Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Homily Gaudete Sunday Year C 2012

Pray with me for the children of Newton, CT and their families.  Build together a culture of love and life according to God's will.


Homily Advent II Year C 2012


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Homily Advent I December 2, 2012


Homily Christ the King 2012


Homily 33rd Sunday OT November 18 2012


Please visit our parish website...

Bulletin Column this week...

I thought I'd share this one...

Between the Sundays…

Among pastors there is a famous axiom: “90% of 90%.”  That is, “90% of Catholics receive 90% of their information and inspiration from Sunday Mass.”  Think about it: for most people, their only experience of the Church is Sunday Mass.  About 40% of Catholics nationally attend Sunday Mass regularly (and that’s the high end estimate).  Realistically, about 20% of the average parish participates in activities, services and events outside of Sunday Mass.  Think about your own experience.  How many people from our parishes do your know who you see at events other than Sunday Mass?

            Sunday Mass is, of course, the focal point of parish life.  The Eucharist is the source and summit of the life of the Church (see Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium).  But what about all the other things we do?  Holy Day Mass remains a serious obligation for Catholics.  We offer fun social events, inspiring ecumenical services and educational opportunities.  None of us should miss out on an opportunity to be informed and inspired as we grow in faith.  Please keep close watch on the bulletin, calendar and website for all our upcoming events.  During this Year of Faith, resolve to participate more in the life of your parish.  You will surely be blessed!

            In particular, I want to focus your attention on weekday Mass.  Between the Sundays, the liturgical calendar is filled with feasts honoring the saints, Mary and events in Church history.  The Eucharist is celebrated daily for the intentions of our parish and the faithful departed.  We reflect on Sacred Scripture and the lives of the saints – the great heroes of our faith.  Daily Mass is the ongoing nourishment of our parish, not just on Sunday but all through the week.  To receive the Eucharist daily means having Jesus living within you all the time! 

On Thursdays at Our Lady of Victory, we honor Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with a Holy Hour of Adoration after Mass, sitting at the feet of Jesus and resting in His presence with prayer and thanksgiving. 

On Saturdays at Saint Patrick, we have a Holy Hour as well.  Both days include the Rosary but Saturday is a special day of the week dedicated to honoring Mary.  We are blessed to have this special Saturday celebration – Mass, Holy Hour, confessions, Rosary and Benediction. 

Tuesday Mass is at 7:00 pm at Saint Patrick, allowing for working folks to attend if they wish.

Please think about coming to daily Mass as your schedule allows.  Make weekday Mass part of your spiritual routine in this Year of Faith and beyond.

A lot of good goes on between the Sundays in our parishes.  Come and share in the blessings!


Blessed Advent to all!  --Fr. Matthew

Prayer for Our Country

Prayed by Fr. Matthew at Paul Ryan's Rally in Ohio November 5th, 2012

Father of heaven and earth,
author of all life and source of unending love, we beg your blessing upon
our country on the eve of our national, state and local elections.

Bless and inspire all those running for political office that they may be
men and women of virtue and integrity, who honor their promises seek justice
for every citizen, especially the poor and vulnerable and defend the dignity
of every human life.
May our elected officials be statesmen and not merely politicians, leaders
who respect the ingenuity and freedom of all Americans.

O Lord, your faithful people honor your divine law as the foundation of all
human laws, revere the Sacrament of Marriage as the divinely instituted
covenant between man and woman and believe every life from conception to
natural death is sacred and created in your divine image.
We beg you, Lord, to grant us wisdom and courage so that we may defend the
dignity of life, marriage and family, the foundation of a just society, and
thus ensure the prosperity and peace of our great nation.

Our Founding Fathers enshrined in our constitution the right to liberty,
which you, our Creator, have bestowed upon us, and we believe in the right
of every citizen to worship freely according to one's own conscience.
Grant us, Lord, leaders of commitment to our nation's founding principles,
so that no citizen of our land may have to fear penalty or persecution for
worshipping you and living out his faith in the world.

