Pastor's Page


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Pastor's Page

Dear OLPH Family,

It’s November already, the month to remember and to pray for all of our family and friends who have gone before us. We usher in the month with the glorious commemoration of All Saints: the day to recall all of those sharing in the glory of Heaven whose names have not been officially recognized or canonized. While it may not be obvious at first, if one is in heaven, one is a saint. Heaven is full of saints, angels and the glory of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! 

On November 2nd, we commend all our faithful departed to the mercy of God. This year at OLPH, we are renewing the ancient tradition of a Novena (nine days of Masses) dedicated to all the departed carefully noted on the envelopes with accompanying sacrificial offering. It is not too late to fill out an envelope to commend those who have gone before us to the mercy of God. 

Dear Family in Christ,

Today we receive a teaching from Jesus on the institution of marriage. Students can ask very unusual questions of their teachers. Today the Sadduccees, who are experts in Jewish Law, pose a quizzical question to our Lord. Jesus uses the question to instruct everyone about one of the beauties of marriage. For those already in heaven, marriage is not a covenant they enter into. Angels do not get married and neither do those in heaven (see Luke 20:27-38).

Now marriage is a sacrament: an outward sign instituted by Christ that communicates grace. Marriage has been given to humanity for the unity of husband and wife, the procreation and education of children, and the strengthening of the community of believers. When a woman and man come together in marriage, they enter into a covenant that binds them “all the days of our life” or “until death do us part” - depending on the wording of the vows. Hence the reason why widows and widowers are free to enter again into marriage. The bonds of marriage do not endure into the next life. We cannot conclude that spouses are strangers in heaven - hardly! The bonds of love which knit us together in this life endure unto the next, but not the particular covenant of marriage.

Dear Parish Family,

Today we wrap up our message series, Mercy and Our Response, which began in mid-September. For six weeks now, Saint Luke has shared with us various accounts of Jesus’ teaching and healing. We began with the epicenter of mercy, Luke 15: an exhibition of what is lost, but on deeper inspection a beautiful illustration of “the nature of God, as that of a Father who never gives up, until he has forgiven the wrong and overcomes rejection with compassion and mercy,” in the words of Pope Francis. Two weeks ago, we recognized that despite a universal personal need for the mercy of God, only sometimes do our hearts swell with deep gratitude for the mercy and blessing that God showers upon us.

Prayer from the Hilltop

Dear OLPH,

Today (Sunday 10/20) my annual retreat begins with the monks of St. Vincent’s Archabbey in Latrobe, PA. Every year priests are expected to spend a week in prayer with our Lord. I look forward to the time to be present with the Divine Presence. Please pray for me - that I will return refreshed and strengthened for the journey ahead.

Mercy and Gratitude

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Leprosy was a terrible condition in the ancient world. Not only because it meant a slow and agonizing end, but also because of social norms. Having one of several associated conditions required the afflicted to leave the town. At the time of Jesus, these small villages consisted of close-knit communities, many extended families. It was not uncommon for someone to live her whole life not more than 25 miles from where she was born. So leprosy was not merely an illness but a sentence of isolation! Hence the reason, in part, why leper colonies formed: places where lepers could gather together and help each other to live and survive.

Dear OLPH,
We are in week 4 of our message series, Mercy and Our Response - one of the themes woven through these weeks with the Gospel of Luke. If you ever miss a letter, or want to revisit something, head to our website: Look for “From Father’s Desk” or “Pastor’s Page”. All my letters are there. I would love your feedback. Sometimes as I labor, I wonder if anyone is reading. Each one takes hours!

One of the refrains within this series, is the question of the Psalmist: “How can I make a return to the Lord for all of his goodness to me?” (Ps 116). We have all been invited to wrestle with that question in prayer with Jesus. We admit that our goal is to place our whole lives at the service of the Gospel, which includes financial resources, but crucially offering our talents and time for the greater glory of God as well!

Dear OLPH,

As the sun sinks lower on the horizon each evening, treating us with luminous clouds and iridescent contrasts in a full palette of hues from golden amber to indigo, we witness each day the glory of the Lord. Each day God seeks to show us something new, to reveal his love and mercy to us in a new, usually hidden - yet in a flash brilliant - way. I love the transition of September: from the swelter of summer to the crispness of fall. What a difference a day makes!

In the Gospel (Lk 16:19-31) we experience great differences as well. In a few lines, the situation of two men change radically. Both the rich man and Lazarus end up in the afterworld in the wake of stark contrasts. The 80’s movie Trading Places with Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd is outdone by these men as their reversal of fortune perdures through eternity. And eternity is a long time... strike that! It is no time and so outside of time.

Dear OLPH,

Greetings in Christ, dear brothers and sisters! Last week we began a new message series: Mercy and Our Response. If you ever miss an article, head to our website: Look for “From Father’s Desk” or “Pastor’s Page”.

Last week we meditated on the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 15 - the epicenter of mercy in the Gospel of Mercy. We recognized the way God seeks us out to extend his merciful hand. In this process, our task is to admit our need, recognizing how much we need the Lord. To repeat the eloquence of Bishop Sheen, “Sin is not the worst thing in the world, the denial of sin is. If I deny that I am a sinner, how can I ever be forgiven?” Only the denial of our need prevents the Lord from acting, since He respects our freedom in love.

Dear OLPH,

Today we begin our second message series. To review, a message series seeks to link the homilies each week into a narrative arc, so that they form a larger whole. Think of it like a mini-series rather than a sitcom. We are trying to unpack the readings in a continuous unfolding of God’s message to us. Over the next several weeks we will be exploring the theme: Mercy and Our Response.

Dear OLPH Family,

In September of 2015, the Diocese of Trenton embarked on a long journey of self-discovery and exploration called Faith in Our Future. The multi-year diocesan-wide initiative seeks to serve our communities better in the 21st century, amid changing needs and demographics. This long-term study recommended that OLPH engage in a COLLABORATIVE model with neighboring parishes. When parishes collaborate effectively, they can accomplish what they could not on their own. Now in 2019, OLPH has hired its first collaborative staff member in our new Director of Faith Formation, Mr. Rich Scanlon. Today, he introduces himself to our parish. Please extend him a hearty and warm OLPH welcome!

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