Tuesday, December 19, 2023


Dear Parishioners,

Coming to the end of a calendar year and the beginning of a New Year makes me reflect on various past events and remembrances that I have.

I can recall reading George Orwell’s 1984 as a student and thinking about what would it be like when we actually reach that time period. Then there was the song 1999 by Prince. We were supposed to party it up like there’s no tomorrow. Then we faced the Y2K potential threat focusing on what will happen when the computers have to change to the next calendar year, 2000. In the end, it really didn’t live up to the hype.

I wasn’t born yet during major world events like World War I or II, or conflicts like Korea. The adults I knew sometimes talked about them and I read about these difficult times in the history books. I was a boy/teen during Viet Nam and remember some news stories from those tumultuous years (that included the sexual revolution, the drug culture, hippies and a regular questioning of all authority). I later witnessed the collapse of Communism in Europe and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. Later, the Gulf War was substantially more real to me as we could watch it on TV with reporters embedded with the troops. I actually was in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina when the Bosnian War (c. 1991-1992) broke out there. I had to get a number of teens and young adults who were part of a youth pilgrimage to safety in London at that time.  It was pretty scary! 

However, what I think substantially changed things for me/us in America happened in the year 2001—September 11, 2001 to be precise. I saw the 2nd plane hit the World Trade Center building on TV and later visited the ruins about a month or two afterwards. Things in America, I fear, will never quite be the same again.

What will 2024 hold? A U.S. presidential election is on the calendar. The Olympic Games are scheduled for Paris. There will be a Leap Year (February 29). What about the Catholic Church? In too many people's mind, we are currently in the midst of much confusion and uncertainty. What else will come?

As we approach the New Year, I customarily entrust and consecrate the parish wherever I am pastor to the care of the Blessed Virgin Mary to begin the New Year. I give this parish and all of its parishioners over to the loving care of the Mother of God. I invite you to join me at Mass for the New Year celebrating the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. I can think of no better way to start the New Year right.

Why not take the time to consecrate your families to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s maternal care as well?  Parents, you can (and should) pray for your children and families in your homes.

My prayers and Masses are continually offered for your spiritual well-being. Please remember me as well so that I have the graces necessary to live up to my responsibility as your pastor.

God’s blessings in the New Year!

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Monday, December 18, 2023

What Does Christmas Truly Mean?


Dear Parishioners,

Merry Christmas to all!


The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” (Lk. 2:10-12)

The mystery of the Incarnation is foremost what Christmas is all about. God became a man for us. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (Jn. 1:14) Timelessness entered into time. The almighty and all-powerful God became a helpless, vulnerable infant formed in the womb of a virgin. The creator of all life became subject to suffering and death. The infinite majesty of God became finite. God walked this very earth. He could be seen, felt and touched. Jesus is the face of God for us to see.

Christ’s humility should certainly be pondered as part of this mystery. Christ emptied himself (Phil. 11:5) and begins a hidden life in the womb of Mary. He has no royal palace and servants awaiting his birth but rather a stable. He was obedient to His parents and trusted in their care and protection as His life is threatened by Herod. He was forced to flee to a foreign land—Egypt. His life of sacrifice and humility will culminate in His suffering and death on a cross, like a common criminal.      

Secularists, atheists, agnostics, pseudo-intellectuals and various irreverent comedians may deny, doubt or make fun of that which Christians believe as a central mystery of our faith: God became a man. Yet, this is truly what Christmas signifies.

Unfortunately, Christmas is all too frequently experienced as a once-a-year, get-nicely-dressedgo-to-church experience. It becomes a time for the family to join together and share an extravagant meal. It is anticipated as a nostalgic, sentimental, feel-good holiday in which multiple gifts are exchanged. While these limited perceptions are not necessarily bad, let’s not miss one of the greatest acts of love ever given to humanity: For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son . . . (Jn. 3:16)

Christmas celebrates when Heaven touched Earth and the Love of God took human form. Christmas is when a baby—the Son of God and Son of Mary—is born for us in Bethlehem. Christmas is unmistakably and definitively about Christ—Jesus, the Christ, the anointed one, the messiah.

Christmas is a mystery that needs to be pondered regularly so that we can begin to examine all of its beauty—like a most magnificent gem. When you peer into the manger this Christmas, realize that before you is a glimpse of the love that God has for you by giving us His only-begotten Son.

On behalf of all of the priests that serve our parish, our sisters and staff, we wish you and your families a happy, holy Christmas and a blessed New Year! May the love of God which took human form in the person of Jesus be honored and revered in every human person that we meet.

After all, God became one of us.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Gaudete Sunday

Dear Parishioners,
The liturgical season of Advent originated as a fast of forty days in preparation for Christmas. It was sometimes called Little Lent or St. Martin's Lent because it began on the feast of St. Martin of Tours (November 11). The third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday—from the Latin word “rejoice.” We rejoice because the Lord is near. Advent is halfway completed. Priests have the option of wearing a rose colored vestment and we light the rose candle of the advent wreath.
To me, the season of Advent is often treated like a neglected step-child. Society seems to overlook this minor penitential season and move right into Christmas. There is no fasting, sacrifice or spiritual preparation but Christmas parties, holiday shopping and increased celebration. Unfortunately, when the actual Christmas season begins with the Mass of Christmas Eve, many people will soon thereafter take down the decorations and the tree. Christmas seems to end all too abruptly within the actual Christmas season.
How often we are driven by the consumer mentality as the stores will begin preparing for Valentines Day and Presidents Day, immediately following those after-Christmas sales. Does everything have to be about buying and owning many things? I once read this thought-provoking saying on a t-shirt: He who dies with the most possessions still dies.
I believe in the importance of person and relationship over things and possessions. Christmas-time can have some wonderful effects when families come together and people socialize with both families and friends. People can be extraordinarily generous and kind as well.
But the essential meaning of Christmas should never be lost: God became a man. He revealed His life to us and spent time with us. He lived with us and died for us. Many messages distract from this one.  But the coming of Jesus Christ is truly the focal point of all human history. Why do even Christians sometimes miss or forget this truth?
What will it take to bring more people to realize the importance of Jesus Christ? Dynamic preaching?  Vibrant parishes? A plethora of activities? Better evangelization and outreach? A natural disaster?  War? An act of terrorism like 9-11? Sickness and death? God alone knows. 
I think that first and foremost there has to be more of a focus on prayer and conversion—a change of heart—within our parishes and families. The glamour of sin and the illusory happiness that it may temporarily bring has a choke hold on the world today. While many may not directly deny the existence of God, far too many live in such a way that His effect on our lives is negligible or non-existent.
Use the remaining time of Advent in the way it was intended. Prepare spiritually for the coming of Christ. Go to confession (the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation). Pray, fast, read Sacred Scripture, be charitable. Come visit Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
When Christmas actually arrives (Christmas eve), we will be much better off spiritually.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Fr. Ed Namiotka

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Waiting for the Lord

Dear Parishioners,

The season of Advent is a time of anticipation. We should be waiting for the Lord Jesus to return again.  Our Nicene Creed tells us: . . . He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead . . . .

When will the Lord return? I don’t know . . . and I refuse to speculate. It tends to get a person in big trouble.

The fact that our Lord will return should be sufficient for us.

Many years ago, my spiritual director in the seminary suggested and encouraged the practice of centering prayer.  He was basically trying to teach me how to wait for the Lord in prayer.

What happens with this type of prayer?

Instead of talking, reading or meditating on something, I simply enter into the presence of the Lord and wait. I personally like to do this before the Real Presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. I sit quietly trying to empty my mind of thoughts and distractions. I wait and listen for the Lord to speak to me. He is in charge. I submit my will entirely to Him.

What do I hear? Sometimes nothing. Sometimes I get distracted and start thinking about or worrying about various matters.  At these times—when I find myself distracted—I simply repeat the name of Jesus slowly and quietly.  This practice helps me to return to a quiet, inner place of peace.

There have been times when unbelievable inspiration has come during this prayer.  Some powerful homilies and insightful writings have developed when simply waiting for the Lord.

