Throughout last year’s political campaign and in our present political climate I have wrestled with how I should respond as our nation struggles with issues. From my vantage point, social and political issues have riveted our collective attention as at no time in my recent memory. How should I, and we, respond to all of the tumult?
I suppose an obvious, and convenient answer would be that the priest should stick to talking about God and let society wrestle with its politics and culture. This idea harmonizes with our received notions of the separation of church and state, and at a deeper level it preserves a clear distinction between what is secular and what is sacred. Finally, it guarantees that going to Mass will provide relief from the relentless commentary people receive through our ever-multiplying media.
But two weeks ago at Mass, in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount He referred to us as the “Salt of the Earth,” and the “Light of the World.” These images of salt and light, and His divine mandate, I believe obligate us to engage comprehensively with society. Interacting with the culture and politics of our times comprises a vital part of being Christian. Last Sunday and today, our Gospel, which continues Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, poses a social comprehensiveness that I believe, weighs in definitively on current issues.
The Sermon on the Mount issues a call to conversion that touches each aspect of our lives and works steadily against any compartmentalization of life. The truth of our Catholic Christian faith undermines the walls protecting us from our responsibility to our society.
In the case of culture and politics, the Sermon on the Mount’s surprising take on life shows the points in common that lie beneath so many disputes and the human sameness behind so much apparent difference and polemic. For this reason, we cannot insulate ourselves from our times but must engage our world in the ways of mercy and justice.
And so I have one answer to my initial question; May His Sermon (and not mine) direct us in these challenging times to transform our society in accord with the foundational principles of our faith and country,
Each year, we are asked as a parish family to support the Bishop’s Annual House of Charity Appeal. The video presented at Mass invites us to catch a glimpse of those who are assisted by the House of Charity. This year, I ask us to consider not only those who we are asked to assist, but to contemplate all that we have been given.
Pope Leo XIII wrote in 1891, “If the question be asked how must one’s possessions be used, the Church replies without hesitation that man should not consider his material possessions as his own but as common to all.” And then this startling line, very effective for an examination of conscience: “when what necessity demands has been supplied, and one’s standing fairly taken thought for, it becomes a duty to give to the indigent out of what remains over.”
An early Church Father, St. Basil the Great, expressed this idea even more powerfully and in tones that ought to cause us to look to ourselves: “The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry. The cloak in your wardrobe belongs to the naked. The shoes you allow to rot belong to the barefoot. The money in your vaults belongs to the destitute. You do injustice to every man whom you could help but do not.”
These pastors invite us to take into account all that which has been placed in our trust for the good of others. My prayer is that as a parish family we recognize our blessings and to respond as justice demands.
I thank you for supporting the Bishop’s Annual House of Charity Appeal,
February . . . as I write a light coating of snow . . . ShopRite parking lot full of people purchasing French toast ingredients. Days, for the most part are still short. But, we are people of faith who find light in the darkness. For example, a parish ski trip, our students preparing for Confirmation are celebrating Mardi Gras, and contemplating a parish/community center because of ‘growing pains’ in our vibrant parish family. And yes, in February the celebration of love on Valentine’s Day. For those who prepare to acknowledge their beloved this month I offer the following advice:
Tech Support in Marriage:
The young woman who submitted the tech support message below (about her relationship to her husband) presumably did it as a joke. Her question:
Dear Tech Support,
Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slowdown in overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0. In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as: NBA 5.0, NFL 3.0 and Golf Clubs 4.1.
Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and House cleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system. Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail. What can I do? Signed, Desperate
The response weeks later and unexpected:
First keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system. Please enter command: I thought you loved me.html and try to download Tears 6.2. Do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update. If that application works as designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5.
However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0, or Beer 6.1. Whatever you do, DO NOT, under any circumstances, install Mother-In-Law 1.0 as it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources.
In addition, please do not attempt to re-install the Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0. In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend Cooking 3.0.
It’s getting a little lighter every day, may our faith help us see it!
As we begin this feasibility study, I am reminded that “without a vision the people will perish” (Proverbs 29:18). We have experienced significant growth over the past years and now we are called to address the pastoral needs of our divergent parish community by meeting the needs of today and planning for the growth potential of tomorrow.
As I have been privileged to be with you, one challenging question keeps emerging—how can we strengthen our parish life and help more people experience the richness of our Catholic faith? I believe that the proposed parish/community/office center is an integral answer to this question.
As I see it, the proposed parish/community/office center is needed:
I believe, by God’s grace, that our parish is uniquely situated in the local community and that this is the opportune time to provide for the needs of today and tomorrow.
A teacher asked one of the boys in her class, “Tommy, can people predict the future with cards?”
His response was, “My mother can.”
The teacher replied, “Really?”
The young boy was quick to explain, “Yes, she takes one look at my report card and tells me what will happen when my father gets home.”
I doubt Tommy’s mother can tell me if, in the future, a parish/community center and parish offices will be part of the ‘view from the rectory window’?
But I know that YOU can. I ask you to participate in our feasibility study this month which will determine in large part the life of our parish family.
In anticipation of the Saint Maximilian Kolbe Parish Lenten Health Fair this coming March, our Parish Nurse Ministry is conducting a brief survey In the Spirit of Mercy
We ask that you take a moment to print the form and fill it out and return it to the parish office within the next two weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
A feasibility study is a thorough and detailed assessment of a parish community’s willingness and capacity to move forward with a capital fundraising endeavor.
The Diocese of Camden requires any parish that wishes to have a capital campaign to raise funds for major capital improvements to conduct a feasibility study to determine if parishioners are willing and able to support it.
Ultimately, the feasibility study tells us who we are as a parish. Topics will include the strengths and weaknesses of the parish and its leadership, receptivity toward the proposed projects, willingness to make a pledge commitment and willingness to volunteer for the campaign.
EVERY parish family will be given a chance to participate. Some families will be asked to participate in one-on-one interviews/conversations, some will be asked to participate in focus groups and ALL families will be asked complete a brief in-pew survey during each mass on the weekend of January 28/29.
Families that have been parishioners for a long period of time, who reflect the wide demographic of our parish, or who are involved in ministries are asked to interview or participate in focus groups because they are generally able to provide thorough and detailed information about parish history, current parish issues, and are usually able to properly evaluate necessary leadership potential in a capital campaign.
Ruotolo Associates, a philanthropic consulting firm based in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, with extensive experience working with Catholic organizations in the Diocese of Camden, has been retained to conduct the study. They, along with four other firms submitted proposals that were evaluated by our Parish Council. It was determined that Ruotolo Associates’ methodology best matched the needs of our parish at this time.
The feasibility study will be conducted in January and February. After the final report is presented, we will publish the results in the bulletin.
Church of the Resurrection
200 West Tuckahoe Road
Marmora, NJ 08223
Daily Mass 8:30am, Mon.-Fri.
Sunday 8:00am, 9:30am, 11:00 am, 5:00pm
Wednesday 5:30 pm to 6pm
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament First Friday of every month 9am to 4:30pm with Benediction
Saint Casimir Church
304 Clay Street Woodbine, NJ 08270
Daily Mass 7:30am, Mon.-Fri.
10:30am Communion Service (Hispanic)
Confession - Saturday 5:15pm
(Third weekend in May to Second weekend in September)
Bishop McHugh Regional School 2221 Route 9 South Ocean View (CMCH), NJ 08210
Saturday 4:00pm Sunday 10:00am
Confession - Saturday 3:30pm