Pastor’s Message January 15th, 2017

The mission appeal made by Bishop Herbert Bevard of the Diocese of St. Thomas last weekend will be concluded with a 2nd collection at all Masses this weekend. His three-island, eight parish diocese is not the paradise we often visualize when we speak of the Virgin Islands. So the bishop has asked me to thank you in advance for your kind generosity and for being so good to him and his people in the smallest and the poorest diocese of our country. He promises us a remembrance in a novena of Masses he is privileged to celebrate for us.

The annual Palm Beach diocesan observance of the infamous Roe v Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court will take place next Monday, January 23rd from 11 a.m. to 12 Noon. It will be marked by prayers, hymns and a public recitation of the Rosary led by our Bishop Barbarito, followed by a talk by the bishop. Parking is available in neighboring parking garages and lots. If possible, please bring your little children with you as we pray the Rosary in union with our bishop. Jesus loves the children.

I’d like to share with you this week the story of how each Cherokee boy undergoes a secret ritual that makes him into a man. First, his father takes him into the forest, then blindfolds him and leaves him alone. Here the boy is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own. Any boy would be naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts can be anywhere around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blows the grass and earth and shakes his stump; but he sits there stoically, never removing the blindfold, for this is the only way he can become a man! Finally, after a terrifying night, the sun appears and he removes his blindfold. It is then that he discovers his father was sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from all kinds of harm.

We, too, are never alone. Even when we don’t know it, our Heavenly Father is watching over us, sitting “on the stump” beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him in prayer. But we have to be still when praying, in order to hear Him speak to our heart. He is there, even though we sometimes don’t realize it. Even when life’s most difficult moments are upon us and all else seems hopeless, He is there, watching over us, protecting us, comforting us.

The annual Palm Beach Diocesan Services Appeal (DSA) begins this weekend with a video presentation of our Bishop Barbarito explaining the purpose of this appeal. It is our way of extending God’s mercy through our charitable giving in so many areas of concern for God’s poor and needy, many of who reside right in our midst. Most of us have been blessed with more than a sufficient amount of God’s gifts. These weren’t made to be hoarded but to be shared. It is when we share these gifts with the less privileged that we express our profound gratitude to God for them and He blesses us with even more. So, please prayerfully consider what sacrificial gift you will make over the next twelve months to assist Bishop Barbarito in carrying out our outreach to those who need help thru our generous act of charity.