MASS SCHEDULE: 14 - 21 April

Saturday, 13 April
Vigil of Sunday
05:30 pm — MARCO RITRO
by John and Mary Terese Gillis

Sunday, 14 April
3rd Sunday of Easter
by Maureen Howard

Monday, 15 April
Easter Weekday
by his wife, Jean

Wednesday, 17 April
Easter Weekday
08:00 am — MICHAEL and MARY CLARKE
by the Clarke Trust

Friday, 19 April
Easter Weekday
08:00 am — Deceased: O’DONNELL and SCULLY FAMILIES
by the families

Saturday, 20 April
Easter Weekday
by Kenneth and Helen Wayne
Vigil of Sunday
by Rosemary Catizone Zelli

Sunday, 21 April
4th Sunday of Easter
by the Rizzardi family

 MASS SCHEDULE: 14 - 21 April

Saturday, 13 April
Vigil of Sunday
by his wife, Alice

Sunday, 14 April
3rd Sunday of Easter
by the HNS

Tuesday, 16 April
Easter Weekday
08:00 am — STEVE F. TOROK
by Alfred and Anne Zielinski

Thursday, 18 April
Easter Weekday
by Mom, Dad and Samantha

Saturday, 20 April
Vigil of Sunday
by Tom, Mary Ann and Jaclyn Kowalonek

Sunday, 21 April
4th Sunday of Easter
by Charles and Kathleen

stjos/stvdp: 04.14.2013 - 01

06 / 07 APRIL

Saint Joseph Parish
Receipts for parish purposes: $1,098.00 from the Sunday envelopes; $50.00 from the plate; $389.00 from the Dues envelopes; $260.00 from the Easter envelopes; $5.00 from the Holy Thursday envelopes; $11.00 from the Fuel envelopes; $129.00 from the loose.
Total: $1,682.00
Receipts for non-parish purposes: $11.00 from the Shrines of the Holy Land envelopes
Analysis: When one deducts from the total of the receipts for parish purposes ($1,682.00) our weekly financial obligation to the Diocese, i.e. assessments ($269.31), plus our weekly premium for various insurances ($512.77), plus our weekly subsidy to Trinity Academy ($358.17), the sum total of which is $1,140.25, one sees that $541.75 is available from this collection for operating the parish.

Saint Vincent DePaul Parish:
Receipts for parish purposes: $763.00 from the Sunday envelopes; $65.00 from the plate; $171.00 from the Dues envelopes; $185.00 from the Easter envelopes; $72.00 from the loose.
Total: $1,256.00
Receipts for non-parish purposes: 0
Analysis: When one deducts from the total of the receipts for parish purposes ($1,256.00) our weekly financial obligation to the Diocese, i.e. assessments ($231.00), plus our weekly premium for various insurances ($308.85), plus our weekly subsidy to Trinity Academy ($250.98), the sum total of which is $790.83, one sees that $465.17 is available from this collection for operating the parish.


Wednesday, 17 April
02:30 to 03:30 pm
St. Vincent dePaul Church

Thursday, 18 April
06:00 to 07:00 pm
St. Vincent dePaul Church

Friday, 19 April
06:30 to 07:30 pm
St. Joseph Chapel


Wednesday, 17 April
02:00 to 04:00 pm
St. Vincent dePaul Church
Scripture Rosary at about 03:40 pm
followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

Friday, 19 April
06:00 to 08:00 pm
St. Joseph Chapel
Vespers (Evening Prayer) at about 07:30 pm
followed by Chaplet of Divine Mercy
followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

stjos/stvdp: 04.14.2013 - 02


All rectory telephones must, to the greatest extent possible, be answered by a human being! If it is not possible, twenty-four / seven, to have a human being answer the phone — and, considering fiscal restraints, such is usually the case — there must be an answering machine! But — under penalty of excommunication — the answering machine message must not include a menu!

