Tag: Father Mark

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Two years ago, Saint Rose of Lima Church was broken into from the downstairs. Early on a Monday morning at about 5:00 am I was informed by George Dimick, our groundskeeper, to come over to the church to check things out.  Several doors were busted down, as if the robber was trying to find something specific, but nothing seemed to be taken, other than a dozen eggs from the downstairs refrigerator. Of all things weird, it was obvious that the robber thought that our Tabernacle was a safe! He had to have worked through the night chiseling away to get into the inside of the Tabernacle! Once the Tabernacle was opened, the robber must have realized what he had done, for he actually tried fitting everything back together (an impossible task for anyone other than John D’etcheverry).

In reality, it is our safe, and it does hold our most treasured person, it holds the very Body of Jesus Christ — the actual Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ!

As your pastor, there is no greater feeling than to restore the Body of Christ to the Tabernacle following Mass at the Easter Vigil! The Tabernacle is emptied prior to the start of the Holy Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil). I know this building is where the Church gathers (brothers and sisters of Christ), and that is why they call it a church, but in reality, without the bodily presence of Jesus, it would feel just like a building. It simply feels sacred and holy to me, and I know from the depth of my existence how important that is to me, and you!

I would like to end this week’s sermon with a little joke written by Deacon Tom Sheridan:  

Recently at Mass, the gruff pastor’s homily was just four minutes long, a fraction of his usual ramblings. Why? “I regret to inform the congregation,” he explained from the pulpit, “that my dog, which is very fond of eating paper, ate that portion of my sermon which I was unable to deliver this morning.” Following Mass, a visitor from another parish shook hands with the pastor and said, “Father, if that dog of yours ever has any pups, I want one to get one for my priest.”

Readings for Sunday, June 6, 2021

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

In our first reading from Deuteronomy, the people Israel have come to the end of their forty-year journey. They find themselves at the river’s edge of the Jordan River. Moses gives them a stern warning that the Promised Land is filled with many temptations and false worship of pagan gods. If the people remain faithful — as the God of Israel has been for them — then not only will their future be safe, but it will also be prosperous. We know the outcome.

In our own country, we have been given so much, and yet there are so many temptations to turn away from worship of the One True God. I’m sure you’ve heard the joke about Father O’Malley…

Father O’Malley answers the phone.

“Hello, is this Father O’Malley?” a woman’s voice says.

“It is,” he replies.

“This is the IRS. Can you help us?”

“I can”.

“Do you know Ted Houlihan?”

“I do.”

“Is he a member of your parish?”

“He is”.

“Did he donate $10,000 to the church?”

“He will.”

Yes, this is Trinity Sunday, and no I can’t fully explain this great mystery of our faith. I do, however, believe in the most important part. In today’s Gospel from Matthew, we see that the early church understood the baptismal formula that Jesus used, by stating go forth and baptize In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The early church understood that God continues to be with them, just as he was for the Israelites as they began a whole new life in the promised land.

God remains faithful, even when do not.

This is also Memorial Day Weekend, let us please pause in silence in honor of all of our men and women who laid down their lives for all of our freedoms, including our practice of religion and for the dignity of the human person.

Readings for Sunday, May 30, 2021


Bob Phillips quoted by Martha Bolton:

An optimist who went hunting with a pessimist wanted to show off his new dog. After the first shot, he sent his dog to fetch a duck. The dog ran across the top of the water and brought back the game. The pessimist said nothing.  The dog retrieved the second and the third ducks in the same way — over the water. Still the pessimist did not react. Finally, the optimist could stand it no longer. 

Don’t you see anything unusual about my new dog?

he asked his companion. 

Yes — he can’t swim.

This celebration of Pentecost, 50 days after Easter, is the Birthday of our Church! The Holy Spirit is given to us!  What is his purpose? To draw us into the love of God. The Holy Spirit empowers us with special gifts to not only benefit ourselves, but all within the Kingdom of God. By using these gifts, we can accomplish the Will of God.  

Last year, due to coronavirus, I was given the honor by Bishop Libasci, to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation.  As the candidate stated his or her saint’s name, I stated “Be sealed with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.” As I looked into the eyes of each candidate, I easily thought of the many Gifts that each individual had from my perspective. What a blessing, it was for me, to simply witness and celebrate!

This week, I challenge you to say to one of your family members, or to a friend, neighbor, or classmate: “I recognize that you have a special gift, a talent, a way about you that really must come from the Holy Spirit! God has truly blessed you, and as a result, us too!

Happy Pentecost everyone!

Happy Birthday!

Readings for Sunday, May 23, 2021

Seventh Sunday of Easter

A little joke: 

The boss to one of his staff: “We’ve got a vacancy. Your twin brother could fill it.”

“My twin brother?”

“Yes. The one I saw at the football game yesterday while you were attending your uncle’s funeral.”

