February 17, 2019

On Tuesday I will attend an addiction workshop with several members of our pastoral region’s outreach team. It is difficult to calculate the cost of this epidemic – in missed work, in stolen possessions (often from family members), in the heartache of loved ones who feel helpless. This workshop is a collaboration between Catholic parishes in our archdiocese and Lutheran churches. I am certain that the Church has an important role to play in reducing the incidence of addiction. The Church at its best provides hope and provides community.

Paul’s insistence on the reality of the resurrection of Jesus in our second reading is also a message of hope. If Jesus can conquer death, he can conquer anything! How often do we consider this truth of faith to be more than just words? A man was dead – for three days – and then was not dead. A miracle! And a great cause for hope! It gives a powerful answer to the question: What (if anything) comes after this life? Jesus is risen from the dead! There is life after this life. That is GOOD NEWS.

The pastoral council for St Peter’s will meet on Tuesday this week, and pastoral region committee will meet next week. Also on Tuesday of this week is the Holy Hour for Vocations at St. Julie Billiart. Remember to pray for the bishops gathered in Rome this week, February 21-24, to begin addressing the various sexual scandals in the Church. There is a need for many within the Church to purify our hearts. Please pray with and for those who are working to bring this about.

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

In Christ,

Fr. Rob

February 3, 2019

On Tuesday of this week there will be holy hour with confessions at St. Joseph from 7-8pm.  On Wednesday of this week there will be an evening of praise music, prayer and adoration at St. Peter’s from 6:30-8pm.  Come to either or both.  On Thursday of this week some students from our region will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation at Sacred Heart in Fairfield.  I am excited for them as well as for the many students who will be confirmed at the cathedral at the end of March.

It is my hope that we are done with snow storms on the weekends…but one snow day for teachers and students would be delightful.  During February Fr. Richmond and I would like to spend one evening each week to pray and break bread with members of St. Peter’s (another parish in the fall).  See St. Peter’s page for more details.  Also, during February and March are plans for dance lessons at the Fenmont on Thursday nights.  Please register with fees to St. Julie’s before February 8.  I would be saddened if we had to cancel due to little interest.

We can be more loving.  In our second reading we hear St. Paul’s often repeated words: “Love is patient, love is kind…”  Give a careful reading of 1 Corinthians 13 and identify one quality of love that you want to do better for the next week.

On Saturday I leave to spend just a week in Mexico.  It is not nearly long enough to become fluent, but I will make introductions for a future visit.  I do not have many apprehensions because I know that God and his angels will accompany me.  It should be a beautiful opportunity to encounter people from another culture and to greet brothers and sisters in the Lord.

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

January 27, 2019

The weather has made it difficult to get to church the last two weekends.  I am glad for those who were able to be with us, but also glad for those who exercised prudence and were safe.  What is unfortunate is that many did not receive a bulletin insert inviting each one to consider a ministry within our pastoral region.  It was included on the 13th when we celebrated the baptism of the Lord.  The invitation suggests several different ministries because, as we hear in today’s second reading, we are given different gifts.  “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.  There are many parts, yet one body.”  What will bolster the faith and charity of one, might not be the right service for another.  But we all have a role to play.  It is baptism that made us members of Christ’s Body.  The insert was sent via e-mail and will be posted on the website for your consideration.

This week we celebrate Catholic Schools Week.  It takes a lot of dedication from teachers, parents, parishioners to be able to do what we do at St. Peter in Chains school, St. Joseph Consolidated school, and Badin High School.  We are blessed to have Christ at the center of our education.  I also want to recognize the work and dedication of our PREP teachers and parishioners who serve children in the public schools.

Thank you to those who came Saturday to the family game night at St. Julie’s, gathered as one body.  On February 6 at St. Peter’s there will be an uplifting evening of praise and adoration from 6:30-8pm.

The pastoral region committee meets this Tuesday, 7pm at St. Joseph.  I remind you that next weekend is the commitment weekend for the annual Catholic Ministries Appeal.

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

January 13, 2019

This weekend we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord.  When Jesus was baptized, both John the Baptist and the voice from the heavens testified to his identity as Messiah and Son of God.  It also marked the beginning of his public ministry and mission to redeem our fallen world.  In the homily Fr. Richmond and I reflect on the share in his mission that each of us received at our baptism.  That’s right, every one of the baptized – and not just priests and nuns – have a share in Christ’s mission.  Whether it is a nation, a family, a company, or the Church, a group is only as strong as its members.  With that in mind please see the bulletin insert that recommends ways that you can share in the mission of Jesus and His Church and be more involved in our local parishes.

I value greatly the resources of time represented by the work already being done by our parishes and called for in the bulletin insert.  Thank you for your generosity.  I am also attending to the financial resources of each parish.  This weekend I will give an update for St. Peter’s with the successes and shortfalls in this regard.  I intend to give a similar update for the other parishes in March.

January 18-25 is the week of prayer for Christian unity.  We have a long way to go before we are one flock with one Shepherd or image more closely the Bride of Christ without spot or blemish.

January 22 (a Tuesday this year) marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion in all 50 states.  Butler County Right to Life organizes prayer and a march around the Butler County courthouse at 7pm that evening.  The cause is worthy of support; I encourage you to be there if you are able.

Next weekend is the announcement weekend for the annual Catholic Ministries Appeal.

January 6, 2018

Merry Christmas!  Today’s feast of the Epiphany is the 12th day of Christmas.  In some cultures today is celebrated with more enthusiasm than December 25 – either custom is good.

January is a busy month for our pastoral region and for the Catholic Church as a whole.  I want you to have a head’s up.  There will be three bulletin inserts this month and one or two appeals made at the end of the month.  Whether it is a nation, a family, a company, or the Church, a group is only as strong as its members.  These appeals are ways to build up the Body of Christ, the Church – understanding that no one of us can do it all, but we all have some gift, large or small.  The wise men brought their gifts to Jesus; we bring our gifts to his Body, the Church.  Please be generous in allowing the Lord to work through you.

This weekend’s insert shares the struggles and courage of people who have fled from difficult circumstances.  As part of a universal Church (Catholic means universal), the bishops of the United States want to call our attention to issues of migration and its effects on some of our brothers and sisters in Christ and challenges to the dignity of the human person here and in other parts of the world.

Next weekend will include an insert with ministries and possible areas of involvement.  I am impressed and grateful by the dedication of those of our pastoral region who are already involved.  If you have not been very involved in your parish – in the recent past or ever – please give generous consideration to where you might strengthen the Church.

The third insert will announce the open houses and pre-school for each of our schools.

Let us adore Christ alongside the Magi.

In Christ,

Fr. Rob

December 23, 2018

It was two nights before Christmas, our hearts are prepared,

The wound between God and man soon to be repaired.

Mary said “Yes,” the world soon to behold

One whose full glory could never be told!

An angel chorus appears and sings,

Their anthem of “Glory” in our heart and churches rings.

We, too, alight in faith and joy

Here to praise the baby Boy.

Behold!   Our Savior comes, a child tender.

To this great king your praises render.

 

I do wish all of you a merry Christmas.  Jesus is the reason for the season.  He is love incarnate found in the manger.  May love also abound in your homes this Christmas.

See inside for the Mass schedule for our region.  The Christmas Eve Masses are always very full.  It is a joy.  While your usual parking spot or usual seat might be taken, do not fret.  We want to be Christ for each other so, too, in welcoming those who are with us to honor the child Jesus.

January 1 is the feast day for Mary, Mother of God.  See inside for the Mass schedule.

Prepare your heart to receive Emmanuel – God with us.

December 16, 2018

In today’s gospel people are asking John, “What should we do?”  They have seen something in John that they take him to be a man of God.  Their hearts are open; they have firm purpose of amendment.  They are not saying, “It’s my life; I will do what I want.”  They may have in the past, but now they are ready to make a return to God for the good that He has done and for the good that He has promised to do.  Their hearts are open.  That’s when grace can enter in.

I notice that John does not ask any of them to leave their current profession – not even the tax collectors!  (In the time of John and Jesus, tax collectors were viewed by many as willing cooperators with an oppressive Roman regime and, therefore, as traitors of God’s chosen people Israel.  John and Jesus did not see them that way.)  This is consistent with Jesus’s teaching that we be salt and light and leaven in our world.  Christians are called to remain in the world, but to order their lives, order the workplaces as far as they are able, to conform to the vision set forth in the gospel.  To this end there are Catholic societies for the medical professions, the legal professions, business professionals.  The strength of these groups varies greatly from one city or location to another.  We are to be leaven.

We are approaching the Christmas season.  The use of incense is one way that we show greater honor to God on greater feast days.  I love the symbol myself.  However, some people react adversely to incense.  We are new at these considerations, but look to next weekend’s bulletin to see which Masses are more likely to make use of incense during the Christmas season.

Prepare your heart to receive our Savior who is coming near.

December 9, 2018

This second Sunday of Advent we encounter John the Baptist.  John the Baptist used to feature much more prominently in Catholic life.  Almost every church would feature him in the baptistry (St. Joseph church still does) or in decorating the ambo.  He used to be included in the Confiteor (I confess to almighty God…).  I understand why that had been the case; our Lord himself said, “Among those born of women, none is greater than John.”  I don’t understand why he has receded in our decoration of churches and in our communal prayer.  When I read “Heaven is for Real” I found it fitting, curious yet fitting, that John, Jesus’s cousin is one of the people that 4-year old Colton Burpo met during the just over three minutes that he was dead on the operating table.

John’s message was “prepare” and offered a baptism of repentance.  A number of the faithful prepared through repentance at our Advent penance service last Tuesday.  A penance service will be at Queen of Peace on Monday of this week and at Sacred Heart on Wednesday of this week.

School children at both of our schools have been preparing their respective Christmas programs.  Finding creative ways to tell the story of Christmas is an important part of handing on the faith.  While the call for a “new evangelization” was given in 1975, we are still seeing the fruits come about with more lay Christians using movies, podcasts, screenplays, and radio to tell the story of God’s relentless love for a people who had gone astray.  Sometimes, too, telling of the triumphs of living the gospel.  Many of these are available to members of our pastoral region through FORMED: https://hamiltoncpr.formed.org.

St. Peter’s pastoral council meets on Tuesday of this week and their finance council meets on Thursday of this week.

Prepare your heart to receive our Savior who is coming near.

December 2, 2018

The Advent penance service for our pastoral region will be 7pm on Tuesday, December 4 at St. Julie Billiart.  If it has been a while since your last confession, Advent and Lent are opportune times to return to the grace of the Sacrament(s).

We begin the season of Advent today.  Advent is Latin for “coming toward.”  God is coming toward us to bring salvation, redemption from darkness, freedom from sin and death.  It is a time of waiting and a time of preparation.  We look forward with courage and strength because God has promised a Messiah, a Savior, and this God keeps his promises.  In “Las Posadas” and in the story of the Nativity we hear that there was no room for Jesus in the inn.  We prepare so that he will find a room in our hearts.

Prominent during this season is Mary, Mother of God and star of our hope.  You might see her on Christmas cards or even on stamps.  You will see her in nativity scenes, in your home, in public, on TV and internet videos.  We also celebrate her feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 (patronal feast day for our country, the United States).  We will have a packed house at 10pm on December 11 to welcome in Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast on the 12th.  Mary is honored as Mother of God in our liturgies on January 1.

I hope some of you will enjoy St. Julie’s Christmas concert this afternoon at 4pm as part of the German Village Christmas Walk.  If you are going to a Saturday Mass for the Immaculate Conception or the early vigil at St. Joseph, you might enjoy a Sing-along Messiah with the Butler Philharmonic at West Chester Church of the Nazarene, 7pm Friday, December 7.

Prepare your heart to receive our Savior who is coming near.

November 18, 2018

I am wishing you and your families a happy Thanksgiving – filled with turkey and dressing, pumpkin pie, (and back yard football)!  Mass at 9am at St. Peter in Chains can be part of your Thanksgiving to God.  Also, know that you are invited to attend a Community Meal from 12-2pm on Thanksgiving Day at Zion Lutheran Church.

It is a day to give thanks.  A simple way that I encourage engaged couples to pray together is to call on God to begin their prayer, each shares one thing he or she is thankful for and one thing he wants to ask God for, then they pray together the Our Father.  (Sometimes it’s more than one thing.)  I do this with engaged couples, but I expect that children would be excellent at it in a family setting.  Please join me in prayer as I give thanks this past year for my mom’s husband (after being a widow for years).  I am thankful for those who provide counsel – the members of parish pastoral councils and the pastoral region committee – and I am thankful for Fr. Mike, Fr. Richmond, Fr. Jim Elsbernd, and Deacon Jeff who assist me.  (Did I say there can be more than one thing?)  I ask God to keep our kids safe – in our schools, in our Sunday morning PREP, in all things.  I want Him to teach us more to take time for one another.  More than anything, I want people to love Jesus, and to love Him in the Eucharist.  Our Father…

This Tuesday is the third Tuesday of the month, and we will have the holy hour for vocations at St. Julie Billiart from 7-8pm.

May God bless you wherever you find yourself on Thanksgiving Day!