Our Blessed Mother models a profound witness to love and life in the Gospel account of the Visitation. Luke’s Gospel tells us that, when Mary learns that her cousin Elizabeth is pregnant, she travels to the hill country “in haste” (Lk 1:39). Despite being unexpectedly pregnant herself, Mary responds to this news with urgency...
She embarks on a long and perhaps difficult journey to be with her cousin during her time of need, bearing Christ to her as He lay quietly hidden in Mary’s womb. And, although Jesus is veiled from view, when Mary first arrives John the Baptist leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb, recognizing the presence of Christ (Lk 1:44). Mary, with Jesus, spends the next three months at Elizabeth’s side.
The witness of our Blessed Mother invites us to become more aware of the needs of pregnant and parenting moms in our own parishes and communities. A woman with an unexpected pregnancy may have any number of fears and challenges: facing judgment from her friends and family, losing her job or housing, or being abandoned by the father of her child.
Following Mary’s example, we can ask ourselves how to better know these mothers, listen to them, seek understanding, and help them obtain the necessities of life for themselves and their children. How can we, like the Blessed Mother, lovingly support mothers in welcoming and caring for God’s gift of life?
Throughout the whole of Scripture, Mary’s words are few. Yet, in her sacred encounter with Elizabeth, a powerful declaration pours from her lips. Mary proclaims to all generations that the Lord lifts up the lowly, fills the hungry with good things, and remembers his promise of mercy from age to age (Lk 1:46-56). In both word and deed, Mary speaks a message of hope—not only to Elizabeth, but also to every mother in need and to each of us.
Mary’s witness is an invitation to step out in love and compassion. It is a summons to make haste to help vulnerable women who may be isolated and alone. By doing so, we too can bear Christ within us and help others experience His presence.
Inspired by the Blessed Mother’s example and guided by the Holy Spirit, may we offer Christ’s presence and love to mothers in their time of need through our faithful service and support.
NABRE © 2010 CCD. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2022, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.
Dear College Student:
Congratulations! With mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety you are about to either begin the most important years of your life thus far or return to another year of college life. You are in my prayers, and I wish that you may be blessed with wisdom, fortitude, and happiness.
Like all adults in your life, I have concerns about the road ahead and the environment in which you live as a young adult. The world you encounter does not always support and validate what you have been taught by your parents, other role models and your faith. While it is important for us to be challenged on the path to greater wisdom - it is also important to recognize and respect the wisdom we have already been given. So, I offer you the following counsel.
Respect your freedom - You will now have a new-found independence and with it comes responsibility. You have the freedom to be faithful to your studies or to ignore them in the name of fun. You have the freedom to experience new things as well as the freedom to make destructive decisions in the process. You have the freedom to grow and evolve into an adult, but you also have the freedom to remain childish and irresponsible.
Respect your body - You have heard that you have been created in the image and likeness of God and that your body is the temple of the Spirit. These teachings are the truth and not just pithy sayings. Respecting the body with which God has blessed you is a means of recognizing your own human dignity and a way to show others how you expect to be treated. Respecting your body means being mindful of what you eat, getting the sleep you need, and being physically fit. It also means that you must make good decisions with your use of alcohol and drugs (including those prescribed by a doctor.) Respect for your body includes attentiveness to your sexuality. Taking advantage of the body of another or allowing another to take advantage of yours for the sake of personal fulfillment is a disrespect of your body and that for which it is made.
Respect your faith - Practicing your faith, and growing in it, is an important part of your college years. As you now face the challenges of an adult life, you ought not to abandon the practice of faith but increase and mature your practice. Be faithful to Sunday mass. Many college campuses meet the needs of a college student by offering mass on Sunday evening. Spend time with others who not only share your faith tradition but are also facing the same challenges and struggles which you are. Cultivate a habit of prayer: pray the rosary, read the scriptures, participate in Eucharistic Adoration, and talk to God daily.
In Christus Vivit, Pope Francis’ recent teaching letter to young people and those who minister to them, the Holy Father devotes an entire section to discernment, which is something more than intelligence or common sense. It is a gift we ask the Holy Spirit to grant us through prayer, reflection, reading and good counsel. Considering everything I have already written I invite you to read Chapter 9, https://tinyurl.com/Pope-CV and reflect on his insights as you contemplate your future. Here are a few salient points.
- We simply cannot do without the silence of prolonged prayer
- We must remember that prayerful discernment has to be born of an openness to listening – to the Lord and to others
- We need to ask:
- Do I know myself, quite apart from my illusions and emotions?
- Do I know what brings joy or sorrow to my heart?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses?
- How can I serve people better and prove most helpful to our world and to the Church?
- What is my real place in this world?
- What can I offer to society? Do I have the abilities needed to offer this kind of service?
- You can keep asking, “Who am I?” for the rest of your lives. But the real question is: “For whom am I?”
Beloved college student, your families, your communities, and your church wish you well and will keep you in our prayers. In the words of Jesus, we hope that you will always strive to “enter through the narrow gate,” and not take the easy way out. Respect the person God has made you.
I want to extend my sincere appreciation to our festival committee who brought the Family Festival to life once again this year. Thanks to all who made our annual celebration possible and successful, especially our parish community. Your presence, generosity and enthusiasm is what the Festival is all about. Without you, the Festival has no meaning or purpose. We have also been blessed with many volunteers including those who held key leadership positions. Thanks as well to our neighbors who graciously accommodate the Festival each year. Additionally, we are grateful once again for the assistance and support of the Town of Oyster Bay, the Nassau County Police Department, Massapequa Fire Department and Newton Shows.
CATHOLIC SCOUTING WEEKS – I have previously shared that my term as the National Chaplain for the National Catholic Scouting began in April. With that responsibility I am called upon for the next few weeks to be engaged in some hands-on ministry. This week I will be part of the faculty of a course entitled, Scouting in the Catholic Church at the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimmaron, New Mexico. In the two weeks that follow, I will be serving as a staff chaplain to the over 5,000 participants and staff at Philmont. I will therefore be pastoring remotely over the next three weeks. Fr. Anthony will assume day to day administration along with our very capable staff, but I will continue to be in close contact with the parish. Thank you for lending me to Catholic Scouting for the next few weeks.
Peace, Fr. Gerard
My name is Father Gerard Gentleman, and it is with a joyful heart that I come to Saint Rose of Lima Parish as your new Pastor. I am honored by the confidence that Bishop Barres has in my worthiness to serve as your Pastor, and I am grateful for the encouragement that Bishop Andrzej has given to me as well. I happily look forward to our years together.
I have just completed 12 years as the Pastor of Holy Family Parish in Hicksville. Prior to that appointment, I served as Chaplain of Holy Trinity Diocesan High School for seven years, following my first assignment as the Associate Pastor and temporary administrator of St. Kilian Church in Farmingdale. I have been blessed to be engaged in a variety of ministries to youth in our Catholic Schools, Religious Education and Faith Formation, Youth Ministry and Catholic Scouting. I served for 12 years as the Chaplain of our Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, and I am currently serving as the Associate Chaplain of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting and will begin a three-year term as the National Chaplain next April.
Although I have Nassau County family roots, I grew up in Ronkonkoma. I am a graduate of Connetquot High School in Bohemia and the State University of New York College at Fredonia, where I obtained a BFA in Theatre Arts Performance. I attended the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington and received a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Theology.
I am the oldest of the five children of my parents, Fran and Jerry. My parents, siblings, their spouses and my nieces and nephews are a source of great happiness in my life. As you get to know me, you will come to know them as they are often the subject of my stories.
I chose to share the passage from St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, taken from today’s second reading, because it expresses a wisdom that I hope will continue to shape our relationship. While I trust that I have much to offer you, I know that I will depend on the prayers, support and active participation of all of you. Together the Lord is calling us to discipleship and service, particularly as we move past a devastating global pandemic.
WELCOME TO FATHER ANTHONY – I am very excited that arriving with me this week is Fr. Anthony Saliba to serve as an Associate Pastor, along with Father Allan. Fr. Anthony and I will introduce ourselves at masses this weekend, and Fr. Anthony will have the opportunity to share his story next weekend. He comes to St. Rose from St. Raphael in East Meadow where he served as an Associate Pastor for five years. He is a native of Malta, grew up in Italy and was ordained for the diocese of Gozo in Malta. He has an extensive background in art, design and education.
THANK YOU, FR. KEN, – I was able to watch a bit of the farewell mass for Fr. Ken and was very moved by the tribute you paid him. I obviously have first-hand knowledge about how hard it is to say goodbye to a parish community, especially when you spend so many years as pastor as well as an associate pastor as he did. His leadership throughout these years has benefited this parish community, and I, on your behalf, express the gratitude and prayers of this parish community. We wish him well as he begins his new pastorate at Good Shepherd Church in Holbrook.
FATHER SULLIVAN – Father Sullivan is also worthy of the gratitude of our parish. He joined you in historically difficult times and dedicated himself to caring for you during these trying times. In a very personal way, I pray for him as he succeeds me at Holy Family. Over these last few months, I have come to know his maturity, sincere pastoral charity and prayerful heart. Thank you for helping to prepare him to serve as pastor and shepherd for the first time.
FATHER ALLAN – With Fr. Sullivan, Fr. Allan came here to St. Rose in unprecedented times. Fr. Anthony and I look forward to learning about this parish from him as well as joining him in the newness of life that we now enjoy in the waning days of the pandemic.
I thank all of the staff for welcoming me and guiding me over the last few months. I have also received many greetings from all of you. I am happy that without the burden of masks, I will have the chance to meet you face-to-face this weekend. Please pray for me as I will be praying for you.