Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Pope's New Years Wishes

This was the message delivered at today's Papal Audience in Rome. I suspect that my friends Msgr. Tom Gervasio, Msgr. Sam Sirianni, and Fr. Ian Trammel were at that audience today. All are priests of the diocese of Trenton, who went to Rome on Monday. It's a great message, and I like the image of "the friendship" with Jesus.

To all of my friends, and the friends of St. Anselm, a Happy, Peaceful, Joyful, and Hopeful New Year!

Dear friends, we have reached the end of this year and stand at the threshold of the New Year. My wish is that the friendship of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, will accompany you each day of this new year. May friendship with Christ be our light and guide, helping us to to be people of peace, of his peace. Happy New Year to all!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Good News about Brother Andre, C.S.C.

Recently, we got news that the Vatican has approved the Canonization of Blessed Brother Andre Bessette, C.S.C.

Brother Andre, the founder of St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, Canada, was a Brother of Holy Cross (C.S.C.). He had a great devotion to St. Joseph, at a time when it was not all that popular. He worked throughout his life, despite much opposition, to promote the popularity of St. Joseph.

Brother Andre died in 1937, and it is said that more than 1 million people came to his wake and funeral.

When he was a young man, Andre was orphaned, and sought work with relatives in Connecticut and Rhode Island. So, if he is Canonized, he will truly be another North American Saint.

Let's pray that Andre will bless us with a greater love for the Lord.

Pilgrimage to Rome

Today, I got an invitation in the mail to join a very interesting pilgrimage to Rome at the end of February.

I can't do this, due to previous commitments and appointments.

So, I thought I'd make it available to our parishioners and my friends.

It's a tour run by THECATHOLICTOUR.COM company. It begins with a departure from JFK Airport on Feb. 24. It includes roundtrip airfare from JFK to Rome, 8 days/6 nights at four star hotels...5 breakfasts and 5 dinners, sightseeing, daily Mass, Airport-hotel transfers, hotel tips and taxes, baggage, handling, Touring by Private Air-Conditioned Motorcoach, Services of a Professional Tour Escort.

Return is to JFK NYC on March 2, 2010.

Cost is $999.00 with signup deadline by Jan 15, 2010.

Let me know if you want more information on this great pilgrimage!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holy Family

I recently came across a young artist, Tim Schmaltz, who is a sculptor doing some very creative religious works. Here's his interpretation of the "Holy Family."

I enjoy images like this that get me thinking about what was it REALLY like for Mary and Joseph and the newborn baby Jesus.

A stunning image.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Purple Rain, Purple Rain

"I bring you tidings of great joy...."

Today, our good friend, the Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Trenton, was notified by Bishop Smith that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict 16 has named Fr. Sam Sirianni a Monsignor!!!!!!

O Happy Day!

All of us who work with Sam are rejoicing that the Church is finally recognizing his numerous contributions to the life of our diocese and the Church in the United States. Needless to say, we're planning a grand celebration for the Conferral of Papal Honors, probably within the context of an Evening Vespers Service.

I'll publicize the date of the Conferral as soon as I know it. I've already been put on notice that I'm the MC for the event! I'll handle the liturgical part of the celebration, and I'm looking forward to the real party after Vespers. We'll all have a chance to celebrate with Sam, his Mom, and his brothers and family for a huge party!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fourth Sunday of Advent, 2009

So much for celebrating the Fourth Sunday of Advent!

The surprising amount of snow, and the scarcity of plows really surprised us all!

Our plowing company didn't get here until afternoon, and then they were only able to stay a short while, so the majority of our parking lot is still under snow. I hope that will change very quickly tomorrow. The families from the Family Promise program have arrived here at St. Anselm, and are getting settled into their digs. I'm sure the hosts and chefs will take good care of them. Thanks to Sue Bove and her "team" that do such a great job of hosting the families.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Snow Day to slow down

With all of the snow today, I feel the Lord is trying to send us a message: SLOW DOWN, RELAX AT HOME!

New Jersey hasn't seen this kind of snowfall at this time of year in a long time.

FYI: the 9:00 a.m. Mass tomorrow (Dec. 20) is CANCELLED.

This will give our plowing company a chance to plow our parking lot in time for the 11:00 a.m. Mass. So please, get the word out: No 9 tomorrow. We'll all gather at the 11:00 and there's even coffee and donuts after mass, as well as decorating the church, and getting ready to host 5 families coming to stay with us this week.

A few weeks ago, some people heard that I made a killer cheescake for Thanksgiving. Well, here's the recipe. Consider it an early Christmas gift. Please share it with your family and friends:

Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 3/4 cups Graham Cracker crumbs
1/4 cup finely ground pecans
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature.
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
One 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin
1/4 cup heavy cream

1. PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees.

2. COMBINE the cracker crumbs, pecans, brown sugar, and the cinnamon in a bowl. Mix in the melted butter. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan.

3. BEAT the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and nutmeg in the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs and yolks and beat just until blended. Mix in the pumpkin and cream. Spread the batter in the pan, and place it on a baking sheet.

4. BAKE until center is nearly set, about 60-70 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

5. CAREFULLY run a sharp knife between the cake and the sides of the pan. Remove the sides of the pan. Cool completely on the rack before coveing tightly with foil or plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well-chilled before serving, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Immaculate Conception

Today the Church throughout the world celebrates the incarnation of our Blessed Mother!

She, the mother of Jesus, was born free from sin from the moment of her conception!

That's the essence of our faith in today's feast.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was predestined from all eternity, to be the vessel to hold and cherish and nurture, our eternal Savior, Jesus.

That's a lot for a teenage girl to handle to contemplate, to even imagine!

But today we celebrarte!
Today's feast happens to be a national feast for our country, as we, the United States of America, are dedicated to the title of Mary, the Immaculate Conception.
Let's take a break from our regular routine today, to celebrate Mary, the Mother of God, and the Mother of the Church. Let's remember that we are not orphans, but we have a loving mother in heaven, and a savior in her Son, Jesus, and that we are all sons and daughters.

Here are some images of Mary, the Immaculate Conception, to help us reflect!:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Second Sunday of Advent, 2009

This weekend we celebrate the 2nd Sunday of Advent. We continue our Advent journey to the celebration of Christmas. Today's scriptures invite us to reflect upon the valleys, the hills, the winding roads in our lives that prevent us from fully encountering the Lord Jesus. Advent is a call to conversion, to renewal, and to reconciliation that will help us to more fully live the Gospel.

This weekend's Scriptures

This weekend, we hear the call of Jesus, echoing Isaiah, to "make straight the paths of the Lord."

What is it in our lives that we need to "straighten out" to allow the Lord to enter into our lives, our hearts, and our souls?

This coming weekend, St. Anselm will host Msgr. Stan Deptula of the Diocese of Peoria, IL. Monsignor is the man in charge of the "Cause" for canonization of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. He is also the nephew of our own Parish Spiritual Director, Marge Gryta.

It looks like the cause of Archbishop Sheen is proceeding at a good pace. I won't be surprised to see him named "saint" within my lifetime.

Below is the text of a blog entry from Rocco over at "Whispers in the Loggia" on the subject of Archbishop Sheen. Enjoy!

Next Wednesday sees the 30th anniversary of the death of the prelate who, quite possibly, became American Catholicism's most consequential product of all: Fulton Sheen, the Illinois farmboy who famously trumped "Mr Television" in the ratings and, in the process, delivered the death blow to the long history of societal suspicion directed at the church's own on these shores.

With the evidence of his heroic virtue -- the first step toward a possible beatification -- soon to face investigation in Rome, the archbishop's New York-based cause has sparked a worldwide roster of Masses to crop up to commemorate the anniversary, the largest of which will be held in St Patrick's Cathedral at 5.30 Wednesday night, to be celebrated and preached by a well-known devotee of Sheen's ministry in media: the Big Apple's Archbishop Tim Dolan.

In the history of the Stateside church, Dolan recently mused in an EWTN interview that "there’s never been anybody who’s been able to communicate the timeless truths of the Catholic religion to a very timely culture" as Sheen did, "without diluting any of the essentials."

The Elegant One "was able to present [the faith] in an eminently attractive way," Dolan said, "and that has always inspired me."

For those unable to make it, the evening liturgy will be streamed live by both EWTN and CatholicTV. Prior to it, though, a rare opportunity will present itself as the St Pat's Crypt -- where Sheen's buried alongside Gotham's archbishops -- will be opened to the public for prayer from 3 to 5pm.

An auxiliary of New York from 1951 until his appointment as bishop of Rochester in 1966, Sheen rests next to his arch-rival in the hierarchy, Cardinal Francis Spellman.

And, well, as no post on "Bishop Sheen" would ever be complete without a cameo from the man himself, here he is: