Holy Communion

  • By Fr. Joseph Byerley
  • 05 May, 2017

The children who received Holy Communion

Dear Parishioners, we rejoice with our Lord for our 97 children who received Him for the first time in Holy Communion on Saturday, May 6, 2017.

Please continue to keep our children and their families in your prayers.  May Mary, our Mother, watch over them always and guide them in an

 ever deepening knowledge of Christ’s Love.

Fr. Joseph Byerley

I no longer take pleasure in perishable food or in the delights of the world.

I want only God’s bread, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ...

and for drink I crave his blood, which is love that cannot perish.”

From a letter to the Romans by St Ignatius, 2nd C Bishop and Martyr (107 AD)

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 17 May, 2017
A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. “What food might this contain?” The mouse wondered – he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning. “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”
The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.” The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The pig sympathized, but said, “I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers.” The mouse turned to the cow and said, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.”
So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient.
But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer’s wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral. The farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.
Living only for ourselves and our own concerns and desires is antithetical to the life of a Christian. Love of God implies and necessitates love of neighbor. And we just might find out, practically speaking, that love of neighbor is good for us as well…just ask the chicken, the pig, or the cow.

God Bless you,

Fr. Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 11 May, 2017
Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to recognize the uniquely special role that mothers play in our lives and to thank them for the gift of their motherhood and love. But we mustn’t forget the other 364 days a year. While it’s nice to have a day devoted to recognizing all that moms do, remember that we don’t have to save up our “thank you’s” and “I love you’s” for Mother’s Day alone! May the Lord bless with all of his grace and love all of our mothers, living and deceased, on this special day.

During the month of May we also honor a very important mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ. In our Christian faith, we call Mary the Mother of God. And she is that. But she was also a human mother of a son who had a human upbringing. Mary loved her son as any mother loves her son. Our Lady was more than merely the biological mother of the Lord Jesus. Her task in the Incarnation was not over after the event in the stable at Bethlehem. Birth was followed by education. Although there are not many specific references to the upbringing of the Lord Jesus in Sacred Scripture, the Gospels do relate that it was the blessed Mother and St. Joseph who raised Jesus though out his childhood. It is important to remember that Mary exercised a continuous formation of the young Jesus as he grew from infancy to young manhood.

Just as Mary knew how to be a mother of Jesus, she knows how to be our mother, too. And it is Christ’s will that she is as well. He gave her to us from the Cross, one final act of love to the world  after giving himself on the Cross for our salvation; he gave us his mother to help us to accept that salvation. Because of this, we should be always eager to have Mary’s maternal care. As she mothered Jesus with such special attention and love, so too will she mother us with the same care and love. The development of a strong and healthy devotion to the Blessed Mother, and especially praying the Rosary, is a great help to coming closer to her divine Son.

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 05 May, 2017

Dear Parishioners, we rejoice with our Lord for our 97 children who received Him for the first time in Holy Communion on Saturday, May 6, 2017.

Please continue to keep our children and their families in your prayers.  May Mary, our Mother, watch over them always and guide them in an

 ever deepening knowledge of Christ’s Love.

Fr. Joseph Byerley

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 03 May, 2017
The Just War Theory
I was recently asked by a parishioner about the Just War Theory. I don’t think I gave the most complete response, so I went back to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and re-read the “official” teaching of the Church on this subject.
Here it is:
“The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy.
At one and the same time:
- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
- there must be serious prospects of success;
- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.
These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the ‘just war’ doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good” (CCC 2309).

Moral Conscience
This got me thinking about our conscience and its formation. How do we know what to do in one of these difficult situations, how can we make a good moral judgement? So I went over the section in the Catechism on moral conscience. And found this…"Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man's most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths." (CCC 1776). Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act…In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right. It is by the judgment of his conscience that man perceives and recognizes the prescriptions of the divine law (CCC 1778). We see here that the moral judgments we make are not relative or based on our own thoughts and feelings, they are to be based on objective criteria that come from God. In addition, we have an obligation to discern these criteria if we are to act in a morally good way.
The Catechism states that we have the right to act according to our conscience and should never be forced to act against it (CCC 1782). At the same time we are instructed that we must form our consciences according to the truth and to the word of God and to the authoritative teaching of the Church (CCC 1783, 1785). The obligation to follow our consciences coincides with the equal obligation to form them according to the truth of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. These two obligations cannot be separated.
The Church does acknowledge that it is not always easy to see the proper course of action. Therefore we need to strive to form our consciences according to the truth of God throughout our lives (CCC 1784). And we “must always seriously seek what is right and good and discern the will of God expressed in divine law. (CCC 1787)
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: