Sunday, August 31, 2008

Spring Lake weekend

I spent some quality time this weekend with good friends from Notre Dame at the "Irish Riviera of the Jersey Shore", in beautiful Spring Lake. It was great to gather with old friends to renew ties, and to celebrate our growing community of kids, and future "domers." We enjoyed beautiful weather on the beach, great walks around town, and great barbecues and great conversations. We finalized plans for our upcoming pilgrimage to the "Holy Land" for the ND/Michigan game in two weeks.

It was a great way to end the summer, and to gather with good friends. Thanks for the memories!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A most historic night!

Tonight is a most historic night for our country. Whether you like Barack Obama or not, whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or a member of another political party, we must all admit that tonight is an important one for our country. And the historic events of this evening come on the 45th anniversary of another historic speech by another vibrant young African-American who had a dream:

When Martin spoke about his "dream" all those years ago at the feet of President Lincoln's memorial, I remember watching it on TV as a kid. I watched with my parents who told me that the young man speaking was very important, and that I should listen very carefully. Little did I realize that day, how very important were those words, that "dream", and the events that led up to that speech, and the events that would flow from it to tonight's wonderful events!

No matter your politics, you have to mark this as a day to remember!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nancy in big trouble!

I'll bet Nancy Pelosi regrets the moment she agreed to appear on TV this past weekend. Ever since her interview with Tom Brokaw, this past Sunday, all sorts of the Catholic "Big Guns" have focused their attention on her remarks about the Catholic teaching on abortion in Sunday's interview. I have no idea what was going on in her mind on Sunday morning, but she really blew it with her remarks. So, the big HATS are all taking aim at her, and her misinformation about the official teaching of the Church on the evil of abortion. For a great coverage of what the HATS are currently saying about poor Nancy, check out Rocco's coverage of the issue over at Whispers in the Loggia:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tomorrow night, Baptism Reflection

Tomorrow night, our Baptismal Team will gather with about 10 families who have recently celebrated the baptism of their babies. It will be another chance to gather to share resources for young families, to share memories of the baptism day, and to reflect on the meaning of baptism for all of us.

These Reflection sessions are full of great stories of what people remember from the baptism day. Without fail, people remember the joy of gathering with friends and family, being welcomed, and then some of the ritual moments: the touching of the child, the washing with water, the smell of the Chrism.... all are ritual reminders of deeper realities!

We welcome other members of St. Anselm to join in this wonderful ministry of the Baptism team. If you can join us for a few Tuesday evenings during the year, we welcome the assistance! This is a wonderful ministry for quiet, behind the scenes grandmothers and grandfathers! Think about joining this fun team!

Fr. Gene

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Keys to the Kingdom, part 2

Imagine that Jesus gave YOU the keys to the kingdom!

Whether you're a prince or princess, ask yourself what would YOUR kingdom look like if you had the keys!

Would your kingdom allow poverty? Would it allow injustice? Would it discriminate against people with different skin colors? Accents? Languages?

Would your kingdom honor men and women as equals?

Would it invite into it people who didn't think like you?


That's the bottom line for this weekend? What does your kingdom look like?

The keys of the kingdom

This wonderful painting of this weekend's Gospel passage speaks for itself. It pictures Jesus and the crowd and the apostles and disciples in the clothing and setting of high Renaissance Europe.

The painter, who himself lived in the Renaissance, knew that the message of the Gospel is not just for the 1st century residents of Israel,
but the message of the Gospel is relevant to every age.

What might this picture look like if painted today, in 2008?
Perhaps Jesus would be giving the keys to Peter, not dressed in pure white robes, but Peter dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, like the majority of young people in the world today.
Use your imagination to make this scene come alive!.

Imagine that it's you that Jesus gives the keys to!

How do you respond?

Bible in a minute?????

Check out this very humorous one-minute video. Thanks to A Concord Pastor for turning me on to this!

I hope nobody is offended.

Just a little bit of end-of-summer humor.

As our students prepare for another year of school and learning, perhaps our catechists will be encouraged in their efforts to teach the Scriptures in new and creative ways!

Bible In A Minute - barats and bereta

Does the pace move too fast for you? Here are the lyrics:

Bible In A Minute

Earth made, Adam Eve
Cain kills Abel, has to leave
Boring genealogy
Great flood, olive leaf

Tower Babel, Abraham
Sodom and Gomorrah, and
Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses
Ten commands, promised land

Judges, David, Solomon
Sent away to Babylon
Job, then a bunch of psalms
Proverbs and the Song of Songs

Major prophets, lion’s den
Minor prophets, Bethlehem
Gold and myrrh and frankincense
Satan and Samaritan

Choose disciples, other cheek
Walk on water, thousands eat
Lazarus, fig tree
Last supper, Gethsemane

Blood money, third denial
Pontius Pilate, public trial
Forty lashes, to the tree
Why have you forsaken me?

Third day, empty tomb
Reappears, five wounds
Acts of the Apostles next
Epistles and Apocalypse


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

CFCA this weekend

This weekend at St. Anselm, we'll welcome a guest presider representing CFCA. I won't steal his thunder, but I will give you a hint that we will all be given a chance to make a significant difference in the lives of some third-world children. All of us are called to reach out and to share our love. Perhaps this is what YOU'VE been waiting for!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Workshop on Pastoral Music for Weddings

Last night, at St. Mary, Mother of God parish in New Monmouth, the pastoral staff of the parish sponsored a wonderful evening for Engaged Couples preparing for their upcoming weddings. The Pastor of St. Mary's, Msgr. Mike Walsh, opened the workshop with a prayer and a brief presentation on the Rite for Catholic Weddings as ritual prayer. He emphasized the need to remember that weddings are prayer-events. Specifically, he stressed that weddings are liturgical prayer-events that should mirror the liturgies of Sunday Mass. He spoke wonderfully and gently about the need to pay attention to issues of hospitality, especially for non-Catholics and people who have not recently practiced their faith.

After Fr. Mike spoke to the couples and their families who had gathered with them, then the music ministers of the parish performed samples of some of the most popular music used in wedding liturgies. The Director of Music Ministries, Doris Ramme, gave a wonderful guide to the couples to help them make some initial music choices for their ceremony. Most of the parish's cantors were present to lead samples of Gathering Songs, Responsorial Psalms, and Songs for the Preparation of Gifts and during the Communion Procession. The musicians all stressed the need for music to help the entire congregation to take part in "full, conscious and active" ways in the liturgy of Christian Marriage.

Many kudos to Fr. Mike, Doris, and the musicians of St. Mary parish for their commitment to good liturgy, good pastoral music, and to the prayer of the church!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Summer Religious Education Program

Today, we finished up the second session of our Summer Religious Education program. Many thanks to Jan Santanello, our DRE, for directing such a creative and inspiring program. Many thanks also to ALL of our catechists, our teachers' aides, our junior-helpers, and even those folks who helped with crafts, snacks, and playtime. Many sincere thanks go to our Director of Music, Mike Zorner. Thanks also to Barbara Mullin, our Pastoral Associate for Initial Formation, and Kayde, our parish secretary. Everybody pitched in to make these past two weeks a wonderful, formative experience for our young people. MANY, MANY, THANKS TO EVERYBODY!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Assumption Eve

It's the custom in some places to place some fresh flowers in front of an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary in homes.

Also, many people bring fresh flowers to church on Assumption Day.

Whatever your custom, we will celebrate Assumption Day in grand style, with flowers, music, and with grace.

Mass is at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 Noon!

Happy Lady Day in August!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Boys of Summer....on vacation!

Pictured with Pope Benedict XVI are: to his right, his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, and to his left, his personal secretary, Msgr. Georg Ganswein.

Pope Benedict is on vacation and it's been his custom each summer to meet with a large group of priests and seminarians and to field their questions. This happened recently (John Allen of NCR has the full report) and this particular Q&A certainly catches the interest of a pastor (yours truly) who has italicized what he considers the most compelling moments in this exchange.

Fr. Paolo Rizzi:
Holy Father, I am Paolo Rizzi, a pastor and instructor of theology at the Superior Institute of Religious Sciences. We would enjoy hearing your pastoral opinion regarding the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation. More and more the children and young people who receive these sacraments prepare themselves well during catechetical sessions, but then don’t come to Sunday Mass. It’s natural to ask what sense this makes. Sometimes there’s a desire to say: ‘Just stay home for all of it!’ Instead, however, we go on like always and accept them, thinking that in any case it’s better not to snuff out the wick of a weak flame. The tendency is to think that the gift of the Spirit can have results beyond what we see, and that in an epoch of transition such as ours it’s more prudent not to take drastic steps...
What pastoral attitudes can you suggest? Thanks.

Benedict XVI:
Well, I can’t give an infallible answer right now, I can only try to respond based on what I see. I have to say that I’ve followed a path similar to yours. When I was young I was rather more severe. I said: the sacraments are the sacraments of the faith, and when the faith isn’t there, where there’s not practice of the faith, the sacraments can’t be conferred. When I was Archbishop of Munich I always discussed this with my pastors, and there too there were two factions, one severe and one more generous. I too in the course of time have realized that we have to follow instead the example of the Lord, who was very open also with the people who were at the margins of Israel at that time. He was a Lord of mercy, too open – according to many of the official authorities – with sinners, welcoming them or allowing himself to be welcomed by them at their dinners, drawing them to himself in his communion.
Thus I would say in essence that the sacraments are naturally sacraments of the faith. Where there is no element of faith, where First Communion would just be a party with a big lunch, nice clothes and nice gifts, then it can’t be a sacrament of the faith. But, on the other hand, if we can see even a tiny flame of desire for communion in the church, a desire also from these children who want to enter into communion with Jesus, it seems right to me to be rather generous.

Naturally, for sure, it must be part of our catechesis to make clear that Communion, First Communion, is not automatic, but it demands a continuity of friendship with Jesus, a path with Jesus. I know that children often have the intention and desire to go to Sunday Mass, but their parents don’t make it possible. If we see that the children want it, that they have the desire to go, it seems to me almost a sacrament of desire, the ‘vow’ of participation at Sunday Mass. In this sense we naturally should do everything possible in the context of sacramental preparation to also reach the parents and – let’s say – also awaken in them a sensibility for the path that their children are taking. They should help their children to follow their own desire to enter into friendship with Jesus, which is the form of life, of the future. If the parents have the desire that their children should make the First Communion, this somewhat social desire should be expanded into a religious desire to make possible a journey with Jesus.

I would say, therefore, that in the context of catechism with children, the work with parents is always very important. It’s an occasion for meeting the parents, making the life of faith present also to the adults, so that they themselves can learn anew from the children – it seems to me – and to understand that this great solemnity makes sense only, and it’s true and authentic only if, it’s realized in the context of a journey with Jesus, in the context of a life of faith. The challenge is to convince the parents a bit, through the children, of the necessity of a preparatory path, which reveals itself in participation in the mysteries and begins to foster love for those mysteries.

This is a fairly insufficient response, I would say, but the pedagogy of the faith is always a journey, and we have to accept today’s situation, but we also have to open it up little by little, so that it’s not directed at the sole aim of some exterior memory of things, but so that the heart is truly touched. In the moment in which we become convinced, the heart is touched, it’s felt a bit of the love of Jesus, and it’s experienced a bit of desire to move in this direction. In that moment, it seems to me, we can say that we’ve accomplished a real catechesis. The true sense of catechesis, in fact, should be this: to carry the flame of the love of Jesus, even if it’s small, to the hearts of children, and through the children to their parents, thereby opening anew the places of the faith in our time.

Assumption Day

Friday is the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, Mother of God. We will celebrate Mass for the Solemnity at 9:00 a.m. in the church, and also at 12:00 Noon with the students and parents and friends of our Religious Education program.

It is traditional to bring the "first fruits" of our gardens and farms to bring as offerings at Assumption Day Mass. So, I would like to invite everybody to bring something from their gardens: Flowers, cucmbers, herbs, tomatoes, or other "gifts" to Mass on Friday. We'll gather them up and bring them over to the Center in Asbury Park. The Center can always use fresh vegetables and flowers to brighten the tables of the clients and residents.

Thanks Deacon Hank!

This past weekend, our parish had our annual Mission Appeal. Our guest speaker/homilist was Deacon Hank Babin from the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi. Hank spoke very beautifully of the needs of the rural diocese of Jackson, and asked us to remember that we are all linked, that we're all "in the same boat." Thanks to your generosity, we are able to send over $3,000 to aid the Diocese of Jackson.

Thanks to your wonderful care and concern, Deacon Hank left here very impressed by your generosity and hospitality, and your many efforts to reach out to the needy.

Thanks to your generosity, we have sent much-needed aid to that diocese which is struggling to meet the costs of training new priests, deacons and lay ministers. Thank you very much!

Don't sing or say that name at Mass!

We probably won't be hearing that lovely song by Dan Schutte much more at Sunday Mass. Although Catholic congregations here in the U.S. have been singing this song for almost 30 years, we just got a directive from the Vatican that instructs us not to use the name "Yahweh" in liturgical settings.

Thanks to Rocco, over at "Whispers in the Loggia", here's the scoop:

Last Friday, the US bishops received their second summer communique from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, this one dated 29 June.

Bottom line: the Tetragrammaton -- the Hebrew notation for the name of God -- is now forbidden to be "used or pronounced" in worship.

From CNS:

Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Divine Worship, announced the new Vatican "directives on the use of 'the name of God' in the sacred liturgy" in an Aug. 8 letter to his fellow bishops.

He said the directives would not "force any changes to official liturgical texts" or to the bishops' current missal translation project but would likely have "some impact on the use of particular pieces of liturgical music in our country as well as in the composition of variable texts such as the general intercessions for the celebration of the Mass and the other sacraments."

John Limb, publisher of OCP in Portland, Ore., said the most popular hymn in the OCP repertoire that would be affected was Dan Schutte's "You Are Near," which begins, "Yahweh, I know you are near."

He estimated that only "a handful" of other OCP hymns use the word "Yahweh," although a search of the OCP Web site turned up about a dozen examples of songs that included the word.

OCP is a nonprofit publisher of liturgical music and worship resources.

Limb said the company would be contacting composers to "ask them to try to come up with alternate language" for their hymns. But he said hymnals for 2009 had already been printed, so the affected hymns would not include the new wording for at least another year.

Even when the new hymnals are out, "it may take time for people to get used to singing something different," he added in an Aug. 11 telephone interview with Catholic News Service.

At Chicago-based GIA Publications, another major Catholic publisher of hymnals, no major revisions will be necessary, because of the company's longtime editorial policy against use of the word "Yahweh."...

Bishop Serratelli said the Vatican decision also would provide "an opportunity to offer catechesis for the faithful as an encouragement to show reverence for the name of God in daily life, emphasizing the power of language as an act of devotion and worship."

His letter to bishops came with a two-page letter from the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, dated June 29 and addressed to episcopal conferences around the world.

"By directive of the Holy Father, in accord with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, this congregation ... deems it convenient to communicate to the bishops' conferences ... as regards the translation and the pronunciation, in a liturgical setting, of the divine name signified in the sacred Tetragrammaton," said the letter signed by Cardinal Francis Arinze and Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, congregation prefect and secretary, respectively.

The Tetragrammaton is YHWH, the four consonants of the ancient Hebrew name for God.

"As an expression of the infinite greatness and majesty of God, it was held to be unpronounceable and hence was replaced during the reading of sacred Scripture by means of the use of an alternate name: 'Adonai,' which means 'Lord,'" the Vatican letter said. Similarly, Greek translations of the Bible used the word "Kyrios" and Latin scholars translated it to "Dominus"; both also mean Lord.

"Avoiding pronouncing the Tetragrammaton of the name of God on the part of the church has therefore its own grounds," the letter said. "Apart from a motive of a purely philological order, there is also that of remaining faithful to the church's tradition, from the beginning, that the sacred Tetragrammaton was never pronounced in the Christian context nor translated into any of the languages into which the Bible was translated."

The two Vatican officials noted that "Liturgiam Authenticam," the congregation's 2001 document on liturgical translations, stated that "the name of almighty God expressed by the Hebrew Tetragrammaton and rendered in Latin by the word 'Dominus,' is to be rendered into any given vernacular by a word equivalent in meaning.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Help Support Nick, our own missionary!

Nick Petrillo, a longtime member of St. Anselm, is setting off for 9 months of volunteer service with the National Evangeliztion Teams (NET). Here's a link to the NET website:

Nick will be serving in a variety of ministries, and is very grateful for all of the support from members of the St. Anselm community. May God bless Nick, and all who help him in this coming year!

Rural Missionary Collection

This weekend, we'll be hosting a missionary from a rural diocese. This missionary visit, and the collection that we'll take up is the annual Missionary Collection that the Diocese asks us to help with.

We will need your help taking up the special collection at all of the Masses this weekend. If you can get to Mass a little early, and volunteer to help take up the special collection, we would all appreciate your help.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Come visit the Peace Garden

Many people from our parish have been spending lots of time in our parish Peace Garden to make sure it's a beautiful place for prayer and reflection. We even have a new resident of our Peace Garden...the above-pictured frog who lives in the pond in the inner garden.

I would like to invite our young people to try to capture the frog who lives in the little pond, and then to transfer him to the big pond, where he'll have much more space to swim.

New Translations for Mass

Today, the National Office of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC) informed its membership that our bishops have received their newly recognized translations of the first part of the Missale Romanum.

Check out the U.S. Bishops website to see the first round of translations!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Religious Education Summer Session II

This week, we open the second session of our Summer Religious Education Program. From 9:30 till 12:30 p.m. each day we will host our young people and their catechists and adult learners in our special program. We're looking forward to a great two weeks of learning the scriptures, the songs of our faith, and reaching out in good works to put into action the Gospel. Let's pray for our young people, and continue to share our treasures of faith with the young people!

NOTHING can separate us from the Love of Christ!

Great song and video! Echoes this Sunday's secong reading.

What a great reminder to those of us who have to endure disappointments, challenges, backsliding, and other trials.

Paul, in his inimitable way, reminds us that NOTHING is stronger than God's love for us.