This Friday, we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration. We hear this story every year on the 2nd Sunday of Lent (a fitting preparation, as it was in Jesus’ life, for His going up to Jerusalem and entering His Passion and Resurrection), and on August 6th each year. Meditating on this scene in the life of our Lord can give us a profound insight into Him and His continued relationship with us and it can be a source of tremendous joy for us.
As we celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration, let us remember Him who gave all for us in our prayers.
“God of all power, I glorify and magnify Your Name because of who You are. We thank You for the divine
confirmation of Your Son whilst he was here on earth and became the radiant glory. Your Son became
transfigured before His followers; His face shone like the sun and His garments became as white as light! Lord, Your power was evident in this transfiguration and for that we thank You for being who You say You are, Amen.”
The gospel for this Sunday, John 6:24-35, speaks to us about what is important for us to have and to hold as truths and actions in our lives. Jesus tells the people to not work for the food that perishes but to seek the food that endures for eternal life. What do you suppose He’s talking about? We all need to eat and drink or we’ll die! But the food Jesus speaks of is the food that is more important to us. The food that will bring us to eternal rest in peace with His Father and Him. The people rightly so asked what could they do to accomplish the works of God. Jesus response was simple, “To believe in the one He sent”. We might ask ourselves, do I believe with my whole heart and my entire soul? Is our faith strong enough that we trust in God and all his works, even when it’s not exactly what we want? That my friends is our faith.
Believing and trusting in God with all our heart and all our soul. Knowing that He and He alone knows what is best for us. That He will give us everything we need. That it is God who has set us here on this earth with a specific path for us to follow. Are we strong enough and brave enough to say yes to Him and His plan for us? Do we have enough faith and trust in Him to surrender to his will each and every day of our lives?
I pray, my brothers and sisters in Christ, that you are growing in faith always and that you are growing in love and communion with our Lord.
On another note, I had the pleasure of meeting this week with two members of the Catholic Daughters of America, Cynthia Keefer and Sandy Owens. It was truly a pleasure to sit and discuss with them the good work they do. They invited me to be Chaplin for the group, and of course asked if they could continue to hold their meetings here at Prince of Peace. They will continue to meet here on the first Thursday of each month and I encourage any woman who may be interested to contact them or to attend a meeting. They do excellent work for a number of very good causes. If you’d like more information or would like to contact them, you can reach Cynthia at (814) 247-8796 or Sandy at (814) 247-6257.
One other note, I’ve been asked to assist with a retreat for our Diocesan Seminarians on August 3rd, 4th, and 5th, so I will be out of the office those days. The Church Office will be closed on Thursday, August 5th as Sue will also be out.
Please note the changes to Mass’s in the bulletin and please keep all of our Diocesan Seminarians in your prayers.
Also note that we continue to seek an individual for the open maintenance position we have here in the parish. If you might be interested or know of someone who might be a good fit for that position, please call the office or encourage them to contact us.
I wish you all a very blessed week!
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Having been here with you for a little more than three weeks, it may seem a bit early to be thanking you but your response to me and welcome have been so wonderful, that I felt it appropriate! Your warm friendly greetings each time our paths cross touch my heart daily and reassure me that indeed I am exactly where God has lead me and intends me to be. For me the witness of your strong and deep faith is something that not only impresses me, it touches my heart. I often think (though its only been a short time) how blessed am I to be here with people who have such a deep and strong faith.
I know I’ve said several times in my homilies, that I feel like I’m preaching to the choir because you really do get it. It’s so wonderful to look out on you at Mass and know that you are not only understanding what I’m saying but that you get it and you’ve been getting it for some time. I am so thrilled to be here with you on your journey of faith as we grow deeper in union and love with our Lord.
As we see in the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus is feeding the multitudes that are with him. Through my ministry here, I feel that I am called to feed or nourish each of you spiritually. Because it’s through that nourishment that you will be able to enrich your faith, you will be able to grow deeper in love with our Lord, you will yearn for more and more. I hope and pray that I am always able to provide you with that spiritual nourishment and that it always leaves you hungering and thirsting for more. Like Jesus in the Gospel today, I want to not only meet your spiritual needs but exceed them so that we may journey in faith together.
