Changes Mandated by State Law
Compliance Drive with New PA Standards Underway at St. Stanislaus for Parish Volunteers & Potential Volunteers – Time is Running out!!
Changes in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s child protection laws have resulted in the need for ALL PARISH VOLUNTEERS and POTENTIAL VOLUNTEERS to satisfy State requirements in order to work with young people and be volunteers at St. Stanislaus. The task of making sure everyone meets the designated criteria begins this weekend, as the Governor has granted a “no fee” window which closes on October 1, 2015.
If you currently volunteer for the parish IN ANY CAPACITY, please stop by the Parish Office on weekdays and pick up a packet which contains forms, instructions for completion, and steps to take in order to make sure of State approval.
No one can exercise a volunteer ministry in the name of St. Stanislaus Parish without the mandatory clearances successfully procured. This prohibition is effective October 1st of this year. Please cooperate with us as we try not to disrupt any parish ministries as a result of these law changes.
Marriage and the Family: Humanity’s Future
A commentary on the Sunday Scriptures by Fr. Thomas Roccia, CSB
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – October 4, 2015
“What did Moses command you?” Jesus asked. They replied that Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss the wife. Jesus declares that the law of Moses permitted divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1) only because of the hardness of hearts (Mark 10:4-5). In citing Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, Jesus proclaims permanence to be the divine intent from the beginning concerning human marriage (Mark 10:6-8). He reaffirms this with the declaration that what God has joined together, no human being must separate (verse 9).
Jesus wisely and prudently responds to the loaded question by appealing to God’s plan of complete unity and equality in drawing men and women together in marriage. He affirms that husband and wife are united so intimately that they actually become one and indivisible. In answering a direct question that was deliberately designed to entrap him, Jesus was speaking of the nature of marriage and of that only. His emphasis is on its holiness and covenant fidelity and not on the illegitimacy of divorce. The goal of marriage is not divorce and annulment!
Divorce, annulment and remarriage
Jesus did not condemn people who did their best and ended up divorced. He was not judging such people, throwing them out of the community of the Church, or assigning them places in hell. He was only affirming the outlook taken by couples themselves when they stand before the Church’s minister and pronounce their wedding vows.
Today Catholic annulments look to many like a simple Catholic divorce. Divorce says that the reality of marriage was there in the beginning and that now the reality is broken. Annulment is a declaration that the reality was never there. The Church declares many marriages invalid because of some impediment present at the time of the marriage.
Over the years of my pastoral ministry, I have met many divorced people who feel very alienated from the Church. For many, divorce was the last thing they ever dreamed of or wanted. In many instances, it hit them unexpectedly, forcefully and tragically. No one I met ever told me that they looked forward to a divorce. They simply didn’t see any other alternative.
Some divorced men and women have erroneously been told by well-meaning people that they are excommunicated from the Catholic Church, which is certainly not true. Their pain is often enormous; their need for understanding and acceptance is great. They need unambiguous Catholic teaching to enlighten them and lead them to Christ. They need friends, people to pray for and with them, and they need God in their lives in the midst of rupture and brokenness. They deserve our understanding and our prayerful care.
A positive teaching on annulments should be offered in every parish community. Though it may be a tedious and painful process for some people, an annulment can be an instrument of grace, healing, closure, and peace of mind and heart.
The future of humanity passes through marriage and the family
In the papal encyclicals from “Humanae Vitae” (1968) to “Evangelium Vitae” (1995) and especially the apostolic exhortation “Familiaris Consortio” (1981) and the magnificent “Letter to Families” (1994), Popes Paul VI and John Paul II have dedicated much attention to marriage and the family in today’s culture. From the first year of his pontificate, John Paul II constantly emphasized: “the family is the way of the Church.” The family is a school of communion, based on the values of the Gospel.
In 2008, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” the bishops of Canada released a very important document in which they wrote (#19):
“In short, Pope Paul Vl’s encyclical ‘Humanae Vitae’ and the subsequent ‘theology of the body’ developed by Pope John Paul II issue an immense challenge to a world that is too often occupied with protecting itself against the extraordinary life potential of sexuality. In the wake of these two prophetic Popes, the Church, ‘expert in humanity,’ issues an unexpected message: Sexuality is a friend, a gift of God. It is revealed to us by the Trinitarian God who asks us to reveal it in turn in all its grandeur and dignity to our contemporaries at this start of the third millennium. The theology of the body has been compared to a revolution that would have positive effects throughout the 21st century of Christianity. We invite the faithful to be the first to experience its liberating potential.”
Signs of hope for marriage, family life and vocations
To accept Jesus’ teaching on marriage requires the openness of children and a sense of dependence on God’s strength matching the child’s sense of dependence on parents. When love is authentic, strong, sincere and firm, it is accompanied by vision, joy and creativity, new life and a desire for holiness. When married couples allow Christ to be at the center of their project, they experience deeply the peace outpoured by God — a peace that flows forth to their children and grandchildren.
The crisis of vocations in the Western world requires that we rethink not only our manner of promoting vocations, but the terrain where seeds of vocations are sown. This fertile soil for vocations is the family, the domestic Church. This reality is brought about by the presence of Christ in the home, from the graces of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and from fidelity to the Gospel and the teachings of the Church.
There are some voices in our society and Church that don’t have much hope for the sacrament of marriage and for family life. I beg to differ with such voices of doom and despair. Each of us is responsible for fostering a true culture of marriage and family life as well as a culture of vocations to the priesthood and religious or consecrated life.
In recent years, I have witnessed some very hopeful signs for marriage and family life among young adults in various parts of the world. Several years ago I had the privilege of leading two retreats for university students — one for the John Paul II Catholic Chaplaincy of Sheffield’s Hallam University in England and the other for the Catholic Students’ Association of Victoria University in British Colombia in Canada.
The wise, ecclesial leadership of university chaplains — Sister Anne Lee, NDS in Hallam and Father Dean Henderson in Victoria — gathered together some remarkable young adults from many countries of the world. They are the young men and women of the generations of John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis, freed from the ideological strangleholds and liberated from the barren, spiritual wastelands of my generation. Their eyes are fixed on Christ and they love the Church with all of her shadows and light.
I never had more open conversations about marriage and family life than I did with those students in Hallam and Victoria these past months. Many spoke openly about their parents who were divorced and alienated or simply absent from the Church. The students said that they learned from the mistakes and losses of their parents, and wanted to pursue the path of a holy marriage and family life. They desire to have Christ, the sacramental life, and the teachings of the Church at the center of their lives.
I have also been very moved and edified by the young men and women who form the staff of the Salt and Light Television Network in Canada. Their simple and clear faith, deep joy, sterling commitment, visible love of Christ and the Church and ardent desire for evangelization is inspiring. Over the past thirteen years, I have been privileged to witness the religious professions and ordinations of several Salt and Light colleagues, and to celebrate seven marriages of my staff — several who worked with me in preparing World Youth Day 2002. And now we are into the season of baptisms! It is from this generation of children that will come forth vocations for the Church. How could there not be vocations when the terrain was so fertile and the parents so open to the Gospel and to the Church?
For reflection, discussion and prayer
We must never forget that other bonds of love and interdependency, of commitment and mutual responsibility exist in society. They may be good; they may even be recognized in law. They are clearly not the same as marriage; they are something else. No extension of terminology for legal purposes will change the observable reality that only the committed union of a man and a woman carries, not only the bond of interdependency between the two adults, but the capacity to bring forth children.
This week, let us recommit ourselves to building up the human family, to strengthening marriage, to blessing and nurturing children, and to making our homes, families and parish communities holy, welcoming places for women and men of every race, language, orientation and way of life.
In our pastoral strategies, programs and preaching, how do we welcome the sanctifying role of Jesus Christ in the marriage of a man and woman? Are we ready to offer Jesus’ teaching on marriage with the openness to children? What are some of the weaknesses and painful situations that afflict marriages today? Can these marriages be saved and the brokenness in the husband-wife relationships be healed? What is the role of faith in all of this?
Let us pray today for married people, that they may grow in this awareness of the sacramentality of marriage and its capacity to reflect the love of God to our world. Let us continue to help one another to bear the blessings, burdens and crosses that the Lord has given to us. And let us never forget those who have loved and lost, and those who have suffered the pain of separation, divorce and alienation. May they find healing in the community of the Church, and welcome from those whose marriages have borne much fruit.
Ascension Press Scripture Study – The Prophets, Messengers of God’s Mercy – ready to begin in October!
Study times will be Monday mornings and Thursday evenings. See bulletin for details of how to sign up.
Encyclical “Lauto Sii’ on the Care of our Common Home. View a Summary here.
Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Sii” (Praised Be), a line from St. Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of Creatures,” was released June 18, the Vatican press office announced. “Laudato sii” is the introductory phrase to eight verses of St. Francis of Assisi’s famous prayer thanking God for the gifts of creation.
“Praised be you, my Lord, with all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun, who is the day, and through whom you give us light,” one of the first lines says.
The prayer also praises God for the gifts of “Sister Moon,” “Brother Wind,” “Sister Water,” “Brother Fire” and “Sister Mother Earth.
Top 5 highlights of Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia
by: Father Kevin Nadolski, OSFS (You may remember Fr. Kevin as our 40 Hours speaker from a few years ago!). The following appeared in his blog for this week:
His various prayers, Masses, addresses, encounters, conversations, and stops along the way were each uniquely touching and inspiring. Someone recently asked which were my favorite moments, and I could not really answer.
Now, I would like to offer, in no order, my top five highlights of Pope Francis’ pastoral visit to our great country.
1. Call to end the death penalty. Addressing Congress, Pope Francis could not have been clearer: It is immoral for a nation to execute someone for a crime.
2. Visit to a prison. About six blocks from my family’s home, the Philadelphia correctional facility Pope Francis visited is very familiar to me. When I was a boy, my parents would counsel my brothers and me that bad people went there, as a way to form us in goodness, I suspect. Later, as a priest, I would visit frequently when a friend was imprisoned, and I saw how harrowing the experience is. Isolation, harshness, despair. The pope came to visit and dignify people who are frequently dismissed, discounted, and despised. His message was clear: Their lives matter, too. This news story, in advance of his visit to the prison, movingly tells a Gospel message. (Full disclosure: The prison chief is a graduate of Northeast Catholic High School, an Oblate school.)
3. Acclaim for the “simple gestures.” In his closing homily in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis hailed little things that we can do in our daily lives as key behaviors to be missionaries. St. Francis de Sales’ insistence on the “little virtues” is echoed by the pope: “Holiness is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well,” the saint advises. Which virtue do we need to advance in our lives more fully in our everyday activities?
4. Respect for victims of clergy sexual abuse. The pope’s visiting with victims of this evil is pastoral. He esteemed their story by listening to them. I can’t imagine that he had anything magical to say; rather, he was compassionate, human, and sorrowful. He named the crime for what it was and reminded his brother bishops that such evil must end in the church. He gets it.
5. Smile, inclusivity, humanity. The pope smiled a lot. Most joyful and happy people do. In love with Jesus and the people of God, he told us naturally that life is good, and the Christian life is graced. His inclusivity, marked especially by his request that people pray for him and for those who do not pray, to wish him well, was unique among church leaders. Honoring the experience of non-believers, the pope reaches out—with gentleness—to bridge a gap, to reconcile a difference, to heal a wound. Such inclusiveness is the image of Jesus and his followers. The pope did it with a smile. Very simply, Pope Francis comes across as a regular guy. A really good one, at that. We need priests and bishops like this.
What are your favorite moments of his visit? And, how do these make us better people? Post your comments on our Facebook Page!
Stay strong, Pope Francis . . . and we WILL pray for you!
HISTORIC EXHIBITION: VATICAN SPLENDORS
MAKES EXCLUSIVE EAST COAST STOP IN PHILADELPHIA AT
THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE THIS SEPTEMBER
EXHIBIT COINCIDES WITH THE MOMENTOUS PAPAL VISIT AND
THE WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES – PHILADELPHIA 2015 CONGRESS
VATICAN SPLENDORS: SEPTEMBER 19, 2015 – FEBRUARY 15, 2016
PHILADELPHIA (June 5, 2015) The Franklin Institute, the most-visited museum in Pennsylvania, has announced plans to host the exclusive East Coast destination of Vatican Splendors, beginning September 19. The exhibition, timed to take place during the historic Papal Visit (September 26-27) and the 2015 World Meeting of Families Congress in Philadelphia (September 22-25), explores the historical and cultural impact of the Vatican over the span of 2,000 years through significantly relevant objects straight from the Vatican in Rome, Italy. Every object in the exhibition tells its own story, together forming a great historical mosaic of the Vatican—and many of the artifacts have never before been on public view at the Vatican in Rome.
Highlights of the nearly 10,000 square-foot exhibition include artwork by Michelangelo, including signed documents and a rarely seen bas relief sculpture, and tools used in work on the Sistine Chapel and Basilica of Saint Peter’s; works by masters including Bernini and Guercino, artwork dating back to the first century, venerated remains (bone fragments) of Saints Peter and Paul, relics discovered at the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul, and historical objects from the modern and ancient basilicas of Saint Peter’s in Rome.
The exhibition is organized into 11 galleries that illustrate the evolution of the Church, with thematic areas highlighting important developments, people and events tied to the history of the Vatican, reflected in both important historical objects and artistic expression from different eras. The objects are presented in galleries and recreated environments designed to enhance the understanding of their historical and artistic significance. Visitors will feel transported to the Vatican, from the underground catacombs where the remains of Saint Peter were discovered to the magnificent papal chambers found above ground. From the sights and sounds of the grand Basilica to a touchable cast of Saint John Paul II’s hand, the exhibition is a multi-sensory experience.
“There could not be a more fitting exhibition to bring to Philadelphia this fall than Vatican Splendors,” explains Larry Dubinski, President and CEO of The Franklin Institute. “Hosting an exhibit of this caliber during such a momentous time for Philadelphia and the world is truly remarkable and for anyone participating in the World Meeting of Families or the Papal Visit and mass, Vatican Splendors will unquestionably add an unforgettable layer to that once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
The Franklin Institute is the only East Coast stop for the exhibition, the first of a two-city North American tour, after which the items will return to the Vatican, from which they cannot be absent for more than a year. The collection of priceless artifacts will be housed in the climate-controlled exhibit gallery in the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion at The Franklin Institute.
“What an extraordinary opportunity for all those who will be in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis’ visit to experience Vatican Splendors at The Franklin Institute,” said Donna Crilley Farrell, Executive Director of the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015. “The exquisite art work, relics and artifacts that will travel here from Rome are a perfect complement to the events of the week, especially in providing families from across the region and around the world with a wonderful way to create memories during this special time in the City.”
Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter said, “Philadelphia is the big city for big events—and bigexhibitions, and there are few greater or more meaningful in content than Vatican Splendors. Having had the opportunity to personally experience the Vatican Museum in March 2014, I am thrilled to welcome to Philadelphia this exhibit, which features many of the same precious objects I saw in Vatican City. Making this exhibit open and available to the public immediately before we host the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis is a wonderful way to prepare for that event and make it even more accessible to everyone.”
Vatican Splendors is organized and circulated in conjunction with the Congregazione per l’Evangelizzazione dei Popoli of the Vatican City State. Items in the collection—which include mosaics, frescoes, paintings by Renaissance masters, works by well-known sculptors, intricately embroidered silk vestments, precious objects from the Papal Mass, uniforms of the Papal Swiss Guard, historical maps and documents and relics are on loan from The Reverenda Fabbrica of Saint Peter, the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls, the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, the Vatican Library, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Apostolic Floreria, the Papal Swiss Guard, the Vatican Museums, and private collections. The exhibition is produced by Evergreen Exhibitions
Vatican Splendors will be open Thursday through Saturday from 9:30am- 9pm, with last exhibit entry at 7:30pm; Sunday through Wednesday from 9:30am-5pm, with last exhibit entry at 3:30pm. Tickets are now on sale.
September 19, 2015-February 15, 2016
Daytime Tickets (Includes General Admission to The Franklin Institute)
Adults $34.95; Children (ages 3-11) $28.95
Evening Tickets (5pm-close)
Adults: $22.95; Children (ages 3-11) $14.95
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