Pastor’s Columns

December 8, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

Happy Second Sunday of Advent! My apologies about there not being physical bulletins at church last weekend. We heard from the publisher by an e-mail late last Wednesday before Thanksgiving that they were having printing and shipping difficulties due to power outages from storms last week. We never received the box of bulletins. Therefore, this week’s column will be a bit of a re-run for some who read the bulletin via Flocknote (Please signup if you haven’t already done so- easiest and fastest way to communicate with you- especially during these wintery weeks) or our Parish website.

Here’s the new stuff:

CONGRATULATIONS to ROSEMARY BURKE our Holy Cross Parish 2019 recipient of the Diocesan Marian Medal. The Marian Medal is a tradition established in 1968 by Bishop James Connolly, the 4th Bishop of Fall River, recognizing men and women in the Diocese for their dedicated service to the local Church. Since then over 2,000 active parishioners 55 years and older have been chosen by their parishes as recipients.   Rosemary has been a very active parishioner since joining the parish with her husband Jerry and family when Fr. Bob McDonald was the pastor from 1980-1989. Rosemary served numerous times on the Parish Council, chairing the council twice, served as a Eucharistic Minister and Lector, was the first organizer of the Greeters after expanding from all-men’s Ushers Club, coordinated many Parish social gatherings, including Fr. Bill Kelly’s 25th Anniversary of Ordination celebration, new parishioner Spaghetti Suppers, and the annual Appreciation Dinner. She was an active member of the Spiritual Prayer Group and volunteer among other things at the annual Holly Fairs. Once again, Congratulations Rosemary, and by extension Jerry, for all of your active support and generous    contributions to Holy Cross Parish throughout the years!

Don’t forget to spend some time reflecting with God during these hectic Advent days. We still have some booklets by the doors of the church, it’s not too late to sign up for the Best Advent Ever, today is the Family Craft event 1-4 p.m.at the Fr. Peyton Museum of Family Prayer just off 138 on Stonehill’s campus. I have an Advent music playlist streaming in my car. Whatever it takes to let the hope, peace, joy, and love of this short holy season prepare our hearts for the Coming of the Lord.

Re-Run for those who didn’t get a chance to read last week. The last time I wrote this column I was wishing you a Happy Mardi Gras and beginning of Lent 2019. I definitely did not anticipate 2019 being such a life-changing year for me, but God had other plans, and for that I am very grateful following our annual national week of giving thanks. I am grateful to be back at Holy Cross, I am grateful to Frs. Eric and Jim, I am grateful to the Parish Staff, and grateful to all of you parishioners for your constant caring support and encouragement. Lent seemed to last longer than forty days for me this year and Jesus’ transforming resurrected love continues to give us all new life. I am very happy to be ending 2019 and beginning 2020 with you this first weekend of Advent as we open our hearts to God’s grace coming to us anew in Jesus, who is the Light of the World.

God’s Spirit gives us life every day of each year that the world exists and each of us breathes and lives more fully into the unique life we are given. Many of us wish parts of our life could be different. I’ll be the first to admit that this year! Nonetheless, we are challenged to walk humbly with God each day in the life we are given until Christ comes again. The readings during the first weeks of Advent call us to reflect on Christ coming again at the end of time; ultimately the end of the world as we know it, but more poignantly, at the end of each of our individual lives in death. We are called to do what we can each and every day to be ready to meet Jesus face to face, knowing only God can completely make us ready for such an awesome meeting. We are called to admit when we are wrong, to do what we can to make amends, to be witnesses of reconciliation with one another and with God. The last days of Advent prepare us to celebrate God’s love becoming incarnate; being born human in Jesus, who matures into the One who takes away the sins of the world and calls everyone into eternal life.

It is a busy time of the year for sure. Busy here in the Parish getting ready for the Holly Fair next weekend (thank you ahead of time to all who are volunteering time and resources to make this very important parish fundraiser a success again this year!). Please plan on attending and invite your family and friends to join you as well. It is a busy time of decorating, baking, shopping and celebrating God’s love already present to each of us in our friends and families. Don’t let the busyness displace the “Reason for the Season,” maintaining time and a place for God’s brilliant and transforming Light to bring hope, joy and peace. Spend some time in prayerful reflection each day with God about your life and the lives around you. It will be the best gift you can give yourself and others around you this year. Keep a balance of the many focused details needing to get done and the broader picture of what matters most, life itself. Challenge yourself and those you love to not loose God in the gifts, faith in the passing frustrations, and most especially love and laughter amid the limited hours of each day meant to bring us closer rather than farther from ourselves, each other, and God.

