Blog & Pastor Letters

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 24, 2023

09-24-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Joseph Sigur

One of the chores that my little brother and I were given as children by our dad was mowing the lawn. The agreed-upon rate at the time was a whopping $1 each time we mowed the lawn. After several weeks we would have enough money to buy a pack of trading cards at the store.

There came a certain point in my adolescence when I realized that many of my friends at school were making twenty times my measly $1 for cutting the lawn, and so I went to my dad in protest. In typical fatherly fashion, Dad recounted how when he was young, the only money he and his younger brother made cutting grass was from cutting the neighbors’ yards; cutting their own yard was, to quote my grandmother, “the rent for living in her house.”


24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 17, 2023

09-17-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Joseph Sigur

In my short time as a priest (I will celebrate my fifth anniversary in December), some of the most powerful moments have been accompanying death row inmates at the Polunsky unit in Livingston, Texas. About a year ago, I was able to celebrate Mass with one such inmate the night before his execution. This inmate, Kosoul Chanthakoummane, had been convicted of the murder of Dallas real estate agent Sarah Walker in July of 2006.


Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - September 10, 2023

09-10-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Joseph Sigur

I was recently at a local barbershop getting my hair cut when one of the barber’s customers immediately identified me as a priest. As often happens, an interesting conversation — or rather an interesting monologue — ensued: thoughts about problems with contemporary America, the state of public education, the effects of technology and social media on Gen Z and Gen Alpha, etc. The conversation eventually led to our different Christian denominations, and something that this other gentleman in the barbershop said stuck with me. He assured me that one’s particular denomination is of no import, because “God is a God of love.” “Man made religion,” he declared with absolute confidence before correcting himself, “No! The devil made religion!”


22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 3, 2023

09-03-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Joseph Sigur

Simon, having received his new name “Peter” after his confession of faith at Caesarea Philippi, the “rock on which he will build his Church” (Mt 16:18), almost immediately receives a very different title from Jesus: “Satan.” Jesus, of course, uses this title with its traditional meaning: an “opposer” or “adversary,” telling Simon Peter: “You are a stumbling block (σκάνδαλον) to me, for you are not on the side of God, but of men.” (Mt 16:23) The same disciple who five verses prior was named the “rock” on which Christ would build his church has become a “stumbling block.”


Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time - August 27, 2023

08-27-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Joseph Zwosta

In his prophetic 1907 novel Lord of the World, Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson describes a future society dominated by Marxism, atheism, and secular humanism. At the beginning of the book, the Catholic Church is allowed to operate in a limited fashion, though her influence over ordinary life is almost non-existent. Evils such as physician-assisted suicide are commonplace. Eventually, a charismatic politician gains enormous power and leads an outright persecution of the Church. A small group of faithful priests and laity keep the Church on earth alive. Without giving away too much of the ending, the gates of hell do not prevail against her.


Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

08-20-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Joseph Zwosta

There are certain passages in the Gospels in which Christ’s interactions do not unfold the way that many of us would expect. Today’s Gospel certainly qualifies. A sincere Canaanite woman informs the Lord that her daughter is possessed by a demon. By this point in St. Matthew’s Gospel, we’ve heard about Christ performing numerous exorcisms. The afflicted mother even employs words that others have used with success: “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!” (Mt 15:22) In this case, however, He does not respond to her at all. When she later asks a second time for His help, accompanied by an act of homage, He seems to treat her even more harshly. He says: “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” (Mt 15:26) How can we understand Christ’s unusual behavior?


“Do not be afraid! I am with you.”

08-13-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Joseph Zwosta

This Sunday occurs (in the Northern Hemisphere) during the middle of summer. Many families and groups of friends are spending recreational time together near oceans, lakes, and rivers. As human beings, there is something that draws us to such bodies of water, even though we understand the dangers that are also inherent in them.


Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

08-06-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Joseph Zwosta

Today’s feast marks a pivotal moment in Christ’s earthly ministry: the manifestation of His radiant glory to Saints Peter, James, and John in the presence of the Old Testament figures of Moses and Elijah. As the Catechism explains, “Christ’s Transfiguration aims at strengthening the apostles’ faith in anticipation of his Passion: the ascent onto the ‘high mountain’ prepares for the ascent to Calvary.” (CCC 568) In light of this traditional interpretation of the reason for this wondrous event, one may ask: why were only these three Apostles chosen to be present? Why not all of the Twelve? Why not even a larger group of disciples? Every follower of Christ could surely have benefited from a strengthening of faith before witnessing the great trial of the Lord’s Passion and Death.


Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

07-30-2023Weekly ReflectionDeacon John Cantirino

Real estate, if chosen correctly, can be, over time, a fruitful investment. But the more desirable the land that is available, the more it costs to acquire it. Those who understand the potential for profitability, for growth, and for a way to make their future more secure will go to great lengths, make herculean efforts sometimes, to ensure that the valuable land becomes theirs. The basic point is that a person must first discern the inherent value, then commit to acquiring it through effort, and follow the right way to properly make it theirs to reap the benefits. There are no shortcuts.


Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

07-23-2023Weekly ReflectionDeacon John Cantirino

“Remember the day of your death. But keep the day of resurrection and of presentation to God in remembrance also. Imagine the fearful and terrible judgment period.” Evagrius, desert father, monk, deacon, companion of St. Gregory of Nazianzen

We live in perplexing and complicated times. There are so many mixed, and contradictory, messages being promulgated on everything — the understanding of family, roles in society, moral and ethical issues, et cetera. But one of the controversial issues that is often denied, while at the same time advocated for, is that of death.


Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

07-16-2023Weekly ReflectionDeacon John Cantirino

Anyone who has a yard or garden knows the challenges that come with having it look well-kept and being full of the type of plants or flowers that are visually appealing. It takes more work, attention, and perseverance to keep certain growths out than it does to nourish those flowers and plants that one desires to have. When there is a lack of attention to nurturing, then all sorts of weeds, crabgrass, and other undesired plants start to appear. It takes real, consistent effort to have a beautiful, flourishing yard or garden. The gardener must always supply the right conditions, and correct the harmful conditions, for the planted seeds to develop and flourish. The seeds are the seeds; the surrounding conditions make all the difference for the end results. But this example is not limited to a physical garden or yard.


Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

07-09-2023Weekly ReflectionDeacon John Cantirino

Much of the population in the United States and other developed countries now live in an urban environment, a city, as opposed to rural areas. Living in an urban area brings with it an experience far different from that of living in a rural setting. Most of the population is now removed from experiences and situations that once were well understood by most people when rural living was common. Our Lord, however, often used words and experiences that for many centuries were clearly understood by the people, because he drew upon the practicalities of living in a rural environment. We see this in the Gospel of today when he focuses on the yoke as a metaphor for what he offers and what a life lived in Christ entails.


Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

07-02-2023Weekly ReflectionDeacon John Cantirino

Everywhere in the news today we hear and read about the rise of AI, artificial intelligence. It seems that the development and advancement of AI technology has made huge leaps in a short period of time. Artificial Intelligence, while offering several advantages to society, also has a downside to it. The fact is that AI can be so powerful that it can manipulate images, create realistic-looking people and events that are indistinguishable from reality, and generate academic papers with very little input from a human being.