NEWS AND UPDATES

This past Friday Saint James parish marked the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 with a solemn and beautiful prayer vigil.

Like any American who lived through those days, the memory of 9/11 has become almost sacred, particularly if you lived in the New York Metropolitan area that year.  Like countless others, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing at 8:46 AM that beautiful Tuesday morning.  I also cannot forget how that day and those events changed everything in our world and in the world.   Yet despite images of falling debris and smoldering plumes of black smoke, there was also a renewed sense of patriotism, sensitivity to our common humanity, and an acute realization that we were all in it together.  I really believe that, overall, the better angels of our American spirit pierced through the dark countenance of death, loss, fear, and uncertainty.  Bright rays of light burst forth: random acts of kindness, fervent offers of prayer, generous gifts of service to the stranger and neighbor alike.   Sometimes that which seems lost just needs to be reawakened.

I pray that through the intercession of our Mother of Sorrows, the grace of God may stir within each one of us so that our better angels may shine through us and into our world.  Let us pray:

Gracious God, our world changed with the 9/11 attacks.

We have seen how easily buildings can fall and how quickly lives can end.  As we remember 9/11, may it remind us that you are our only true security.  Give us your strength to face the memory of this attack and the changes it made in our lives.  Give us your compassion to help each other and recognize need around the world.  Give us your hope as we face an uncertain future.  Give us your peace.  Amen.

FORWARD IN FAITH LISTENING SESSIONS

Before I articulate my vision for our parish, I’m eager to hear yours.

The listening sessions that are scheduled for later this month are designed with your participation in mind.  I hope that you will join us for one of the two in-person sessions.  Not only will it be a good occasion for you to share your thoughts on our parish’s future, but you’ll also have a chance to hear your fellow parishioners share theirs.

Please know that I am looking forward to listening to you and hearing what you have to say about our wonderful parish and its future.

These are the two dates for the Listening Sessions, which will be held in the church:

Wednesday, September 22nd, at 10:00AM

Thursday, September 23rd, at 7:00PM

In addition to the two listening sessions, we will make available both a paper and a digital survey for those who aren’t comfortable/able to attend the in-person sessions.

REFLECTION ON THE READINGS

I hate math. I’ve never been good at it.  Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, my brother-in-law is a math whiz and loved every minute of helping me with my math homework.  I wanted to rush through it; he wanted to deliberate every problem and make sure I really understood it.

I know now that he wasn’t trying to torture me, although it felt like it then.  He was making sure I got decent grades (I did) and hoping I would develop his knack for numbers (I didn’t).

Like a million other kids, I protested that I would never need to know algebra.  Instead of insisting that I would someday (I haven’t), he told me to think of it as cross-training for my brain.  It’ll make you smarter at everything else, he said.  Of course, he was right.

To this day, phrases such as “show me your work” and “prove it” transport me back to my childhood dining room table, where I had to demonstrate my knowledge.

Today’s readings say to demonstrate your faith. Even if, especially if, you’re reluctant.  It’s going to be hard, but you’ve got to show what you know.  Prove it.  Take up your cross.  Do the work.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

The Eucharist is not the reward of saints, but the bread of sinners.
—Pope Francis

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