This week’s memory verse: Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.

1 Corinthians 14:20
  • 9/26 – 1 Corinthians 13:11
  • 9/27 – Ephesians 4:14-15
  • 9/28 – Hebrews 6:1-3
  • 9/29 – 1 Peter 2:2
  • 9/30 – 1 Corinthians 2:6
  • 10/1 – Hebrews 5:14
  • 10/2 – Philippians 3:12

Pray the week: Holy Spirit, You call me to move forward, trusting in Your direction and inspiration. Grant that I may act maturely and in strength of faith without stopping or attention to distraction.

Strength of Faith.

“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.”

Over the months of Ordinary Time, a time dedicated to growth, we focus on how we live out the Christian faith, how we walk in Strength of Faith. We are focusing on our growth in Strength of Faith.

Today, in our exploration of Strength of Faith we encounter a problem that seems to have been a long-lasting one. In fact, it stretched from the time of Moses (and likely well before) to the time of Jesus and on to today. It is the problem, some would say of jealousy, but more in-fact it is about maturity of faith.

In both cases, the Spirit of God moves among His people. In Moses’ time it was the chosen seventy elders. In Jesus’ time, it was those who were moved to do mighty things in Jesus’ name.

In Jesus’ time, the people who set out to do work in His Name “felt” Him in their hearts, perhaps after hearing Him, or maybe just hearing of Him. They were motivated to do what many who encountered Jesus could not do, i.e., set aside their lives, careers, fortunes and go out to work for God. That took maturity and strength of faith.

See the juxtaposition of people who carried out the Spirit’s work in strength and maturity of faith – fearless and those who were not so sure. In both cases, the strength and maturity of those called to act kept the Holy Spirit’s good work moving.

Well, here we are, 2021. The Spirit of God is among and within us. This perspective on strength and maturity of faith cannot be more apropos to our upcoming centennial celebration and our honoring the work of the Polish National Union today. In both these cases, the Holy Spirit inspired people to work in Jesus Holy Name and accomplish amazing things. They in turn set aside all else to do what the Spirit called them to do. They acted with strength and maturity of faith, not jealously, nor apprehension, sure of their footsteps for they knew Jesus was walking with them.

Were there people like John going to Jesus or the young man who ran to Moses saying, hey look what they are doing, let’s stop them? Certainly! Yet here is where strength and maturity combine to get God’s work done. A person who refuses to grow in strength of faith will not step forward. A person without maturity of faith will constantly question the Holy Spirit’s direction, and if challenged they will stop.

In the end, and this is the struggle, we are called to trust. We are never called to build roadblocks or speed bumps; we must not stop. We are called to say yes to the inspiration in us, to act maturely and to remain strong doing the Sprit’s work.

This week’s memory verse: Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:31
  • 9/19 – Mark 11:23
  • 9/20 – Proverbs 3:5-8
  • 9/21 – James 1:6
  • 9/22 – Jude 1:22
  • 9/23 – John 20:27
  • 9/24 – Proverbs 3:5
  • 9/25 – Hebrews 11:1

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, You have overcome all things so that by faith alone we might come to salvation, Grant me the courage to set doubt aside and place my entire self in Your hands.

Strength of Faith

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.

Hope Is Here! It has been so encouraging to gather as a church and uncover all the ways that our faith is strengthened when we find hope in our relationship with Jesus and each other. We have learned that there is hope for the weary because we don’t have to carry our burdens on our own. There is hope for the broken because forgiveness is offered to us in love. There is hope for the underdog because with God we can do anything. This week we deal with a special subject, with one of the hardest. Is there hope for the doubter?

The gospel illustrates a concept that can be very difficult for us: That service and the attitude of a child is the way to the Kingdom, and that suffering is the prelude to glory. St. James tells us what he learned at Jesus’ side: That we must walk in purity of spirit, gentleness, mercy, constancy, and sincerity as cultivators of peace. This raises a problem of doubt, doubt that those things, that way of living, can make us victorious. Can it?

James’ illustrations of the world’s way the way we are to live presents a juxtaposition. We get that, but still doubt because the worldly seem to be doing so much better. So, I doubt, ‘Can Jesus’ promise be true?’

Each walk has markers. Each of them leads a person on a different path. One is a disordered path with disordered loyalties and desires. The other is well ordered with loyalty to God and a desire only to do God ordered things. One is a life with finality, the other life without end. But, can that promise alone ease my doubt? 

Doubt has become a common occurrence today. People have failed us. There is so much false information out there. Covid-19 has overwhelmed us. Each of these caused doubt and we wonder where God is. Certainly, the disciples must have doubted as Jesus spoke of the road to Jerusalem and the outcome He faced, death and resurrection. They probably doubted that being last and childlike would work out so great. We are there with the disciples and struggle against doubt.

There are many struggling with their faith. They may have lost hope that Jesus is who they thought he was. How does Jesus respond to them, to me when I doubt or struggle? He would welcome the questions, the conversation, the wrestle. He knows that honest doubt will find honest answers.

So Jesus left us, the Church, to listen to those who doubt for what they are not saying as much as what they are saying. Where does the doubt come from? Where is the hurt, pain, and struggle? We are so blessed to be that congregation who is willing to listen and provide hope to the doubting. We empathize and express compassion. We allow ourselves to feel others’ hurt, pain, and struggle, and that equips us to meet needs and build a bridge for the doubting back to faith and hope. The answer to doubt is providing Jesus Who is hope for all. What we do here helps us and all to see Jesus as the antidote to doubt.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote of a trip where his ship encountered a terrible storm. In the dark belly of the ship, the passengers were frightened and worried. They were filled with doubt. One of the men finally ventured out and to the upper deck, where he saw the captain quietly on the bridge. With a tranquil face, he looked out across the sea and gave orders. He turned to the man and smiled. The man made his way back to the cabin where the other passengers were huddled together. In response to their questions and doubt, he comforted them by saying, “I have seen the captain’s face, and all is well.” That is what we must say.

Yes, hope is here for the doubting for Jesus is here with us. Looking into the face of Christ and holding onto each other we know all is well. We have peace.

This week’s memory verse: He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

2 Corinthians 9:10
  • 9/12 – Luke 6:38
  • 9/13 – Isaiah 54:2
  • 9/14 – Genesis 26:12
  • 9/15 – Malachi 3:10
  • 9/16 – Job 8:7
  • 9/17 – Ephesians 3:20
  • 9/18 – Romans 13:8-10

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant me increase, not in things, but in the love I have for You and my brothers and sisters.

Strength of Faith

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Over the months of Ordinary Time, a time dedicated to growth, we focus on how we live out the Christian faith, how we walk in Strength of Faith. Remember to focus on our Strength of Faith.

Today we again take a brief break from Mark’s gospel account and this time venture into Luke’s account of the challenge Jesus faced from the lawyer. How do I get to eternal life? What must I do?

The Jewish faith, from outward appearance, even to this day, has a very strong emphasis on doing. Wear this, wash this way, cook this way, spend the Sabbath like this. Pray this way. Responding to Jesus, the lawyer could have just quoted every one of the 613 commandments and all the rabbinical commentary on them. If you do all this, you shall live.

Perhaps the lawyer was just a bit wiser than that. For him, it came down to the two core commandments of love, love of God, love of neighbor.

Then confusion set in, for the 613 commandments make very clear distinction between insiders and outsiders. Commandment 166 and 167: A bastard child cannot become an Israelite. A eunuch or sexually mutilated man may not enter the community. Or 596 and 597: Destroy the seven Canaanite nations. Not to let any of them remain alive. Then there is always 449: A skin-diseased person will tear his clothes, grow his hair long, and cry out, “unclean, unclean.”

Could these people possibly be my neighbors? Do I have to love them? They are outside the community.

We all know that Jesus takes the Samaritan businessman, and uses him as the example of right behavior, for proper brotherly love, for strength of faith. Jesus is being totally politically incorrect and inappropriate for the Samaritans were more despised than the gentiles. A Samaritan woman was always considered “unclean.” Jews and Samarians hated each other. Some Pharisees even accused Jesus of having a demon and being a Samaritan Himself, as insulting as one could get.

This detour into Luke tells us two things. The first is that our studies on strength of faith cannot be just studies. Faith does not live if it is on a bookshelf. We are to live out our strength of faith. We must move from discipleship to apostleship, from students to doers of love.

The second lesson is that strength of faith calls us to the harder work. Ever meet one of those people who when presented with a challenge are already underway in taking it on; before the question is even over? Yes, that is how we are to be. Strength of Faith must be translated not only into doing, but into heroic doing. We are called to love in great self-sacrificing ways, to conquer even the most challenging call to love in Jesus’ name. That is what we must do.

For where your treasure is there also your heart will be.

I like Labor Day, in fact I really love Labor Day because it gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we do each and every day, whether we do it as retired people, when we hop in our car or get online to go to work, when we go to school, or the work we do when we’re searching for new work, for a new job, for a new opportunity. It takes time it is a struggle. It is a constant effort to do those things and to do them well as a representative of Christ Jesus.

The thing we must be careful of each day and what is pointed out by God on this day especially, is that we cannot compartmentalize our lives. We cannot say: Well, it is 8 a.m or 7 a.m or if you’re a construction worker 6 a.m. Now it is time to go to work and I am going to do my work and that is going to be one little compartment of my life. Then I am going to drive home at the end of the day and that is going to be another little compartment. Then I am going to get home with my family and that is going to be another compartment. Then I am going to watch some TV and do some gaming and do some other things around the house that need to be done (maybe mowing the lawn or pretty soon shoveling the snow). That is another compartment.

As you have likely experienced, we tend to break things into ordered segments. The segments of our lives are ordered according to the schedule of our days. As such, what we must be careful of, and what God calls us to consider this day, is that all those segments must not be segregated from our work as Christians.

Bishop Hodur, in organizing the Church, was a great advocate for the Labor movement. Why? Because he saw the Labor movement as a reflection of God’s kingdom design. In Unions people come together to accomplish. He did not say: Well the Labor movement is going to do this and they’re going to do their work in this little box, No, he said Labor and the work of the Christian member of Labor has to be a consistent activity focused on the building up of the Christian man or woman, of their families, and all pointed to the building up of the Kingdom of God.

No, work cannot be segregated from God. Pleasure and time spent in relaxation cannot be segregated from God. Time spent in school, time spent searching for work, time spent shoveling the snow or mowing the lawn or caring for the garden cannot be segregated from God.

We are called by God to live a consistent and holistic life that is focused on the work of the Kingdom. If we do that, what Saint Paul points out will be accomplished in our lives. We will be building with gold, silver, and precious stones.

Remember, Paul is saying that a foundation has been laid in Christ. That is the foundation we are building upon in every aspect of our lives. As Christians, we do not build in some small Sunday compartment. Everything in our lives is meant to build upon the foundation established in Jesus Christ.

It is about how we build on the foundation. Some build with gold, silver, and precious stones. They put their whole selves into the work of the Christian life, not segregated or compartmentalized.  Other use wood (probably not pressure treated), straw, or hay.

When the DAY comes, and Paul is referring to the end times, all of that is burned away. What will be left but the gold, silver, and precious stones.

What is going to burn away is the work of those who compartmentalize and segment their lives. They are not all-in. they have built weakly, with straw and with hay and with wood rather than gold, silver, and precious stones.

So, our whole efforts, our entire work, everything we do is to be within our life in Christ and Christ in us. On this Labor Day then, let us reflect upon what we do each day and resolve to be builders for God, building with only our best.

This week’s memory verse: We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9
  • 9/5 – 1 Peter 5:7
  • 9/6 – Psalm 34:17-20
  • 9/7 – Romans 15:13
  • 9/8 – Psalm 147:3
  • 9/9 – Philippians 4:6-7
  • 9/10 – Psalm 91:1-16
  • 9/11 – Hebrews 4:15-16

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant me strength and fortitude as well as perseverance in the midst of despair. Help me to recognize the great goodness You have provided in the way You have instructed us to live, a goodness that overcomes despair.

Strength of Faith.

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.

Over the months of Ordinary Time, a time dedicated to growth, we focus on how we live out the Christian faith, how we walk in Strength of Faith. Remember to focus on our Strength of Faith.

For weeks we have focused on Strength of Faith, and perhaps it is time to focus on its opposite, strength of despair. 

It often astounds me to see people struggling so much, to see the level of despair they are wrapped up in. I see young families struggling with schedules and financial resources. I see middle aged people trying to make sense of relationships that seem to be breaking down. I see older folks facing decline in health and vitality. At the same time, I know people who face the exact same challenges, yet persevere and come to victory.

Listen to a few words from Adam Zamoyski’s 1812: Napoleon’s Fatal March on Moscow

Although Moscow boasted a French Catholic church whose priest had remained at his post, churchgoing did not figure among the activities of the soldiers. A handful of officers, came to mass or confession, and the pastor was only asked to give Christian burial on two occasions. He went around the hospitals to talk to the wounded, but found them interested only in their physical wants, not their spiritual needs. He said: ‘They do not seem to believe in an afterlife. I baptized several infants born to soldiers, which is the only thing they still care about, and I was treated with respect.’

The difference between people who face the same challenges, and yet have different outcomes is the presence of both faith and the fellowship of Church in their lives. Zamoyski points to soldiers amid despair and on the losing side who were so self-iinvolved they refused to see God in their midst. Their strength of despair overtook faith and led them to give up, to seek no help. They were left with only despair.

You see, we have the actual answer. We have a God of love and complete forgiveness. We have a God ordained way-of-life. We have the Bread of Eternal Life and the Cup of Salvation. We have the “all” so many seek because Jesus said, ‘do this, live this way, receive My promises,’ and so we do.

I can attest this from my own life. Any time where I absented God my life became the definition of absence. It was a turning inward to despair. Yet when I turned to God and committed to live the life of the Church, I was made whole. The challenges did not end, only they were transformed by God.

I imagine the deaf man lived in despair, but then he was brought to Jesus who said: “Ephphatha!”, “Be opened!” Once he was opened his despair was transformed and so are we.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

I have a box. For those who get to church early enough or stay late enough, for the past two years you have seen me walking in and out of church with an old broken down box. The box is my briefcase of sorts. My family often comments: Why don’t you get rid of that old box and just get a briefcase? I don’t say much. I like my box.

This month’s scripture, taken from Matthew 6:33 reminds us of priorities – what comes first, what is most important: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

The box is a reminder to me of what we are celebrating this year, and in a special way how we will begin the month of October. One-hundred years ago people in Schenectady packed bags and boxes. They did not have much. They tread on foot to the corner of Raymond and Van Vranken to build a new church. This would be a church providing them the freedom to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Not long before this momentous event in 1921, these very same people packed boxes and bags and trunks to emigrate to the United States. They sought a better life and the opportunity to add good things to their lives – the dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

What is worthy of not just celebration, but also emulation, is that these founders did not separate or compartmentalize seeking the kingdom, righteousness, and a better life. They saw them as God’s way-of-life. They listened to what St. James pointed out: Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God (James 1:17). As we celebrate the centennial of our wonderful parish, as we reflect on the good gifts we have received, let us remember those bags, boxes, and trunks. Let us recall that the search for truth and the achievement of victory took work and struggle. Most importantly, may we too live seeking what is important first, and all these things will be added to us.


Welcome to our September 2021 Newsletter. We are one-month away from our grand centennial celebration and September holds a wide variety of worship events leading up to this momentous occasion. Check out the October 1st through 3rd centennial schedule. In September we celebrate Labor Day, Brotherly Love Sunday, and Back to Church Sunday (who will you invite?). We commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11/2001. We reflect on our summer events and the great things accomplished in our parish, including astounding generosity. Ready for coffee hour? It’s back starting September 12th. Ready for daily Holy Masses? They are returning to parish life. Pray in advance of our Diocesan Synod and reflect on walking with God and each other.

All that we do, all accomplished, a future filled with hope is by God’s good grace and YOUR love and commitment. Thank you!

Check out all this and more here in our September 2021 Newsletter.