The Love of a Mother Made Perfect

A Message from Deacon Greg Diciaula

Each year on Mother’s Day, as we express the love and gratitude we feel for our mothers, I also reflect on the gift that Jesus gave to us before the total gift of Himself on the Cross; the gift of His mother to be our own.

May is the month dedicated to Mary, the Mother of our Lord. Jesus entrusted Mary to his beloved disciple and to the entire Church with these tender words recorded in John’s Gospel:

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”

Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19:26, 27

Mary was there at the incarnation, birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. She was there on the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. She was there as the first evangelizer and disciple, as she visited with her cousin, Elizabeth.

Her “Fiat” (Let it be done) given in response to the angel Gabriel, provides an example for each one of us. Mary said “Yes” and her humble surrender serves as a model for the vocation of every Christian.

Through her response, Mary shows each one of us the pattern of human love surrendered to God’s love, and finding its fulfillment. She also shows us the love of a mother made perfect.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners…

 

Deacon Greg Diciaula

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Celebrating New Life

A Message from Debbie Olla

In the Church, we celebrate “new life” through the Risen Christ, in our liturgical environment, in the celebration of new catechumens, and the sacraments of First Communion and confirmation.

This spring, my head is full of thoughts about confirmation and how it brings new life into the candidates we have been journeying with over the past year.

“Be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” This is what the bishop says as he anoints with the Holy Chrism. I don’t know about you, but for me this is exciting.

The Holy Spirit strengthens us for ongoing service as the Body of Christ, the Church in the world. The Catechism states it this way for the sacrament of confirmation: “It gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross. God the Father has marked you with His sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.” (CCC 1303).

Working with the candidates each year, I am so thankful for the reminder it brings to me as a confirmed Catholic of the importance of the Holy Spirit in my own life. It makes me take time to reflect on how I call on the Holy Spirit to help me defend my faith in all circumstances. How I live for Christ.

I heard this saying awhile back, “If you were put on trial for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?” It sure made me stop and think, is there? I like to switch out the word Christian for catholic, witness, disciple. Confirmation is not only an anointing, but also a commissioning to live out our faith in the world. I need to constantly call on the Holy Spirit to help stir within me the gifts received at my own confirmation, to continue to allow the Holy Spirit to move in and around me.

As our young people present themselves to be fully initiated into the church, to be “sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit,” to receive “New Life” in their faith journey, please pray for all those who present themselves for the sacrament of confirmation during Eastertime and take a moment to renew the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your own life.

 

Debbie Olla is Director of Youth Formation for St Dominic Catholic Parish.

The Good Shepherd

A Message from Paul Burzynski

In our modern age, we really “don’t get” the whole idea of shepherding, and I think I would be safe to say that not many of us know a shepherd.

But in the time of Jesus, the idea of shepherding was very understandable.

We hear much about shepherd in Sacred Scripture: The Parable of the Lost Sheep (Matthew 18: 12—14), Jesus telling Peter to “tend my sheep,” (John 21:17) and chapter 10 of John’s gospel when Jesus proclaims that he is the Good Shepherd.

Today, Jesus continues to be the Good Shepherd through the work of his shepherds, or pastors (which comes from Latin, meaning shepherd). Today might be a good time for us to hold the pastors of our Church close in prayer.

Let our prayers be for our Holy Father, Francis, our bishops, clergy, including our St. Dominic shepherds, Father Saran, Father Gibson, Deacon LaFond, Deacon Diciaula and our soon to be associate pastor, Deacon Laskiewicz, who embody the image of the Good Shepherd.

May they continue to be loving, strong and self-sacrificing in their vocation, and be a patient guide to the sheep who rely on their safe care.

 

Paul Burzynski is the Director of Music & Liturgy for St. Dominic Catholic Parish

We Have a Mission

A Message from Kurt Peot

The greatest news ever received: the Messiah, as predicted by scripture and the prophets, has come in Jesus Christ, fulfilling all that was written about Him, and He has risen from the dead! He has set us free from our sin and returned us to being a part of the Trinity through Him!

After his resurrection, Christ was intent on proving to His disciples that His glorified body, while different in appearance and no longer constrained by space and time, is still physical, having flesh and bones. He encouraged them to touch Him, see Him and eat with Him. Certainly, no ghost can eat. A ghost would have been easier for the disciples to wrap their minds around than a physically resurrected Christ.

