Greetings and Welcome!


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Well over fifty years ago, the famous French priest and anthropologist, Teilhard de Chardin, said that "we are in a time of crisis, like a present day John the Baptist." He said that we are approaching a critical threshold. Like John the Baptist who lived in critical and violent times and proclaimed, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand," we must learn to think in a new and different way, for the time of opportunity is upon us. To repent means to move in a new direction. John the Baptist was calling his society to new opportunities, to a new way of thinking and living.


To repent means to turn and move in a new direction. Like John the Baptist, we live in urgent, violent, and critical times.


As Catholic Christians, as parishioners of St. Matthew's, we must make new and different choices, thus making the Reign of God a reality.


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When we are intentional about living our Catholic faith, when we are intentional about doing the works of justice and peace, new opportunities will arise. And the world will be less violent and chaotic.


I welcome you to St. Matthew's. I pray that you might find in our parish and school staff, women and men who are alive in the kingdom of God, women and men, in our parish catechetical program and in our school, who are teaching our children to think and be in light of the Gospel of Justice.


Be intentional about your Catholic faith. Choose to make the values of the Kingdom of God alive in your lives. It will only be "the act of freely loving others" during our critical time in history, that will bring about a new and blessed humanity to fulfillment in the light of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Choose to repent. In other words, move in and encourage others to move in new directions according to the teachings of Jesus Christ.


Peace,

Fr. Raymond J. Ritari

Pastor


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St. Matthew Catholic Church 75th Anniversary Celebration


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In December of 2013, on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we kicked off the 75th anniversary year of St. Matthew’s Parish (founded on December 20, 1939) in a very simple way. I challenged all of us to do 6 acts of justice/goodness every month until December 21, 2014. December 21 is a Sunday and we will celebrate in a special way that day!


The role of the parish is to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the neighborhood it finds itself. It's not a social club. It's a place where we gather and are nourished by the Eucharist on Sundays in order to move out into the world to be servants. Nothing more and nothing less. And that is what this celebratory year will be about. It will be about a renewed sense of service.


What I am asking us to continue doing during the upcoming year is to look at the world from the perspective of being a servant to the poor, a servant to those whose rights are abused, to those who have difficulty in life, to those who are ignored, etc.


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I am asking us to be like observant waiters in the restaurant. I am asking us to be like dedicated teachers in a classroom. I am asking us to be like loving parents in a home. I am challenging us to that authentic Christian way of living, which requires a deep sense of service. Is that not what Pope Francis has asked us to recently do?


Let us during our 75th anniversary as a parish move beyond the selfish and lifeless values our culture exemplifies so often, and move with the spirit of service and life. As a parish let us be faithful to the vision of God and work for a new ways of justice and peace.


Let us during this celebratory year grow as intentional Catholics, women and men who are conscious about putting the Gospel of Justice into action within our society.


Between September and December I will be inviting some of you to share at Sunday Mass how you have been putting into action your 6 acts of justice/goodness. Or if you feel so moved by the Spirit to share, please let me know. I will give you the opportunity to share.


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Letter from our Pastor...


Dear Parishioners:

November 30, 2014


We live in a time where our technological achievements fail to calm our possessive individualism, fail to end extreme poverty, fail to cultivate life-giving connections between the rich and poor peoples of the earth, and fail to help us respect the environment.


How do we celebrate the four weeks of Advent which seem to be lost in the so-called “Christmas rush?” For what or whom do we hope in this season of longing? The answer for us as Christians is first with God’s promise given to us in Christ who is our hope. And secondly, Christ has revealed to us that God is not “out there,” but is already in our midst. The adult Christ is breaking into our world every day if only we were more conscious of his presence. Remember that Advent is NOT about preparing for the birth of the baby Jesus. That happened over 2,000 years ago. At Christmas we celebrate the Incarnation of God in the Infant Child, Jesus.


Advent calls us to the spiritual work of waiting and listening to each other, to those who are in any way oppressed, and to our deepest longings for love, justice, new life and God. With this Advent letter there is material for your prayer and reflection. Take time as individuals, couples and families to reflect upon how you long for God, justice, and peace.


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Next Sunday, December 7th, every family will receive a baby bottle to collect money for Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem (holyfamilyhospital-bethlehem.org). Our parish and other parishes with Catholic elementary schools will be participating in this fund raiser. I had a personal tour of Holy Family Hospital as part of my sabbatical when I traveled to and studied in Jerusalem and traveled extensively around Israel this past July. This hospital is only 2,625 feet from the birthplace of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. So many Palestinian women (Muslim & Christian) depend upon this hospital to provide pre and post natal care. Because of the political situation in Israel and policies written into law by the Israeli government, many ordinary Palestinians cannot travel freely, making access to work and proper medical care very difficult or nearly impossible. Holy Family Catholic Hospital needs our support. Please read the enclosed brochures regarding the political situation (google for example, “barrier wall Bethlehem,” “IfAmericansKnew.com” or wesupportpeace.com) and more information about Holy Family Hospital.


We as Christians can be the hope of Christ in this world. By using our “bottles for Bethlehem” we can alleviate poverty, provide opportunities for newborn infants and their mothers, and at the same time move out of the need to spend more on ourselves when we probably have more than enough!


On December 28th, the Feast of the Holy Family, our high school confirmation students, members of our high school youth group, Y.E.S. (Youth Empowered to Serve), and the parish social justice group, P.I.T. (Pacem In Terris), will sponsor a breakfast after all Masses with a raffle. See the enclosed flyer.


Happy Advent!

(Fr.) Raymond J. Ritari


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