Monday, May 22, 2023

The Holy Trinity

Dear Parishioners,

Whenever we look at the mystery of the Holy Trinity, we should realize that this is not something that we could figure out on our own without God revealing this to us through Jesus. If our explanation of the Trinity were merely one opinion among many of the inner make-up of God, then God could be just about anything that any one of us thinks or believes. One Person? Four persons? However, as Catholic Christians we believe that Jesus—the Son of God and one of the Persons of the Holy Trinity—revealed to us the mysterious inner-workings of God.

God exists as three Persons in relationship.  Jesus often spoke of God as His Father.  He taught us to pray the prayer we call the “Our Father.” He told us that “whoever has seen (Him) has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9).  He told us that “the Father and I are one” (Jn. 10:30).  We begin to recognize this unique Father-Son relationship through Jesus.

But Jesus did not stop there.  He also began to speak of another—an “Advocate” (Jn. 15:26), “the Spirit of Truth”, (Jn. 15:26), the “Holy Spirit” (Jn. 14:26).  With time the Church began to understand a little bit more about this third Person as “the Lord, the Giver of Life” who “has spoken through the prophets” (cf. the Nicene Creed).

It must have been very hard for many of the Jewish followers of Jesus who were strict monotheists to try to comprehend how God could be one, yet three at the same time. Why should this be surprising to us since we still fumble at various explanations to try to articulate this profound mystery?

As a teacher, the best analogy that I have used over the years that helps people comprehend this mystery of something being one and three at the same time is the analogy of ice, water and steam.  All three have the same chemical composition (H₂O) and thus have a certain oneness, yet there can be a manifestation in different states (ice, water and steam) depending on temperature. While all analogies ultimately fall short of the reality, this analogy still gives us some insight into this profound mystery.

Then some insight might be given by the example of a human family where a relationship of two people in love with each other (in this case, husband and wife) can produce a third person (baby or child) who is both complete (a person) and entirely distinct from the other two. The family of this world may indeed reflect, in an analogous way, the mystery of the Holy Trinity—three unique and distinct Persons in one Godhead, eternally in love with each other.   

Trying to figure out God’s make-up is one thing. Having a personal relationship with each of the Persons of the Trinity is something else entirely. Jesus put a human face to God for us by taking on a human nature. And he also told us about the unique relationship that He has with the other Persons in the Godhead. Now we need to seek out each of these Persons of Holy Trinity in prayer and grow in our love for each of them—three Persons in one God.

On Trinity Sunday we rejoice in the fact that God (through Jesus) has revealed His inner make-up to us!

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Homily for the Ascension of Our Lord "A" 2023 - Fr. Edward Namiotka


Monday, May 15, 2023

A Spiritual "Triple-Header"

Dear Parishioners,

During the next three weeks, the weekend Masses will celebrate some very significant mysteries of our faith:  Pentecost (the Holy Spirit), the Most Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi (the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ).

Pentecost Sunday recalls the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Jesus promised that when he left this world He would send His Spirit to strengthen and guide His disciples.  The Holy Spirit continues to direct the Church and to remind us of what Jesus taught. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches us (#688) about the Holy Spirit and the Church:
The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits, is the place where we know the Holy Spirit:
- in the Scriptures he inspired;
- in the Tradition, to which the Church Fathers are always timely witnesses;
- in the Church's Magisterium, which he assists;
- in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ;

- in prayer, wherein he intercedes for us;
- in the charisms and ministries by which the Church is built up;
- in the signs of apostolic and missionary life;
- in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues the work of salvation

Trinity Sunday focuses on the mystery of the Triune Godhead as revealed to us by Jesus.  Recall that the Jewish people were strict monotheists. It must have been quite a startling revelation for them that the One True God is a unity of three Divine Persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Jesus made known the mystery of the Trinity for us. The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and of Christian life.  God alone can make it known to us by revealing himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (CCC, #261) This teaching is not something that we would be able to figure out for ourselves without God’s revelation.


Corpus Christi (which is celebrated in the universal Church on a Thursday—the day of the Last Supper —but moved to Sunday in the United States) is all about the gift of the Holy Eucharist. How can the Son of God be truly present under the form of bread and wine?  The Catechism instructs us:
It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present to his Church in this unique way.  Since Christ was about to take his departure from his own in his visible form, he wanted to give us his sacramental presence; since he was about to offer himself on the cross to save us, he wanted us to have the memorial of the love with which he loved us "to the end," even to the giving of his life.  In his Eucharistic presence he remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave himself up for us, and he remains under signs that express and communicate this love. (CCC, #1380)
Volumes have been written and countless sermons preached over the centuries on each of these topics. From a pragmatic point of view, why not take time during the next few weeks to reflect on the wisdom of the Catechism as it tries to enlighten us about our Catholic faith? We should continually seek greater understanding and clarity as we try to delve more deeply into the precious mysteries of our faith that have been revealed to us.

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Friday, May 12, 2023

The Ascension of Our Lord (or the Holy Day formerly know as "Ascension Thursday")


Dear Parishioners,

When it was decided that the celebration of the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven would now be moved to a Sunday in the dioceses of New Jersey, I was certainly disappointed. I perceived this change as another pastoral move conceding the Church’s sad defeat when dealing with contemporary society. Shouldn’t the Church be attempting to re-Christianize and boldly influence a post-Christian modern world? Yes, there may be less priests to offer Masses, and many people, in general, do not really consider Holy Days of Obligation that important. However, are there really too few churches within driving distance in New Jersey for modern man to get to Mass? Does the tradition and theology of 40 days after Easter no longer have relevance (hence, Ascension Thursday)? The world (secular culture) apparently has a stronger say in the decision making process than does holding to Church tradition. Chalk another one up for the world.

That being said, we should look at the feast we now celebrate this weekend. Christ appeared to His chosen disciples after His Resurrection, but there came the day when His Resurrected Body physically left this earth to return to the Father. We no longer see Him walking this earth.

However, Jesus did not abandon us. He left us His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. He remains in His words and teaching in the Sacred Scriptures. The ordained priest acts in His very person (in persona Christi) in the sacraments of the Church. He is present where two or three gather in His Name—community prayer, liturgy and worship, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  And, as God-Man, He continues to intercede for us at the right hand of the Father.

Our humanity is now elevated in Jesus’ glorious Body and has entered Heaven. The fall and exile of Adam (original sin) is now reversed through the saving action of Christ, the new Adam. Heaven is open to us through Him. As He told us, no one comes to the Father except through Him (Jn. 14:6).

In the year 2000, I visited the Holy Land with my mother. One of our stops was a place reverenced as a possible sight of Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven. We gathered there to pray with our guide who read a Scripture passage about the Ascension and led us in a hymn. As I stood there reflecting, I wondered what the disciples possibly thought at the time. What do we do now? The Master just told us to go and baptize all nations. WE have work to do. (See Mt. 28: 16-20 and Acts 1: 1-11)

Jesus’ instruction to His disciples—to make disciples of all the nations—has to continue with us. WE should start with our family, friends and those within our circle of influence. We are not called to be passive and timid regarding our faith, but to make disciples.

Additionally, we should pray for and anticipate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The power of the Holy Spirit fortified cowardly disciples into bold witness of Jesus and His Resurrection. Many disciples witnessed in the face of persecution and unto death on His behalf. Never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit acting in our lives if we allow Him.

Thank God, there will be no changing of the celebration of Pentecost Sunday. (I hope.)

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Friday, May 5, 2023

My Mom

Mom and me in Alaska (2011)

Dear Parishioners,

My father died suddenly of a massive heart attack in 1995. Subsequently, I began to travel on a regular basis with my mother. Being her only unmarried child (I have three brothers and a sister), it was easiest for me to accompany her to different vacation destinations over the last quarter of a century. At times to her friends she has affectionately referred to me as her “social director.”

