Lincoln, New Hampshire

Category: From the Pastor’s Desk (Page 1 of 17)

Praying Advent and Christmas Masses Dialogically

Our Liturgy Committee focuses attention on the preparation, coordination, and facilitation of meaningful Masses and other liturgical celebrations here at St. Joseph’s Parish.  During the wholesome and celebratory seasons of Advent and Christmas, it is especially important for the Priest-Celebrant and the Community of the Faithful to engage “dialogically” at Holy Mass, as together we give praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God.

The liturgical directives in the General Instruction to the Roman Missal indicate that certain acclamations belong solely to the Faithful.  These include the singing or recitation of the Mystery of Faith, the Great Amen, the conclusion of the Our Father (“for the Kingdom the power and the glory …), and the Lamb of God.  The Priest-Celebrant is directed to sing or recite the Holy, Holy, Holy (the Sanctus) and the “Lord I am not worthy …” with the people.  Because there are responses and acclamations at Holy Mass that belong to the people, for the priest to say or sing them as well diminishes the dialogical and shared responsibility intended by the Sacred Liturgy.

In recited Masses (common at daily Mass), where the Mystery of Faith is not sung, someone needs to both signal and begin the reply for the people. This is because there are several options, and the people have no way of knowing which one to use. Thus, most Priests answer their own call for the Faithful’s response by saying the acclamation in part –i.e., saying a few opening words and then stopping as the people continue.  At the Lamb of God, too, there is often the need for the Priest to get the people started.  In sung Masses, however, it is ideal for the acclamations to be sung only by the people and led by a music minster.

Wishing you a blessed Advent Season as we set straight our paths and prepare our hearts for the Lord’s coming – both prayerfully, liturgically, and dialogically!

Peace,
Fr. John Mahoney

COVID 19 Update

Along with the St. Joseph Parish Pastoral Council and Safety Committee, we welcome you to our Celebration of the Eucharist and to our meeting facilities!  In the interest of charity and safety for everyone, please note that face coverings are required during the entire time that you and your family are inside the church building.  Please find below the policy established by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Manchester, as well as a link to further information set forth by the Center for Disease Control and the State of New Hampshire.

MASKS ARE REQUIRED FOR YOURPROTECTION AND FOR THE PROTECTION OF ALL WHO WORSHIP AT OUR CHURCH OR UTILIZE OUR MEETING FACILITIES

Guidelines of the Diocese of Manchester for Usage of Masks

The wearing of masks in all public gatherings remains the best practice in the eyes of state and federal public health authorities. Thus, as an act of charity, masks are required in all liturgical gatherings in the Diocese of Manchester, except for children younger than 2 years old; anyone who has trouble breathing; and anyone incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the facecovering without assistance.

https://www.catholicnh.org/assets/Documents/Community/Health-Care/GuidelinesToPrepareForMass-Updated090920.pdf

SIMPLE SCREENING QUESTIONNAIRE TO ASSESSSUITABILITY FOR ADMISSION TO THE CHURCH BUILDING OR MEETING FACILITIES

The following are the screening questions as laid out in the most recent version of the Universal Guidelines.

Do you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher?  Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever, or feeling feverish;
  • Respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, or shortness of breath;
  • General body symptoms such as muscle aches, chills, and severe fatigue;
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Changes in a person’s sense of taste or smell.

Have you had close contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 in the prior 14 days? (Note: healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients while wearing appropriate personal protective equipment should answer “no” because they are not considered to have a COVID- 19 exposure)

Have you traveled in the prior 14 days outside of New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Rhode Island for non-essential purposes?

If you have responded affirmatively to any of these questions, or if anyone has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 10 days (from the test date or from the date symptoms first appeared), then they should not enter the church building or meeting facilities.

Please note that these guidelines and questions are subject to change at any time and as determined by the Diocese of Manchester.

Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving won’t be celebrated the way many of us hoped and imagined back when the pandemic started.  And yet, praise God, we are alive.  Most of us reading these words can breathe freely.  The virus has reminded us to never again take for granted the simple matters of enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with loved ones.

In turn, a prayer of thanksgiving is offered to all of you, and especially to those of you who were able to help the food insecure of the Lincoln and Woodstock communities by donating foodstuffs, cash contributions, and even turkeys.  Through your generosity, the St. Joseph’s Parish Outreach Committee was able to deliver to the Lincoln-Woodstock Food Pantry more than 30 food baskets filled to the brim with everything a family could need to put together a bountiful Thanksgiving dinner for loved ones.

In the Gospel for this weekend, Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats challenges us to see the world in light of God’s compassion as we reach out for one another’s hand.  We are reminded that God dwells within every man, woman, and child, and that as God’s children – no matter our race, nationality, culture, or language – our  lives must be centered in holiness, charity, and love of our neighbor.

May God continue to bless you and your families,

Fr. John Mahoney    

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

Ronald Wayne would draw personal meaning from today’s parable.  Who is he? Ronald Wayne is the little-known third Apple founder who sold his 10% stake for $800.  Apple shares hit an historic $1 trillion market cap value last August.  Owning 10% of Apple right now sounds like a dream.  But Mr. Wayne knows what it’s like to watch that opportunity slip away. 

Wayne joined Apple co-founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, who were 21 and 25 at the time, to provide the new company with so-called “adult supervision” and to oversee mechanical engineering and documentation in exchange for a 10% stake in the business. 

While both Jobs and Wozniak were young and broke, Wayne had assets, including a house, and feared that the financial burden would fall on him if the deal ever went south.  So after spending a mere 12 days with Wozniak and Jobs, Wayne had his name taken off the contract and sold his shares back to the co-founders.  Today a 10% stake in Apple would be worth $95 billion.  It would make Wayne one of the richest people in the world.  Google the rest of his story and discover what he thinks of his decision.

If He were preaching in person today, I believe Jesus would have used this story of Mr. Wayne in a retelling of His original parable.  We read there about the three reactions that the servants had to the gifts given them by the “man going on a journey.”  How we pity servant number 3 for his foolish choice.  Talk about the need in life to balance prudence with wisdom!  But the parable also stresses the importance of using one’s gifts and talents to serve others, especially the poor.

This Sunday just happens to be World Day of the Poor in our Church calendar.  It is the fourth one of these “Days” having been established by Pope Francis in 2017.  Here are some of the thoughts in Pope Francis’ inaugural Message given at that time and still relevant:

“Over these 2,000 years, how many pages of history have been written by Christians who, in utter simplicity and humility, and with generous and creative charity, have served their poorest brothers and sisters.  The most outstanding example is that of Francis of Assisi…He was not satisfied to embrace lepers and give them alms, but chose to go to Gubbio to stay with them.

We may think of the poor simply as the beneficiaries of our occasional volunteer work, or impromptu acts of generosity that appease our conscience. However good and useful such acts may be for making us sensitive to people’s needs…they ought to lead to a true encounter with the poor and a sharing that becomes a way of life.

…The Body of Christ, broken in the Sacred Liturgy, can be seen, through charity and sharing, in the faces and persons of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.

…Saint John Chrysostom’s admonition remains ever timely: ‘If you want to honor the body of Christ, do not scorn it when we see it is naked; do not honor the Eucharistic Christ with silk vestments, and then, leaving the church, neglect the other Christ suffering from cold and nakedness.’”

God love you and give you His peace!

Remembering Our Loved Ones

November is a special time for remembering our loved ones who have gone to their final reward.  It also signals that the liturgical year is drawing to a close.  Before we say goodbye to St. Matthew, though, his Gospel has a few last lessons for us about the finality of all things.  Matthew Chapter 25 has been called the gospel in miniature.  We hear about the wise and foolish virgins, the responsible and unreliable servants, and the celebrated sheep and goats.  Choose your camp wisely, for in these divisions, eternity lies in the balance.  These apocalyptic scenarios should tip off the assembly that we are approaching the season of the eschaton, more cheerfully known as Advent. 
Time is short.  Thanksgiving is near.  The Co-chairs of our Parish Outreach Committee – Millie Berry and Nancy Sweeney – are collecting non-perishable food items and donations to help assemble Thanksgiving baskets for those in the local community who could use some help.  Collection baskets and canisters are near the entrances to the church building.  Thank you for your customary generosity.  Betty Webster  and Gloria Morin are also members of the Parish Outreach Committee.
Speaking of generosity, thanks to all our parishioners who contribute so generously to keep our Parish going – through online giving or envelopes – especially during these challenging, unstable times.  In a couple of weeks, a concise statement will be shared in the bulletin, showing the good news about the “stable” financial status of the parish.  Thanks to the members of the Parish Finance Council for keeping us fiscally healthy:  Chris Thompson, Fred Mehrmann, Marty Nastasia, Margaret Sweeney, as well as Mike Cummings, our newest member!
A wonderful donation of time and talent is worthy of mention here.  Tom Ortowski power washed the church edifice last week.  Prayer means everything to Tom, so please say a prayer of thanksgiving for his special gift of brightening our façade. 
Finally, I will be away on retreat next week.  Please welcome Fr. Gerry Bertin, who will be joining us for liturgies on Thursday, Friday, and Masses on the weekend.
Peace,
Fr. John Mahoney

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