Sixth Sunday of Easter

We celebrate the Sixth Sunday of Easter this weekend.  The Gospel passage is once again taken from John’s Gospel.  In it, Jesus directs us to love one another in the same way he has loved us.  He tells us that if we love in the same manner that he has loved us, we will remain in him and our joy will be complete.  The ultimate sign of Christ’s love was that he laid down his life for his friends, which includes all of us.  As Jesus invites and commands us to love, how do we respond?  Are we able to really place others ahead of ourselves, to make sacrifices which cause us “to lay down our lives” for others?  Do we realize that this way of love leads to joy?   A few days ago I read a reflection on today’s Gospel that I would like to share with you.  It is by Stephen S. Wilbricht, CSC (and is published by LTP, ©2014).  He writes: “Are you a person of joy? Joy is something quite different from happiness; it is an underlying attitude that wells up from deep within.  Joy cannot be swayed: it remains grounded and sure.  Jesus tells his disciples that his joy will be theirs so that their joy “might be complete.”  How does Jesus complete the joy of the disciples?  He shows them that joy is complete even when it involves suffering and death.  Ponder for a moment joy in your life.  Does it radiate forth even when life is at its toughest?”   Let us pray today that as a Church we stand strong as a beacon of hope and joy in our world.

This weekend we congratulate Aaron Siemienkiewicz and his family (Amy, Brian, and Evan)!  Aaron is celebrating his First Eucharist at the 9:30 AM Mass this Sunday.  Aaron, we pray that Jesus will always have a special place in your heart and in your home.  We also pray for God’s continued blessings upon you and your family.

I wish to extend a Happy and Blessed Mother’s Day to all mothers! I hope your families express their love and gratitude to you in special ways today.  As we honor our mothers this day, and also remember our mothers who have gone before us in faith, we pray in gratitude to God for the life they have given us and the love they have shown us.  We thank our mothers for teaching us what it means to have generous hearts by the sacrifices they have made for us and the numerous times they have placed their children and families ahead of themselves.    On this day we also recognize all who serve in the various roles of “mother”: grandmothers, God-Mothers, Step-Mothers, foster Mothers, expectant mothers, spiritual Mothers, and adopted mothers. To all mothers and “mother figures” in our lives, we pray that you have a Blessed and Joy-filled Mother’s Day!

Next Saturday and Sunday, Father Jim and Father Richard (Jozwiak) are “exchanging pulpits,” so to speak.   Sister Ellen Rinke, Pastoral Administrator of Saint Frances Cabrini Parish in Vassar, asked Father Jim if he would be able to do a “Teaching Mass” for her parish.  In order to do so, Sister Ellen and I had conversations with our Sacramental Ministers and agreed to a switch for the weekend of May 16/17. It will be great to have Father Jozwiak with us so that we can share Father Jim with Saint Frances Cabrini Parish.

We are in the second week of our Catholic Services Appeal Collection.  Hopefully, you read the letter I sent you along with the materials from the diocese.  I ask all of us to seriously consider how we can best support CSA this year.  I know that we are aware of last year’s shortfall which the parish must make up.  The Finance Commission had a discussion this past Wednesday regarding how to address that deficit.   Meanwhile, as I write this article, we have had 87 pledges already returned for this year    Please see the update in the stewardship section of the bulletin.  I am really hopeful and convinced that we can make this year’s assessment together (and even exceed it) if we break down our pledge and actually consider what we are contributing a month (and then come up with a total contribution amount).  If we exceed our assessment this year, any additional funds we receive will be placed in an account designated for the barrier free restroom that we have yet been unable to totally fund.

Next Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord and the following Sunday we celebrate Pentecost.  Please consider wearing something red the weekend of May 23/24 to help enhance the Church environment for Pentecost.  If you wish to help the Art & Environment Committee enhance the church space for Pentecost, they will be meeting on Friday, May 22, at 6:00 PM. 

Blessings on your Easter Days!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