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

Pastor's weekly Writing


Dear Friends,
      This Tuesday – October 17 - is a special day for our Confirmandi. They will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation from our Bishop Emeritus Paul Bootkoski. We are very happy to welcome Bishop Bootkoski to our Community for the first time after his retirement. As you are aware, we have been praying for this class of Confirmandi, and many of you wrote personal letters of encouragement which they were thrilled to read during their overnight spiritual retreat. 
      Our Confirmation day coincides with the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch who was the bishop of the church in Antioch, Syria, and was martyred under Emperor Trajan around AD 110. He was apparently a disciple of John, the beloved apostle, along with Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna. From what we know of his life, he was probably arrested on the charge of "atheism"—denial of the Roman gods—and was taken from Antioch to Rome by an escort of ten soldiers. At nearly every stop, he met leaders of local churches, and during the trip he penned, with the help of a secretary, seven letters which are excellent exhortations to any Christian. In the face of certain death, he was courageous to keep on witnessing to his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The presence of the Holy Spirit in each of us through Confirmation gives us the courage and conviction we need to practice and witness to our faith in the face of cultural challenges we face in our own times.
      Besides living the gospel values in our own lives, one simple and easy method to be a missionary disciple can be learned from the parable Jesus tells us in the Gospel for today. The King sent out invitations for a banquet. Many refused that invitation.  But then he expanded and extended the invitation to others outside the original list. And the banquet hall was filled. I have been writing frequently about the “Ministry of Invitation” that all of us can easily do. Thank you to those who have been doing it because of which we have more participants in our Sunday worship as well as in our social events. Taking a cue from today’s Gospel, we need to double our efforts at inviting people. Rejection by some did not make the King give up on inviting still more people. If people have not responded to our invitation, let us not be discouraged, but keep persevering by expanding our pool of invitees. Or simply take an extra bulletin and give it to someone. Though simple, these require courage and conviction that “Each Member is a Minister” in our Community of faith in Jesus Christ. Being open to the Holy Spirit will enable us to do that. Congrats to our Confirmandi!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal