Our Parish Mission Statement:
Recently I read an ad in a newspaper… “You cannot buy happiness, but for a mere $499 per month you can lease spiritual exhilaration that is out of this world. Come in and test drive our new luxury sedans today.” Jesus gives us the key to true happiness in this life and the next. Just follow the beatitudes.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…Can a non Catholic receive last rites?
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for your interesting question. Last rites, or Sacrament of the sick, like all seven of our sacraments, are only given to Catholics. So if Father hears of a person who is seriously ill, Father will go visit him or her. He will pray with them, and if the person would like to become Catholic, father can baptize, anoint, and give Holy Communion to the dying person.
I first remember hearing the Lord call me to the priesthood when I was in elementary school. In today’s readings God calls Isaiah, St. Paul, and St. Peter. Each of them responds with unselfish generosity and faith. May we do all that we can to foster vocations, and teach by our example how to respond generously to God’s call.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…What is the origin of the expression “to rob Peter to pay Paul?”
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for your interesting question. This expression means to take something from one person to pay another, leaving the former person at a disadvantage. The phrase originated in the 16th century in England. The church of St. Peter in Westminster was deemed a cathedral, but later it’s diocese was dissolved and the assets of St. Peter’s were used to repair St. Paul’s cathedral which was in very poor condition. Thus it was said that they robbed Peter to pay Paul.
In today’s Gospel Jesus is ridiculed in His own home town. When we are met with criticism how should we respond? Patrick Coffin of “Catholic Answers” suggests the following: 1. Ask for the grace to recognize any truth that can be found in the criticism. 2. Do not dwell on the negative. 3. Say a prayer for your critics. 4. Remember the only opinion that matters is God’s. 5. Could your critics be opposed to you because you belong to Jesus? “Blessed are the persecuted – theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…Is it ever OK to miss Mass on a weekend or Holy day?
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for your important question. As baptized Catholics we are obliged to attend Mass on Sundays and on Holy days of obligation. (Saturday 4pm counts as a Sunday Mass) However, there are perfectly acceptable reasons to miss Mass. For example, Fr. John has not been able to attend Mass while his leg has been broken. Therefore he sets his alarm and, and watches the Mass each Sunday morning at 6am from Burlington, Vermont. Illness is a good reason to miss Mass. We do not want to infect others, or, for example, if our immune system is weakened, we do not want to catch illnesses in church. There may be occasions when we are travelling and not able to attend Mass, but we should do all that we can to arrange to attend Mass on Sunday during our absence from home. Severe weather is another acceptable reason to miss Mass. Every effort should be made to attend a Mass during that weekend, but safety certainly is a priority. If we miss Mass by accident on a Sunday or holy day the Lord understands. If we miss on purpose that is another matter and Father is anxious to hear all about it in the confessional at your earliest convenience.
In 1991 I arrived in West Stewartstown to begin ministry there. My first Mass was celebrated on a Wednesday afternoon. The church was full to capacity. After Mass people said, “We usually do not have this many folks at Mass, but we were anxious to meet you, and to learn how you plan to serve the parish and the school.” In today’s Gospel Jesus’ congregation is anxious to learn about His ministry and kingdom.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…If you want to become a priest how do you know which Religious Order is best for you?
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for your excellent question. When I was discerning God’s call I wanted to be a priest who was just like my family’s pastor. There are so many different ways to answer God’s call. One can become a priest, or Deacon working in a parish, or maybe God is calling you to a Religious Order, such as the Franciscans, Dominicans,…Each Order follows the life and teachings of a saint, and has it’s own Charism. So if you enjoy working with the sick, there is a Religious Order specializing in hospital work. If you enjoy teaching, there are Religious Orders whose members teach younger or older students. Likewise, there are orders specializing in prison ministry, missionary work, service to the poor, prayer, and even baking, wine making, and art work. Through prayer and exploring various Religious Orders we can find just the right vocation for us, and a joy filled life of service to God and His people.
Paul always wears two wedding rings. He jokes about it, but recently one of his friends asked him why. He said in 1999 his father passed away. His parents had been married 52 wonderful years. At the burial Paul’s mother gave him his father’s ring. Paul wears it with pride. He says his father was the best father, brother, son that he could be, and Paul strives each day to imitate the life of his beloved Dad. May the Lord bless our couples and families this week and always.
Question: I was wondering…What is an antiphon?
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for your excellent question. An antiphon is defined as a short sentence sung or recited before or after a psalm or canticle. What antiphons can you identify in today’s Mass?
I baptized two little boys six days after I was ordained a deacon in 1987. What a thrill it is to baptize. I have never baptized anyone by dunking them in water. (Not Yet.) The youngest person I ever baptized was just being born in a maternity ward, and the oldest had just turned 95 years young. As a famous theologian once said, “Baptism tells us who we are and Whose we are.”
Where and when were you baptized? Do you remember anything about your baptism? Who baptized you? Who are your Godparents? Could you call them or write them a note. What Spiritual gift did you receive at your baptism?
I hope that you had a most Blessed Christmas celebration. I hope that you received gifts that you wanted. Today, on the feast of the Epiphany, the magi come to the manger and present Jesus with gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gifts fit for a king, a God, and the Lord who will die for us. May God shower you with His gifts throughout The New Year.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering… Why is Mary often portrayed in blue?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your excellent question. Our Blessed Mother is traditionally portrayed in blue clothing. This can be traced back at least to the early 6th century. Blue was the color of an empress. Blue color was derived from the rock lapis lazuli, a stone imported from Afghanistan. It was more expensive than gold. Therefore patrons would donate to purchase the stones needed to produce blue color. It was an expression of love and devotion to Mary to dress her in blue gowns.
