Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Jul 12, 2023

Here we are in the middle of July with still a good amount of time left before school resumes.  I am sure the kids are trying to make the most of what remains if they are not too bored yet.  Moms and dads might be starting to count down the days.  Whatever the case may be we should make the most of each day by trying to grow in a deeper relationship with God through prayer, the sacraments, and the Word of God.

I am sure that some of you have already taken family vacations, and some will do so in the month or so.  We may need a vacation from many things, but no one needs, nor should anyone take a vacation from God.  Whenever we are away, we need to be mindful of our need for God and our need to worship Him every Sunday.  There are no exceptions to worshipping God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass except our if our health does not permit us to.  So, when on vacation, we need to figure out ahead of time where we will go to Mass.  This can easily be done by going to and putting in the city or zip code of where you will be, and you will see the times and places where you can go to Mass.  We should keep in mind the valuable lesson we can teach our children by making this a priority even when we are on vacation.  We teach them by example that it is essential to worship God by going to Mass even on vacation.  If we do not make this a priority, are we not teaching them that going to Mass is really not all that important because we have other things to do?  As the old song says, “Teach your children well.”

HOW TO DRESS FOR MASS.  As always with the warmer weather now upon us some need to take special care of how they come dressed to Mass.  There is a great temptation to be very casual and to desire to be comfortable.  Shorts, short shorts for girls and women, t shirts, tank tops, halter tops, and flip flops are not really suitable attire to worship the Lord.  Let us remember that our worship of God is not about us and our comfort.  It is about praising and thanking the Lord as we remember the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Please be careful and parents please pay attention to your children and teens’ attire for Mass.  Be careful not to settle for the minimum and think we should be happy just because they are there.  We need to teach our children well about the importance of Mass and how we present ourselves.  God does care what we wear; He want the very best of what we have and what we are.  I am sorry that I have to even bring this up because most people in our parish are very good about this, but there are some who need reminding.

I am very grateful to Fr. Lazarus from the Congregation of the Holy Spirit who preached at all the Masses last weekend for our annual missionary appeal.  Father’s words were very informative and inspiring concerning the missionary work of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit.  We are all missionaries in some way because as followers of Jesus we are sent into the world to be His witnesses.  We are called to live our faith in all that we do and to show others the love and mercy of God leading them to Jesus and the Church.  May God bless the work of Fr. Lazarus, the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, and all missionaries.  Thank you for your generosity toward the mission appeal this year as you are always so kind and generous to the needs of others.


At the conclusion of the Eucharistic prayer and following upon the Great Amen, the priest intones: “At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching we dare to say…” leading the congregation into the chanting of the Our Father. 

The Our Father appears in both Matthew and Luke.  The disciples of Jesus have been traveling with him, listening to his teaching, witnessing his miracles, absorbing his manner of life and way of being…and most especially, they’ve witnessed his prayer.  They’ve seen him go off by himself and enter into deep communion and dialogue with his Father.  And so, like little children, they ask him: “Lord, teach us how to pray!”  The Our Father is what flowed out of Jesus’ heart as a response to their asking.  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The Lord’s Prayer is the quintessential prayer of the Church” and “is at the center of the Scriptures” (CCC 2774).  Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of this prayer is that it is directed to the Father. 

Since Christians pray the Our Father from their youth, it is easy to forget how daring, bold, and even audacious it is to address God as our Father.  Moses was instructed from the burning bush: “Do not come near.”  And when he asked God his name, God did not reveal himself as “Father.”  Only Jesus could cross that threshold of the divine holiness and the “good news” is that he invites us to cross it with him into an astounding intimacy with God our Father.

The personal relation of the Son to the Father is something that man cannot conceive of nor the angelic powers even dimly see: and yet, the Spirit of the Son grants a participation in that very relation to us who believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we are born of God. It’s beyond our wildest imaginings…that we are grafted into the Son, and in the Son we have access, by the power of the Holy Spirit to the Father.

Fr. Joe Labak