This Week’s Message from Father Dave… 

Over the past few weeks several people have approached me with concern about the new abortion law that is now in place for the state of New York. This gives the right to terminate a pregnancy at any stage, even at birth. Like many of us, I am appalled at even the thought of the possibility that life can be taken away at the time of birth, or at any stage of a pregnancy. When we hear from Pope Francis about a “Throw away Culture” this is what he had in mind. The very scary side of such legislation is what direction is this heading? What “other” kinds of laws concerning humanity will be placed into our society? When we leave God out of the decision making this is what takes place. I am saddened and I wonder what will happen when this begins to be a regular practice.

I have had moments in my ministry where I have worked with both women and men who have been impacted by an abortion. I am compassionate and want to extend the forgiveness of God. What I cannot do is take away the trauma experienced through an abortion procedure. I am certainly no psychologist or counselor, but the emotional, spiritual, and psychological trauma can be devastating. The only way I can think people deal with an abortion is to “numb” or “kill” their conscience. Can you imagine the emotional, spiritual, and psychological tears that requires. The other side and only side I know is the healing power of God’s forgiveness. What is often the difficult task is for a mother or father to forgive themselves. That is what I will be praying for as our culture takes a deeper dive into the justification of such actions.

So how do we maintain our values in a world that seems to be more ardent about cultural views that are counter to ours? Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain in Luke’s gospel extends God’s blessing on the poor, hungry, weeping, the hated, excluded, the insulted, or those whose names are denounced as evil on account of believing in Jesus Christ. At times we as Christian Catholics in the world can feel we are in one of these categories. We should stand tall, without arrogance or conceit, and know that the preciousness of life cannot be compromised. Jesus Christ came into this world to show us the way, and we struggle each day to live up to the standard he has set for us. The reality is often we do not measure up to the standard, but we do not give in or give up. We push forward on the strength of his Word and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We know this and we preach and try to live this—Life is God’s greatest gift to us. We cannot compromise what God has intended for every life—to live fully and flourish in this world.

The parish is certainly gearing up for many events in the coming weeks. Confirmation is Friday, March 1st with Bishop Perez. Our eighth graders and adults have been prepared by their teachers and will be ready to welcome Bishop Perez to our parish for the first time.

Sunday, March 3rd at the 11 o’clock Mass, we celebrate the ministry of Deacon Carl Varga. Carl has been a mainstay in the parish for over thirty-five years. He did some of his best work in ministry at St. Philip Neri in Cleveland. He has continued to assist at Masses in the morning, visiting the sick and leading Bible Study. Retirement is a special moment in a person’s life. However, in the Church we continue to work as long as we can. I am happy for Carl that he has reached this milestone and that we have the opportunity to celebrate his ministry, family and life. Please join us on March 3rd at the 11AM Liturgy and the reception in Hanson Hall following Mass.

I am excited Lent is right around the corner (17 days away). Join us on the Mondays of Lent for a light dinner of bread and soup. Dinner begins at 6:30PM in Hanson Hall and a Presentation on Spirituality by a fellow parishioner will be given in the church from 7PM-8:15PM. All who attend the presentation will be given a chance to react or ask questions on each presentation. Please join us on Monday March 11th, 18th, and 25th, April 1st and April 8th.

Next Saturday, February 23rd, we will host our Spirit Day for our eighth graders who will be confirmed on Friday, March 1st. Spirit Day is the final moment for our young people to be together before the BIG DAY as they take a deeper look into their faith-life. Please pray for our Confirmandi as they prepare to receive this sacrament. We look forward to their Confirmation on March 1st and hosting Bishop Nelson Perez.

Have you considered what you might do to enhance your Lenten Practices? I have been praying and asking the Lord what might be the best way to give of myself this Lent. Why are we asked to offer more intense ascetical practices during the forty days of this Liturgical Season? Hopefully, to create a greater access from the human heart and mind to the heart and mind of Jesus Christ. Our Lenten practices are not done just for the sake of feeling good because I have kept my Lenten practices; rather, we perform these spiritual tasks to draw us closer to Christ. Keep searching for that special Lenten formula in your
own life.

It’s the middle of February and the clock is ticking quickly! Lent will be here before you know it and Easter not too far behind. In the meantime, stay patient with God and yourself!

Prayers for a great week!

Father Dave