Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena

A Parish of the Archdiocese of New York served by the Dominican Friars


April 30, 2016

Glory and Work – Pastor’s Reflection (May 1, 2016)

The date of this week’s letter struck me as I sat down to write. The Sixth Sunday of Easter falls on the First of May, and for some reason May Day has not struck a chord in some time. Two, seemingly opposed, associations vie within me for sway over this time.  The first of these to strike me as a lover of the Middle Ages is release. Famously this is the day of “Maying.” Images come to mind of villagers dancing around a maypole and of young people frolicking in fields and forests.  Here was the convention of unshouldering convention! Julie Andrews, playing Guinevere in the musical, Camelot, summed it all up when she sang of the, “lusty month of May.”

Somehow in the midst of this natural resurgence, May 1st also became associated with workers and workers rights. My mind will always mark the day with pictures of great processions though Red Square in the presence of a grim Politburo massed on the roof of Lenin’s Tomb.

The marching urban proletariat seems so far from the vernal revels of an earlier age. But the Industrial Workers of the World website made a link for me by pointing out that the May Day workers’ observances began in this country to mark the achievement of the eight-hour day. In effect workers were recovering the opportunity to take in Spring and all the natural and human flourishing it represents.

Here, we face work and play as a very adult issue, and, I would suggest, a very timely one.  Part of my ministry consists in listening to people and in observing them. As I do so, I see the relationship of men and women to their work as growing less and less comfortable. Most drastically, so many people seem to have lost the opportunity to work as technology has supplanted the work they did. No doubt I would have observed such results at other moments of “paradigm shift.” Nevertheless, the human cost of progress, particularly at the expense of the middle aged and elderly, staggers me.

Even those who do have work, even lucrative work, report longer hours and shorter certainties. With the fading of long-term commitments between employees and employers, there is less security to go around. Finally, within any kind of work interruption circumscribes more and more the concentration necessary for clear and creative thinking.

The foregoing means that work less and less makes for real leisure, that is the opportunity for sustained periods away from labor, and from anxiety and competition. From these hours and days of leisure comes the renewal of the creative impulse. How many institutions rely on leisure for their existence? Think of the opera and the symphony, the baseball team and the needlepoint shop. Then there is the Rotary Club, the PTA, the arts association, the after work softball league, and of course, the Church. All of these balance work with different ways of thinking and acting that make for emotional and intellectual balance.

I cannot wonder how much the fractured life of work has to do with the surprises this election cycle is meting out to the pundits and the public. More and more people across the demographic spectrum seem to vote and opine from a place of fundamental imbalance: they do not find equilibrium in their environment or in themselves.

Certainly it is not my place either to propose, or to endorse a response to this set of challenges. However, I do believe the Gospel of Christ responds to this situation with a consolation and a challenge, and it delivers both in the truth we celebrate with great solemnity this Thursday, May 5. In His Ascension Christ does not leave His humanity behind but takes it with Him. Jesus fully human, but with a humanity fully transformed, now simply enjoys God in a way that totally engages and fulfills Him. In the life of glory, He enjoys unqualified leisure. His triumph discloses that we were created, and recreated in baptism not for work, but for leisure. Stand our years of terrestrial striving alongside the leisure that is our destiny and marvel the altered view of us that the comparison yields.

The leisure of eternity does not follow earthly work in chronological sequence. Rather, the sacramental life reshapes us now for an entirely fresh perspective on the reality of work. In light of the Resurrection we can discern that our labor itself prepares us for the end of labor. Work has an effect on our character, and Christ lays hold of it to make us ready for the enjoyment of God. Those fulfilled in their work recognize the gift of leisure not as an escape, but as a complement and renewal. Real leisure does not check out of reality but engages it more and more completely. Just so, those in heaven are not “couch potatoes” before the beatific vision, rather they are energized by it in every part of their glorified selves.

Thus, for us to profit fully from the potential of this stage of our lives, we need both meaningful activity and engaging non-activity. Herein lies that sequence of a balanced natural life and super-natural life ordered profoundly to the awareness and the movement toward God the mark Christian humanity at its best.

So, as citizens of this nation, and as citizens of heaven in the making, we hope that society’s advance can include more people finding good work, and non-work.

 

Easter Peace!

Fr. Walter

April 29, 2016

Solemn Mass for the Vigil of Pentecost

5428420727_67866849d4_oOn Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 7:30 pm, a Solemn Mass for the Vigil of Pentecost will be celebrated at the Church of St. Catherine of Siena, 411 East 68th Street, New York, NY.

The Mass will be an extended vigil, including the four additional readings and prayers added to the Vigil of Pentecost by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008. The ordinary of the Mass will be the Missa “Veni Creator Spiritus” by Palestrina, sung by the Schola Dominicana of St. Catherine of Siena under the direction of James D. Wetzel. The readings will be chanted and accompanied by chants from the Dominican Graduale.

April 23, 2016

Implementing the New Commandment – Pastor’s Reflection (April 24, 2016)

One of the questions prompted by last Sunday’s publication of the new Mass schedule was, “When are you going to do this?” Providing a clear answer was not as easy as one would have wished. We have tried to forestall the booking of Mass intentions in both churches against the day of such changes. It turns out that we have been successful enough for a July start. So we plan to:

  • inaugurate the new Sunday Mass schedule on the weekend of July 2nd and 3rd.
  • inaugurate the new weekday schedule on Tuesday, July 5. So that the last day for the regularly scheduled noon Mass at St. Catherine’s will be on Friday, July 1.

The times for the remaining daily Masses at St. Catherine’s (7 AM and 5:15 PM) will remain the same for the present. Since these two times do not conflict with the schedules of St. Vincent Ferrer or St. John Nepomucene, we can take the time to evaluate the needs of the local community and the Dominican community in their regard.

I cannot say enough how grateful I am for the charitable and patient reception of last week’s announcement. I will keep you posted on developments as they happen. Below I reprint the principles and observations I used in consulting and deciding. They may be helpful to read if you are just now encountering the new Mass schedule for the parish.

 

Easter Peace!

Fr. Walter

 

As to the schedule:

  • The Cardinal, as head of the Local Church, has mandated that we become a united faith community. Many dedicated parishioners, and my Dominican Brothers and Sisters, have worked heroically to bring this about. Spiritual and practical benefits have already resulted for those who have chosen to embrace the new Community. The community has grown through new patterns of worship, study, and common life. Consolidation of administration has already yielded substantial cost savings. Addressing the question of music and schedule will be essential to the completion of this task. The Archdiocese will review the viability of our current arrangement in just over a year’s time.
  • The proper pastoral care of this parish demands a schedule of services that is not duplicative, so that the parish clergy can be present to the whole parish on any given Sunday or Feast. (The one complaint people address to me directly is that they do not see me.)
  • In our Parish, the Cardinal has designated St. Vincent Ferrer as the Parish Church. The schedule of services needs to respect this.
  • In addition, particular circumstances of our neighborhood demand that St. Catherine’s schedule of Masses should complement that of St. John Nepomucene, which is now established as a geographical parish for the far east 60’s and lower 70’s.

 

As to Music:

  • Music plays an essential role in the prayer and formation of our people. It complements the work of preaching in crucial ways, and it sets a distinctive tone for the life and worship of the parish.
  • To fulfill its responsibilities, liturgical music must first serve the prayer of our regular worshippers.
  • A number of our parishioners express a desire to worship without music and we must provide for them.
  • However, the clear mind of the Church is that music at Sunday Mass is a norm, and so the principal Eucharists should have it. At the same time, there should be a variety of tone in the music that is played and sung, so that every temperament may be drawn into worship.
  • Both churches in the parish have a living tradition of hiring first rank organists. This complements the essential place of music in the whole preaching of the parish.
  • The Music Director of our new Parish needs to be a fine artist and performer. He or she will also serve as a major collaborator with the Pastor in promoting the formation of the parishioners, the vibrancy of our common life, and the frugal administration of the parish.
  • Both churches in the parish have a living tradition of hiring professional singers to lead, support, and supplement the singing of the congregation. This is not customary in other parts of the country. However, the transient environment and limited volunteer pool of the city suggests that congregations need the extra support.
  • We have parishioners who feel called to sing chorally in support of parish worship. The Parish needs to give scope to their talents and their generosity.
  • Both churches in the parish have spent more on music than the ordinary income, provided in the offertory, could provide. To maintain and sustain the core musical values of the parish we need to work with a single music director and body of professional singers for the whole parish.
  • The schedule of Masses needs to facilitate this, and to allow the Music Director to be available on Saturday afternoons for weddings, which in our parish are frequent.

 

 

April 18, 2016

Director of Music and Organist

The Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena is currently accepting applications for the position of Director of Music and Organist. To learn more about the position, please read the job description.

April 16, 2016

Common Life – Pastor’s Reflection (April 17, 2016)

As promised last week, I present to you a new Mass schedule for our new parish.  It comes to you in concert with a Job Description for the head of a combined music program across the whole parish. Together these two initiatives:

-Offer parishioners the opportunity for worship in a range of modes.
-Avoid the duplication of services within our neighborhood.
-Lower music related expenses.
-Facilitate the pastoral presence of the parish clergy.
-Promote the musical formation of our members.

Need to be read alongside the principles and observations spelled out last week in the bulletin. These are set out in both churches for your convenience.

Of course, the changes you find here will disrupt many routines, and for the inconvenience and dislocation, I am very sorry. I value the rhythms of my own life and I balk at breaking those of others. However, I truly believe that our situation demands these steps. Naturally these measures may not have their intended effect, and so we will review all of these arrangements after the turn of the year.  I do ask you to try and study these materials before you react to them.

As ever, I am grateful for your patience.

Fr. Walter Wagner, O.P., Pastor


 

The Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena

Position of Director of Music and Organist

The Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena is a parish of the Archdiocese of New York confided to the pastoral care of the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph. The parish includes two churches: the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer and the Church of St. Catherine of Siena.

The Director of Music and Organist directs the music program at both churches, working under the direction of the Pastor to develop and maintain a music program which supports the worship of the faithful and the educational and preaching mission of the Order of Preachers. The music program at the Parish draws on the liturgical tradition of the Catholic Church with special emphasis on the particular tradition of the Dominican order. Its liturgical, musical, and pedagogical character flows from the Dominican charism of preaching for the salvation of souls. The music program strives to engage the members of the parish with the Word of God and with the liturgical texts entrusted to them, enabling active and conscious participation in the liturgy and providing for an encounter with God through the medium of sacred music.

The position of Director of Music and Organist include three main duties:

  • In collaboration with the pastor and pastoral staff, arranging and directing music on Sundays, special feast days, and occasional liturgies throughout the year (including weddings and funerals); this will include playing the organ and directing cantors and the choir for the various Solemn and Sung Masses of the parish as well as arranging for substitute organists when necessary
  • Developing pedagogical programs for the parish choir and the congregation as a whole which will enable an ongoing development of music and liturgy in the parish
  • Developing outreach programs to engage the broader community in the parish, especially through the arrangement of liturgical performances by local musical ensembles and occasional concerts of sacred music

 

Qualifications include:

  • Outstanding skills as an organist and choir director
  • Ability to work with volunteer and professional singers
  • Desire to engage the congregation in liturgical participation
  • Ability to play the organ in a mode that supports the singing of the congregation
  • Knowledge of the Church’s liturgical and musical patrimony, including chant, polyphony, and hymnody
  • Willingness to develop a knowledge of the Dominican musical and liturgical tradition
  • Ability to collaborate with and respond to feedback from the pastor and pastoral staff
  • Willingness to abide by the employee policies of the Parish and Archdiocese
  • Personally engaged in the worship of the Church

 

The Director of Music reports to the Pastor and will participate in an annual performance review. The Director of Music is a full time, exempt, at-will employee.

Application process: An applicant should submit a curriculum vitae and a one-page statement of his or her philosophy of Catholic liturgical music to parish@svsc.info by May 9, 2016.

Beginning in the summer of 2016, the weekend liturgical schedule of the parish will be as follows:

Saturday:         4 pm                Low Mass at St. Catherine of Siena

6 pm                Sung Mass at St. Vincent Ferrer

Sunday:           8 am                Low Mass at St. Vincent Ferrer

10 am              High Mass at St. Catherine of Siena

12 pm              Solemn Mass at St. Vincent Ferrer

4:30 pm           Parish Vespers Class at St. Vincent Ferrer

5 pm                Sung Mass (a capella) at St. Catherine of Siena

5:15 pm           Parish Vespers at St. Vincent Ferrer

6 pm                Sung Mass at St. Vincent Ferrer

At Solemn Masses, the following music will be provided by the Director of Music and an ensemble under his direction:

