December 8th, 2019

I hope that Mary Immaculate comes to reign in your heart.  This weekend I am in Juquila where the Immaculate de Juquila is celebrated.  It is a pilgrimage, and I bring your intentions with me to Juquila.  To you in Hamilton, I miss you and I greet you with affection.  I have joy in my heart for those who are consecrating themselves to Jesus through Mary on Sunday.  This, too, invites the reign of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Our Lady, Queen of Fatima assures us, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will Triumph.”

At this time I am living at the St. John Paul II Minor Seminary here in Puerto Escondido.  Although it is not where I stayed when I first arrived, it was decided that it is an opportune place to be.  I can pray morning prayer and evening prayer with the community, and I celebrate Mass for the seminarians several times each week.  There are two priests who live at the seminary, and who help me and are able to contact the pastors when I want to get to know other parishes in the area.  I have already visited Virgen de Soledad and Our Lady of the Poor in Puerto Escondido and Virgin of Guadalupe and the Holy Cross chapel in Huatulco, and now the parish in Juquila.  I am getting to know the seminarians better as I speak with them.  It is often inspiring to hear the aspirations of those discerning service in the priesthood.

 

Espero que reine la Inmaculada in todos los corazones.  Esta fin de semana estoy en Juquila donde se celebra la Inmaculada de Juquila.  Lo considero como una peregrinación.  Traigo conmigo sus intenciones.  A ustedes en Hamilton, se extraño y les saludo con afección.  Lleva alegría en mi corazón por los que se consagran sus mismos a Jesus por Maria esta Domingo.  Esto también invita al reino de la Inmaculado Corazon de Maria.

En este tiempo vivo en el Seminario Juan Pablo II en Puerto Escondido.  Aun no estuvo mi habitación cuando en principio, se decide que es un lugar favorable.  Puedo orar Laudes y Vísperas con la comunidad y celebro la Misa por los seminaristas algunas veces cada semana.  Hay dos sacerdotes que viven en el seminario y que me ayudan y pueden contactar otro párrocos cuando voy a conocer otras parroquias.  Conozco las parroquias La Virgen de Soledad y Nuestra Señora de los Pobres en Puerto Escondido y la Virgen de Guadalupe y capilla de Santa Cruz en Huatulco y ahora también la parroquia en Juquila.  Poco a poco conozco mejor los seminaristas y hablo con ellos.

Las clases me sirven para mejorar el uso de la idioma.  Asisto la clase cuatro horas cada día desde Lunes a Viernes.  Es largo tiempo, pero la maestra usa ejercicios diferentes para proveer variedad.  Hace una semana deseo mas oportunidades para el ministerio y pudieron adaptar algunas tareas por eso.

Les veo pronto cuando celebro algunas Misas en Hamilton el cuarto Domingo del Adviento y La Navidad!

Nos preparamos al encuentro del Señor.

In Christ,

Fr. Rob

October 20, 2019

I leave on Thursday of this week to begin my language immersion studies in Mexico.  I will be attending language classes in Puerto Escondido.  I will be back on December 17 and will celebrated some of the Masses in the region for the fourth Sunday of Advent and for Christmas before returning to Mexico.  Fr. Mike Pucke will be the parochial administrator.  He will provide the sacrament of the sick and celebrate funerals with the assistance of Fr. Richmond.  Please pray for me during my studies.  I will also pray for you.

Next weekend the CLAY apostolate will be present at all Masses to make available the book 33 Days to Morning Glory.  A lay apostolate is a group of lay Catholics who are united and work together for a common mission.  CLAY (Our Lady’s Lay Apostolate) has the mission of promoting growth in holiness through total consecration.  That is why they make the books available at no cost; although, donations are accepted.  I hope you will participate in this effort across the three parishes of our pastoral region.  Please join one of the discussion groups that will be offered.  See next week’s bulletin for times and places.

This week I meet with the finance committees of St. Julie and St. Peter one last time before I leave for four months.

Tonight the junior high youth group will learn about the “source and summit of the Christian life.”  I am very thankful to the team of volunteers that assist with our youth ministry.  I am also excited that soon the plaster wall will be repaired and our youth will have their own youth room!  They will end the night with prayer before Jesus in the tabernacle.  On Wednesday night St. Peter’s church is hosting its third night of praise and worship from 6:30-8pm.  Come lay aside your burdens before the Lord for a time.

What a joy to know, love and serve the good God.

In Christ,

Fr. Rob

October 13, 2019

This is my last full week before I leave for my language immersion in Mexico!  I can’t believe the time is here!

This weekend I am preaching about the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, Portugal on October 13, 1917.  Because of the way text books are written, we often forget Divine Providence is woven all throughout human history.  God does not abandon his people!  There are simply times and places when humans darken their hearts to God, whether intentionally or not.  The remarkable events of Fatima (and Lepanto October 7, 1571 and above all the Anunciation c. 1 BC), show that God wills for his Blessed Mother to play an important role.

How do we dispose ourselves to Mary’s guidance?  How do we learn from her Immaculate Heart the secrets of intimacy with Jesus?  How do we gain the benefit of her protection and favor with her son, Jesus?

Learn from Fr. Michael Gaitley and learn with your fellow Christians using 33 Days to Morning Glory.  The preparation begins on November 4 and culminates with a 20 minute ceremony of consecration on Sunday, December 8 – the date for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  You can receive the book for free at any Mass in the pastoral region the weekend of October 26-27.  To go deeper you can choose to purchase an accompanying prayer journal and join one of several discussion groups that will meet once a week for six weeks.  Allow Mary to make you into a beautiful gift to her son, Jesus!

I am looking forward to another evening of Praise and Worship and Adoration at St. Peter’s church on Wednesday, October 23.  It is a great time to give your cares over to the Lord and lift your heart to him.  Maybe I will see you there.

October 6, 2019

This weekend is Respect Life Sunday.  It is the first and foundational principle of Catholic Social Teaching; without it, none of the others make sense.  It is an expression of being made in God’s image.  That is why a society that more and more pushes God out, will welcome in – or become indifferent to – abortion, euthanasia, human trafficking, and other affronts to the most basic right to life.  A secular humanism, while having some merit, will only ever go so far.  Our faith calls us to work for the integral development of the human person, body and soul…beginning with the right to life.  I am thankful to Right to Life, 40 Days for Life, Pathway to Hope, and the other ways members of our region stand up for life.  The Life Chain in Hamilton is this Sunday afternoon at 2pm.

Next Saturday, October 12, is the Fatima Rosary Rally at noon at St. Julie’s side lot.  When Mary appeared at Fatima, she asked the children and communities and families throughout the world to pray the Rosary for peace.  That need is still as urgent as ever!  Come for the Rosary and stay for the Pumpkin Festival.

The bus trip to the basilica shrine to Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio has been cancelled.  It had been planned for Wednesday, October 16.  We will plan a bus trip pilgrimage in the spring to a destination that is not as far away.  I want you to be able to be inspired by people of faith who have gone before us and the patrimony their faith has for their children.

On Tuesday evening of this week will be the last pastoral council meeting before I leave for my language immersion in Mexico.  All three councils will meet together at the Fenmont at 7pm to ensure good continuity while Fr. Mike Pucke is the Parochial Administrator in the four months of my absence.

September 29, 2019

October will bring several opportunities to witness to our faith and glorify God in our pastoral region!  The first weekend of October (next weekend) is respect life Sunday.  We celebrate God’s gift of life; we protect life, and we call upon others to protect life.  I invite you to gather across from the McDonald’s on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. at 2:00 pm on October 6 to join Butler County Right to Life witnessing to and praying for an end to abortion.  A second collection next weekend will support pro-life groups.

October 13, 1917 was the date of the miracle of the sun at Fatima.  If you are not familiar with it, look it up online or, better yet, at FORMED:  SEARCH, Documentaries, Finding Fatima.  We can honor this grace received from Our Lady, Queen of Fatima, and share the great concern she had for the eternal good of souls by joining the Rosary Rally.  We will pray the Rosary in the side lot of St. Julie’s, across from Marcum park at noon on Saturday, October 12.  Our world desperately needs pray.  Join us!  Please.

Our bus trip / one day pilgrimage to the Marian shrine in Carey, Ohio is October 16.  There is still time to register with the parish office.  We will have a Night of Praise and worship with Eucharistic exposition at St. Peter’s on Wednesday, October 23.  Please strengthen your gift of faith this coming month.

This Tuesday the Holy Hour is at St. Joseph.  It is a time of silent adoration concluding with benediction at 8pm.

