From The Pastor 1-3-16

Posted by on Dec 30, 2015 in From the Pastor Columns

AMDG Dear OSJ Family, Blessed 2016! As we begin a new year again, let’s take time to do as our holy Jesuit founder St. Ignatius Loyola exhorts us, and earnestly reflect on the past year so that looking back we can look forward with hope and great expectation. Let us examine, in God’s light, our spiritual life. In St Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, he writes, “The goal of the spiritual life is to choose what better leads to God’s deepening life in me.” Given this we must sincerely ask in prayer and reflection:  How have I sought to deepen God’s spirit within me?  How much time did I spend in praying alone and with the Church community? How dedicated have I been to my prayer life? How have I served as an instrument of God’s peace and love to others? What are the ways that I have grown in my relationship with God? These are just a few questions to help us reflect and advance in our spiritual life. Ignatian /Jesuit spirituality is one way to help us to discern Gods grace at work in our hearts. It teaches us to recognize God at work in the present moment amidst our pains, struggles, joys and desires. To aid your reflection I offer you the Ignatian Examen- a prayer exercise of five points, for daily reflection. This has been prepared by Jesuit Fr. David Fleming, S.J:  The Examen of Consciousness God, thank you. I thank you, God, for always being with me, but especially I am grateful that you are with me right now. God, send your Holy Spirit upon me. God, let the Holy Spirit enlighten my mind and warm my heart that I may know where and how we have been together this day. God, let me look at my day. God, where have I felt your presence, seen your face, heard your word this day? God, where have I ignored you, run from you, perhaps even rejected you this day? God, let me be grateful and ask forgiveness. God, I thank you for the times this day we have been together and worked together. God, I am sorry for the ways that I have offended you by what I have done or what I did not do. God, stay close. God, I ask that you draw me ever closer to you this day and tomorrow. God, you are the God of my life—thank you. I hope that one New Year’s Resolution for us all be that we may make every effort to pray more, to reflect more and to love and serve more! God’s peace and blessings on you and yours in the New Year! With my esteem and...

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From The Pastor 12-27-15

Posted by on Dec 23, 2015 in From the Pastor Columns

AMDG Dear OSJ Family, Peace of the New Born King! We all know well that Christmas has the ability to bring family and friends together and to help us to appreciate the love in our lives that we can often take for granted.  This is just one reason that we celebrate Holy Family Sunday today. During this holy season of giving and receiving God’s love, made manifest for us in the birth of Jesus Christ, let us make every effort to take time to slow down and to enjoy and savor the simple gifts that give real meaning to the season and to our very lives; loved ones, community, experiences and of course our beautiful faith in Christ Jesus born in our hearts this day. To help us to reflect on these great gifts of God, I offer you these beautiful words of Sigrid Undset, the Norwegian novelist, and convert to the Catholic faith, who was awarded the Noble Peace Prize for her work in literature in 1928. She wrote: “And when we give each other Christmas gifts in God’s name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans–and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused–and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.” On behalf of the Jesuit Community, the Parish Staff, the Parish Pastoral Council and all of our devoted volunteers, committee members, and dedicated ministers at Old Saint Joseph’s, we pray that the message of Christmas, the gift of Jesus Christ, and the inspiration of the Holy Family, fill your life and your new year with enduring joy, happiness and peace.  We pray too that our gratitude for all of these gifts will impel us to extend our hands and our hearts in even greater service and care for those most in need within our human family! May the blessing of the Christ Child, and that of the Holy Family, be with you and yours! With my esteem and prayers, © 2015 Fr. Philip Florio, S.J....

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From The Pastor 12-20-15

Posted by on Dec 15, 2015 in From the Pastor Columns

AMDG Dear OSJ Family,  As we celebrate the last Sunday of Advent, we rejoice for Emmanuel, God is with us! Sadly, in the last few weeks we have seen how some people, in the face of the atrocities that have occurred both globally and nationally, have unfairly and inappropriately lashed out at people of several faith traditions and have disrespected God’s abiding presence by disrespecting God’s people.  I think of the so called “Evangelical Christians” that stormed several Catholic parishes in Las Vegas last week striking fear and anxiety into the hearts of worshippers at Mass as they shouted “the Pope is Satan” and “Repent, Catholics are idol worshippers.” These erroneous claims and offensive slurs, right in our very churches, are an affront to our religious freedom and violate our right to worship God in freedom and without fear of provocation and persecution. God knows that our early Catholics in the US, and in this very parish, a National Shrine of Religious Liberty, labored to overcome such discrimination against our Church and our most deeply held beliefs. Closer to home, the thoughtless act of desecration at Al Aqsa Mosque in North Philadelphia where a severed pig’s head was tossed at the doors of the mosque two weeks ago has left people of all faiths saddened and further committed to rallying against such bigotry and harassment. I, myself, was happy to sign a letter issued by representatives of our Parish Council, Adult Education and Social Justice Committees that pledged our prayers and solidarity with the faith community at Al Aqsa in the face of such hatred and animosity.  Our letter echoed similar words of the Religious Council of Philadelphia, of which our Archbishop is a key member, and that of the Archdiocese. The OSJ letter accurately stated so well: “Our early history (at OSJ) includes being viewed as unwanted outsiders with attempts to prevent our worship. The Quakers extended their hand in friendship to us which was essential in our ability to establish a spiritual home. We now extend our hand to you.”  What a beautiful gesture of true Christian fraternity and charity. I am very proud of the words and deeds of these parishioners and so many in our community, yet another reason that our parish is such a wonderful community of faith. Copies of the letter are on our website and are available in the back of church. With this, let us then continue to “extend our hands” to those in need of our prayers, service, and friendship and let us pray that the Newborn King, Jesus Christ, will continue to help our world to heal and to shed His glorious light amid the darkness that often surrounds...

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From The Pastor 12-13-15

Posted by on Dec 9, 2015 in From the Pastor Columns

AMDG Dear OSJ Family,  As many of you know, Pope Francis has declared 2016 as the Jubilee Year of Mercy! “At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives. For this reason I have proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church, a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective.” – Pope Francis Notably, the Year of Mercy begins on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and ends with the Feast of Christ the King, 2016. All this talk of mercy, raises a serious question, what is mercy? Jesuit Father James F. Keenan says, “Mercy is the willingness to enter into the chaos of another.” That about sums it up! And understanding this, mercy then is needed in so many segments of our lives and in so many areas of our world! In truth we all need to both give and receive mercy. Why else do we begin each and every Mass praying “Lord Have Mercy!? In this Jubilee Year, the pope recommends that we better practice works of mercy. Practicing the corporal works of mercy is one sure way to do this. Corporal works are the works that affect one’s physical well being. They are: to feed the hungry; to give drink to the thirsty; to clothe the naked; to shelter the homeless; to visit the sick; to ransom the captive; and to bury the dead. These are paired with the spiritual works of mercy, which are to aid one’s spiritual growth. The Church teaches that they are: to instruct the ignorant; to counsel the doubtful; to admonish sinners; to bear wrongs patiently; to forgive offences willingly; to comfort the afflicted and to pray for the living and the dead. Sometimes, when we think of the word mercy, we imagine someone on their knees before a tyrannical king or queen, begging to be spared their life or absolved of some cruel punishment. This is not our understanding of God’s mercy. We do not ask for God’s mercy because we fear that God will punish us for our sins or abandon us because of human weaknesses. No. When we call on God to grant us His mercy, we are calling on God in the only way we know him—as one who responds with compassion and kindness to those who call on Him. When we extend mercy to others, we are responding as God responds, with compassion and kindness. Lets us work together to show mercy and to receive mercy and in doing so to give God the Glory...

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