A Message from Father Bob
April 22, 2018
This Fourth Sunday of Easter, which is often called “Good Shepherd” Sunday, is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
I want to encourage all of our young people to ask God to show you the path of your life. Not “tell God” but ask God to tell you where you will be the most fulfilled. It’s not always the path we thought of when we were children. Whatever it is, it will be good, for it’s from God; not always easy, but always, always good. Who knows maybe God is calling some of our young people to Religious Life and the Priesthood?
The fourth possible parish in our new configuration is St. Felix in Freedom. It is a small but lovely parish church nestled in the trees looking down on Route 65. The parish is named for St. Felix of Cantalice, 1515-1587, from Italy. He was devoted to caring for the sick and was thought to have had tremendous powers of healing. He was a Capuchin Friar, which was a perfect saint for this parish entrusted to the care of the Capuchin Friars who were already in the area when this parish started in 1906. It is a lovely jewel of a parish, and I encourage you to stop in for Mass sometime. They have a Saturday anticipated Mass at 4:00 p.m. and Sunday Mass at 11:00 a.m.
Reading and learning more about our faith should be a strong component of our Catholic Faith. I encourage you to read the Pittsburgh Catholic each week and make use of the various pamphlets and literature in the back of the church.
April 15, 2018
I’m still thinking about Holy Week and Easter Sunday and feeling a great deal of gratitude for everyone’s efforts to make our liturgies so beautiful. Of course, a big part of that is those who attend. For example, on Good Friday, the slow, reverent way in which everyone comes forward to venerate the cross touches my heart deeply every year.
Some time back I wrote a paragraph about Holy Family Parish and its history. I’d like to do the same about St. Cecilia Parish:
Back in the days of ethnic parishes, St. Cecilia was begun in 1856 by a group of German Catholics in our area. At first, they were a mission from St. Mary Parish in the Northside of Pittsburgh, also a German, ethnic parish. Gradually, they became a territorial parish and less of an ethnic one. Like us, they’ve had a number of churches built and dedicated: 1857, 1906, 1970, which had become structurally unsound and their current church which was dedicated in 2004.
They have been blessed by the presence of the Capuchin Friars since 1909. Many generations of Catholics in our county have had the blessing of Franciscan formation. There is an old and honorable connection between our parishes. Many people don’t know that for many years (shortages of priests and distance from Pittsburgh) this parish was taken care of by the priests of St. Cecilia. This is the period from 1868 to 1900. I guess the English/German speaking thing might have been a barrier early on, but we’ve been friends and co-workers for a long time. The Capuchin Friars have, for some years, rented our “old rectory” next to Keating Hall. They often feed me, and our parish staffs consult and help each other frequently.
Please remember the Easter Season continues. Don’t push it away. Hopefully, as Spring comes, the colors and aromas of new life in the earth will keep our hearts thankful for the Resurrection.
April 8, 2018
Our celebration of Easter Sunday continues on this Second Sunday of Easter. Our dear friend Thomas, helps us in a powerful way. Added to this day is the celebration for the Divine Mercy devotion which is very much evidenced in all that our Lord did for us in the Paschal Mystery. Reminder: Adoration 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Holy Week liturgies were so beautiful. There are so many people who make that possible. The musicians put in many hours. The servers came early. The ushers had so many extra details to juggle. The readers had extra practice. The decorations required many hours. The RCIA Team had been preparing for months. The youth group helped in lots of little ways. The Holy Saturday Easter Egg Hunt was a great success and a spiritual reminder for the kids. There is so much that goes on. The Rectory was a buzz of activity the last few weeks. The parish staff works very hard for you all and they make me look good. My thanks to everyone!
A special congratulations again to those who have come into the Church at the Easter Vigil: Breoni, Zack, Ron, Bryce, Caroline and Adam and Stacie who were confirmed with them. That is a special night for which I need lots of helpful assistance.
Our next big parish event will be First Holy Communion. As is our tradition, that will be the 1st Saturday of May, May 5. Please pray for the children and their parents. I worry so much that they aren’t brought to Mass.
A clarification: The April 26 announcement of the On Mission plan will be delayed until Saturday, April 28. The announcement letter will be read at all Masses that weekend. A mailing will then go to all parishioners as well as being in the “Pittsburgh Catholic”.
Because of March 25 being the date of Palm Sunday this year, the Feast of the Annunciation is moved to tomorrow,
April 9. Less than nine months to Christmas!
April 1, 2018 Easter Sunday
Christ is Risen from the dead! We join with all the Saints and Angels, with all our loved ones gone before us and with all Christians in the world in proclaiming this amazing truth. Jesus rose from the dead proving He is the Son of God and the Redeemer of the World.
As much as we lived penitently during Lent, now we rejoice in the Easter Season. The Lenten desert was 40 days. The Easter Garden is 50 days. There is so much for us to experience and discover.
Fr. Brynes, Fr. Regis and the Parish staff join me in wishing you and your family a joyous Easter Sunday.
Like Christmas Day, Easter Sunday is an octave – 8 days of rejoicing.
My thanks to everyone who has helped so much throughout Lent and Holy Week. God bless you all!
February 25, 2018
Thanks to everyone who helped make confirmation so wonderful and congratulations to all the newly confirmed.
We are blessed, once again this year, to have people desiring to join our faith. This Sunday afternoon in an impressive ceremony at our cathedral, the Bishop will receive them as Catechumens (to be baptized) and candidates (those already baptized). Please keep these good people in your prayers.
Our Lenten “Capuchin Wednesdays” continue. The Friars are coming here for the Wednesday evening Masses on February 28, March 7, and 14 – while I’m going to St. Cecilia. It will be very good for you to have a dose of Franciscan spirituality for a change.
Looking ahead, the neighborhood confession week begins on Sunday, March 18. The “Light Is On For You” is the Wednesday of that week, March 21 as well. There are lots of opportunities for the sacrament that week. Of course, I’ll have “last minute” times as well in Holy Week. Holy Week begins Sunday, March 25.
The Triduum schedule remains the same as previous years. Holy Thursday – 7:00 p.m.; Good Friday – 1:30 p.m.; Holy Saturday Vigil – 8:30 p.m.; Easter Sunday is our regular Sunday schedule.
It is never too early to ask for volunteers for the symbolic “foot washing” on Holy Thursday. If you are interested, please call Nora at the Rectory.
February 18, 2018
I received an email on Friday instructing that we have been given permission to apply money from the Campaign to the Church Alive to pay off our remaining debt in the amount of $58,436.78. Good News! Saints Peter and Paul Parish is no longer in debt. Now, we need to continue to be able to pay our bills.
Lent has begun. The gospel each year on the 1st Sunday of Lent reminds us of Jesus’ 40 days of prayer and fasting in the desert, which is why we imitate Him in our “40 day desert of Lent”. Please remember this is a spiritual time and not an endurance contest. Many writers liken Lent to a retreat that each of us makes individually, yet together in the same parish. Use the black books; pray the daily scriptures; attend stations; make private visits to pray before the Blessed Sacrament; visit the sick or elderly; attend an extra weekly Mass; prayer and fasting – These are just some of the possibilities we can use to deepen our connection to Christ. Another way lots of folks used last year and really liked was BestLentever.com. Whatever you are doing, keep your focus on Jesus.
“Capuchin Lent” – One other thing that’s going to happen around here is a Lenten pulpit swap between the Capuchin Friars and yours truly on 4 Wednesday evenings during Lent. February 21, 28, March 7 and 14 are the Wednesdays this will happen. I will be at St. Cecilia and the Friars, Fr. Paul and Fr. Mark, will be here. I predict that a wonderful taste of Franciscan spirituality will help us all.
Thank you to everyone who helped make the Sacrament of Confirmation so very wonderful last Tuesday evening. Special thanks to the Catechists who helped them prepare and make this choice. God bless all the newly confirmed, their sponsors and parents.
February 11, 2018
There are two BIG events this week in the life of our Parish. Tuesday evening, February 13, Bishop Zubik will be here to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to the young men and women of our 8th grade. Please pray for the candidates and for their sponsors and parents. The Seminarians, from Philadelphia, commented several times on how great our young people are.
The very next day, Wednesday, February 14, is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent. On Ash Wednesday, Masses will be 7:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. At noon, there is a Liturgy of the Word service with ashes.
Stations of the Cross begin this Friday, February 16, at 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. times blend nicely with the Fish Fry, which begins this week as well. The Lenten Regulations are also published in the bulletin as a reminder.
Please remember that whatever it is we “Do for Lent” should have the effect of bringing us closer to Jesus. Lent is a spiritual journey that brings us to Jesus at the foot of His cross where we encounter the utter depths of His love and mercy. There is nothing to fear.
February 04, 2018
Once again, we are publishing a schedule for “On Mission”. Right now the information of parishes and priest assignments are being prayerfully considered by the Bishop.
This first weekend of February is designated to honor the many women and men who have devoted themselves to Christ and the service of others in the vows of religious life. When I look back on my life, I am in awe of the differences so many Nuns, Monks and Brothers have impacted my life. We need to give thanks and praise to God for the powerful examples and witnesses of the simplicity of their lives.
Parish Share Report: The goal set for our Parish Share Assessment for 2017/18 was $105,646. Currently we have $96,967. The last day we can accept donations is ASH WEDNESDAY. Everything we receive above and beyond this goal is ours – free and clear of assessment for next year’s assessment. If we don’t reach our goal, we take it out of regular savings. The new Parish Share drive begins with the first Sunday of Lent, February 18, 2018. Our new assessment has not been announced yet.
From time to time, I want to focus on one of the parishes with whom we might merge. Holy Family Parish, New Brighton, PA is itself already a merged parish.
Formed on February 14, 1994, it was the joining of St. Joseph Parish established in 1862 with St. Cyril and Methodius Parish which was established in 1916 when a big influx of Slovak and Croatian Catholics made a second parish necessary. At one point, each parish supported a school, both being closed by 1973. They strive, very much, to be a welcoming parish. Hospitality is a strong virtue. This has been practiced in recent years as many Catholics from Beaver Falls have begun attending Holy Family after the demolition of St. Mary’s, Beaver Falls. It seems to me, one of the major spiritual gifts this parish has to offer to others is their experience in transition. They have gone through closings and mergers and adaptations in their history and still are a faith-filled parish who love their Catholic faith, no matter what. Their neighborhood has changed, their parish identity has changed and still they are loyal to the church and its teachings. I like that.
January 28, 2018
This is Catholic Schools Week. The schedule is included in this bulletin and please know you are welcome to attend any or all of these events. May I take this moment again to thank the parishioners for all you do for the fundraising to help keep our school vibrant. You may have noted in the Financial Report that the schools annual numbers are healthy. We are blessed to have this option. For parents who wonder if they can handle the tuition, take a look. It might be more affordable than you think.
Our parish 8th graders are preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation on Tuesday, February 13, with Bishop Zubik. Their retreat was this past Saturday at Quigley. Please pray for them as this great moment draws near.
Saturday, February 3, is Feast of St. Blaise with the customary Blessing of Throats. I’ll bless throats at the conclusion of Saturday morning Mass (approx. 9:30 a.m.) and after Saturday night Mass for anyone who wishes to stay around.
ON MISSION UPDATE…You may have heard from friends and family in other parts of the Diocese that there is new discussion about some of the proposed mergers. These would result in the increase of the total number of parishes proposed. While this does not really effect us, I want to share this info with you so that everyone can see that this is not a “done deal”. The process is and always has been very honest and sincere. I do think an awareness of that can be an assist for us in opening ones attitude to new adjustments.
January 21, 2018
Monday, January 22, marks the unfortunate anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that permits abortion on demand in USA. As we continue to pray for this great sin in our land, the Bishops have asked us to make this a day of prayer. Therefore, I’m adding an additional Mass on Monday, January 22, at 12 noon with Eucharistic Adoration to follow until 3:00 p.m.
Although I’m talking about this at Masses, I wanted to mention an important parish financial matter. You’re all aware of the Campaign for the Church Alive. That financial drive has brought a lot of support to the Diocese and helped us as well. Currently, we have $347,346.09 but that money can only be used for the needs we presented as our case study. For example, the carpet and paint in church and repair to the gym roof were both on our case proposals. Electricity repairs for the safety of the old rectory (now St. Fidelis Friary), which were about $20,000, had to have a special permission from the diocese, since it was not on our initial proposal.
I would like to do that again: Apply some of our Campaign funds to a large outstanding bill that was NOT originally part of our financial campaign. That bill is the debt we owe the diocese as a result of unpaid insurance. Initially, that was over $200,000. We have been able to bring that down to $58,436.78 due to our systematic payments and a bequest from the estate of Florence St. Clair. My proposal is this: As we move to our future parish restructuring, I would like to come into this “marriage” without any debt. Although we are the largest parish, we are also the only one in debt. Pastoral and Finance Councils are in agreement. So, unless I hear some serious objections, I plan on asking for permission to transfer these funds to pay off our debt.
Once again, we welcome two seminarians to our parish for a month. They’ll live in our parish but go to work at McGuire Home. They are each named Joseph, so we can’t be wrong. I’ll tell you more about them next week.
There is an important feast day for us this week. Thursday, January 25, is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (an event that changed the world). Let’s ask St. Paul to pray for our continued conversions to love Christ more.
January 14, 2018
Our Christmas Season is over now. We move back into Ordinary Time until Ash Wednesday – which is February 14. As we move from one Liturgical Season to another, it’s always a good thing to take notice of how God has been active in our life. This is especially true for Advent and Christmas. How and through whom did God bless us? For whom might God have used us as a blessing? What spiritual gifts or insights did I receive? What were the low and high moments of prayer? All of these are just starter questions to reflect on God’s presence in our life this Christmas.
Again, my thanks to everyone who helped make the Christmas season so beautiful in our parish. I truly enjoyed it. As well, my thanks to you all for your kindness and generosity. I received so many beautiful cards, gifts and goodies! Thank you all.
