Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We live in a world that never stops. From 24 hour restaurants to stores opened 7 days a week. There is always something on TV, which now we can even choose the shows we like and watch them at anytime! However, this also presents a challenge to ourselves and our faith. It’s very difficult to stop our lives to contemplate the mysteries of our faith or even to have a time to reflect upon God in our own lives.
Starting in a couple of weeks, we will begin to have mini-retreats here in the parish. We will start with the Lector’s on Saturday, October 19th from 9:00am-12:00pm, Eucharistic Ministers on Saturday, October 26th, 9:00am-12:00pm and Altar Server’s on Sunday, October 20th from 3:00pm-4:00pm. We will spend time in prayer, reflection and we will go over some practical points of each ministry. These mini-retreats will also serve if someone would like to start serving God and his people by becoming a lector, Eucharistic Minister or altar server. We are in need of help in each of those ministries, so please pray about it. We will guide you step by step in what to do and how to do it! For those interested, please contact Lee Ann at the office.
We are also planning a ProLife retreat. October is a month dedicated to the promotion of life (which covers all the topics from babies to the elderly population). Deacon Chuck and Christine Lehane will be coordinating that event.
Later on in the year, we will have a parish wide retreat. We are looking for a speaker who can lead us in prayer for that day. Once we have a name and date we will start advertising.
Lastly, it is not so much a retreat, but quality time to spend with family and friends and contributing to IC School. I would like to bring to your attention an event that the IC School Parents Association (ICSPA) is organizing - a Harvest Festival at the end of October. It will be great! Please look below for the Save the Date Flyer. David Ringland, the president, along with other parents are working hard for the success of this event. Next week Mr. Ringland will write more about the event. Please mark in your calendars October 26th (PLEASE SAVE THIS DATE).
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This week I would like to bring you up to speed to some of the projects that are happening.
CHURCH RESTORATION: We had some delay in the whole project, because we were not aware of the need for the approval from the Archdiocese. We are on the final stages of getting the green light to move ahead. The next step, which will start very soon, will be the flooring. In the meantime, we are working on giving the pews a fresh look. They all were sent to Lloyd’s in Hudson to be sanded and refinished. The kneelers are also going to be replaced by new ones. So when the pews come back, they will look like brand new! The painting process has been completed. The columns and a few touch ups here and there were the last part of it. This week we will start the process to get the organ repaired. At the original scope of work, it was decided that the organ would be restored, not replaced. Now we will search for the company to start that work.
PARISH WEBSITE: Fr. Przemek, Rob McCabe and Sara Servano have been working diligently on a new website for the past month. We changed our provider, to make sure that the website is secure and properly maintained. It will have a complete new look to it. They will write more about it in these coming weeks before the website goes live.
MUSIC DIRECTOR: Over this past year, our search committee has gone through the many resumes that applicants sent us. Most of them were from out of state, and a considerable amount were from out of the country. After the interview process, they commended me a person who was very happy to take the position. He was scheduled to start now at the beginning of September, but he had some setbacks and had to delay his start. We are looking at some different options as how to proceed. In the meantime, we are looking for local organists to cover our masses. Our Adult choir did start their rehearsals, and soon will start singing at the masses. The Children choir, however, will have to wait until we can find a solution to have someone accompanying them. We are doing our best to find and coordinate the music for all the masses. We are grateful to Mr. Kevin Lyczak who is playing the organ at some masses and the CME who is also helping us during this time.
As these projects develop and move forward, we will do our best to keep you all updated. Please feel free to stop me or call the office for further clarification.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Please prayerfully read the article below from Cardinal Seán that was published in the Boston Globe on immigration, September 9, 2019. This is an important topic that our society is facing.
The human consequences of our immigration policies
By Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley
September 9, 2019
Immigration is as ancient as recorded history. It is driven by multiple factors — people move because they are afraid, oppressed, or to escape violence and chaos. Immigration is often accompanied by human tragedy. But not always — people also move because of hopes and dreams. They move to find new opportunities, and they move to contribute to their new country. Having worked with immigrant communities throughout my priesthood, I have seen how deeply patriotic they are when they are welcomed to this country.
Immigration in our time has far exceeded previous experience. The World Health Organization estimates that one billion people are migrating today. We live in a globalized world; in that context, movement is perpetual. Ideas move, products move, money moves. But people do not migrate easily. Obstacles abound.
Part of the reason is that our globalized world is structured and governed by sovereign states. It is a basic function of states to establish secure boundaries, defining the territory where they exercise sovereignty.
Security and sovereignty are part of the reality of immigration, but they are not all of it. Sovereignty has moral content, but it is not an absolute value. The immigration policy of states should combine security with a generous spirit of welcome for those in danger and in need.
That necessary combination of values is seriously lacking in the United States today. Principal responsibility for this moral failure must rest with the federal government, where policy is a product primarily of the president and Congress. But it also must be recognized that, as a society, we are deeply divided over immigration. Our divisions have produced severe human consequences — it is imperative to acknowledge some of them.
First, the most dramatic and dehumanizing consequence is to be found on the border with Mexico. To be sure, the challenge — thousands of adults and children seeking asylum every day — is unprecedented in recent history. But even a challenge of this severity, in a country of our resources and capabilities, cannot justify how these children and families are being treated. The overarching policy of the US government lacks justification.
Rather than a humane plan, existing policy in word and deed is more focused on castigating and confining young and old, male and female, in conditions often pervasively unfit for human life and dignity.
Second, rather than focus the efforts of all relevant agencies on the relief of suffering at the border, there are continuing threats made that the government will scour the country to remove people who have settled here and whose children are citizens.