I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas celebration, and I wish you and your loved ones A Blessed New Year, 2019. I am deeply grateful for all that you do for our parish.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…Does the Catholic Church believe in reincarnation?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your excellent question. Reincarnation is the belief that when we die our soul is reborn in a new body on earth. Catholics believe that when we die our soul goes to God to be judged, and then the soul enjoys everlasting life, or must be purified in Purgatory, or it is in Hell eternally. Our body is buried, and awaits the end of the world, when Jesus will come again to resurrect our bodies, and they will then join our souls.
I wish you and your loved ones a Blessed Christmas celebration. May the Lord’s birth bring you joy, peace and love. We are most grateful for all that you do for our parish. Please know that you will be in my prayers at Christmas this Mass.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…how did Christmas cards get started?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your interesting question. The first known Christmas card was sent to James I of England and his son, the Prince of Wales in 1611. In 1843 cards were designed and illustrated in London. On one side the card showed three generations of a family and on the other side it showed scenes of charity to the poor. Hallmark cards company was established in 1913 in the United States specifically to market Christmas cards
One day Mark Twain was walking with a friend.
Suddenly it began to rain cats and dogs.
The friend asked, “Do you think it will ever stop raining?”
Mark Twain said, “It always has.”
Let us always be optimistic and joyful. The Lord is coming soon.
His presence makes all the difference.
Rather than dwelling on our problems we look to Jesus for solutions and live each day with deep faith and joy.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…what are the twelve days of Christmas?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your timely question. The twelve days of Christmas are the days from December 25 until the feast of the Epiphany (January 6). During these days we reflect on events of Jesus’ childhood from the Bible. The 12 days were made famous by an English song from a time when the Catholic faith was outlawed. Using well known symbols, such as a partridge in a pear tree, the song taught truths about the faith. For example, the partridge represents Jesus, two turtle doves represent the old and new testament, three French hens represent the Trinity, four calling birds are the four evangelists,….
If a martian were to land on earth he or she would quickly realize that something special is going on. Wreaths and decorations are beginning to appear, and we are filled with joy, because the Lord’s birth is around the corner. John the Baptist prepared the world to receive the Savior, and we, too, are busy sharing our love for God and for each other. I hope that Advent is a time of great peace for you and your loved ones.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…what is the origin of the Christmas tree? Our cats love ours.
Answer: Dear friend, thhank you for your great question? The Christmas tree comes from a German tradition. In the middle ages in Germany on December 24th was celebrated the Mass of Adam and Eve, and often parishes would put on a play. An important part of the play was the tree from which Adam and Eve picked and ate the apple. Children loved to play around the tree, and families would cut a tree down and bring it in the house. This became known as a Christmas tree and presents were placed under it and candles were lit to show that Jesus came to forgive original sin and bring us Eternal Life- the happy ending to the story of Adam and Eve.
Happy New Year. This weekend we begin our new church year, and begin to prepare for the Lord’s birth. Looking at the date I realize that Christmas is only three weeks away. There is so much to do and so little time. But let us not forget to do what is most important.. prepare spiritually for Jesus’ arrival. May this Advent be a time of grace, peace, and spirittual renewal for you and your loved ones.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…What is the significance of the Advent Wreath?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your timely question. Lighting the Advent Wreath is a long standing tradition in the church. The circular green wreath represents eternal life. The four candles represent the thousands of years of waiting and preparing for the birth of the Savior. Three of the candles are purple and one is pink for Gaudete Sunday, meaning rejoice. Lighting the candles of the wreath help us to be ready for the birth of the Lord, the light of the world.
Living in a democracy we may, at times, criticize kingdoms, seeing them as having too much power placed in the hands of the king or queen. However, today we honor Jesus, our king. He is the perfect sovereign-loving, unselfish, and peaceful.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…What is the significance of the images on the stained glass windows behind the altar of St. Catherine’s Church?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for this intriguing question. I would like to invite our parishioners to add to this answer if you have more insight into the meaning of each window. On the left side, from top to bottom, the windows show: a lily and a crown of thorns, fish and bread, and a ladder, a hammer and tongs.
On the right side, from top to bottom, the windows show: A cross, spear and hammer, a Host, chalice, wheat and grapes, and a pillar and whips.
What beautiful stained glass windows we have in our churches. The scenes in them give us so much to contemplate, and assist us in our prayers to God.
A number of religions have famously predicted the date of the end of the world, only to be mistaken. Jesus does not tell us when the end will occur, but advises us to watch for the signs and always be prepared to meet the Lord.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…What do
the colors of your vestments mean?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your excellent question. At Mass the priest wears a chasuble, his outer garment, and a stole. They have a particular color. The color may indicate the liturgical season, for example, green represents Ordinary time, purple represents Advent, white indicates Christmas and Easter seasons, and indigo represents Lent. The color may also indicate the feast day which is being celebrated. For example, Father will wear white on a saint’s day. He will wear red for a martyr, or for the Holy Spirit.
Rousseau once wrote… ”When we die, we only take with us what we have given away during our lifetime.”
Thank you for your generosity. Each day you sacrifice your time, talent, and treasure for God, for the parish, and for the needy among us. May the Lord bless and reward you now and in Heaven.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…How do I prepare for a good confession?
Answer: Dear friend, Thank you for your excellent question. Before we go into the reconciliation room we must examine our conscience. We try to remember when our last confession took place. We ask ourselves what sins we have committed since then. Sins can be thoughts, words, or actions. And they can be sins of omission, failing to do, think or say what we should. Once we have examined our conscience we can tell God and Father the exact sins which are on our soul, and receive absolution for them.
