The Month of March 2018

My Friends,

“Pause – See – Return”

On Ash Wednesday Pope Francis preached a homily which details our agenda for the forty days of this Great Season of Grace”.  The agenda he proposes has three hallmarks: pause, see, return.  Simple, his words are, yet challenging.  As we move toward the midpoint of Lent, a reflective reading of the Pope’s agenda is timely:

“The season of Lent is a favorable time to remedy the dissonant chords of our Christian life and to receive the ever new, joyful and hope-filled proclamation of the Lord’s Passover.  The Church invites us to pay special attention to anything that could dampen or even corrode our believing heart.

“We are subject to numerous temptations.  Each of us knows the difficulties we have to face.  And it is sad to note that, when faced with the ever-varying circumstances of our daily lives, there are voices raised that take advantage of pain and uncertainty; the only thing they aim to do is sow distrust.  If the fruit of faith is charity – as Mother Teresa often used to say – then the fruit of distrust is apathy and resignation.  Distrust, apathy and resignation: these are demons that deaden and paralyze the soul of a believing people.

“Lent is the ideal time to unmask these and other temptations, to allow our hearts to beat once more in tune with the vibrant heart of Jesus.  The whole of the Lenten season is imbued with this conviction, which we could say is echoed by three words offered to us in order to rekindle the heart of the believer: pause, see and return.

“Pause a little, leave behind the unrest and commotion that fill the soul with bitter feelings which never get us anywhere.  Pause from this compulsion to a fast-paced life that scatters, divides and ultimately destroys time with family, with friends, with children, with grandparents, and time as a gift – time with God.

“Pause for a little while, refrain from the need to show off and be seen by all, to continually appear on the ‘noticeboard’ that makes us forget the value of intimacy and recollection.

“Pause for a little while, refrain from haughty looks, from fleeting and negative comments that arise from forgetting tenderness, compassion and reverence for the encounter with others, particularly those who are vulnerable, hurt and even immersed in sin and error.

“Pause for a little while, refrain from the urge to want to control everything, know everything, destroy everything; this comes from overlooking gratitude for the gift of life and all the good we receive.

“Pause for a little while, refrain from the deafening noise that weakens and confuses our hearing that makes us forget the fruitful and creative power of silence.

“Pause for a little while, refrain from the attitude which promotes sterile and unproductive thoughts that arise from isolation and self-pity, and that cause us to forget going out to encounter others to share their burdens and suffering.

“Pause for a little while, refrain from the emptiness of everything that is instantaneous, momentary and fleeting, that deprives us of our roots, our ties, of the value of continuity and the awareness of our ongoing journey.

“Pause in order to look and contemplate!

“See the gestures that prevent the extinguishing of charity, that keep the flame of faith and hope alive.  Look at faces alive with God’s tenderness and goodness working in our midst.

“See the face of our families who continue striving, day by day, with great effort, in order to move forward in life, and who, despite many concerns and much hardship, are committed to making their homes a school of love.

“See the faces of our children and young people filled with yearning for the future and hope, filled with “tomorrows” and opportunities that demand dedication and protection.  Living shoots of love and life that always open up a path in the midst of our selfish calculations.

“See our elderly whose faces are marked by the passage of time, faces that reveal the living memory of our people.  Faces that reflect God’s wisdom at work.

“See the faces of our sick people and the many who take care of them; faces which in their vulnerability and service remind us that the value of each person can never be reduced to a question of calculation or utility.

“See the remorseful faces of so many who try to repair their errors and mistakes, and who from their misfortune and suffering fight to transform their situations and move forward.

“See and contemplate the face of Crucified Love, who today from the cross continues to bring us hope, his hand held out to those who feel crucified, who experience in their lives the burden of failure, disappointment and heartbreak.

“See and contemplate the real face of Christ crucified out of love for everyone, without exception.  For everyone?  Yes, for everyone.  To see his face is an invitation filled with hope for this Lenten time, in order to defeat the demons of distrust, apathy and resignation.  The face that invites us to cry out:‘ The Kingdom of God is possible!’

“Pause, see and return.  Return to the house of your Father.  Return without fear to those outstretched,  eager arms of your Father, who is rich in mercy and who awaits you.

“Return without fear, for this is the favorable time to come home, to the home of my Father and your Father.  It is the time for allowing one’s heart
to be touched.  Persisting on the path of evil only gives rise to disappointment and sadness.  True life is something quite distinct and our heart knows this.  God does not tire, nor will he tire, of holding out his hand to us.

