Surprise Christmas Gift

12-26-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

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 slowly developing cancer. Now, several days before Christmas, she was almost snowed in by a brutal weather system.

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God's Unfolding Story of Love

12-26-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

“Families can be very difficult things to negotiate. This is true not only of our families of origin, the current family of which we are a part, the family of our Church, our society, and our global family as well. Everything human can be found in family stories. Those stories speak of wonderful life-giving successes as well as painful spirit-robbing abuses. Our greatest joys and our greatest wounds are usually connected with the experience of family. Our needs, experiences, and unresolved baggage often color what we bring to our familiar relationships. They contribute to our level of defensiveness, how guarded and protected we become, and what prejudices we believe.

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We are God's Children

12-26-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1 John 3:1)

During this season of giving, let us remember a beautiful gift that we have received being children of God! As God’s children, it’s in our DNA that we share and express our love for others as well. Tell your spouse, children other family members & friends that you love them, every day! Also, pray for those people that are different than you, those that you may not like or those that go out of their way to annoy you. Your prayers may be the start of a new friendship.

From Fire, by Water: My Journey to the Catholic Faith by Sohrab Ahmari

12-20-2021Recommended Reading

Sohrab Ahmari was a teenager living under the Iranian ayatollahs when he decided that there is no God. Nearly two decades later, he would be received into the Roman Catholic Church. In From Fire, by Water, he recounts this unlikely passage, from the strident Marxism and atheism of a youth misspent on both sides of the Atlantic to a moral and spiritual awakening prompted by the Mass. At once a young intellectual’s finely crafted self portrait and a life story at the intersection of the great ideas and events of our time, the book marks the debut of a compelling new Catholic voice.

We are God's Instruments

12-19-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

St. Augustine tells us that a “Christian is a mind through which Christ thinks, a heart through which Christ loves, a voice through which Christ speaks and a hand through which Christ helps.” As we look around and out at the world, we do not have to search too far before we come face to face with inequity and injustice.

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The Holy Spirit

12-19-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. He gives life, he brings forth different charisms (gifts) which enrich the people of God and, above all, he creates unity among believers: from the many he makes one body, the Body of Christ. The Church’s whole life and mission depend on the Holy Spirit; he fulfills all things. When we pray, it is because the Holy Spirit inspires prayer in our heart.

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Leap for Joy

12-19-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

“For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.” – Luke 1:44

When you hear the scripture readings and Gospel reading at Mass, do you “leap for joy?” If not, don’t blame the lecturer or priest, rather look inside yourself. What are you doing to grow in friendship with Jesus? How do you prepare for Mass each week? Or, do you just show up and expect to be entertained? As the Body of Christ, we are called to be active participants, not just passive observers

A "Pearl of Great Price"

12-12-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

We’ve all heard the adage, “Laughter is the best medicine.” In many ways, it really is. When was the last time you really laughed? The gift of imagination allows us to see possible things that are yet to be. Imagine a world filled with laughter. We take life too seriously sometimes. Fear, uncertainty, pressure, negativity, disappointment, and myriad other human experiences can rob us of the joy needed for laughter.

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In Everything, Give Thanks

12-12-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make our requests known to God”– Philippians 4:6

St. Paul reminds us that God is an abundant God. He is the ultimate giver of gifts. He promises to give us all that we need. Remember, that we are created in God’s image and likeness. We, too are made to be generous with all of our gifts as well. Placing our trust in God frees us from being a slave to possessions. It allows us to gratefully and generously share ourselves and our goods with others.

Fight for Joy

12-12-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

Please allow me to offer 15 Biblical things we must do to fight for joy. This list reminds us that faith does not produce inactivity, but God centered activity:

  1. Realize that authentic joy in God is a gift.
  2. Realize that joy must be fought for relentlessly.
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Spend Time Together

12-05-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

"And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value..." (Philippians 1:9-10)

During the Christmas shopping season it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy of buying gifts. But, is that “gift” truly an expression of your love for the other person. Or, are you just fulfilling your "obligation" to give them something? To grow in friendship with someone, you need to spend time with them, learn what is of value to them. Maybe this year, buy less "stuff" and spend more time those you love.

Hope

12-05-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

What does hope in God do for humanity? Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest. Hope motivates when discouragement comes. Hope energizes when the body is tired. Hope sweetens while bitterness bites. Hope sings when all melodies are gone. Hope believes when evidence is eliminated. Hope listens for answers when no one is talking.

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Open the Door for Christ

12-05-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

St. Ambrose shares some wisdom on our need to prepare the way and open the door for Christ. “You see that when the Word of God knocks hardest on your door, it is when his hair is wet with the dew of the night. In fact, he chooses to visit those who are in tribulation and trial, lest one of them be overwhelmed by distress. So, his head is covered with dew, with drops, when his body is laboring hard. It is important to keep watch so that when the Bridegroom comes, he is not shut out.

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Advent Meditations with Fulton Sheen by Fulton J. Sheen

12-01-2021Recommended Reading

Drawn from Archbishop Sheen's best selling books, these 28 reflections will lead you day by day through the Advent season. Eloquent quotes are paired with beautiful Scriptures on the themes of the season patience, waiting, gift, hope, humility, joy and more. Spend a few quiet moments of each day with one of the 20th century's greatest preachers, preparing your heart to receive the Savior of the world.