The Unexpected Answer

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

The promise had been long standing, passed from generation to generation. Unimaginable hardships, persecution, exile, and slavery were all part of the story and, still, the promise was recounted and cherished. There would arrive a deliverer, a savior, a messiah, a king of such might all would be resolved and a bright future would be born. This was the story of the suffering Israelite community who longed for the
arrival of the Messiah.

Fast-forward more than 2000 years and you and I look out at a fractured world with countless people suffering in nations across the globe. We want to look away and pretend it is not that bad and yet we know otherwise. The world needs help beyond the United Nations or any individual nation although all people and nations need to be a part of creating a future of hope.

It seems to me there is a parallel between the suffering and longing of the Jewish community of old and our present day reality. Our Creator God knows our human condition intimately and 2000 years ago responded with the answer to our needs and longings with the birth of an infant in an impoverished village called Bethlehem.

The world then and now looks for a temporal solution for modern day crises. We look for presidents, prime ministers, kings, revolutions, generals and armies. While all of that plays a vital role in governance and order, none of that is enough. It never has been and never will be.

The needed solutions come from within and not from without. It is within a faith, a spiritual relationship with our God that each of us can find our footing, our purpose, and a way of living that gives birth to hope. For Christians this is found in Jesus Christ, His teaching, His life, and His friendship.

This Sunday is the first Sunday of the four-week Advent season that leads us to Christmas. The readings in Sacred Scripture recall the prophecies of old fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. If we listen carefully to the cries of our ancestors 2ooo years ago, they are startlingly similar to the longings of this age. We too are desperate and longing for light in our darkness.

For every one of us this is a Kairos moment. Refreshing our relationship with Jesus Christ offers a transformative moment for our own well-being, our family and friends and, in fact, for our world.

Fr. Ronan

Gracias!

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Some years ago, the popular spiritual writer, Henri Nouwen, took a leave from his position at Yale Divinity School and went to Peru for a year. Nouwen worked and lived among the poor in the outskirts of Lima. Upon his return, he wrote a best selling book entitled, GRACIAS. He titled the book “Thank You” because he found the sentiment of gratitude so prevalent among the poor that he was both astonished
and edified. Fr. Nouwen witnessed the poverty and sufferings of the Peruvian people while at the same time seeing their sense of gratitude for everything.

The word “gracias” permeated not only their life style but also their view of life and God. Often the “gracias” was spoken as “Gracias a Dios”. The simplest act was completed with a prayer of thanks to God. Fr. Nouwen laid bare the irony that those who have little are often very grateful, while those who have much more, are often less grateful. Naturally one would think the reverse would be true. In fact, the irony is often carried even to the extremes: sometimes those who have abundance want more and feel entitled to more, and those with very little
are grateful.

This week, we North Americans celebrate one of the most cherished of our national holidays, Thanksgiving. Surely, we are a blessed people. And it has been my experience that most Americans embrace this holiday with a deeply sincere sense of gratitude. Our gratitude is felt at many levels: to family, loved ones, our nation and most importantly, to God. All of us agree that the day is very important. Like you, I recall memories of childhood celebrations that I cherish – memories of families coming together and, at a table laden with abundance, pausing in a formal and beautiful way to thank God for all blessings.

Our reality is that the day comes and goes and the busyness of life can so distract us that our sense of gratitude can become dulled. We can fall into the trap of forgetting and not acknowledging God’s blessings in our life. The worries and challenges can draw us away from the truth that we are first and foremost God’s most precious children and blessed beyond measure. When I re-capture this truth, suddenly everything is reordered. I see things in a new light, priorities are re-established and my sense of the rightness of seeing God as the giver of so much is both freeing and humbling.

This Thursday we will gather with our loved ones. Even in the midst of the worries and challenges of these times, we know we have so much for which to be grateful. Unlike last year when Covid restricted us in so many ways, I will spend this beautiful day with family on the south shore. This year, in the light of the pandemic and the enormous human suffering worldwide, we will bring to the dinner table our gratitude for all we have and urgent prayers for harmony and hope in this divided and struggling world.

