Easter THANKS

  • By Fr. Joseph Byerley
  • 21 Apr, 2017
Easter Thanks
Another great Easter celebration at Saint Rose of Lima! One of the most beautiful and profound ever! As usual, the Church was decorated beautifully by our dedicated parishioners who give so much of their time to make sure everything looks so wonderful. Many thanks to them! Also, as usual, the music throughout the Triduum was spectacular, along with superb liturgical planning. The tremendous dedication and com-mitment given by our music ministry deserves our heartfelt thanks as well. I can’t fail to mention our Priests, Deacons, Altar Servers, Readers and all the countless and often unrecognized heroes who did a fabu-lous job and really helped to make the celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection special. We have such a great parish made up of great people who love the Lord. Thank you all for once again making our Parish’s Easter so beautiful!

The Easter Season
Remember that the Easter season lasts until Pentecost Sunday. In a very real way, the time from Easter until Pentecost might be considered as one continuous celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord. So much so that St. Athanasius, the fourth century bishop of Alexandria Egypt, called the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost “the Great Sunday.” We should do our best to maintain our enthusiasm and joy at the rising of Christ from the dead throughout this time, gleaning more and more from this great season of grace. Be attentive to the prominence of the Easter Candle, the white vestments, the sprinkling of Holy Water at Mass, all indications we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus for more than just one day, in fact we celebrate it for fifty days. The paschal mystery – the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ - is the center and height of the Christian liturgical year; let’s make sure we let the Lord know we mean it!

Spring has Sprung
Speaking of letting the Lord know we mean it……with the coming of the warmer weather of Spring, and Summer soon after, I wanted to remind you of the importance and value of the virtue of modesty. I think nearly everyone would admit that wearing shorts and a tank top to a funeral is not appropriate. But by admitting that, then we implicitly accept the principle that what we wear matters and in certain circum-stances express, to a certain extent, our interior disposition toward the situation. If that is true, then what we wear to Mass does say something about us. In other words, when we look like we are ready for the beach, a soccer or baseball game, a cookout, or some other pursuit other than worshipping God; it may say something about our interior disposition as well as being a distraction to others. It is important to remem-ber there are two things to consider about modesty: Firstly, what we are saying about ourselves (consciously or unconsciously), and secondly, the effect our attire may have on others.
While the comment “I have no problem with how I dress and God knows I love him, so why should someone be bothered about what I am wearing?” might seem like a fitting response, it can lack a certain courtesy and sensitivity to others. Sometimes things just happen and we come to Mass as we are because we can’t help it, I’m sure the Lord has no problem with that. But all the other times we should be consciously dressing to worship God, and I expect the Lord appreciates when we make the effort to look our best for him. It is good both for ourselves and for those around us.
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 26 Apr, 2017

After nearly six weeks, our Lenten pilgrimage has ended with the celebration of the saving passion and death of Jesus. We can now cry out with the whole Church throughout the world and with Christians everywhere, “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!” Jesus, the Light of the World, has risen from the dead and conquered death and sin and darkness forever. The high- est point, the peak of the Christian faith, is the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the definitive statement that this world is not all there is, and in Christ, the antici- pation of eternal life has dawned.

It is with great joy that Father Alfred, Father Al, and I celebrate with you this day, hop- ing that we all may possess the full meaning and power of Easter. I pray that the love of Jesus Christ, over which even death has no power, may fill your hearts and homes and enable you to renew and strengthen your faith and hope and love and help you to follow him more closely. We are one family bound together in our belief in the Risen Jesus. May we be ever more united as we make our way together towards everlasting peace and joy in union with the Lord.