My mother is a rather private person.  She would never want me to say anything about her let alone write something about her.  I guess that I truly admire her interior strength and fortitude over the years. Not only did she give birth to and raise five children, but she helped my father run their own businesses (grocery store and butcher shop, hotel and restaurant, motel) while battling some major health issues over the years (thyroid surgery, gall bladder surgery, back surgery, breast cancer, atrial fibrillation, to name a few).  And she has lived as a widow now for almost 28 years. 

I have journeyed with her all over the country and the world. We've been on cruises (Alaska, Caribbean) and religious pilgrimages (Rome, Holy Land).  She never wanted to repeat any destination if she could help it. For her, the world has too many other places to see!  

Why bother telling all this to you?  Simply because I love my mother as I hope that you all do.  As priests we are no more or no less human than anyone else. We come from a family. We have various family responsibilities depending on our particular situations. We are somebody’s child. The mother who gave me life deserves at least some of my time and attention. This was one way I have been able to spend some quality time with her through the years.

(As an aside, I am truly disgusted and saddened with the woke mentality in our contemporary society where mothers are referred to as "birthing persons" and even someone who now sits on the Supreme Court of our country couldn't/wouldn't clearly define what a woman is in her approval hearing. The world is insane!)

So as I write today. I am preparing to wish my own mom a Happy Mother’s Day!  This November, with God's grace, she will reach her 90th birthday. Thank you God! Thanks so much for her!

Additionally, I wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers this weekend.  

For most people there is a special bond between mother and child.  Our mothers carry us in their wombs for nine months. They endure the pangs of birth. They feed us, bathe us, clean up after us, teach us, comfort us, caress us and, most importantly, love us. How often they are willing to sacrifice for us! Thanks moms for your strength, patience and ability to make things better by your calming and reassuring presence. Whenever we take you for granted or forget what you have done for us over the years, we apologize. You deserve better from us. We love you!

Those who have lost their earthly mothers, please remember to pray for them and have Masses offered for them.  Our faith teaches us, whether they are in purgatory or in heaven, they can pray for us!  Let’s aid them in getting to heaven by offering our prayers, Masses and sacrifices for them.  

In addition to our biological (or adoptive) mothers, I think that it is also important to remember to honor our Spiritual Mother as well.  Our Blessed Lady should play an essential role in the lives of Catholics and indeed all Christians. She was given to us as our mother through St. John at the foot of the cross (See John 19: 26-27). After all, May is her month! 

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Friday, April 28, 2023

Who Can You Trust?


Dear Parishioners,

Many moons ago, I had an elderly professor in the seminary who taught us canon (church) law. He was a person who was well-seasoned from years of experience as a priest dealing with people in general, but failed marriages in particular. He handled the process of annulments for his diocese. Having been told by other seminarians that he would utter a particular phrase when prompted, we were all too eager to bait him frequently with a hypothetical question. Father, do people always tell you the truth when they come to you seeking an annulment? The bait was set. Would he take it?  Gentlemen, they lie and they lie and they lie. Never failed; like clockwork.

I sadly think in similar manner when I look at the world around me.  Who can I trust?  The media? Politicians? Big pharma? Doctors? Educators? Lawyers? Lobbyists? Corrupt church officials (think McCarrick)? Need I go on?  They lie and they lie and they lie!

Yes, I am cynical, at times, and skeptical quite often. Can you blame me? Look at the approval ratings for the media and politicians.  If they got any lower they would actually be communicating to us or legislating on our behalf from Hades or Sheol or Gehenna.  Speaking of such a place, need I remind you who is considered the Father of Lies?

Today the Gospel provides us with an alternative to all of this. I am the way and the truth and the life (Jn.14:6). Very bold words indeed!  Certainly you have heard of the liar, lunatic, Lord trilemma.  Who can say such things as Jesus did?  Is He a liar, a lunatic or is He LordC.S. Lewis put it so eloquently:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [that is, Christ]: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.... You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.Mere Christianity

I am the Bread of Life . . .