Third, the dysfunction of our policy is acknowledged across the political spectrum of our country. The crisis at the border and the focus on removals leave the broader policy agenda unresolved in the executive and legislative branches of government.
To be sure, there are thousands at the border who require immediate attention. But there are also 11 million unauthorized immigrants in our midst with no policy to stabilize their existence and provide a path to citizenship — a policy objective advocated by the Catholic Church for decades.
Among the 11 million people are 3.6 million people brought to the United States as children, of which only 700,000 have temporary protection from deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which is itself under threat. There are also over 400,000 people with Temporary Protected Status who are living in limbo. They have come to the United States for various reasons — for some, their countries have suffered natural disasters and they have no viable option to return home. There are no policies in place to allow TPS holders, the majority of whom have lived in the United States for more than 20 years, to earn lawful residency and move forward in their lives.
The point of identifying these broad categories and consequences of existing policy is to highlight that practical, concrete choices are available to correct a dysfunctional policy. First, we should recognize that economic assistance to El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Mexico could assist people to remain in their home countries. In addition, the historic “guest worker” program, which provides temporary visas for workers, can contribute to the needs of the United States as well. However, our policies on Central America seem exclusively focused on threats, coercion, and punishment. This is surely misguided.
Developing positive solutions does not seem to be the motivating concern of existing policy. Instead, the current emphasis, we are told, is on “deterrence,” a term at home in military policy that is now being advocated to confront people with no power of any kind. The targets in this case are not an armed array of hostile attackers. They are women, children, families.
Fourth, while deterrence can have some role in law enforcement and has been used by other administrations, much depends on the spirit and motivation that animates our broader immigration policy. Current US policy and practices combine to project an attitude of animus toward immigrants. Most evident is the language used at times to describe people on our borders; it is often degrading and demoralizing.
Beyond language, there are the policies to reduce the number of refugees the United States will welcome. The numbers have been reduced substantially, and threats exist to reduce them to zero. The federal government recently announced it will expedite removals of undocumented immigrants without judicial appeal or oversight and move to provide for unlimited detention of families seeking asylum. The tenor, tone, and result of these policies communicate a distinct message: We have no room in our hearts and no space in our country for people facing life-and-death situations. This hostile spirit toward immigrants extends to proposals to expel some of those receiving crucial medical care. A similar spirit of lack of compassion and generosity is manifested in new proposals to focus immigration increasingly on merit-based applicants, leaving the poor excluded.
Our present moment requires civility and charity among the citizens of our society and toward those hoping to become citizens. As a country it is a good time to remember the biblical axiom: To whom much is given, much is expected.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Welcome back! I know that summer was really short and we would like to have just one more week, but Labor Day is always a sign that life gets back on track. I hope that you had some time to relax, visit family, rest, or stay home and get to those projects that we were waiting for the summer to do. Today I would like to reflect on vocation. We often speak and pray for more vocations, but what is this “vocation”? What does it mean?
The word “vocation” has the etymological roots in the Latin word vocare, “to call” or to “be called.” The youth would cite the definition from Wikipedia, which is the entry when you google it. It states that it “is an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which they are suited, trained, or qualified.” Often vocation is referred to as the call to the priesthood, or the religious life in general. However, everyone is called by God. Surely not all are called to be priests or nuns. Vocation could also include marriage, to be a missionary and some even say that there is a call to live a single life. What is this “occupation” that God calls us, that we are “suited, trained and qualified” for? Wikipedia quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church citing “Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.” (2392) In other words, God calls us, or we are called by God, to LOVE. We are suited, trained, and qualified to love. If you love as a priest, nun, spouse, or as a single person, that is secondary. The Second Vatican Council document called Lumen Gentium says that we are all called to holiness. Because of that we speak of the universal call to holiness. But the call to holiness is rooted in LOVE. It says that Love/Charity governs, shapes, and perfects all the means of sanctification. (LG 42). St Therese of Lisieux says that LOVE, IN FACT, IS THE VOCATION WHICH INCLUDES ALL OTHERS; IT'S A UNIVERSE OF ITS OWN, COMPRISING ALL TIME AND SPACE - IT'S ETERNAL!
Please note that nowhere does it say who we should or should not love. It only says to love. Jesus himself commands us to Love “one another”, our neighbor. He goes further and explains how we should love one another, namely, “AS HE HAS LOVED US.” I understand that with some people it is more challenging to accomplish this mission. With others it might be impossible, or just beyond our human strength. That actually could be true, that’s why God has loved us first; He has filled our hearts with HIS LOVE. He suited, trained and qualified us not with our love, but with HIS LOVE. If our soul had a DNA sequence, it would read L-O-V-E instead of A-T-C-G. We inherited that “genetic code” from our (heavenly) Father. When God created us in his image and likeness, he created out of love and to love. In theology when reflecting about the creation of man and woman, we say that it was necessary to create a companion for Adam, otherwise he would never be able to love, to fulfill the essence of his life.
I would like to invite each of us this week to reflect about the call that we all have received to love. When we see the world divided, polarized, and separated in so many groups, ideologies, political parties, only love is capable of uniting. The Jewish scholars say that when the Jews settled in Babel, they lost their love for one another and that’s why they began to speak all different languages. No one understood each other, because they all looked for their own interest instead of the common good! Let’s all overcome our needs, to lower our fences to be able to see our neighbor and his needs. As St. Francis said to his brothers as he was sending them to preach all over Europe, “preach always, when necessary, use words.”
As this week we remember the birth of Mary, we recall that God planned ahead of time for Mary to be the dwelling place for the Son. You should rejoice too! God has chosen you to be his dwelling place as well!
Father Steven Clemence