More important than looking for any spectacular results, there needs to be a fidelity to the Lord—a finding quality time for Him—as part of my daily prayer routine. I need to go to prayer even when nothing at all seems to happen. I need to go to prayer especially at those times when I don’t feel like it or I tell myself that I am too busy to pray right now. I need to go to prayer simply because prayer is what I need. The Lord Jesus is who I need.

To many, this waiting for the Lord may seem foolish or even a waste of valuable time. Many actually waste more valuable time in front of the TV, surfing the web on the computer, playing video games, or by any number of unproductive or unrewarding activities. I never see spending my time waiting for the Lord as wasted time.  It is valuable time that I spend with the One whom I love and have chosen to serve as a priest. It is His time. He can do whatsoever He wills with my time. I give it to Him.

This Advent, why not try waiting for the Lord in prayer? You might be quite surprised at what happens.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Fr. Ed Namiotka



My Definition of an "Uphill Battle"

Dear Parishioners,

I have been ready to put up the white flag of surrender for decades now.  Christmas is upon us already—at least according to the American consumer mentality—and yet Advent has not even begun. Santa was doing his thing in the mall for some time now. In fact, Thanksgiving wasn’t even here yet. We just barely got through Halloween (not to mention the Summer).

Advent. Why bother even to have such a liturgical season? By the time the Christmas season actually begins—according to the Church anyway—people are ready to take down the tree and the decorations. Christmas is over psychologically. We will have been celebrating it for months now. Christmas parties were held. Gifts were purchased, then wrapped. Pollyannas (Secret Santa gifts) were exchanged. Christmas (holiday) shows and concerts were attended. Cards were sent and received. Cookies were baked. Stockings were stuffed. Traditional and not-so-traditional songs of the season have been playing on the radio. Etc., etc., etc. 

Then Christmas actually arrives, and it’s all over by the next day. Let’s get to the retail stores to see if there are any after-Christmas bargains. Maybe there are also some end-of-the-season deals online. And don’t forget we still have to return those unwanted gifts.  

It is obvious who has won this battle. It wasn’t the Church. Preparation for the Coming of Christ? Yes, we may spot a few of those Keep Christ in Christmas signs occasionally popping up on lawns or displayed on the back of cars. But they really don’t influence the vast majority of people. Perhaps, they may make some of us think a little, but they probably won’t change the behavior of the typical consumer. Christ might have gotten an ever-so-slight bit of attention in between Rudolph, Frosty, Santa, the Grinch, Charlie Brown, Scrooge, Ralphie Parker (from the all-day Christmas marathon “A Christmas Story”) and the host of countless others who are “popular” and “new and with whom I am currently too out-of-touch to even name.

The Christmas season begins with the first Mass of Christmas (Christmas eve) and extends to January 8, 2024—the Baptism of the LordAdvent originally had a penitential nature, with a  two-fold preparation for the celebration of Christ’s Birth and in anticipation of His Second Coming. There actually was fasting involved at an earlier point in time. The modern Advent wreath that many of us are familiar with in churches and in homes is a rather recent development, being attributed to a 19th century German Protestant pastor.
Christ’s Incarnation and Birth, next to His Death and Resurrection, is the most significant event in salvation history for all humanity. God became one of us. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became a man. The Creator humbles Himself, empties Himself (see Philippians 2: 6-11), to become a creature, a human. He allows Himself to suffer and die. All of this for us.

Jesus’ human beginnings sadly were met with little gratitude—no room in the inn. A stable was provided. There was a feeding trough for animals in which the Son of God could sleep.

Sadly, I do not think the level of gratitude for all He has done has changed much over time. It seems to be greatly overshadowed by the materialism and consumerism that our modern Christmas has become.

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Advent is Near!

Dear Parishioners,

It’s hard to believe that another liturgical year begins next weekendthe First Sunday of Advent!

Advent is a time of commemoration, anticipation and preparation. We recall the Birth of Jesus Christ while the Church reminds us that Christ will come againWhen? This has been an unanswered question for the last two thousand years.

Hopefully, we as Christians have not become too complacent or even indifferent towards this teaching of our faith. What if Jesus did return in glory to judge the living and the dead tomorrow, next week or next month?

I guess some people would panic: “When was the last time I was in Church?” “I haven’t been to confession in years!”  “My life is not really in order right now!” “I never did forgive my dad!” “I haven’t spoken to my sister for decades!” “I’ve been preoccupied with so many things and never take the time to pray!” “I really do not know Jesus Christ.”

Jesus warns us: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” (Mark 13:33) We are told by St. Paul that the day of the Lord “will come like a thief at night. “ (1 Thessalonians 5:2)

I do not want people to become fanatical like those who run around with signs claiming that the end of the world is near. However, as Christians we need to live continually in the presence of the Lord. Christ is always aware of us and is, in fact, there for us at all times, whether we realize it or not. Unfortunately, as humans we do not consciously focus on His presence in our lives at every moment, nor do we always live appropriately, even if we believe He is there.

Advent is here. Don’t waste the time by getting caught up in all of the materialism that the world is concerned about and sells relentlessly. Take time for your spiritual life. As humans, comprised of body and soul, we require both physical and spiritual nourishment. It seems almost rediculous to remind Christins to make time for Jesus ChristKeep Christ in Christmas?

Personally, I find that when my spiritual priorities are in order and Christ is forefront in my life, everything else mysteriously seems to fall into place. I may have to learn this lesson over and over again, but someday I may finally get it right. One can only hope!

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King "A" - Fr. Edward Namiotka


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.

In addition, we as an American people go through a seemingly endless and (sometimes brutal) democratic election process in which we "elect" our president and other civic officials. Democracy appears to be 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 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. This is also true with morality and the law. Just because various laws are enacted by our government, it does not mean that these laws are necessarily morally correct or in conformity with God's will. Laws permitting the unjust taking of innocent human life illustrate this fact clearly.

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)

Humanity, as the most integral part of all God's creation, must ultimately conform to the will of God and acknowledge the absolute sovereignty of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, 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!”—for some, not even God Himself!

Moreover, when various Church leaders today advise that we need to listen to and dialogue with the various peoples of the "world," there must also be an ultimate realization that in the end the entire "world" needs to conform to the sovereignty of Christ the King. Christ is the standard of all truth. He is the Son of GodListening to and dialogue with others can never be seen as caving into various worldly demands and succumbing to anything that would be contrary to Divine or natural law. It is the world that needs conversion to Christ and His teaching.

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


Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Giving Thanks

Dear Parishioners,

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

First of all, I thank God for what He has done 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 St. Thomas More Parish

For almost 20 years, my family has joined me for Thanksgiving dinner at whatever rectory where I have resided as pastor. This year, however, there will be an exception. We will be celebrating both Thanksgiving and my mom’s 90th birthday at my brother's home. My brother asked that the annual dinner be moved to his house and I was glad to accommodate his request. This year someone else will have the job of cooking for 25-30 people!   

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. Please join us for Mass on Thanksgiving Day (9 AM) as well!

The 1st Sunday of Advent begins on December 3rd and the new liturgical year commences. While the Christmas season does not actually begin until Christmas eve, we are unfortunately driven by the consumer mentality that starts selling Christmas items as early as late summer. By the time Christmas arrives, people are ready to take down decorations when the actual Christmas season is really just beginning. Incidentally, the Christmas season ends on January 8th with the Baptism of the Lord.

In conclusion, it is a good practice to take an inventory of the things in our lives that we might take for granted or fail to fully appreciate each day. A statement that I heard quite some time ago seems to put things into proper perspective: “I used to complain about the shoes I wore until I met the man with no feet.”
  • Am I thankful for that fact that I am alive?
Aborted babies never had that opportunity.
  •  Do I thank God every day for my health?
The hospitalized and homebound might long for days without pain and the ability to get out of bed.
  • Do I take my faith for granted?
There are places in the world where people suffer and die for being a Christian.
  • Do I go to bed each night with a roof over my head and a full stomach?
The homeless and those in line at the soup kitchen are probably envious.
  • Do I have a family with whom to spend the holidays?
The orphan, widow / widower, soldier in a foreign land, or prisoner might not have such good fortune.
  • If I can read and understand what this reflection is all about, am I truly grateful?
The blind, the mentally ill, a person with Alzheimer’s, or simply an illiterate person might not be able to do what you are doing right now.

Need I say any more? Please give thanks. 

On behalf of the priests, sisters and staff, have a happy, blessed Thanksgiving with your families!

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Eucharist Means "Thanksgiving"

Dear Parishioners,

At this time of Eucharistic Revival in the Catholic Church in America, we certainly should do some reflecting on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. First, I bring to your attention the meaning of the word Eucharist (eukharistia) from the Greek, meaning thanksgiving.

In the Novus Ordo Mass, the second major part (after the Liturgy of the Word) is referred to as the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It includes the Eucharistic Prayer when the unleavened wheat bread and grape wine are consecrated and truly become the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This mystery has been explained using the term transubstantiation, meaning the substance of bread and wine is changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus while the accidents (the appearance of bread and wine) remain the same. The Catholic Church teaches that this change is not merely symbolic but actual or real. Hence, we speak of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament or Holy Eucharist.

As Catholics, we should reflect on the Mass / Holy Eucharist from various viewpoints including: as a Sacred Meal (from Jesus' actions at the Last Supper), as an Unblemished Sacrifice (from Christ's death on the altar of the cross) and as a Sacrament (an outward sign which gives us God's Grace).  

We hear words beginning the preface of the Eucharistic prayer urging us:“Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.” We also hear about Jesus taking bread, saying the blessing / giving thanks, breaking the bread and giving it to His disciples. We believe what Jesus declares (“This is My Body / My Blood”) literally happens. It is what occurs at every Mass when the priest stands in for Christ (in persona Christi) so that it is actually Christ who performs the action through the instrument of the priest. That is why the constant teaching of the Catholic Church has been that the priest must be male because the priest stands in place of Christ who was male. We believe this Ministerial Priesthood is Divinely established and is therefore not open to change. Pope St. John Paul II made this clear in his Apostolic Letter ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS:

“Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church's judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force. 

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.”

Making a proper thanksgiving after receiving Holy Communion is something that also needs continual emphasis and reinforcement. We see people leaving Mass early (sometimes directly after receiving Holy Communion) and it is natural to wonder if there was adequate time given to praise / adore, to thank, to petition, and to ask for forgiveness from (reparation) Our Lord. After all, we have just received God Himself (Jesus, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity) and we have been united with Him in Holy Communion. Doesn’t this deserve a few moments of quiet, intimate reflection and prayer? Sometimes bad habits—like leaving Mass early—are hard to break! 

I also realize that not everyone is able to receive Holy Communion. Those in this situation should make a Spiritual Communion instead.

Remember to give thanks to the Lord, especially at this time when our nation celebrates Thanksgiving, and please attend Mass weekly with your family!

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Life Beyond the Grave

Dear Parishioners, 

Last night I went to see the film After Death. It was produced by Angel Studios, the same company that gave us Sound of Freedom and The Chosen. This documentary dealt with the near-death experiences (NDE) of people from various cultures and backgrounds. Not only was it thought provoking but it made a strong case for life beyond the grave and the existence of God.

From my high school days I had a serious interest in the afterlife, including aspects of death and dying. This fascination began by reading books for class as a senior by Drs. Raymond A. Moody, Jr. and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Hearing about near-death and out-of-body experiences and the various stages of dying from a medical/clinical perspective sparked my intellectual curiosity and heightened my desire to reconcile my Catholic faith with the reported experiences of science. How did this all fit in with the Church's teaching about the four last thingsdeath, judgment, heaven and hell?

One thing of which I was pretty certain throughout my studies was that the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead was something completely unique. The Resurrected Body was not some out-of-body experience or near-death occurrence like those stories I had read. The Glorified Body was encountered by those chosen disciples after Jesus was unmistakably dead by means of torture and crucifixion. This Glorified Body could now pass through matter such as locked doors (Jn. 20: 19-20) (subtlety). Instantaneously, it could be in various places not necessarily in close proximity like Galilee and Jerusalem (agility). It was frequently unrecognizable as on the road to Emmaus (Lk. 24: 13-32) or to Mary Magdalene in the garden (Jn. 20: 11-18) (brightness or glory). It had triumphed over all human suffering (impassibility).

