A Clear Decision to Serve the Lord

08-26-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

In our first reading from the Old Testament, Joshua has made a choice, a clear decision, to serve the Lord and now invites the people to do the same. They also affirm their fidelity. This stopping at Shechem marks a definitive end to the desert journey and start of a very new beginning. They now cross and enter into the Promised Land with a new life before them. The second reading addresses a life immediately after it has begun. The marital imagery helps us to understand that life is lived in loving relationships.


Saint Rocco Festival and Feast

08-19-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

This past weekend brought to conclusion the “in the field” Feast of Saint Rocco. On this Fortieth Anniversary of the Feast we are making a transition to a different way of celebrating in faith the Feast of Saint Rocco. As the original founders have told me many times “we started this as a faith and parish event, not as a money maker.” We are going to continue this beautiful heritage of faith and community each August in the coming years with a special Mass of Healing through the Intercession of Saint Rocco for all those who seeks his assistance in seeking healing and hope with a special Luncheon for those guests who are usually sick, ill, homebound or physically limited, much like “the Mass in the field” on the Saturday of Rocco weekend.


Do We Know How Great This “Bread of Life” is?

08-12-2018Pastoral Reflections

Saint Rocco: This morning at 10:30am we welcome Fr. Frank Campo, formerly a Parochial Vicar here at Saint Mary’s as the main celebrant of our Closing Mass of the Saint Rocco Festival. Almost ten years ago, Fr. Frank obtained for our Parish a relic of Saint Rocco. Every year since he gave this holy gift to our Parish, we have used this relic at the special Mass of Anointing and Healing “in the field” and at the Closing Prayer Ceremony at the outdoor statue of Saint Rocco.


The Bread of Life

08-05-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

From our first reading, we learn that things were not going that well for the Israelites in the desert after God had set them free from Egypt. Following their pattern, when things got bad, they complained to God. He heard them and sent them foodstuffs, quail, and manna from heaven. They, however, were not satisfied and questioned God. Moses, smartly pointed out to them that the manna was the answer to their prayers.


Taste and See

07-29-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Summer time is here with its wonderful sunlight and warmth. This season allows all of us to use our decks and patios and also cook all sorts of food out on the grill. The gas grills of today have sure made life easier for outdoor cooking. I can remember when I was quite young my father’s many attempts to light the bag of charcoal. It usually meant finally putting too much starter fluid on the briquettes and then standing back from the giant whoosh of fire and heat. Then we had to patiently wait for the coals to all get red and a little grey and hot for cooking.


A New Covenant is Forged and Sealed

07-22-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

World and International leaders are all in the news at the moment. It appears that this is the season of the year for “summits” and “conferences” and “meetings.” The heat and sun of the summer lends itself to all these leaders and the hundreds in their entourages to go flying about meeting in beautiful and exotic places. When all this is said and done, we want to know that our leaders have represented us and our values well and will come home to inspire us with new knowledge and decisions. We expect our leaders to inspire us by their actions and words not only when they are at a distance in foreign lands, but also up close and personal when they are here among us. We believe our leaders’ actions and words are very powerful. What they say and do really matters in our lives and leads us to a better way of life.


Updates Continue

07-15-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

I hope that this page is the last for a while of full-length updates. I miss writing my more pastorally reflective page on the scripture of the weekend. I thought it was necessary to use this page to make sure everyone has the opportunity to know what is going on from my point of view. In another week or two, I will write some more on updates and parish matters. Enjoy this week because the weather is supposed to be wonderful.


The Mega Church Project

07-08-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Those who have been able to attend church these past two weekends have been able to observe that the great construction project has begun. On the lower level, the asbestos tile has been legally and properly removed and disposed of in a landfill. This area includes the big hall and also the Olive Branch Room, along with various closets. The air quality has been tested and has been certified safe. Soon this same process will take place in the upstairs church, probably the second or third week in July. This is a very carefully performed process of abatement and all the laws and requirements are strictly observed by the Abatement Contractors.


