Pastor's Letter - May 19, 2019

There are always three readings from the Bible at the Sunday Mass (not including the Psalm response). Usually the first reading at Sunday mass is from one of the Old Testament books, the second from one of the letters in the New Testament, and the last reading from one of the four Gospels. The Easter season is the exception. Although the second and third readings are t ypical, throughout this season the first reading always presents the story of the early Church as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. We see how, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the number of the baptized continues to grow and the Church prospers. But it isn’t all balloons and butterflies. In the passage from today’s reading from Acts, Paul and Barnabas tell the people, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” In fact, the early Church was often severely persecuted. In addition to persecution there were the inevitable “normal” hardships which life occasionally brings. The same is true today. It is necessary to be prepared for the difficulties which come our way, whether they are the result of being faithful followers of the Lord or just part of ordinary life. Certainly one can be strengthened and encouraged by the support of family, friends, and the parish community. But our ultimate support comes from God. Faith and trust in God don’t do away with hardships. Faith and trust in God enable and strengthen us to persevere.

This Thursday, May 23, is the 32nd anniversary of my ordination to the Priesthood, when Bishop John J. Paul laid hands upon me. Please pray for me, that I may be more fully conformed to the Heart of Christ, the great High Priest. “For this reason I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.” (2 Timothy 1:6-8)

May God bless you! Fr. Schaller