Our Mission

It’s been over five years since our Mission Statement first appeared on the parish bulletin. I thought it might be time for us to look at it again; perhaps ask some questions of ourselves to see if it’s true and if we’re headed in the right direction.

First off I believe it remains a fresh and simple statement about what Holy Trinity Parish is about and the invitation we want people to feel to be a part of that mission.

It’s four sentences long but it covers the basics pretty well.

  1. We have experienced God’s love in this parish.

    Really? When did you feel that? At mass? Some social event? Christmas Star gifting? Praying in church? The people you’ve met?

  2. We share our experience of God with those who are searching for Him.

    Can you think of one time this past year when you dared to speak about your belief in God to someone? Has there been a time when you went out of your way to help someone . . . just because you wanted to “give back” for all God has given you?

  3. We follow Christ . . . who taught us to find God by serving others . . . and celebrating the Eucharist together.

    Soooo . . . do we see signs of Christ each day in our neighbor? Do we pray to know God’s will and the courage to do it? Have we said “no” to “lesser God’s” (money, possessions, food, entertainment)? Am I faithful in get- ting to mass.

  4. Join us on this journey!

    Have you ever invited someone to meet you at Holy Trinity for mass? Have you extended an invitation to the parish picnic to someone who has no church or perhaps has walked away from their faith? Have you been a bridge for people to cross over to a new place with God?

There’s a lot there. Of course we know that we don’t do all these things. Or sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. But that doesn’t change the fact that Holy Trinity Parish WANTS to be like Our Mission says.

It reminds me of an image I heard of some years ago describing the Christian mission in the world. “It’s one hobo telling another hobo where he can find bread for the day . . . and then taking him there.”

Bless your week you little hobo you.

Fr. Tim

Winter Loneliness

This past weekend was a whirlwind. Everything in the parish was buzzing. The masses, the Jr. High liturgy and brunch, 3 baptisms, RCIA, Pre-Cana . . . . and the Bills on TV. All happened in good time, all did what was needed.

Along about six o’clock Sunday evening Fr. John and I found ourselves in front of a couple of hamburgers look- ing out on cold, dark, empty Ridge Rd. January in Webster, New York.

It’s hard to explain, but it was one of those times when, without explanation or reason, the bottom of your world seems to drop out. The winter night was especially dark, the cold seemed to say “forever more”. Suddenly there was this loneliness.

Have you had this? A mild panic grips your stomach. “How can I get out of this?” “I hope there’s something on TV later.” “Who can I call tonight?” Something deep down wants to see my mother again.

And then the feeling starts to spread over everything. “What am I doing with my life?” “How much longer do I have?” “What then?” It feels like you’re some astronaut all alone looking down on your life and then out to the blackness of space.

Ever had one of these? Of course you have. It’s called “life on earth”.

Bright sunlight shines on the snow outside my office as I type these words. That “Winter Loneliness” is gone. I’m late with the bulletin article and have meetings and appointments throughout the day. I don’t have time to feel like that.

But still I ask myself “what was that?” What is that lonely “space ship” feeling?

I think these are moments when we bump into the fact that life is a pilgrimage. We can’t stay here. We’re on a journey. Something in us recognizes that we have no lasting home here.

We’re looking for completion, beauty, peace, harmony and love. And yet nothing satisfies. So we try to fill the loneliness (homesickness?) with diversions (TV, travel, entertainment, booze).

You and I know these eventually lose their power to bring joy. (That’s the sadness of someone who puts their whole sense of themselves and their value behind a “lesser god” – – – – – being a Bills Fan or a rock and roll groupie just doesn’t deserve to define who we are.)

So what does this loneliness mean? Can it serve a good purpose? Of course it can. First of all, it can remind us that total happiness is not to be had here on earth. There is so much in life that we must endure. Jesus did. Why should we be exempt? Just deal with it.

