St. Matthew

Catholic Church

Pastor's Columns

Pastor’s Column for 1/20/19

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today we conclude our 1st Week of Ordinary Time in the Liturgical cycle and we welcome Fr. Frank Ruff from Kentucky. As I mentioned last week in this column, he will be speaking about how we can assist the poor through sponsorship. Be assured of my prayers for you as I am with pilgrims in the Holy Land desirous of a spiritually uplifting journey. Know that as you consider a connection with the poor on the other side of the world through sponsorship, we who are physically here on pilgrimage on the other side of the world at the moment are lifting up your intentions at the holy sites where Jesus himself once prayed. One of the three traditional manifestations associated with the Celebration of Epiphany is the Wedding Feast at Cana, which we see in the gospel this weekend. It’s always a joy for me to receive the vows or the renewal of vows of couples in love and it will be a special time this week as we’ll be doing the renewal of vows on location in Cana. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to come up with a way to recognize those widows and widowers in our parish who have a difficult time with the cloud of grief when we do the renewal of marriage vows every month.

This weekend is also a big one on the civic calendar as it is celebrated throughout the nation on Monday when slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is honored. Cultural diversity is something that we as Catholics should recognize as deeply rooted in our faith tradition. The various ethnic Catholic Churches of old come to mind when it was considered a mixed marriage that an Irish Catholic would marry an Italian Catholic like my parents did in 1961. While the vision for cultural diversity under the same umbrella of Catholicism was an admirable one, it seems that many ghettos of separation and division were created back in those days. Upon returning from the Holy Land on Tuesday, I will be engaged in a FAST clergy caucus on Thursday at St. Jerome parish. It does my heart good to see clergy of various faith traditions come together to focus on God’s justice for our local community. The vision for our local Church embraces a diversity of family life issues with a clear view towards offering the gospel to everyone especially youth and those living on the margins. Our parish Visioning Committee for the Courageously Living the Gospel initiative is sponsoring a gathering of people that will help us dream big at the parish level. Rather than using the term “town hall” meeting I’m calling this gathering which is scheduled for next Saturday following the 8:30am Mass the parish dreamers gathering. Next weekend will be our Annual Pastoral Appeal Prayer Weekend. The theme for this year’s APA is tied in with the Diocesan Vision “BE COURAGEOUS Live the Gospel through the Annual Pastoral Appeal.” The prayer is the same prayer that we’ve been using since June to promote the vision.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Tom J. Anastasia, Pastor