August 19, 2018

August 14, 2018

From Father Jordan

My Dear Ones,

May the Grace of our Lord remain always with us!

Today, I offer you the following as a continuation of last week’s column about the dignity of human life, and Pope Francis’ teaching about Capital Punishment.

Because the Word of God “always alive,” a rigid reading of doctrine would “undervalue the action of the Holy Spirit.” Thus, he says, in the light of the awareness of the people of God today, capital punishment can be seen as “intrinsically contrary to the Gospel.”

The Catechism currently states (2267): the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. The Holy Father spoke against the death penalty in the strongest terms: “an inhumane measure that humiliates … human dignity”; “an extreme and inhumane solution”; “intrinsically contrary to the Gospel”; “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability of the human person…”

 The Bishop of Rome said the death penalty must be rejected because it suppresses “a human life, which is still sacred in the eyes of the Creator.” In addition, it prevents the possibility of “moral and existential redemption,” he noted. In this way, capital punishment “forgets the primacy of mercy over justice.”

Demanding that it be prohibited is not a contradiction with the past teaching of the Church, the pope emphasized, because the dignity of the human person from conception until natural death has always been taught by the Magisterium. On December 12, 1999, John Paul II made an appeal to all those in authority, “that they reach a consensus on the abolition of capital punishment.” It is a “cruel and unnecessary” punishment, he had explained earlier, on January 27, 1999. In 2011, Benedict XVI also called for consultation among all authorities to “arrive at the elimination of the death penalty.”

 Before today’s speech, Francis had already taken a firm position against the death penalty on several occasions. For example, in a video message on June 21, 2016, he stated that capital punishment is “unacceptable,” adding that it “doesn’t provide justice for the victims, but rather encourages revenge.” “The commandment ‘You shall not kill’ has absolute value, and includes both the innocent and the guilty,” he explained. May our hearts be opened to the protection of life from conception until natural death!

Until we meet at the altar, O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us, who have recourse to Thee!

In the Lord,

Fr. Jordan, OP

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1Today, “From Father Jordan” is taken from a number of different sources I have been reading.

 

August 12, 2018

August 8, 2018

From Father Jordan

My Dear Ones,

May the Grace of our Lord remain always with us!

Last week I wrote to you about the New Evangelization and what it means to hear and live the Gospel in a new way and without compromise. Today, I would like to discuss with you one of the many facets of this new and uncompromised life.

At the heart of the New Evangelization is a profound respect for the human person and every aspect of human life. Pope Francis’ modification of the Catechism concerning capital punishment, and the impact this change will have upon our Catholic lives, reflects this deep and foundational principle of our Catholic Faith. However, before we study the Holy Father’s addition to the Catechism per se, let us consider the Church’s teaching about the dignity of Human Life in a broader context.

The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae, 1995) by Saint John Paul II did not come out of a vacuum. This great encyclical is alive in the teaching of Second Vatican Council through the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes, 1965); and Concerning Human Life (Humanae Vitae 1968), the magisterial and pastoral teaching of Blessed Pope Paul VI concerning the expression of married love, and how that expression affects all of society.

While often maligned as inhibiting a married couple’s freedom, Humanae Vitae (HV), is an encyclical about how we regulate human birth, and so much more. HV stands as a key teaching of the Church not just about married sexual expression, but also about the respect, dignity, and concern we afford all of human life. The complete openness to life by a married couple not only reflects the particular purpose of their vocation, it also teaches all of society how precious is the gift of human life; how this life deserves to be cherished and nurtured; and, how the family is the source of respect for all of God’s children, His chosen people! If the message of HV was to be overlooked, or considered too difficult for people, Pope Paul prophetically expressed four effects that would take place in our lives: that a general lowering of moral standards would take place throughout society; there would be an increased occurrence of infidelity; there would be a lessening respect for women by men; and, the government would coerce couples to use reproductive technologies. HV calls us to respect ourselves as co – creators with God, and to consider all life as holy and deserving of love, respect, and nurturance.

Until we meet at the altar, O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us, who have recourse to Thee!

In the Lord,

Fr. Jordan, OP

 

August 5, 2018

August 8, 2018

From Father Jordan

My Dear Ones,

May the Grace of our Lord remain always with us!

I continue to have lots of meetings with parishioners who work so diligently for our wonderful community – we are so blessed! Each meeting is filled with willingness to serve; ideas about what can be better; ideas about what we have never tried. After all of these meetings I have a returning question: what is our mission and where are we going?

 The root of our mission must be the proclamation of Jesus Christ through His Gospel, and the New Evangelization. What is the New Evangelization? The New Evangelization is a particular grace through which I hear the Gospel in a way I never have before, and seek to respond to the Gospel without compromise.

A particular grace:

When the moment is right, God offers us a grace that He has not offered us before and invites our response. As in all things, God never imposes: He constantly proposes!

In a way I never have before:

Have you ever suddenly experienced “the light bulb going on”? Such an “a ha” moment is what it means to hear something as we never have before. I choose to develop a new and deeper intimate relationship with Christ, by which He is the source, center, and end of everything I do.

 To respond without compromise:

Simply put: no more hedging my bets, no “cafeteria – Catholicism”: I am all in.  To respond without compromise does not mean being holier than thou. To respond without compromise does mean I acknowledge my complete dependence upon the Lord as I strive to live this life of grace, and my daily life.

How might this New Evangelization come ever more alive at Saint Sebastian? Consider these thoughts: I’m here most Sundays but have I registered in the Parish? What about a faith formation program for the women of the Parish? Am I volunteering in any way? What about more frequent Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament?

Until we meet at the altar, O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us, who have recourse to Thee!

In the Lord,

Fr. Jordan, OP

 

July 29, 2018

August 8, 2018

From Father Jordan

My Dear Ones,

May the Grace of our Lord remain always with us!

As I write this to you I am aware that on Wednesday of this week we enter the month of August: summer is flying away! I hope you have had time to be with family; to rest and recharge your batteries.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week I had the privileged joy of being with the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia in Nashville, TN (the Sisters teach at Saint Pius V School). I was there to attend the Perpetual Profession of Vows of ten of our Sisters. It was a great celebration! The Sisters glowing, the wonderful singing of “Come, O Spouse of Christ; receive the crown the Lord has prepared for you; parents glowing the pride and wonder – quite a day! As I looked over the great crowd of people, I thought of all of you. Vocations are born in solid, Catholic families. The strong family life of our Parish is a wonderful garden in which future vocations to the priesthood, religious, and married life will be born. What parents give their children will yield eternal benefits! As children witness the selfless – sacrificial love of their parents, they will learn to live the same way. If parents make prayer a priority, so will their children – even if they wander away for a little while.

Tomorrow evening the Trustees and Finance Committee of the Parish will gather to formally “elect” me Treasurer and Secretary of the corporation that is The Church of Saint Sebastian. This election is required by Canon Law. After the election (I hope I win!), the Trustees, Finance Committee and I will have a brief meeting to address some issues and establish goals for the next year. Many of you have spoken to me about the tower of our Church. The repair of the tower, other repairs, and some liturgical matters will be part of our discussion.

If you are planning to get married and you want to be married here at Saint Sebastian – please contact me. Also, if you know engaged couples that are looking for a parish to join, or a Church in which they can be married, please send them my way. Also, if you need to complete your Sacraments, i.e. you were baptized and may have made your First Communion but you weren’t confirmed and you would like to be confirmed, please contact me. Is anyone interested in the Magnificat Pilgrimage?

 Until we meet at the altar, O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us, who have recourse to Thee!

In the Lord,

Fr. Jordan, OP

 

July 22, 2018

August 7, 2018

From Father Jordan

My Dear Ones,

May the Grace of our Lord remain always with us!

Last week I wrote to you at some length about the necessity of Religious Education in the lives of our children: there is NO greater gift a parent can offer their children than faith in, and a through understanding of the unconditional love of God in our lives!

However, we are not all children! Adult Faith Formation is equally important!! I want to continue as well as increase, the Faith Formation offerings for adults.

This week I met with Al Badre and Pat Recupero from the Spiritual Life Committee. We had a wonderful discussion about possible offerings for the ongoing faith formation for the adult members of our congregation. Movie Nights, Bible Study and more will continue. Please talk with Pat, Al, or myself about other topics you would enjoy. Please look for more information about a “spiritual book club”, a healing Mass, “Magnificat Day” Pilgrimage, Founders’ Day Celebration, and the Parish Lecture Series.

At the end of last week I met with representatives for the Diocese both from the Facilities Department, as well as the Office for Planned Giving and Finance. Both meetings demonstrate clearly that we have a great deal to accomplish. The Facilities Survey presents the undeniable information that our beloved Church is in need of work: the Bell Tower, tuck-pointing the entire Church building and more. While no one really every welcomes a visit form the Office of Planned Giving and Finance, it is clear to both Mary Brennan and myself, that if we do our part of the capital campaign, Grateful for God’s Providence, our beloved Saint Sebastian’s will yield a fruitful harvest!

Looking at these opportunities and these challenges, I am reminded of the words of Saint Catherine of Siena:

Whatever you do, do it bravely, and banish darkness and establish light without considering your own weakness.

Believe there is nothing you cannot master

When you rely on Christ Crucified!

Until we meet at the altar: O Mary, conceived with out sin, pray for us, who have recourse to Thee!

In the Lord,

Fr. Jordan, OP

 

July 15, 2018

August 7, 2018

From Father Jordan

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

May the Grace of our Lord remain always with us!

As a young Dominican, a very wise Dominican Sister said to me, when you leave an assignment the last thing you put in your trunk is heart. When you arrive at your new mission, the first thing you unpack is your heart! Since arriving at Saint Sebastian, Sister’s words ring deeply within my heart. You have welcomed me so warmly; I feel very much at home; and my heart is humbled to be among you!

Hearts that are welcomed and made to feel at ease are open to new possibilities, able to dream with a bright new vision, which leads to something greater than we have ever imagined.

A very large part of my heart is centered upon the passing on of our faith to our children. My heart filled with joy as I saw so many children with their parents at the 9:00 am Mass last Sunday! The voices of our youngest parishioners proclaim that God is faithfully present in our midst What will we give our children not only to face, but even more, to conquer the greatest challenges of life? The most profound gift we to this question can only be our faith, and a personal encounter with Jesus Christ!

At Saint Sebastian a very important way by which we bring our children to know, love, and serve Our Lord is through our Religious Education Program. I know I have only been here three weeks, but the number of children I see at Mass appears much larger than the number of children in Catholic Schools or registered in our Religious Education Program. Have you registered your children for Religious Ed? If you haven’t, please do. I have had several conversations this week about the possibility of bringing the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) to Saint Sebastian: we may have a class for our wee ones (3 -6) for the fall!! Pray for this special intention, please!

However, we are not all children! Adult Faith Formation is equally important!! I want to continue as well as increase, the Faith Formation offerings for adults.

I will miss being with all of you this weekend, but you are in great hands with Father Michael O’Connor.

Until we meet at the altar: O Mary, conceived with out sin, pray for us, who have recourse to Thee!

In the Lord,

Fr. Jordan, OP

 

 

July 8, 2018

July 6, 2018

From Fr. Jordan

My dear parishioners,

May the Grace of Our Lord remain always with us!

Well, I made it through the move! As I sat in my room in Baltimore I thought, “I can’t do this!” But thanks to my good friend David Ifkovits and a group of parishioners the truck was packed. David and I drove from Baltimore from Providence on Tuesday. Marie Brito organized a powerful group of helpers: William and James Wert, Sophie Schmults, and Susan Gunter were awesome! The rectory is filled with boxes, but it will all get done in time.

This past Wednesday we celebrated the 4th of July, the 242nd anniversary of our independence.. Family gatherings, parades, and fireworks marked the day. Our nation is neither happy nor united. The deep political differences which mark our citizenry; the issues of life, immigration, health care, Social Security and our place as leaders of the free world are but a few of the topics that spark heated debate and divide families and friends. Let us recommend our country and our governmental leaders to God; let us beseech Him to send the fullness of the Holy Spirit upon all our elected officials.

Next weekend I have the joy of witnessing the marriage vows of two of my former students. I will be in Chicago from Thursday until Sunday. You will be in the capable care of my Dominican Brother, Fr. Michael Dominic O’Connor, O.P. Fr. Michael is a gifted musician, and is currently finishing his doctorate in Moral Theology from the Angelicum in Rome. Please welcome him.

Thank you for the very warm welcome you have given me – you are just the best!

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee!

Peace,

Fr. Jordan, O.P.