Above all, Lord, may we never forget
that, while taking our place in public life is part of living out our faith
and values, you, O God, are the true king of our lives, the governor of our
hearts, the Lord of the universe.
Our salvation and our eternal joy are found in you.

As we proclaim our devotion to you, Lord, shower the blessing of your Spirit
upon us and prosper the work of our hands.

We give you praise forever and ever.  Amen.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012


Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., has assigned me as pastor of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Andover and Saint Patrick Parish in Kinsman, effective July 1st.  I am excited to be a pastor!  Please join me in praying for the faithful in these lovely parishes in the beautiful Pymatuning Valley, and for me, that we may all grow together in the love of Jesus. 

I will arrive at my new parishes on Wednesday and celebrate Mass beginning June 28th.  My installation as pastor is August 5th.  Homilies will resume next week...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday, April 09, 2012

Easter Homily 2012

Easter Sunday 2012
Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! Alleluia!
I have had the opportunity to
travel to different regions of the country…
meet people from a variety of cities
and to see weather
and calamity reports from different climates…
Florida, California, the Plains, New
England, Georgia.
And I have reached the conclusion
that I am quite content
to live in
the greatest state in the union
where we enjoy a variety of seasons and
weather patterns
and a mildness
compared to the extremes of the coasts and border states.

weather gives us hope…
if you don’t like the weather, have
hope, it is destined to change soon!

My favorite
season of year is definitely Spring,
not only because Holy Week falls in Spring
and these are my favorite feasts
but because I thoroughly
enjoy the outdoors
and Spring afford me many
to bask in the
glory of nature and the beauty of the land.
At least in
the northern hemisphere, Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth,
a time to breathe in the splendor of
the universe and give praise.

Before it
became optional in the 1970s, and later forgotten altogether,
the Church’s practice of celebrating Rogation
Days in the Spring
coincided with and honored
the change of seasons,
all the while
praying to God for in the season of planting
and asking His
blessing upon the parish territory.
from the darkness of winter, the Spring blossoms give us new hope.

Many things
give hope to each of us individually…
For some it’s the day the equipment truck
leaves Progressive field for AZ.
For others it’s Friday at 5:00 on
For me it’s the first day of the year
when it’s warm enough to bike.
A new baby,
a first date, an acceptance letter, a great test score, a raise, a hug…
life’s exciting moments give us hope
all the time…
hope that we will succeed,
that things will get better.
And all of
these are ultimate signs of hope in the One who provides for us,
God, the author of life and the source
of goodness.

For many
people in the world, there seems to be no hope at all.
People who starve and never find food
die in despair.
Women and children kidnapped, tortured
and abused
forget that
they were ever loved.
Parents in poverty think there is no
way out and spend every night in tears
wondering how
to feed their children.

There is
emptiness out there that we in our relative security cannot fathom.

Yet, we
have our moments, too.
There are break-ups with significant
others and failures on tests,
gut-wrenching feeling of getting laid off or being diagnosed with illness, the
tragedy of sudden death of someone we love.

Most of us
have likely found ourselves at a point when don’t know how to go on.
calls these “liminal moments,” from the Latin for “threshold.”
These are
moments when we come to a threshold because of something shocking,
faced with the choice to turn back in
or step over the threshold in to a new
stage of our journey of life.

The Resurrection
of Christ is such a moment.
Jesus did
not fear to accept the Cross according to His Father’s will,
and thus His dying and rising has
changed the world forever.
By dying He
has destroyed death, and by rising He has restored life in abundance!

this Easter morning from the darkness of the grave,
Christ radiant in glory gives new hope
to all creation!
As the
stone rolls back and the Risen Lord crosses the threshold of the tomb,
to the amazement of the Roman
He inaugurates a new reality
for the whole world
and promises new hope to all
who follow Him.

The angels
exult, Mother Church rejoices,
every creature from least to greatest sings its own song of praise!
Christ has made all things new!

Saint Paul
writes in the Letter to the Romans that “in
hope we were saved.”
We hope not
in what we see but in what we do not see, Paul writes,
and by keeping hope alive we put our
trust in God who cares for us.
The following
verses share the promise of God to those who hope in Him:
“the Spirit
will come to the aid of our weakness”
and “all things work for good for those who love God.”
Hope saves
because when we hope in God’s love and in His promise of eternal life
we tap into the infinite power of God
to care for us
and to save us from sin.

The bottom
line of the Easter message is that we are so valuable to God
that He sent His only Son, who died
and rose for us
to bring about for us an end
to the reign of darkness
and the promise of light and
life eternal.

Pope Benedict is confident when he writes in his encyclical Spe Salvi,
on the virtue of hope, that
“The one who
has hope lives differently;
the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new
Christ has
made all things new!

So, now
when life brings us to those liminal moments,
we are standing at the threshold
stunned by
life’s turn of events
and unsure
if we can cross over into an uncertain future,
we know that we do not ever walk

The same
Jesus who died and rose for us is always present to us,
just as He promised: “I am with you always until the end of the
He will
never forsake or abandon us.
He will
send His Spirit to guide and perfect us.

We know
that we are loved, and our God has conquered Hell for us.
Thus, we do
not live like people covered in darkness with no way out.
We live as
people filled with hope,
glorious hope in our loving God, with
whom all things are possible!

The Spring
flowers arise from the cold ground and the dark of winter
to proclaim a renewal of life and a
new beginning to creation.

The Risen
Christ emerges from the stone-cold tomb
to reveal a world re-created by the
triumph of God over sin and death.

No matter
what, we are loved and we have hope in the goodness of God
who cares for us, walks with us, and
whose love sets us free.

May dear
friends, in these days, pause to ponder the beauty of the Spring blossoms,
and to see in them a living sign of
the hope in which we are saved!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Holy Saturday: the Church waits by the tomb!

The Lord's descent into
an ancient Homily on Holy Saturday

strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence
and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The
earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he
has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in
the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
He has gone to search for our first
parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in
darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the
captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord
approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At
the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror
and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And
with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O
sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
I am your God, who for your sake have
become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own
authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in
darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O
sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise
from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you
who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me
and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.
For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a
slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath
the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without
help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was
betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
See on my face the spittle I received
in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the
marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my
image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden
of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for
you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
I slept on the cross and a sword
pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your
side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your
sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned
against you.
Rise, let us leave this place. The
enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that
paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was
only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I
appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them
worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift
and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal
dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open.
The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

Good Friday Homily 2012

Click title for audio

Good Friday 2012

The movie of the moment is The Hunger Games,
both the books and the film are all the rage with my students.

A post-war civilization called
Panem now exists in place of the Americas.
Each of 12 districts is required to
select by lottery one young boy and girl
send them as tributes to the Capitol,
lies all the power and wealth,
for a battle of strategy and survival.
Reminiscent of the gladiatorial
games of ancient Rome’s Coliseum,
Hunger Games is a fight to the death among the 24 “Tributes”
by blood-thirsty millions via television.

Early on in the film, during the
reaping to choose the tributes in District 12,
protagonist Katniss Everdeen, a girl of about 18,
herself in place of her much younger sister.
She enters the game through a free
choice to value another’s life above her own
to take the place of one surely destined to die.
As the
story unfolds, selflessness and sacrifice are exemplified in her choices.

it is love and other-centeredness that triumph over the evil of the game.
The real
winners are not those who will murder the innocent to survive
but those who will choose love and
truly live.

The most
poignant example of real-life self-sacrifice we have
is the story of Saint Maximilian
In an act
of love nearest as humanly possible to the sacrifice of Christ,
Maximilian, a Franciscan Friar and
Nazi prisoner in Auschwitz,
volunteered his life in place
of a fellow prisoner – a stranger –
condemned to death
by starvation.
He valued
that man’s life above his own and took the place of one destined to die.

On this day
we call Good Friday, despite its agony for the story’s protagonist,
we remember the sacrifice that given
meaning to all others:
Jesus Christ, who first
entered our world in an act of supreme humility,
takes the place of
us who are condemned because of our sins
and submits Himself
for our sake to the agony of the Cross.

On the
night before he suffered, He felt entirely empty in His humanity
as He prayed anxiously and sweat blood
in the Garden of Gethsemane.
He cried
out: “Father, if it possible, take this
cup away from me!”

Yet, His
love for us compels Him to make a choice, for love is more than feeling:
not as I will but as you will.”
It is sin that
brought Jesus to the gibbet of the Cross
but it is love which held Him there
for three long hours, gasping and writhing.

The One who
created all things and in whom rests power over life and death
is now bound in chains, scourged
beyond recognition and nailed to a tree.
His flesh
is torn asunder and pierced, His body throbs with pain,
and His heart is broken as His friends
betray, deny and abandon Him.
humanity ever beheld a more pathetic sight?
Any why? –
because He made a choice – a choice to love!
sacrifice of Christ in embracing the death-bed of the Cross
created a ripple effect of power and
that has continued to cascade
through human experience
for nearly two
The historic
event on Calvary has become an eternal fountain of grace.
dying and rising has changed everything,
for in Him we are given a model of
humanity perfected
and the source of eternal

As we adore
the Cross tonight,
we honor the instrument of torture in
the Roman Legionnaires’ game of dice
that has become the
instrument of our salvation.
The game of
brutality and the evil of injustice is vanquished by the Lord of love!

The choices
of our lives have consequences and create ripple effects as well –
for good or for evil.
Like a
stone thrown into a lake,
creating ripples great and small,
above and below the surface,
every human choice has
effects far beyond what we can see.
Our choice
to sin laid the burden of the Cross on the Son of God.
His choice
to love ended the reign of sin and opened the door to new life.

If we gossip,
bully, cheat, lie, swear, abuse, destroy or act impurely,
we create ripple effects of hurt and
enduring wounds of heartache.
But if we
love, heal, pray, build up, give life and respect human dignity,
we create powerful ripple effects of
goodness beyond our imagination.

Christ accepted
the condemnation of sinners and chose love above all else,
thus offering the gift of life to all.

In our
choices and in our words and deeds, may
love always triumph,
so Christ’s love will live on us and
in our world.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Palm Sunday Homily/Holy Week 2012

Click title for audio of homily.

Holy Thursday: I will concelebrate at O.L. Mt. Carmel, Youngstown, with Monsignor Cariglio.
Good Friday: 7 pm, St Mary, Warren
Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil: I will concelebrate at St. Mary
Easter: 8:00 am St. Mary

On Sunday, April 15th, I will be celebrating the Divine Mercy Sunday Feast Day Mass for the Jesus, the Living Mercy Community at 3 pm in Cleveland. See them for more information.

Blessed Holy Week to all!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Homily Lent II

Click on title for audio.

Homily Lent I

Click on title for audio.

Homily 7th Sunday OT

Click on title for audio.

Homily 5th Sunday OT

Click on title for audio.
I forgot my recorder for Mass. Homily recorded later so it lacks the "umph" of the liturgical context. :-)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Article in The Priest Magazine

The New Translation
Reflection after three months
By Father Matthew J. Albright - The Priest,
Among the inspirational scriptural and theological allusions brought into
greater clarity by the new translation of the Roman Missal is a multi-faceted
phrase in the second Eucharistic Prayer. During the epiclesis, the priest prays
for the Spirit to “descend like the dewfall.” This poetic reference might be
unusual to ears accustomed to spreadsheets, kids’ homework and the daily paper
(and some have even openly criticized the use of this particular phrasing), but
poetry makes sense in prayer. Behind the gateway of poetry is a fascinating
journey into the love of God.
One of my fondest childhood memories is of working with my family in our
garden. We have always valued fresh homegrown vegetables and the accomplishment
of cultivating our own garden. It is no coincidence that it has been said that
“he who plants a garden is close to God,” for the image of a garden plays a
significant role in the Scriptures. Life itself begins in the Garden of Eden,
where also the treachery of sin is revealed.
The love story between God and His people, between the Lord and the human
soul, told through the metaphor of a bridegroom and his bride in the Song of
Songs, includes the image of the soul’s secret garden into which she invites the
Lord to dwell and which is fruitful in love for others. In the fullness of time,
God send His only Son, and Jesus accepts the burden of the world’s sin in the
Garden of Gethsemane. Creation and redemption begin in a garden — a place of
anxious growth and the blossoming of new life. The seeds of a garden are
nourished by water, a basic element of all life. They grow in mystery and
produce beauty and delight beyond our explanation.
Each morning of summer when we awake, something new has transpired. Nature is
always renewing itself, as grace is always renewing us in our human needs. Thus
we can relate to the 19th century Gaelic hymn “Morning Has Broken,” which
praises the dawn of a new day as a reminder of the newness of creation.
In verse two we sing: “Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven, like
the first dewfall on the wet grass. Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
sprung in completeness where His feet pass.” The wet grass and garden plants in
the first hours of daylight are uniquely beautiful: the sweet wetness serves as
a reminder of the providence of God, who sends mysterious moisture to nourish
the soil and mysterious grace to enliven the souls of human persons. The first
dewfall and the daily dewfalls throughout the world call to mind the goodness of
As the dewfall appears upon the leaves in the morning without our beholding
its coming, so too the grace of God descends through the sacraments and in other
mysterious ways to touch and nourish our lives. In the Consecration of the Mass,
the Spirit descends through the ministry of the priest to transform bread and
wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.
The Spirit’s descent is inexplicable and unseen but very real. The altar is
the place where the fullness of God’s presence in Eden and the salvific action
of Christ begun in Gethsemane are made present. Jesus Christ is truly present,
Calvary is re-presented and His redeeming love flows over us in abundance. Like
the sweet and mysterious dewfall, the Spirit descends in hidden majesty to bring
God’s love into our lives. The God who is creator of the unseen descends to make
himself present to us in our every need, and the Church’s Eucharistic
celebration becomes like so many drops of water to cleanse parched souls.
Providing food for another is a great sign of love. Parents work to provide
food for their children, and chefs delight in new culinary creations to thrill
the appetites of diners. The Eucharist is the ultimate feast, the ultimate
feeding. It is a banquet in which the host is the food, the priest is the
victim. Jesus Christ nourishes us with His very Body and Blood, and we become
one with God. The Eucharistic banquet was prefigured in the Old Testament when
God fed the Israelites with manna in the desert.
When the Israelites, who had fled from bondage in Egypt, lamented their
starvation in the wilderness, God promised to “rain bread from heaven” (Ex
16:4). It came to pass that “in the morning a dew lay round the camp. And when
the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like
thing, fine as hoarfrost on the ground. . . .And Moses said to them, ‘It is the
bread which the Lord has given you to eat’” (Ex 16:13-15). The appearance of
bread from heaven to satisfy the hunger of the wandering Israelites coincides
with the dewfall at dawn, emphasizing the mystery and delicacy of the Lord’s
precious gift. In the dark of night, He showers on them the bread they need and
desire. They gather the bread, not knowing how it came to be.
The true Bread of Life
In the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus takes the gift of bread from
heaven to a whole new level as He teaches the crowds that He is the true Bread
of Life: “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness,
and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may
eat of it and not die. . .and the bread which I shall give for the life of the
world is my flesh” (Jn 6:48-51). How fitting it is, then, that we should pray
for the Spirit to descend like the dewfall in the Consecration, since Jesus
places His Eucharistic presence in the context of the manna that descended with
the dewfall. Having freed the Israelites from slavery, God fed them with manna
along their journey in the desert. In the Eucharist, Jesus himself feeds those
whom He has freed from the finality of sin’s darkness on their journey toward
union with God in their true homeland in heaven.
In addition to the Exodus story, Strong’s Concordance lists 34 appearances of
the word “dew” in the Scriptures. Notable in the context of the Eucharist is the
exhortation in Proverbs (3:19-20) to be wise: “The Lord by wisdom founded the
earth; by understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the deeps
broke forth, and the clouds drop down the dew.” The creation of the universe is
the result, not of circumstance or accident, but of an intricate plan of a wise
God. The clouds drop down the dew because the Lord’s wisdom has ordained it so.
Jesus Christ is the Word of God (John 1) and also “to those who are called,
Christ crucified is the “power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24), while
to unbelievers He is a stumbling block and folly. As disciples of Jesus, we
accept Him — His teachings, sacraments, example, and sacrificial love — as the
supreme wisdom, far beyond the folly of the world. By the wisdom of God in
Christ, the sacraments drop down grace like clouds drop down the dew, in mystery
and beauty.
Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist, through the words and ritual of the priest
during the consecration at Mass, is the fullest experience of God’s presence
known to mankind on earth. The wise working of God in creation and the rescuing
of the Israelites from slavery is seen manifest in the mysterious dewfall. Our
prayer in the canon of the Mass is that the Spirit once again descend in mystery
and sweetness upon simple bread and wine to transubstantiate them into the very
Body and Blood of Jesus, our food on the journey into God. The altar is the
garden of fruitfulness, where the dewfall of grace nourishes our gifts and
Christ becomes present in our midst. How fitting is this newly translated
prayer, and how rich in food for contemplation! TP
FATHER ALBRIGHT, a priest of the
Diocese of Youngstown, is religion teacher and chaplain at John F. Kennedy
Catholic High School in Warren, Ohio.
© 2011 Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Please check your local Catholic library for the December issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review and read my article on the New Translation of the Missal.

