Pastor’s Desk

Food for our Journey

 

Do whatever He tells you!

Dear brothers and sisters:

The key message of the story of the wedding atCana, the first sign performed by Jesus, is worth meditating and believing. God revealed and manifested to the world. This is the truth – God knows our needs and is with us. He has kept His promise toIsraeland is now among his people.Israelthought of God as good and loving and caring. The key image of that relationship was that God not only provided food, basic needs, but also wine, wine in abundance and freely available. This is the symbol of a joyful and pleasant world.

Wine in the ancient culture, as in our own, wasassociated with having a party. We still bring a bottle of wine when going to a dinner or a party. Wine in abundance was the symbol of generosity. We do not want to be stingy with wine, as people thought at the wedding.  As we see in the chef’s comments, usually people serve the good wine first and after the guests have become drunk they give the inferior wine. This sign that is turning water into wine has obvious connections to the sacrificial meal of abundant feeding we know and celebrate as the Eucharist. With that sign the greatest gift was made known to the world. The son of God has come among us. Like the best wine which only came at the end of a long period of waiting, so came Jesus in the history ofIsrael. God is generous and loving and wine is the fitting image of His care, but His greatest generosity is sending His own Son among us. As God was generous towards us, let us be generous towards others. Let us try to listen to Him.

Fr. Jerome

 

 

 

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Dear brothers and sisters:  we end the Christmas season with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and begin the season of ordinary time. When Jesus came to receive Baptism, a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the beloved, with you I am well pleased.” This sets the tone for His public mission. Everybody must be thinking, why did Jesus go into the river Jordan and receive Baptism? Was there a need for Jesus, being the Son of God, the Beloved one, to have Baptism? He did it with the intention of uniting people’s desire for the kingdom of God. He saw the pain and misery of people because of sin, so He accepted the mission.

He began His public ministry, for the love of His people, which would end in the destruction of sin, with obedience to the Father. By embracing His mission, He defeated the devil and established the kingdom of God, then called each of us to continue and complete His ministry. We are called to continue the work of Jesus.  How shall we do it? Some of us are called to the vocations: to married life, to parenthood, to the priesthood, to religious life, or to the life of the committed Catholic single.

When we use the particular gifts He has given to each of us to make the world beautiful for others, we are continuing His mission. Should those of you who are married put your spouse before yourselves, you are continuing His mission to make love the motivation of life. When those of you who have children empty yourselves so your children can grow into the reflections of God, you are continuing His mission. If we say no to sin and yes to care for all who are hurting, we are continuing His mission. By making time to be kind to those whom our society hates, the downtrodden and socially unacceptable, we are continuing His mission. While responding to the grace to do something for someone else and realizing that we are not the centre of the universe but, that Jesus is the centre and our centre, we are continuing His mission. The Father was pleased that Jesus embraced His mission and that we continue Christ’s ministry.

What a gift we have been given in Jesus Christ! Some people think that life is meaningless and without purpose. But, we Christians know why we were created and how we can live meaningful lives.  We can make a difference in the world by uniting ourselves to the One who changed the world with His life.

-Fr. Jerome

Food for the journey. Joy to the world!

It’s Christmas, the birthday of the Lord Jesus. Finally, after four weeks of Advent, of waiting and praying for the coming of Jesus, Christmas has arrived. The angels are bringing us the good news of great joy for all the people, for to us is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. God has come to visit us and be with us. It’s our birthday also, because through His coming He made us the children of God. To all those who receive Him and believe in His name, He gives power to become the children of God. This is the news of great joy. Angels appeared singing for joy, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men of good will.”

Why has Jesus come? Because God loves us, and that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but have eternal life (Jn3:16). He is Emmanuel, God with us. In Him, God’s love and grace have been revealed. His coming has made salvation possible. He came to teach us how to live and what to do. He came so that we may have life and have it abundantly (Jn10:10). He came to serve and to give His life to redeem many people. The celebration of Christmas calls our attention to life and its final goal. St. Augustine said God has become man so that man might become God. When we look at the scene of nativity, it tells us of the profound love of God manifested in a humble way. This event invites us to live a humble, holy and just life. God, who is love, communicates with us and leads us from darkness to light. Therefore, we must focus our minds on the heart of Christmas which is Christ. Christ came with the message of peace and joy. He came to proclaim the good news to the poor.

At this time, I wish to acknowledge the good work done by parishioners who have helped the needy through our Food Pantry, with Christmas Hampers and Toys – one way to share the joy and peace of Jesus. Thanks too, to our volunteers who serve the community by visiting the retirement homes and Freeport Hospital.

Hats off to all who have donated to our window renovation fund, which is almost paid off. A special thanks to the volunteers who create the stained glass crosses and stars, donating hundreds of hours to this project.  Thanks to the Youth of the Parish who have raised funds through the Car Wash and Christmas Party.

Last but not least, I wish to thank all who decorated the church, and served in their various ministries – Mass Coordinators, Altar Servers, Eucharistic Ministers, Ministers of the Word, Choirs, Musicians and Ushers, over Christmas and New Year’s, and in fact, all year long.  The solid volunteer base in all committees and  groups is commendable and much appreciated. 

Fr. Martin and I are grateful to all of you for welcoming us and supporting us as we become established in the community.
I am looking forward many good things to happen in the coming year as St. Aloysius Parish completes 60 years of service to the community. I wish you all Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.           

-Fr.Jerome

Bishop Crosby’s Christmas Message

Dear Friends:

“I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary ….” We say these words Sunday after Sunday, and whenever we profess the Apostles’ Creed.

Christmas is about Christ – His birth in Bethlehem, His encounter with the shepherds, with the Magi, and with Anna and Simeon – and our personal encounter with Him! During this Year of Faith, we reflect more intensely on that encounter, so that we might Rediscover the Joy of what it means for our lives.

A child – born for us! Life! Light! Joy! Peace! These are the images we treasure during this holy season. Yet, as He lies in the wooden manger, we can already foresee the impending suffering of the wood of the Cross with the senseless slaughter of the Holy Innocents to appease the vanity of Herod.
 
Our lives are a mix of good and evil, of joy and sorrow, of hope and despair, of happiness and pain. As we look upon this Child with awe, we are only too aware of the death of children who never get a chance! This Child causes us to fall down in worship, praise and thanksgiving; the holy innocents of our own time cause us to question the values of a world where one person’s choice trumps another person’s life!

Christmas is a time to rejoice and give thanks for the gift and blessings of life.  It is also a time to be generous toward others who may not be so blessed – so that the life of each one and of all might be nurtured and supported – and together we might turn to the Author of Life and give profound thanks.

Merry Christmas and blessings throughout 2013!

Prepare a way for the Lord

Dear brothers and sisters: During the second Sunday of Advent, the liturgy invites us to ponder how to prepare a way for the Lord. The simplest way is to scan the horizon of our lives. What are the valleys that need to be filled in? Where are the places that are empty? Are there rugged places, sharp and painful and hard, that need to be made smooth? Are there roadblocks that get in the way? Now is the time to do something about it. Now is the time to remove all the obstacles, those things that have taken us from God and from one another. There are three words John the Baptist uses in his preaching. They are baptism, repentance, and forgiveness. Baptism is a symbolic action through which people expressed, by their immersion in the waters of the River Jordan, their desire to have their evil past totally washed away. This washing away is possible and effective only through repentance. Repentance means total and radical change of outlook in our relationship with God and other people. The forgiveness of sins here is seen as the dropping off of heavy baggage or burdens, a liberation from the chains of sin and evil. It involves a total reconciliation with our God and with all those whom we have hurt or with whom we have come in conflict.

Our response to Jesus’ call….

Each year as the Advent season comes and we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we need once more to hear the challenging call of John the Baptist. We need to re-affirm our baptismal commitment to the Christian community, to the Body of Christ.

