Monday Holiday – Presidents’ Day
St. Francis Church will observe
Presidents’ Day on Monday, February 18.
One Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 AM.
There will be no confessions, and the church offices, switchboard and St. Francis Adult Education Center will be closed for the day.
Chapter 3: In the Light of the Master
“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”
This beatitude speaks of those whose hearts are simple, pure, and undefiled, for a heart capable of love admits nothing that might harm, weaken or endanger that love. The Bible uses the heart to describe our real intentions, the things we truly seek and desire, apart from all appearances. “Man sees the appearances but the Lord looks into the heart.” God wants to speak to our hearts; there he desires to write his law. In a word, he wants to give us a new heart.
Certainly, there can be no love without works of love, but this beatitude reminds us that the Lord expects a commitment to our brothers and sisters that comes from the heart. For “if I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have no love, I gain nothing.”
A heart that loves God and neighbor genuinely and not merely in words, is a pure heart, it can see God…Keeping a heart free of all that tarnishes love: That is holiness.
Today’s Gospel from St. Luke is his version of the Sermon on the Mount although Jesus delivers this from “level ground.” It is shorter than Matthew’s version and ends with a series of “Woes.” The first part addresses those who are open to God because they do not find fulfillment now, but are dealing with life’s imperfections. These are those whose “souls are restless.” They recognize the importance of God in their lives. The “woes” are directed to those who are smug and have little need for God. These “Sermons” from Luke and Matthew are at the core of Jesus’ teaching and are at the heart of our lives. Compare this Gospel with the one from Matthew. See the Book Review below.
There are two Pilgrimages being advertised here at St. Francis. The first is this November and it will take pilgrims to the Shrines of France. We begin the pilgrimage in Geneva, Switzerland and then move into France, stopping at the famous Basilica of the Visitation in Annecy and the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere in Lyon, and on to chateaux country with the Cathedral of Chartres and the monastery at Mont St. Michel. We will visit St. Thérèse’s home of Lisieux and end up in Paris. Sign up now. Pilgrimage Information and registration forms are available at the reception desk or you may email me at email@example.com.
Next week, I will give information on our 2020 Pilgrimage to the famous Passion Play in the German town of Oberammergau performed every ten years since the 1600’s.
-Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.
While grief is a very private experience, those who have lost loved ones can benefit from the witness and support of others who have lost someone special in their lives.
The St. Francis Bereavement Ministry offers an opportunity for the bereaved to connect with others who grieve, and to seek a path of healing as they come to terms with their loss.
A Bereavement Support Group will meet on eight Tuesdays from:
February 12 to April 2,
from 6:00 to 7:30 PM.
Please call Fr. Brian Smail, O.F.M. at 212-736-8500, Ext. 204 to inquire. Interested persons should be at least six months into the grieving process.
Pre-registration is required.
In anticipation of the Feast of our Lady of Lourdes (February 11th) we will be celebrating special Mass of the Anointing of the Sick on Saturday, February 9th at 11:00 AM
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick brings the presence and healing power of Christ to those who are ill. We invite all who are sick and those who would like to pray for them to come to this celebration.
Is anyone among you sick? They should summon the elders of the church, and they should pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up. If they have committed any sins, they will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. (James 5:14-16)
Chapter 3: In the Light of the Master
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”
Mercy has two aspects. It involves giving, helping and serving others, but it also includes forgiveness and understanding. Matthew sums it up in one golden rule: “In everything, do to
others as you would have them do to you.” Giving and forgiving means reproducing in our lives some small measure of God’s perfection, which gives and forgives superabundantly.
In the Gospel of Luke, we hear the words, “Be merciful even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not so you will not be condemned; forgive and you
will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you… The measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
Seeing and acting with mercy: That is holiness.
I wish to share with you some excerpts from a recent letter by Cardinal Dolan on the New York State abortion legislation:
“This chilling law, if you have not heard, insists on the right to an abortion up to the moment of birth; drops all charges against an abortionist who allows an aborted baby, who somehow survived the scissors, scalpel, saline, and dismemberment, to die; mandates that, to make an abortion more convenient and easy, a physician need not perform it; and could be used to suppress the conscience rights of healthcare professionals not to assist in the grisly procedure. All this in a state which already had the most permissive abortion climate, and one of the highest rates of abortion, in the nation…
In the ‘throw-away’ culture that Pope Francis so often decries, we saw actual celebrations at the passage of a bill that makes it even easier to dispose of a life that someone might find inconvenient or troublesome, for any reason at all. Those who told us that abortion had to remain safe, legal, and rare, now have made it dangerous, imposed, and frequent…
I’m a pastor, not a politician, and as a pastor, I am obliged to challenge our political leaders, to urge them to re-examine their priorities, and to respect and protect the unborn baby in the womb as strongly and passionately as we should the undocumented immigrant, the single mom worrying how she will feed her family, our dying grandparents, or the poor struggling to make it.”
-Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.
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