Saturday, November 26, 2011

Distinction between marriage and wedding preparation - Nov 26, 2011

Recently we learned of the end of Kim Kardashian’s marriage. The media reported that the union lasted 72 days. In my working with engaged couples I make a distinction between marriage and wedding preparation. All too often the focus is on the wedding. Lots of attention gets paid to the flowers, the length of the aisle, the dresses of the bridesmaids, the location of the reception, the photographer, the honeymoon. I wonder how much time actually gets directed towards marriage preparation. Ideas like spirituality, shared sacrifice, healthy human sexuality, communication, strategies around problem solving need to be explored. Pray that our couples married here at St. Luke’s are properly prepared for a relationship that will last for life.

Fr. Bob Hawkins

Saturday, November 19, 2011

If at first you don’t succeed try, try again - Nov 19, 2011

“If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.” I remember this wise saying from my youth. It is this montra that needs repeating as the Parish Council grappled last night with what to do about the Nayatt Day of Evangelization. Less than half of the families were home on October 29th. When we tried to update our records after all the Masses on the weekend of November 5-6 a grand total of eight (8) families responded. We left packets of material at all the homes on visitation day but few people ever acknowledged receiving the material. What’s a parish council to do? In another effort to reach out we are sending via mail the registration form with feedback questions on the back. Maybe this will get the response we are looking for.

At the meeting I shared a reflection from a talk I heard at a seminar a few years back. The speaker compared the Church to our relationship to the utility company. When Hurricane Irene hit all of a sudden we thought of National Grid. When things are normal we never think of our phones, lights and other utilities. Is this how people think of the Church? When we need you we’ll get in touch with you; otherwise you are off the radar screen. A baby is born, a job is lost, a relative sick, a love one dies, a child reaches 7 years of age – we call the Church. While I certainly hope that people call the Church at important times in their lives, I also hope that the Church can be more a part of the ordinary rhythm of people’s lives. Trying to foster good habits and practices is something I am about as your pastor. “If at first you don’t succeed…” I invite you to join me in devising strategies to make the parish a more vibrant part of people’s lives.
   Fr. Bob Hawkins

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Changes in the liturgy -Nov 13, 2011

The first Sunday of Advent is quickly approaching and with it all kinds of changes in the liturgy. Let’s face it, we all resist change. We like things the way they are. In the liturgy we get used to the wording of the prayers so much that we can recite the prayers by heart. For the first few weeks my head will be in the text. In this pondering I will share some of the changes that will affect you.

- “the Lord be with you – ALL “And with your spirit.” Why the change? When someone is ordained a priest, the Holy Spirit comes upon him in a powerful and unique way. So instead of a personal greeting we are acknowledging the working of the Holy Spirit through the - gift of Holy Orders.
- At the Creed we will say “I believe”, instead of “we believe”. Why the change? The literal translation of “Credo” is “I believe”. Also “Credo” reflects the profound truth that I can’t believe for you nor you for me. The Creed goes back to the Baptismal rite of the early  Church.
- The most unusual change is from “one in being with the Father” to “consubstantial with the Father.” Why the change? We are acknowledging that Christ is of the same  substance as the Father.
- At the Lamb of God you will now respond, “Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof”. So much of the new translation goes back to the biblical roots of our liturgy. Here we recall the Roman Centurion who comes to beg Jesus to heal his servant who is dying. This new response reflects this great statement of faith of the Roman leader.
There will be more reflection in the weeks to come. Already we have sung the new Sanctus and Memorial Acclamations. It is my hope that the new translation will lead us to be a more vibrant worshipping community.

Fr. Bob Hawkins

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Break open the word of God

As I write I have just celebrated the School Mass for All Saints. It is an easy Mass to celebrate because it celebrates people who took the light of Baptism and shared it with others. Whether it was Katherine Drexel who gave most of her wealth to build Catholic schools in Philadelphia or St. Julie who started the Sisters of Notre Dame these saints made a difference with their lives. Now I am on to what I’m going to preach about at the All Souls Mass on Wednesday evening. What a privilege it is to break open the word of God for people. Making the word of God relevant for our lives gives me great joy and meaning. It is how I in my limited way attempt to make a difference. I leave you with these words from Rabbi Howard Kushner:

“…The need to know that we are making a difference motivates doctors and medical researchers to spend hours looking through microscopes in the hope of finding cures for diseases. It drives inventors and entrepreneurs to stay up nights trying to find a better way of providing people with something they need. It causes artists, novelists, and composers to try to add to the store of beauty in the world by finding just the right color, the right word, the right note. And it leads ordinary people to buy six copies of the local paper because it has their name or picture in it.”

Fr. Bob Hawkins