What if things aren’t
so great?

And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him.

Today our Holy Church celebrates another of its unique Solemnities – that of the Christian Family. Many pastors will speak today about the unique and beautiful ideal that is the Christian family. This is certainly the model we should be pursuing. We have the example of the Holy Family as our model – Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.

In the gospels we read of all the wonderful things that emerge from the blessings of family. Mary came to the assistance of her kinswoman Elizabeth when she was expecting. Joseph protected his family when Herod sent his army to kill them. John proclaimed the coming of His cousin, Jesus. This is certainly the kind of mutual support and overall family goodness we strive for, we hope to find in our lives. But what happens when things go wrong, when our lives don’t exactly match up to the ideal?

The Holy Family faced one of those moments. Jesus went missing. Things weren’t going according to plan. He couldn’t be found. He wasn’t with family and friends. Some Biblical scholars and historians estimate the festival crowds in Jerusalem at about 3 million people. A boy of twelve was somewhere among 3 million people… Scary stuff.

Our lives are filled with scary stuff. When those moments come – abuse, divorce, addiction, poverty, homelessness, infertility, infidelity, and so many other struggles – and we think about the Christian family – we feel that God must have turned His back on us. We are abandoned and alone. We can’t possibly live up to the ideal.

God didn’t abandon Mary and Joseph in their moment of fear. He didn’t abandon His Son in the midst of 3 million people. God has not and will not abandon us. Remember, we are worth so much that He offered up His Son’s life for us. When problems center down on us we have one stronghold we can rely on. It is one stronghold with two aspects. The first aspect is that the Father has adopted us all. We are brothers and sisters to Jesus. We have the Holy Spirit with us to strengthen and uphold us – God who gives us life and complete love. The other aspect of our Father’s provision is the Holy Church and each local parish. This is the Body of Christ in all its reality – brokenness striving to heavenly glory. Mutual love and support so that we may assist each other as one family when things aren’t great.

Seeking to be

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

After the lawyer gave Jesus the correct answer on the Law of Love Jesus was well pleased. Wouldn’t it be great to hear God say to us: “You have answered right?”

The lawyer goes on to ask Jesus: “And who is my neighbor?” The layer was seeking to justify himself – in other words to see if Jesus would say that his way of life was the correct path, that he had done rightly not just in words, but in his life.

It is easy to give Jesus the right words. We can do this every Sunday in prayer and worship. We can do it in talking to others. But words are not enough. The lawyer knew this much.

In the lawyer’s mind he thought he knew the answer – my neighbor is my people – the Israelites were his only neighbors – and he expected that Jesus would confirm his opinion.

Jesus goes into the great Parable of the Good Samaritan. The lawyer would have recognized his neighbors as the priest and the Levite, but something went wrong. They didn’t follow through on the Law of Love toward their fellow Israelite. They walked on. Then this non- Israelite did something amazing, he lived out the Law of Love.

Could the lawyer possibly be justified if he did not believe and act similarly? The lawyer could walk away thinking that Jesus was completely off base, but wouldn’t he have to wonder? Was he truly justified if he wouldn’t live and act as the Samaritan had acted?

We have two challenges. The first is to consider our instinct. How do we feel about the lawyer, the priest, and the Levite at a gut level? Of course we’re on the side of Jesus and the Samaritan – but what about them? They are easy to dislike. Maybe they are not quite enemies, but not our kind of people? The challenge is to see them with eyes, hearts, minds, strength, and soul as our brothers. We are to love them and forgive their failings as Jesus would.

The second challenge is to move beyond just saying words of love – to extend the totality of our love – a love with eyes, hearts, minds, strength, and soul – to everyone. Then we will truly be justified and live-forever hearing Jesus say – “You have answered right?”

June – and the newsletter is on-time (even a day-and-a-half early).

June marks Sacred Vocations month in our Holy Church. Take time this month to pray for the Church’s faithful and dedicated bishops, priests, and deacons. They daily kneel and pray for all of us in submission to God and as true servant leaders. They make sacrifice and oblation for the needs and good of all of us. They don’t want to be raised up on pedestals, but only wish to raise all of us up to God.