Psychologists define seven types of love…passionate love, deep friendship, love of family members, unselfish love, uncommitted love, practical love and selfish love. Jesus commands us to love God and love our neighbor with unselfish, wholehearted love to find eternal joy.
Question: I was wondering…What are the three secrets of Fatima?
Answer: Thank you for your interesting question. On May 13, 1917 Our Blessed Mother told three secrets to the shepherd children at Fatima. Lucia revealed two of the secrets in 1941. She wrote the third secret down and asked that it not be revealed until a later time. The text of the third secret was released by Pope John Paul II in the year 2000, although some claim that it was not the entire secret. The first secret is a vision of Hell. The second secret states that World War I will end but another war will occur during the reign of Pope Pius XI if people continue to offend God, and if Russia does not convert. The third secret has to do with the persecution of Christians in the 20th century and an assassination of the Pope, and the murder of bishops, priests, Religious, and lay people.
Happy Priesthood Sunday. Thirty years ago I was ordained in the cathedral in Manchester by Bishop Gendron and Bishop Gerry. It has been a wonderful adventure. I have enjoyed serving God and people so much. I have met the most wonderful people, served in the north, south, east, and west of New Hampshire, and have been blessed to experience God’s miracles every day. Please pray for vocations, and for the priests and religious serving the Church today. Be assured of my prayers for you. Thank you very much for the many blessings that you have given to me over the years.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…Why do we use incense in church?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your interesting question. Incense is made from aromatic resin from certain trees which is placed on burning charcoal, and releases a sweet smelling smoke. The smoke represents our prayers rising to God. A thurible is used to contain the incense and a thurifier is the altar server who carries the incense.
Saint Bruno was an eleventh century scholar. He taught a future pope and numerous bishops. He was chancellor of Rheims, and more than once he was offered the office of Bishop himself. However, he chose to live the last half of his life in prayerful seclusion. A man of great humility and faith, he founded the Carthusian Order of monks which has one monastery in the United States, in southern Vermont. May we imitate the humility of the Lord and saint Bruno, as we place ourselves at the service of God and others.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…What are the names of the vestments that the priest, deacon, and servers wear at the altar during Mass?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your interesting question. During Mass the altar server wears a black cassock and a white surplice over it. The Deacon wears a white alb., a colored stole across his left shoulder, and a dalmatic over it. The priest wears a white alb, a colored stole around his neck, and a chasuble. The Deacon’s dalmatic and the priest’s chasuble are colored according to the liturgical season, or the saint or martyr of the day.
Andrew Carnegie was one of the richest people of his generation. He was also extremely generous. When asked why, he said “ I have noticed that millionaires never smile.” Thank you for your generosity with your time, talents, and treasure.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…Why is there no Mass on Good Friday?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for this question. As you know, on Good Friday, we remember and relive the day that Jesus died for us on the Cross. Good Friday has been kept as a special day of prayer and penance since the earliest days of the church. In honor of the Lord’s suffering and death and since the Mass is a joyful celebration, we do not have Mass on that day. If we must have a funeral on good Friday a special form is used without a Mass. However, we know that receiving Holy Communion is most important to us and, to the sick and dying. Therefore, we do have a prayer service with Holy Communion on Good Friday during which we read the Passion, venerate the Cross, and receive Holy Communion. The Hosts used are consecrated during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. We are also allowed to bring Holy Communion to the sick and dying on Good Friday. It is very striking and moving to experience a day without the Holy Mass. It makes us appreciate the Mass all the more on the other days of the year.
In 2005 Andre and Marguerite DeBry of Hereford, France celebrated their 81st anniversary of marriage. They were recognized as the couple married the longest in the world, as far as we know. When asked what they recommend to help couples have a long and happy marriage they replied, “Do not go to bed angry with each other”. May the Lord bless all of our married couples and families.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…What is the correct way to place one’s hands during the Lord’s prayer, and other parts of the Mass?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your very practical question. In the Roman Missal which the priest uses to celebrate Mass at the altar there are rubrics- small notes in red print telling the priest that, for example, he should fold his hands or extend his hands during a particular prayer. Our holy parishioners have no such guide. However, according to the U.S. Bishops, there is no right or wrong thing to do with one’s hands during the Mass. Theologians advise us not to hold hands during the Lord’s prayer. That gesture is for the sign of peace. Also, they advise us not to imitate the priest’s actions with hands extended during prayers, as Father is praying to God in our name. Perhaps it is best to fold our hands or place them at our side. Of course, it is up to our own discretion what we do with our hands in church. No gesture is sinful as long as it is not meant as an insult to God or people.
Many years ago I attended my first ecumenical pastors’ meeting in Colebrook, New Hampshire. Each of us belonged to a different Christian denomination. We had many differences in our beliefs and religious practices, but we worked very well together on challenges such as helping the poor, visiting the sick, and inspiring deeper faith. We all got along very well, and became good friends. It was a great example of fellowship and cooperation among the Lord’s shepherds.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering….Why are there so many Bibles today which differ from the Latin Vulgate version that we grew up with?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your excellent question. The Council of Trent, in the sixteenth century, approved a Latin translation of the Old and New Testaments for use by the Catholic Church. However, the Council did not prohibit publication of the Bible in other languages and further translations of the Bible. In the twentieth century scholars tried to make new translations of the Bible because English continues to change as a living language, and because they wanted to translate ancient Hebrew and Greek words as precisely as possible. To be sure that a Bible is authorized by the Church look for Nihil obstat and Imprimatur on the front pages of the Bible.
Dr. Charles Mayo, along with his father and brother, founded the Mayo Clinic. Once a distinguished group of foreign doctors was visiting. As Charles went to bed he noticed their shoes lined up in the hall. In their homeland servants would clean and shine the shoes at night.
So Charles carefully took one pair at a time and cleaned and polished them to perfection which took him much of the night.
As we serve others we are actually serving God with great love.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering….In confession, what if the priest asks you how long it has been since your last confession and you do not know?
Answer: (Dear friend, Thank you for your great question. When we enter the reconciliation room Father greets us, we make the sign of the Cross, and say “Bless me, Father for I have sinned. It has been. . . since my last confession and these are my sins.” The reason that we mention how long it has been since our last confession is that it reminds us to go to confession at least every month, and especially soon after we commit a serious sin. It also tells Father if our sins are frequent or not. For example, if it has been a year since my last confession and I lied twice, that is not too frequent, but if it has been a day since my last confession and I lied twice, that is a different story.
In my Mom’s yearbook her friend wrote “ It’s nice to be natural when you are naturally nice.” Friends, even families may or may not know us as well as we would like, but today Peter nails Jesus’ identity. And now he will learn what it means to be a suffering Messiah, and a Christian who embraces the Cross. May we accept our Crosses, great and small, with faith and courage.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering….What is the translation of the prayer sung in Latin just before Communion?
Answer: (Answered by our parish music director, Mr. Tom LaCasce)
Dear friend, Thank you for your excellent question. The English version of the prayer is:
“Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.”
Sometimes we sing it in English, but the Latin text is preferred by the Church, as it is considered a bit more formal, and hence, more appropriate at that part of the Mass.
My college roommates and I spent one afternoon per week helping the needy. We travelled to the Perkins School for the Blind and took a a few students out for icecream and to an amusement park. My student, Brad, was blind and deaf. We enjoyed our hours with them, and learned so much from them, while treating them with kindness. Today Jesus heals a deaf and mute man. May we listen closely to God’s words and let them bear fruit in us.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering….Why does Jesus’ Body and Blood taste different at other churches?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your excellent question. The Host which is consecrated during Mass must be made of wheat and water. The Precious Blood is consecrated from pure wine from red or white grapes. The taste of the Hosts may vary slightly from church to church due to the type of wheat used and whether the Host has been bleached white. The Hosts and wine used must be approved by the Bishops. Some church approved wine is sweeter than others, and the taste of red wines can vary. White wine has a distinct taste as well. After consecration the Hosts and the Precious Blood retain the taste of the wheat and wine from which they were made.
As we were growing up our parents had one most important question for us before every meal….”Did you wash your hands?” Today we know that hand washing is important to eliminate germs, but in the first century it was instituted by the religious authorities as an outward show of holiness, while being used by them to criticize and condemn. May the Lord help us to always keep our external piety AND our internal holiness intact.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…. Who were the Gentiles and what did they believe in?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your great question. Gentile is the name that the Jews gave to all non Jewish people. Gentiles have many varied beliefs around the world. They include Christians, Hindu, Buddhists, Islam, agnostics, atheists, and others.
Since last December I have been celebrating Mass in a state prison. I admit that I had my own fears and apprehension at first, but the inmates who have joined us for Mass show a deep faith, a hunger for God’s word, and a deep devotion to the Eucharist. They make the choice to come to Mass and they are trying to love and serve God, and turn their lives around, and that makes all the difference.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…. On Saturdays, why do we have to receive Communion after 4pm for it to count?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your excellent question. Our weekly holy day of obligation is Sunday, since the Lord rose on that day, and He appeared many times to His disciples as they gathered to break bread on Sunday. After the Second Vatican Council it was decided that we could fulfill our Sunday obligation by attending Mass on Saturday if it was necessary. However, our Saturday 4pm Mass is actually a Mass for Sunday, so the Bishops ask us to schedule it as close to the evening as possible, since, in the Jewish tradition, the day starts with sundown. In our region 4pm is considered to be about the earliest that a Mass can be celebrated if it is to fulfill our Sunday obligation.
Once when I was stationed in the far north of New Hampshire we had a stretch of vey cold weather, and a severe storm. We had no electricity for about one week. During that time we celebrated our weekend Masses. One young man was serving Mass for the first time. It was about 7 degrees in the church, many trees had fallen in the storm, and we had no electricity. However, even under extreme circumstances, the Lord was with us, and we enjoyed being able to worship together. May God bless you always.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering… Why did the Patriots lose the Super Bowl last season?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your interesting question. We are so grateful for every gift that God gives each of us. Professional football players are blessed to be able to play the game so well. I truly believe that God wants each team to play well and, and while we hope that God is a Patriots fan I think the Lord hopes that the team that plays best will win.
I want to thank all of our parishioners who participate in various ministries. We deeply appreciate your service to the Lord and His people. Our dedicated Eucharistic ministers lovingly bring the Blessed Sacrament to our people in hospitals, nursing homes, and those at home who are unable to come to church. In this vital ministry you connect the sick to the worshipping community, bring them God’s healing love, and spend quality time with them. May the Lord bless you.
Question: I was wondering… Can a couple get married in the Catholic church if one is a practicing Catholic but the other is non practicing, but was baptized Catholic?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your excellent question. The Church does allow a practicing Catholic to marry a non practicing Catholic in the church with a wedding Mass. The couple must attend classes with the priest for 6 months before the wedding. During those meetings the priest will discuss the importance of practicing our faith, and will encourage the non practicing Catholic to come to church and ask questions that they may have about our beliefs, and, hopefully, he or she will begin to practice the faith once again. If not the couple must seek permission from the Bishop to be married in the church, and the practicing party must promise to have any children baptized and raised as Catholics.