Have a holy and happy Easter and may God Bless you all, 


Father Joseph Byerley

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 21 Apr, 2017
Easter Thanks
Another great Easter celebration at Saint Rose of Lima! One of the most beautiful and profound ever! As usual, the Church was decorated beautifully by our dedicated parishioners who give so much of their time to make sure everything looks so wonderful. Many thanks to them! Also, as usual, the music throughout the Triduum was spectacular, along with superb liturgical planning. The tremendous dedication and com-mitment given by our music ministry deserves our heartfelt thanks as well. I can’t fail to mention our Priests, Deacons, Altar Servers, Readers and all the countless and often unrecognized heroes who did a fabu-lous job and really helped to make the celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection special. We have such a great parish made up of great people who love the Lord. Thank you all for once again making our Parish’s Easter so beautiful!

The Easter Season
Remember that the Easter season lasts until Pentecost Sunday. In a very real way, the time from Easter until Pentecost might be considered as one continuous celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord. So much so that St. Athanasius, the fourth century bishop of Alexandria Egypt, called the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost “the Great Sunday.” We should do our best to maintain our enthusiasm and joy at the rising of Christ from the dead throughout this time, gleaning more and more from this great season of grace. Be attentive to the prominence of the Easter Candle, the white vestments, the sprinkling of Holy Water at Mass, all indications we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus for more than just one day, in fact we celebrate it for fifty days. The paschal mystery – the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ - is the center and height of the Christian liturgical year; let’s make sure we let the Lord know we mean it!

Spring has Sprung
Speaking of letting the Lord know we mean it……with the coming of the warmer weather of Spring, and Summer soon after, I wanted to remind you of the importance and value of the virtue of modesty. I think nearly everyone would admit that wearing shorts and a tank top to a funeral is not appropriate. But by admitting that, then we implicitly accept the principle that what we wear matters and in certain circum-stances express, to a certain extent, our interior disposition toward the situation. If that is true, then what we wear to Mass does say something about us. In other words, when we look like we are ready for the beach, a soccer or baseball game, a cookout, or some other pursuit other than worshipping God; it may say something about our interior disposition as well as being a distraction to others. It is important to remem-ber there are two things to consider about modesty: Firstly, what we are saying about ourselves (consciously or unconsciously), and secondly, the effect our attire may have on others.
While the comment “I have no problem with how I dress and God knows I love him, so why should someone be bothered about what I am wearing?” might seem like a fitting response, it can lack a certain courtesy and sensitivity to others. Sometimes things just happen and we come to Mass as we are because we can’t help it, I’m sure the Lord has no problem with that. But all the other times we should be consciously dressing to worship God, and I expect the Lord appreciates when we make the effort to look our best for him. It is good both for ourselves and for those around us.
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 06 Apr, 2017
Today is Palm/Passion Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. It is the week that changed the course of history when Our Lord, Jesus Christ, suffered, died, and rose again for us. Palm/Passion Sunday is also the day when we remember that it was the same people who knelt down adoring the Lord and laying palms before him, would in a few days be the ones cursing him, spitting on him and screaming for his death. How fickle the followers of the Lord can be. As we begin Holy Week, let us and ask Lord for the grace to give us open and undivided hearts that we may be his faithful fol-lowers, not just when it is easy, but also when it is difficult. Below is a spiritual “Top Ten” list for Holy Week (I have offered this list before, but itis still a good list!) to help us prepare for the coming feast of our salvation, the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 29 Mar, 2017
On a regular basis, as a priest, I encounter a lot of people who suffer. Good people who try to live their lives in accord with the will of God, and also apparently not so good people who have no real care for God. It doesn’t matter though, they are still suffering. With the ebb and flow of the life of a priest, I try (usually imperfectly) to help offering support and prayers and whatever I can. Recently however, I have encountered more than a few people in a short period of time whose suffering is so great that it is pretty much off the charts. So severe the sufferings that once again, the age old question arises, “Why God? Why do you allow this?” We have all wondered from time to time why God allows His people to endure tough, and sometimes tragic times. When sickness or other trials strike, it is pretty natural for those affected and those around them to ask the question, "Why?" If God is all knowing, kind and merciful, how is it that at times He allows His people to suffer with seemingly insurmountable, even devastating, situations?

While we can give some answer to the question of why God allows suffering, it won’t end the suffering itself. That’s difficult. In addition, I think that within the question of “Why God?” is also an implicit request to God to end the suffering. Having perhaps, an answer to the question, but still also the suffering, can make it all the more difficult to shoulder the burden of the trial. We normally respond to this age old question by stating that whatever God allows in our life, he allows, not necessarily for our earthy well-being, but for our eternal salvation and also the salvation of others.

Last week’s Gospel of the man born blind perhaps gives us some additional insight as to why God allows such trials. "As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.'" (John 9:1-3). The Gospel tells us that sometimes God allows people to endure much, “so that the works of God might be displayed.” What does that mean? Most often for the sufferer, it doesn’t mean relief from the suffering. God may or may not choose to heal a person from his or her suffering despite their own fervent prayers for healing and intercessory prayers of others. While Jesus did heal the blind man in the Gospel, that was sec-ondary to what he was really trying to do, cure the Pharisees of their spiritual blindness and from the suffering that was caused by their spiritual blindness.

Trials - pain, serious illness, disability, abject poverty and failure, family trauma are things that, for the believer, and often and not for the unbeliever, to cause one to call out to God. So why would it take suffering for us to turn to God? Who knows? It is easy to give God glory and praise when times are good and all is well. But how aware are we really of God’s presence in our lives when things are going so well that we don’t even “need” God? Yet, what a profound grace and a life-giving witness it is to give God glory during trials and adversity. Is it possible then that a person's faith, wit-nessed by others, may be the true reason that God does not heal them fully as they have requested? For others to watch someone struggling with suffering, who is concurrently grateful to God, is a divine experience. It is a blessing to both the person affected and to those around that person as well. For it calls the sufferer to continue to place his or her trust in God, despite the suffering (this is an act of faith) as well as calling forth a compassionate response from those encountering the sufferer (this is an act of love).
In the midst of Lent, it’s important to recall that it was the painful cross of Jesus that brought us to the glory eternal life. Despite the pain of suffering, and I know it doesn’t feel this way, but does our faith not suggest that it is a grace and an honor to share in the sufferings of Christ? All this is easily said by me as I sit comfortably at my desk typing this out. I pray that should some serious suffering come my way, and even in those little daily sufferings, that I may remem-ber that all of God’s actions on my behalf have the end as my eternal salvation, even if the means that are necessary to get there are far from easy.

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 24 Mar, 2017

In a recent homily, Pope Francis gave this warning, stating that for one to properly confess and be forgiven, one must feel great shame for what they have done. In his homily, the Pope warned that without feeling ashamed in the confessional, it’s a false pardon.
“If I ask ‘Are you all sinners? – Yes Father, all of us – and to obtain pardon for our sins? – We confess – And how did the confession go? – I go there, I say my sins, the priest forgives me, I’m given three Hail Mary’s to pray and I leave in peace.’ You have not understood! You have only gone to confession to carry out a banking transaction or an office task. You have not gone to confession ashamed of what you have done. You have seen stains on your conscience and have mistakenly believed that the confessional box is like the dry cleaners that removes those sins. You’re unable to feel shame for your sins.”
The Pope also highlighted that being forgiven gives us, in turn, the ability to forgive others. Recalling the actions of the debtor who is forgiven by his master, but who himself could not forgive another person who was in debt to him, Francis criticized: “He did not understand the mystery of forgiveness.”
This mystery, the Holy Father cautioned, is not like a transaction in a bank. “Entering into this mystery helps us to reform our lives,” the Pope continued. “The marvel enters your heart. You have the power to enter into its knowledge. Otherwise you leave the confessional, meet a friend, begin to talk and gossip about someone else and continue sinning.” If we don’t have this knowledge, Francis reminded, we will be like the servant in the Gospel, who thought he could get away with not forgiving others, when he himself had been forgiven. “I can only forgive when I feel forgiven. If you don’t have the knowledge to be forgiven, you will never be able to forgive,” the Pope said, noting this attitude affects how we deal with others.
“But I can forgive only when I feel my sins, my shame. I am ashamed and I call on God for for-giveness. I feel forgiven by the Father and in that way I can forgive others. If not, I cannot forgive, and we are unable to do so.” For this reason, he said, forgiveness is a mystery. “Today, let us ask the Lord for the grace to understand this, seventy times seven. Let us ask for the grace to be ashamed before God. It is a huge grace. To feel ashamed of our sins and then receive forgiveness and the grace of generosity to give it to others, because the Lord has forgiven all, so who am I to not forgive?” Pope Francis concluded.
God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 10 Mar, 2017

