Fr. Mike’s Communication for the Aug 23, 2020

“For who has known the mind of the Lord
or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given the Lord anything
that he may be repaid?”

-Romans 11:33-36

23 Aug 2020

Brothers and Sisters,

“Praise the Lord, honor his blessed Mother, and get in the truck!” I recall, on several occasions, Msgr. Art Valenzano encouraged me with these words – even if it was trying to speed up my golf game, or the lack thereof. In this often-repeated mantra, Msgr. Art encouraged many people (well, I think the last part was shared with only a few of us). My hope is that I keep living this mantra – putting the Lord first, allowing Mary to guide me in prayer, while not being afraid to get to work (in fact, my challenge is more often making sure prayer comes first!).

Unlike many of his letters in which he knew a group personally, Paul wrote to the Christian Community in Rome long before he would arrive there, a prisoner, eventually becoming martyred outside the city. He clearly intends to visit this crucial community with the hopes of ministering peace and unity to the Jewish and Gentile Christians, two groups that had many conflicts and quarrels. His Letter expresses the desire for unity among the Jewish and the Gentile Christians, encouraging that the priorities of our Christian faith be put into practice.

At the section break in his Letter to the Romans, Paul extemporaneously offers praise. Amid praise, he references these two rhetorical questions, one from Isaiah 40 and the other Job 41, as quoted in the Scripture at the top of this letter (Romans 11:33-36). In Hebrew, the name Michael is likewise a rhetorical question: “Who is like the Lord?” When translated, this passage can be mistaken for a statement (as if the archangel or anyone could truly be like the Lord). While our minds cannot fathom the depths of God’s mind or achieve a fraction of God’s works, we are invited to marvel at the wonders of who God is.

I recognize that many people are struggling with the pandemic. Our lives have been disrupted in confusing and frustrating ways. With the beginning of the school year looming, stress is impacting parents and children. Let us, together in prayer, seek the wisdom and guidance of the Lord. As Paul reminds us, the Lord alone provides a direction that will lead to the restoration of life. Let us remain united in prayer to our God for the sake of our families, our community, and our world.

Some of the key considerations for this week.

▪ “Sign up” for Mass for August 29 and 30. Register here.

▪ As the new academic year begins, our current daily mass schedule will remain for the foreseeable future: Monday to Saturday, 8:15am Mass, with the Church open for parishioners from Wednesday to Friday. Our school Mass will be a separate Mass, not open to the public.

▪ We are grateful for our liturgical ministers–including lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and ministers of hospitality–for assisting, as they are comfortable, at our Masses. If you have been attending our masses in the Church or outside Harrison Hall, and you feel called to one of these ministries, now is a great time to learn. We are in need of additional ministers to cover our needs at this time. Thank you for considering or for encouraging a family member or friend. We look forward to training some additional ministers. On a side note, a few altar servers have reached out to me, expressing their willingness to assist, and when we deem it prudent, we will resume this important ministry.

▪ Please pray in thanksgiving for our newly ordained Bishop Bruce Lewandowski and Fathers Justin Gough, Jeremy Smith, Evan Ponton, Brendan Fitzgerald, and Zach Crowley. I encourage everyone to pray daily for vocations to the priesthood, religious life, diaconate, marriage, as well as lay ministries.

▪ Please pray for families as they begin a new school year. With many unknowns, our families are considering difficult decisions, in the desire to do what is best for the family. Whether students will be returning in person, continuing studies for the time being virtually and at home, or a hybrid approach, please be assured of our prayers. Let us also pray for our school administrators, teachers, and staff, who are working hard to make a difficult situation manageable.

▪ As we have received some positive feedback from various staff members preparing the weekly announcements, I am grateful that you may see those who are working hard, often behind the scenes. Thank you to the staff for continuing to adapt in our service to the community. While, like many, we have had to react to situations and conditions in this pandemic, we are meeting weekly to proactively plan and find creative ways in which we can enrich and strengthen you and your faith. 

▪ Our parish staff has seen some changes recently. This summer, our school welcomed Heather Schell as Assistant Principal. In our maintenance and facility staff, we are thankful to Tom Wall, who has moved to support extended family outside the State. Two parishioners, Mike Sakowicz and Michael Gutelius, are now employed to support Kirill and our efforts to keep the campus clean, sanitized, and running smoothly. Lastly, Julia and Brian Bobak have undertaken a new opportunity with family in New Jersey early in the summer. A core group of college students helped maintain a community in our Youth Ministry this summer. Our sincere gratitude and thanks to them. In the coming weeks, we are looking forward to welcoming Kate Quinn to the staff. Kate worked the last couple of years in Campus Ministry and is excited to transition into parish Youth Ministry. Kate brings a strong background and passion in art, and with our parish’s help can continue to build a strong foundation for our youth and young adults.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett