Tuesday, June 28, 2022

When the Planets Align


Dear Parishioners,

The planets aligned last week, literally.  Five planets—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn—lined up in planetary order on June 24, 2022.  This day would normally have been the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.  However, because the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (a feast day with a varying, movable date) also fell on the exact same day this year, it took precedence.

It was also the day we saw the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

A coincidence?  Maybe a Divine Coincidence?

Since 1973, when Roe v. Wade opened the door to legal abortion in our country, America has been on a continual, downward spiral.  Moral decay quickly follows when there is a loss of respect for the sanctity of every human person—from conception until natural death.  What started as a 7-2 decision by US Supreme Court Justices who legislated rather than interpreted the law, well over 60 million innocent children have been surgically or chemically killed in the US.  The dissenting opinion of Justice Byron White (with Chief Justice William Rehnquist concurring) at that time stated the following:

I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court's judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant women and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes.

The court last Friday finally acknowledged that the reasoning behind Roe was indeed seriously flawed.  Now the decision for or against legalized abortion falls back to the individual states to decide, as it was before Roe.  No matter how the media or others try to portray the situation, this is where we are right now.  New Jersey decides for New Jersey.

Sadly, we are not a state that legally protects the lives of the unborn.  The uphill (and now local) battle waged by Pro-Life Catholics and all who support the rights of the unborn to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is not yet won.  In fact, it is in the process of intensifying.

However, we can see clearly that what might have seemed unlikely or even impossible is never so with God’s Divine Assistance.  Our prayers and efforts are ever more necessary to accomplishing the task of making New Jersey a Pro-Life state and not one that permits the continued surgical or chemical death of unborn children.

Reasonable people would certainly hold to the Golden Rule:  Do unto others as you would have them do to you.  Well, what about the preborn?  Would we want to be surgically torn apart or chemically poisoned?  Do we not appreciate the fact that we were given a chance to live in this world?

Each year since Roe v. Wade, the March for Life has protested and stood up for the life of preborn children in our nation’s capital.  The founder and organizer of this march was an attorney named Nellie Gray.  She died ten years ago in 2012, not living to see what she had hoped would eventually occur, the overturning of Roe.  June 25th, the memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary this year, was her birthday.  Happy birthday Nellie!  The planets aligned.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Nellie Gray

Homily for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time "C" - Fr. Edward Namiotka


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

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 having occurred last Sunday, 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!  Thanks for the many sacrifices that you make for your wife and children.  

As one who is also addressed as “Father,” and who is called to be the spiritual leader of my Church family, I realize many of the duties and obligations that come with being a biological 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


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Thoughts from "Corpus Christi"

Dear Parishioners,

One benefit of writing this weekly bulletin message is that my thoughts / message can potentially reach more people each Sunday.  I usually preach at every Mass in our parish each weekend, but all of you, my parishioners, can also read my thoughts here weekly in the church bulletin.  Moreover, since I post this same message online (www.fr-ed-namiotka.com), others who are not in the parish (or may be away) can have this same opportunity via the internet.

Corpus Christi (The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ) is a time for us to reflect on the precious gift that we have in the Most Holy Eucharist.  While this solemnity is celebrated universally on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, the Church in the United States celebrates Corpus Christi on the Sunday following Trinity Sunday.

I have had the opportunity during my life to see both Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI when they were in the USA—Philadelphia, Miami, Denver, East Rutherford (New Jersey) and Washington, DC—in addition to meeting Pope St. John Paul II in Rome.  There was always a great deal of preparation before meeting a pope.  I remember various details like being thoroughly scrutinized by the US Secret Service, patiently waiting in a secure area for hours before the Pope’s arrival, making sure I was wearing a nice vestment and looking my very best, etc.  There was plenty of preparation to meet the Vicar of Christ.  Yet, don’t we have someone much more important than the pope present on our altars at every Mass—Jesus Christ himself.  How do we prepare for Him?

I suggest that we think about a few things as we prepare to meet Christ at each Mass:
  • Do I take seriously the hour fast from food and drink prior to receiving Holy Communion?  (This fast would also include items like gum and breath mints.)

  • Am I sure that I am in not in the state of serious sin before receiving Holy Communion?  If I am, I should refrain from receiving Holy Communion until I first make a sacramental Confession.

  • When I receive—whether it is on the tongue or in the handdo I do so with the proper reverence and respect that I should show to the Son of God?  Am I dressed in a manner befitting a meeting with the Son of God?  (Would you actually dress this way if you were to meet the Pope, a Bishop or some other dignitary?)

  • Do I make a proper thanksgiving after receiving Holy Communion?  The religious sisters taught me at the time of my First Holy Communion to tell Jesus that I love Him, to thank Him for everything that He does for me, to petition Him for what I need in my life and to tell Him that I am truly sorry for all of my sins.  I think that these components of a proper thanksgiving are still relevant today.  There is nothing more frustrating to me as a priest than those who continually leave Church directly after receiving Jesus in Holy Communion without making a proper thanksgiving.

  • If I am unable to receive Jesus in Holy Communion because of some circumstance of my life, do I make a Spiritual Communion instead?  Request that Jesus come to you spiritually in your heart since you cannot now receive Him in Holy Communion.
While the suggestions listed here are far from complete, if we believe and realize that we truly have Jesus, the Son of God present on our altars and in our tabernacles, then I think that the way we pray, worship and receive Holy Communion should reflect this core belief.

Fr. Ed Namiotka



Tuesday, June 7, 2022

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I Place my Trust in Thee

Dear Parishioners,
June is traditionally the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  For fourteen years of my life I had worked at a high school named for Our Lord’s Sacred Heart.  The motto of the school was: Fac Cor Nostrum Secundum Cor Tuum.  (The translation of the Latin:  Make our hearts like unto Thine or Make our hearts like Your Heart.)
The image of the Sacred Heart centers on a devotion to Jesus’ physical heart as representing His Divine Love for all humanity.  The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light.  It is bleeding, pierced by the lance-wound, surrounded by a crown of thorns, and surmounted by a cross.  The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus' death, while the fire represents the transformative power of Christ’s love.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque is associated with the devotion to the Sacred Heart.  She entered the Visitation Convent in 1671 and six years later Christ appeared to her in a vision in which she said:  "I could plainly see His heart, pierced and bleeding, yet there were flames, too, coming from it and a crown of thorns around it.  He told me to behold His heart which so loved humanity.  Then He seemed to take my very heart from me and place it there in His heart.  In return He gave me back part of His flaming heart."
In all, there were four revelations, during which the now-familiar Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart were made:

1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.

2. I will establish peace in their homes.

3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.

4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.

5. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.

6. Sinners will find in my Heart the source and an infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.

8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.

9. I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart is exposed and honored.

10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.

11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart.

12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

The last of these promises is responsible for the nine First Fridays' devotion.  Also requested by the Sacred Heart was the establishment of a feast in His honor.  We now celebrate this Feast of Sacred Heart on the first Friday after the octave of the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, in addition to honoring the Sacred Heart every first Friday of the month.
Now that you have a brief history, the “heart” of the matter (sorry, I couldn’t resist) is whether or not we are becoming more Christ-like and whether our hearts reflect Christ’s love for us.
The simple prayer said — Make my heart like Your Heart  should remind us of the task in front of each of us.
Fr. Ed Namiotka