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

What Can I Give?

Dear Parishioners,

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday. We remember how palms were placed in front of Jesus as He entered into Jerusalem.

We also listen to how Jesus was taken to His crucifixion. The crucifixion reveals the Lord’s love for us. It allows us to see to what extremes the Lord will go in order to save us from sin.

Because of the suffering and death of Jesus, there is no more barrier between us and God. We are freed from sin and have received the promise of eternal life. This is the meaning of the events of Jesus’s passion. They mean that God’s love for us is so great, He will do anything not to lose us.

As we listen to the passion of Jesus, we want to ask ourselves how we should show the Lord our love for Him. Everything we have is a gift from God. As we prepare to celebrate Easter, we’re preparing to celebrate the Lord’s greatest gift, the gift of eternal life.

When Jesus was crucified, He gave us everything He could, His body, His blood, His life and His love. Let’s each ask ourselves, “To what extent have I given Jesus everything I could? What keeps me from giving him more?”

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Spring and New Life

Dear Parishioners,

We’re just a few days away from Spring. It’s hard to believe, especially with the snow storms we’ve had the past few weeks.

There has been a lot of snow this winter. It will be great to see the snow melt, flowers start to bud and Spring finally be in the air. I’m looking forward to baseball season, with opening day for the Mets and Yankees less than two weeks away!

After Spring arrives and we start to enjoy the beginning of warm weather and a new baseball season, we will realize that it will be time to celebrate new things. In two weeks will be the greatest celebration of newness. On Easter Sunday, we will celebrate new life! Because of Jesus’s death and resurrection, we will celebrate the new life Jesus won for us, the gift of eternal life.

Our gospel today prepares us for Easter. It tells us of Jesus’s power over death. On Easter Sunday, we will celebrate Jesus’s victory over death and His gaining for us the gift of eternal life.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Let Him In

Dear Parishioners,

Time is continuing to fly by. In the church, we’re already in the fourth week of Lent. Easter will be here before we know it.

How has Lent been for each of us? Have we tried to turn away from what separates us from God and grow closer to Him? This is what we want to do in Lent, turn away from sin and let the Lord in.

On Good Friday, we will look back on how Jesus gave His life for us. On Easter Sunday, we will celebrate His resurrection. Jesus’s death and resurrection tell us that Jesus loves us and wants us to be with Him. All we have to do is open our hearts and let Him in.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Restlessness

Dear Parishioners,

There is an author named Charles Brower. In his book, Me and Other Advertising Geniuses, he talks about a friend he knows through business. He describes his friend in words like this:

“My friend Bill is one of those guys who’s still searching for success, even though he’s already found it. He’s one of those guys who’s still scoring touchdowns, even though the game’s over and won. My friend Bill has done everything they’ve told him to do, but he’s still thirsty and unhappy. He’s come to the end of the rainbow, but there’s no pot of gold there. He’s found the buried treasure, but it’s empty.”

The point is, in every human heart there’s a restlessness no success can satisfy. There is a void no material object can fill. There is a thirst no water can quench.

This brings us to the “good news.” Jesus is present to each of us. He is the Prince of Peace, come to calm the restlessness in our hearts. He is the water from heaven, come to satisfy our thirst. He is the Son of God, our Savior, come to win for us the gift of eternal life.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick