Lourdes and Fatima

  • By Fr. Joseph Byerley
  • 06 Oct, 2017

I have just returned from a very beautiful pilgrimage to Spain, Portugal, and France. It was filled with many blessings; I was fortunate to have visited some amazing places and shrines. I remembered you, the wonderful parishioners of Saint Rose of Lima at every Mass and especially at Lourdes and Fatima where I was blessed to be able to concelebrate Mass at the actual spots where the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary took place.  

One of the things that I was reminded of as I visited these holy places where the Blessed Mother appeared was some common themes that these apparitions shared. Whether it was the humble shepherd children of Fatima or the poor country girl, Saint Bernadette, Mary seems to choose those whom the world finds insignificant to deliver a very significant message. This also is seen in the Blessed Mother’s apparitions to Saint Juan Diego in Guadalupe. It is a humble and simple heart that can respond so much better to Our Lady and to her Son, Jesus, than a sophisticated one. This humble and simple heart that Jesus speaks of so often is the one we need to always be striving for if we are going to make any real spiritual progress.  

Whether it was Lourdes or Fatima about sixty years later, there were three things that Mary stressed at both places: penance, prayer for sinners, and the Rosary.  

Mary asked repeatedly to those to whom she appeared to undertake penance for sinners. We are to do penance in reparation for sins. And we must believe that, if we can take the word of Our Lady, which I am sure we can, consciously “offering up” of penances and sufferings really does matter. It isn’t some old fash-ioned idea that was made up to keep us docile, but truly contributes to the salvation of others. It makes sense too, considering what Saint Paul states in his letter to the Colossians, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Col 1:24).  

Not only do our sufferings offered up in reparation for sins spiritually benefit others; our Blessed Mother was also insistent that we are to also pray for sinners. Although we ourselves are sinners and in need of other’s prayers for ourselves, our prayers for our fellow sinners brings down graces to them that they would never receive if we were not praying for them. This mutual benefit of praying for each other, as sinners, is a humble recognition that our disobedience of God’s laws matters. That is, what we do or don’t do matters greatly in our eternal lives and that we need God’s grace and mercy to advance spiritually.  

Finally, Mary strongly encouraged (in fact, essentially mandated) to Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia in Fatima and to Bernadette in Lourdes, to pray the Rosary daily. Meditating on the mysteries of Christ in the Rosary and offering this special prayer to Jesus through Mary, His Mother, is one of the most powerful prayers that exists. Since the month of October is the month of the Rosary, it would be a wonderful time for all of us to rediscover the beauty and the power of the Rosary. We have our Lady’s word and innumerable historical events that confirm that the short time that it takes to pray the Rosary profits us with incredible spiritual benefits.  

God bless you,  

Father Joseph Byerley  

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 16 Jan, 2018

We have seen many references in films in recent years about the Knights Templar, regularly painting them in a bad light. Below is a brief history from catholic.com  that gives a more accurate overview of the Order. I hope you find it interesting.

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 08 Jan, 2018

Have you tried FORMED yet? 

The best thing about a gift isn’t just getting it, but also getting to use it. I hope you have all received the little card that contained your Christmas gift from the parish. If not, you can pick one up this weekend at Mass. We have purchased a subscription for the parish of the Catholic online resource called FORMED. This is a great online resource that offers a giant amount of Catholic content to your computer or handheld device. It is so simple to use and filled with so much good, Catholic stuff it’s hard to list everything. FORMED is a revolutionary online platform that provides access to the best Catholic audio talks, movies, ebooks, and video-based studies from trusted providers like Augustine Institute, Ignatius Press, Catholic Answers, Sophia Institute Press, St. Paul Center, and more! And it is all available to you and your family (and friends) whenever you want, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. FORMED presents a tremendous opportunity in our new “digital age”. Many changes have happened in the way we consume media today and FORMED is to help Catholics develop a daily habit of faith formation and prayer in this new modern, digital age. I encourage you to take a look at FORMED, it’s easy and free! 

Here’s all you need to do

Go to www.formed.org  

Click on Register (lower right of page) 

Enter Parish Access Code: 4NM372 

Enter your email and create a password (you need this to login later)  

Get closer to God! 

I wish you all a very blessed New Year, 

Father Joseph Byerley 

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 04 Jan, 2018
The feast day of Mary, Mother of God is one the most ancient celebrations in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. While it occurs on the civil calendar as January 1st and it might seem that we are celebrating Mary as Mother of God on the first day of the year, the actual reason for its placement is that this feast comes on the last day of the Octave of Christmas – that is, eight days after Christmas. For many of us, Christmas ends at Midnight on December 25th. But according to ancient custom, important events were celebrated for more than one day. In fact, Christmas is really celebrated for eight days. That means every one of those days is to be understood as part of the same celebration of Christmas. (This is done also at Easter and other important feasts as well). While our contemporary culture has a great, festive build up which ends on Christmas, our ancestors began their celebration of Christmas at Midnight Mass and then continued it for eight days, thus the term “octave” (from the Latin word “octavus” meaning “eighth” – incidentally that’s why October is called such, because it was the eighth month of the ancient Roman calendar). It is perfectly fitting that the last day of the octave of Christmas honors the divine motherhood of Mary. The special bond between Christ and his mother came into existence at the Annunciation and continues to this very day. The Church celebrates this bond constantly in her liturgical celebrations, including the way the dates of the feast days themselves are chosen. So, as we continue to celebrate the feast of Christmas, we should rejoice heartily on this day when we celebrate Mary as Mother of God for it reveals further to us the immeasurable love that the infinite and almighty God does have, to allow himself to be contained in the womb of one of his creatures so that he could come to save us….all out of love, love for us.

A Christmas Thank You!
I want to extend my sincerest thanks to the great group of parishioners who, once again, made the Church both look and sound so wonderful on Christmas. A lot of people put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that we celebrated the coming of the Prince of Peace into the world in such a beautiful way. Without question, during our Christmas worship we gave great glory and honor to God (as we always try to do) and I am sure that the Lord was well pleased (as He always is with all our genuine effort). So, once again I say a giant and heartfelt “THANK YOU” to all who made Christmas so special here at St. Rose of Lima and ask God’s special blessing upon you all.

God Bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 12 Dec, 2017

Advent, Christmas and Spreading the Gospel 

As we continue our Advent preparations and get closer to our celebration of the arrival of Christ our Savior at Christmas, it is a good time to reflect upon the challenge that we as believers have in participating in the New Evangelization called for by all of our recent Popes; Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis. Evangelization, as you know, is the spreading of the Gospel message of love and salvation to the world. 

Amidst the often frantic pace of the Christmas season, it is traditionally also a time for getting together with family and friends. There is something about this festive season that seems to soften the human heart. One might say there is a special outpouring of God’s grace into the world. Because of this, we are offered a great opportunity to bring the Gospel message to those who may not normally be open to hearing it. 

We don’t have to be as radical or as outspoken as John the Baptist, whom we see in the Gospel today. However, seeking to be reconciled with those from whom we have been sepa-rated, forgiving past hurts, extending true hospitality to those we do not normally get along with, generously sharing our material goods with the less fortunate - these are concrete ways that we can make the love of God known to others. In the end, proclaiming the Gospel is not just putting forth propositions to be believed as it is in making known to others the love of God in specific ways. This comes from the idea that our faith is not about belief in a series of doctrinal statements as much as it is belief in the person of Christ. It isn’t that the “what” or content of our faith isn’t important, but that the “what” is important only in reference to the “who” of our faith, which is Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Thus, in showing love to others we are showing to them Christ, who is Love. It is a most effective way to spread the Gospel. I hope and pray that the Lord comes into your hearts anew this Christmas; it is also my wish that you make the most of this chance to bring the love of God to others this Christmas. In doing so, you will not only be cooperating in a most important work of the Church, but also, I believe, opening yourself up to an even greater share in God’s love for yourselves. 

God Bless You, 

Father Joseph Byerley 

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 30 Nov, 2017

Today we begin a new Church year by marking the time of spiritual preparation by the faithful before Christmas

called Advent.   Advent begins on the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (Nov. 30). It

spans four Sundays and four weeks of preparation (although the last week of Advent is usually shortened

because of when Christmas falls. For instance, this year, the fourth Sunday of Advent is on Sunday, and then

that evening is Christmas Eve.)

The celebration of Advent has evolved in the spiritual life of the Church. The historical origins of Advent are a

bit murky, with different regions in the Church having different celebrations each with their own emphasis.

The Church gradually more formalized the celebration of Advent. The Gelasian Sacramentary, traditionally

attributed to Pope St. Gelasius I (d. 496), was the first to provide Advent liturgies for five Sundays. Later,

Pope St. Gregory I (d. 604) enhanced these liturgies composing prayers, antiphons, readings, and responses.

Pope St. Gregory VII (d. 1095) later reduced the number of Sundays in Advent to four. Finally, about the

ninth century, the Church designated the first Sunday of Advent as the beginning of the Church year.

Despite the imprecise history behind Advent, the importance of this season remains and give us the opportunity

to focus on the coming of our Lord. (Advent comes from the Latin adventus, meaning coming.) The

Catechism stresses the two - fold meaning of this coming : When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent

each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation

for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for His second coming (No. 524). So on

one hand, we reflect back and celebrate the anniversary of the Lord’s first coming into this world. We ponder

the great mystery of the incarnation when our Lord humbled Himself, taking on our humanity, and entered

our time and space to free us from sin. Then on the other hand, at the same time, we recall that our

Lord will come again to judge the living and the dead and that we must be ready to meet Him.

One of the most common symbols of Advent is the Advent Wreath. The wreath is in the shape of a circle,

without a beginning or end. By this we call to mind how our lives, here and now, participate in the eternity

of God’s plan of salvation and how we hope to share eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. The wreath is

made of fresh plant material, symbolizing how Christ came to give us new life through His passion, death,

and resurrection. Three candles are purple, symbolizing penance, preparation, and sacrifice; the pink candle

symbolizes the same but highlights the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, when we rejoice because

our preparation is now half - way finished. The lighted candles themselves represent Christ, who entered this

world to scatter the darkness of evil and show us the way of righteousness. The progression of lighting candles

shows our increasing readiness to meet our Lord.

It would be wonderful if each family have an Advent wreath, light it at dinner time, and say the special prayers.

This tradition will help each family keep its focus on the true meaning of Christmas. During Advent we

strive to fulfill the opening prayer for the Mass of the First Sunday of Advent: Father in Heaven,…increase

our longing for Christ our Savior and give us the strength to grow in love, that the dawn of His coming may

find us rejoicing in His presence and welcoming the light of His truth.

Have a happy and blessed Advent,

Father Joseph Byerley

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 24 Nov, 2017
Today is the last Sunday of the Church year. Next Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, we literally begin a new Church year. As the readings of today suggest, there is a focus on the end of time, when Christ the King will come and judge the world. It is not an accident that the Church presents readings such as these as we bring the year to a close and prepare for a new one. As Christians, we know that the end of this world is merely a transition for the new and eternal world under the kingship of Christ.

As we look to a new beginning in Advent, we look with anticipation to the coming of Christ. We prepare to celebrate not just his first coming in Bethlehem but also his second coming. At the same time, and perhaps even more important, we need to make sure we are also preparing ourselves for a new and more profound coming of Christ into our hearts. It is my deepest desire that all of us at St. Rose of Lima open our hearts to the transforming power of the love of Christ the King.

 It is only in Jesus Christ that the deepest yearning of our hearts can be fulfilled. It is only in Jesus Christ that salvation is found. It is only in Jesus Christ that a true peace and joy which can never be dimmed is revealed. If only we would allow ourselves to humbly submit to the kingship of Jesus, we would have more than we ever could have as our own “king”. Sometimes it can be so hard for us to see how submission to Christ and his love can be better than if we were our own rulers, but in the end acknowledging our place with respect to God our creator, is the only real path to the joys of his kingdom.

Perhaps a good theme for us this Advent might be to reflect upon the meaning of the coming of Christ into the world and how we are going to respond to his invitation to an ever deeper relationship with the King of Kings.

God Bless

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 16 Nov, 2017

Many, many thanks to all who came out and supported the 96th Annual Saint Rose of Lima Christmas Bazaar – wow 96 years - can you believe it?! It was a great success once again; in fact it was the best ever! It was also a wonderful prelude to the Christmas season. The tally is still being totaled, but the final benefit to the school and parish will be excellent. I wish to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to all of our chairpersons and volunteers who made this year’s Christmas Bazaar very successful once again. It’s hard to really count up days, weeks and the hours and hours that so many of our people put in to make this such a great event as always. I thank you all and may God bless you!  

Congratulations to our Winners!  

The winner of the Walt Disney Family Vacation voucher was Kelly McAneny  

The Grand Slam 50/50 winners are:  

5th prize - $2181.50 - Joanne Altamuro 

4th prize - $2181.50 - Alexis Geyer  

3rd prize - $2181.50 - Amy Ezekiel  

2nd prize - $2181.50 - Jolene Sparano  

1st prize - $ 13,089.00 - Eileen Fisher  

By Terrance Campbell 09 Nov, 2017
From Catholic.org
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 03 Nov, 2017
In celebration of All Saints Day, I am re-running a nice reflection from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on holiness and becoming a saint. Being a saint really is not all that complicated, according to Benedict XVI, who offers us a simple three-step recipe: Go to Mass on Sunday, begin and end the day in contact with God, and make decisions according to the Ten Commandments. The Pope Emeritus offered this simple guide citing Scripture and the Second Vatican Council, presenting us what is "the most essential" for reaching sanctity.

He said: "What is the most essential? Essential is that no Sunday be left without an encounter with the Risen Christ in the Eucharist -- this is not a burden but light for the whole week. Never to begin or end a day without at least a brief contact with God. And, in the journey of our life, to follow 'road signs' that God has communicated to us in the Ten Commandments read with Christ, which is simply the definition of charity in specific situations. I think this is the true simplicity and grandeur of the life of holiness: the encounter with the Risen One on Sunday; contact with God at the beginning and end of the day; in decisions, to follow the 'road signs' that God has communicated to us, which are simply forms of charity."

Everyone is called to holiness, the Pope Emeritus affirms. "How can we journey on the path of holiness, how can we respond to this call? Can I do so with my own strength?" he asked. "The answer is clear: A holy life is not primarily the fruit of our own effort, of our actions, because it is God, the thrice Holy, who makes us saints, and the action of the Holy Spirit who encourages us from within; it is the life itself of the Risen Christ, which has been communicated to us and which transforms us."

The former Bishop of Rome proposes another question: "Can we, with our limitations, our weakness, reach so high?" Recalling the line-up of saints presented by the Church in the liturgical year -- from every period of Church history, belonging to every age and state of life, he states that the saints are "the concrete faces of all peoples, languages and nations. And they are very different among themselves." And the Pope emeritus pointed to other "saints," who are also "road signs": "the simple saints, that is, the good persons that I see in my life, who will never be canonized. They are ordinary people, to say it somehow, without a visible heroism, but in their everyday goodness I see the truth of the faith. This goodness, which they have matured in the faith of the Church, is for me a sure defense of Christianity and the sign of where the truth is." It is this communion with saints, canonized or not, that enables us to cultivate a "firm hope of being able to imitate their way and share one day the same blessed life, eternal life."

Finally, Pope Emeritus Benedict concludes with an invitation to be open to holiness. "I would like to invite you to open yourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit, who transforms our life, to be, we also, pieces of the great mosaic of holiness that God is creating in history, so that the Face of Christ will shine in the fullness of its brilliance. Let us not be afraid to look on high, to the height of God; let us not be afraid that God will ask too much of us, but let us be guided in all our daily actions by his Word, even if we feel that we are poor, inadequate, sinners: He will be the one to transform us according to his love."

Since it is God who transforms us into Saints, let us let Him do it. We can all be Saints!

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 29 Oct, 2017
Since the consolidation of parishes in 2014, you may know that the rectory at the St. Francis DeSales church location in Barrington has been unoccupied. Because it is in good condition, it was very sad that it was not being used. Recently representatives from the Diocese of Camden came to me with a proposal to allow a group of religious sisters who wanted to come and minister in our area. The rectory in Barrington seemed like a perfect spot. Well, I am happy to announce that we are now blessed with some new occupants to the rectory…or should I say now, “convent.” Four sisters from the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity are now residing there.

 The Order was founded in 1909 in Brooklyn, New York, by Father Thomas Augustine Judge, a Vincentian priest ordained in Philadelphia. The sisters come to us from their main house in Philadelphia. The Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity serve the Church in many dioceses in the continental United States, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Their specific mission is the preservation of the faith in those areas and among those people who are spiritually neglected and abandoned, especially the poor. They work to develop a missionary spirit in the laity, with the goal that every Catholic be an apostle.

 The four sisters who have come here are:
Sister Mary Matthew Labunski will continue to work with Catholic Charities in Salem County; sister had already been working there and was commuting from Philadelphia.
Sister Christine Ma will be working with the Vitality health care services of the Diocese of Camden.
Sister Josefina Mendez, who, while continuing to minister in south Philly, will be exploring possibilities for Hispanic ministry here in the diocese. Sister Joan Lorraine Kreutz will be serving at Rosebud Academy, our Pre School located in Barrington.

We are very happy and blessed to have these wonderful sisters in our Parish of Saint Rose of Lima. As their schedule permits, they do come to both daily Mass and Sunday Mass at Saint Rose. Please, as you always do, give them a warm Saint Rose of Lima welcome! Please make sure you keep them in your prayers that they may have a successful apostolate in our diocese and help many people come closer to the Lord through their service.

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
More Posts
Share by: