Eternal Life and Love

05-28-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

As we celebrate Memorial Day in our nation this Monday, we remember in a special way all those who have given their lives in service to our nation. Their ultimate sacrifice is a beautiful example of love for our nation. Their sacrifice calls us to focus our thoughts not only on them, but on all those we know and love who have died. And the final step in our thoughts about those who have died leads us to think about our own personal mortality. What will it be like?

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Gifted by the Holy Spirit

05-21-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

When I was ordained in 1971 I was sent to St. John the Evangelist in Riverhead with Fr. Andy Gallagher as my pastor. He was ordained a priest the year after I was born. He was a wonderful priest and worked very hard to nurture the faith of all the people in the parish. When we got older and he retired we would get together for a meal and one another’s company. Many times when we were with other people on those occasions, he would humorously tell them he taught me everything I know, but not everything he knows. He taught me far more than he realized. I had the privilege of preaching at his funeral and being the executor of his will. In his generosity his will instructed me to give all the proceeds of his estate to the Little Sisters of the Poor. Even in death he was teaching me how to be a good and generous priest.

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The Month of Mary

05-14-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

On April 16th of this year, we began our fifty day celebration of Easter. This Sunday is the fourteenth day in May, marking the 28th day of our Easter Celebration. Our altar is decorated beautifully with flowers that remind us of the beauty of nature. The Easter Candle is a simple but powerful symbol of the light, hope, and love the Risen Christ has brought into our world and into our lives. In the Risen Christ, we are reminded of the true meaning of Resurrection. One of the great ways to reflect on the Resurrection is to pray the rosary every day. Our Bishop, John Barres, has asked all of us to pray this prayer every day during the month of May, especially as we note the 100th anniversary of the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the three shepherd children in Fatima in Portugal. Through her intercession, we seek to rise from all that distracts us from the love of God in her Son Jesus and to find the way to peace in our hearts and in our world.

As I look at my journey to the priesthood, I see myself praying the rosary every day before I went to the minor seminary of St. Pius the Tenth in Uniondale for class. My mother at times had us kneel in the living room of our home as children and pray the family rosary. Every weekday, we priests at St. Patrick’s gather a half hour before supper to pray Evening Prayer in the Divine Office and the rosary. Our prayers and Mary’s intercession and inspiration are a powerful source of encouragement and strength in our life together as priests and our life with you, the people of St. Patrick’s parish family. One of the treasures in praying the rosary is reflecting on the various mysteries. During the Easter Season, I try to focus on the way the Resurrection is seen in each one of the mysteries. It is very challenging at times to pray the rosary and stay focused. Reflecting on the mysteries opens our minds and hearts to the power of God’s love and the strength of Mary’s faith.

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The Good Shepherd

05-07-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One of the things we are called in our nation is a consumer society. We are bombarded with advertisements that want us to think we need a particular product. But the fact is no matter how many material things we have there always seems to be something newer and better. At what point do we find satisfaction, peace, and meaning? Obviously material possessions are part of our world, but in the end none of them brings the ultimate peace and meaning we hunger for in our hearts. In the Gospel passages at the Masses this past Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we see Jesus being confronted by people who want Him to prove Himself and to fulfill the promise He makes: So they said to him, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” So they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” (John 6:30-35) We hunger and thirst for many material things as well as acceptance by others. Our basic thirst is for life-giving love, the love that accepts us for who we are and lifts our spirits. In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks about being a shepherd who is good. A good shepherd knows his sheep by name and cares for their every need. The sheep trust him, listen to him, and follow him. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. His presence in our world and in our lives is to make our lives better. He did not come to use us or amaze us so He would be accepted by us. He came to make us vividly aware of how much God accepts us and loves us.

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