On June 24 the Church of St. John the Baptist celebrated its patronal feast with a majestic liturgy at 5:15 p.m. In his homily Fr. Michael spoke of John the Baptizer, the last of the prophets, as one who sought to right the wrongs of his day...
It’s that time of year when those of us in the Roman Catholic tradition reacquaint ourselves with the taste of tuna fish, haul out the family recipe for macaroni and cheese or spread a couple of slices of bread with some good old-fashioned peanut-butter and jelly. Perhaps we have made yet another commitment to trim back our eating habits or to dig a bit more deeply into our pockets to offer aid to another. Some of us have probably shown up for Mass more often, if not daily. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving – why do we do these things? Why now? Why Lent?
Prayer, yes. But decidedly not a multiplication of words. Rather our prayer begins and ends with listening. We pray so as to listen through all of the raucous voices of our day seeking to hear the word that took flesh in Jesus of Nazareth. After a season of distorted, manipulative words, a time of deceitful speech, our prayer is meant to help us salvage the truthfulness of our shared speech. To cherish the divine gift that is our human capacity for communication. By divine grace, a people devoted to dwelling in the Word made flesh.
In over 50 years in the organ business, I have learned that few organs were as heavily used as those in Catholic churches during the mid-20th century. I recall working in Waterbury, Connecticut, in the mid 1970's, releathering the organ at just such a church, where there were often 100 masses a week, plus a very active funeral and wedding schedule. Fast-forward to 2010, when we were called to Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church on West 42nd Street in Manhattan.
We know that Joseph was a lowly carpenter, betrothed to Mary. He was a “just man,” ever ready to carry out God’s will as revealed to him in the Law and through four dreams. After a long and tiring journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, he beheld the birth of the Messiah in a stable, since “there was no place for them” elsewhere. He witnessed the adoration of the shepherds and the Magi, who represented respectively the people of Israel and the pagan peoples.
At the dawn of a new year, I extend cordial greetings to Heads of State and Government, leaders of International Organizations, spiritual leaders and followers of the different religions, and to men and women of good will. To all I offer my best wishes that the coming year will enable humanity to advance on the path of fraternity, justice and peace between individuals, communities, peoples and nations.
by Daniel Berrigan, Author of Testimony: The Word Made Flesh
It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction— This is true: Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, his name shall be called wonderful councilor, mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of peace.
Preparation for Christmas is an important theme for Advent, but more is involved. Advent affords a vision for our lives and reveals profound possibilities in our lives. The vision of life that Advent bequeaths us is twofold – a glance back to the ?irst coming of Christ in Bethlehem, and a gaze forward to the future coming of Christ. Stretched between these two, we live into life’s adventure, lured by the grace of G-D.
A rather common question we ask of one another – sometimes spoken, others not. When you think about it, we spend a good deal of our time waiting – a fact reinforced during this season of crowded lines at checkout counters that seem to elicit all the least delightful behaviors of which we humans are capable. Those who spend their lives analyzing such things (who are these people anyway?) suggest that, over the course of a lifetime, our waiting includes...
The season of Advent opens for us yet another new liturgical year. An opportunity to join the community of believers gathered to search the scripturesand recline at table with the One whose light no darkness can overpower. This Advent, our Sunday assemblies welcome the towering figure of Isaiah of Jerusalem, visionary and prophet. He bears a word of hope and transformation for a people profoundly preoccupied in a tense time crowded with competing kingdoms...
Thanksgiving is the time of the year when we, as individuals, families, a nation, and faith communities come together to give thanks to the Lord for the many blessings He has given us. It is also the time when we look to give something back to those in need. For over a century, Catholic Charities has been serving all New Yorkers in need by providing a range of services that provide help and create hope for the most vulnerable among us, Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
by Dr. Michael J. Pfeifer, Parishioner of Holy Cross—St. John the Baptist
Irish-born Archbishop John Hughes created Manhattan’s Holy Cross Parish in 1852 to serve the thousands of Irish Catholics moving north of lower Manhattan into what became known as Longacre Square (later Times Square) and the developing neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen. Holy Cross maintained a strong Irish American identity into the mid twentieth century and its path charted the transformation of the disciplined folk piety created by the “devotional Revolution” in Ireland in the nineteenth century into an American Catholicism dominated by Irish-American clergy that sought to defend communalistic Catholic distinctiveness amid the rapid urban growth and burgeoning individualistic capitalism of an historically Protestant nation.
Last September, I asked Judge Barbara Jones, a much-respected former Federal Judge and prosecutor, to review, evaluate, and recommend improvements to the Archdiocese of New York’s response to the sexual abuse crisis that has been confronting our Church. Now, after an intense year in which Judge Jones and her team have conducted an exhaustive examination of our policies, procedures, and protocols, a complete review of every priest file, and held countless hours of interviews with archdiocesan staff, including me, Judge Jones has provided me with a summary of her findings and recommendations.