God’s own people

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, God’s own people…(1 Peter 2:9)

A race, a nation, a people….We are a community; we are Church. Peter goes on to say, Like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house…We are as living stones, chosen and fashioned by the builder, united together to form a single, beautiful edifice built upon the cornerstone which is Christ Jesus.

But the Church is not a completed building, a finished community, perfect and enclosed. The Church is ever developing, always adapting herself to the world in which she is a part, continually growing, constantly proclaiming the Good News of the Risen Christ, unceasingly uniting and receiving new members. The Church is a missionary community; we are God’s own people, chosen to proclaim the mighty acts of God. (1 Pe 2:9)

          The Church is a community that prays and celebrates together. Like living stones, you are being built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Pe 2:5)

It is not sufficient to pray and read the Bible in private. We are a royal priesthood. We are called to celebrate together in community, in our own parish, the Eucharist and the other Sacraments, to hear and reflect on the Word of God.

The Church is a community of service. The Church was instituted to serve the world and promote the Kingdom of God on earth. Jesus, at the last supper, gave the example of service by washing the feet of the disciples. For I have set an example, that you also should do as I have done. (Jo 13:15)

Why motherhood?

Motherhood is the most lasting accomplishment in life. Being a mother involves hard work, sometimes suffering and difficult decisions as well as much happiness and satisfaction.  The relation between mothers and their children passes through stages, but once a mother, always a mother.

The role of motherhood

To love: Love is not simply a warm sentimentality. In the daily routine of caring for children, love is hard work. The strength of motherly love sustains children in time of doubt and confusion. Thanks to the love of our mothers we recognize our value as persons, our sense of being, the ability to do our job well, to love and feel worthy of love.

To educate: A mother tries to take advantage of the opportunities to show her children how to be lovable persons. Her concern for others, her words, her attitude and values and her judgments are powerful examples.  Education in the faith is one of her most powerful and lasting lessons.

To educate is also to listen, and this requires an open mind and heart. For example, children express themselves with words and gestures. The attentive and listening mother can discover in these signs hidden problems. Silence in her children may hide despair; rebellion in young people may be a cry for help. The mother who listens to her children can educate them more successfully.

To accept: Mothers do not choose their children. They are given to them by God to care for them with all their peculiarities, gifts and weaknesses. The children are not angels, nor are any of them the same. To accept children without making comparisons among them or with others, is an essential task of mothers. Only with an understanding and loving  mother can a child grow to become what God intended him or her to be, namely, a mature adult capable of choosing one’s own path in life.

To pardon: One must pardon children for both their small irritations as well as big offenses. Nevertheless, pardon does not exclude a just discipline. With discipline mothers teach their children responsibility and self-respect. Some mothers, in order to keep the peace, are too permissive and consequently fail to help their children mature and may even lose their respect. To pardon is not to be permissive without limits.

To teach about God: Mothers by means of their example reveal the face of God. By their lives centered in God, by their faith in prayer, their participation in community and in their religious traditions, they give their children an opportunity to enter into a personal relationship with God.

Mothers are not perfect: Often we idealize a mother’s love, and forget that this love is not free from error, doubt or fear. Mothers are human, with all their faults, sentiments and needs. The myth of the perfect mother is harmful and not founded in reality. It may create a feeling of failure in the woman who realizes that she cannot live up to the ideal. Women who try to be super-mothers frequently end up tired and overbearing. True love does not demand self-destruction of the person. Every mother needs support; for that reason the help of the father and other family members is so important for the welfare of the mother and children.

A deserved reward: Finally, together with the sacrifices of motherhood come marvelous rewards. To see their children grow up and develop their individuality and character a great satisfaction. To experience their love is priceless. There are also daily joys and unforgettable moments full of accomplishments and high hopes. Joy and thankfulness to God are the most valuable inheritance that a mother’s love can leave to us.

More days, more fun!

This is a year of firsts for St. Pius V Parish’s Spring Kermes: first three day event, first year for the beer garden, first year for some new, exciting games. “This is  the family-friendly event our friends and neighbors know and love,” said Fr. Brendan Curran, OP, the pastor of St. Pius V. “We want everyone to feel welcome and have added security to make sure that everyone is safe and can enjoy themselves.” The annual parish event begins  at 5 pm Friday June 6 with  a 2-hour happy hour. From 5-7 pm beers and food plates are just $2.00. Friday night the fun continues with music, games, food and beer until 11 pm. On Saturday events start at 12:30 pm and on Sunday they begin at 10 am. There will be a full program of music, dancing and cultural events, as well as clowns that the children enjoy, and all of the great food and treats that you remember. This year we’ve contracted with a company that will bring some new excitement to the Kermes game area, including a rock climbing wall, a twin spin, and other games that children and adults can enjoy. Visitors may purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a red Mustang Convertible for a $5 donation. The tickets are on sale right up to the time of the drawing about 10 pm Sunday night. Winners need not be present, but it is fun when they are! We encourage everyone to join us for the moment of the drawing. Last year’s winner was working on the sound system for the band when he heard Father Brendan call his name.

 

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On the road to Emmaus

Easter is a fifty-day festival, beginning with Easter Sunday and ending with the feast of Pentecost. All during this time, the Church rejoices in the Good News that Jesus has risen from the dead and proclaims it, not only as a past event, but also as Jesus living among us in the present.

In his Gospel reading for this Sunday, Luke tells the story of the two disciples of Jesus, probably husband and wife, on the road to Emmaus. They were returning to their home the first day of the week after the death and burial of Jesus.

As they walked along, they talked about what had happened to their friend in Jerusalem. In the course of their lively exchange, Jesus approached them and began to walk along with them. (Lk 24:15 ) But the disciples did not recognize him. They thought that he was another pilgrim who had come to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover and was now returning to his home.

 The disciples were sad and dejected from all that had happened to their friend and teacher in Jerusalem. They were hoping that Jesus was the one who would set Israel free (Lk 24:21) from the occupation and oppression of the Roman army. However, their hopes vanished with the death of Jesus on the cross.

Jesus gently chided them for their lack of understanding of all that the prophets had announced concerning the Messiah and for their lack of faith. What little sense you have! How slow you are to believe all that the prophets have announced! Did not the Messiah have to undergo all this so as to enter into his glory? Then, he interpreted for them every passage of Scripture which referred to him. (Lk 24:25-27)

By now they were near the village to which they were going, and Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they pressed him: “Stay with us. It is nearly evening—the day is practically over.” So Jesus went in to stay with them. (Lk 24:29)

Though their understanding of the Scriptures was poor and their faith weak, as Jesus said, nevertheless their concern for the stranger and their sense of hospitality were great. Without knowing it, they received Jesus into their home and to their table.

When Jesus seated himself with them to eat, he took bread, pronounced the blessing, then broke the bread and began to distribute it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him; thereupon he vanished from their sight. (Lk 24:30-31)

The Risen Christ walks also with us, unrecognized. He makes himself present in members of our family and community, and under the guise of the stranger and the person in need.

When we read the Bible or listen to the Word of God read at mass or hear God speaking to us through the mouths of our friends and neighbors, Jesus helps us to interpret and understand what God is telling us at that moment. Sometimes, as happened to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we also feel our hearts burning inside us when Jesus makes known to us the Word of God.

Jesus lives and is present among us in the breaking of bread. He is present with families in their homes, especially when they gather around the dining room table and break bread together.

Likewise, Jesus is present in a special way when the Christian community gathers around the table of the Eucharist to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. In the moment of the breaking of the Bread, the community is overwhelmed with joy upon recognizing Jesus risen from the dead and with the realization that Jesus lives and is the life-giving force in this celebrating Eucharistic community.