 

  1. Please take special note of the bulletin blurb about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

July 1, 2018

June 26, 2018

From Father Jordan

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

May the Grace of our Lord remain always with us!

What a privilege it is for me to write to you today as your pastor. I am grateful to God for this assignment, and I am excited to be here with you! I have heard so many wonderful things about Saint Sebastian Parish! I look forward to getting to know all of you, working with you, and finding the best way we can make Christ the source, center, and end of everything we are and do.

Please join me in thanking Monsignor Montecalvo who has served our community so faithfully, and by his great warmth, has created a sense of community and connection here at Saint Sebastian. I have told Monsignor that he always has a home here; he is always welcome; and that we hope to see him often! Our love and prayers go with him as he enters retirement, and as he plans to celebrate his 45th Ordination Anniversary on October 4. Ad multos annos, Monsignor: we love you!

 What do you want to know about your new pastor? So much of that will become clear as we pray, work, and have fun together. In the meanwhile, here are some highlights:

  • I love being a Dominican, and being a Dominican Priest.
  • I have a great interest and love for the liturgy and the beautiful way the Church invites us to pray. The liturgy is my primary concern for our parish, or any parish. The liturgy also touches my tremendous love and appreciation for music.
  • I am excited about leading people to God!
  • As a priest I greatly enjoy welcoming people to our parish. Along with the beautiful liturgy, I want Saint Sebastian to continue to be and to grow as a welcoming parish: the love of Christ has gathered us together!
  •  I am deeply concerned about how we educate our children in the faith, and what we do for our young parishioners.
  • I am a teacher: I spent 33 years teaching at every level from Kindergarten through Graduate School.
  • And, Monsignor Montecalvo wanted me to tell you this: I am Irish on the outside and Italian on the inside!  🙂

The letter I received from Bishop Tobin appointing me your pastor was dated May 8: The Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen and Protector of the Dominican Order. I see it as providential that my appointment to be your pastor took place on this feast. I dedicate and consecrate my pastorate at Saint Sebastian to Our Lady, Queen of the Miraculous Medal. I promise to serve you with every ounce of my being, and together may we heed Mary’s word, “to do whatever Jesus tells us”!

In the Lord,

Fr. Jordan, OP

 

 

June 24, 2018

June 19, 2018

My dear parishioners,

Well this is my last column as pastor of St. Sebastian’s parish here in Providence.  I cannot believe three years have passed so quickly.  I really enjoyed being pastor and part of this community.

When I received word from Bishop Evans that Bishop Tobin was assigning me as pastor of St. Sebastian’s parish I was more than a little intimidated. Every priest in the Diocese knows how well educated and engaged the parishioners of St. Sebastian’s are.  No other parish in the Diocese has as many professionals.  So being sent to pastor such a parish can be intimidating.

But my worrying was for naught.  I want to thank each and every St. Sebastian parishioner.  I have felt at home and welcomed into your parish from the first moments I arrived.  We as a parish are blessed to have many different types of parishioners. Some parishioners have been here for over 70 years and attended the parish school (when there was no physical school building).  Others parishioners moved into the area when their children, who are now parents, were young because of the schools in the area.  Due to a good economy we have many young families who moved into the area.  We have a great parish made up of people of every age group, cultural diversity and educational background.

Thank you all…..remember me in your prayers and I will pray for you at the altar.

Thank you and God bless you……

Monsignor Montecalvo

 

June 17, 2018

June 12, 2018

June 5, 2018

Dear Monsignor Montecalvo,

Congratulations to you and your parish community for surpassing your goal for the 2018 Catholic Charity Appeal. I thank you for your dedication and leadership to ensure a successful parish Appeal effort.

The Catholic Charity Appeal continues to help tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders who have nowhere else to turn. Because of your hard work, our diocesan ministries will be able to continue to care for the poor, feed the hungry, and comfort the sick. I ask that you extend my thanks and appreciation to your lay leadership and parishioners for their outstanding support of this most worthy cause.

The 2018 Catholic Charity Appeal will soon conclude. I kindly ask you to pray for the continued success of the 2018 Appeal within our parishes. Please be assured that I will keep you in my prayers that God will continue to bless you and your parish community.

Grateful for your devoted priestly ministry to your parishioners, I remain,

Sincerely yours,

Thomas J. Tobin

Bishop of Providence

 

 

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