On Sunday, May 29, 1988 at 2pm I celebrated my first Mass. For so long we had practiced consecrating bread and wine into Jesus’ body and blood, but on that day it really happened. May the Lord whom we receive in Holy Communion nourish our souls with the food of Eternal Life. “O sacrament most holy, o sacrament divine, all praise and glad thanksgiving be every moment Thine.”
Question: Dear Father, could you please explain what First Saturday Devotion is all about?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your timely question.
The First Saturday Devotion is an act of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. According to Lucia of Fatima the devotion was requested by the Blessed Mother during an apparition in Spain in 1925. The tradition of honoring Mary on the first Saturday has been practiced since at least the 8th century. In 1905 Pope Pius X granted indulgences to those who practice the 12 first Saturdays of the year in honor of the Blessed Mother. The devotion includes receiving sacramental confession, receiving Holy Communion, praying 5 decades of the rosary, and meditating for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the rosary.
For many years my home parish cooked, and served a large meal to the homeless. Loving parishioners shopped, baked, and spent hours ministering to the most needy. It was amazing what a wonderful meal and kindness and unselfishness could do for the Lord’s people on the street. As we share God’s blessings they multiply. May we have faith to always know that the Lord will help us and the generosity to share our blessings with those around us.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering… Why in the Creed, does it say that Jesus descended to Hell and on the third day He rose again?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your excellent question. When Jesus died on the Cross He descended to the abode of the dead. There He encountered all of those people who had died before Him They were not able to go to Heaven due to the sin of Adam and Eve. When He rose on the third day He brought to heaven all of the holy souls who believed in Him so that they could live forever with God.
in today’s gospel Jesus is seen as the Good Shepherd caring for God’s people. In St. Peter’s Basilica, in the Vatican, is a famous piece of art called the Altar of the Chair. Bernini sculpted a bronze altar over what is believed to be the original chair of St. Peter. On the backrest of the chair are the famous words of Jesus, “ feed my lambs, tend my sheep” and “feed my sheep.” Peter and his successors have obeyed this command to our very day.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering… Why do we call priests “ Father”?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your great question. In the passage where Jesus says, do not call anyone your father He is addressing the hypocrisy of the pharisees. They look for honor for themselves. Jesus cautions do not give yourself the authority due to God. Since the early days of the Church the title Father or Papa has been used for church leaders. Priests have the authority to challenge, correct, forgive and nourish his flock like a father. May all priests be loving spiritual fathers of God’s children.
In the 13th century St. Francis began his ministry by taking the Lord’s words in today’s Gospel literally. His only possessions were his robe and sandals. In 2018 people can be overly concerned with money and material goods. Let us remember that the Lord is most important to us. If we have God with us we have everything we need in this life and the next.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering… A relative of mine went to confession and then later remembered a sin that he had forgotten to confess. Should he have gone back to confession again to confess the sin that he had remembered?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your excellent question.
When we go to confession we must make a good examination of conscience, and confess all mortal sins that we can remember committing since we last received absolution. If we forget a sin by accident that sin is forgiven because God already knows about it. However, if we do not reveal a serious sin on purpose this sin is not forgiven and we must confess it as soon as possible.
In my 30 years as a priest I can only remember being home at my parents’ parish twice on a weekend. On weekends I am either here at our parish or away on vacation. A couple of years ago my home parish celebrated their 100th anniversary. I was happy to concelebrate the Mass. A very rare Sunday at home. It is probably a good idea that priests are not assigned to our own home parish. I would probably spend as much time as I could at home or the parishioners there would not take me seriously. They know me too well. May the Lord bless us as we preach through our good words and deeds to loved ones, friends and foes alike.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering… How does one become officially recognized by the church as a saint?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your excellent question. Here are the steps in the process of canonization of a saint…
One of my greatest joys as a priest has been visiting the sick and the dying. Time after time the Lord heals us when we are ill, and He loves to raise our Faithful departed to Eternal life. In today’s Gospel the Lord heals the sick and raises the dead, and He begs us to have faith and to trust him when we are in physical or spiritual need.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering… What is the origin of the Sign of the Cross?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your interesting question. As you know we make the sign of the Cross to bless ourselves, and to bless others. It is always used to begin and end the Mass. The sign of the Cross has a rich and ancient history. In the year 200 Tertullian wrote…” We wear out our foreheads making the sign of the Cross. We trace an upright cross on the body while saying the trinitarian formula, “ In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Before we listen to the Gospel we bless our foreheads, our lips and our heart. We ask God’s blessing upon us. The orthodox church also uses the sign of the Cross, but they generally use three fingers and touch their right shoulder before their left shoulder. It has been stated that placing our hand on our forehead represents Heaven, touching our stomach represents earth, and touching our shoulder represents the place and sign of power. May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father, of the son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. St. Matthew taught his followers to make the sign of the Cross.
Two of the greatest events of my life were the births of my nephew and my niece. The birth of a child fills us with hope and joy. This weekend we celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist, who prepared the people to receive Jesus, the Savior. In imitation of St. John we prepare the way of the Lord.
My Dad taught me to drive. He was so patient as I drove over people’s lawns, and flower beds. During that summer Dad and I both had to take a highway to get to work. He let me drive. I drove so slowly. Every ten minutes or so he would gently say , “ Let’s pull over and let all of those cars behind us go by.” Thank you, Dad, for everything. May the Lord bless our fathers, grandfathers, godfathers and step fathers. Happy Fathers’ Day.
Question: Dear Father,
I was wondering if we could have Mass in Latin? Many of us miss the Latin Mass.
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your very interesting question. As you know Pope Benedict restored use of the Tridentine Latin Mass a few years ago. It would be possible for us to celebrate Mass in Latin, but we need to ask permission of Bishop Libasci and Fr. John must learn how to celebrate the Tridentine Mass as he has never celebrated it.
In his famous book, WHATEVER BECAME of SIN, the famous American psychiatrist,Karl Menninger, notes that sin is as prevalent, or more so, than it ever has been. However, people today are better at excusing their bad behavior. “I am no worse than my neighbor.” Or “Everyone in my company cheats.” Perhaps it is time to take a hard, honest, look in the mirror and seek God’s forgiveness and strength, and then marvel at how He can recreate us in His image.
Question: Dear Father,
what is the Didache and do Catholics acknowledge this as authentic?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your excellent question. The Didache, also known by the name ‘ Teaching of the Twelve Apostles’, is a short letter written anonymously in the first century. The first line indicates that it is the teaching of the Twelve Apostles to the nations. It contains the oldest known catechism. There are three main sections to it….ethics, rituals, and church organization. It details what is required to live a virtuous life. The Lord’s Prayer is included. Baptism by immersion is mentioned. Fasting is required for Wednesdays and Fridays. Two primitive Eucharistic prayers are included.
The organization of the Church is in it’s earliest stages. Itinerant apostles and prophets serve as priests and celebrate the Eucharist. Local Bishops and deacons are mentioned. It is recognized by the Church as authentic, but has not been included in the New Testament. It was lost for centuries, but was discovered in Greek in 1873 and a Latin version was discovered in 1900.
I love you so much and I want to show you a sign of my love. So I give you a store bought card or even better, a card I write myself. Jesus wished to show us a sign of his love. He decided to give us His own sacred body and blood. St. Julianna began the feast of Corpus Christi in 1243. We have been honoring the Most Blessed Sacrament by receiving Him worthily and serving His people with love.
This weekend we celebrate the Blessed Trinity. Our God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It took over a thousand years for church leaders to iron out exactly what we believe and do not believe about the Trinity. God shows His love for us as creator, redeemer, and sanctifier. May we give thanks to him by loving Him with all our heart and by loving everyone and everything He has made.
I received the sacrament of Confirmation in 6th grade. I felt the Spirit come into my life and I tried to find ways to serve the Lord and the Church. On the feast of Pentacost the Spirit descends on the Apostles and they become brave preachers, teachers and martyrs for their faith. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful as we celebrate the birth of Your Church.
When I was six years old my parents threw a birthday party for me. Mom invited about a dozen of my closest friends, and my dad had to work so single handed Mom entertained, supervised, fed, and lovingly cared for the group of us. She settled disputes, bandaged a few skinned knees, and took us all under her loving wing. Thank you, Mom for everything. May the Lord bless you all this weekend as we celebrate our mothers. May he bless and reward mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, stepmothers, and all loving women who show us God’s tenderness each day. Happy Mother’s Day.
I had been away from home for sometime studying in the seminary. I came to my parents’ house for a visit and my mom said, “oh, you could use a haircut and a new sweater. Only your mother would tell you that.” Indeed there is nothing like Unconditional love. Our God has that kind of love for us. He showers us with his gifts. He loves us just as we are, but too much to let us stay that way. He invites us to grow every day. May you experience His tender loving care and share it with others.
Question: Dear Father,
what do each of the colors of the priest’s vestments mean?
Answer: Dear friend, thank you for your interesting question. The priest wears white right now, during the church seasons of Easter and Christmas and on saint’s days to represent joy. The priest wears purple during Advent and Lent to represent prayer and penance. The priest wears red on Pentacost to represent the Holy Spirit and on feasts of the martyrs to represent that they shed their blood for us. The priest wears green during the 34 weeks of the year that we call ordinary time to represent hope.
Question: Dear Father,
why do we have lit candles in church?
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for your excellent question! From very ancient times, candles were used to drive away darkness. Today, the use of candles during the Mass symbolizes Christ’s triumph over darkness (“He is the Light of the World” Jn 8:12). Further, beeswax candles (the type used during Mass) symbolize Christ’s purity; the wick is an image of the Soul of Christ, and the flame symbolizes the union of Christ’s Divine Nature with our human nature. (During the Easter Vigil Mass, we will bless a new Paschal Candle which will be used during the Easter season and during funerals and baptisms as a representation of the resurrected Christ.)
Question: Dear Father,
why do we sing the psalms? Other parishes say the psalms. It seems like this would be a lot easier!
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for your excellent question! St. Augustine is attributed with the saying “He who sings prays twice.” When we sing the psalms, we enter more deeply into the meaning of the ancient songs (the psalms come from the words of various songs that were sung by ancient Israel). While either saying or singing the psalms during Mass is acceptable, singing the texts is preferred. And yes, this is a lot of work – but well worth it when we consider how much it enhances our prayers.
Question: Dear Father,
why do we sing the Agnus Dei in Latin? I thought we got rid of the Latin a long time ago.
Answer: Dear Friend, while we pray the Mass primarily in our own native language, the Latin texts are still the preferred texts of the liturgy of the Church. They’re the most formal setting for our prayers. Think of it this way: When I meet my neighbor, I say “Hey Maggie, how are ya!” Or, I can say, “Good morning, Mrs. Richards – how are you today?” Each is a greeting – but the latter is more formal (and less likely to irritate my neighbor.) The more formal greeting is like using the Latin text for the Lamb of God (or Agnus Dei); it’s a more fitting way to address the King of Kings and Lord of Lords during the celebration of the Mass.
Question: Dear Father,
I go to other churches and they have really upbeat music for their Gloria and Holy, Holy. Why do we always chant these parts of the Mass?