I am the Resurrection and the Life . . .

I am the Light of the World . . .

I am the Way, the Truth and the Life . . .

I Am.

We all must make a choice.  No fence-sitting. Who is Jesus? 

Lord Jesus, I trust in Thee!

Fr. Ed Namiotka


C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

A "Diabolical Disorientation"

The Fatima Seers: Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta

Dear Parishioners,

It was Sr. Lucia, the last living seer of Fatima, who was reported to have used the phrase "diabolical disorientation" between 1969 and 1971 concerning the chaotic situation in society (and the Church). Things were not headed in the right direction for decades, and she understood that there were/are certain diabolical forces behind it all. I certainly agree.
As it has played out over time in various cultures worldwide, the following are some of the ways I contend humanity/society has become ever-more disoriented:
  • The denial of God to varying degrees (atheism, agnosticism, etc.)
  • The ongoing acceptance of socialism (communism, Marxism) as a viable political option
  • The emphasis on individual conscience (moral relativism) without understanding the necessity of the conscience being rightly formed
  • Sexual freedom and license outside of the context of traditional marriage, fostered by a contraceptive mentality
  • The ready acceptance of divorce and remarriage
  • Abortion accepted and seen as a "woman's right"
  • The transgender movement
  • The deteriorating respect for human life at all stages as evidenced by abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide, euthanasia, etc.  
  • The cry for "gay rights" and so-called "gay marriage"
  • Cultures fueled by addictions at staggering levels: alcohol, drugs, sexual (pornography), gambling, etc.
Moreover, Pope St. Paul VI wrote the following in 1972 regarding the Catholic Church itself:

. . . We would say that, through some mysterious crack—no, it’s not mysterious; through some crack, the smoke of Satan has entered the Church of God.  There is doubt, uncertainty, problems, unrest, dissatisfaction, confrontation.
I argue that this smoke of Satan is manifested in the following ways:
  • The delusion of universal salvation without the necessity of lifestyle change/conversion (Somehow everybody goes to heaven)
  • Downplaying or denying the necessity of the Catholic Church and baptism for salvation (religious relativism/indifferentism)
  • Mass apostasy
  • Ever-decreasing Mass attendance
  • Ongoing abuses in the liturgy
  • Loss of respect for and understanding of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament
  • Priest sex scandals
  • Lack of clarity in Church teaching and a departure from traditional dogma
  • Confusing or weak/scandalous leadership
  • The ongoing cry for women priests and abolition of celibacy
We, as a society and as a Church, have been headed over the  cliff and into the abyss for some time now.  However, I have never been without hope. God does indeed exist and there is always hope because of Him. And behold, I am with you always until the end of the age (Mt. 28: 20).  

I also believe we are in need of some type of Divine Adjustment to counter the chaotic situation we are encountering. I claim no supernatural insight into the manner of God's acting. Rather, I trust and continually work on my own conversion. Repent, and believe in the Gospel. I acknowledge the absolute necessity of trying to live and remain in the state of grace.  

My best advice is for everyone to strive untiringly to do the same.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Being “Spiritual” Without the Catholic Church

Dear Parishioners,

All too present in society, and especially among those referred to as millennials and subsequent generations, is an attitude where a person no longer sees the need to be associated with a church or organized religion.  “I am spiritual but not necessarily religious” can sum up the general attitude.  Being spiritual can mean just about anything today from doing yoga, smoking pot, burning incense or wearing a crystal pendant or medallion, etc.

Granted, there have been far too many reasons why people get disillusioned with organized religion including (but not limited to) appalling scandals; an over-emphasis on hell, fire and damnation or requests for money; watered-down or unclear theological content; poor preaching or liturgy; hypocritical leadership; unfriendly or unwelcoming congregations; etc. Additionally, there are those who have been seriously hurt by insensitive church leaders and/or members of the congregation.

With all of that being said, why should we be part of a church—specifically the Catholic Church?

Let me look at this from the viewpoint of one having lived alone at various times in my life.  While it may not be as difficult for an introvert like me, it can still get old quickly not to have anyone around with whom to share a meal, to pray with, to watch TV or a movie in the evening, or something so simple as to go out for ice cream together.  Human beings need some form of companionship or community.  We are not meant to be always alone. “It is not good for the man to be alone . . . .” Gn. 2:18

It is similar with faith in God.  We are not meant to go it alone.  Jesus Christ established a church founded on Peter and the apostles.  “ . . . You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church . . . .“ Mt. 16:18  The Catholic Church is an apostolic church.  It is this church—a congregation comprised of disciples of Jesus—that is meant to accompany us on our life’s journey. It is a people with a rich history of 2000 years of saints and sinners; timeless theological truths; rich moral guidance; distinctive liturgy, art, music and church architecture; notable institutions (schools, hospitals, orphanages) etc., and, most importantly, the abiding presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.    

Our coming together weekly centers on a family sacrificial-meal—the Eucharist—where we commemorate what the Lord Jesus has done for us. Without the church (and her priests), there is really no Eucharist. Sad to say, participation in the Eucharist seems to be evermore insignificant—even to baptized/confirmed Catholics.  “Do this in memory of me” appears to include when I find it convenient OR perhaps, at a later time OR I’d rather not.  We are losing the sense of what we truly have in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  We are forgetting who we are as a people and the price that was paid on our behalf—the death of Jesus on the cross. We are a people with an identity-crisis of faith.

To me, life without the Catholic Church would be empty and meaningless.  I know her faults all too well!  Yet, I somehow realize we are an imperfect church comprised of sinners with Jesus as our only perfect leader.  He is Lord, God and Savior;  we are not. We need conversion, healing, forgiveness and God’s unconditional love. We do not save ourselves.

Having recently celebrated the most sacred events of Holy Week and Easter, I am sad for those who may have missed the beauty and spiritual splendor present in the sacred liturgies.  They may not have been as flashy as a show on Broadway or a movie in 3-D.  They were certainly more personal and uplifting than a tweet, instant message or post on Facebook or Instagram.

What the Mass offers to all is a foretaste of the eternal Banquet of Heaven where I pray the mercy of God leads me, a poor sinner, someday.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Monday, April 10, 2023

Divine Coincidence?

Pope St. John Paul II

Dear Parishioners,

When Pope St. John Paul II died, the manner and timing of his death struck me as much more than coincidental.

Let me set the scene: 

  • Pope John Paul was a proponent of God’s Divine Mercy. In 1980 he wrote the encyclical Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy). He declared the Sunday within the octave of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.
  • The day on which there was an assassination attempt made on his life was May 13th—the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Pope John Paul credited Our Blessed Lady with saving his life.  He even had the bullet removed from his body placed in the crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. It was from Fatima, the First Saturday devotions came about (as a request for reparation for sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary).
  • John Paul’s life was consecrated to Our Blessed Lady as evidenced by his coat of arms with the motto Totus Tuus (Totally Yours) and an M (for Mary) on the right side at the foot of a golden cross.
  • John Paul decried the culture of death that seemed to permeate our society. He held that every life was sacred:  the unborn, the handicapped, the elderly, and the infirm.  He died elderly, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, in the public eye as a witness to the value of every life.
  • The miracle leading up to his beatification was a cure from Parkinson’s disease of a sister (whose name happened to be Sister Marie Simon-Pierre of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Catholic Maternity Wards).

When did Blessed John Paul II leave this earth? Saturday, April 2, 2005. It was the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday and the First Saturday (Fatima devotion) of the month.

Pope Benedict XVI called our attention to some of these facts in his homily during the Beatification Mass:

Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, which Blessed John Paul II entitled Divine Mercy Sunday. The date was chosen for today’s celebration because, in God’s providence, my predecessor died on the vigil of this feast. Today is also the first day of May, Mary’s month, and the liturgical memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker. All these elements serve to enrich our prayer, they help us in our pilgrimage through time and space; but in heaven a very different celebration is taking place among the angels and saints!