Last Sunday, I mentioned at the Masses (except 9:15 am) the retreat program that goes on at St. Cecilia and St. Felix parishes. It is entitled “Welcome – There is More to Life”. The men’s weekend is coming soon, January 27 & 28, 2018. If interested call Tom Eiler at 724-846-8321 or Tony Ziegler at 412-974-3187.
Once more, there will be seminarians from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia coming to stay in our parish for a month. As in the past, they live here and take part in our parish a bit, but their major role is to work at the McGuire Home under the direction of Fr. Mike Greb. They arrive this week.
Tomorrow is the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. It’s certainly a moment for us to examine our own attitudes toward racial issues and ask God to remove/change whatever is necessary.
Monday, January 22, is the day of prayer for the legal protection of unborn children. Acts of prayer, fasting and penitence are suggested. As in the past, there will be an additional Mass at 12 noon with Eucharistic Adoration until 3:00 p.m. We do this in solidarity with all those going to the March in D.C. There is a bus going from our area so pray for them, please. Crossing the Allegheny Mountains in January is always a worrisome thing.
January 07, 2018
Christmas is not over yet. Today we focus on the arrival of the Magi to adore the new born King. Are we there with them or have we lost interest already in the good news out of Bethlehem and our Savior’s birth? It’s easy to let the rhythm of the world do that to us. So, let’s continue to resist that trend and continue to think about what blessings Christmas has brought us thus far.
Welcome to our new Director of Music, Mr. Ken Hand! Welcome, Ken, and God bless you. Also, welcome today to Fr. Howard Campbell, our new Regional vicar for Vicariate III. Fr. Campbell is doing the 9:15 a.m. Mass today as part of his plan to visit all the parishes in his vicariate.
Again, a happy, healthy and holy new year to you all. 2018 is going to bring all of us some very significant changes. May God give us the corresponding grace that we need.
I must say a word of thanks and praise to everyone involved with the Christmas pageant last Thursday evening. It was wonderful. The singing was beautiful and the costumes, spectacular. This was truly an event about which we can be justly proud. Two of my priest friends, Fr. Jim Orr from Troy Hill and Msgr. Ronald Cellini from South Carolina were here and were enchanted by the evening. So much thanks to Ginny and everyone who worked so hard for this and for ALL the choir music and solos over Christmas.
As well, the “children’s liturgy” Christmas Eve was also very well done. The children were delightful (I heard about that in a funeral home in Bellevue!). Good news travels far and fast. Thank you to everyone involved in the Christmas Liturgies – it’s extra work for everyone: ushers, servers, members, lectors, as well as musicians and the parish staff.
St. Cecilia – Rochester
628 Virginia Avenue
Saturday – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday – 7:30 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.
Weekdays – Monday and Wednesday – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday – 8:00 a.m.
Reconciliation: Saturdays – noon to 1:00 p.m.
St. Felix – Freedom
450 13th Street
Mass Schedule: Saturday – 4:00 p.m. Sunday – 11:00 a.m.
Weekdays – Monday thru Thursday – 9:00 a.m.
Holy Family – New Brighton
1851 Third Avenue
Saturday – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday – 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Weekdays – Monday – Friday – 8:00 a.m.
Reconciliation: Saturdays – 3:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
A PRAYER FOR FAMILIES BY POPE FRANCIS
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendor of true love, to you we turn with trust. Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families, too, may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel, and small domestic Churches. Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection, and division: may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing.
In a world which daily discards tons of food and medicine, there are children, hungry and suffering from easily curable diseases, who cry out in vain. In an age which insists on the protection of minors, there is a flourishing trade in weapons which end up in the hands of child soldiers; there is a ready market for goods produced by the slave labor of small children. Their cry is stifled: the cry of these children is stifled! They must fight, they must work, they cannot cry! But their mothers cry for them, as modern-day Rachel’s: they weep for their children, and they refuse to be consoled (cf. Mt 2:18).
WHY HAVE A WILL?
Every adult has the right to decide how his or her assets should be distributed at death. Regardless of how much you might own, it is your right and responsibility to determine how your remaining assets should be distributed.
Without a will, the intestacy statutes of the state of your residence at the time of your death will determine how your assets are distributed.
A will is a legal document that instructs:
How your assets should be distributed among your spouse and other loved ones at your death;
Who will care for your minor children in your absence;
Who will safeguard your property and oversee the distribution of your assets;
Distribution of charitable gifts to Saints Peter and Paul Parish, providing a witness to your loved ones about the importance of your faith and the church in your life.
A will should always be prepared by an attorney licensed in the state of your residence. Your attorney will need to be familiar with your financial circumstances, family situation and your wishes. Your attorney may wish to work closely with your financial advisor or tax preparer. Advice from an attorney and other professional advisors should be sought when considering any form of charitable giving so as to maximize the value of the gift and minimize tax consequences to your estate.
Stephanie Thomas Kramer