Please see my article on "Dewfall" and the New Translation three months hence in Priest Magazine, March issue.

A New Era...

I am praising and thanking God for the clear and powerful messages of our U. S. Bishops regarding the new healthcare policy, which mandates immorality and violates the God-given right, and constitutively American freedom, of the human person to follow his conscience.

News story here re: several bishops:

Search for YouTube video of Archbishop Dolan, President of the USCCB

Read statements by (arch)bishops of

Washington, DC:


and Pittsburgh:

and Youngstown:

Several bishops calls for prayer and fasting in their letters. This is a moment to show the full force of the love and truth of Jesus revealed in the teaching of His Church!

Homily Notes Fourth Sunday of OT Year B 2012

Homily Fourth Sunday of the
Year 2012

NB: NOTES do not reflect ad libitum delivery of actual homily

One of the customs of the late Pope John Paul II that was so
powerful to see as people throughout the world saw him on television was his
custom of kissing the ground when he visited a country. He recognized the beauty of every land and
people he visited.

He made over 100 trips to different countries because he was
committed to evangelizing the world and bringing the glad tidings of the Gospel
of Jesus Christ to people everywhere.

Today we have the option of celebrating a Mass of
Thanksgiving for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, which took place in

We thank God for a pope of tremendous love, faith and impact
on the life of the Church. He gave us a
new Catechism of the Catholic Church, and so we have a resource to go to that
shows us how to live out the Scriptures and the teaching of the Magisterium in
our daily lives. He gave us a new Code
of Canon Law and a number of encyclical letters on every aspect of Church teaching. His emphasis on youth and establishment of
WYD brought a whole new generation into joyful relationship with the Lord. He helped the whole Church to learn the teachings
of Vatican II and make them bear fruit in sound teaching and sacramental celebration. His celebration of the Mass on the altars of
the world brought the living presence of Jesus to men and women of every race
and language. Crowds of millions sat in
stillness as they listened to his beautiful words.

For 28 years we were blessed to be lead and inspired by this
holy pope, who as a celibate priest and a holy man of God, was, in the words of
Saint Paul, “anxious about the things of God!”

John Paul taught us that being faithful to the Church is the
sure path to Christ, in whom alone we find salvation and in whom we are made a
new creation: brothers and sisters of Jesus and children of God.

We saw the beauty of God’s love radiant in the life of John Paul
II. We found in his smiling face and in
the brightness of his eyes the assurance that God loves us. In every trial and heartache and sin and
struggle we face…we can be certain that God’s love never fails. That’s what he taught us: to have confidence
that God always loves us and that Church is always here to help us draw closer
to the Lord.

