I will retire from active Parish Ministry as of July 1st, 2018. I cannot thank the people of St. Paul’s and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel nor express my deep gratitude to them for the patience, kindness, love and concern they have shown to me, especially since this past January. I know that this time of transition will be a difficult and worrisome time for many. Keep the faith, which is vibrant and strong in both parishes. Support one another and don’t listen to rumors or give in to gossip. The Lord will respond to your needs as He sees best. He always has, hasn’t he? Pray for me, I will continue to pray for you. God Bless the parishioners of St. Paul the Apostle and of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parishes.
On Friday, May 18th, I observed the 50th anniversary of my Ordination to the Priesthood. Of course the celebration of that Anniversary takes place on this Sunday, May 27th at St. Paul’s at 2:00P.M. All are welcome.
In the Fall of 2017, I was asked, and agreed to stay on as Pastor of St. Paul’s and Mt. Carmel for another year, until November 1, 2018. I had every intention of doing so. However, since the first of this year (2018), I have experienced a series of health issues, which, after reflection, prayer and consultation, have convinced me that I must retire earlier than I first thought.
Therefore, I will retire from active Parish Ministry as of July 1, 2018.
I cannot thank the people of St. Paul’s and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel nor express my deep gratitude to them for the patience, kindness, love and concern they have shown to me, especially since this past January.
I know that this time of transition will be a difficult and worry some time for many. Keep the faith, which is vibrant and strong in both parishes. Support one another and don’t listen to rumors or give in to gossip. The Lord will respond to your needs as He sees best. He always has, hasn’t He?
Pray for me, I will continue to pray for you. God Bless the parishioners of St. Paul the Apostle and of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parishes.
Fr. Peter Pagones
Easter Sunday is over. But, that does not mean that we move away from the reality that Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead. This is the central mystery of our faith. It informs and shapes all that we do and are as Catholic Christians. As St. Paul so aptly reminds us, that if Christ is not raised from the dead, then we are still the captives of sin and the most pitiable of people. Without the Resurrection there is no hope of forgiveness nor of eternal life. Everything we believe in hinges on the Resurrection of Jesus.
These weeks from Easter to Pentecost are meant to be a time when, through prayer, instruction, and reflection we probe the depths of the meaning of the Resurrection for our lives. Can we truly become instruments of Christ’s peace? Can we forgive those who have offended or hurt us from the bottom of our hearts? Can we turn away from the values of the world and turn more fully to the values of the Gospel?
The answers we find to these questions will help us to begin to live more completely the “newness of life” that Jesus offers us through the power of His Cross and Resurrection. This life will allow us to be free from fear, from the power of sin and from our own selfishness and pride.
Let us walk together these days of learning, and pray for one another that each of us may live in that peace that the world cannot give.
Fr. Peter Pagones
Holy Week reminds us of the overwhelming love that God has for each and every one of us. He so loved the world that He sent His Only-Begotten Son to suffer, die and rise that our sins might be forgiven, we could be reconciled to God and neighbor and that we might have life that never ends. During Holy Week we will experience those saving acts anew.
What will our response be to such great love? Will we be determined to transform our lives with the help of the grace flowing from the Cross of Christ? Will we reorder our priorities so that we will be ready to share God’s own life with God in heaven? Or will we go back to business as usual?
Let us hope that this Holy Week will find us all ready to turn from sin and to embrace more fully the values of the Gospel. In this way, our Lenten sacrifices and our celebration of Holy week will not be in vain.
Fr. Peter Pagones
There are many symbols used during the season of Lent that call us to turn from sin and to be reconciled to God and to others. Ashes, imposed on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday remind us that we are sinners who need to “repent and believe the Gospel”. Purple vestments call to mind the need for penance and humility. The starkness of undecorated altars and sanctuaries call us to divest ourselves of all that is superfluous so that we can focus on the Lord and his Passion Death. Palms remind us that the same people who acclaimed Jesus as “Son of David” as he entered Jerusalem for the last time, were the same folks who stood outside of Pilate’s courtyard screaming, “Crucify Him!”
During Lent there are liturgies, Stations of the Cross, the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, and the events of the Sacred Triduum that invite us into a closer, more prayerful relationship with God and His Son. In accepting the invitation, we commit ourselves to turn our lives in a new direction, that of holiness and grace.
Through Prayer, fasting and almsgiving we can come to that experience of what it truly means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Prayer helps us to focus on God’s word and will. Fasting teaches us that by self-denial (ie- losing our life as we know it), we will gain the newness of life that Jesus promises to all who believe. Almsgiving teaches us to place the needs of our brothers and sisters above our own needs, as Jesus did.
There is plenty to pray over, reflect upon and then act upon if our Lenten journey is to be successful. May the Lord who has begun this good work in you, support and nurture you as you go forward. May we all come to the celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord renewed, transformed and filled with the joy of new life.
Fr. Peter Pagones
Most of us can remember when people used to wait until after Thanksgiving to prepare for Christmas. Now the stores begin preparing right after Halloween or even before. Many remember too that Advent was a time to do penance or give up things to prepare for Jesus’ birth. Often people went to Confession during Advent in order to prepare ourselves better spiritually for the celebration to come.
Our world is so different today, many people get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. They line up all of the tasks that they have to complete before December 25th. It is not politically correct anymore to simply wish someone a Merry Christmas, it may be offensive. Christmas creches and scenes of the Birth are not allowed in the public “square”. If Christ plays any part in our “holiday” preparations, that part is for too many minimal.
The real spiritual meaning of Christ’s birth can come to us only through prayer and reflection. Yes. We have many tasks to accomplish, but unless we stop, and take time for prayer and reflection, we spend our energy in vain, for we will never experience the true joy of Christmas. We need to focus on the reality that Jesus came down to us for one reason, that we might share in “the newness of life”. Missing that point, means we will miss the opportunity to be enriched spiritually by the grace of His coming to us, and be opened up more fully to God’s Love.
Jesus tells us “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all other things will be given unto you”. May the season of Advent be for all of us a time when we seek God’s kingdom and God’s holiness, so that the Celebration of Christmas may be a celebration of joy and hope and of God’s love for each and every one of us.
Fr. Peter Pagones
What is “ordinary” about Ordinary Time? Probably nothing that anyone would notice except that the Priest will now wear green vestments at Mass. We will still pray the Gloria and the Creed during our Sunday liturgies. The Gospel of Matthew will provide the Gospel readings for the Sundays of this liturgical cycle.(cycle A). So, how does Ordinary Time draw us more fully into the mystery of Christ and of our God?
Perhaps it is the themes of Matthew’s Gospel that bring us a response to the last question. Matthew outlines for us the qualities and requirements for a Disciple of Jesus Christ. These include the need to pray daily., the willingness to serve the needs of others before attending to our own needs, the determination to proclaim the Good News by the way we live our daily lives.
In addition, Matthew creates through his Gospel a reminder that we experience the same conflicts in our lives as Jesus did in his life. The three overarching conflicts that Jesus faces according to Matthew are these:
1. The conflict between good and evil
2. The conflict with the leaders of the Jewish community
3. The conflict between Jesus and his disciples.
All of these conflicts play themselves out in our daily lives. In the case of number two, we should regard our challenge as a conflict between ourselves and the professionally “righteous”. In each challenge we are called, as to think and act as God does not as human beings do.
Let us pray often during this “Ordinary Time”, that we will have the patience and wisdom to face the challenges of daily living with courage and with God’s wisdom. If we do we will find that fulfillment and peace that our hearts so ardently desire.
God bless you.
Fr. Peter Pagones, Pastor