Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day!

Dear Parishioners,
As I write this Father’s Day, I want to address the men of our parish and community who are honored this day.  While I do not have any biological children myself, I can still understand some of the obligations and duties of fatherhood since I am a spiritual father for the parish as priest and pastor.

After all, I am called “Father” on a daily basis by young and old alike.
When I was teaching the Family Life class in high school, I would remind the students that it was relatively easy for most men biologically to have a child.  No one has to teach the various animal species of the world the process of mating.  Animal instinct will generally take care of that.  However, to serve as a father to a child involves a lot more than the biological act of mating.
Fathers have the responsibility to love and care for, to feed and clothe, to educate and teach their children.  More than that, however, fathers are to be the spiritual leaders of their homes—their domestic church.  Every father is a type of priest for his home.  He is the moral leader and exemplar for his family.  Remember that when we call God “Our Father” as Jesus taught us, it is practically impossible not to have our own earthly fathers somewhat in the back our minds when we think of the concept of fatherhoodEarthly fathers should seek to be an example of the love that our Heavenly Father has for us.
Too often in our society and sometimes in various cultures, men do not accept the responsibility to be the spiritual fathers for their families.   We will have various women in a parish who become “church widows” since their husbands do not come regularly to church.  This also leaves any children that they have as spiritual orphans since their dads are teaching their children that there are other things more important in life for them than God and Church.  Remember that true fathers teach by both word and example!
Do I ever see dad pray?  Does dad ever volunteer his time at church?  Does dad go to confession regularly?  Does dad go to Mass and receive Holy Communion each week?  These are questions that might be going through your children’s minds.  How will they answer them?
I realize that some of the dads who need to hear this may not be in church to read this bulletin.  Calling all church widows and spiritual orphans:  please bring this bulletin to your husbands and/or fathers for me special delivery.  I would be anxious to see the expressions on their faces.
For those many who are faithfully trying to do a good job for their families: “thank you, dad!”
Fr. Ed Namiotka

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Getting to Know You

Dear Parishioners of St. Joseph’s Parish,
I’m your new pastor (as of June 30).
Let me tell you a little about myself so that we can start to get to know each other better!
I was born in the City of Brotherly Love, but grew up at the shore in Wildwood, NJ.  I am the oldest of five children—four boys and one girl.
I am truly the product of Catholic Schools:

I have been a priest for 24 years now, ordained in 1987 by the late Bishop George H. Guilfoyle.  Most of my priesthood I have spent involved with Catholic education, primarily at St. Joseph High School, Hammonton (6 years) and Sacred Heart High School, Vineland (14 years) and as a regional pastor of Notre Dame Regional School, Landisville/Newfield.
Now I come to you with enthusiasm, zeal and the desire to build on the strong foundation that Fr. Josef Wagenhoffer has established for the past 15 years.

Every priest brings with him his own unique gifts, talents and abilities.  I hope to be able to share mine with you.  I enjoy writing and, with the encouragement of my parishioners from Queen of Angels Parish (Buena Borough), began writing a weekly column (now a blog for my parishioners to read.  I invite you to check it out!

I have been involved with Worldwide Marriage Encounter, giving weekends for well over 20 years now.  If there has been an influence that has truly impacted my priesthood and ministry, Marriage Encounter is at the top of the list.

From my seminary days—especially from my time at Mt. St. Mary’s—I took with me a strong devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and a great love for Our Blessed Lady.  Nothing defines my life and my priesthood more than this.
I await the days when I will see each of you at the celebration of the Mass.  Please pray for me as I do for you!
Fr. Ed Namiotka
(soon-to-be) Pastor