We are very happy to welcome Rev. Lancelot McGrath this weekend to our parish community. I am grateful to our Bishop Checchio for appointing him as our Parochial Vicar to assist me in the pastoral ministry. Obviously, it means involvement with Mass and other sacramental ministry, as well as parishioner visitations, involvement with parish organizations, visitation of the sick and homebound, emergency coverage, and general presence, especially spending significant amount of time visiting the school and interacting with the students, staff, and parents. A parishioner of Nativity of Our Lord in Monroe, wrote to me his appreciation of him: “Congratulations! You are receiving a part of my heart in Father Lancelot McGrath.” Another couple emailed me this: “While at Nativity, we have had the opportunity to meet Fr. Lance McGrath. He is a beautiful priest and so in love with the Lord. His faith is contagious, which you want in a priest. If we had to describe him, it would be gentle and humble.” Great to hear such good comments. In the name of all of us, I heartily welcome Fr. McGrath to St. Matthias.
It has been very hectic for me, during July and August, to be doing all the Masses, sick calls, funerals etc., while attending to other regular matters of our parish and school. But we were fortunate to get periodic help for weekend Masses from other priests like Fr. Nick Gengaro, Fr. Tom Lanza, Fr. Jose Lim, Fr. Peter Ssekajugo, and Fr. Joseph Kabali. That certainly gave us all a rich variety of priests with their own unique styles of homilies.
With the summer officially coming to an end, we are happy to welcome back all our students, staff and faculty. Our school is already alive with staff meeting, Back to School socials, Faculty PD and other activities. The inaugural School Mass will be on Friday, September 8th. Thanks to the HSA team who have been doing lots of preparations for the new school year, in particular by making the playground very colorful and attractive. Mrs. Mary Lynch, our Principal, has been working hard, directing these and other school activities. As I offer our support, I wish her and the entire School community God’s blessings.
Since Labor Day first became a federal holiday in 1894, the first Monday of September has been set apart to celebrate and value in American society the role of our workers and their work by providing, ironically and fittingly, a day off to rest and enjoy the fruits of one’s labor. But it is also a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the deeper meaning of our work, which the language of faith provides. The creation story shows our God working six days and resting on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:11) The Catholic Church proclaims the dignity, meaning and redemptive value of all human work. In 1981 Pope John Paul II wrote an Encyclical letter entitled “On Human Work” (Laborem Exercens) which beautifully presented this Christian vision of the dignity and meaning of human work, based on the biblical teachings.
Happy Labor Day! Happy Long weekend!
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal