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From The Pastor’s Desk

April 21, 2024: Today we celebrate World Day of Prayer for Vocations. A vocation is not a job but a way of living in union with Christ. There is the vocation to single life, married life, and religious life. These are the ways that we live our life. These are the ways that we sacrifice and live in the world. As a priest, I give my life completely to my bride, the Catholic Church. Husbands and wives give themselves entirely to each other. Single people have a way to serve many people. They have much time and availability to do that.

Please pray for more vocations to religious life. I am not going to be here forever. I need a young man to take my place. I believe people are called to religious life but one has to listen for God’s voice. When God calls, you’ll know. You hear God‘s voice by listening to scripture, listening to other people, and listening to your own thoughts.

Today, Jesus says that He is the good Shepherd. He lays His life down freely. Jesus gives His life for the sheep. We are the sheep. He protects us from evil and sin. Jesus chooses men to be shepherds of his church. These priests are called to preach, teach, and sanctify. They sanctify by administering sacraments. This is the mission of Jesus’ church. We need men and women to give themselves for Jesus’ church. If God calls you, He will give you the graces and strength to live the life of religious life.

When I was younger, I never thought of myself being a priest. But I gave it a chance and here I am. Father Angelo Anthony C.PP.S., is the Vocation Director for the Precious Blood Community. He actually was the Vocation Director when I was discerning religious life back in 1994.

We are in the fourth Sunday of Easter. We are a resurrected people and we continue to experience the joys of Christ’s resurrection. If you are frustrated, be at peace. Nothing can supersede the peace that God wants to give you. Be close to Christ and prayer. Know that He does not want you to be lost. He wants you to have peace and not chaos. Hallelujah Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

God bless you all,

Fr. Tony Fortman, C.PP.S.

April 14, 2024: Today we see the resurrected Jesus appearing to his disciples. Jesus says, “Peace be with you.” The disciples think that they are seeing a ghost but ghosts cannot eat. Jesus asked for a piece of baked fish to eat. If Jesus were a ghost, it would be impossible to eat fish.

Jesus knows that questions arise in his disciple’s hearts. He knows that questions arise in our hearts. People do not die and then rise again, but Christ can.

Jesus can defy nature. You and I must understand that God is not limited. All things are possible with God. He can still a storm. Christ, our hope, has risen.
Nothing on earth can keep him bound.
What is binding you? What sin do you tolerate? Sin causes a prison to be built around us. Jesus wants to set us free of sin. That is why he came into the world to fight sin. Christ wants you to put on the new man and put away the old.

Our unbelief and God’s abilities stifle us. Many times we have to get out of our own thinking. Jesus is always trying to prove himself to us. His eating fish today is an example. He wants us to wholeheartedly accept him and believe him. I would think that he would get tired of doing miracles day after day. Jesus was probably telling himself, “Why do I always have to perform miracles to get these people’s attention?”
Jesus, we believe in you and we trust in you. You are the Messiah.

God bless you all,

Fr. Tony Fortman, C.PP.S.

Jesus is risen! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus for conquering death. Thank you Jesus for taking our sins away through the shedding of Your precious blood!Jesus, You are the king that conquers death. Without You, we can do nothing. When all seemed lost, You conquered nature. Only You can conquer our human nature.

Lord, You do know what it means to be fully human because You died. We have not died yet. Jesus, You know what it means to be rejected and spit upon. You took all the evil in the world and put it upon Yourself. No human being could take that weight.

Jesus, You have much to teach us still. We may know the ways of the world, but we do not always know your ways. Your thoughts are not our thoughts and Your ways are not our ways. Jesus, bless us with humility and understanding so that we can follow You more closely. Help me to take off the old self and put on the new resurrected self.

The resurrection of Christ means everything for us Christians. No one dies and comes back to life again. Especially if you’ve been dead for three days. Only God can do that. Only God could raise Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus was dead for four days. Miracles are happening all around us. God does answer our prayers. He hears every prayer you say. We just have to be patient. This is the resurrection season. There are new beginnings, new creation, and resurrection all around us.

This is a time of joy and feasting. Do not be sad. God has great things planned for all of us in these weeks ahead.

We are a resurrected people and nothing is impossible for God.

God bless,
Fr.Tony Fortman C.PP.S.

East and West, Sunday, April 24, 2024: Today we celebrate Palm Sunday in preparation for Holy Week. On this weekend we hold palms in our hands and hear the Gospel reading of The Passion of Christ. What seems odd is that these two huge events in the Bible actually mirror each other as complete opposites.

In the east, we have Jesus coming down from the Mount of Olives into the small village of Bethany with His disciples. We hear that Jesus sends two disciples ahead to go into the city to retrieve a donkey that has never been sat upon. After mounting the colt, He rides alone into the city where He is greeted by a large crowd holding branches and laid down cloaks in front of Him. It is a joyful display of the Jewish people welcoming a man that they thought might redeem them from the Roman occupation.

In the west, we have Pontius Pilate riding on a chariot, accompanied by a huge military presence. His entourage came from Caesarea Maritima, the Roman enclave on the Mediterranean coast, about 60 miles and a three day’s journey west of Jerusalem. He only comes to Jerusalem when he must. He has to come to Jerusalem for the Passover, not for religious reasons, but for a show of force.

This morning’s Gospel illustrates one person of authority giving in to another power for the salvation of the world. Pontius Pilate asks Jesus if He is a king, and Jesus acknowledges that He is a Ruler of another Kingdom. Jews come from far and wide to celebrate their ancestors’ complete annihilation of the powerful army of their Egyptian oppressors and await another Messiah. There was a Roman opinion that there were enough crazies out there that someone may claim to be this king in their religious fervor. This holiday in particular makes the Roman authorities nervous. Pilate couldn’t afford to let something like that happen and so, after interrogation, gives in to the rioting crowds to have Jesus crucified.

This weekend we stand to hear the Gospel with palms in our hands just like Jesus’ disciples did as they shouted “Hosanna in the highest” as He passed by. It is a true witness of Palm Sunday, and we begin to realize that Jesus was completing His journey like “a lamb being lead to slaughter” for the salvation of the world.

The palm branches that we hold in our hand are pagan Grecian Olympian symbols for goodness and victory. They become sacramentals to remind us of that day when Jesus entered Jerusalem to save the world.

This is the reason we carry blessed Palm branches on this Sunday, and stand to hear how eternal life began in the city of Jerusalem over two thousand years ago at two separate gates, and ended on a hill named Calvary. God Bless, Deacon Brian Seibert

Are We There Yet?

March 17, 2024

Have you ever, as a family, taken a day trip in the car? You load the car trunk with everything you need for a trip that will take just a few hours. Adults in the front seat and the children in the back seat with games to keep them occupied during the drive. And then, after about an hour, the dreaded question comes from that back seat. ‘Mom and Dad, are we there yet? We’re getting bored!’

In this 5th week of Lent, are we getting bored with fasting and prayer? Are we there yet? Lent is a time devoted to our growth as followers of Christ. It is a time for us to recognize our sinfulness and to recognize how much we are loved by Christ. It is also a time to recognize how much we love Him in return. It’s a time to see Christ in one another. Our fasting and prayers are a way to look deep inside ourselves and help us to grow in our love of Christ. Fasting and prayer help us to keep our minds focused on Christ and to renew our conversation with Christ. We are growing our relationship with Christ. We are recognizing that Jesus is truly our Brother.

Today’s Gospel from John is showing us that Christ knows each of us. Jesus knows our sorrows and fears because He has lived them Himself. Jesus knows that His death is approaching, yet He is willing to give His life for our sinfulness. Jesus is ready to give His life for us despite the Cross. He sees the Cross despite His anguish. Jesus is our Salvation, and He has shown us how to be His followers by loving us so much that He willingly suffers and dies on that cross. Are we ready to give our life to Jesus? Are we ready to grow in our love of Jesus? Are we ready to trust in Jesus? Are we ready to love each other? Are we ready to help each other?

Jesus has not left us alone. Today, He gives us His Body and Blood in the Eucharist to nourish us with Love and strength. He gives us the sacrament of reconciliation to help us face our sinfulness so that we may know the forgiveness and love that Jesus offers us each day. God has not given up on us. He gave us His only Son to save us. He is always near.

So, are we there yet? No, we are not there yet, BUT we are each growing. We are getting there. Each day we grow. Each day we face our own problems, fears, and sinfulness. Each day we have faith in Jesus. We have faith because Jesus died on the cross, but Glory be to God, He has risen from the dead. He is our life and our salvation. Praise be to You, Lord Jesus Christ!

Love you all.

Your brother in Christ!

Deacon Joe

Join Deacon Joe for the Blessing of the Easter Baskets on Saturday, March 30 at St. Paul’s Parking lot. Families prepare special baskets containing a variety of Easter foods, such as bread, eggs, meat, cheese, and other traditional items. These baskets are traditionally blessed on Holy Saturday.

 

Lenten Reflection from Fr. Jim Gaynor C.PP.S.

March 10, 2024

From Fr. Jim Gaynor, C.PP.S.

Jesus tells Nicodemus and us, that we must be begotten of water and the Spirit, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  That is in the chapter 3 of the Gospel of John which we proclaim this 4th Sunday of Lent.  It was a wonderful experience being born of our parents and grandparents into this human life, but then one day that life is confronted with death.    What then?  We are then told by Jesus: “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life” (Jn 3,16).

As we advance in our observance of Lent: in prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we need to have Christ before us so these Lenten activities have their true meaning and effect in us.    They could just serve to help us reduce our waistline and weight, which could be good, but they are not the reason for Lenten activities.

The word Lent means “growth”.   Each Sunday, by way of the Gospel, we are meant to grow in Christ.

The first Sunday, He was confronting the temptations of self-centeredness, self-satisfaction, and self-glorification.   He didn´t run and hide, but confronted this selfishness as we too are called this lent to live in the world and confront selfishness .

The second Sunday, He showed us His divinity by way of the Transfiguration, growing in knowing who He, Jesus. really was and is.

The third Sunday, He cleansed the temple and encouraged us to cleanse the temple of our persons, the temple of the church and the temple of planet earth.   

Now this fourth Sunday Jesus takes us to grow and appreciate our Baptisms in which we were born anew of water and the Holy Spirit.   Prayer, sacrifice and almsgiving help us live this new life we have received by water and the Holy Spirit.   

Yours In Christ,

Fr. Jim (Santiago) Gaynor, C.PP.S. 

Staff reflections will continue through Palm Sunday.

 

Lenten Reflection from Deacon Mike Prier

March 3, 2024

In the St. Gaspar Family of Parishes, our Deacons deliver a sermon once a month. This Sunday, we are sharing an inspiring homily from Deacon Mike Prier, featuring a meaningful Lenten message.

As we journey through life, we find ourselves amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday activities, often finding solace in the moments spent supporting our loved ones, particularly our grandchildren, as they delve into their passions, such as sports. In the midst of cheering them on from the sidelines, we are reminded of the dedication and perseverance required to excel in any endeavor. Just as athletes dedicate countless hours to hone their skills for the opportunity to shine on the global stage, we too are called to embrace our Christian journey with a similar fervor.

In today’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus paints a vivid picture of the ultimate finish line, revealing the glory that awaits those who follow His example. He invites us to envision a future where our souls are purified, our sins washed away, and our spirits radiant with the glory of God. This vision serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring us to persevere through life’s challenges with unwavering faith, hope, and love.

Much like athletes meticulously prepare their bodies for competition through diet, exercise, and practice, we are called to nurture our souls with the three theological virtues: Faith, Hope, and Love. In the readings today, we witness the embodiment of these virtues in the lives of our spiritual

ancestors. Abraham’s unwavering faith in God’s plan, God’s boundless love demonstrated through the sacrifice of His Son, and the hope of eternal glory portrayed in the Gospel narrative all serve as reminders of the virtues we are called to emulate.

During this Lenten season, let us reflect on how we can exercise these virtues in our daily lives. Let us relinquish our worries and place our trust in God’s divine plan, knowing that He holds the broader perspective. Let us approach life with a renewed sense of hope, expecting that the best is yet to come, for Jesus is risen, and His love knows no bounds. And above all, let us endeavor to love one another as Christ loved us, for love is the greatest of all virtues.

As we gather at the altar to receive spiritual nourishment, let us pray for the grace to grow each day in Faith, Hope, and Love, so that we may be transfigured into the individuals God created us to be. Just as athletes visualize their success before stepping onto the field, let us visualize our lives infused with these virtues, striving to live as champions for Christ in every aspect of our being.

May this Lenten journey be a time of spiritual renewal and transformation, as we embrace the Olympic spirit within our Christian walk, aspiring to reach new heights of Faith, Hope, and Love. Amen.

In Peace, Deacon Mike Prier

 

Next Generation Parish

February 18, 2024

On Monday, February 5, Dr. Ximena DeBreck, representing the Catholic Leadership Institute, led a meeting with the entire staff from our Family of Parishes. The meeting was arranged as part of the launch of the “Next Generation Parish” initiative, to which we have committed our participation. Under the stewardship of Fr. Tony Fortman C.PP.S., this marks a significant step forward in our journey towards enhancing and revitalizing our parish community.

The “Next Generation Parish” program is an undertaking facilitated by the Catholic Leadership Institute, an esteemed organization dedicated to fostering leadership and growth within Catholic communities. While the Archdiocese of Cincinnati initially proposed participation in the Beacons of Light process, a strategic decision was made to partner with CLI. It is important to note that both approaches, Beacons of Light and Next Generation Parish, share common objectives and methodologies, ultimately guiding us towards the same destination of parish renewal and growth.

One of the key advantages of our collaboration with CLI is the comprehensive guidance they will provide throughout our journey. By leveraging their expertise, St. Gaspar Family of Parishes will receive tailored support and strategic direction at every stage of our development. Furthermore, I am pleased to inform you that the Archdiocese is generously covering the costs associated with the program, underscoring their commitment to supporting the growth and vitality of our parish.

It is noteworthy that we are not alone in this endeavor. Eight other families within the Archdiocese have also embarked on the Next Generation Program, highlighting the collective commitment to embracing innovation and fostering vibrant Catholic communities.

As we embark on this transformative journey, I encourage each of you, as valued shareholders in our parish community, to remain engaged and supportive. Together, we have the opportunity to shape the future of St. Gaspar Family of Parishes, ensuring that it remains a beacon of faith, fellowship, and service for generations to come. Respectfully Submitted by the Communications Office St. Gaspar Family of Parishes.

Respectfully Submitted from the Communications Office

St. Gaspar Family of Parishes

Our Service to One Another

February 4, 2024

In today’s first reading, Job tells us that life can be somewhat of a drudgery. In the gospel we see Jesus healing. 

“On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.” 

You and I could see ourselves as hirelings and people who have no hope. But Jesus shows us in the gospel that he came to bring healing and opportunity for us to serve. When Jesus heals, he then wants us to go out and be his laborers in the vineyard. So this work that we do on earth is not necessarily a drudgery. This work is meant to build the kingdom of God and give glory and honor to Christ and his church. We just need to focus differently. We also can’t be people who indulge in pleasures all the time. That leads to addiction. Christians set themselves apart by showing the world that pleasures in this life are not the final goal. Now some of us may not cast out demons, but we can name the demons in our life and other people’s lives. By naming them, we start the process of healing. 

Our role as Christians is to build one another up and not tear each other down. This giving of oneself is what Jesus exemplified. A total emptying of oneself for Christ and others. Then we will have joy to the fullest.

We see that Peter had a mother-in-law. Peter was married. We do not know if Peter and his wife had children. But married life is a total emptying of oneself. The two sacraments of service in the church are married life and priesthood. We enter the sacraments by putting on an apron, knowing that our joy lies in our service to one another. Maybe that’s why Peter became the head of the apostles. He knew what it was like to give up oneself for his wife, and maybe his children. As a married man, he may have understood what it meant to die to oneself. 

Let us give ourselves away and not count the cost. We will be rewarded in the next life. We will not experience all the good and the bad this world has to offer. 

Thank you very much,

Fr. Tony Fortman, C.PP.S.

The Importance of God's Word

January 28, 2024

How important is it to listen to God‘s word? It must be very important. In today’s first reading from Deuteronomy, we see that those who do not listen to God‘s messenger, will be put in a very dire situation. Those who listen to the voice of God‘s messenger will experience life to the fullest. God‘s word can sometimes be a set of rules of what we should do and what we can’t do. But those rules are meant to keep us in a good place. You and I cannot experience the fullness of joy outside of God’s words. We may think we know what makes us more happy and joyful but nothing on this earth will bring fulfillment, only God’s words, and then putting those words into action.

Christ Has Authority

Living in this world means that evil surrounds us. There is a lot of beauty and goodness in this world but you would be deceiving yourself to think that evil does not exist. In today’s gospel, Jesus casts out demons. Where do the demons come from? Who do the demons work for? We all know that hell and Satan are the two driving forces behind demons. Jesus has power over the demons. There are demons of slothfulness, pride, envy, lustfulness, gluttony, anger, and coveting. You and I are easy prey to evil if we operate outside of Jesus. The way that we let evil come into our lives is by sinning or by participating in Ouija boards, palm reading, tarot cards, horoscopes, and by saying evil spells. When we participate in these events, we are acting like we do not need Christ. We are looking for another power to guide us and tell us what to do. In today’s gospel, Jesus teaches with authority. Many people are amazed at this. You and I should not be amazed at this. We know that Christ has authority and power. We do not have to listen to Christ, but that ends in our own detriment.

Beacons of Light and the Catholic Leadership Institute

This week we will have a Catholic Leadership Institute employee visiting our parishes. This person will be speaking to staff and parishioners about vibrant parish life. This person will be getting an idea of what we are doing right in our parishes and what challenges we are experiencing in our parishes at this time. The Catholic Leadership Institute will be walking with us for four years. This Catholic Leadership person will be my liaison whom I will be meeting with each month. This liaison will be helping us meet the requirements for Beacons of Light. More information will be forthcoming. God bless you all.

Thank you very much,

Fr. Tony Fortman C.PP.S.

 

 

 

 

Our Hearts are Idol Making Factories

January 14, 2024

In today’s first reading, we see that the spirit of the Lord was upon Samuel. That God was with him. It is very important that God is with us in our life. God is always with us but He particularly works with us when we work with Him.

In the second reading, we see that the body is not for immorality. When we live according to God’s laws and morals, we are with and working with God. But if we choose not to live within God’s laws, then we are working against Him. Then we may be setting ourselves at odds against Him.

The fullness of peace is following Christ in his commands. We see that John the Baptist is willing to give his disciples to Jesus. John the Baptist knows that Jesus is the Lamb of God. The one who will be sacrificed so that others can live.
Jesus needs to be sacrificed because our sins are heavy and have a heavy price.

John the Baptist was humble. He was not prideful. He knew who he was. He knew that he was not the Christ. He knew that he was only a voice that would last a small time. He knew that Jesus was the eternal word, that word that would never end. So are you going to let go of your pride so that others may live? John was looking after the betterment of others. He was looking after the betterment of his disciples. John knew that he did not have what it took to bring true happiness to his disciples. Jesus can bring fulfillment and joy. So the readings tell us today that we are to allow the spirit of God to be with us as Samuel did. That we are to live in accordance with God’s dictates. The fullness of life is in Jesus Christ. 

Our hearts are idol making factories. If we do not worship God, we will worship other things or people in this world. That will not go well for us. Let us put all our eggs in the basket of Jesus and follow Him. 

Thank you very much,

Fr. Tony Fortman C.PP.S.

The Epiphany of the Lord

January 7, 2024

Today we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. We see the three Wisemen approaching King Herod. King Herod was greatly troubled on hearing that there was going to be a King of the Jews. Herod was the King of the Jews. He did not want another person to be the King of the Jews.

What troubles you? We know that pride, envy, lust, slothfulness, gluttony, anger, and coveting are the seven deadly sins. We know that these sins can destroy a person from within. King Herod was envious of Jesus, the Messiah. If he could not be king, he would destroy all of the two year old male children and younger in Bethlehem.

Jesus is not only the King of the Jews but He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus‘ Kingdom is far greater than Israel. There is no end to His reign. As we begin this new year, let us take stock of what we hold dear in our hearts. Is what we hold onto eternal or just a perishable object? Do we reverence our King Jesus?

Notice what the three Wiseman bring Jesus in today’s gospel. “Then they opened their treasures and offered Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” They bring Jesus gold, because he is a King. They bring Him frankincense, because He is a priest. They bring Him myrrh because He will die for humanity. Myrrh was used in preparing the body for burial. The three Wisemen knew they encountered the Lord Jesus, the Messiah. The three Wisemen were wise because they did not reveal the whereabouts of the baby Jesus. “And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.”

Sometimes we know that people will not accept Jesus as the Lord and Savior. We are not to throw our pearls to the swine. Some people will not accept the precious gift of Christ and His kingdom. As followers of Christ, sometimes we have to move on to others and follow a different route in evangelization.

Thank you very much, Fr. Tony Fortman C.PP.S.

The Feast of the Holy Family

December 31, 2023

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. The family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. This family was destined to be the model for all of us Christians. Family life is very necessary in today’s society. Family life is the security that we need to grow and to know who Christ is. The family enables us to use our talents and test those talents before we bring them to the world. In family, we learn to be merciful and forgiving of one another. The family is the domestic church. The little church where we pray together and know Christ. 

Yes, Jesus had a family. Jesus was a child and had friends to play with. Jesus had many meals with Joseph and Mary. The family table is the place where we can share our stories. The state of Ohio exists to protect the family. That is the sole role of the state of Ohio. The state of Ohio is not to take the place of the family. Even the state of Ohio knows how precious the family is.

Mary and Joseph are two great intercessors. I often call on them throughout the day. They are my family also. You cannot always be physically present to your family, but you can call on the name of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and they will be there in a second.

You have a family in heaven. Maybe your parents have died and they are at this time interceding for you. Maybe they need your prayers also.  All of us have a family. We are the St. Gaspar Family of Parishes. We belong to each other. We support one another and build each other up. That’s what families do they stick together.

Have a great New Year,

Fr. Tony Fortman C.PP.S.

A Thank You from Fr. Tony:

 Dear parishioners of Saint Gaspar family of Parishes, thank you very very much for your cards and gifts these past two weeks. You all have been a blessing to me. God bless you all. Saint Gaspar and Our Lady of Guadalupe pray for us. 
Father Tony Fortman, CPPS

A Heartfelt Wish for a Very Merry Christmas

December 24, 2024

I extend to each and every one of you a heartfelt wish for a very, very merry Christmas! As we reflect upon the passing year, it is abundantly clear that the hand of God has been ever-present in our midst. In moments of both difficulty and joy, we have witnessed His blessings and grace unfolding in our lives. Even in our trials, God remains steadfast, showering His love upon us.

In the tapestry of our shared journey, I am particularly grateful for the blessings of our new Family of Parishes. Our collective faith has forged strong bonds, and together, we have embraced the spirit of unity and fellowship. Just as Jesus, the Messiah, never forgets His people, let us also cherish the ties that bind us as a community of believers.
In this season of celebration, may our awareness of God’s presence deepen, recognizing that He knows our needs even before we bring them to Him. As we navigate the challenges of life, Jesus, the perfect gentleman, beckons us to be conscious of Him, not imposing His will but offering His unwavering support.

Let us remember that, in the words of Isaiah, the Messiah was foretold centuries before His birth, and today, Jesus continues to be alive and present among us, especially in the Eucharist. Let our adoration be sincere and our hearts be filled with gratitude for the gift of His enduring presence.

As we join together in worship and celebration, let the echoes of the Christmas song resound in our hearts:

“Oh come, let us adore him. Oh, come, let us adore him. Oh come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.”

May the blessings of Christmas be upon you and your loved ones.

God bless you all,

Father Tony Fortman C.PP.S.

Pray Without Ceasing

December 17, 2023

Paul says, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophetic utterances.
Test everything; retain what is good.
Refrain from every kind of evil.”

It is hard to rejoice always. There are many things to be concerned about. There are many disappointments in this life. Paul says rejoice anyways. Then he tells us to pray without ceasing. Rejoicing all the time is not easy, now I have to pray all the time? But with God all things are possible. We are to refrain from every kind of evil. This is another difficulty. Because this may mean that we have to change our actions and speech.

Maybe that is why God calls us to pray always because prayer keeps us very aware of evil. Prayer enables us to rejoice when we are sad. Prayer changes our environment. Without prayer, we can’t continue to act like Christians. Yes, it does take work to be a Christian but we can do it with God’s grace.

Thank you and may God bless you,

Fr. Anthony Forman C.PP.S.

 

John the Baptist

December 10, 2023

In Mark’s gospel today, we see John the Baptist preparing the Way of the Lord. John was the voice and the voice only lasted so long. Jesus is the eternal word and the eternal word is for eternity. God‘s word never ends. The world may come to an end, but God‘s word will never end. John the Baptist was willing to do the will of Christ. The Blessed Virgin Mary was willing to do the will of Christ. You and I are called to do the will of Christ. 

John was an odd character. He dressed in camel skin and ate locusts and honey. He belonged to the tribe of the Essenes. You could say that they were a contemplative group of people. John was a contemplative, but then he went out into the world.

Prayer always leads us out into the world. As we see, the world can be a dangerous place. The world belongs to Satan. Jesus even says that. 

A fish gets caught by opening its mouth. John got caught by King Herrod because John opened up his mouth. Jesus calls us to open our mouths and proclaim His gospel even in a difficult world. 

John the Baptist would often say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” John was the forerunner. John was the bulldozer, making every mountain low. He was a bulldozer in his speech. He just spoke the truth and it was like a mountain coming down. 

Jesus, give us the courage to speak your word to the whole world.

God bless you all,

Fr. Tony Fortman, C.PP.S.

 

Fr. Tony is pictured commissioning Eucharistic Ministers at the Eucharistic Minister training that took place on Saturday, December 2, 2023. Our goal is to train more Eucharistic Ministers so that we may return to using both species (the Body and Blood) at all of our Masses. More sessions will be planned in the very near future. Look for updates in the bulletin. Thank you to all who attended.

Healing Souls in Advent

December 3, 2023

Today, we celebrate the beginning of Advent. It is a time to draw closer to the Lord and also to reflect on our own mortality and the anticipated second coming of Jesus. Let us dedicate extra time during Advent to prayer, focusing on our Lord Jesus and His mother.

December 3rd is also the feast day of Saint Francis Xavier, the patron saint of the Precious Blood Community. He was a Catholic Spanish missionary and co-founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. Born in Xavier, Spain, he was a companion of Ignatius of Loyola. As one of the first Jesuits, he took vows of poverty and chastity, leading extensive missionary efforts in Asia and early modern India. Francis Xavier was born in the year 1506 and lived to be about 46 years old.

Saint Gaspar del Buffalo aspired to be a Jesuit and a missionary worldwide. It appears that Gaspar admired and greatly respected Francis Xavier. Though Gaspar did not travel as extensively as Francis, he spent most of his life as a missionary within Rome.

We are called to extend the kingdom of God into the world. I believe that accomplishing Jesus’ mission does not require us to go very far. People worldwide hunger for the gospel message and sacraments. Both those in small rural communities and those in the city need the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.

There are various types of hunger, including the hunger for food, attention, and Jesus Christ and His Church. Gaspar shows us that we have to flourish wherever we are planted.

At Saint Joseph’s Church in downtown Dayton, we witness long lines of people seeking the sacrament of reconciliation. This is a gift our community provides. While not everyone desires reconciliation with Christ and His Church, our community, in communion with Christ, has the opportunity to heal souls—a mission given to us by Jesus.

With many tongues of the Precious Blood of Jesus, let us proclaim the message of reconciliation and healing.

God bless you all,

Fr. Tony Fortman, C.PP.S.

A Farewell from Deacon Andy

November 26, 2023

This week’s Pastor’s Desk features a reflection from Deacon Andy.

Farewell Reflection, Praise and Thanksgiving

At the close of each Sunday Mass, the Deacon gives the dismissal with these or similar words; “Go in Peace to Love and Serve the Lord”. These words are very appropriate for this is my final reflection in our Family of Parishes. For those who have not heard, I am retiring from the City of Huber Heights Fire Division and will be relocating to Vero Beach Florida. For those in the northern part of our Family of Parishes, I have been around for twenty plus years. You have watched my family grow from infants into adulthood and have seen me participate in various ministries leading up to my Ordination as a Deacon in 2010. For those downtown, I am a relatively new face, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the time I have spent with you.

First, I want to offer my most gracious praise to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the benefits bestowed upon me and my entire family. For the health and safety throughout my career and finally for my ministry in serving the people of God. I have been beyond blessed and “Thank You” seems so minimal, yet it is what God requested. Praising God for all he has provided for us to me is a must.

Secondly, I want to offer my thanks to all those who have assisted me in my faith journey. The Precious Blood Sisters and Priest have had a huge influence on my life and the Precious Blood Spirituality is in my heart and in my blood. The most Precious Body and Blood of Christ is the source and summit of who we are as members of the Body of Christ. Precious Blood Spirituality is who we are as the people of God and what each of us is called to be.

Next, I offer my heartfelt “Thanks” to all of you, our Parish of Families members. Your prayers, support and words of encouragement have helped me immensely. We are in a time of unprecedented changes and praying and talking with God is essential. I will continue to pray for you and ask you to continue to pray for all Religious and our Family of Parishes in this time of great change. Finally, I ask you to continue to live by the Dismissal at the end of Mass; “Go in Peace to Love and Serve the Lord.” Deacon Andy Rammel Formal Farewell @Precious Blood, Sunday, December 3 at the 8:30 am Mass Help us give Deacon Andy a fond farewell at the 8:30 am Mass at Precious Blood, Sunday, December 3. Thank you Deacon Andy!

Beyond Surface Beauty

November 19, 2023

In the first reading from Proverbs, we hear,

“When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, as an unfailing prize. She brings him good, and not evil,
all the days of her life.”

This is what we look for in a spouse. Beauty on the outside is not the main attractive attribute in a spouse. When looking for a spouse, it is important that the spouse loves Jesus. Does this prospective spouse want to have children? Does the person believe that celibacy is important until one has made a commitment in marriage? These questions have to be asked when dating a person.

Pray Together
The outside attractiveness of a person does not say everything about that person. One may be appealing to the eye, but where is their heart? If we read further in Proverbs, we hear, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but the woman that loves the Lord is to be praised at the city gates”.
Often times when I meet with couples for marriage prep, I talk about praying together as a couple. I know that some couples do not pray together. But the old saying is true, “A family that prays together stays together”. Does your family pray together? If not, why? Do they feel that prayer is a sign of weakness? Do you not have enough time to pray? Maybe look through the Gospel of Luke as we are closing in on Christmas. Luke’s Gospel is very descriptive. Maybe read a paragraph as a family each night. Maybe pray a decade of the rosary together. Just giving a little bit to God can matter.
Some people say my work is my prayer. So I do not have to take time to pray. I don’t believe that’s a good idea or a good way of thinking. You do have time to pray today. You can’t tell me that you don’t have three minutes a day to spend in quiet prayer. If you can’t spend time in prayer, then you’re too important or you think you’re too important. You can do nothing without God.

Thank you very much,
Fr. Anthony Fortman C.PP.S.

Wisdom is a Gift

November 12, 2023

In the first reading, we hear from wisdom. Often wisdom is referred to as a she. It is believed that King Solomon wrote that book in the Old Testament. Wisdom is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. We receive this gift at confirmation. We hear that a person cannot be held in esteem, unless they have wisdom. Wisdom is a gift from God and those who possess her are at peace. We hear that fear of the Lord is the first step to possessing wisdom. When I say fear of the Lord, I do not mean being afraid of God, but I mean listening to God and trying to follow his instruction.

In the gospel, we see the parable of the 10 virgins. Five are wise and five foolish. The foolish virgins did not bring enough oil for the evening, oil to keep their lamps lit. The wise virgins had enough oil for themselves only. The parable talks about being prepared for the bridegroom’s second coming or Jesus’ second coming into the world. The wisdom of God instructs us to be prepared.

I can remember when I was in Cub Scouts, it was drilled into us that we had to be prepared, prepared for camping trips by packing enough clothes and food and flashlights and matches; to be prepared for adverse situations.

We are told that Jesus will come again and that He will gather the wheat into His barn and that he will burn the weeds. The wheat are the followers of Christ. The barn is heaven. The weeds are the people who choose not to follow Christ and ignore His instruction. We can’t claim that we are naïve about this. So how do we prepare ourselves? We prepare ourselves first, by spending time in prayer with our God. Spending time in Scripture will allow us to know the game plan that God has for us. It will allow us to know what God expects of us. Jesus gives us His marching orders in the Scriptures. 

The gospel talks about Jesus judging us at the end of our life. We do not want Jesus to say, “I do not know you. You did not spend time with Me on earth. You had too many agendas that you had to carry out.” Let us make the most of our opportunities and spend time with our Lord in prayer and service to others. 

Thank you very much,

Fr. Anthony Fortman C.PP.S.

 

 

Representing Jesus

November 5, 2023

In the first reading today, we see that the priests are being warned by God. The priests are making distinctions among the people. They are not following the commandments. In the gospel, we see that Jesus is singling out the Pharisees. 
“They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.  All their works are performed to be seen. 
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. 
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.”
We Represent Jesus
I know being a priest means that I am held to a higher standard. That I must teach the gospel, even if people do not want to hear it. I know that I am not called to be everybody’s buddy. But that I have a mission to proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To also announce Jesus’s second coming. You all are called to be Jesus‘s disciples in the world. 
We will all be judged by Jesus at the end of this life. We are to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others. But we cannot be too narcissistic and to self comforting. We represent Jesus, we speak of Jesus in the world, and we are busy about the work of Jesus until his second coming or our own death. That is our role if you have been baptized. That is how we will be judged. At the end, there are three things, heaven, hell, and purgatory. Let us always keep our death in mind. 

To Our Departed
Let us also pray for those who have died. The dead rely upon our prayers, especially those in purgatory. They are begging for just one drop of your prayers. Do not deny them your intercession. Jesus, have mercy on all the dead. Jesus, please let us be with you in heaven for eternity. Our Lady of Fatima pray for us. Saint Joseph patron of the dying pray for us all you. Holy angels and saints of God pray for us.

Thank you,

Fr. Anthony Fortman C.PP.S.

We Take Care of Those in Need

October 29, 2023

In today’s first reading and the gospel, we see how important it is to take care of those in need. We are not to take advantage of outsiders. Being a Christian means that we take care of the hungry and those who are naked. We keep giving people chances. Being a Christian means that we forgive a lot. In the gospel, Jesus is being tested by the Pharisees.

A Pharisee asked Jesus,

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Are You Willing to Love Him?

Jesus is telling us to love Him. But how do we love Him?
We love Him by sacrificing our time and spending time with Him in prayer and reading scripture and praying the rosary and going to Mass. We also love Him by loving others. Our prayer time and serving others is all a sacrifice. Are we willing to do that?

  • Does your daily agenda involve charity towards God?
  • Does your daily agenda involve charity towards others?
  • Does your daily agenda involve just you?

The Blessed Virgin Mary tells us to pray the rosary if we want peace. She told that to the three shepherd children at Fatima. Peace is obtained by loving God and others.

Thank you very much,

Fr. Tony Fortman C.PP.S.

King of Kings

October 22, 2023

In today’s first reading, we see that God anoints King Cyrus and puts His power in King Cyrus. King Cyrus is a Persian and a pagan believer. But God will use King Cyrus to release the Jews from Babylon. King Cyrus will take over Babylon and allow the Jews to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.

God can use anyone He wants to do His will. God can even use unbelievers to accomplish tasks that need to be done.
In the gospel, Jesus tells His fellow Jews, to give to God what belongs to God and to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. There is a certain respect that we all must have for our government officials, King Cyrus, Caesar, and the President of the United States. God can use these leaders to bring peace to our lives and the world.

We must always remember though that Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We obey God‘s laws first. There’s a way we can do that and still live at peace with our current state of affairs in the world. There is a way to practice our Christian faith and still respect and be obedient citizens of the United States of America. 

We are told to pray for our leaders no matter who they are. The only thing that can keep us from praying for our leaders is our own pride. Even pagan kings can march in step with the Lord.

Beacons of Light Update
In the next couple weeks, we will be visited by the Catholic Leadership Institute. This institute was responsible for putting together the Disciple Makers Index. The questionnaire we filled out last year at this time. The questionnaire about Parish life. This institute will help our parish family keep in step with Beacons of Light. As you know, the Beacons of Light was promulgated by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Beacons of Light is meant to gather parish families and create unity between them. We are the St. Gaspar Family of Parishes. The Beacons of Light is a process where we will slowly come together creating one parish council and one finance council among the six parishes in our family. Please pray for the continued success of Beacons of Light.

Thank you very much,

Fr. Tony Fortman C.PP.S.

Many Are Called

October 15, 2023

In today’s gospel reading from Matthew, we see that Jesus tells us that many are invited, but few are chosen. Jesus uses the parable of a big wedding banquet. Many people are invited, but they choose to ignore the invitation. So, God goes out into the street and invites the poor and the good and the bad alike into the wedding banquet hall. The hall is full.

Jesus never shows any partiality when it comes to being his followers. If you are willing to follow Jesus in his commands, then you can be his disciple. He expects much from his disciples, and he expects very little from those who do not want to follow him.

This reading from Matthew points to the wedding feast in heaven. Many are called to be a part of Jesus’ ministry here on earth, then experience the joy of eternal life. It is easy to say, “Jesus, I will accept your invitation and follow you my whole life,” until the difficulties come, until being associated with Jesus and his teachings brings punishment from the world. We have to understand that the world is not in agreement with Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus’ ways are not our ways, and Jesus’ thoughts are not our thoughts.

So, what will it be? Will we be committed to the Messiah and His mission, or will we make excuses for why we can’t follow Him?

Let us pray for each other as the St. Gaspar family of Parishes. It’s very important that our souls are united with each other, that we sacrifice time in prayer for one another. God will see our sacrifices and help us grow together. Thanks for your support.

Thank you very much,

Fr. Tony Fortman C.PP.S.

 

Don't Forget to Ask for Help

October 8, 2023

Padre Pio tells us to pray, hope, and don’t worry, to make our requests known to the Lord. Sometimes people think, “I have to figure my way out of this situation.” It is true that God gives you knowledge, right judgment, and wisdom in your decision making. But don’t forget to ask for God’s help. Take one minute and say, “God, please give me the insight to do what is right. God, lead me, guide me, and let your will be known to me through other people.” God speaks to us through other people, our own thoughts, and our dreams when we sleep.

By Prayer and Petition
We hear in today’s second reading from Philippians:
“Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Give Thanks to God
After you have prayed, give thanks to the Lord. Thank Him for listening to your prayer. Thank Him for answering your prayer. Sometimes unanswered prayers are an answer to prayer. We have to give God time to move people’s hearts, to test people, and to reveal His will to people and ourselves. This does not always happen overnight. God hears you. Never doubt whether God is listening to you or not. Your speaking to God is not in vain. Be patient with the Lord as He is patient with you. Also, we remember the Blessed Virgin Mary. This past week, we celebrated the rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Don’t be afraid to use that rosary. It is an oldie but a goodie. It is just like the old antibiotic, amoxicillin. It still works.

Thank you very much,

Fr. Tony Fortman C.PP.S.

Speak the Truth

October 1, 2023

In Matthew’s Gospel, we see an example of how important it is to keep your word. We see two sons. One son says that he will go into his father’s vineyard and work but doesn’t. The other son says he won’t go into the vineyard but then does go into the vineyard and works.

The Pharisees promised to do God’s will but do not do it. Tax collectors and prostitutes forsake the Lord for their own pleasure but then choose to follow the Lord. Which, in your opinion, did God’s will?

God wants our heart. He wants all of us. He does not want a half-hearted servant. I know it’s hard to follow Jesus. He demands much from His disciples, but His way is the way of peace. A peace in which the world cannot give. Pharisees time and again saw Jesus perform miracles but were not moved to repentance. Tax collectors and prostitutes saw Jesus’ miracles and were moved to repentance. Which, in your opinion, will receive God’s peace?

In today’s first reading, Ezekiel is called to speak to the lost house of Israel. He has a difficult job and will be met with much resistance. At the beginning of the book of Ezekiel, God promises to protect Ezekiel. Ezekiel will point out the sins of Israel and move some to repentance.

Ezekiel and Jesus say many difficult things to people in the world. They need to speak the truth. You and I need to follow their example. We need to say hard things. We need to spread the Gospel. We need to spread our Catholic faith and not apologize for it. Ezekiel was told not to worry about people’s reactions. Just speak to the people.

You and I are called to just speak to the people in the world. Whether they accept us or not doesn’t matter. Just speak the truth of your Catholic faith and the Gospel. If not now, when? When will it be the right time to speak the truth of the Gospel or your Catholic faith? Sometimes we hold back too much. When the iron is hot, we need to strike.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Tony Fortman C.PP.S.

Be Open to God's Ways

September 24, 2023

“Seek the LORD while He may be found; call him while He is near. Let the scoundrel forsake His way, and the wicked His thoughts; let him turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are My ways above your ways, and My thoughts above your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:6-9, NIV)

Let Go of Pride
Isaiah is telling us that we are dependent on the Lord. We need His mercy. We need to be in the right relationship with Him. If we are not, we are lost. The Lord is generous and forgiving. That gives us great consolation. First, we must acknowledge that we need the Lord and His mercy. Then, we also need to realize that His thoughts can give us direction. His thoughts are above our thoughts. Does that make you upset when I say that? We have to be willing to let go of our pride and realize that God has great plans. Do we want to be a part of those plans, or do we just want to do our own thing?


Be Open to God’s Ways
At times, I think others get tired of our thoughts. People want to be enlightened by the Lord, and that means that we have to let go of our pride and be willing to be open to God’s ways and thoughts. This is a dying to self that I am suggesting. Are you up for that, or do you want to keep living in the world that you make? The world that you imagine?

God bless you all,

Fr. Anthony Fortman
C.PP.S.

Fr. Tony Returns to the Pastor's Desk

September 17, 2023

Thank You from Fr. Tony

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and cards over the past month. You all have been such a blessing. I know that my healing is dependent on your prayers. I have about two more weeks of healing to go. But even after that, I have to be careful about what I do. I am slowly making my way back into Parish life. God has truly spoken to me over this past month. He’s told me that I need to have a consistent prayer life and I need to exercise a little bit each day. Just like Fr. Seraphine. So the surgery was a blessing. I needed to slow down in order to listen to God. God bless you all. Our Lady of Good counsel, St. Joseph, and the angels and saints of God, pray for us. 

“Wrath and anger are hateful things,
yet the sinner hugs them tight.
The vengeful will suffer the LORD’s vengeance,
for He remembers their sins in detail.
Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then, when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.”

One of the seven deadly sins is anger. We see Jesus getting angry when He overturns the moneychangers’ tables in the temple. You can say that was a righteous anger. But there is anger provoked by jealousy, envy, and selfishness. At the end of each day, we have to examine our behavior and conscience. You can do this during evening prayer. Many times, others will not tell us that our behavior is misled. So we have to be accountable for ourselves.

I have found the rosary as a means of peace and setting my behavior in the right direction. Just contemplating on the mysteries of the rosary can help you reflect on your own life. The Blessed Virgin Mary knew what she was doing when she gave the rosary to Saint Dominic.

There are times when we are not treated fairly by others. We can then either take vengeance on the other or forgive them. I do not believe in the old adage, “forgive and forget.” You cannot forget. You are not to let other people run over you. You can forgive another, but be very careful around them. They may want to hurt you again, so be cautious but be merciful. You will be able to tell when someone is sorry for their sins or actions against you.

Fr. Anthony Fortman C.PP.S.

Speaking Up

September 10, 2023

While Fr. Tony continues to recover, we express our gratitude for the presence of our Parochial Vicar, Fr. Jim Gaynor, who will be sharing a reflection with us today:

“Speak up! Ezekiel, in the first reading, was told by God, ‘You shall warn them for me.”The Apostles are told by Jesus, in today’s Gospel reading, ‘If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault.’ Some of us are more naturally gifted with the ability to speak up. Persons with a booming voice, a pleasant tone, a winning smile, and an attractive personality are naturally more inclined to speak up and also to be heard. Examples of these gifted people include Pope Francis, Bishop Barron, a religious woman like Dorothy Stang, or a lay Catholic like Clay Mathile.

They were anointed with the Sacred Chrism in their baptism as prophets and exercise their prophetic responsibility by speaking up and being heard. But those of us with a less booming voice, a less pleasant tone, or a less winning personality were also anointed with the same Chrism and are called to be prophetic in our lives. Our way of speaking up may consist of supporting those with more gifted voices and personalities. Our way of speaking up may be less vocal and more through the written word or through our good example of a way of life. However, all Christians are called to speak up in favor of the truth and what is morally correct, both in words and deeds.

Where Two Or Three Are Gathered

This brings us to the words of Jesus: ‘Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.’ Some are criticizing Pope Francis for the Synod of Synodality. The secret to synodality working correctly is being gathered in the name of Jesus. He is the criterion. We are not gathered to make more money or to demonstrate power. We are gathered to make the kingdom of the love of God present. We are the products of His love. We are to be instruments through which His love is experienced.

Fr. Jim Gaynor, C.PP.S.

 

Being True to Our Faith

September 3, 2023

How dedicated are we to our faith and to living in a Christ like way?  

We find in Mathhew´s Gospel indications that Jesus knew God the Father´s plan for the humanity he had created.  It was to be:

A brotherly humanity, but Jesus found people going to worship in the temple angry and vengeful and he teaches: if you bring your gift to the altar and there recall that your brother has something against you, go first to be reconciled to your brother and then offer your gift. (Mt. 5,21)

It was to be a humanity faithful to it´s word, but Jesus found men dismissing a wife and taking another and he says clearly that is adultery and wrong.    When you mean yes, say yes and when no you say no.    (Mt. 5,31-37). 

It was to be a humanity created in the image and likeness of God the Father, but he found people seeking to return injury for injury, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and he says: your heavenly Father caused the sun to rise on the bad and the good, he rains on the just and unjust. My commandment is love your enemies (Mt. 5, 43)

It was to be a humanity always thankful and attentive to their creator, dedicating space and time to him.  In contrast, Jesus found that space which was the temple of Jerusalem dedicated to money changing and selling and buying of animals.  He entered the temple and drove out all those engaged in buying and selling. (Mt. 21,12) 

To what extent would Jesus go to rectify humanity.  In today´s part of Matthew´s Gospel he began to show his disciples that: he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests and scribes and be killed and on the third day be raised.  (Mt.16,21).  

Where must we go today, being true to our faith and to Christian living?   We must respect life and promote respect for life, even though it might be going contrary to the political winds of our time. 

Fr. Jim Gaynor, C.PP.S.

Parochial Vicar

St.Gaspar Family of Parishes

 

 

Who is the Son of Man?

August 27, 2023

This Sunday our Pastor’s Desk is written by one of our Parochial Vicars, Fr. James “Santiago” Gaynor. Fr. Gaynor joined us in July of this year.

Who is the Son of Man?
Who is the Son of Man. Our fathers are men and we are their sons, so are we son of man? No. In using this term in his question in the Gospel of today, Jesus is not referring to our sonship, but to “One like a Son of Man, coming on the clouds of heaven”. We need to go back to the origin of this biblical term: “Son of Man”, in chapter 7 of the book of Daniel. In a nighttime vision, Daniel sees “One like a Son of Man, coming on the clouds of heaven; …He received dominion, glory and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him”. Jesus is referring to Himself who comes from heaven but through the virgin Mary has also the likeness of a son of man. His mission is to bring all nations and people together.
Peter in answering Jesus´ question, with “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God” is recognizing that Jesus is the person-Messiah, for whom people of faith have waited centuries.

Understanding the Ramifications
Peter did not understand all of the ramifications of his answer: that Jesus was going to offer Himself as a redemption for all of humanity. He did not understand that Jesus would pass through death and change death into new life. He did not grasp that until he saw Jesus, several days later, risen from the dead.

Receiving the Gift
When we receive Jesus in Holy Communion we are receiving that One like a Son of Man coming on the clouds. What a mystery. We receive in sacramental form God himself, made man. The minister of Holy Communion shows us the consecrated host and wine and says to us: the Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ. We say Amen, yes, this is the Body of Christ. Amen: yes, this is the Blood of Christ. We hear that 50% of those who pretend to be Catholic, don´t believe that Communion really is the Body and Blood of Christ. What a disappointment! What a loss! But for us who have received the gift of faith, what an honor. We are receiving this same one like a Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven.

Fr. Jim Gaynor, C.PP.S

Parochial Vicar

St. Gaspar Family  of Parishes

Unwavering Faith

August 18, 2023

In the gospel today, we see a Canaanite woman approaching Jesus. This woman has a daughter that was tormented by a demon. The apostles urge Jesus to send her away. Jesus tells the Canaanite woman that He was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He was not sent to her and her daughter. But the woman pleads with Jesus and asks for a little scrap of blessing from Him. Jesus is impressed with this Canaanite woman’s faith. Jesus expels the demon from her daughter.

During Jesus‘ time some people were not allowed to interact with each other. The Canaanite woman and the Samaritan woman are examples of Jewish people staying away from other tribes.

I believe Jesus is testing this Canaanite woman. She continually pleads with the Lord, asking for her daughter’s healing. You and I must continually ask God for healing and help. Even when we don’t get what we want, we still should continually ask. We can also ask ourselves, “Is our request good for us or bad for us?” Our request may be good for us but the vision has its time and God may be working behind the scenes to create a better situation for you and I. We just have to be still and be patient and know that God hears our request.

Patience and Belief

The Lord can move mountains and he can make the impossible possible. If we just believe Him. Jesus I trust in you. So be persistent in your prayers. Do not stop now, you’ve come too far. This waiting builds our faith. As we wait, let us see and appreciate all the miracles God has set before us.

Thank you very much,

Fr. Tony Fortman, C.PP.S.

The Transfiguration

August 6, 2023
The Transfiguration

Today we celebrate the Transfiguration of the Lord. Jesus brought Peter, James, and John up to Mount Tabor. As they were on the mountain, Jesus was lifted up in the air, and He was speaking to Moses and Elijah. Jesus is clothed in dazzling white. Peter, James, and John are witnessing this whole magnificent event. These apostles want to build three tents as a memorial. One for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.

This transfiguration was meant to transfigure the hearts of Peter, James, and John. To give them a lasting memory of the beauty and glory of the next life. Although we are unable to see what is happening in the next life, there is a whole spiritual realm that is happening around us. There are angels all around us. You have a guardian angel. There is also evil around us. We can see the good and the evil in people’s reactions and words.

Take Time for Prayer

Today’s transfiguration is meant for us also. We are to be aware of the next life waiting for us. A life of peace, a life of beauty, and a life of joy. We can enter that world each day by taking time for prayer. These are respites for you and me to take advantage of.

Jesus took time to pray. He would often go off by Himself to enter into communion with His heavenly Father. Even Jesus needed to escape the world at times. Please take the time to enjoy your summer and time of prayer.

Thank you very much,

Fr. Tony Fortman, C.PP.S.

A Treasure Buried in a Field

July 30, 2023
Solomon’s Wisdom

In the first reading from first kings, we see that Solomon asked for wisdom. He could’ve asked for many things, such as a long life, the life of his enemies, and the life of riches. This shows a dependence on God and the willingness to be led by God’s understanding. This pleased God. Even up to today, no one has ever had the wisdom of Solomon.

But as Solomon’s life unfolded, he gave into pagan worship, and he married many wives. He gives into the world. He starts out great, but he ends up in a bad place at the end of his life. He does not repent.

In the gospel, Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is like a treasure buried in the field or a fine pearl. God’s word and our faith are very valuable and to be protected. Our faith is to be shared with others. It is not to be hidden because we may worry about what other people think. Many Christian Martyrs gave their life by sharing their faith.

Repentence

You and I have not finished our lives. We may be doing pretty good now in our faith life, but that is not the end of our story. Repentance is so important for the Christian life. We see Judas Iscariot not repenting. We see King Saul not repenting. We see Solomon not repenting. Their lives end terribly because of their pride and a lack of willingness to repent. You and I are humans; we are weak, vulnerable, and sinners. This means that we need God’s mercy. We can’t earn it. Our pride can keep us from God‘s mercy. Our pride could keep us from going to confession. We may say, “ I have too many things to do today, so I can’t go to confession. I can’t make time for God, or I will get behind.” Please take the opportunity to go to confession at our different parishes. This sacrament allows us to draw closer to Christ and his merciful heart. As long as we keep our eyes on Christ, we will not sink in the water. Keep your eyes on the prize and hold on.

Thank you very much,

Fr. Tony Fortman, C.PP.S.