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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Letter from our Pastor...


Father Raymond

November 29, 2015

Dear Parishioners:


What do we hope for during the season of Advent? The answer for us as Christians is found in 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, if we are awake, every day!


Advent calls us to the spiritual work of waiting and listening to God through one another, especially with those who are in any way oppressed and denied mercy and love.


On December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the Catholic Church will begin a Holy Year of Mercy.


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Pope Francis says that our church must avoid "fortress" mentalities. In other words, the church is not about building walls, but breaking them down. Our job is to reach out with generous mercy and service.  Pope Francis says that the Church must be “an oasis of mercy”.  What an Incredible image!!


As we enter into the season of Advent, we will have the opportunity, once again, to practice mercy with women who live in Bethlehem, the birthplace of our Savior.


Last year our parish raised $7,700 for Holy Family Catholic Hospital in Bethlehem. The hospital, very near to the birthplace of Jesus Christ, serves Palestinian women, mostly Muslim, who are in need of pre and post natal care. I had a personal tour of Holy Family Hospital as part of my sabbatical when I traveled to and studied in Jerusalem a year ago this past July. I will have the opportunity to return from December 2 through the 16th.


Because of the political situation in Israel, and policies written into law by the Israeli government, many ordinary Palestinians (Muslim and Christian), cannot travel freely within their own country, making access proper medical care very difficult or nearly impossible. Holy Family Hospital needs our continued support.


And so, we as Catholic Christians can be the mercy of Christ in this world. By using our "baby bottles for Bethlehem," and with our donations that we will collect, we will support newborn infants and their mothers.


On December 13th, the 3rd Sunday of Advent, the parish school, parish youth group (Youth Empowered to serve) and the parish social justice group (Pacem In Terris) will host an Advent breakfast and pageant as we anticipate the birth of Christ. All proceeds from the breakfast will go to Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem. The money that we collect in our "baby bottles" during Advent will be collected on the final Sunday of the Christmas season, January 10, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.


Happy Advent!

Rev. Raymond R. Ritari, Pastor


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St. Matthew’s Three Year Pastoral Plan
(2015 - 2018)


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St. Matthew’s parishioners are challenged to have:


1. An intentional Catholic mindset with regard to who we are as followers of Christ. We are challenged to be conscious of who we are as active Catholics at home, work or school, to be conscious of what we believe, and how we engage the world as Roman Catholics in light of the Gospel and teachings of the Catholic Church.


2. An intentional hospitality mindset that challenges us to move from the source and summit of the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist, with a global perspective, and infuse our society with "Kingdom of God values", i.e. justice, respect for all people, generosity toward the poor, and non-violent action and speech.


3. An intentional financial mindset of responsible stewardship (caretakers) for the life and growth of the parish not only with regard to the physical buildings and getting our bills paid on time, but how we grow as stewards within the context of spirituality, liturgy, family catechesis and the parish elementary school.