A couple of weeks ago, my challenge was for you to use the power of using Jesus’ name for the purpose of “Good.”  To actually say, “By the power of Jesus Christ’s name, I will keep you in my prayers!” When we think about Jesus’ name, we all know that it isn’t really Jesus Christ. It would probably be something like Jesus BarJoseph (Meaning:  Jesus the son of Joseph). So, in our minds and hearts we call him “Jesus, the Christ.” Christ means “The way, the truth, and the light.”

Can anyone remember the name of the apostle that betrayed Jesus? Yes, you’re correct, there was more than one.  Judas, who was seduced from the truth by the shiny objects of this world. And there was also Peter. Despite Peter’s 3-fold denial of Jesus, he becomes the “Rock” on which the Church is to be built. It is Peter that declares Jesus as the “Christ!”

This past week, not only did we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus, but we also celebrated the feast day of St. Matthias. Matthias became the Apostle that replaced Judas. We don’t know much about him, other than he traveled to a foreign land, and eventually was martyred for his faith. However, it is pretty safe to say that he took the words and works of Jesus to heart. When Peter spoke to the 120 listeners, the Holy Spirit empowered Matthias to come forward.  

As we approach the celebration of Pentecost, I encourage you to make a place in your heart to receive the Holy Spirit! To replace the Judas in our hearts, with that of a saint! This is the perfect time to get our spiritual houses in order. Like Matthias, when the Holy Spirit prompts us to come forward, don’t hold back!

Jesus’ mission was to allow all of us to know that even though we live in this world, we who accept him and his words, do not belong to this world. That not only those who witnessed Jesus and heard his words belong to his kingdom, but we too, belong to his kingdom.

Jesus wasn’t born to die. Jesus was born to show us how to live.

So, ask God for guidance, talk with him, praise him, and enjoy his friendship.

I will pray that your hearts will be opened and that you will receive the Holy Spirit with joy-filled hearts.

Readings for Sunday, May 16, 2021

Fifth Sunday of Easter

A little joke from Deacon Tom Sheridan:

The little church suddenly stopped buying office supplies from its regular office supply dealer. So, the dealer called the pastor to ask why. “I’ll tell you why,” shouted the pastor indignantly. “Our church ordered some pencils from you to be used in the pews for visitors to register.”

“Well,” interrupted the dealer, “didn’t you receive them yet?”

“Oh, we received them alright,” replied the pastor. “You sent us little pencils each stamped with the words: Play Golf Next Sunday.” 

1st Reading, from Acts: 

Can you imagine being at war, and in the heat of battle, one of the enemy’s soldiers came to your side and said ‘I’m now fighting on your side’? Would you simply trust him? Probably not!

This is how it was with Saul: the disciples of Jesus knew exactly who he was — he was their persecutor. So, the apostle Barnabas actually steps in on Saul’s behalf and becomes like his sponsor, and shares with the other apostles how the Risen Lord appeared to Saul and spoke with him. Something the apostles would find very familiar.  From that point on, not only was Saul accepted and protected, but wherever Saul went, the Church flourished and grew, and was at peace.

2nd reading, from 1 John: 

The thrust of this reading is that we must believe in the Name of Jesus. So often, the Name of Jesus is only used in a curse. Do we, can we, use His Name in the Power of Good? Try it this week! Use the Name of Jesus out loud in a positive way. If it feels awkward to you, then it is something that you MUST work on, as you are a disciple of Christ.

The Gospel, from John:

The Gospel of John reminds us that God wants us to have an intimate relationship with him. The image of the Father being the Vine Master, and Jesus being the Vine, and all of us being the branches that need to bear fruit, is a reminder for us as disciples that we must always remain connected to Jesus, as Jesus is connected to the Father.  To bear fruit means that we continue the work of the Lord.

Let’s go back to the 1st reading, where Saul becomes known as Paul. In meeting the Lord, Saul realizes who he truly is supposed to be. It enabled Saul to confront himself, to see himself in truth. Now, known as Paul, he blossomed because he accepted who he was. Paul shows us what it takes to become and remain part of Jesus’ vine.

When we receive the Eucharist today, either physically or spiritually, may we in return become Eucharistic people, meaning that we are thankful people and use the Name of Jesus for only good things.

Readings for Sunday, May 2, 2021

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Good Shepherd Sunday

Joke (Anonymous): 

Shepherds really get offended when you refer to them as “ewe” people!

On Good Shepherd Sunday, the obvious two questions are: 

  1. Who are the sheep in my flock? And,
  2. How can I be a good shepherd to them?

These questions are a good source of reflection for all of us this weekend. I encourage you to think about each of them this week. Obviously for me, as your pastor, I have to do a little soul searching along with some reflection. As your pastor for the last nine years, I realize that I might not fulfill all of your wishes of what a pastor might be, but I definitely try my best. As most of you know, I am also the Dean of the White Mountain Deanery, which includes supervision for the parishes of North Conway, Lincoln, Woodsville, and every parish north of there.

I realize my weaknesses are not being overly charismatic in my spirituality, and also I am not one for confrontation, so you won’t hear me preach fire and brimstone homilies. I try to stay away from talking about politics. I also realize that my preaching could be a lot different as I admire so many other preachers who are better than me. I don’t consider myself as a conservative or a liberal person when it comes to my faith and my liturgical style. I am also an ultra-introvert when it comes to my personality.

I realize my strengths include organization and order; management of the parish operations. Also, my willingness to try to talk with everyone and to get to know them. To simply hold the door and be a welcoming pastor. To have good judgment without being judgmental. To use my “Priestcraft”, as Bishop O’Neil told me to do, on my ordination day.  He said that the “Ministry of Presence” will be vital in my ministry. When tragedy strikes, and they call you to come — even though you might not have any answers — you must go, and simply be present to your people. The same is true in graduation or birthday parties, just being present goes a long way. Visitation to the hospital, the nursing homes, and the homebound, or that person you just haven’t seen in church for a while, or even visiting the children in the classroom, simply has to happen — and it does. I also find, I can get along with all the age brackets, simply by using a little humor every now and then.

I love the image of the one lost sheep, and Jesus leaving all of the others, simply to rescue the one who is paralyzed due to fear. That’s what sheep do — their legs go stiff and they simply can’t run away. Jesus picks up the paralyzed sheep and places it on his shoulders and carries it back to the flock. Once the fear-filled sheep has been returned to flock, its legs become un-paralyzed and it returns to normal activity.

Jesus knows his sheep, Jesus knows who we are, by name. He is our shepherd and we are his sheep. Jesus has laid down his life in order for us to be saved. Fear and death can no longer paralyze us, for the Good Shepherd continues to place us back into his flock.

So, think about those two questions this week:

  1. Who are the sheep in my flock?
  2. How can I be a good shepherd to them?

Let us, together, imitate the Good Shepherd of our lives!

Readings for Sunday, April 25, 2021

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

A little joke written by George Goldtrap:

A small boy ran home and excitedly told his parents: “School will be dismissed for good ………. on Friday April 2nd!”

“I just don’t believe that”, his mother said.

“It’s true,” the boy said. “I just got this note from the teacher.”

The teacher’s note said: “School; will be dismissed at 11:00am for Good Friday, April 2nd.”

Do you remember what the Gospel Reading was on the 2nd Sunday of Lent this year? It was from the Gospel of Mark. It was the story of the Transfiguration. The end of the gospel reads:

As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Just like in the joke, Peter, James, and John had to be asking themselves, did we hear him correctly? What does he mean about rising from the dead?!

We are Easter people; we know the story and how it ends. Can you imagine what they were going through? Even to the point of questioning everything — including Jesus’s mental well-being.

Let us together journey into another Holy Week, but this time — imagining that we were either Peter, James, or John — and simply being in awe for the very first time. Uncertainties, yes; great faith will definitely be needed. 

Readings for Sunday, March 28, 2021

Fifth Sunday of Lent

A little joke written by Paulo Cesar Menegusso:  

Driving back from a car-repair class, John said to his buddy, Joe, “I’m going to turn now. Could you stick your head out the window to see if the blinker’s working?”

“Sure,” Joe replied as he peeked outside. “It is, no it isn’t, yes it is, no it isn’t, yes it is…”

Have you ever been recommended a good movie, or a good book, or a nice restaurant, or a new vehicle? Sure, we have! But from whom we receive that recommendation matters to us. If it is from a complete stranger, versus a close friend, well that makes all the difference in the world! We trust our friends!  

One of the joys of my pastorship is seeing friendships form out of our parish experiences, whether by family gatherings within the Knights of Columbus organization, or from our many opportunities of Christian Formation from our Religious Education Program or our Adult Faith Sessions, and of course the many social functions that we usually celebrate during normal times without a pandemic. I witness people out to eat, or other social functions, or attending other church functions sitting together as friends. These friendships create the foundations of trust as we all mature within our faith and our lives.

Our readings of scripture this weekend force us to see how many times God takes the initiative to start up a “friendship” or a “relationship” with us. He does so by creating Covenants

We see how many times humanity fails the conditions of the covenants, and how many times God comes to our rescue.

The golden calf had to be destroyed, this lent, what is it in our lives that we need to let go of and what in us must die to self so that we can bring others to Jesus Christ?

We too must invite others to this relationship we have with Jesus. Our recommendations will be received with trust, simply because our lives have been molded and shaped by God’s mercy.

I know this was a short homily… it is my gift to you. 

Next week we celebrate Palm Sunday, which means the Mass will be a little longer than normal.

