|12/21/2017 9:00:00 AM|
Have you heard?
REV. FRANK O'CONNOR delivered this homily for Advent at the Shrine Church of Our Lady of the Americas in Albany, a mission of Blessed Sacrament parish: "Although December can be a hectic month, Advent is a time of quiet reflection and prayer. It is also a time for penance services.
|HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FATHER: Rev. James Vaughan, beloved pastor emeritus of Sacred Heart parish in Troy, celebrates his 92nd birthday recently with a round of "Happy Birthday" from parishioners and children, and a deluge of birthday cards and posters from every class at Sacred Heart School.|
"I've been at many penance services in my life and I've heard many examinations of conscience: 'Did I steal; did I cheat; did I lie; have I lusted,' et cetera. I've often wondered why don't we use the Gospel as an examination of conscience. Mother Teresa got the picture. She spoke of God coming to us in the disagreeable disguise of the poor. That's what Jesus is talking about in the Gospel. He says He was hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, a prisoner. It's good to look at the other dimensions -- greed, lying, cheating -- but what about the presence of God in the starving, the homeless, the immigrant and the refugee; the presence of God in those in prison?
"Using this Gospel to guide us in examining our conscience opens up a new awareness of what it means to recognize the presence of Jesus, to follow Jesus. I believe that the Christian life is not a self-improvement project. I believe the Christian life is a surrendering of our lives to Jesus, including Jesus in the poor, the stranger, the starving, the prisoner, those who may appear to be disagreeable.
"MOTHER TERESA understood. DOROTHY DAY understood. POPE FRANCIS understands. Here, a few blocks away, our soup kitchen is open to feed the poor. The presence of God is all around us and in us. 'Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.' Happy Advent! Happy penance!"...
REV. GEORGE BLASICK, CSSR, pastor of St. Clement's parish in Saratoga Springs, shared a story in the parish bulletin about trying to "cut to the chase" and cleverly ask Santa Claus for just one gift as a child: a magic wand, so he could wish for everything else he wanted.
On Christmas morning, he wrote, "I spied three gifts with my name on the tags: one bike and two packages. Ah, the expectation! But oh, the disappointment! What was the important lesson? The bike. I was happier with that gift than I ever thought possible. Funny how things work out, especially after turning my nose up at it when I first saw it. So, here's a very Merry Christmas to everyone! Regardless of what Santa brings you (or doesn't bring you), may you revel in the greatest gift mankind has ever received: the joy of the Lord's birth!"...
First New York Federal Credit Union collected toilet paper at all its branch locations and company headquarters this holiday season, and turned over the products to Catholic Charities Tri-County Services Dec. 15. Capital Region residents who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP, also known as food stamps) are not permitted to use their benefits to purchase personal hygiene products. The SUNY Albany Athletics Department loaded trucks to transport and deliver the items to Catholic Charities and partner food pantries throughout the Capital District...
Academic leaders from Maria College in Albany and Fulton-Montgomery Community College recently signed agreements that will allow FM students to earn a Maria College practical nursing certificate by taking only one nursing course in Albany and the remaining courses at FM. The agreements provide for FM associate degree graduates to be accepted into every one of Maria's bachelor's degree programs as juniors.
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