Secondly, it shows us that this lonely part of us is on to something. It signals that something in us won’t rest until it holds what it longs for.

What do we long for? God of course. There’s no substitute for being held by God in a love that is divine.

Soooooo . . . . don’t be afraid of your loneliness. It makes us hungry for what our hearts can only long for. It comes to all us pilgrims.

So don’t worry that you’re some sort of emotional cripple if sometimes you face moments of sadness. It’s part of the journey – – – To God.

God bless you every day.

Fr. Tim

Time to Learn Something.

What would you do if in choosing a new physician you heard he stopped his schooling in the ninth grade? Or how about calling a lawyer whose education finished in junior high school? No way!! You would say.

Then why are we satisfied with our religious education that stopped before we went to our junior prom?

“Oh they drilled us full of religion.” We say, “I know all I need to know. There’s Jesus, Mary, the sacraments, the Our Father and the pope. What else do I need to know?”

Let’s be honest. Don’t you feel dumb sometimes when friends are going on about “you Catholics” and all we can do is look down at our shoes? You see, Catholics tend to be ignorant. Not stupid, just ignorant.

Don’t you wish there was an opportunity to hear about the Catholic Faith as an inquiring adult? A time you could ask all the questions your friends put to you and you could never answer? Tired of having no clue about your faith?

We’d like to help all us smart, ignorant Catholics!

You’ll find a flyer in this week’s bulletin announcing a four part discussion series on the “Source and Summit” of our faith . . . the Eucharist.

We’re going to travel in these talks from the Lord’s Supper in the Upper Room to mass at Holy Trinity 2018.

How did it develop? What does it mean? Why do we believe THIS IS JESUS? How can it be? Bring your questions (“There are no dumb questions”, said my high school biology teacher – – – “except yours Horan.”)

And it’s going to be fun! We have gathered three, really smart, fun, interesting presenters to guide our journey. They are all priests with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working. They bring expertise, prayer, and a clear, entertaining way of describing the great mystery that is the Holy Eucharist.

If there is one time in the year to do “a little more” for your faith . . . this is it. I hope you and your family (babysitting for the little ones), set aside these four Sunday afternoons (2 – 3 pm…not long at all.) to in- crease your Jr. High Religious Education!!

I mean it’s winter. Football will be over. What else are you going to do on a Sunday afternoon? Now check that flyer out!

God bless you in this New Year.

Fr. Tim

God. Here and Now.

I’d like to share with you something a wise old priest told me some 40 years ago. It changed my life. It can change anyone’s.

First, you need to know the turmoil I was in as I contemplated whether or not I could live life as a priest. Back and forth I went; sometimes I felt confident and excited about this way of life. Other times (equal in frequency) I felt overwhelmed by my selfishness and ability to find fault with everything and everybody. How could I possibly be a priest with such an attitude?

So all tied up in knots, I went to my friend Fr. Francis. “Father”, I said, “I don’t know if I can do this (priesthood). But I don’t want to let God down. If I leave, maybe God will be upset with me.”

Fr. Francis laughed. “Tim, do you think God needs you? God will accomplish his will either with you or without you. Nothing can keep God from finishing what he’s started. Bottom line . . . God doesn’t need you Tim.”

I was shocked. “You mean I’m free to leave? God won’t be mad at me?” “Yes, you’re free to leave. He won’t be mad.”

I can’t describe the huge weight that lifted off my shoulders at that moment. Suddenly it became clear what God was doing. He was offering an invitation. And it was just that . . . an invitation, a gift.

Did I have to accept it? No. Would there be other gifts and invitations? Yes. Could I choose another way of life that would be pleasing to God? Of course. That’s the way God is. He never gives up on us. Never takes his ball and goes home.

But . . . . . . . . God knows our deepest happiness and has a grace (gift) prepared to offer us if we want to say “yes”.

So let’s talk about you. What is God offering you to participate in? The answer most times comes in looking at the “here and now”. What’s your situation? Married? Children? Student? Single? Sad? Feeling blessed? Need money? Worried?

