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From the Pastor September 4, 2016

23rd Sunday in

Ordinary Time – C


Labor Day Weekend


My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory Memorial or Feast and a full set of orations [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings, Prayer after Communion]
is on The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
observed on September 8,
exactly nine months after she was immaculately conceived in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne, which we commemorate on December 8. While the Bible is silent as to her parents, her birth and younger years, sacred tradition portrays the one to whom the Angel said: “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” [C.f. Luke 1:28]
as a prayerful, humble child, born to faithful Jewish parents, later in life, who were totally unaware of the special grace God had given to their daughter, who was conceived without the stain of Original Sin.


Collect – The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord,

the gift of heavenly grace, that the

feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin

may bring deeper peace to those for whom the birth of her Son was the dawning of salvation.

Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.


Just as one woman had a key role in bringing sin and death into the world, another woman played a key role in bringing the One who would conquer sin and death into the world. For as Saint Paul wrote: “God sent his Son, born of a woman.”
[Galatians 4:4]
This fulfilled a promise made right after Adam and Eve fell from grace; speaking to the serpent, God said: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.” [Genesis 3:15]


This battle against evil now continues through the offspring of every child of God. In God’s most mysterious plan, He graces each Christian all he or she needs to play his or her role in being the ‘first light of dawn’ that paves the way for the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, to enter in. Parents, grandparents, sponsors must help our children use these God-given graces.

Prayer over the Offerings – The Nativity of the BVM


May the humanity of your Only Begotten Son

come, O Lord, to our aid, and may he,

who at his birth from the Blessed Virgin

did not diminish but consecrated her integrity,

by taking from us now our wicked deeds,

make our oblation acceptable to you.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


THE BIRTH OF THE VIRGIN MOTHER. Some say Church teaching on our Blessed Mother’s perpetual

shows the Church’s disdain for human sexuality – but that is so untrue! For she firmly believes – and encourages married couples to do as God said: “Be fertile and multiply!” [Genesis 1:28] – and God was not talking about the new math! However, the Church – and God – also honors those who – like Jesus – remain celibate or unmarried as a sign that we are created for far more than the joys of this world.


In biblical days, being childless or barren was considered a curse from God; without the social services we enjoy, the unmarried, widowed or orphaned were often without any support. Yet it was God who promised: to “give the childless wife a home” and make her “the joyful mother of children.” [Psalm 113:9] This Psalm is beautifully fulfilled in our Blessed Mother, whom we call the Mother of the Church, the Mother of every Christian who, by Baptism, becomes a brother or sister of her Son, Jesus!


Prayer after Communion – The Nativity of the BVM


As we celebrate with joy the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we bring you our offerings, O Lord, and we humbly pray to be

given strength by the humanity of your Son,

who from her was pleased to take flesh.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Some say we Catholics make ‘too much’ of Mary, but all we profess about her is ultimately about her Son. For as the Son of Mary, He is truly one of us: a human person, with all our limitations. However, having no human father, He is truly Son of God
… who alone destroys sin and death! Happy Birthday, Blessed Mother … pray for us!


In His holy Name,




Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS

From the Pastor August 28, 2016


22nd Sunday in

Ordinary Time – C


My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory Memorial and full set of orations [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion]
is on The Passion of Saint John the Baptist,
observed on August 29. While our Blessed Mother has many Feast Days – and rightfully so, only 2 Saints have 3 Feast Days. Saints Peter and Paul
share a Solemnity on June 29; each has their own Feast: The Chair of Peter the Apostle on February 22
and The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle on
January 25
, and they share the Optional Memorial
of the Dedication of their respective Roman Basilicas
on November 18. Only 2 Saints have 2 days: we honor Saint Joseph, Spouse of the BVM
on March 19
and Saint Joseph the Worker
on May 1. And we honor The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist on June 24 and his Passion on August 29. [If liturgical trivial is on heaven’s entrance exam, you owe me!] Here are the orations for The Passion of Saint John the Baptist.


Collect – Passion of Saint John the Baptist


O God, who willed that Saint John the Baptist

should go ahead of your Son both in his birth and in his death, grant that,

as he died a Martyr for truth and justice,

we, too, may fight hard

for the confession of what you teach.

Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.


Did the English translators of this Collect have a sick sense of humor – or choose words poorly? They COULD have said that John the Baptist, who was BEHEADED, went BEFORE
Jesus … but instead they said John went … AHEAD … of Jesus! Certainly I know beheadings are no joke … for Christians still suffer that same fate at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists! Over the centuries, numerous Saints lost their heads for the same reason John the Baptist lost his head.


More than one English Saint was beheaded for daring to ‘speak truth to power.’ And the issues these martyrs raised were usually the ones John confronted: misuse of authority; violations of God’s Commandments, particularly Matrimony; moral and ethical ambivalence. Yet do we take time to let what some lost their head over even enter into our head? Do we strive to learn and understand Church teaching on marriage and sexuality, political power and religious freedom, ethics and morals? God help and forgive us!


Prayer over the Offerings – Passion of Saint JTB


Through these offerings

which we bring you, O Lord, grant that

we may make straight your paths,

as taught by that voice crying in the desert,

Saint John the Baptist, who powerfully sealed his teaching by the shedding of his blood.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


John the Baptist did far more than simply die for the Lord; he lived his entire life
for God – and strove to help others know and serve the Lord. Like John the Baptist, we must do the same in our own time, when many of our loved ones no longer practice the Faith. Like John, we must prepare the way for the Lord
to enter – or reenter into their life … by SHOWING them, by our words and deeds, the power of our Faith. This may cause us to endure hardships and rejection, though I doubt it would lead to the shedding of our blood!


Prayer after Communion – Passion of Saint JTB


Grant, O Lord, as we celebrate the heavenly birth of Saint John the Baptist, that we may revere, for what it signifies, the saving Sacrament we have received and, even more, may rejoice at its clear effects in us.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



When the imprisoned John sent disciples to ask Jesus if He were the Christ, Jesus replied: “Go tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.'” [C.f. Matthew 11:2-5] As this prayer suggests, we who receive ‘the Christ’ in the Blessed Sacrament should be able to show the world – through our words and deeds – that the Eucharist truly is Christ’s Real Presence! Saint John the Baptist, pray for us!


In His holy Name,




Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS

21st Sunday in

Ordinary Time – C


My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory Memorial or a Feast and a full set of orations [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion]
is on Saint Bartholomew, Apostle, whose Feast Day is August 24. If his image [left] makes your skin crawl, it should … for he was flayed alive before being beheaded! In art he is depicted as a man sans skin, holding a flaying knife and his skin
and – as he does in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel’s ‘Last Judgment’
fresco; he is the patron of tanners and butchers. [Who says the Church has no sense of humor!]


Bartholomew took a copy of Saint Matthew’s Gospel wherever he went, so he is depicted holding a book. He is listed as the 6th
Apostle in the Gospels, and 7th
in the Acts of the Apostles; he came from Cana, and was also known by his Greek name, Nathanael. Other Apostles with a Hebrew and a Greek name were: Simon/Peter, Saul/Paul; and Levi/Matthew.


Collect – Bartholomew, Apostle


Strengthen in us, O Lord, the faith, by which

the blessed Apostle Bartholomew

clung wholeheartedly to your Son,

and grant that through the help of his prayers

your Church may become for all the nations

the sacrament of salvation.

Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.


TEACH ALL NATIONS.” Saint Bartholomew fulfilled the Risen Lord’s command to “Go and teach all nations” [Matthew 28:19] by bringing the Good News, according to tradition, to India, Mesopotamia, Persia, and Egypt. However, he seemed reluctant, as we often are, of answering the Lord’s call, for Bartholomew/Nathanael
was not overly impressed with Jesus when they first met. In fact, he seemed quite dismissive: “Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.’ But Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come from Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.'” [John 1:45-46]
However, our Lord praised Bartholomew’s honesty and bluntness: “Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, ‘Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.'” [1:47]
If we leveled with the Lord, and were upfront and truthful about our own doubts and concerns, Jesus might say to us what he said to Bartholomew: “you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” [1:51]
and make us His witnesses and teachers to all the nations!


Prayer over the Offerings – Bartholomew, Apostle


As we celebrate anew the feast day

of Saint Bartholomew, O Lord, we pray

that we may obtain your help through the intercession of the Apostle, in whose honor

we bring you this sacrifice of praise.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


SACRIFICE OF PRAISE. When we read the lives of the Saints, or current reports of the dangers facing Christians who risk their life in some parts of the world just to worship, one wonders if we even know what making a ‘sacrifice of praise’
means! Even in parts of our own country, the holy Mass is not offered locally ‘on the hour every hour’ … it is a special, rare event for which people travel for many hours and many miles. May we never take for granted what some pay for with their life: weekly Mass!


Prayer after Communion – Bartholomew, Apostle


As we celebrate the feast day of the

blessed Apostle Bartholomew, we have received the pledge of eternal salvation, O Lord,

and we pray that it may be of help to us,

both now and for the life to come.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The only time the Bible mentions Bartholomew or Nathanael, besides when he is listed with the other Apostles or in his above-mentioned call to ministry, is when the Risen Lord appeared on the Sea of Tiberius shore. “Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two other of his disciples.” [John 21:2] All who hope to one day see the Risen Lord should also be onboard … in His Church … as often as possible! Saint Bartholomew, pray for us!


In His holy Name,




Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS

From the Pastor August 14, 2016

20th Sunday in

Ordinary Time – C


My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory Memorial and full set of orations [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion]
is on Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, 1091-1153, whose Feast Day is August 20. Depicted in a white Cistercian habit, Bernard is also often seen with three miters or bishop’s hats on the ground … for three times he rejected a Pope’s offer to become a Bishop!


Bernard was born into French nobility, the third of seven children, with only one sister; his pious parents sent him to college early, where he excelled in theology, Scripture, and in living a moral, humble life among revelers who even in those days considered college playtime! After his mother’s death when he was just 19, he sought to avoid worldly temptations by entering a Cistercian monastery. Modern day Cistercians are either very strict Trappist monks or monks of a more relaxed style. Here’s what his orations say about Bernard of Clairvaux.


Collect – Bernard, Abbot & Doctor of the Church


O God, who made of the Abbot Saint Bernard

a man consumed with zeal for your house

and a light shining and burning in your Church,

grant, through his intercession,

that we may be on fire with the same spirit

and walk always as children of light.

Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.


[from the Hebrew ‘Abba’] of the monastery, young Bernard often ruled with an iron fist and stern disposition; but all that stress caused such health problems that he eventually ‘eased up.’ Yet he never stopped seeking to achieve the ideal life of a monk for himself or for his ‘sons.’ His five brothers eventually joined him in the monastery; and even though his sister married, her husband allowed her to enter a convent! This may seem strange to us … but back then … not much holiness was seen outside of religious groups … or even within them! And while we may mock their ways of seeking holiness in a corrupt world – what do we do – for ourselves and our children – to keep all on the right path?


Prayer over the Offerings

Bernard, Abbot & Doctor of the Church


We offer to your majesty, O Lord, the Sacrament of unity and peace, as we celebrate the memorial of the Abbot Saint Bernard, a man outstanding in word and deed, who strove

to bring order and concord to your Church.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


LOVE THE CHURCH, WARTS AND ALL. Saint Bernard faced a very wounded, very sinful world … and a very wounded, very sinful Church. Yet his ability to rouse and affirm the faithful was so well known, Popes asked him to ‘rally the troops’ of the Second Crusade’s attempt to stop the Moslem hope to eradicate Christianity from 12th Century Europe. [Again, how little things have changed!] However, the Crusaders failed – not because of Bernard’s preaching, which was exemplary … but because of the Crusaders’ immoral, unchristian behavior!


Bernard also dealt with Church schisms; more than one man claimed to be the ‘real’ pope … and he was asked to decide who was the true Pope! He also opposed secular rulers who usurped the Pope’s right to name Bishops and govern the Church! Yet amid all this darkness and sin, he stayed at the monastery at Clairvaux: a name that means ‘valley of light!’


Prayer after Communion

Bernard, Abbot & Doctor of the Church


May the food we have received, O Lord, as we honor Saint Bernard, work its effect in us,

so that, strengthened by his example

and instructed by his teaching, we may be

caught up in love of your incarnate Word.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


ALWAYS LOVE THE INCARNATE WORD. While others gave up on the world in his time, Bernard did not … for like our Blessed Mother … who holds a special and revered place in his writing … he fully believed that God-is-with-us! So when we want to throw in the towel … we must remember that God had chosen to enter into and work though this world’s insanity! So just as our Blessed Mother accepted God’s ‘odd’ plan to be born among us … we must be open to how God wants to work through us! Saint Bernard … pray for us!


In His holy Name,



Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS

From the Pastor August 7, 2016

19th Sunday in

Ordinary Time – C


The Dominican Sisters of Saint Dominic
in Caldwell
taught me, so I’d better get an ‘A’ on this article! For my next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory Memorial and full set of orations [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion]
is on Saint Dominic, Priest, 1170-1221, whose Feast Day is August 8.


Saint Dominic
is depicted in a simple white habit [*] holding books
or scrolls, a rosary
or roses, a staff
or walking stick. Legend says his mother dreamt he was born as a dog
with a flaming torch
in its mouth; Dominic so lit the world on fire with the Gospel he was nicknamed ‘The Hound of the Hounds.‘ His mother also saw a star over him; thus he is patron of astronomers. [* When a Dominican Bishop, Innocent V, was elected Pope in 1276, he kept his white Dominican habit, a tradition Popes still keep 740 years later!]


Collect – Dominic, Priest


May Saint Dominic come to the help of

your Church by his merits and teaching,

O Lord, and may he, who was an

outstanding preacher of your truth,

be a devoted intercessor on our behalf.

Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.


PREACHERS OF GOD’S TRUTH & LOVE. Born into Spanish nobility, Dominic found most clergy so inept and worldly, in 1216 he founded an Order to set things right: the Order of Preachers. Dominicans use the initials or ‘call letters’ ‘O.P.’
after their name; my classmates and I said O.P.
stood for ‘Old Prune’ – and some Sisters said the same … even though some ‘O.P.’s’
were in their 20’s or 30’s when they taught us! Dominic combated heresy and proclaimed the Gospel with orthodox catechesis, always highlighting God’s mercy. Sadly, improper knowledge of Catholicism and rigid intolerance, even among church-goers, still greatly harms the Church!


Prayer over the Offerings – Dominic, Priest


Attend mercifully to the prayers we offer you,

O Lord, by the intercession of Saint Dominic,

and through the great power of this sacrifice

strengthen by the protection of your grace

those who champion the faith.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


CHAMPION THE FAITH. One way Dominic ‘championed’ or promoted the Faith was by encouraging devotion to our Blessed Mother
and her never-failing intercession. Contrary to popular belief, Saint Dominic did not receive the Rosary from our Blessed Mother; he had a vision of a bouquet of roses
which prompted him to promote the Rosary’s form of taking time to meditate on and teach others the Mysteries of our salvation. This is the meaning of the Dominican motto: ‘Contemplari et contemplata aliis tradere’
to “contemplate and pass on the fruits of contemplation.”


He also ‘championed’ the faith by encouraging the Crusaders and all Christians to oppose the Moors or Moslem invaders
who sought to overtake Europe and destroy Christianity. [Isn’t it amazing how little has changed in 800 years?] Many exaggerate the horror stories of the Inquisition, but Dominic was always known for his merciful, calm disposition and for never condemning the sinner but the sin. Though he won praise as he preached to the Pope and papal court, he refused being name a Bishop, choosing to work through the Priests and Religious in his Dominican Order
to reform the Church.


Prayer after Communion – Dominic, Priest


May your Church, O Lord, receive with wholehearted reverence the power of this heavenly Sacrament, by which we have been nourished on the commemoration of Saint Dominic, and may your Church, having flourished by means of his preaching,

be helped through his intercession.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


THE EUCHARIST: SOURCE OF STRENGTH. No one could do what Dominic or any Saint did without help from on high; and the greatest source of divine assistance is our Lord’s most Sacred Body and Precious Blood. For only by Word and Sacrament can God give us all we need! Saint Dominic, pray for us … and may WE never miss our weekly dose of the Eucharist!


In His holy Name,



Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS

From the Pastor July 31, 2016

18th Sunday in

Ordinary Time – C


My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory Memorial and full set of orations [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion]
is Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, 1696-1787, whose Feast Day is August 1. He is depicted as a young priest, bent over with rheumatism, or as a Bishop with tomes of law and/or theological books, a Crucifix or image of our Blessed Mother.


Born Alphonsus Marie Antony John Cosmos Damien Michael Gaspard de Liguori on September 27, 1696, near Naples, Italy, the oldest of seven children, he earned a doctorate in canon [church] and civil law by age 16 and by 19 practiced law! Against his wealthy family’s wishes, he became a Priest – but heeded their request that he NOT go to a foreign mission. He founded the Redemptorists, who brought healthy, orthodox Catholic teaching and secular skills to the indigent in the Naples area. Here’s how his orations honor him:


Collect – Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop & Doctor


O God, who constantly raise up in your Church new examples of virtue, grant that we may follow so closely in the footsteps of the

Bishop Saint Alphonsus in his zeal for souls as to attain the same rewards that are his in heaven.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ … and ever. Amen.


A POSITIVE AMONG NEGATIVES. In Liguori’s days, the Church was plagued by a heresy called Jansenism; its hopeless viewpoint dismissed us off as unredeemable, condemned creatures. To combat this poisoned view of humanity, Liguori used Parish Missions, faith formation groups and the Confessional to focus on God’s mercy and forgiveness. In his homilies and writings he highlighted God’s compassionate grace, countering the strict legalism and minimalism Jesus also condemned. Though he tried to reject the honor, he was made Bishop at age 66, and despite ill health, reformed his Diocese. His Collect asks: what do we do to better
know and spread the joys of Catholicism in a world that sees us as the problem, not as the solution.


Prayer over the Offerings – Alphonsus Liguori


Be pleased, O Lord, to enkindle our hearts

with the celestial fire of your Spirit,

just as you granted that Saint Alphonsus

should celebrate these mysteries and by them offer himself to you as a holy sacrifice.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


CELESTIAL FIRE OF THE SPIRIT. When the Holy Spirit enters us at Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination, or non-sacramentally, He expects us to do what our Blessed Mother, the Apostles and first disciples did with the Gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The Spirit expects us to be set

with His love, as did the holy men and women who went before us.


To many, Alphonsus Liguori is synonymous with his still popular version of the Stations of the Cross. Unique for their time, they explain what happened to Jesus – and OUR part in Christ’s Passion and Death. His reflections ask: as Pilate and the Romans, the Jews and the Sanhedrin condemned Jesus, who do we American Catholics condemn? Do we, like Peter, deny; like Judas, betray; like the disciples, abandon anyone? Do we, like Simon, help others carry their cross; like Veronica, comfort the dying; like Joseph of Arimathea, bury the dead? Do we allow His Mother to comfort us, as she consoled Jesus, when we walk in the valley of tears? [When did you last pray the Stations of the Cross, which can easily be found and prayed online these days?]


Prayer after Communion – Alphonsus Liguori


O God, who gave us Saint Alphonsus to be

a faithful steward and preacher of this great mystery, grant that your faithful may receive it often and, receiving it, praise you without end.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


WE BECOME WHAT WE EAT. This prayer asks what I often ask: how could anyone ignore the invitation to come to Mass each week to be fed at the two tables: the AMBO, the teaching table of God’s Word … and the ALTAR, the table of the Divine Banquet? Saint Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us … and may WE never miss Mass!


In His holy Name,





Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS

From the Pastor July 10, 2016

15th Sunday in

Ordinary Time – C



My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory Memorial and a full set of orations [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion] is Saint Benedict who lived from about 480 to 557. He died on March 21, which would always put his Feast Day in Lent or Holy Week, so the 1969 liturgical reforms moved it to July 11; he is often portrayed with a bell, broken tray, raven, or crosier
as explained below.


Many are disgusted with the immoral, licentious acts of those who live in the lands ringing the Mediterranean Sea these days … and so was Saint Benedict. As a young man, he fled secular society to avoid sinful temptations and immoral behavior; he also feared that Christianity in Europe would be destroyed by non-believers. [Don’t we fear these same things these days?] Now let’s see what his orations teach about him.


Collect – Saint Benedict, Abbot


O God, who made the Abbot Saint Benedict an outstanding master in the school of divine service, grant, we pray, that, putting nothing before love of you, we may hasten with

a loving heart in the way of your commands.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


LET NOTHING KEEP US FROM CHRIST. As the Abbot [from the Arabic ‘Abba’ for ‘Father’] of his monastery, Benedict [a name meaning ‘blessed’ from ‘benedictus’] wore a monk’s habit and carried a crozier
to signify his fatherly role. His attempts to reform and purify his sons’ lifestyle – promoted by his famed, groundbreaking Rule of Saint Benedict
which governed monastery life – was not always well received. Once, a priest tried to kill him by serving him a piece of poison bread while he was in his hermitage; suspicious of the bread, Benedict asked a raven to take it away so no one would eat it; the raven eventually heeded the Saint, so he’s portrayed with a raven and morsel. More importantly, we can never let anything keep us from promoting what is right and just … even in the face of danger or death.


Prayer over the Offerings – Saint Benedict, Abbot


Look kindly, Lord, upon these holy offerings,

which we make in honor of Saint Benedict,

and grant that, by following his example

in seeking you, we may merit the gifts

of unity in your service and of peace.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


When he fled the world for prayerful solitude, Benedict asked his elderly nurse to accompany him and care for him. One day, the tray she borrowed to prepare his meal broke; to calm her tears and fears, Benedict prayed over the tray
and it was made whole! The purported tray: his first miracle, still hangs in a church in Affile, some 30 miles from Rome. Some dismiss this as silly, but it showed Benedict had loving concern for life’s little things – even broken trays
and so must we.
For sometimes, by the seemingly insignificant things we do to help calm and console others, we, too, perform minor miracles!


Prayer after Communion – Saint Benedict, Abbot


Having received this pledge of eternal life,

we humbly beseech you, O Lord, that,

attentive to the teaching of Saint Benedict,

we may faithfully serve your designs

and love one another with fervent charity.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


FEEDING ON SPIRITUAL FOOD. During his years in a tough to reach mountainside cave hermitage, his daily food was lowered by a rope; another rope, on which a bell was hung, signaled his confers were sending down food. One time, the bell’s rope was broken by a demon; perhaps the rope was severed as an act of revenge, as fellow monks sought to starve Benedict for his attempts to reform the local monastery. And that set off bells in Benedict’s head … who saw in the bell’s broken rope … a ‘hidden’ meaning.


Sometimes those opposed to God’s way and/or Church teaching intentionally thwart our efforts to promote Gospel values and establish the moral, ethical and religious footings of God’s Kingdom on earth … and we must be as alert to their shenanigans as was Benedict to his bell rope breaker! Saint Benedict, pray for us!


In His holy Name,




From the Pastor July 17, 2016

From the Pastor    July 17, 2016

16th Sunday in

Ordinary Time – C


My next reflection is on Saint Mary Magdalene, Feast Day: July 22. On June 10, Pope Francis elevated her from an Obligatory Memorial to a Feast; besides a full set of orations [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion] Mary of Magdela, history’s most falsely maligned woman, now gets the Gloria prayed on her Feast Day!


For over the centuries she has been wrongly condemned as the adulterous woman thrown at Jesus’ feet, about whom He said: “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” [John 8:7b] Nor was she the sinful woman who washed and dried Jesus’ feet with her tears and hair, anointing them with ointment. For after that event the Gospel speaks of additional disciples, among who were “some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out.” [Luke 8:7]
And when the Gospels speak of evil spirits, there is no mention of any sexual sins; perhaps those with a guilty conscience are reading too much into these texts! Nor was she the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Here’s what Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day orations say about her.


Collect – Saint Mary Magdalene


O God, whose Only Begotten Son

entrusted Mary Magdalene before all others

with announcing the great joy

of the Resurrection, grant, we pray,

that through her intercession and example

we may proclaim the living Christ

and come to see him reigning in your glory.

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


THE APOSTLE TO THE APOSTLES. It was Saint Thomas Aquinas who gave Mary Magdalene the special title, “Apostle of the Apostles”
and honored her with this touching comment: “Just as a woman had announced the words of death to the first man, so also a woman was the first to announce to the Apostles the words of life” [Super Ioannem, ed. Cai, 2519.] This oration asks Mary Magdalene to empower us by her prayers and example to do the same: to announce the Gospel of Life in all we say and do. While we do not know why the Risen Lord gave her this honor, but by reading ‘into’ the story, we can deduce a few possible reasons that are echoed in her other orations.


Prayer over the Offerings – Saint Mary Magdalene


Accept, O Lord, the offerings presented in commemoration of Saint Mary Magdalene,

whose homage of charity was graciously accepted by your Only Begotten Son.

Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.


HOMAGE OF CHARITY. As I mentioned above, Saint Luke names Mary Magdalene as one of the female supporters of our Lord and His ministry. We assume she and the others helped finance, and performed household chores, cooked and mended and did all the other things women typically did for men … and still do! What Parish does not have, as we do, a team of faith-filled women who serve in so many ministerial and supportive roles?


This oration beautifully ties what these biblical women did with what we are presently doing, as we offer our financial gifts and the bread and wine that represent all we have and all we are. In return, the Lord accepts them and transforms them into a continuation of His ministry, and into His Real Presence in the Eucharist – which we receive so we can become His presence!


Prayer after Communion – Saint Mary Magdalene


May the holy reception of your mysteries,

Lord, instill in us that persevering love

with which Saint Mary Magdalene

clung resolutely to Christ her Master.

Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.


What Mary Magdalene was blessed to touch and hear in
flesh, we touch and hear in sacramental
signs: the very voice and presence of the Risen Lord! Perhaps she received this grace because – unlike all but one of the Twelve Apostles, she – and some other women – faithfully stood at the Cross until our Lord’s lifeless Body was entombed. Then she courageously and defiantly returned to anoint His corpse, but instead beheld Him face-to-face – as we will one day … if we always cling to Him! Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for us!


In His holy Name,




Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS


From the Pastor July 24, 2016

17th Sunday in

Ordinary Time – C


My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory Memorial and a full set of orations [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion] is Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose Feast Day is July 26: the original ‘Grandparents Day!’


Although sacred Scripture neither names them nor tell us anything about them, pious tradition and non-biblical sources ‘fill in the cracks’ about what we know must be true: that our Blessed Mother had parents, who had the unique privilege of raising a uniquely graced daughter AND the most unique Grandson! Although they had no idea who He was, do any grandparents, as they love and spoil their grandkids, know who or what they will become? NO! They just ‘love ’em to death’ and ‘smother them with love!’ Such is the love that the ‘Word Made Flesh’
must have known by becoming one of us and living in a human family, with loving grandparents: Saints Joachim and Anne! Here’s their orations.


Collect – Saints Joachim & Anne, Parents of the BVM


O Lord, God of our Fathers, who bestowed

on Saints Joachim and Anne this grace, that of them should be born the Mother of your incarnate Son, grant, through the prayers of both, that we may attain the salvation

you have promised to your people.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


WE DO NOT GROW IN A VACUUM. As the bible makes clear, it was God’s intention – from Day One – that children be reared and raised in the solemnly bonded love of husband and wife. However, in these days, some seem to overlook a child’s inalienable, divinely bestowed right to have the security and support of loving parents, united in the sacred bond of Matrimony. And with that familial structure of the so-called ‘traditional’ family comes grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and other relatives. As the above oration reminds us, even God respected and used – and uses – human families to work out His plan for salvation. While family life is never easy … does not the lawlessness, recklessness and violence in places where the ‘traditional’ family no longer exists – like our cities – prove that God’s plan works best? Should that not prod us to do more to do all we can to make our families all they can be … with God’s help?


Prayer over the Offerings – Saints Joachim & Anne


Receive, we pray, O Lord, these offerings

of our homage, and grant that we may merit

a share in the same blessing which you promised to Abraham and his descendants.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


GOD WILLS TO SAVE EVERYONE. Even as the Church fervently prays that all will accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, the long-awaited Messiah and Redeemer, she respects how God keeps His word and His promises to our Jewish brothers and sisters. For as the Church teaches, God not only offers salvation to those faithful to what we call the Old Testament; God saves all who, following their conscience, faithfully follow their understanding of God’s will. This is especially true for all of Abraham’s descendants: Jews, Christians and Moslems. For as Saint Paul said, “The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” {Romans 11:29]


Prayer after Communion – Saints Joachim & Anne


O God, who willed that your Only Begotten Son

should be born from among humanity

so that by a wonderful mystery

humanity might be born again from you,

we pray that, in your kindness, you may sanctify by the spirit of adoption those you have fed with the Bread you give your children.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


GOD’S FAMILY BY ADOPTION. In what we call the ‘divine exchange’ we marvel at how in the plan for our salvation, God became human so we could become divine. To help us make this exchange, God also changes bread and wine into His Son’s Body and Blood in what this oration calls ‘a wonderful mystery.’
For by consuming ‘the Bread you give your children’
our adoption is sanctified, sealed and strengthened. Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us … and for all grandparents.


In His holy Name,




Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS

RF Leaders


We are excited to announce that our parish has subscribed to a dynamic new online platform called FORMED to help you deepen your knowledge and explain the immense treasure of our great Catholic Faith.  Every parishioner will have 24/7 access to the best Catholic content on any device with internet access, including your computer, smartphone and tablet.

With FORMED, you’ll find video programs that explain the Catholic faith such asSymbolon and Catholicism and Bible studies on a variety of topics including Mary and theSunday readings. You will have access to full-length Catholic movies such as Mother Teresa, The Story of the Nativity and John Paul II. You will be able to listen to inspiring audio talks and read inspirational Catholic books online.  You’ll find presenters such as Bishop Robert Barron, Dr. Tim Gray, Dr. Edward Sri, Dr. Mary Healey, Dr. Scott Hahn, Chris Stefanick and so much more. It’s all part of our parish subscription—and there is no cost to you!

Here’s how easy it is to get FORMED. Go to You should see the registration box for parishioners. Type in our parish code which is GK2J6P.  Now set up a username and a password. Now you are all set to use all the great programs on at anytime by simply logging in.

Once you start using FORMED, please let us know you are using it and what you think of it. Be sure to encourage others in your family and in our parish to use it as well!

To let us know you have signed up and for any questions or feedback, please contact Diane Luceri at 908-782-1475 x 14or


Thinking of Becoming a Catechist or a Children’s Liturgy of the Word (CLOW) Leader?

Pass on the Good News!

What good news? The Good News of Jesus Christ and our Catholic Faith! This fall, over 800 children and young people, kindergarten to grade 8 will sign up to learn more about Jesus and the Catholic faith. You can help them learn and grow in faith by becoming a Catechist for Faith Formation. Be a CLOW Leader for pre-school to 4th grade children. CLOW is offered Saturday evening and Sunday mornings at each Mass. Mon, Tues, and Weds classes are offered for the school year. You are almost sure to find a time that fits your schedule. As you nurture the faith of our young, you will learn and grow as well! We provide you with training, materials, and support. Classes begin Sept. 8th. If interested, please contact the RF office at 908-284-2929 x23 or email

Echoes of Faith Plus

Basic Catechist Certification Opportunity

Echoes of Faith Plus is a basic level, video-assisted resource for the formation, training and enrichment of catechists, aides and any adults in our parish.  Following is the current schedule for Echoes of Faith Plus at SEAS.  “Echoes of Faith” Sessions will include prayer, DVD presentations and group discussion. This study is open to all adults—bring a friend or family member!

The Catechist Set

For catechists, these sessions count towards basic catechist certification.

Sessions on Sundays will be in the Holy Family Room – 10:30am

Sessions on Tuesdays will be in the Holy Family Room – 9:30-11:30am.

Topic & Dates

The Catechetical Set:      Getting Started –  May 22, 2016

Roles of the Catechist – June 5, 2016

The Person of the Catechist – June 12, 2016

Each topic must be attended for catechist accreditation. There is no cost and no homework is required.


Contact Information:

Religious Formation Office at 908-284-2929 or

Please RSVP with the dates and times of the sessions you will attend.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Mariam Nawab PCL at



For all Catechists and AIDES – please plan to attend to receive updates and forms: 

NOV 15


MAY 31

Coordinator’s Meetings 2015-2016

Nov. 1, 2015 10:30am/Conference Room – Pre-Advent

Jan. 31, 2016 10:30am /Conference Room – Pre-Lent


1-January 1, 2016: Mary Mother of God

2-Ascension Day: 40 days after Easter

3-Nov. 1, 2015: All Saints day

4-Dec. 8, 2015: Immaculate Conception

5-Dec. 25, 2015: Christmas


Oct. 5, 6, 7, 2015:

Rosary DVD Grades 1&2

Oct. 12, 13, 14, 2015:

Eucharistic Adoration During Class

Oct. 19, 20, 21, 2015:

Rosary Grades 3-7;

Church Tour Grades 1&3

Oct. 25, 2015: Eucharistic Adoration


Nov. 22, 2015:

First Penance at 4pm (FHC)

Dec. 14, 15, 16, 2015:

Christmas skits and carols in the Church

Jan. 11, 12, 13, 2016:

Vocation Talk – All Grades

Feb. 16, 17, 2016:

Stations of the Cross DVD (Grades 1&2)

Feb. 22, 2016:

Stations of the Cross DVD (Grades 1&2)

Feb. 22, 23, 24, 2016:

Stations of the Cross (Grades 3-7)

May 8, 2016:

May Crowning and FHC pictures – 10:30- 11:30 am