Dear Friends in Christ:
First and foremost…on this Mother’s Day Weekend I offer to all mothers, grandmothers, aunts, Godmothers, and to all who fill the role of mother in other people’s lives a very HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Please know that each of you are in our prayers.
How appropriate it is that in this month of May in which we honor the Blessed Mother Mary we also honor our own mothers, grandmothers, and all who love us in a motherly way by celebrating Mother’s Day. With gratitude, let us offer a prayer of thanks to our Blessed Mother. Let us take a moment to thank her for her motherly care. Let us also take the time to say thanks to God for the gift of our own mothers, grandmothers, and motherly figures in our lives—both those living and those deceased—who helped us to become who we are today.
May Mary, the Mother of our Savior, and Mother of us all, pray for us. Happy Mother’s Day!
A word of HAPPIEST CONGRATULATIONS to over 100 of our third graders who received their First Holy Communion and to the over 100 high schoolers who received the Sacrament of Confirmation last weekend. It was such a joy for me and Father O’Neill to see our young people filled with excitement as they received their Sacraments. What a true privilege it is for us as priests to journey with our young people during their preparation for the Sacraments. We pray for these fine young people, in a special way, that they may always follow the call of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and walk as children of God spreading His love in their lives and the lives of those they encounter. Again, happiest congratulations to our young people and please know your parish family loves you!
I wish to express my profound gratitude to all involved in preparing our young people for the Sacraments. Thank you to their parents and godparents, first and foremost, for fulfilling the promise you made on the day of their baptism to bring them up in the practice of the faith. Thank you to their teachers and catechists from our Parish School and our Religious Education Program who journeyed with them, taught them, shared your faith with them, and prepared them for the celebration of the Sacraments!
Also a word of deep gratitude to all involved in our Religious Education Program! As the celebrations of First Holy Communion and Confirmation are now complete and our formal classes for religious education have come to the end of another year of growing in the faith, I wish to express my deep and profound gratitude to Mrs. Donna Yatcko for all that she does as our Director of Religious Education. Her joy for bringing others, young and older, closer to the Lord and guiding others to grow into a deeper relationship with the Lord is evident in her daily work with our parish children and adults. I am most grateful to her, as I am to her office assistant Elsa Loehmann, and our site-coordinator Doreen Festa, who work so hard to ensure our program runs smoothly and efficiently.
To our many volunteer catechists who give of their own time and talent as they share our faith with our young people I say thank you! We could never educate all of our children in the faith without the help of the countless men, women, and high school students who assist in our religious education program. May you all be blessed for your generosity of spirit and the joy you bring into the lives of God’s children!
Today is also Good Shepherd Sunday, and World Day of Prayer for Vocations! The Gospel this Fourth Sunday of Easter always features a Gospel referring to Jesus as the Good Shepherd. While that Gospel passage this weekend (Jn. 10:27-30) is the shortest (only five sentences), it packs a powerful message.
First, Jesus counts among his followers his “sheep” those who hear and recognize his voice. So how do we hear and recognize Jesus’ voice? By getting to know Jesus as a companion and friend through prayer and worship. By reading the Scriptures, particularly the Gospels which are about His life and ministry, which give His teachings and sayings, and which share with us about His ultimate sacrifice of love for us. By receiving Him in the Eucharist when we receive His most precious Body and Blood and by receiving His forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which helps us to know Him personally.
Secondly we have within this short passage Jesus’ promise of eternal life to us when He says: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” Wow! What a gift! Jesus, who Himself passed through death to life in the great “Paschal Mystery” offers us who follow Him the very same. That is great cause for our being overwhelmed with joy this Easter Season!
As always, remember to pray for our parish families and ask God’s blessings as we build His kingdom here. Please know that I am praying for you, and I ask for your prayers for me, that together through the intercession of Saint Bridget of Sweden, our Patroness, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.