A Message from Father William

Thank you for reading this column today. In the midst of our “busy-ness,” you will often
find here quotes from the saints, references to Sacred Scripture and Church Teaching
and spiritual advice. Why? Because many of us, including priests, have plenty of room
for improvement in our spiritual life. For example, well before the last pandemic, fewer
than half of Roman Catholic Christians in the U.S. were even attending Mass each
week. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we have an obligation to remind our brothers and
sisters what they’re missing: the life-changing, life-affirming experience of the Holy
Sacrifice of the Mass.

God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit gave us the Mass, a glimpse of Heaven. He
made each one of us in His image. He’s the best friend that we’ll ever have. He loves us
infinitely well and invites and encourages us to spend at least an hour per week with Him
in His gift of the Holy Mass – in wonder, awe, love, praise, thanksgiving, adoration and
reverence. At His Mass, we’re at Calvary, at the One Sacrifice of Christ made present
to us in the miracle of the Mass, where God speaks to us in the Holy Scriptures and
He gives us Himself in the Holy Eucharist, where we receive Him in His substantial
Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, experience His love, peace and joy, and we are changed
forever, strengthened by God’s grace for our journey to Heaven.

At Masses for Confirmation and First Holy Communion, it’s not unusual for churches
nationwide to be joyfully overflowing with children and their families – and then, sadly
and sinfully, the children who received those Sacraments stop attending Mass the very
following Sunday, oftentimes because their parents stop going. For the love of God and
because we love them, what can we do about it? We can: pray for one another as we do at
Mass; personally invite the children and their parents to pray with you, to attend Mass
again; give them a call or hand them a hand-written card, asking them how they’re doing
and telling them that we miss them at Mass each week; and invite them to view some
wonderful testimonials and inspiring materials at catholicscomehome.org. Surely, some
people are absent due to work schedules, vacation or illness, but many simply just choose
to not attend once their child receives a Sacrament (baptism, First Holy Communion,
Confirmation). Overall, some surveys show that only 25 percent of Christians (Catholic
and Protestant) obey the Third Commandment and “keep holy the Lord’s Day.” There
seems to be a lack of Faith, a lack of awareness of God’s love for them, that Jesus wants
us at Mass because He loves us, as He said “do this in memory of Me…”

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus did not work any mighty deeds in Nazareth at that
time because of the people’s lack of faith (Mark 6:1-6). Conversely, thanks to the faith
of many here at Saint Clement Catholic Parish, God is working His mighty deeds here,
in our church and our school, where we see wonderful expressions of faith in the many
prayers and works of parish members – saved by God’s grace, people embracing God’s
grace with faith, hope and love. Nonetheless, there’s room for improvement when more
than half our parish family is absent every Sunday. God is with us always (Matthew
28:20) and He is doing mighty deeds in our parish – and He does them through us as
He calls us to follow Him and His Teachings, to be His disciples and live the Faith that
we profess (Matthew 7:7-29; 25:31-46), and to invite our brothers and sisters to be His
disciples in word and deed, embracing His grace by living the Faith. As we celebrate our
Declaration of Independence on July 4th, let us pray for God’s guidance and protection for
our United States of America to remain a democratic constitutional republic, thanking
Him for our Constitution, religious liberty and our God-given rights to life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness.

With peace and prayers in Christ,
Fr. William