Although neither the weather nor the calendar indicate that Spring is in the air, Spring 2019 Adult Education courses begin this week at the St. Francis Adult Education Center.
You will find brochures at the entrances of the church that describe the 18 different programs the Center will offer between February and April. Course and registration information is also available online here. Online registration is now open.
Please note that ‘Saints, Mystics and Martyrs: 20th Century Carmelite Women,’ a course offered by Mary Gennuso, Ph.D. and listed in the brochure as a three-hour class beginning at 1:00 PM,
is actually a six-hour class beginning at 9:00 AM on March 22.
Jesus deals with blindness in the Gospels. He deals with physical blindness and he is able to cure it. In today’s Gospel, he confronts spiritual or moral blindness, and this proves to be more difficult to deal with. This blindness comes from the heart. He uses examples from things that the people of his time would see daily: fig trees, thornbushes, brambles, grapes. They know that good fruit comes from a healthy source. He is urging conversion to those in his audience, but unfortunately, many do not “see” the need to make a change. This is some of the rejection that Jesus experiences as he moves around. One sentence in the Gospel says much: “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good…” This is what Jesus urges people to grow into over time.
This weekend we announce the 2019 Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal. Many of you have already received a letter from Cardinal Dolan with information about the Appeal and how the money that is raised will be used. The $20 million goal for the Archdiocese will direct half of this to churches that are poor and cannot afford major repairs. Buildings are old and many churches in the Archdiocese are located in poor neighborhoods. Those Pastors have to turn to the Archdiocese when their roofs need replacing, boilers break, windows leak, plumbing breaks down. Their weekly collections don’t cover these costly repairs. The funds also support administrative and pastoral programs, Catholic schools, and retirement facilities for diocesan priests.
While 230 individuals or families gave to Renew and Rebuild, with a parish of over 2,000 members, now is the time for those who did not give to Renew and Rebuild to help reach our $113,500 goal set by the Archdiocese. Envelopes are available at the doors of the church for your donation.
-Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.
Below is a table comparing December 2017 collections to our current December 2018 collections.
We are grateful that our collections are up from last year, but as you can see we still are not reaching our budgeted goal.
We need everyone to do their part to keep St. Francis on firm financial ground. The best way to use this is to make your offering using our online giving system.
We ask all of our members and visitors to offer the equivalent of ONE HOUR of their weekly salary per week to support the mission of the church.
Thank you to all of you who are already doing your part.
Chapter 3: In the Light of the Master
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
This beatitude makes us think of the many endless situations of war in our world. Yet we ourselves are often a cause of conflict or at least misunderstanding. For example, I may hear something about someone and I go off and repeat it. I may even embellish it the second time around and keep spreading it… The world of gossip…does not bring peace. Such people are really enemies of peace…
Peacemakers truly “make” peace; they build peace and friendship in society… The word of God exhorts every believer to work for peace… And if there are times in our community when we question what ought to be done, “let us pursue what makes for peace.”
It is not easy to “make” this evangelical peace… It is hard work: it calls for great openness of mind and heart…it must “face conflict head-on, resolve it and make it a link in the chain of a new process.”We need to be artisans of peace, for building peace is a craft that demands serenity, creativity, sensitivity and skill. Sowing peace all around us: That is holiness.[/tatsu_text][/tatsu_column][/tatsu_row][/tatsu_section]
Yes, Lent will soon be here. It is later than last year when Ash Wednesday was on Valentine’s Day. The book, God for Us, is a collection of writings by various contemporary spiritual authors arranged for each day of Lent. One of the writers says that “Lent…is not about becoming lost in feelings of brokenness, but about cleansing the palate so that we can taste life more fully. Lent and Easter reveal the God who is for us in all of life – forour liberation, for our healing, for our wholeness.”
The book begins with an Introduc- tion by the noted writer Ronald Rolheiser, a section on feasts and fasts of Lent, and an opening chapter on Shrove Tuesday. For each day of Lent, there is a commentary on the Scriptures and a prayer to fit the readings. This is a beautifully assembled source for anyone who wants to understand the season better and for inspiration for each day.
God for Us is available in the lobby of the Parish House.
I believe that we are committed to the sentence from today’s Gospel which says: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” But there’s more to this than what most people do: “love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you” and “stop judging; forgive.”These are some of the characteristics of those who seriously follow Jesus and it is challenging. Our first response and our natural inclinations are the opposite: “get even; get the upper hand; I’ll show you.” It takes a lot of humility to say, “I have a long way to go.”We can all think of those times and places where our automatic response was far from what Jesus expects of us, but just because other people do not show a good attitude or are nasty or pushy or inconsiderate, does not mean that we cannot do better. Carry this Gospel with you this week: in your car, on the subway, on the street and I can guarantee this Gospel will speak to you. Jesus believes in us or else he wouldn’t have given us the words in today’s Gospel.
I wanted to share with you what the May 2020 Pilgrimage is about and why we are advertising it so early and taking reservations. The highlight of this Alpine tour is our attending the Passion Play in the town of Oberammergau, Germany. It is held every ten years and features a cast, an orchestra and a choir from this town. In 1634 the Black Plague was wiping out towns throughout Europe. The people of Oberammergau promised God that if they were spared, they would put on a Passion Play every ten years and so here we are at 2020. It is a six hour enactment of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ. There is a break after the first three hours for a dinner break and then back to the remainder of the play. This play draws people from throughout the world and the play runs only from May to September almost daily. This is why we are advertising and taking reservations now so that we will be guaranteed seats and a tour in addition. This is a beautiful part of Germany and Switzerland: the Rhine Valley, Lake Lucerne, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Munich in addition to the play. The price includes your flight, ground transportation, hotels, most meals, tickets to the play, and a tour guide. We’ll arrange for daily Mass. Think about it, but don’t wait too long to put down the required deposit.
-Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.
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.
Recent News & Events
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017