Fr. Ronan

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Creator of the Universe,
Giver of every good gift, we pause
on this Thanksgiving Day to express our gratitude for Your constant love and care for us, and for
Your continued graces and blessings.
We thank you for the countless ways in which you nurture our lives,
guiding us, comforting us, challenging us, strengthening us, as we walk our
path of life on earth and seek to deepen our faith in You.
We thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus, for His teachings and
example who, with the many people You place in our lives, show us how to be
Your faithful disciples.
We thank you for the gift of our family, friends and faith community,
those in heaven and those on earth, and for the many ways they fill our hearts.
Today and every day, Loving God, may we, with every heartbeat and in every
circumstance, cultivate a spirit of gratitude to You. And may we ever be Your
trustworthy stewards on earth. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord.
Amen

2021-2021 Parish Financial Report

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

The Parish Finance Council is pleased to provide the Annual Financial Report of St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parish for fiscal 2020-2021. (A complete set of the financial statements is available on our Parish Website, StmaryStcatherine.org)

We remain extremely grateful for the extraordinary generosity of both our parishioners and the Charlestown community at large during what has been one of the most challenging periods in our lifetimes. Despite the ongoing impact of the pandemic, we ended the fiscal year in a financially stable position with net operating income of $23,667 as of June 30, 2021. In addition, the fiscal year ended with net assets increasing $69,225 over last year.

Despite resuming in person celebration of Mass, the primary source of our funds – offertory collections – is down compared to last year. Our total offertory for last fiscal year was $359,086 falling short of the prior year by approximately $86,000. Moreover, this year’s Grand Annual collection, while strong under the circumstances, was almost 8% below budget and $21,860 less than last year. In order to help stem the drop off in weekly offertory collections, we ask that you strongly consider switching to on-line giving if you have not already done so. We also ask that you prayerfully consider participating in the Grand Annual collection this year. Every donation helps ensure a healthy and vibrant parish.

Gifts, and especially bequests, are items that can vary significantly from year to year. But these unplanned items can be critical to the financial success of the parish. Last year, these items totaled $214,257. This year, we received major bequests totaling $41,057 along with other gifts and income totaling $59,965, which is a decrease of more than $113,000.

Our community’s continuing response to the pandemic is perhaps best illustrated by the incredible support of our most visible ministry, Harvest on Vine Food Pantry. Recognizing that the ongoing economic impact of the pandemic has increased the need for food assistance, our parishioners and other members of the community stepped up and contributed over $336,719, an increase of $84,000 or approximately 33%! It is incredibly heartening to see that we, as a Christian community, are truly living the words of the gospel.

Not surprisingly, all major operating expense categories, including the costs associated with the food pantry, increased by 9%-10% in the aggregate over prior year levels. The confluence of increased expenses and reduced income has put a financial strain on the parish. With your support, the parish will continue to thrive as together we figure out what the new-normal looks like for our parish and the larger Charlestown community.

Last year we completed the interior painting and restoration of our beautiful church. This undertaking was our largest capital project in recent years. The initial phase of the Inspiring Hope campaign raised most, though not all, of the funds necessary for the restoration. In addition, because many campaign pledges extend over a 5-year period, we obtained a loan from the Archdiocese to ensure that we could complete the project on time. We continue to pay down this loan as pledges are paid. If you have not had an opportunity to contribute to this magnificent project, please consider a gift at this time with a notation of – Painting.

The Parish Finance Council is deeply appreciative of your support, especially this year when many people experienced financial hardships. Due to rising costs of insurance, utilities, and the overall cost of goods and services, our budget for 2021-2022 projects an operating deficit. For those of you who are able, we would earnestly ask that you consider increasing the level of your financial commitment to the Parish so we can maintain a balanced operating budget while continuing all of our Parish ministries that help so many in our community. Stay safe and well.

Parish Finance Council
Fr. Ronan (Chair), Kevin Walsh (Vice chair), Alexandra Conforti-Cook,
Brian Fleming, Dennis Hanson, Nancy Higgins, Maureen Moore, Tom Mosel,
James Santosuosso (Ex-officio),

Veteran’s Day

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Every year, when Veterans’ Day rolls around, it makes me think about war. America has been at war in one form or another throughout many years of my life. If the war was not a “hot” war, it was a “cold” war; nevertheless it was war. And wars are never
fought apart from soldiers on the ground, in the air, at sea, and under the sea.

Men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to defend a way of life, threatened by outside forces have always been the warriors who we call veterans when they come home. And all too often, some returned damaged, disabled, bruised, and broken. Others returned to be buried by grieving loved ones.

On this national holiday dedicated to veterans, it is fitting for us to pause, recall the sacrifices of those who went to war and served in the military, and acknowledge their courage and sacrifice with grateful hearts.

President Dwight Eisenhower, one of the most decorated US Army Generals in World War II and later two term president, once said, “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.” This was a veteran, who loved and served his country with honor and distinction and saw first-hand the ravages of war.

On this Veterans’ Day I share my country’s pride and gratitude for those who are serving and those who have served and especially for those who made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in service to our country. While on this day we honor veterans, for me it is also a day to pray for a speedy end to all wars, hot or cold, and safe return for all those serving in these war zones.

Most loving and compassionate God, we pause to honor and pray for our veterans, worthy men and women who gave their best when they were called upon to serve and protect their country. We pray that you will bless them, Lord, for their unselfish service; bless them abundantly for the hardships they faced, for the sacrifices they made. We respect them, we thank them, we honor them, we are proud of them, and we pray that you will watch over these special people. Heal their minds and hearts and bless them with peace and happiness.

We pray for a conversion of hearts throughout the world so that all will rise and work to bridge divisions and fashion this world as you envision it to be. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Office closed Veterans Day, Thursday, November 1; Morning Mass is at 9:00 am

November 7 ~ Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Two readings from today’s scriptures focus on stories of widows.
Both were poor women in relation to worldly standards and yet when called upon to be generous
they gave everything they had.
In the gospel, Jesus points out the action of the widow with the words
“she contributed all she had. . . .”
Being a grateful disciple of Christ requires a spirit of stewardship of the multiple gifts God has bestowed on us.
It means being willing, like the two widows, to make sacrifices, to offer prayer and service to the parish
as well as to those most in need.
Are you willing to share these gifts? This week, pay attention for opportunities that God will provide for you to share your time, your talent, and your treasure – and then – respond as a grateful disciple!

Asking the Why ?

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Years ago I heard a saying and it has always stayed with me: “I gave bread to the hungry and people called me a saint. I asked why people were hungry and people called me a communist”. Of course, there is a story behind the saying.

The work of the Catholic Church is now and has always been deeply involved at all levels of human life. It simply is not possible to separate our belief in a loving God and our responsibility to our neighbor. As the Catholic Church works to respond to the needs of the poor, she has consistently developed programs and services to meet the identified needs. Sometimes these are soup kitchens and food pantries. There are neighborhood medical dispensaries and hospitals as well as all types of educational initiatives and programs such as orphanages and safe houses for folks in need. The list is long as the needs are many.

Most of the time Christians see this work as appropriate and flowing from their life as faithful believers. Yet when the Catholic Church actually asks the question “WHY” there are so many people who are suffering and in need and “WHY” policies, government practices, financial systems and more are not helping to resolve and may be even contributing to the problems, some of the faithful are uncomfortable and some have said that the Church should stay out of politics. And so it is that many are comfortable giving bread to a hungry person (extending charity), but not pleased with asking the reason why there are so many hungry people, (working toward the elimination of hunger by addressing problematic systemic issues). The reasons for this may be varied, but one known reason is that people are not always informed about the dynamics involved and, even if they are, they feel powerless in their ability to effect change on such a grand scale.

The work of the Church in social justice is broad and the areas of concern are many. The following is a list, by no means exhaustive, of some of the more compelling areas: budget – federal and state; elder care; children and child care; criminal justice and prison reform; death penalty; domestic abuse; health care; housing/homelessness; human rights; hunger; human trafficking and environmental justice, immigration, national aid, global poverty, arms control, veteran’s rights, pandemic related issues, and so much more. So many challenges need to be addressed. None of us can do everything, but we can do something to educate ourselves about one of these concerns. Then, by joining our voices with the voices of others who are laboring to create a more just society, change can happen.

