (and if you drink enough, it could kill you). All of us have a thirst, or hunger, which can be only filled with God, for God is our greatest need. The problem is, sometimes in order to satiate that thirst, we go after things which are no better than seawater. It looks like it will quench our thirst, but the effect is only damaging to our souls, and actually takes away what we already have, making us thirst even more.

So when I say that we go after things that are like seawater, what am I talking about? Well, I think a good indication is for us to think about whether there are things in our lives to which we say, “I would be able to be happy if only _______” or “things would be so much better if ______”.

When we ask ourselves these kinds of questions, the true answer we should be looking for should be centered on God. While achieving such things may be helpful or even good for us, very often when we’re saying “if only”, then what we’re looking for is God, but what we’re consuming is actually just “seawater”. Jesus is the true bread from heaven. Nothing else will satisfy.

Gary Patin – Director of Music Ministry

Monday, April 27, 2020

Acts 6: 8-15, John 6: 22-29

I’m not one to shy away from a good argument. Any argument is an opportunity to dazzle with my oratory skills, to display the force of my logical reasoning, and to let my innate stubbornness have its moment. Arguments are, after all, an opportunity to win.

We hear today from Acts of the Apostles of Stephen engaged in debate with scholars from all over the world. Stephen, one of the first Deacons of the nascent Church and earliest martyrs for the faith, is a Saint for whom I have a personal affinity and a Saint from whom there is much I should learn.

Stephen, “filled with power and grace” debates with “wisdom and the Spirit” that are too much for any of his opponents to withstand. And yet for Stephen, the debate is not about victory. Stephen reminds me that we are not called to win but to witness. His oratorial victories would, after all, lead to his stoning. It was the power not of his words but of the witness of his life that spoke of the saving power of the Resurrection.

These past weeks have given us much over which to argue and debate. Whose fault is this virus? What is an “essential” service? How long is too long for us to shelter-in-place? How can they keep us away from our Churches? They are questions with no certain answers but much raw emotion.

This Easter Season is marked by a profound physical separation. May our voices not add division to that separation. May our lives of faith be a witness to the Joy of the Resurrection even in the darkness of these times.

Deacon Colin Huie

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Acts 2: 14, 22-23; 1 Pt 1: 17-21; Luke 24: 13-35

My brother tested positive for the Covid 19 virus. He was treated and is recovering. Up until I got that call it was something I read about, heard on tv; something that kept me from seeing my children and grandchildren, something that kept me from my dentist appointment, from an Easter celebration. Now it became personal.

In the Acts of the Apostles today David says, “I saw the Lord before me at all times; he is near me and I will not be troubled.” Am I less faithful than David because I was troubled? I know that if I really, REALLY believed I could give up my worry and know that God has it under control. I try hard to do that – I have found that rather than directing God, when I just say, “God, I know it is in your hands, help me to accept your will” I do feel more peaceful. That should be my mantra. “Help me to accept your will.” If David could get to that point, so can I.

Donna McDonough – Deacon’s Wife

Saturday, April 25, 2020

1 Peter 5:5b-14, Mark 16:15-20

Peter says to greet each other with a “kiss of love.” What a great message for us today, reach out to people you haven’t been able to see or talk to. Call them often; especially if you know they are home alone. Maybe you could add their grocery list to yours. My mother is 91 years old and lives alone. My family introduced her to FaceTime and each of us FaceTime her every day, this keeps her very busy. She is now able to see her grandchildren and great grandchildren more than ever before. Think of creative ways to stay connected, to show friends and family how much you care, phone calls, send cards/notes, emails, and text messages.

Today is the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. Mark told the disciples to go out into the world and preach the good news to everyone. I am called to do the same. I can do this by example, by what I am, by what I say and by what I do. At this time, I can reach out through prayer. Prayer for all people who are helping all of us in so many ways, the list is endless. I look forward to the day when I can reach out to all people in person.

Rose Koch – Youth Minister

Friday, April 24, 2020

Acts 5: 34-42, John 6: 1-15

In today’s Gospel reading, John tells us that Jesus crosses the Sea of Galilee and comes to rest up on a mountain side with his disciples. There he encounters a large crowd that followed him, wanting to hear and to observe him, but now it’s getting late. There’s no shelter or anywhere to buy food for this many. Somehow, our Lord takes five fish and a few loaves of bread and feeds thousands of his followers.

