Pastor’s Appeal for New Catholic Charities Initiative

I will send a farewell letter next week, but I write today with a request to support an upcoming Catholic Charities initiative.

This Sunday is my last Sunday Mass as Pastor. My very last Mass, however, will be this Wednesday, June 28th at 12:10PM. It is fortuitous but not accidental. My first Mass as Pastor of St. Charles Borromeo was also June 28th. This was a few days early, but I asked Msgr. LoPinto if I could celebrate it because it is the anniversary of the death of Msgr. Charles Diviney, a former Pastor of St. Charles who was a dear friend and mentor. Msgr. LoPinto graciously consented, and I felt that Charlie was guiding me in my time here. I am happy that I will close my Pastorate on the same day with the hope and prayer that I did not disappoint him.

Among the many things I learned at St. Charles was the critical importance that Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens (CCBQ) plays in the lives of so many people. Our partnership with CCBQ both to the food insecure beginning during the pandemic and welcoming asylum seekers when they were sent to us not only assisted and continues to help many people in need but strengthened our parish in countless ways. This participation developed during unprecedented situations, and we can be proud of our response. The situation has now changed, and we must assess how we can better help our neighbors. We have the unique advantage of being a block away from CCBQ’s administrative offices at 191 Joralemon St and the disadvantage of not having dedicated space for the social services we would like to provide.

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Suggestions Welcome for Novena Prayers and Readings

More than 50 people joined for the first night of the Novena for Our Country that we are sponsoring together with St. Augustine and St. Francis Xavier. The novena is being said nightly via Zoom at 5 PM through next Tuesday. For more information, see the “Invitation to Novena for Our Country”. Don’t worry if you missed the first night, you are welcome to join in.

As I mentioned last night, I have received wonderful suggestions for prayers and readings for upcoming nights of the novena. I encourage you to keep emailing them to me, [email protected]. This has truly been a communal effort in a time that certainly needs one, and I see my role for this novena as primarily being editor.

Please make your suggestions based on the following format:

A. Entrance Antiphon: Short scripture verse

B. Opening Prayer: Collects from the Roman Missal are appropriate; as well as the several suggestions from the Book of Common Prayer (1928 and 1976)

C. Reading: Most suggestions to date have been from Fratelli Tutti chapter 5. We will use these until Thursday. Other ideas welcome. We have had one from Bishop Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and one from St Pope John Paul 2nd. Please give enough text to supply some background.

C. Scripture response: Keep it short and simple.

D. Concluding Prayer: People have been very creative.

E. Final Blessing: This is the only part that will be said by a priest.

I have included the readings until Thursday below, but you can send prayers whether they fit these readings or not for future use. There will be a special emphasis on Mary for Saturday.

Let us support each other in this most difficult and dangerous time.

I remain
In Christ,
Fr. Bill Smith

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Feast of St. Neumann

Below is the letter that Fr. Bill referred to during his homily on the Tuesday morning online Mass on the Feast of St. John Neumann.

From a letter to Cardinal Barnabo by Saint John Neumann, bishop
(Archives of Propaganda Fide, America Centrale, 1858-1860, Vol. XVIII, fol. 386 v. Neumann to Barnabo, October 1858, as quoted in Michael J. Curley, Venerable John Neumann [Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1950, pp. 325-326].)

I have labored with all my powers to fulfill the duties of my office

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Selected Homilies 2020

As our Christmas gift to you, we have selected homilies taken from transcripts of our Masses this liturgical year. They document the life of the parish and our faith journey during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. The compilation is available in PDF and also formatted for your Kindle or E-reader.

Christ the King – Putting the Needs of the Flock First

The Seven Works of Mercy, Caravaggio, 1607, Pio Monte della Misericordia, Naples
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Fr. Smith’s Commentary on the First Reading
Solemnity of Christ the King
Ezekiel 34:11–12, 15–17
November 22, 2020

Our reading this week is from the Prophet Ezekiel who uses a most intimate image of the relationship between the LORD and his people: the shepherd. It is found often throughout the Ancient Near East, but Ezekiel gives it a particular spin. To understand why, we need to look at Ezekiel’s life and times.  

Ezekiel was born about 622 BC in Jerusalem and died about 570 BC in Babylon. The dates and places tell his story. Jerusalem was situated on the trade route between Egypt to the south and whatever power was dominating the north. Never a mighty empire, the Jews were able to play one power off against the other to maintain significant independence for over three centuries.

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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Doing Ordinary Things with Extraordinary Love

The parable of the talents, A.N. Mironov, 2013, photo from the artist’s personal website Used with permission.
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Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
November 15, 2020

Many of the Jews in the Greek and Roman world may have wished to be somewhat apart from the most popular contemporary trends of thought. Yet as the Holy Land was in the middle of an important trade route and many Jews lived in large cities in the Middle East and beyond, this was impossible. Some may have been influenced by the great “academic” philosophers of the day like Plato and Aristotle, but most would have had contact with popular ethics or morality. This was called wisdom and it would have had adherents throughout the Mediterranean. Traces of this “International Wisdom” can be found in the books of Job, Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, many Psalms, and the Book of Proverbs as we read today. The Wisdom teaching that was committed to writing was a compendium of reflections used to train young members of the governing class to be wise leaders. The Jewish Elders wanted to show that they could answer the questions of their young in a way that would have made sense to their children who may have wished to show contemporary learning, but also reflected their traditions and belief in the LORD

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