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PLEASE PRAY FOR: Bill Lasche, Lillian Fabrey, Josephine Mezza, Lorraine Penhos, Joe Sinkuc, Renee Bost, Tony Perry, Debbie Cornelious, Gerrie Derr, Grover McKnight, Tess McCallen, Jackie Hoffman and Adrianne Ward.
   







Fr. Tom Whitman
St. Joseph Pastor






  From the Pastor's Desk
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time 

FALL RAFFLE
Our annual fund raiser is back again. Tickets are now on sale in the parish office and through the reservation forms located at each entrance. If you fill out one of the reservation forms and send in your $100 per ticket, we will process your ticket and send you the ticket stub through the mail. Tickets are $100 each and the prizes to be awarded are $10,000, $2,000, and $1,000. The drawing will be Saturday, October 5, after the 5:15pm Mass. Each ticket is good for dinner the night of October 5, provided you make a reservation for the dinner upon purchasing your ticket.

PARISH PICNIC
I want to thank all those who helped to make our parish picnic a success, particularly the Women’s Guild who served the dinner and cleaned up afterwards. I also want to thank those Parish Council members who helped to organize the event and who worked to set up, worked the picnic, and then cleaned up afterwards. A huge thanks to all those who donated baskets and gift cards to make our basket raffle such a success – we had 44 baskets or gift cards.

One sour note to the picnic: we had 141 people signed up for the picnic and yet only 105 people actually showed up. We had a lot of extra food that we paid for but no one showed up to enjoy. I am grateful to those who used the take out containers and took food home so it didn’t go to waste. I understand that things happen that are not in our control and usually we have a few no shows, but this was more than just a few people.

PARISH ANNUAL REPORT
Each parish is required to submit an annual report to the diocese: part of it has to do with sacraments and the other part has to do with finances. Allow me to review the sacramental portion this week.

The biggest change in this part of the report is the number of families we claim belong to St. Joseph Parish. For the last two years we have been working on updating our parish census. Some people are still unaware that we did this. As a result of this census the number of families we claim as registered active members of St. Joseph is 910. This is down significantly from two years ago when we started the census and we claimed 1279 families. And still out of those 910 families only around 300 families actually contribute to the support of the parish.

I am grateful to those families and to those who contribute with their time or talent to our parish. I will go through each of the Sacraments and compare the numbers to the average of the past 11 years. Last year we had 15 Baptisms – 14 children and one adult at the Easter Vigil. We have averaged almost 17 and a half baptisms over the past 11 years. A new statistic the diocese is charting asked how many of those infant baptisms are people who are registered in our parish. Of those 14 child baptisms only 8 were parish members. The other 6 were families who live out of town and belong to a parish in their town and were given permission by their pastor to have their children baptized here - a common practice.

We had 27 children make their First Communion this year compared to an average of 26.5 children over the past eleven years. We had 23 children make their Confirmation this year which is right at our eleven year average. We had no marriages in the parish last year and we average about seven. We celebrated the Anointing of the Sick 602 times in the past year – some of our First Friday people were anointed several times throughout the year, as well as others who were in the hospital. This number has been growing and is way above our average of 382. We had 50 deaths in the parish last year which was slightly down from our eleven year average of 52. Our Mass attendance on the weekend averaged 531 people compared to our eleven year average of 709. The 531 people means that 38% of our parish comes to Mass on the weekend..

REFLECTION ON THE READINGS
Our readings this week give us examples of people who speak the truth and pay a price for it.

The first reading tells the story of Jeremiah who was a prophet of God who spoke out against those who thought they had the military power to conquer their enemy Babylon. Because Jeremiah spoke about surrendering to Babylon rather than trying to fight them, he was considered a traitor and his enemies asked the king to get rid of Jeremiah because he was demoralizing the troops. At first the king gives them the power to put Jeremiah to death for his preaching, but later he changes his mind and gives permission for another person to save Jeremiah. Obviously, he was a leader who was not willing to stand up for the truth. Jeremiah stood upfor the truth quite often and seemed to always pay a price for it.

The second reading speaks of a “cloud of witnesses.” These are the people who have gone before us and given witness to the truth by the quality of their lives and at times have given their lives for that truth. The author invites us to see in the cross of Jesus how we too need to persevere in standing up for the truth. He particularly wants us to not give up when things get difficult – to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and how he endured the cross knowing that there was a greater reward on the other side. In those times when we become discouraged in being faithful to Jesus, he wants us to keep pushing forward, keep fighting the good fight, and keep running the race, even though it may be difficult.

The gospel is one that is difficult. We need to go back to the very beginning of Luke’s gospel to remember that Jesus came as the Prince of Peace but that peace is not just people being nice to one another and things going smoothly. The peace that Jesus is about will be one that comes at a great cost. We also need to remember at the beginning of Luke’s gospel John the Baptist was baptizing with water and yet he said that one is coming after him who will baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is that person. Jesus will have this fire within him and will speak the truth of the Holy Spirit at the cost of his life. This will ultimately affect the lives of the people of his community. Some will believe in him and others will not. Some families will be split based on those who believe in Jesus and those who don’t. But sometimes people think this word that Jesus speaks is one of division that results from hatred or judgment, but that is not true. Jesus will speak about a love that demands something of us and will demand us to reach out to the poor and needy in our midst. Some people will only want this love for themselves and won’t be willing to share it with others. Thus the divisions will result from those who refuse to be generous in their loving toward others.




   

Mass Schedule

Weekday and Holy Day schedules can be found in the bulletin.

Saturday: 5:15 pm (Vigil)

Sunday: 8:30 am and 11:00 am

Sacraments

Baptism: Baptisms are scheduled by appointment. Class is required for first time parents. Please call the church office to schedule your class. No baptisms during Lent and Advent.

Reconciliation: Saturday afternoons, 4:00-4:30 pm. Confessions at other times by appointment.

Matrimony: By appointment six months in advance.

Sacrament of Holy Orders: Some men fulfill God's call to holiness by serving as priests or permanent deacons. Men, high school age or older, who feel God may be calling them to pursue the Sacrament of Holy Orders should contact our parish priest.

Programs

Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA): Please call the rectory office.

Prayer Line: For intentions, please call 724-981-3232.

Religious Education Program: CCD Grades K-11, at Case Avenue Elementary, Sundays 9:30 am -10:45 am (during the school year).

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