Monday, November 26, 2012

And So It Begins . . .



Dear Parishioners,

I enjoyed the annual Thanksgiving holiday dinner with various family members.  I realized, once again, how truly blessed I am.  I have three brothers and a sister and their families, as well as my mother, in close proximity.  I am so fortunate to have had a large number of people (17 including me) together to share this family day and traditional meal.  I cooked the turkey and a few of the side dishes while the rest of the family brought some particular specialties from their own homes to the table.

My youngest nephews—now two and four—were in constant motion, seeming to have an endless energy supply.  I couldn’t find the plugs to disconnect or the batteries to remove in order to slow them down.  Oh to be so young again!

That night, after everyone had left, I watched the news on TV.  I was disheartened to hear about the various stores that were now starting the Black Friday shopping madness on Thanksgiving Day itself—calling it Grey Thursday, in some instances.

More upsetting to me were those people who decided to forgo time spent with family and friends to begin to camp out or stand in line in order to be early enough to get some advertised bargain.  I worry whenever we start to put material things ahead of family, friendships and relationshipsPeople should certainly be more important than things, as far as I am concerned.

I write this column on what they now call Cyber Monday.  Do you see some sort of unending pattern here?  I’m waiting for a Thrifty Tuesday, What-About-Wednesday or Super-Shoppers Saturday sale to begin shortly!  (How’s that for alliteration?)

Advent starts this weekend.  I ponder once again whether or not this season of preparation for the Birth of Christ will make a difference to most people.  Why do we have to come up with slogans like Keep Christ in Christmas in order to remind us of something that should be so obvious?

I attempt to do my part to keep things in proper perspective.  My annual Christmas shopping remains almost non-existent, except for a few toy Hess trucks for my youngest nephews.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the economy will be helped by my purchases.  But perhaps my spiritual life and my soul might be.

Fr. Ed Namiotka
Pastor

    

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christ the King




Dear Parishioners,

Here in the United States we are not used to having royalty as part of our system of governance, as are the United Kingdom and various European nations.  We, as Americans, declared our independence from a nation ruled by a king.

Moreover, we as a people have just been though a seemingly endless and (sometimes brutal) democratic election process in which we elected our president and other civic officials.  Democracy is part of the fabric of our nation.

So how do we in our society understand and react to this concept of Christ the King?

First of all, I have continually reminded people that truth is not subject to a democratic vote or to a popularity poll.  For example, if we were to take a vote and popular opinion decided that there are now four persons in God and God is not a Trinity, would it make it so?  Absolutely not.  Our opinion of this matter is really insignificant because it can never supplant Divine Revelation.

When we call Christ our King, we acknowledge that He has absolute sovereignty over us as His people and we are subject to what He commands of us.  While we always retain our free-will and can choose to be obedient or not, God is still ultimately in charge.  Jesus the Christ announced to us that “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mk. 1:15)

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:  "The kingdom of Christ (is) already present in mystery", "on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom." (669)    The Catechism continues:  Though already present in his Church, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled "with power and great glory" by the King's return to earth. (671)

Our understanding and our attitude as the People of God have ultimately to conform to the will of God—not the other way around.  From the very beginning, we as creatures seemed to think that we knew better and can do better than God, the Creator.  This is the essence of the original sin.  Various ongoing effects of this sin continue to manifest itself over and over again throughout history, right up to this very time:  “Nobody is going to tell me what to do!”—to some, not even God Himself, I’m afraid.

May this Solemnity of the Church—Christ the King—remind us of the need to be humble, respectful and obedient to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ the King.

It is utter foolishness to do otherwise.

Fr. Ed Namiotka
Pastor


Sunday, November 18, 2012

No Better Way to Give Thanks




Dear Parishioners,

With Thanksgiving approaching, I think it is always a good practice to take the time to say “thanks” for the many gifts and blessings that we have in life.

First of all, I thank God that He has done so much in my life.  I thank Him for the gift of life itself, for health, for family, and for the gift of the ministerial priesthood.  I also give special thanks for you, my parishioners, whom I have the privilege of serving in this parish.  My list goes on and on.

I think that there is no better way to give “thanks” to God than by joining together for the Eucharist—the most perfect offering, the most perfect prayer of thanksgiving to God.  What a privilege to receive the precious Body and Blood of Jesus our Savior!  We remember Him at every Mass when He took ordinary bread and wine and changed these elements into the inestimable gift of Himself for us!  Please make it a priority to join our parish family each week around the altar to give thanks.

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With regard to some parish business, the “cry room” in the back of church is now completed.  I hope that it is helpful for those parents with small children who may see them, at times, become unruly.  I ask that this room not be used as a playroom.  I love to see the children with the rest of the congregation, provided they are not a distraction for others.  This room is also not intended as a place for adults who seek alternate seating outside the body of the church.

This room will also become the new location for the Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation / Confession) once the kneeler and screen are finished.  The room will provide two options for the sacrament:  anonymous (behind a screen) or face-to-face.

Also, the room can be used whenever we have weddings, so that the bridal party has a place to gather before the ceremony.

I think that this room will prove to be quite useful for many reasons.

For the safety of all, I request that all people be both attentive and careful in the church and school parking lots.  Nothing is more important than the safety of our parishioners!  In addition, if everyone parks in the designated areas and according to the designated patterns, we have many more spots available for our entire congregation.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving with your families!

Fr. Ed Namiotka
Pastor

  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Remembering the Holy Souls



Dear Parishioners,

November is the month in which we traditionally remember our beloved deceased—the Holy Souls.  We should be aware that the Catholic Church continually encourages prayer for the dead, especially by remembering our deceased at the Eucharistic Sacrifice (Mass).

 
(#379)  The Church offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Christ’s Passover for the dead so that, since all the members of Christ’s body are in communion with each other, the petition for spiritual help on behalf of some may bring comforting hope to others.

(#6)  During the Eucharist, through the general intercessions and the Memento for the dead, the assembled community presents to the Father of all mercies those who have died, so that through the trial of purgatory they will be purified, if necessary, and attain eternal joy.  In entrusting them to the Lord, we recognize our solidarity with them and share in their salvation in this wondrous mystery of the communion of saints.  The Church believes that the souls detained in purgatory “are helped by the prayers of the faithful and most of all by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar” (Council of Trent, Decree on Purgatory), as well as by “alms and other works of piety” (Eugene IV, Bull Laetantur coeli).
(#7)  I, therefore, encourage Catholics to pray fervently for the dead, for their family members and for all our brothers and sisters who have died, that they may obtain the remission of the punishments due to their sins and may hear the Lord’s call: “Come, O my dear soul, to eternal repose in the arms of my goodness, which has prepared eternal delights for you” (Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, 17, 4).
Our parish community remembered individually by name those parishioners who died this past year, and prayed for all of our deceased members at the evening Mass on All Souls Day.  It was a special time for so many family members and friends who were comforted and encouraged during a difficult time of loss in their lives.
    
I encourage you to pray, to request that a Mass be offered and to take the time to visit a cemetery as a way to pray for your beloved deceased.

Fr. Ed Namiotka
Pastor



Saturday, November 3, 2012

Election Issues



Dear Parishioners,

As the Presidential election approaches this week, I thought that it would be helpful to compare two very important issues (Human Life and Marriage). Often far too many voters do not concentrate on the most important things about an election--like these issues--and settle for more superficial matters (a candidate’s likability?).



I take the words from the two major party platforms themselves without commentary.


Democratic Party Platform—(as reported from the 2012 Democratic National Platform)

Protecting a Woman's Right to Choose

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way.  We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions.  We strongly and unequivocally support a woman's decision to have a child by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to programs that help women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring adoption programs.

Freedom to Marry

We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.



We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.
 

Republican Party Platform—(as reported from the 2012 Republican National Platform)

The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life

Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion and permitted States to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by enacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions – gender discrimination in its most lethal form – and to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain; and we applaud U.S. House Republicans for leading the effort to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a ban on the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. We support and applaud adult stem cell research to develop lifesaving therapies, and we oppose the killing of embryos for their stem cells. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

We also salute the many States that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose life, and we take comfort in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.

Preserving and Protecting Traditional Marriage

            The institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation. It has been proven by both experience and endless social science studies that traditional marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, engage in crime, or get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic well-being of individuals. Furthermore, the future of marriage affects freedom. The lack of family formation not only leads to more government costs, but also to more government control over the lives of its citizens in all aspects. We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting alone, even as we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.

Fr. Ed Namiotka
Pastor