Let us give thanks to the Lord

04-28-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

The Mass of Thanksgiving and Blessing Ceremony of the Piazza del San Rocco and Addition are the result of the hopes and dreams and also the sacrifices and hard work of many, many of us. All of us owe a special thanks to the Benefactors of this addition to our beautiful church building that allows us to welcome everyone in a dignified and gracious way. The gifts of these parishioners allow all of us to receive a much greater gift: the church which can truly welcome one and all with warmth and hospitality. Although no one builds their home to accommodate the entire world, we who are a Catholic faith community of God know that we must offer a gracious invitation of welcome which is said not only words but is also a holy place which is accessible. Our new narthex (foyer, lobby or vestibule!!!) welcomes people with a dramatic view of our most beautiful church interior. Indeed, one person told me that this panorama invites you to come inside closer to the altar and be in the presence of our most holy God. We have placed the statue of “Saint Rocco in the Field” in our new outdoor piazza as “a beacon of welcoming” to all those who seek healing and eternal life. Our new outside walkways are all compliant with the “ADA” code. Our new main entrance on the piazza is now barrier free with an elevator that can transport guests to the lower level to the chapel and Sacred Heart Hall or to the upper church. Our hall and meeting space now have facilities that allow us to offer refreshments and hospitality. Both levels of our building now have restrooms that are dignified and accessible to one and all. This great project will support us not only in our worship, but also in our evangelization and hospitality. Our wonderful Parish will now be able to grow in faith in so many ways because now all of us, not just some, are able to gather as “disciples of the Lord.”


Unclouded Hope in the Risen Lord Jesus

04-21-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

If you look about, you will see that there are fresh signs of resurrection and new life all around us. The time and work of Lent are complete. Christ has risen! New spiritual life abounds!

The readings on Easter Sunday are much less dramatic than those of the Easter Vigil. They are similar to the quiet as the sun at dawn starts to rise to a glorious new day. Today, we find the sunburst of newness especially in our responsorial psalm, for indeed “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad” (Psalm 118:24).


Let Your Attitude Be Christ's

04-14-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

How are we able, in fact, to walk the way of the Cross? It is because ultimately we are walking towards the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We walk along with Jesus on his way to Golgatha and experience much with him, but it is because we ultimately experience him in his Resurrection that all of this has meaning. We sing great alleluias because He is Risen, not because he has died. This Sunday has been called Palm Sunday for many centuries even though the story really is about the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ. Our celebration of the Blessing of Palm is distinctive to this Sunday and it is the grand introduction to Holy Week with all its profound and spiritually moving ceremonies and services. How fitting it is to begin this week with a Procession of Palm in honor of Jesus Christ and his ultimate victory over death.


Mercy, kindness, compassion

04-07-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

The major theme in today’s Gospel is compassion. Jesus is seen as the model of compassion for us to follow. We learn of his depth and understanding in this Gospel. Indeed this is a blessed and wonderful theme to think about in our lives just before the beginning of Holy Week.

In hearing this Gospel we learn that Jesus has been manipulated by the scribes and Pharisees who have humiliated a woman for their own ends. As can often happen with important leaders, people are to be used as needed and then coldly disposed of.


Whole Again

03-31-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Are you aware that our faith tradition, the Judeo-Christian tradition, is historically based in many, but not all ways. When we think about it, the written words of the bible help trace and express the development of our relationship and experience with God. This particular way makes us distinct from a singularly nature-based religious tradition. This weekend our scripture very much deals with the issue of nature and the arrival of Spring at the vernal equinox. The scripture is addressing the newness of life which occurs around this time. On this day of true balance, daylight and darkness are equal, and each day thereafter, the daylight is greater than the darkness. This is Spring for us and this is the time for nature to recreate the dormant world. For many of us this is also a time for the re-creation of our human spirit. Lent is now half way through and we can sense that we are becoming part of a new creation as our Spring starts to suggest.


