December 3, 2017

Dear Parishioners:
Sia Lodato Gesu Cristo! Sempre Sia Lodato!

Happy New Year! Here we are, eleven months into the calendar year, five months into the fiscal year, about twelve weeks into the academic year — and our church has chosen this Sunday, about four weeks before our actual New Year, to be the start of our liturgical year. Would it have been a better idea to begin the church year with the calendar year? I think not. It is really a great idea that our liturgical year transcends and invades all those other cycles. That interruption reminds us — sharply — that the Christian community lives out time in a wholly different framework. Just as we have taught the whole world to mark all planetary history with Christ at the center, and all other time before and after him; and, so we insist on placing our “church year” slightly out of sync with the secular calendar year. The birth of Jesus the Messiah centers our sense of time. Further, we begin the church year by focusing on our need for God, which He began to be address in a whole new way with the Incarnation of His Son. Today’s Scripture readings help us contemplate our need for God. It is a constant, continuous need and hopefully each of us is aware of this. With the beginning of a “new” liturgical year and with the 800th Anniversary Year of the Mercedarian Order beginning next month, we are initiating an ancient custom of the Friars and celebrate the Saturday Salve Tradition at our 4pm Anticipated Mass each Saturday evening. This custom of honoring our Lady of Mercy dates back to the earliest years of our Order’s foundation. It will take some time for all of us to become familiar with the chants, however I have no doubt it will jell! Lastly, I wish to express my gratitude again to everyone who prepared, organized and worked the Thanksgiving community meal here on Thanksgiving Day. Special thanks to Fr. Bob Stec and the parishioners of St. Ambrose for all they do in planning this; for their support and solidarity. It is a beautiful expression of charity to share what one has with others – share time, food, support and prayer. Be sure to pick up a copy of the Magnificat Advent calendar prayer books available at the entrances of the Church. Take time during this grace filled season to prepare spiritually for the coming of the Lord Jesus. Be assured of my prayers for all of you – Happy Advent and peace out. – Fr. James, O. de M.


UN PENSIERO
L’atteggiamento della vigilanza, richiamato dal Vangelo, e collocato tra due certezze: la prima venuta di Cristo con l’incarnazione, e la seconda venuta del Cristo glorioso, che segnera l’incontro definitivo dell’uomo con Dio. In questo tempo di attesa i cristiani sono chiamati a far fruttificare i doni di grazia ricevuto.

November 26, 2017

Dear Parishioners:
Sia Lodato Gesu Cristo! Sempre Sia Lodato!

Today is the Solemnity of Christ as King of the universe. The words expressed by the children of the Hebrews as our Lord entered Jerusalem: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” ring in our ears, minds and hearts. With this great feast, we come to the end of our liturgical year only to begin again next week with the First Sunday of Advent. Over a span of a year, we have heard in Scripture of the creation of the world, and the universe in Christ through whom all was created. We pray in our Creed, Through Him all things, visible and invisible were created. We have lived through a cycle of prayer where we have celebrated our King in the Eucharist with Scripture reflecting on and praying with the WORD MADE FLESH—the Christ. Jesus has taught us the way to discipleship while giving us a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. For when I was thirsty, you gave me a drink; hungry, you gave me food; imprisoned, you set me free; naked, you clothed me. What you did for the least of these, you did for me. Remember the Beatitudes? Blessed are you who do all these things and yours is the Kingdom of heaven! Christ our Shepherd King gave us a new law of love and showed us how to live it in right relationship with God, self, others and the universe. He is the Lamb of God, the King who gave his life that we may have eternal life. Christos Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat! Christ is  conquerer Christ is king, Christ is ruler! All has been created through Him, with Him and in Him – today we acknowledge what we profess to believe and live every day of the year. Jesus Christ is our Lord, our God and King. As we come to the conclusion of this month and the liturgical calendar, it is an opportunity for each of us to prepare for the season of Advent and make the best of the next several weeks preparing our hearts and homes for the celebration of Christmas. I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving Day! Wishing all of you a blessed week with the assurance of my prayers. Peace out – Fr. James, O.de M.

November 19, 2017

Dear Parishioners:
Sia Lodato Gesu Cristo! Sempre Sia Lodato!

In today’s Gospel, an important man has invested in his servants. Each servant responds differently – either investing what has been given or not doing anything. Very simply the parable is about us! We are those servants. The question is what will we do/ what are we doing/ what have we done, with what God has given us? Do we hide our light under a bushel, or do we make the best use of our talents and give back more than we have been given. Preserving our lives is the least we can do. The best we can do is to appreciate and take advantage of what has been entrusted to us. We can use our hearts and minds to give glory to God and to help each other. We can be like the wife in the first reading who takes her husband’s love and gives back even more. We should be like the enterprising servants who take a risk, but return even more than they were given. Life is risky and uncertain, but we need to actively do our very best. And we have to act now. We can’t hide our light. We can’t bury our talents. We don’t know when the master will return and when we will be held to account. Will we waste our lives, or use our talents to make a greater return to God? A “talent” entrusted to each of us from the moment of our Baptism, is the gift of Faith. Faith in the One, True God, and His Church. It is God’s desire that we live our faith; share our faith, love our faith. It troubles me when I know (I am not referring to only here at St. Rocco – but in every place that I have served as a Mecedarian) but I know parishioners who claim they “love” their faith, God and the parish; they will do anything socially oriented and or fundraisers, etc. but do not make the effort to regularly attend Sunday Mass. When this is the case, the talent of “Faith” is not being invested or exercised. Just like our physical muscles, if we don’t use them, they lose their potential and we lose the needed support they provide our bodies. As Catholic Christians, being involved and doing good here and there is commendable and nice, but it ought to be the fruit of our regular Mass attendance. It is easy to find excuses for not attending Mass every Sunday: “I’m tired;” “soccer game at 10am;” “I’m really busy,” etc. etc. It is easy to allow ourselves to be so “busy” we are a slave to “activism” and not taking time to pray and worship our Lord. As a young man, I saw that there was a saying on a poster that read: “If you are too busy to pray, then you are too busy.” How true. My friends, we are not cogs in a machine; we are made to know, love and serve God in this world so as to be with Him in the next. Going to Sunday Mass is a privilege; an honor, it ought to be the highlight of our week. Invest the talent of “faith” given at Baptism. Water that seed of Faith; care for it, nuture it – this is all done at Mass when we remember and ask pardon for our faults; listen to God’s Word; offer ourselves, our needs and accomplishments to the Lord in sacrifice and receive the Eternal Word in Holy Communion. Life is risky. Living our Faith is risky. Don’t waste your life or the gift of your Faith – invest it so as to give a greater return to God and others. Be assured of my prayers for you this week. Peace out – Fr. James, O. de M.