The Easter season is truly a glorious time in the life of the Roman Catholic Church!
Hopefully we have emerged from the journey of Lent and the Sacred Triduum renewed in our faith and reformed within our hearts.
Our fifty-day journey of the Easter season is the celebration of Jesus Christ's resurrection and Our Lord's victory over sin and death. The Easter season reveals our Risen Lord's appearances to His disciples and close friends which offer hope to them and to us all.
Within the Catholic Church's celebration of the Easter season, we see visible signs of new life. These signs are more than seeing the beautiful decorations and Easter flowers, but seeing a new "spiritual life" emerging in the lives of people.
Several examples are the new members entering the Catholic faith who have journeyed through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), those youth who will make their First Holy Communion, those who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, and even those men who will receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
It is important for each one of us to be aware of the opportunities offered to us during the Easter season to renew and enrich our faith. May this Easter season be a blessed time for us all.
Let us joyfully and courageously live and proclaim, "Jesus is risen and Jesus is alive!"
We enter into a very holy and sacred time in the liturgical life of the Roman Catholic Church as Holy Week begins. Holy Week may be somewhat stressful and busy for priests, but it is also an opportunity to affirm and be blessed int he vocation of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
Growing up at St. James Church, I always looked forward, as an Altar Server, to Holy Week because I enjoyed the liturgies and activities. Serving on the Altar and assisting the priests gave me such joy; I had to study hard and prepare to do my part with the Holy Week liturgies.
The Holy Week that truly impacted my life as a Roman Catholic was in the year 1988. At that time, I was a seminarian at St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, Louisiana. (This is where St. Joseph Abbey, home of the Benedictine Community, is located.) The Benedictine monks did a magnificent job of conducting the Holy Week liturgies in a prayerful, referent, and sacred manner. The experience of Holy Week with the Benedictine monks made a lasting impression on me that has stayed with me forever.
May Holy Week 2016 be a blessed and spiritually fruitful experience for you and your loved ones as well as a renewal of faith.
Have you ever had a moving, soul-stirring, spiritually influencing Holy Week experience in your lifetime? Share your stories in the comments below.
Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. ~John 8:7
In the Gospel reading from the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Jesus is confronted by a woman who has committed the sin of adultery. This woman is being chased by a mob of people who desire to stone this adulterous woman to death; they themselves not realizing they are considered sinners as well. The people want Jesus to give permission to stone the woman and justify the law that requires punishment.
Jesus' initial silence is deafening until He reminds the people that they are sinners as well. As the crowd leaves resentful and shameful, Jesus shows mercy and compassion to this woman by not condemning her. But he also reminds her to "sin no more."
Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and at the heart of the law is mercy, justice and faith. Do not judge or condemn anyone. Go to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and receive forgiveness for your sins.
Pray the grace of perseverance on your faith so that you will overcome sin and temptation.
Return to God. Follow Jesus.
We are at the halfway point of the Lenten season. I hope and pray that we are growing stronger in our faith and seeking a deeper relationship with God.
It is my hope that St. James Church will be a Church of hope, love and mercy to may poor souls. The season of Lent practices of prayer, fasting and alms giving helps to foster holiness and mercy within our personal lives and in the lives of other people.
I want our parish to be known to many people as a parish community of prayer; one that offers opportunity of prayer for many people.
Our alms giving will bring mercy, compassion and hope to poor souls in our community. I want our parish to be an outreaching church.
I hope and pray, that as we continue to pray in the Lenten season, we will progress in faith and desire to become the person God has called and created us to be in His eyes.
May God increase His Life within our lives to enhance and bless our lives.
After speaking to the Parish Liturgy Committee and our Parish Council, I've become aware that there is a desire to see some activities or ministries here at St. James Church.
The problem is that parishioners are not coming forward to lead or be the facilitators for these activities.
Let me make it clear that I can offer training for those who wish to be a leader or facilitator for activities or certain ministries. Do not be intimidated to come forward!
Just trust the Lord's invitation to serve and be courageous in becoming a leader or facilitator!
Parish leadership expressed wishes to see a ministry group for our elderly or Senior Citizen parishioners and to have some type of Catholic Bible study group or some faith sharing group. So I am ready and willing to offer training to those who would like to come forward and be leaders!
And for those who are in the pews, what are you prepared to do for the Lord and for His Church?