How Faithful Do We Want To Be?

02-22-2015From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

"Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel." These words were spoken millions of times last Wednesday as Catholics around the world had blessed ashes placed on their foreheads. We began the season of Lent with these words of encouragement and inspiration. Every time we pray the Our Father we say, "lead us not into temptation." Temptation calls us to not only do what is not good, but also tries to divert us from simply doing good, from getting involved. To "turn away from sin" is only half of what we are called to do during Lent. "Being faithful to the Gospel" calls us to be open and willing to do and be the good we are so capable of.


Becoming a Person Who Blesses

02-15-2015From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

To be blessed is to recognize the goodness of God and others in our lives. As I priest I have the privilege of saying a blessing prayer in many different settings. At the end of Mass we are blessed in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and then sent off with the concluding words: "Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord" or "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life." These last words are actually the conclusion of the blessing. They echo the words of Jesus at His baptism where the Spirit descends upon Him and the Father speaks the words, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." God is so pleased with us as His children that we are sent off with His love and faith that we will glorify Jesus by our lives and we will announce the Good News of God's love and presence as members of His Holy Family, the Church.


Our Need for Prayer

02-08-2015From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

"Everyone is looking for you." After watching the Super Bowl last weekend everyone was looking not only to talk with the victors, but also with the coach of the Seahawks. Why did he call a pass play when he had such a powerful runner who looked like he could have won the game for them? It is a lot easier to be the Monday morning quarterback than to be faced with a crucial decision right here, right now. How frequently we are called to look at those who have made mistakes or committed crimes. Their names and pictures are spread all over through the media. We also have our positive side as we celebrate the accomplishments of those who have done good. Not only do we have ticker tape parades for victorious sports teams, we also seek to see and applaud people who have done things such as go to the moon and back.


Freedom Without Respect for Truth

02-01-2015From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

"Tens of thousands of people, including bus loads of Long Islanders, gathered in Washington, D.C., January 22 to witness for the cause of life and protection of unborn life on the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. The day started off with a rally for young people at the Verizon Center and included the March past the U.S. Supreme Court and diocesan prayer gatherings at St. Joseph's Church before the ride home." Other than a brief report by the media about the March and a bill passed in the House of Representatives that permanently prevents Federal Funds to be used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, and danger to the mother's life, there was no attempt to show such a large crowd of people gathered from many parts of our nation in Washington, D.C. When there was the controversy over the shooting by police of the black man in Ferguson, Mo. and the death of the black man in Staten Island from police restraint, there was constant and repetitious coverage and reports. Any time death occurs we need to be rightly aware of its cause and how to prevent it from happening again, especially from the viewpoint of both sides. While we do not condemn people for their criminal records or their intent to threaten legal authority that is there to protect us all, we cannot condemn those who put their lives on the line to protect us and keep good order in our society.


From the Dark Side to the LIGHT!

01-25-2015From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

These past couple of weeks we have seen the "dark side" of human behavior and its devastating results. The attack by Islamist extremists on the magazine in France that printed mocking pictures of the prophet Mohammed that resulted in the death of twelve people at the magazine was horrible. There is no excuse for such a violent reaction to a publication that was using its freedom of speech. On the other hand one has to question their motives and lack of respect for the central figure of a major religion. Freedom carried too far causes more harm than good. At times we are appalled at art work that shows lack of respect for Jesus. We do not go to the extreme we saw in France by the Islamists, but we do get angry and upset. A lack of respect for what others hold in reverence only fuels the fires of separation, anger, and vengeful thoughts and actions.


All Things Are Possible

01-18-2015From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One of the areas where we experience challenges and find satisfaction when we are successful is taking the initiative. It is easier to take the initiative when we are doing something that has been done before. We benefit from the work, efforts, and advice of those who have gone through what we are facing. It is more difficult when we face a challenge that has not been met before. How courageous the early explorers were from the fifteenth century on who set out to discover new worlds. How ingenious countless people were to send men to the moon and back. Another obstacle to challenges to do something new or change an existing situation is opposition. We hear statements such as: “We have always done it this way,” or “You are limiting the freedom of others.”


Faith Tools

01-11-2015From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

For almost 50 years I have had a tool kit with different wrenches, ratchets, screwdrivers and a host of other tools. Over and over again it comes in handy to fix things or put something together. The right tools make it easier and efficient in whatever project we engage in.


The Gifts We Have to Offer

01-04-2015From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

We take trips or journeys to see various wonders or people. There are fans who follow music groups around the country to listen to them play. People go on pilgrimages to sacred places such as Lourdes and the Holy Land. Living in the twenty-first century we can travel in comfort and speed unknown years ago and take enough pictures to reminisce and look back with joy. We have wedding albums, life albums, and trip albums. Today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany and reflect on the journey of the Magi to find the Christ Child. We don't know how far they traveled exactly or how long it took. We only know that they were determined to follow the guidance of a star to find "the newborn king of the Jews." Once they found the Child Jesus they bowed down in homage and offered their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then "they departed for their country by another way."


The Gift that Makes Us a Gift

12-28-2014From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

During the weeks before Christmas I went into many of the Religious Ed classes and spoke to the children about Advent and how we prepare for Christmas. The main point I stressed was that the true gift we give at Christmas is ourselves. I gave them an example from my own experience as a child. In second grade we had a simple project where the teacher gave each of us a small piece of plexiglass shaped like a diamond with a pin on the back. Our job was to glue a small blue rabbit on it and give it to our mothers. My skills were not too good as a second grader. The rabbit was put on a bit crooked and glue was smeared on the plexiglass. That was in 1952.Three years ago when my mother died I found that pin. She never threw it out. Like all mothers she cherished what I gave her as a child because it made her think of me. I then ask the children if they have pictures they made in kindergarten hanging on the refrigerator. They smile and say yes. I then re-enforce my point by telling them their work is a gift that reminds their parents of their love as a son and daughter and is invaluable.


The Gift of Jesus

12-21-2014From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One of the hymns we sing at Mass at times is, "Let There Be Peace on Earth." As those very words are sung they are followed by "and let it begin with me." The peace we long for around the world and the peace we long for in our lives begins in the hearts of each one of us. But even more that peace begins in the gift we have all received and celebrate at Christmas as the ultimate gift to us as individuals and as the human race - the gift of God Himself in Jesus.


Seeing God

12-14-2014From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

In the Gospel at the Mass for the first Friday of Advent we see Jesus curing two blind men who cry out to Him and assure Him that they are confident He can take away their blindness (Matthew 9:27-31). Previous to this miracle they needed the help, concern, and care of others just to get around and to do most of the things we who can see take for granted.



12-07-2014From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

O souls amid earth's busy strife,
The Word of God is light and life;
Oh, hear His voice, make Him your choice,
Hail peace on earth, good will to men.
Then happy, singing on your way,
Your world will change from night to day;
Your heart will feel the message real,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.