“Return without fear, to join in the celebration of those who are forgiven.

“Return without fear, to experience the healing and reconciling tenderness of God.  Let the Lord heal the wounds of sin and fulfil the prophecy made to our fathers: ‘A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh’.

“Pause, see and return!”

A Word of Welcome
On February 9th we welcomed Michael Goar to the parish staff as Maintenance Manager.  Mike comes to us with strong recommendation from trusted references for his enthusiasm, energy, disposition, and work ethic.

He is a veteran who is proud to have served in Viet Nam.  He comes to us ready for the regular regimen of maintenance activities in and around the parish plant and the parish campus.  He comes to us, too, with a college background in horticulture and is eager to put his knowledge and talent to work beautifying the parish grounds and plazas and planters.

Mike will regularly be here, as have his predecessors, on Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon.  He will also be here when special occasions such as weddings, funerals or other parish activities necessitate his service.

We are blessed!

Discarding Excess Baggage
Fasting and abstaining from foods, favorite diversions, critical judgment & gossip, habits or routines, excessive use of the internet or social media, that have become part of our regular agenda, are just some ways of discarding the excess baggage in our lives.  We simplify our lives.  We create space better to hear God and are freed to live more credibly the Gospel.

The minimum that the Church prescribes as norms for our Lenten Itinerary are:

Ash Wednesday (February 14, 2018) and Good Friday (March 30, 2018) are days of abstinence for all Catholics over the age of 14. On these two days, fast, as well as abstinence, is also obligatory for those from the ages of 18-59.

Abstinence means refraining from meat. Fast means one full meal a day, with two smaller meals and nothing between meals (liquids are permitted). No Catholic will lightly excuse himself or herself from this obligation.

All Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence from meat. Here again Catholics will not lightly excuse themselves. If a serious health problem exists, this obligation does not apply.

Alive in Christ
In my January All That Matters reflection here I began with the age-old conviction of the Church.  It is that, in the celebration of Mass, we not only receive the Body of Christ in Holy Communion, but we become the Body of Christ in Holy Communion.  Nourished by the Eucharist to be still more Alive in Christ we are transformed so that, each individually and all together we embody Christ for one another, and especially for the troubled and troublesome among us.

This happens most effectively when the parish family is gathered together at Mass, in name and in fact, as “one body, one spirit, in Christ”.

Over several months I have included here observations about the numbers of people regularly attending the three scheduled Sunday Masses of Obligation.  The reality is that, over the last year, regularly, the attendance at each of the three weekend Masses rarely exceeds twenty-five people. Frequently there are fewer than fifteen people participating at a Mass. Often enough, of those, the majority are visitors/tourists, rather than parishioners.

I have discussed this, several times, with our parish pastoral council.  The members have concurred that it is appropriate and timely, now, to review and revise our weekend Mass schedule.  It is likely that there will be one Vigil Mass of Sunday on Saturday evening and one Sunday Morning Mass. I hope, by email to all households of record, in coming weeks, to invite you to express, as a recommendation, your preference for the Sunday Morning Mass time.

A decision, then, and the implementation, will take place after sufficient time for notification is published for parishioners and at the various apartments, condominiums and various venues which make our Mass schedule available on the request of their residents or guests.  This will not take place before Easter Sunday.

This, then, is a “third word” concerning our Sunday Eucharist.  In coming weeks, further reflection on the Sunday Eucharist, as well as specific details, will come your way here or by email

The Irish Are Coming
On Sunday, March 18th, at our 10:30 Mass, as they do each year, the Downtown St. Patrick’s Day Observance committee, their families, and their honored guests will join us for the 10:30 celebration of Mass.  Afterwards they will proceed to the event which concludes this observance.

As always we welcome them with the Gaelic greeting, expressing the same sentiment, “failte”!

Love Creates Life
On Sunday, March 18th, too, at 12:00 noon, parishioners Eli and Alylssa Gerard will present their first-born, Arleigh James Gerard, for Baptism here.  He is proof-positive, in flesh and blood, of the age-old intuition of the Church that: “love creates life”.

Monsignor Delaney

Schedule for Holy Week & Easter 2018
Holy Thursday
29 March 2018
Mass of the Lord’s Supper:  5:00 p.m.
Good Friday
30 March 2018
Liturgy of the Passion & Death of the Lord:  12:00 noon
Holy Saturday
31 March 2018
The Easter Vigil: 7:00 p.m.
Easter Sunday
1 April 2018
Mass:  10:30 a.m.