Whatever and wherever you find yourself – – – There is God’s Spirit. In each of these situations there is work to be done. This present moment contains an invitation to cooperate with God in bringing goodness (Christ) to the world.

We can wish we were somewhere else. Perhaps it was our thoughtlessness or selfishness that got us where we are. In the end it doesn’t matter. What matters is “right now”. God is with you (Emmanuel). What do you feel called to do with God’s help?

And it’s in saying “yes” to God and his invitation that we discover a “lightness” to God’s will. A new purpose suddenly appears where before there was confusion, frustration, sadness. “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart. And you will find rest . . . . for my yoke is easy, my burden light.” Mt. 11:30

Today we begin a new year. Maybe this time we can begin to see the invitation God gives to be partners in the work He wants to accomplish through you.

“Lord, here I am. You know I’d be in a better place if I’d only listened to you. But that doesn’t matter now. What matters is that, with your help, I start to do what you’ve put into my heart to do. You’ve been there all along, haven’t you? But now Lord I see. And now I want to do things your way. Please help me.”

Happy New Year. God is with you.

Fr. Tim

Maybe This Time.

We all know the story.

Humankind messed up. Over time the Jewish faith foretold a Savior. Finally God visited young Mary through the angel Gabriel. She said “yes” to God and the baby was on the way. Today the child is born in a stable and he’ll go on to save the world by his death and miraculous Resurrection.

Amazing stuff. In fact it’s hard to take it all in one sit- ting. There are so many questions the modern mind wants to ask – – – pushing God to ex- plain himself to our “reasonable” minds. (How did Mary conceive? Is this child God? What does Gabriel look like? Was there really a star for the Three Wise Men to follow? How did they know?)

For many people, these questions must be satisfactorily answered before they would believe the Christmas story. For others the questions are not so much “how” did this happen but deeper ones. (Can this be true? Did God become one of us? Can God possibly love us that much that He would take our brokenness to himself and begin a new hope for humanity?)

In the end it is a matter of love. Do you believe in love? Do you believe that there is a spiritual reality that is the source of all being? Do you believe that all those you love (hold them tight!) are a gift from God who is love? Do you see in your neighbor a brother or sister who has the same need you have . . . to love and be loved?

If you find a wee tiny voice in your heart that says “Yes, I believe that love will not die”; you’re on your way. You’ve found the golden thread that leads to the heart of God.

This strand of love was sewn into the fabric of humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. He has come to show us what we humans are meant to be. “Let us make man in our image and likeness.” Genesis 1:26

Remember your “yes” is an act of Faith. God gives this gift to make it possible to see what cannot be seen with our eyes. And what do the Eyes of Faith see? “A babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger”.

Stay with us on this journey. There’s lot’s more.

A Blessed Christmas to you and those you love . . . and to those you don’t love! Maybe this time we can “love one another as he has loved us” Jn. 15:12

Fr. Tim

Speaking of love . . . . The Star Program

Last Saturday Holy Trinity went all out to show our care for those in need. The Star Program, thanks to your generous help, provided food for a plentiful Christmas meal and personal gifts to over 400 families in the City of Rochester and here in Webster.

It was a sight to behold. Children and adults, side by side, lending a helping hand to our brothers and sisters at Christmas time. Special thanks to Kasey Baker and Mar- gery Morgan and the hundreds of gift givers and volunteers who made this gift of love possible. You were wonderful.

God bless you.

O Tidings of Wonder and Joy.

I think sometimes we lock God up in church and don’t let Him meet us anywhere else. We banish him from our everyday activities. Not on purpose, it’s just that we think sports, music, nature, emotions and friendships, are for us and church is for God.

It’s really too bad because we limit God’s loving ways. The Holy Spirit (God’s love) comes to us in so many ways. One of his favorite tricks is to play “Peek a Boo”. God gives us flashes of his royal robe. He opens our eyes to see what is hidden in the everyday.