I believe that spiritual signs and wonders are all around us calling our attention to God’s Providence ever-present in our lives. With the secular, materialistic, skeptical and unbelieving world in which we live, one might just write off all of this as mere coincidence, if any attention is paid to it at all.

Yet, seeing things with the eyes of faith, I wonder what God has in store for us in the days ahead!

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Friday, April 7, 2023

Happy Easter!

Dear Parishioners, 

Alleluia!  AlleluiaChrist is Risen

Easter is here once again! 

Many secular ideas, traditions, and customs have found their way into our culture at Easter (as well as other sacred times like Christmas). They are not necessarily bad in and of themselves. However, they tend to miss the profound Christian spiritual message.

As Christians, nothing is really more important than Christ conquering sin and death and rising from the dead. Easter is about Resurrection. It is about eternal life. It is about hope.   

Establishing a church the way Christ did seems like a recipe for disaster. Pick a rag-tag bunch of mostly uneducated disciples—one who denies you when the going gets tough (Peter) and one who betrays you (Judas). Preach to the general public for only a few years, very mysteriously at times. Pick an area of the world oppressed by foreign rule. Pick a time in history without the internetTwitter, radio, television, newspapers or mass media as we know it today. Allow yourself to be tortured and then put to death without offering resistance.

Should the Catholic Church still be around over 2000 years later? Not if it were solely a human endeavor!

When everything seemed like failure, the Risen Jesus appeared to the disciples:

While they were still speaking . . . (Jesus) stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you."  But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.  Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.  Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.  (Luke 24:36-40)

Resurrection made all the difference, then and now.

The Catholic Church still remains despite all obstacles, built on the foundation of Christ—the Risen Christ. The message of Jesus continues to be proclaimed and offers salvation and hope to those who willingly accept it and let their lives be guided and changed by it. 

May the joy of Easter bring meaning and hope to your lives, today and every day!

Happy Easter to all! 

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Homily for Good Friday 2023 - Fr. Edward Namiotka


Homily for Holy Thursday 2023 - Fr. Edward Namiotka


Monday, March 27, 2023

Making Meatless Pierogi for Lent

 Cheese pierogi (prior to cooking)

Although I was born in Philadelphia, as a boy I grew up at the Jersey shore—Wildwood, to be precise.  My parents purchased an old hotel (60 rooms, 7 apartments) with a dining room when I was about two years old.  As soon as I was old enough to contribute to the family business as an indentured servant, I began working in the dining room. The restaurant served Polish-American food and I started working there at approximately age ten by preparing the bread baskets with dinner rolls and rye bread and by putting the salad dressings on the individual salads.

Eventually, I wound up doing just about everything there was to do in the business: cook, busboy, waiter, cashier, maître d’/host, dishwasher, floor-mopper, etc. Until I was about 17—when the hotel was demolished and a new motel was built in its place—I learned many interesting Polish recipes from my father who ran the hotel kitchen. He was known for his homemade stuffed cabbage (gołąbki) and kielbasa (sausage), czarnina (duck soup) and borscht (red beet soup). Many of his recipes originally came from his mother’s kitchen.

However, it was from a Ukrainian lady named Irene, who assisted my father in the kitchen, that I learned two recipes: pierogi and chrusciki.

Many cultures have some type of a pasta or dumpling dish.  Eastern Europeans are no exception. I share with you now a recipe for one of the most well-known ethnic foods: pierogi. Meatless varieties include potato, cheese, sauerkraut (cabbage) and mushroom with various combinations of these ingredients.

To make the dough—

The basic ingredients for the dough (and fillings) are listed here which should be enough for two batches of 18 – 20 pierogi. I like to make pierogi in small batches. Repeat the recipe (double, triple) as many times as needed. Some recipes call for additional ingredients for the dough like sour cream, milk, oil, baking powder, etc.  However, these four basic ingredients will make a suitable dough for stretching, filling and cooking pierogi. The key is to knead the dough to the point where it is not tacky and will stretch suitably for easy filling. The dough should not be too thin where it will break open easily, nor too thick so that the pierogi seem more dough than filling. Usually about ⅛ inch is the best approximate thickness, once rolled-out.       


  •  cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½  cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt 

Mix the ingredients in a mixing bowl until they are no longer tacky. More flour (or water) may sometimes be necessary to achieve the proper texture. Knead thoroughly on a large pastry board, breadboard or countertop, adding additional flour as needed. Mold into a ball and let the dough sit in a covered bowl for approximately 20 minutes, once the dough is pliable and no longer tacky. Separate into two batches of dough. Roll half the dough until approximately  inch thick.  Dust with flour, as needed. Cut into circles (using a water glass, round cookie or biscuit cutter, etc.) approximately 3-3½ inches in diameter. Fill the pierogi with a tablespoonful or so of the mixture and seal the edges pressing and closing thoroughly to form a half-moon shape. (Warning: if they break open in the water, you will have a mess!) Place in boiling water until they begin to float and the dough is cooked. Optionally, pierogi may be fried (after boiling) in butter or oil. Typically, they are topped with sautéed, chopped onions and a dollop of sour cream.

For the fillings—

Potato and cheese (mix ingredients together in a bowl)

  • 3-4 large russet potatoes (boiled and peeled)
  • 8 oz. farmer cheese (other cheeses such as cheddar are often substituted, but are not authentic)
  • 1 small chopped, sautéed onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste (½ teaspoon?)

Sauerkraut and mushroom (mix ingredients together in a bowl)

  • 1 lb. shredded sauerkraut (drained and then fried for approximately 10 minutes)
  • 4 oz. pkg. mixed mushrooms, chopped then sautéed (dried mushrooms, such as porcini, are also sometimes used)
  • 1 chopped, sautéed onion
  • 1 lb. farmer cheese
  • Salt, to taste

Sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi (after boiling)

Monday, March 20, 2023

What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Dear Parishioners,

Back in 1986, Janet Jackson asked this question in a popular song. It seemed to fall in line with a number of other songs from the decade (e.g., Material Girl by Madonna, Need You Tonight by INXS, 1999 by Prince) that dealt in some way with selfishness or egocentricity. It was a time in which people were popularly referred to as the “Me” Generation. One dictionary defined this “Me” Generation the following way:  Noun.  (Sociology) the generation, originally in the 1970s, characterized by self-absorption; in the 1980s, characterized by material greed.

Jesus Christ is the absolute antithesis of all of this.

As I reflect on the upcoming events of Holy Week, I can’t help but think about what Jesus has done for us. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity who is almighty, omniscient, transcendent, eternal, etc., became limited, finite, tangible and visible for us in the man, Jesus of Nazareth. He was now capable of suffering and dying.

Moreover, He did everything for us. He was born to live among us and to reveal God’s love to us. He gave us the Holy Eucharist as his real abiding presence among us and to feed us spiritually. He suffered and died for us to free us from our sins and to give us eternal life. He rose from the dead to invite us to share in His heavenly glory.

I don’t see an ounce of selfishness or greed here. What did He personally gain? No big ego was at work. He would not be a good contestant for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

St. Paul in his Letter to the Philippians says it so beautifully:   

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
  (Phil. 2: 6-8)

Obedient, humble, self-giving, and sacrificial are just a few words that come to mind immediately whenever I think about Jesus, His life and actions.

Whenever people look at me and tell me that they can’t find (or is it make?) time for Mass, that God is not really that important for them right now, or that they just don’t care, I sigh from the depths of my being.  I think:  You don’t get it, do you?  How much the Son of God endured and sacrificed on our behalf? What He did for me, for you, for us?  It’s sad. Very sad.

Jesus’ words from the cross ring ever true:

Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. (Lk. 23:34)

Fr. Ed Namiotka



Dear Parishioners,
In preparation for a homily, I once read the following anecdote:
Once four priests were spending a couple of days at a cabin.  In the evening they decided to tell each other their biggest temptation.

