Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood

The words above are taken from the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 20, verse 28. St. Paul is meeting with the elders – the Bishop and leadership of the Church in Ephesus. Paul speaks of how he was plotted against, how he held to the truth, and how he preached repentance. Paul focused on the example he set. He is telling the leadership to follow that example – to live it. In other letters, Paul spoke of how he worked for his own bread, how he battled temptations, and how he went willingly into the unknown for Jesus.

Many Roman Catholic faithful have been shocked and disturbed by recent and past revelations of evil doing, abuse, and how those acts have been covered over/covered up for decades. You may be among them, asking: ‘What happened to the example laid down by Paul and the other Apostles?’

All Christian faithful are supposed to live, first are foremost, the life of Jesus. We are all called to walk in the footsteps of the Blessed Virgin and all the saints. Paul did that! We ask again: ‘Shouldn’t the leadership of the worldwide Roman Church be on the same page?’

We feel for you and are sad for your experience. It is heartbreaking to have one’s trust broken repeatedly, to see one’s role models and leaders fall so hard by their own fault.

You may feel conflicted because we are all taught to forgive, to reconcile, but we know there are lines we cannot cross. We know that calls to prayer and fasting among the faithful laity are not enough. Real change is needed now. Meetings months from now isn’t soon enough. Committees and focus groups cannot be left to debate issues without real resolution. Vows of sorrow and pleas for forgiveness do not really change anything unless it is followed by action and significant change. You do not want to just sit in a pew for weeks, months, and years awaiting change. No reasonable person would.

Brothers and sisters,

We offer you an invitation. If you are looking to get away, to take a break for awhile, we can help. We offer you that break, a time away for peace, quiet, and prayer. We offer you solid Catholic worship and a chance to take a step away for healing.

We are not asking you to join our parish, or to leave the Roman Church. Come, pray and worship in surroundings that are comfortable and safe. Then, when you are ready, go back to start anew.

Note that Roman Catholics are allowed to receive the sacraments in our parish under the provisions of Canon 844.2 of the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law. Canon 844.2 states that the sacraments are lawfully received from a priest in the National Catholic Church: “Whenever necessity requires, or, a genuine spiritual advantage requires it, and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, Christ’s faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a [Roman] Catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-[Roman] Catholic ministers in whose churches these sacraments are valid.”

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

The month of November is dedicated to remembering our dearly departed. As I reflect on this month, I cannot help but pause to consider what will happen to me. I do not do this to be morbid or to dwell on dark things, in fact I try to focus on those I will leave behind. I guess that’s one of those habits of a part time genealogist. I also like to annoy my family by telling them the songs I would like played at the post funeral repast. The one song I would love to have played is “Knocking On Heaven’s Door.” Any version is fine: Bob Dylan, Guns N’ Roses, or Eric Clapton. I particularly like Warren Zevon’s version or the Polish version by Babsztyl – “Pukając do nieba bram.” We often feel we are standing just outside heaven’s door. We stand there knocking. This takes two forms. One form of knocking is the kind we do every day – looking for reasons, seeking help, trying to get to an answer. The other form of knocking is the one we anticipate doing. What it will be like when I get there. Will I be left on the porch, at the gate, knocking and waiting? The hardest thing to get in our walk of faith is the sort of confidence that tells us ‘the door will be open.’ Yet, that is what Jesus promises us. The words above, taken from Matthew, Chapter 7, are the start of His promise. Jesus goes on to say: “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” He goes on to describe how our Heavenly Father will provide good to those who ask. He didn’t say these things so we would wonder or be fearful. In the Polish version, the singer cries out: Błagam Panie otwórz mi Zanim mrok pochłonie mnie. [I beg You, Lord, open the door Before darkness consumes me.] As we face this month of memory, and perhaps some self-reflection, let us take time to ask Jesus to reinforce our confidence. Let us realize we are never outside the door. We don’t have to knock, He has already opened the door for us.

Our newsletter discusses the month of November, the remembrance of our dearly departed, and includes a memorial for our former Pastor, Rt. Rev. śp. Stanley Bilinski, who entered his eternal rest just as the month began. Taking a simultaneously somber and hopeful approach, our newsletter covers events throughout the month. We prepare for the mailing of our Valentine’s Raffle tickets, the events of Advent, and two beautiful reflections on sharing our faith – plus one positive missionary step each of us can take. We also wish everyone a great Thanksgiving. Consider using the prayer included in the Newsletter.

Check out all this and more in our November 2018 Newsletter.

Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

Did you ever wonder why we do what we do at church? Not the Holy Mass as an act of God directed worship or educating our youth as God has commanded so that they may have knowledge of the fullness of God’s love – those things are pretty straightforward. No, I mean the investments we make in church infrastructure for the future. Since the beginning of 2012, we have taken on twenty-two major infrastructure projects. This month we are replacing the entire sidewalk along the side of the church and have made major repairs to the church hall floor with the entire floor soon to be updated. Do you wonder why? If it were about dedication to just a building, or to memories, it would not be a wise investment. After all, what is a church without people, or memories without people to share them with. Grabbing onto Paul’s Letter to Timothy, we find the real reason for investing. It is about you! Paul exhorts us to guard the good treasure entrusted to us. We have Jesus in our midst and we have you in our family. The Holy Spirit guides us in what we do so that you may have a place, a home, and a family. A place to belong. We invest – we invest so the church is there for you – we invest so you may belong to and rejoice in being God’s precious treasure.

Join us this September as we celebrate brotherly love, take up a collection for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, and welcome you to a ‘Place to Belong’ on Back-to-Church Sunday, September 17th. There are lots of activities, a new kids corner, and best of all, a true sense of belonging.

You may view and download a copy of our September 2017 Newsletter right here.

The 4th Schenectady Out of the Darkness Community Walk is a walk to fight suicide. The walk will take place on Saturday, September 30th starting at the Pavilion in Central Park, Schenectady, New York. Check-in starts at 12pm and the opening program at walk starts at 1pm. You can register at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The on-time/early newsletter record goes on… Well sort of, posted here a few days later but delivered in church on the 29th.

December – that time for going to church for Christmas. St. Paul told us that through the Church something amazing will happen in our lives. Going to church is great,but becoming through Church is so much more. Check it out.

December continues our Advent journey of preparation and expectation. Tons of news on so many great events (2 dinners, Christmas preparation, St. Nicholas, Parish Committee nominations – get your name in. Get clued in by reading through the newsletter.

You may view and download a copy of our December 2015 Newsletter right here.

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Lent began with Ash Wednesday, February 18th. Holy Mass with the blessing and distribution of ashes took place at 7pm on the 18th. We invite you to join with us in fellowship and worship throughout Lent in Schenectady as we have the opportunity to not only look back, but look forward. We will explore these important questions throughout Lent: Am I living the way I should really live? and How can I come to new life? This Lent Christ calls us to discover a new motive for living. To answer those questions.

We are called to live as people challenged to be changed. We have the opportunity this Lent to change through faith in Jesus. The answer to: Am I living the way I should really live? is living as:

  • changed to no longer live for myself.
  • changed to no longer see with worldly eyes.
  • changed because I am reconciled and forgiven.
  • changed because I can truly see and recognize what God is doing in my life.
  • changed and empowered to take action and bring the challenge to be changed to others.

As we not only look back but truly focus forward let us allow our Lenten practices to come to grips with God’s challenge to be changed:

  • In small ways by fasting and abstinence on Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent as we abstain from meats on those days as an act of sacrifice. By charity through our directed giving program that provides gifts of food helping those in our local community. By prayer at Stations of the Cross prayed every Friday in Lent at 7pm. By worship at Holy Mass every Sunday at 9:30am or 11:30am.
  • In seeing that sin and the world hold no more power over us because we have God’s grace.
  • In big ways by changing the direction of our lives and coming to understand what life is really all about. It is life fully lived in Jesus’ Good News. Repented, believing, having faith in Jesus and through living the way I really must live. Coming to new life.

February tends to remind us of our loves and our obligation to love. It presents an opportunity to renew our love toward God and to give thanks for the abundant unconditional love we receive from Him. This February we enter into the Pre-Lenten season of Septuagesima, hold our Outrageous Valentine’s Raffle, and begin the season of Lent. Remember too that we now have an expand Holy Mass schedule and find tons of great information in our Newsletter. Come be lavished with abundant love in your church – right here in Schenectady.

You may view and download a copy of our February 2015 Newsletter right here.

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It is projected that over 150 million people will be tuning in to watch the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks in the 49th Super Bowl game on Sunday, February 1st, while 50 million Americans will be struggling with hunger. Souper Bowl of Caring gives people the chance to help those who are in need and to think of those who do not even have a bowl of soup to eat.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the first Souper Bowl of Caring, when 22 churches in Columbia, SC raised $5,700 for local hunger-relief charities. Since then, young people have rallied schools, churches, businesses and community leaders to work together to raise over $106 million. Like in 1990, Souper Bowl of Caring has remained true to the first collection: 100 percent goes to the charity each group chooses.

Holy Name has supported local charities in Schenectady, NY for the past thirteen years through Souper Bowl of Caring. This year, our Church’s National United Youth Association is joining in the fight against hunger and has joined Souper Bowl of Caring in celebrating its 25th anniversary.

About Souper Bowl of Caring: Souper Bowl of Caring is a national youth-led movement of schools, businesses, community organizations, places of worship and compassionate individuals joining together to fight hunger and poverty in their local communities, transforming the time around the Super Bowl into the nation’s largest celebration of giving and serving. Since the program started in 1990, volunteers have collected more than $100 million in dollars and cans, with 100 percent of all donations going directly to community food banks, soup kitchens or other charities chosen by each group.