Pastor's Message - June 24, 2018
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you,
a prophet to the nations I appointed you”. ~Jeremiah 1
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
This past Tuesday our St. Rita School hosted their annual end of the year "Blue and Gold” field day celebration. Teachers, staff, and many volunteer parents provided assistance with outdoor games, grilled hot dogs, bagged fruit, potato chips, cookies and frozen ice treats. Visits from our local first responders during the event added to the excitement. It ended with the traditional "Tug of War" games between classes and even between former graduates of St. Rita School who came back to participate. Thank you to all the parents, the wonderful St. Rita school staff and our own students for another happy and successful academic year. Summer vacation time now begins!
This weekend we celebrate the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. While we often focus on the appearance of the angel Gabriel to Mary and the subsequent birth of Christ as described in the Gospel of Luke, we also have many details about John the Baptist. In the very first chapter of the Gospel of Luke we read, "In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly." Both Elizabeth and Zechariah longed for a child but they were still childless and getting "along in years."
When Zechariah was chosen by lot to perform special duties at the temple, he suddenly sees an angel of the Lord standing at the altar and is fearful. "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard" said the angel. "Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. John will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn their hearts toward their children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”
Because of his stunned disbelief at what was said by the angel, Zechariah emerges from the temple unable to speak a single word until the day his son is born and he is named John.
Mary also heard that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant, so she traveled "in haste" to the country of Judah to assist. Upon Mary’s arrival, Elizabeth felt the infant stir in her womb leaping for joy. So even from his mother's womb, John recognized Christ.
Years later, at the river Jordan, John would be baptizing speaking of repentance and pointing the way toward Jesus. Jesus would also come to the river to be baptized by John. A voice from heaven would proclaim, "This is my beloved son, listen to him!" Luke 9:35
From that moment forward, Jesus would begin his ministry and command his disciples to also baptized, preach and proclaim the Word of the Lord. We continue that same mission today.
May God bless you and have a happy summer!
An Introduction to Sunday's Scripture Readings - June 24, 2018
The Nativity of St. John the Baptist
In the hope that you will enter more fully into the Mass
JOHN HERALDED HIS COMING BY PROCLAIMING A BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE
This Sunday is the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Because this holy feast falls on a Sunday and not a weekday, we have two separate sets of readings - one for the Vigil Mass and one for Mass during the day. The link for the full readings for both Masses are listed below, but we will focus our attention on the blend of the readings for Saturday and Sunday.
John is considered the last and greatest of the Old Testament prophets. Jesus said of him, "Of those born of women, none is greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11)
. Both first readings (Saturday and Sunday) make the point that like John, two of his precursors, Isaiah and Jeremiah, were formed and dedicated in the womb by God. All three would suffer greatly in their role in preparing the way of the Lord, and thus would also prefigure Christ.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you." A reluctant Jeremiah protests to the Lord, "I know not how to speak; I am too young." But the Lord answered him, "Have no fear before them, because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD."
In Sunday's first reading, (Isaiah 49:1-6)
, Isaiah, like Jeremiah before him, recalls the words of God,
"For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, that Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength! It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth."
In both our Gospel readings, we hear excerpts from Luke's infancy narrative (Luke 1:1-80) describing the events surrounding John's birth, interwoven into the story of Jesus' birth. In Saturday's Gospel reading (Luke 1:5-17), we hear of an elderly priestly couple (Zechariah and Elizabeth) who had no children for she was barren. One day, while in the temple sanctuary offering sacrifice, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah,
"Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. John will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn their hearts toward their children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord."
In Sunday's Gospel, (Luke 1:57-66, 80)
, we we hear of the actual birth of John and the events surrounding his naming.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, "No. He will be called John." But they answered her, "There is no one among your relatives who has this name." So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, "John is his name," and all were amazed.
In Sunday's Epistle reading (Acts 13:22-26), St. Luke describes how John herladed the coming of Jesus, proclaiming a baptism of repentance.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; and as John was completing his course, he would say, 'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'
Our readings this weekend make mention of three great prophets who preceded John - Jeremiah, Isaac and Elijah. All four were great prophets and in their own right, preparing the way for the Lord and calling people back to God and to repentance. But it didn't end with John, or even the ultimate prophet, Jesus. It continues with us. By virtue of our Baptism in the Lord, we share in Christ's ministry of priest, prophet and king. It is now up to us to herald the coming of Jesus into our world, into the lives and hearts of all we meet, especially those closest to us..
- Click HERE to read and reflect on the readings for the Vigil Mass, Saturday, June 23
- Click HERE to read and reflect on the readings for the Mass during the day, Sunday, June 24
- Click HERE to read and learn more about the distinct portraits of John the Baptist in all four Gospels.
The winning team has 4 letters, starts with a consonant and has the letter L in it.
To find the answer, click on "Read More"
Some of the our alumni came back to visit us. It was great to see all who came!
Enrollment has begun for Faith Formation classes for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year. Students in Kindergarten – Grade 7, who do not attend a Catholic school, are strongly encouraged to be enrolled in our parish Faith Formation Program.
You may enroll and pay for Faith Formation and Sacraments here.
A choice of either session is offered weekly:
Session 1: Mondays: 4:30 - 5:45 pm (Grades K- 6)
Session 2: Mondays: 6:15 - 7:30 pm (Grades 1-7)
Catechists (Teachers & helpers) are needed!
If you are interested in sharing your faith, or would like more information about Faith Formation, please contact Anita Wagner at 671-2079 or by email.
Register now for "Shipwrecked" VBS!
This summer's program is August 6-10 from 9 am - noon for students ages 4-10.
There is a $25 per student fee, with a family max of $60. All families will receive a music CD.
Click here to sign up students.
Click here to sign up volunteers, ages 11+ (entering 6th grade or above).
Prospective new families can either stop in the office for a packet or follow the link to Admissions---Registration for the packet.
If you have any questions about registration, please contact the School Office (585-671-3132).
Get ready for school!
Sale is August 10th in the hallway by the library. Donations can be accepted until August 3rd.
All items are $2.00
What is ChristLife? ChristLife™ has been conducted in many parishes throughout the Rochester diocese and is a proven method for rediscovering and sharing our faith with others. In the first series, Discovering Christ, people are helped to enter into or renew a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, experience the love of God the Father, and be empowered by the Holy Spirit to live as God's children. We invite you to experience Discovering Christ starting on Sunday September 23rd, at St. Rita Church. Considering inviting a friend or loved one who you think might benefit from this experience. There will be an opportunity to sign-up after the Masses on the weekend of September 8th & 9th, online here, or by calling Julie Cohn at the Parish Office (585) 671-1100 x 13.
If your youth is in 8th Grade or above and has received the Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Reconciliation, he or she will be ready to start preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. This is a two year program. It will start in mid-September. Please register online here by September 1. If you have any questions, please email Marie Marton or call 671-1100 x 17.
For help in planning future events here is next year's school calendar.