My first three weeks with you have been a busy time, a time to settle in, to unpack (which I’m still working on), a time to become acquainted and a time of course to pray and worship with you. I feel truly blessed to be here with you all and I must thank you for the warm welcome and for your patience and understanding. I so appreciate the help and guidance that has been shared with me.
Before I close there are a couple orders of business that I need to share with you. Sue put in last week’s bulletin a request for anyone who has keys to any of our buildings to please contact the rectory so that we can have an accurate list of who has keys. I ask you to please do so as soon as possible. We are finding doors left unlocked in the Church, hall and other places and this cannot continue. If we can’t get an accurate list compiled in an expeditious manner we may have to have the locks changed and I’d really rather not have to incur that expense.
The other item that I wanted to share with you is, we are in need of hiring a maintenance person. We are currently looking into whether it will be a full time or part time position. If you or anyone you know might be interested, please call the office so that we can talk about the position. In the meantime, if you might be available to help out with some projects that need attention, please call the office and let us know. Anything that you might be able to do to help will be greatly
Again, thank you for all your kindness and the warm welcome. Know of my prayers for all of you.
Yours in Christ
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In the gospel reading for this Sunday we see Jesus and the apostles attempting to go to a quiet place so that they might discuss their teaching and ministry. This proved to be difficult because there were large numbers of people who wanted to be with the Lord and hear His words and teaching. These were people who hungered and thirsted to be with the Lord. Who longed to be with him and hear His words, to be in His presence and to hear His teaching. They so thirsted to hear the good news that as we hear in the gospel, they hastened on foot to get there ahead of Him. And how did our Lord react? When He saw the vast crowd, He had great pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.
My friends, let us always have hearts that yearn for our Lord. Hearts that seek to hear His words through sacred scripture. Let our hearts always desire to be with the Lord and to live out His will in our daily lives, just like the vast crowds that we see in today’s reading. Let us hunger and thirst always to be with Him through whom we find eternal life.
We must make every effort this week and always to be close to the Lord through our prayer and attendance at Mass. Our desire should always be to grow deeper in love and union with him. As we’ve heard in today’s gospel, that is His desire as well. When the crowds gathered to be with him, he did not become frustrated but instead looked on them with great pity and compassion. He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. He longs to be our Shepherd in all things and in all ways. We must remember that the path to eternal life and the glory of God is possible only through Him.
A number of you asked me to share the prayer of “Abandonment” that I offered in last weeks homily, so here it is for you:
Prayer of Abandonment
“Father, I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me, and in all
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give
myself, to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve, and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
Have a very blessed week.
Yours in Christ,
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Having been here a week, I’d like to thank you for your warm, friendly and hospitable welcome. I look forward to meeting you all and getting to know you better. Please be patient with me as I get to know you and learn your names. After all, you only have one name to remember, I have many. Within my first week, as you can imagine, I’ve been busy settling into the rectory and becoming acquainted with all that goes on here. I so appreciate those of you who are helping me to that end.
One of the things I’ve learned very quickly about the parish in the very short time that I’ve been here is what a wonderfully prayerful and devout group of parishioners there are here. This truly is a parish family. The concern, and helpfulness for others I’ve observed is very comforting and refreshing. As we’ve seen in this past weeks Gospel readings our Lord is teaching the Apostles about faith and evangelization. Through the living word of God, (the bible) He is also teaching us. How refreshing it is to see this faith and evangelization alive here at Prince of Peace.
I look forward to accompanying you on this journey of faith. Of growing deeper in love and union with our Lord. Of bringing him to our brothers and sisters who may have lost their way or have fallen away for whatever reason. I am excited to be here with you and for us to journey in faith together. This is a beautiful community and I am happy to be a part of it.
Please have patience with me as I settle into the role of administrator of the parish. I’m hopeful that my life experience has helped me to prepare for this role and that I will be a good shepherd for each of you. Know of my prayers for the parish and please pray for me.
Yours in Christ,
Father Mark Groeger is the Parish Administrator of Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.