I hope that we never take for granted what occurred on that first Easter morning. Most of Jesus' disciples had fled and were presumably in hiding for fear that what just happened to their rabbi-leader might also happen to them. Women went to anoint the crucified Body and found an empty tomb. Jesus then made His presence known and everything changed! He is risen! No matter what they did to Him, He is still alive! The experience of a Resurrected Jesus led the disciples to be fearless in their preaching and to endure torture and martyrdom themselves.

If we get to a point in our lives where this essential teaching of our Christian faiththe Resurrection of Jesus from the deadceases to captivate, to encourage, to foster hope and to motivate, then I suggest that we should probably just stay in bed on Sunday morning. Why bother at all? Life would be pretty empty and meaningless as far as I am concerned. (Unfortunately, I think that far too many Catholics are at this point already.)

However, for Christian believers it is this triumph of Jesus over sin and death that makes all the difference in the world. We hope to share in His Resurrection. We hope to receive a new, glorified body ourselves. We have hope for an eternal life. We believe that Jesus can and does forgive our sins when we repent. We have Christian hope.

During this month of November, please pray for all the Holy Souls and all of your deceased friends and relatives. Continue to have Masses offered for their eternal salvation. We certainly need to trust in the mercy of God, but should never take it for granted. I suspect we will all need a bit of purgatory (spiritual cleansing and purification) prior to seeing God face to face.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Halloween and Praying for the Dead

Dear Parishioners,

November is considered the month of the Holy Souls. Following the Catholic teaching and practice that it is good to pray for the dead, allow me to make a few suggestions:

  • Visit a cemetery and pray for a deceased loved one
  • Have a Mass offered for a deceased loved one
  • Pray a rosary or Divine Mercy chaplet for the Holy Souls in Purgatory
  • Take an occasion during the day to pray the prayer for the Holy Souls:

Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace. Amen.

May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Halloween, sometimes with a rather disproportionate fascination with matters dark and even sinister seems to have gained tremendous interest in our society. Far gone seem to be the days to dress up like a saint (which I actually did in my Catholic elementary school days) to honor a holy, heroic person and his or her virtues. From a Christian perspective, it could still be a beautiful preparation for All Saints Day. But things have certainly changed over time. 

Ghosts, witches, vampires, mummies and werewolves were scary enough when I was growing up. Then came figures on the order of Jason (from the Friday the 13th movies), Freddy Krueger or some other mass murderer.  The theaters have seen their share of zombies, exorcisms, psychopaths and doom's day or end of the world movies to chill and/or terrorize.  Memories of Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs) seem almost tame. A scary thought in more ways than one!

It is the subtle (and not so subtle) de-sensitization of our youth to the presence of violence, evil, and cruelty that continues to disturb me. We need to be extolling positive virtues, goodness and holiness to our young—the good, the true and the beautiful! Yet, too often our young are exposed to just the opposite. The media lets us know often enough how certain young minds are no longer innocent and pure but can become warped and capable of acts far beyond what was ever thought possible (remember Columbine or Sandy Hook?). 

I can’t begin to list all of the negative factors over the years from gangsta rap, to violent video games, to graphic movies and pornography, to access to just about anything on the Internet and social media that bombards the young constantly.  Put on top of that the lack of knowledge and practice of the Catholic (or any) Judeo-Christian faith, a declining moral code in society and the general absence of God and prayer in many peoples’ lives today.  It makes for a type of perfect storm!  And people wonder why we have problems?

Today's parents definitely have their work cut out for them.  Parents remain the first teachers of their children in all things—especially faith

Those raising children today certainly have my prayers.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Looking for Signs of Christianity and the Sacred (in an Ever-More-Secular World)

Dear Parishioners,

As a priest, I am invited rather frequently to share a meal with a person, couple or family. If the meal takes place in the family home, I have a regular routine: I look around and simply observe. I notice if there are any religious objects in the rooms and on the walls. Statues of saints, sacred pictures and images, a crucifix and various other objects of devotion readily inform me that I am in a Catholic home. Does the family pray grace before the meal? Is there some familiarity with Catholic terminology and a willingness to share something about their faith? I try to find elements of faith practiced in the family and in the home.

