“How great is the power of prayer! For me, prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed at heaven, it is a cry of gratitude, and love in the midst of trial, as well as joy, . . . it expands my soul and unites me to Jesus.” -- St. Therese of Lisieux
The Parish Office has received a limited number of COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kits. Please stop by the parish office during normal business hours (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) to obtain one. There are 2 kits per package. A limit of 2 kits per family while supplies last.
We are challenged to take comfort and to reflect on and believe that God hears our prayers and cries for help, and that God sees and knows about all of our trials and kinds of suffering. Let’s take comfort in that knowledge and take time to thank God for His consoling and liberating help.
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days . . . Luke 4:1 Press orange title for a complete list of our scheduled Lenten prayer, devotional and liturgical prayer-filled experiences in our linked parish community:
If we choose holy and heavenly and faithful reading material or teachers, our speech and beliefs and actions will reflect their holy sources and will help us to bear good fruit. Before Lent begins, let’s reflect on “whom” our teachers are. Are the media and people we choose as our teachers leading us to Heaven or to Hell? Choose those helping you to bear good fruit. (Click title for complete reflection.)
Luke 6:27-38: Today, Jesus gives us the powerful, but challenging commandment to love our enemies and to respond with love, generosity and mercy to those who persecute us and even hate us. Today’s first reading gives us a vivid picture of what this kind of mercy and unconditional love looks like. Nowhere do any of these readings suggest that this radical and undeserved love is easy. Truth be told, this kind of love is a great challenge and strong are the temptations to give it up. However, instead… this week, let’s pray to be filled with love and mercy. Let’s pray to see our enemies as God sees them. Let’s pray to be made more aware of their virtues and our own great need for forgiveness. Humility makes it so much easier to forgive others; as we see our own imperfections as more seriously urgent.
During Phase One, in preparation of the linking of our parishes in Olean and Allegany, the Basilica and St. John’s parishioners can help guide the future of the Catholic Community in our area by completing a short survey. All will asked to participate in a 10-15 minute survey online (Paper surveys will be made available to those who have no computer access). The survey can be accessed through an online link from March 2 – April 4. You will be asked to reflect on your own spiritual growth and enable you to provide feedback on our parish’s efforts to help you grow. All responses will be held in strict confidence and the parish will receive information about the community as a whole. The online link and paper copies will be shared with you a bit closer to the launch of the survey. The highest possible response rate is very important. The information gathered is fundamental in our planning for the future. The results of the survey, the Disciple Maker Index (DMI ), are used by the Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI) as a tool for listening to the People of God to help give feedback to aid in the renewal process. This instrument will include information you provide which will be summarized by CLI to provide a foundation in guiding us into the future with: An objective assessment of the community landscape including parishioner needs and dynamics, and clergy and leadership strengths and limitations A snapshot of parishioners’ faith journey The foundational tools needed to plan for growth over a two- to three-year time frame Stay tuned for more information concerning Phase One of the Assessment and Feedback process . . .
Remember Our Great God, Who out of unimaginable love, created us and Who loves us abundantly. He gave us the two great commandments of Love — to love God with all your being (Deuteronomy, 6:5) and to love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18) [Mark 12:31]. Let us all live out the vocation to love in self-giving. We can make bold statements of love or through simple, small random acts of kindness, we can demonstrate His love embraced by St. Valentine and many others throughout the centuries.
To answer their longing to trust, Jesus makes promises. He promises the Kingdom of God to the poor; food for the hungry, happiness to those in sorrow, and, most importantly, a Heavenly reward to those who are excluded, persecuted, hated or even killed because of their participation in the Christian faith. We know that we can trust in these promises. Yet, do remember that faith and trust are a decision, not a feeling! Make that decision, today, and don’t put it off until tomorrow. Review Jesus’ warning to the worldly at the end of this passage. Decide today. Click on orange title for complete reflection.
Diocesan-wide/Future Parish Family-wide Survey: Your participation is needed for planning the future of the Road to Renewal … Our Family of Parishes Important Note: During the Lenten Season, your input and feedback will be gathered concerning the planning process in developing the Family of Parishes. A three-pronged approach in phases will be used. Click on orange title for details.
We must be willing to “cast out our nets in obedience.” That means we must make efforts to encourage others to pray, to attend Mass and to have faith in the Lord; even when we or they don’t feel like it or think that it’s impossible. Peter and the other Apostles listened and obeyed and look what happened! We can expect similar miracles if we leave all and follow Jesus! Click on title for complete reflection.
Dear Avery, Isaac, Andre, Brady, David, Karsen, Delaney, Cavan, Aidan, Sully, and Michael, I do hope I haven’t missed anyone, because you are ALL so important! We all hope that someday we will make a difference in someone’s life...you already have. Let me give you a few comments from the homebound people that I gave your Christmas gifts to: “Wonderful, please thank them for me!” (she cried) “I don’t know these children, bless them for sending this to me!” (she cried) “Why would they do this for me? I have no way to repay them!” (she cried) “Are you sure this is for me?” (she cried and offered me a dollar to repay you. It was declined.) “What a kind thing!” (He didn’t openly cry but I’m sure there was a tear in his eye) As Jesus watched you preparing these gifts, I am sure He said, “Well done, bless you.” So on behalf of all the homebound, THANK YOU and God bless. Dee Cecchi Visitor to the Homebound
...according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord...where it is written that every male shall be consecrated to the Lord … When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him. – Luke 22-23; 39-40 Each of us, young to the elderly, through our Baptism, have been consecrated to the Lord. Like Simeon and Anna pictured above, with the Holy Family, will present Jesus to the World. We can examine how we do this by reviewing how we speak, act and pray about and with God. Look at page two and see some of our ministries that we can participate in to bring God’s love and goodness to those around us. Below is a photo of some of our Confirmation student candidates bringing Christ to our elderly in a service project stemming from their faith formation. One of our homebound ministers gathered some of the comments made by some of those who received the gifts. The comments speak volumes of how their simple acts of kindness made a difference in the lives of others. click title for more
You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know. Psalm 139: 13-14 If you or someone you know needs support in any stage of life, you may contact the Pro & Respect Life Ministry Representatives below: Jennifer Forney, Ministry Chairperson/Coordinator, email@example.com Deacon Matt Wenke Deaconmattwenke@gmail.com Anita Schmidt firstname.lastname@example.org Michael Forney Mforney1411@gmail.com Diane Cecchi email@example.com Mary Cygan firstname.lastname@example.org (Click on orange title for complete article.)
Click on title to access Altar Server online application! Dear Parish Family Members, Two weeks ago, we just celebrated the Baptism of the Lord. The Baptism of the Lord involved the wholeness of the Trinity as the heavens opened, words were spoken by the Father, Jesus was anointed and baptized and the Holy Spirit transformed the Jordan and Jesus began His actions and Words of the Divine as He began His mission delegated from heaven to this earth. At our Baptism, we are bathed in the Spirit as the Heavens open up, words are spoken and the Holy Spirit transforms us. We then can use the gifts given as we bring them mission of the Lord to those around us. We actively take part of this mission of Love by leading a good holy life (Priest, as one of the priestly people), announcing Him to the world by sharing Him in our words and actions (Prophet), and take care of one another (in our kingly role as shepherd). We take on the Mission of Our Lord at any age. During World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal in 2021, Pope Francis told the youth attending to “embrace the new life bestowed on us in baptism, the Lord gives us an important and life-changing mission: “You are to be my witness!” Our children and youth are the future of our Church. The Holy Father also stated “may [all of our youth] increasingly be open to God’s surprises, for he wants to light up our path. May we be more and more open to hearing his voice, also through the voices of our brothers and sisters. In this way, we will help one another to rise [up together] as prophets of a new and hope-filled future! There are several ways that our children and youth can take part in the renewal of the Church during these challenging times such as attending Mass regularly, participating in religious education and faith formation, to join youth in ministries of our parish like being involved in a youth group, children and youth choir (on the horizon), reading or greeting at our weekend Masses, or in serving the Lord on His holy altar. Please find one area that children and youth from grades four and up can serve in the Mission of Christ and begin to answer their baptismal call by using their gifts God has bestowed on them. Fr. John
It seems that Jesus may have been shy about performing the miracle. Scripture suggests that He was humble; wanting to blend in and certainly not wanting to make a hero or a spectacle of Himself. However, out of obedience and respect for His beloved Mother’s wishes; Jesus acquiesces and performs the miracle; resulting in a kind of embarrassment that He had to endure as a result. He became an instant celebrity. What talents are we called to share? How will we respond?
We should ask ourselves: Do we actively take part in this mission of Love by leading a good holy life (Priest), announcing Him to the world by sharing Him in our words and actions (Prophet), and taking care of one another (King). As we move forward in the Spirit this New Year, may God gaze down upon each one of us and say, “You are my beloved child, with you I am well pleased.”