We need to open ourselves to further conversion, to an ever deeper change of heart, to a deeper listening to what Jesus is asking of us.
We need total reconciliation with God and with all those people who come into our lives.

We, all of us, have a mission to communicate Christ’s message of Love to others.

Can we become another John the Baptist to prepare the way for the Lord?

-Fr. Jerome

What are the hopes we have for our world today?

Dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus. Today we begin the new liturgical year with a new season that is Advent. On this day we put out a wreath placing four candles. On the first Sunday of Advent, we light one purple candle. This is the candle of hope. This tells us it is a time of waiting and hoping for the second coming of Jesus, and to celebrate again the birth of Jesus. When we wait we expect something to happen. We wait for a bus or train because we expect it to arrive. When we are waiting for a bus or train we cannot see it coming but hope it will come. So be on your guard, stay awake because you never know when the time will come. For those who are finding these times difficult for one reason or another, the message of Advent is to wait for God in patient hope. God has not abandoned us. God is with us though sometimes our lack of faith prevents us from seeing Him.

Therefore, wait in patient hope for God to fulfill His plans in His own way in His own time. We wait for the second coming of Jesus that will bring all God’s plans for the world to completion. We wait for the day when we celebrate again, the birth of Jesus. We hope today that everyone will come to know God and to worship God.

Everyone should strive to create peace and harmony in places of wide spread violence and terrorism. When we look at the first candle, we remember God’s promise. God promised to send a saviour to the people. When we read the scripture, we learn what the prophets wrote about God. God fulfills the promises made to his people. God is Loving and just. God brings peace. This gives us hope. We look forward to the time when everything is just, and is at peace.

-Fr. Jerome

Christ the universal King of both Heaven and Earth…

Dear brothers and sisters:

When Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you a king?” His answer was affirmative, but He added clearly, my kingdom does not belong to this world. He did not live like the kings of the world in the palaces.

Look at Christ the King. He is in sharp contrast to those rulers. He carried the burden of all his subjects, the burden of sin in the form of the cross. While earthly kings load heavy burdens on their subjects, here we have a king, who on the contrary, carried His people’s burden himself. He won the battle against Satan and the power of evil yet, the battle goes on.

St. John, in the Book of Revelation, calls Christ the ruler of the kings of the earth. This king differs from other kings in many ways. Earthly kings are high and mighty, unapproachable, while Christ on the other hand, died for the truth, not by shedding the blood of others, but by offering His own blood. He does not dominate; He does not send out soldiers to spread terror, but messengers of the good news of salvation.

Earthly kings demand service from their subjects; Christ the King serves his subjects. They seek honour; Christ humbles himself. They seek riches and power.; Christ empties himself. They make their subjects die for them; Christ died for his subjects. Earthly kings put on crowns of gold and diamonds; Christ wears a crown of thorns. They sit on royal thrones; Christ hangs on a cross.

Who can really recognize the kingship of Christ? The one with repentant heart, like the thief who was hanging beside Jesus said, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus said, “Today you shall be with me in paradise.” All of us call Christ our King. Do we really obey His law and follow His teaching? Is He the king and centre of our hearts? Do we let Him govern our lives? Does the way we live show that Jesus is our Lord and king? Do we allow Him to rule our hearts, our homes, our families and our society? Let us make sure that we pledge our loyalty to Him. Today we renew our commitment to establish His kingdom in every human heart, beginning with our own. May He rule our minds, our hearts and our wills.

– Fr. Jerome

I am a relaxed and happy man now!

Dear parishioners:

I would like to thank each and every one of you for your whole hearted support, love, good wishes and participation last Sunday during the official installation ceremony.

Sincere thanks to our dear Bishop, Most Reverend Douglas Crosby OMI, Bishop of Hamilton, for celebrating Mass and officially installing me as Pastor. It was indeed a great opportunity for so many of us to join our hands and hearts together and tell the world that we are united with Christ, share one faith and are one community.

