Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Jul 26, 2023

As you may have noticed, we have been working on the bell tower of the church.  This has turned into a bigger project than we originally thought, but it is work that must be done before we can proceed with the renovations we are planning for the lower level of the church.  The good news is that the work will be completed soon.  Actually, it may be completed by the time you read this in the bulletin.  We will soon be able to begin the renovations on the lower level beginning with the Andes Room, then McMahon Hall, and then the Conry Room.  The majority of the work will be updating the rooms and redecorating them.  It has been over 20 years since we first redid the lower level.  They have held up pretty well but need some work.  Fortunately, there is nothing structural that needs to be done, at least nothing of which we are presently aware of.  We do plan to reconfigure the Conry Room into two smaller rooms that might serve the parish better.  The work itself should not take very long to do.  We hope it will be complete around the beginning of the new school year or shortly afterwards.  That is what we hope to do, but we all know how things can happen and our plans get changed.

We have received many generous donations for this work, but it is always good to have a little more than we actually need.  Whatever we do not use for this project will be placed in the Capital Improvement Fund so we are ready to deal with whatever may come up.  As always, your kindness and generosity are greatly appreciated.  We will keep everyone posted on the progress of the work.

FLIX PICK: SOUND OF FREEDOM:  I have not seen this movie yet, but  from all that I have heard it is very good.  Below is a review from Our Sunday Visitor.

NEW YORK (OSV News) – “God’s children are not for sale.” Such is the motto of Tim Ballard, the indefatigably determined real-life crimefighter portrayed by Jim Caviezel in the fact-based drama “Sound of Freedom” (Angel Studios).  The story of Ballard’s battle against the sexual enslavement of kids — a horrifying form of depravity that’s disturbingly widespread — makes for a valuable and ultimately uplifting experience. But that payoff comes at an emotional cost.

Initially, viewers are taken on a heartrending descent into an underworld of utterly vicious cruelty and exploitation via the tale of two young Honduran siblings kidnapped by a ring of traffickers. While working as a U.S. Homeland Security agent, Ballard becomes passionately dedicated to resolving the pair’s case and to bringing down their abductors.  Thus, the mood lightens as Ballard first devises and then leads a clever sting operation. He’s aided by Vampiro (Bill Camp), a colorful reformed gang member, and by Paul (Eduardo Verástegui), a wealthy businessman with an amateur’s interest in detective work. Ballard is also consistently cheered on by his supportive wife, Katherine (Mira Sorvino).

Ballard’s indefatigable determination — which not only drives him to imperil his career for altruistic reasons but subsequently to undertake a perilous rescue mission as well — is admirably heroic. And, as suggested by the quotation above, director and co-writer Alejandro Monteverde’s script, penned with Rod Barr, is tinged with references to faith.  Yet Ballard’s bravery is inextricably linked to the revolting evil he confronts. As a result, while moving and well-crafted, “Sound of Freedom” is also undeniably challenging. Parents may nonetheless feel that the movie’s educational impact will be sufficient to make it acceptable fare for older adolescents.

The film contains stylized violence, mature themes, a couple of mild oaths and a smattering of crude and crass language. The OSV News classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.                         John Mulderig is media reviewer for OSV News.

Please continue to pray concerning Issue One on August 8.  This is especially important.  There are many pros and cons concerning this issue, but the bottom line right now is that by voting “yes” on August 8 the lives of many unborn children will be saved as well as allowing parents to keep their parental rights and duties concerning their children making sure that the children receive the proper guidance and direction concerning their own sexuality.  These are very trying times for all of us, and the devil is working overtime scattering the seeds of destruction of human lives.  Please pray and vote on August 8 in a way that will truly reflect the love and mercy of God.


Last week we began reflecting on the Our Father, in particular the incredible gift we’ve been given in Jesus to address God as our Father!  Today, we want to address the posture of our prayer during the Our Father and offer a corrective and an invitation going forward.

In the Tridentine Mass, for those who are old enough to recall, the Pater Noster or the Our Father was prayed only by the celebrant.  In the reforms of the liturgy, the Our Father became a communal and congregational prayer for both the priest and the people.  Since there was no specific instruction about the posture to be assumed during the Our Father, some innovations crept in.  For a while, the congregation held hands during the Our Father.  Then that was replaced with the congregation holding out their hands in what is known as the “Orans posture.”  The “orans posture” is the posture of the priest during certain parts of the Mass, including the Our Father.  He stands with his hands out, palms up and elbows bent.  Its’ the posture the priest assumes when he’s addressing the Father during worship.  The question is, what ought to be the people’s posture?

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website states, “No position is prescribed in the Roman Missal for an assembly gesture during the Lord’s Prayer.”  This is not helpful at all.  This may lead you to believe that the oran posture is acceptable.  But using this reason, jumping jacks might also be acceptable during the Our Father.  Thankfully, the Church does have an Instruction from 1997, which is titled: On Certain questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests.  In Article 6 of the instruction under the heading, Liturgical Celebrations, it states:

– In eucharistic celebrations, deacons and non-ordained members of the faithful may not pronounce prayers – e.g. especially the eucharistic prayer, with its concluding doxology – or any other parts of the liturgy reserved to the celebrant priest.  Neither may deacons or non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the same priest celebrant.

In a nutshell:  The laity are NOT to assume the orans position during Holy Mass.  During the Our Father, the priest alone is standing in persona Christi, in the orans posture, speaking to God on our behalf.  And the hands of the faithful should remain together or down, praying or chanting the Our Father.

Fr. Joe Labak