Answer: The chants we use are recommended by the Church; they’re actually the most formal of the liturgical options for the Gloria and the Holy, Holy. Other music, while perhaps more “upbeat” and “catchy,” is really not as formal (nor as fitting) as the chants. The more formal (“appropriate”) the musical setting, the more likely we’ll catch God’s ear as we pray these prayers (and yes, they’re actually “prayers” more than they’re “songs”).
Question: Dear Father,
why do we use incense at Mass?
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for your wonderful question. The Old Testament is filled with examples of priests using incense to “carry the prayers of the people to the Throne of God.” When we use incense at Mass, we’re essentially sending our prayers up to God in a more visible (and sensory) way. Additionally, incense purifies the altar and sanctuary of evil and helps our prayers retain their purity as they ascent to God.
Question: Dear Father,
what is a a Sacrorium and do we have one?
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for your great question. A Sacrorium is a special sink in the Church sacristy that goes directly into the ground. It is used for Precious Blood and Consecrated Hosts that cannot be consumed. They must be poured into the ground.
Question: Dear Father,
I was wondering, if my fiancée and I could be married on a boat on the Connecticut River.
Answer: Dear Friend, That you for your great question. According to Church law you must be married inside a church unless you have permission of the Bishop.
Question: Dear Father,
I was wondering, when does the next Holy Day occur?
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for your great question. The next Holy Day of Obligation will occur on Friday, December 8th… the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Question: Dear Father, What is the meaning of candles and flowers in church?
Answer: Thank you for your great question. Candles are signs of Jesus’ presence and flowers represent life, and especially, eternal life.
Question: Dear Father: I was wondering…when did the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches begin?
Answer: Dear Friend: Thank you for your interesting question. The Catholic Church was created by Jesus himself in the 1st century. The Orthodox and Catholic Churches split from each other in the 11th Century and the Protestant Churches began in the 16th Century.
Question: Dear Father: What is the origin of the expression, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do?’
Answer: Dear Friend: Thank you for your wonderful question. This well-known expression comes from a letter of St. Augustin written in the 4th century.
Question: Dear Father,
I was wondering what is the meaning of the phrase, By Hook or by Crook?
Answer: Dear Friends, thank you for this interesting question. This is a very old expression from at least the 14th century meaning that we attract new church members by hook (as fishers of men and women) and by crook (shepherding them with love.)
Question: Dear Father,
I was wondering what vows does a priest take?
Answer: Dear Friend, at the time of ordination Father John took vows (promises) of prayer, celibacy and obedience to the Bishop. Priests in most religious orders generally take vows of celibacy, poverty, obedience to their superior, prayer, and stability, meaning that he will stay in one monastery for life.
Question: Dear Father,
what happens when someone enters a seminary?
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for this great question. In the seminary one studies Philosophy and Theology, including the Bible, Church History, the Sacraments….also the seminarian prays and attends Mass each day and one day per week he visits the sick or prisoners or does parish work.
Question: Dear Father,
can you tell me what is in the Sacristy?
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for your wonderful question. The Sacristy is the room where the priest, servers, and ministers prepare for Mass. It contains the Vestments that we wear for Mass, the Roman Missal and books that we use during Mass, Incense, Processional Cross, Candles, Chalice, Hosts, Wine and Holy Oils.
Question: Dear Father,
what is the Sacrament of the Sick?
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for your wonderful question. The Sacrament of the Sick may be given to any Catholic who is sick and can be given more than once. It includes an Act of Contrition and making the Sign of the Cross on the forehead and hands. If the person is in danger of death and the person is sorry for their sins, all of their sins are forgiven and they receive a Plenary Indulgence. If you or someone you love is sick, please call Father to visit today.
Question: Dear Father,
when did the Feast of the Assumption begin?
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for wonderful question. The Assumption of the Blessed Mother was known and taught from the day of the miracle itself in the first century but it was defined and proclaimed as a dogma on November 1st, 1950 by Pope Pius XII and soon after the yearly holy day of obligation was begun.
Question: Dear Father,
who is patron saint of deacons, musicians, lectors, and altar servers?
Answer: Dear Friend,
Thank you for wonderful question.
The Patron Saint of deacons is St. Stephen,
The Patron Saint of musicians is St. Cecilia,
The Patron Saint of lectors is St. Bede,
And the Patron Saint of altar servers is St. John Berchmans.
Question: Dear Father, what can you tell us about Tiffany Windows?
Answer: Dear Friend, these beautiful windows were originally designed by Louis Tiffany who lived from 1848 to 1933. He was an American artist whose famous works include stained glass windows, glass lamp shades, glass mosaics, and ceramics. The difference with Tiffany windows and other stained-glass windows is the Tiffany windows are made with shards of glass (Mottled glass). We are so blessed that St. Catherine’s Church is the only Catholic Church in the Northeast with Tiffany Windows…Which one of our Tiffany windows is your favorite?
Question: Dear Father: What do we know about St. Thomas?
Answer: Dear Friend, Thank you for your great question. St. Thomas, whose name means twin, was one of the 12 apostles. He doubted that the other apostles had seen Jesus after the Resurrection and one week later, Jesus appeared again and let Thomas touch him to prove that he was really risen. Thomas went on to minister in Israel then in modern day Iraq and Iran (Persia) and set sail for India where he established 7 Christian communities on the West Coast and 3 Christian Communities on the East Coast. He was killed by a spear. Thomas is the patron saint of architects and his feast day is July 3rd.
Question: Dear Father,
why was Simons name changed to Peter and did Jesus do this?
Answer: Dear Friend, thank you for your wonderful question. Yes, Jesus changed Simons name to Peter. This occurred right after Simon had made his profession of faith as he said to Jesus “You are the Messiah, Son of the living God.” Then Jesus said to him, “You are Peter and on this rock, I will build my Church.” The name Peter means rock. Jesus gives Simon this name and tells him that he will be the rock or immovable foundation of the church. Peter thus becomes the head of the apostles and of the Church.
Question: Dear Father, what is the meaning of life?
Answer: Dear Friend, Thank you for your fascinating question. For thousands of year people have wrestled with this fundamental question. Thanks to our faith we know that God created each one of us and filled us with gifts and put us on earth at a particular place and time. God has a purpose for each of us. Our life has infinite meaning. In the catechism, we learned that the meaning of life is to love and serve the Lord in this world and to be happy with Him in the next world (heaven). We pray and pay attention to signs that help us to know God’s will for us, and do our best to follow God’s desire for us. Then our life will be full and blessed.
Question: Dear Father, who was Simon of Cyrene?
Answer: Dear Friend, Simon of Cyrene was a man pressed into service to help Jesus carry the cross. He was from Cyrene in Africa where a Jewish community existed. He became a disciple of the Lord and helped to spread the Gospel. Simon of Cyrene was also in Jerusalem for the Passover. His sons’ graves were found in the Kindron Valley of Israel in 1941. He is the 5th Station of the Cross.
Question: Dear Father, who was Joseph of Arimathea?
Answer: Dear Friend, Joseph of Arimathea, a town of Judea, was a wealthy secret follower of the Lord who requested Jesus’ body and buried it in his own tomb hewn out of rock. He is also mentioned in a number of apocryphal writings in which he is imprisoned and miraculously escapes and built an oratory in France and had possession of the Sacred Chalice of the Lord.
Question: Dear Father, what is Easter Duty?
Answer: Dear Friend, Thank you for your excellent question. Most Catholics attend Mass and receive Holy Communion regularly. However, there could be Catholics who very rarely come to Mass or very infrequently receive Holy Communion. Therefore, the Church has a law which states that Catholics must receive Holy Communion at least once a year. The best time to receive yearly Holy Communion is from the first Sunday of Lent through Holy Trinity Sunday. If the person has committed any sins in the past year he or she must receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving Holy Communion.
Question: Dear Father, what are the requirements for being a
Godparent or a sponsor?
Answer: Dear Friend, Thank you for your great question. A Godparent or Sponsor must be at least 16 and Confirmed. He or she must also be a devout Catholic. The ideal Godparent or Sponsor is practicing the faith and knowledgeable about what the Church teaches. He or she is a great example for the people being Baptized or Confirmed and is able to answer questions about our beliefs. Often a Godparent is asked to be a Sponsor for Confirmation.
Question: Dear Father, what is the Vulgate Bible.
Answer: Dear Friend, Thank you for your excellent question. The Vulgate is the official Latin translation of the Holy Bible. It was first translated from the original Hebrew and Greek by St. Jerome. It was accepted by the Church in the 16th century as the official accepted version of the bible. For more information you may go to: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulgate
Question: Dear Father, can you name the last five pastors who served at St. Peter's Church and St. Catherine's Church and the approximate dates they were here?
Answer: Dear Friend, Thank you for your great question. Last week I was able to give you the names of the last 5 pastors of St. Catherine's Church.
Here are St. Peter's last 5 Pastors:
Rev. Richard Tetu 1992-1994
Rev. Anthony DiRusso 1994-1999
Rev. Shawn Therrien 1999-2002
Rev. Michael Gendron 2002-2011
Rev. Steven Lepine 2011-2016
Question: Dear Father, can you name the last five pastors who served at St. Catherine's Church and St. Peter's Church and the approximate dates when they were here?
Answer: Dear Friend, Thank you for your great question.
Here are St. Catherine's last five Pastors:
Rev. Francis Kelso 1988-1990
Rev. Adhemar Deveau OMI 1990-1994
Rev. Shawn Therrien 1994-2002 Rev.
Michael Gendron 2002-2011
Rev. Steven Lepine 2011-2016
Next week, I will give you the names of the last 5 pastors of St. Peter's.
Question: Dear Father, I was wondering…. Why is Easter celebrated on a different date each year?
Answer: Dear Friend, Thank you for your great question.
Easter is always celebrated on a Sunday because Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday. Following a very ancient custom the date of Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. So the date of Easter may vary from late March to late April.
Question: Dear Father, how can we increase our faith?
Answer: Dear Friend, Thank you for your great question. I find that prayer always helps my faith. Just like a human relationship is strengthened by communication, so talking with God, listening to Him, praying for what we need and watching how God answers our prayers is very good for our faith. Also, going to Mass and receiving the Sacraments strengthens our faith.
And Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament….spending time with Jesus is very helpful. We are blessed to have two Adoration Chapels available right here in our area…Our own Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Adoration Chapel in St. Catherine's Rectory and the Greater Falls Perpetual Chapel at St. Charles Church in Bellows Falls.
Question:Dear Father, what is the meaning of transept?
Answer: Thank you for your great question. In the history of the Roman Catholic Church churches have been constructed in the form of a cross with the vertical part, or nave, running from the sanctuary to the narthex and the main doors in back of the pews. The horizontal arm of the cross runs perpendicular to the main body of the church in front of the sanctuary. This aisle running from left to right is called the transept. It is the aisle in front of the pews. In large cathedrals it often includes side chapels and stained glass windows.
Thank you to everyone who has sent in questions for Father during generations of Faith.
Question: Dear Father, if angels have no gender why do we have St. Michael, Gabriel, and other male angels?
Answer: In the Bible angels are given male names, but they are pure spirits and, thus, do not have sexual genders as we do. Their male names represent the authority, or power, given to them by God
Parish Calendar IS CLOSED