The Catholic Community  of St. John Neumann
A Christian Church of the Catholic Tradition
Califon, NJ

Pastor's weekly Writing


Dear Friends,
       Happy feast of Pentecost! Most Christians -  Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches as well as many Protestant churches – view this as the watershed event in Christianity, the birthday of the Church in many ways. The Acts of the Apostles recounts the story of the original Pentecost when the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary, gathered in the Upper Room, were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in different tongues (Acts 2). Peter’s speech that day brought about three thousand people to the way of Jesus. (Acts 2:41). And the Church began to grow.
       But what is the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives? I would compare it to the role of a coach. There is no game or sports without a coach! Why? Left to themselves, even the best are prone to make mistakes. No matter how good they are, coaches are essential to their success. The truth of the matter is that we all can do better with someone else’s wisdom. And yet, there are some people who think that human beings have the natural ability to fulfill our human destiny just by using our abilities and that we do not need help from anyone else - be it from the community of faith or from the grace of the Sacraments. Experience and history show us that fewer mistakes would have been made with proper guidance. That’s why Jesus said he would send us the Spirit to be our Helper, Comforter, and Guide (John 14:16). Let us call upon this Spirit: “Come Holy Spirit, come into my heart and fill me with your grace and power.” Repeat it like a mantra and see what happens to you!
       This Sunday we have the Commissioning Rite of the new team of the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC). This year Mary D’Avella, the present Chair, and Gloria Cucchiara are stepping down after a very meritorious term of service to our Community. They have been very committed to this Office of Pastoral Council with a sense of passion that was clearly evident in their regular attendance at the meetings, constant involvement in the events in the parish and in their own attention to the common good of the Parish Community. I wish to thank them very sincerely for their goodness and time of ministry as PPC members and leaders. Their wisdom and experience will be sought as the new team  takes over the PPC today at the 10:30 Mass.
       It is significant that the induction of the new PPC is always on Pentecost Sunday – another unique St. John’s custom! The Holy Spirit gave new energy and strength to preach the Gospel fearlessly to all. So also, our new PPC is commissioned to serve the Catholic Community of St. John Neumann by “assisting the Pastor as a consultative body in all matters pertaining to the pastoral care of the whole Parish.” As we wish them God’s blessings in this ministry, we remember that we all are consecrated in Baptism and commissioned to witness to Jesus Christ as disciples who will speak of our positive experience of God and God’s Church to others we meet.

                                                                                            Your brother in Christ,

                                                                                            Fr. Abraham Orapankal