  • Incidental organ music (prelude, postludes)
  • Congregational ordinary of the Mass (with choral ordinaries on special occasions)
  • Introit, Alleluia, Offertory, and Communion chants according to the Dominican Graduale
  • Responsorial Psalm
  • Choral piece, hymn, or organ voluntary after the offertory chant
  • Choral piece or organ voluntary after the communion chant
  • Hymn of Thanksgiving after Communion
  • Marian antiphon

 

At High Masses, the following music will be provided by the Director of Music and a Cantor:

  • Incidental organ music (prelude, postludes)
  • Congregational ordinary of the Mass
  • Introit, Offertory, and Communion chants (usually in English)
  • Responsorial Psalm and Alleluia
  • Congregational hymn, solo cantor piece, or organ voluntary after the offertory antiphon
  • Organ voluntary after the communion chant
  • Hymn of Thanksgiving after Communion

 

At Sung Masses, the following music will be performed in a subdued manner by the Director of Music and a Cantor (or by the cantor alone at a capella masses):

  • Congregational ordinary of the Mass
  • Introit, Offertory, and Communion chants (usually in English)
  • Responsorial Psalm and Alleluia
  • Organ voluntary or congregational hymn after the offertory antiphon
  • Organ voluntary after the communion chant

 

At Parish Vespers, the Director of Music and a cantor will provide the following music and lead a preparatory rehearsal each week:

  • Hymn from the Dominican Hymnarium
  • Antiphons and Responsories from the Dominican Antiphonarium with Psalms and Canticles in English
  • On solemn occasions, the parish choir may sing special choral pieces during Vespers

 

The Director of Music also provides music for various special liturgies throughout the year, including but not limited to the following:

August 8————————-St. Dominic————————Solemn Mass
August 15————————Assumption———————–Sung Mass
September 8——————–Nativity of Mary——————Sung Mass
Mid-September—————–SVFHS Opening Liturgy——TBD
October 7————————Our Lady of the Rosary——–Sung Mass and Procession
November 1———————All Saints————————–Solemn Mass
November 2———————All Souls—————————Solemn Requiem Mass
————————————-SVFHS Thanksgiving———-TBD
————————————-Thanksgiving Day—————Sung Mass
December 8———————Immaculate Conception——-Sung Mass
December 12——————–Our Lady of Guadalupe——-Sung Mass and Procession
Mid-December——————Gaudete Sunday—————-Advent Lessons and Carols
December 24-25—————Christmas————————-Sung Vigil Mass
————————————-————————————Solemn Mass During the Night
————————————-————————————Sung Mass During the day (10 am)
————————————-————————————Solemn Mass During the Day (12 pm)
January 1————————Solemnity of Mary—————Sung Mass
January 28———————-St. Thomas Aquinas————Sung Mass
February 2———————-Presentation of the Lord——-Sung Mass and Procession
————————————SVFHS Junior Ring Mass——TBD
————————————Ash Wednesday SVFHS——-Sung Mass (10 am)
————————————-————————————Sung Mass (6 pm)
March 17————————St. Patrick————————–Sung Mass and Procession
March 19————————St. Joseph————————-Sung Mass and Procession
March 25————————Annunciation———————-Sung Mass
————————————Palm Sunday———————-Procession and Solemn Mass
————————————Holy Thursday———————Solemn Mass of the Lord’s Supper
————————————Good Friday————————Service of the Seven Last Words
—————————————————————————-Solemn Liturgy of the Passion
—————————————————————————-Service of Mater Dolorosa
————————————Holy Saturday———————The Paschal Vigil
————————————Easter Sunday————–——-Sung Mass (10 am)
—————————————————————————-Solemn Mass (12 pm)
April 29————————–St. Catherine of Siena———–Sung Mass and Procession
May 5—————————-St. Vincent Ferrer—————-Sung Mass and Procession
————————————Ascension————————–Solemn Mass
————————————Pentecost————————–Solemn Mass
————————————SVFHS Graduation————–Sung Mass and Ceremony
————————————Corpus Christi————–——-Solemn Mass and Procession


 

The Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena

Mass Schedule

Saturday Vigil

Time Liturgy Location

3:30 pm             Confessions                     St. Catherine of Siena
4:00 pm             Vigil Mass                         St. Catherine of Siena
5:00 pm             Confessions                      St. Vincent Ferrer
5:30 pm             Vigil Mass                         St. John Nepomucene
6:00 pm             Sung Mass                        St. Vincent Ferrer