What is this experience? It’s called Wonder. Children have it all the time. Hopefully you’ve had it too. It starts with a simple observation of life around us and leads to a “moment” where we experience the sheer beauty or power or mystery contained in what we are observing.

Words sort of fail us. We can’t describe what we’ve heard or seen. But we know what it feels like. It feels like we’re in the presence of a masterpiece, something exquisite to overwhelm us with beauty or emotion or truth or mystery.

But what’s best about these moments (the wonder part) is the question left hanging in the air: “WHERE did this come from?!” Or perhaps more accurately, “How can this be?” and “Why does this effect me so deeply?!” . . . It’s God, silly . . . trying to get your attention.

Any one of these can be an occasion for wonder:

  • The ocean, the waves, the horizon
  • Seagulls riding a lake breeze
  • The strict salute of a young soldier
  • The folds and color of a rose
  • A baby’s smell
  • The eyes of a child
  • The full moon on new snow
  • A Tea Party with your granddaughter
  • A lover’s first spoken “I love you”
  • Hearing “I love you” back
  • A base hit in little league
  • The day you could finally ride a bike
  • Sitting on your dad’s lap, playing with his giant fingers
  • Really hearing a great piece of music
  • Sitting in an empty cathedral
  • Tears upon finishing some effort that took everything you had
  • Burying a parent
  • Holding a grandchild
  • Winning a game in triple overtime
  • Losing a game in triple overtime
  • Watching the snow fall
  • Counting the stars at night
  • (What would you add for your wonderments . . . . ?)

Moments of wonder can open a window through which we catch a glimpse of a world filled with a beauty and mystery that far surpasses our ability to fully understand it. Yet it will not let us leave that place without whispering to us . . . “See that? Did you like that? . . . It’s only a shadow of my love for you.”

Read psalm 139 for a beautiful moment of wonder. It all leads to a surrender to faith . . . “Oh Lord, How great you are. Thank you for letting me live and have my being. Thank you for letting me see/feel this moment”

I hope you take time this Advent Season to experience the beauty of this world and of our lives as human beings. Don’t try too hard though. Just let the moment be what it wants to be in you.

Remember God loves you and made this world for all of us.

Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel

Fr. Tim

Waiting . . . not our favorite thing.

Advent (from the Latin, ad venio) means “to come” or “the coming”. It is a time when we begin to watch for something that we’re told is coming toward us. But for now . . . it’s not here yet.

This creates a tension that most of us don’t like. My eye wants to see “it”. The act of looking is a search for an object to lock onto. But when I look – – it’s not there.

So what do we do? If it’s important enough, we keep looking which then becomes waiting. Waiting is not our favorite thing. We’ve tried over the past thirty years to do away with as much waiting as possible. Think of it: instant coffee, microwave cooking, fast food, 4G hook-ups, bar codes, email, computer banking, speed dating etc. etc.

Ask any systems engineer and they will tell you that waiting is wasted time. It’s bad business. Time is money.

Then right in the middle of the busiest time of the year we have this totally contrary message from the Church. She tells us to “prepare”, to “expect”, to “hope for”, yes, to “long for”. Waiting is good she tells us. It’s a sign of love. We wait expectantly for that which we love.

And isn’t it the case that those things which are most precious are just the ones that cannot be hurried? Let’s be honest, waiting requires patience (Latin, “pati” – to suffer). Ask an expectant mother what waiting is all about. To have her child within her, yet longing to hold the tiny one and see the face she has created.

There really is no other way to spin it. It takes endurance, strength, and forbearance to remain in a state of expectation. It stretches us. Proves our love for that which is “coming”.

