From the Pastor’s Desk | November 26, 2017

frsamDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Jesus Christ is truly the Lord and King of our hearts, our world, and our universe! This weekend, the Church’s liturgy turns our attention to this fact and celebrates his Kingship with joy. The end of the liturgical year is marked by a remembrance of his great triumph over sin and death. We are reminded also to turn our hearts and minds to Him more fully.

This is good for us as we move into the Advent season next week. If Advent is a season of preparation for the coming of the Lord, the King of the Universe, then today’s feast of Christ the King is the necessary introduction. If Jesus is truly King and Lord, then his birth must be celebrated with joy, solemnity, and reverence. If Jesus is truly King and Lord, then there is much work to do in order that our homes may be prepared to welcome him. If Jesus is truly King and Lord of my life, then I know how hard I must work to conform my life to His!

Let today’s great feast be a new beginning in our hearts. Let Christ the King reign in all hearts, minds, homes, and communities. May we follow Him with undivided hearts and so grow always in His love, and be prepared to meet Him when He comes.

Peace,

Fr. Sam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Pastor’s Desk | November 19, 2017

frsam

 

 

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As the days grow cold and grey, the leaves fall from the trees, and frost sets in, we begin to see a similar shift in the Church’s liturgy. The shift is especially noticeable in the daily Masses, where each day the Scriptures remind us to prepare for our final end, for the coming Kingdom of God. The Church’s liturgical year is drawing to a close and we begin now to prepare for a sort of spiritual dormition. The Advent season, marked by preparation for the coming of Christ, is a time of rest that leads us to a new awakening as the dawn of Christ’s birth begins to shine in the world.

For now, we are preparing for that rest. The readings we hear at Mass indicate that the Lord is coming and we must be prepared to meet him. In a somewhat apocalyptic way, we are reminded of the stark choice before us: heaven or hell, sin or virtue, good or evil, eternity with God or eternity separated from him. Alongside this reminder is a roadmap. In the parable of the servants entrusted with talents, we see a program for ourselves. How am I to choose God every day and so be prepared to meet him when he calls me?

To each of us is entrusted certain gifts, talents, and responsibilities. We can be confidently ready to meet the Master when he returns if each day we put those gifts, talents, and responsibilities to good use. Those gifts, talents, and responsibilities are goods that God entrusts to us – using them will result in good things for ourselves, for our families, friends, and communities, and, ultimately, serve to glorify our heavenly Father. Are you using your gifts? Are you fulfilling your responsibilities? Are you exercising and developing your talents? If so, enter into the rest of Advent with confident peace. If not, today is the day to start! Now is the acceptable time! Each of us is called to a heavenly reward. Receiving that reward demands our preparation. Let us prepare and so be found ready when the Master comes!

 

Peace,

Fr. Sam

From the Pastor’s Desk | November 12, 2017

frsamDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

How much oil is in your lamp? In the Gospel this weekend we hear about the wise and foolish women who are attendants at a wedding. Some have their lamps prepared with plenty of oil, some have not brought enough oil to keep the light burning. We should see ourselves in both groups—sometimes we are prepared for whatever may come, sometimes we find our preparation lacking. This story, of course, is not about material oil or practical preparations. Rather, it is about our spiritual oil, our spiritual readiness to encounter Christ the bridegroom when He comes.

So how much oil is in your lamp? How are you doing spiritually? Where is your heart, your soul? Are you feeling filled so that you can share the light of Christ, or has the light started to shrink, are you burning out? When we have a full supply of spiritual oil, we will notice certain characteristics about our life. We are praying every day. A full supply of spiritual oil means we are growing in faith, attentive to God’s presence around us every day. The sacraments—especially the Eucharist and Confession—add oil to our supply. The result of the use of our supply is that we share the joy of the Gospel with others, we look for ways to serve them, and we can receive blessings and even curses with tranquility and peace.

When our spiritual oil runs low, we find a corresponding set of characteristics. Typically, if the spiritual oil supply is running out, our prayer has been less regular and more sporadic. Our reception of the sacraments may have flagged or even stopped. We are not in regular contact with Jesus, the bridegroom of our souls, and so we are not open to receiving his consolation and love. Absent a regular prayer life and sacramental practice, works of charity become difficult or lose their meaning, criticism is interpreted as an attack on our person, and the stresses of life become burdens hard to bear.

Fortunately, a low supply of oil does not mean the end! We can and should replenish our supply. Where to begin? I find that Confession is often the best step. In a concrete, tangible way, we place ourselves before God as prodigal sons and daughters and hear those words mediated by the priest: “Your sins are forgiven, go in peace.” Salved by the merciful gaze of our Father, we can once again pray with confidence. Our eyes are opened once more to the presence of God around us and in us, which in turn rekindles the flame of Divine grace in our hearts. Impelled by the love of Christ which we experience, know, and hopefully even feel, we can go out with joy to let the light of Christ burn for all to see.

The bridegroom is near. Let us go out to meet him!

Peace,

Fr. Sam

From the Pastor’s Desk | November 5, 2017

frsamDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This week, the Church in the United States celebrates Vocation Awareness week. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops states, “National Vocation Awareness Week (NVAW) is an annual week-long celebration of the Catholic Church in the United States dedicated to promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renew our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations.

We have an opportunity, then, to learn about these particular vocations and their vital importance in the life of the Church. For information about the diocesan priesthood here in the Diocese of Bridgeport, I invite you to look at www.bridgeportpriest.org. Information about the permanent diaconate can be found at https://www.bridgeportdiocese.org/diaconate/welcome/. For information about consecrated religious life for women, I highly recommend https://cmswr.org. I am fond of saying that my own vocation to the priesthood has been profoundly influenced and sustained by the many Sisters who pray for me and whose friendship is so important in my life. St. Ignatius of Loyola tells us that when making a discernment—a prayerful decision about a particular course of action—one must have information. This is especially true if one is discerning their vocation: it is absolutely essential to have accurate information that informs one’s prayer.

There are young men and women in our parish whom the Lord is calling to his service: of this I am certain. A vocation cannot be heard in isolation, though. It needs the voice of the community of faithful Catholics—a vocation needs your help! Explore these websites with your children, talk to them about God’s plan in their lives, and encourage them to always seek God’s will in their lives. Most of all, let us pray for an increase in good, holy vocations and for all people to have hearts that seek first the Kingdom of God. Pray that the Lord would raise up faithful workers for his harvest from our parish community, and that our young people would always be attentive to the voice of the Lord speaking in the silence of their hearts.

 

Peace,

Fr. Sam

From the Pastor’s Desk | October 29, 2017

frsamDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Parish history is fascinating. Some of you know a bit of our own parish history, and for those who don’t, here is a little snapshot. In the spring of 1955, the first bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Bishop Lawrence Sheehan, went searching for land on which to build a new parish. He found 13 acres on Brookside Drive in Fairfield and purchased it from a man named Walter O’Malley, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Two years later, Mr. O’Malley would move the Dodgers out of Brooklyn and to Los Angeles, CA. I hope and pray that the sale of his property in Fairfield was not a portent of things to come, as I would hate to see our parish associated with such a painful franchise move. That said, if not for the move, my favorite team in all sports, the New York Mets, would never have come into existence.

Why bring up this history? With the Dodgers in the World Series, it only makes sense! Should we, as a parish, root for them? I will make no dogmatic statement. A case could easily be made that we should root for the Astros who, with their celestial name, it could be argued, are a better tool for focusing our attention on the eschatological and our hope for heaven. No matter.

At the end of the day, sports have a place, but they can never fully measure what God has planned for us. The great commandment above all others is that we love the Lord our God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and being. Have we put God first in everything? Do we love Him and our neighbor as ourselves? Do we love our team, hobby, possessions, etc. more? Enjoy sports. Enjoy the good things you have and the people whom you love most. And at the same time, give God his proper place in your heart, so that all your love, joy, hope, and strength flows from that primary relationship with the God who created you and holds you in His loving hands.

Prediction: Dodgers win it all in six games.

Peace

Fr. Sam