There have been several funerals in the region the past three weeks.  Please remember to pray for the deceased and for all the poor souls in purgatory.  In terms of honoring the mortal remains of the deceased, St. Stephen’s cemetery will soon complete a columbarium for the interment of ashes.  The Church sees burial of the intact corpse as better demonstrating our belief in the resurrection of the body, but cremation is permitted when the remains are respectfully interred.

September 22, 2019

A major headline this week is GM workers going on strike.  Since the close of the Fisher Body plant in 1988, it likely has less direct impact on our area.  It might cause one to wonder, “What does the Church teach about unions and strikes?”  “Does the Church teach anything in this regard?”  The Church, indeed, has much to say.  Today’s first reading (Amos; 700 B.C.) shows that God has long been concerned about honest pay for honest work.  The Church recognizes that workers have a right to band together to advocate for a just wage.

I am on retreat Monday through Thursday this week.  Friday evening (the 27th) I will celebrate a Mass in honor of St. Michael the Archangel, whose feast day is the 29th.  The Mass will be in Spanish as it is a popular devotion in the region of Oaxaca, Mexico.  Even so, it is a reminder for all of us to invoke this powerful agent of God, recognizing that there are spiritual powers that underlie many causes of unrest in our day.  The name Michael means, “Who is like God?”

Looking ahead, there are Saturday events coming up.  On October 5 there is a women’s day of reflection.  RSVP if you are interested.  On October 12 there is a Rosary Rally at the side lot of St. Julie’s beginning at noon.  It is one of over 10,000 Rosary Rallies that will take place at noon in each time zone across the country.  Please consider joining us.

I am currently looking for volunteers to lead a weekly discussion as part of preparation for Marian Consecration on December 8.

We now have a Holy Hour with Eucharistic Exposition from 7-8pm every Tuesday at one of the parishes in the region!  This week the Holy Hour will be at St. Peter’s.

What a joy to know, love, and serve the good God.

In Christ,

Fr. Rob

September 15, 2019

Jesus Christ was a teacher, but also much more than a teacher; he is the God-man.  At various times in the gospels, his interlocutors address him as “Rabbi,” which means “teacher.” (John 1:38; 20:16; et. al.)  He chose to teach in parables.  A large part of his message is that God is a loving Father.  We have a beautiful illustration of that in this weekend’s parable!  The son leaves his father.  When he comes to his senses, the father receives him back even though the son had hurt him so.  Jesus is showing us the heavenly Father in general.  It is also an image of what happens in a particular way at every time we come to the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation and confess our sins to God.

The parable of the lost sheep is dear to my heart.  It is the image and verse that I used on the card commemorating my ordination to the priesthood nine years and four months ago.

This weekend we celebrate the teachers who today are members of our parish community.  The theme for catechetical Sunday is “Stay with Us”, a reference to the disciples plea to Jesus after walking the road to Emmaus.  It reminds us that Jesus is still the greatest teacher and much of our job is pointing to him.  First of all, I want to recognize the parishioners who are teachers or aides in our Sunday morning PREP classes.  Along with it, I recognize the work of the excellent teachers in both our schools: St. Peter in Chains School and St. Joseph Consolidated School.  Those who teach in the public schools who are informed by Christ’s example and conformed to him through the Sacraments serve the Church as well as their school.  Our youth ministry volunteers also share in this work.  I cannot neglect the many parents who are the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith – as they heard at their child’s baptism.  Wow that’s a lot of teaching!  Your role in forming our youth is invaluable!  However, we could probably do more in educating our adults.  There will be a blessing for all teachers after the homily at all Masses in the region this weekend.

What a joy to know, love, and serve the good God.

September 1, 2019

I hope you have enjoyed time with family this weekend.  Tomorrow we celebrate Labor Day.  Mass will be celebrated at St. Peter’s at 9am.

I have been seeing a second bloom for two weeks now on flowers at St. Peter’s and St. Julie’s.  It is beautiful.  How wonderful is our Creator!  I give thanks, also, to the Gardening Angels who donate their time to bless us with beauty.

We are organizing a one-day pilgrimage to the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio.  I hope you consider joining us to see this site of past healings, of a beautiful sanctuary in honor of our Lady, and to make your own prayers for healing.  The day will be Wednesday, October 16.  See inside for more information.

This weekend we marked the anniversary of the rededication of St. Julie Billiart church on August 31st, 1992 after the fire.  With the original altar burned or removed and a new one installed a new dedication was required.  It is an image of the Church in every age following the model of its head and Bridegroom, Jesus, who died and rose again.

Even more important than the stones of the building are the living stones, baptized followers of Jesus, who make up the Temple of God the Body of Christ.  The Church has celebrated Mass in many different places during her life on earth: some grand, some small and simple, around a military vehicle when away from base, hidden catacombs in her first days.  What was constant, though is faith expressed through love – living stones.  See inside.

This year’s youth ministry kick-off for high school students on September 15 and for junior high students on September 22.

It is hard for me to believe that in less than two months I will be away to begin my language immersion.  In my interactions with Hispanics, it is clear that I need more experience with the Spanish language to fully minister to them.  I am thankful to Fr. Mike Pucke for recommending this and giving me this opportunity.

What a joy to know, love, and serve the good God!

In Christ,

Fr. Rob

 

 

Living Stones

This weekend at St. Julie Billiart we celebrate the anniversary of the church’s rededication.  Yes, we celebrate the physical stones that make the physical building as a sign of God’s presence in our midst.  More importantly, we reflect and celebrate the living stones that make God present to those in need of His mercy.  Without your discipleship, something is missing in the Church’s mission – like a building without enough stones to finish.  (Be built up as living stones into God’s temple.)  Next week we begin to feature ministry opportunities in our pastoral region.

 

August 25, 2019

In today’s gospel Jesus says that many will attempt to enter the kingdom of heaven but will not be strong enough.  We exercise our muscles each day to gain physical strength.  What commitments have you made each day to prayer or to spiritual reading to increase spiritual strength?  The daily encounter with God in prayer is indispensable.

The Cursillo Movement provides a method and a technique to provide each of us with the tools, the mindset, the strength, and the support to follow Christ intentionally.  The Cursillo Movement helps us approach evangelization as a very natural act of being Christ-like within our daily activities. We realize that while most people would like to live their lives in a Christ-like manner, the pressures of the world often make this difficult.  You might consider signing up for the men’s cursillo weekend September 19-22.

In the end our choosing to love strengthens us to follow where Jesus goes before.  Marriage is a gift that God has provided for men and women to learn to love and grow in love over a lifetime.  Sometimes marriages hit rough patches.  Retrovaille weekends exist to help couples begin to love again.  The next Retrovaille weekend is September 6-8.

Another valuable way to start again and to strengthened and renewed by sacramental grace is through the sacrament of reconciliation.  Confession and reconciliation will be available at St. Joseph on Tuesday of this week starting at 7pm.  The day was chosen for its proximity to the memorial on the 29th for the beheading of John the Baptist; his message was one of repentance.

Next weekend’s Masses at St. Julie Billiart will celebrate the anniversary of the church’s dedication.  The readings at those Masses will be specific to those Masses.  The Church, as the Body of Christ, is an extension of the Incarnation, a reality that is both human and divine.  It is through that union of the human and divine that God enters in to save fallen humanity.

What a joy to know, love, and serve the good God.

August 11, 2019

Thursday of this week is the Assumption of Mary, a holy day of obligation.  We see fulfilled in Mary what we hope for ourselves.  This weekend’s second reading also speaks of it: “They desire a better homeland, a heavenly one.”  Mary, body and soul, has arrived at the heavenly homeland.  Mary, human like us, arrived there.  That means we can arrive there, too.

The second reading extols the faith of Abraham, which sustained him while he “sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country.”  When we were baptized, we entered into Christ Jesus and became with him, children of Abraham.  As such, we have solidarity with others who find themselves in a foreign land.  There are tremendous needs in this regard.  There are no easy answers, but we need to find a place to begin.  We will strengthen in faith those who come to our parish seeking solace and strength from God.  No one has all the answers, so it is important that people are able to speak with one another about the challenges before us.  We strive, also, to not turn a blind eye.  Our father Abraham was a wandering Aramean.

On Tuesday St. Peter’s finance committee will meet to review the close of the previous fiscal year and to introduce our new business manager, Liz Moran.  Also on Tuesday, St. Peter’s pastoral council will meet.

I was glad to see many of you at the adult dinner Saturday night at the Fenmont.  I hope many St. Joseph parishioners will enjoy the parish picnic this afternoon.  St. Peter’s parish picnic will be on August 25.  I have invited my brother to perform a juggling show for the little (and big) kids who are there.

What a joy to know, love, and serve the good God.