A Message From Father Brian

On Sunday evening (even though I felt like curling up in front of the TV!) I made the much better decision to catch the last 45 minutes of the Youth Group meeting, and it made for a funny, moving, and relaxing finish to an otherwise hectic weekend.  It hasn’t been anyone’s intention to keep the Youth Group secret—in fact it’s advertised in virtually every bulletin—but many of you probably don’t realize that we have one!  Our young people have been meeting steadily on Sunday nights since January 2016.  Our Youth Minister is someone you probably know from other areas of parish life in which she’s intimately involved, Mrs. Jeanmarie Smith, our Pastoral Associate.  Jeanmarie brings wonderful gifts of imagination, creativity, prayerfulness and joy to her interactions with the kids.  The group itself welcomes 6th through 12th graders, and despite the range in age, our young people  already seem to be feeling a connectedness to one another, a new sense of belonging to the parish, and an easy rapport with Jeanmarie that makes the Sunday meetings both fun and meaningful.  Their number is relatively small, though the kids come and go on different nights depending on their own schedules, so an accurate tally of the grand total would be tough right now.  I suspect, though, that having a dozen boys and girls in our Youth Center (rather than 50) lends a very appealing intimacy to the meetings.

I arrived just minutes after the pizza did  (sometimes my timing is impeccable!), and the pizza was followed by a fascinating “game” that didn’t seem serious on the surface, but definitely got the kids (and the grownups) thinking.  It was probably alot more revelatory than they even realized.

I don’t want to scare off any of our teens who have yet to stop by the Youth Group (they meet in the basement of the school, by the way, just down the steps outside the main doors of the building); prayer is always a part of the 90 minutes, but the group doesn’t spend the whole time meditating!  In fact, I think many a Sunday begins with an open gym night.  But for me, as a priest, it’s very gratifying to see that the young people of our parish
can feel comfortable enough to share bits and pieces of their lives at home and at school without fear of being judged or made fun of; that they can explore the beginnings of prayer, and a deeper side of themselves; that they can
see our parish as something of a second home, and a safe haven in the midst of their surprisingly complicated and demanding lives.  If you are a parent, please urge your child or children to take a look at our Youth Group.  If you are already sending your child to be part of this very special community, thank you.  And even if you don’t personally know a single teenager, please pray for our teens, and for Jeanmarie and those who help her, asking that God bless our young parishioners with gifts they may never have thought to ask for.

May our brother and patron, St. Lawrence, pray for us!  God love you!



Just for fun—and some ongoing education—each week’s bulletin offers a question on our Catholic spirituality and tradition. Enjoy!

Question:  As we continue our Lenten observance,  we are likely to see the image of the cross more frequently than ever during the coming weeks.  Is there a difference between a “cross” and a “crucifix"?  Are the two words interchange-able?

(a) A cross is fashioned of wood; a crucifix is metal, or some other material.

(b) A cross does not have the letters, "INRI" on it; a crucifix does.

(c) A cross does not display the body of the crucified Jesus; a crucifix does.

(d) There is no real difference.  Catholics prefer the word "crucifix," while Christians of other denominations prefer the word "cross."

Answer:  This one may or may not have been easy, depending on your familiarity with Church “vocabulary.”  The principal difference between a cross and a crucifix, is that the crucifix displays the figure of the crucified (or in some cases, risen) Jesus.  The Lord's body is usually referred to as the corpus, from the Latin word for "body."  The correct answer is therefore (c).  In fairness, though, one could also argue for choice (b).  It would be rare to find a cross (with no corpus) that nevertheless includes the parchment nailed above the Lord's head, with the abbreviation, "INRI."  What do those letters mean?  Our Faith Formation children who’ve done a tour of the church will probably remember, but we’ll save that for another week . . .  




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