February 26, 2017

Listening for Lent

A husband was perplexed by his wife’s refusal to admit that she had a hearing problem.  He finally asked his physician, “How can I get my wife to admit that she is hard of hearing?”  “l’ll tell you what to do” the doctor replied. “When you arrive home from work, poke your head in the door and ask ‘What’s for dinner?’ If she doesn’t answer, go into the living room and ask the same question.  If she doesn’t hear, go into the kitchen and shout, and if she doesn’t hear that, speak right into her ear and tell her what just happened.  That should convince her that she cannot hear.” “Great, that should work” said the husband.

That evening he came home from work, opened the door and hollered, “What’s for dinner honey?” There was no response, neither was there a response from the living room.  He went to the doorway of the kitchen, sneaked up behind her and shouted, “What’s for dinner?” At that point the wife turned and shouted “For the fourth time, it’s chicken parm!”

Spring is not due for several weeks, but we do have Lent which begins this week.  Lent is closely associated with the transition from Winter to Spring.  It can also be a time of transition and listening for us.  Transition or change is not easy for most of us.  We grow accustomed to our routines and find it difficult to adjust.  The prime example is right here in our church.  Generally, we like to be seated in a certain place and like to retain that position. We usually attend and participate in the same mass.  Thank God, coming to mass on a weekend has become a routine part of our week.  We plan our week and organize the family and a change is not always welcome, but during Lent we are asked to change some things.

First of all we are asked to listen and pay more attention to the readings from Scripture each week.  There may be certain things or actions that we might change in our lives for the better.  On Ash Wednesday, we will hear the words “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”.  This is a timely reminder that if we listen to God’s Word in the Gospel, we will truly be turned towards doing good.  The Gospel of Ash Wednesday reminds us to perform righteous acts.  In other words, that we might do something good or worthwhile for others. This might entail helping a neighbor, visiting an aged relative or showing concern for someone’s difficulty. We are reminded in a special way to pray, not just by recitation of words but by listening too.  Finally, we are asked to fast and do penance.

Early this past week, I asked the children in our school to do three things for Lent … participate in Mass on Saturday evening or Sunday, pray every day and read their Bibles.  This suggestion or invitation is open to everyone.  The participation in the Sunday Eucharist is the heart of the entire spiritual life. It supports everything else. If commitment to Sunday Mass is at the bottom of one’s list, a resolution to strengthen it is in order.  We might also ask ourselves if we look on the mass as a command or an invitation.  Do we just participate because of obligation or out of love? Maybe we need to change our perspective!

Daily prayer should be second on our list.  Everyone is busy.  We seem to have more and more things to do, but we must find even a few minutes for God.  So how should we commit to daily prayer?  What times of the day are best for you? Mornings? Evenings? Do you have a special place or time for prayer?  Some people designate a room for the purpose with sacred images or pictures which invite prayer.  I know a woman in our parish that places a Bible or prayer book in different rooms as a reminder. Is your family comfortable with prayer? Lent would be a good time to reinstitute prayer in your home and you can figure out a time and a place.

Fasting means consuming less or sometimes nothing for the purpose of self-discipline.  We all need it.  Abstinence means avoiding a certain kind of thing like television or the internet. Both practices are hallmarks of Lent and they may be applied to a wide variety of things.  Fasting and abstinence may be frowned on today, but they have proven their worth through the ages.  They discipline the body to rely less on things of the world.  They create within us clear-headed dependence of God, whose love fulfills every need.  Fasting from food affects the whole body and shapes the human spirit.  Think of how to take better care of your body described in last Sunday’s Gospel as “a Temple of the Holy Spirit”.  It may be time to lock the liquor cabinet, clip shut the bag of chips, tape closed the chocolates and purge the freezer of frozen treats.  Have an appetite for the time when most of the family can be together for a meal.  It may be time to fast from nicotine, alcohol or gambling and conforming to the norms of your faith.

We generally think of almsgivings as a financial contribution, but just as important is giving of our time and talents as well as treasure.  Maybe you might volunteer for something in our church or community.  Always remember that neglected relative!  Can you extend a hand of welcome to a newcomer in your neighborhood or Church? Can you contact those in public office and make your conscience heard on behalf of the needy or unborn?  Our time and talent can make a difference and think of all the other people who are doing the same.  May we be good listeners and doers.  Lent is a challenge for all of us, but if each one of us did something, however small, we will all be the beneficiaries.  Have a truly spiritual and fulfilling Lent.
Father Kevin


We Remember, We Celebrate, We Believe
Introduction To Our Parish Lenten Retreat

Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017 marks the start of our journey of Lent. Throughout the season of Lent and culminating in our Easter celebration we offer a Parish Retreat titled Prayer Time: We Remember, We Celebrate, We Believe. You are invited to join us as we experience the Lord and love of each other more fully.  The Retreat will unfold in the weekend homilies, liturgical music, bulletin reflections/stphilip.org, and workshops.

Ash Wednesday March 1, 2017 Schedule
Masses with Eucharist and distribution of ashes:
7:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 12:00 PM & 7:00 PM
3:30 PM Prayer Service with distribution of ashes

As you are marked with ashes in the sign of the cross reflect on how in your heart, you are being called to this time of prayer.

• Touch your forehead Remember God’s blessings in your life.
• Touch your heart Celebrate God’s presence in you.
• Touch your left and right shoulders

Believe that you were created to receive and give love.
What are the gifts and blessings that the Lord has provided for you?
What are the ways you experience God’s presence?
What thoughts words or deeds will you use to express your love and service?

Season of Lent Opportunities

Renew your faith and your spiritual life for service and love for one another.

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 in our Parish Retreat, Prayer Time: We Remember, We Celebrate, We Believe
Meditation Hours:  Thursday, March 2nd, April 6th at 7 PM in Marian Hall
Spirituality Workshop:  Tuesday, March 7th at 7 PM in the Russo Room
Adoration/Benediction Hour: Tuesday, March 28th 7:00 PM in Church
Welcome Home: Sacrament of Reconciliation; Mondays 7:00 to 8:30 PM
Saturdays 11:00 AM to 12 Noon
Saturday, April 8th 10:00 AM to 12 Noon in church
Stations of the Cross: Fridays 7:00 PM in Church
Living Stations of the Cross: April 7th
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 are days of fast and abstinence when we refrain from eating meat and have one full meal and two lesser meals. All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence.
Lenten Bible Study: Seven week series begins on Monday, February 27th at 11 AM in the Molloy Center
CRS Rice Bowls which support Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities Emergency Assistance Service Programs are available in the vestibule of the Church.



Journey with Us – Discover the Keys to the Kingdom
Join us on Monday, February 27th at 7:00 PM
in the Russo Room as we journey with the Letters of Paul.
If you would like more information about RCIA, please call Donna Scancarella at 973-779-6200. Make-up sessions will be available

7th Annual St. Patrick Dinner Dance
St. Joseph Dessert Table

Saturday, March 11th at 7 PM
St. Philip Auditorium
(doors open 6:30 PM)

Traditional Irish Dinner
Beer, Wine, Soda, Coffee/Tea, Italian Desserts
Specialty drinks available for purchase
$40.00 per person


Entertainment by The Peter McKiernan Band

To purchase tickets, please send the following
• Your name
• Phone number
• Number of tickets requested
• Payment (check payable to St. Philip the Apostle)
St. Philip the Apostle Church
797 Valley Rd., Clifton, NJ 07013
Attn: St. Patrick Tickets
**You will receive a call when your tickets are ready to be picked up at the Parish Office**

This event sells out quickly so order your tickets early!
For more information call Donna @ 973-779-6200
Tickets will not be available at the door
You must be 21 years old or older to attend this event


Religious Education Classes schedule
Grades 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6: February 26, March 26
Grade 2: February 26, March 19, 26
Grades 7, 8: March 19
Confirmation Grade 9, 10:  March 19

To read complete bulletin click here