Msgr. David's Message for November 18, 2018
My dear parish family,
As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, I know we all realize that we have much to be grateful for to God. I am particularly grateful to God for all of you, our wonderful parish family! These past months, with all that has occurred in our diocese, have been very troubling and wearisome to say the least. But at the same time, your steadfast faith, love and support have been so encouraging to me. At a time when people can easily walk away from the Church, it is so edifying to see all of you coming to Mass, bringing your children and your families, praying together and supporting one another in the precious gift of the Eucharist, and continuing to support the spiritual works and ministries of our combined parish by your generous contributions.
I thank God for the way we continue to come together as one parish family and the cooperation and collaboration of all our parishioners. I am delighted to see that both worship sites are being used by people from both churches. We are stronger together and we will continue to grow together in faith, hope and love.
I thank God for our Principal, Maureen Ingham, and our dedicated faculty and staff for all the great work that has been done, especially our new playground, to make our school look terrific and a wonderful and caring place to form and educate our children. I am deeply grateful for our students, parents and families and all our benefactors who support our school.
I thank God for our DRE, Dianne Wysocki, and for our Catechists and Faith Formation Team. We continue to make some wonderful improvements in our program this year and I am especially grateful to all of the parents and students from both worship sites for coming together on Sundays to make this all possible.
I thank God for our other dedicated parish staff: Sister Ann McDermott, OSF, Pastoral Associate, Nicole Ball, Parish Secretary, Amy Hopkins, Rectory & Church Housekeeper at St. Peter’s and Jan Venne, Rectory & Church Housekeeper at St. Bernard’s, John Scozzafava and Ron & Tara Ter Halle, our Parish Maintenance Team, and Peter Smith, Director of Music at St. Peter’s and Alexis Marie, Director of Music at St. Bernard’s, and all the choir members. All of these individuals work so hard to take care of our parish each and every day and I am profoundly grateful to God for them.
I thank God for our Parish Pastoral Council, our Finance Council, our RCIA Team, all of our Societies and Organizations, our Liturgical Ministers and a myriad of volunteers who do so much work quietly behind the scenes to make our parish a welcoming community of faith and love for all God’s people. I wish I could name everyone, but space is limited. But I hope you know how much I deeply appreciate all that you do and are for me and our parish family.
Please join me on Thanksgiving Day for the 10:00 a.m. Mass at St. Peter’s as we gather to thank God for all of our blessings! Please remember to bring along non-perishable food items to be presented during the Presentation of Gifts at Mass.
Be assured of my grateful prayers for all of you, our dedicated and wonderful parishioners. Have a Blessed & Happy Thanksgiving!
Msgr. David's Message for November 11, 2018
My dear parish family,
This weekend we celebrate Veterans Day. We remember with profound gratitude all of our Veterans and all who continue to this day to serve our country and protect our freedom. May God bless all of our Veterans for their dedicated and selfless service. Let us never forget them and be ever grateful for them.
During the month of November we are also remembering in a special way all of the deceased members of our parish. I wish to express deepest gratitude and appreciation to Erika Conti for preparing the hand-printed Scroll of Remembrance in memory of the 66 parishioners who were buried from St. Peter’s and St. Bernard’s from November 2, 2017 to November 2, 2018. It will remain in the side of the sanctuary of St. Peter’s Church throughout the month of November as we continue to remember all of our deceased loved ones and fellow parishioners. Thank you, Erika, for the prayerful gift of your time and talent in creating this beautiful scroll.
As Thanksgiving Day (November 22) is coming soon, I do hope you and your family will plan on attending our Special Thanksgiving Day Mass at 10:00 a.m. at St. Peter’s Church. The Mass will be a wonderful opportunity for all our parishioners, family and friends from both worship sites to come together to give thanks to God for all our blessings and to pray for our church and our country. Instead of a monetary collection during the Mass, you are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items and/or toiletries, to be distributed by our St. Vincent de Paul Society to assist those in need in our community at Christmas. Your gifts will be presented during the offertory of the Mass. Please come and join us and invite family and friends as well to this special Mass of Thanksgiving.
On Wednesday, November 21, the eve of Thanksgiving Day, the Annual Lewiston-Youngstown Community Thanksgiving Service will be held this year at First Presbyterian Church, 505 Cayuga Street, Lewiston, at 7:00 p.m. We are most grateful to Reverend Liz Morgan and First Presbyterian for hosting us this year. As Chair of the Lewiston Youngstown Clergy Association, I have invited all of the faith communities in Lewiston and Youngstown to attend. This is a wonderful opportunity to come together with our neighbors and friends to join in this Ecumenical Service of praise and thanksgiving. All are welcome!
Once again, I sincerely thank everyone for keeping the faith and attending Mass and supporting our parish during these very challenging times for our Diocese of Buffalo. Let us continue to pray for all victims of abuse and for the continued purification, transparency and holiness of our diocese. Let us continue to center our lives in the Lord Jesus and be sustained and strengthened by His Real Presence in the Eucharist. When we do, God will always provide for all that we truly need.
