HE IS RISEN! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! What a beautiful Holy Week we celebrated here at St. Thomas More! We processed with and blessed the palms, celebrating the Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem, and participated in the reading of his Passion. The Sacred Paschal Triduum began with the Lord’s Supper and the Washing of the Feet. We then moved into Good Friday, reverently praying extensive Solemn Intercessions and adoring the Holy Cross, embracing the fact that we share in Jesus’ Passion and Death. The high point of the entire liturgical year, the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, was filled with the sharing of Christ’s light, our Catholic story, procession, the baptismal journey of the catechumens, and welcome of all the candidates to fully participate in the faith. We continued the celebration of the joy of the Resurrection throughout Easter Sunday, with a church full of family and friends at 3 liturgies. Let the celebration continue through our 50 day journey through the Easter Season!
God used many people and their precious time and wonderful talents to make the week so special. Sincere thanks go out to the following:
May these Easter blessings lead us forth as disciples to announce the Risen Lord and Savior to our world! Blessed are we who have not seen Him and believe! Through our belief, may we “have life in his name!"
~ Kelley Smith, Music Liturgist
He is Risen! The Church, throughout the world, celebrates this glorious day, and even extends it for eight days. All the things you gave up for Lent are brought back now…hold it! Why did you do those things? Well, I wanted to do something for Lent so I had to make some sacrifice. But why did you make the sacrifice? The reason we do them is to demonstrate our unity with the sacrifice that Jesus made. To practice giving something up is supposed to create a new way of living that brings us ever closer to Christ. So maybe instead of just going back to the same old habits, try and continue doing the good for the sake of your faith in Christ and one another.
Another Easter point: What is your tomb? One of my tombs is to get discouraged when I hear about the bombings, shootings, and violence on the news. The tomb holds us back from a full relationship with Christ. We are, in a way, dead…spiritually, physically, emotionally. Now I have watched all the Jesus movies and have seen countless artists portray the Resurrection. It is interesting, but I know it needs to be more than that. I have also witnessed brothers and sisters in the faith rise from their terrible tombs. And that is a powerful witness and statement to the truth of coming forth from the dead. A cancer patient who moves from not dealing with the impending situation to an acceptance…how peaceful they are when Christ takes them home! A divorced person who goes through the emotional roller coaster of rejection, anger, loss, etc., to a place of healing within themselves and with their ex-spouse…that is a tomb they burst forth from and find a new life! The person who loses a job and is discouraged, beaten down, and at a loss for what the future holds turning to a radical trust in God…somehow finding security and consolation (maybe even fulfilling employment)! I have seen people go through all of these and that gives me hope that Jesus’ resurrection is as real today as it was 2,000 years ago. There are tombs in all our lives where our death can be difficult, but as Jesus demonstrated, those tombs cannot compare to the power of the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Today, let us entrust our tombs to God and believe that Life is more powerful than death.
~ Dcn Wayne Talbot
We are running out of intentions for Masses in the parish. This means that, in the future, you may see in the bulletin next to a daily Mass: “unassigned.” This simply means that there is no designated intention for that Mass.
Mass intentions refer to the priest who is presiding at that Liturgy. It means that someone has requested that he offer that Mass for a specific intention. Those intentions are announced before the Masses begin so that others may join their prayers to that intention as well. The priest, however, is the only one who has committed himself to offer that intention. Other participants are always free to offer the Mass for whatever intention they wish.
Masses may be offered for any intention, including the repose of the soul of a loved one. If you wish to request a Mass intention, please contact Alysia at the parish office. The suggested donation is $10, but you are, of course, not required to donate anything. These donations go to the priest who offers the Mass, and it contributes to his support.
~ Fr. Frank Coady
Depending on your fondness for basketball, you have either enjoyed or endured March Madness. (Congratulations, either way!) An observation came to me last week, something I had not thought of before.
Those of us who watch basketball have gotten used to watching a player prepare to shoot a free throw. When a referee hands the ball to a player at the free throw line, the player does not just quickly and haphazardly hurl it in the general direction of the basket. Rather, the player goes through a learned, practiced sequence of actions designed to physically, mentally, and spiritually prepare the player to achieve the goal…which is, in this case, THE GOAL!
What an interesting parallel between the actions of free throw preparation and prayer.
At different points on our journey of faith, it is natural to tire of “rituals” and even question their authenticity and effectiveness. BUT in times of true need, when words escape us, and we don’t know what to do, those rituals may be the one thing that can lead us to a familiar place of peace.
And, in the end, we can remember that our present situation is just a game; Jesus, God, Love ultimately win, and we are all on that team and share in that victory!
~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister
John’s Gospel today is a familiar story. Jesus heals the blind man. Reading it this week, what struck me was the way he and his family were judged by everyone. He was blind; therefore, either he or his parents must be sinners. I wondered, “How often do I make these snap judgments about people?” “How often am I the Pharisee?” Shamefully, more often than I like to admit.
I recently read an article from Salon (3/10/14) that really made an impression: “When researchers at Princeton University showed two groups of viewers the same video of a little girl answering questions about school subjects, they told the first group that her parents were affluent professionals. They told the second group that she was the daughter of a meat packer and a seamstress. The girl, named Hannah, performed right at grade level on the videotaped test, answering some questions correctly and missing others. But when asked about her performance, the first group, primed to believe she was wealthy, felt that she had performed above grade level. The second group, primed to believe she was not, felt that she had performed below. It was the same video, mind you—the same girl, answering the same questions, in the exact same way—but their conclusions were totally different.”
As this article points out, one of the judgments we often are quick to make is about the poor among us. They are lazy, made bad decisions, or should just tighten their belts or pull themselves up by their boot straps. Those in our church who volunteer at Shepherd’s Crossing, the Manhattan Emergency Shelter, or Catholic Charities know that these preconceived notions are, more than likely, not true. A few minor changes in our own lives, and we, too, could find ourselves in similar circumstances.
Our church does an excellent job of helping out those less fortunate with our time, talent, and treasure. Though a wise parishioner who participates in our Neighbor to Neighbor meals for the food insecure said to me, “It’s a lot different writing a check than it is meeting people face to face.” Yes, and it is more rewarding.
The Social Concerns Committee is expanding our Neighbor to Neighbor Program to provide meals for children at the Ogden Community Center on Thursday evenings. We have gotten a fantastic response from parishioners willing to give their time and treasure and meet these amazing kids each week. Sharing eye contact and a smile, seeing their delight when we are carrying pizza boxes, and watching a young boy eat seven sloppy joes is life changing and validates the fact that we are all children of God, and there should be no barriers between us.
~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Coordinator