A Closer Look at the Christmas Story

12-25-2016From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

When we make a choice to do things we have never done before, many different thoughts go through our minds. At times we draw on the experience of others who have done what we are about to do. Today as we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus, God Himself coming into our world, we can easily be blinded to the wonder of this event if we get caught up only in gifts and parties. Since we know what happened, we can easily lose the message that comes from the two key people who lived up to God’s trust in them - Mary and Joseph. It is very easy to look back and see how things worked out. But it is inspiring and a source of awe and wonder to look at the birth of Jesus from the viewpoint of Mary and Joseph. We take their part in the birth of Jesus for granted, but they are a tremendous source of faithfulness in the face of a unique, one-time experience that no two human beings have had before or since.


Emmanuel: God is with Us

12-18-2016From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One of the fascinating things about getting ready for Christmas is to see the joy and wonder of young children when they see or talk about Santa Claus. During this time of the year, Fr. Fred not only doubles as the prophet Isaiah with his white beard and prophet garb, he is also seen as Santa Claus when we go out. His white beard is highlighted by his red Christmas sweatshirt and Santa hat. When we are in Friendly’s for supper, inevitably there are children who look over and point at him in wonder, thinking Santa is here. When they stop and talk with him he plays the part well and encourages them to be good and to see themselves as the greatest gift.


Through Jesus We Experience a Fuller, Richer, and Better Life

12-11-2016From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One of the tendencies of our society that creeps into our lives is giving up on people or writing them off as evil or useless. This tendency is alive and well in the media as president-elect Trump is scrutinized and criticized for the people he is choosing for his cabinet and other positions in our government. While I am not defending Trump, I think we have to be aware of the agenda of those who dislike him and are not willing to give him a chance. Our responsibility is always to seek the truth and not be influenced by those who do not see it about Trump or anyone else.


What are we waiting for?

12-04-2016From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

What are you waiting for? How often have we heard that question asked of us and how often have we asked that question of others? As citizens of our nation we are waiting to see what the newly elected president will do as he forms his cabinet and advisors. Most immediately we are aware that Christmas is three weeks away and we still have many things to do to get ready. There are gifts to buy and wrap, cards to send, and visits to arrange. Sometimes we procrastinate and then we start to feel a sense of urgency and that pointed question comes into our mind as a reminder and a push - what are you waiting for?


Happy New Year!!

11-27-2016From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Happy New Year!! Today we start a new year in the Church with the First Sunday of Advent. Advent is our time to prepare for Christmas, the birth of Jesus, God’s personal presence among us. This year our preparation time of Advent is as long as it can be since Christmas Day is on a Sunday this year. One thing we all hunger and look for is peace in our hearts and in our world, the peace people have been seeking since the beginning of time. One of the titles given to Jesus is Prince of Peace. In our world today there are so many indications that fighting, war, and human incited chaos have cast a shadow of impossibility over the hopes of anyone for peace. In the Middle East, war continues to take human lives on a daily basis. In our own nation, there is unrest as we have elected a new president and many are demonstrating and even rioting against the one elected.


We Have the Greatest Unifier in Our Midst - Jesus Our Savior

11-20-2016From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Looking at our nation through the media and seeing the anger of many people over the winner of the presidential election, I wonder how long it will be until we will no longer be able to call ourselves the United States of America, but the Divided States of America instead. We will never have complete agreement among 350 million people. The only hope is to stop sensationalizing the discontented and riotous acts of some of our fellow citizens and the bias of the media and humbly, as grateful and blessed citizens of a great nation, seek peace with one another. Trump talks about building a wall to keep out illegal immigrants, but we are in the process of building walls between each other as fellow citizens.


What does the future hold for us?

11-13-2016From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

What does the future hold for us? As I write this column it is the day before election day because the deadline to send in the bulletin is Monday, November 7th. The company that publishes the bulletin will be closed on Veterans’ Day, so that moves usual Wednesday deadline to Monday this week. That means the election will be over and we will have elected the next president of our nation. Our anticipation and concerns are either hopeful or disappointing as you read this column.


Our Faith and God Given Truths Can Do Wonders for the Unborn

11-06-2016From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

This coming Tuesday is election day, a day that has been a focus in the media for more than a year as candidates sought to be nominated for president in our country. In all my years of voting as a citizen, I do not remember so much hype, disagreement, controversy, and angry feelings. In these past weeks I have been writing about what is THE critical issue that needs to be addressed- abortion. That point was made last week as we read a letter from Bishop Murphy asking us to pray before we go to vote. Prayer is openly seeking the wisdom of God, not letting God know what we want and think. We are at a point in the moral character of our nation where we will either continue to slaughter children in the womb or we will make a statement by our vote that this needs to be reformed.


Being a Catholic is the Center and Core of Our Being

10-30-2016From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

“See, I have today set before you life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I am giving you today, loving the LORD, your God, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and ordinances, you will live and grow numerous, and the LORD, your God, will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. If, however, your heart turns away and you do not obey, but are led astray and bow down to other gods and serve them, I tell you today that you will certainly perish; you will not have a long life on the land which you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, obeying his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land which the LORD swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them.” - Deuteronomy 30:15-20


The Danger of Our Distractions

10-23-2016AllRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

How sad to see the mud slinging in the presidential campaign as we come into the last weeks before the election. As much as we need to be honest about the imperfections and faults of those running, we must look at what they propose to do if they get elected. Two weeks ago I spoke with a group of parents about First Holy Communion and Confirmation on three separate nights. On two of those nights there were women in the second row right in front of me texting or e-mailing on their cell phones as I was speaking to them about how we want to work with them to help their children prepare for the reception of Holy Communion and Confirmation. While it is frustrating to try and communicate with people right in front of us, the greater sadness is that they are oblivious to what is right in front of them. With the coming election we must not be distracted as to what the real agenda is of the candidates. As emails are revealed it is clear that the Catholic Church is a target to the agenda of the Democratic candidate. While Clinton has already said religious values have to be changed, her camp sees the Catholic Church as ignorant of what it means to live in a Christian Democracy. Sadly the real ignorance is in the intentions of such an agenda and in ourselves when we refuse to see the attack that is threatening the well-being of the Catholic Church in our nation. As Catholics we support our nation and sacrifice and give for the good of our fellow citizens. How many Catholics have died in the Armed Services in our 240 year history? We live out our pledge of allegiance to our flag by the good we do everyday of our lives. The Church Clinton sees as ignorant of Christian Democracy just right here on Long Island touches the lives of countless people everyday.


The Mood of Our Time

10-16-2016From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One of the joys and positives about looking at people in the past is seeing parallels between what was happening in their time and what is happening in our time. We benefit from the experiences of those who have gone before us, especially those who are saints. In his brief book entitled “The Way of Heart,” Henri Nouwen looks at the experiences and wisdom of the desert fathers in the early centuries of the Church. One of them was St. Anthony the Monk who lived in the last half of the third century and the first half of the fourth century. Nouwen quotes Thomas Merton who wrote, “Society... was regarded by the desert fathers as a shipwreck from which a single individual man had to swim for his life..... These were men who believed that to let oneself drift along, passively accepting tenets and values of what they knew as society, was purely and simply a disaster.” Nouwen then compares the experience of those Christians almost 1,800 years ago with the world we live in today as he says, “Our society is not a community radiant with the love of Christ, but a dangerous network of domination and manipulation in which we can easily get entangled and lose our soul.” While our nation is a great place to live, the words used by Merton andNouwen describe the movements and ideas today that are leading us into the darkness of moral decay.


Keeping Our Heads

10-09-2016From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

In about a month all the talk about who is better suited to lead our nation as president will be over. The winner will be known. The hope we all have of course is that the person elected is not the winner as much as we the people of America are. With all the negativity in their campaigns and statements that are threatening to religious freedom and endangering even more the lives of children growing in their mother’s wombs, the poem IF by Rudyard Kipling came to my mind. It begins:


Remembering that All is a Blessing from God

10-02-2016From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One of the points that comes to mind when I pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary is that beginning with the Agony in the Garden through the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus things go from bad to worse to the worst. In his love for the Father and for us, Jesus prayed in the garden that the Father’s will be done. The agony quickly changes from mental anguish to injustice and physical suffering. The Scourging at the Pillar is followed by the mockery of the soldiers who cruelly Crown Him with Thorns. Then Jesus has the cross placed on His shoulders, a piece of wood that will torment Him to His last physical breath. Finally injustice and evil have their day as He dies on the cross. We can meditate on these realities with hope and inspiration because we know the crucifixion and all the evil and injustice that surrounded it was defeated by what we reflect on in the Glorious Mysteries: the Resurrection, Ascension, Descent of the Holy Spirit, Assumption of Mary and Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.