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