I am happy the reception was well attended; everybody had a chance to taste the food from more than 25 cultures. I would like to express a big thank you to all the bakers and cooks for your skills and generous (and may I add delicious) contribution. It was also an opportunity to introduce myself to so many new faces.

The music was exceptionally great, thank you to all the talented musicians. A special thank you to The Knights of Columbus, who came from all over the tri-city area, and added an honourable touch to the ceremony. All the girls and boys with white dresses, the altar servers, who are always at the service of the Lord; and to all the ushers, thank you. Thanks to my associate pastor, Fr.Vijay, who shouldered all the responsibilities of the Liturgy. A big thank you, to all Catholic Women’s League members, whom in spite of the Big Bazaar the previous day, pooled all their remaining energy to put on such a wonderful reception.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to all those who were instrumental directly or indirectly and came together to be part of such a special occasion. Like the widow that gave her last two pennies, everyone who attended and contributed was generous, kind and gave out of their loving hearts. 

May God bless you and your families always.

– Fr. Jerome

Happiness Comes From Giving

Arabic proverb:  
If you have much, give of your wealth;
if you have little, give of your heart.

My dear brothers and sisters:

Jesus taught his disciples a dramatic lesson in giving with love. Love doesn’t calculate, it spends generously. Jesus drove this point home to his disciples while sitting in the temple and observing people offering their tithes. Jesus praised a poor widow who gave the smallest of coins in contrast with the rich who gave greater sums.

How can someone in poverty give more than someone who has ample means? Jesus answer is very simple, love is more precious than gold. Jesus taught that real giving must come from the heart. A gift that is given for display loses most of its value. But a gift given out of love with a spirit of generosity and sacrifice is invaluable. The amount or size of the gift doesn’t matter as much as the cost to the giver. The poor widow could have kept one of her coins but instead she generously gave away all she had.  Jesus praised someone who gave a penny, even though it was an insignificant amount, because it was everything she had, her whole living.

What we have to offer may look very small and not worth much, but if we put all we have at the Lord’s disposal, no matter how insignificant it may seem, then God can do with it and with us what is beyond our counting.

Do you know the joy and freedom of giving liberally to God and to neighbour with gratitude and love? I have witnessed many in this parish who give generously making sacrifices of their time, talents, resources and gifts of kind.  God may always bless the generous hearts.

Let us pray:  Lord Jesus, all that I have is yours.  Take my life, my possessions, my time and all that I have, and use them as you desire for your glory.

– Fr. Jerome

We are not far from the kingdom of God. -Why? Because we are following the Beatitudes, the new teaching of Jesus.

Dear brothers and sisters:

What is the purpose of God’s law or commandments? The Pharisees prided themselves in the knowledge of the law and their ritual requirements. They tested Jesus to see if He correctly understood the law as they did. Jesus startled them with His profound simplicity and mastery of the law of God and its purpose. What does God require of us? Simply that we love as He loves. God is love and everything He does flows from His love for us. God loved us first and our love for Him is a response to His exceeding grace and kindness towards us. The love of God comes first and the love of neighbour is firmly grounded in the love of God. The more we know of God’s love and truth, the more we love what He loves and reject what is hateful and contrary to His will.

What makes our love for God and his commands grow in us? Faith in God and hope in His promises strengthens us in the love of God. They are essential for a good relationship with God. The more we know of God the more we love Him, the more we love Him the greater we believe and hope in His promises. Jesus, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, gives us a new freedom to love as He loves. My question here is, do you allow anything to keep you from the love of God and the joy of serving others with a generous heart?  Do you know the love of God conquers all?

Let us say the prayer of St. Anselm (1033-1109) regarding the love of God. “God give us love, sweetest of all gifts which knows no enemy. Give us in our hearts pure love born of your love to us, that we may love others as you love us. O most loving Father of Jesus Christ, from whom flows all love let our hearts, frozen in sin, cold to you and to others, be warmed by this divine fire. So help and bless us in your Son”.

– Fr. Jerome

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