Public Opinion vs. The Truth

06-25-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

In order to be truly free and live responsibly and fully, our freedom has to have a solid foundation of truth. And there is no greater source of truth than Jesus Christ. In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us, “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” (Matthew 10:26-28) The more we spend time with Jesus in prayer and reflection on His words in the Scriptures, the clearer the truth of who He is and who we are empowered to be as His followers becomes. There are certain basic truths that are the foundation of who we truly are as human beings, created in the image and likeness of God. Those we love and who love us help us to become the best we can be. Left to ourselves it is all too easy to be misled and confused about basic human core values.


Spending Time in the Presence of Jesus

06-18-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Last Sunday we had our drawing for the six prizes in our All Cash Raffle. When I drew the names out of the drum I was so happy to see that all those who won live in our parish and half of them I knew personally. That is a wonderful sign that we are working together and sharing our resources with one another as the parish family of St. Patrick in Smithtown. Not only are you the people of our parish generous with your financial donations, you also share your time and talents in so many ways from volunteering at our Outreach Office to teaching our young people in our Religious Education program to visiting and bringing Holy Communion to the sick and homebound - to name but a few examples. What makes us one is not just our willingness to give of our time, talent, and resources, but our faith in God. The people we love and who love us in return inspire, encourage, motivate, and energize us. Our loving bonds lead us to do things we would never imagine at times and to be generous with who we are and what we have because our first thought is not ourselves but those we love and those who will benefit from our goodness.


The Way of Unity

06-11-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

“You’re dumb!” . . . “No, you’re dumb!” . . . “You’re stupid!” . . . “No, you’re stupid!”

These are words we might have used as children in our disagreements with a sibling or friend. They are childish words that most times did not cause an end of a good relationship with a sibling or friend. But words like these are alive and well today. They are part of our culture that seems so focused on how dumb and stupid those who disagree with us are. The two major political parties express these childish words in many forms to one another every day. Whatever side the media support magnify and make divisions worse. Instead of looking to work through differences for the good of us all, they seem to relish condemning and putting one another down publicly. Would that such energy were used to serve us who elected them. Their office was created so that they could be public servants.


A Heartfelt Thank You

06-04-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Shibi Pappan

At one of the Special Olympics venues, there were nine contestants, all physically challenged. They assembled at the starting line for the 100-meter-dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with relish to run the race, to finish and win. In the run, one boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy crying. They slowed down and paused. Then they turned around and came back. One of the contestants bent down and kissed him and said, “This will make you feel better.” Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for five minutes.

In this Lenten season, St. Patrick Church slowed down and paused. We turned around from our busy lives to realize the fact that serving fellow beings is the best thing to do for reaching God, and it is the best prayer ever God likes to hear. Some of our brethren stumbled on their way to succeed in life due to poverty, discrimination, injustice, unwise choices, and addictions. There are orphans, who are brought into this world without their permission and left starving for no fault of theirs. Their cries were heard beyond the boundaries and reached here at St. Patrick. All parishioners and even some outside the parish stopped a while and extended their heart and hand to assist two homes: Bethany Karunalaya and Trppadam. The response was beyond the greatest expectations—totaling $65,585.00.


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?


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.


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.


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.


Empowered by the Resurrection

04-30-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One of the things that inspires and encourages me as we celebrate Mass during the Easter Season is how the followers of Jesus went from fear, disappointment, denial, and abandonment to courage, joy, and love. Their transformation is seen in the readings from the Acts of the Apostles. Once they received the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire on Pentecost, they went out with conviction and courage to continue the work of Jesus in living and proclaiming the Kingdom of God in their words and deeds. No longer were they afraid of those who tried to silence or persecute them. It is good to reflect on how the Resurrection empowered and filled them with life and how it can empower and fill us with the same life.


Supporting the Work of our Diocese

04-23-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

As we continue our fifty day celebration of Easter we look at the ways we rise above not only sin and evil, but most importantly how we rise to do good for others. During Lent our parish project was to help Fr. Shibi’s order in their work of offering shelter to the homeless and orphans in India. Our generosity was a sign of the Resurrection - we rose above our own concerns and comfort to help those who are truly destitute.