Reach out with Mercy

03-24-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Our Church theological view is that as Christians we are a people who survive on the mercy of God, not solely on our own merit. In this papacy Pope Francis proclaims mercy in its various modes as our motto and also to be lived in our daily lives. Mercy must be the singular hall-mark of all who follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. For Christians, mercy must become our point of view in looking at our world. This certainly does not mean looking at the world and offering shallow sympathy. Instead, it means looking at our world and embracing it, living in it with its struggles and sufferings, and showing compassionate kindness to one and all.


Experience Transformation

03-17-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

The pre-story of this Old Testament reading is that Abram is greatly despairing because he and Sara are unable to have children. God now answers him, inviting Abram outside to view the beauty of the night sky. There, bathed in the starlight, God speaks and offers an unbelievable covenant to Abram. This is a strong and dramatic contrast to the usual covenant. The covenants of that time required the weak to be obligated to the powerful; in this special covenant, the great and all-powerful God is willingly obligated to the very powerless Abram. Note how God also makes it crystal clear that Abram does not have to do anything to earn God’s generosity. Indeed the only true requirements that Abram has to have are faith and trust that God will act on his behalf. Notice the balance: God promises, Abram trusts—thus the covenant is fulfilled.


A Gift from God

03-10-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

The Season of Lent has begun with this Sunday and the readings address the major topic of the need for faith in our lives. The theme is in many ways trust in God as a strength, for we can rely on Him. Indeed, the message is simple and clear, but hard and difficult to live: trust in our God and do your best and all will work out accordingly.

Our Old Testament reading drives home the constant mantra of the Israelites that their God would never forget or abandon them no matter what they have done or failed to do. He will also rescue them when they call upon him for help. These lines of scripture today are critical to the Jewish faith and also are included in the Passover Haggadah.


Kindness and Mercy

02-24-2019Pastoral Reflections

Day Light: The hours of daylight are growing each day and life seems to get a little bit easier though everyone’s obligations and burdens still stay the same. Soon it will be Ash Wednesday and the Season of Lent which will prepare us for the graced Celebrations of Holy Week that end with the lighting of the Easter Fire. How time moves ever so quickly. Hopefully, the next six weeks of winter will be as mild as the last six weeks. Construction is proceeding accordingly on the new addition. The elevator which came in many boxes (!) is now being assembled. This takes about three weeks, and then we will await the inspection and certification for us. The end is in sight, you just need very good eyes to see it!


A Legacy of Goodness

02-17-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

When we listen to debates about welfare or are asked to contribute to the cause of the poor, we often hear, “Just how much do the poor need?” as if their need were an undeserving bottomless well. Seldom do we hear, “How much do the rich need?” We seem to be more accepting that their needs are always right and should be endless and also met. We are reminded of the saying, “You can never be too rich or too thin.” To which Jesus might have replied, “Oh, really?”


Life and Mission

02-10-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Our language—in particular certain words—contains contradictory meanings. Context helps us to understand what the word really means. “Terrific” comes from the word that means “terror”, but terrific does not mean that at all. It means exciting, wonderful, that which draws us all in, but still leaves us nervous or wary of some unknown. We often describe an experience as terrific. We are drawn all the way in, but there is still that edge of fear. This weekend’s scripture has to do with transcendence, which is “terrific” in the dual meaning of drawing us in and also making us nervous and afraid.


Reflect God's Love

02-03-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

I often think, and occasionally say, that “the obvious is not that obvious.” Indeed the obvious is so easy to miss seeing. We can miss what is exactly right in front us. Sometimes it is because we are not seeing what we expect and other times because we expect to see what is in front of us someplace else! We often do not believe what is in front of us is real. Today with all the changes in digitization and ultra HD monitors, etc., it is very hard sometimes to perceive what is actually real in front of us. Also, sometimes it would be easy, but we do not put the effort in to think. In today’s Gospel, we should not at all be shocked or surprised by the failure of the people in Jesus’ hometown. After all, he was so very obvious and right in front ofthem. They, unfortunately, only saw Jesus as a neighbor and not as the bearer of salvation. The question does arise of who do we see really Jesus to be.