How is it for you?

Jesus suffered and died so that He could rescue us from our sin. It’s easy for me to think of Him as divine, and so of course, He could do and endure all that He did. But, as a man, it seems harder, darn near impossible. Yet, He did, because He loves us and loves the Father.

What does He ask of us in return?

We started on Ash Wednesday, “repent and believe in the Gospel.” Now, He asks us to go and preach the Good News, in His name, to all nations. The Good News that He suffered, died and rose from the dead so that we could spend eternity with Him and the Father.

We have a mission! We have been called! We have been sent! Where will we go today and to whom will we proclaim the Good News?

Jesus Christ is Risen, Alleluia!

 

Kurt Peot is a member of St. Dominic Catholic Parish. He recently was accepted into the introductory phase of diaconate formation and discernment.

 

Jesus, I Trust in You

A Message from Mary Lestina

I remember as a child dressing up for Mass on Sundays and trying to leave home early enough to get a seat in the church. Often times, we ended up in the choir loft, which made me eye level with the large crucifix on the back wall. I remember looking deep into His eyes.

I will never forget the amazing decorations in the church at Easter. The abundant number of flowers made me aware that Easter was an extraordinary feast in the Church. The images and symbols that we witness as a child help form our adult life of faith and instill memories that we never forget.

Last week on Easter, we sang the “alleluia” for the first time since Lent began. A woman shared with me that she finally had the courage to go to confession after 30 years, and felt such a light and peace inside.

Easter time is the celebration of Christ’s life in us and His unending mercy and love.

The first Sunday after Easter, we celebrate the feast of Divine Mercy, as decreed by St. Pope John Paul II. Jesus appeared to a Polish nun, Sr. Faustina in the early 20th century, and asked that the image be painted with the words, “Jesus I trust in you.” The picture shows the grace, mercy and love emanating from the heart of Jesus. Looking deeply into the eyes of Jesus in the picture, I realize how much He loves me.

As a child being drawn to our Lord at Mass, we grow in the realization of his great love for us every day. In the coming week, join me in the morning prayer, “Jesus you love me with perfect love. Give me the grace to love you throughout this day and every day.”

 

Mary Lestina is the Pastoral Minister and Director of Adult and Family Ministry at St. Dominic Catholic Parish.

 

 

The Call of the Lord

A Message from Fr. John Gibson

Christus resurrexit, sicut dixit, Alleluia! Christ has risen as He said He would, Alleluia!

A very happy and blessed Easter to you all!

One of my favorite passages in all of Scripture happens to be one of the accounts of the resurrection—when Mary Magdalene runs to the tomb to find Jesus, but only finds a man who she thinks to be the gardener. She does not recognize the Lord at first, so she begs the “gardener” to tell her where he has placed the Lord. It is at this point that Jesus says to her, “Mary!” He calls her by name and she immediately recognizes the Lord.

This passage has always caused me to wonder what it was about Jesus’ address to her that immediately caused her eyes to be opened. Was it the familiar sound of his voice, or perhaps the way He looked at her? I don’t get very far in asking that question before I stop to hear the voice of the Lord call to my own heart. And in the depths of that heart I encounter a love that is greater than anything that this world can offer.

Deep within the heart of each one of us is the call of the one who created us, who knit us in the womb, who calls us by name. “Lord you have probed me and you know me” (Psalm 139:1).

May you encounter the call of the Lord in a most profound way this Easter season, as His promise to win us back is fulfilled!

Christ is risen, He is truly risen! Alleluia!

 

Fr. John Gibson is the Associate Pastor at St. Dominic Catholic Parish

 

Let It

A Message from Fr. Dennis Saran

Maybe you’re overworked with your job and your house and you feel like you are about to be overwhelmed…let it.

Maybe you are tired and worn out from trying and fighting against a life that seems unfair and your heart is slowing …let it.

Maybe you have lost your family and friends and the echo of loneliness is all that is heard and your heart wants to cry out…let it.

Maybe you are close to the realization of death and the darkness of fear is what surrounds you…let it.

Maybe you have received some kindness and a heart that seemed dead wants to beat anew…let it.

Maybe the Holy Spirit has called you this Lent and there seems a wanting to enter into your soul a new longing for Jesus…let it.

Maybe you are ready, after all your running away and hiding from God, to have your heart submit …let it.

We both rejoice and prepare for the greatest mystery of our lives… the mystery of suffering, death, and new life. This mystery needs to be let in – not around your everyday experiences – but through them. We need not come to the Easter Season having performed a momentous act of faith, but with simple acts of sacrifice offered in humility. We need to surrender to suffering, death, and new life.

Maybe you have struggled with your Lenten sacrifices and you only feebly hold a palm branch as you offer not greatness, but weakness as your gift…come welcome our King to the glory of the Father.

 

Fr. Dennis Saran is the Pastor of St. Dominic Catholic Parish

The Light that Awaits Us at Easter

A Message from Sarah Daszczuk

We’ve now finished the third week of Lent. Historically, this is the point where I start slacking off in my Lenten resolutions. Like this dark winter, Lent seems to go on endlessly, and I just grow tired of it.

But, I am reminded of the Light that awaits us at Easter. 

In 2 Chr 36:14-23, we get a recap of Israel’s relationship with God throughout the Old Testament. The people whom God had chosen to be His own, “added infidelity to infidelity,” and God responded by sending prophets often, “for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place.” But, Israel would not repent and could not be faithful to Him, and so God allowed their enemies to take over their land, to burn Jerusalem, and to take the Israelites into exile.

Sound familiar? Have you had seasons of your life where you felt in exile from God? Have you ever allowed sin to overtake your life to the extent that you can’t hear the voice of God? I have. Like Adam and like the Israelites, I too have told God that I know better than He and that I trust myself more than I trust Him.

But, here is the Good News of Easter: God never gave up on Adam, or Israel, or me, or you. He gave Adam hope, He brought Israel out of exile, and He gave literally everything He had, to win us back.

So, in these dark last weeks of Lent, let us persevere, remembering that Light has come into the world, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…that the world might be saved through Him.” -John 3:16-17

 

Sarah Daszczuk is the Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry & Evangelization at St. Dominic Catholic Parish

Children and Lent

A Message from Stacey Irvine

Every year, I have the privilege of speaking with Lifelong Faith Formation students in K3 through 6th grade about the season of Lent. It was refreshing to hear what many students already knew about Lent and what it means for them in their own lives. Their responses included helping to set the table, taking laundry out of the dryer, reading a book to a sibling, not fighting with a sibling as much, and praying more together as a family. My heart was still.

This made the next conversation about the Pillars of Lent; prayer, fasting, and almsgiving easy.

Some may wonder, do children even know what these mean?

The answer is, yes!

Even more incredible is that these children find ways to be able to give alms to help support  our Lenten Outreach Project. They work their mom and dad to earn some money or skip the weekly trip out to dinner or a special treat and eat at home instead. These kids get it. They want to help others.

Please pray that the Holy Spirit continues to guide our children in prayer, serving others, and being charitable.

 

Stacey Irvine is the Director of Children’s Ministry for St. Dominic Catholic Parish

To Be Transfigured

A Message from Paul Burzynski

Have you ever had a life altering experience? A car accident? A fire? Maybe consider something less intense; the birth of a child? Buying your first home?

All of these experiences, without question, would change your life. One drives more cautiously after an accident, and surely, life is never the same after the birth of a child—all life altering experiences. We all have them. Most of them are completely unexpected.

 When Peter, James and John, journey up Mt. Tabor with Christ, that experience would change them forever. Imagine being in their place when suddenly, you see Moses, Elijah, and your friend (Jesus) transformed before your eyes, and you don’t understand it. How can you not be changed by that!

I’ve always wondered why this gospel reading is proclaimed on the Second Sunday of Lent. It certainly is an intriguing and exciting story, but why the transfiguration account every year?

Maybe our personal Lenten challenges have made us grow weary already. For some, maybe not. Perhaps the reason why the Church gives us this reading today is to help and encourage us in our journey up our own Lenten Mt. Tabor; to remind us early on, that through our self-discipline, our prayer, our fasting, and our alms-giving, we too can become transformed.

Let us pray that through the Pillars of Lent, we might seek Christ, know Christ, and become Christ, that at the end of our journey, we too might hear the words, “This is my beloved.”

 

Paul Burzynski is the Director of Music & Liturgy for St. Dominic Catholic Parish