Fr. Tom's Message for September 15, 2019
Dear Parish Family,
Today, we have one of the most famous parables in the entire Bible. It’s the story of the man with two sons. It is one of Jesus’ most original tales. We normally refer to it as the Parable of the Prodigal Son or sometimes as the story of the Forgiving Father. Actually, it could better and more properly be called the Parable of the Prodigal Father. His prodigality is much more evident than is that of his son. The father was extremely prodigal with his money when he so easily handed it over to his wayward son. Generally the inheritance would have been conferred on him only after his father’s death. The father’s “prodigality” is also shown in his total forgiveness if his son when at last he decided to return. It’s one of Sacred Scripture’s most wonderful commentaries on the relationship of God to his people.
No one is rotten to the core. Every person instinctively responds to God’s call. There is no helpless soul, for the soul is God’s implanted hope. Jesus sees promise in his strange friends; He was not blind to their needs. The prodigal son, the tax collector and the sinners were in fact lost ones. But Jesus befriends them; He comes in search of the sinners, awaiting their return. God has become incarnate to seek us in our looseness. He comes out like a Father who waits for the return of his beloved son. God’s love is so great, His forgiveness is unbelievable. It defeats all human calculations. God wants to reclaim every prodigal son and rejoice over him at his return. But do we ever take the risk and pain of going to the other side of the track when we falter? Can we, like the prodigal son, make a return to the Father?
As we read again this parable of divine mercy and forgiveness, we are reminded of the lyrics of a modern religious song: “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have loved you and you are mine.” We may have spent much time, effort and money getting ourselves into trouble as did the son in today’s parable. Regardless, we can be assured that God will gladly spend much more to get us out of it. He is truly a Prodigal Father to us all.
Fr. Tom's Message for September 8, 2019
Dear Parish Family,
As we prepare for the end of summer and beginning of fall our scripture readings for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time challenge us to be strong.
Following God is not for the fainthearted. Our first reading from the Book of Wisdom reminds us that God’s plans are greater than we can imagine. It should be a reminder to us of the greatness of God and the wonder of his plans for us.
At the same time we are challenged to follow God’s plan. Jesus tells us, and Paul echoes Jesus’ message from behind bars, that discipleship makes tough demands of us, such as placing God above all things.
If discipleship is tough why should we follow God? Wouldn’t life be easier if we just did what we want, followed our own desires or commit ourselves half-heartedly (cafeteria Catholic) to Christianity?
Why do people accept difficult challenges? Because they desire the result of their efforts. Athletes sacrifice and train to be the best in their field of competition because they want to be the champion. Students study hard because they want the best grade.
The same is true with following God. If we commit ourselves to it completely, we will bear much fruit.
The result of following God completely and totally results in everlasting life. The truth is that this life is perishable. We will return to dust, but God has promised to restore and perfect the life we originally received. God has prepared something so much better for us than this world: eternal paradise, which we are meant to enjoy for eternity.
AMDG, Fr. Tom
Fr. Tom's Message for September 1, 2019
Dear Parish family,
It’s Labor Day weekend. Summer is fading fast! I hope you all had a blessed and joy filled summer. Of course, if it is Labor Day weekend it must mean that football is starting up, baseball is winding down, and most importantly school is starting.
I must admit, I’m looking forward to the start of the new school year. Our school has over 200 kids registered! Maureen Ingham and her staff have done an amazing job making
St. Peter’s school a place of learning, love and laughter. The growth of our school over the past several years is a testament to their great work. I am looking forward to working with them over the course of the school year.
I want to thank all of our returning families as well as the new families for choosing
St. Peter’s School. I also want to welcome our new teachers and staff. It is going to be an exciting year here at St. Peter’s school.
A special thanks to all who assisted in making the Jazz Mass a huge success here at St. Peter’s. The Church was packed on Saturday evening. It was a wonderful site to see and joy filled celebration. I want to thank Bobby Militello, Tim Wells, Tim Mroz, Chris Hart, and all the choir members in the St. Joseph University Church Music Ensemble. I’m looking forward to next year’s Jazz Festival and Mass!
I wish everyone a very happy, safe, a joyous Labor Day Weekend! May God bless you.
Fr. Tom's Message for August 25, 2019
Dear Parish Family,
I am sure you are following the news regarding the Diocese of Buffalo’s abuse scandal. As we continue to hear more details in the coming weeks and months, I want to remind you to please continue to pray for all the victim-survivors of abuse.
This is a very difficult time for all Catholics. We should not close our eyes to the sins of the past nor should we look to the future with fear. I would like to offer the following scripture passage from the prophet Jeremiah for your reflection. He wrote this canticle while looking over the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. As I was reading this canticle it captured how I was feeling about our current situation. It captures the horror of the church’s past sins and the hope that God will remember us and restore us.
Let my eyes stream with tears
day and night, without rest,
over the great destruction which overwhelms
the virgin daughter of my people, over her incurable wound.
If I walk out into the field,
look! Those slain by the sword;
if I enter the city,
look! those consumed by hunger.
Even the prophet and the priest
forage in a land they know not.
Have you cast Judah off completely?
Is Zion loathsome to you?
Why have you struck us a blow
that cannot be healed?
We wait for peace, to no avail;
for a time of healing, but terror comes instead.
We recognize, O Lord, our wickedness,
the guilt of our fathers;
that we have sinned against you.
For your name’s sake spurn us not,
disgrace not the throne of your glory;
remember your covenant with us, and break it not.
-Jeremiah 14: 17-21
Once again please pray for all those affected by this scandal. Also pray for the leaders of our Diocese that the Holy Spirit give them the wisdom to know what is right and the courage to do the right thing.
Msgr. David's Message for June 2, 2019
My dear parish family,
My heart is overflowing with gratitude from last Sunday’s Farewell Celebration and the Blessing & Dedication of our new outdoor Shrine to the Madonna. I wish to thank in a most special way Maureen Ingham and Joe Conti for co-chairing the Mass and Reception, along with the assistance of Connie Locey and Lauren Frosolone for their presentations after Communion. Thank you to all the members of the Parish Pastoral Council for all their good work and for everyone who made it a truly memorable celebration for me and our entire parish family.
I also wish to express my profound gratitude and appreciation for the many gifts, cards, notes, letters, and emails that I have received. You have truly etched yourselves into my heart and I will never, ever forget the warmth, the love and the generosity of our parish family of St. Peter & St. Bernard.
As I announced at last weekend’s Masses, Bishop Malone has appointed Fr. Thomas Mahoney as Administrator of St. Peter & St. Bernard Parish, effective June 10, 2019. Fr. Tom is 54 years old. He was born and raised in Western New York and grew up in Depew (my hometown as well!). Fr. Tom graduated from Lancaster High School and then went on to Niagara University where he graduated with a degree in Accounting. (Go Purple Eagles!) He worked in public accounting and was CFO of a small company in Amherst, NY. In 2007, Fr. Tom decided to sell his home in Lancaster and enter Christ the King Seminary. During his seminary formation, Fr. Tom was assigned to the following parishes to gain experience in pastoral ministry:
St. John Neumann Parish in Strykersville/Sheldon (2 Worship Sites, 1 Parish)
St. Mary of Lourdes in Bemus Point/Mayville (2 Worship Sites, 1 Parish)
St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Niagara Falls for a Pastoral Year (2 Worship Sites, 1 Parish)
Fourteen Holy Helpers Parish in West Seneca, where he served as a Transitional Deacon
Fr. Tom also did a 10-week Clinical Pastoral Education assignment at Mt. St. Mary’s Hospital here in Lewiston.
He was ordained a Priest on June 6, 2015 and was assigned as Parochial Vicar to St. Gregory the Great, Amherst (the largest parish in our diocese).
I know that you will welcome Fr. Tom with open arms and that you will love him, support him, collaborate with him and continue to grow together the wonderful spirit that is St. Peter & St. Bernard Parish.
I will certainly miss seeing you every week, but you will always be close to my heart in prayer, especially as I celebrate Mass. My new address and contact information after June 10:
Our Lady of Victory Basilica
767 Ridge Road, Lackawanna, NY 14218
Telephone: (716) 828-9449
Email: [email protected]
You are always most welcome at Our Lady of Victory, the home of Fr. Baker! I would love to see you! Please pray for me and know of my ongoing prayers for you and all your loved ones. God bless you all! Our Lady of Victory, pray for us!
With my love and grateful prayers always,