Seeing is believing. That’s exactly how that crowd must have felt, along with his twelve. They were there. They were without food, money or an answer to their problem. The only thing they had was all they needed, Jesus. They saw, they believed and they were fed.

For the past several weeks we have been stricken with a catastrophic change to our way a life. COVID-19 has affected everything. We have no answer, no vaccine and no medical cure. Millions have been ill. Many have died and most are again frightened. Once again, we are hungry for an answer to this problem. John’s Gospel reading gives us insight to the power of Jesus.

Pray today for the faith to once again, believe, we can be fed. Through our Lord we will see an answer to this problem too. Seeing is believing.

Jim Janicek – Deacon

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Acts 5: 27-33

In Acts 5: 27-33, Peter and the apostles bravely stood up to the Sanhedrin and said, “We must obey God rather than men.” When I first read this, I questioned if I was following the rules of men, and disobeying God by not attending Mass. It feels wrong to tell ourselves it is ok to not go to church or receive Communion, when our whole lives we have been told how very bad of a thing it is to not go to Sunday Mass. But, the Holy Spirit is with us now to protect us.

God has temporarily suspended our obligations so that we can sit and listen to Him. We have time to read the Scripture, pray together, nurture our relationships and decide where life’s focus really should be. After the stay-at-home order is lifted and the outside world will once again be vying for our attention and relentlessly finding ways to steal our time away from God.

Let’s take this time now to reaffirm the importance of Christ at the center of our lives and decide upon ways that we will keep Him there always.

Gina Torbett – Children’s Choir Director

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Acts 5:17-26; Gospel: John 3:16-21

My husband is a correctional officer for one of the Illinois prisons. Each day his responsibilities include supervising inmates, people who have committed various crimes and are confined to a cell with many restrictions on what they can and cannot do. To help the inmates assigned to his unit understand something about their time in prison, my husband will look at and tell each one during their first encounter, “You and I are both human beings, created the same, but we made different choices in life, which is why we are now in a different position. Things here can go well. You respect me, I respect you. We will get through this together. Use your time here wisely.” That positive beginning gives the inmates some hope. As my husband continues to interact with inmates, he acts and treats them as he told them he would. Trust begins to develop. More hope. With much time on their hands, my husband says many inmates read, reflect, and will turn to God in prayer. More hope. Not too long ago, a friend (an anonymous angel) gave my husband two cases of rosary prayer packets to take to the prison. Inmates learned of the packets and that they would be given to those who wanted them were uplifted and looked forward to praying with them. More hope.

During this pandemic, we are required to stay home, confined to a space, leaving only when necessary, with many restrictions on what we can and cannot do. In both situations, of the inmates in prison and us staying home all the time, we are confined with a lot of time on our hands and are struggling, with little things and big things. There are many thoughts going through our mind of what will work or not work, of what we can and cannot do, of how this will all turn out. In these situations, we might feel like a prisoner of our own mind, with thoughts guiding us in some very scary and hopeless directions.

In the first reading the Apostles were in prison. The scripture does not say what they were experiencing or how they were feeling while there. I’m guessing they were possibly nervous, scared, and anxious, and had many thoughts going through their minds, wondering what would happen now that they are stuck, confined to that space. The scripture does not say if the Apostles called upon the Lord. I’m guessing that with the time and experience they had with the Lord, and since they had a relationship with Him, that they did call out to God, with trust knowing He would be there for them. What happens? God is there for the Apostles. He sends an angel; hope. The angel of the Lord makes God’s presence and His power, strength, and help known. Through the angel, God is there to lead the Apostles out of prison, to get them back on track, back to the plan the Lord has for them, for the work they need to do for Him.

As we live through times of imprisonment we can allow our tough situations, struggles, and negative thoughts to take us in really bad directions, OR we can use our time wisely by calling on God and trusting in Him . . . “When the poor one called out, the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him.” As we prayed on Divine Mercy Sunday and should always pray, Jesus, I trust in You.

We need God. We need to call on God, and keep calling on Him. We can and should, often and consistently throughout our day, call on God and spend time with Him, in prayer. We talk, and God listens. Then God talks, and we listen. God is our loving Father, Jesus our brother and Savior, and our Holy Spirit who works within us. God is right there, always. God wants us to turn to Him, to rely on Him, to talk to Him and include Him in everything we do, in everything we experience, in everything we need, and we can trust Him. God knows everything about us and all we are going through and has a plan for each of us for good.

As with the inmates receiving prayer packets from an angel (hope) and the Apostles being led out of prison by an angel (hope), during our struggles and this pandemic, God sends us angels, who give us hope . . . a smile, a phone call or text to check on us, a Facebook post to offer a prayer or something that makes you laugh, a surprise drop off on your front porch of cleaning products or food, a family member driving by to wish you a Happy Easter, someone praying for you every day, your parish priests celebrating Mass everyday and videoing it to share with you, and more. Lots of hope.

Every day, we talk with God about what’s on our mind and heart and listen to Him. We trust Jesus. His love and plans for us fill our minds and hearts with good, with positive, with peace that will help us through anything. With God’s strength, hope, healing, and peace that comes from His great unconditional love for us, we can live through anything and good WILL come from it. “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”

Kelly Martinez – Coordinator of Religious Education

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Acts 4: 32-37, John 3: 7b-15

In today’s passage from the Acts of the Apostles, we read “the community of believers was of one heart and mind.” They claimed no possessions of their own, but what they had, they had in common. There were no needy people among them. Can we even imagine anyone saying that today?

Supposedly there is enough food in our world that no one should be hungry. Sadly, however, many are not getting it. During this time of the coronavirus, the non-essential stores are closed. We are not just buying “things” for the sake of buying. That is truly a good thing that we are not running to stores just to overload on what we already have.

Perhaps, as we read the Acts of the Apostles, we will take the time to reflect on the many people, especially now, who are in need because they don’t have a job, or because they are always needy. As in today’s reading, can we put our extras at the feet of the apostles so they can be distributed according to need? Are we able to share so that others are not cold or hungry? During this time of pandemic let us take time to reflect on the needs of others and respond in whatever way we are able. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could one day say, there are no needy people among us?

Sr. Marietta Umlor, CSC – Service Ministry

Monday, April 20, 2020

Acts 4: 23-31, John 3: 1-8

As we continue our Easter journey toward Pentecost we are reminded of the power of the Holy Spirit. In the reading from Acts 4: 23-31 the apostles Peter and John are begging God for help in the troubling times after Christ’s death and resurrection. They are clearly confused and in fear, but praying for strength to carry on His mission. They beg God to help them, using these words, “enable your servants to speak your words with all boldness.” They are surrounded by hostility and are at great risk carrying on the message and teachings of Christ, yet they long for the strength to remain faithful. God tells them that they will be strengthened “by the Holy Spirit” who will indeed give them the wisdom, and courage to carry on their ministry. We too must be bold in our words and acts to carry on His mission today, lead by the Holy Spirit. We pray to our triune God; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be bold in our faith at home, our work and in our communities.

In todays Psalm, the message is clear and relevant to our times, “Blessed are they who take refuge in the Lord.” As we stay home and when we go outside our home do not fear, for Christ is our refuge and our strength! This is the Easter message.

Finally, in the Gospel of John today, Nicodemus is instructed by Christ In regards to gaining eternal life and joy. Jesus tells him we must” be born from above”. There is a clear path through the sacraments for Catholics. Christ teaches us all that “unless one is born of the water and the Spirit”, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. How blessed are we to have families that have brought us into the faith through Baptism and many who instructed and inspired us as we chose Confirmation as young adults. Each time we bless ourselves with the Holy water we must remember that we are united to the Kingdom through these beautiful sacraments of Initiation. Thank you Jesus for the gift of the sacraments!

Mary ONeil – Music Minister, Catechist

APRIL 19, 2020 – 2nd Sunday of Easter – Divine Mercy

Readings: Acts 2: 42-47, 1Peter 1: 3-9, John 20: 19-31

When something unspeakably horrible happens, we are shaken and we wonder why. We are all living in a very difficult time right now. We do not know what is going to happen, when it will end and how it will leave us. We are scared and, in our fear, we turn to God – we turn to our faith. But what about those who have no faith or God to turn to? Do you ever wonder what this is like for someone who does not have faith and does not know how to pray? It is then that I realize what a GIFT I have in my faith – a gift that is so often taken for granted. Just like when I wake up every morning and I am able to see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. And I am able to walk and talk, and I have people to love and a purpose for my life. Very often I take these gifts for granted as well. Our faith is a gift like no other. We know, for example, that when someone dies, they are not gone, and we will see them again and this faith allows us to go on even though the unthinkable has happened.

There are so many stories of what people are going through during this pandemic. There is a woman in Michigan whose husband and 20-year-old son died within days of each other due to the coronavirus. After 15 years of infertility, she gave birth to their son when she was 40 years old. He was their miracle baby. And now, her husband and son were gone! This is horribly sad – she has nothing left. She was in “unimaginable pain” as her husband and son were buried on Good Friday but she said she was “enveloped by her faith. God had his arms wrapped tightly around her.” In the darkest of times, because of that faith, she was able to say, “I’m standing here in the strength of the Lord, not strength of my own. God has got me.”

This is the gift of faith. It is a gift we must remember to cherish and for which to give God thanks.

‘Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.’ ‘Peace be with you.’

Mary Beth Mallet – Bulletin Editor and Calendar

APRIL 18, 2020 – Saturday of the Octave of Easter

Acts 4: 13-21, Mark 16: 9-15

The belief that Jesus rose from the dead is never easy to believe even though it is the cornerstone to our faith. It is very important to remain faithful to Jesus. Right now we might be stubborn or reluctant to see the fullness of faith but remember that Jesus does not despair of his followers.

The Gospel reading displays that even the disciples were slow to believe in Jesus’ resurrection but Jesus never gave up on them and we cannot give up on Jesus. We need to figure out different ways to continue “proclaiming the good news to the whole creation,” especially during this time of quarantine.

It is our job to carry this out no matter where we find ourselves in life. This is not a time for doubting but rather a time to ask yourself, “How can I be creative and continue to proclaim the good news to the whole creation?”

Emily Keblusek – Office Staff

APRIL 17, 2020 – Friday of the Octave of Easter

Acts 4: 1-12, John 21: 1-14

Trust. Today’s readings are full of examples on what happens when we place our trust in God. In our first reading, Peter and John are teaching the crowds about Jesus, His healing powers, and His resurrection. Despite the fact that Peter and John are arrested for speaking in such a manner, scripture tells us that many, nearly 5,000 in the crowd came to believe through their witness. Not a bad day’s work for the two men. Peter and John demonstrate great trust in the Holy Spirit to work through them as they speak. When questioned about how Jesus performed the miracles He did, the two state plainly that ‘there is salvation in no one else.” The apostles also show great trust in the gospel when they put their nets back into the water after a night of fishing that produced no bounty. Their trust, even when they didn’t immediately recognize Jesus, garnered them a bountiful catch along with the realization that the Lord was still, in fact had always been, with them.

Today many of us find ourselves in situations similar to the apostles in these stories. Some of us are more ready than ever to proclaim God’s greatness while others of us are exhausted from our work that appears to not produce much. We are experiencing isolation, frustration, disappointment, and more. Throughout their time with Jesus, the apostles felt all these emotions as well. Yet, their gift of trust allowed them to continue to follow Jesus through every challenging moment. Will we open ourselves up to that same trust? Do we trust enough to know that the Lord is, and always will be, with us?

Sarah Huie

APRIL 16, 2020 – Thursday of the Octave of Easter

Acts 3:11-26, Luke 24: 35-48

Startled… Terrified… Doubt… Frightened… Disbelief… Suffering

These are all emotions we are feeling because of the pandemic. These are also the feelings that the disciples experienced when Jesus appeared to them after he had risen. What we can take from Luke’s gospel is that our minds are opened by the scripture then, and now.

Just like the disciples, we are “living” history in the making. This pandemic, and all we are going through, will be in the history books. The manner in which our leaders, doctors, nurses, first responders, grocery workers, mail carriers, and many others are handling this crisis will be analyzed. What could they have done differently and what could they have done in a better way? Through my eyes, I see the faith and hope of all of us as we live through this pandemic one day at a time. The “stay at home order” has taught us what is most important in life. God, family, friends! Helping your neighbor! Needing less things…needing more companionship…getting creative about companionship. Learning firsthand that the “church” is everywhere, and not just a building. Through great sorrow comes great joy! We will get through this pandemic; it is not a matter of if, but when!

In times of great concern, worry and strife, it is always important to look to God for solidarity and knowledge that we are not alone. Praise God for all he has done for us and given to us. Praise God in all times & all ways. Together we will get through this! Christ is risen! Happy Easter!

Susan O’Connell, Worship and Music Administrative Asst. and Virtus Administrator

APRIL 15, 2020 – Wednesday of the Octave of Easter

Acts 3: 1-10, Luke 24: 13-35

Easter is the supreme season of hope, yet now is a time when many have lost hope. The one thing Iknow is that all human history is in the hands of a Lord who loves without fault or fail.

When Peter says, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you,” I think of the Priesthood into which I have entered to give the only One I have: Jesus Christ, and how now I am unable to give even Him. I cannot give the Sacraments that are Jesus Himself to the faithful, to heal, to console, to forgive, to nourish.

I pray that therefore this distance from the Sacraments and the Church may increase the faithful’s desire to receive the Sacraments evermore, and increase my desire to nourish the faithful with them.

I trust that the Lord is providing for all in some mysterious way, to sustain all until they can receive the Sacraments again and we can all break bread together, and therein recognize the Risen Lord who was with us the whole time, though we did not recognize Him.

In Christ’s Sacred Heart,
Rev. Charles Plovanich

APRIL 14, 2020 – Tuesday of the Octave of Easter

Acts 2:36-41, John 20: 11-1

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to see Jesus, but he wasn’t there. She was sad and crying. Later she saw him but didn’t recognize him. How could she not recognize her good friend? I believe we don’t always see what is right in front of us.

I have been reflecting on our current “stay home” situation. We are sad. Life isn’t as we would want it to be. We can’t do what we want to do. Easter wasn’t the same. There was no Mass in Church, no family parties.

Maybe we should look at the opportunities that are right in front of us. We have time alone to pray, reflect. I have been taking advantage of daily Mass online. There is time to call, text or write family and friends. Maybe we can do something for a neighbor. We can take a walk and reflect on God’s beauty in Nature. We could go through our closets and put aside things to donate when we can.

Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves or locking ourselves in a room like the disciples, let’s use this time well so that when this is over we can say we did some good.

Cee Cee Van Hecke, Parish Receptionist

APRIL 13, 2020 – Monday of the Octave of Easter

Acts 2: 14. 22-33: Psalm 16, Matthew 28: 8-15

Stories always have differing perspectives, depending on who relates the story. It is rare when we hear “just the facts ma’am” without embellishment, exaggeration or interpretation. Everyone who hears a story brings their experience as they look at the evidence.

Today the women see the empty tomb and know in their hearts that Jesus is Risen as he said. They rush away to tell the Good News to Jesus’ close friends. They are overjoyed. The guards, too, see the empty tomb. They, too, suspect in their hearts that Jesus is risen. They rush away to tell the chief priests and elders who had a part in his death. They are afraid, and plot a cover-up.

Self-interests, relationships, and perspectives of the storyteller and hearer always determine the trajectory of a story. Whom we run to tell matters. What we tell matters. How we tell the story matters. As we see the empty tomb in this day and age – during this Covid-19 pandemic – in light of our present situations, relationships, feelings, and self-interests – to whom will we relate the story? How will we tell it? Will we share hope and joy or spread fear.

King David reminds us in the psalm today; “Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body, too, abides in confidence; because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world, nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption. You will show me the path of life, fullness of joys in your presence, delights at your right hand forever.” Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.

Pat Chuchla, Pastoral Associate

APRIL 12, 2020 – Easter Sunday

Acts of the Apostles 10: 34a, 37-43, Colossians 3: 1-4, John 20: 1-9

The darkness of Lent and the crucifixion has passed away; a new day, but where am I?  Am I different, or have I just gone through the motions?  What do I find on Easter Morning?

Christ was not where he was expected.  Nothing is there.  Maybe we missed clues; maybe we do not see what is missing.  The burial clothes are all that remains; signs of our past sins or weaknesses left behind – discarded, no longer important.  Christ has moved beyond our faults and has begun a new day.  The message sent to his followers:  things are different now, not what you expected.

This morning I not only rejoice, but also question if I am ready.  Do I truly recognize God’s love for me?  Can God look away from my sins?  Can I be found worthy to serve such a loving God?  Many questions still remain, yet in faith I believe that the new order of life and faith has been given to us freely and out of love.  You, I, and all our brothers and sisters have visited the tomb, come out, and found new life and faith.  We are the people he died for, and rose again to give new life.  Blessed be the Lord our God.

May the peace of Easter be with you.

Deacon Mike McDonough

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