Why We Celebrate Christ the King

11-24-2019From the Pastor's DeskFr. Thomas Acheampong

Msgr. Walden asked me to write a column this week. I have a degree in Biblical Theology from Rome and I would like to share these thoughts with you.

Today’s feast was instituted as a rallying-call to all Christians to acknowledge the sovereignty of Christ our King over all earthly powers, kingdoms and peoples. This call was very necessary in an age when worldliness and earthly ambitions were drawing the minds of men further away from God and Christ, and from their own eternal interests. Our twentieth century has seen not only pagan countries denying the existence of God and a future life, but nations that were once Christian have been forced to live under atheistic regimes which forbid the public practice of religion. It was to counteract and stem this growing infidelity that Pope Pius XI instituted the feast in honor of Christ the King; he wanted to remind Christians of the fidelity and loyalty they owed to Christ who by his incarnation had made them adopted children of God and future citizens and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven.


Life Is Worth Living

11-24-2019Formed Suggestion of the Week

Archbishop Fulton Sheen's renowned and inspiring television series, "Life Is Worth Living", was watched by millions of viewers from all walks of life and every religious belief. This book contains the full-length scripts of forty-four of those top-rated programs that drew thousands of letters weekly to Sheen from his viewers in response to the advice and insights he gave on his shows.

Archbishop Sheen's writings, tapes, and videos are as popular today as when he was alive. His timeless insights offered in this book give wise, personal, and inspiring guidance on the problems affecting our lives in today's world. His talks cover an amazing variety of subjects, from the character of the Irish to the handling of teenagers. He discusses education, Christianity, relativity, and world affairs. He speaks about love, conscience, fear, motherhood, and work. He tells amusing anecdotes, recites poetry, and ponders the fate of the free world as well as America's destiny.

Among his many best-selling books, none has greater universal appeal than Life Is Worth Living. It offers a stirring and challenging statement of Archbishop Sheen's whole philosophy of life and living. It is a book for everyone—of immediate concern to all people seeking understanding, belief, and purpose in these troubled times.


Ode to Saint Cecilia

11-17-2019Formed Suggestion of the Week

On Friday, we will celebrate the feast day of St. Cecilia, patron saint of musicians. Ode to Saint Cecilia tells the dramatic story of a modest young woman from Rome whose life transcends time to influence poets, composers, sculptors, and painters. A patron saint to some, a muse to others, Cecilia has inspired George F. Handel, John Dryden, Henry Purcell, Stefan Maderno, John Waterhouse, Paul Simon, and scores of other artists over the past 20 centuries.

Augustine Institute Radio Theatre's Ode to Saint Cecilia includes cinematic sound, original music, and the award-winning talents of highly-acclaimed British actors, including: Hayley Atwell, Sir Derek Jacobi, Brian Blessed, Dame Siân Phillips.

Set against the backdrop of the great sacrifice of her martyrdom, Ode to Saint Cecilia is ultimately a celebration of the important role of the arts in showing us the love of God through profound beauty.


All We Will Ever Need

11-17-2019From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One might think that if we always acted with the purest and best of motives, that we would have peaceful, happy, content lives. Sadly, we know that is not the case. In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks about the turmoil and struggles that we will experience as human beings and even more as His followers, committed Catholic Christians in 21st century America. We have controversies in our nation over immigration, abortion, people in positions of leadership, and what is morally acceptable. Last week a federal judge struck down a new rule, not yet in effect, that allowed health care providers to refuse participation in abortions and other services on moral or religious grounds. What we abhor about King Herod in the Scriptures - killing the holy innocents in an effort to kill the Christ Child - is now a legal and acceptable choice that must be honored. Obviously we have crossed the line from being a good moral country of citizens, to a country that kills the most innocent among us through abortion in the name of freedom and supports and encourages sexual immorality through laws, entertainment, and public opinion. As a Church, we are in the midst of seeking to bring hope, peace, and comfort to those who were abused by clergy and others. Yes, today’s Gospel, as much as it has been lived throughout the 2,000 years of Church history, it is being lived right here, right now in our daily lives as Americans.



11-10-2019From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

As we are now more than halfway through the season of fall, the grass is losing its green luster, leaves are falling from the trees, and most flowers are fading. The Sunday readings today and through the first Sunday of Advent call our attention to what will happen when we die. They are not meant to scare us, but to help us put our lives in perspective so we can see the gift of our lives through the lens of faith. A week ago Saturday we celebrated a special Mass on All Souls Day for all those whose funerals were celebrated in our church since last All Souls Day. Each of the names of those 161 people was read in our Prayer of the Faithful as we once again expressed our love for them and our faith in God as we prayed for them. Death is a reality that we do not like to think about at times. Yet one day we will all have that encounter.

The day I wrote this column there was a special section in the newspaper that spoke about life after fifty and reported many good, positive things that are available. As we age our bodies change physically and eventually break down at death. However it is a blessing to have our minds and hearts as full of love and life as ever. Through the vision of faith the longer we live the more full of joy, gratitude, wonder, and awe we become. Now in my 74th year of life I am very grateful to be who I am and where I am. I can look back and regret stupid things I have said and done. But I am so grateful for my family, friends, and the countless people I have encountered in my 48 years of priesthood. Life is a gift. All my good experiences are a gift. Like many of us, I look back but I have no desire to go back to my younger years. I am so grateful for them because they have brought me to be the person I am today. In 48 years of priesthood I have said Mass each day and sometimes more than one Mass. If I said just one Mass a day at this point I have celebrated more than 17,500 Masses. And each Mass is still a powerful experience. The more I can focus on the readings and prayers that the Mass offers, the more hope, wonder, gratitude I experience. God is always faithful. The more we are faithful to Him and one another, the more we are fully alive in Him and to one another.


The Ninth Day by Volker Schlondorff

11-10-2019Formed Suggestion of the Week

With The Ninth Day, acclaimed film director Volker Schlondorff creates a moral thriller that "succeeds in illuminating an almost unimaginably dark story" (The New York Times). Inspired by the true story of a dissident priest's temporary furlough from Dachau, The Ninth Day transforms an ethical crisis into a nail biting showdown and unspeakable horror into transcendent redemption. From inside the hell of the Dachau concentration camp "Priest Block," Father Henri Kremer clings to a fragile life and challenged faith. But Gestapo officer Gebhardt, a young and ruthless lapsed seminarian, arranges a nine day reprieve for the priest. If Kremer can persuade his staunchly anti-Nazi Bishop to capitulate to Nazi occupation, he'll go free. But if he fails or tries to escape, death awaits. Torn between duty, faith, fear for his own life and for the lives of his loved ones, in just nine days Kremer must find a way to ease his conscience, protect his family, hold on to his faith and uphold his vows. Ulrich Mattes is "eerily convincing as a man torn by moral choices" (Time Out New York). Together, pilgrim Kremer and tempter Gebhardt "are singularly fascinating as tension-filled incompatibles" (NY Observer). Matthes, Diehl and Bibiana Beglau, as Kremer's sister, contribute powerfully eloquent performances. The Ninth Day showcases the sensitive visionary precision that has kept Volker Schlondorff on the leading edge of international cinema for four decades.


Carlos Caterpillar

11-03-2019Formed Suggestion of the Week

Hola! I'm Carlos Caterpillar! I'm just like you—except, of course, I'm a caterpillar. I love to have fun! And since I'm young, I'm still learning about life, so sometimes I get myself in situations that can be hard to wriggle out of! Ay, ay, ay! That's why I'm lucky to have Uncle Pedro, a butterfly with a lifetime of experience that he is always willing to share. Uncle Pedro remembers what it was like to be a little caterpillar that is just beginning to learn about life, and he is patient with me while I learn. He always reminds me how important it is to do the right thing because he wants me to grow up to be the best butterfly I can possibly be. And so do I!Do YOU want to be the very best YOU can possibly be? Then come with ME and worm your way into "TheAdventures of Carlos Caterpillar!" Come on! It'll be fun!


Strong Faith Sustains Us

11-03-2019From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Last Sunday afternoon we celebrated a special Mass for couples in our parish who are celebrating milestone wedding anniversaries. There were people married 65, 60, 55, 50, 40, and 25 years present. At that Mass I felt so privileged to celebrate with them. They are a true sign of faithfulness and love that models God’s love for us in Jesus. Their faithfulness in the good times and bad, sickness and health has enriched each of them, brought new life into the world and the Church in their children, and makes the last line of the wedding vows real and joyful: I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. How good it was to be in the presence of couples who have lived those vows and have become a blessing to each other, their families, and the Church.

