Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sickness



Dear Parishioners,

As I write my weekly message today, I am sick.  I went to the doctor yesterday, was given a couple prescriptions to be filled and was told to rest.  So far I have been listening to the doctor’s recommendation and I am sleeping a lot.

Like many people, I usually just keep going and going until something forces me to stop.  I am reminded, at times like these, of my many limitations and the need to take care of myself.

My illness also gets me thinking about those who have much more severe problems than I do—those who are hospitalized, those in nursing homes or assisted living facilities and the homebound or shut-ins.

Sickness is certainly no fun.  Many people get frustrated by it.  It is downright depressing for others.  It can be painful for us just to watch a friend or loved-one suffer with an illness.  Seeing a child with a serious disease or illness more than breaks my heart.
 
This past weekend I preached about picking up our crosses and following Jesus—the command given in St. Luke’s Gospel (Lk. 9: 18-24).  Sickness can certainly be a cross.  Whether it is physical illness, mental suffering, or both, I suspect most of us want to petition God for relief like Jesus did in his agony in the garden:  “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me . . .” (Lk. 22:42)

In general, sickness reminds me that this life on earth—no matter how many good things it holds for us—still involves some form of suffering and pain at various times.  It re-focuses my mind on the fact that life in this world is only temporary.  Set your heart on the greater things . . . the spiritual things.  Someday I hope to experience a heaven without sickness, suffering, death or pain.  Someday.

I suspect that soon enough I will be back on my feet, out and about as usual.  In the meantime, this temporary inconvenience is once again telling me to slow down and rest a while.  Be grateful for your usual good health and overall well-being.  Sometimes it needs to be taken away so that you realize what you have.
 
I guess I have much too much time to think right now.

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Pastor     

Friday, June 21, 2013

Remembering Sr. Virginia



Dear Parishioners,

For 37 years Sr. Virginia Cleary, SSJ was a part of our regional school and parish community.  Sister spent most of her days here as a first grade teacher, forming and influencing countless young lives.  In her later years, she cooked for the sisters at the convent, keeping a clean, very organized kitchen.  Sister recently celebrated her 85th birthday.

Most mornings, since I arrived here as pastor two years ago, I would look out from the altar at Mass time and Sister would be seated to my left, quietly saying her prayers.  That practice continued up until several months ago when she began to feel ill.  Sister quietly battled cancer for the last few months, residing most recently at St. Joseph Villa in Flourtown, Pennsylvania.  

A viewing and Mass of Christian Burial took place this past Friday at St. Joseph Villa where Sister was interred in the Villa cemetery.

Realizing that many parishioners could not be present for Sister’s funeral, I will celebrate a Memorial Mass for Sister on Monday, July 1st at 7 PM in the Church.  Please try to attend to pray for the repose of the soul of Sister Virginia.  After so many years of dedicated service to our school and parish community, this is one small way to say “thank you” for all she has done.

The Sisters of St. Joseph request any donations be made in Sister’s name to St. Joseph Villa, 110 W. Wissahickon Ave., Flourtown, PA 19031.

May she rest in peace.


Fr. Ed Namiotka
Pastor

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Some Thoughts on Being a “Father”



Dear Parishioners,

When Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, the Sacred Scriptures tell us that He taught them the Our Father.  (Mt. 6: 9-13; Lk 11:2-4)  The Gospels record Jesus referring to God as Father over 175 times.  Jesus also revealed a certain relationship, privilege and intimacy with God the Father by His reference to God as Abba (Mk. 14:36).  There was a definite association that Jesus made between God, the Almighty Creator and the concept or image of Father.

With Father's Day upon us, I take a few moments to reflect on what it means to be a loving father.

Most likely we will process the concept of fatherhood through our own earthly fathers.  Hopefully, they are (were) wonderful, caring men who are (were) sincerely devoted to their wives and children.  Probably they had their flaws and imperfections.  Maybe they were not around as much as one would desire or may have been, in some instances, absent from one’s life altogether.  Sadly, some may have a difficulty relating to a father-figure at all, because their own fathers were abusive to some degree.  There are far too many possible scenarios to mention all of them here.

Yet, when it comes to an understanding of God as Father, I suggest thinking of God as the best, perfect or ideal father.  He’s the one without the flaws and imperfections, the one ever-present, who loves His children without limits or conditions.  He’s the Father that Jesus tried to help us know, understand and love.

The fathers among us need to strive to become a father more and more resembling the Heavenly Father that Jesus taught us about.  Fathers need to make every effort to love, cherish and honor their wives and children with an unconditional love and respect.  It’s far too common in today’s society for men to father a child biologically, and then not accept the many responsibilities that come from bringing that child into the world.  A good father is accountable for his actions.

A loving father needs to provide, to protect, to teach and to lead on both an earthly and spiritual level.  A child needs food, clothing, shelter, and an education, all of which a father can help provide.  However, a child also needs the love, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding that should come from a caring father.  A child should have a spiritual leader to look up to—a type of priest for the domestic church (family)—who can witness to the importance and relevance of God in one’s life by prayer, sacrifice and charitable example.

I think that St. Joseph is someone who fathers can look up to and pray to in the quest to become a better, more-perfect father.  Faced with the many challenges that came with caring for Jesus, Joseph is seen in the Scriptures as righteous—a devout observer of the Mosaic Law. (Mt. 1:19)  He was entrusted by God the Father to care for His Son Jesus as a foster-father.  Prayers for his intercession seem quite essential when taking on the responsibility of father.

My prayers are with all those who are addressed as father on this Father’s Day!  Thanks for the many sacrifices that you make for your wife and children.  

As one who is addressed as “Father,” and who is called to be the spiritual leader of my Church family, I also realize many of the duties and obligations that come with being a father!  It’s not always an easy task, but it is certainly one that I have come to love and cherish more each day.
 
Fr. Ed Namiotka

Pastor