I have much more to say to you, but right now it would be more than you could understand.

Jesus spoke those words in His final instructions to His Apostles and disciples, the night of the Last supper. Jesus, in His infinite wisdom and love, knew they were not quite ready for everything He had to tell them. It remains that way today. Jesus has many things for us to understand and to accomplish. He does not just lay it all on us at once, but rather, as we are ready. In the verse after this one, Jesus goes on to say: The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth. That is great consolation – that the Holy Spirit would come, has indeed come – to guide us and train us in all of God’s truth and in Jesus’ desire for our future. As parents, grandparents, and family members we hold great expectations for our children’s futures. Obviously, we don’t lay it all on them at the age of two – ‘this is everything I expect you to accomplish.’ It would be too much, and frankly too presumptuous. Rather, we instruct and guide, pave the way forward. We watch as our children evolve. As young people, we come to realize that the expectations of others, and those we place on ourselves, may not often turn out the way anyone expects – but yet in a way we have been prepared for all along. During the month of June we take pause to consider God’s desire for us. We hopefully stop, shut out the noise, and listen to the things He is revealing to us. His revelation is now. Stop, listen, and feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit, His nudge in a certain direction and for a glorious purpose. Jesus puts His desires on our hearts and minds, He leads us by the sending forth of the Holy Spirit. We have to realize that when He says we are ready – we indeed are ready. Jesus and the Spirit are never before the right time, never before we can bear it, but when we are ready. Have we heard Him speak? Will we take up His charge? Having heard, it is time to say ‘Yes LORD.’

The June newsletter offers tons of information on vocations. Read our Bishop’s Pastoral Letter. Pray fervently and diligently for the gift of vocations. Read from the Fathers on humility and sacrifice. Join us on Father’s Day for Holy Mass and breakfast, and pray for the special men in our lives. Check out our list of summer events and happenings. Read up on ‘saints’ who hate us and false apparitions and visions. Jesus is indeed the final word and we should be following His teaching; all that and more in our June 2018 Newsletter.

To read the original version as a PDF file.

June 1, 2018

To the Very Reverend, Reverend Fathers and the Reverend Messrs., and my dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus our Lord:

¡Viva el mes de junio! That’s Spanish for “Long live June,” “Hurray for June.” Hurray, indeed! And welcome to the month of vocations in the Polish National Catholic Church: June is Sacred Vocations month for us. June is the month we focus on our great need for priests, and on the need for significant donations throughout the PNCC to be made to the Clergy Pension Plan.

Our need of priests is dire and critical, but I am nonetheless hopeful and optimistic. Even though no Polish National Catholic families have sacrificed even one of their men, young or old, to our altars in the past twelve years, (and it doesn’t look like any family will in the near future), I remain optimistic. Even though our seminary has been empty for that period of time, except for the occasional priest from another Church orienting himself there to work as a priest in the PNCC, I have good reason to hope because I have experienced God’s providence. Our parish in Denver was declining but was pulled back from the brink of closure by an Hispanic priest from Mexico and 90 people of Mexican heritage who now comprise the great majority of that parish. St Francis, Denver, is growing, and is enthusiastically PNCC, and is flying 18 young people and 6 adults to Convo 2018 here next month.

Because Father Alfonso Castillo needs pastoral help there, I enthusiastically agreed to review applications from priest friends of his in Mexico to provide assistance to him, and subsequently serve our American parishes desperate for priests. In our Diocese, two priests, in fine parishes, are retiring next year. I have no one to fill them. A priest in our Diocese is on three parishes in Jersey. Three priests are on two parishes each. And there are ailing and aging priests all over the place! And yet I am hopeful. So I say, ¡Viva México!

With the increase in aging clergy comes the need for our Clergy Pension Plan to support them all. We collect for this vital entitlement throughout the year and especially in the month of June. We need more capital to invest, the interest from which the pension payments are made. From age 70, a PNCC priest can look forward to a monthly check in the amount of $600; and his widow, a check in the amount of $300. Please be generous in this drive. And so I say, in my optimism, ¡Viva el Plan de Pensión del Clero! (Hurray for our Clergy Pension plan!)

I believe God is showing us a potential direction for the future of our Church; and that pathway seems to be presenting itself from south of the border. For the Methodist Church, that pathway is from South Korea, and for the Roman Catholic Church, from India among other sources. In light of all of this, Bishop Hodur has indeed blessed us with a most optimistic motto for our Church when he penned: A través de la Verdad, el Trabajo y las Dificultades ¡Venceremos!

Yours in Christ,

Bishop Bernard

There is no
going back.

Elijah went over to Elisha and threw his cloak over him. Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, and I will follow you.” Elijah answered, “Go back! Have I done anything to you?” Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them; he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh, and gave it to his people to eat. Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant.

God tells Elijah to call Elisha as his apprentice. Elijah anoints Elisha in a unique way, by placing his mantle – or cloak – around him.

This is definitely not as dramatic or exotic as the calling of the other prophets. There are no dramatic visions, as Ezekiel had, no cherubim and seraphim like Isaiah had, and no burning bush.

Elisha is uniquely called into apprenticeship and he will exhibit no prophetic ministry until after Elijah is taken up into heaven. Elisha’s call is much like that of Jesus’ disciples – to come and serve, to come and learn.

Elisha, plowing in the fields seems to understand the significance of Elijah’s call and anointing, but also questions. His internal questions are not recounted. Rather, they are made evident in the fact he wanted to go back to his parents to wish the goodbye. He wanted to take his time. Elijah is not amused.

There is no going back. Elisha cannot go back to his former way of life. Elijah prompts Elisha to think about this: “Go back, for what have I done to you?”

Indeed, what has any man or woman done to or for one who is called to follow God’s will? Recognize that God told Elijah what he was to do. God chose Elisha. Elijah was just an instrument to convey God’s message. He didn’t do anything – God did. Think about that Elisha!

Elisha had to provide a real answer to God’s call. What claim does this call make on his life? What ties must he leave behind? When Elisha slaughters the oxen that had previously provided his livelihood, he makes a powerful statement of vocational commitment. He lives his call by offering his life to God and his livelihood for his people.

Jesus isn’t as subtle as Elijah was. No sarcasm in Him. To those who felt the call to follow Him He says, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

As we close out this month of special prayer for priestly and diaconal vocations let us keep Jesus’ call before us. He has called each of us. We are His choice. No man or woman has called us to faith – God has. That call is so powerful and it frees us. Let us set our eyes forward and burn away anything that holds us back.

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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.

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.

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December Newsletter (delivered on Thanksgiving)

December, a journey through Advent and on to Christmas. Will you be going to church? If so, do you expect condemnation and judgment or joy? We should be expecting joy! This December is jam packed with events, from an ordination to our vigil dinner and children’s Christmas presentation, free lunch on Sunday, Christmas decorating and the joy of beginning the forty days of Christmas. Be an active part of the church this December, discover joy, and greet the Lord.

You may view and download a copy of our December 2014 Newsletter right here.

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Happy Labor Day

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Almighty and everlasting God, by Whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified, receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before Thee for all estates of men and women who labor and seek justice for workers, that each in their vocation, ministry, and labor may truly and godly serve our society to Thy greater glory and his own sanctification and salvation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

June 2014 Newsletter – Led by the Spirit, Called by God

June 1st and our newsletter is here on-time. June offers us the opportunity to specially recognize our being filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to respond to those gifts in very special ways (do you have a vocation?). This month we particularly honor our dads and our spiritual fathers. We invite you to stand and recognize the Spirit’s call to faith and to join in growing in faith, worship, and service right here in Schenectady. You may view and download a copy right here — June 2014 Newsletter.

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Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Easter 2014

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Find and offer men
who love and are wise

“Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty.”

The early Church was experiencing a need. It was growing rapidly; the disciples were increasing in number. That’s not a bad problem to have! The apostles were spreading the word. The twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said,”It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God.” They were devoting themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word, but needed helpers. There are important lessons for our parish and the wider Church in this passage from Acts.

The number of disciples grew because the apostles were devoted to prayer and preaching of the word. Certainly our bishops and clergy pray and devote themselves to preaching the word, but we too must pray as Jesus’ disciples. We honor our call to pray for growth in the Church by collectively raising our voices for that blessing each week and in a special way on the first Sunday of each month. We should do so at home as well, spending even less than a minute in simple prayer – Lord, increase Your flock here and throughout the world.

We also pray for an increase in vocations so that the word may be solemnly proclaimed and taught. But, we too must proclaim and teach the word by living as Jesus asked AND attributing our way of living to Jesus.

Next we see that whenever problems arise we must not turn to ourselves and perpetuate the problem. Rather, we are to go to the apostles and seek their guidance. Then we are to act on their guidance trusting that the Holy Spirit guides the apostles.

The successors to the apostles, the bishops, turn to us and ask that we pick men from among our company who are reputable and filled with the Spirit and wisdom. Those who are to serve the church, spread the word, and baptize are to come from the people – and we are to make sure they have good reputations and are filled with the Spirit. It is significant in our democratic tradition of Church we find and offer men who are reputable and filled with the Spirit and wisdom to serve us. We then present them before the bishops of our Church who like the apostles lay their hands on them in the sacrament of Orders by which they receive the special grace of God and gift of the Holy Spirit.

As we pray and witness, as we trust in the Church, we fulfill our duty to raise men to fulfill these roles. They are among us every week, strong men, reputable, wise, and filled with the Spirit. Their love and wisdom model for us belief in and loyalty to the One who is “the way and the truth and the life.”

Reflection for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Your directions are
…hard to follow.

“Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.”

We know this story. Having spent the month of June reflecting on and praying for the gift of vocations to the Diaconate and Holy Priesthood we hear Jesus’ words echoing, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.

There are several ways we might reflect on today’s gospel.

There is the obvious – we need to listen for God’s call and go out to do His work. God’s field awaits workers. We have to be the ones who listen to Him and set out to do His work, to bring His good news to those who are unaware of His marvelous promises. We have to be the ones willing to sacrifice what everyone else thinks is “normal” to follow His call to serve our brothers and sisters.

The other part, the less obvious, is the aspect of trust we must exhibit in following Jesus.

The seventy-two who were called to go out and spread the good news might well have been shocked by Jesus’ directions: “Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals…” Think how those words might sound to us today: “Carry no cell phone, suitcase, wallet, purse, shoes or sneakers.” Just go out, march down the road to the next suburb, knock on a door, and see if you are welcome. Whatever house you go to, say “Peace to this household.

If we reflect on the picture at the top of today’s bulletin, this is what Jesus asks us to do, to first love. Wish peace upon everyone, in every encounter, at every doorstep. Place our trust that Jesus will fulfill our wish for peace and give that peace to those who accept Him.

Next, live. We cannot just exist. With Jesus in our lives we have purpose and reason – a beautiful existence, a wonderful life, and most importantly a life that will never end.

Finally, lead. Knock on those doors and live life based on trust in Jesus. The cell phone, suitcase, wallet, purse, shoes or sneakers are just things. We have to show what we truly value by our example. We have to show others that our trust is in the One who makes money bags, sacks, and sandals of far lesser importance. Then we have to lead by loving, living, and speaking that trust, helping them to see beyond perceived importance to true importance, true vitality, change we can believe in: true life with Jesus.