This past week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesdayevenings, we had the blessing of a parish retreat givenby Jim Ryan. Jim spoke at all the Masses lastweekend about the upcoming retreat. Many peoplecame and were enriched by his simple, real, practicalways we can find peace, happiness, hope, andfulfillment in our daily lives. There are so many thingsand people to be grateful for in our lives. Of course theultimate source of life, hope, joy, inspiration, andmeaning comes from our faith. Life lived with faith inGod as the foundation of who we are enables us to befully alive in all we say, think, and do each day.


An Invitation to our Parish Retreat

10-27-2019From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

This coming Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 7:30 PM Jim Ryan, who is speaking at all of the Masses today, will offer us a parish retreat.

He is recommended by many pastors I know and has written books that are inspirational. I am currently reading one of them in my daily prayers. It is called Simple Happiness, 52 Ways to Lighten Up. Here is some food for thought from the last brief chapter I read just before I wrote these words of invitation and recommendation to you:

  1. The definition of old age is when regrets take the place of dreams.
  2. As people age, they don’t regret what they did in their lives, they regret the things they didn’t do.
  3. Few people on their death beds say, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.”
  4. This life is not a dress rehearsal: now is the only time you’ve got.

In today’s Gospel two people go up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee presents himself to God as a person who is too good to be true in the expectation that God “owes him.” The publican on the other hand simply and humbly expresses his unworthiness before God and seeks mercy. His is the prayer that is real and received with joy.

I would say we all owe it to ourselves to take advantage of opportunities to be happily nourished in our spiritual lives, and the next three days are that gift to us. It will be well worth the time and effort.

13 Reasons Why You Matter by Noelle Garcia

10-27-2019Formed Suggestion of the Week

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for youth and young adults. Yet despite the many TV shows, movies, and articles on this topic, suicide, depression, self-harm, and loneliness remain difficult subjects for adults of any age to discuss. Speaking with honesty, humor, and personal experience, Noelle Garcia tackles these issues head-on, encouraging those who are struggling (or know someone who is) that God's mercy and love are waiting for them; that you, and your life, truly matter.



10-20-2019From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

I begin my column this week with some very practical points to consider and ways we can be kind, courteous, and respectful toward our neighbors around our parish property and ways we can be considerate of one another. This past week, a woman from our neighborhood called and said a car turning off Walsh Way onto Hemlock Lane made no effort to stop at the stop sign and almost hit her car. It is a hassle sometimes to come out of our property and make a left turn at the light on Hemlock Lane to go westbound on Route 25. But the stop sign and light are there to ensure safety. I am very aware of that stop sign every time I approach it and make a full stop. The woman also said that some people come half way out of Walsh Way onto Hemlock and try to get into the left lane that is backed up to Walsh Way and block the right hand lane that enables people to make a right hand turn on Route 25. Safety is a responsibility of all of us and following the traffic signs and rules makes it a reality. The other thing to be aware of is where you park your car when you come to church at St. Patrick’s. All the parking spaces are clearly designated for proper traffic flow. Some people park on corners right over NO PARKING signs painted on the pavement. That makes the flow of traffic difficult and reduces visibility at the corners. I have had to go out on calls during Sunday Masses and find it very challenging to maneuver when cars are parked in NO PARKING spots. When we go to a ball park or some other public event we follow the directions of the people directing traffic and many times walk great distances to the venue. We certainly have ample designated parking spaces for all who come to Mass here. If you want a close spot come early. Also, please leave the circle in front of the church free from cars. Buses and cars dropping off and picking up people, many of whom are handicapped, use that space. At times it is also a place for emergency vehicles that have been called. Please do not be an example of the attitude that is so rude and wrong, that attitude that says, “It does not mean me!”


Pray Like a Saint by Matthew Leonard

10-20-2019Formed Suggestion of the Week

In this talk, internationally known speaker and author Matthew Leonard defines and discusses the three traditional stages of prayer. According to Scripture, every one of us is called to "be perfect" and to "pray without ceasing." Prayer is the path to God, and many of us have been saying prayers all our lives. But are we really praying? Matthew lays out the practical steps to achieve union with God through deep prayer, even in the midst of this busy world.


Standing Up for Life

10-13-2019From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Last Sunday Fr. Abraham and I went to the Stand for Life on the corner of Route 110 and Route 25 in Huntington. We stood with people from our parish who were holding signs in support of life in the womb. Together we prayed the Rosary there for the unborn and an end to abortion. This year I was uplifted by the number of drivers who went by beeping their horns in agreement as they waved and held their thumbs up. The only objection I heard was voiced by a woman who drove by and shouted out her car window, "I hate you!" Is the tide beginning to turn in favor of life? Abortion has been legalized by our state and federal governments. But because it is murder and sinful there is no rest. I believe one of the underlying factors causing division and dissension in our government and among us as citizens is abortion. Once evil is legalized, it is defended by its supporters and proponents. If there is one lesson we need to learn from human history it is that those who defend evil become its agents. How can we sit back and see this as a political right or a protected freedom when more than 60 million have been performed since its legalization on January 22, 1973. The words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt are magnified as he described the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 as a day of infamy. An abominable deed was performed that day that was corrected as Japanese Imperialism and Nazi Germany were defeated by Allied Forces in World War Two. How much longer must children in the womb be murdered before this evil is defeated?


How to Win an Argument Without Losing a Soul by Matt Fradd

10-13-2019Formed Suggestion of the Week

Whether you're arguing with family members or Facebook friends, it helps to have not only the facts but the skills for presenting your points forcefully and well. And just as important is your demeanor. For it's all too easy to beat someone over the head with flawless logic—and turn him off to the truths you're trying to share. In How to Win an Argument Without Losing a Soul, Matt Fradd equips you with the powers of argumentation you need to be an effective debater and the right attitude for doing it with charity, humility, and patience. Matt explains how to build a logical argument piece-by-piece. He gives examples of the most common fallacies and teaches you how to spot them in others' arguments (and your own!). And he offers wise strategies to ensure that your goal is not to score debate points but to lead souls to the light. Faith and conversion are ultimately God's work, of course. But he commands us to cooperate with him in that work. Watch How to Win an Argument Without Losing a Soul and become a more effective instrument for communicating God's saving truth.


Solanus Casey: Priest, Porter, Prophet

10-06-2019Formed Suggestion of the Week

This extraordinary film explores the heroic life of a remarkable, modern-day mystic, Father Solanus Casey, who was relegated to doing little more than being a simple doorman in his monastery. But God would transform the role his superiors assigned him, appointing it a far greater significance to be continued even beyond his earthly life: that of prophet, healer, and intercessor. Known as a wonder-worker and a powerful instrument of divine healing and hope, he touched countless lives. His untiring attention to the sick and poor, combined with his prayers, wise counsel, and burning faith brought an unprecedented outpouring of grief at his death in 1957. More than twenty thousand people attended the funeral of this selfless American-born priest.

A gripping story of this priest's simple and unshakable faith in God's love unfolds through interviews with his friends, colleagues, eyewitnesses, biographers, and direct recipients of his healing and prophecy. Rare, never-before-seen film footage and historical photographs are included with actual footage from the exhumation of this exemplary Servant of God.


The Tools of Faith

10-06-2019From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

More than 50 years ago, I bought a basic tool set and have added to it over the years. Up until about 20 years ago I would change the oil in my car every 2,000 miles. Before all the electronics were put into the engines I changed spark plugs and put in points. My father was an auto mechanic and he could fix not only cars, but almost anything in our house. One day I was frustrated when I could not figure out how to fix a certain part of my car engine. My father came out and said, “Calm down. This is mechanical, we can fix this.” He not only had the right tools but the ability to see which were needed and use them.

In today’s Gospel the apostles say to Jesus, “Increase our faith.” That is their prayer to Him. Being in his company day in and day out they see the wonderful things He is doing. His words of preaching open minds and hearts to the goodness of God and His actions make the presence of God and His loving power a reality in the present moment. The apostles see His faith in the father and want to have the tools they need to do the same. But Jesus’ response is in many ways like the response of my father to me when he said, “This is mechanical, we can fix this.” Jesus’ response is: “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Obviously the apostles see the wonder of God in Jesus and His love for them. They failed to realize that they already had a growing faith that is seen by the very fact they were following Him. So in other words Jesus is saying, “You already have the seed of faith in your minds and hearts and even the slightest faith will enable you to do good, wonderful, and powerful things.” Together with Jesus they can do what He does.