Perspective by Karen DiPalma

Parishioner Karen DiPalma writes about being away from our community this Easter, and what she found.
easter_changes_everythingHoly Saturday led me to Bingham Maine, more than 400 miles from Clifton Park. The church was St Peter, a small parish in Central Maine. Up there, 3 parishes have merged into 1: Christ the King parish. The 3 are located in Madison, Skowhegan & Bingham. We are fortunate here in Saratoga County to have a plethora of parishes from which to choose. Up there, it was almost 30 miles to attend the Easter Vigil. Getting there early was not necessary, but I didn’t know what to expect. The Deacon greeted me as I entered Church, “Welcome!! We’re glad to have you here.” Being of Irish-Catholic descent, I promptly said my 3 wishes upon entering a new Church.

The priest spoke before the Mass, to tell us what to expect. I could see and hear his joy, as he said this parish had not had a Vigil Mass there since 2005. Then came the lighting of the Easter Fire & the candles for the attendees. I held that lit candle for 40 minutes. In the reflection of the glow, I could see the faces of about 100 other worshipers. Most were older than I. Their faces reflected the hardy stock from which they came, weathered faces, all smiling. I can honestly say that I was at peace that night. All worries and cares were forgotten. I truly felt blessed to be there. I guess you could say that I felt renewed, refreshed, very proud of my faith, my life. I guess I just needed that experience to put things into perspective.

-Karen DiPalma

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The Church of Mercy – a book by Pope Francis

church-of-mercy-bookcover“Let us ask ourselves today: are we open to God’s surprises”? Pope Francis, The Church of Mercy

Pope Francis’ name seems to be on the lips of many people. There are so many Catholics who are invigorated by his words and way of life. One of the things that is most surprising is the number of non-Catholic friends who bring him up, and generally with great regard. As I have said in other posts, he has not changed on iota, not one element of doctrine, but he has changed the way that people see the Church, and how people see the papacy.

The Church of Mercy, A Vision for the Church, by Pope Francis (Loyola Press, $16.95, 150pp.) brings together homilies, papers, and audiences from our beloved “Bishop of Rome.” This treasure trove of communiques from the first year of his papacy offers readers a chance to truly spend time with Francis’ as he presses on Continue reading

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Mercy matters

imagesmer·cy ˈmərsē/ noun noun: mercy; plural noun: mercies1.compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. “the boy was screaming and begging for mercy”
synonyms: leniency, clemency, compassion, grace, pity, charity, forgiveness, forbearance, quarter, humanity…

Mercy. It is not a new word, but we seem to hear more of it lately. I feel as if I do, anyway.

Mercy matters. Mercy is at the heart of Christ. God if rich in mercy – go read the definition next to the photo again. There is so much evidence for Continue reading

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Christ is Risen!

resΧριστὸς ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! Khristós Anésti! Alithós Anésti!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! Every blessing to one and all. Alleluia!

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Authority, transformation, and dirty feet

hi-pope-kissing-feetTrue authority presents itself in service and flows downward. Authentic change presents itself in justice through community and flows upward. Transformation happens when they meet in they dynamism of the Spirit. This is only accomplished through life in Christ.

I have washed feet and I have had my feet washed. No surprise that the getting washed was more challenging than the washing. Well, except for maybe when I had my feet washed by someone with whom I had a difficult relationship.

As a former corporate executive and leader, I can tell you that you can’t make anyone do anything. As an ordinary human, I can tell you that cannot make someone love you. Of course you can force people to do things, you can chase someone to no end, but no real authority, change, or love will come from that. The only change will be the disintegration that comes from anything to discomfort all the way to hate. This is not the integrity that emerges from the love known as agape.

jesus-washing-peters-feet-by-sieger-koderWhatever you do this Holy Thursday, whether you get your feet washed or you wash those of another, don’t think of any church service as a nice re-enactment. That is why the Eucharist is different, we are not re-enacting anything, we are not “getting” anything, we are not forced to something.

Eucharist is about what we give in love, put at the service of world in Christ. Eucharist is about how we are all transformed into what we are becoming. This can only happen in community, it is not a moment that is between any one of us and Jesus alone, it is about the whole, the entire Body of Christ – which is Continue reading

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Stay, watch, remain, pray

1932412_10152279350617438_613759620_nWe are almost there, these final days leading to Easter triumph and resurrection. But first we must walk the Via Crucis with Jesus, suffering and dying. How will you walk with Jesus this week?

Perhaps the better question is this, how will we each stay with Jesus this week? The comic to the left is cute and funny enough, but then again, it is not funny at all. How do we fail to stay awake? How do we continually find ways to distract ourselves? How do we avoid what must be done?

As for me, I can name many ways in which I do not watch and pray, far too many to enumerate for you today. Yet, Jesus continues to ask me to stay, to watch, to pray, remain in faithful vigil. So once again, I make my meek attempts.

May your steps this week be blessed with the grace attentiveness to and hope in Christ.

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Lenten Reflections – April 14, 2014

Today’s reflection is from parishioner Doreen Salse.
burning candleLess than one week until Good Friday. I feel as though I am sitting with a friend on death row. It’s odd that in all the Lents I have gone through – or at least those I paid attention to – that this thought hasn’t struck me before.

I think of sitting with my nose pressed against the plastic in the visitation area, if that’s how it works, trying to read every inch on the surface that dear face with all my might. Trying to capture it, etch it into my mind so that I would never in my life forget it. I would want to conjure it up at night, taking the image with me into my dreams, lock it in a place where I could keep it safe and protect it always.

When my godmother died, I wanted a memory of her that would never fade, and I asked her if she would give me her blessing. She looked at me with the most profound tenderness, and I realized she was sad for me. Not for herself, because she knew she was going, but for me because I was staying, and it would be hard for me to stay here without her.

Would you look the same way at me, Jesus? A wistful smile at my attempts to be brave in the face of losing you? Would that smile hold just a little bit of pity because even after all these years of hearing what you had to say, you know that hearing you is not the same as listening to you? Am I one of your disciples that you shook your head sadly at? If I had listened closely, I would have known that beyond the suffering, the dusty road, and the jeering just a week away, there would be a moment when the sky would open and the earth would shake with the terrible fury of the Truth. That truly, this man was the Son of God. What part of that do I not understand in my spiritual adolescence?

As I end this Lenten journey, let me look beyond what I fear are your and my final hours. Let me see only the start of your spectacular promise that you will rise again and those of us who believe in you, too, will never die.

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