From Father's Desk

From Father's Desk

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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!


Dear OLPH,

This week we hear from Bishop David O’Connell on the power and importance of the Most Holy Eucharist:

One of the most troubling things I read all summer was the finding of a Pew Research Study released August 5 that only 31% or one-third of current, self-identifying Catholics believe that the bread and wine consecrated at Mass BECOME AND ARE the Body and Blood of Christ. This belief, described and known since the Middle Ages as “transubstantiation” in Catholic doctrine, has been and remains a core conviction of the Catholic faith since the Lord Jesus first spoke the words “This is my Body ... this is my Blood” at the Last Supper (Mark 14:22- 25; Luke 22:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23- 25). “Do this in memory of me.” 69% of Catholics surveyed, by contrast, believe the consecrated bread and wine only to be “symbols” of the Lord Jesus’ Body and Blood.

Where did this error regarding such a fundamental tenet of our Catholic faith come from?

The Pew Survey reveals that the Church’s teaching and belief in the Eucharist is stronger among those who attend Mass weekly, especially older Catholics, but even within these groups confusion and error exist to a troubling degree.

There is abundant evidence derived from the scriptures, the writings of the earliest Fathers of the Church, the pronouncements of Church Councils and leaders throughout the Church’s long history as well as the firm and constant belief of the Church’s faithful, to support this most important and central conviction of our Catholic faith. The Eucharist is the “Real Presence” of the Lord Jesus Christ, whether on the altar at Mass, in Holy Communion or reserved as the Blessed Sacrament In the tabernacle. For the Catholic, this “mystery of faith” is unambiguous and not subject to doubt. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, citing the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church “Lumen Gentium, 11,” states with the deepest and most profound conviction, “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life ... For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch (CCC, 1324).”

How bread and wine actually become the Body and Blood of Christ at the priest’s words of consecration at Mass is a mystery of faith to be sure but a mystery that responds to the Lord Jesus’ own command, “Do this in memory of Me.” Mysteries defy scientific explanations —- that is why they are called “mysteries” —- requiring either the belief of faith or disbelief. In his magnificent Eucharistic hymn, “Tantum Ergo,” one of the Catholic Church’s greatest teachers, St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), reflected “what our senses fail to fathom, let us grasp through faith’s consent.” And, so, the Catholic Church has “grasped” from its very beginning and continues to do so to the present moment and beyond.

“May the Heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen (Divine Praises).”

If the faithful of the Catholic Church get this core belief wrong, what else could they hope to get right?

Here at OLPH, we offer Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament from 7:30 to 9am on Tuesdays and Fridays. Please join is. Come let us adore Him!

Yours in Christ High Priest and Victim,

Fr. Wilson

Dear OLPH,

At the end of July, we began our first message series, called Prayer and Priorities. Today is the final Sunday dedicated to that theme. We will begin another message series on September 15th. A message series attempts to link the homilies each week into a narrative arc, so that they do not stand alone but build on and refer to one another. 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.

Dear OLPH,

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! Today, Jesus alarms his listeners: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!” The division about which Jesus speaks is the chasm between those who belong to him and those who do not, between those who are on fire for the Lord and those who are...soggy logs. Today, as part of our “What OLPH means to me” series, we hear from Anne-Mari Wojcik, who kindles the flame of faith, both her own and that of our parish family, through the gift of music. God bless, FJW

Dear OLPH,

Last week we introduced our first Message Series here at OLPH, “Prayer and Priorities.” We heard Jesus’ powerful twofold admonition, “One’s life does not consist of possessions.... [be] rich in what matters to God.” Prayer - that deep friendship with God - helps us to recognize what is of true value.

This week (Lk 12:32-48) Jesus builds the case, “Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Those last haunting words: where your treasure is, there your heart will be. How deeply do our hearts long for heaven?

Dear OLPH,

A hearty thank you to all who have submitted a reflection on “What OLPH means to me!” They have been touching, powerful and life-giving. It is awesome to notice the myriad ways the Holy Spirit works in our community through our people. Keep those reflections a-coming! What you choose to share can just be a “snapshot,” like a memory of your wedding day, or special moment in the life of your family. Send them to (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Let’s celebrate God’s grace in our parish life.