As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, I want to extend my gratitude to our parishioners and others in the Charlestown Community who so generously contribute to our Parish emergency food pantry, Harvest on Vine and to our Parish conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Until all have enough, these services that provide food and essential items and financial assistance are so greatly needed.

Fr. Ronan

Synod 2021-2023: For a Synodal Church

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

“By walking together, and together reflecting
on the journey made, the
Church will be able to learn from what it will
experience which processes can help it to live
communion, to achieve participation, to open
itself to mission”
Pope Francis

On Oct. 10, 2021, Pope Francis formally opened a two-year process called “a synod on synodality,” officially known as “Synod 2021-2023: For a Synodal Church.”
In brief, the process involves an expansion of an established institution, called the “Synod of Bishops.” This means that bishops around the world will consult with everyone: parishioners, religious orders, Catholic universities, and more before coming together for a discussion in 2023 to discuss how the church can learn to rely more fully on this kind of consultation-and-discussion process – how it can become more “synodal” (more inclusive) in its governance.

Many people may find the name “Synod on Synodality” and its purpose puzzling. What is a synod in the first place? The word derives from an ancient Greek term that
means “coming together” or “traveling together.” Ancient Christians developed a custom of local leaders coming together to pray and make decisions about matters affecting all the Christian communities in a region. They gathered in the faith that their prayers and discussions would reveal God’s will and the way to achieve it. These gatherings came to be called “synods” and began a tradition of regional synods for bishops, as well as larger ones called “ecumenical councils.” In principle, these were for all bishops around the world to discuss issues that were consequential for the whole church.

The Second Vatican Council or “Vatican II,” met from 1962 to 1965 and launched important changes in church law and structure. One of Vatican II’s goals was
to revitalize the importance of bishops as heads of their local churches and emphasize their cooperation with one another. As a “college” under the leadership of the pope, the bishops are mutually responsible for the governance of the whole church. To assist this revitalization, Pope Paul VI created a permanent structure for a Synod of Bishops, with a secretariat in Rome and a General Assembly gathered regularly by the pope. Since 1967, the popes have brought this assembly together 18 times: 15 “Ordinary Assemblies” and three “Extraordinary,” in addition to a number of “Special Assemblies” involving particular regions of the world.

Pope Francis has shown special interest in the Synod of Bishops since the beginning of his papacy in 2013. The following year, he convened an “Extraordinary General Assembly,” outside the usual three-year cycle, on “the vocation and mission of the family.” The assembly talked about controversial issues such as welcoming to communion couples living outside church-sanctioned marriages. These discussions continued into an “Ordinary Assembly” in 2015. 2015 also marked the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops established during Vatican II. At a ceremony for the anniversary, Francis gave a speech that laid out his views on “synodality. The word “synod,” he reminded the audience, is about cooperation. “A synodal Church is a Church which listens,” he said, pointing out that mutual listening has been the goal of much of the church’s renewal since Vatican II. “For the disciples of Jesus, yesterday, today and always, the only authority is the authority of service, the only power is the power of the cross,” Francis declared.

Since then, Francis has taken steps to give the church examples and a concrete framework for a more “synodal church.” In 2018, he issued new regulations that encourage much wider consultation with members and organizations of the church at all levels as part of the synod process. And in 2019, he followed up a “Special Assembly” for bishops of the Amazon region with “Querida Amazonia,” a kind of papal document known as an “exhortation.” Here, he took the unusual steps of recognizing the authority of the synod’s own final document and referring important structural and procedural changes to their continuing work in their home churches, rather than to intervention by the Vatican.

The current “Synod on Synodality” is the culmination of all this effort to bring a greater degree of openness, collaboration and mutual listening to the church. Unlike
previous synods, this one officially begins in dioceses all over the world, with opportunities to hear the voices of people from all walks of life and from many different
church organizations. When the General Assembly meets in 2023, its task will be to prayerfully consider how to move forward as “a more synodal Church in the longterm” – a church that “journeys together.”

Stay tuned for more information on how we, as a Parish, will participate in this process.

(Information taken from The Conversation and the Vatican Website). For more
information, visit: https://www.synod.va/en.html

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 23/24, 2021

After healing the blind man in today’s Gospel Jesus told him to go, to be on his way.
But the man chose to follow Jesus. Being a disciple of Jesus is a choice.
The stewardship way of life likewise involves a choice, in fact many choices.
We choose to be grateful, we choose to live generously, and we choose to trust that God will always
provide for our needs. These are three choices central to the stewardship way of life.
What choices will we make this week that give witness to our decision to follow Jesus Christ?

For Whatever You Want

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Throughout my years of ministry, in places near and far, always I come to a place of amazement when persons in trouble, grieving, in need, and broken in spirit find consolation in hearing the 23rd Psalm. For thousands of years this has been true, even to this very time. The imagery is antiquated, the meaning ever new.

The great Jewish King David, author of many of the Psalms and the author of Psalm 23, was once a shepherd boy. In this Psalm, he places the image of the shepherd at the center of his prayer and casts God in the role of Shepherd: “The Lord is my Shepherd.” The opening line is so familiar that when I quoted it at Sunday Masses, the congregation quickly recited the subsequent line using the most popular translation: “There is nothing I shall want.”

The Psalm continues on with the image of each of us as a sheep and God as our Shepherd. David, in a most profound and simple way, outlines a simple yet complete set of circumstances that address our human journey and needs. Our physical needs are well cared for: “green pastures and still waters.” Our very beings are refreshed and restored, and our direction in the journey made right: “He restores my soul. He guides me along right paths.”

Even in dangerous times, we are freed from fear because of the presence of the watchful, able Shepherd: “Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” Accompanied by The Shepherd, the journey holds amazing promise of blessings and even reconciliation with foes: “You set a table – perhaps even for my enemies to join me and my cup overflows.”

David concludes this prayer with an absolute profession in his belief in God’s loving care for him – and for us as we pray, “Indeed goodness and mercy surround me all the days of my life – and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” The simplicity of Psalm 23 almost obscures how very sublime it is. The prayer speaks to the depths of the human heart.

While the popularity of the Psalm is widespread, it seems that the actual appropriation of the Psalm is very limited. By that I mean so many of us are fraught with the challenges of everyday life and have a sense of the heaviness of living. The worries and the stress, the long hours of work and planning, the saving and earning, the struggle to be healthy and finally to find happiness are part of the life of us all. Some of the younger members of the community feel this more intensely than others, for no one is exempt from the challenges of life.

So how can it be that we profess, “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want”, but are not able to hold on to this reality in the midst of our struggles? Where is the disconnect?

It seems our faith and our prayers are put aside when we step into the reality of our lives. And yet it is precisely there in the come-day go-day movement of our lives that our faith is most needed. If, in those difficult moments, we embrace and internalize the actual meaning of the psalm, then we will truly feel and comprehend what it means to have the Lord as my Shepherd and to want for nothing.

And we will understand why Psalm 23 has been loved and prayed for so many centuries.

Fr. Ronan

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 16/17, 2021

In today’s Gospel Jesus teaches his disciples that whoever wishes to be great among
them must be a servant, just as he came to be a servant. Good stewards know that their
“greatness” is found in God, and is affirmed by a serving heart, a Spirit-filled life, a
humble walk and a commitment to acting in ways that glorify God.
The “greatness” we feel about ourselves is rooted in a proper view of God in our lives and a proper view of
our place in creation. It is from here that we derive our sense of identity and our belief
that human life is particularly valuable. Not to be a servant of the Gospel and others would be poor stewardship.
In what ways do we serve the Gospel in our daily lives?

