MASS SCHEDULE: 25 DECEMBER - 01 JANUARY
SAINT
JOSEPH CHURCH
GIRARDVILLE

Saturday, 24 December
Vigil of Christmas
05:30 pm — ANTHONY, MARY and JUNE ANN ROWLAND
by Eileen Rowland

Sunday, 25 December
Christmas: The Nativity of the Lord (Sol)
12:00 mid — ANTHONY CATIZONE
by Rosemary Zelli
10:00 am — JOHN ELENCHIN
by OPM
11:30 am — Living and Deceased BISHOPS, PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS
Diocese of Allentown (50th anniversary)
by Brian Michael Purcell and family

Monday, 26 December
St. Stephen, protomartyr (Fst)
08:00 am — SPECIAL INTENTION
by OPM

Tuesday, 27 December
St. John, apostle, evangelist (Fst)
07:00 pm — SPECIAL INTENTION
by OPM

Wednesday, 28 December
The Holy Innocents (Fst)
08:00 am — SPECIAL INTENTION
by OPM

Thursday, 29 December
St. Thomas Becket, bishop, martyr (OptMem)
08:00 am — SPECIAL INTENTION
by OPM

Friday, 30 December
The Holy Family: Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Fst)
08:00 am — SPECIAL INTENTION
by OPM

Saturday, 31 December
St. Sylvester I, pope, martyr (OptMem)
08:00 am — GEORGE VICTOR STROBL
rescheduled from 17 Dec
Vigil of Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
05:30 pm — NED H. LANG
by the Lang and the Getzey families

Sunday, 01 January
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
11:30 am — MARY ROWLAND (19th anniversary)
by her daughter, Eileen

 MASS SCHEDULE: 25 DECEMBER - 01 JANUARY
SAINT
Vincent dePAUL CHURCH
GIRARDVILLE 
     

Saturday, 24 December
Vigil of Christmas
04:00 pm — EDWARD M. WASCAVAGE
by his sister, Samantha
09:00 pm — DECEASED: CONNELL, KARVOIS, FISHER and MARTIN FAMILIES
by the Connell family

Sunday, 25 December
Christmas: The Nativity of the Lord (Sol)
08:30 am — DONALD J. MISAVAGE
by Michael and Margaret Yesalavage

Monday, 26 December
St. Stephen, protomartyr (Fst)
7:00 pm — SPECIAL INTENTION
by OPM

Tuesday, 27 December
St. John, apostle, evangelist (Fst)
08:00 am — MARY FORTE LaSELVA
by Debra Deramo McDonald and sons Ryan and Justin

Wednesday, 28 December
The Holy Innocents (Fst)
07:00 pm — BLASE JOHN DRAUGELIS
by his sisters, Mary and Florence

Thursday, 29 December
St. Thomas Becket, bishop, martyr (OptMem)
07:00 pm — SPECIAL INTENTION
by OPM

Friday, 30 December
The Holy Family: Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Fst)
05:00 pm — SPECIAL INTENTION
by OPM

Saturday, 31 December
Vigil of Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
04:00 pm — ANDREW and MARY POWLICK
by John and Barbara Petrousky

Sunday, 01 January
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
08:30 am — DECEASED: LUCAS and WHITNEY FAMILIES
by the Whitney family

stjos/stvdp: 12.25.2011 - 01


COLLECTION TOTALS FROM LAST WEEKEND:
17 / 18 DECEMBER


Saint Joseph Parish
:
Receipts for parish purposes: $1,222.00 from the Sunday envelopes; $65.00 from the second collection (plate); $40.00 from the Dues envelopes; $77.00 from the Building maintenance envelopes; $44.00 from the loose.
Total: $1,448.00
Receipts for non-parish purposes: — $40.00 from the Retired Religious envelopes —
Analysis: When one deducts from the total of the receipts for parish purposes ($1,448.00) our weekly financial obligation to the Diocese, i.e. assessments ($329.54), plus our weekly premium for property and casualty insurance ($464.00), plus our weekly subsidy to Trinity Academy ($358.17), the sum total of which is $1,151.17, one sees that $296.83 is available from this collection for operating the parish.

Saint Vincent DePaul Parish:
Receipts for parish purposes: $978.00 from the Sunday envelopes; $91.00 from the second collection (plate); $17.00 from the Dues envelopes; $13.00 from the Building maintenance envelopes; $44.00 from the loose.
Total: $1,143.00
Receipts for non-parish purposes: — $10.00 from the Retired Religious envelopes —
Analysis: When one deducts from the total of the receipts for parish purposes ($1,143.00) our weekly financial obligation to the Diocese, i.e. assessments ($229.38), plus our weekly premium for property and casualty insurance ($282.46), plus our weekly subsidy to Trinity Academy ($250.98), the sum total of which is $762.82, one sees that $380.18 is available from this collection for operating the parish.

CONFESSION SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Wednesday, 28 December
02:30 to 03:30 pm
St. Vincent dePaul Church

Thursday, 29 December
06:00 to 07:00 pm
St. Vincent dePaul Church

Friday, 30 December
06:30 to 07:30 pm
St. Joseph Chapel

EXPOSITION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

Wednesday, 28 December
02:00 to 04:00 pm
St. Vincent dePaul Church
Scripture Rosary at about 03:40 pm

Friday, 30 December
06:00 to 08:00 pm
St. Joseph Chapel
Vespers at about 07:30 pm, followed by Chaplet of Divine Mercy

WOULD ANYONE LIKE TO JOIN ME IN PRAYING THE ROSARY ON NEW YEAR’S EVE?
I plan to go over to St. Vincent dePaul Church at about 11:30 pm on Saturday, 31 December.
I shall not be wearing vestments. It will not be a service. I just want to close out the old year and enter into the New Year by saying the Scripture Rosary. No muss. No fuss. No collection! You are welcome to join me. Afterwards, a cup of hot chocolate and a cookie or two in the Rectory. Then go home because I’ll be wanting to go to bed.

stjos/stvdp: 12.25.2011 - 02


THE CANDLE in front of the Infant of Prague statue in St. Vincent dePaul Church burns in memory of James McAvoy, at the request of Sharon Smith.

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE appeared in the THUNDER / ENLIGHTNING column of the Pottsville Republican on Wednesday, 14 December:

I believe it’s time that the Diocese of Allentown takes a survey of past and present parishioners to see how many stopped going to church or are going to church at a different parish because of their parish priest. My church is near empty, but many parishioners are going to parishes out of town. The diocese should follow the results of the survey and bring people back to the church.
                                                                                                               Girardville

These are my thoughts on the matter: The best priest any parish ever had is the one who was there before the arrival of the one who is there now. A close runner-up to that “best priest” is the priest who will arrive to take the place of the one we have now once the one we have now either (a) dies or (b) retires or (c) is reassigned. Death, retirement or re-assignment come to every priest and, considering the age of the current priest in Girardville, it seems reasonable to anticipate that he will either die or retire (not likely be reassigned) within a relatively short time, as God and 4029 West Tilghman Street see fit. (If he dies first, he won’t have to retire. If he retires first, then he will still have to undergo the inconvenience of dying. So, it’s hard to say which is preferable.) Until then, it’s best for everyone just to bite the bullet and endure. In the words of the late, great Bishop Joseph McShea (may he rest in peace), when someone would write to him with a complaint about a priest: We go with the troops we’ve got!
Meanwhile, we do well to pray for this particular unsatisfactory priest and for all unsatisfactory priests everywhere and, while we’re at it, to pray for our occasionally unsatisfactory selves and for our children (some of whom are not completely and entirely satisfactory) and for the grace of endurance.
We might also pray for the grace of a sense of humor and maybe some pizza and a beer to go with it.
By the way, talking about “unsatisfactory priests”, I am reminded of the fact that this coming Thursday (29 Dec), the Church observes the memorial of Saint Thomas Becket. He was a highly unsatisfactory priest. (Actually he was an archbishop.) He was so unsatisfactory that King Henry II once muttered these ominous words: “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” Some of Henry’s knights took him seriously and did precisely that! They went to Canterbury Cathedral on 29 December 1170 and stabbed poor Thomas to death. This worked out fairly well for Thomas. He went right to Heaven! Unfortunately, this option is not available to us in Girardville inasmuch as it is illegal in Pennsylvania to murder one’s parish priest. Be that as it may, I hope someone is covering my back.

stjos/stvdp:12.25.2011 - 03


HAPPY HANUKKAH!
20 — 28 December 2011

What’s a nice Catholic parish bulletin doing wishing people a Happy Hanukkah? And in the bulletin distributed on Christmas Day, for crying out loud! What’s the world coming to?
Well, let me tell you something I would bet you don’t know! (Unless, of course, you are one of those rare Catholics who actually reads the Bible!)
Did you know that you will find not one single reference to Hanukkah in the Jewish Bible?
And did you know that you will find only one very slight reference to Hanukkah in the Protestant Bible.
But did you know that you will find several references to Hanukkah in the Catholic Bible?
How can this be??
Well, I’ll tell you, it’s like this.
There is one (and only one) reference to Hanukkah in the New Testament. It pops up in the Gospel of John. It’s Chapter 10, verse 22:
“It was winter, and the time came for the feast of the Dedication in Jerusalem.”
The reference to “feast of the Dedication” is Hanukkah. “Hanukkah” means “Dedication” and the dedication being referred to is the Dedication (actually re-dedication) of the Temple in Jerusalem. We pick up from this that Jesus was in the custom of observing Hanukkah, which is kind of interesting, is it not?
The Jewish Bible does not — needless to say — include any of the 27 books of the New Testament. So, because the Gospel of John is part of the New Testament, we find this verse only in Catholic and Protestant Bibles.
But, as already noted, this is the only Hanukkah reference in the Protestant Bible, while there are more than one in the Catholic Bible.
Well, don’t Protestants and Catholics have the same Bible? The answer, as a matter of fact, is: If by same, you mean same, then No, they don’t!

stjos/stvdp: 12.25.2011 - 04


Close? Yes! But you don’t get any cigar for close!
The difference is in the Old Testament. Protestants (and Jews) accept only 39 books in the Old Testament. Politically sensitive point to be made here: Jews don’t like to call those 39 books “the Old Testament”. For Jews, what we call “the Old Testament” is simply “the Bible” (or, if you prefer, “the Tanakh”). So, we can compromise. We can call it “the Hebrew Scriptures”.
Catholics accept all 39 that the Jews and Protestants accept but we accept seven others. So, do the math! 39 + 7 = 46.
How many books in the Jewish Bible? The answer is 39.
How many books in the Protestant Bible? The answer is 66. That’s 39 Old + 27 New.
How many books in the Catholic Bible? The answer is 73. That’s 39 Old + 7 Old = 46 Old + 27 New, for a grand total of 73.
                                                    
(There will be a pop quiz!)
Are you still with me? We’re trying to find out where to find Hanukkah in the Catholic Bible (other than the reference in John).
It’s in two of the seven books not accepted by the Jews or the Protestants. Those two books are 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees.
When you have nothing better to do with your time, go get your Bible and read First Maccabees, chapter 04, verses 36 to 61. You will find out all about the first Hanukkah.
Then go read Second Maccabees, chapter 10, verses 01 to 08 and you’ll get a somewhat shorter version of the information in First Maccabees.
The event described took place in the year 165 BC.
Theologically speaking, there is no reason why we Christians could not celebrate Hanukkah. It is part of our history, inasmuch as we are Gentiles who have been grafted onto Israel. We do need to remember, however, that Jesus has taken the place of the Temple. (Obviously, our Jewish friends and neighbors don’t believe that, but such is life!) So, even though we respect the memory of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, we don’t get too excited about it because the Body of Jesus has replaced the Jerusalem Temple.
Having said that, please feel theologically free to celebrate Hanukkah, if you are so inclined. If you do celebrate it, please send me over some latkes — with a side of sour cream, please. I love latkes and sour cream. If you don’t know what latkes are, go google it or else ask some nice Jewish lady to give you a recipe.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

stjos/stvdp: 12.25.2011 - 05



SOME RECENT NEWS ITEMS WITH SOME COMMENTS TO GO WITH THEM
PHILLY ASKS PARISHES TO LOOK AT POSSIBLE CLOSINGS

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will soon call on half of its 266 parishes to begin talking among themselves about their needs, and their survival. In an announcement expected today, each congregation will be asked to begin a “prayerful and participative” discussion to identify its mission and goals and “determine if it has the resources required for sustained operation.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Comment: A few years ago, the Diocese of Allentown had 153 parishes. I always liked the fact that we had 153 parishes because 153 has a mystical significance. 153 is the number of fish the Apostles caught when the Risen Lord appeared to them and told them to cast their nets to the starboard side (cf. John 21,11). A few years ago, the Synod met, the net broke and 49 parishes went down into the briny deep. Now we have 104 parishes. How many will we have a year from now? Two or three years from now? I really don’t know. We trust in God and in our Bishop and we stay in the boat, come what may. God is wise and good and Bishop Barres is the man God has put in charge.
STATE HOUSE REJECTS SCHOOL VOUCHERS PROPOSAL
In a last-ditch effort to deliver a school voucher program, state House Republican leaders failed on 14 December to get majority support for this centerpiece of Governor Tom Corbett’s education-reform package. This could push any chance of another voucher vote until after next year’s legislative election. Following a lengthy debate, the House voted 105-90 to reject a plan that would have expanded the state’s Education Improvement Tax Credit program and overhauled the state’s charter school law. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)
Comment: This is bad news! Many persons were hopeful that this would be the year for a breakthrough in Pennsylvania in the matter of justice for parents who choose to send their kids to Catholic (and other non-public) schools. Back to the drawing board! The PSEA (federation of public school teachers unions) is fighting vouchers with might and main. Well, nobody ever said it was going to be easy! “Life on earth is a warfare.” I think you can find that in the Book of Job!
IF YOU HAVE A FRIEND OR RELATIVE WHO IS “PRO-CHOICE”, keep in mind that even “pro-choicers” occasionally beget or conceive children. So, if you have such a friend or relative and he or she happens to pull out a grainy black-and-white photo and invites you to take a preview peek at “my baby”, you should look mortified and say, “But that’s not a baby, you know! That’s nothing more than a choice!”
PLEASE REMEMBER TO PICK UP YOUR 2012 PARISH CALENDAR from the back of the church or from the Sheridan Room. Feel free to take a few extra. Give them to some relatives or neighbors who are too busy to go to church or are unaware that there are any Catholic churches in Girardville or would like to go to church but don’t go because they don’t like either the priest or the people or the architecture or the music or the ambience. Who knows? They might like the calendar.
PARISH ENVELOPES FOR 2012 are in the back of St. Vincent dePaul Church and in the Sheridan Room of St. Joseph Church. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE pick up your packet as soon as possible. Maybe do a relative or neighbor a favor by picking up his / her packet if you think he / she would like you to do so.

stjos/stvdp: 12.25.2011 - 06


MERRY CHRISTMAS! IT’S A BOY!

“When I was growing up” (as people my age are inclined to say), people who were expecting babies didn’t know until the baby was born whether it was a boy or a girl.
In recent years, it has become commonplace — thanks to the technology known as ultrasound — for expectant mothers and fathers to know several months in advance, with a high level of certainty, whether the little one in utero is a boy or a girl — although some choose not to know. I guess they want to be surprised.
When you come to think of it, the Blessed Mother knew from the moment that she conceived Jesus that she was carrying a Boy! She was absolutely certain of it. She knew she was not carrying a little girl. She knew this on the word of God as revealed to her by the Archangel Gabriel and without any need for ultrasound!
This prompts a question: Inasmuch as Jesus is the one and only incarnation of God into the human race, is it even theoretically possible that the Child could have been a girl?
Persons who try to combine Christian faith with radical feminism will, of course, answer “Yes, of course! God could have become either a male or a female human being. It was just ‘luck of the draw’ that God became a male human as opposed to a female human.” Persons who are theologically astute and see “the whole picture” will, of course, answer “No! Although we cannot deny the power of God to become a female human being if He had wanted to do so, nevertheless if He had incarnated as a girl, He would not have been able to save the human race. Saving the human race required that God incarnate as a male human being.”
Why? Putting it as economically as possible, the reason is this: It was a male human being who brought about the fall of the human race. We are referring, of course, to Adam. JESUS IS THE SECOND ADAM or, putting it another way, JESUS IS THE NEW ADAM, the new HEAD OF THE HUMAN RACE.
It is interesting to note that Eve sinned before Adam sinned. Nevertheless, the human race did not fall out of God’s grace until Adam sinned. Eve came from Adam! Adam was “lord of planet Earth” and Eve was “lady of planet Earth”. If Eve had sinned and Adam had not, Adam would have had the opportunity to become Eve’s savior, as a result of which their descendants would not have been born in original sin (with all that that implies!).
Now, follow the bouncing ball: Just as Eve’s disobedience chronologically preceded Adam’s disobedience, so Mary’s obedience chronologically preceded Jesus’ obedience. However, Eve’s disobedience was not determinative. Her disobedience did not cause Adam’s disobedience. It simply set the context for it. Likewise, Mary’s obedience was not determinative. Her obedience did not cause Jesus’ obedience. It simply set the context for it. (You might want to re-read these seven short sentences.)
Mary’s obedience reversed Eve’s disobedience — but this was not sufficient for the salvation of the human race. Jesus’ obedience reversed Adam’s disobedience — and this was sufficient for the salvation of the human race. All of this requires that we understand a certain facet of what is known as “theological anthropology”. This includes a correct understanding of the relationship between Masculine and Feminine, between Male and Female.
Putting it succinctly, we believe that every masculine human being incorporates femininity within himself as an essential component of his gender identity. On the other hand, every feminine human being is exclusively feminine and does not incorporate masculinity within herself. Think of it this way: The pair of chromosomes that determine sexual identity within each cell of a woman’s body are XX, whereas the pair of chromosomes that determine sexual identity within each cell of a man’s body are XY. Think also of this: Each ovum that ripens within a woman is “gender indifferent”, whereas each sperm that emerges from a man is “gender determinative”.
None of this implies (as silly people are inclined to think) that we believe that “men are better than women” nor do we believe that “women are better than men”. We simply believe that gender differentiation is part of God’s eternal plan and, in a mysterious way, mirrors God’s own relationship with His creation.
                                                  
IT’S A BOY! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

stjos/stvdp: 12.25.2011 - 07


THE LIFE PRINCIPLES

These Life Principles express the ideals motivating prolife Americans and indicate the purpose of the MARCH FOR LIFE:

• We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all human beings are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which is the right to life, and Therefore
• The right to life of each human being shall be preserved and protected by every human being in the society and by the society as a whole, and
• The life of each human being shall be preserved and protected from that human being's biological beginning when the father's sperm fertilizes the mother's ovum, and
• The life of each human being shall be preserved and protected from the biological beginning throughout the natural continuum of that human being's life by all available ordinary means and reasonable efforts, and
• The life of each human being shall be preserved and protected at each stage of the life continuum to the same extent as at each and every other stage regardless of state of health or condition of dependency, and
• The life of each human being shall be preserved and protected to the same extent as the life of each and every other human being regardless of state of health or condition of dependency, and
• When there is any doubt that there exists a human being's life to preserve and protect, such doubt shall be resolved In favor of the existence of a human being, and
• When two or more human beings are in a situation in which their lives are mutually endangered, all available ordinary means and reasonable efforts shall be used to preserve and protect the life of each and every human being so endangered:
• WHEREFORE, Pursuant To These Principles, we recommend and urge the adoption of a Mandatory HUMAN LIFE AMENDMENT to the Constitution of the United States of America.

IF YOU SUPPORT THESE LIFE PRINCIPLES — and we sure hope you do — we strongly encourage you to take part in the annual MARCH FOR LIFE in Washington DC on Monday, 23 January 2012.
As in the past, our parishes will be chartering a bus to take us to and from the March.
In order to reserve your seat on the bus, please call Susan at (570) 385-5924. If you don’t get an answer, call the Rectory (570) 276-6033.
The price we will charge will be the bare minimum. We cannot give an exact price at this point in time. A lot depends on what the bus company charges us and how many persons sign up. However, based on previous experience, we would say “in the neighborhood of thirty dollars per person” — except for children and teenagers and also for those adults who would find it a strain on their wallets to pay the full price. (Just let us know in confidence who you are and we will give you a reduced price.)
It is an exhilarating experience to take part in this March.
It is a beautiful good deed to join one’s fellow citizens from all over the USA in order to bear witness to one and all that we believe in the intrinsic worth of every human being without exception, and that we are not shy about leaning on our President, our Senators, our members of Congress and our Judges. We expect them to do all in their power to defend the most defenseless members of the human race, viz. our unborn fellow citizens.
                                
LEGALIZED ABORTION IS A CURSE ON OUR NATION!

stjos/stvdp: 12.25.2011 - 08


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