The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

12-27-2020Gospel Meditation© LPi

Tragedy and disappointment are inevitable. What sees you through this? There will be challenges, changes, unexpected circumstances, interrupted plans, hurts, and injustices experienced by every human being at some point in their lives. We will be asked to adjust our plans, change course, and even encounter suffering and death. Where do we learn all of the lessons we need to live life well? Some of them we learn along the way but much of what we bring to life, positive and negative, comes from our early beginnings, our families. This is our early world and provides the blueprint for how we see the bigger, more inclusive world, which unfolds before us .

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The Gift of Family

12-27-2020Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

What a year it has been! How will we speak of these times a decade from now? As time goes by, our impressions of this past year will certainly change. How we feel today about dealing with a killer virus and all the chaos surrounding that is still fresh for all. I would assume that most of us right now are also holding those we love a little closer and hugging them a little harder. Hopefully, even if the fears and concerns of 2020 dissipate in the future, the way we feel toward our family should never leave us.

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Christmas Service

12-27-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

As we begin a new calendar year let me offer some thoughts about making Christian Service a joy.

An amusing story was told to me by the retired manager of a New York hotel which hosted many large Catholic functions. The great Paderewski occupied a suite there a number of years ago during one of his seasons at Carnegie Hall. It was his custom to practice for a couple of hours every morning on the magnificent instrument that he had brought with him.

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4th Sunday of Advent

12-20-2020Gospel Meditation

In Blaise Pascal's work, Pensees, he says: "What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself."

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Light is more powerful than darkness.

12-20-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

Christmas can still arrive when you least expect it, sometimes in the most unexpected manner. A priest friend of mine relates a story of an elderly woman named Stella Thornhope who was struggling with her first Christmas alone. Her husband had died just a few months prior through a slow developing cancer. Now, several days before Christmas, she was almost snowed in by a brutal weather system. She felt terribly alone--so much so she decided she was not going to decorate for Christmas.

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3rd Sunday of Advent

12-13-2020Gospel Meditation

Did you ever stop and realize that there is no earthly gain that can ever really satisfy us? Think of winning the Lotto. On this side of the winning ticket, it’s all about the money, the new car, house, vacations, bank accounts, and infinite pleasures. The possibility of acquiring all of these earthly securities brings us back again and again to the purchase of a ticket. Then, one day we win! Our dreams are fulfilled, and happiness is on the horizon. Then one day, we wake up and realize that nothing has really changed, and I am not as satisfied as I thought I was or would be. I find myself living in my incompleteness and with my profound sorrow and grief. I did not find joy.

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Act with Generosity

12-13-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

Two hundred years ago, in the early 19th Century, as astonishing as it may seem, Christmas in Great Britain had become almost extinct.

The Times newspaper did not mention Christmas once between 1790 and 1835. Not once!

However, Charles Dickens was instrumental in reviving Christmas during the Victorian era. He wrote his book A Christmas Carol in 1843 for several reasons.

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Five Smooth Stones

12-06-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

In 1 Samuel 17, we have the thrilling story of David, the modest shepherd boy who slew Goliath, the arrogant giant of Gath. The drama of that event so occupies our attention that the spiritual lessons contained in the more minute details may escape our notice.

Today, therefore, I'd like to consider the  importance of the expression "five smooth stones."  Why more than one stone? Wasn't David a man of faith? Did he doubt that God would give him perfect timing and aim as he used his trusty sling to take on the enemy of the Lord? (Certainly he needed only a single small pebble to accomplish his mission.

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Making Preparations

12-06-2020Gospel Meditation© LPi

People knew over a year in advance that the Pope was coming for a visit to America and the preparations began. Security, space limitations and requirements, protocols, crowd management, itineraries, invitations, regulations, and so much more was necessary to pull this event off effectively. It’s not every day that we get a visit from such a prominent dignitary. Thought, effort, meticulous attention to detail and vision all are necessary to make this thing work. After all, he can’t just show up in the ordinary and normal daily routines of life and catch people unprepared! Tickets have to be purchased, buses rented, hotel rooms reserved, and travel arrangements made early because it will be impossible to see him if we wait too long!

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Joyous Expectation Journeying Through Advent With Mary by Frisk M. Jean

12-01-2020Recommended Reading

As we get ready again for the coming of the King, who better to have by our side than Mary, His mother? In this spiritual resource, you can prepare for Christmas by journeying with Mary to Bethlehem. Drawing on the liturgy, these warm and inspirational reflections help readers celebrate the Advent and Christmas seasons with faith and prayer. Also included are special materials for feast days, information related to Christmas and Advent customs, notes on the saints of Advent, and project boxes with additional material for celebrating the season.