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New Beginnings

Today is a day of great joy for all of us in the Greenfield, Hazelwood, and Oakland communities.  We have been on a journey these past several years with our gazed focused on one goal: to join our four parishes together into one community of faith.  Today marks both the culmination of that process and a new beginning.  Saint Paul Cathedral parish begins its service today to the faithful in our three neighborhoods and to all of God's people in our communities. We bring with us all the history, legacy, tradition and faith of our ancestors and all that has gone before us.  Our roots will always be honored and treasured.  But we have the wonderful opportunity of beginning something new.  Nothing in life stays the same.  Change is always difficult but brings with it many graces and blessings.  We must now work together as one parish family to serve the faithful in our three neighborhoods:  Greenfield, Hazelwood and Oakland.  I invite everyone to get involved in the life of our parish. …

Defend our faith

On July 1, the Church celebrates the feast day of SAINT JUNIPERO SERRA, a beloved saint for the Church in the United States and for Catholics worldwide. Junipero Serra was a gifted scholar in philosophy and theology, he desired to serve as a missionary. He was sent to Mexico City and governed five missions to the Pame Indians in Mexico and lower California. He believed that to bring the natives to Christ demanded that he “become one with them.” He mastered their language, treated them as equals, worked with them in the fields daily and slowly taught about Jesus Christ. In 1769 Junipero Serra established the first mission in San Diego, travelling as part of the Spanish expedition throughout upper California. During the next 12 years, he established eight more missions. The spiritual wellbeing of the Indians was always his greatest concern, baptizing nearly 6,000. But he also worked daily under severe and difficult conditions to improve the material welfare of the natives, teaching them…

A heart on fire with love

Like many Catholic homes, my parents prominently displayed in our home the image of the Sacred of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.It was a powerful image to gaze upon as a child – the rays of love and light flowing out from the wounded heart of Jesus were both a comfort and a strength.As Catholics, we believe that in Jesus’ heart we discover our deepest place of safety and security. There we are to make our home. He is the one who lights our way and illumines a path in the darkness.
This devotion to the Sacred Heart became popularized in the Church when St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a Visitation nun, had a personal revelation involving a series of visions of Christ as she prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. She wrote, "He disclosed to me the marvels of his Love and the inexplicable secrets of his Sacred Heart." Christ emphasized to her His love -- and His woundedness caused by Man's indifference to this love. He promised that, in response to those who c…

Broken Hearts

All around us these days are signs of the sadness of the human soul and the soul of our country where there has been a diminished sense of the saving, abiding presence of God.  Faith calls us to look to God in times of distress.  He will never disappoint.  He is our rock, our fortress, our hope and our salvation.  But in almost all the discourse we hear, there is little if any mention of God.  Without God there will be no peace; without God there will be no healing; without God there will be no future for any of us or for our nation.  God is all and all.  To him be the glory, not to us, but to Him, all praise and glory for ever and ever.
So many hearts are breaking in these days and so is mine.
My heart breaks for George Floyd, a man robbed of his life by the brutal and senseless actions of a police officer in full view of others.  A callous act of evil with no intervention by other officers standing by who seemingly could have stepped in to prevent his death.  Philosopher John Locke sa…

Blessd Trinity: a communion of Love

Today we celebrate the “Feast of God.” The Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of our Catholic faith. Our readings today talk to us about this first amazing mystery. That our God is a communion of three divine persons in love — the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God created us and loves us as our Father. That’s what Moses is talking about in our first reading today. God is also the Son who came into our world to share his life with us. That’s what Jesus is talking about in our Gospel passage for today. And God is the Holy Spirit who gives us new life as children of God and causes the Trinity to dwell in our hearts. That’s what St. Paul is telling us in our second reading today.



These beautiful readings today show us the beautiful truth of our faith, the Holy Trinity. One way to think about it is that we all make the Sign of the Cross every time we pray. Christians have been doing that since the time of the apostles. So what are we really doing when we make that sign? We’re …

Another patron saint for the coronavirus pandemic

I had written an earlier blog post about Saint Rosalia, the patron of one of the four parishes in our grouping and her special intercession during the time of plague.  Recently, I was reminded of another patron saint in times of pandemic by my friend District Justice Anna Marie Scharding.  She was a parishioner of that magnificent church in the Allentown section of Pittsburgh which is now closed, Saint George.  I had the joy of serving as a parochial vicar at Saint George in the earliest days of my priesthood from 1986-1989.   Anna Marie recently reminded me of Saint Roch and his long-standing connection to the people of the South Side and Allentown, especially Saint Michael Church, right down the road from Saint George.  Many of the German immigrants belonged to Saint Michael and then moved to the newly built Saint George as life expanded up the hillside.


He is known as San Rocco in Italy and Saint Roch, Roche or Roc in English speaking countries. According to his Acta and his vita in…

George Floyd and the tragedy of these days

What happened to George Floyd is tragic and inexcusable. This should not happen to any person in our country.  Every citizen in our nation should be outraged by his death.  We mourn the loss of a human life that could have been prevented.  We pray for his eternal rest and our hearts and prayers go out to the members of Mr. Floyd's family. We pray that God will bring consolation, strength and healing to their broken hearts and lives.


We do not know what happened that day to lead a member of law enforcement to do what appears to be a cruel action directly causing a man's death.  We do not know what was in the police officer's mind and heart that led him to take those actions.  He will need to answer for his actions and face the penalties of law if convicted and ultimately answer to God.  It is a foundational principle of our justice system that a person is innocent until proven guilty.   The police officer has already been arrested and charged in this case and we must allow h…