I think the word that I have heard most this past week after the release of the Grand Jury Report on Clergy Sexual Abuse was “betrayal”. There is a real sense of betrayal over the priests who abused, many of whom we knew and respected; from leaders in the church (including bishops) who covered up the abuse; and, especially, a sense of betrayal over not being told why a priest was no longer in a parish or in active ministry. The word “betrayal” accurately sums up our feelings (including mine). There is an intimacy between a priest and his people and between the Church and the community of believers. When betrayal happens, it is like the betrayal of a spouse: gut-wrenching, confusing and sickening. Yes, part of the solution in this case will be the ability for survivors to tell their story; for the Church to continue to uphold policies so that this never happens again; and for us to humbly move forward ever aware of our ability to deny, to obfuscate, to sin. But that is only part of the answer. What we need is a greater trust in the Lord, a deeper faith in his ways and a commitment to walk in his footsteps and take up our crosses each day. It is Jesus in the Eucharist who gives us strength, who heals our wounds, who understands our hurts. It is Jesus himself who was betrayed who knows exactly what we are going through in our betrayals. Put your trust in Him!
The priests and seminarians who were accused of sexual abuse of a minor who were stationed at Saint Joan of Arc are the following:
· Rev. Daniel Mahoney (1956 - 1961)
· Rev. Carl Steffen (1961 - 1963)
· Rev. Charles Procopio (1962 - 1964)
· Rev. James Noel (1964 - 1965)
· Rev. Herbert Shank (1974)
· Rev. Frank Bach (1974 - 1975)
· Rev. Timothy Sperber (1978 - 1983)
· Rev. James Shaughnessey (1944 - 1945)
· Rev. Kevin Kayda lived here as a seminarian during the Summer of 2010.
· Rev. Donald Cramer was a parishioner from our parish but was never stationed here.
To report suspected abuse of a minor, please follow these two steps:
1) Call the toll-free PA Child Abuse Hotline at: 1-800-932-0313. AND...
2) Report suspected abuse of a minor by a Church official, employee or volunteer by calling the diocesan toll-free hotline at: 1-800-626-1608.
Over the next four weeks our Gospel at Mass will be from the sixth chapter of Saint John’s Gospel. This is the beautiful and profound “Bread of Life” discourse. In John’s Gospel, there is no “institution narrative” of Jesus giving us the Eucharist at the Last Supper as we find in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). Rather, we have Jesus washing the feet of the disciples in the midst of the Last Supper. John’s treatment of the Sacrament of the Eucharist is this lengthy discourse in Chapter Six. Since the Eucharist is so connected with the Mass, I thought I would use the next few weeks to remind us of some of the practical matters of celebrating Mass here at St. Joan of Arc.
One thing that you may have noticed: we have been using a Common Psalm for the Responsorial Psalm at Mass these past couple of weeks. A Common Psalm is one that can be used for the different seasons of the Church year. There are common psalms for Advent, Lent, Easter and, as we are doing now, in Ordinary Time. The Common Psalm thematically connects the different Sundays within a season. For example, these next four weeks we will be using “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord”, which is perfect as we reflect upon the Eucharist. The Common Psalm can be found on the worship aid in the back of the hymnal. It will NOT be found on the page with the Sunday readings. Since just the refrain is in the worship aid, listen carefully to the cantor as he or she chants the verses. The Church give us many options within the Liturgy. We are just using the option of using the Common Psalms!
The month of July brings us many beautiful feast days in the liturgical calendar. Each saint speaks to us of how we are called to live as Christians in our own unique time and place. Each of us has a vocation and only when we hear and follow God’s call do we really find happiness and joy. Let’s look at a few:
Saint Thomas (July 3) - Known in history as “doubting Thomas”, this apostle is remembered as a great missionary. Tradition tells us that he brought the Gospel to India and to this day many Christians there proudly call themselves “Saint Thomas
Saint Benedict (July 11) - This great saint is a seminal figure in both the history of the Church and the history of Western Civilization. Considered the founder of western monasticism, he is an example of those called to the religious life.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (July 14) - The “Lily of the Mohawks”, Kateri faced opposition from family and tribe to follow Jesus. She is a wonderful example of humility and chastity, especially for those who remain single throughout their lives.
Saints Joachim and Ann (July 26) - This married man and woman were parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the grandparents of Jesus. They found their great calling in the midst of married life.
Apostle and missionary; monk or priest or nun; single person; husband and wife, parent and grandparent: each is called to live a life of holiness. So am I and so are you! Come to know your vocation, be faithful to it and become the saint that God has created you to be!
July is usually a sleepy month in most parishes and things have slowed down a bit since the flurry of activity surrounding the end of school and the parish festival. Of course, here at St. Joan of Arc, we have a large number of weddings (I would venture to say the most in the diocese) and that is always a good thing. But this July we are seeing a lot of work being done in the parish. The hallway in the Education Center (from the gymnasium all the way to the end of the building near the Parish Center) is being painted and a new floor is being laid. In blues and golds and light grey (you all know by now I like a grey
color scheme), it is going to look great. We have also already begun readying the cafeteria to become our new Parish Social Hall by laying a new floor in wood tones. It is amazing how big the place looks! Although it does remind me how much the rest of the room needs updated! Along with the interior renovations, we have been doing a lot of outdoor work with trimming trees and doing landscaping. (A special thanks to the parishioner who gave us a good amount of money to freshen up the landscaping!) Most of the work will be done by the beginning of August so then you can stop over and see the improvements! Updating and maintaining and freshening up is all part of good stewardship for any parish. I hope you like the end product!
Some thank-yous and some updates:
Thanks to all those who volunteered at our Festival this year. It appears that we had an exceptional festival! We will tell you what profit we made when we have all the numbers in. Thank God for the glorious weather those three nights.
A special thank you to Marcie Warner who is leaving as DRE this month. She did a great job with Vacation Bible School. While Marcie will not be employed here, she assured me that we she will volunteer and help Earl Tropp, our new full-time DRE.
Thanks to all of our parishioners who have been so welcoming to our summer visitors. We get many visitors throughout the year and our hospitality is important.
We welcome Eileen Rusnack as our new Coordinator of Parish Ministries. Eileen will start this month and while she will be working just roughly ten hours a week, I know she will be a great asset in organizing, facilitating and assessing the many ministries we have in our parish! Welcome, Eileen!
A special thanks to a parishioner who left us a bequest of $114,000. Think about St. Joan of Arc when you are making our your will.
We are going to have another great year financially in the parish. Thanks for your great generosity. One of the things that I have been hearing is that our financial reporting in the bulletin is confusing to may people. (Some people read that and seem to think that we are not doing well financially! Nothing can be further from the truth!) We will be looking at a new way of reporting our finances each week in the bulletin.
Our Centennial Project is well underway. We will probably be starting a Capital Campaign in the Fall.
Finally, as you might have read or heard on the news, the Grand Jury Report on Clergy Sexual Abuse has been delayed in being opened to the public but we still expect it to be published. Let us continue to pray for the victims of all sexual abuse and continue to make strides in preventing it in the Church!
Have a great summer!
Happy Father’s Day to all our fathers, grandfathers, step-fathers and godfathers (and, I might add, to all the priests who are your spiritual fathers!). When we think of fathers I think many adjectives come to mind: strong, faithful, loving, wise, patient, a good provider, a role-model, a gentleman, etc. I wonder if most of us fathers realize that one of the best things we can be for our children is to be deeply spiritual? A deeply spiritual man is truly what our world and our families need now. To be spiritual is not to be weak but to have the strength that comes from being in right relationship with God. It means to know the right thing to do and then to do it. It means that we put others - wife and children - first and find satisfaction in living a sacrificial life. It means not having all the answers but having the wisdom to turn to God for the answers. It means that we have our priorities straight and strive to put them into practice. I hope all of us have known good, holy, deeply spiritual men in our lives. And fathers, I hope your children see all these things in you!
We congratulate Fathers Arena and Dijo on their new assignments.
Father Arena will be the parochial vicar at Saint John Neumann Parish in Lancaster and school chaplain at Lancaster Catholic High School. His new address will be: Saint John Neumann Parish, 601 East Delp Road, Lancaster, PA 17601
Father Dijo will be the new pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish and Saint Bernadette Mission in Duncannon. His new address will be: Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, 121 William Street, Marysville, PA 17053-1438
We thank both Father Arena and Father Dijo for their faithful ministry here at Saint Joan of Arc. Let us pray for them!
The new parochial vicar at St. Joan of Arc will be newly ordained priest Father Kenneth Roth. We welcome him and assure him of our prayers!
There are many things to talk about this week:
1. Today is the Solemnity of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ. What we celebrate at Mass each week is the very center of our lives as Catholic Christians. At Mass we receive the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. He is present to us in a very unique and intimate way. May the time after receiving Holy Communion truly be a special time to be united with Jesus and to thank Him for the gift of His very self!
2. We congratulate Father Matthew Morelli, our parishioner, who was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood yesterday this weekend at Saint Patrick Cathedral. It is a true honor to host Father Morelli’s Mass of Thanksgiving in the church on Sunday at 2:00 pm. How wonderful it is to offer your first Mass on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi!
3. We have received unanimous decisions from the Diocesan Building Committee and the College of Consultors to move forward with our Centennial Project. This means that we can proceed to final drawings, have permission to begin a Capital Campaign (in the Fall). Our plans are to have the cafeteria renovated into our parish social hall and have the addition to the Education Center finished within the centennial year of our parish in 2020 - 2021. You will start to see some drawings around the parish detailing the plans. Lots more to come!
4. Congratulations to all of our graduating Seniors! May God bless you and know that your parish is praying for you as move forward into the next phase of your life. Stay close to God and the Church!
5. And, finally, the Festival is fast coming upon us. I thank the Festival Committee for all the work they have done so far and for all the volunteers who will make our main fundraiser for the parish another great success. Make sure you sign up to volunteer and make sure you come and support the festival each night!
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity. On this day we reflect on the unique teaching of the Christian Church on the nature of God. Saint Athanasius famously (and beautifully) gave us a Creed that delves into the great mystery of the Holy Trinity. The image below was used during the Middle Ages to make clear what the Church teaches about the Holy
Trinity. It is still useful today.
The Shield of the Trinity, a visual representation of the doctrine of the Trinity, derived from the Athanasian Creed. The Latin reads: "The Father is God, The Son is God, The Holy Spirit is God; God is the Father, God is the Son, God is the Holy Spirit; The Father is not the Son, The Son is not the Father, The Father is not the Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit is not the Father, The Son is not the Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit is not the Son."
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