Organizations

Our parish was blessed with many organizations and societies that have worked to build up membership, the youth of the parish, our financial security, educational achievement, and to ensure an environment of glorious worship. These included:

The Chopin Male Chorus, the Harmonia and Concordia Choirs, Branch 56 of the Young Men’s Society of the Resurrection, The Women’s Adoration Society, two relief societies: the Men’s St. Joseph Society and the Women’s Maria Konopnicka Society, an educational group: “Ognisko,” The Girl’s — Children of Mary (Dzieci Maryi) and the Young Men’s — Defender’s Society (Obrońców Kościoła Narodowego), a Mother’s Club, and Branch 140 of the Polish National Union, Spójnia.

We will continue to bring you snippets of history throughout 2021 and will keep you informed as to the many spiritual, liturgical, and social events planned for the celebration.

Foundations

Our parish was initially founded as St. Joseph’s parish on Raymond Street in Schenectady in 1921 and was formally incorporated on June 5, 1922.

St. Joseph’s parish experienced a fire on Good Friday in April 1935, and it had hoped to remain open to serve the Northside neighborhood. At that time land had also been purchased on Pearl St. in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood for the foundation of a second parish, Holy Name of Jesus.

Work started immediately on the construction of a new parish based on architectural drawings by E.G. Atkinson. The members of the new parish built the edifice by hand. Construction costs were initially estimated at $261,625.

Unfortunately, the continuance of St. Joseph’s parish could not be fulfilled, so the two parishes were combined and Holy Name of Jesus was formally incorporated on July 27, 1937.

We will continue to bring you snippets of history throughout 2021 and will keep you informed as to the many spiritual, liturgical, and social events planned for the celebration. Also see our 100th Anniversary page.

This week’s memory verse: So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.

Ezra 8:23
  • 2/21 – 1 Corinthians 9:27
  • 2/22 – Ezra 8:21
  • 2/23 – Isaiah 58:6-7
  • 2/24 – Zechariah 8:19
  • 2/25 – 2 Chronicles 20:3
  • 2/26 – Deuteronomy 9:18
  • 2/27 – Jonah 3:5

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, renew the fast within me. Grant that my fasting may open room for me to better live Your gospel and empower me to do so.

Working to change.

Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

On Ash Wednesday we heard that Lent calls us to change, to reform. 

Lenten discipline presupposes that we need reform at different levels. Perhaps we need to reform because we lack an understanding of God’s call. Perhaps our religious practice has become habit rather than challenge. Perhaps we are still doing things because mom or dad said so. Maybe, just maybe, we are comfortable and just do not want to change and reform.

Here we are and now is the time to convert, to change and reform. But how do I get there and do it?

Throughout the Lenten journey we are sharing together we will study the means and methods by which we will achieve conversion, change and reform. This study will help us to reset our lives, right set our expectations, and get to the change and reform necessary to be ardent and faithful livers of Jesus’s gospel way.

Here is what we will study – the disciplines of the season: fasting, giving (sacrifice), praying, study, and proclamation – and how though these disciplines we come to conversion, change and reform.

Each of the Lenten disciplines are work. If any were easy to us, we need to find a way to make them a challenge. It may not be just in doing more of x, but in doing x in a different way.

Let’s say we love fasting; it is never that hard. Well, let’s fast in a different way, from a thing other than food, from a thing that pulls us away from living the gospel way.

Today we focus on the fast. As the hymn proclaims, these forty days of Lent O Lord, with You we fast (and pray).

Fasting is a means by which we rend (i.e., break) our hearts, tearing them away from the attractions that trap us and hold us back and refocusing our time and attention on Jesus’ gospel path. In fasting we separate ourselves from the things that distract us from the gospel cause.

There is so much that tries to distract us, pull us away from the gospel way. Here is a great question to ask ourselves in relation to our fasting: I would be sitting here reading scripture or praying or doing good works except that I am _______. I would be reading scripture or praying or doing good works far more often if I wasn’t _______. There is our stop doing that.

As we fast from what distracts and pulls us away from the gospel way, we will feel Jesus filling that cleared space with new longing to live the gospel and the power to do so. 

as the hypocrites do, like the hypocrites.

Nobody likes hypocrites, and not to put too fine a point on it, Jesus in particular called out the sin of hypocrisy in others. No sin was as sternly denounced by Jesus.

In Hebrew, the term actually meant ‘godless.’ To be a hypocrite was to be without God, that is to be dishonest/untruthful. In Greek, hypocrisy meant play acting at religious observance. The exterior of the person did not reflect their interior. To be a hypocrite was to be all show, no go.

In Luke 12:1-2, Jesus warned his disciples against following the practices of Pharisees who engaged in hypocrisy.

Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other. Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees—their hypocrisy. The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.

The bottom line on hypocrisy is that it is not a determination pointing to a person being intrinsically evil, but rather that they have either:

  • Failed to realize the nature of God’s call, or  
  • Are failing to properly live out the call they have.  

Religious hypocrites don’t really get it and make a mistake by interpreting their actions as true religion versus having a complete metanoia – a complete change in one’s life, from heart to mind, soul, spirit, and outward; all coming from spiritual conversion.

Some practical examples as Jesus points out today: Fasting and appearing as if one is suffering. Why not bother if it is just for show? Giving to be seen as giving. Why bother if it is just play acting? Why pray if it is only to hear oneself mumbling words made meaningless because they are not meant?

Jesus’ points about already being repaid pales in comparison to His warning from Luke 12 – if you are only doing it for show, unthinking, without inner change, play acting – everybody is going to find out, it will be revealed, you won’t be able to keep it a secret.

Lent calls us to change, to a genuine metanoia. The Lenten call presupposes the fact that we are all play acting at different levels. Perhaps it is because we lack a complete understanding of what God is calling us to. Perhaps our religious practice has become habit rather that challenge. Perhaps we are doing things because mom or dad said so. Maybe, just maybe, we are comfortable and just do not want to change.

Now is the time to have our hearts convicted, to convert and to change. We are called to rend our hearts, to break our hearts for failures and to learn a lesson from that heartbreak – a lesson that pushes us to be genuine, to live God’s call fully and completely, to be changed throughout.

St. Paul nails it: do not receive the grace of God in vain. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We have to work at truly being God’s vision of us this very minute, now, and stop any play acting we are doing. God’s grace stands ready to get us there – we must not take that opportunity in vain.

Why we do what we do is key to right perspective and true religion, to ending hypocrisy. This is what we will focus on throughout the Lenten journey we are sharing together. Understanding gained in this process and study will help us to reset our lives, right set our expectations, and get to the metanoia that will bring us to being genuine (not hypocritic) bearers and livers of Jesus’s gospel.

This week’s memory verse: And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:5
  • 2/14 – Isaiah 43:19
  • 2/15 – Romans 12:2
  • 2/16 – 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • 2/17 – Ephesians 4:22-24
  • 2/18 – 1 Peter 1:3
  • 2/19 – Lamentations 3:22-23
  • 2/20 – Colossians 3:9-10

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, You have clothed me in the new garment of salvation. You fill me each day with the new wine of Your grace. Grant that I may share Your ever new love with all those I encounter.

Cleaning out.

  • First reading: Hosea 2:16,17,21,22
  • Psalm: 103:1-4,8,10,12-13
  • Epistle: 2 Corinthians 3:1-6
  • Gospel: Mark 2:18-22

“No, new wine is poured in new wineskins.”

We are in the final half-week of this short season dedicated to preparation for our Lenten journey. It is a season of ‘cleaning out the old’ to make room for the new thing God has waiting for us.

In the first Sunday of Pre-Lent we recognized our likeness to the leper in the Gospel. We acknowledged the fact that we need Jesus to make us clean, clean from old idols and rebellion against God. We were asked to trust that He will indeed cleanse us.

Last week we saw Jesus forgiving sin and showing forth this authority to do so through the curing of the paralytic. Jesus came to cleanse us at an entirely different level – like with the paralytic a cleansing so deep it is complete. St. Paul reminded us that God’s promises are sure and firm. He will do what He says, providing us complete cleansing, forgiveness, and healing. We need only trust.

Today we focus on the room we have made by cleaning out the old and by trusting in God to cleanse us. The room we have made prepares us for the new thing God has waiting for us.

Have you ever reflected on how amazing God is at doing something new? Who else but our God would do new amazing things like lead His people dry shod through the midst of the sea on their way to freedom? Who else would cause the walls of the world’s strongest city to fall before His people? Who would allow His servants to walk safely through the hottest oven ever built? Who would give victory to His armies in the face of overwhelming opposition? Who would send His Son to save us? Who would love a prostitute?

Wait, what? Yes, who else, beside our amazing God, would be bold enough to do what no one else would do, love a prostitute.

The story of the Prophet Hosea is exactly that, God’s next new thing. Hosea was commanded to go out, find, clean up, and marry Gomer the prostitute. Hosea was commanded to go after her, even when she chose to leave him so she could go back to prostitution. In this relationship, God shows forth the depth of His love, a love ever new and renewing. A love deep, complete, and powerful to do new for Gomer and for us.

Jesus speaks of clothes and wineskins. Imagine your oldest most threadbare clothes. God’s ever new way is not to fix up your old clothes with patches, trying to cover the holes that leave us exposed. Rather, He has prepared new brilliant white clothes for us to wear into the kingdom. He does not want to fill the old us with His new wine, His word and His very self. If He did, we would burst. Rather He makes us new, in and out, and ready to receive His next new thing this Lent. 

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Grace and peace to you all.

Because some of you have been requesting of your priest to have wakes or viewings of the deceased or visitations to the grieving family held in your parish church, I am responding to all of you here with my teaching on the matter.

The gatherings of family and friends before the funeral are not to take place within your parish church, but rather at the funeral home. Of course, I can still remember, at the age of ten back in 1957 in Buffalo, being one of two altar boys who accompanied the priest, right before the funeral, to the house of the deceased for prayers, where the body was laid out (yes, that’s how we referred to it!) in the living room where the couch usually stood. I never could figure out where they hid that thing to make room for the coffin, and the bouquets, and some folding chairs, and the stands with red seven-day votive candles, and then, frequently, the three- dimensional lighted portrait of our Lord with eyes that met your gaze wherever in the room you stood to admire it – or so thought the ten- year old altar boy. (Those were the days!)

It is important for you to understand that the wake itself is a social gathering associated with death, a time for family and friends of the deceased to gather together in grief to remember the one they loved or were acquainted with in various settings.

This is a time of sharing and thereby a time of bringing comfort through consolation to the family members of the deceased. This time is a chance for friends and loved ones to offer personal words, both privately and publicly (that is, eulogies offered by family members and friends), about the deceased including joyful, noteworthy as well as humorous accounts from among their experiences in life with the deceased. The wake also serves as a time for the family to prepare emotionally for the funeral that follows.

Individual prayers or prayers within a brief service of worship might or might not be a part of the wake experience. But as it usually happens at wakes, the discussions between the mourners/comforters themselves and with the grieving family escalate in volume, with a welcomed joviality that relieves some of the grief that many present are feeling. In fact, the gathering can become quite noisy. I truly believe these conditions are appropriate and necessary and even therapeutic for those attending the wake. It’s for that reason, then, that the appropriate venue or setting for this action is the funeral home. Your parish church is not available for this purpose.

Your parish church is the Church’s liturgical environment within which we require silence and reverence for prayer and meditation, especially before Mass and various services of worship. Our liturgical environment is a holy space, and everyone who avails himself of the opportunity to be within that sacred area is expected to observe its sanctity by the silence and reverence for prayer and meditation I described above.

When you are in your parish church you are in the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament contained within the tabernacle at the high altar. (Removing the Blessed Sacrament is not an option.) Therefore, the distraction of conversation, amusements, or social diversions which naturally, and necessarily, occur during the wake make your parish church an inappropriate setting for that pre-funeral occasion.

There is one final point I need to make on the matter: The structure of the Order of our Polish National Catholic Church funeral rite is an instructive guide for us. The ceremonies of the day indicate the rites begin in the funeral home after which the body is transferred to the church for the funeral Mass, and then to the cemetery for the final committal. That the ceremonies of the day continue after the body is transferred from the funeral home to the parish church is a clear sign that our ritual does not at all envision any type of viewing in the church.

I hope this clarifies for you the reasons for utilizing the services of the funeral home for the purpose of the wake you may need to plan.

God bless you all in your discipleship and your faithful adherence to the teachings of your Bishop.

Bishop Bernard

This week’s memory verse: And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6
  • 2/7 – 1 Corinthians 13:10
  • 2/8 – John 1:14
  • 2/9 – James 1:4
  • 2/10 – John 6:40
  • 2/11 – Psalm 16:10
  • 2/12 – Revelation 14:12
  • 2/13 – Matthew 8:16

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant me your yes and amen. Heal me completely from every ill: physical, spiritual, and mental. Help me to rise from my mat and go forth proclaiming your Holy Name.

Cleaning out.

  • First reading: Isaiah 43:18-19,21-22,24-25
  • Psalm: 41:2-3,4-5,13-14
  • Epistle: 2 Corinthians 1:18-22
  • Gospel: Mark 2:1-12

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

We are in the second week of this short two-and-a-half-week season dedicated to preparation for our Lenten journey. It is a season of ‘cleaning out the old’ to make room for the new thing God has waiting for us.

Last Sunday we recognized our likeness to the leper in the Gospel. We acknowledged the fact that we must throw away the old idols within us and clean ourselves of the rebellion against God that is in us. We must ask Jesus to cleanse us of our ẓaraʿat, and trust that He will cleanse us.

Jesus pointedly brings that message home to us today. We must trust that He can and will cleanse us.

The story of the paralyzed man and his friends is dramatic. A crowded street and entryway to a home. People pressing in on all sides, the man and his friends unable to get to Jesus. They get up to the roof and tear it open to lower their friend to Jesus. It is miracle time. Jesus is going to cleanse him of his paralyzing condition.

Jesus had been sitting there speaking the word to them. He was proclaiming the gospel message, repent and believe, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. I have come to free you from your handicaps, from your blindness and captivity. He was alluding to the words of Isaiah: The past is forgotten; a new way is being made. No matter how obstinate you have been, no matter how sinful, for My own sake I wipe out your offenses, and remember not your sins. I have come to cleanse you at a whole different level – completely.

Some in the room were listening, others not. Along (or down) comes the paralyzed man. The room goes silent. What will happen next. Will he walk? Will Jesus fail?

Jesus looks up and says: “Son, your sins are forgiven.” I am hereby cleansing you of every sin, every failing, every fault. 

The Scribes (read lawyers) were shocked. Jesus cannot cleanse that way. That is blasphemy. So, Jesus confronts them. He asks them what is harder, the cleansing of forgiveness or of healing.

Jesus shows that His cleaning is God’s cleaning and that His cleaning is at a different level – it is so deep it is complete.

St. Paul got our doubt about the completeness of Jesus’ cleansing. How could God free me, heal me, cleanse me. That is why Paul told us that Jesus is YES and AMEN. In Greek “yes” means “sure” and “amen” means “firm.” All of God’s promises are sure and firm. They are unchanging, unwavering, and unmovable. He will do what He says. He will provide us complete cleansing. Jesus has forgiveness and healing waiting for us. Yes, we can trust in Him.