So what do we “do” in this time of waiting? A few suggestions:

  • Be patient in whatever line you find yourself in. (Hegedorns, DMV). Maybe a “How’s it going”, to the person waiting next to you.
  • Be kind to whoever is attending your line. –Drive friendly.
  • Say your prayers in the morning (add about 2 minutes to just stare out your window.)
  • Think of someone who’s having a hard time right now. Say a prayer for them. Send them a card.
  • Give some money away.
  • Reflect on a particular bad habit of yours. Use it to remind yourself to be patient with others.
  • Take a ride in the country. –Pray for loved ones lost.
  • Help a young person. It’s scary out there. Remember what it was like for you? Let them know they can do it.
  • Trust God (and surrender to the grace he gives) to bring something good out of the messes we have made.

God loves you. You are His child. A Blessed Advent Sunday.

Fr. Tim

Here We Go Again.

Fr. John and I have been watching football on Sundays and catching the evening news on TV. Like you, we’ve been assailed with commercials for Christmas shopping.

Let’s see . . . should I surprise Fr. John with a new Mercedes in the garage? Should I make my great nieces go berserk with the latest toys? What should I do to make this the Best Christmas Ever?

Please. I’m not being grumpy here. I just want us to be aware of the constant pull on us to “hurry”, “buy”, “celebrate”, “surprise”, and “cherish the season”. Rather, . . .take your time. Remember as kids? We wanted dessert first, then the meal. We had to learn the proper order of things.

The Church (who started these “holy days” in the first place) shows us how to properly travel these next four weeks. She urges us to practice a few things that our society has no regard for.

Things like:

  • Finding time to be quiet. Turn off the TV. It can lead to prayer and reflection.
  • Doing small things with love (avoid big and flashy stuff).
  • Ignore totally anything that promises to make you, “or someone you love” “feel that special feeling of the season”. Baloney.
  • Performing small actions of caring that no one will know it was you.
  • Being a quiet presence to people you know to be suffering sorrow.
  • Avoid like the plague the TV specials: “Country Christmas”, “Honkey Tonk Holiday”, “Rudolph’s Reindeer Romp”, “Christmas in Ireland/Tuscany/Manhatten/Botswana”. Why? Because it’s not Christmas yet.
  • And oh yeah, then there’s Jesus. His parents were refugees, not yet married when they discovered he was conceived. Now in a foreign land, they snuck into a barn to have the birth.
  • So…….go slow.There is a grace from God to help you journey toward Christmas. It’s called Advent.

As usual the basics are always good to turn to. Prayers in the morning and before bed. Mass, of course,on the Sundays of Advent. Has it been a while since you’ve been to confession? And perhaps focusing on someone who could use some special help at this time.

That, along with any other inspiration God gives you, will be a fine preparation for Christmas.

Be in peace.

Fr. Tim


TurkeyIf you signed up to donate a Ham or Turkey to the STAR Program, here are drop off times:
Murphy Hall
Before Mass, Saturday, December 9
Before Mass, Sunday, December 10
Monday, December 11 6:00-8:00pm
Church Office
Tuesday, December 12 9:00am-2:00pm

Questions: Please call Kasey Baker at 265-1616 ext. 304.

November: A Time to Remember

One of the nice things about getting older is recalling the vast storehouse of experiences life has given us. I say “nice” because these experiences, when they are recalled, have a certain softness to them different than when we first experienced them. Their sharp edges have been rounded by time and history to the point where they can be experienced as “lessons” rather than just intense moments of joy or sorrow. These “lessons” bring wisdom.

Moments of joy for example . . . winning the game, falling in love, getting that job, your first born child . . . in their “remembered state” speak of more than just a brief happy occasion. They point to “Life” in general, its beauty and power. In the accumulated weight of these moments we begin to see what we couldn’t in the blinding light of the moment. We begin to appreciate our lives as a gift.

And moments of sorrow? They too are softened over time . . . a broken relationship, a career failure, sickness, financial trouble . . . to where they are no longer the devastating, destroying final verdict on our lives they were once thought to be. “Look what’s happened and I’m still standing!”

