My Dear Parishioners,

I again thank you for your warm welcome. Our parish is well known throughout the Archdiocese for its warmth and friendliness. I felt both immediately upon arrival.

My first week has been spent unpacking and making myself at home, and I really do feel at home. Your warm welcome has played a big part in making our parish feel like a home to me. I just can’t thank you enough.

This week we observe Independence Day. We will be gathering with family around the barbecue, watching parades, enjoying fireworks, and attending patriotic concerts.

Hopefully, we will also take a moment to stop at a cemetery and say a prayer, maybe three Hail Marys, for those who helped to first win our freedom and then who helped us remain free.

We remember this week that Freedom is a gift from God. Freedom is the gift that allows us to love. This makes sense. True love is something that is freely offered and freely accepted. It is the gift of freedom, along with the help of God’s Grace and the intercession of the Saints, that allows us to truly live that greatest of commandments: you shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.

Our First Reading this weekend from the Book of Wisdom reminds us that freedom is not license, and that the misuse of the gift of freedom is really a refusal to truly love. Thus, the misuse of freedom is really an act of selfishness and a sin. Freedom is then the power to not necessarily do what we want to do but what we ought to do (St. John Paul II).

Sadly, Adam and Eve were the first to misuse this gift of freedom and that is when the world was infected by Original Sin. It was at that moment that we lost the preternatural gifts (infused knowledge, immortality, and integrity of passions), and suffering and death entered the world. And all over a stupid apple!!!

Thankfully, St Paul reminds us in our Second Reading that Jesus came to the rescue: For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. In other words, Jesus, in His great love and mercy,

came to the world to set us free from slavery to the devil and to make us again children of God and heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven. Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!

Through the intercession of that most virtuous of men, St. Joseph, may we always exercise our freedom with wisdom and love, and may we always help others to do the same. Moreover, may all of those who sacrificed much for our freedom be richly rewarded, and on behalf of our faithful staff, I do wish everyone a very Happy Fourth of July!!

St. Joseph, Patron of the Church, pray for us!
Fr. Michael J Pawelko