A Force For Good

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

When a young mother and her three children moved Charlestown, her four year-old was shocked by the change of scenery. Their new apartment had two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room. Their last home was a shelter. They were happy to find a home but faced a serious problem: they didn’t own a single piece of furniture, not even a mattress, and lacked the money to buy any. This is one of the many scenarios that the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, a quiet force for good in our community for 138 years, addresses in their work among the poor.

Saint Vincent de Paul built a network of missions and confraternities for those in need beginning in the 1600s. His foundation for a global charity system now operates in 142 countries. In America, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul comes to the aid of millions of people. Vincentians hail from all walks of life and work for a noble purpose: in addressing the needs of the poor both spiritually and materially, they see the face of Christ.

Father John Williams brought the Conference of St. Vincent de Paul to Boston in 1861. The Society flourished over the city when Fr. Williams became bishop. Charlestown had the benefit of three conferences, one for every church. Each group was operated by dedicated laypersons and relied upon the donations of parishioners. St. Mary’s Conference—which runs in our parish today—began in 1876 under the auspices of Msgr. McMahon.

Through the donations received they were able to supply shoes for children and offer food to the unemployed. Vincentians respond to a variety of issues throughout Charlestown every week. Some need help with rent, utilities, and furniture. Society members engage by listening to their stories, determining their living situation, and assisting in whatever way they can.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society also has a furniture warehouse in Stoughton. Financial donations from our parishioners allow our local Conference to purchase needed items from their warehouse and have them delivered to local residents. Without donations to the St. Mary Conference of the Society, this assistance would not be possible. Please prayerfully consider placing a donation in one of our StVdP collection boxes found in back of the Church, or sending a donation earmarked for St. Vincent de Paul, to our Parish Center at 46 Winthrop Street.

We should strive to keep our hearts open to the sufferings and wretchedness of other people, and pray continually that God may grant us that
spirit of compassion which is truly the spirit of God.”
— St. Vincent de Paul

Fr. Ronan had spine surgery on Friday, September 24th and is progressing in his healing.
Please keep him in your prayers for a full recovery and a speedy return to the Parish life he loves so well.

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 9/10, 2021

Jesus offers a hard lesson regarding wealth and possessions in today’s Gospel.
The rich man whom he encountered could not part with his possessions as a condition to becoming a disciple of Jesus.
Would our response be the same as the rich man?
Do we place our trust in our money and possessions instead of trusting in God’s generosity?
Do we seek security in our possessions?
Good stewards realize that their possessions must not possess them, lest those possessions block their relationship with the Lord.

Faithful

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Winter in Andahuaylas means a deep and dry cold that only diminishes as the brilliant Andean sun rises and blesses the landscape with warmth and light. It was July, and I had been at the parish there for only six weeks. I arrived by bus after two days of travelling from Lima. The air is thin and the altitude is around 8,500 feet above the Pacific coast. The entire reality was beyond anything I had ever known or imagined.

At 7 o’clock morning Mass began, and I arrived each day around 6:30. Slowly the parishioners would come into the darkened church building, shuffling in sandals made from old truck tires, warmly wrapped in ponchos. Some women carried a child or two. Many were elderly, and women always wore their hats with long braided hair flowing behind. They are a beautiful people, these Peruvians, whose ancestors have lived in these regions for countless generations.

Each day in a few benches in front of me, an elderly woman would slowly come down the aisle saying her prayers and sit down. Very shortly after, an old dog would sort of tip-toe down the aisle and go to her. She would immediately shoo the dog away. The dog would obey, sort of, for he would simply step back and lie down under the bench behind her. I watched this game go on for months until one day the woman did not arrive.

Later that day, I heard she was ill and shortly after we celebrated her funeral. A few days passed, and one morning I sat in the half-light of the dawn in the church when I heard the unmistakable sound of the dog’s approach. Wagging his tail, he went to the bench where he always found the old woman. He looked around everywhere and even came over to me. Finally, he stretched out under her bench and with a sigh, waited for her return.

I recall the story vividly and continue to be touched by the beauty and the faithfulness of a dog. We have seen other accounts as well, sometimes of dogs who serve in the military and display astonishing faithfulness toward soldiers in life and death. Yet all of us who are blessed to be accompanied by a pet have our own stories and we know.