After all has come and gone, the good and the bad, we begin to see what remains . . . what lasts, what’s most important. And what is that? Friends and family of course.. . and Faith in God who has created all this. Life really does get simpler, doesn’t it? And time, that diminishing resource, becomes more precious.

So what do you do with all this wisdom and experience? (Don’t you wish what you know now … you knew back then?!) May I suggest you pass it along. Give it to our young people. Don’t you find the older you get the more tender are the feelings toward our young ones just starting out? You know what they’re going through. You’ve been there. It’s scary at times.

Help them. Encourage them. Let them know that it’s going to work out. Somehow it all works out.

Lastly, please remember those who have been your mentors: parents, teachers, role models who have gone before you. Do you think they’ve stopped pulling for you – – – rooting for you? No way! They love you even more than before. Why?

Because they love you totally in Christ.

God bless you and help you . . . to remember.

Fr. Tim

Sunday Mass. Move Over!!

In this Year of the Eucharist we’ll be looking at the many aspects of this central part of our faith; its theology, history, and spiritual power. But perhaps we might begin our reflections with the more superficial aspects of our mass attendance . . . the giving and receiving of hospitality.

Ancient biblical times placed great importance on the inner meaning of “The Banquet”. It was a very spiritual affair which bonded families and tribal relationships. Strict rules about hospitality made visible how important were these friendships and how not to offend either as a host or as a guest.

First off, if you were the host, you would make sure that proper invitations were delivered. Guests were greeted at the door with ceremonial hand and foot washings. Per- fume was applied to the head and a kiss was bestowed upon their cheek. The finest food and wine was brought forth on the best table settings available. Everything was arranged so as to honor the guests and the occasion that brought them all together.

There were rules too for those invited to the dinner. Prop- er clothes were required for the occasion. (There was a “wedding garment” to be worn if you came to the reception. Mt. 22:14). The seating arrangements were specially set to honor each guest. Please sit where you are told. And of course a guest was expected to enter into the joyful festivities . . . food, wine, conversation, music . . . as a sign of fellowship with the host whose deepest wish is that “you share my joy!”

These rules of hospitality apply in somewhat simpler form in the wedding celebrations of today. Consider the occasion when you dress your absolute best . . . a wedding right? Why? I think it’s a way to “bring our best selves”. To add to the brightness of the occasion as best we can. The bible would say we “give glory” to the gathering.

So what about going to Mass? (You knew this was coming didn’t you?!) Are there things we do that add “glory” to the Sunday Eucharist? Of course there are.

  • The way we dress is a sign of the importance we place on our weekly worship. We don’t treat it like a fashion show but “cleaning up” is a good way to hon- or the Lord.
  • Our willingness to smile and greet others (yes even strangers) as a prelude to beginning mass. (Perhaps you might even become a parish greeter (call the parish office).
  • Or, if you’re really in the spirit, you may slide over in your pew giving them your spot, rather than making someone crawl over you. Imagine that?!
  • The way we participate at mass . . . by responding to the prayers, by really listening to the readings and homily, by singing! (“But I don’t sing.” Yes you do. You sang Happy Birthday at your niece’s birthday. So bring your Happy Birthday Voice to mass.)
  • Lastly . . . and I have to tell you, this really bugs me . . . we need to stay at mass until it’s over. (I understand there are occasions when you have to be at a certain place at a certain time. I promise I will never ask you why you are leaving and always presume it is for a good reason.)

Picture yourself just finishing a great meal at some banquet. The Guest of Honor is about to speak words of thanks and encouragement to all who have come. And you decide to head out the side door to be home in time to watch “Dancing With the Stars”. Why? The world is always there waiting to jump on. Why do we leave so early the very gathering that helps us face our world and its problems?

Please stay with us. You’ll know when it’s time . . . “Go in peace, the mass is ended.”

God loves you . . . no matter what.

Fr. Tim