Passion can be a great thing. Our faith teaches us that our passions (emotions, feelings) are part of our God given human nature and “incline us to act or not to act in regard to something felt or imagined to be good or evil” (CCC 1763).  As a part of our human nature, our passions are not part of our immortal souls. This might be surprising; but how we “feel” about a situation isn’t our soul telling us what to do. That doesn’t mean that our passions aren’t valuable, they are, but it is an important distinction. The Catechism put it this way, “The passions are natural components of the human psyche; they form the passageway and ensure the connection between the life of the senses and the life of the mind. Our Lord called man's heart the source from which the passions spring” (CCC1764).  So while the passions are not part of our soul, they form a unique bond between our immortal souls and our bodies.

The Catechism also states that passions in themselves are neither good nor evil. They are morally qualified only to the extent that they effectively engage reason and will. That means, for instance, if we get angry at an injustice that anger itself is neither good nor bad. But it may “move” us to act in a certain way. If we are moved by the “passion” of our anger to respond to injustice with another injustice, we have then allowed that passion to move us to sin. On the other hand, if we are moved by our anger at injustice to strive to make things right in a morally just way, then we have used that passion in a morally good way.

We are called to use our intellect and will to assert themselves over our passions. We must filter our emotions through the truth of the situation and use of right judgment in our response. Because how we “feel” about a situation is never enough. Therefore, acting on our feelings alone about a situation is wrong. Think about the times you have heard an account of some event and how you “felt” about what should be done. Then, on a reasoned analysis of the actual situation, with as many more facts about how and what actually happened, we would respond com- pletely differently. Acting on our feelings alone is wrong.

The Catechism teaches us the following, “Strong feelings are not decisive for the morality or the holiness of persons; they are simply the inexhaustible reservoir of images and affections in which the moral life is expressed. Passions are morally good when they contribute to a good action, evil in the opposite case. The upright will orders the movements of the senses it appropriates to the good and to beatitude; an evil will succumbs to disordered passions and exacerbates them. Emotions and feelings can be taken up into the virtues or perverted by the vices” (CCC 1768).

This is all the more important in today’s society. The ratcheted- up rhetoric of today rejects the idea that we need to critically analyze our both feelings and the response our feelings promote. How can we ever work towards a common good with people, especially with whom we disagree, even passionately disagree, if we are slaves to our emotions? All we will do is fight and accuse. We have been created to be so much more than slaves to our emotions.

Finally, we are reminded in the Catechism that the primary passion is love. “There are many passions. The most fundamental passion is love, aroused by the attraction of the good. Love causes a desire for the absent good and the hope of obtaining it; this movement finds completion in the pleasure and joy of the good possessed. The apprehension of evil causes hatred, aversion, and fear of the impending evil; this movement ends in sadness at some present evil, or in the anger that resists it” (CCC 1765).

We believe that to love is to will the good of another. To choose, hopefully aided and encouraged by our passions, to give of ourselves for the good of the other. But there are times, many times, which we are and will be called to give of ourselves and act for the good of the other even contrary to our feelings. Due to our fallen human nature, often our passions are disordered. They are not ordered to what is good, but instead to what is evil. Enabling our intellect and will, aided by the Holy Spirit and sometimes despite our passions, to choose and do the good is the height of authentic love. The way we show the Lord that we appreciate the gift of our passions is to striving to conform them to what is genuinely good.

God bless you,


Father Joseph Byerley

Share by: