Opening Our Minds and Hearts During Lent

02-26-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

“Ring around the rosy, Pocket full of posies, Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.” This simple nursery rhyme we learned as children speaks to us this coming Wednesday as we begin the season of Lent by having blessed ashes placed on our foreheads. We will receive hundreds of phone calls from people asking when ashes will be distributed (be sure to see the schedule on the front cover of this bulletin). Many people will come. Ashes are a sign of our mortality, sinfulness, and resolve to repent. “We all fall down” is true. As much as attention is given to those who do wrong, Lent is our time to look into our own hearts to see where we have fallen down. The past four Sundays we have been hearing the Gospel from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Some of the verses that are very appropriate for Ash Wednesday and all of Lent are: “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5) It is so easy to criticize the faults of others and gossip about them. The real challenge is to look into our own hearts to see where the “ashes” are and to clean the mess up. Every day we pray in the Our Father, “And lead us not into temptation.” For the next forty days, the challenge is to not give in to the temptation to ignore the “ashes” and settle into our everyday routine with regard to our faith.


Parish Lenten Mission

02-19-2017From the Pastor's DeskFr. Shibi Pappan

(This week’s column was written by our associate pastor, Fr. Shibi.)

My teacher often comments after reading my assignments for St. John’s University, that I am a perfectionist. She was referring to the pains I go through to make an assignment perfect. I thought this was a great compliment until I took the course on personality. Perfectionism is defined as a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable. The word ‘unacceptable’ is key to understanding perfectionism. Perfectionists are afraid of failures because they believe that others will not accept or respect them. We sometimes are reluctant to do things because we are afraid to fail. It even haunts our spiritual life - afraid that God accepts only our perfections, not realizing that sinners and the weakest are those closest to his heart.


Source and Summit of Our Faith

02-12-2017From the Pastor's DeskFr. Sean Magaldi, Associate Pastor

Newness and change often bring about uncertainty and fear. As I lined up outside St. Agnes Cathedral on Tuesday January 31 st , this was the case. It was cold and snowing and I anxiously waited for the procession to begin for the installation of Bishop John Barres as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The anticipation was building as I awaited the bishop's homily. When he began to preach, he spoke several times about the Eucharist and quickly the nervousness turned to joy and excitement. His words about the Blessed Sacrament filled me with such peace and joy because when the Eucharist is at the center of our mission, Jesus is at the center of our mission.


Making a Positive Difference

02-05-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

There are many people who make a difference in our lives. Some make a profound difference and radically affect who we are and what we think. These are the ones who are our family and close friends. Then there are people who encourage and inspire us, enabling us to grow in self-confidence, love, and gratitude. Sadly we encounter people who at times make a negative difference in our lives. Through their words, actions, and gestures they cause us to be angry, upset, disappointed, discouraged, or apathetic. And as much as we look at the difference other people make in our lives, we must also be aware of the difference our presence makes in the lives of others. The best difference we can make is a good, positive, loving difference.