Sunday, November 30, 2008

1st Sunday of Advent, 2008

Today, the First Sunday of Advent, we begin a new year of grace.

We begin the year with readings from old friends and prophets, with our old friend Mark, the earliest evangelist.

We've changed our vesture from the greens of ordinary time to the blue-violets of Advent.

I offer the above image for your reflection about the colors of Advent. Look into the skies to see a hint of our vesture, and to what this season is all about.

Some people have a hard time with our priests' vestments of midnight blue. Some people think that I should be wearing purple.

This year our "Advent Wreath" is located behind the altar, in relation to the Crucifix sculpture on the back wall of the sanctuary.

I really hope this Advent season may be a time of grace, in the face of changes and new ways of doing things, for all of us!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Tomorrow will be full of all sorts of activities, Mass at 9:00, High-School Football games, a great parade in NYC (best viewed from a HD TV at home), and then the travel to the homes of relatives for great food and conversations, and the renewal of relationships.

It's a day filled with all sorts of activities. We have much to be thankful for.

Enjoy the day, and let's stretch it out as long as possible!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bring Sean Home

A local friend, David Goldman, has been in the news recently. He's on a noble quest to regain custody of his son, Sean. Sean is now about 8 years old. When he was just 4 years old, Sean was abducted by his mother and kidnapped to Brazil. You can read the whole story here at this website: http:/

If you can help get news about this tragedy around, your help will be much appreciated. Please try to contact our congress people to enlist thier support to help David to get Sean back home.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Family Promise

Thanks to everybody who volunteered this past week to help host the families who stayed with us as part of the Family Promise program. We had several new volunteers helping us this time, and everybody did a wonderful job.

It never ceases to amaze me how our parishioners rise to the occasion and strive to treat our guests with the utmost respect and dignity. Everybody works very hard to provide an environment full of peace, security and dignity for the families who are enduring very difficult situations.

I'm reminded of the words of scripture: "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."

Keep up the good work gang!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

News from Long Branch

Long Branch parishes to merge in first decision of Monmouth Central Deanery study
Sunday, November 09, 2008

The first decision resulting from the Monmouth Central Deanery Study was announced by Bishop John M. Smith in a letter read to three Long Branch parish communities at Mass Nov. 8 and 9.

Our Lady, Star of the Sea; St. John the Baptist, and Holy Trinity Parishes, which were twinned in June, 2007 as three separate communities under one pastoral administration, will become one parish community as of July 1, 2009, according to the bishop's announcement. Father Sam A. Sirianni, pastor of the twinned communities, has been named pastor of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Freehold, effective Dec. 1, 2008, replacing the late Father Thomas O'Connor who died earlier this year. Bishop Smith named Father Daniel Peirano, who has served the twinned parishes as parochial vicar, to be the administrator of the merging communities during this transition period, with the intention of taking over as pastor after the merger becomes effective.

The bishop's letter states that the merged parish will be given a new name and will be asked to act collaboratively with the other parishes of the Monmouth Central Deanery, especially nearby Precious Blood Parish, Monmouth Beach, to support expanded ministry opportunities. The bishop established Our Lady Star of the Sea Church as the principal worship site. A soon-to-be named implementation team, which will have representation from all three parishes, will manage the details of the merger and determine the use of the other buildings and properties. Set to begin its work in December, the team will also elicit input from parishioners on suggested names to present to Bishop Smith for his decision.

The recommendation to merge the three parish communities was one of several different scenarios submitted in August by the Monmouth Central Deanery Study Team, which represented 15 parishes in the region. In receiving the recommendations, Bishop Smith emphasized that the work of the study was dedicated to the goal of keeping the Catholic community vibrant well into the future. He cited the challenges of meeting the ministerial and pastoral needs created by demographic and vocations trends, such as shifting population from small towns and cities to sprawling suburbs, a decline in the number of priests and religious available to serve and the arrival of new Catholics in the area, as well as growth in the senior citizen population.
Bishop Smith is expected to announce decisions related to other recommendations before the end of the year.

The Catholic community in Long Branch, which includes about 2,500 families, has a long and dramatic heritage. Once home to national political figures, corporate tycoons and their entourages, Long Branch became known as a cultural center in the mid-1800s. The town's first church, later dedicated for Our Lady, Star of the Sea Parish, was built in 1854. Holy Trinity was established in 1906 as a national parish for Italian-speaking Catholics, and St. John the Baptist was dedicated in 1978 as a mission of Immaculate Conception Parish in Eatontown. St. John Parish was established in 1984 as an independent parish serving the growing Hispanic and Portuguese population of the area.

In announcing the Long Branch merger, Bishop Smith expressed his gratitude to Father Sirianni for the leadership he has shown and his service to the three parishes as their pastor. Acknowledging that "change is never easy" especially in relation to matters of faith and spirituality, Bishop Smith writes, "These changes will certainly require all of us to work together in a spirit of faith, to develop the implementation plans and to assist the pastor in forming everyone into a new worshiping community. I ask that you join together with optimism, confidence, expectation and dependence on the presence of Christ who is always with us, so that our Catholic life in Long Branch will be vibrant well into the future."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sun. Nov. 2 - All Souls Day

This Sunday's liturgy celebrates the Commemoration of All Souls. We remember and pray for (and with) all of the souls who have gone before us. Our prayer is always directed to the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, but our theology of our communion of saints tells us that our prayer is always with the entire church, living and deceased in the Lord.
Below is a wonderful piece of liturgical music, the Kyrie by Tomas Luis de Victoria, from his wonderful Requiem.

May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.