Be assured of my grateful prayers for all of you, our dedicated and wonderful parishioners. May God bless you all!
Msgr. David's Message for November 4, 2018
My dear parish family,
As Catholics, we firmly believe that God has a plan for our lives! He calls some to marriage, some to the priesthood, and others to religious life. Some remain as generous single people. Fully living our own vocations and teaching young people how to discern God’s will is a serious duty, but also a joyful one.
This week is National Vocations Awareness Week. I will be honest that at first I hesitated addressing this topic in the bulletin this week, due to all of the critical challenges we are facing here in our own diocese with the clergy abuse crisis, as well as throughout our country and our world. Then I realized more than ever what we need in the Church today and going forward is good, holy and faithful priests who can shepherd us, protect us and guide our Church with the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the will of God in the world today. To help us heal what is broken, to bring comfort and healing to those who have suffered so much and have seemingly lost their way, and to share with all the Good News of the Gospel and the spiritual and moral strength that comes from receiving the Eucharist. The late great Holy Father, St. John Paul II, reminded us often, “There can be no Eucharist without the Priesthood, just as there can be no Priesthood without the Eucharist.” And following up on that, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have also reminded us “without the Eucharist there can be no Church.”
During Vocation Awareness week, please join me in praying that young people in our community will hear and respond to God’s call to the priest-hood and religious life. You can do so by simply doing the following:
Pray for the priests and religious who have ministered to you throughout your life, both living and deceased.
Encourage your children, grandchildren, or other young people to consider a vocation as a priest or religious brother or sister.
Pray a rosary for more young men and women in our parish and diocese to respond to God’s call.
I know that we have potential vocations to the priesthood and religious life in our parish… we just need to do our part to encourage our young people and to pray for them. I am a priest today because of the prayers, support and encouragement of those who believed in me and God’s call to serve the Church as a priest. In the midst of all that is going on in the Church and the world today…it truly still is a wonderful life!
Here is a prayer for vocations that we can all say at home every day:
God our Father, You made each of us to use our gifts in the Body of Christ. We ask that You inspire young people whom you call to priesthood and consecrated life to courageously follow Your will. Send workers into Your great harvest so that the Gospel is preached, the poor are served with love, the suffering are comforted, and Your people are strengthened by the sacraments. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
I am convinced if we all pray more fervently for vocations to the priest-hood and religious life and encourage our young people by personal invitation to consider God’s call, we will have more priests and sisters to serve our Church along with our dedicated lay faithful. God bless you all!
Gratefully, Fr. David
Msgr. David's Message for October 28, 2018
My dear parish family,
This coming Thursday, Nov. 1, we will celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints, which is a Holy Day of Obligation, and on Friday, Nov. 2, we will have the Commemoration of All Souls Day. Please note the Mass Schedule for the Holy Day Masses at both worship sites.
From the earliest centuries of Church, the intention of the feast of All Saints was to honor all who are in heaven with God. It started as a way of honoring many martyrs whose existence was perhaps unknown to the early Church, whose names were known only to God. By the fifth century the celebration included non-martyrs as well. Today the Church honors all the saints, those officially beatified and canonized as well as the multitude of those who are in heaven enjoying the beatific vision known only to God. This would include members of our own families and friends who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and now see God face to face.
The Solemnity of All Saints should inspire us with tremendous hope. We are all called to be saints. Becoming a saint means learning to be who we really are. Each of us is created in the image and likeness of God. It is in our nature to reflect God’s love and goodness. Saint John tells us in the second reading for the Feast of All Saints that we are children of God. Just as a child looks like his or her father and mother, so we “look like” our Heavenly Father. Just as all that a child has comes from his or her father and mother, so all that we have comes from our Heavenly Father. We are God’s children, called to live the love, the goodness and the truth that He has revealed to us in His Son, Jesus Christ. May all the Saints intercede for us as we strive to bear witness to Christ in all that we say and in all that we do.
After celebrating the feast of All Saints on Nov. 1, the Church invites us on Nov. 2, the Commemoration of All Souls Day, to turn our prayerful gaze to those who have left this world and are waiting to reach the Heavenly City. The Church has always taught that it is important and proper to pray for the dead because, even if they have died in grace and in friendship with God, perhaps they still have need of a further purification to enter into the joy of heaven. Intercession for our departed loved ones is expressed in various ways, among which is also a visit to the cemetery. To visit these holy places is an occasion for us to reflect on the meaning of earthly life and to nourish, at the same time, hope in the blessed eternity of Paradise.
Be assured that as I offer the Masses on All Saints Day & All Souls Day, I will be remembering all of our deceased parishioners and all of your loved ones in my intentions. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen!
God bless you all!