A Note from Fr. Derek

On November 2nd, we celebrated the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed in which the Church prays for all of those who have departed from this world, but may be in need of some purification before entering into the presence of God.  During the whole month of November, in fact, the Church holds the faithful departed in her prayers in a special way.  As we consider those who have died, we exercise the virtue of hope –hope that there is a life yet to come that will never end.

In the northern hemisphere, the cycle of nature serves to heighten our awareness of our own mortality.  At this time of year, the amount of daylight is decreasing.  The trees are giving up their leaves.  The bounty being yielded by the earth is decreasing.  On the surface, the outlook is sort of bleak, (at least for those of us who prefer the warmer weather!).  In spite of all of this, however, there is a particular beauty of the coming months, for they are a season of hope.  We are mindful that beyond the winter a new spring will break forth.  That which seemed dead will return to life.  The earth will produce new fruit, and darkness will give way to light.  It is a season of hope, and not of despair, because it is a season of anticipation.  Saint Paul, in writing to the community of Christians at Rome noted:  “…but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Rom 8:24).

It is with this same spirit that we approach this month that invites us to consider our own mortality:  the spirit of hope.  As we call to mind those loved ones who have preceded us into eternal life, our hearts are buoyed by the hope that they enjoy a new and everlasting life – one that we, in this life, cannot see but must wait for patiently.  May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

A Note From Fr. Derek

A Note from Fr. Derek

 

Last week I was able to have my first meeting with the Parish Pastoral Council since my arrival here at St. Bartholomew.  The Parish Pastoral Council is a group that is intended to be representative of the greater parish population that serves in an advisory role to the pastor helping him to understand the needs of the parish and to provide him advice in exercising his ministry to the parishioners.  There are a couple of things that I brought to the Council for their input that I would like to share with you in this column.  First of all, I expressed my desire to move the tabernacle from its current place to the back altar in the center of the church, underneath the crucifix.  The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, which provides the rubrics for the celebration of our worship notes that the placement of the tabernacle should be conspicuous, that is to say, clearly visible.  In its current spot, the tabernacle is not visible from various parts of the church.  Theologically speaking, also, the Eucharist commemorates and makes present to us the once-for-all offering of Christ on the cross for the salvation of the world.  Placing the tabernacle under the crucifix shows a greater link between the Sacrament and what it is and represents.  We are looking towards the possibility of moving the tabernacle for the First Sunday of Advent.

            A number of people have also spoken to me about the sign for the church.  I am in total agreement that the signage around the church needs a lot of work.  I have informed the Parish Pastoral Council that I have been in contact with an architect about the best ways to do this.

            I also spoke to the Parish Pastoral Council about the schedule for Confessions.  Currently the schedule has been that from 2:30 to 3:00 the priest is available in one of the crying rooms for face-to-face Confession and then from 3:15 to 3:45 in the confessional box.  My experience has been, since arriving at St. Bart’s, that nobody is coming that early for Confessions.  After consulting with the Parish Council, I have decided that the Confession schedule will be modified to 3:00 to 3:45 in the confessional box, beginning next week.

Stewardship: A Way of Life

Sharing: Time Talent Treasure

GIFTS
No one needs to go to the dictionary to define the word ‘gift’. If anyone has ever given something to someone or in turn received something, the meaning of what a gift is is obvious. However, some gifts that we have received are not so concrete or obvious.

How about gifts without a physical structure? How about the gift of life? “I knew you before you were born!” says the Lord. How about our senses? Can you imagine a life without these blessed paths of knowledge? The Disciples asked; “Why do You (Jesus) speak to them in parables? ‘He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted’.” (Matthew 13:1-23) The gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the Disciples and as a result, they are able to share God’s wisdom with us. God provides many different paths for us in life to understand life and all the beauties of His creation. Our brains to know; our hearts to love; our abilities to make connections outside of ourselves; gifts the world gives us; gifts we can give to the world—‘love one another as I have loved you.’

Vacation time is here and hopefully the living is easy. Do we become so enamored with the physicality of fun in the sun, etc. that we forget who we are? We are children of God and we need not to forget to say thank you. Our Lord rested on the 7th day of creation. A Commandment reminds us to ‘keep holy the Sabbath.’ Rest was created for us. God knows the value of rest even when we do not. But ignoring our Lord and a failure to acknowledge Him in our joy on vacation is not acceptable. We turn to Him in our need or sadness or beg Him for His forgiveness. Is it not amazing that we can ignore Him in our happiness, when all He has hoped for us is joy in life? Is a vacation not a great gift?

‘There was an old woman who every day came out on her front porch and yelled at the top of her voice, “Praise the Lord for He is good. Thank the Lord for all He gives. Thank the Lord for all His love.” All of her neighbors accepted this ritual except the man next door, who was an atheist. It drove him crazy. After months and months and months of listening to this, the words suddenly changed. The old woman had come on hard times. She prayed out loud now. “Lord, I praise you and your good works. The Lord loves me. Help me Lord in my need.” The next day a bag of groceries appeared on the porch. When she saw it, she cried out her thanks to the Lord. The atheist neighbor jumped out and cried.,

“Aha. Your Lord did not give you that food . I did.” Raising her eyes to heaven, she even more loudly thanked the Lord for these gifts and for the gift of the devil paying for them.* No one knows how or where some of our gifts come from. But all gifts are from our Lord. Some can even be called miracles. We, because we know our God, are so blessed.

Stewardship Questions: Kathy Reilly 781-444-0862 email: kreilly15@yahoo.com
If anyone needs a ride to a church service or wishes a home or Communion visit, please contact me. * Thank you to St. Anthony’s parish for sharing this story.

Stewardship: A Way of Life

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INDEPENDENCE DAY
The word ‘independence’ means many things to many people. It can also be used inappropriately to satisfy one’s own needs. Mostly thoughts of its celebration, however, turn to cookouts, fireworks, parades, races, and so on. The military are usually included in the remembrances of this day for without them, past and present, we would not have maintained an independent country. So what is appropriate in this word?

Wouldn’t everyone of us loved to have been sitting in the balcony back in the 1700s when men discussed, argued, and helped one another to reach a consensus establishing a new constitution for a new country? Their intelligence, cooperation, give and take worked as here we are hundreds of years later in a country which has worked hard, with much difficulty at times, to remain independent from another’s rule. Independence means freedom from another’s rule over us. But it is not independence from one another. To protect our country from implosion requires us all to value what we were given. Freedoms, opportunities, cooperative working together to protect our Constitution values, and so much more. Independence Day should make us stop to consider much more than just hot dogs and burgers. Look around at all that we have — each of us individually. To live in this country, to worship our God without another dictating the conditions, to go to bed without the sounds of war outside our windows, sending our children to schools every day without fear, a roof over our heads, food, a place to call home, so many blessings. So many freedoms and opportunities that others in the world give up all to come here.

Independence Day, a day which doesn’t mean that we have to or should agree on every thing. Life was never promised to be fair either in the Constitution or by God. But we were all given a life and, lucky us, a life in this country. We need to be aware and be conscious of our gifts. And we need to remember and give thanks for these gifts and the people who work to create an environment in which we can flourish in our independence. Even better would be that we, each of us, would be these people who make life better for another. If life were fair, then we would all equally be geniuses, great musicians, poets, athletes, etc. But we are not. What we are is all human with our own unique gifts capable of doing many things, which put together, make for a great life for ourselves and for others. What our country gives us is oppor- tunity. Independence, maybe I’ll just choose to………………..this day. Be happy, especially on this day. Enjoy your friends, neighbors, family, and country. And know that tomorrow, opportunity awaits you. It is yours to do with as you wish.

Stewardship Questions: Kathy Reilly 781-444-0862 email: kreilly15@yahoo.com
If anyone needs a ride to a church service or wishes a home or Communion visit, please contact me.

Stewardship: A Way of Life

Sharing: Time Talent Treasure
HOW IS YOUR CQ?
CQ means Curiosity Quotient. We read all kinds of reports about how to keep our brains alert and young—-do puzzles—learn a new language—engage more in social discussions—stay healthy with more exercise—the list is endless. The brain’s abilities are a unique package as each of us is different despite the brain’s commonalities. We can learn about our various skills and abilities, some in concert with others; but how our brains work is special in each of us. But one thing continually proposed by those who study the brain is that the brain is like a muscle. The more you use it, the better it functions.

How does living in this world of ‘Google’ affect our curiosities? Does it help us that we can instantaneously find an answer to even the most bizarre questions? Does this give us any satisfaction or sense of reward with an answer? The answer probably has something to do with why we are asking Google the question? Are we just settling an argument? Are we just proving a point? Am I the star because I can produce the answer to the group? But how important to us will the Google answer be in our memory bank? Is the answer Googled for me or is it for someone else? Do you look up words that you do not know? Or does the answer die without the question?

Curiosity is personal. Either you are observant and notice or hear things that raise questions in your mind, or you don’t notice them. Curiosity is finding out about something that you don’t know but wish to understand in more depth. Curiosity’s satisfaction comes from taking the next step and one that you take for yourself. You step outside yourself and go find the answer whether on Google or through some personal interaction. For instance: next to the high altar in our church, there are two statues. Who are they? On the right is St. Bartholomew, our patron saint. On the left is a statue of Jesus with His most Sacred Heart exposed. Why has this statue of Jesus been moved forward on display, some have asked. (a good sign—but did you continue with the question and find out why) In the month of May we honored our Blessed Mother, Mary. In the month of June the Church celebrates the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. We are encouraged to pray to Him, ever mindful of His great heartfelt love for each of us. Knowing who He is and why His statue has been presented to us more closely should be a reminder of all aspects of God’s love—-His life, His teachings, the Trinity, His death, His Resurrection, His Ascension, His opening the gates of Heaven for our salvation with Him for all eternity and, if you are curious, so much more to learn.

Close your eyes and tell yourself how many stain glass windows we have. And what does each picture mean? Stay alive. Be curious. Your brain will love you.

Stewardship Questions: Kathy Reilly 781-444-0862 email: kreilly15@yahoo.com
If anyone needs a ride to a church service or wishes a home or Communion visit, please contact me.

A Note from Fr. Derek

On November 2nd, we celebrated the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed in which the Church prays for all of those who have departed from this world, but may be in need of some purification before entering into the presence of God.  During the whole month of November, in fact, the Church holds the faithful departed in her prayers in a special way.  As we consider those who have died, we exercise the virtue of hope –hope that there is a life yet to come that will never end.

 

In the northern hemisphere, the cycle of nature serves to heighten our awareness of our own mortality.  At this time of year, the amount of daylight is decreasing.  The trees are giving up their leaves.  The bounty being yielded by the earth is decreasing.  On the surface, the outlook is sort of bleak, (at least for those of us who prefer the warmer weather!).  In spite of all of this, however, there is a particular beauty of the coming months, for they are a season of hope.  We are mindful that beyond the winter a new spring will break forth.  That which seemed dead will return to life.  The earth will produce new fruit, and darkness will give way to light.  It is a season of hope, and not of despair, because it is a season of anticipation.  Saint Paul, in writing to the community of Christians at Rome noted:  “…but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Rom 8:24).

 

It is with this same spirit that we approach this month that invites us to consider our own mortality:  the spirit of hope.  As we call to mind those loved ones who have preceded us into eternal life, our hearts are buoyed by the hope that they enjoy a new and everlasting life – one that we, in this life, cannot see but must wait for patiently.  May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Stewardship: A Way of Life

Sharing: Time Talent Treasure

FATHER PHILIP E. McGAUGH

You can’t say ‘good-bye’ to someone whom you will always remember. “Good-bye’ has too much finality in its words. And with 14 years of a most wonderful priest guiding us, thank you in so many ways is the only appropriate separation message.

When Father Phil came to us, he said something most did not hear. He said as a Pastor, he was given a geographical area for which he was responsible. And he believed and lived and served everyone in that area regardless of the person’s faith or lack thereof. Just ask the hospital, the police or fire departments or whoever called, no matter the time of day or night. Father Phil answered the call and was there. His love of us all and his ability to be with us, especially in time of need has never been in question. His skills of compassion are almost impossible to describe. It is who he is. His thoughtfulness knows no bounds. He is empathetic not just sympathetic. He tries to walk in our shoes.

Father Phil would be the first to halt any discussion of his near ‘sainthood,’ a tendency that is easy to fall into when saying farewell to a good person. He has his faults and limitations as we all do. And he is the first to admit them. He is a giving and forgiving person, true to his priesthood calling. No one tries harder to do it all. He is constantly reading and learning in hopes of sharing ‘the Good News’ with us in a different and more illuminating way. His love of God, Mary, the saints, and all to do with his beloved church is apparent and contagious to us all. Singing may not have been on his favorite things to do list, when he arrived. But he loves music and he knows it is a wonderful form of prayer for us all. And so he has worked hard all of these 14 years. Thank you for showing us that working hard for the Lord, even when you would rather not, is rewarding. You sound great and your devotion has been recognized. May your future parishioners join with you in praise to the Lord in song—a prayer said twice.

So as we part, we will miss you—your enthusiasm —your joy in life—your contagious love of church and the Lord—your ever readiness to be at our side when needed—your friendship—your 10,000 steps around the church—your laughter and appreciation of good jokes—your spirituality—your work ethic—your energy— and so much more. We will miss you Father Phil. May God walk with you always. And we pray for your happiness and good health in your new parish. They are very lucky people.

Stewardship Questions: Kathy Reilly 781-444-0862 email: kreilly15@yahoo.com
If anyone needs a ride to a church service or wishes a home or Communion visit, please contact me.

Stewardship: A Way of Life

Sharing: Time Talent Treasure

PROTECTION
Grandma was watching a movie with her 6 year old grandson. It was about a boy who moved with his mother to a new city, new language, and in a different country because Mom got a new job opportunity. Looking out his new apartment window, he saw a playground. So he went down to look around. He was soon noticed by a group of boys, about his same age. Talking to him in a language the boy didn’t understand, they began to push him around and hit him. The next day in school the same group of boys came up to him again and again began to bully him. Grandma thought enough is enough, even if this movie has a happy ending. And so she shut it off and began a discussion about bullying. ‘Did her grandson know what it was? Has it ever happened to you? “YES” Tell me about it.’ Her grandson explained how one time some boys were mean to him at recess. ‘And what did you do? Grandma asked. “I ran to stand next to the teacher and then they went away.” How very sad that our children ever have to experience fear in what should be a safe place in their world.

Fear, however, is a fact of life in every age. But what do others do who don’t have a ‘teacher’ to run to to be safe. And as we get older, we can’t necessarily run away. But we still seek a safe place in our minds and emotions. Our fears today are not necessarily right across from us, but may come from people and places over which we have no control and even possibility are not even physically near us. There are other fears of a personal nature—poor health, not enough money, accidents, surgeries, loss of loved ones, mobility, loneliness, etc. etc. etc. Nobody escapes some of these anxieties. Even Jesus’ chosen ones were afraid. And when questioned by Jesus, Peter replied ‘Where could we go? You are our Lord.’ They knew that there was no safer place than to be with the Lord and follow Him, even if they did not understand all of which He said. And so should we recognize that there is no safer place than to put our trust in Him. He is our Lord, our Savior. In ‘Jesus we place our trust.’ This can be difficult, especially if we mistakenly think that all worldly problems must be settled through worldly ways. Unfortunately, too often the way out of issues that seem overwhelming has become suicide, even for our youngest children. (Last week’s news—-11 year old boy, a victim of bullying took his own life.) It is hard to accept in the throes of such difficulties to realize that this is always a permanent solution to a temporary problem. God is our protector. He never leaves our side, if only we seek His aid.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if others saw us a a safe place! But first we have to notice those around us who need a safe place. Our thoughts for the week, this and every week, is to open our eyes and ears to those around us who need someone to listen and need a smile.
Today you might be the only one who says Hello or gives someone a smile. Be that person.

Stewardship Questions: Kathy Reilly 781-444-0862 email: kreilly15@yahoo.com
If anyone needs a ride to a church service or wishes a home or Communion visit, please contact me.

Notes from the Pastor

Reflections for 6th Sunday of Easter:  Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. He has overcome sin and death. May each of us find a reason to rejoice in the risen Lord Jesus. In addition to the Resurrection We are told to notice the works of the Lord. There are many works of the Lord in all of our lives. The event of the Resurrection clearly shows us that we should believe in the name of Jesus and love as He has commanded us. The one who keeps the commandments loves Jesus. Are we witnesses to the wonderful deeds that God has done among us?

In today’s readings Jesus makes it quite clear that He will not abandon us. He did not leave His disciples alone and He will not leave us alone. He offers us every reason to have hope. Hope is the virtue that enables us to look to the future with real confidence. The readings today encourage us to be open to the love and will of God and to praying for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God is within. How open are we to the Holy Spirit and how sensitive are we to the needs of others particularly when they are in trouble? Our prayers at Mass must carry over into the daily activities of our lives. We are in this together; God is asking us to be the best and to do our best.

Stewardship: A Way of Life

Sharing: Time Talent Treasure

TURMOIL
No one likes it. No one seeks it out. Even when we can find ourselves in a personal messy place, we try to fix it as soon as possible. Turmoil is just not comfortable, physically or emotionally.

We have had several messages from Jesus to help us with this issue. Psalm 23 has been the basis of our readings in church lately and much of our homilies. “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want….He refreshes my soul….He guides me in right paths……Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life…” How could we need more? Some where along on this road of life, we often wander away from the ‘right paths’ and forget that our Shepherd is in charge and we are His sheep. He ‘knows each of us by name’ and we ‘know His voice,’ if only we would listen. His Blessed Mother, Mary, at the wedding of Cana said “Listen to Him and do what He says.” How often do we remember these words in our times of turmoil? Jesus has shown us the way.

This is not an easy world that we are living in at the moment. Much of what we have come to depend on seems to be in transition. Or so we think. The future of our world seems to be quite unknown and we worry. Something that we often overlook is the fact that we live in the era of INSTANT communication. If someone falls on the other side the world, we usually hear about it on his or her way down, before he/she even hits the pavement. This does not necessarily mean war. And how much do we make things happen in our heads before they do or maybe never even will happen.

We can do two things to help settle our turmoil—-prayer and trust. Never in our country’s history have so many people spoken up, marched or contacted their elected officials because “Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for You are at my side. With Your rod and Your staff that give me courage.” God never said that He would do it all. We need to be a people not of panic but of prayer and trust—in God and ourselves.

Blessed Mary is not the only mother who can settle turmoil. All of us who have been blessed enough to know our moth- ers can recite the many times that our mothers settled us down in times of perceived great upheaval in our young or even older lives. It seems to be in the God given DNA that Moms can rise to the occasion, when especially needed. So on Mother’s Day, a celebration worthy of recognition, we say a prayerful thank you and remember that she just didn’t sit around thinking about the ‘right path.’ She demanded that we take it. Thanks MOM. May you always find peace in our Lord’s arms or ours.

Stewardship Questions: Kathy Reilly 781-444-0862 email: kreilly15@yahoo.com
If anyone needs a ride to a church service or wishes a home or Communion visit, please contact me.