The pandemic prevents us from having our traditional Blessing of the Animals service. It is a beautiful service offering prayers and blessings on the gathered animals and all present who share the day. But the pandemic does not prevent each pet owner to offer their own blessing for their faithful pet. Here’s one sample that you can edit and make your own:

In Your infinite wisdom, Lord God, when You created the universe you blessed us with
all living creatures. I especially thank you for giving me my pet who is my friend and who
brings me so much joy in life. Kindly bless my pet. May my pet enjoy good health and be
given length of years.. May the love I have for my pet and the love my pet offers me remind
me of Your love for me. In the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.


Not long ago a friend gifted me with a simple image of a black lab and a prayer that read: Lord, make me as good a person my dog thinks I am”. Indeed

Fr. Ronan

Fr. Ronan had spine surgery on Friday, September 24th.
We’re told that he is doing well.
Please keep him in your prayers for a full recovery and a speedy return to the Parish life he loves so well.

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 2/3, 2021

In today’s Gospel Jesus teaches us about the sacredness of marriage;
a covenant that is a gift from God. Our relationships with our spouses, family, friends, coworkers, and those in our community of faith are all gifts from God.
Jesus reminds us today that it is the hardened heart that damages or breaks up relationships.
Good stewards understand the holiness of relationships and pray for the love, patience, understanding and kindness necessary to sustain those relationships.
Take time out to prayerfully reflect on your relationships this week.
Is your stewardship of these relationships as God intended?
What relationships need to be healed and reconciled?

The Greatest Hunger

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

The greatest hunger of humankind is peace.

That means a peace that is not simply the absence of war – but so much more, the absence of violence in all of its forms. Now this sounds like so much abstract theory – and in a sense it is. At the same time, it is very close to each and every one of us, for the cornerstone of all peace is in the realization of the worth and dignity of every human person and of the sacredness of all human life. Men and women of faith believe that life is a gift from God, the Creator of all. No one person has more value than an other and indeed, in our great nation, “All are created equal”.

Yet there is so much that pushes back against this simple tenet about human value and equality. Inevitably, it is our own self-interest devoid of a greater vision of life and God’s plan for us all. So powerful is this self-directed interest that I believe we can only get beyond it by a very conscious choice to ask for God’s Grace to enlighten us about God’s view for all of humankind. The longing for peace, among socio-economic classes, ethnic groups, races, languages, religions, cultures, and all the rest is useless unless it leads us to prayer.

That sounds pretty stern – yet I think peace, true and authentic peace, in homes, cities, borders, and between nations and all peoples is ultimately a gift. Humankind can only reach the capacity for peace as we reach for God and see the value of all life, and recognize the justice needed to bring peace. I think we need to pray.

Our prayer needs to be very intentional and genuine – we need to implore our God for the gift of Peace. There are no armies, social programs, developmental agencies or economic policies that will bring us peace in themselves. The energy for peace will flow from the hearts of all people as we look at one another and see the miracle and beauty that are our lives as God’s creation. Recognizing that, each of us needs to accept that these lives are simply too precious to ever experience and/or receive violence. Arriving there, by God’s Grace, peace is possible.

October is Respect for Life Month and Domestic Violence Month. And the Church chose October 7th and, apparently by extension, the month of October, to honor Our Lady of the Rosary. Please pray the rosary throughout the month of October for the dawning of a true and lasting peace; respect for all of life from conception to natural death, and for an end to violence in all of its forms so that all may live in harmony as God created us to be. And please consider praying for these intentions each and every day.

Fr. Ronan

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 25/26, 2021

St. James warns us about accepting the standards of the world
and assuming that what is normative in society needs no countercultural challenge.
The temptation to hoard riches and make sharp bargains at the expense of the powerless is pervasive
because these things are generally done and look respectable enough.
St. James points to God’s judgment on these attitudes and actions
of amassing wealth and comfort at the expense of others.
How might we be better stewards of the material blessings we have been given?
How might we use our wealth with compassion toward others?