The Blessing We Have in Our Foreign-Born Priests

06-23-2019From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

This coming Wednesday, June 26th, Fr. Sean will leave for his new assignment as Vocation Director of our diocese and Fr. Thomas Acheampong will take his place. For the first time in my 48 years of priesthood I along with Fr. Fred will be in the minority in the rectory as native born Americans. Fr. Thomas is from Ghana, Fr. Abraham is from India, and Fr. Corneille who is one of the chaplains at St. Catherine’s Hospital, is from the Belgian Congo. When the list of available associates was sent to me a few months ago, there was not one American born priest on it. With more and more Catholics leaving the Church and only about 30% coming to Sunday Mass on a regular basis, it should be no surprise young men are not hearing a call to serve God’s people as priests. The current crisis in the Church over the scandal of abuse is another negative and discouraging factor. The American Catholic Church which used to send missionaries all over the world is now the beneficiary of vocations from other countries. God takes care of us in ways that surprise us.

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Whoever Loves Me Will Keep My Word

06-16-2019From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Last month, we celebrated Memorial Day and remembered in a special way those who gave their lives in defense of our nation. They believed in the American dream and made the ultimate sacrifice. That attitude goes back to the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 and the ensuing Revolutionary War. But at this point in time, we are seeing reinterpretations and misinterpretations of the founding principles of our nation. This subtle but nefarious “revolution” is dividing us as a nation and at the same time pulling us further and further away from our most cherished and basic moral and God-centered principles. Recently I have read an essay by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI entitled “The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse” and commentaries on it. I also received an advanced copy of a book by Bishop Robert Barron entitled “Letter to a Suffering Church” which candidly and truthfully looks at the sexual abuse against minors by priests and offers a path for healing and hope. Both Pope Emeritus Benedict XIV and Bishop Barron seek to open our minds and hearts to how these evils have happened, where we are currently in secular and Church history, and where our true hope lies.

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The Spirit-Filled People of God

06-09-2019From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

As much as we live in the present moment, we also have hopes and expectations for the future. We work toward certain events or goals and look for promises we make and others make to us to be fulfilled. Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, the coming of the promised Holy Spirit on the followers of Jesus after His Resurrection and Ascension. The first reading today from Acts 2:1-11 gives us the vivid account of that promise of Jesus to His followers coming to pass. This past Monday the Gospel reading at Mass was from John 16:29-33, part of the Last Supper account in John's Gospel (Chapters 13-17). The apostles were with Jesus during His public ministry where He preached about the Kingdom of God, performed many miracles of healing, multiplied the loaves and fish, and shared His life and faith with them. Then at the Last Supper He rose from the table and washed their feet as we read, "So when he had washed their feet [and] put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, 'Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me "teacher" and "master," and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.'" (John 13:12-15)

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The Bond We Have in the Holy Spirit

06-02-2019From the Pastor's DeskFr. Sean Magaldi

This past Saturday, Fr. Abraham and I, as well as several families from the school, went to Citi Field for a Met Game. This was Fr. Abraham's first baseball game. One of the father's from the school decided to "indoctrinate" Fr. Abraham and gave him a Yankee hat to wear. I felt helpless at that moment, but as a life-long Met fan, who wasn't alive the last time they won the World Series, I really could not argue in favor of being a Met fan as opposed to being a Yankee fan.

Overall the game was an exciting one. The lead changed a handful of times, but the Mets finally pulled it off after 13 innings. As much as the Mets and Jets drive me crazy and tear out my heart, I love sports. One of the beauties of sports is how it brings people together. People from different walks of life, different ages, different political viewpoints, all can come together to root for the same team. It is something that can bring us together. Faith is also something that brings us together.

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What a Gift We Have

05-26-2019From the Pastor's DeskAssociate Pastor Fr. Sean Magaldi

A few years ago, I was visiting my brother in Nashville. Many of his friends are lovely people and devout Christians. Every Monday night, when they're home, my brother and his friends serve at a homeless ministry called People Loving Nashville. Whenever I visit him, I attend as well. After one night of ministering to the homeless, we went out to eat after. We were talking about many different topics ranging from movies and popular culture to theology. Eventually, we started talking about travel. One of my brother's friends began talking about her recent trip to Israel. I mentioned that I had been a few years earlier, and we discussed our favorite places.

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Fr. Sean & Jim Caviezel in the Holy Land

05-19-2019From the Pastor's DeskAssociate Pastor Fr. Sean Magaldi

Just about a year ago, I was out during the day and received a message on my phone, "Do you want to go the Holy Land with Jim Caviezel?" For those who do not know, Jim Caviezel is the actor that played Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. I assumed this was a prank, however, when I returned to the rectory, I saw a note in my mailbox with a number to call. I called the number and realized 206 Tours had contacted me. They asked if I would be able to be a spiritual director on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Naturally, as any good son would do, I called my mother to see if she wanted to go. She asked my aunt and uncle, and now, this trip became a family affair. Additionally, Patricia Ahrens, a parishioner here at St. Patrick’s attended.

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The Good Shepherd

05-12-2019From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful, life-giving women who have brought us into this world. Not only have you given us birth, you have given us yourselves in countless ways. In today’s Gospel Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me.” Are not these the words of every mother who guides her child or children through their younger years? Yours is the voice of love, gentleness, humility, and patience. You carry us in your heart from the moment of conception and throughout your whole life. What a powerful example you are of how we are created in God’s image and live it out with joy and wonder. Thank you!!!!

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Do you love me?

05-05-2019From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Do you love me? We hear Jesus asking that question of St. Peter three times in today’s Gospel passage. We know who the people are who truly love us and are always there for us. In those situations we love them in return. The bond with our parents and siblings in childhood is expanded to those outside our family circle when we become adults and go out on our own. We think about whether or not people we encounter in countless ways care about us. We are drawn to trust people who listen to our concerns and respond in helpful, practical, and encouraging ways. It is delightful and encouraging to find people who we can rely on that help us with our homes, cars, computers, health, spiritual life, etc. As talented and resourceful as we are, we need one another to make our lives fuller and richer.

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