Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Sunday, June 27, 2021
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
On Tuesday, we concluded our 40 Hours Devotion on the feast day of the patron of our parish, St. Thomas More. I am personally grateful to the many parishioners who participated. It is edifying to me to come into the church and see people praying at all times of the day and night. My special thanks to those who kept vigil during the late, late night hours. May our Eucharistic Devotion be pleasing to the Lord and bring many blessings to our parish family!
I first was made aware of St. Thomas More by watching the 1966 film, A Man for All Seasons. At that time it won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. Today in our PC culture, I wonder if it would be recognized at all? I highly recommend its viewing.
Thomas More (1478-1535), a lawyer and scholar, was most notably Lord High Chancellor to King Henry VIII. He staunchly defended his Catholic faith and was unwilling to recognize the king’s divorce and re-marriage and the king’s self-declared leadership over the Church of England. For this he was convicted of treason and was subsequently beheaded (July 6, 1535).
Many years ago, during a trip to London, I was able to tour the Tower of London where both St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher were held before their executions. Little did I know that I would someday be pastor of a parish named for this saintly lawyer. (Saintly lawyer. Is that an oxymoron? Sorry to any honest, dedicated barristers who may read my letter. However, we do know at least this one made it to heaven. But I digress . . . .)
St. Thomas More risked everything he had—family, fortune, reputation, etc.,—to stand firm under pressure from the king. In the end he is reported to have said: “I die the King’s good servant, and God’s first.”
St. Thomas More shares a feast day (June 22) with St. John Fisher, who was a bishop (cardinal), theologian and Chancellor of Cambridge University. Like More, Fisher refused to acknowledge King Henry’s divorce and re-marriage and his self-declared supremacy over the Church. St. John Fisher was beheaded on Tower Hill on June 22. He heroically went contrary to all of the other English Catholic bishops of the time and remained faithful to Rome. My question to all is: Who in the end was the saint?
Martyrdom is certainly the bravest act that one can demonstrate in defense of one’s Catholic faith. Living in an age of indifference, apathy and sometimes even hatred for the Catholic Church, our faith can be trivialized, disregarded, and held in contempt. It can be a continual uphill battle to remain faithful. Why bother?
Try telling that to the two aforementioned men whose undaunted faith led to their death. Try telling that to the countless others throughout history who stood firm in the face of torture, persecution, loss of family and fortune, and even death for the sake of Christ and their Catholic faith.
In the end, will we be one of the indifferent ones? Will we be one of the traitors? Or will we be one of the Saints forever praising God in Heaven?
I pray that it is the latter.
Fr. Ed Namiotka
St. John Fisher
Sunday, June 20, 2021
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
A headline from the Pew Research Center (August 5, 2019) stated the following: "Just one-third of U.S. Catholics agree with their church that Eucharist is body, blood of Christ." While I was disappointed with the findings, I cannot say that I was completely shocked. I have seen it coming for years now.
Let me share with you a some facts and incidents that accentuate and corroborate this conclusion in my own mind:
- We knew (before the pandemic) that only
about one-fifth of our registered Catholics attend Mass each week. Can people really believe in the Real Presence
with such sparse attendance?
- People come to Mass looking like they are ready for the gym or even the beach. Someone at one of my former parishes also came forward to distribute the Holy Eucharist (presumably to fill-in for someone who did not show up) dressed in gym shorts, athletic shoes and a t-shirt. Really?
- A few years ago at a Mass for the religious education students, one of students took the Holy Eucharist in one hand and then began to give a high five with the other hand to the students in the first pew as he passed them. Eventually, he did consume the Sacred Host. I saw it happen as I was distributing Holy Communion. Does he understand or even have a clue what (WHO) he had in his hand?
- On a far too
regular basis I have had to follow someone down the aisle (usually at a funeral
or wedding) to make sure that they have consumed the Sacred Host after they had
taken it in their hands and then walked away.
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Monday, June 7, 2021
- For those in our family or among our relatives and friends who no longer practice their Catholic faith or who have abandoned it.
- For priestly or religious vocations in our Church. (Remember our diocese is not scheduled to ordain any priests in 2023.)
- In reparation for our sins. (I know I need to spend a few hours myself on my knees with this intention in mind!)
- In thanksgiving for the many blessings God has bestowed on us during our lives. (Most of us probably do not say “thank you” quite enough.)
- For our Catholic Church: for clarity in her teaching and doctrine; for holiness in her leaders; for healing in those who have been hurt or abused; that all of her members may walk the path to salvation and eternal happiness.
- For our deceased relatives and friends; for the forgiveness of their sins and lessening of any time in purgatory.
- For our enemies. Didn’t Jesus remind us to pray for them? (See Mt. 5: 43-48)
Sunday, June 6, 2021
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Yes, it’s good for us to get down on our knees to adore and worship Christ truly present at every Mass and in our tabernacles. He promised to remain with us always: “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt. 28:20) We believe that he kept this promise in the Holy Eucharist.
In two weeks (June 20 to 22) our parish will spend 40 Hours in adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Please take the time to sign-up with a commitment to spend an hour or more of your time in His divine presence.
May we always realize Who we have before us on our altars and in our tabernacles and Who we are privileged to receive in Holy Communion: Jesus, the Son of God.
Fr. Ed Namiotka