Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Showing Our Love for the Holy Eucharist


Dear Parishioners,

Our nation is being encouraged to grow in our love of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. We use terms like Eucharistic Revival. National events are in process. Currently there are four walking pilgrimages (May 17 to July 16) taking place throughout the United States which began from the east (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Route), west (St. Junipero Serra Route), north (Marian Route) and south (St. Juan Diego Route). These four pilgrimages plan to converge in Indianapolis, Indiana this summer for a National Eucharistic Congress (July 17 to 21).

I invite you to go to the web site (eucharisticrevival.org) to see the route of the pilgrims passing our area this weekend. Saturday (June 1) the path includes the St. John Neumann Shrine, while Sunday they will converge on the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, both locations right over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in neighboring Philadelphia.

This pilgrimage motivated me to remind all of you what we have available right here in our own parish to show the importance of the Holy Eucharist and to encourage love and devotion to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Let’s begin with daily Mass at 9 AM. From Monday to Friday, Mass is followed by Eucharistic Adoration until 12 noon at which time there is Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. This weekend (as we celebrate Corpus Christi), we planned a small procession with the Holy Eucharist around our parish property with Benediction in three locations after the 4:30 PM Mass. Later in the month of June, we have three days of around-the-clock Eucharistic Adoration—typically known as 40 Hours—scheduled for June 20-22. This devotion is purposely designed to occur around the feast of the patron of our parish, St. Thomas More (June 22).

I must also remind all of us to take our reception of the Holy Eucharist most seriously. We should never receive the Holy Eucharist when conscious of mortal sin in our lives. Go to confession first to be reconciled to God and the Church. We should always receive the Holy Eucharist with utmost reverence and respect. This is not ordinary food and drink, but we are being fed with the Bread of Life—Jesus Himself! Be aware of when we pass the tabernacle. Genuflection is most proper (or a profound bow, if we are physically unable to genuflect). Unnecessary or frivolous talking should be avoided in the presence of Our Lord, allowing people to pray, adore and worship the Lord in the tabernacle or on the altar. A proper thanksgiving after receiving our Lord is also essential. Remember to express your love and adoration for the Lord, to give Him thanks, to beg forgiveness for your sins from the Lord and to petition Him for all of your spiritual and temporal needs. Please realize you have just received Jesus, the Son of GodBody, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Finally, leaving Mass early (habitually) is never proper—especially after just having received Our Lord—unless someone is dealing with health issues, etc.

I want us all to realize the great gift we have been given by the Lord Himself and to take the command of the Lord to “Do this in memory of me” most seriously. Too many Catholics have fallen away from the requirement to worship God each week by attending Holy Mass in person.

How much do we really love the Lord in the Holy Eucharist?

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Homily for Trinity Sunday "B" - Fr. Edward Namiotka


Monday, May 27, 2024

Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi and 40 Hours


The Holy Trinity

Dear Parishioners,

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. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #261) This teaching is not something that we would be able to figure out for ourselves without God’s revelation.

Next week, we will celebrate 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). This solemnity 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 both 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.

I plan to have an outside Eucharistic Procession with Benediction around our grounds (weather permitting) at the end of the 4:30 PM Mass on Saturday, June 1st. This will be an opportunity to give special honor to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, especially during this time of Eucharistic Revival taking place in the United Sates.

Also in a few weeks (June 20 to 22), our parish will spend 40 Hours in adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. We will add two additional evening Masses at 7 PM on Thursday and Friday evenings (June 20-21) and close the 40 Hours at a Mass on Saturday (June 22) at a special 10 AM Mass. This day is fittingly the feast of the patron of our parish, St. Thomas More. Please take the time to sign-up with a commitment to spend an hour or more of your time in His divine presence. May we always realize Who we have before us on our altars and in our tabernacles and Who we are privileged to receive in Holy Communion: Jesus, the Son of God.

