Father Cioppi's Blog

Help young families become bearers of the Gospel

In the Pope’s letter Familiaris Consortio, John Paul explains that the Church must be vitally concerned for the pastoral care of the family beginning with the spousal family of husband and wife. It is here, at the core of the life of the family that we find also the seeds of the Church which is the Spouse of Christ.

It is not easy for husbands and wives to build and nurture a family in these hard times. Difficult decisions have to be made about securing a lifestyle that is practical and sensible. Many times, there are no support systems to help them build a secure and safe environment in which to stabilize a good network of family and friends. Societal expectations and peer pressure present options for couples that do not support the unity of the family or communion with the Church.

Without a good foundation, many temptations and a lack of direction can lead to confusion, a loss of commitment and an unwillingness to persevere in what can appear to be an impossible task.

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by Father Cioppi

“The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.”

The psalm today beautifully sings: “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the Lord is trustworthy giving wisdom to the simple.”

As a community of persons, we seem to have lost the sense of sin and redemption; of absolute truth and fear of the Lord. I think we are confused and perhaps lost in a haze of a lot of noise and distraction.

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by Father Cioppi

“Be the servant of all”

Mark writes out a one line mission statement for us who seek to be faithful followers of Jesus.

“Whoever wants to be first, must be servant of all.”

It is not so much a ‘what to do’ but rather a ‘how to do,’ It is an attitude Jesus seeks in us.

If my actions and my thoughts can conform to those of Jesus Who washed the apostle’s feet, then I can properly withstand the deceptions and the false appeal of those who do not hold on to the One Truth, Who is our only hope for freedom and peace.

My friends, when you get home, read the Gospel again and hear for yourselves the Word of God. Consume it and make it a part of your everyday life so you can articulate for others the joy and freedom you experience through Jesus Who possesses your heart.

“Whoever wants to be first, must be servant of all.”

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by Father Cioppi

MASS SCHEDULE CHANGE -SATURDAY 4:00pm

Our Saturday Evening Mass schedule changed as of Labor Day from the 5:15pm to 4:00pm. Confessions are scheduled from 3:00 pm to 3:45pm on Saturday afternoon.

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by Father Cioppi

‘Be strong, fear not! Here is your God He comes to save you!’

Isaiah proclaims: “Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God He comes to save you!”

Saint James tells us that God chooses the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom that He promised those whom He loves.

The Gospel says that the poor are those who can open their hearts to God. They are not enslaved to the things of this world, because they have nothing to offer Jesus but themselves.

Material things and constant busyness can contribute to a sense of alienation in the human person who is by nature social and relational. We only grow with other people, not in isolation.

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by Father Cioppi

“May the Word I give you, take possession!”

“Humbly welcome the word that has taken root in you, with its power to save you. Act on this word. If all you do is listen to it, you are deceiving yourselves.’ (James 1:17)

Each one of us who follows the path Christ laid out, listens to both the spoken word and the Tradition handed on by the Fathers of the Church.

Wisdom tells us even in the Letter from James today, that listening is not enough. Catholics are a sacramental people, we believe in outward signs and as such, we live lives that demand witness even among our enemies.

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by Father Cioppi

Small acts of humble servitude are important

‘Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.’ Paul gives us a difficult lesson today. It relates back to the Gospel of Matthew when He said the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

For the Christian, this attitude toward others is paramount in establishing the humble spirit necessary to have a relationship with God.

Small practices of humble servitude are important in conforming ourselves to the servant ideal that Jesus demonstrated at the Last Supper.

I must become less that others can become more does not seem like something attractive in today’s society, especially in the Holy Sacrament of Marriage which is a call to become mutually self-giving without counting the cost.

A truly meek person is not one who allows himself to be humiliated however. They do not allow others or even themselves to be treated with disrespect. Every human person has a dignity directly bonded to the Body of Christ.

To become last is a way to be sensitive to the needs and the accomplishment; the dignity of others so we can learn more deeply the love God dispenses to all his children.

May our hearts always be fixed here, where true gladness is found.

 

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by Father Cioppi

Be vigilant and constructive, not angry and destructive

There has been a lot of anger expressed from last week’s publication of the Grand Jury Report. In trying again to sift through the emotions and indignation against these crimes and trying to make sense of these horrific sins, I find myself frustrated by this rugged road and thinking about the same reaction of Jesus to the temple marketers. I can identify with his righteous anger and I hear the words of Saint Paul, “Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise ones…do not be led into debauchery.”

I am not angry at the Church; the Church is the Body of Christ, Whom I love with all my heart. I am angry at those bishops and priests who have betrayed themselves and the people they were sent, not to abuse, but to serve. I feel somewhat helpless to have prevented these crimes that happened before I was born or when I was a newly ordained priest, but, I know that I can do my best to prevent them now. So, here in this parish we are vigilant with our children and our processes to make sure everyone is safe. I do have an anger that is righteous.

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by Father Cioppi

‘We become What we consume’

When I was a curate at Old Saint Mary’s, sometimes St. John’s Hospice would close because of a fight. The homeless used to come to our door and ask for food. Erma our cook would give out plain white sandwiches in paper bags every afternoon at 5:00. After getting their sandwich some people ate it at once. Others ate only a half and saved the rest for later.

But you always had a few who grumbled at the plainness of the bread or the quantity of the meat or who liked mustard instead of mayonnaise. Some even threw their sandwich away or in the street.

The Gospel today is a reflection on the Bread come down from heaven; the Bread that we receive in our hunger for truth and eternal life. What we do with this Bread is important and defines our own life with God.

Pope Saint Leo the Great once wrote: The effect of our receiving the body and blood of Christ is to change us into what we consume.

As you take your portion of this Bread today, be conscious of your worthiness to receive this great Gift. Am I truly pure of heart; free from grave sin? Have I fasted one hour before receiving? Is it my intention to share with others the grace I do receive?

Above all, be conscious of your imitation of Jesus and how, through this holy consumption, we become Eucharist for a hungry world.

 

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by Father Cioppi

“I am the Bread of Life,” but do you believe?

There is a story about a poor woman named Faith, walking down a busy city street. She notices that a wealthy woman has lost her purse and can’t pay for a daily newspaper. Faith reaches into her pocket and pays the vendor.

The rich woman is dumbfounded and insists that the vendor give the money back. Faith grabs the rich woman’s arm and says: “Can’t you just let me do something now and then-to stretch the soul?

The virtue of Faith helps us understand our place in the world. It helps us when we see injustice, arrogance, poverty and sinfulness in ourselves and gives us the ability to change, no matter how often we fall or how low, for the love of Jesus.

The essence of the Christian life is the awareness that I have a specific relationship with the Blessed Trinity from which I don’t want to be separated but towards which, in some mysterious way, I am always attracted. So when Jesus says, ‘I am the Bread of Life,’ do I really believe?

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by Father Cioppi