My Dear Parishioners,

This Sunday is Catechetical Sunday. It is a special recognition of all those who give of their time, effort and skills to see that our parishioners have the opportunity to be properly formed in the faith. This includes all those involved in St. Joseph/St. Robert School teachers, principal, administration, staff, and volunteers. We also recognize and thank those involved in faith formation in our CCD program, including our program director and catechists, assistants, staff and volunteers. In addition we are grateful for the members of our RCIA team, and youth formation team. They play a crucial role in preparing and instructing our youth and adults to come into the faith, or complete their initiation. We thank them for all they do in handing on the kingdom.

St. Joseph parish is looking for a Director or Coordinator of Religious Education for the parish. Mrs. Cain has done an excellent job for all of my time at St. Joseph and we are grateful for her hard work. She is looking to step back from some of her responsibilities at the parish and is willing to stay on as a volunteer to assist in the future. If you are interested in the position or know someone who may be, please contact me. Here is a link to the job description.

The 2023 theme for Catechetical Sunday is “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” The following reflection is from the US Bishops website: Author: Evang./Prof. Michael Howard, MACS Loyola Marymount University

The catechetical theme of 2023 comes from Matthew’s gospel, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28 NABRE). Three spiritual components emerge to strengthen our catechetical efforts in parish ministry. These three phases in Matthew’s text – invitation, freedom from burdens, and rest – also connect with two popular African American spirituals while inspiring the second year of the Eucharistic Revival theme, Parish Revival. Beginning with the invitation phrase “Come to me,” Matthew’s gospel portrays a sensitive Messiah caring for our wellbeing by extending an invitation to the community. Jesus avoids distinguishing any group or showing favoritism. Jesus’ directive is for everyone to come. His’ words reflect the sentiments of the Prophet Isaiah when prophesying, “Come to the water! You who have no money, come, buy grain and eat; Come, buy grain without money” (Is. 55:1-3 NABRE). Both passages show that the invitation is all-inclusive; your social or financial status is of no concern. This invitation is to everyone.

In our following freedom phrase, Jesus singles out those toiling under a load, “all you who labor and are burdened,” come to me. These people need the euangelion, the good news. And the good news is that Jesus makes it possible for us to “Cast [our] burden[s] upon the Lord, and He will sustain [us]…” (Ps. 55:22 NABRE).

Jesus is inviting all of us to take the burdens off our shoulders and lay them on him. We can all sing along with the African American spiritual, Down by the Riverside, “I am gonna lay down my burden, down by the riverside.” When we come to Jesus, laying down our burdens and casting them upon Him, there is a spiritual awakening at the riverside where we find rest from our burdens, we are free from our worries.

The final phase allows us to rest because Jesus freed us from carrying heavy burdens. Examples of these burdens are Church hurt or perhaps the sinful acts of unending strings of gun violence, racism, redlining, sexism, and poor health care programs, to name a few. We experience God’s love by resting with Jesus, who promised, “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20 NABRE). This is the ultimate rest, to know Jesus will always be with you. The Spirit teaches in the Book of Revelation, “Let them find rest from their labors…” (Rev 14:13 NABRE). With Jesus, we can rest from carrying our burdens.

Reflection Question?

  1. What obstacles can you remove in your life to come closer to Jesus?
  2. Who helped you recently to turn to Jesus to find relief from your burdens?
  3. How can you be a better inviter when inviting others to your parish?

As a reminder, we are all catechists, in that we should join together in passing on the faith. If you know someone who is considering joining the Catholic Faith, or someone who simply needs to be asked, now is the time. We are holding our special Night of Inquiry on this Wednesday, September 20th at 7:00 p.m. in classroom 18. Anyone interested in finding out more about the faith is invited to join us. Please call the rectory if interested, 215-672-3020.

God Bless you, Fr.