Today at Mass, a video of the Catholic Ministries Appeal will be presented to invite us to join with the other 132 parishes in our diocese to support the ways in which we who are the Catholic Church on Long Island reach out in so many ways to help those in need. Through our donations services are provided to senior citizens, single women carrying children in their wombs, to those struggling with addictions, and many others in need in various situations. One of the beneficiaries of the Appeal is the work Fr. Magaldi and many other priests in our diocese are doing in addition to serving in parishes, the ministry of reaching out as chaplains to the students in the colleges in Suffolk and Nassau Counties. Fr. Magaldi is happy to serve the students at Stony Brook University. I am asking him to write about his work as a college chaplain in a future bulletin. I invite you to look below at some of the many ways the Catholic Ministries Appeal reaches out as the Catholic Church on Long Island. This is another opportunity to be part of a true Resurrection experience, where we rise above and beyond our own personal concerns and needs to the needs of our fellow residents in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. I believe in the Catholic Ministries Appeal and donate to it every year. I invite you to join with me in support of who we are as the Catholic Church right here on Long Island.


You Can Run But You Cannot Hide!

04-16-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

You can run but you cannot hide! These words came to my mind as I was thinking about Easter and reflecting on the readings from Mass the past few weeks. One of the clearest points that Jesus made by rising from the dead is that we cannot hide from His desire to love us. Two Fridays before Easter the Gospel at Mass recounted Jesus’ “secret” entry into Jerusalem: “You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, because my time has not yet been fulfilled.” After he had said this, he stayed on in Galilee. But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but [as it were] in secret. (John 7:8-10) Jesus did go up to the feast and He was recognized, He could not hide: So some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Messiah?” (John 7:25- 26) Jesus was too good to be true to some people and His presence always brought the light of God’s love, a love no one can hide from and find peace. Yet sadly, some people wanted nothing to do with Jesus. Thinking they knew better than Jesus who God was and what God expected from them, they sought to arrest Him and kill Him, a motive that came to fruition late Holy Thursday night and on Good Friday. Their closed minds and self-absorption led them to hide from the ultimate love we all seek, desire, and need to live fully in this world and to live eternally in joy in the next.


God's Faithfulness to Us

04-09-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

In the play “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare as Caesar is dying from the wounds inflicted on him by his assassins he utters these words as he sees his supposed friend Brutus among them, “Et tu, Brute?” You too Brutus have betrayed me? Caesar was killed on the Ides of March (March 15th) 44 B.C. Approximately 77 years later Jesus was crucified, giving His life for so many of those present to whom He could have said, “Et tu?” What we see in the Passion of Jesus by St. Matthew that we read at Mass today is how so many people who should have done more or spoken up remained silent. The followers of Jesus had to feel utterly powerless in the face of Roman rule by Pilate and the cunning plots of the religious leaders. Jesus was not a Scribe, Pharisee, or any other properly appointed religious leader. We also see so many religious leaders who were blind to the prophesies in the Scriptures about the promised Messiah. Our Passion reading today begins with the deception of Judas: “Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.”


Recognizing the Presence of God

04-02-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

In two weeks it will be Easter. Our Lenten journey will lead us to the celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and clearly showing us His power over sin, evil, and death. Evil put human beings at odds with Jesus during His earthly life. In last Sunday’s Gospel reading we saw a wonderful miracle - a man born blind was healed of his affliction and was given his eyesight. Of course he saw far more than the people who loved him and the physical surroundings in which he lived. He saw God physically in Jesus and was even engaged by Jesus in conversation that not only gave him the ability to see with his eyes, but he also came to see the goodness and love of God in his life. That is our quest and invitation during the season of Lent - to see the goodness and love of God in our lives. But not everyone reacted with wonder and joy at this miracle. The religious leaders who were present tried to discredit what Jesus did. They thought they knew better than Jesus what God could, should, and would do. As Jesus said at the end of that Gospel, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” In the religious leaders in this passage and their self imposed blindness I am reminded of an expression that Fr. Liu used from his Chinese culture: you are a frog at the bottom of the well. When the frog looks up at the sky he thinks he sees the whole world, clearly a very limited vision. Jesus came to expand our vision and understanding of who God is and how much He loves us. Have we become more aware of this life-giving truth these past thirty-two days of Lent?