Pastor’s Corner
Fr. Dave

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 29, 2018

Peter Rooks retired from the Army as a Lt. Colonel after 21 years of service and then went on to head the Portland University Army Cadet Program from 2005- to 2009. In the University literary magazine he tells a powerful story of an event that happened during the Iraq war. At the time he was in charge of artillery for the Bastogne Brigade. They had rolled through Basra without any trouble but encountered some resistance in Nazaria. Then they came upon Najaf, home to the Golden Dome, the Imam Ali Mosque, high on a hill.
 

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11th Sunday in Ordinary Time – June 17, 2018

We had our last Pastoral Council meeting of the year this past Monday and the officers for the upcoming year are as Follows: Chairperson, Dan Loch; Vice Chair, Nicole Tobin and Secretary, Kristin Chuba. Our congratulations to all three of them.

The next night we had a dinner at the rectory for 30 of the many people involved in our Social Concerns ministries. Included in the group were people who work on the monthly food drive, representatives from the three funeral reception teams, teachers of English to the undocumented; CONECT core team members, soup kitchen volunteers, Midnight Run Volunteers, and the actual members of the Social Concerns committee that oversees everything. The co-leaders of this ministry are Barbara Bagnato and Rebecca Sweeney, who do so much for the parish. I speak all the time of “The Parish Twelve”. These are the key people who give themselves to the parish all year round. Actually there are many more than twelve, but the number is symbolic and Barbara and Rebecca are in that company. As long as the parish continues to have “The Parish Twelve”, we will be strong!


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Nativity of St. John the Baptist – June 24, 2018

It is important at this moment in our public life to remember that the Church has always claimed the right to speak on moral issues in the public square. There are areas where morality and politics overlap and in such cases the Church has always spoken out. No one is surprised to hear Catholic Bishops and priests speak against abortion from the pulpit. Nor should you be surprised when Bishops and priests condemn the federal policy of family separation at the border as part of the zero tolerance policy. Cardinal Dolan has called it “Unjust, un-American and unbiblical.” Cardinal DiNardo, the President of the Catholic Bishops said last week, “Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma….separating babies from their mothers is not the answer (to protecting our borders) and is immoral.”


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Body and Blood of Christ – June 3, 2018

You will be reading this on June 3rd, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. For Catholics of my advanced age, this was the central dogma of the Church differentiating us from all other Christian denominations. In those days, we alone believed that the substance of bread and wine, while keeping its appearances, became the Body and Blood of Jesus. To receive communion, was to take Jesus into your entire self so that you could become more what you just received. We still believe that truth but now we also add that the Risen Jesus is also present in the community as it gathers to celebrate Eucharist. He is equally present when the Scriptures are proclaimed at Mass, and he is likewise present in the presider who acts “in persona Christi”. The Eucharist that we celebrate each day is rich in the many ways it connects us to the Risen Jesus.


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Holy Trinity Sunday – May 27, 2018

This Sunday is the first of two Solemnities that follow Pentecost Sunday. This weekend we celebrate Trinity Sunday and next weekend is the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Jesus. As I get older, I find a deepened appreciation of the mystery of the Trinity. Officially, we pray to the Father in Jesus and through the Holy Spirit. This means that our experience of the divine has a relational depth to it. You can have a relationship with each person of the Trinity. While we give a separate “job” to each person, in reality, they act together in all they do. When Jesus came to be with us, He was one with the Father and filled with the Holy Spirit. We are saved by all three acting as one.


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Pentecost Sunday – May 20, 2018

Happy Pentecost Sunday! Today we celebrate the birthday of the Church, which happens when the Holy Spirit comes upon those first disciples. In John’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit is given by the Risen Jesus on Easter. In Luke and Acts of the Apostles, this important event is set on Pentecost, 50 days after Easter Sunday. What is important is the bestowal and not the timing. It is the Holy Spirit who is the continued presence of Jesus in His Body, the Church. It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to continue the work of Jesus in the world. It is the Holy Spirit who helps us to understand the mystery of the nature of our loving God. It is the Holy Spirit who inspires us to follow Jesus and work for the Kingdom. As we will see next weekend, on the Feast of the Holy Trinity, we owe everything to the Father who created us, the Son who saved us, and the Spirit who enlightens us. Just to add a bit of complexity, however, we are speaking of the Trinity and so what we attribute to one person, the other two persons do as well! More later!


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6th Sunday of Easter – May 6, 2018

Here we are in May, and I do believe spring has sprung. Alleluia!

The last two weekends we had our Annual Pastoral Council elections. The quality of the candidates was exceptional. So many people voted that the counters were here for over two hours on Sunday night. The reason for the turnout, of course, was so that we would have a strong Council for the coming year, when a new pastor will take over the reins.

You should know that we are in a period of change, and as the current pastor, part of my responsibility is to make some changes that will leave the new pastor on solid footing. The future of St. Jerome will almost certainly be that of a one priest parish, with a resident as well as Sunday assistants.


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5th Sunday of Easter – April 28, 2018

There are several things that go into making us the parish we are. Maybe the most important is that we have a number of small ministry/faith-sharing groups that both deepen the faith of the participants even as they flow into parish ministries. Two examples are the Social Concerns Committee, and the REACH Singers (the musicians at the 9:15am and 6pm Masses).


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2nd Sunday of Easter – April 8, 2018

I am writing this on Easter Monday, a day of snow! Amazing.
 

It has been a wonderful Triduum here at St. Jerome. I had the unusual experience of participating in

most of it from a pew. The only service at which I presided was the 9:30am on Easter Sunday. So, Fr.

Rojin did two Triduum services, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil, and Fr. Mike did Holy Thursday.
 

The highlight of Holy Thursday was watching family/friend groups come up for the washing of the feet.

If you were observing and knew the cast of characters, your heart would have been deeply moved. On

Good Friday, the same experience happened as I watched people coming up to venerate the Cross.

Participation at both services was as good or better than last year.
 

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Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018

I am writing this on Palm Sunday but thinking of Easter. Christmas, of course, has many stories, but it is hard to find Easter equivalents. So, I am eagerly awaiting a package from Amazon that will hold a book of Easter short stories. I am hopeful. While I wait, let me turn not to stories, but to poetry. Poetry has the ability to help us look carefully and deeply at life, searching for deeper meanings. One of my favorites is a poem by Cardinal John Henry Newman, called LEAD KINDLY LIGHT. The context is that as a newly ordained priest, Newman is taken ill and must stay in Italy for three weeks. He is deeply saddened because he cannot do his priestly ministry in England. Finally, he gets on a boat and becomes becalmed for two weeks. Then inspiration comes, and he writes the poem. The poem is about getting home to England. He talks of a help in darkness. “The night is dark, and I am far from home. Lead thou me on.” Later he speaks says, “And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.”


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