Now Is The Time! An Essay on “Keeping Holy The Sabbath”

“Now Is The Time! Come Back to Church.” This was the theme last Sunday for National Back to Church Sunday where churches of all types came together to invite everyone in America back to church. Across the nation, over 30,000 churches prepared a special service to invite and attract new visitors. More information can be found at http://bluewaterchurch.org.

What does National Back to Church Sunday teach us? It teaches us the importance of coming to church once per week and therefore to “Keep Holy the Sabbath” which is rooted in the Decalogue – The third commandment given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 20:8-11, 31:14-15; Dt. 5:12-15). Attending Mass teaches us to worship God – to give God His due, which is a form of justice. Coming to church teaches us the importance of our relationship with God and others in our community. Do we want that? Do we desire to come to Mass every Sunday, to keep Holy Sabbath? If yes, great! If not, why not? Hopefully, we can spend some prayerful time this week talking to God in order to deepen our relationships so that those important questions can be answered favorably.

While Sundays are considered to be the Lord’s Day or the Sabbath, the Church has made it easier for us to honor God and rest with the option to attend Saturday evening Mass known as a Vigil Mass. Unfortunately, it has become common in recent years for companies to mandate their employees to work weekends (and weekdays), which would prevent people from coming to church. This reminds me of the passages in the book of Exodus of how Pharaoh would not allow Moses, Aaron, and the Israelites to go off in the wilderness to worship God (Ex. 5:1-4, 8:16-28, 9:13-35). Though I understand people may need to work weekends to put food on the table and pay bills because there aren’t a lot of choices, yet how sad and what a shame it still is that some employers ask their employees to work seven days per week, which is wrong. But if you work weekends, then take your day off during the week and “Keep Holy The Sabbath” that way.

What does the term “Keep Holy The Sabbath” mean? It not only means to go to church one day per week to pray with a community. But it also means to have some Rest and Relaxation (R & R). It means to enjoy a leisure activity, something you enjoy doing like riding a bike or going for a walk but are unable to do so during the busy work week. It means taking some time to spend with your family and friends, away from the high-tech gadgets that can enslave our lives so as to refresh ourselves for a new week. Above all, it means taking some time to worship God and give Him praise. In that case it means at the minimum by taking an hour +/- of your time to spend with like-minded believers to thank God for this past week’s blessings. Jesus said “could you not keep watch with me for one hour” (Mt. 26:40, Mk. 14:37)? Could we not give God just one hour out of 168 hours during the week? That’s not asking too much. Is it? That’s .0059 or 0.6% of our time for God during the week, and yet He blesses us with so much. At the very least we can give back to Him one hour or about half of one percent of our time. St. (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta, canonized a saint at the beginning of this month, once said, “if you are too busy to pray, then you are too busy.” Are we too busy with sports or other events to come to church? What’s our excuse? What’s holding us back from “Keeping Holy The Sabbath?”

Imagine what would happen to people if they knew they were going to die by not attending church on Sunday. Churches would be packed out the door. What would happen to people if they were going to die for working on Sunday? Most, if not all places, would be closed for business. What’s interesting is that in the Jewish Law, one could be put to death by stoning for exactly that – for working on the Sabbath (Ex. 31:14-15, Num. 15:32-36). At the present time, so much work is currently being done on Saturdays and Sundays. How far have we strayed from resting on the Sabbath (Ex. 31:15)? Generally speaking, I think it is safe to say that we are a workaholic society.

According to an ABC News article, “Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world. More than the English, more than the French, way more than the Germans or Norwegians. Even, recently, more than the Japanese. And Americans take less vacation, work longer days, and retire later, too” (Article Source: “Americans Work More Than Anyone,” http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93364&page=1).

Specifically, how much more do Americans work than other countries? Americans work an average of 34.4 hours a week, longer than their counterparts in the world’s largest economies:
Australia: 32.4 hrs/wk, Sweden: 31.2 hrs/wk, Switzerland: 31.1 hrs/wk, Austria: 30.3 hrs/wk, Ireland: 29.4 hrs./wk., Luxembourg: 29 hrs/wk, Denmark: 27.5 hrs/wk, Norway: 27.3 hrs/wk, and the Netherlands: 26.6 hrs/wk (Source: http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/09/news/economy/americans-work-bush/).

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) on an annual basis, “Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers.” This excessive workload has changed how the traditional family functions, not to mention the negative effects on the family too. According to the Center for American Progress on the topic of work and family life balance, “in 1960, only 20 percent of mothers worked. Today, 70 percent of American children live in households where all adults are employed.” I don’t care who stays home and who works in terms of gender (work opportunity equality for all – it’s a family choice). Either way, when all adults are working (single or with a partner), that’s a huge hit to the American family and free-time in the American household” (Source: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/labor/report/2010/01/25/7194/the-three-faces-of-work-family-conflict/).

If many in America are overworked, which includes working on the Sabbath, then there is not only unnecessary stress on the body and mind, but there is also a lack of productivity. “Working more than 50 hours per work week makes you less productive” says CNBC (Source: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/01/26/working-more-than-50-hours-makes-you-less-productive.html).

When one overworks, productivity declines, and income is lost too. In the article, “‘Americans Are Costing Themselves Billions Of Dollars By Working Too Hard,’ The study, paid for by the US Travel Association and conducted by Oxford Economics, finds that American workers lost a staggering $52.4 billion due to unused vacation time in 2013…That’s an average of $504 per worker, all because people are worried what will happen if they take time off. The study found that if workers were to go back to taking 20 vacation days a year, they would add $284 billion to the US economy, including $118 billion in direct travel spending and another $166 billion spent in other places like restaurants and retail shops” (Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/americans-losing-themselves-billions-by-working-too-hard-2014-10).

It is so important not to overwork oneself from a physical standpoint but also to avoid work on the Sabbath from a spiritual standpoint. The first precept or general rule of our faith states: “You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.” This “requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the Mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days” (Catechism 2042). What is servile labor? All unnecessary work, which requires labor of the body rather than the mind, is a form of servile labour and is contrary to “Keeping Holy The Sabbath.” However, servile work is allowed on Sunday when the honor of God, our own need, or that of our neighbor requires it (Catechism 2184-2188).

As a priest who works on Sundays, I know in my own life I need to do a better job of avoiding any unnecessary work not on Sundays, of course, but on my day off 🙂 Let’s all continue to improve and keep in mind that to “Keep Holy The Sabbath,” on either Saturdays, Sundays, or a day during the week (for those of you who work weekends) means to worship God at church with a community. God asks very little of our time; only one hour per week. Let’s go! Now is the time! Come back to church!

In The Spirit of Striving with God’s Grace to Keep Holy The Sabbath,
Fr. Jeff

Resources:
Scripture: Gen. 2:2, Ex. 20:8-11, 31:14-15; Dt. 5:12-15
Catechism: 2041-2043, CCC 2168 – 2188

Religious Formation News – October 2, 2016

Peace be with you!! The Religious Formation year is off to a GREAT start and it is a busy and blessed time of year.
growing faith
We are blessed with the amount of people seeking to know Jesus better!!

Our RCIA is off to a wonderful start and the adults who come forward wanting to know more about becoming a Catholic Christian bless us with their thirst for what is truth!!

The Monday night (6:30pm – 8:30pm) and Thursday afternoon (12:30pm – 2:30pm) program is for non Catholics discerning becoming a member of the Catholic faith….also for Christians (baptized in another Christian denomination) seeking to become Catholic and for those who are Catholic but have missed out on formation and their Sacraments of Initiation (Eucharist and Confirmation)!! Call if you want to join!! We all meet together and then divide into the above groups for formation and sharing! I guess we could rename this program RCIA/ADULT CC (Commitment and Completion into the Catholic church!!) 🙂

The children are eager to reconnect with their church friends and their smiling faces are a blessing to all who work in the Kid’s Faith Formation program. After some juggling we have catechist to cover Kindergarten through Confirmation. This program runs on Wednesday evenings from 6:00pm – 7:15pm for K thru 6th and 7:00pm – 8:15pm for Confirmation level I and II (7th, 8th and 9th grades)!! Call if you haven’t signed your child up yet!!!

Stepping Up to Jesus – is for children who like on Monday nights are coming into the faith or “catching” up in their Sacraments. Do you have children who fit here? Call me if you do!!

We are looking forward to our two adult formation upcoming events!!

Mark your calendars for Distinguished Speaker Fr. Ben Luedtke on October 27th. In conjunction with St. Mary’s parish this will be offered at their church beginning at 7:00pm @ 1505 Ballentine Street! This is a free will offering event.

On November 7th , Chris Gawel from the AOD will present a two hour Catechist Formation topic for any adult on Forming a Christian Community!! The topic will be held in St. Stephen School Room 102 for anyone wishing to learn more!!

If you are in need of Protecting God’s Children, there is a workshop on October 3rd at St. Mary Church in Port Huron. Call 810-982-7906 to register.

God bless your autumn days with many crisp cool mornings and sunny days!

Peace, Karen Clor – DRE 810-985-9069 or moc.o1501180994ohay@1501180994erneh1501180994petst1501180994s1501180994

Lay Apostles of Christ the Returning King

A quote from St. Faustina in the Heaven Speaks to Those Who Struggle to Forgive;
“What does forgiveness bring? I will tell you. Forgiveness brings peace. Forgiveness brings self-acceptance because you are able to say, “Yes, this bad thing happened to me. Yes, it was hurtful and I suffered pain because of it. Then you stop and say, “No. I will not allow this injury to suffocate the goodness in me. No, I will not allow it to divert me from God’s will in my life. I will not behave badly because someone else has behaved badly”. You know that it is not Jesus who advises you to hold on to anger. It is His enemy, who is also your enemy.”
Join us each first Thursday of the month to pray the Luminous Mysteries at 6:30 in the St. Stephen’s Chapel. Help yourself to the books and booklets in the back of each church.
Bernie and Laurie Howard

Distinguished Speaker Series 2016

Fr. Ben Luedtke
“Mercy & Grace in Our Daily Lives”

Thursday, October 27, 2016, 7p.m.
St. Mary Church, Port Huron Michigan

Father Ben Luedtke was ordained by Pope John Paul II in Rome. Fr. Luedtke was Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s special priest and was often her personal driver in Rome. Fr. Ben is a very sought after speaker, spiritual director and confessor, and is a missionary priest who has worked on three continents. Formerly working in the theatrical field, Father credits the Blessed Mother for his conversion and priesthood.

Public Welcome! For information call: St. Mary Parish 810-982-7906 or Holy Trinity Parish 810-984-2689. Admission: Free Will Offering at the door.

10th Annual Rosary Rally

hands holding rosaryPlease join the Legion of Mary for this special Rosary Marathon at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament on Sunday, October 16, 2016. Rosary begins at 1:30 p.m. Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m.
A Holy Mass with Fr. Gonyeau at 4 p.m. will follow with refreshments afterwards.
See Legionofmarymichigan.org website for detailed information.

The Adrian Dominican Sisters Invite the Public to Communal Contemplative Prayer

8 for 8The Leadership Council invites you to a Congregation-wide contemplative action each Tuesday between September 20 and November 8. Please join in setting the intention that the common good of people and planet rises as a central concern for voters and candidates during the upcoming U.S. national elections.

Begin by setting the intention with the communal prayer and then hold during eight minutes of contemplative silence. You may join the Motherhouse community in this contemplative action at 3:55 p.m. or at any other time on Tuesdays.

“O Holy Mystery, we live in a time of peril and promise. We ask that You infuse each of us, voters and candidates for elected office, with a longing for peace and the common good of all your people and creation. Rooted in the Gospel, with this intention deep in our hearts, we place our trust in You, O Holy Mystery, and in the power of our communal prayer. Amen.

Knights of Columbus – October 2, 2016

K of C logoKnights of Columbus
Msgr. E.J. McCormick Council 521

Congratulations to the following Knights and families.

August 2016

Knight of the Month Gordie Clor repairing the bells at St. Stephens. Thank You Gordie

Family of the Month George and Fran Jackson for helping with the K of C Rockin the Rivers and the St. Vincent De Paul Golf Outing. Great Job George and Fran!

God Bless Vivat Jesus!

The Knights of Columbus council 521 supports Holy Trinity Parish and we could use help and more participation. Catholic men over 18 years of age, please consider joining the Knights council 521. Help out your local Parish and community in a church organization.

Call or email membership director
Rick Janderwski 810-650-2305
email ten.t1501180994sacmo1501180994c@iks1501180994wredn1501180994ajr1501180994

Annual “Right to Life” Layette 2016

We will be holding our Annual “Right to Life” Layette for the Blue Water Pregnancy Center on October 8th & 9th, 15th & 16th, 22nd & 23rd, and 29th & 30th, 2016.

Needed:

  • Onesies—both boys and girls
  • Long sleeved winter tops
  • Short sleeved summer tops
  • Thermometers
  • First Aid Kits
  • Receiving Blankets
  • Crib sheets, crib mattress pads, crib covers
  • Diapers—Size 4 to 6
  • Wipes
  • Preemie Clothes

Please help to care for God’s Little Angels!

Christian Service Commission

Priestly Vocations October 2016

Priestly Vocations: Discernment Overnight
October 21-22, 2016
A Discernment Overnight offers a young high school man (Freshman-Junior in high school) a unique opportunity to experience the seminary and learn about the priesthood. There’s no better way to explore life in the seminary than hearing it from a current seminarian! You’ll experience engaging presentations, prayer, good food and recreation. There is also time for quiet reflection. Take the “leap of faith” and consider an Overnight visit at Sacred Heart Major Seminary so you can better discern your vocation. For more information or to register visit detroitpriest.com

Priestly Vocations: “The Watchmen” Regional Discernment Groups
South Region: October 16, 2016 @ 6 pm at Divine Child, Dearborn. Are you a man aged 16-55 who wants to actively discern your vocation as a Catholic priest? Or maybe you are interested in learning more about the priesthood and meeting people who are working toward that same goal. Regional Discernment groups meet bi-monthly for a time of prayer, presentations on discernment, food and fellowship. These groups are run by the AOD’s Regional Vocation Promoters. More information can be found at detroitpriest.com.

The Watchmen Regional Discernment Groups 2016-2017

AOD Northeast Region

Regional Discernment Groups are for men ages 16-55 who want to actively discern the call of the priesthood in their lives. These groups will meet for times of prayer, presentations on discernment, food and fellowship with other like-minded men. This group is facilitated by Fr. Jeff Allan, Regional Vocation Promoter and associate pastor at Holy Trinity Parish in Port Huron.

(To view the graphical PDF version of this post, click here.)

Sunday, November 13th, 7-8:30pm
Central Macomb Vicariate
Ss. Cyril and Methodius Parish
41233 Ryan Road
Sterling Heights, MI 48314

Sunday, January 15th, 7-8:30pm
North Macomb Vicariate
St. Isidore Parish
18201 23 Mile Road
Macomb Township, MI 48042

Sunday, March 5th, 7-8:30pm
Serf Vicariate
Our Lady Star of The Sea Parish
467 Fairford Road
Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236

* Note: Please RSVP to each event three days beforehand.
www.detroitpriest.com

Questions?
Contact: Fr. Jeff Allan 810-984-2689 ext 110
moc.l1501180994iamg@1501180994nalla1501180994ffejr1501180994f1501180994