Saturday, 14 December
Vigil of Sunday
by the Canavan and the Gillis families

Sunday, 15 December
Third Sunday of Advent
11:30 am — TOM FARRELL
by his brother-in-law, Joe Muredda

Monday, 16 December
Advent Weekday)
08:00 am — God’s blessings:
by her sister, Carolyn

Wednesday, 18 December
Late Advent Weekday
08:00 am — FRANK ROSS
by Jim (+) and Teresa Neary

Friday, 20 December
Late Advent Weekday
08:00 am — RUSSELL WEIST
by his wife, Jean

Saturday, 21 December
St. Peter Canisius, priest, doctor (OptMem)
rescheduled from 10 December
Vigil of Sunday
05:30 pm — God’s blessings and health: THERESE LYNCH
rescheduled from 09 December

Sunday, 22 December
Fourth Sunday of Advent
by Dr. Frank and Stella Mohan


Saturday, 14 December
Vigil of Sunday
by Eddie and Winnie Klimas

Sunday, 15 December
Third Sunday of Advent
by Vytus and Teresa Karavage

Tuesday, 17 December
Late Advent Weekday
08:00 am — JOHN PLACHKO
by Lou DeMarkis

Thursday, 19 December
Late Advent Weekday)
07:00 pm — BARBARA WOMER
by the Blum family

Saturday, 21 December
Vigil of Sunday
04:00 pm — LEO and JANE CHIARETTI
by Alice Walaconis Chiaretti

Sunday, 22 December
Fourth Sunday of Advent
by the James Connell family

stjos/stvdp: 12.15.2013 - 01

07 / 08 DECEMBER
(including receipts from Solemnity of Immaculate Conception)

Saint Joseph Parish
Receipts for parish purposes: $2,905.00 from the Sunday envelopes; $39.00 from the plate; $126.00 from the Dues envelopes; $121.00 from the Immaculate Conception envelopes; $40.00 from the Christmas Flowers envelopes; $60.00 from the loose.
Total: $3,291.00
Receipts for non-parish purposes: — $170.00 from the Retired Religious envelopes —
Analysis: When one deducts from the total of the receipts for parish purposes ($3,291.00) our weekly financial obligation to the Diocese, i.e. assessments ($269.31), plus our weekly premium for various insurances ($491.15), plus our weekly subsidy to Trinity Academy ($358.17), the sum total of which is $1,118.63, one sees that $2,172.37 is available from this collection for operating the parish.

Saint Vincent dePaul Parish:
Receipts for parish purposes: $771.00 from the Sunday envelopes; $87.00 from the plate; $15.00 from the Dues envelopes; $5.00 from the Building maintenance envelopes; $336.00 from the Immaculate Conception envelopes; $67.00 from the loose.
Total: $1,281.00
Receipts for non-parish purposes: — $210.00 from the Retired Religious envelopes —
Analysis: When one deducts from the total of the receipts for parish purposes ($1,281.00) our weekly financial obligation to the Diocese, i.e. assessments ($231.00), plus our weekly premium for various insurances ($322.56), plus our weekly subsidy to Trinity Academy ($250.98), the sum total of which is $804.54, one sees that $476.46 is available from this collection for operating the parish.


Tuesday, 17 December
02:30 to 03:30 pm
St. Vincent dePaul Church

Thursday, 19 December
06:00 to 07:00 pm
St. Vincent dePaul Church

Friday, 20 December
06:30 to 07:30 pm
St. Joseph Chapel


Tuesday, 17 December
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, 20 December
06:00 to 08:00 pm
St. Joseph Chapel
Vespers (Evening Prayer) at about 07:30 pm
followed by Chaplet of Divine Mercy and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

stjos/stvdp: 12.15.2013 - 02


“How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.” — Pope Francis

We’ve got Mercy to give away to anyone who wants it.
Fresh shipments arriving daily from our Supplier on Golgotha, waiting for you to pick up your share! Step right up!
Don’t be a lollygagger! Get it while the getting’s good!
We’ve got Mercy for sinners of all ages, sizes and conditions.
Mercy for old men and for old women!
Mercy for middle-aged persons, men and women both!
Mercy for the thirty-somethings and the twenty-somethings.
Mercy for teenagers and Mercy for their pesty young brothers and sisters!
Mercy for white people, black people, red people, brown people, pink people, yellow people and whatever shade or blend you might happen to be!
Mercy for the married, the single, the widowed and the divorced!
Mercy for the Irish, the Lithuanians, the Italians, the Poles, the Slovak, the Latinos, the Germans — you name your ethnic group — we’ve got Mercy to give away to all members of the Body of Christ!
Mercy for people from Girardville, Homesville, Connerton, Lost Creek, William Penn, Mahanoy Plane, Maizeville, Gilberton, Ashland, Mahanoy City, Frackville, Shenandoah. Come in! We don’t check passports!
What kind of Mercy?
The very best kind of all: DIVINE MERCY — which is to say, the Mercy of God Himself.
Check out the Confession schedule on page 02. Check out the schedule in next weekend’s bulletin too! You don’t like the schedules?
Tell you what we’ll do!
You just give us a call and say, “Listen up! I want to go to Confession but your schedules don’t work for me! Can you give me a time when I can come in for Confession? I might want to bring one or two of my kids with me too. Is that okay?”
And we’ll say, “Sure thing, neighbor! Name a time that’s good for you and we’ll try to accommodate you!”

stjos/stvdp: 12.15.2013 - 03

14 December 2013

I'm 16 and come from a devout Roman Catholic family. My parents have taken my brother and me to church every Sunday without fail my entire life. We pray before meals, before school, at bedtime and at other times every day. My room is filled with religious objects. As far as I know, everyone else in my extended family is equally fervent.
My problem is, I have never felt very religious. Since I was 10 I have challenged the teachings of the church and, as I mature into adulthood, I'm beginning to identify as agnostic. When I told my parents, at first they were angry and disappointed. Then they told me I was "just going through a phase." I know this is more than a phase. It's a personal belief of mine they have been trying to bury my entire life.
I can't continue letting them ignore the real me. The stress of constantly having to lie to my parents about my faith is tearing me apart to the point that it interferes with my schoolwork and social life. How can I convince them that this isn't a phase, and that I'm not the Catholic girl they want me to be? If they continue to refuse to acknowledge my religious beliefs, who can I turn to for support?

Your parents should not have minimized your feelings by saying they are only a phase because it was dismissive. That said, you must not allow their devout faith -- and your lack of it -- to become a contest of wills or a basis for argument.
This is an important time in your life with your parents as you enter adulthood. Thank them for the great foundation they have given you. Tell them you hope they will continue to love you as you explore what your beliefs are on this spiritual journey -- because it is a journey.
The opposite of faith is not doubt; it is certainty.

Parents do not bear ultimate responsibility for their children’s faith or lack thereof. They have the duty of “leading the horse to water” but not the duty of “making him drink”. Faith is a mystery. Why do some persons have it and others do not?
Those of us who have it (including yours truly) must not “boast” as if it were something that we acquired on our own merits.
On the other hand, those who do not have it must not be certain that it is not their own fault that they do not have it. Perhaps it was offered and then rejected!
I think this might be the case with the girl who wrote the letter. Using the image that Jesus gives us in the parable of the sower who went out to sow, I think it is quite possible that “the birds of the air” might have stolen the seed of the Word from the girl’s heart. There are lots of “birds of the air” flying around these days! And not just in Stockton, California!
What obligation do this girl’s parents have in regard to their daughter’s religious life?
We can say this much: Catholic parents do have an obligation to require their minor children to participate in at least the minimum requirements of the Faith. So, parents do have the right and the duty to require their minor children to attend Mass on Sundays, but they do not have the right to require them to receive Holy Communion. In fact, they must not command their minor children to receive Holy Communion. The girl who wrote the letter is 16. Until she is 18, her parents do have the right to command her to attend Mass on Sundays — but that’s about it as far as religious observance is concerned. If she declares herself “no longer a Catholic” at age 18, her parents will just have to live with that unfortunate fact. (And, of course, pray!) But, of course, it’s a two-way street. If the girl, once she is of adult age, chooses to live in open violation of the Natural Law, her parents have every right to refuse to support her. In fact, I would go so far as to say that they would have the duty to refuse to support her if her violations of the Natural Law were sufficiently egregious and adamant.
We must remember that religion is a complex of three interrelated realities:
These three realities are often summarized as: CREED, CODE and CULT.

CREED is doctrine: What a person believes.
CODE is moral standards: How one behaves.
CULT is worship: How one worships.

In regard to CREED: Parents cannot possibly oblige their children (whether minor or adult) to believe anything. They can only suggest and encourage.
In regard to CULT: Parents can oblige their minor children to participate in worship, but not their adult children.
In regard to CODE: Parents can certainly oblige their minor children to observe the moral standards of the Faith and even (discreetly and prudently) punish them if they do not. But, once their children are adults, they cannot oblige them to observe the moral code. On the other hand, parents have the right and the duty not to allow their adult children to intimidate them (the parents) into cooperating with their adult children’s violations of the moral code.
By the way, Abby is completely and entirely mistaken when she says this: “The opposite of faith is not doubt; it is certainty.”
Faith, by definition, is evidence for things not seen. Let me give an example. I can choose to believe that I have an immortal soul. On the other hand, I can choose to believe that I do not have an immortal soul. If my faith is strong enough, I can even say that I have certainty — the “certainty of faith” — that I have an immortal soul. But if I do not have faith, I can never have certainty that I do not have an immortal soul. The opposite of faith is doubt (or disbelief). It is never certainty. I challenge anyone to prove with certainty that I do not have an immortal soul.
Here is another way of looking at it: Everyone has faith. But there are two kinds of faith. There is supernatural faith and there is natural faith.
A person who believes in the basic doctrines of religion (the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, the final judgment, heaven and hell) has supernatural faith.
A person who says that he does not believe in the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, the final judgment, heaven and hell) has natural faith.
The latter is usually called a “non-believer” or an agnostic. But look at it this way: The latter is actually a believer! In what sense is he a believer? He believes in the non-existence of God; he believes in the non-immortality of soul; he believes in no ultimate judgment or destiny beyond this life.
It is amusing, is it not? Everyone is a believer. It’s just a matter of what you believe!

stjos/stvdp: 12.15.2013 - 04 / 05

The final days of empire give ample employment and power to the feckless, the insane and the idiotic. These politicians and court propagandists, hired to be the public faces on the sinking ship, mask the real work of the crew, which is systematically robbing the passengers as the vessel goes down. The mandarins of power stand in the wheelhouse barking ridiculous orders and seeing how fast they can gun the engines. They fight like children over the ship’s wheel as the vessel heads full speed into a giant ice field. They wander the decks giving pompous speeches. They shout that the SS America is the greatest ship ever built. They insist that it has the most advanced technology and embodies the highest virtues. And then, with abrupt and unexpected fury, down we will go into the frigid waters.
PLEASE NOTE THAT, despite the fact that we are currently — I am typing this at 02:55 pm on 14 December — experiencing a significant amount of snow falling down upon Girardville (and elsewhere, I presume), nevertheless, we are still in the Autumn of the year. IT IS NOT WINTER!
If you say, “What do you mean it’s not winter time?” we say in reply: “Sorry, my friend, it’s not! Who are you and who am I to argue with the experts? Winter is still one week away!”
To be precise: Winter begins this year at 12:11 pm EST on Saturday, 21 December. That’s the time and date of the Winter Solstice in 2013.
What is the Winter Solstice?
There are two different answers to this question. I’ll give both. We report. You choose.
(a) A huge celestial Dragon is trying to eat the Sun and may very well succeed in doing so by 12:11 pm next Saturday, in which case it’s curtains for us all because the Sun has an important role to play in the maintenance of life on our planet!
(b) The seasons occur because the Earth's axis of rotation is not perpendicular to its orbital plane (the “plane of the ecliptic”) but currently makes an angle of about 23.44° (called the "obliquity of the ecliptic"), and because the axis keeps its orientation with respect to an inertial frame of reference. As a consequence, for half the year the Northern Hemisphere is inclined toward the Sun while for the other half year the Southern Hemisphere has this distinction. The two moments when the inclination of Earth's rotational axis has maximum effect are the solstices. At 12:11 pm EST next Saturday, the northern hemisphere will be at maximum inclination towards the Sun.
There are several big words in the latter explanation. So, I think I’ll just take the easy way out and believe the first explanation.


If you have not already done so, please consider donating a “gift for a baby”. Just place your gift under or near the tree in the back of the church (chapel). These gifts will be given to mothers of newborns — mothers who are in difficult financial / sociological situations.

CHRISTMAS SCHEDULE: We will, of course, devote a whole page next weekend to the schedule of Christmas Masses. If you want to know now what the schedule will be, it will be as follows: 04:00 and 09:00 pm in StVdP on 24 Dec and 08:30 am in StVdP on 25 Dec;
05:30 pm in StJos on 24 Dec and 12:00 midnight and 11:30 am in StJos.

stjos/stvdp: 12.15.2013 - 06

: I received this email this past week. The writer (Eric) is a man about 50 years old. I knew him from approximately 1974 to 1977. If you do the math, you will see that he was ages about 11 to 14 at that time. I became acquainted with him — and his Mom, Dad and brother — when I was a full-time hospital chaplain in Allentown. His family lived a short distance from the hospital. Eric liked to walk (or bike) over to the hospital in order to serve Mass. Then he started coming over just to “hang out” and see if I had any errands or chores for him. He enjoyed showing me how to tie a fly and how to cast a line for trout. I would often take him with me in the car when I had to go out somewhere. Sometimes, his Mom would invite me over to their house for supper. When Eric was 14 years old, the family moved from Allentown to Colorado. I have not seen nor heard from Eric since 1980! He looked me up on the Internet and sent me this email. I was surprised (to say the least!) to hear from him. Thirty-six years is a long time!

Fr Ed-
I'm pretty sure, that I have the right Father Ed Connolly here… and if so, it has been a long time… too long since we last communicated. I was at a Men's Fraternity session today and the topic that Robert Lewis spoke on was "mentoring". One aspect of this was that sometimes those who mentor us as boys and young adults are never fully aware of the impact and influence that they had had on our lives. I think this may be the case between us. I know that so many of the personal traits that I have can be traced back to our times together. Here are some examples:
• My faith is still strong and I have raised two children of my own to be followers of Jesus Christ (Molly, 17 and Max, 14)
• I am strong in my convictions and take time to mentor boys through Boy Scouts and coaching sports
• I still LOVE to fish, in fact an a fly-fishing guide in the summertime here in Vail, Colorado
• I have a fish tank with an Oscar as the dominant personality (no piranhas though)
• I still think of you whenever I see a "THING" driving down the road, or when the incense gets a little thick in our chapel (like it did at ASH Hospital)
• I tell jokes like: "When God gave out brains, you thought he said trains, and you missed yours!"
Fr Ed, I really want you to know that I turned out alright, despite a few stumbles along the way. I studied Geophysical Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines and practiced that for a while before moving to Vail and founding a software company here. We recently sold that and I am now enjoying life a little before the next chapter begins. Mom, Peggy, is living here in Colorado and dad, Lou, passed away about two years ago. We had a great relationship and I miss him every day, but I know that he is in a better way now. I know that you played an important role in my development as a young man as my dad was often not there for me due to his extensive travel schedule. Growing up is hard, but I count myself as fortunate to have you assist my mom through those difficult years.
As I am now tasked with raising a son of my own, and helping him navigate the complexities of modern day adolescence, I can only hope that I can mentor him in a way similar to what you did for me. I am eternally grateful for everything that you did for me as a young man and our family.
May God Bless you at this time of year that we celebrate Christ's birth!

I replied to Eric’s email, but I won’t print that email here. It would not be particularly relevant to my reason for printing his email in the bulletin. I am printing his email to me for one reason in particular: The relationship I had with Eric back then (1977 to 1980) is a relationship that could not happen in this day and age. It was a relationship — a friendship of sorts — between a priest (ages 39 to 42 at the time) and a boy (ages 11 to 14 at the time).
Now just think for a minute how it even sounds today to speak about “a relationship between a priest and a boy”!
We have all become so damaged and so corrupted that the very phrase conjures up dark images.
This is a very great shame. I think of Father O’Malley (Bing Crosby) and his choir of street boys from Going My Way (or was it Bells of Saint Mary?). I think of Spencer Tracy (Fr. Flanagan) and the boys of Boys Town — “He ain’t heavy, Fodder, he’s my brudder.” These were images of the priesthood that I grew up with. If Fr. Bing Crosby were to gather boys in the school basement to sing Christmas carols today, or if Fr. Spencer Tracy were to hug Mickey Rooney today, or if Fr. Ed Connolly were to invite 12-year-old Eric to go for a ride in his car with him today, all three would wind up on the carpet in the Chancery and be sentenced to attend remedial sessions in Protecting God’s Children — or worse!
I love being a priest but, like my fellow priests, I am deeply sad that Satan has infiltrated the Garden and has made all of us, if not “suspects”, at least “persons of interest” in crimes that have not happened. Many of us have become almost paranoid in the presence of children! When in doubt, blame the bishops! My only response is: MARANATHA!

stjos/stvdp: 12.15.2013 - 07

O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
O guide of the flock of Joseph!
Rouse your power, and come to save us.
O Lord of hosts, restore us,
if your face shine upon us, then we shall be safe.
O Lord of hosts, how long will you burn with anger
while your people pray?
You have fed them with the bread of tears
and given them tears to drink in ample measure.
You have left us to be fought over by our neighbors,
and our enemies mock us.
O Lord of hosts, restore us,
if your face shine upon us, then we shall be safe.

Such a loss! Such a keen and tearing pain. Even when I am in a crowded room, there is a loneliness I never knew existed. Comforting God, I have turned to You so many times for solace, and I come again. While the world is bright and sparkling, my heart feels leaden and has an emptiness that cannot be filled.
Lord, how can I enter into this season of joy? In my head I celebrate Your birth into this world, but in my everyday life, I am filled with a grief that runs so very deep. You blessed me with a loving relationship and now it is gone from my life. How can I be faithful to that love and the memory of that love and my sorrow in this season of "Rejoice!"??
Tears are so close to the surface all the time and helpful friends who want to "keep me busy" don't seem to really understand that I need to embrace my grief. I am afraid of letting go of the sadness and losing the deep love connection I had.
Instead of entering into the Rejoice of Christmas, I long for the Sorrow of Lent. I beg You, Lord, show me how the two are connected. I ponder the name Emmanuel and know that it means "God with us" — with us, with me in this world, in this sorrow. If I look beyond my pain, I know that You, too, suffered so much in this world. I never understood so clearly before that Emmanuel is what Your Nativity is really about. You are in my world, in my pain.
Thank you, Lord, for the loved one You blessed my life with. Grant me now in my grief, a peace. Give me a comfort that might not make the tears go away, but that lets me feel Your presence as you take up a place deep in my heart, with me. Amen.

stjos/stvdp: 12.15.2013 - 08


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