What's Been Going On
I thought I would catch you all up on what’s been going on . . .
I am very happy that things went so well while I was away this past weekend. Reports about Fr. Jerry Aman, SJ, are that he was very well received and had a powerful message of faith and service. Thank you for greeting him so warmly.
As you know, I was at “Young People Who Care” in Frenchville, PA this past week. It was an amazing experience and I am looking forward to sharing with you all about it. I am hoping to put together a slide show that can run before all the Masses this weekend. If not, then perhaps next weekend. You can also expect that some of the stories from the week will turn up soon in a homily.
I spent Monday evening with members of the Men’s Faith Group who were kind enough to invite me to their summer picnic. It was a very nice time of conversation, faith filled stories, laughter, and an excellent meal. It seems like they are all involved in giving of their time to St. Rita Church in one way or another (or in several ways). Thanks to them for all they do and for their hospitality!
I am glad to join you in welcoming Anne Thomas to the staff and family of St. Rita Church. Anne is the new Coordinator of our Faith Formation and Sacramental programs. Below, Anne shares a little bit about herself and she is already hard at work in preparation of this year’s programs. Please do all you can to support her in her efforts on behalf of the children of our parish. I am confident that she will be a fine leader and have great success here at St. Rita.
From the Desk of Anne Thomas . . .
Hello, St. Rita’s!
I am thrilled to be in such a warm and welcoming community and to serve here as your Faith Formation Coordinator. I love to talk and to write, so let’s see if I can manage to tell you about myself briefly:
Eight years ago, God introduced me to my husband and to my calling as a lay minister, and I’ve been enjoying the whirlwind of my life in ministry, marriage, and (eventually) motherhood ever since. Most recently, I am joining you after my time as the Catechetical Leader at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Macedon and Palmyra. On a day-to-day basis, I am coming to you from Victor, where I live with my family: my husband and our four-year-old twins.
I am a recent graduate of St. Bernard’s, a Marvel fan, a cross-stitch crafter, and more than a little tired of my children waking up at 4:00am. I love stories, games, Disney, social justice, my faith, and my family (not necessarily in that order).
I am looking forward to meeting you and supporting our families here at St. Rita’s in your faith journeys. Please don’t hesitate to call, email, or stop by the office with questions, needs, or ideas – I’d especially love to hear from you if you are interested in volunteering with Faith Formation or Confirmation this year!
Summer Mission Speaker this Weekend
As part of our Annual Missionary Cooperative Plan through the Diocese of Rochester, this weekend we welcome Rev. Gerald W. Aman, S.J.
This will be a homecoming for Father Jerry Aman, a Jesuit priest originally from Rochester, NY! He is a member of the North-West Africa Providence with many years of experience in the Jesuit missions.
Fr. Jerry went to Holy Trinity School here in Webster, then McQuaid Jesuit High School. He joined the Jesuit novitiate right after graduation from McQuaid. He was ordained in 1973 and then worked as a student chaplain at Canisius High School.
In 1985 Fr. Jerry was asked to go to Nigeria on the west coast of Africa. He has been there now for over 34 years. He spent ten years in parish work, three years as the superior of the philosophate community, and five years building a school, Loyola Jesuit College, in Nigeria. For the last few years Fr. Aman has been the assistant to the Jesuit Provincial in Lagos, a city of fourteen million people.
Your support will enable the Jesuits to:
- Initiate new ministries in education and social justice
- Promote vocations to the Society of Jesus
- Engage in spiritual formation, quality education and professional training to meet the demands of ministry today
- Provide quality healthcare for elderly Jesuits
- Respond to the needs of God’s people throughout the world.
We will have a second collection THIS WEEKEND to help the Jesuit Missions. If you write a check - please make it payable to St. Rita Church. You may place it in this weekend or next weekend’s collection, or mail it to the parish office. Fr. Jerry thanks you for your prayers and support of the Jesuit Missions.
Four things you should know about the end of time...
I imagine that people have been fascinated with the idea of the end of time for as long as there have been people. It has been a hot topic at least as long as the scriptures have been around. Much of what is written about it in scripture is filled with symbolism and this weekend’s readings are excellent examples of this. While this is not nearly everything that is known about the end of time, here are four things about it that can be taken from our readings.
Many of the First Testament scriptures that we Christians hold dear are images of the end of time.
In today’s first reading God tells us through the prophet Isaiah about a time when Jerusalem will be rescued and restored. It will be a time when there will be prosperity and security and everyone’s needs will be fulfilled. Jerusalem is symbolic of all of God’s people and God’s promise is for all his people. In other parts of scripture we hear that the fulfillment of this promise will also be a magnet of sorts for all the people of the world (see Isaiah 25:6). They will see the good that God is doing for his Chosen People and they will be attracted and will come to join in this good fortune¡ turning toward God and coming to believe in him alongside Jerusalem.
It’s not only about the future.
We must wonder: why this is so important? If this goodness is in the future, what does it mean to me now? Imagine that a loving parent tells their child that one day the family business will be theirs. While this is a promise for the future, it is also an expression of love and care at this moment. It is as if to say, “I love you so much that one day I will entrust you with everything and all I have will be yours.” As God makes promises about the future, he is expressing his current love for us.
Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises.
Given God’s promises to his people, and given that the Messiah would be God’s servant who would fulfill those promises, there were certain hopes that people had of the Messiah. Jesus fulfills them all - though not the way that people expected. One example of this is that the people expected the Messiah to gather the people into a new Kingdom of God¡ to bring back together the twelve tribes of Israel. How did Jesus do this? The very first message he preached, the very first Good News he shared, is that “the Kingdom of God is at hand.” In fact, this is also the Good News that he sends his disciples to share, “Tell them that the Kingdom of God is at hand for you.” (see Luke 10:1-20) The way he did this was most unexpected. He did this with table fellowship. He ate with sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors. He sought out the lepers and the marginalized. He ignored the powerful and lifted up the weak. This is how he gathered the people.
The future is now.
Jesus is not only the future fulfillment of God’s promises, he is also the present expression of God’s love. God’s goodness and mercy are for all his people. While the Kingdom of God will be completely fulfilled at the end when Jesus comes again, Jesus is making it real in the here and now. Our eternal life with God is not only in the future, it has already begun. Whenever we receive the Eucharist, God fulfills his love for us. Every time we love one another as Jesus loved us, the people are restored. With every effort to express the grace of God, others are attracted and come closer to a relationship with God.
The end of time is here. Not because time is finished, but because Jesus continually comes again into our lives and into our world and fulfills God’s promises in the world. The love and mercy of God are realized whenever we love and show mercy in what we say and do.
We are the disciples being sent ahead by Jesus to stir up expectation and spread joy and to announce that the Kingdom of God is at hand.
From the Desk of our Pastor, Fr. Tim Niven...
You have all been in my prayers as we have moved toward this time of transition. I am mindful that you have been saying your goodbyes to your two wonderful priests just as I have been saying goodbye to my parishioners. Transitions can be sorrowful as well as being a time of fond reminiscing and thanksgiving.
Your parish staff has already been remarkably helpful and hospitable to me. With that as an indication, even though we are unknown to one another, I am sure we will get along famously.
In our Gospel today, we hear that Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.” I have also seen this translated as, “He set his face like flint toward Jerusalem”.
We know this feeling. For example, those of you learning how to drive, you are learning that in order to maintain your course, it is important to keep your eyes fixed on the road farther ahead and not looking behind. This also holds true, as Jesus says today, in plowing a field; if we look back at what we have left behind we will stray off course. Jesus is asking us to be as single minded as he is.
What is our Jerusalem? What is our single minded goal? Toward what are we together resolutely turning? This is, perhaps, a worthy and fertile field for our mutual prayer and pondering. Wherever God leads us, he is our Good Shepherd and it will be a place of goodness and life.
I want to use this opportunity to tell you a bit about myself. I grew up in the town of Greece at the parish of St. Charles Borromeo. I have two older sisters and an older brother, with our mom and dad having gone to their eternal reward twenty five and twenty three years ago, respectively. I attended Cardinal Mooney High School and graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a BA in Physics and certification in Secondary Education.
After college I volunteered for a year and a half at a rural Catholic mission in northeast Pennsylvania called Young People Who Care. I still go back for service weeks and you will be hearing more about that.
For two years I was a youth minister outside of Buffalo and then spent three years teaching physics at St. Francis High School, south of Buffalo. My time teaching is an important step in my becoming a priest and I will be sharing more about that as time goes by. I enjoy wood working and crafts.
I have been a priest for 21 years. I love being a priest and since the day I was ordained I have never ever wished otherwise.
I generally introduce myself as “Fr. Tim” and I prefer to be called this. However, I am pretty easy going about this and will answer to whatever makes you personally most comfortable. I was a parochial vicar for five years and a pastor for the last sixteen years (the last four at St. Alphonsus in Auburn).
I am thrilled, nervous, excited and grateful to be coming to St. Rita and am very much looking forward to making my home with you.
As we continue to pray for one another, let us also pray for peace in our world - a goodness and well-being that God can bring.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor's Message - June 23, 2019
"Brothers and sisters: I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes." ~2 Corinthians 11:23-26
Dear parishioners and friends,
This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, traditionally known as Corpus Christi. Jesus is the reason we continue to celebrate the Eucharist. He gives us His Body and Blood for food because only God can satisfy the hunger we have in our hearts. Through the gift of the Holy Eucharist, Jesus literally gives of himself to us so that we can be nourished and saved.
We congratulate our Fifth Graders who will be moving on from St. Rita School, and ask God's blessing on all our parish children, as they come to the close of the school year. We had a beautiful Mass followed by our traditional "moving up" to a new grade ceremony and lots of "Blue and Gold" fun was happening! A special thank you to the school staff and faculty and especially to all the parents and parishioners who supported and volunteered countless hours to assist our children, teachers, and principal!
I would like to extend my gratitude to everyone who made a gift and prayed for the success of our Catholic Ministries Appeal - it worked! As of Tuesday, we are only $534 short of our goal. Your generosity is remarkable and please know that this money will be put to good use serving the people and staff of St. Rita parish as well as providing ministry support and services to those in need throughout our Diocese.
A bit overwhelming, but now comes the time that I extend me sincere gratitude to the Saint Rita Church and School community. Fr. Mike extends his gratitude as well, as both of us now move on to new assignments and locations. We both have been busy packing boxes and containers and have countless wonderful memories to take with us.
As I write this reflection, know what a blessing it has been to serve as a priest here, to celebrate the Sacraments, the circumstances of your life, anointings, funerals, baptisms, weddings, celebrating anniversaries, school events, attending various gatherings, all part of parish life. Your family has become my own as I have been deeply privileged to walk a bit of life's journey with you.
Know that I will continue to ask God to bless you and keep you safe in his love.