The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

This month we celebrate that Solemnity unique to our Holy Church, the Solemnity of Brotherly Love. I personally love being part of a Church that pays special attention to the idea of mutual love and care. This Solemnity didn’t just show up, nor was it established just to pay lip service to the concept of brotherly love. The Solemnity comes out of the real life experiences of our earliest founders. In 1906 a Special Holy Synod needed to be convened because events would call us to action. What to do in the face of words of hate, physical attacks, and widespread discrimination? The Holy Synod chose to do what was holy, what Jesus called us to do. The Holy Synod did not result in declarations of war, counter-plots, counter- attacks, or calls for discrimination and hatred toward attackers. The Holy Synod rather made a declaration of love. They resolved to love even in the face of hate, to love in the face of what we might disagree with, to love in the face of attack. We were not only to turn the other cheek, but to love and pray for our attackers. A man wanted to justify what he was doing, the way he chose to live, the words he chose to speak, (today, the postings he chose to make), so he asked Jesus: ‘Who is my neighbor?’ Jesus gave him a choice. We have choices to make just like that man did. Let us listen to Jesus and chose to love above all, to hold our words, and to act and speak in love no matter what is hurled at us.

So Much Happening. September is jam packed with events and opportunities. A special Holy Mass on Labor Day offered for the intention of all workers, organized labor, and worker justice. A prayer service in commemoration of the 19th Anniversary of 9/11/2001. The Solemnity of Brotherly Love. Back to Church Sunday where we take the time to invite and to recognize we are stronger together.

September’s Newsletter also covers the achievements of our youth in Music Scholarships and at the Kurs Camp. There is a reflection on the use of words – which have power to build up and to destroy, and a reflection on voting with an informed conscience. There is even a to-do list and … what if you were asked to spend 80 minutes?

Read about all it in our September 2020 Newsletter.

This Sunday, July 19th, we re-open for public worship.

We very much look forward to this re-gathering. We know that we can do this safely and with proper precautions.

Holy Masses for the immediate future will take place at 10am only. This accommodation is made for those who attended later Holy Mass and to ensure proper opening and closing procedures are covered.

Please remember:

  • You must wear a mask at all times and the mask must cover the nose and mouth. We have masks available if you forget yours.
  • Hand sanitizer is also available.
  • Social distance must be maintained, and only designated pews may be used.
  • Seating is from front to back and exiting is from back to front.
  • There will be a collection basket on a stand, place your tithes and donations there.
  • Only instrumental music is allowed. There will be no singing.
  • Holy Communion will not be distributed as of yet.
  • Holy Mass sheets are printed. Take one and take it with you when you leave. Bring it back with you each week. If you touch something, take it, do not leave it behind.

If you are unwell, do not feel safe, or are apprehensive, please stay home. We will continue to broadcast on Facebook and YouTube as we did before this crisis.

When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.

Proverbs 21:15

I remember those hot summers in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. They were marked by an unease due to the social unrest around me. I used to be a real news junkie and would watch the process of protest unfold each night. Between the ages of 6 and 9 it scared me, and it also marked my psyche and life. Those hot summers of protest did engender change. Voices that needed to be heard were heard. Now they are back. They are needed to make a difference now. The promise of past decades slowed to a crawl and needs to be bought closer to completion. Perhaps it is our general comfort with the way things are. We get used to the status quo. No matter how much we say we like excitement, and things to be different, we don’t. This is why scripture is important. This is why we must study what God has said on the subject, look to God’s design, and then set to work to close the gap between God’s way and what is. Jesus tells us: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” We must live that. We need to ensure action for justice and dignity.

Summer and we have plans to re-open for public worship in our parish on Sunday, July 19th at 10am. Take a look at the required guidelines. We can do this by working together. 

We had a busy June and July/August look to be just as busy. We are looking forward to Virtual Kurs and to re-opening for public worship. We look forward with hope and continue to be the faithful church at home and together.

Read about all it in our July/August 2020 Newsletter.

Be anxious for nothing

Philippians 4:6

St. Paul is writing to the Philippians. He starts in Chapter 4:6-7 by saying, Be anxious for nothing. Now we might say, good advice Paul, thanks, but you do not understand. After all, we have disease, civil unrest, the problem of generational prejudice, murder bees, plus a stadium sized asteroid making a close pass at earth. How can I not be anxious? Paul is not writing in a vacuum. Paul’s command, Be anxious for nothing is not an option. All of our undue cares intrude into an arena that belongs to God alone. Having undue care knocks God out of His Father role and makes us father instead of child. Let God be Father. Paul goes on to tell us to pray to God, to ask, for there are no areas of our lives that are of no concern to God. Pray with confidence, thanksgiving, and receive peace.

June and warmer weather. The world continues to change – and some of that change has long been required. Read our Commitment to Dignity.

June also brings thoughts of our heavenly, spiritual, and earthly fathers. We are called to action. Our newsletter contains information on various summer events being held virtually including PolishFest, our Men’s Spiritual Retreat, and Kurs. As of now we plan to reopen on July 19th with one Holy Mass and with certain required conditions. We will do so responsibly and with great care and only if the situation continues to improve! We look forward with hope and continue to be the faithful church at home and together.

Read about all it in our June 2020 Newsletter.

“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.”

I am hungry.

We previously considered so much to be a part of normal routine. Much of it now fades away, and rightly so. There are certainly things in normal routine that we have learned are not all that important. We have reprioritized our cares. For each of us, church may have been another ordinary routine. Now we cannot gather as we did. We, even the servers and musicians present with me, cannot receive at the table. The Fast of Lent has carried forward, for we are deprived of the Bread of Life, the Cup of Salvation. This is a hunger pain beyond comprehension. It hurts! Jesus pointed out that the hungry would be satisfied, that those of us who really get it and weep now (you know I am emotional, but now I tend to cry at the slightest thing), will laugh. The sacrifice carries on. The mystical union is not ended, it will not end. The bread is prepared. Feel the hunger and cry now in prayer knowing that we will be satisfied and laugh. He promised!

May is here. The world is different. Our newsletter contains helpful hints for remote participation in parish activities and words of hope and encouragement so needed. In May we honor the Blessed Virgin, our moms, continue our celebration of Easter, honor the members of our parish from the former Good Shepherd parish and receive a special gift from Holy Spirit parish. We look forward with hope and continue to be the faithful church both at home and together. Check out our plans for Memorial Day as well.

Read about all it in our May 2020 Newsletter.

Do you need to talk to someone? In this time of particular stress you may be experiencing depression, distress, disconnection, or anxiety. There are several confidential hotlines available to help:

The Family Counseling Center has implemented a Warm Line for those with anxiety, isolation, and other issues related to COVID-19. The phone number is 518-725-4310, ext. 333. The Warm Line will be operating from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you are a New York State resident and you need someone to talk to please call 844-863-9314. There are over 10,000 mental health professional who want to help. If you are not feeling OK, feel anxious, stressed, sad, or depressed please call.

The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

These are extraordinary times we are living through. Our Parish and our entire Church, no less than any other institution, is adapting to these new realities in ways we have informed you of in recent calls, in social media, and via our website.

We remain committed to carrying out the worship and devotions of God’s Holy Church and to continue to plead for our people, and the whole world, before the altar of Jesus. We remind all to remain home and to join us in worship online, if you are able, or privately through prayer, scripture reading, and the joining of our hearts together as God’s holy people, a nation of priests pleading before the throne of God together.

Holy Week and the celebration of the Solemnity of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ are the true central point of our liturgical year. In this time, we are called in a special way to walk with Jesus from His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, to the Last Supper, through His passion, death, and entombment, to His glorious resurrection.

We have received direction from our bishops related to certain adjustments to the rubrics (the way we do things) for Holy Week and Easter. These adjustments will allow you to participate more fully while at home. We are to be mindful of the fact that the celebrations of the Passion of our Lord and His triumph over death in the Resurrection are not canceled but rather they must be celebrated by each of us separately in our homes, joined in prayer while the celebrations occur within our parish churches.

We have posted our schedule for Holy Week and the celebration of the Solemnity of the Resurrection of our Lord below.

  • April 5: Palm Sunday. Holy Mass with Blessing of Palms broadcast at 9:30am. Palms will be stored at church and you may pick them up once the current crisis is over.
  • April 9: Maundy Thursday. Holy Mass with Reposition and Stripping of the Altars broadcast at 7pm.
  • April 10: Good Friday broadcasts. Reflection on the Seven Last Words at 12pm. Liturgy of the Presanctified and Opening of the Tomb at 3pm. Bitter Lamentations, 7pm.
  • April 11: Holy Saturday, Liturgy of New Fire, Renewal of Baptismal Promises, broadcast at 4pm.
  • April 12: Solemnity of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (Easter). Proclamation of the Resurrection and Holy Mass broadcast at 9:30am.

Please know that this message is so difficult for me, as your pastor, to write. It represents a painful separation from you that I feel very deeply, and that I offer up to Jesus.  I could not be missing you, my family, more.  For now, we cannot safely join in the worship of our great God and in the celebration of the suffering, death and resurrection from the dead of his Son our Lord Jesus Christ.  But rest assured family of God, brothers and sisters all, one day soon – we will.

Fr. Jim

Dearest brothers and sisters, 

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020 the active Bishops and Diocesan Administrators of the Holy Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC) gathered to update guidance on the celebration of Holy Mass, devotions, and other events in parishes in light of the Covid-19 outbreak and more recent governmental guidance.

At this time the Most Rev. Dr. Anthony Mikovsky, Prime Bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church along with his fellow bishops and administrators has instructed that while Holy Mass shall continue to be celebrated, all parishioners are to remain at home joined in prayer with others at home. This will apply to the next two Sundays, at which time the situation will be re-evaluated with more information to come. 

The celebration of the Liturgy, Holy Mass will continue so that the Church will continue to pray for her people in the most perfect manner possible. In the Holy Mass all the baptized are joined together with Jesus’ eternity. Again, all parishioners shall remain at home and be joined in prayer with others at home during the Holy Mass.

Our parish will continue to LiveCast (broadcast) Holy Mass on Sundays at 9:30am as well as Lenten devotions on our Facebook page. Holy Mass will be rebroadcast on YouTube later on Sundays. The celebration of Holy Mass will also appear on the P.N.C.C. Facebook Page on Sundays and Holy Days.

Worship aids for each Sunday will be available on the P.N.C.C. website and on the P.N.C.C. Facebook Page, so that you can follow the liturgical prayers and readings of that particular Sunday.

Please read the Update to the Statement of the Polish National Catholic Church regarding COVID-19 posted today, March 19, 2020. 

Our primary duty, at this time, is to spiritually uplift each other through outreach and connection by cards, letters, telephone calls, and other means. We are to continue to do what we can for those most in need and who may be disconnected and in distress due to a lack of food or other necessities. Let us remain strong and united as Jesus’ family. Please, absolutely, feel free to contact Fr. Jim by telephone at any time. We can talk and pray together, or just share some time. My number is listed in the weekly bulletin and in our monthly newsletter.

We also beg your assistance in making your regular Sunday donations either by mailing your contributions to the parish or through our online donation process. This methodology is secure, encrypted, and legally compliant. Debit and credit cards are accepted.

We continue to pray: Lord God, Father Almighty, we ask that You grant quick recovery of those who are ill, grant health and safety to all, and grant the wisdom and light of the Holy Spirit upon scientists, researchers, medical professionals, and government officials, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, and our Great Physician. Amen.

Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

I see tons of advertising every day. Of course it comes through television and radio – old school advertising. Being so involved in life online between emails, social media, work and websites I feel inundated! Looking at something on Amazon is typically followed by months of emails and online targeted ads pushing that product I happened to stumble on. February 2nd brings the celebration of all advertising, the Super Bowl. I think more people watch for the ads than for the game. One of my clergy friends used to say that if he won the lottery we would all see an ad for our Church in the midst of the Super Bowl. I hope he wins really big because it now takes $5.6 million for a thirty second ad spot. Yesterday, I received another one of those Valentine’s Day ads coming through almost every minute. Its point: ‘It is not too late. Jim, you’ve still got time to pull off a great romantic dinner at one of the local spots that couples love.’ Well, I’m glad for that chance. We luckily already have a plan for that day. We worry about being too late all the time. Even St. Paul recalled sadly that he was one born untimely, too late, out of time as the least of the Apostles, and as one who had done wrong before that moment of conversion. He saw himself as diminutive and weakly. If St. Paul left it there, constantly worrying about being too late, we would only see a sad and pathetic figure. Instead, he finds confidence and reassures us in saying “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.” In this ‘month of love’ and month that begins this year’s Great and Holy Lent, St. John reminds us that the message and trick in advertising – you’re going to miss out – is untrue. St. James and St. Paul both tell us that we cannot be too late. Our victory is assured because we believe in Jesus, the Son of God, and because His grace is alive in us to great effect.

February starts with a celebration of Jesus, Light of the World. We then enter the Pre-Lenten season of Septuagesima. The close of February takes us into the Great and Holy Lent. Light. Preparation, and reflection give us the opportunity to enter deeply into life with Jesus as His disciples.

Learn about February’s discipleship initiative. Celebrate Scout Sunday. Get together for adult religious education. Partake in our Valentine’s Raffle. Celebrate Black History Month with a special event focusing on historic Black Gospel Music on February 29th. All this and so much more!

Read about all this in our February 2020 Newsletter.

So that I may make it clear, as it is right for me to do.

Watching New Year’s Rockin’ Eve at the turn of the year and our entry into a new decade was interesting. The team running the show kept playing Barbara Walters, the former cohost of the news show 20/20, saying over and over: “This is 2020.” 20/20 has been on ABC since 1978. It was meant to present in-depth reporting on human interest stories. The name of the program was meant to denote clearness of vision, a goal of providing clear information for the show’s audience’s thinking. The verse above is from the end of Paul letter to the Church at Colossae. Paul was in prison at the time and he was asking for the Church’s prayers so that he might “proclaim the mystery of Christ” clearly and that the door might be opened “for our message.” As we begin this new year and decade it is opportune for us to focus on a message that is 20/20, a clear speaking and teaching on the message of Jesus, the mystery of His coming to earth, passion, death, resurrection, ascension, and imminent return. We people of faith have been given a clearer vision and understanding of these things, what they mean for us in our life journey. We also have a clear task in front of us – to make what we know known. The world is a place of confusion and distraction. It is a place of shadows and unclear thinking. That’s just in everyday life. Think how much more confusing the message of sacrificial love found in the Gospel of Jesus is to the world; how hard it is to love as we should. These things are mystery, or foolishness, or even stupidity to those who do not know the power of Jesus’ clear message. So we must set to work. We are called to present in-depth reporting on the greatest human interest story of all time. We are to call people, by our teaching, words, prayer, and way of life to a clear vision of what life is, providing clear information for all around us to hear and follow. Paul’s prayer of purpose must be our prayer too. Lord, open the door for me so I may proclaim Your mystery clearly, 20/20.

January and celebrating through the entire forty day season of Christmas. We are gathering funds for SouperBowl Sunday, completing our clothing collections for those in need in our local community, and working together to reveal Him who binds up and re-ignites us. Music Scholarship Sunday is January 26th and applications for scholarships are now available. Learn about this year’s discipleship initiatives. Our Valentine’s Raffle is coming up, get your tickets now. We are prepping for our annual meeting. Above all, we are thankful for you.

Read about all this and a reflection on generosity in our January 2020 Newsletter.