Nothing shatters the lives of parents more than a missing child. Even when there are massive disagreements and one of our young runs away from home, it breaks the heart of the parents. The prayers and the hopes of the family focus upon the child’s safe return. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to work with many troubled young women and men. Some needed massive amounts of attention. Some “worked my last nerve.” Oftentimes I’d consult with Fr. Joseph Bayne, OFM Conv. who heads The Franciscan Center in Buffalo. His response was and is always the same: “They’ll always break your heart.” This weekend the church turns its attention to a profound story that Jesus told in the Gospel of Luke about an abusive, demeaning, unappreciative “runaway child.” He wants what he wants, when he wants it even insisting on moving the clock forward as if his father were dead and buried. He departs the family vindicated and freed at last to pursue his naïve dreams. Reality soon sets in. Situations become desperate and suddenly even the hired workers of his father are living “better off” then he. The turning point to the story is his admission of guilt, “I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son. Treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers” Luke 15:18-19. The father’s reaction was not at all what the son anticipated. He was barely able to get his “confession” out of his mouth when the father reacted in joy. Our heavenly Father is a God of Mercy. During this year of mercy may the Holy Spirit assist us to reflect upon our own lives and come to recognize our own guilt of sin. Confident of God’s Mercy, let us profess that faith by the Sacrament of Penance. Let us allow God to welcome us back home. Don’t miss your opportunity.
YOUR FEEDBACK HAS BEEN MOST APPRECIATED The Lay Pastoral Associates of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish conducted a second round of “Listening Sessions” a few weeks ago. The raw results were presented at a meeting with Fr. Daniel, Fr. Mark and myself. Many of the comments from those who attended echoed similar comments I have been receiving from both the churches of St. Martin de Porres and St. Lawrence. I’d like to personally thank the membership of all three of our churches for engaging in this unique opportunity of ministry within our parishes. This new model was engaged in more voluntarily rather than put into place by any direct necessity. I will admit this model has been most challenging for us on many levels, but it was initiated out of my love and commitment for each community. Through your feedback we heard the expressed need for all three churches to have their Pastor more present to them on the weekends. In all three churches the membership express the same sentiment: “Where have you been, stranger?” Beginning in April, the priests’ Weekend Mass schedule will be modified so that Fr. Ron will alternate between Nativity and the two sister communities. Fr. Daniel and Fr. Mark will function as a team that will alternate with Fr. Ron, thus being present to our weekend communities every other week. Because the 12Noon Mass at St. Lawrence was transferred back to 10am, this will pose a unique challenge for me and this schedule change. Our international priests heard your ongoing concerns about missing their messages due to the difficulty in understanding them. Both Fr. Daniel and Fr. Mark have recommitted themselves to work even harder out of love for you to deal with these issues, both with outside assistance offered by the Diocese and a small parish team that will work with them. Thank you all for your most honest feedback and please let us pray for each other …..Fr. Ron.
THE CCCB: CATHOLIC CHURCHES OF CENTRAL BUFFALO each Lenten Season host a Pilgrimage of Masses. These are held on consecutive Monday evenings beginning at 6:30PM rotating at each Parish and Ministry within the region. The Pilgrimage continues with Mass on Monday, March 7th at 6:30PM at the St. Monica Campus of the NativityMiguel Middle School of Buffalo which is located on the St. Lawrence parish Campus in Buffalo, NY. Celebrant: Fr. Daniel Ogbeifun. Refreshments and Fellowship follow the Mass. All are welcome.