Sunday, March 29, 2020

KEEPERS by MARY ANN DOWD

Once upon a time not very long ago.  In fact, at the start of this story; there lived a loving and very wise KING.  This King created a Utopian city which he called the greatest city in all the land. The King put a group of rulers in charge of this city to rule it wisely and lovingly just as he had imagined.  The King told these rulers his magnificent dream for his kingdom. The King called these rulers Keepers and He entrusted them with the power to make his dream a reality in the greatest city in all the land.   He wanted a place where all people could live in peace and safety. He wanted his kingdom to be a place where his people could live and work and play and be happy.. The King knew his perfect plan would ensure that above all else, his people would be happy, content and at peace with each other..


The people who lived in the city had all anyone could wish for to live a happy life. .  Happiness was the most precious gift the King wanted his people to have and so he made the city beautiful with parks and streams and plenty of places for children and adults to play and have picnics and go fishing and boating.  The trees were of every color and size and some bloomed all year long.


In the winter the city was covered in a blanket of snow and the children and grown ups could skate on the ponds and ride their sleds down the hills and make snowballs and snowmen and women.  Many people worked with their hands. They built the buildings where people worked and lived. They built parks and playgrounds and museums and theaters. Some people used their minds to imagine the best way to make their city prosperous and healthy and even more beautiful for all the people.  Some stayed home to raise the children to be responsible, loving and caring adults who would honor the King and his vision and carry on the good work he had started. The citizens of the greatest city in all the land were grateful and they hoped they could always live this way thanks to their good King.


The King smiled when he saw how well his dream was coming together.  He left the city for sometime but promised to return and charged the Keepers to continue all the good work he had started.


After a few years some of the Keepers began to grow weary with simply obeying the instructions the King had given them.They began to think that they had a better plan, or, at least more ideas to make the city more of what they might envision.  After all, they reasoned, don’t we have ideas just as good as the Kings’? We can make people happy too, can’t we? What if we give them everything they ask for? So slowly the wise vision of the King began to give way to the Keepers vision for the city.  The Keepers began to turn on each other because each one wanted the love and respect of the people to show that they were the greatest in the greatest city in all the land.


So one by one they began to promise the people anything and everything they said would make them happy.  With each new promise came more power and respect for the Keeper until it became clear that no request was too outlandish or preposterous.  Some of the people’s requests forgot about being kind or loving or even moral. Soon all the dreams of the King were forgotten. The people, instead of becoming happier, became increasingly  unhappy. The beauty of the city faded into disrepair as each one argued over the best way to keep it beautiful. The joy and happiness that the people felt when they were all working and playing together became a bitter struggle to have things their own way.  The people began to realize they could go to the Keepers to get what they wanted and the Keepers knew by promising them what they wanted they could have the honor and power that was always only meant for the King.


Very soon the most beautiful city in all the land became the ugliest.  The town was covered in vines and dirt and garbage because everyone was arguing about who should clean it up so no one ever did. Even the air in the once great city became fouled and hard to breath.  The joy and happiness the people enjoyed when they were living in the plan of the King was nowhere to be seen. All the important and urgent matters of running the city were in the hands of those who were entrusted to Keep the peace.  Now, there was no peace, no joy, and sadly, no happiness.


One day the keepers received word that the King was coming back soon and was looking forward to seeing his beautiful city and all the happy people again.  The Keepers realized what they had done. We have completely abandoned the job the King left us here to do. We have gone our own way and our pride, selfishness and greed has led us to lead all the people astray..  What are we to do?  


The Keepers summoned all the people to the town square, now overgrown with weeds, the gazebo in the center of the park crumbling from disrepair.  They beseeched the people saying: “We have failed the King and we have failed all of you citizens of this great city. Please help us to restore our town to the way it was before.”  Many of the people remembered when everyone worked and played together thinking of others and lending a helping hand, when the city was beautiful and clean and the people were happy.  Now it would take a lot of hard work with everyone pulling together to make it look and feel the way it did before. The people agreed to help the Keepers but only if they could appoint new keepers from among themselves who had proven themselves to be kind and loving like the King.  The people found citizens who remembered the King and his dreams and had tried to live that way. These people, faithful to the King were appointed as new Keepers and put in charge of the greatest city in all the land. The Keepers reluctantly agreed and all of the Keepers and people began the work hoping that they would have enough time before the King returned.


This is where our story ends.  The citizens of the town came to their senses at last but was it too late?  They remembered joy and hope and happiness. They were never sure of exactly when the King would return but they were determined to do their best until He did.


.The End

Thursday, March 12, 2020

CURSILLO UPDATE FROM KATHY TUCKER, LAY DIRECTOR

My Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

I with the support of the Secretariat will be cancelling all Cursillo Events for the month of March, for the health and safety of our Cursillistas. This includes School of Leaders/Secretariat meetings.

I have cancelled Tinton Falls Ultreya for this week. My suggestion is to suspend current Ultreya meetings for this month.

Self containment for the COVID19 virus is recommended. Anyone with an immuno-compromised system should not gather in numbers. The numbers of people affected by the virus is growing at a more rapid pace than earlier predictions.

Father Ed states, ask the intercession of St. Damien of Molokai for us in this time of active uncertainty.

This is not to put fear in anyone's heart but to be prudent for health concerns.

Please disseminate this information to your Ultreyas members that do not receive e-mails.

As of March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) has called the outbreak (COVID-19) a pandemic. The last time this happened was  2009 the WHO had declared the H1N1 Flu a pandemic.

Anyone with any concerns please call me directly or e-mail me.

God Bless Us All,
Your Humble Servant,
Kathy Tucker

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

AN UPDATE FROM THE OF TRENTON

Father Ed has made us aware of this update from the Diocese of  Trenton.

INSTRUCTIONS RE: CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND LITURGICAL PRACTICES

In light of the escalating concern about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID_19) Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., has issued the following instructions on liturgical practices to be observed in ALL parishes, institutions and organizations within the Diocese of Trenton, effective immediately until otherwise notified:

1. People who have flu-like symptoms or who are otherwise feeling sick should not go to Mass or other Church gatherings;

2. Priests, deacons and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should practice good hygiene, washing hands with soap and water or anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, before and after distributing Holy Communion;

3. People are encouraged not to receive communion on the tongue; worthy, reverent reception by hand is preferred until otherwise notified;

4. The practice of distributing the Precious Blood from the Chalice is suspended;

5. The practice of exchanging the sign of peace by any physical contact (handshake, embrace, kissing) is suspended.
We continue to encourage the faithful to stay informed through our diocesan communications online at :

https://dioceseoftrenton.org/coronavirus

as well as through the Centers for Disease Control and prevention at: 
www.cdc.gov/COVID19

Father Ed offers additional background information which can be found at Visitation Parish website at https://visitationrcchurch.org/coronavirus-update

Friday, February 28, 2020

FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT by DEACON TONY MARTUCCI

Ash Wednesday You are dust and unto dust you shall return.  Someone is under my bed, either coming or going!


After His baptism, Jesus went into the desert for forty days to pray and fast in order to prepare for His ministry. So many times during His lifetime, Jesus went off by Himself to pray, to spend time with His Father. We can learn a great deal from this. 


Lent is our time to come apart from our normal activity to pray and sacrifice in order to grow closer to God in preparation for the celebration of the Triduum and Easter Sunday. Many of us decide to fast from a particular food, such as candy, or desserts. Some of us will try to pray more often, say an extra rosary every day, or attend Mass during the week. One year my Dad gave up cigarettes for lent- it was very hard on him, but even harder on us, his family, as his temper grew short. One friend of mine gave up his morning WaWa coffee, and drank hot chocolate instead. He gained ten pounds.


Lenten sacrifices should be a meaningful gesture of self-denial for the love of God. It is even better when it helps us grow in self-control and in deeper appreciation of the gifts and graces we have in our lives. 


Here are a few suggestions that you might consider as alternatives to our usual Lenten fasts.


Most of us have some attachment to our gadgets and digital media. Lent is the perfect time to fast from them. Spend less time on TV, computer or smart phone. One Radio host has given up tweeting for Lent. If that seems like too hard, try giving it up for the weekend, or an hour each day.


Fast from negative talk or criticism. One year a group of us tried this. It was difficult at first, but since there were several of us, we were able to help each other and made it through Easter. Our work environment became so pleasant and we continued it long after Easter.


Fast from non-essential shopping.  Dont go looking for those special sales, or the latest gadgets. If you must go into a store, bring a list of essentials with you and buy only those thing. Go a step further, and give the money you might save to the poor.


We all love our snacks, as you can clearly see. Often they are harder to give up than a meal. We eat when we are stressed, or tired, or just relaxing. Remember the reason you are doing this and say a prayer for those who may not have eaten at all that day. I have stopped buying snacks that I like so they are not lying around, calling me at night. The money I save goes into the poor box.


I love listening to music and talk radio. Often, the second thing I do after I get up in the morning is to turn on the radio. It is also almost impossible for me to drive without some music in the car. Facing the quiet can be uncomfortable, but we can discover God speaking to us in the silence.


Approach meal planning with a Lenten attitude. Eat simpler meals during Lent. Cut out sweets, or bread, or gravy, or alcohol.  Refrain from foods that seem decadent or celebratory- foods that you associate with holiday meals.

Each of these activities, done in the proper spirit for the love of God, can help us to train our bodies and our spirits to be more attuned to God in our lives every day. This year try something different.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

DIOCESAN MASS - MARCH 6, 2020



The Diocesan Mass will be:
Friday March 6, 2020 at 8PM
Visitation
730 Lynwood Ave
Brick NJ 08723
Following the First Friday Eucharistic Adoration Holy Hour.
Hope to see you there!

Monday, January 27, 2020

CELEBRATE GOD'S LOVE AT A VALENTINE'S DAY DANCE

Robert Lauricella invites all to come celebrate God's Love at the Saint Mary Parish Valentine's Dance. It includes a delicious Buffet Dinner, DJ, a supervised kids program, lots of Dancing, and so much more!!! Admission only $25 for adults, $5 for Children. Call your family and friends to reserve a table. All Welcome - Couples, Singles, Grandparents, Families and Friends. For more information call: (732) 671-0071 ext 239.


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

"CATHOLIC MAN FOR CHRIST" RALLY COMING SOON

Don Geiger writes: "Breaking News!!! NY Yankees Mark Teixeira coming to Saint Mary's to speak at the Catholic Men for Jesus Christ Rally on February 29, 2020. This Men's Rally could sell out quickly. 

Register today at www.CATHOLICMENFORJESUSCHRIST.org

Pass the word and invite our brothers to come. Thanks!"



Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

WIND DOWN INFORMATION

Kathy Tucker, Lay Director asks "We’re going to have the wind down following the closura at San Alfonso’s. If anybody wants to bring any other food items - cake, cookies, etc. Please arrive around two and bring everything to the dining area there will be tables set up." 

Friday, November 29, 2019

A MEDITATION FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT by DEACON TONY MARTUCCI

Happy New Year, everybody!

No, the deacon isn’t delusional. I didn’t bump my head this morning and I haven’t lost my marbles. Today is the First Sunday of Advent. It is the beginning of the Church’s Liturgical Calendar and it runs until Saturday of the 34th week in Ordinary Time next year.

Advent comes from the latin word advenire, which means “to come to.” While the rest of the world prepares for Christmas, the birthday of Jesus Christ, by decorating, sending cards and buying presents, the Church prepares for the celebration of Christ’s birth but it is also preparing for His return at the end of time. 

Our first and second readings point to that time in a way that is slightly different from the report in the Gospel. They have a more optimistic tone in looking forward to the coming of Christ. St. Paul even gives us some suggestions on how we should prepare ourselves. On the other hand, Jesus’ description is more somber and foreboding. There is an air of uncertainty. People disappearing seems very disconcerting to me. But Christ is simply warning us to be ready for the time when He returns. We may not be around for the end of time, but at the end of our time on earth, He will return for us and we need to be ready for that.

How are we supposed to to get ready? St. Paul uses the image of throwing off the works of darkness and putting on the clothing of light. We do that by getting rid of those things in our life that separate us from Christ, or that make it harder for us to recognize Him. I don’t think anyone would disagree that we are surrounded by a culture that is opposed to the Christian life. We are constantly tempted to take shortcuts in the way we live and how we treat others. How often do we hear, “Everybody does it!” when we are tempted.

During this season of Advent we can pray more for others, go to confession, read the Bible and reflect on its influence in our lives. We can also speak up for what we believe. Perhaps we can be more generous in our support of charities. Love others as though this is the last chance we have to love. 

A little boy put two cupcakes and two juice boxes in a lunch bag, “Where are you going?”asked his mother. “I’m going to find God.” he answered. She smiled and said, “Be good and don’t be late for supper.”

The boy walked to the park and saw an elderly woman sitting alone on a bench. She was looking down at the ground when he sat next to her. She looked up at him and managed a little smile. He opened his bag and gave her one of his cupcakes and juice box. She took them and gave him a big smile. They ate together and talked for a little while then he said. “I have to go home.” She nodded and reached out to him. He hugged her goodbye.

When he got home his mother asked him how his day was. He answered, “I had lunch with God and she has the nicest smile.”
When the woman went home, her husband asked, “Did you have a nice day?” She smiled and said, “I had lunch with God. I didn’t realize he was so young?”

The message today is: none of us knows when we will meet Christ, so we should be ready.  Be the best person we can be. Make a difference wherever we go. Do the right thing, even if no one is watching.  Before we act, ask ourself, “What would Jesus do?”  Before we speak, think “What would Jesus say?”

“Stay awake! You also must be  prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”  

We have four weeks of Advent to practice being our best. Let’s pretend that we are children, trying to be good because Santa Claus is watching and we don’t want to be on his naughty list.

Someone IS watching. And we really do want to be on His list of those who are His faithful followers.