Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

This past week we returned to the Liturgical Season of Ordinary Time.  Two solemnities fall within these weeks of Ordinary Time.  One we celebrate this Sunday, and the other, next Sunday.  This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity which is always celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost.  Its celebration dates back to the seventh century; it has been on the Universal Church Calendar for 700 years.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#243) states: “The Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life.  It is the mystery of God in himself.  It is therefore the source of all other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them.”  We believe in one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  We profess this faith at every Eucharist and every sacrament we celebrate. When we pray individually or in community, we begin with the Sign of the Cross. We profess our belief in this mystery of the Trinity in the recitation of the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed. It is integral to the Presidential Prayers at Mass: the priest addresses prayer to God the Father, and concludes through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. The Doxology leading into the Great Amen at the end of the Eucharist Prayer (which is addressed to the Father) is another example of how the Trinity is incorporated into the Eucharist: Through him, and with him, and in him, O God Almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, forever and ever. Blessings are imparted by invoking the Triune God: May almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All Liturgy expresses our belief in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Each sacrament and celebration of Liturgy is rooted in the theology of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Paschal Mystery. This week, let us continue to reflect upon the prayers of the Mass, and become more aware of the many ways in which the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are present in the Eucharist.

To date we have received 172/343 pledges amounting to $34,221.78 representing 71% of our assessment.  We are doing very well.  Thank you so much for your generosity! Thus far, 50% of our households have responded.  Meeting our assessment is a real possibility.

Happy Father’s Day to all Fathers!  Today we honor our fathers, grandfathers, God-fathers, step-fathers, foster fathers, spiritual fathers, and adopted fathers.  We also remember our fathers who have gone before us in faith.  Thank you, God, for the gift of our Fathers in our lives!

 Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ

Pentecost Sunday

This weekend we celebrate the glorious Solemnity of Pentecost – the grand finale of the Easter Season!  It is one of my favorite celebrations.  On Saturday, we will celebrate the Vigil of Pentecost which includes a slightly extended Liturgy of the Word with two Scripture Readings, each followed by a Responsorial Psalm and a Collect.  That is followed by the singing of the Gloria, the Epistle, the Festival Alleluia, and the Gospel.  [On Sunday, we have a different set of Scripture Readings, the second of which is followed by the Pentecost Sequence, then the Festival Alleluia, and the Gospel.  The “red” colors in the environment, including the red we wear those days signify the fire of the Spirit and the flame of God’s love burning within us.  We festively celebrate the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that were bestowed upon us in the sacrament of Confirmation.  Pentecost is a great time to reflect upon the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  How have we recently experienced Wisdom, Understanding, Right Judgment, Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, and Wonder and Awe in God’s Presence?

I am very pleased with our parish response to the Catholic Services Appeal thus far.  In the fourth week of pledges, 159/343 pledge cards have been returned with a total amount of $32,006.78 which represents 66% of our assessment.  Thank you for your generosity!  As you can see by the number of returned pledges, we have not heard from half of our parish households yet, so I am confident we can meet our goal of $48, 151.78.  For those of you have not yet made a pledge, I ask you to prayerfully consider how you are able to support CSA this year.  If you have pledged $150 or more and have paid $150 by June 16, your name will be placed in a drawing for a $1,000.00 cash prize. The drawing will take place after the 4:00 PM Mass on Saturday, July 22.

Last week, I gave a summary of where we are presently with the Baptismal Font and Sanctuary Project.  The time-line may be changing a bit as the architect informed me that the project is two weeks behind, and the contractor does not presently have a crew to do the next phase of the work.  We can’t complete the carpeting in the sanctuary until the ramp is built in the sanctuary.  I will keep you posted in my upcoming bulletin articles.

My prayer for all of you this week is that you may be invigorated by the power and the grace of the Holy Spirit in your life, and be filled with the fire of his love!

Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ

The Ascension of the Lord

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.  The Gospel passage is from Luke.  Before Jesus ascends into heaven, he tells his disciples that they are witnesses to all that has transpired through his life-saving passion, death, and resurrection.  Now it is their turn to carry on, and Jesus explains that they, too, have a role in God’s plan of salvation.  He commissions them to be his witnesses by proclaiming the Good News of Salvation.  He also tells them that he will send the promise of his Father upon them, “who will clothe them with power from on high.”  We, too, who have received the Holy Spirit, have been called to witness to our Christian faith.  This week, let us reflect upon the ways in which we profess and pass on our faith.

Special Congratulations to our parish graduates - high school, college, and university!  They have been blessed by God with many beautiful gifts and talents.  We pray that they use those gifts to make a difference in our world and in our Church.  May the Holy Spirit guide them in the days and years ahead as they discern their vocation in life.  May they always seek what is true, what is life-giving, and what is holy.  God has called each of them to do a special work or ministry.  May they find fulfilment in answering that call.

Our parish response to the Catholic Services Appeal is going very well.  In our third week of pledge returns, we have received a total of 137/343 pledges amounting to $26,681.78 which represents 55% of our assessment.  Thank you for your generosity!  I am hoping that since this is the first week of the month, we may be receiving several more pledges this weekend and throughout the week.  [As you can see, not even half of our households have responded yet, so I am sure we can meet this year’s assessment of $48,151.78].  One Church: Many Parts – we can make a difference!

The Easter Season will soon be coming to a close with the celebration of the Solemnity of Pentecost next weekend.  The liturgical color for Pentecost is red.  Please consider wearing red next weekend to help enhance the worship space and create a festive atmosphere for Pentecost.  

Beginning this Monday, summer office hours go into effect.  Please note that the office opens at 9:30 AM and closes at 3:30 PM (Monday through Thursday).

Blessings on your Easter Season!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ

Sixth Sunday of Easter

This weekend we celebrate the Sixth Sunday of Easter. We continue reading from the Gospel of John.  Jesus assures us that both he and his Father will make a home within each of us who loves him.  They will always be with us.  He promises us the Holy Spirit and gives us the gift of his peace.  What comforting Good News!

Welcome, Father Bill Taylor and Deacon Marc Hopps! Both Father Bill and Deacon Mark serve at Saint Dominic Parish along with Father Steve Gavit who is Pastor.   It was very kind of Father Steve to share them with us while Father Jim is attending the Knights of Columbus State Convention.

This Friday, at 2:30 PM, at the Cathedral, Bishop Walter Hurley will ordain three Deacons to the Priesthood: Stephen Blaxton, Marc Hopps, and Matt Federico.  Please keep all of them in your prayers.  Beginning July 1, each will begin a new parish assignment.   The soon-to-be Father Stephen will be parochial vicar at Saint Dominic Parish; the soon-to-be Father Marc will be parochial vicar at Holy Spirit Parish; and the soon-to-be Father Matt will be parochial vicar at both Saint John Paul II Parish and Christ the Good Shepherd Parish.  May the Lord bless them in their ministry!

A special thanks to all of you who are making a conscious effort at returning your CSA pledge before the end of this fiscal year.  Thank you for your generosity!  Thus far, the parish has received 103 pledges amounting to $19,646.78 which represents 40% of our assessment.  That is great as we enter our third week of the appeal!  Remember, we are “One Church: Many Parts.”  Together we can make a difference!

I visited Father Richard at the hospital this past Tuesday.  He is doing well and is in good spirits.  He has been waiting to be moved to rehab.  Father Richard really appreciates our prayers and asked me to extend a special thank-you to all.  He requested that you keep up the prayers because he has a recovery period of 6-8 weeks.  I promised him we would do so.

Next Sunday, at the 9:30 AM Mass, we will be honoring our parish graduates: those graduating from high school as well as college.  If you are graduating, have received a degree this past year, or will be receiving a degree this Spring, and have not heard from Amy, please call her at the Parish Office by this Tuesday if you and your family plan on attending Mass and breakfast next Sunday.

Blessings on your Easter Season!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ

Fifth Sunday of Easter

This weekend we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Easter.  Like last Sunday, the Gospel passage from John is short:  six sentences again, but a bit lengthier.  Jesus, in his final discourse, gives the disciples a new commandment as he tells them that he will only be with them a little while longer.  The new commandment is: “Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”  Jesus is speaking to the disciples at the Last Supper.  Soon they will know and understand the depth of his love.  Jesus is calling them deeper into discipleship as he prepares to leave them.  The depth of love to which he calls the disciples and each of us has no limits.  We must love whomever God sends into our lives, and wherever God leads us in our various vocations.  We must love in spite of how others treat us.  We must love when we are in pain and even when people reject us or persecute us.  Jesus is not talking about a feeling or an emotion.  He is talking about a choice we make to love others as he has loved us.  That kind of love often requires sacrifice.  We are known as Christ’s disciples by the way in which we love one another.  In the early Christian communities, people recognized this love as unique to Christians.  People at the time remarked, “See how they love one another.”  I wonder how “outsiders” perceive the members of the Body of Christ today.  Do we realize that only in love are we able to be true to living out our call as members of the Body of Christ?  Only in love are we given the grace to find unity in our diversity as many parts of the one Body. 

We are in the mist of our second week of the Catholic Services Appeal.  This year’s theme is: “Many Parts: One Church.”  How is love compelling us to respond to CSA this year?  We are many parts; we are stronger when we are working together.  How do you think that the new commandment Jesus presents to his disciples and each of us in today’s Gospel coincides with our responsibility to support CSA?  All gifts, no matter the size, make a difference.  When one member fails to do his or her part, the Body of Christ suffers.  Hopefully you noted that there are several ways to make a CSA pledge this year, the newest being an online pledge.  If you are not making your pledge online, you may drop it in the collection, mail it to the parish office, drop it off to the parish office, place it in either parish mail box (469 Shattuck Road or 3055 Harrison Street).  For those who have already made a pledge, I thank you for your generosity and attentiveness to the needs of the whole Church.

Blessings on your Easter Season!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