He taught with authority…the authority of Christ as the
Vicar of Christ and successor to the Apostles.
As we face questions of faith and morals and life in our daily lives, we
can be confident on Christ’s love for us and thus remain strong in our defense
of what we believe, after the example of Pope John Paul.

The issue facing us today centers around health care. New government policy will require insurance companies
and hospitals, including Catholic and other faith-based institutions, to provide
coverage in their health plans for procedures that violate their beliefs, such as
contraception and abortion. This is a
previously unheard of, dangerous and destructive policy from the department of
health and human services. It would
require every person’s health insurance to cover these procedures, thus threatening
our hospitals and attacking the freedom of every human person to make decisions
on faith and life according to his or her own conscience.

Following the example of John Paul II, a prophet of God’s
truth and love, this is the time for us to stand up for our Christian moral
teachings and the God-given freedom of every person to follow God and live his
life according to his conscience.

Our bishops have spoken out against this policy and called
all Catholics to action. Archbishop
Dolan, president of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference is on YouTube speaking about
the issue. Others such as Cardinal
Weuhrl of Washington, D.C., have issued strong statements. They have called us to fasting and prayer and
urged us to write to our congressmen and senators, to encourage them to oppose
this policy and protect the rights of conscience.

Indeed, this is a time to pray that the hearts of all people
will be open to the grace of Christ…a vision John Paul dream of and worked so
hard to achieve.

This is the time of the new evangelization – a time of not
only opposing issues like the health care policy but a time of re-introducing
Christ to the world and, even more fundamentally, deepening our own faith so
that we have something solid and beautiful to share with others.

The new evangelization begins in the Church by helping each
other, and the next generation, to know the person of Christ and learn the
faith of His Church. We long for every
heart to know Christ, and so we remain committed to spreading the good news of
Jesus to the ends of the earth. We believe
that the Word of Christ has power to save and make us whole. Just as Jesus drove out the demon in today’s
Gospel and spoke with amazing authority to the people of His time, so we know
that the word of Jesus can heal and save and renew us and our broken world

In the Eucharist we receive today in Holy Mass, we are given
the gift of the presence of Christ, who loves us and gives us strength to
continue learning our faith and defending what we believe in our world

Blessed Pope John Paul II, help us by your prayers to love
Christ more fully, to deepen the knowledge of our faith and to be confident missionaries
of the new evangelization, proclaiming the good news of Jesus to the ends of
the earth!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Homily Second Sunday OT Year B 2012

Today's homily... click on title for audio...
Pray for vocations!

Please consider attending the DOY Mass for Life. Visit for more information.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Christmas Homily 2011

Homily Christmas 2011

2011 years ago, in the obscure village of Bethlehem,
merchants and
paupers, tax collectors and shepherds,
Romans in town
for the census and locals hawking their wares in the street,
guests of the
inn and children playing games,
passed casually by the same rustic,
crude little stable
ever giving it a second glance.

Perhaps some youth engaging in the perennial joys of
or the
land-owner on his daily feeding rounds
cause to venture in…
even they would not have placed this stable in high regard.
Not one of the hundreds of citizens and visitors during the
bustling census time
could have
imagined that this stable
be the site of anything worth remembering.

Even less significant is the manger…
from which the
animals are gracefully nibbling their hay and grain.

When they left Nazareth, on their way to be counted in
Joseph’s ancestral village,
even Mary and
Joseph could not foresee that they would sleep in a stable,
these friendly beasts their friends for a few days
rely on the manger for a crib.

This humble little spot
was seen yet ignored,
alive with the activity of animals but of no significance
to man.
But so it came to pass, because there was no vacancy in the
inn, that
the stable
would be the Holy Family’s resting place
the animals
would be their companions
and the manger
would house the incarnate Son of God.

As God takes on human flesh and Christ is born into this
the baby
Jesus, together with His loving mother and adoring foster-father,
hovering and worshipping angels,
awe-struck and bewildered shepherds…
all drawn to this simple stable.

There is no palace, parade or promenade for God made man…
only the
cooing of birds and the mooing of cows.

The incredible story of
the mystery of the incarnation,
the greatest miracle and most significant event in all of
human history,
is crowded into this crude little barn.

And before Mary lays her child…and her Savior…to rest...
she picks out
the dirty hay…
by the cooing birds and the slobbering donkeys…
and with a
swaddling cloth prepares a comfortable place amid the dirt
which to lay this precious child’s pure body.

As we gather for the Sacred Liturgy, we transcend time and space
and penetrate the
mysteries we remember and celebrate.

Christmas is not a past event.
It is a reality that gives us at
this moment a whole new perspective on life
and a closeness to Christ
greater than that experienced by the shepherds at

The Christmas scene…or,
rather, the scene before Christmas…
reorients our vision of Christian life.
We are rustic stables and empty mangers!

We are imperfect and sometimes darkened by sadness and grief.
We are rough around the edges, soiled and sinful.
We are crowded by the trappings and stresses of life.

At the same time, like the empty manger, we are ready to
receive Jesus!
We are available to Him and prepared by our Advent journey
for His coming.
We are eager to make a comfortable place in our lives for the
presence of Jesus.

The Lord bids us consider how we can, with the help us His
prepare the most warm and comfy and worthy place in
our lives for Jesus.

The Church remains today a strong and holy dwelling for the
presence of Christ…
His truth in
her teaching, His presence in her sacraments.
She has, with the new translation of the prayers of the Mass…
prayers which
more accurately convey the language, theology
and references
to Scripture that lie within our Catholic prayers…
our experience of the Mass
more worthy celebration of Christ’s dwelling with us.
How can we as individuals,
be more worthy for Christ to enter under our roofs?
the roofs of stables…but of our bodies...

As the hay might make Jesus cry or scratch His skin as He
lies sleeping…
what might
offend Jesus in our lives?
What inappropriate behavior, language or activities
must we pluck
out from our lives
so we
can make a clean and comfortable place for Jesus?

Studying, learning and deepening the practice of our faith
also makes
room for Jesus to enter more deeply into our lives.
I invite and encourage all of you here today to take hold of
your Catholic heritage
and make it
your own – the cornerstone of your life’s endeavors.

For as Christians it is our calling, our purpose and our desire
to swaddle the
Lord deep within our every word, thought and deed
and love Him
passionately forever!

Imperfect as we are, we can open wide the doors of our homes
and hearts to Christ!

The same Jesus, who was
welcomed in Bethlehem so long ago,
is truly present as we welcome Him through the Eucharist

The Eucharistic celebration is the experience of receiving
Body and
Blood, soul and divinity,
under our roofs, into our bodies and our
That experience, like no other, brings us into intimate
communion with the Lord.

Have you ever asked why we are told in the Gospels
about the
census and the journey to Bethlehem?
Other than its obvious practical purpose,
why is the
detail of Jesus being laid in a manger
included by Saint Luke in his Gospel account of the Nativity?
The story of the census provides corroborating historical
for the Bible
story of Jesus…but there is also a deeper meaning.
“Bethlehem” means
“House of Bread”
and a manger is a box from which animals eat.
Jesus is born in the
house of bread and laid to rest on a feeding trough
for He is the Bread of Life and the food of everlasting

As we approach the altar, the ultimate feeding-place of God’s
holy people,
to receive the
pure body of this precious Jesus,
we are mindful
most especially of the need to be open and receptive,
of serious sin and prepared by the one-hour fast and prayer,
to accept Jesus into hearts aflame with love for Him!
This Christmas…be the manger…be the stable…
insignificant in the eyes of man, maybe even a little dirty…
but accepted
and loved by God as His own beloved son or daughter…
chosen to be His dwelling place.
In you Christ will soon reside.
May you swaddle Him in each moment, each breath, each action
of your existence,
that the world
may be uplifted and renewed
the presence of Christ alive in His faithful people.

Homily Mary Mother of God 2011

Chanted Gospel and Homily on Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
Click on title for audio...

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve at Walsh

Over 75 people gathered to keep vigil on New Year's Eve in prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist and in the celebration of Holy Mass. This is the reflection which set the tone for our holy hour.

Homily Advent IV 2011 Year B

Sorry for the delay!
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