Confession: A great Sacrament

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1 S pring 2012 Inside this issue: Father Message (cont.) Conestoga Church Parish Stresses Hospitality The Mass - God s Love Poem Youth Ministry 6 Living the Eucharist Guitar Ensemble 7 Stewardship Dinner Pics 8 Diocesan Courses Abortion 9 Digital Stations 10 Parish Census Seven Last Words 11 RE Teachers 12 Flaw of Pro- Choice Position Sat. Hospitality Eucharist Lenten Study S t. M a r y s F a m i l y N e w s Confession: A great Sacrament My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, The year was 1972, we stood in a chilly late winter line that inched forward on the sidewalk in front of the mysterious centuries-old rectory toward the tiny dark narthex of St. Patrick s Shrine Church in downtown Carlisle. We stood silently with our hands in prayer, palms pressed together and our fingers pointing heavenward, just as we were taught by our CCD teachers and Sister. I have no idea what was going Rev. Leo M. Goodman III through the other kids minds, but I know I was struggling to remember how many times I had not obeyed Mom and Dad, had not been nice to my brothers and sisters and had not remembered to feed my fish. The Bless me Father and Act of Contrition concerned me, but I was pretty sure I d remember them when the time came. Then, way too soon, I was in the church and ushered behind the heavy red velvet curtain. I stepped into the darkness of the confessional and knelt on the creaky wooden kneeler. I could faintly hear the mumbling of the person on the other side and then Father mumbling something back. Then came the sound of wood sliding on wood and a bang; again now closer I could hear wood sliding on wood and a bang right in front of my face. Faint light through a screen of metal and cloth and the outline of Father. It was my turn and so I began, Bless me Father for I have sinned. This is my first confession and these are my sins. Today I can t remember anything else, what I confessed, what Father said to me or what penance I was given to say. All I know is that I came out of the confessional feeling GREAT! In the ensuing years as I grew up, my parents took us to confession numerous times throughout the year; not just Advent and Lent but we d find ourselves lined up for confession every couple of months. When I went to college, I didn t maintain this same discipline. Still I knew that if I ever felt shame, started to lose focus or sensed that I was avoiding God, then it was time, time to seek out a priest for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and I did. After twenty years as a priest, I know that I still have this need, a need for God s mercy. So where do I go? I go to the sacrament that Christ has given to us, I turn to Msgr. Smith, Fr. Hohenwarter or any available priest to hear my confession. Through them I experience Christ s love and forgiveness. No, I don t remember what I ve said all those times nor do I remember what the priests have said to me over the years. But what I do remember, what I ll never forget is this leaving the sacrament, having been touched by the mercy and love of God, I always leave feeling great! Bishop Joseph P. McFadden requested that for Lent of 2012 we renew the quality (Continued on page 2)

2 (Father s Message Continued from page 1) of the encounter with the Lord in this sacrament so that it will be a true moment of conversion and lifechanging grace for the penitent. Back in February, we met with the Bishop to discuss just this how we could not only better dispose of ourselves in the administering of the sacrament but how we could better encourage and invite others to the celebration of this precious sacrament. And so we ve talked about it as a parish at different times throughout Lent and included inserts into the bulletin talking about it. Still, I lament the fact that so many do not experience this blessing. No doubt there are many reasons. Allow me to mention just two. First, I confess directly to God; why should I go to a priest? No doubt, it is only God who ultimately forgives sins. This was true in Jesus day, and people then knew that only God could forgive their sins. However, at the heart of Jesus ministry was the reconciling of sinners to the Father. And in great numbers people actually experienced in the flesh, at the moment Jesus proclaimed them forgiven, peace and joy. God wants us also to experience, not at the end of our lives or only in the doubt of our minds, but now the freedom of God s children truly set free from sin. What was at the heart of Jesus ministry must be at the heart of the Church s ministry for the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ in the world. This joy of freedom was not intended just for those alive during Jesus public ministry but is intended for all who live in the New Covenant. And so Jesus said to His apostles, the first Bishops, Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained. It is Christ alive and present, our high priest, who ministers to the penitent through His Bishops and priests. He wants us to experience in the flesh here and now the freedom that comes in Him. Through this sacrament Christ Himself ministers to us! P a g e 2 Second, people say, I don t like confessing aloud my sins to a priest; it s just too tough. I say, Yes; confession is the most difficult sacrament to come to, but it s also the most joyful one to leave. It s true. We want to be unconditionally loved, understood and accepted, but we often think, If people only knew what I did, what I said or what I think, they d never love me. That is exactly what the evil one wants us to believe, to believe we are unlovable. But that is a lie. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a reality check, a reminder that we are truly loved unconditionally. As difficult as it may be to expose ourselves by confessing our sins, it is here in the Sacrament that unconditional love reigns triumphant! God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Absolution, forgiveness, peace and joy it s what our hearts long for and what God gives us in the Sacrament. As St. Paul says, All this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. What a great sacrament we have been given! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His mercy endures forever. In Christ s Peace, To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner is you.

3 P a g e 3 Conestoga church just a memory now By Betty Anne O Brien On Saturday, January 14, the Lancaster Intelligencer/New Era ran an article entitled Pew doors a link to former Safe Harbor Catholic Church. Msgr. Youtz, pastor of St. John Neumann Church, and Fr. Leo were presented with a framed pew door from the Safe Harbor mission church by Ken Hoak, the curator of the Conestoga Area Historical Society Museum. St. Mary s was the church which supplied pastors for the Safe Harbor Mission Church. St. John Neumann visited this mission church on several occasions. The Conestoga Historical Society Museum, located at 51 Kendig Road, Conestoga, houses a display from the church, including a front door, a section of the floor, some pews, a window and an organ. The remaining 26 pew doors are for sale for $100 each. Proceeds will benefit the museum. To purchase one, call The museum is open to the public from 1:00-4:00 pm, Saturdays and Sundays, from late April to early December. This mission church, named St. Mary s Immaculate Conception, was organized in 1852 by the iron puddlers, employees of the Safe Harbor Iron Works. Many of the employees were Irish immigrants, escaping the potato famine in Ireland. Construction of the church began in Ruins of the old church Msgr. Youtz, Ken Boak, Father Leo. By all accounts it was a beautiful stone church. It was dedicated in 1857 by Bishop Neumann. The church prospered until about 1865, when the foundry closed after a flood wiped out the canal, which transported iron products, and the Catholic workers moved on. By 1897, the church was boarded up and soon lay in ruins. The Stations of the Cross from the church were restored and are at Lancaster Catholic High School. The walls were raised in 1995 by the order of the Diocese of Harrisburg. The consecrated stones from the walls were used to build a wall at the Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in Mechanicsburg. All that remains today at the site of this church is the cemetery and a stone monument, installed by the Diocese of Harrisburg, in memory of those who are buried there. The hollow reed By Don Peris During the Penitential season of Lent, parishioners were invited to carry a hollow reed as a reminder to empty ourselves of sin. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God fills this new-found emptiness with holiness, compassion, and a yearning to draw closer to Him. Through prayer, steadfast attendance at Mass, an honest evaluation of conscience, and the sacrament of Reconciliation, we arrived at Easter Sunday deeply prepared to share in the glory of Christ s Resurrection.

4 Parish stresses hospitality P a g e 4 by Terry Warco We all think of St. Mary s as a warm and welcoming parish, and indeed it is. During the last two years, the Parish Pastoral Council established goals designed to make St. Mary s an even more welcoming parish to visitors and long-time members. Last year the PPC helped establish the hospitality sessions held after the weekend Masses. The PPC sponsored and served the Ash Wednesday soup dinner following the 6:30 p.m. Mass. This year the PPC has been developing a hospitality handbook. In the next few months the PPC, through its Mission heads, will deliver to each ministry a presentation developed to remind us of the basics of hospitality. How do we welcome visitors? How do we start conversations with those with whom we have attended Mass for many years but do not know their names? Ministry leaders will be asked to share the presentation with members of their ministry. PPC members will be available to meet with the ministry leaders to discuss the presentation. We hope to have the presentation on St. Mary s Facebook and web pages. From time-to-time and by various media, the PPC will publish hospitality reminders. As a parish called to go forth and evangelize, we must be aware that each of us has a role to play in greeting and welcoming those we have never met and those we see each weekend. Hospitality is a strength of St. Mary s, a strength we want to continue to develop. VBS runs June By Marissa Schwartz Mark your calendars now for Vacation Bible School 2012 to be held June from 9 am-noon at St. Mary s. This year we will be soaring with the Sky VBS program, where we will learn that Everything is possible with God! This year the children will be learning some very personal lessons about their relationship with God: Trust in God no matter who you are, no matter where you are, and no matter what happens! We will also be helping the children embrace the richness of our Catholic faith through discussion on the sacraments, a daily Names of Mary trivia game, and a brand a new Saints Station where children will learn about a new saint each day and how he or she trusted in God. Registration will begin online through the parish website on April 1. All children currently in preschool (age 4) through Grade 5 are welcome. Please contact Marissa Schwartz at or for more information.

5 P a g e 5 The Mass: God's love poem By Joe Clupp If the Bible is God s love story to His people, then the Mass, as I consider it, is His love poem. With all of its rhythms and cadences, with the dialogues and music, with the incense and sounds the Mass is pure poetry. Poetry is not simply the telling of a story, but by its nature is something that is lived. It is something that we breathe in, to reach the depths of our souls, to move us. It surrounds and envelops us, and invites us to be participants. Perhaps that is why the initial reaction of some to the changes to the Mass was negative. I have grown up with this Mass. I have heard the prayers and songs and responses countless times. Though my first Missal was the Latin Missal (with the Latin on one side and the English translation on the other) I can recall reading the Eucharistic Prayers as a child and using slightly modified verses of those prayers in my own prayers at night before I went to bed ( Do not consider what I truly deserve but grant me your forgiveness. ). It was just a single verse from this poem but one that I made my own. And now you want to change the love poem!? Yet the Mass remains the same unbloody sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, the same Last Supper, and the same heavenly banquet of the Lamb. And perhaps now I need to think about what I am saying and re-read the revised Eucharistic prayers, and learn the new chants and dialogues. One example is the prayer Father Leo recites as he prepares the altar. It highlights our call to be good stewards. Blessed are you Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread (wine) we offer you: It reminds me as I prepare to receive the Eucharist at the banquet that ALL is gift. I can do nothing other than to offer back to Him, what He has first given to me in love, for I have nothing else. But stewardship needs to be more than a matter of accounting. Tithing and participation may be a way to measure stewardship, but when I fully grasp the love He has shown me, I cannot help but to respond in kind, by offering back to Him what He has already given to me. This love poem, the Mass, calls us to deeply breathe in its meaning, to allow it to reach more intimately into our souls and permit the new, yet ever unchanged, poetry to move us more closely to Him, to be united in love with Him, the Author of love Choir Gains a Young Member By Stephanie Sands Ask 14-year old Nolan Bitts why he joined the choir and he will answer, Mom thought it would help with my music stuff, so she signed me up. Moms are wise and this mom, Beth Bitts and her husband Mike, are also committed members of the choir and music ministry as well as other ministries at St. Mary s. Their oldest son, Nathan, is an altar server. Nolan has studied piano since age 6 and has a very good ear for music. He has performed in musicals in Ephrata and at music camps, including Beauty and the Beast; Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; Godspell Jr.; and Schoolhouse Rock among others. We welcome Nolan to the choir! Nolan Bitts

6 P a g e 6 Summer outreach camp Teens entering grades 7-12 are invited to participate in a work camp/fun camp July 23-27, Each morning campers break into small groups, each led by an adult, and go to the homes of needy and elderly parishioners. Volunteers help them with their needs: painting, yard work, cleaning, etc. Everyone then meets at a pavilion at Lancaster County Park to enjoy a brown bag lunch and free time. In the afternoon campers will divide into new groups and go to different agencies, such as Hope House, Water Street Rescue Mission, Crispus Attucks, Conestoga View, Mennonite Central Committee, Free Geek Penn, Schreiber Pediatrics, and Catholic Charities, where campers help in whatever ways are needed. Recreation possibilities include Lazer Dome, bowling, miniature golf, swimming and movie night. Cost is $70 per camper (scholarships available just ask), and camp meets 8:30 am to 8:30 pm, except on Wednesday, when it starts at noon. Contact Silvia Doe, or for more information. Registration form is available on the web: Sign up soon spaces are limited. Adults who love teens are also needed! Calling All Seniors! You and your parents are invited to a special luncheon to celebrate you! The date is Sunday, May 20, 2012 following the 11 am Mass. Reservations are required, so please let us know by May 6 if you plan to attend. Do you know a teen who is graduating from high school? Please call the church office so we can send them an invitation! Teens clean house Catholic Worker House is sparkling clean and more organized after several teens gathered there on Saturday afternoon, February 18, Volunteers cleaned windows, walls and venetian blinds, organized bookshelves and furniture, scrubbed the kitchen and weeded the gardens. Joe Dougherty, director of the home of hospitality on Vine Street, took time to talk to the kids about the Catholic Worker House and its founders, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. After some hard work the teens gathered in the school for a pizza supper and games. Fun in Philly The date is Sunday, June 3, 2012, and lots of surprises are planned. Please sign up in advance so we have enough transportation. Contact Silvia Doe, or for more information. This is open to students going into grades 7-12.

7 P a g e 7 Living the Eucharist A six-week course, Living the Eucharist, was held for teens on Sunday evenings which started on February 19. Teens benefited by sharing faith, friendship, and prayer, and through their own exploration of the Mass through videos and small-group discussions. The evening concluded with Lectio Divina, a slow, contemplative way of praying with the Scriptures. Prayers and Scripture were used from the Mass that would be celebrated the following Sunday, helping participants to feel more prepared and connected for that Mass. When Amberly Carter, a high school senior, was asked what she thought about Living the Eucharist, her response was, I like it! We talk about the sacraments, pray some of the prayers that will be in the up-coming Sunday Mass, and use Lectio Divina to pray the Gospel. It all helps me to see how everything is connected, and I feel more prepared for celebrating the Eucharist. Amber Olson, a sophomore, says, "I am enjoying learning new things about my faith. The program refers to the catechism quite often, which is very helpful. I also enjoy time for reflection in the chapel. It gives me a chance to focus on scripture and prayer." Living the Eucharist is a six week program that continues for three years during Lent. It has a component for teens, another one for adults, and one for families. It will hopefully be available to the entire parish next year. St. Mary's guitar ensemble By Don Peris St. Mary's Guitar Ensemble is an ever-growing group of primarily young musicians offering their God-given talents to the Lord by participating in the music ministry of the Mass. Here, in this photo, the guitar group, prepares for a recent 5:30 pm Mass. From Left to Right: Drew Peris, Zach Hagen, Karen Peris, Channing Dale, Anna Peris, Michael Spica, Mike Setlock, David Hinnenkamp, Margaret Dennis, Vincent Sexton, Joey Setlock and Ryan Kennedy

8 P a g e 8 A delicious thank-you dinner What were about 200 St. Mary s good stewards doing on Sunday afternoon, January 29? They were attending the annual Stewardship Party in the cafeteria where they were served a delicious International Dinner prepared by the staff. After being wined and dined, they all went up to the gym to top their meal off with dessert and to await the entertainment of the day. After listening to the staff s rendition of Stewardship Qualities, sung to the tune of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, we all sat back and enjoyed the hilarious antics of Jonathan Burns. Trish Frey and Clem Filippelli on the serving line; Don Peris and Silvia Doe helping Julia decide; Father Leo and Terry Warco discussing the future; Anne Barnes agrees with their plans; Joe Clupp is waiting for directions; Cathy Tomasichio and Millie Rodriguez having a great time; Andrew O Brien and his Grandmom O Brien

9 Learn your faith through diocesan courses P a g e 9 By Karen Morrisette The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines catechesis as the education of children, young people, and adults in the faith of the Church. A catechist is one who performs this ministry. The catechist must first seek the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus and from this loving knowledge of Christ springs the desire to proclaim Him. At the same time, the need to know this faith better makes itself felt (CCC ). The Diocese of Harrisburg offers courses for people with this desire to know their faith better. Courses are not just for those who wish to formally teach in a CCD program or school environment. The courses are for anyone interested in deepening their understanding of Scripture, theology, and authentic spirituality and developing skills and abilities in order to become more efficacious signs of Christ s presence among all of God s people. ( institute). The Diocese offers a variety of course programs at both basic and advanced levels, and participants are awarded a certificate at the end of each program. The Basic Catechetical Certificate includes introductory courses in Scripture, Prayer, Sacraments, Morality, and Catholic Doctrine. These courses provide the fundamental knowledge of our faith that maybe we don t remember too well from our own schooling or were just too young to fully comprehend. Wherever you re at in your faith journey, there s a course or seminar for you. Enrolling in a course is especially convenient now that many are offered in webinar. Instead of traveling to a course location, such as the Cardinal Keeler Center 50 minutes away in Harrisburg, you can take the course from the comfort of your own home. Log on to the link provided by the Diocese when you register, and you are part of the live class via computer. You can see the professor, comment, ask questions, and receive and hand in work just as if you were physically present in the classroom. Basic catechetical classes are just $25 for five 2-hour sessions. You can find out more information and/or register online at by clicking on Diocesan Institute on the menu on the left. Spring courses are coming to a close, but check back for summer and fall 2012 offerings and let s learn more about our Catholic faith together. Abortion: Contrary to human nature By Dr. Trevor Martenson I'm privileged to walk with many people through the ups and downs of life, and I m going to share a very powerful story one of my patients, John (not his real name) who gave me permission to recount his story today in the hope that it may help someone else. John, a highly educated, very engaging man in his mid-80s came to my office with a heartbreaking story that he has carried with him for over 40 years. John and his wife Mary were happily married and had two children. However, when she became pregnant for the third time, his wife was not sure she wanted another child but John insisted. A few years later, they experienced yet another unplanned pregnancy, but this (Continued on page 10)

10 Digital Stations of the Cross by Don Peris P a g e 10 This Lent, Stations of the Cross led by Father Leo, are available on our website, Facebook page and YouTube channel. The Way of the Cross is an excellent Lenten devotional that draws us closer to Jesus Christ. It is a beautiful devotion outside the season of Lent. Log on and consider sharing this with others in your online community. Photos: Anna Peris helps her Dad photograph each station for St. Mary's Virtual Stations of the Cross. (Abortion,Continued from page 9) time, John's wife was very adamant that she did not want a fourth child. Since John had pushed and gotten his way with their third child, he felt that he needed to respect his wife's wishes with this pregnancy. Thus, they both went together to a nearby state where abortion was legal. They first had to be evaluated by a psychiatrist to make sure they were making the decision in a sound frame of mind, and when the doctor asked if John had any objections, he shook his head "no. They proceeded with the operation. John describes the car ride home that day as the worst of his life with dead silence in the car. The horrible decision to have the abortion eventually led to the divorce of his marriage and the fragmentation of his family. When Mary was diagnosed with gynecologic cancer 25 years later, nothing John could say to her could convince her that her illness was not God's punishment to her for having the abortion. Many times abortion is couched in terms that it primarily only affects the woman. But with John's story and others like it, I would argue that abortion just doesn't affect women but men, other children, grandparents, etc.--just like divorce doesn't just affect the two spouses who are separating but everyone around them. Many pro-choice activists argue that guilt is due to the propaganda of the pro-life movement and archaic religious superstitions. But my patient s case begs to differ. John has an Ivy League education and spent his career in academia. He is an ordained minister in a denomination that supports legal abortion. He has had four decades to move past the immediate shock and grief of this incident. If anyone would be able to look at abortion from an objective, educated perspective, it would be John. Yet it haunts him so deeply that he is calling out for help in his doctor s office over 40 years later. There is a real reason why John and millions of others suffer from post-abortive stress syndrome. One of my favorite thinkers once wrote, Because there are certain truths built into the human condition, human flourishing depends upon living out those truths. Whether it is convenient or not, whether we like it or not, all of us know there is a moral reality. All of us know that certain things are good, and certain things are not. Deep in our hearts, all of us know the Golden Rule that we should do unto others as we would have done to us and no matter how much we rationalize, no matter how much we deny, no matter how much we resist, we can no more escape these laws than we can escape the laws of gravity. No individual, no family, and no society that accepts abortion can expect to flourish because the destruction of human life is fundamentally contrary to true human nature.

11 P a g e 11 P arish Census Baptisms Grace Christine Carney Natalie Ann Festa Juliette Anastasia Cummings Joseph Hollister IV Samuel Conner Patrick Alexxandra Mae Rada Lucille Jean Legere Matteo Pennino Dormer Joshua Matthew Bono Zianna Davynn Smith Liam Barry Lynch Austin Brian Carson Joseph Jonathan Lodato Evander Charles Nowak Isabella Mae Kiscaden Marriages M/M Douglas Forberger (Nancy J. Borden ) M/M Michael J. Ross (Jennifer A. Wilson) M/M Michael F. Degan (Rebecca J. Struble) M/M Matthew J. Carr (Jennifer Adair) M/M Sean P. Brennan (Lauren K. Sterkenberg) M/M Christopher D. Shehan (Megan T. Nugent) M/M Hjalmar P. Benson (Laura E. Conklin) Deaths Hetty E. Meck John L. Conroy Christine P. Everett Rita M. Vogt Joan K. Pindell Linda Starr Hanson Mary R. Fulton Joseph E. Clark Karen Lee Coyle Bernard F. Weigle New Parishioners Mrs. Laura McGowan M/M Sean Sabol Miss Marie Schlegel Mrs. Mary Matalon Miss Christelle Blaise Mr. John Dunn M/M Thomas Pivovarnik M/M David Linton Miss Katherine Cox M/M Samuel Marazzani Miss Shauna Palmer Seven Last Words of Jesus Parishioners who inspired us on Good Friday with their presentations of the Seven Last Words of Jesus. First Word: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:24) Edward Hayes Second Word: Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise. (Luke 23:43) Annie Ginder Third Word: Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother. (John 19:26-27) Julie Sacco Fourth Word: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46) Candace O Donnell Fifth Word: I thirst. (John 19:28) William Moody Sixth Word: It is finished. (John 19:30) James Longenecker Seventh Word: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46) Henrietta Thomas

12 Meet more teachers of religion By Anne Barnes P a g e 12 In the last newsletter, we introduced several wonderful volunteers who teach the primary grades in our Religious Education Program. In this edition, we introduce those who teach our elementary and junior high grades. Equally as talented as those who work with our younger students, these teachers generally have a larger class size and usually more challenging questions to answer. Third Grade Joan Valentin is the lead teacher in this grade. She and her husband have been in the parish for 23 years. Her daughter Andrea and her son Sam both went through the St. Mary s Religious Education program. Sam is her aide in class. This is his fourth year being an aide and he has been the aide for this group of children since they started with the program in Kindergarten. This is Joan s second tour as a Religious Education teacher. She taught sixth grade for 2 years about 10 years ago. She says teaches because, It is fun to interact with the children. This year Sam convinced me to teach. He hopes to be able to teach on his own when he turns 18. Joan has taught high school math in the Downingtown schools for 30 years. Fourth Grade Fran Dennis is also on her second tour as a Religious Education teacher. She and her husband Michael have been part of St. Mary's parish for almost 20 years. They have 2 children, Margaret (14) and Ben (12), who are also active in the parish. Fran teaches RE because, I always learn more about my faith, I enjoy working with children, I get to meet more people in our church and best of all, our daughter, Margaret, chose to work with me this year in CCD. Fran teaches first and second graders during the week, so she enjoys teaching fourth graders in CCD - it creates balance. When she first taught Religious Ed, she taught 2nd grade and was teaching 4th graders during the week. Fifth Grade Sean Francey Fran Dennis This is Sean Francey s first year teaching in the Religious Education Program at St. Mary s, but he isn t a stranger to teaching the Faith. He and his wife Nikki led a high school class where they lived in Wisconsin. He and Nikki have been in the parish for two years and have three very young children, not old enough to be in Religious Education. Their twin boys, Hamish and Atticus, are almost three and their youngest son, Graham, is not yet a year old. They moved here from Wisconsin two years ago so Sean could take a job as a product manager in an agricultural company here. Sean says he teaches Religious Education because, I love the Catholic Church, because I feel that teaching is an effective and rewarding way to change the world, and because I feel the world will be a better place if our children know more deeply their faith. (Continued on page 13)

13 P a g e 13 (Continued from page 12) Sixth Grade Tom Stianche teaches our sixth grade class which includes his youngest child, Sarina. He also has a seventh grader, Brian and two older boys. He has been in the parish for seven years, since he moved here from upstate New York to take a job in insurance. Tom started teaching in the program right after Brian received First Communion, first as a third grade teacher. This is his third year teaching sixth grade. Tom enjoys teaching because it gives him a special connection with his children when they are in his class. It s also a great way to share his deep faith. Seventh Grade Tom Stianche Barbie D Ercole and her husband Steve have been in the parish about eight years. They have three children, Brittany, Nick and Ally. Barbie has taught second and fourth grades. This is her first year teaching seventh grade, which includes her youngest daughter Ally. Outside of Religious Education, she also works at St. Mary s rectory. Barbie says, I have enjoyed teaching for several years most of all because I love children and I love passing the torch of our faith to the next generation. Barbie D Ercole Eighth Grade Heather Pasewicz is currently in her sixth year teaching Religious Education in the junior high program. Her oldest daughter, Gemma, is a member of her class this year. She and her husband Glenn have been members of St. Mary s for about 15 years, coming to the parish in In addition to Gemma, she has another daughter Ava, and a son, Adam in Religious Education. Outside of Religious Education she is a math and science teacher. Despite her 12 years of Catholic School education, Heather says, I teach Religious Ed because I want to deepen my understanding of the Church, and this is a very good way of forcing me to study each week. Heather Pasewicz

14 The flaw of the pro-choice position By Steve Sacco When social talk turns to issues of life, conception, abortion or birth control, we find lines not drawn in the sand but chiseled in concrete. Here we find little blurring of the lines between those who profess to be pro-life or pro-choice. Let there be no misunderstanding. I would be tagged, with the pro-life label, and typically disdained for this by my pro-choice friends. I read with both social and scientific interest the reports of crimes being regularly solved because tiny bits of tissue are discovered under the fingernails of, or a piece of hair or other biological matter is found proximate to a victim. This is possible because of our ability to read and understand DNA, and to know that all of who that unique person is, is present in the smallest bit of his or her physical being, even on a microscopic level. All of who that unique person is, is present at the moment that sperm meets egg. It is why biologists refer to that moment as conception, origination, or beginning. That point is not in dispute by any credible scientist, or politician. Our politicians and those who support them do argue the term viability, literally translated as the ability to live. They will ask you to believe that until a life is viable, by their arbitrary interpretation, it has no value and no rights. This is the philosophy that is flawed. P a g e 14 At hospitals you will see intervention at a heroic scale taking place on a person that has ceased being viable due to natural or accidental processes. Stories of persons technically dead and brought back to life by such intervention are common. Their potential viability is not in question. Their potential viability is not measured in any way. Yet in our litigious society, hospitals and practitioners can be and are regularly sued if someone feels there is evidence sufficient to support that the hospital or practitioners did not do enough or in some way erred to ensure the viability of their patient. Our same society, and in fact our government, in an unbelievable contradiction, will also sue a hospital or practitioner if they refuse to terminate a life, deemed by some to be unviable, because the practitioner s conscience tells them it is wrong. Even our president has made it clear that he believes abortion is appropriate because, as he himself explained it, he would not want to see his daughter punished with a baby because of a mistake she made in her youth. She should be able to choose to terminate the life within her (or if she s too young her parents should be able to) for no other reason than her being potentially inconvenienced by it. Speaking for myself, Mr. President, I cannot even imagine killing one of my grandchildren irrespective of their age or perceived viability. If a politician does not believe in the value and sanctity of life then you have to ask, What does he or she believe in? They either believe life itself is valuable, or it is not. There is no middle ground here and no amount of skillfully articulated rhetoric can create such ground where none exists. This too is an undisputed scientific fact. I m happy that you are alive and able to read this. I m happy your parents did not see you as a punishment.

15 Saturday night hospitality meal By Dave Hennigan It s a great way to draw the parish community together. That was Jet Lea Visneski's way of summing up the dinner that was held on March 10 at St. Mary s cafeteria under her direction, as chairperson of the Hospitality Committee. She has a passion for hospitality and for bringing people together. It s her way of bringing joy to the Lord, and being a good steward. Her gift for getting volunteers to serve, not only gets the work done, but creates a real fun atmosphere. There were two dinners held last year. This was the first one this year. About 96 people attended the affair which was held after the 5:30 pm Mass. And for chili lovers, it was a treat! There were three different steaming pots, including one vegetarian, and four different kinds of soup: chicken corn, vegetable beef, lasagna, and cheesy-broccoli. The meal was topped off with salads, homemade bread, and dessert, lots of cookies, and cakes. Lemonade, iced tea, coffee and water were the beverages of choice. Most of the food was donated by the volunteers who helped with the meal. This time of fellowship is not only a way for the volunteers to get to know each other better, it s a way for the parish family to meet people whom they see in the pews each week, but never have the chance to sit down with and get to know. P a g e 15 Living the Eucharist for Adults By Henrietta Thomas The Tuesday morning Small Christian Community has been meeting for 12 years. A group of women, mostly from St. Mary s Church, meets every week to share their Catholic faith. The study, Living the Eucharist, was presented to them, and they decided to open the six-week Lenten study to others who were interested. The group of nine grew to a gathering of eighteen, including three men. The center of the study is the Eucharist, God s gift to us. Readings from each Sunday s liturgy are the focus points of the study. The introductory Collect sets the tone of the meeting. This is followed by a small group discussion of four or five. There are three questions, such as recalling one s First Holy Communion, favorite images of Christ, and brainstorming. Two members of the group then read a two page commentary. This is followed by further small group discussion, and then a portion of the next Sunday s Gospel is studied using the Lectio Divina method of praying the Scriptures. The Bible verses are read slowly, three times. It is amazing how the repetition of the sacred readings helps participants to concentrate more deeply each time it is read. The closing prayer includes the Prayer after Communion to be used that Sunday, which re-focuses on God s gift. It is an extremely moving experience and so good to have time to talk about this most important belief in thanksgiving, which is what the Eucharist means. May you drink deeply!

16 St. Mary s Church 119 S. Prince St. Lancaster, PA Change Service Requested Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 275 Lancaster, PA W e, t h e f a m i l y o f S t. M a r y ' s, a r e a c o m m u n i t y n o u r i s h e d a n d s u s t a i n e d b y t h e B o d y a n d B l o o d o f C h r i s t a n d i m p e l l e d b y t h e W o r d o f G o d t o g o f o r t h a n d e v a n g e l i z e. Regular Mass Schedule Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen Monday through Friday 12:05 PM Saturday 8:00 AM Vigil 5:30 PM Sunday 8:30 AM and 11:00 AM Holy Days Vigil 5:30 PM 12:05 PM, and 7:00 PM Confessions Saturday 4:00 to 5:00 PM Free parking is available in the Central Parking Garage for all Masses. Nursery available Sundays in the school during 11:00 am Mass.