I tend to walk the beach a lot in the summer. I certainly see many, many interesting sights along the way. (Just an unspoken thought here: most people look much better with clothes on.) Believe it or not, I actually look to see if anyone is wearing a Miraculous Medal, a cross or crucifix or some other outward sign that the person is a Christian. Unfortunately, these sightings are quite rare. Unfortunately, I see more gold chains, amulets or talisman (e.g., cornicello or corno), and various types of jewelry.

What name is given to a child? Names have meaning and indicate a certain authority. I look for a Christian or biblical name—especially when I baptize. While there are many innovative, unique and creative names given to children these days, I see less and less traditionally Christian and/or biblical names. I sincerely hope that those baptized in more recent days without those traditional Christian names will become the saints of tomorrow and future generations will want to take their names. (First, today's challenge begins with getting them and their parents in Church and going regularly to Mass.)

I admit that I do not always wear my clerical garb in public (especially at the beach or on vacation). I notice, however, when I do people look (and sometimes stare). I—standing six foot, five inches and weighing 250+ pounds—naturally attract notice anyway. Add a roman collar and traditional black clothing and people tend to notice me even more. I will sometimes get the "hello Father" or "hello pastor" greeting. Sometimes people even step back and let me in front of them in line (making me feel rather awkward). Clerical garb or a habit is still an outward sign for people to remind us all of a commitment to Christ made through sacred vows or promises.

As an aside, our churches are also meant to raise our hearts and minds to God and to be places of prayer and worship. When they are constructed "to look more like Pizza Huts(to quote a former professor), when they take on a talkative, auditorium atmosphere, when we forget about or minimize the idea of sacred or holy space or being in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, then we run the risk of trivializing that which should be set apart for God. The meaning of holy refers to something set aside for God. Recall what Jesus did in the Jerusalem Temple when He saw that things were completely out of hand. (See Jn. 2: 12-22)

My observations and thoughts are not directed to anyone in particular. However, I think that we all need continual, external, visible reminders of our Christian faith in a world ever more hostile to Christianity and Christians. While people especially need to recognize Christ in our actions, varying outward signs—when properly understood and used—can help us Christianize a secular world. After all, our entire sacramental life employs the use of outward signs (pouring of water, oil, bread and wine, etc.) to indicate a much deeper spiritual reality.

So don't be embarrassed to wear that Miraculous Medal, to display a crucifix in the home, or to say grace in public. Don't forget that there may be others who come to church to pray and spend time with the Blessed Sacrament, and not just shoot the breeze. Please respect their sacred time and space.  Let's try to do our part to accentuate and promote our Catholic faith.  

We all need to be missionary disciples and to evangelize.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Dear Parishioners,

Peace, shalom, mir, pax.

When Jesus appeared to His disciples in the upper room after His resurrection, he offered them peace.  

. . . Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. [Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you”. . . (Jn. 20: 19b-21a) 

If anyone could have rightly inflicted vengeance or retaliation on those who harmed Him, Jesus is top of the list. However, He showed us all another way.

Peace is not just an absence of war or conflict. When a Jewish person greets someone or bids farewell, he or she might typically use the word shalom. The word means much more than simply a greeting of peaceShalom may mean completeness, soundness, safety, welfare, health, prosperity, tranquility, contentment, and/or friendship. It comes from the Hebrew verb shalam, which means to be complete, sound or whole.
In the world today we find many people who do not have peace in their lives. Beyond those who live in war-torn countries or areas with great civil unrest like Ukraine or Israel, we find people who are sometimes angry, mean-spirited, hateful, deeply troubled, confused, anxious, chaotic, etc., —anything but peaceful.

People search for peace, happiness and fulfillment in various ways. Sometimes it is wealth, material possessions, physical pleasure, power, authority, various thrills, etc. Worldly things, however, do nothing to fill the deepest desires of the human heart that only God can fill. What was it that St. Augustine said long ago in his ConfessionsYou have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.

I am convinced that true and lasting peace comes from a right relationship with the Lord. The world cannot give this kind of peace.  It is simply impossible.  Why could Christian martyrs sing on the way to their deaths?  How can some people bear tremendous crosses in life without really complaining?  How do some people seem so confident and unafraid in the midst of extremely difficult or troubling situations?  I suspect it may have something to do with an interior peace and even a joy that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It comes from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit working within us. St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians . . . the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control. (Gal. 5:  22-23)

The world is a scary place to live in right now. Unfortunately, it will never achieve a true and lasting peace without the realization that Almighty God must be the source of it. Not a false god who seeks retaliation, revenge or utter elimination of one’s enemy, but someone who challenged His followers to love their enemies and to pray for those who persecute them (See Mt. 5: 44).  Supernatural grace is needed.

My prayer is that the world and each of you may know the true and lasting peace that the Lord Jesus is offering us!  Peace I leave you; my peace I give you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. (Jn. 14: 27) 


Fr. Ed Namiotka

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Praying for Our Church, Our Nation and Our World

Dear Parishioners,

I recall the story of the patriarch Abraham’s pleading and bargaining with God on behalf of the city of Sodom.  Perhaps you remember the passage from Scripture:

Then Abraham drew near [to the LORD] and said: “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous people in the city; would you really sweep away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people within it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike! Far be it from you! Should not the judge of all the world do what is just?” The LORD replied: If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake. Abraham spoke up again: “See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am only dust and ashes! What if there are five less than fifty righteous people? Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?” I will not destroy it, he answered, if I find forty-five there. But Abraham persisted, saying, “What if only forty are found there?” He replied: I will refrain from doing it for the sake of the forty. Then he said, “Do not let my Lord be angry if I go on. What if only thirty are found there?” He replied: I will refrain from doing it if I can find thirty there. Abraham went on, “Since I have thus presumed to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty?” I will not destroy it, he answered, for the sake of the twenty. But he persisted: “Please, do not let my Lord be angry if I speak up this last time. What if ten are found there?” For the sake of the ten, he replied, I will not destroy it.  (Genesis 18: 23-32)
I worry about our Church, our nation and our world very much. Honestly, I am very disheartened with the direction that the Church, politics, and contemporary culture has taken over the past years. I fear it is only going to get much worse in the future. In particular, I hold my breath pondering where the current Synod in Rome might take our Catholic Church. Moreover, I have grave concerns when contemplating who the two potential presidential candidates for 2024 might be and how that election will result. I especially think about our young people and the type of world that they are going to inherit. Yet, I believe that we have many good people who love the Lord and want to do what is right. I continually request that we the people pray fervently and not take a lackadaisical attitude towards what is happening in our Church, our nation and in the world around us.  

Will you not join in this effort to pray?

No matter what your position is on various happenings in the Church and the upcoming presidential election, we all need to pray that the will of the Lord be done on behalf of our Church, our nation and our world. Prayer is absolutely essential and the rosary has been a powerful means of intercession in the history of our Church. After all, October is the month of the holy rosary. What a great time to intensify and solidify our efforts!                                    

The holy rosary is prayed every morning (approximately 9:30 AM) after daily Mass in our chapel. If you are free and have the time, why not make an effort to come to Mass and then remain to pray the rosary? People often make various resolutions and sacrifices, especially during Lent. I am asking (begging?) our parishioners and all who read this to consider joining in the effort by saying a rosary every day (regardless of whether you can come to Church to do it).  Pray for our Church, for our country, for our youth, for those who have left the faith, for the end of war, etc. etc.

Too often people seem to react to tragic situations like war, terrorism, natural disasters, and the like. A cry may go up to God saying: How could you let this happen? Can't intercessory prayer prevent these things from happening in the first place? Can't prayer move hearts and help in the conversion of the world to Christ?  I certainly hope so! One of the petitions in the Our Fatherdeliver us from evil—is worth contemplating.

I attached a link to help people get more information about how to pray the rosary.

Please take the time to pray fervently. I believe prayer, and especially the rosary, can work wonders in ways seen and unseen.

Fr. Ed Namiotka