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CORPUS CHRISTI

We venerate today this Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in which God lies under the appearance of Bread and Wine. He is whole, entire, and perfect in each piece and in every drop.

This is what distinguishes us among Christians and from other religions – Jesus dwells here among us and we recognize, respect and sanctify the place where He dwells.

My dear friends, the effects of this Presence are significant for us as a parish and as individuals. Our reception of this Sacrament strengthens us with enough grace to fight our daily battle against evil, prejudice, injustice and temptation.

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by Father Cioppi

Pentecost

The breath of the Holy Spirit igniting the hearts of the Apostles reminds us of the breath of God being blown into the nostrils of Adam in the creation of the first man. This breath was so powerful that it changed the essence of who they were and now transforms us into the ‘new man’ Jesus calls us to be. Having received this tongue of fire in our own confirmation, we possess the potential of living His life in our own.

That is why we must never be afraid to accept the new way of life being offered us. We must not be afraid to leave our old self behind and live in new and challenging ways that will complete the mission of Christ.

Today in a special way, we should honor our Catechists who teach the Christian message to our children and to their parents; those who show by their example, the compassion of Christ to sick and the homebound. It is appropriate today I think to honor them as models of Christian virtue. Saint John Paul II once said that ‘the duty of every Christian disciple to evangelize, is an obligation of love.’

Let us carry the Light of this Easter before us with confidence and hope that what we say and do will breathe new life in others. Let us continue to more deeply love God by loving one another.

 

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by Father Cioppi

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Jesus looks up to heaven and prays to the Father that all will be one. Stephen looks up to heaven and sees Jesus. Paul encounters the same Christ, the Christ of unity and charity.

If we are to live in Glory with God, we need to imitate the life of His Son. Re-create the center of life in the home; encourage community life; respect each person as a child of God and seek ways that unite us instead of ways that divide us or even silence us in fear.

In this self-obsessed world in which we live, it will not be easy. However, if we simplify the way we live, and keep our prayer faithful and true then we can welcome others to be one with the Church by loving one another.

Over these next eight days, the Church prays the novena of grace for the coming of the Holy Spirit. May He rest in our hearts and in our bodies, that we too may encounter the Christ of Glory in our homes, in our parish and in our neighborhoods.

 

 

 

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by Father Cioppi

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Charles de Foucauld lived a rather sinful life. His reputation preceded him throughout Europe so upon his conversion to Christ, nobody believed him. In the end, Blessed Charles became a hermit in Africa and lived among the Tuareg; a Muslim tribe who were not friendly with strangers let alone Christians.

Someone asked him how he used to introduce Jesus and his message to the tribesmen. First, he said, “I have to know what the message of Jesus is in my heart, and then when I speak of the difference between the restless and the peaceful heart, even the tribesmen know what I mean.

When I portray Jesus as He Who brings reconciliation with God to the human heart, they understand. To preach peace, I must first experience it. To experience it I must work tirelessly for the dignity of each human person.”

This week work even in small ways to untroubled the human heart. Contribute to the encouragement and lifting up of each person. Know God in other words through others.

 

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by Father Cioppi

Fifth Sunday of Easter

I was talking with some parishioners last week about the scandal inflicting our Church and how disoriented and confused people are and as a result, have become angry.

Whenever I find myself in a crisis situation, whether it be my own or someone else’s, what always come to mind are the words, ‘never lose sight of the end game – heaven. Stayed focused by living out the virtues heroically; finding direction and solace in reading the Scriptures and participating in the Sacrament of the Church.

Reflecting on the readings, I found some direction that was helpful to me and might be for you. In today’s first reading from Acts, the Apostles are quoted, “It is necessary for us to undergo hardship to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

One question, a person asked me is, “When will this all end?” I answered first by saying, there are many Dioceses in the United States and around the world, so it will not end for some time. This has not been an easy fix.

But I also said I am confident that, no matter what the media reports, our Archdiocese has put people and processes together that make us more alert and more assertive, more cooperative with civil authorities and more sensitive to the people who have victimized. There is more to do, of course, but we will stay vigilant.

When will this end? The Gospel says, “When Judas had left them.” This is a time of purification for the Church, one of many,  when the betrayers are being weeded out. “Behold, I make all things new.”

So, what can we do to help strengthen our Church? Stay focused on the end game – heaven. Live out the virtues heroically and find direction in the Sacraments and in the Scripture. Help make your life and the lives around you holier. “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

My friends, the end game is the direction we all strive to achieve. Orient your life toward Christ and in this hope put your faith in the words of Revelation:

“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be His People and God Himself will always be with them as their God.”

“Behold, I make all things new.”

 

 

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by Father Cioppi

Fourth Sunday of Easter

“Remain faithful to the grace of God.”

We have been listening about the relationship between the Father and the Son which is based in Love. “The Father and I are One.”

The manifestation of love is obedience. There are people who say, as a Church, we have a lot of rules; and we do. Why? Because we need them. We are sinners not saints. We are not perfect but we are perfecting and rules help keep us on the right road to heaven.

Saint Paul says the more perfect we become, we don’t need rules. We long for that day. But, for now, we need to be obedient to God with the Commandments and the Precepts of the Church.

God knows we love Him when we obey Him; like the Good Shepherd, Who carries a big staff. If we veer off track, He gathers us in. Or like Mothers, they are happy when we obey them. Wives are happy when we obey them!

Finding ways to practice the virtue of obedience will help us manifest our love for each other and for God. This week find ways to practice obedience: children, obey your parents, and parents, obey God. Thus, we can do what we are being urged to do today by Paul and Barnabas, “Remain faithful to the grace of God.”

 

 

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by Father Cioppi

Welcome to our Parish

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by Father Cioppi

LENTEN SERIES ON VICE CONQUERED BY VIRTUE

ASH WEDNESDAY

As 21st-century believers, we readily acknowledge that we have never walked with the earthly Jesus, but we have walked with those who witness His resurrected life and follow in His steps. Saint Paul calls us ‘ambassadors for Christ.’ When people ask what it means to be Christian, we can, without words, show them.

But realistically, we know that none of us perfectly image Christian virtue. Mahatma Gandhi once said that he had no problem with Christian virtue though he did have a problem with Christians. We deal with the paradox every day. And every day, we are reminded through Scripture and our Traditions in the confidence we have that God sent Jesus, Who never sinned, to bear on His shoulders our sin so that we might become righteous before God.

Ash Wednesday is the time we, as believers, enter into the desert of our hearts. We will, hopefully, encounter there our imperfections and our sins; the times when we were deceived into believing we were doing the right thing, when all the time we were just choosing the easy thing. We will rely on what the Church gives us and on Holy Scripture to lift us up onto the shoulders of Jesus Who comes to ‘make all things new;’ Who comes to set us free of our burdens and create in us ‘the new man,’ who will stand as righteous before the Face of God.

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by Father Cioppi

‘Love is patient, love is kind:’ you know these words!

Chiara Lubich in 1943 founded a movement in Italy called (Hearth) “Focolare.” She spread her message of unity in the crucified and abandoned Christ around the world. A few years ago, she gave in Rome, an insightful meditation on the state of the world:

Humanity suffers from deafness, she said.  It can no longer hear the Word of God through speech because there is too much noise in the world. Parents and children are too busy to listen to Christ’s message. They have no time to listen for ways to heaven. They no longer hear the sounds of people crying or suffering even in their own homes.

We have to admit that our attention span becomes shorter every time we tune in to social media, TV News networks, and the like. So much information we can hardly grasp it all. Silence is becoming something we fear, because we feel alone and empty in quiet.

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by Father Cioppi

Let His Word be your spirit and life!

In the Gospel, we are at the beginning of the pastoral ministry of Jesus. He wants to lay out for us the scheme of things so we can understand the context in which he preaches by word and by deed.

He first tells us that it is the Spirit of the Lord that directs Him. The Spirit has anointed Him for a reason and that reason is ‘to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives; recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners.  He is to announce a year of favor from the Lord.’

These are radical changes in any kingdom but for the kingdom of God these are words and actions reflect the true nature of God.

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by Father Cioppi