Thursday, March 15, 2012

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun!

Dear Parishioners,

On May 16, 1987 I was ordained a priest in St. Ann’s Church, Wildwood.  This year I will celebrate my 25th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood.

With gratitude to Almighty God and in thanksgiving for the continued intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I will offer a Mass of Thanksgiving for family and friends at 2:30 PM on Sunday, May 20th.  Naturally, you are invited to attend this special Mass, if you are so inclined.

In addition, I will be the celebrant of the 10 AM Mass that same Sunday, after which you are invited to join me in the church basement for some light refreshments.  The morning Mass will be a parish-centered celebration to which I cordially invite all of you, my parishioners.

Priesthood is a special “calling” and a unique gift from God for which I will be ever grateful.  Do I deserve such an honor as to share in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ?  Certainly not.  I am reminded of the passage from the Letter to the Hebrews:

Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. (Heb. 5: 1-4)

As I express my heartfelt gratitude to Almighty God, I realize that God has given me so much more than I have ever hoped for or expected.  Most especially he has given you to me.  I am honored to be your spiritual father, your pastor, your priest.

God’s love for His people is so great.  It continues to be manifested through the ministry of His priests.  Sinners though we are, we are reminded regularly that it is not our own talents or gifts but rather God’s grace that enables us to lead people to Christ.  After all, Priesthood is never really about me but truly about Christ.  To use the words of John the Baptist:  “He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3: 30)

Thank you for being a part of my life and my ministry.  I want you to know that I had the following inscribed on the bottom of my chalice when I was ordained:  Lord, bless those who have brought me to and keep me at your altarI depend on your prayers and support as I strive each day to be a better person and holy priest in imitation of Jesus Christ.  While I may unfortunately fail in my attempts, I hope to never give up trying.

Just a few words to those who think they might be hearing the “call” to priesthood as I did:  Don’t be afraid to answer His call!

Nothing that the world offers can compare to the gift of His Priesthood.  Nothing.

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Time of Grace for Our Parish

Dear Parishioners,

As you know, our parish is under the patronage of St. Joseph.  The church calendar honors him on two different dates:  March 19 (St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and May 1 (St. Joseph the Worker).

This year, to celebrate our patronal feast day we will include a celebration of 40 Hours Eucharistic Devotion from March 18 to March 20.  I will be the celebrant for the 5:30 PM Mass on Sunday, March 18, after which we will begin solemn Eucharistic Adoration.

I truly believe that when we take the time to be with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, it is a time of tremendous blessing not only for us as individuals but also for our families and for our parish family.  I do not ever want us to take for granted the great gift of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  Time spent with Him is a grace-filled time.  We can express our love and adoration for Jesus, thankfulness for our blessings, and contrition for sin (our own and the sins of others).  We can also intercede for one another and petition the Lord for our various needs.  It is precious time to spend with the One Who loves us beyond our imagining and Whom we should love above and beyond everything else!

On Monday, March 19--the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary--there will be three Masses:  8:30 AM (regular morning Mass), 10 AM (school Mass with a renewal of the Sisters’ vows) and 7:30 PM (part of the 40 Hours celebration).

On Tuesday, March 20 there will be two Masses:  8:30 AM (regular morning Mass) and 7:30 PM (closing Mass for 40 Hours with a procession of the Blessed Sacrament).

What I am requesting from you, my parishioners, is that you dedicate one hour sometime during these three days to spend with the Lord in adoration.  (This should ideally be in addition to any time attending Mass.)  I intend to continue this devotion both nights—around the clock—but I need your help and cooperation in order to do this.  Could you please think about taking an hour to pray?  Why not encourage members of your family to pray as a family for an hour?  Perhaps a group or organization within the parish can make a holy hour together (choir, Knights of Columbus, pastoral council, extraordinary ministers of the Holy Eucharist, etc.).  I especially need a few insomniacs or night owls to cover the late hours!

Sign-up sheets will be available at the doors of the church so that we can be sure that there is always someone keeping watch with our Lord.

Please assist me in making this a special time for our parish as we adore our Eucharistic Lord.

Could you not keep watch for one hour? (Mk. 14:37b) 

The choice is always yours.

Fr. Ed Namiotka

St. Joseph