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  • Writer's pictureFather George

From Father George's Desk 4/28/2024

Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it  remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.”  As we move into the latter weeks of Eastertide and begin to approach the great feast of Pentecost, today’s gospel reading gives us much to reflect upon.  The only way for us to grow in our Easter faith and respond to our baptismal call is by keep ourselves firmly rooted in Christ.  Each and every time the People of God gather to celebrate the Eucharist, we are fed with the nourishment disciples need to go forth and bear fruit...the Word proclaimed molds our hearts and enlightens our minds; the Sacrament shared energizes us to go forth to witness to the life we have received.  Let us pray that our continued celebration of this springtime of our rebirth may keep us firmly attached to the Vine, that “we may bear much fruit” and grow as his disciples!

 

Congratulations to our young parishioners in this year’s sacramental preparation programs: our children    celebrating their First Holy Communion at the 10:30AM Mass today at Holy Family and our parishioners who will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation from Bishop Kulick at St. Vincent Basilica next Saturday.  Please keep these young parishioners and their families in your prayers as they celebrate these important milestones in their journeys of faith, that they may remain branches firmly attached to and nourished by Christ, the Vine!

 

The latest 2024 Diocesan Lenten Appeal update shows that both parishes are very close to our parish goals…

 

St. John has received $42,814 in pledges and gifts (91% of our parish goal of $46,825) from 126 households (50% of our parish).  Our parish share is currently $5989 and grows with each gift...100% of everything we raise for the rest of the year remains in our parish—assessment-free—to do work that we need to do here at the parish: to do some needed repair work to our main entry doors to the church and to add an automatic opener to improve access.

 

Holy Family has received $101,582 in pledges and gifts (98% of our parish goal of $103,190) from 211 households (22% of our parish).  Our parish share is currently $28,392 and grows with each gift...100% of everything we raise for the rest of the year remains in our parish—assessment-free—to do work that we need to do here at the parish: updating of the church’s security and fire alarm systems.

 

Please help us put us over the top!  If you have not yet made a pledge or gift, I ask you to please prayerfully consider doing so in the coming days. 

 

The active phase of this year’s appeal will be winding down soon but it’s not too late to contribute. You may return your pledge or gift by mail, in person during office hours, drop it in the collection basket, or online.

 

This week’s calendar is full of commemorations of saints of various centuries and circumstances, including St. Catherine of Siena, whose feast we celebrate on Monday.  Catherine was born in 1347, the twenty-fourth of 25 children of a lower middle class family.  She began having religious visions at a very early age and at age 16, over the objections of her family, she became a Dominican tertiary (a lay member of a religious order), devoting her life to intense prayer and care of the poor and the sick.  When she was in her mid 20s,        Catherine had a series of intense mystical spiritual experiences which led her to get involved in public life and to begin corresponding with various secular and religious authorities.  Her spiritual authority became so great that papal advisors consulted her.  This was a time of deep divisions within the Church wherein the   papal residence had moved from Rome to Avignon, France.  To bring about healing Catherine begged Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome, which he eventually did in 1377, although it would take almost another 40 years before the schism would be definitively ended. 

 

Catherine died days after suffering a stroke in 1380 at the age of 33, leaving behind a rich legacy of deeply profound writings, including the spiritual masterpiece, A Treatise on Divine Providence.  She was canonized in 1461 and declared co-patron of Italy, along with St. Francis of Assisi by Pope Pius XII in 1940.  In 1970 she and St. Theresa of Avila were declared doctors of the Church by Pope Paul VI, the first women ever to receive that title.

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