Weekly pastor’s post (March 17)

Dear friends,

Well, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted here on the website! Between being away on vacation and some unexpected office closures, it has been a crazy few weeks. Nonetheless, its is good to be back in the saddle – and just in time for Holy Week next week!

I hope you’ll take some time to look over the many services and prayer gatherings we will be having as Lent draws to a close and the Sacred Triduum begins. You can find the full schedule in this week’s bulletin – and consider also coming to the Chrism Mass this Thursday. It will be at Saint James Cathedral at 7pm – all are welcome! May these final days of Lent bring many graces we prepare for to meditate on the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.

yours in Christ,
Father Maurer

March 17 – Though Sundays always trump other celebrations, Saint Patrick’s feast day nonetheless lands on this day – and is celebrated around the country in a variety of ways. Read more about him at the Vatican News website.

March 18 – A Doctor of the Church, Saint Cyril of Jerusalem was not always so revered. Accused of heresy, he spent nearly half of his episcopacy in exile before he was eventually exonerated at the Council of Constantinople. Read about him at Franciscan Media.

March 19 – Today is the solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of Mary. Though silent in the Scriptures, his presence as husband to Mary and foster-father to Jesus is a crucial part of the Holy Family. We venerate his role in God’s plan and ask for his intercession as we too seek to follow & serve the Lord. Read more at Patheos.

March 21 – This Thursday is the celebration of the Chrism Mass at Saint James Cathedral (7pm). At this Mass the archbishop will bless the holy oils used for baptisms, confirmations, ordinations, and anointings. The priests of the archdiocese will also renew the promises made on the day of their ordination. All are invited – consider coming to celebration. In the meantime, read more about the significance of the Christm Mass at Aleteia.

Weekly pastor’s post (January 28)

Dear friends,

Maybe not quite as dramatic a return, but still ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thank you for your well-wishes and prayers while I was away on vacation. I had a grand time with some other priest friends on Shaw Island. We stayed at the guest house of the Religious Sisters of Mercy on Shaw Island. They were most gracious hosts and a delight to meet & get to know. And, as it turns out, they are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their founding (September 1, 1973) – there is even a plenary indulgence available for those who wish to make a pilgrimage to their chapel. The sisters would be delighted to welcome you – and I can attest to their hospitality. We were blessed to spend the week there.

Board games have been around for a LONG time!

Of course, you might be wondering what we did the whole week! Before I left, I mentioned that it was a ‘board game retreat’ – which I hope to clarify was NOT so much a spiritual retreat (though we did offer Mass and pray together daily). No, this was a week of tabletop games – some a little more common (Catan, 7 Wonders, Love Letters) and some a little more complicated (Twilight Imperium, Eldritch Horror, and Cthulhu Wars). I must admit that although we played games every day of the week, I didn’t win a single one. Ah well ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ – it was a good time nonetheless!

All that said, its good to be back home. Can you believe that Ash Wednesday is just a couple of weeks away? Don’t get caught off guard – consider taking a little time each day to prepare for Lent. I recommend this article for Aleteia about the practice of ‘Pre-Lent’. Let us pray for each other was we look forward to the holy seasons ahead.

yours in Christ,
Father Maurer

January 28 – This week kicks off Catholic Schools Week. Across the country, we celebrate Catholics schools. I’m proud of Saint Mark Catholic Classical school – the dedication of our principal, faculty, and staff to faithful Catholic teaching, quality education, and a fun & safe environment for students is deeply inspiring. In a world where being faithful is not only hard, but often actively discouraged, our school is not only a refuge but a place where faith is found & strengthened daily! Please pray for our school and those who support it – and come to the Multicultural dinner & auction this Saturday, February 3rd after the vigil Mass! Bring a dish representing your own culture and enjoy that of many others – it looks to be a blast!

January 31 – Today is the memorial of Saint John Bosco. He is most known for his care of orphans. After a series of dreams about the plight of orphan boy, he was convicted to do something to help them avoid a life of destitution and depravity. It was hard going – the boys he attempted to house and teach often took advantage of his kindness, stealing the very supplies he acquired to assist them (such as blankets) and even emptying a hayloft. But he continued on and eventually started a ministry that spread beyond the borders of his own influence, housing and teaching boys far & wide. Read more about him and the mentorship he embraced at Word on Fire.

February 1

February 2 – Today is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours will recognize the prayer of Simeon in today’s Gospel as one we offer daily at Compline or Night Prayer. Traditionally, this is the day when parishes and the faithful have all their candles blessed at Mass. As Christ, the light of the world, was made known in the temple, so we bless those candles which will illuminate our churches and our homes. The Vatican News has a lovely set of reflections for this celebration.

February 3 – One of the more popular devotions among Catholics is to Saint Blaise, whose memorial is today. Catholics around the world will go to Mass, looking to receive the special blessing of throats with candles. How fitting that those candles were blessed the day before, at the feast of the Presentation of the Lord! Read more about Saint Blaise at Aleteia – and plan on coming to Mass this Saturday (9:30 am) for the blessing of throats!

Weekly pastor’s post (January 15)

Dear friends,

Well, here we are – well and truly into 2024 and Ordinary Time! I hope you had wonderful Christmas and New Years celebrations. Despite a lingering sore throat, I sang ‘Joy to the World’ as happily as anyone at all of the Nativity Masses! It was a wonderful couple of weeks, both at the parish and with family & friends.

Now that we’re out of the holiday season, I’ve been turning my attention – and hopefully yours too – to the coming implementation of Partners in the Gospel. Though its not super close, change is clearly on the horizon. On July 1, we will be joined in our parish family (currently planned to be Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, and Saint Pius X parishes) and a new pastor & parochial vicar assigned to lead the joined communities & schools.

Though there are many unanswered questions (who will be our priest? what changes will all of this bring? – to name just a couple!), there ARE things we can do now. Most of those involve looking around our community and simply pitching in! As I mention in my letter in this week’s bulletin (see the last page), there are several areas I’ve identified as needing help right away. Please prayerfully consider how you might help with these – or other! – areas in our parish life. Now more than ever, our parish – and later, our parish family – can benefit from your gifts & talents.

yours in Christ,
Father Maurer

January 15 – Today in the United States, we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This federal holiday marks the birth of its namesake. Though it is held on the third Monday of January, this year that lands on his actual birthday! May we take a moment to praise God in pray for his good work – and that of so many whom he inspired – and ask God to continue to change hearts, so that all might recognize the dignity of every person, regardless of race, color, or creed.

January 16 – The 9 Days for Life novena starts today. Though Roe vs. Wade was overturned in 2022 – a year before its 50th anniversary – the work of building a culture of life remains. Until human life is recognized and revered from conception until natural death, we must continue to pray and work for the support of human life & dignity. Consider joining in the 9 Days for Life novena and inviting others to do the same. Check out the daily prayer & reflection for more details.

January 17 – Saint Anthony the Abbot often takes second fiddle to the patron of lost things – but this Anthony came long before him….almost a thousand years before him, in fact! Born in the third century, Saint Anthony eventually embraced a life of asceticism – one that eventually attracted others to embrace his example. He is credited for the establishment of monasticism in both the East and West. Read more about him at Word on Fire.

January 20 – When I was a kid, one of my favorite saints book was the Picture Book of Saints by Father Lawrence Lovasik, S.V.D. I still have fond memories of paging through the stories & images – and I’m delighted that it is still in print! Of the stories, that of Saint Sebastian (whose memorial is today) was one of my favorites. Even after a failed execution attempt (being shot to death….by bow & arrow), he tried to warn Diocletian (the Roman emperor persecuting Christians) of his sins. Though the second effort to execute him succeeded, his martyrdom inspired many. That he is the patron saint of archery is a particularly delightful bit of Catholic humor! Read more about him at uCatholic.