Sunday

8:00 am             Low Mass                         St. Vincent Ferrer
10:00 am           High Mass                        St. Catherine of Siena
10:30 am           Mass in Slovak                 St. John Nepomucene
12:00 pm           Solemn Mass                   St. Vincent Ferrer
12:30 pm           Mass in English                St. John Nepomucene
4:30 pm             Parish Vespers Class       St. Vincent Ferrer
5:00 pm             Sung Mass (a capella)     St. Catherine of Siena
5:15 pm             Parish Vespers                 St. Vincent Ferrer
6:00 pm             Sung Mass                       St. Vincent Ferrer
6:00 pm             Mass in English                St. John Nepomucene

Monday – Friday

7:30 am             Mass                                  St. Catherine of Siena
8:00 am             Mass                                  St. Vincent Ferrer
12:10 pm           Mass                                  St. Vincent Ferrer
12:15 pm           Mass                                  St. John Nepomucene
5:00 pm             Confessions                       St. Catherine of Siena
5:20 pm             Confessions                       St. Vincent Ferrer
5:30 pm             Mass                                  St. Catherine of Siena
6:00 pm             Mass                                  St. Vincent Ferrer

Saturday

8:00 am             Mass                                  St. Vincent Ferrer
9:00 am             Mass                                  St. Catherine of Siena
12:15 pm           Mass                                  St. John Nepomucene

 

April 09, 2016

Please Consider – Pastor’s Reflection (April 10, 2016)

We come now to one of the most challenging pieces of this parish merger. The new parish will need to articulate a philosophy of music, and it will need a coherent and sustainable Mass schedule. As I will explain, these two issues need to be resolved concurrently. I hope that our strong spirit of charity and generosity of these past nine months will support us as we reach out to address things that lie so close to people’s hearts.

Well over a hundred people took the time to give us reflections on music in parish worship. I want to thank them for their candor, insight, and conviction regarding this crucial aspect of our life of worship. This material was of great assistance.

I will continue to seek advice from laity, Sisters, and Friars as this process goes forward. The Parish Council will be reviewing, as a single document, the job description for the Music Director, and the proposed Mass Schedule. I will present it to them for review at our meeting on April 11, and I hope to announce it to you on April 17.

I wish that the process of consultation would simply yield a decision. However, I have come to see that no process provides this service. It falls to me to make these decisions. I will do so and take the responsibility for them.

I would like to share with you the principles and observations that will guide me as I consult on and then decide on these matters.

As to the schedule:

The Cardinal as head of the Local Church has mandated that we become a united faith community.  Many dedicated parishioners, and my Dominican Brothers and Sisters, have worked heroically to bring this about. Spiritual and practical benefits have already resulted for those who have chosen to embrace the new Community. The community has grown through new patterns of worship, study, and common life. Consolidation of administration has already yielded substantial cost savings. Addressing the question of music and schedule will be essential to the completion of this task. The Archdiocese will review the viability of our current arrangement in just over a year’s time.

The proper pastoral care of this parish demands a schedule of services that is not duplicative, so that the parish clergy can be present to the whole parish on any given Sunday or Feast. (The one complaint people address to me directly is that they do not see me.)

In our Parish, the Cardinal has designated St. Vincent Ferrer as the Parish Church. The schedule of services needs to respect this.

In addition, particular circumstances of our neighborhood demand that St. Catherine’s schedule of Masses should complement that of St. John Nepomucene, which is now established as a geographical parish for the far east 60’s and lower 70’s.

As to Music:

Music plays an essential role in the prayer and formation of our people. It complements the work of preaching in crucial ways, and it sets a distinctive tone for the life and worship of the parish.

To fulfill its responsibilities, liturgical music must first serve the prayer of our regular worshippers.

A number of our parishioners express a desire to worship without music, and we must provide for them.

However, the clear mind of the Church is that music at Sunday Mass is a norm, and so the principal Eucharists should have it. At the same time, there should be a variety of tone in the music that is played and sung, so that every temperament may be drawn into worship.

Both churches in the parish have a living tradition of hiring first rank organists. This complements the essential place of music in the whole preaching of the parish.

The Music Director of our new Parish needs to be a fine artist and performer. He or she will also serve as a major collaborator with the Pastor in promoting the formation of the parishioners, the vibrancy of our common life, and the prudential administration of the parish.

Both churches in the parish have a living tradition of hiring professional singers to lead, support, and supplement the singing of the congregation. This is not customary in other parts of the country. However, the transient environment and limited volunteer pool of the city suggests that congregations need the extra support.

We have parishioners who feel called to sing chorally in support of parish worship. The Parish needs to give scope to their talents and their generosity.

Both churches in the parish have spent more on music than the ordinary income, provided in the offertory, could provide. To maintain and sustain the core musical values of the parish we need to work with a single music director and body of professional singers for the whole parish.

The schedule of Masses needs to facilitate this, and to allow the Music Director to be available on Saturday afternoons for weddings, which in our parish are frequent.

I hope that, when they are published, you will read the new Mass Schedule and Job Description for our Music Director in the light of the foregoing.

Gratefully,

Fr. Walter

April 02, 2016

Witness – Pastor’s Reflection (April 3, 2016)

For eight days now, we have had Easter Sunday The Church does her best to extend the singular joy of the Empty Tomb so that it lasts from Mary Magdalene’s quick and loving recognition of her Lord in the garden to Thomas’ more labored, perhaps more human, perception of his Lord and God. But together Mary Magdalene, Thomas, and the rest of the Eleven become witnesses that Jesus lives. Nobody saw the moment of the Resurrection, and yet untold numbers of men and women, over the course of 20 centuries, have heeded their testimony and have become witnesses of this event by the way in which they live the Gospel and seek mercy for failing to live it. How this comes to be appears poetically in the Collect, or Opening Prayer for this Sunday. The text amply repays our study.

God of everlasting mercy, who in the very recurrence of the Paschal Feast kindle the faith of the people you have made your own, increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed, that all may grasp and rightly understand in what font they have been washed, by whose Spirit they have been reborn, by whose Blood they have been redeemed. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Simply put, our Christian maturity comes not through one Easter but through a lifetime of them. Like Thomas we labor a bit to realize the extent of what has already happened to us through our redemption by Christ, our baptismal rebirth, and our reception of the Holy Spirit. When we were baptized a white garment was placed on us and we were told that we had become “a new creation,” then we were handed a candle and told that we had been illuminated by Christ. Who gets all of that right off the bat? We absorb the Gospel by constant review in the light of new experience and thereby we begin to realize who Christ is, and who we are in the light of Christ.

The Holy Week just completed offered the Community of our Parish a more than average opportunity for this kind of learning. All of us were asked to celebrate something very familiar in circumstances radically altered. The generosity, patience, and charity with which so many people responded to this challenge offered an eloquent witness to the truth that Christ lives and gathers souls for eternal life the Holy Spirit sent among us.

Dozens of moments made this truth palpable to the eyes of faith, but perhaps the most powerful came on Holy Thursday, after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, when 240 people escorted the Blessed Eucharist from St. Vincent’s to St. Catherine’s, where many remained in prayer at the repository. This procession disclosed our Living Savior and the nature of His pilgrim Church. She not only moves through streets, but nourished by her Lord, she moves through time. The response of Friars, staff, and parishioners to this new reality was in my estimation heroic, and caused the reality of what we celebrated to come off the page of doctrines and take on living form for the world to read in the text of this community of souls. I can never adequately express my gratitude, except to say that I have never been more proud to be a Dominican or to be a pastor.

To all who made our Holy Week so beautiful and so credible, please accept my profound thanks.

This Sunday’s encounter of Thomas the Apostle with his Risen Lord reveals the other half of our witness. If we are being transparent we not only tell the world about our successes, but about our failures. The Sermon on the Mount declares that we are called to act like Christ, and that we fail to do it. We testify then that we are people in the midst of conversion. We have mastered neither prayer nor practice and yet we are not cast down by our inadequacy, because we rely in faith on the unfailing mercy of the Savior. We find His acceptance and transforming grace in the confessional. On this day  of the Divine Mercy we want to assert before all that that even as He led Thomas to faith, the Physician of Souls is at work healing our belief and our behavior. May the readings, prayers, and hymns of this lovely season bring home to us more and more the bright truth that reshapes our lives.

Easter Peace!

Fr. Walter