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Our Holy Church sets the month of June aside and encourages the faithful to pray for the clergy of our Holy Church and for an increase of vocations. We also remember those who spent their lives serving God and His people, being now retired and in need of our financial support.

The life of service within the Church is not without its occasional difficulties, but instead of focusing on temporary and occasional drawbacks, men who respond to Jesus’ call are strong, determined, brave, and faithful.

Are you ready to respond to God’s call, do you feel the support of family, friends, and a community praying for you? Now is the time to explore the possibilities of a life in the ministry of the Church. Whether you are married or single, a recent graduate, or on your second or third career, the Church encourages you to “Come and See”.

To find out more about vocations to the diaconate and the priesthood, please contact the Savonarola Theological Seminary of the Polish National Catholic Church, 1031 Cedar Ave, Scranton, PA 18505. School, (570) 961-9288, Office, (570) 343-0100.

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I believe in
—— ——

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

The words at the very top of this reflection “I believe in —— ——” are the same as last Sunday.

These two weeks are about core-required beliefs for the Christian man, woman, and child. Last week it was about the identity of God, We believe in One God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This week it is about the bread and wine we offer as a community. What is that bread and wine when we consume it while kneeling at the altar rail?

Jesus assured us on many occasions that we would eat His flesh and drink His blood. This wasn’t something He came up with on the night of the Last Supper. This is His purposeful gift.

In His discourse with His disciples He said: This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

Jesus knew very well that many would not accept this. For Jews consuming blood is not Kosher at all nor is eating human flesh. We have confirmation of this because shortly thereafter many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him.

This dialog happened shortly after Jesus fed the multitude. They wanted to make Him their king because of His miracles. A day or so later He was almost alone.

So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

This is our test. Do we stay or go? Jesus’ way, His teachings, everything about Him including the faith we must have to proclaim these core beliefs about His identity and the gift He has given us are not easy. When we kneel, what are we kneeling to? What is this bread and wine? If we believe in Him and the reality of His gift, let us kneel and proclaim I believe! I receive You!

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On Monday, May 18th we will hold our first Holy Mass for Healing with Anointing of the Sick at 6:15pm. We expect to hold this Holy Mass at least once a month. We welcome all to take part. The Sacrament of Anointing is for all who seek the Lord’s healing, whether due to physical or mental distress, temporary or chronic disease, or for other reasons. All are welcome to attend.

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We have true
victory in Jesus.

For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Who is the winner? That is a frequent question in our world. It is also a great worry. We see greater and greater disparity between the rich and the poor. We see working people’s wages remaining the same year-after-year while the very few get more and more. Many may feel like David did at his darkest hour. He recounts in Psalm 13:

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? 
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

Jesus knew His followers might feel the world winning, evil overcoming good, especially at His trial and crucifixion. That is why in the hours before His arrest He reclined with them at table and taught them. He said: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He wanted us to share the peace His victory would win.

John echoes the words he heard Jesus speak at the Last Supper telling us that we are now God’s children, begotten and adopted in the blood of Jesus and fellow conquerors by our faith in Him. We have the strongest of affirmations, that no other person is the conqueror of the world but Jesus. We fully share in that victory by faith. No sports star relying solely on his or her physical abilities is a true conqueror; no rich man or woman relying on their skills and abilities in worldly things alone is a true winner. Wealth, wins, being in the 1% is not mark of real victory, only belief that Jesus is the Son of God and trusting in Him as the only source of life, righteousness, and salvation. The world with its allures and false promises for victory has been overcome.

Today, Heather and Alyson make a decision to believe in and trust in Jesus, to be on the winning team, to be victors in Jesus Christ. Because of this decision they will be regenerated, will be born again and made new in the image of Jesus. They will share in His life and by living in a constancy of faith they will overcome death and conquer the world. They, like Thomas, will say before the world that Jesus is their Lord and God and in reply will hear the words Jesus spoke in today’s gospel being applied to them as it is to us: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Blessed and victorious!

Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Advent and Confirmation

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Called to make the
Good News known

Brothers and sisters: To him who can strengthen you, according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages but now manifested through the prophetic writings and, according to the command of the eternal God, made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith, to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Jesus Christ has given us His Gospel – that is the Good News necessary for us to recognize the truth of salvation. This Good News tells us two things: God desires a relationship with us, that He wants to be more than just part of our lives, but in total union with us throughout our lives; and that He loves us so much that He was willing and did sacrifice Himself to make that love and unity real forever. Truly, He came to both preach the Good News and deliver its promise.

As Claudia, Justyne, and Adam complete the sacrament of Baptism-Confirmation with their reception of Confirmation today, they acknowledge and accept as adults what St. Paul tells us: Our redemption and salvation brought about by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, are without controversy. They are true facts that they fully accept and believe in. Claudia, Justyne, and Adam take up the challenge to proclaim this Good News in an adult way. They stand before us in potential and will clearly state: Yes, this is what I want to do. I know that Jesus did this for me, for my family in the faith, and I want to invite all I meet and know to also accept this Good News.

