From the Pastor 2-28-16

Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 in From the Pastor Columns

AMDG Dear OSJ Family, As we continue on our Lenten journey together as God’s Church, we continue to reflect on our traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and alms giving that serve to strengthen us at this holy time of the year. This week I draw our attention to the Lenten practice of alms-giving or giving to and serving others. It should be obvious by now, that almsgiving is simply a response by us to God, a response that we have come to through prayer and fasting. Like all service, it is an expression of our gratitude for all that God has given us, and a realization that in the Body of Christ, it is never just “me and God.” Through prayer and fasting we come to a deeper understanding that the needs of all are the responsibility of all in the Body of Christ. Works of charity and the promotion of justice are integral elements of the Christian way of life we began when we were baptized. The foundational call of Christians to charity is a frequent theme of the Gospels.  During Lent, we are asked to focus more intently on “almsgiving,” which means donating money or goods to the poor and performing other acts of charity.  All of this helps to build up a more just and loving world. Here are just some ways that we can practice alms-giving/service to others this Lent at OSJ: Catholic Relief Service’s RICE BOWL Giving to various collections for the Church’s Mission’s worldwide The OSJ Social Justice Committee’s Annual Lenten Day of Service Volunteering with OSJ’s Faith , Food & Friends Ministry Visiting the sick and infirmed in their homes or at Pennsylvania Hospital which the priests of OSJ serve daily. Supporting the Archdiocese Annual Catholic Charities Appeal Truth is that there are countless other ways to offer your time, talent and treasure to needy individuals and organizations during Lent and throughout the year.  For other ideas, visit the Archdiocesan Catholic Charities website. Blessed Lent! Fr Phil Florio,...

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From the Pastor 2-21-16

Posted by on Feb 23, 2016 in From the Pastor Columns

AMDG Dear OSJ Family, With one week of Lent behind us, we can continue to focus our attention on our beautiful Catholic traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and alms giving in this most holy season of the Church. This week I draw our attention to the Lenten practice of prayer. Lent, as we know, is a time of spiritual renewal. Without prayer, fasting and almsgiving are merely actions we do out of tradition without much meaning. Prayer is our conversation with God. Our Jesuit Founder, St. Ignatius Loyola, called prayer an “intimate” conversation with God” because it is through prayer that we develop a closer, more personal relationship with God. Prayer offers us all a very special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life rooted in our baptism. In our busy world prayer provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon our patterns and sins. We should pray more deeply, experience sorrow for what we’ve done and failed to do, and to be generous to those in need. To help you to better pray, here are some of my personal recommendations for praying in Lent: Blessed Lent! Fr. Phil Florio,...

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From the Pastor: 2-14-16

Posted by on Feb 16, 2016 in From the Pastor Columns

AMDG Dear OSJ Family, With the start of Lent, this past Wednesday, Roman Catholic traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, alms giving and other forms of self-denial are still most warmly recommended by the Church. This week I draw our attention to the Lenten practice of fasting. Fasting, broadly speaking, is the voluntary avoidance of something that is good. When we Catholics talk about fasting, we normally mean restricting the food that we eat. We can fast between meals, by not eating snacks, or we can engage in a complete fast by abstaining from all food.  While fasting takes the form of refraining from eating, it is primarily a spiritual discipline designed to tame the body so that we can concentrate on higher things, like prayer, reflection and meditation. Fasting also unites us with others in their daily sufferings and trials.  Not just Christians, but Jews, Muslims and members of other faith traditions practice fasting as a means to holiness! Here are the Diocesan Guidelines for fasting: Everyone 14 years of age or older is bound to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, all the Fridays of Lent and Good Friday. Everyone 18 or older, and under 59 years of age, is bound to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, only one full meatless meal is allowed. Two other meatless meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted. When health or ability to work would be seriously affected, the law does not oblige. Blessed Lent! Fr. Phil Florio, SJ ©2016 Fr. Philip A. Florio,...

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From The Pastor: 2-7-16

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in From the Pastor Columns

AMDG Dear OSJ Family, Next Wednesday, February 10th, the Church throughout the world begins the sacred season of Lent with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. While it is neither a Solemn Feast Day or a Holy Day of Obligation, Christians will nonetheless flock to churches to be marked with a cross of ashes, the sign of our faith and a reminder of our sinfulness and need for God’s peace and healing. We do this, as we enter into the forty days of Lent our prayer period of preparation for the Church’s great celebration of Easter! At our Ash Wednesday liturgies, blessed ashes, the charred remains of last year’s blessed palms, are applied to our forehead in the sign of the cross as the words, “Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return” are spoken to us. The other formula that is used, “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel” emphasizes our call to continual conversion and holiness of life. Finally, while there is no rule as to how long we ought to wear our ashes, many Christians choose to wear their ashes for the entirety of the day both as a reminder of their own mortality and as a witness to those around that they are a follower of Christ and are entering into a season of greater fasting, prayer and service to those in need. Please join us on Ash Wednesday as we begin our Lenten observance at Old Saint Joseph’s with a 12:05pm Mass and again at 7:30pm. All Are Welcome! Blessings to all for a peaceful, holy and prayerful Lent. With my esteem and prayers, © 2016 Fr. Philip A. Florio, S.J....

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