Pray too for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and diaconate – for strong, determined, brave, and faithful men to set to work for the Kingdom of God:

O Almighty God, look mercifully upon Thy Church and incline the hearts of many of Her sons to offer themselves for the work of the sacred ministry, so that by their labors Thy light may shine in the darkness of the world and the coming of Thy kingdom may be hastened by the perfecting of Thine elect. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

June also marks Father’s Day and the start of our summer series of programs. Please join us for our new monthly Holy Mass and Anointing for Healing to be held on June 15th at 6:15pm. Read more and reflect on what it means to be Church and get updates on Church-wide events for this year of regeneration.

You may view and download a copy of our June 2015 Newsletter right here.


Our annual and ever popular Basket Social will be held this Sunday, April 12th at the VFW Hall at 1309 Fifth Avenue in Schenectady. Doors open at noon. Besides our usual wide array of baskets, there will be door prizes and great Polish food and homemade desserts from our traditional Polish kitchen. Come by and enjoy an afternoon of fun, good food, and plenty of chances to win one or more amazing baskets.


April begins in a few days. This newsletter arrives as we begin our journey into Holy Week. On Easter morning we will be reminded that we have been chosen by God to be witnesses to all His Son said and did. How will we live out that witness?

Our newsletter discusses that question. It also contains information on our Holy Week and Easter schedule, our upcoming Basket Social (only two weeks away), on those great Easter traditions that connect us to our heritage, and so much more. Come and witness to Jesus along with us right here in Schenectady.

You may view and download a copy of our April 2015 Newsletter right here.


Reflection for the Feast of the Holy Family 2015


Bless and protect
our family.

Brothers and sisters: Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body.

How very important is St. Paul’s discourse with the people of Colossae in Asia Minor. The primary subject of the section of his letter we read today is how to live the ideal Christian life.

As Jesus had told us: [we] are not of the world, even as [He is] not of the world. But we must live here; we must work to transform the world, conforming it to Jesus’ way of life so that His kingdom may be made real among us. That is the job we accept in our baptism. As such we must strive to be living examples. We must work toward the perfection of life Jesus modeled for His disciples – that’s us.

The Church at Colossae was not without troubles. Paul had spent two years planting and building the Church in Asia Minor. Starting in Ephesus he branched out and as Acts tells us: “all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.” Of course, Paul wasn’t solely responsible, for the initial hearers of the word became proclaimers of the Word.

From prison, Paul had heard that the Colossians, who had at one time been strong in their faith, were now vulnerable to deception about the faith. He wrote to refute each of the errors the Colossians were tempted to embrace and which were dividing them. The letter, however, takes readers far beyond theology. Paul cared deeply that all of his readers (including us) understand the context of their lives within God’s Story, and what that looks like in their relationships. We can imagine the disputes that were taking place, the confusion, and people stepping forward as ‘thought leaders.’ Others saying, ‘Forget it, I’m quitting.’ Paul was calling them back to right faith and right action – that they be one body, one family. They were not to quit, even if offended, but to forgive, to become better, and to be living examples of life in the family of Christ.

He puts a fine point on this by saying: And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Whatever we do when we enter the doors of the Church, and when we leave is to be done in the name of Jesus. Very appropriate to us, the family of Christ blessed and protected at Holy Name of Jesus!

January 2015 Newsletter – Happy New Year! Happy Abundant Life!!!

January, we are left with a question. For all we have learned about abundant life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will we decide to participate in that abundance? The New Year always presents an opportunity to make a turn, to pledge our lives to Christ and to membership in His Holy Church. This January we continue our celebration of the forty days of Christmas, we expand our Holy Mass schedule, and we continue our charitable work. Come be lavished with abundant life in your church – right here in Schenectady.

You may view and download a copy of our January 2015 Newsletter right here.


Advent and Christmas Holy Mass and Event Schedule


Keeping Advent and the forty days of Christmas at your neighborhood church. All are welcome to join in prayer and celebration as we come to know, love, and serve the Lord and each other. He came to give us abundant life!


  • December 14: 3rd Sunday of 
 Advent: Holy Mass at 9:30 am. Parish Vigil Pot-luck dinner and Youth Christmas Performance
  • December 21: 4th Sunday of 
 Advent: Holy Mass and Confirmation at 9:30am. Greening of the Church and Free Lunch on Sunday


