Category Archives: Weekly Column

Welcome Bishop Matano!

We are blessed to welcome Bishop Salvatore Matano to Holy Trinity Church this weekend. We’ve been trying for some months to arrange a time for Bishop Matano to join us for mass and fellowship. The bishop, as you can imagine, keeps a busy schedule of parish visitations, and just now has freed his schedule to be with us.

I thought it might be helpful to talk a bit about the role of “bishop” and how critical his office and ministry is to the People of God.

What is a bishop? There are many ways to begin describing this essential aspect of Catholic Faith. We ought, of course, begin with the Lord Jesus who called twelve men (apostles) to a special relationship with him as assisting in the proclamation of the Kingdom of God.

“The Twelve”, as they are sometimes referred to, have their prefigurement in the Twelves Tribes of Israel which made up God’s Covenanted People, the Jews.

Jesus came to institute a New Covenant (Promise) from God. The new covenant, of course, is the very Body of Christ, “Given up for you.” Lk. 22:19. And, in the unbloody sacrifice of the Eucharist, the apostles were told to “do this in memory of me.”

From the beginning the apostles were to “teach”, “govern”, and “sanctify” the People of God. Over time, they came to be recognized as having a special gift of the Holy Spirit to provide the inerrant and authoritative teaching of Christ. (This teaching authority is institutionalized in the Catholic Church in what is called the Hierarchy. . . Originally, the apostles in union with Christ . . . now in history, the bishops in union with the Vicar of Christ, the pope.)

They were to govern the church, not as “bosses” or CEO’s, but like Christ the Good Shepherd, leading them in our common pilgrimage to the Kingdom, and laying down his life for them through selfless service.

Lastly, the apostles were given the “Keys of the Kingdom” Mt. 16:19. That means they are charged by Christ to open the treasury of grace that flows from the sacraments for the sanctification of God’s People. They have, as part of their solemn office, the responsibility to insure the proper celebration of the Sacred Mysteries.

So much for the twelve apostles! What about the bishop? Well . . . the apostles all died, and Christ still had not returned as he said he would. What was the church to do? Thanks to the Holy Spirit, it became clear that the promises of Christ were for ALL times and ages. So, the church, trusting in the Holy Spirit, laid hands on worthy successors to the apostles. (See Acts 1:26 for the humorous way this worked for Matthias, successor to Judas. After praying to the Holy Spirit, they drew straws!)

This laying on of hands has been going on for over 2000 years in an unbroken chain from the commissioning by Christ himself to the laying on of hands that Salvatore Matano received on April 19, 2005. This unbroken lineage is called Apostolic Succession and is one of the “Marks” of the Catholic Church. Bishop Matano is a successor of the apostles and has the same gifts of the Spirit as was given to Peter, James and John, to teach, sanctify and govern.

So, what’s the big deal? Well, it is a big deal . . . in this sense. Christ’s Church will exist until the end of time (Mt. 28:20). How long will that be? Who knows? How can we be sure that 5,000 years from now some foreign or mistaken teaching tries to pass itself off as the “teaching of Christ”? Knowing human nature and our ability to get things confused and watered down, what’s to insure that the fullness of Christ is preached and celebrated in the sacraments? The answer lies, in part, through the apostolic succession of the church, i.e. the pope in union with the bishops.

All this describes our need for the bishop. But, he needs us too! The bishop needs the People of God to live “lives of faith, hope, and charity…according to the Holy Spirit.” Catechism #1547.

Thank you Bishop Matano for being our apostle and shepherd! Please know we want to walk with you on this pilgrimage and share with you the gifts Christ has given to us for the building up of the Kingdom.

Blessings to all.

Fr. Tim


Star Program 2014

December 13/14
Laundry Soap, Dish Soap, Kleenex, Toilet Paper

The Real Deal

Fr. John and I like to watch football in the evenings. Sunday and Monday nights are the best. We usually meet in his room, cause his TV is bigger than mine (I covet Fr. John’s TV!).

But, what often proves to be more fun than the football is watching the ads. Either John or I will offer comments about how interesting or stupid the premise of the ad may be.

For example, have you seen the series of ads for subscription TV? The handsome guy and the same guy in creepy version? We HATE those ads. The message? “Don’t be like the creepy me. Be like the cool me, get ****TV.”

Or the car ads. Have you ever seen a group of people so happy just to sit in their new car? Or run along side it?! Or dance in the street over it?

But, the ones that get me the most (in a strangely off-putting way) are the jewelry ads. As everybody knows (especially Jewelry Stores), the Christmas season is the time many young lovers get engaged. The young man goes through the fires of hell picking out just the right ring and planning his proposal. Finally, the time arrives and (as always), the woman becomes the measure of the moment of love. “Yes!!”, she says.

So, how do us crusty old priests read these ads? Probably like you, the parents and grandparents of these “kids” . . . with a smile. A smile that acknowledges the happiness of this moment (you all remember yours, right?), but a smile that knows this “Hollywood” moment lasts only for a short while. Now comes the living out of those promises — the doing.


So, what does this all have to do with Advent and Christmas? It’s all about the search for what’s real. Where do we find the thing in life that will not disappoint, that will touch and warm the heart, that will be an unfailing guide to true happiness? Where do we look?

Advent tells us to avoid the “loud”, the “flashy”, the “biggest”, the “happiest”, the “best”. You see those words (good in themselves) are applied to things that really don’t merit them. There is nothing you can buy or receive as a present that will, of itself, bring you the “merriest Christmas ever”.

There is only one thing that satisfies the human heart. It is love. And how does one find love? Not in a new car or TV or even a ring. It comes in recognizing your goodness in being created by God. God didn’t have to make you. He wanted to make you. God loved you and every other human being into existence. And, He made us unlike any other creature . . . God made us in His image. That means we have the ability to give and receive love. Almost like breathing.

So what is the happiness of this season? Doing the things of loving. The small things. Like:

  • Listening to people. It’s such a gift when we’re listened to.
  • Be patient. Let others go before you.
  • Look for goodness. Point it out when you see it.
  • Give the benefit of the doubt.
  • Let go of past hurts and prejudices
  • Speak an encouraging word.
  • Collect your thoughts in a quiet moment, and give them to God (prayer).
  • Anticipate other’s needs. Be there quietly to help.
  • Apologize for some slight you’ve delivered.
  • Smile. No one smiles like you!

Lord, there’s trouble everywhere. Give me the eyes to see where you want me to be with your word of Hope.

Second Sunday of Advent. Go slowly. Let love grow.

Fr. Tim


Star Program 2014

December 6/7
Canned Meats, Baby Food, Diapers, Wipes
December 13/14
Laundry Soap, Dish Soap, Kleenex, Toilet Paper

Here We Go Again. Hooray!!

It’s a new year. Not by the monthly calendar, but by the Church’s calendar. Today is the First Sunday of Advent. Just like the civil calendar starts with January, the Church starts the new Year of Grace with Jesus in the Gospel of Mark (readings are Year B Cycle) urging us to “Be watchful! Be Alert! For you do not know when the time will come.”

Watch for what? What time is coming? These are questions that lead us into the mystery and grace of the Season of Advent. There are two things we wait for: the liturgical celebration of the Birth of Christ, the Messiah, and the time when Christ will return to claim His People and fully institute His Kingdom.

The first waiting is easier. We light the 4 Advent candles week by week; we sing, “Oh come, Oh come Emmanuel.” We hear John the Baptist cry out, “Prepare the way of the Lord!” and we pray and do a little house cleaning (going to confession). All this to prepare for the Birth of our Lord on Christmas Day. Kind of simple, eh?

Oh, how the culture gets it wrong here! We’re told these days must be filled with parties, shopping, cooking, card sending and visiting. Each of these in proper proportion can be quite good, but they tend to overrun our lives and miss the essence of what we watch and wait for. Hold onto the spirit of Advent. Patience, quiet, waiting.

The second waiting is a bit harder. Basically, we’re told to watch and wait for THE END – The end of the world, the end of our life. Why watch for that? It’s depressing! Not necessarily. It reminds us of what’s real; it puts things in proper perspective.

We’re put in touch with the fact that we are only on this earth for a while. Therefore . . . let’s use this time for doing good. And, oh, by the way, Jesus is coming again. As the Creed says, “He’s coming to judge the living and the dead.”

For someone who’s busy about spreading goodness, THE END and MY END is really good news. Because that’s when God’s Glory will be fully manifested. In the end, when Jesus has scooped us all up in the Resurrection, “He will hand over the kingdom to his God and Father. And the Son himself will be subjected to him, so that God will be all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:28)

But, here’s the part that makes me smile. In spite of all our weaknesses and yes, sin, WE HAVE TODAY ! We have the First Sunday of Advent. My story, your story, is still being told. It’s not over. Why not shoot for the moon? Why not make this the best year of your life?

I’m not talking about your best year for your savings or 401k or some unexpected windfall of good luck. Let’s make this year our “best performance” as a Christian, a child of God, a spouse, a friend, a co-worker, neighbor etc.

Why try to be the best? Because it’s the way to happiness, a way to love – it’s the way to Christ. What else can take its place?

Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel.

Fr. Tim


Star Program 2014

December 6/7
Canned Meats, Baby Food, Diapers, Wipes
December 13/14
Laundry Soap, Dish Soap, Kleenex, Toilet Paper

By The Numbers

I thought it might be informative to look back over the past 12 months (almost) here at Holy Trinity and see what the numbers tell us. The following statistics are from Jan. 1, 2014 to Nov. 17, 2014.

We have baptized 45 people this past year – forty-two infants and three adults. There have been 30 funerals this past year with 10 burials in our cemetery. It’s a happy state of affairs to have more people being born than dying. It means there’s a future.

Fifty-one children received their First Communion at Holy Trinity, and 35 were confirmed this past March at the cathedral. We are preparing 67 children to make their First Penance (Confession) this year, as well.

These statistics show us that a major part of our community is young and in the early stages of what we call “Faith Formation”. Our future as a parish and as a strong Catholic presence in our community and diocese depends on a quality formation in the Catholic Faith.

Mary Haas and Anthony Klosterman, assisted by Pat Bell, are working daily to strengthen our catechetical programs at Holy Trinity. This year we have begun religious instruction at the high school level through the senior year.

(Parents!! You have to help us, help you, to do your job of teaching your children our Catholic Faith. Watch for “parent sessions” that will give you the tools and confidence to share your own faith.)

I was a little disappointed this past year with the number of weddings at HT. There were 7 (down from 12 the year before). What’s happening here? Statistics tell us young people are postponing marriage to devote themselves to a career. Living together, rather than marriage, is a common arrangement today. But, experts tell us, success for marriages that began with co-habitation is lower than those who remained separate. Yes, couples living apart before marriage fair better.

Lastly, there have been 121 new households register at HT this past year which slightly offsets the 41 households that left the parish. Weekend mass attendance has in-creased to 1,300 or 1,400, depending on the weekend.

This is happy news. People are coming to hear the gospel, receive the sacraments and be strengthened in their faith (hopefully!). But, it’s created some happy problems as well. The Gathering Space is becoming home to 150 to 200 worshipers during Mass at the 8:30 and especially at the 10:30.

Those of you who have attended mass in this space know how hard it is to see and sometimes hear the priest and liturgical ministers. We need to help the worship experience in these spaces. (We’re considering mounting video screens with remote cameras showing the pulpit and altar to bring people into closer contact with the mass and the rest of the congregation).

This is not a luxury. Talk to the mother chasing her little one as she tries to pray the prayers of mass. This will help.

Lastly we spent $370,619.48 this past year fixing some long standing facility problems. The bell towers were re-roofed, the stained glass windows were reframed, new plexiglass covers to protect the church windows were in-stalled, the north parking lot was paved, lined and lighted. All these are PAID IN FULL, thanks to you and your support of This Is My Parish!

And next year? The rest of the church roof!! We’ll talk about that later.

God has so blessed us . . . with you.

Fr. Tim


P.S. Speaking of numbers:

CMA
Goal: $125,000.00
Pledged so far: $ 94,259.00 – (75% of goal)
# of Donors: 390

Thank You!!!


Star Program 2014

November 22/23
Shampoo, Soap, Toothpaste, Deodorant
November 29/30
Crackers, Peanut butter/Jelly, Beans, Canned Soup
December 6/7
Canned Meats, Baby Food, Diapers, Wipes
December 13/14
Laundry Soap, Dish Soap, Kleenex, Toilet Paper

“I’m Spiritual But Not Religious.”

Have you heard someone say that to you? It seems to be a common phrase these days. Many feel it best expresses their view of life. Let’s take a minute to see what they mean. Let’s try to see the good thing they are pointing to, because I think they feel it’s a thoughtful, virtuous way to live life. And it is.