Be assured of my continued prayers for each of you, only now much closer in person. Let us go rejoicing together through these holy December days, here in the House of the Lord, and outside these walls into a waiting world longing for peace, love and joy. Let each of us do what we can with God to make the days ahead happier and healthier than the days behind us.

God Bless,

Fr. Brad

 

December 1, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

The last time I wrote this column I was wishing you a Happy Mardi Gras and beginning of Lent 2019. I definitely did not anticipate 2019 being such a life-changing year for me, but God had other plans, and for that I am very grateful following our annual national week of giving thanks. I am grateful to be back at Holy Cross, I am grateful to Frs. Eric and Jim, I am grateful to the Parish Staff, and grateful to all of you parishioners for your constant caring support and encouragement. Lent seemed to last longer than forty days for me this year and Jesus’ transforming resurrected love continues to give us all new life. I am very happy to be ending 2019 and beginning 2020 with you this first weekend of Advent as we open our hearts to God’s grace coming to us anew in Jesus, who is the Light of the World.

God’s Spirit gives us life every day of each year that the world exists and each of us breathes and lives more fully into the unique life we are given. Many of us wish parts of our life could be different. I’ll be the first to admit that this year! Nonetheless, we are challenged to walk humbly with God each day in the life we are given until Christ comes again. The readings during the first weeks of Advent call us to reflect on Christ coming again at the end of time; ultimately the end of the world as we know it, but more poignantly, at the end of each of our individual lives in death. We are called to do what we can each and every day to be ready to meet Jesus face to face, knowing only God can completely make us ready for such an awesome meeting. We are called to admit when we are wrong, to do what we can to make amends, to be witnesses of reconciliation with one another and with God. The last days of Advent prepare us to celebrate God’s love becoming incarnate; being born human in Jesus, who matures into the One who takes away the sins of the world and calls everyone into eternal life.

It is a busy time of the year for sure. Busy here in the Parish getting ready for the Holly Fair next weekend (thank you ahead of time to all who are volunteering time and resources to make this very important parish fundraiser a success again this year!). Please plan on attending and invite your family and friends to join you as well. It is a busy time of decorating, baking, shopping and celebrating God’s love already present to each of us in our friends and families. Don’t let the busyness displace the “Reason for the Season,” maintaining time and a place for God’s brilliant and transforming Light to bring hope, joy and peace. Spend some time in prayerful reflection each day with God about your life and the lives around you – perhaps using 3-5minute free videos found at https://dynamiccatholic.com/best-advent-ever. It will be the best gift you can give yourself and others around you this year. Keep a balance of the many focused details needing to get done and the broader picture of what matters most, life itself. Challenge yourself and those you love to not loose God in the gifts, faith in the passing frustrations, and most especially love and laughter amid the limited hours of each day meant to bring us closer rather than farther from ourselves, each other, and God.

Be assured of my continued prayers for each of you, only now much closer in person. Let us go rejoicing together through these holy December days, here in the House of the Lord, and outside these walls into a waiting world longing for peace, love and joy. Let each of us do what we can with God to make the days ahead more happier and healthier than the days behind us.

God Bless,

Fr. Brad

 

November 24, 2019

Thanksgiving can be a very fun day. When I was young, my family had a mini version of the “Turkey Bowl” 2-hand tag game of football in our street. Everyone played, even the years we had snow. The timing of the game depended upon when we could take a break from the preparations for all of the foods – breaking bread for homemade stuffing, peeling potatoes, chopping veggies, etc. The highlight of the day, of course, was the dinner. Family and friends gathered around a table full of food representing abundant blessings that God always bestows upon us.

As the youngest child, and youngest of the grandchildren, I always sat at the kids table. This year I am blessed to have the opportunity to travel home to visit my mom and help her and my sister prepare the Thanksgiving meal. For all I know, I will still be at the kids table. I will stay with my mom and sister through the weekend, celebrating Sunday Mass at the parish where I grew up, and then return on Monday – plenty of time to be here for the Holly Fair Dec. 7th – 8th.

Thanksgiving provides us with an opportunity to focus in an intentional way on the virtue of gratitude. It can be easy to focus on blessings that others have, and overlook the many blessings that God provides us. As Catholics, we know that giving thanks is important. Every day we can find something to be grateful for, and to thank God. Personally, I am trying to become more conscious of gifts and blessings, and to thank God and those around me

This year I am grateful that I have been in two wonderful parishes. I started the year in Arizona, and I get to finish the year here at a lively parish that has welcomed and accepted me. I am thankful that my brother in Holy Cross who was ordained with me, Fr. Brad, is back and doing well.

I am grateful for the generosity of so many here who help with our ministries, and with our outreach to people who are not as blessed with material things. The support given to our recent Baby Shower, the Giving Tree that is now up, and the constant donations to My Brother’s Keeper, Mainspring House, Louison Shelter, St. Vincent DePaul, and many other programs is wonderful.

I thank God for vibrant Faith Formation program here, and its many volunteers. I also thank God for those who will step up to help us in our Faith Formation programs as we seek more people to serve as aids and subs. As I look at our maintenance needs (many mentioned in the Parish Special Appeal and other unexpected projects that came up since that letter was sent), I sometimes wonder whether we will reach our appeal goal to cover expenses. I thank God for a community that gives to their church to keep it a special place to make God known, loved, and served.

This Thursday while I am in Pittsburgh with my mom, I will be at church doing Eucharist. The word Eucharist literally means “to give thanks.” I will be in Pittsburgh at Mass celebrating the Eucharist, and you will be here celebrating Mass. Separated by miles, the liturgy will join us together in doing what is right and just, thanking God for Christ our King and for so many blessings. I pray that you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Fr. Eric

 

November 17, 2019

Instead of the regular column here, I want to share with you important news about Fr. Brad. As we are in a month of giving thanks, I believe the news below will be well received and worthy of giving thanks to God.

Fr. Eric

Dear members of the Holy Cross Parish Family –

I write to you today on behalf of the Provincial Administration of the United States Province of Priests & Brothers, Congregation of Holy Cross. Holy Cross has had the privilege of staffing Holy Cross Parish in Easton for over fifty years, and I write with gratitude for this wonderful relationship.

As you know, last February we asked Fr. Brad Metz, C.S.C. to step away from his ministry as pastor to examine his relationship with alcohol. Fr. Brad appreciated our concern for his well-being, and very willingly went for an assessment and then treatment. He has done very well and he is eager to return to ministry. After consultation with Fr. Brad, his treatment team, the superior of Stonehill and the Bishop’s Office we feel he is ready to return to Holy Cross Parish to resume his role as pastor.

I know from my conversations with Fr. Brad how grateful he is for your support and encouragement of him during these months while he was away. Let me echo that gratitude. It is hard in the best of times for someone to admit they need help. Your support of Fr. Brad, and of Fr. Eric, Fr. Jim and the parish staff have allowed the US Province of Priests and Brother of the Congregation of Holy Cross to intervene on behalf of one of our religious, get him the assistance he needed and return him to ministry. Thank you for your dedication to Holy Cross parish.

I would also like to express on behalf of the Province our thanks for Fr. Eric Schimmel, C.S.C. Fr. Eric was asked on very short notice to move from St. John Vianney Parish near Phoenix and come to Easton. His generosity and willingness to fully immerse himself in the life of Holy Cross Parish has made all the difference. We have asked Fr. Eric to stay through the season of Advent to assist in the transition back to Fr. Brad.

Lastly, thanks to Fr. Jim Preskenis, C.S.C. and to all the parish staff for their dedication, flexibility and faithfulness. Everyone actions together helped keep the focus of the parish on the mission of Jesus and allowing God to be known, loved and served.

Regarding the timeline for Fr. Brad’s return, he is due to arrive back at Stonehill late this week. He will take a little time to settle in, before assuming a full schedule. His first full weekend will be the first weekend of Advent, the weekend of December 1st.

Please know of our prayers for all of you and the Parish as we come to the end of the liturgical year and the hope-filled season of Advent.

Fr. Peter Jarret, C.S.C.

Provincial Vicar – US Province of Holy Cross