May 24, 2020 - Tina Smat, Parish Support Specialist
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
May 17, 2020 - Fr. Chris Robinson, CM
May 10, 2020 - Nate Resila, 3rd Year Seminarian
In St. Peter’s 1st Letter we read that we Christians are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God who called [us] out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” We are, therefore, called to bear forth the light of this truth within our families, first and foremost, through prayer and Christian living, and within society in whatever capacity we are able—be it virtually or in person. Indeed, the apostles ordained the Church’s first deacons in the Acts of the Apostles to not only ensure the fair and just distribution of food to the needy, but to bear forth the light of Christ through their preaching and sacramental ministry. True Christian charity demands, therefore, that we not only be concerned with the wellbeing of someone’s body but, even more importantly, the wellbeing of the person’s soul. After all, eternal happiness with God, our Blessed Mother, the angels and saints in heaven is the goal!
In fact, this is why we as Christians are called not to conform ourselves to the world for which nothing is certain but, rather, to seek to conform the world to Christ who, according to the Gospel of St. John, is “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” After all, Christ makes it clear that he, himself, is not just one way amongst many equally valid ways, but the only way to God the Father. Heaven is only possible, therefore, through Christ. Even though our ability to receive the Holy Eucharist and Confession is currently limited, we still have our marching orders from this Sunday’s readings: help Christ convert and restore the world to God’s loving design, one soul at a time. Starting with ourselves and our families, with our gazes fixed on heaven, we do this by remaining faithful to Christ, growing in our own spiritual lives, adhering to his teachings, committing ourselves to courageously spreading His Gospel and persevering in prayer. May our Blessed Mother always keep our hearts full of her loving Son’s hope, truth and zeal for souls.
May 3, 2020 - Joe Labozetta, Music Director
April 19, 2020 - Mary Jane Sullivan, Director of Evangelization
Hope and belief are two powerful words in not only today’s readings but in our current situation. These times right now can seem especially difficult and challenging. Some of us are dealing with too much togetherness. Others are struggling with missing the loved ones we are not able to be with. We are trying to juggle our children’s e-learning while working full time jobs from home. We are attempting to stay connected with friends and family through phone calls, Facetime and Zoom. This might be one of the many times in our lives when we find it hard to hope so we just have to trust God and ask him to restore it. Even though we cannot see the end of this struggle right now, I am so thankful that I have my belief in God, and that he will bring us the hope we so desperately need right now. Even death couldn’t separate Jesus from his disciples. He showed them his wounds so they would believe and have hope.
In John’s Gospel Jesus says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Thomas had to have proof before he would believe that Jesus had risen and was with them. Are you a “Doubting Thomas'' who needs to see it to believe it? Do you need to put your fingers in the wounds of the Risen Christ to have hope? Or are you a believer who believes that after all of this is over and you can live again, you will live a kind of “new birth?” What will that new birth look like? How will this latest experience, with its ups and downs, its struggles, its sadness, its loss, its loneliness, change you? Maybe you will appreciate the little things in life more, i.e. going out to dinner, watching your children play in the park, meeting a friend for coffee. Maybe you will find a new gift in our Masses together as a community, and center your scheduling around coming to St. Josaphat on Sunday mornings.
When we come out on the other side (and we will!) how can we turn this tragedy into a blessing through our belief and hope? Perhaps we have had more time to pray. Maybe because we are forced to stay home and can’t be out shopping or dining or running errands we have had the time to join Fr. Francis’s Zoom bible study on Wednesdays at 9 am or we have had the time to join the Women’s Group on Friday mornings at 9 am. Maybe we will sign up for the online Alpha on Tuesday at 7 pm. Maybe we’ll have an overwhelming response to our Lunchtime Reflection with Fr. Peter this Tuesday from 12 - 12:45 pm to reflect on ways in which we can grow closer to Jesus. Maybe our personal relationships with friends and family will be stronger due to our agenda changes during these weeks. Will our most important relationship, with Jesus, be stronger because we have belief and hope? I hope so!
April 5, 2020 - from Christine Frech, Parish Office Administrator
Today’s Gospel takes us from the preparation of the Last Supper to Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. This account is the “cut to the chase” of Christianity. God loves us so much that he sent his only son, Jesus, to die for our sins and open the gates of heaven for us. To remind us of this is why the crucifix is prominently displayed in all of our churches, and is our primary Catholic symbol.
Did you ever try St. Ignatius’s method of imaginative prayer with this familiar scripture passage? (This type of prayer lets you “live into” a scripture story with all your senses and imagination. Check out your St. Josaphat Parish Prayer Guidebook for more information :-) The women don’t get much coverage in this story, and of course I understand the cultural reasons why, but, “There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him.”
Would I have been one of these women who followed Jesus walking 3+ days to Jerusalem from Galilee? If we were friends, would he have wanted me to be there for support? Maybe I could have wiped his face like Veronica is said to have? Or maybe I could have helped prepare what was to be the Last Supper?
I would have felt that being with Jesus and going with him to Jerusalem would have a bigger impact on spreading his Good News than lugging laundry to the washing pool, chasing after toddlers, and cooking over a hot fire. But if I had little kids or ailing parents to take care of, there is no way he would expect me to shirk those responsibilities. To serve him best, he would want me to fulfill my duties as best I could, and with love. He would want me to listen closely to what God was calling me to do, and to do it well and cheerfully, even if it was not being in the midst of the action. And he would want my prayers for him to the Father.
I liken this to my situation during this pandemic. I’m not a scientist inventing a cure; I’m not in government making public policy; I’m not a nurse in the emergency room. God put me here, at home, and is asking me to take care of my family and do what I can to help others while obeying the restrictions in place. I can be positive, hopeful, patient and kind. (Well at least I can try!) And I can pray, a lot, for those that he has called to be on the front lines. That they stay strong, healthy, clear-headed, honest, and collaborative. And for those who are suffering and those that care for them. That they get the support and comfort they need. And for all of us. That we emerge from these days with a stronger reliance on God, and each other.
I encourage you to spend those minutes right before you fall asleep or when you first get up in the morning to ask God what he wants you to do, who he is calling you to be. (Even if you think you already know.) Then challenge yourself to listen for his answer. Maybe it will be clearer in these very unusual times.
March 31, 2020 - Gospel Through My Eyes by Elise Wolf - 8th Grade Religious Education
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:23-26)
I interpret this Gospel as saying that no matter what, God is with you and will always be there for you if you are willing to listen to him. It’s saying that you have to love God and believe he is there in order to have him in your life. The Gospel says, “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you,” meaning that he is always with us even if we don’t know it. We need to believe in God and put our trust in him by knowing he is there, even if we don’t feel like he always is.
I apply this to my everyday life as a newly confirmed Catholic by realizing that in times of hardship, God will always be there for me if I love and trust him. Although I am still young and haven’t experienced many hardships, I still have to love him so he can be with me through those tough times that I have yet to go through. Right now, the world is going through COVID-19, and it’s a very difficult time for everyone. I have to trust God and know he’s there to guide us to the light at the end of the tunnel. If I believe he’s there and love him, I can have faith in him to carry us through this pandemic. This Gospel has made me reflect on how I see God in everyday life and how I need to always love and be aware of God.
March 28, 2020 - from Tim Berryhill, 2nd Year Seminarian
March 22, 2020 - from Sue Fedea, our graphic designer
“Even though I walk in the dark valley, I fear no evil; for you are at my side.”
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I am in a very dark valley these days. And it changes from hour to hour. In my less selfish moments, I am thinking about the vulnerable populations for whom this virus is deadly. I am thinking about small business owners and workers in social environments, whose entire livelihood is at risk. Other times, I feel overwhelmed by the thought of empty grocery store shelves, and not having stored up enough. In my most selfish times, I worry about my savings account dwindling away. I think about how frustrating it is to be at home, trying to be productive, trying to guide my daughter through her e-learning, trying to stay out of my husband’s way as he works from home in a dismal economy.
But today’s responsorial (Psalm 23) reminds me that God is at my side. We need not fear. I keep forgetting that, but I’m working on it. Over the past week, I watched Mass with Fr. Francis online, I called in for a Bible Study and I’ve really been trying to pray more. And you know what? I usually feel better afterwards. I get out of my head and into my heart, and I feel God’s presence. Despite our social isolation, we are not alone.
Maybe, like the Pharisees in today’s Gospel (John 9), I have been blind to what is truly important. Maybe this whole experience will help me to refocus and come to a new appreciation of things. May God open our eyes to his loving presence. And open our eyes to what really matters—family, friends, having our basic needs met, connecting with others.
John 14:23-26 - Gospel Through My Eyes by James Kochanski - 8th Grade Religious Education