With the beautiful spiritual days ahead, may God grant the necessary graces to our parish to remain ever faithful to Him and to grow in the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


The Most Blessed Sacrament

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

I Believe in the Holy Spirit . . .

Dear Parishioners,

Pentecost Sunday. The Holy Spirt is poured out on the Apostles. The Catholic Church comes alive! 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: 

The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may "bear much fruit." (Jn. 15: 8, 16)  CCC #737

I think that we need to be reminded regularly about the presence of the Holy Spirit continually working among us. Let me relate to you a quite remarkable and unforgettable instance from my past.

While I was still in high school work, the theology department from my high school at the time would annually bring the senior class to Maris Stella Church in Avalon, NJ for a Day of Recollection. The day was known to the students as Senior Retreat. While I would inevitably celebrate the Mass for the students, I was not usually the speaker chosen to present all the talks or reflections the entire day. This one particular year, while I had some free time, I was given the duty to travel to the local convenience store to pick up lunch for all the chaperones.

As I was leaving the convenience store with the bag of sandwiches and other edibles in my arms, a young man approached me and asked if I were a Catholic Priest.  I was dressed in my black clerical garb wearing my roman collar at the time.  After telling him “yes,” he asked if he could speak to me in private.

In the course of the conversation, he told me that it was his birthday that day and he had prayed to God specifically for the opportunity to go to confession. He later sees me in the convenience store! And he was given the answer to his prayer—to go to confession—for some unbelievable, mysterious reason!

I wonder what the odds were of meeting this particular person at this particular convenience store in this particular town at this particular time for this particular purpose.  Probably as great odds as hitting the Power Ball! I believe it was the Holy Spirit mysteriously at work in a remarkable way!  This was not the first time—and I am pretty confident that it will not be the last time—when God’s Holy Spirit would mysteriously and inexplicably guide the course of things. Some may call it “chance” or a “random occurrence.” I, however, see it as God’s Holy Spirit at work in response to prayer.

On this Pentecost Sunday, try to become more attuned to the presence and working of God’s Holy Spirit in your daily lives. Just as the apostles were guided, strengthened and enlightened by the Holy Spirit on that first Pentecost, trust that the same Holy Spirit is present today, willing to do the same for you!

Oh, by the way, a strange occurrence happened to me subsequently when I went on a sick call. Intending to bring Holy Communion and the Anointing of the Sick to one particular person (as requested), I just “happened” to be temporarily delayed. Later, when I finally went, I inexplicably crossed paths with someone else looking for a priest to do the same for an entirely different person! Was this just another coincidence? Or was it rather God’s Holy Spirit mysteriously guiding me once again to do His work?

If you ask me, I’ll simply tell you that I believe in the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


The Ascension, Mother’s Day and Preparation for Pentecost


The Ascension

Dear Parishioner’s,

If you want my thoughts on the movement of Ascension Thursday to Sunday in the state of New Jersey, you can refer to my writing from last year when the change officially occurred. Needless to say, I did not agree, then or now. People who live in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, right over the Delaware River, were/are still obliged to the traditional day on Thursday. A bit of confusion for all, wouldn’t you agree?

That being said, when Jesus ascended into heaven after His time on earth, he never abandoned 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). This is what we celebrate today.

I also wish all mothers today a happy Mother’s Day! 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!

For those (like myself) 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 Mary, our Spiritual Mother as well, especially in this month of May. We honor Our Lady as our Queen and Mother. She continues to intercede for her children here on earth and we place our confident hope and trust in her. 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: 

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.  (John 19: 26-27)

Finally, we enter into a period of preparation—originally, nine days of prayer or a novena—for the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. As the disciples prayed and awaited the promised Holy Spirit, so should we. The gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church transformed the lives of early Christians into true believers and bold witnesses to the risen Christ and His teaching.

One might see the obvious necessity of another outpouring of the same Holy Spirit for our times!

 Fr. Ed Namiotka