Readings for Sunday, March 21, 2021

Third Sunday of Lent

In the Book of Exodus, we hear of the 10 commandments. Being so close to St. Patrick’s Day, did you ever hear about the St. Murphy’s Commandment?  It goes like this: 

Anything a preacher says that can be misunderstood will be misunderstood!

Do you remember my homily I gave to you three years ago? It was one of my favorite homilies ever! I threw bags of cotton candy high into the air as a re-enactment of Jesus thrashing the Temple area.

If you look in your Bibles in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you will see this event happening near the end of Jesus’ ministry. However, in John’s Gospel, it takes place at the beginning of his ministry!

For John, this story is about Jesus challenging the very authority of the Temple with his own authority.

The ultimate question just has to be: why is Jesus ANGRY?

Is it because the merchants are selling sacrificial animals? No!

Was it because the merchants were turning secular money into Temple money? No! After all, this was the only way for the Jewish people to pay their Temple tax!

So why is Jesus so angry?

He is angry because the whole situation, the marketplace, the temple taxation, the purity of unblemished animals to be used for sacrifice, the attitude of the people, the place of gossip, and “The Place to Hang out” has lost its original purpose and meaning!

It was supposed to be the place where people who sought out the Presence of God, would find it!

Jesus declares that His Body, is now the new Temple!

The Body of Christ.

So, when I threw the cotton candy, it was meant for you to think about Jesus simply just losing it, for all of us to take special notice! Think about how we do a spring cleaning, whether in the garage or in our homes! Lent is a time for us to do the same thing with our spiritual lives! What needs to be cleaned out? What is getting in our way of recognizing the Presence of God within the Temple of the Holy Spirit — yes, ourselves!

What habits, feelings, emotions, sins, memories, etc., need to be cleaned out this Lent? Our first reading from Exodus is an awesome examination of conscience! Let us simply do that.

Whatever I say, will probably be misunderstood. The Holy Spirit will take over and speak to us directly, even if it feels foolish to us.

May we be fools for the sake of Jesus, and know the renewal and life that only such foolishness can bring.

Happy 3rd week of Lent!

Readings for Sunday, March 7, 2021

Second Sunday of Lent

A little joke from Deacon Tom Sheridan:

When the diocesan information technology people checked the parish computers for security problems, they found that the youth minister was using the following password for her computer: 


When the technician asked why she had such a long password, she said,

Hellllloooooooo! You guys in support said that it had to be at least eight characters long, didn’t you?

When I look at the readings each weekend, I always ask myself, what is the common denominator? This weekend is no different. It is kind of hard to find, but I believe it is a combined story of love. More specificly, the power of Love. With a few “characters” along the way.

In the Book of Genesis, we hear the story of Abraham and his son Isaac.   Abraham struggled with his faith in God, and his faith grew very slowly. He has a son, Ishmael born from his servant, Haggar. Abraham at first believes that Ishmael would be the heir to serve God’s Kingdom. But he also has another son, a younger son, Isaac born of Sarah, his wife. God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac and he doesn’t hesitate. God’s messenger stops the sacrifice and promises Abraham will be blessed with many descendants. God asks, God sees, God relents, and God blesses! Isaac becomes the child favored by God!

In our 2nd reading from Romans, we hear that God loves us so much that he allows his own Son to die for us! For the sake of our salvation! Not only did Jesus die for us, but he rose from the dead, and becomes our greatest intercessor! If God is for us, who can be against?

In the Gospel of Mark, we hear that the Transfiguration story clarifies the divine identity of Jesus.

This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.

We have heard that before, haven’t we?

Peter, James, and John witness Jesus conversing with Elijah and Moses. Do you wonder what they were talking about? It doesn’t really matter, but what does matter is that Moses represents the Law, and Elijah represents the Prophets. And Jesus becomes “dazzlingly white” before them which represents his Divinity.  

If you have ever awoken from a deep afternoon nap, you know the feeling of not totally being aware of things. Here, Peter has experienced something that he’s not quite sure about, to the point where he is terrified. To experience the presence of God in such a way, must have been overwhelming! And, as quickly as it all began, it was over with. Jesus instructs his disciples not to say anything until after His resurrection from the dead. And the three disciples just looked at each other, and thought, what does He mean by that?!

Here we are on the 2nd Sunday of Lent! How’s it going? Do you wish that you chose something different to give up this year for Lent? I say, go for it, make the change, choose something different, it’s okay! After all, it isn’t really what we do, but rather why we are doing it!

God sees us all as his children, and many of us are “characters!” Just remember, if God is for us, who can be against?! Our faith needs to mature and change along the course of our lives, and it is only by the grace of God that we can accomplish great sacrifices and grow in spiritual ways! Let us journey together, one day at a time.

Readings for Sunday, February 28, 2021