Allow me to illustrate:
I got a message this past week to call the secretary of a certain parish in New Jersey. (New Jersey is the state located due east of Pennsylvania and due west of the Atlantic Ocean.) Dutifully, I called the parish. I called during what one would call “regular business hours”. I got an answering machine. The cheery female voice instructed me to listen to the menu. So, I listened to the menu: “If you know your party’s extension, dial it now.” (I do not know my party’s extension.) “Press ‘1’ to hear the Mass schedule.” (I do not want to hear the Mass schedule!) “Press ‘2’ to reach the rectory.” (Are you telling me I have not reached the rectory? I thought this was the rectory!) “Press ‘3’ to learn about upcoming events.” (I don’t give a hoot about your upcoming events!) “Press ‘0’ to hear this menu again.” (I have neither need nor desire to hear your blasted menu again! Besides which, you’re the one who called me first. I’m just being nice enough to return your call!).
Of the options provided, I decided that “2” held the greatest promise. So, I pressed “2”.
Now I got a cheery male voice (maybe the priest?) and what did he tell me? He told me the Mass schedule! But that was not part of the deal! The lady on the first answering machine told me I should press “1” if I wanted the Mass schedule and I had definitely not pressed “1”. I had pressed “2” for the rectory! I got snookered!
I listened to the Mass schedule in the hope that it would be followed up with an opportunity to leave a message. The Mass schedule went on and on. This particular priest has three parishes and he insisted on telling me the weekend and weekday Mass schedules at each of them, together with variations on the theme. I’m grateful he didn’t tell me the lector and altar-server schedule for each Mass.
Having reached the end of the Mass schedule, the voice told me that, if I wanted to leave a message, I could do so “at the beep”. (Okay, there’s a light at the end of this tunnel!) Then, with a slight pause, there came a beep. Using my friendliest and politest voice, I started to say, “Hello! This is Father Connolly from Girardville, Pennsylvania and I’m returning your call about …..” That’s as far as I got when the answering machine cut me off and I was left hanging there like a fool! Apparently that parish’s answering machine has a short attention span. Maybe it needs Ritalin.
Well, there we are! That’s my story! If our Catholic people have enough experiences like that when they call a parish, they just might decide to jump the fence and sign up the next time the Jehovah’s Witnesses ring their doorbell! I bet the JW’s have human beings answering their phones!
Of course, I don’t know that for sure. I don’t have much experience calling Kingdom Halls.

stjos/stvdp:04.14.2013 - 03

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING QUOTATION, even though the language is somewhat difficult and might seem at first, to be irrelevant to your interests or needs.
Concentrate especially on the sentence that I have put in large, bold, underlined font, and then please read my commentary on it.

With regard to the possibility of a votum on the part of the infant, growth toward free will might perhaps be imagined as a continuum which unfolds toward maturity from the first moment of existence, rather than there being a sudden qualitative jump to the exercise of mature, responsible decision. The existence of the unborn is a continuum of human life and growth; it does not suddenly become human at some point. Consequently, infants may actually be capable of exercising some kind of rudimentary votum by analogy with that of unbaptized adults. Some theologians have understood the mother's smile to mediate the love of God to the infant and have therefore seen the infant's response to that smile as a response to God himself. Some modern psychologists and neurologists are convinced that the infant in the womb is already in some way conscious and has some use of freedom. Cf. V Frankl, Der Unbewusste Gott. Psychotherapie and Religion (1979); D. Amen, Healing the Hardware of the Soul (2002).”

My commentary on the above
The above is a quotation from a document released by the Vatican in 2007. I remember reading the document at the time and finding it quite interesting. However, as often happens at a first reading, I overlooked something. A few days ago, I was re-reading the document and, while doing so, this footnote (#127) jumped out at me. What jumped out at me in particular were the words: “Some theologians have understood the mother’s smile to mediate the love of God to the infant and have therefore seen the infant’s response to that smile as a response to God Himself.”
I thought to myself, “Yes! That’s true! I’m sure that’s true! My intuition tells me that it is true! It’s so obvious and so beautiful! Others should know about this!”
That explains this bulletin article.
Let me summarize what I mean: One of the questions dealt with in the document is the development of free will in an infant.
The document examines the question as to whether an infant can have a “votum” towards God. The word “votum” means something like “devotion” or “prayerful disposition” and it implies a certain “readiness to obey”.
A person who characteristically takes God into account in his or her daily life and who is disposed to obey God and to love God can be said to have a “votum” towards God. I hope that includes you and I hope it includes me!

stjos/stvdp: 04.14.2013 - 04

It is commonly said that, at a certain point in the life of a human being, he or she can be said to have the exercise of free will. We say that “at about seven years of age” a child is capable of knowing right from wrong and is able to perform acts that are morally relevant, i.e. either meritorious or sinful. That’s why we don’t expect a child under the age of seven to “go to Confession” nor even (at least in the Latin Rite) to receive the Holy Eucharist. We say that children younger than seven cannot commit sin because they do not have sufficient control of their decision-making apparatus. Even in civil and criminal law, it is not permitted to prosecute a child under the age of seven, even if he or she picks up a gun and, seeming on purpose, shoots someone!
However, we are all intelligent enough to know that a child does not undergo some sort of an instantaneous change from “morally irresponsible” to “morally responsible” during the night before he or she wakes up to his or her seventh birthday! Life just doesn’t work like that! The movement from “morally irresponsible” to “morally responsible” is a very gradual process.
But when does the process begin? Ah! That’s the question!
The only rational answer is that the process begins when the child begins, i.e. at the moment of conception!
Even in the womb, the child is moving either closer to God or further from God. It is not simply the bodily organs that are being formed during those 280 days in the womb. It is also the attitude of the child that is being imperceptibly formed: his or her attitude towards life, towards his or her own self, towards others, ultimately towards God. “You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
The child emerging from the womb already has a certain subconscious attitude (or disposition) towards God! To a great extent, it is the mother of the child who is responsible for this attitude, together with those persons with whom the mother has contact during her pregnancy. One would hope this would be, for the most part, the father of the child.
A child who is carried in the womb of a mother who is prayerful, peaceful, loving and kind during her pregnancy is a fortunate child.
The child who emerges from his or her mother’s womb and finds a face that is kind and loving, a face that is welcoming, a face that smiles, is a child who is well blessed. He or she is having his or her first “post-natal experience of God”.
I am grateful to my own mother because she looked at me when I was born and smiled. Obviously, I don’t have any conscious memory of that first smile. (Call it “subconscious” if you will.) But I have countless conscious memories of her smiles and her approval and her ratification of me and of my existence as the years went by. I am forever grateful for my mother’s beautiful face. It was by gazing at her face that I first apprehended God and came to know, on a subconscious level, that God is good, that He is patient, that He is kind, that He is well disposed towards me, that He loves me and — wonder of wonders — that He even likes me! To be a mother is to mediate the divine. Blessed is that woman who communicates to her children the one true God, the merciful and compassionate Lover of mankind!

stjos/stvdp: 04.14.2013 - 05

I HAVE NEVER EATEN AN ALLIGATOR, nor do my current plans call for me to eat one. To tell you the truth, I think I would have to be very hungry indeed before I would eat an alligator. Bottom line: I don’t rule out the possibility! One thing is for sure: I would much rather eat an alligator than be eaten by one!
But a practical and very Catholic question arises in the matter of eating alligators.
Let me present you with this scenario: You are visiting your Uncle Jimmy Joe and your Aunt Laverne down in Louisiana (where alligators abound). It happens to be a Friday in Lent. Good Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays in Lent. You are a conscientious Catholic. Jimmy Joe and Laverne are also Catholic, but you don’t know for sure how conscientious they are about the details of Catholic living. They invite you to stay for supper. You accept. Laverne gets busy in the kitchen and, after a few hours, rings the dinner bell. Jimmy Joe and you sit down. Laverne brings in a platter of alligator steaks — not frozen steaks, mind you, but fresh! They are steaks cut from an alligator that was just dragged out of the bayou that very morning. She made them up special for you because you are her favorite nephew and she has a reputation for the best alligator steaks in Louisiana. Besides, she knows that, living in Girardville up there in Yankee country, you don’t get to eat a whole lot of fresh alligator.
Now comes the question: May a good Catholic like you eat alligator on a Friday in Lent?
What is the answer? We’re not talking “opinion” here! We’re talking authentic Catholic information!
The answer is: Yes, you may eat all the alligator your heart desires!
How come? Isn’t alligator “meat”?
Answer: No, alligator is not “meat” any more than fish is “meat”. At least not for the sake of Catholic laws of abstinence from meat!
The Catholic laws that govern abstinence from meat require us to abstain from the flesh of HOMEOTHERMAL animals, but not from the flesh of POIKILOTHERMAL animals.
HOMEOTHERMAL animals are what we commonly call “warm-blooded”, whereas POIKILOTHERMAL animals are what we commonly call “cold-blooded”.
Mammals (including platypuses) and birds are homeothermal. (Don’t eat a platypus on a Friday in Lent!) Fishes, reptiles, amphibians, snakes, frogs, lizards, turtles and tortoises are all poikilothermal.
So, now you know!
By the way, if you don’t believe me, you can check with the Chancery Office of the Archdiocese of New Orleans about eating alligator meat on days of abstinence. The Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans, has verified that alligator is okay to eat on days of abstinence! I presume that Bishop Barres endorses Archbishop Aymond’s ruling, although he is probably not inclined to write us any letters about it in the near future.
By the way, there is one and (I think) only one mammal that is poikilothermal. That’s the critter known as the Naked Mole Rat. I have no idea how God came up with the idea of creating a mammal that is poikilothermal. Kind of weird, if you ask me!
So, that engenders another question: May a conscientious Catholic eat the flesh of a Naked Mole Rat on the Fridays of Lent? The answer is: I don’t know for sure, but I think so. However, just to be safe, please check with a higher authority before taking my opinion as final. I don’t do “final opinions”. I just tell you stuff that I pick up from higher authority.

stjos/stvdp: 04.14.2013 - 06

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION for our parish children will be celebrated during the 11:30 am Mass in St. Joseph Church on Sunday, 19 May.
Fr. Connolly will meet with the parents of the FHC children on Wednesday, 17 April, at 07:00 pm in St. Vincent dePaul Rectory. This is an important meeting. The meeting is for the parents, not the children. However, if any parents have a problem finding someone to watch their children, they are welcome to bring them to the Rectory. Let them bring a book or a toy to occupy them — or, perhaps, Kateri might be willing to entertain them.
Someone is going to win three-hundred-dollars-worth of PA instant lottery tickets!
Will that someone be you?
It could be but, in order to be, you need to buy some chances.
Chances are $2.00 each or three for $5.00.
They are on sale in the back of St. Joseph Church after the weekend Masses and also at McDonald’s Lunch on North 2nd Street.
This drawing is for the benefit of St. Joseph Parish.
THE SANCTUARY CANDLE in St. Vincent dePaul Church burns this week in memory of John and Sophie Gaborek, at the request of Edward and Barbara Wascavage and Samantha.



03 March: $51.00

10 March:         $15.00

17 March:         $27.50

24 March:         $22.00

31 March:         $19.50

Total:              $135.00


MR. COFFEE, a member of both St. Joseph Parish and St. Vincent dePaul Parish, died on Sunday, 07 April. He was not widely known in the parishes, but he did do his duty faithfully. He lived on the countertop of the kitchen of St. Vincent dePaul Rectory for about the past four years. I am sorry that I don’t know his first name. We always kept it formal. He called me “Father Connolly” and I called him “Mister Coffee”. There was no sharing of personal information. He seemed to be well enough on Saturday evening (06 April) when I gave him his usual allotment of coffee grounds and water. As usual, I set his timer to go off for 09:40 am Sunday morning. All seemed well but, on Sunday morning, the water and the dry coffee grounds were just as they had been the previous night. He just didn’t turn on. That’s all I can say. Attempts at reviving him were fruitless. Some lady said she thought he died of a broken element. I don’t know what that means, but it will have to do for now. He is survived by his live-in companions, Miss Sunbeam Toaster and Mr. Mike Krowave. We are somewhat consoled by the fact that Mr. Coffee died on Divine Mercy Sunday. That gives us grounds for hope. Goodbye, old friend! We shall not forget you.

stjos/stvdp: 04.14.2013 - 07

A CERTAIN PASTOR got up into the pulpit one Sunday and announced to his congregation: "I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is: We have enough money to pay off all our bills! The bad news is: It's still out there in your pockets."
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
I call your attention once again to the crisis that is coming.
I am not talking about “some crisis in general”.
We seem to have crises all over the place lately, do we not?
I am referring to the crisis that is coming on Thursday, 01 August 2013.
That is the day which the Obama administration has set as the deadline for imposing on the Catholic Church — and on other organizations that are in sync with the Catholic Church in this matter — the legal obligation, enforceable by hefty fines and / or imprisonment, to pay for the provision of artificial contraception (including pharmaceuticals and devices that cause abortions) in the health-insurance plans to a great many of her employees.
Let’s put it this way.
The Catholic Church is the Mother Hen and President Obama is Colonel Sanders.
Does that help you get the picture?
Let those who have ears to hear, hear!
Let those who have eyes to see, see!
Let those who have mouths to speak, speak!
Let those who have beaks to squawk, squawk!
AS MENTIONED IN A RECENT BULLETIN (and I think it needs to be repeated): No date has been set for Confirmation in our area. By “area”, we mean the eight parishes of Ashland, Frackville, Girardville and Gordon. We rather confidently anticipate that it will be either the Fall of 2013 or the Spring of 2014. That decision will be made by the Bishop, not by any of the pastors. Those eligible to be confirmed will be the children who will be in 8th grade at that time. Nor has the church been decided on yet. It might be one of the churches in Ashland or it might be one of the churches in Girardville. Because of the sizes of the various churches, the Confirmation will probably not be one of the churches in Frackville or the one in Gordon, although I don’t know that for a fact. As I understand it, the decision as to which church it will be will be made by the pastors in consultation with the Dean.
AT A MEETING HELD on Saturday, 06 April, in the Sheridan Room, a vote was taken by members present who belong to the Catholic Daughters of America, Court St. Cecilia, #1529. The meeting was attended by two women who represent the wider region of CDA.
It was decided, after much reflection and prayer, to disband the CDA, Court St. Cecilia, #1529.
This will be effective on 30 April 2013.
Declining membership and the age of the remaining members prompted the women to make this decision.
Although it is sad to see any such worthwhile organization disband, the decision was a rational one.
We salute the members, past and present, and we thank them for their contribution to the community. We ask God to bless them and their families.
We thank, in particular, Kay Ellen Kuchinsky, the Regent of our local Court. I have often admired her enthusiasm, good humor, spunk and common sense.

stjos/stvdp: 04.14.2013 - 08

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