Living Our Lives with Dignity, Grace and Integrity

07-01-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Are you aware that the Book of Wisdom in the Old Testament was actually written a few years before the birth of Jesus Christ? The words of this book are to help us live our lives with dignity, grace and integrity. Our first reading today from this Book is a reflection on the life and death of the soul. Our particular passage does not include the section that talks about the pure materialist who eats, drinks and makes merry and claims that this is all there is. The Book of Wisdom’s author says this is all wrong, our author writes that we are imperishable. There is no second death, no death of the human spirit made in God’s image.

Today’s Gospel is about two miracles, one story inside the other’s story. This is about the official and his sick daughter, but also about a brave woman in need. She reaches out simply to touch the garment of Jesus as Our Lord walks along with the official to see his daughter. She is, in fact, cured. Then this brave act of the woman comes to light. Even though the people were flocking around Jesus, the woman is discovered. She humbly confesses her faith in Jesus’ ability to cure her, and he declares loudly that her faith has cured her. He then tells her to go on her way forever freed from the source of illness and sin.


John, The Herald of Salvation

06-24-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

At Mass this past weekend everything finally aligned correctly for us. The Sunday Scripture started with Part Two of Ordinary Time, the summer heat and wonderful weather became more consistent, and finally life in general eased up with all the sunlight which makes life better. The Ordinary Sundays which run through the summer are filled with scripture that allows us time to pause and reflect upon ourselves, our lives, our journey in faith and what everything in many ways is all about. Ordinary Summer Time is a great time to ponder quietly and without undue stress our lives and where we are going. However, this Sunday in this year we take a step off our path of reflection to celebrate the birthday, aka Nativity, of John the Baptist. His actual birth date is unknown, but because he was a very hot and fiery prophet, his birthday is plunked down right in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere's hot and sunny season of summer. Our spring lasted quite a length this year, so that the dryness of summer and the scorched earth lacking water have yet to appear around us. In fact, this year, most of us are quite happy that summer has finally arrived, even if water limitations and high heat will soon start.


Parish Update

06-17-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Welcoming Stephen May: This past week Stephen May, our new Pastoral Associate (PA) began his ministry and service to our Parish. Nan Rafter, our outgoing Parish Nurse and Pastoral Associate, has been assisting him in his transition. Our Parish has been blessed by the work of Nan and now we wish her great health, many blessings and a wonderful retirement. Stephen May will now begin the work of ministering to our many, many parishioners. He will be involved in caring for the sick and homebound, those in assisted care facilities and nursing homes and also, at times, in hospitals. He will also help in the pastoral care for our dying, bereaved and mourning. He will be a liaison and work with our Health Ministry Committee.


The Theme and Image of a Leader

06-10-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

This is a wonderful season of the year to attend Sunday Mass, the weather turns so nice these next three months complimented by the Sunday scripture readings helping us to understand our lives and our relationship with God. We listen in particular to the Gospel to hear the words of wisdom and insight that Jesus offers us and to hear and envision his miracles and healings in what they can mean in our actual lives today. We are not following "the narrative of Jesus" as much as we are listening to, meditating upon and pondering the Wisdom Sayings and graced Actions of Jesus. In the readings this weekend, we find the theme and image of a leader. We expect our leaders to have personal magnetism, a clear sense of purpose and an aura of power. We simply presume good intentions. Our readings today highlight the magnetism, purpose, and power of a leader who is all-good. The readings charge us to recognize him and to follow.


Parish Update

06-03-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

The longer days of sunlight and the increasing, but the still inconsistent warmth makes our days so much easier in so many and various ways, although there is much more to do now that the ice and bitter cold have departed. In addition, the speed at which everything takes place is unbelievable. From watching HGTV, folks seem to be convinced that everything in life takes only one half hour, or at worst one whole hour! You can renovate an entire home without dirt and dust and have it finished in 60 minutes! Not weeks not months or one year, but mere minutes! Besides the huge social issue we have, that unfortunately so many things have to happen at the same time and thus no one can be in two or three places at one time. As you are aware, choosing to say "yes" to someone and their event, often means saying "no" to someone else's also very important event. I find as my family moves down through the generations of family with the additions of in-laws and their in-laws with all their very important commitments and schedules of family celebrations and events, it gets harder and harder to be able to go to all the family events.