Their potential must now come to realization. They are like bread dough. The Holy Spirit and our family in the faith have filled them with the yeast of the Good News. This has been and remains the yeast of knowing, loving and serving the Lord and each other. But if this dough remains unbaked it will spoil. The baking will come through their witness to Jesus Christ in His Holy Church and in the community. They will face trials (the baking) – for the world either ignores or hates the Good News. The Good News gets in the way of self-centered lives. It requires submission and obedience. We cannot go our own way, we must be obedient and go the way God intends in order to share in the Good News. We must become one in the great family of faith, not just in our minds and homes, but also in Church and on the street.

God’s mystery has been made known to us. This is not just the word of prophets and preachers, but the very Word of God come among us. Today Claudia, Justyne, and Adam are anointed to make the Good News known to all they meet. Christ is salvation to all who believe. Come share in Him.

Advent and Christmas Holy Mass and Event Schedule

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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!

Advent

  • 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

Christmas

  • 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

October 2014 Newsletter – Change is in the Air

September 26th and our newsletter is here four days early! That’s change in-and-of-itself.

October calls us to reflect on the change around us and how God makes all change work for our good. September blessed us with baptisms and first communion as well as the start of our School of Christian living – God bless our young people. Learn about our upcoming craft fair on October 4th and our Rummage Sale on October 18th. October brings many celebrations focused on family and heritage. We invite you be part of those celebrations right here in Schenectady. You may view and download a copy right here — October 2014 Newsletter.

October 2014 Newsletter

Reflection for the First Sunday of the Passiontide – 2014

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Sometimes I just
cry

When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”

Jesus wept’ at the death of His friend Lazarus. While the most cited passage in scripture of Jesus weeping, it wasn’t the only time He cried. Jesus wept over Jerusalem as He approached the city: “And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it.” Jesus wept in the garden as He prayed before His betrayal: And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zeb’edee, He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with Me.” When Jesus was dying on the cross He felt totally abandoned and alone. He cried out to His Father in deepest sadness: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

There are several interpretations concerning Jesus’ weeping.

Jesus’ tears demonstrate that He was indeed a true man, with real bodily functions (tears, sweat, blood). His emotions and reactions were very human. In His humanity Jesus wept for His friend Lazarus.

Jesus tears also demonstrate the sorrow, sympathy, and compassion He felt for all mankind. Jesus’ tears show the rage he felt against the tyranny of death over mankind.

Jesus’ tears at the graveside showed His sympathy and empathy for all who sorrowed over Lazarus’s death. He was one with them in their sorrow.

Jesus may have cried as well at the fact that those around Him, including Martha, Mary, His apostles and disciples, and the Jewish mourners remained blind to the reality of Jesus as the Messiah. He cried in spirit because even those who were closest to him failed to recognize Him as “the resurrection and the life.

We cry for many of the same reasons. We feel hopeless, abandoned, and sorrowful. We feel compassion and empathy for friends, family, co-workers, and others who are sad. We cry in rage over injustice. We feel hurt when we are not recognized. We cry mostly in regret over our failings and sin; the way we fall short of our commitment to the Gospel.

To cry is to pray. When we pray we cry out to God in both our need and our joy. Today we walk through our failings and face our sins with regret and sadness at having hurt God and others. We weep. Jesus sits with us and weeps with us in sympathy. He holds out His hand with the gift of forgiveness – to relieve our sadness so that our tears of regret are transformed to tears of joy at our renewal.

Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

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“Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you.”

If we have been watching television over the past several weeks we may have encountered a twenty-four days of Christmas programming marathon. Twenty-four days of non-stop Christmas movies and shows. Among the shows we will certainly encounter Dickenson’s “A Christmas Carol.”

As we recall, his former partner, Jacob Marley, first visits Scrooge. Marley is fettered in heavy chains that he drags behind him. He tells Scrooge that he created these chains throughout his life by his lack of charity and love. We immediately understand and connect. We see our sins and failings as heavy chains that bind us, that prevent us from reaching heavenward.

Jesus told John’s disciples: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.

In sin we are the poorest of the poor. We are blind. We are crippled. We become deaf to the call of love. We reap the wages of sin, which is death. Amidst all this Jesus comes to save us.

Jesus’ salvation is an ongoing grace in our lives. In Him we find the One who will break the chains that bind us. In Him we find clear vision. In Him we are healed. In Him our ears are opened. In Him we find the guarantee of freedom from death and the hope of resurrection.

Jesus’ offer of salvation requires our cooperation. We have to be willing to lift up the chains that bind us. If we lift them before Him and His Holy Church, and ask forgiveness, He will free us. If we ask Him to hear us in the sacrament of penance, which He entrusted to His ministers, we will be forgiven for: “He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would strengthen feeble hands and knees and give strength to the frightened. He would come with vindication – freeing us from the accusation brought about by our sin. He would exonerate us completely by paying the price for us.

Jesus came to save you and me. He came to free us, to take the weight from our shoulders, our hands, and our hearts. He came so in freedom we would be ready to stand before Him at His coming.