Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Memories of John Paul II

As Pope John Paul II's beatification draws close (May 1 - the "liturgical" anniversary of his death - the feast of Divine Mercy) - memories of His Holiness begin to be recalled.  Here are some very close-up memories from the papal photographer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Converting our Hearts Every Day

The following is taken from ""

The Season of Lent for every Christian should mark a turning point, accentuating that change in thought and life which becomes daily in those who truly wish to follow Jesus. In the Gospel the word “daily” is heard many times, for example speaking of the demands of discipleship, the Lord says: “every day” it is necessary to take up the cross and follow Him (cfr. Lk 9, 23). “ Every day ” is synonymous with “totality,” donation, which, because it is “daily”, renews itself and never breaks up, never weakens. Just as running water flows continually and is always fresh and clear, so too the spiritual life: to maintain its vivacity it draws continually from the grace which flows from Jesus. In this sense we clearly understand the necessity to “pray without ceasing”.

A great temptation on the path of conversion is to stop, to “stagnate”: we remain as we are, we do not to renew ourselves, and in doing so deceiving ourselves and others with a “Christianity” consisting of habits and “goals reached”. The journey of Lent invites us to remove these illusions, the word of Jesus resounds louder than ever: “repent and believe in the Gospel”. To be authentic conversion should never stop; the true Christian experiences the dynamics of conversion, like walking behind Jesus, on a path which never stops because it is at the spiritual level, if we stop, we go backwards! “ 'Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'” (Lk 9, 62).

So as not to interrupt our conversion, our journey of 'becoming' Christians, the only possibility is daily conversion: denying ourselves, our ambitions every day, with the dynamic power of love. Selfishness has its own dynamics, which is also daily and drives us to satisfy 'ego'. Only the disciple who gives himself entirely to the Lord, day after day, becomes increasingly similar to his Master and lives in joy, light and love.

If a Christian says he has no joy, light or love then he must make a profound examination of conscience to discern areas where the power of selfishness prevails over the dynamics of conversion.

It is not God who is sparing with himself, or who hesitates to give Himself to us, it is man, as St Teresa of Avila says so well: “ If we attain to the perfect possession of this true love of God, it brings all blessings with it. But so niggardly and so slow are we in giving ourselves wholly to God that we do not prepare ourselves as we should to receive that precious thing which it is His Majesty's will that we should enjoy only at a great price.” (Life, chapter 11, paragraph 1).

Dying to self costs, but it obtains the greatest result: it allows Jesus to live in us. In fact there can be no dynamics of conversion, without daily “renouncing self" precisely to live for Jesus. The Word of God says clearly that only those who lose themselves, who give themselves entirely to God, truly find Him and enjoy Him here on earth: “ If, however, from there you start searching once more for Yahweh your God, and if you search for him honestly and sincerely, you will find him.” (Deut 4, 29). The Lenten journey is therefore a path of self-giving and trusting in God which culminates at Easter with new birth in Jesus. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, describes this dynamics with the following illuminating words: “Jesus' invitation to take up one's cross and follow him may at first sight seem harsh and contrary to what we hope for, mortifying our desire for personal fulfilment. At a closer look, however, we discover that it is not like this: the witness of the saints shows that in the Cross of Christ, in the love that is given, in renouncing the possession of oneself, one finds that deep serenity which is the source of generous dedication to our brethren, especially to the poor and the needy, and this also gives us joy. The Lenten journey of conversion on which we are setting out today together with the entire Church thus becomes a favourable opportunity, "the acceptable time" (II Cor 6: 2) for renewing our filial abandonment in the hands of God and for putting into practice what Jesus continues to repeat to us: "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mk 8: 34) and this is how one ventures forth on the path of love and true happiness. (…) let us ask Our Lady, Mother of God and of the Church, to accompany us on our way through Lent, so that it may be a journey of true conversion. May we let ourselves be led by her, and inwardly renewed we will arrive at the celebration of the great mystery of Christ's Pasch, the supreme revelation of God's merciful love.” (Benedict XVI, General Audience 6 February 2008). 

Msgr. Luciano Alimandi (Agenzia Fides 20/2/2008; righe 54, parole 792)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Scrutinies

This weekend the Elect (those members of the RCIA who are preparing to be Baptized, Confirmed and receive the Eucharist at the Easter Vigil) will celebrate the First of three Scrutinies.  What are these Scrutinies about?

Well, these very special rites are celebrated on the last three Sundays of Lent, at liturgies where the Elect are present - for our parish this is during the 10:45am Mass.  Part of their journey to the font that we have already witnessed is the Rite of Welcome (which we celebrated in November), and then they enrolled their names in the Book of the Elect before being sent to Bishop McFadden in Harrisburg on the First Sunday of Lent for the Rite of Election.  

Even if these rites are not celebrated at the liturgy we attend it can be wonderful to reflect upon the journey these Elect are making during Lent, as an inspiration and source of renewal for us in our journey.

These are ancient rites and they may, at first, seem strange to us.  But they are profoundly rooted in our human experience.  We need to examine (scrutinize) how we are, the areas of our lives where we are tempted, or seriously sin - in what we do and what we fail to do.  We really need healing and the strength that can come from the support of our sisters and brothers.

