Pentecost

Dear Parishioners,

Today in the Catholic Church, we celebrate Pentecost Sunday. Our celebration is the coming of the Holy Spirit. We remember the Holy Spirit coming to the disciples to continue to guide them to follow Jesus.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, He didn’t leave His disciples alone. He sent His spirit to continue to guide them, to continue to teach them.

The Holy Spirit also guides each one of us. We received the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Baptism and again in the sacrament of Confirmation. As we stay open to our faith, we allow the Holy Spirit to continue to guide us, to continue to teach us.

So today, as we celebrate Pentecost, let’s remember that God our Father is always sharing His love with us, Jesus is always there for us to learn from Him and the Holy Spirit is always there to guide us.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Moms, Memorials and Messages

Dear Parishioners,

I’d like to begin by wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers. This is a special day where we honor our mothers and show our appreciation for all that they do for us.

Since we’re celebrating Mother’s Day, we realize we’re moving closer to the summer. In a few weeks, it will be Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer.

When the summer comes and we take our vacations, it’s important to remember that Jesus will be present to us in the same way He is present throughout the rest of the year.

This past Thursday was Ascension Thursday. On that day, Jesus ascended to the Father. Jesus had come to earth to proclaim God’s Kingdom and to gain for us the gift of eternal life.

When Jesus ascended to heaven, He left His disciples to continue to teach His message. Jesus told His disciples He would continue to be present to them and He would be watching over them. He left His disciples to continue to follow His teaching and to pass His message on to others.

Jesus asks the same thing from all of us. He is still present to us, just like He remained present to His disciples after ascending into heaven. So when we take our vacation and enjoy our free time in the summer, let’s remember to keep Jesus in our life.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

 

Even If?

Dear Parishioners,

There’s a story about a person who saw an angel walking down the street. The angel was carrying a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. “What are you going to do with that torch and that bucket of water?” the person asked.

The angel stopped immediately, looked at the person and said, “With the torch, I’m going to burn down the mansions of heaven; and with the bucket of water, I’m going to put out the fires of hell. Then we’re going to see who really loves God.”

The angel’s point is that many people obey God’s commandments out of fear of punishment in hell or hope of reward in heaven. They don’t obey for the reason Jesus gives us in today’s gospel – they don't obey them out of love. Jesus says, “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”

When we sum up God’s commandments, they tell us to love God and to love one another. This is what Jesus is telling us in today’s gospel. We show the Lord we love Him by following His teaching. We also show the Lord we love Him through our love for one another.

So the commandments teach us to love. As we show our love to the Lord and to one another, we can hear Jesus speaking to us when He says, “This is my commandment: Love one another as I love you.”

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Remaining United

Dear Parishioners,

On July 20, 1969, astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, the first two humans to ever do this. While Armstrong prepared for his moon walk, Aldrin unpacked bread and wine and put them on the abort guidance system computer. He describes what he did next:

“I poured the wine into the chalice.... In the one- sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was very interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon and the very first food eaten there were communion elements.”

Just before eating and drinking the elements, Aldrin read this passage from the gospel of John:

“I am the vine and you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.”

Commenting on his Communion experience alone on the moon, Aldrin says, “I sense especially strongly my unity with our church back home, and the Church everywhere.”

This story not only gives special meaning to today’s gospel but also underscores the way we, the branches, remain united with Jesus the vine.

We remain united to Jesus by three ways in particular:

By gathering in His name,

by listening to His word,

and by sharing His Body and Blood.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Sheep

Dear Parishioners,

Three weeks have passed since Easter Sunday. As we move along through the Easter season, today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter.

This is a beautiful season where we celebrate that Jesus has risen, as He said He would. Jesus is present to us and He calls us to follow Him. In today’s gospel, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me.”

We are all Jesus’s sheep. As we respond to how the Lord calls us, we’re being obedient sheep. Jesus says about His sheep, “I will lay down my life for my sheep.”

As we celebrate the risen Christ, let’s stay open to recognizing Him in our life. He calls each of us to Him in many different ways. As we listen to the Lord and respond to His call, we prepare ourselves for the gift of eternal life.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Doubt and Proof

Dear Parishioners,

Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday morning. He remained on earth forty days before ascending into heaven. During that time He made various resurrection appearances.

The gospel today tells us of one of Jesus’s later appearances. The Apostles were gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem. The risen Christ appeared in their midst. The Apostles immediately recognized Jesus, but they still doubted. They thought perhaps they were only seeing an apparition.

Jesus soon removed their doubt. He said to look at His hands and feet. He had the five wounds from His crucifixion, the holes made by the nails in His hands and feet and the hole in His side where He was pierced with a lance. They were proof that He was Jesus. They were also a sign of His victory over death. The wounds of Christ were a reminder of the great price He paid for our redemption.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

The Triduum

Dear Parishioners,

Last Sunday we celebrated Easter. Jesus is truly risen! Here at St. Joseph’s, many parishioners came together and we had beautiful celebrations of the liturgy, remembering Jesus’s death and celebrating His resurrection.

In the Holy Thursday liturgy, the oils that had been blessed by Cardinal Tobin at the Chrism Mass were presented. The Sacred Chrism, Oil of Catechumens and Oil of the Sick will be used here at St. Joseph’s in the coming year for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Anointing of the Sick.

As we reenacted the Last Supper, the washing of the feet took place during the liturgy. Many parishioners took part in the presentation of the oils, the washing of the feet and the other liturgical ministries.

The Good Friday service recalled Jesus’s crucifixion. Everyone present was able to come to the altar and venerate the cross. The Living Stations of the Cross were organized and presented Friday evening by our Youth Group. We listened to beautiful music along with a reading and reflection for each station.

The Easter Vigil was celebrated on Saturday evening. The liturgy began in darkness and the congregation held lit candles. The new Paschal Candle was presented and blessed. New holy water was blessed at the baptismal font. Two young men came into full communion with the Catholic Church by receiving the sacraments of Baptism, First Eucharist and Confirmation.

On Easter Sunday, we celebrated Jesus’s resurrection! At each of our liturgies, we celebrated that Jesus is truly risen.

Our parishioners decorated each day of the Triduum and the church was decorated beautifully on Easter Sunday. Throughout the Triduum, many of our parishioners participated in many different ways in each liturgy; Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Ministers of Hospitality and Altar Servers.

The music was beautiful throughout the Triduum. Our organist, leaders of song and choir led us in singing for our celebration of Easter.

We truly came together as a parish family to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. Let us continue to celebrate that Jesus is truly risen.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Happy Easter!

Dear Parishioners,

Happy Easter! Today we celebrate that Jesus is risen as He said He would. Today we celebrate the gift of eternal life, won for us by Jesus.

The risen Christ is present to us. In fact, He is always present. If we stay open to the Lord in our lives, following His will and asking for His guidance, we will recognize His presence.

In today’s gospel, Mary of Magdala and two other disciples were at Jesus’s tomb and wanted to see Jesus. The tomb was empty. But the first disciple who arrived saw it was empty and believed.

Jesus is present to us in the same way. Like Mary of Magdala and the disciples, Jesus asks us to believe in Him. With true faith in Jesus, let’s celebrate the risen Christ; let’s celebrate the gift of eternal life!

A Blessed Easter to all parishioners and your families.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick