Pastor's Message - May 27, 2018
"Brothers and sisters: Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him." ~Romans 8
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
Our annual St. Rita Fiesta begins next Friday and Saturday. Lots of food, live music, games and a great car show! Bring the whole family!
A special thank you goes out to our Fiesta planning committee who have donated countless hours in organization and sponsorship promotion and to our generous sponsors for helping us make it all possible.
Note that next weekend, because of the Fiesta, the Saturday evening mass will be at 4pm. There will be golf cart taxis at the ready to assist people in arriving to the front door of church.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. It is because of Jesus that we can begin to understand the Trinitarian mystery of God. Jesus made countless references to his relationship to his Heavenly Father. In the Gospel of John we read, "I and the Father are one."(John 10:30) On the same page we also read the phrase... "He who sees me sees the Father." John 12:45) Jesus never distinguishes himself as separate or apart from his Heavenly Father's person or His will. Jesus and His Father are of a perfect unity.
In John 15:26, Jesus also tells the disciples he would send his disciples an "Advocate - the Spirit of Truth" who would come to them from the Father to help and guide them. Years later, in the year 325, a synod of Bishops from around the world came together to define in writing the current description of what we now call the "Nicene Creed." Here is the Nicene Creed below with a few of my personal notes added:
"I believe in one God, (Christians understand God as ONE God-not separate gods) the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible (everything we know and don't yet know ultimately comes from the hand of God) I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God,(and fully God) born of the Father before all ages- (Jesus exists eternally even before his incarnation) God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, (perfect being) consubstantial (means Jesus is one and the same) with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men (and women too!) and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man (Jesus is God who becomes also human flesh because of the Virgin Mary). For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. (In the second coming of Jesus, we will render an accounting of our lives)
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. (The Holy Spirit is also fully God) I believe in one, holy, catholic (the word catholic means universal) and apostolic Church. (Our faith is clearly rooted in the eyewitness testimony of the Apostles.) I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins (baptism removes our separation from God due to original sin) and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come." (Jesus promises us eternal life with Him!)
Imagine eternal life with God with all of our dreams fulfilled! No more death, illness, sin and hatred, bloodshed, disease, torment, or harm.
Let us draw closer to the Holy Trinity through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist and help our family and our fellow brothers and sisters to do the same.
May God bless you this week.
Pastor's Message - May 20, 2018
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.” ~Acts 1
Happy Pentecost! This weekend we celebrate the birthday of the Church as we recall the promise of Jesus before his ascension into heaven that he would send his disciples, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. The disciples were filled with tremendous joy, knowing that God would always be with them. Even languages no longer became an obstacle to spreading the Good News.
The Feast of Pentecost fulfills the liturgical journey of the Easter Season we began at Ash Wednesday. But it is not simply a static historical occasion. The Holy Spirit continues to act within our Church today. The message and work of Jesus is proclaimed in the Gospel and in the sacramental life celebrated throughout the year. Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, Marriages, and Ordinations are all part of that journey we share with those who were eyewitnesses of Jesus.
On the 26th of May at Sacred Heart Cathedral at 10:00am our Diocese will joyfully celebrate the ordinations of
Permanent Deacons: Michael P. Kristan, Binh-Yen N. Nguyen, and James P. Pegoni
Transitional Deacons: Matthew J. Walter and Daniel L. White
Then on Saturday, June 2nd at Sacred Heart at 10:00am, there will be the priesthood ordination of:
Deacon Jeff Chichester who will be assigned to St. Joseph/Holy Spirit.
We have much to be grateful for. Let us pray for and encourage other young men to consider the priesthood. We very much need workers for the vineyard!
Please see the note below from Joe Kwiatkowski, our Music Director, who shares a wonderful opportunity that was presented to him. We are certainly grateful to Joe for his short stay with us and wish him well as he continues on his musical journey. We will begin a new search process for the St. Rita music position while Joe completes his time with us.
May God bless you and your family this Pentecost!
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Greetings St. Rita Church Community,
I am sharing with both sadness and excitement that I have recently accepted a position at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts to be their newest Campus Minister and Director of Liturgical Music. My anticipated last day here at St. Rita will be the 10:30am Mass on Sunday, July 29th.
This change was not something I was actively seeking because I have very much enjoyed my time here and all of the people I have met.
God sends us signs that encourage us to follow a path. That is what I feel happened here. On the very same day two people, both of whom I highly respect, sent me the Assumption College job posting. As God works in mysterious ways, this is an opportunity that professionally I would be a fool to pass up. I really have adored my time here, both in church and with everyone at school.
My time here was never meant to be a “one and done” transition. My parents were the main reason for my move back to the Rochester area, and they said of this opportunity, “You are still just a car ride and phone call away. And you’ll have the summers off to come back to annoy . . . I mean visit us.”
I sincerely thank you for welcoming me into your community and allowing me to be a part of St. Rita Church and School.
Pastor's Message - May 13, 2018
“When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.”
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and for all women who love and nurture others.
Next weekend we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. This is the traditional time many will wear the color red at mass and/or ring a hand bell during the Gloria as we remember the "tongues of fire" described in the first chapter of the Book of Acts. The disciples, once filled with fear, now knew with certainty that God was with them as Jesus sent the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, to fill them with gifts that would fortify them and give them courage, even the ability to speak various languages so that the Gospel could be proclaimed.
There is no doubt that this event was a powerful one. They emerged from that encounter with God fully transformed from fear to tremendous courage. This courage meant that even if life itself were threatened (and it would be) because they proclaimed the saving name of Jesus, then the disciples would unanimously give their own lives to faithfully proclaim the Gospel without hesitation. They knew that even persecution and death could not suppress the plan of God. Jesus has been crucified and put to death, but he has also risen from the dead!
For many people living the Christian faith, even in modern times, persecution and death are the reality of living the Gospel. But with Jesus, and with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, nothing will truly stop the plan of God that is still unfolding today. As we hear in Romans 8:35, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" No, because in all of these things we overcome these struggles because of the Holy Name of Jesus.
Don't forget the color red and your bell!
May God bless you this week!
Pastor's Message - May 6, 2018
"Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” ~John 15
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
We congratulate the second group of our St. Rita children who gathered in church this past Saturday morning receive their First Holy Communion. Happy parents, grandparents and family gathered for this joy-filled Mass. Our parish is truly blessed in this Diocesan 150 year Anniversary and Year of the Holy Eucharist.
The weekend celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the premier and most important event of the parish community. Like the hub on a wheel, the Celebration of the Mass keeps us rooted firmly in Christ. All other parish activities, as important as they are, revolve around the hub of the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. (Notice all the interchangeable terms used to refer to the Mass!)
Why is Sunday Mass so important? The reason is Jesus! The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offers us an intimate relationship with God as found expressed in Jesus. The presence of Jesus is found within the "Word" that we read in Scripture, in the Reflection of the homily, in the Universal Prayer offered for our brothers and sisters in need, and in the summary we express in the Profession of Faith.
We find Jesus in the offering given to support the larger mission of the church and in the anticipation of what Jesus will do with the gifts of bread and wine that are brought forward and placed on the Altar. We find the living presence of Jesus in the midst of the Eucharistic Prayer and consecration of the elements of bread and wine that become for us the actual Body and Blood of Christ. No longer just bread and wine, these elements are transformed by "transubstantiation" into Jesus himself. Using the words and action of Jesus at his command, as described at the Last Supper, the priest prays and recites the words of Jesus over the gifts of bread and wine so that they become for us the Body and Blood of Christ.
Together we receive Jesus at the time of "Holy Communion." The sacramental reception of Jesus into our own hearts, into our very being, into our own flesh and blood, is an astounding gift! We don't have to travel to a distant place to find God. We only need to let God enter the locked doors of our inner being and trust in his Son Jesus. Jesus always spoke in intimate terms of his unitive and perfect relationship with his Heavenly Father.
By receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, we intimately unite with the same loving and merciful Triune God.
May God bless you and your family!