The first priest said, "Well, it's kind of embarrassing, but my big temptation is bad pictures.  Once I even bought a copy of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition."

"My temptation is worse," said the second priest. "It's gambling.  One Saturday instead of preparing my homily I went to the race track to bet on the ponies."

"Mine is worse still," said the third priest. "I sometimes can't control the urge to drink.  One time I actually broke into the sacramental wine."

The fourth priest was quiet. "Brothers, I hate to say this," he said, "but my temptation is worst of all.  I love to gossip - and if you guys will excuse me, I'd like to make a few phone calls!"
Throughout my life (and my almost 36 years of priesthood) I have found that gossip has done more severe damage than most people realize.  Sometimes the hurt caused by the things said about people (true or untrue) is virtually irreversible. 
There is a scene from the play or film Doubt that illustrates my point.  The assistant pastor, Fr. Brendan Flynn, is preaching a homily and relates the following:
A woman was gossiping with her friend about a man whom they hardly knew--I know none of you have ever done this. That night, she had a dream: a great hand appeared over her and pointed down on her. She was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day she went to confession. She got the old parish priest, Father O' Rourke, and she told him the whole thing. 'Is gossiping a sin?' she asked the old man. 'Was that God Almighty's hand pointing down at me?  Should I ask for your absolution?  Father, have I done something wrong?' 'Yes,' Father O' Rourke answered her. 'Yes, you ignorant, badly-brought-up female. You have blamed false witness on your neighbor. You played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed.' So, the woman said she was sorry, and asked for forgiveness. 'Not so fast,' says O' Rourke. 'I want you to go home, take a pillow upon your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me.' So, the woman went home: took a pillow off her bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escape to her roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then she went back to the old parish priest as instructed. 'Did you gut the pillow with a knife?' he says. 'Yes, Father.' 'And what were the results?' 'Feathers,' she said. 'Feathers?' he repeated. 'Feathers; everywhere, Father.' 'Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out onto the wind,' 'Well,' she said, 'it can't be done. I don't know where they went. The wind took them all over.' 'And that,' said Father O' Rourke, 'is gossip!'
For Lent, I make this suggestion: rather than giving up candy, desserts or something similar, make an all-out effort not to be responsible for any more feathers being let out into the wind.
Fr. Ed Namiotka

The Annunciation

The Annunciation

Dear Parishioners,

Around March 25th each year, I anxiously await what most people receive at Christmas—an annual card from a friend. Fr. Tom has chosen to send out Annunciation Day cards instead of the normal Christmas cards. The bottom of his card this year (2023) reads:

As long as our country treats the fruit of the womb as a disposable item in a subhuman culture, I will send my Christmas cards nine months early to proclaim to the world that the child in the womb is sacred.  

In the past, his cards have given recipients other reminders:

And finally after nine months they give birth to humans who are our sons and daughters. They do not grow pre-human life forms that become human once they leave a woman. What an insult to women. That to live inside of our mother is to forfeit human dignity.

Jesus entered our world as a child in the womb of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. He revealed to us His Father in Heaven. May we recognize Him in the least among us, even our unborn sons and daughters as we seek the Face of God together.

I wrote the following poem many years ago when reflecting on the sacredness and value of each human life:

I Cried

I cried—no one heard me

Yet I cried—

For I was inside

Of my mother’s womb.


I longed to be held in her arms,

To be fondled and caressed,

To take milk from my mother’s breast

And to laugh.


Such beauty and warmth of life

I could enjoy,

Play with my first toy

And begin to love.


I could leave my print on the world:

Wisdom to span the ages,

As the knowledge of sages

Of years past.

Still, more than this all, I long for life

—That gift God-given—

And the chance to live in

His created world.


I cried—and no one heard me

For I was inside of my mother’s womb.

Little did I know it would be my tomb.

I cried.

© 1982 Edward F. Namiotka