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PLEASE PRAY FOR: Ford Bartle, Evelyn Tew, Nadine Vellente, Liam Rueberger, Peggy Heldorfer, Mary Ann Biro, Avaya Brockman, Monica Wiesen, Gene Pacsi, William Haroldson, Helen Donnelly, Cecelia Alter, Bill Brooks and Anna Guster.
   





Fr. Tom Whitman,
St. Joseph Pastor







 From the Pastor's Desk
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time  

CONFIRMATION RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CALENDAR FOR 11 GRADERS
To see the full calendar for Religious Education for those seeking Confirmation (11 Graders) please Click Here

THANK YOU FROM PRINCE OF PEACE CENTER
I received a thank you from the Prince of Peace Center for our Christmas Tithe. Dear Parishioners of St. Joseph Parish. I would like to thank you for your generous support of Prince of Peace Center! On behalf of the people in need with whom we serve, I thank you. With your $4,800.00, we will be able to assist 48 families through our Emergency Assistance program. The Center has remained strong in our belief that we offer a hand up, not a handout in support of our clients. Thank you again for believing in the mission we share and showing your support for those we serve. Thank You. Jennifer Wallace, Chief Executive Officer.

FIRST FRIDAY
It has been a long-standing tradition to bring communion to those from the parish who are shut-in to their homes on the first Friday of each month. A few Eucharistic Ministers and myself divide up the list each month. When I visit, I bring communion and also celebrate the anointing of the sick. If you, or a parishioner you know, would like us to bring you communion on first Friday, please call the parish office. I know some people are still hesitant because of COVID but all the Eucharistic Ministers are vaccinated and wear masks when they visit. The visits are not long, just time for a prayer and communion.

LITURGICAL YEAR
It is hard to believe that Christmas and the Christmas Season in our Church year or Liturgical year is over. We will be celebrating what we call “Ordinary” Time in the liturgy for several weeks. Lent will begin with Ash Wednesday on March 2, Easter will be on April 17. We will also celebrate Confirmation during Lent on Thursday, April 7. First Penance will be March 19 and First Communion will be April 23.

THE FRONT PEWS
When I talk about the front pews, I mean the ones that have no kneeler and all you can do is sit in them. I have been trying to encourage people to sit in the front pews especially if you have difficulty walking. I am grateful to those who are sitting in these pews for setting such good example. My purpose in doing this is to avoid someone falling. You can sit through the entire Mass and at communion time either the Eucharistic Minister or myself will bring communion right to you in your place.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON TIME SCHEDULE
On Saturday afternoon at 4:00 we have confessions in the body of the church because we cannot use the confessionals as a result of COVID. Confessions last from 4:00 until 4:30pm. Because Confessions are in the main body of the church, no one else should be in the church at that time. As has been stated in the guidelines and rules for COVID, the church is not open for Mass until 4:45pm on Saturday. This has been in effect since we started confessions almost a year ago, and people are still not following it. Please be considerate of others.

COVID REMINDERS FOR THOSE COMING BACK TO CHURCH
Each week there are more and more people coming back to celebrate Mass with us. We are glad to have you back with us! Just some reminders that we have not returned to normal yet.

THOSE WHO ARE FULLY VACINATED: You do not have to wear masks in church. Although, you are still expected to maintain 6 feet of social distance between you and the next non-family member. You are welcome to continue wearing your mask if you do not yet feel comfortable.
THOSE WHO ARE NOT FULLY VACINATED MUST WEAR MASKS AT ALL TIMES IN THE CHURCH.
NUMBER OF PEWS: Each week we will open a few more pews but remember to keep 6 feet of social distance between you and non-family members. That means you do not want to sit right behind people in the pew in front of you.
PLEASE EXIT CHURCH IMMEDIATELY AFTER MASS: We still need to sanitize pews and doors immediately after Mass. You can be a big help in this process by leaving IMMEDIATELY after Mass.
BATHROOMS: the only bathrooms available are in the basement and can be accessed by the stairs or the elevator at the Case Avenue Entrance.
COLLECTION BASKETS: We still are not doing physical collections. There are two baskets at the base of the altar to put you envelops in before or after Mass.
HANDS FLAT: People are still not getting this. The image you might think of is that of a plate vs a cup. A plate is flat so you can place things on it without touching the plate. A cup is curved and much more difficult to place things in without touching the edges. This is also a way to protect one another and those who are distributing communion.


REFLECTION ON THE READINGS
This year our Gospel readings will be from the Gospel of Luke. Today begins a “somewhat continuous” reading of Luke’s Gospel from week to week. Today all the readings seem to tie together.

The first reading is from the book of the prophet Nehemiah. Nehemiah and Ezra try to help the people return from exile to a city and a Temple that have been destroyed. But in the ruins, they find a scroll of the Law, most likely the first five books of the Old Testament, or the Pentateuch. Ezra begins to read this to the people, and they are overwhelmed by what they hear, even to the point of weeping. It is thought that what they are hearing is God’s expectations of them, that are much more than they thought they were, and how they had not been living up to those standards. God’s plan and hope for us is often more than what we think or imagine.

The second reading from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is part of a continuous reading from this letter that started last week with Paul listing all the gifts of the Spirit. Paul uses the image of a body that has many parts, and each part has a different function to teach us how we are all parts of the one body of Christ. Each of those parts is important to the overall functioning of the body. Thus, each person has a different gift or role to play in the church, or the body of Christ.

The Gospel is the very beginning of Luke’s Gospel and then skips over the infancy stories, the Baptism of Jesus, an interesting genealogy of Jesus (very different from Matthew’s genealogy tracing Jesus’ roots back to God), the Temptation of Jesus, and picks up in chapter 4 with Jesus returning from his temptation in the desert and preaching in the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth. One of the dangers of the Church readings each week is that they are not always a continuous reading but sometimes leave things out or skip over passages. These two passages invite us to see that Luke is telling the story of Jesus based on eyewitness testimony that he has obtained in order to put together an orderly narrative of the events and teachings of Jesus’ life. Luke gives us a nice tidbit of information that there are others who have done the same thing – there are other Gospels. We are not sure which ones he is referring to though. But Luke gives testimony to the fact that there are other Gospels. Luke begins this narrative by having Jesus read a passage from the prophet Isaiah that will be focal point of his ministry: the poor have the good news preached to them, captives are rescued, the blind have their sight restored, and the oppressed go free. In a time when 95% of the people were oppressed and poor, this was a daunting task he undertakes.

Jesus uses the six stone water jars that were used for ritual purification as part of this miracle. This purification ritual was a part of the Jewish custom of cleansing themselves and was done often and in various forms and rituals. Jesus transforms not only the water but also the ritual itself. It will no longer be about cleansing ourselves, as Jesus will do this once and for all on the cross. But it will be about celebrating our oneness with God, our “marriage” with God in this water changed into wine, good wine. It will not be a ritual focused on our sin but focused on our connectedness to God and to each other. It will be a ritual that will celebrate the new life that God has given to us, and that God continues to share with us in this “marriage.”

As we have just finished celebrating Jesus coming into our world as “Emmanuel,” – “God with us.” Jesus wants us to see that that God has not left us alone or abandoned us, but that God is still “with us” but in an even deeper and more personal way.



   

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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