Every year at Christmas my mother would say, “Don’t buy me anything for Christmas. All I want is to have you come home for Christmas.” Her joy was the joy of all mothers - the presence of her children. Two summers ago I went to a reunion where everyone who ever graduated from Greenport High School was invited. My two sisters who live out of state came and I went and stayed at my brother’s house in Greenport. When my sisters came back from the reunion they told me that my class was going to meet on a certain beach that evening. When evening came my sisters and I were at my brother’s house enjoying one another’s company. Our presence all together happens very seldom, so I did not go to my class meeting at that beach but stayed with my siblings and we had a great evening together. As adults we have gone in different directions, but we still have that life giving bond of family.READ MORE
In the midst of that time of year when nature takes its yearly nap, when the leaves have fallen, the grass loses its green color, and the hours of darkness outnumber the hours of daylight, we decorate our homes and community with lights to proclaim something wonderful has happened. We celebrate new life. In fact, we celebrate the birth of the author of all life - Jesus Christ. Our decorations and gifts proclaim joy and celebration. But this joy, hope, and celebration cannot be put away with the lights and decorations in a few weeks or less. This is the celebration of the realization of our ultimate source of joy and hope, God Himself.READ MORE
"You say you want a revolution, Well, you know, we all want to change the world.” These words are from the beginning of the song “Revolution” by the Beatles at the height of their popularity. They changed popular music with their style and appearance. Far more importantly the forefathers of our country had the courage to declare we needed a change in our status as an English colony in 1776 and issued our Declaration of Independence which resulted in the Revolutionary War. The Continental Army under the leadership of George Washington was successful and our nation was born. Today there seems to be another kind of revolution in the candidates that are seeking the nomination for President of our country in the Republican Party.READ MORE
As I begin to write this column I have just come back from a drug store where I got my flu shot. I was hoping it would be only a few minutes, but I had to wait about thirty minutes after the paperwork was done for the person to come out and give me the shot. Waiting is a large part of our lives. Some things we have no choice about waiting for. When we need help with our health, plumbers, electricians, or other people whose expertise we need we do not usually get an instant response. Sometimes we have to wait for someone we set a meeting or date with to come and they are delayed. We book flights on airplanes and are sometimes delayed for a variety of reasons. All of these kinds of delays or waiting can cause us to be anxious, nervous, and fidgety.READ MORE
I want to see! What is it that we want to see? Is what we want to see what we really need to see? There are the Met fans who want to see the Mets beat the Cubs and then win the World Series. All of us want to see that our relatives and friends are healthy and content. As Americans we want to see that our nation is going in the right direction politically, militarily, and morally.READ MORE
There are things we look forward to doing, things we are capable of doing, things we wish we could do, and things we have no desire or intention of doing. In today’s Gospel we see two brothers, James and John, ask Jesus for something they would like to do: “Grant in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” They see how Jesus brings joy and hope to the crowds who come to listen to His words. They have seen miracles that bring healing and hope.READ MORE
Perhaps the best way of coping with our loss of the thrilling sense of proximity we briefly enjoyed with him is to wonder about what it is about him that elicited such a strong response in us. We’d do well to ponder how he got to be the kind of extraordinary person he is. Sure, there’s his innate intelligence, warmth and charisma. But he would be the first to remind us that to the extent that there is uncommon wisdom and richness of humanity about him, he didn’t confer any of those qualities upon himself. He would insist that he is, in every respect, a product of community, one who has profoundly internalized and hence has become a beacon of the best of the values of his three cherished families—the Bergolios, the Jesuits and the universal family known as the People of God. The man has always been deeply embedded. He instinctively deflects our admiration by redirecting our attention to all that he has received from his connection to those broader social entities and from the God who inspires and sustains them all.READ MORE
This week, our pastor's column has been replaced by the words of Pope Francis in his homily for the closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families.
Our Father will not be outdone in generosity and he continues to scatter seeds. He scatters the seeds of his presence in our world, for “love consists in this, not that we have loved God but that he loved us” first (1 Jn 4:10). That love gives us a profound certainty: we are sought by God; he waits for us. It is this confidence which makes disciples encourage, support and nurture the good things happening all around them. God wants all his children to take part in the feast of the Gospel. Jesus says, “Do not hold back anything that is good, instead help it to grow!” To raise doubts about the working of the Spirit, to give the impression that it cannot take place in those who are not “part of our group,” who are not “like us”, is a dangerous temptation. Not only does it block conversion to the faith; it is a perversion of faith!READ MORE
"Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?” When a witness is called to testify in a trial this is the oath he or she is asked to take. When Jesus was questioned by Pilate He told him that he had come to testify to the truth. Pilate’s response was, “Truth, what is that?” We know from human experience that two people can have the same experience and interpret it in two completely different ways.READ MORE
Many times when I was with the pastor from my first assignment, Fr. Andrew Gallagher, after I went on to new assignments as a priest, he would introduce me to people and tell them, “I taught him everything he knows, but not everything I know.” That would always bring a laugh. But the fact is he taught me far more than he could ever imagine. He was one of the most compassionate priests I know. His gentle and hopeful words as a priest were very loving, comforting, inspiring, and Christ-like. As much as he would tease me he would also poke fun at himself.READ MORE
Every once in a while I wonder what would happen if a person from history were to come to life again and see where we are and what we have in twentty-first century America. What would George Wasshington think? What would Thomas Jefferson think? Surely they would be amazed at the advances in manufacturing, technology and science that we take for granted. Travel by horseback or horse and carriage on land have been replaced by cars and mass transit, and oceans are now crossed in a matter of hours by airplanes instead of weeks and months by sailing ships. Computers give us constant and instant communication. Yes, they would be amazed at our technical and mechanical advances.READ MORE
In this week’s bulletin, Barbara Samuells is writing the column usually written by Fr. Walden as we prepare for a visit from Tom Renker, general counsel for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, on September 10. Mr. Renker will discuss the threats we face to our religious freedoms.
“Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, as we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.”
“God bless America, land that I love...” begins the song that is a prayer to God for our country, our home sweet home.
We believe God blessed each of us with freedom of conscience. When we study the foundations of our country, we learn that America was blessed with founders who did all in their power to protect religious freedom as essential to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.READ MORE