“I’m spiritual”. As best as I understand, this broad approach to human life, means a person is aware that there is “something” in this world beyond what we can see and touch. There is something that can’t be spotted by our microscopes or telescopes or chemical analysis. It’s a spirit that has a meaning and beauty that makes human life worth living.

I must say, it’s hard to say much more about this mysterious “spirit”. How do you get it? Or, how do you experience it? The experience seems to best be described as a feeling (sometimes an intuition). The feeling you get with a full moon on new fallen snow, somehow points to…a universal, spiritual plan for all creation. This plan is good and benevolent – – – so relax. Enjoy it. Everything is going to be OK.

That’s not bad, eh? Really. It sensitizes people to the beauty around us, like some beautiful melody playing in the background. When we feel this “good spirit” we say, “I don’t have to go to church. My church is a walk in the woods.” (I think we’ve all found the beauty of nature touching us and leading us to the Creator. We’re all “spiritual” in this sense.)

But what happens when life turns ugly? When sorrow or sickness or tragedy strikes? What happens when I don’t feel my spiritual side – when my walk in the woods is scary and lonely? When life and its demands feel over-whelming? Just being “spiritual” somehow doesn’t get to the depth of the human experience.

OK, so what about “religion” and how is it different from that “spiritual” feeling?

True Religion begins when God acts.

The Christian religion says that God has actually revealed himself to us in the book we call the Bible.

Through a 5000 year old process of recording God’s actions in human history (in the beginning creating the heavens and earth, calling a people to a special relation-ship with him (the Jews), and finally coming to live among us in human form (Jesus Christ), we have a pretty explicit knowledge of God, what he’s like, and even what he wishes us to call him . . . Father.)

So, Christians are tied to this belief about God and human existence. The word “religion” itself has the notion of being “bound” to something (religare – Latin meaning “to bind together”).

This binding to what has been revealed is really important, because it signifies God’s actions toward us. God takes the initiative in coming to us. Sometimes people get it backward. We think religion is like buying a car. You try to find one that suits your taste, something that gives you a certain feeling, something that doesn’t cost too much. In this case, religion is something WE generate. It becomes a product of human invention, the purpose of which is to make me feel better. Marx was right when he called this kind of religion the “opiate” (drug) of the people.

True religion is our response to what has been shown to us in what we call Revelation. Religion is something we practice. But, aren’t there many religions? Yes, there are many religions. So, then it doesn’t matter which one I practice, right? It does if you want to know the truth. They all might have something of the truth, but they can’t all be right. (The Resurrection of the Dead for Christians is totally different than the Re-incarnation for Buddhists).

It’s here I think we go back to two things. True religion has to deal with: 1. The staggering beauty of human life in both its joys and sorrows – – – what best explains who we are? What is love? How can there be suffering, and yet still a God we can honestly worship? 2. How does one come to the knowledge and love of such a being?

Answers to these questions are beyond our ability to fathom. God has to help us. He has to give us something that will touch the deepest recesses of the human heart and open us to His Mystery. It’s called the gift of Faith, and it was delivered to us by another human being, Jesus Christ.

“This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” Luke 9:35.

Fr. Tim


Star Program 2014

November 1/2
Pasta/Sauce, Rice, Stuffing, Canned Vegetables
November 8/9
Flour/Sugar, Cereal, Canned Fruit
November15/16
Instant Potatoes, Gravy, Corn, Canned Peas
November 22/23
Shampoo, Soap, Toothpaste, Deodorant
November 29/30
Crackers, Peanut butter/Jelly, Beans, Canned Soup
December 6/7
Canned Meats, Baby Food, Diapers, Wipes
December 13/14
Laundry Soap, Dish Soap, Kleenex, Toilet Paper

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 you had what you know now — 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


Star Program 2014

November 1/2
Pasta/Sauce, Rice, Stuffing, Canned Vegetables
November 8/9
Flour/Sugar, Cereal, Canned Fruit
November15/16
Instant Potatoes, Gravy, Corn, Canned Peas
November 22/23
Shampoo, Soap, Toothpaste, Deodorant
November 29/30
Crackers, Peanut butter/Jelly, Beans, Canned Soup
December 6/7
Canned Meats, Baby Food, Diapers, Wipes
December 13/14
Laundry Soap, Dish Soap, Kleenex, Toilet Paper

Vegetable Garden

VegetablesKatie Roy, a Girl Scout in troop 60206, is working on her Gold Award project, the creation of a vegetable garden for the Hope House. To be successful long term, it would be a new Holy Trinity Parish ministry, requiring the time, talent and treasure of many different people. There needs to be volunteers to help install the garden, and after, volunteers to plant, weed, water and harvest.

Before the project begins, Katie would like to be sure there are enough parishioners, Hope House volunteers and Hope clients who would be willing to join this ministry. If you would be willing to help, please contact her at katieroy@rochester.rr.com or 585-265-6694

More News


Planet Earth. Why Are You Here?

When Doug Marrone took over as head coach of the Buffalo Bills two years ago, he said he was there for one reason . . . to win the Super Bowl. Neil Armstrong focused 10 years of his life to stepping on the moon. Hundreds of young actors, dancers and singers are starving themselves for the chance of performing in a Broadway show. An expectant mother’s water just broke. She’s about to enter heavy labor for her third child.

Passion makes human beings do courageous, selfless, amazing things. It lifts us up and out of ourselves. This “out of ourselves” is the hallmark of love. Love moves us to stop looking at ourselves to see the world around us . . . its beauty, its ugliness, its need. Love compels us to act.

God Himself felt the effects of His infinite love and was moved. “God so loved the world that in the fullness of time He sent His only Son.” (Jn 3:16). As Christians, we believe we too are “sent”. Just before his Ascension, at the great commissioning of his disciples, Jesus tells them, “Go out to all the world to tell the Good News.” (Mk 16:15).

So, what story are you telling? What is your passion? Your purpose?

I think of my father and how he might have answered that. He had several passions – his life insurance business, his garden, politics, and his parish. But, before everything else, there was my mother and we children. In fact, every other “passion” was indulged in only because it made his main mission (family) . . . happier.

Family was my parent’s vocation. And, here’s the most important thing about “vocation”. (Latin. Vocare, “to call”) . . . they saw themselves as having been given this task by God. The joys and sorrows of family life were lived with the confidence that this was what God had asked them to do with their lives – their purpose for being on this earth.

So, what’s your vocation, your call from God? Generally it starts where your heart goes most often and most happi-ly. Usually, it involves another person who captures your heart and creates a desire to always be with them. God put these desires in us to guide us to his “call”.

Sometimes God gives someone a “wider picture” of life, which captures their imagination and calls forth all their creative energies. Some work, some fascination, some desire to make better; these can make for a path in life that uses the deepest part of a human heart.
Jesus tells us that in pursuing the deeper inclinations of our heart we are “seeking the Kingdom of God” and this world comes to experience the goodness He had in mind when he created us.


Part of our vocation to the world is to alert young people to their “call” from God. Simple questions and conversation at meals can help them to think about these things. Questions like:

  • What’s your favorite thing to do? Why is it your favorite?
  • What makes you really happy? Again . . . Why?
  • What do you think you have inside you to make this a better world?
  • I think God has given you a special gift of ________. What do you think God may want you to do with it?
  • To your children . . . “Let’s pray every day that God will show you the path that will make you the best person you can be.” (Parents, why not slip this little prayer into the Grace before meals: “And, dear God, show us the path for our lives, so we can do your work and make this a better world.”)

God loves you. Trust Him.
Fr. Tim


Star Program 2014

November 1/2
Pasta/Sauce, Rice, Stuffing, Canned Vegetables
November 8/9
Flour/Sugar, Cereal, Canned Fruit
November15/16
Instant Potatoes, Gravy, Corn, Canned Peas
November 22/23
Shampoo, Soap, Toothpaste, Deodorant
November 29/30
Crackers, Peanut butter/Jelly, Beans, Canned Soup
December 6/7
Canned Meats, Baby Food, Diapers, Wipes
December 13/14
Laundry Soap, Dish Soap, Kleenex, Toilet Paper

Star Program 2014

christmastreeOur Christmas Star Program, which began 29 years ago, is now a joint effort with HOPE and 5 inner city parishes to provide Christmas to families in need. We provide gifts, a holiday meal, food and basic supplies to those who would otherwise go without.

Food collection will begin November 1st and go until December 14th. While we welcome any donated nonperishable food item, we have our “menu” below. There are baskets located at all entrances to church.

November 1/2
Pasta/Sauce, Rice, Stuffing, Canned Vegetables
November 8/9
Flour/Sugar, Cereal, Canned Fruit
November15/16
Instant Potatoes, Gravy, Corn, Canned Peas
November 22/23
Shampoo, Soap, Toothpaste, Deodorant
November 29/30
Crackers, Peanut butter/Jelly, Beans, Canned Soup
December 6/7
Canned Meats, Baby Food, Diapers, Wipes
December 13/14
Laundry Soap, Dish Soap, Kleenex, Toilet Paper

Gift Stars will be available at all entrances to the church and on the Christmas tree in the Gathering Space on the
weekend of November 22. The wrapped gifts with stars attached will be due back to church on December 13/14.

If you would like to donate a turkey or ham this year, please contact Michelle Cummings @315-524-7589. If you leave a message, please indicate if you are donating a turkey or ham and your name and phone number. We are seeking volunteers for many facets of this wonderful ministry. If you are able to help with:

  • Food sorting (2/3 times a week Nov-Dec. weekday mornings)
  • Setting up our “Store” (nights the week of December 14)
  • Grocery shopping for families (Friday, December 19)
  • Drivers for distribution (Saturday am. December 20)

Please contact Kasey Baker at Kbaker@dor.org or 265-1616 For your convenience, please keep this information on your refrigerator for reference throughout the STAR


Boys and Girls

The older I get, the more I realize how the simple truths of life are all around us, We just need to take the time to really watch and listen.

The following autumn thoughts came to me some years ago in a previous parish. I had a wonderful office window that allowed me to look out on our grassy school playground.

What I saw was a vision of the heavenly beauty God put into young boys and girls. Their gaiety and innocence are a prelude to the power of their femininity and masculinity.

The girls at this stage seemed further along in incorporating their basic instincts into a happy self acceptance. The boys, as usual, were a comic mix of energy, bluster and restlessness.

What a wonderful comedy we are. See what you think.

These warm days of autumn have been wonderful, haven’t they?! I’ve had a chance to play a round of golf with old friends, take a walk with my Godson, Joseph, and today I had the pleasure of watching the fifth graders take their recess outside my window. What an event!!

First out the school doors were the boys. They were insane. Running, yelling, and arms waving, they dashed across Rogers Pkwy. Reaching the yard, they immediately began chasing each other, throwing stuff and banging into tree trunks.

Then came the girls. Walking calmly together (some lifted their feet in that happy walk we call a “skip”), they chatted and laughed as they made their way to-ward the leafy part of the yard. Before long they were all scooping leaves up into their arms and making a big brown pile there in the middle of the yard. (I was later told they were burying one of the boys).

Suddenly, the boys caught sight of the sizeable pile of leaves the girls had made, and apparently realizing that they were onto something much more fun…they decide to raid the girls. Swooping down from every direction, the boys ran through the pile of leaves, kicking them high and wide. Soon the pile was flattened.

What do you think the girls did? (This is the part that really got me). They laughed. They seemed to like these silly boys and their rude visit. There was that sweetness in them that one day makes them loving wives and mothers; a sweetness that someday will waken a man to his best self.

At this point the children were instructed to move to the other side of the yard…the part that had been cleaned of leaves to provide a place for recess. The boys, of course, went charging and yelling to the new field of play. The girls were a little delayed in coming – you see they wanted to bring the leaves!!! Each brought an armful.

Little girls and little boys. How wonderful God is! Let this be a reminder to you in the time of worry and uncertainty, human beings are “little less than gods” (Ps.8), if given a chance to grow, if given the experience of being loved. That’s where we come in.

Share God’s love,
Fr. Tim


Eat and Run

The gospel this Sunday tells a parable about heaven and likens it to a great banquet. At the time of the telling, (2000 yrs. ago) there were very strict rules about hospitality and how not to offend either as a host or as a guest.

If you were hosting a banquet, 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. Proper 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 honor the Lord.
  • The way we participate (or don’t participate) at mass . . . by responding to the prayers, by really listening to the readings and homily, by singing! (Yes, that’s right – 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.)

However, think for a second what we’re doing when we leave early. We have just received the Body of Christ who is our hope and our strength. We have just eaten together with our brothers and sisters. And now it’s “eat and run” or “let’s beat the traffic” or “the Bills are on”. The world comes flooding back to take away the peace of our worship. Why?

Picture yourself just finishing a great meal at some banquet. The Guest of Honor is about to speak words of 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 pile on. Why do we leave so early the very place that helps us face the world?

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