March 25, 2018

PRAYER IS THE KEY TO SERENITY

serenity

During the season of Lent, we discover Prayer as the Key to Serenity through homilies, bulletin and website articles, song and personal prayer time. The Serenity Prayer is the focus of our Lenten Theme.

PRAYER
prayer
The Serenity Prayer was born from the anguish that American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr experienced, as he watched the oppression of the Nazis grow in Germany during the 1930s. Accepting what he could not change and learning in prayer what was within his power to accomplish, was Niebuhr’s struggle and something we understand in our own lives very well.
Prayer is the Key to Serenity. Serenity is not dependent upon outer circumstances but is inner stillness and a confident assurance in God’s providence care – no matter what’s going on around us, or even within us.
Acceptance of what cannot be changed does not mean that we like or approve of certain behaviors or situations. Acceptance means that we let go of the frustrating mental activity, emotional exhaustion and spiritual depletion that is wasted on what is beyond our power to change. We let go of playing God.
Courage means ‘with heart.’ With hearts desiring to live our mission to do Christ’s Work of love and service, we seek to be agents of positive change.
Wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit that resides in the deep stillness of our being. Prayer is the key to unlocking the generous bounty of wisdom. God empowers us with wisdom through new ideas, possibilities, changes of direction and the ability to let go of one agenda to accept another with a discerning heart and an open mind.
The Serenity Prayer is a rich source for spiritual growth and empowers us to change ourselves and our world with God’s grace.

REFLECTION STORY – HOLY WEEK REFLECTION WEEK VI
PALM PARADE
Last week Fr. Kevin marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York and was featured on television. Parades remember events or people and are times of great celebration. In the time of Christ, a parade held for a prominent figure featured palm strewn streets and palm waving crowds.  Palms were placed on the streets to keep the dust down and palms were waved to signify salutations and fanfare.  On Palm Sunday, we wave palms to praise Jesus as our Lord and to give thanks for our many blessings.               
We Remember our Lord’s life on earth, His teachings and example of love and His ultimate sacrifice through His passion, suffering and death on the cross.
We Celebrate the joy of the Resurrection which gifts us with the Risen presence of Christ in every moment of this life and for all time.
We Believe that we are called to share our gifts and blessings sacrificially – offering our own lives day by day in love and service for others.

THE SYMBOL OF THE PALM
Use the Blessed Palm you receive for prayer during this Holy Week and throughout the year.

A SEVEN DAY PALM ACTIVITY WITH THE SERENITY PRAYER
Hold or look at the Blessed Palm during your Prayer Time.

DAY 1:  God grants us Serenity when we contemplate nature. The palm plant is part of God’s creation. Pay attention to the created beauty around you: color, taste, texture, smell, sounds, etc.  Thank God for these blessings.  Remember that all is gift, celebrate in praise the gift before you, believe that your joy is to be shared.  How will you share the gift of God’s creations?

DAY 2: We Accept countless gifts and blessings for God without thought or reflection. Palm branches were used to give God praise. Which gifts and blessings do you accept without gratitude or take for granted? Remember who affirmed and affirms you. Celebrate by giving thanks.  Whom do you affirm or whom do you need to affirm?  Praise God for these experiences and demonstrate your belief by taking one positive action of affirmation this day.

DAY 3: Prayer teaches us to trust God so that we can accept the things we cannot change. We grow in trust when we remember that God is always working and providing for us in every situation.             Remember good experiences of prayer in your past, both personal and shared with others, i.e. a special Mass, Novena, Holy Hour or a time alone. In Romans 8:28 we read, “All things work together for good, for those who love God.” How are these words encouraging?

DAY 4: God gives us Courage to change things for ourselves and for others for the better. Palm branches and trees give shade, comfort and food.    Whatever you do for the least of your brothers and sisters is done for Christ.  What positive action for the good of another will you take this day?

DAY 5: The gift of Wisdom teaches us that suffering is a part of life. The palm you see or hold was cut from life for your use in Prayer Time.  Suffering, pain and death are inevitable. God suffers with us when we suffer. Remember your griefs and sorrows; recall the suffering of those you know.  Share your pain with God who is filled with love and compassion.  Celebrate the presence of God who empathizes with us and who shared suffering and death on the Cross.  Believe that God desires to share your burdens and will grant peace and ultimate healing one day with new life in paradise.

DAY 6:  The Wisdom to know the difference between what can and cannot be changed involves taking action. There are always unclosed circles in our lives.  Relationships need healing. Situations are unresolved.  We have tasks and long-range goals in process.  The palm tree grows slowly and in a harsh environment.  Bring your unclosed circles to God in prayer.  Ask God to reveal your next right or loving move.  Take action.

DAY 7:  Palm waving signaled Jesus hailed as Messiah.  We call Jesus our Savior which means our Healer. Serenity gifts us with an abiding sense of God’s presence through the Risen Christ in all things. The Resurrection of Christ means in part, that there is Good News in every situation because God is with us always.  What is the Good News that you remember in your past?  How did God provide?  What is the Good News in this moment? How is God providing? How will you be Good News for others in the future?  God will provide through you!

LENTEN PRACTICES
• Participating in weekly or even daily celebration of the Eucharist is the most perfect prayer and Lenten observance
• Engage in the variety of opportunities for community and private prayer and reflection.
Bible Study: Last Bible Study Monday, March 26th at 11:30 AM in Church
Lenten penance includes acts of self-denial as a tool for mindfulness of God’s bountiful gifts and presence and/or an increase in charitable acts and works of kindness.
•Days of Fast and Abstinence: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday we refrain from eating meat and have one full meal and two lesser meals. All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence.

BIBLE STUDY
The final Bible Study session will be on Monday, March 26th from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM in the CHURCH.

CHRISM MASS
The Chrism Mass this year takes place on Monday of Holy Week, March 26, 2018 at 7:00 PM at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Paterson. The procession starts promptly at 6:45 PM. This year’s celebration will be of special significance as it will mark the first Chrism Mass in our newly renovated Cathedral.

HOLY WEEK – EASTER SCHEDULE
HOLY THURSDAY, MARCH 29
Mass of the Lord’s Supper: 7:30 PM                           
Eucharistic Adoration: 9:00 PM – Midnight
GOOD FRIDAY, MARCH 30
Celebration of the Lord’s Passion:  3:00 PM
(Holy Communion/Veneration of the Cross)
 HOLY SATURDAY, MARCH 31
Blessing of the Easter Food:  1:00 PM
Easter Vigil:  8:00 PM
EASTER SUNDAY, APRIL 1
Celebration of Eucharist
8:00 AM 10:00 AM 12:00 PM

HOLY LAND COLLECTION
On Good Friday, our Diocese takes up a special collection for the Church in the Holy Land which supports the work of the Franciscans promoting the faith where Christians are the minority.

17110610 Xmas Ornament COLOR - Jubilee

JUBILEE YEAR 2018
The Year of our Lord 2018 is our parish Jubilee commemorating 75 years of fulfilling our mission of Opus Christi –which is Latin for Christ’s Work. During the decades our parish has been love in action, bringing good news through spiritual, service and social ministry.
Jesus said to our parish patron St. Philip, “Whoever believes in me will do the works I do and even great works.” John 14:22

WEB SITE AND FACE BOOK INFORMATION
Share your e-mail with us so as not to miss any of the good news. Visit stphilip.org/jubilee to be included in our email list. Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/stphilipclifton.
Fr. Matt is looking for some old photos and film in any format about St. Philip Church and/or school to compile our history.  Items can be left with Barbara Salzer at the Parish Office.

Our Jubilee Prayer
Rejoicing in you, O Lord, with thankful hearts we pray as .  .  .
We Remember
gratefully our past companions on the Journey whose sacrifice inspires us.
We Celebrate
the good news of love in action that empowers spiritual, service and social ministry.
We Believe
in God’s providence as faithful stewards who continue Christ’s work using the Keys to the Kingdom.       
Amen

To read complete bulletin click here