  • December 24: Vigil of the Nativity
  • December 25: Nativity of the Lord, Holy Mass at Midnight and Morning Holy Mass at 10:30am. Festive Repast follows each Holy Mass
  • December 26: Feast – St. Stephen, Proto-Martyr
  • December 27: Feast – St. John, Apostle & Evangelist. Holy Mass at 5pm with the Blessing of Wine
  • December 28: Solemnity of the Humble Shepherds. Holy Mass at 9:30am
  • December 31: New Year’s Eve
  • January 1: Solemnity of the Circumcision. Holy Mass at 9:30am. Happy 2015
  • January 2: Solemnity of the Holy Name of Jesus. Holy Mass at 7pm
  • January 4: Feast of the Holy Family. Holy Mass at 9:30am
  • January 6: Solemnity of the Epiphany of our Lord. Holy Mass with blessing of chalk, charcoal, and incense at 7pm.
  • January 11: Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord. Holy Mass at 9:30am

Now Thank We…

As I reflect this special day, I cannot help but give thanks to God for our beautiful family in the faith right here in Schenectady. I have been so blessed to minister to all of you and our wider community. I wish on this day that many more may find the Lord — come to know, love, and serve Him — among us so that they too would know the same joy that fills my heart.


Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers’ arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.

Now Thank We All Our God
Text: Martin Rinkart; Trans. by Catherine Winkworth
Music: Johann Cruger; Harm. by Felix Mendelssohn

Ś+P Edward Panfil

EdwardPanfilLifelong parishioner and member of our Holy Polish National Catholic Church, śp. Edward Panfil, 95, passed away peacefully at his home with family by his side on Friday, November 14th, 2014.

238Born and raised in Schenectady, NY, he was the son of the late śp. Lawrence and śp. Catherine (Mortka) Panfil. In addition to his parents, Edward was predeceased by his wife, śp. Josephine (Kopec) Panfil; and his sisters, śp. Florence Panfil, śp. Gladys Ordyk, śp. Emily Kopec, and śp. Nellie Kosiba.

Ed was a gentle, caring man who loved his family. He enjoyed working in his woodworking shop, designing and building many wonderful things out of wood. He also enjoyed playing pool, bocci ball, and darts, and he looked forward to his daily bourbon manhattan and watching his NY Giants and Mets.

Edward is survived by his sons, Lawrence E. Panfil (Donna) of Saratoga Springs, NY, Allen C. Panfil (Anne) of Chalfont, PA; his grandchildren, Laurie Woodworth and Lawrence A. Panfil (Beth); his great-grandchildren, Jessica, Jack, Shawn and Tyler; and several nieces and nephews who all loved him dearly. He will also be missed by his longtime friend, Edith Derico.

Ed grew up in Schenectady, graduated from Nott Terrace High School, and then entered the Apprentice Training Program at the Watervliet Arsenal. In 1943 he joined the army and served as a technician fourth grade with the Fifth Army, 350th Infantry, in Italy during WWII. Post war he was employed as a toolmaker first class at ALCO Products in Schenectady. Two years later he became a planner with General Electric’s Guided Missile Dept., working on the development of rocket engines. GE then moved Ed and his family to San Jose, CA, in their Atomic Power Equipment Department which was at the forefront in the manufacturing of nuclear fuel. After moving back East, he served as a manufacturing engineer with GE’s ordinance dept. in Pittsfield, MA, with responsibility for numerically controlled machine tools used in the manufacture of Polaris Guided Missile Systems. Ed was a founding member of the National Numerical Control Society and cofounder and twice chairman of the GE Numerical Control Group which was dedicated to the sharing of information among various company departments. He then left GE to be the Eastern Regional Sales Representative for numerical controlled machines with the Burgmaster Corporation. Four years later he returned to General Electric in Schenectady where he retired as a senior manufacturing engineer in 1979 with 27 years of service. After retirement he worked briefly for Gordon Light at Light’s Funeral Home. Ed was part of The Goose Hill Gang, a group of men who grew up together in that section of Schenectady and gathered weekly in their later years to have lunch together at various restaurants. His friend, former Mayor Frank Ducci, is now the last survivor of the group.

śp. Edward was a lifelong communicant of The Holy Name of Jesus Polish National Catholic Church where he was a member of the HarmoniacChoir (an occasional soloist), and a past member of the Parish Committee. He was also a member of the GE Quarter Century Club, the Colonie Elks, and the Son’s of Italy where he had many friends. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Wednesday, Nov. 19th at the Holy Name of Jesus Church. Interment followed in Holy Name of Jesus Cemetery, Donald Ave., Schenectady.

Contributions may be made in his memory to the Holy Name of Jesus Church, 1040 Pearl St., Schenectady, NY 12303 or to a charity of one’s choice.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and may the perpetual light shine upon him.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.