Sacraments

A Fresh Start 

People love New Year’s Day for the same reason we love make overs and mulligans – they all offer a fresh start. As we try to come up with different ways to make the most of this opportunity of a brand new year, may I suggest a resolution to rediscover the Sacrament of Confession, which…

Communion 

This Tuesday, November 1, is the Solemnity of All Saints.  It is one of the greatest feasts of the year because it is a celebration of those who have reached the final destination for which we are made and to which we all aspire, with the help of God’s grace.  It’s important to remember that…

Altars 

The most important object in every Catholic church is the altar. An altar is a table-like structure upon which is offered a sacrifice to God. In the worship rituals of the Old Testament, a sacrifice of an animal or grains would be offered to the Lord on the altar. The sacrifice would then be burned,…

An Odd Sort of Mercy 

Graham Greene was one of the most acclaimed writers of the 20th century, whose best novels feature morally complex characters who experience grace through their very real struggles with fallen human desire. I recently read his 1951 novel, The End of the Affair, which takes place in London in the mid-1940s. A writer named Maurice…

Survey Says 

A couple of months ago, the Diocese approached me and asked whether our parish might be interested in participating in a program that assists in outreach and ministry to married couples and families. After listening to what they had to say, I saw it as a good opportunity.  There seems to be little debate that…

On the Calendar 

In the kitchens of my sisters’ homes a guest will notice a large calendar hanging on a prominent space on the wall.  Except, it’s not just a calendar.  In their homes it is referred to as THE calendar. According to them, the calendar is what keeps their homes from falling into complete and utter chaos. …

What’s Most Real 

I’m a big believer in having a daily routine.  The year before I entered seminary, my daily routine consisted of waking up at 6:30 and getting to daily Mass at 7:30am on my way to work. After work, I’d get some exercise before making myself something for dinner. Then I’d go to a nearby church…

“They Glorified God in Me” 

The title of this article is the phrase with which St. John Henry Newman introduces his short poem titled: “Transfiguration.”  The poem is as follows: I saw thee once and nought discern’d/ for stranger to admire;/ A serious aspect, but it burn’d/ With no unearthly fire./ Again I saw, and I confess’d/ Thy speech was…

Blessing of Priesthood 

Several weeks ago, I attended a Mass at which a newly-ordained deacon gave his first homily.  he preached about his experience of vocational discernment, which led him to the priesthood, to which he will be ordained next year.  As a boy, people asked him if he wanted to be a taxi driver like his father…

Confirmed in the Spirit

This Thursday evening (May 26), 68 young men and women from our parish will receive the sacrament of Confirmation at the hands of Bishop Frank Caggiano.  With the reception of this sacrament, they will be fully initiated members of the Catholic Church, and will have received an increase and a deepening of what they first…

First Communion

One of the best days of the year in every Catholic parish is the Saturday on which we celebrate First Holy Communions.  Everybody is dressed up and the church is filled with the buzz of excited family members.  The best part of the experience for the priest, of course, is giving the young men and…

Dressing Up

This is the time of year when people, young and old, dress up in costumes for trick-or-treating and Halloween parties.  For this reason, I thought it opportune to write about liturgical vestments and the significance of the garments that the priest wears for liturgy.  It’s important to note, however, that there is a fundamental difference between a…

Holy Hour for Vocations

Several years ago, when I was the Vocations Director for the Diocese of Bridgeport, I came across a talk that Mother Teresa of Calcutta gave back in 1993.  In it, she told the story of an old man that her sisters discovered and pulled out of a gutter.  He was in very bad shape.  They brought him to…

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

During a recent conversation with a member of our parish, he told me that over the past few years he has come to a greater love and appreciation for the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  He attributed this awakening to his experience of reverence in the liturgy.  In particular, he said that attending Eucharistic exposition and benediction,…

Confirmed in the Spirit

This Wednesday (5/26), Bishop Caggiano will be coming to confirm 23 young men and women of our parish. It’s a lovely thing to have Confirmations so soon after celebrating Pentecost, the great feast on which the Church commemorates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the world 50 days after Easter.  As part of the liturgy of Pentecost, the Church gives us…

Emmaus

We have come to the end of Easter Sunday.  Yes, the Solemnity of Easter was a week ago, but we must remember that Easter is such a big deal that the Church gives us eight days to celebrate it properly.  We call that eight-day period the “Easter Octave.”  The second Sunday of Easter – Divine Mercy Sunday – is the final day in…

From the Ruins

Last weekend, perhaps overshadowed by the media coverage given to Oprah Winfrey’s interview of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Pope Francis made a historic pilgrimage to Iraq, becoming the first pope to visit that country.  The images from the visit are remarkable, especially the Holy Father’s visit of the city of Mosul.  Mosul is the second-largest city in Iraq, and was the…

Thoughts on Ash Wednesday

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, which is typically one of the busiest days of the year in every Catholic parish.  This year was no different.  We started with our normal 7:30am Mass, which reached maximum capacity (160) under the current COVID restriction, which was really nice.  Just after the parish Mass, we had Mass for some of the students at the Catholic Academy of Stamford. …

Psalm 95

“Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the rock who saves us./ Let us approach Him with praise and thanksgiving and sing joyful songs to the Lord./  The Lord is God, the mighty God, the great king above all the gods./  He holds in His hands the depths of the earth and the highest mountains as well./  He made…

Come, Holy Spirit

There was a priest with whom I used to meet for occasional spiritual direction, named Fr. Mike.  During a conversation one day, Fr. Mike told me about a habit that he had developed over the years.  Any time he encountered someone whom he sensed was in distress or sad or anxious, or if he passed…

Sacramentals

Statues, rosary beads, crucifixes, scapulars, holy cards, miraculous medals, candles, palms, ashes – these are part of the “furniture” of our lives as Catholics.  Technically, we call these things “sacramentals.” Sacramentals are different than sacraments in a couple of ways.  The sacraments were instituted by Christ Himself as the seven ordinary ways in which He shares His life – His sanctifying grace – with us.  As one author puts it: “Sacraments bear…

First Communion

This Saturday, as we did last Saturday, we will celebrate Masses of First Communion in our parish.  These Masses almost always happen at the beginning of May, but because of the shutdown we had to move them to September.  In every parish, First Communion is one of the best days of the year, and I’m very…

Holy Matrimony

posted 9/17/20 The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is one of the most remarkable places in the world.  The current church dates back to the 11th century, and is built on the ruins of one that dates back to the 4th century.  Within this church are the sites of Our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection.  I remember the first time I went…

Holy Orders

posted 9/15/20 What is a priest?  A priest is one who offers sacrifices on behalf of a group as an act of worship to God.  As long as human beings have roamed the earth, there have been priests.  We see them in the most ancient days of the Old Testament.  Adam was a priest, as were the Patriarchs…

Anointing of the Sick

posted 9/10/20 The other day I was perusing my bookshelf and rediscovered a book that I hadn’t picked up in a while.  It’s called The Faith Explained by Fr. Leo Trese, a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit and a best-selling author who died in 1970 at the age of 68.  Leafing through it, I was reminded how well Fr. Trese…

Confession

posted 9/8/20 If you ever visit a seminary you will find that they are places where there is much laughter.  I really enjoyed the comradery I found among my classmates, which was healthy and joyful. While most of our formation sessions involved moments of levity and laughter, there was one particular experience that I remember we took with absolute seriousness, and that was…

The Most Blessed Sacrament

posted 9/3/20 We have come to the third “Sacrament of Initiation,” which is the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist.  While Baptism is the first Sacrament and the doorway to the supernatural life of grace, the Eucharist is the greatest of the Sacraments.  Indeed, the Second Vatican Council refers to the Eucharist “the source and summit of the Christian life…. For in…

Why Confirmation?

posted 9/1/20 What is the sacrament of Confirmation?  What does it do?  When Bishop Curtis confirmed me many years ago, I don’t think I would have been able to give a good answer to those questions.  I knew Confirmation had something to do with the Holy Spirit.  Even better, it meant you got presents AND you didn’t have to go to religious…

Why Baptize?

posted 8/27/20 Baptism is the first sacrament.  Typically, within a couple months of a child’s birth, the family will bring the baby to the church, and the priest (or deacon) will pour water over the child’s head while saying the words: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the…

Do the Right Thing

posted 8/25/20 On June 3, 2017, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit celebrated a Mass during which he attempted to ordain five new priests, but failed to do so.  Only four of the five men were actually ordained that day, since one of them, Fr. Matthew Hood – a young man who had just spent 6 years in seminary formation…

On the Mass

posted 5/24/20 As we make preparations for the resumption of public Masses this weekend, it’s hard to believe that it’s been 62 days since the last public Mass in our parish and throughout the Diocese of Bridgeport.  Perhaps now is a good time to consider why, in the absence of the faithful, priests continued to say Masses over these past three months – not just in front of a camera, but…

Consubstantial

posted 5/1/20 Athanasius Contra Mundum.  This is a famous Latin saying that means: “Athanasius Against the World.”  The man to whom this refers is St. Athanasius of Alexandria, a 4th century bishop from Egypt who found himself embroiled in the great Arian controversy of that period.  Now, it’s important to understand that 4th centry Arianism has absolutely nothing to do with the 20th century racist ideology…

The Importance of Liturgy

posted 4/27/20 In my conversations with members of the parish, it is common to hear people express their desire to receive the Eucharist.  It is certainly one of the great sufferings of our current circumstances that the faithful are deprived of the reception of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Holy Communion.  But I have come to realize that it is not…

Emmaus

posted 4/15/20 The gospel for today’s Mass gives the account of the encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35).  It takes place on Easter Sunday, when two disciples of Jesus are leaving the city of Jerusalem to go to a nearby town called Emmaus.  As they are engrossed in their conversation, Christ draws near and walks with them, but…

%d bloggers like this: