October 04, 2015

KEYS TO THE KINGDOM – WEEK IV

Our In – Parish Fall Retreat continues as we learn about and experience theKeys to the Kingdom in homilies, song, bulletins and website reflections. The keys joined to the heart in the illustration above represent the Keys to the Kingdom which are promised to St. Peter and to the community of the church when Jesus says, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom.” Matthew 16:19.

PRAYER IS THE KEY

Prayer is the Key that turns in Faith, with Hope and for Love to set us free.
Prayer in Faith turns us away from anxiety and distress toward the freedom of trust in God’s Providence in all things.
Prayer with Hope turns us away from fear and frees us to experience courage and God’s enduring power at work in our lives.
Prayer for Love turns us toward peaceful relationships with God, self and others by freeing us from the need to judge and control others.Prayer for Love transforms us to live our Mission of Charity, which is Opus Christi, Christ’s Work.

Weekend Scripture Reflection

  • The book of Genesis teaches that each one of us is created by God for the life we are called to live. Because Jesus shared our humanity our Hope is founded on God’s profound empathy for us. Christ knows us – bone for bone, flesh of our flesh, heart to heart.
  • The letter to the Hebrews affirms that Christ is united to us in our joy, sufferings, through death and into the glory of new life. Our Hope is in Christ our true companion on the journey.
  • Our Gospel contrasts two ways of seeing life legalistically and with Hope for change. The Pharisees see life legalistically enforcing harsh, unfair rules concerning marriage that cut others off from living life to the fullest. Jesus promotes Hope-filled thinking that is open for change when he uses the example of children. Children are often more free from fear and more open to new ways of thinking and alternative possibilities than adults. OurHope is in Christ who is the key for our discovery of all that God can accomplish in us and through us.

Reflection: S.O.S. – Hope Saves

Fierce wind and driving rain pommel the tiny fishing village in Holland as the S.O.S. alarm screams for the villagers to come to the town docks. 14 year old Hans is the first to arrive and he sees the flashing emergency signal of a grounded vessel beyond the breakwater. As he and the other rescue volunteers’ drop into the violently rocking lifeboat, Hans hears his mother scream above the wind, “No, Hans, do not go. I have already lost your father and your brother!” Hans cries out, “Mama, we are their only Hope.”

For two hours the villagers pray with that very honest mix of fear and Hope. Prayer is the key that sets them free to be open to God doing more than they can even imagine. Finally, the limping lifeboat is spotted. A cheer rings out. Yet above the joy one voice is heard. Loud and clear Hans exclaims, “Mama, I’ve got my brother.”

Hans’ mother prayed with Hope that her son would return, little did she know that her entire perspective on what was possible would change when both sons returned to her.

Praying with Hope helps us to act with courage and to answer the daily S.O.S. alarms that sound from the people whom God has entrusted to our care. We are created and empowered by God to do our daily work. God understands our struggle and our reluctance at times to rush forward to the aid of others. Praying with Hope gives us access to God’s power at work in us in cooperation with our efforts. Praying with Hope gives us a childlike spontaneity to act with confidence in everyday situations. Each one of us is a Hope for someone else because we are often the answer to another person’s S.O.S.

When we rush forward in prayer with Hope and for Love we return with deeper faith and blessings beyond anything we could Hope for or imagine.

ACTIVITY: Praying With HOPE

Christian Hope is a gift from God that we can experience in prayer. The anagram of H O P E will be used to illustrate four steps in prayer that help us to experience God’s gift of Hope in our daily lives.

Honesty
Openness
Perspective
Endurance

Prayer Steps to Hope

Honesty – Being completely candid with God about our thoughts, feelings and situation.
Openness – Consciously affirming God’s ability to do more for us than we are able to do for ourselves, through the transformation of our mind, heart and spirit.
Perspective – Asking God to reveal in prayer new ways of seeing ourselves, others and circumstances with eyes of faith and love.
Endurance – Relying on the power of the Holy Spirit for courage, self-control, strength and inner peace.

Prayer Key

If you do not already have a colorful Blessed Prayer Key, you may take one as you leave Church along with a Blue Prayer Booklet.  Attach the key to your own set of keys as a reminder that
“Prayer is the key that sets us free.”

Activity

Pray the Blue Prayer Booklet or read the prayer below while turning your Blessed Prayer Key.
Lord, I turn the key of prayer in Faith.
I am set free to trust in your Providence.
Lord, I turn the key of prayer with Hope.
I am set free from fear;
knowing that you desire to do for me
what I cannot do for myself.
Lord, I turn the key of prayer for Love.
I pray that you may bless others (name) and
transform me to set me free.

RCIA

Journey with Us!

Through the process of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA, we explore and discover the keys to the kingdom. RCIA is a restoration of the ancient practice of initiation into the Church. Through a process of discernment, spiritual development and ritualizing stages of conversion, you are guided to sacramental initiation. These Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist which are celebrated at the Easter Vigil open your hearts and empower you to lives of service, charity and justice as witnesses to our mission of OPUS CHRISTI, Christ’s Work. RCIA is not a program but a sacramental process. RCIA reflects a sacramental attitude that is at the heart of all Christian living: CONVERSION, turning your heart to God.

We invite you to be our companion on the journey and discover the keys to the kingdom. We gather on Monday evenings from 7:00-8:30 PM in the Russo Room. If you would like more information about RCIA, please call Donna Scancarella at 973-779-6200.

Picnic Thank You

Thank you to all the adult, young adult, and youth ministry volunteers who helped with the Parish Picnic in making it a rousing success. Spiritually, the young people’s participation at the 12:00 Noon Mass and the beautiful music was inspiring. The social dimension of the picnic was encouraging. The joy of service demonstrated the Keys of the Kingdom at work. The Unique Creatures show was fantastic. God is blessing our mission, Opus Christi, Christ’s Work.

All Eucharistic Ministers and Lectors,

Please join us on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 7:00 PM in Marian Hall for prayer, a celebration of our shared ministry, a catechesis session and refresher training.
Dessert and coffee will be served followed by the scheduled events which will end in Church.
Be assured of our continued prayer for you and our gratitude for your participation in our Opus Christi, Christ’s Work.
Gratefully,
Fr. Joe, Fr. Miguel, Fr. Kevin and The Pastoral Team

Altar Servers

Interested in becoming an altar server?

All students in grades 4 and up are invited!

Pick up a flyer in the back of the church and join us on
October 14th and 15th for two training sessions.

St. Philip Handbell Choir

There will be an organizational meeting and brief rehearsal for all returning Handbell Choir members on Monday, October 5 at 6:00 PM in church, as well as an opportunity to welcome new members. New members who are interested in becoming a ringer in the Handbell Choir are encouraged to join us for this meeting. Rehearsals are held regularly each Monday from 6:00 to 6:45 PM in church, and membership is open to persons of high school age and up. Although musical training is not required, rudimentary music literacy is helpful. If you’re interested in learning more, or if you’ve considered joining this fun and rewarding component to the Music Ministry program at St. Philip’s, please feel welcomed to join us this Monday.

Bishop’s Annual Appeal-Serving Christ Among Us

Our Catholic Charities agencies continue to serve tens of thousands of people in profound need each year.  These people could be your neighbors, co-workers, friends or loved ones.  As Catholics, we are committed to serving Christ among us, especially those who are hurting and lost.  The largest percentage of Appeal funds each year is used to help our Catholic Charities agencies do their essential work.

To read complete bulletin click here