The Rite goes like this:

First there is the Invitation to Silent Prayer.  One of the most powerful moments of the Scrutinies is how they begin.  After the homily, the Elect are invited to come forward with their sponsors and to kneel down.  Then, the whole assembly is invited to pray for them in silence.  It is a very solemn moment.  This community has cared for these elect for some months now on their journey.  We have sent them to reflect more and more deeply on the Word of God, and expressed to them our longing for the day on which they would join us at the table of the Lord.  Now we pray for them in this sacred silence, deeply asking God to protect them and heal them in the weeks ahead.

Then there are the Intercessions for the Elect when we, as a community, pray aloud for the Elect.  What follows is technically called the Prayer of Exorcism - we pray that they might be freed from the power of the Evil One and protected on their journey.  But don't worry - no "Linda Blair" moments...

The Laying On of Hands follows: an ancient, silent ritual deliberately reminiscent of the rite used for ordination in the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the priest or deacon lays his hands for a brief moment on the head of each of the Elect.  It is a solemn act of calling down the Spirit of Jesus to be with them and protect them.

Lastly the Elect are dismissed from the assembly and sent forth to reflect upon the Word and this powerful gesture of love on the part of this community, that cares for them so deeply, with the love of Christ.  (This we have been seeing all year long)

This year we have 7 members of the Elect here in our parish - which will make for a WONDERFUL celebration of the Easter Vigil on April 23.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Joanne Marie Schoonover Mass - 10am Saturday

Joanne Marie (Maixner) Schoonover, 76, a longtime resident of Waynesboro, died on the first day of spring, Sunday, March 20, 2011, with her family by her side. She passed away peacefully amid the chirping of birds as they welcomed the first crocus blooms of the season.

Born in New York in 1934 to Frederick and Julia Maixner, she attended Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic School and Dominican Commercial High School, both in Queens, N.Y. She held many interesting positions with General Motors, AT&T, New York Telephone and United Airlines.

In 1958 she married Stanley C. Schoonover. They lived in Chester, Vt., before moving to Waynesboro in 1967. Together they raised eight children and enjoyed traveling throughout the United States and abroad. For more than 30 years she ran the family endeavor of delivering The Record Herald along a route in the Eastland Hills area of Waynesboro.

She was an accomplished expert in the textile crafts. Mrs. Schoonover taught quilting locally and demonstrated crafts as a volunteer for the National Park Service at Catoctin Mountain Park, in Thurmont, Md. As one of the founders of the Buchanan Trail Quilt Club, she taught textile crafts to senior citizens through the Hagerstown Junior College. Her enthusiastic approach to craftwork was unmatched. She always had time for those desiring to learn and her unselfish teaching and outreach brought much joy to many. In her later years she enjoyed piecing many quilts which were finished by her daughter, AnnMarie Cowley.

An accomplished gardener, she is remembered for the flowery front lawn at her East Main Street home. She shared this love with anyone willing to stop and talk. She also had a passion for cooking. Through her culinary skills, she brought a variety of food experiences to her family. With such a breadth of cooking expertise, it was often said that family meals were rarely prepared the same. Joanne always had room for one more at every table she set.

She kept a home filled with love and great joy and relished being surrounded by her large family. Through an impressive Lego collection she fostered creativity and imagination in her grandchildren and many other children from the community. She was a member of St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Church. She is preceded in death by her parents and an infant brother, Harry.
In addition to her husband of more than 50 years, she is survived by eight married children, AnnMarie (Kevin) Cowley, Hillsboro, Ore., Donna (Larry) VanWert, Springfield, Va., William (Andrea) Schoonover, Deale, Md., Johnathan (Vivian) Schoonover, Radcliff, Ky., Stephen (Laura) Schoonover, Waynesboro, Pa., Christine (John) Sanbower, Chambersburg, Pa., Irene (Brian) Slater, Lindley, N.Y., and Frances (Paul) Shehadi, Wallingford, Pa., along with 23 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She is also survived by two brothers, Frederick (Louise) Maixner, Spring Garden, Fla., and Raymond Maixner, Houston, Texas.

A memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 26, at St. Andrew’s RC Church, Waynesboro, Pa., with a reception following. In addition, friends may visit with the family from 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the parish hall. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Waynesboro Area Gala Cancer Auction, P.O. Box 244, Waynesboro, Pa. 17268.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Solemnity of the Annunciation - Feast, no Fast!

The Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, is one of the most important in the Church calendar. It celebrates the actual Incarnation of Our Savior the Word made flesh in the womb of His mother, Mary.
The biblical account of the Annunciation is in the first chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke, 26-56. Saint Luke describes the annunciation given by the angel Gabriel to Mary that she was to become the mother of the Incarnation of God.

Here is recorded the "angelic salutation" of Gabriel to Mary, 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee" (Ave, gratia plena, Dominus tecum - Lk 1:28), and Mary's response to God's will, "Let it be done to me according to thy word" (fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum) (v. 38)

This "angelic salutation" is the origin of the "Hail Mary" prayer of the Rosary and the Angelus (the second part of the prayer comes from the words of salutation of Elizabeth to Mary at the Visitation).

The Angelus, a devotion that daily commemmorates the Annunciation, consists of three Hail Marys separated by short versicles. It is said three times a day -- morning, noon and evening -- traditionally at the sound of a bell. Here at Saint Andrew's our parish bell plays the Angelus 4 times a day: 8am, noon, 6pm & 9pm.  We begin every daily Mass praying the Angelus as the bell rings.  The Angelus derives its name from the first word of the versicles, Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae (The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary).

Mary's exultant hymn, the Magnificat, found in Luke 1:46-55, has been part of the Church's Liturgy of the Hours, at Vespers (evening prayer), and has been repeated nightly in churches, convents and monasteries for more than a thousand years.

The Church's celebration of the Annunciation is believed to date to the early 5th century, possibly originating at about the time of the Council of Ephesus (c 431). Earlier names for the Feast were Festum Incarnationis, and Conceptio Christi, and in the Eastern Churches, the Annunciation is a feast of Christ, but in the Latin Church it is a feast of Mary. The Annunciation has always been celebrated on March 25, exactly nine months before Christmas Day.

Two other feasts honoring Our Lord's mother, the Assumption (August 15), and the Immaculate Conception (December 8), are celebrated as Holy Days of Obligation in the United States and many other countries. New Year's Day, January 1, is observed as a Solemnity of Mary. The Annunciation was a Holy Day throughout the Universal Church until the early 20th century. Many Catholics who are deeply concerned with the defense of the life of unborn children believe it would be fitting if the Feast of the Annunciation were restored to this status. Although it seems unlikely that it will be added to the Church calendar as a Holy Day of Obligation, we can certainly take on the "obligation" ourselves to attend Mass. In any case, it is most appropriate that we encourage special celebrations in the "Domestic Church".

One sign of the significance this Christian feast had throughout Western culture is that New Year's Day was for centuries celebrated on March 25. It was believed by some ancient Christian writers that God created the world on March 25, and that the fall of Adam and the Crucifixion also took place March 25. The secular calendar was changed to begin the year on January 1 (in 1752 in England and colonies, somewhat earlier on the continent).

Another remnant of the historic universality of Christianity in the West is the use of BC (before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini The Year of Our Lord) to denote periods of time in history. There has been an attempt in some circles to change BC to BCE (before the common era), and AD to CE (common era) -- and although it is true that the religious significance of our system of dating has been effectively obliterated -- nevertheless, Christians and non-Christians alike consent to the birth of Christ as the "fulcrum" of the dating the events of human history. 

Oh, and this year, because the Solemnity is on a Friday - EAT MEAT!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

William Trace Funeral - Thursday 10am

I remember Bill as "the man who came to church faithfully at 7am every Sunday" - and Bill did.  Each Sunday morning he would sometimes wait patiently (when I was late) to get into the church and begin his prayer.  Then one day he called me aside (which he usually didn't do) to tell me that he had been diagnosed with cancer and would need to talk with me soon.  Well, talk we did and Bill, after receiving the Sacraments and what we commonly call the "Last Rites," returned home to the Lord.  His obituary follows.  

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.  May he rest in peace.  Amen.  May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.  Amen.

William L. “Bill” Trace, 76, of 31 S. Church St., Waynesboro, Pa., died Sunday, March 20, 2011, at his home. The family will receive friends Wednesday from 6 to 8  p.m. at Grove-Bowersox Funeral Home, Waynesboro. The service will be Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at the funeral home with the Rev. Joseph C. Carolin officiating. Burial will follow in Green Hill Cemetery, Waynesboro.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Funeral Homily for Judy Clement

Praised be Jesus Christ!  Now and forever!

Your Excellency, Bishop McFadden, I'm sorry to steal your line - but I can think of no better way to begin this homily than this: Praised be Jesus Christ!  Now and forever!  THAT is what Judy's life was all about - praising Jesus Christ - AND bringing others to praise Him as well in His Holy Catholic Church.

Some of you here may be asking a very difficult question: why?  Why did something like this happen to such a wonderful and beautiful person?  Why would this happen to such a loving, holy family?

We should be asking ourselves that question - because any time a tragedy like this happens it causes us to confront THE question that is in search of an answer.  Judy knew that answer: Jesus Christ is the answer!

If we want to find the answer - wee cannot look here in this world - to anger or vengance, to retaliation or to "what if..."

The definitive answer only comes when we gaze upon Christ crucified.  We may ask ourselves, "Why did THAT [the crucifixion] have to happen?  Just as we ask ourselves now, "Why did THIS [Judy's death] have to happen?"  Christ could have come down from the Cross when they mocked Him.  God could cause any events here on earth to be different.  But God CHOSE this way to show us one thing: what love really is.

Pope John Paul II, when he visited the United States in 1995, said:

"Jesus Christ is the answer to the question posed by every huamn life, and the love of Christ compels us to share that great good news with everyone.  We believe that the Death and Resurrection of Christ reveal the true meaning of human existence; therefore nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in our hearts.  Christ died for all, so we must be at the service of all.  'The Spirit God has given us is no cowardly spirit... Therefore, never be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord' (2 Tim 1:8)."  (Pope John Paul II address at Oriole Park)

This is why we chose today's 2nd reading from Saint Paul's 2nd Letter to Timothy:

"The time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths" (2 Tim 4:3-4).  

What we, as Catholics, believe, what Judy believed, is no myth - but a person - Jesus Christ.  Pope Benedict put it this way in his 1st encyclical, Deus Caritas Est - God is Love: "Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives live a new horizon and a decisive direction."

That event, that person - Jesus Christ - is who we encounter in the Most Holy Eucharist - we encounter the Living God - the source of our life and are nourished and strengthened to live - not just an ethical norm - but for a person - THE person who gives our lives their meaning.  Judy didn't fall in love with a mere ethical norm - but with Christ.

This is why Saint Paul's words to Timothy held such a strong place in Judy's life:

"I, Paul, charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching" (2 Tim 4:1-2).

Judy proclaimed the truth with her life and her joy.  The children in her CCD class this past Sunday, reflecting on "Miss Judy" said this: "She was REAL."  Yes she was!  She was a REAL Catholic Christian.  people were open to Judy and listened to Judy because she, herself, was convinced by the Truths of salvation revealed to us by Christ in the teachings of the Catholic Church - and she wanted ALL of us to be just as convinced.  Look at her life:

  • Preaching about Natural Family Planning is not convenient - especially when you have 9 children and have been pregnant a total of 15 times!  But she and David did it - because it's the TRUTH.
  • Convincing people that abortion takes the life of an innocent child is not an easy task in today's world that "no longer tolerates sound doctrine, but follows its own desires" (2 Tim 4:3) - not Christ's desires.  This world has stopped listening to the Truth - but Judy never stopped proclaiming it.
  • Teaching her family always to forgive - as Christ forgave from the cross - which leads this family, even now, to be echoing the words of Jesus: "Father, forgive them." 
  • Judy love the Holy Eucharist - because it is here in this tabernacle, in the monstrance at the adoration chapel, that we ourselves encounter the Living Christ who has triumphed over suffering and death - and so we are convinced and convicted of the Truth - which is Christ Himself. 
    • For the Jews in today's Gospel (John 6:51-58), Jesus' teaching on the Holy Eucharist - His True presence Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist- was too much.
    • But He did not water down the Truth - but insisted that unless we eat His Flesh and drink His Blood we do not have life within us.
    • It was Christ Himself who taught us what the Eucharist is - the Bread of Life that gives us eternal life - and His teaching has been handed on to us through 2000 years of Sacred Tradition - the Sacred "handing on" of Christ's teachings.
  • Judy was wholly devoted to the Blessed Mother - not as a diversion from Christ, her Son, but as the gateway To Him.
    • She saw Mary as the most faithful of Christ's disciples and lived the final words that the Sacred Scriptures put on Mary's tongue: "Do whatever He tells you."
    • She never stopped speaking of the POWER of the Holy Rosary - "it's the most powerful prayer" - she would tell everyone - because it leads us to Christ Her Son.
In this Holy Mass, we pray not only for Dave and Theresa, Paul, Jess, James, Laura, Robert, Luke, Maria and Thomas - we pray not only for ourselves - we pray for Judy - just as we hear in our 1st reading from Maccabees, (2 Macc 12:43-46) we pray for the dead becuase we have the resurrection of the dead in view.  And fror many, these prayers after death are the way that those souls, not yet perfected and purified, those souls in purgatory are aided as they are made ready to see God face-to-face.

There is no EARTHLY answer to our "why" - but if we look to God - to Christ Crucified, we discover that God entered into human existence, into human suffering and pain and mourning and even death itself - and took it upon Himself to REDEEM it - to make it the means to transforming our world - and, if we see beyond the answers this world gives, we see the doorway to eternal blessedness.

Our Lord did not shy away from suffering, but, rather, taking the ONE thing with which we can all identify (suffering), He wholly embraces it - He uses it as the means to our redemption.  Today, each of us is being invited to enter through the narrow gate of suffering to discover that door to blessedness - and not only today, but in all the daily  sufferings and struggles of life; because what we see on the cross does not end with His passion, suffering and death - but rather merely opens us up to the possibility of Eternal life.

This is what enables this family to be so strong - sorrowful, yes - but only for ourselves - not for Judy.

Judy's faith - our Catholic faith - is not about any emotional response - but about the Truth.  Emotions (sorrow, suffering, joy) come and go.  Only one thing remains: the Truth.  Know the Truth!  Know Jesus Christ!  Follow Him!  And you'll find out what made Judy, the woman that we love, you'll discover what made Judy the faith-filled woman she was.

The answer?  Jesus Christ.

Praised be Jesus Christ.  Now and forever.  Amen.

Bishop McFadden's Lenten Pastoral Letter

March 3, 2011
My brothers and sisters in the Lord,

“Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.” (Is 53:11)

As we begin the season of Lent, I want to encourage you to use these next six weeks as a time of prayer and reflection on what God has done for us in and through the suffering, death and resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. As the Church begins to prepare for the solemn celebration of Easter, each of us is invited to deepen our commitment to living out the Christian life that has been given to us in Baptism.  This Christian life is nothing less than a sharing in the Divine Life of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The season of Lent has a certain penitential aspect to it: we are called to recognize that, while we have been given a share in the risen life of Christ through Baptism, too often our lives do not reflect the values and moral principles which are integral to this new life in Christ. For this reason, the Church invites us during this time of prayer and reflection to reform our lives based on those Gospel values taught to us by Jesus and to turn away from sin that separates us from the very life the Lord wishes to share with us. For Ash Wednesday has reminded us, “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.”  Therefore, it is a time for honesty. When we are honest with ourselves, we know that, too often, we are not the people the Lord calls us to be. Too often, we do not work consciously to help build up His Kingdom, as He asks. Too often, we happily claim the name of Catholic but fall short in daily living out our faith. The Good News is that the Lord already knows this. He knows that we are weak and sinful.  This is why He sent His Son into the world, “not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (Jn 3:16) Thus, we are a people who proclaim the death of Jesus. We acclaim His suffering and death as atonement for our sins and our failures as God’s people. At the same time, we are also a people that acknowledge that our God is loving and merciful. He constantly calls us to new beginnings. Lent is one of these new beginnings that invites us to start anew on the road leading to a fuller share in the resurrected life of Jesus, fulfilling the promise God has placed in each one of us to truly be His adopted sons and daughters in Christ.
Traditionally, the Church offers us three practices to follow as we journey the path through Lent.  They help us to embrace more fully the gift of eternal life given to us by God and they help us to be transformed more into the likeness of Jesus, the Son of God. These three practices are prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

As we look at the life of Jesus, we see that communion with God the Father through prayer was an integral part of His human life. The Gospel accounts speak frequently of Jesus retreating to a quiet and deserted place to pray. Often, we are told, He would spend significant time in prayer (cf. Mk 1:35; 6:46; Lk 5:16). In those moments, we can find the Lord Jesus encouraged by the Father to fulfill the work He was sent to accomplish. I am sure that the Lord Jesus shared with His Father the particular challenges that He was facing and, perhaps, asked for advice and help in accomplishing the Father’s will (cf. Lk 22:41-44). Prayer strengthened Jesus to say, “Let it be as you would have it, not as I. ... Your will be done!” (Mt 26:39, 42) In one particular account, we are told that Jesus spent a night on the mountain in prayer and discernment prior to calling the Apostles to be His close collaborators in the work of the Gospel (Lk 6:12-16). Thus, through the example of Jesus, the disciples themselves came to recognize the importance of prayer and repeatedly asked the Lord, “Teach us to pray.” (Lk 11:1)
During the season of Lent, the Church encourages us to follow the example of Jesus and to deepen our own prayer life. Just as the Father accompanied Jesus during His earthly life through the communion of prayer, He will accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage through prayer.  We simply need to take the time and allow Him to be part of our daily life. I ask you to make a commitment this Lent to setting aside a period of time each day or evening when you can open your mind and heart to the Lord in prayer. This does not need to be a long period of time. Great blessings can come from setting aside fifteen or twenty minutes to be in prayerful communion with the Lord. Let your prayer be simple, taking the Bible as a starting point and reflectively reading a passage. Use your imagination and quietly think about the scene and what the Lord wants us to know about Him through His actions or through His words in the scene you contemplate. As Pope Benedict XVI reminds us in his 2011 Lenten message, “the Gospel texts … lead us to a particularly intense encounter with the Lord.” This is the power of prayer.
The Church points to another practice taken from the life of Jesus that can also help us during the Lenten season. We are given the opportunity to enter into periods of fasting. We see clearly in the life of Jesus that He fasted before He undertook His public ministry; He spent forty days in the desert in fasting and prayer (cf. Mt 4:1-17; Mk 1:12-13; Lk 4:1-13). Fasting helps us to rely more fully on God and to appreciate more deeply the gifts God has given us in our life. When we fast from food and drink, we grow in our awareness of the God who calls us to life and who sustains us each and every day. Pope Benedict XVI instructs us in one of his previous Lenten messages that denying material food, which nourishes our body, nurtures an interior disposition to listen to Christ and to be fed by His saving word.  Through the practice of fasting, we allow the Lord to come and satisfy the deepest hunger that we experience in the depths of our being: the hunger and thirst for God. The Psalmist’s words become our own, “Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.” (Ps 42:3)

While the Church asks us to fast and abstain from meat on the six Fridays of Lent, I would suggest something more: that each person might consider fasting at least three days a week, eating only one full meal a day and not eating between meals. The other two meals that one eats during the day should not equal the full meal. In this way, we can start to appreciate more fully the teaching of Jesus that “man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4)
In suggesting almsgiving to us as another appropriate practice to foster during Lent, the Church encourages us to become more aware of our need to care for the poor and the suffering in our world.  God, Himself, reveals to us that He has a special love for the poor and the downtrodden. In the Scriptures, Jesus constantly calls those who would be His disciples to develop a special affection for the poor (cf. Lk 6:20-22, Mt 8:20; Mk 12:41-44). Saint Paul reminds us in his writings that one of the marks of the authenticity of his apostleship is the effort he made to collect alms to be used for the poor (cf. 2 Cor 9). We know that Saint Paul, when coming to Jerusalem to explain his work among the Gentiles, was told by the Apostles to make sure that his ministry was “mindful of the poor.” (cf. Gal 2:10)
During Lent, we have the opportunity to confirm our discipleship of the Lord through almsgiving. Through the sacrifices we make to help the poor, we can enter more deeply into the life of God, who “is love” (cf. 1 Jn 4:8), and become instruments of His love and mercy in our world.
Often, many entering into the spirit and Lent decide to give up something from their normal routine as a sacrifice to God. It may be a favorite food or beverage. It may be some activity that they enjoy doing. For some, this has become an annual ritual. While I do not want to discourage this type of penance, especially if it helps one spiritually enter into the season, I do want to suggest something that each of us might consider giving up this Lent. I invite you to “give up your guilt.” What does this mean? This is something I have prayed about and thought about for some time. It seems to me that there are many people carrying around with them a burden that is at once not necessary and, at the same time, stifling their growth in the Christian life and their relationship with God. This Lent, give up your guilt and lay your burden aside so that you may live out “the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Rom 8:21)
To find this freedom, look to the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. I know that there are a good number of people who have not been to the Sacrament of Penance for a significant period of time. There are also some people who have used the Sacrament of Penance in recent times but have not been entirely honest in their confession. Perhaps there has been some sin or evil committed in the past that they were not able to confess and they continue to carry around that burden with them. Consequently, they feel guilty and do not enjoy the peace and serenity that the Lord wants them to have. This can be compounded by the antagonism of the devil who continues to accuse them as being unworthy of God’s love or that the Lord will never forgive.
This Lent, I am suggesting that we give up any guilt we may have about our past failures and sins and come into the healing light of the love of Jesus Christ. Remember what He tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.” (Mt 11:25-30) Through the confession of all of our sins, we replace the heavy burden of guilt with the light yoke of the Lord’s love and peace. For this reason He has come, as Isaiah prophesied, “Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.” (Is 53:11) Rather than deciding on something to give up this Lent or finding another Lenten sacrifice, let us give to the Lord the sacrifice He desires from us. Through the words of Psalmist, the Lord tells us what He desires more than anything is “a humble and contrite heart.” (Ps 51:19)
It is my prayer, that during this Lenten season, every Catholic in the Diocese of Harrisburg will take the time to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. I ask you to rediscover the magnificent gift that Jesus gave to us on the night of His Resurrection when He breathed upon the Apostles and told them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them; whose sins you retain, they are retained.” (Jn 21:23) This forgiveness is the real fruit of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. For, it is the love of God poured out on us through Christ Jesus in the sacramental life of the Church. If we do nothing more than celebrate the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation this Lenten season, giving up our guilt, I am sure that it will be more than a sufficient offering to please the Lord.

In closing, I ask Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to accompany us on our Lenten journey so that on Easter morning we may be surrounded by the light of her risen Son and filled with His peace.
Sincerely yours in Jesus,
+ Joseph P. McFadden
Bishop Joseph P. McFadden
Bishop of Harrisburg

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Judy Clement

Judithann Lauraine (Augustus) Clement, 45, of Waynesboro passed into eternal life on Thursday, March 17, 2011. Her death was attributed to injuries she sustained from an automobile accident.

Judy, as she was affectionately known by friends and family, was born on July 31, 1965, in Fullerton, Calif. She was the daughter of Rita E. Augustus and the late Charles E. Augustus of Nipomo, Calif. She graduated from St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria, Calif., and then went on to receive an associate’s degree in liberal arts from Allan Hancock College, also in Santa Maria, Calif. After her marriage to her Air Force sweetheart, David Clement, on July 5, 1985, she and her husband lived in a number of locations including Vandenburg Air Force Base, Calif., Dayton, Ohio, Richmond, Va., and San Antonio, Texas. She and her family have been Waynesboro residents since 1996.

The beloved wife was the mother of nine children and was a pillar in the community. Although she considered herself a full-time mother and homeschooled her five younger children, Judy was extremely involved in activities outside her home. In her parish of St. Andrew the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, Mrs. Clement was a Confirmation Instructor for more than 15 years. Judy was very engaged in the spiritual development of youth and served as the youth group advisor for 10 years. She was also a member of the parish Council of Catholic Women. Through the Diocese of Harrisburg, Judy and her husband taught Marriage Preparation Classes, including being mentors for engaged couples for 15 years. Because of their commitment to the true meaning of marriage, Judy and her husband became certified instructors of Natural Family Planning and taught that method for 25 years. Mrs. Clement was totally committed to the pro-life cause and participated in activities that promoted the sanctity of life.

Her energy, athleticism and enthusiasm were unmatched and always evident in her endeavors. An avid racquetball player at the Waynesboro YMCA, Judy also participated in many other community activities, including high school band boosters and coaching soccer, Little League baseball and Odyssey of the Mind. Judy never had anything but a kind word for everyone she met and was always ready to help anyone in need. The parish community as well as the community at large will miss this amazing woman.

Mrs. Clement is survived by her husband, David S. Clement, of 25 years and her mother, Rita E. Augustus of Redding, Calif. In addition, she is survived by her nine children, Theresa of Memphis, Tenn., Paul at Penn State University, Jessica and James at Catholic University of America, Laura, Robert, Luke, Maria and Thomas, all at home. She is also survived by three sisters, Carolyn Irwin, Suzanne Oseguera and Linda Tyler, as well as 26 nieces and nephews and six grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

In addition to her father, she was preceded in death by her six unborn children.

The family will receive the community on Monday, March 21, 2011, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Grove-Bowersox Funeral Home, 50 S. Broad St., Waynesboro. A Vigil for the Deceased will be at 6 p.m. The Rosary will be recited at 8:30 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 22, 2011, at St. Andrew the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, 12 N. Broad St., Waynesboro. Following Mass, A Rite of Committal will be held at St. Andrew Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Pregnancy Resource Center, 220 S. Potomac St., Waynesboro, Pa. 17268.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Solemnity of Saint Joseph - Parish Day of Service

Today the Universal Church celebrates the Solemnity of Saint Joseph - the Husband of Mary.  Remembering Saint Joseph, following an ancient tradition, our parish is reaching out to the poor and needy today - today is our parish Day of Service - working on several projects at the New Hope Shelter (painting and repairing drywall) and bringing items the shelter needs to church this weekend to share with the poor.  It is one of many the ways that our parish family is reaching out to those in need. 
Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture and that has seemed too little for those who made up legends about him.

We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, "Is this not the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:55). He wasn't rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).

Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage.  Luke and  Matthew disagree about some details of Joseph's genealogy, but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as "son of David," a royal title used also for Jesus. 

We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He planned to divorce Mary according to the law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety. He knew that women accused to adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty (Matthew 1:19-25).

We know Joseph was a man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him without knowing the outcome. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23).

We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return settled in the obscure town of Nazareth out of fear for his life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple we are told Joseph (along with Mary) searched with great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48). We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son for over and over the people of Nazareth say of Jesus, "Is this not the son of Joseph?" (Luke 4:22)

We know Joseph respected God. He followed God's commands in handling the situation with Mary and going to Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised and Mary purified after Jesus' birth. We are told that he took his family to Jerusalem every year for Passover, something that could not have been easy for a working man.

Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph probably had died before Jesus entered public ministry.

Joseph is the patron of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus' public life, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.

Joseph is also patron of the universal Church, fathers, carpenters, and social justice.

We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: today, March 19 for Joseph, the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Saint Joseph the Worker (the origin of even communist "May Day" celebrations).

There is much we wish we could know about Saint Joseph -- where and when he was born, how he spent his days, when and how he died. But Sacred Scripture has left us with the most important knowledge: who he was -- "a righteous man" (Matthew 1:18).

Friday, March 18, 2011

Judy Clement Funeral Arrangements

Funeral arrangements have been finalized for Judy Clement.

Monday, March 21, Viewing from 6-8:30pm at Grove-Bowersox
Vigil Scripture service at 6pm; Rosary at 8:30pm

Mass of Christian Burial - Tuesday, March 22 at 10am - St. Andrew the Apostle Church
We have made arrangements for overflow in the parish hall with simulcast and seating.

The full obituary will be posted soon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Judy Clement

Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish joins the Clement family in prayer as we mourn the death of Judy in a car accident.  I spent the day with the family and they are, as ever, strong in faith.  The priest who was with Judy and David at the hospital spoke of a "sad but holy death."  The outpouring of love and support from our parish family speaks to who we are, and who Judy is for all of us.  Please continue to pray for the family as they go into these next few days and the future.  

At this time funeral plans are still to be made, but I will certainly update the blog with funeral information as details come together.

Thanks to all for their calls and emails of support.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.  May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.

Saint Patrick - Top of the Morning to 'ya

Today is the Feast of Saint Patrick - the principal Patron of the Diocese of Harrisburg.  So, just like next coming Friday (March 25 - the Solemnity of the Annunciation), today is NOT a day of Lent, but a day of celebration for us in the Diocese of Harrisburg - and everyone who, at least for today, becomes Irish.  By the way, today is a Holy Day of Obligation in Ireland.

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints.  He is considered the apostle of Ireland.  Along with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, the secular world shares our love of these saints. This is also a day when everyone's Irish. There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his story.

Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Roman citizens living in Britian who were in charge of the Roman colonies there.   As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raid and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep.  At this time in history, Ireland was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.

During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote

"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."

Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from  God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.  He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more."

He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.

Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland on March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.

Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message.

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.   He died at Saul, where he had built the first church. 

Why a shamrock?  Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Construction Begins - and they're off!

On Sunday, March 13, following the 10:45am Mass, Father Bateman and a group of parishioners gathered in the parish parking lot to bless the ground for our new offices.  Construction.  It's an important moment in the life of our parish, as we begin an expansion that will better serve our parish and school.  The Parish Office, located along North Broad Street, will have offices for Regina Plummer (parish secretary), Mary Little (finance), Father Bateman and a "yet-to-be-named" development director.  In addition it will have a multi-purpose area and a meeting area (able to be divided into two small meeting rooms).  There will also be restrooms and an area in which to serve coffee and refreshments.

The school office building will become the main entrance to the school building - housing the school secretary, a private office for the principal of the school, our Director of Religious Education (Peg Wagaman), the Lincoln Intermediate Unit (the big yellow van) will have space in the building for our students, restrooms and a meeting room (again including a refreshment area).

It's all very exciting as this new phase of our parish development begins!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Busy 1st Weekend of Lent

So much happening this weekend!
Dome of St. Patrick Cathedral, Harrisburg
  • During the 4pm Saturday evening Mass, the members of our RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) will celebrate the "Rite of Sending."  They have been studying and learning and praying for months, and at this Mass the celebrate a significant moment in their preparation to receive the Easter Sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation & Eucharist).  During Mass we will formally send them, with our blessings, to Bishop McFadden who, on Sunday afternoon, will officially welcome them as members of the "Elect" - those preparing to be baptized at the Easter Vigil.  Those who will celebrate this Rite are: Paul Brandes, Janis Coyle, Shane Strommer, Paul Frechette, Randy Freeman, Kurt Kemerer, Courtney Lake, Brooke Mendyka, Christopher Garling, Nathan Frechette & Corey Rodgers.

  • Following the 10:45am Mass we will officially bless and break ground for our new parish & school office buildings - construction will begin on Monday, March 14.  What a wonderful moment in the life of our parish!  New, accessible offices which will provide suitable areas in which our staff can work - and new spaces for additional meetings.  A much needed addition!

  • Then, on Sunday afternoon, the actual Rite of Election with Bishop McFadden at Saint Patrick Cathedral in Harrisburg.  The Rite of Election marks the beginning of the final, intensive period of preparation of catechumens (those not baptized) for the sacraments of initiation, celebrated at the Easter Vigil.
Saint Patrick Cathedral, Harrisburg
During the ceremony, the church, through the person of the bishop "elects” the catechumens, declaring that they will receive the sacraments of initiation at the vigil. From the time of the Rite of Election until the time of their initiation, the catechumens are referred to as “members of the elect."
Around the country, there are usually about 150,000 people who join the church every year through the RCIA process.  Here at Saint Andrew we have had extraordinarily large classes the last two years.  Here in the Diocese of Harrisburg there is such a large number of people joining the Church that we cannot bring all of them to the Cathedral for one ceremony, so we celebrate two (one at 3pm and another at 7pm).  
Also during that ceremony we celebrated the “Call to Continuing Conversion,” in which those individuals already baptized who are preparing for entrance into the Catholic Church are recognized and encouraged to continue their spiritual preparation.

The RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) actually is comprised of 4 separate periods of formation:


Nave of St. Patrick Cathedral, Harrisburg
The first stage is called the period of inquiry (or the precatechumenate). This is when the individual first expresses an interest in becoming a Christian or a Catholic, and begins to explore, with the help of the parish community, what his or her relationship with Christ might be and how that might be enriched and deepened by joining this Christian community. There is no liturgical rite to mark the beginning of this stage. This period of inquiry may last several months or several years and ends either when the inquirer decides against continuing in this direction or when the inquirer feels ready to move on and the community is prepared to welcome him or her.


The second stage is called the catechumenate and, for the unbaptized listed above, who are now called catechumens, should last no less than one full year. For the baptized but uncatechized the period should be a similar length. For the candidates for full communion, this stage could well be much shorter. The Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens and the Rite of Welcoming mark the beginning of this stage, and our parish celebrated this rite back in September. Catechesis for this period is rooted in the Lectionary and the Word as it is proclaimed in the midst of the community (which is why they are ordinarily “dismissed” from the 10:45am Mass to continue “breaking open the Word”). This is also a time for the catechumen or candidate to learn how to live as a Catholic Christian. This period ends when the catechumens and candidates express their desire to receive the sacraments of initiation and the community acknowledges their readiness.

Purification and Enlightenment

The third stage is the period of purification and enlightenment is what they celebrated yesterday, the First Sunday of Lent. During this time the elect (formerly the catechumens) and the candidates enter into a period of intense preparation and prayer which includes the three public celebrations of the scrutinies and is marked by the presentations of the Creed (8am on Saturday, March 13) and the Lord's Prayer 8am on Saturday, March 27). This period ends with the celebration of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. (Note: only the elect are baptized. All the groups are confirmed and welcomed to the Table of the Eucharist.)


The fourth stage is the period of post baptismal catechesis or mystagogy. At this time, the newly initiated explore their experience of being fully initiated through participation with all the faithful at Sunday Eucharist and through appropriate catechesis. The period formally lasts through the Easter season and may be marked by a parish celebration on or near Pentecost. On a more informal level, mystagogy is a lifelong process, one that all Christians are engaged in, as we all work to deepen our sense of what it means to live the Christian life.
Last year's RCIA group at the Rite of Election

Interested? Want to learn more?

Then just contact us! Peg Wagaman (our parish DRE) or I will be happy to discuss with you the specifics of the initiation process here at Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish. Know that the prayers of a 65 million Catholics in the United States and the 1.2 Billion Catholics around the world are with you as you complete your journey. God be with you!