Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Happy Feast of the Holy Family! This is a day of celebration, joy, praise, mercy and renewed confidence and hope in God for our parish community. It is good that we take time to thank Jesus, Mary and Joseph, honor them and glorify God through them. Many, many parishes have Mary as their patroness. Many parishes have Joseph as their patron, and more than a few take Jesus under one of His titles (like Holy Redeemer, Sacred Heart, etc.) as their patron. We have all three! What a blessing!

I find today a needed and opportune moment to speak to each and all as your priest, as a father would speak to his family. I hope that you know of my love and affection for you. Let me begin by stating that I am a sinner, with many grievous faults. This past year has been one of difficulty and challenges on so many levels. However, there is nowhere I would rather be than here at Holy Family. The faith, hope, and love that I find alive in this parish encourages and fills me with joy every day. It is with this in mind that I want to encourage each of you in your walk of faith.

One of the things I have been reminded of on a daily basis, especially over the last few weeks since Fr. Ken’s re-assignment and his farewell Mass and reception, is that we are all hurting. Not just some of us, but all of us. Our families are hurting. Our entire parish staff, both pastoral and in the school, is hurting. Parents are hurting and our children are hurting. There are women in our parish who are hurting. Fr. Ken and his family are hurling, There are some members of our parish, who were here for years, who have left because they are hurting. Some of us are hurting because we believe wrong was done to someone we love. Some are hurting because they had wrongs done to them. Some are hurting because they believe wrong was done to them. Some are hurting simply because what we have gone through as a parish is painful. Some of these hurts have been acknowledged, and some have not. Some have asked for forgiveness in appropriate ways and some have not, which has added to the hurt. But the wounds are there, and if we want to move forward in Christ, if we want to experience his blessings, his peace, joy and abundant life; we need to first recognize that we are all hurting and, just as importantly , that these hurts are real. The Good News is we are in the right place: we are in the boat with Jesus.

We celebrate Christmas because God became one of us to save us. We so often use this word save;l wonder if we forget that to save means to heal. Jesus came to heal us totally, body and soul. I believe that our community needs his healing in a special way right now. We need to be healed individually and as a parish family. Only Jesus can provide this healing. We must be open to recognizing with sorrow our own frailty, brokenness, and sinfulness; trusting in his mercy and his desire to heal. I would invite and call us as one family in God, to a few specific actions in the coming months. They are forgiveness, confession, prayer, and our Parish Mission (F eb. 22-25).

I want to invite each of us to participate fully in our upcoming Parish Mission on
February 22-25.
It is called AblazeA Mission Bringing New Life, Hope & Healing. Only by encountering Jesus in a way that brings me to a living faith, is it possible that all the talk about healing graces will bring transformation instead of falling on deaf ears and a hard heart. First, I need to know that Jesus is my Lord, and that this is Good, no, Great News!Unless we entrust our entire life to him, all the other steps (like forgiveness and confession) make no sense and will have very little real effect in a life-giving way. I believe this mission will help us encounter Jesus once again in a life-changing way. If you need healing: Come.

Forgiveness is at the heart of our faith. This means both asking for forgiveness and, just as important, offering forgiveness. lt is only by living as a forgiving people that we can remain and grow in God’s love and life. Jesus sees forgiveness as so important that when he teaches us the Our Father the only part he emphasizes is the necessity that we forgive (Mt 6:9-15). Extending forgiveness is not optional for disciples, because this is what it means to be like God. It can at times be even harder than asking for forgiveness. Holding onto unforgiveness can be one of the most powerful (and sadly, common) ways that we remain bound and enslaved, unable to receive Jesus’ peace. Receive Jesus’ mercy, and in his name take authority and forgive by name those you need to forgive.

One of the powerful, personal ways that Jesus comes to heal us, that he gave us for this purpose, is the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation. How often do we forget that this is a sacrament of healing? Jesus loves to save us, and we allow this to happen when we bring him our sins and brokenness in confession. Many of us participate regularly in this sacrament, and I realize that for others it may have been awhile, perhaps years. We close ourselves off from experiencing the fullness of God’s abundant life and one of his greatest gifts when we don’t celebrate this sacrament regularly. I would ask all of us to prayerfully go to confession. Ultimately, only Jesus heals the wounds that come from sin, and the normal way that he heals our serious sins and soes to the root of all our sins is in confession.

There will be other opportunities in the coming months to help us heal and grow in the Spirit. For now, I would ask us to pray daily for each other. I have included the prayer to the Holy Spirit, which was written for our parish and which some of us have been praying regularly. Pray this prayer or another prayer, but pray daily for each other. Like a family, God has placed us in one another’s lives for a purpose.

God is with us at Holy Family. God is for us. God desires to do great things in our midst. If we entrust our lives to him and abide in him, we will experience anew his saving power. Jesus’ Cross is not always easy, but we know that it is the proven and sure way to spiritual healing and life, one that brings with it unlooked for consolations, and greater gifts than we could have imagined, including the gift of eternal friendship with God. On this Feast of the Holy Family may the blessings of our God descend abundantly on you, your family, and our Parish through the intercession of Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Through Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Fr. Jonathan Perrotta

Monday – 6:30 a.m.

Tuesday – 8:15 a.m. and 7 p.m

Wednesday – 6:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Thursday – 6:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m.

Friday – 6:30 a.m.

Saturday – 8:00 a.m. and vigil at 5 p.m.

Sunday – 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and seasonal evening Mass:

7 p.m. Memorial Day weekend in May to Labor Day weekend in September

5 p.m. after Labor Day to the weekend before Memorial Day weekend