Pastor's Message - June 23, 2019
"Brothers and sisters: I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes." ~2 Corinthians 11:23-26
Dear parishioners and friends,
This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, traditionally known as Corpus Christi. Jesus is the reason we continue to celebrate the Eucharist. He gives us His Body and Blood for food because only God can satisfy the hunger we have in our hearts. Through the gift of the Holy Eucharist, Jesus literally gives of himself to us so that we can be nourished and saved.
We congratulate our Fifth Graders who will be moving on from St. Rita School, and ask God's blessing on all our parish children, as they come to the close of the school year. We had a beautiful Mass followed by our traditional "moving up" to a new grade ceremony and lots of "Blue and Gold" fun was happening! A special thank you to the school staff and faculty and especially to all the parents and parishioners who supported and volunteered countless hours to assist our children, teachers, and principal!
I would like to extend my gratitude to everyone who made a gift and prayed for the success of our Catholic Ministries Appeal - it worked! As of Tuesday, we are only $534 short of our goal. Your generosity is remarkable and please know that this money will be put to good use serving the people and staff of St. Rita parish as well as providing ministry support and services to those in need throughout our Diocese.
A bit overwhelming, but now comes the time that I extend me sincere gratitude to the Saint Rita Church and School community. Fr. Mike extends his gratitude as well, as both of us now move on to new assignments and locations. We both have been busy packing boxes and containers and have countless wonderful memories to take with us.
As I write this reflection, know what a blessing it has been to serve as a priest here, to celebrate the Sacraments, the circumstances of your life, anointings, funerals, baptisms, weddings, celebrating anniversaries, school events, attending various gatherings, all part of parish life. Your family has become my own as I have been deeply privileged to walk a bit of life's journey with you.
Know that I will continue to ask God to bless you and keep you safe in his love.
Thank you Fr. Gonyo and Fr. Mike for sharing your gift of faith and walking with us on life's journey. We wish you well in your new assignments and we will keep you in our prayers!
Pastor's Message - June 16, 2019
"Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” ~John 16
Dear Parishioners and Friends;
This weekend is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Before Jesus ascended to his Heavenly Father, he told them that he would send them the Spirit of Truth" and that they would discover everything that they were to do in building the church community in faith and in the presence and knowledge of Jesus himself.
In the year 325, the church Council of Nicaea decided it needed a new statement of clarity in how we Catholics articulate the essentials of our Christian faith. Historically this was written during a time of great upheaval, confusion and misinterpretation regarding God's eternal redeeming plan and action of Jesus’ incarnation, death and resurrection. The Nicene Creed (and the optional Apostolic) creed is read at every Sunday Mass. It is not technically a prayer in the traditional sense, but rather a concise statement of faith that guides our prayer and understanding of the sacred liturgy and the action of the Holy Spirit.
Here is a copy of The Nicene Creed with some important words highlighted:
"I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come."
So as you can see, the Creed helps us to better understand the nature of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity is a perfect unity, a oneness of the persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
On this feast of the Holy Trinity, let us allow the Mercy of God and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to assist us in discarding the chains of sin that disturbs our own peaceful unity with God. We can be happy on this earth because we can rejoice in the perpetual love God has for us. One day at the resurrection, our very own eyes will behold God ... "we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is." 1 John 3:2
May God bless you!
Pastor's Message - June 9, 2019
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” ~Acts 2
Dear Parishioners and Friends;
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. This is the traditional time many will wear the color red at Mass and/or ring a hand bell during the Gloria as we remember the "tongues of fire" described in the Book of Acts.
The disciples, once filled with fear, now knew with certainty that God was with them as Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, to fill them with gifts that would fortify them and give them courage, even the ability to speak various languages so that the Gospel could be proclaimed. There is no doubt that this event was a powerful one. They emerged from that encounter with God fully transformed from fear to tremendous courage.
Christ sends us the Holy Spirit to continue the work of the Church. Pentecost comes 50 days after Easter and is considered the “birthday” of the church because of the transformation that came upon the apostles and disciples of Jesus. No longer afraid or divided, they emerge speaking various languages and calling forth the new message of the Gospel, a message of hope.
God’s purpose is to save us, to be close to us, to strengthen us and to give us the gifts of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Strength and Reverence for God. We are called to be witnesses to that faith today, in our own time.
May God bless you!
Pastor's Message - June 2, 2019
"I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord. I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice." ~John 10:27
Dear Parishioners and Friends;
What a weekend this is! Our 65th annual St. Rita Fiesta is upon us and will be enjoyed by all - thanks to our 400+ volunteers who help make this annual family friendly event such a great success!
Next weekend we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost and the birthday of the Church. Wearing red garments and ringing hand bells of all types during the sung Gloria are part of the tradition of Pentecost. So don't forget to wear your red and bring a bell!
I want to offer a special thank you to Anita Wagner, our Children's Faith Formation Director, who will be retiring at the end of June after 22 years of dedicated service overseeing our faith formation programs here at St. Rita's. Over the years, she has taught many parents of the children in her program. We wish her much rest and relaxation in her retirement along with her husband Dick.
We also offer best wishes to Marie Marton, our Confirmation Coordinator, as she and her husband Tom move to Schenectady to be near her mother. Thank you, Marie, for your care with our Confirmation candidates.
As. Fr. Mike and I prepare to move from St. Rita at the end of the month, we are both grateful for all the kindnesses you have extended us. Fr. Mike has been assigned to the churches of St. Mary's, St. Boniface, and Blessed Sacrament downtown and I have been assigned to the churches of St. Kateri in Irondequoit.
I have already met with St. Rita's newly appointed pastor, Fr. Tim Niven. Fr. Tim was ordained in 1998 and his assignments have included St. Alphonsus Church in Auburn and St. Patrick's Church in Victor. Fr. Tim is looking forward to being here and working with the people of St. Rita Church and School.
May God bless you!