Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Sep 13, 2023

Today is Catechetical Sunday.  In 1935, the Vatican published On the Better Care and Promotion of Catechetical Education, a document that asks every country to acknowledge the importance of the Church’s teaching ministry and to honor those who serve the Christian community as catechists. For the first few years after Catechetical Sunday was established, national catechetical congresses were held in conjunction with the celebration. Beginning in 1971, the USCCB’s Department of Education began producing materials to help parishes celebrate the event at the local level. When the Committee on Catechesis, now named the Committee of Evangelization and Catechesis, was named by the Conference as a standing Committee, it continued to publish Catechetical Sunday materials each year. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has designated the third Sunday in September as Catechetical Sunday.

The word “catechetical” might be more familiar than you think. Many Catholics have used the word “catechism” for years, and they know it has something to do with the compendium of the Church’s teachings. The root word, “catechesis,” is from a Greek word meaning “to echo or resound.” Catechesis is the act of resounding or bringing the Church’s teachings to the world. A catechist is one who teaches in the name of the Church.  Parents are truly the primary catechists of their children. They prepare the soil and plant the first seeds of faith. On Catechetical Sunday, we not only highlight the work of catechists in parishes and schools, but we also commend parents and guardians and encourage them to take seriously their role of making their Catholic households a place where faith is passed on to the next generation. 

The 2023 Catechetical Sunday theme is “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened” (Matthew 11:28). Catholics hear these powerful words spoken by Jesus as an invitation to follow him and have our burdens lightened.  Each year we take this opportunity to recognize the efforts and generosity of all those who teach and share the faith with others, especially our children. These are our catechists who have given of themselves to echo the teachings of Jesus and the Church to others. It is the ministry of the catechist to echo the teachings of Christ and His Church. A catechist is not one who teaches or shares his or her opinion about what the Church teaches, or what he or she thinks the scriptures mean, but a catechist is one who faithfully teaches the truth, aside from personal thoughts or feelings, and strives to come to understand the teaching of Jesus and the Church for the truth that they are. 

We have made a number of changes to our catechetical programs here over the past few years and I believe it has all been for the good of our children, young people, and adults.  The innovations that Fr. Pat, Deacon Rich, Claire Corridoni, Abby Cook, have, with the help and support of many others, really seems to be making a difference.  We have always had a very fine catechetical program thanks to the hard work and devotion of many good people who love the Catholic Faith and had a burning desire to share that Faith with others.  Please pray for the continued growth of the Catholic Faith in our parish family and that God will continue to inspire us to share this great gift He has given us.

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS!  On October 20, 21, and 22, we will hold our annual Solemn Eucharistic Devotions which will begin on Friday, October 20, with a special school Mass at 9:30 AM. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will continue on the main altar throughout the weekend, and we will have our Solemn Closing with Mass and a procession with the Blessed Sacrament on Sunday, October 22, beginning at 5 PM.  Our guest homilist for the closing Mass will be Fr. Jeffrey Liptak, Parochial Vicar at St. Basil the Great Parish in Brecksville.  Fr. Liptak was ordained to the priesthood this past May.

Those preparing to receive their First Holy Communion and Confirmation will also join in our procession to honor the Eucharistic presence of our Lord. Please make every effort to be a part of this special weekend of praise and prayer as we give thanks to God for the gift of Himself in the Holy Eucharist.

ISSUE ONE: Even though the November election is still two months away we all need to be very proactive concerning the attempt to change the Constitution of the State of Ohio to make abortion totally legal through all nine months of pregnancy.  This in itself is a great evil which will cost the lives of thousands upon thousands of innocent unborn children.  This is in direct opposition to the will of God who creates all life for a reason.  No one has the right to take the life of an unborn child in an act of abortion.  As followers of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of Life we must do all in our power to defeat this proposed amendment to our state constitution.  We must pray, fast, and speak out to let others know the great evil that can be enshrined in our state constitution.  There is too much at stake here for us to sit by idly while this evil is visited upon our state.  We must not let ourselves or our neighbors be fooled into thinking this is for the health of women.  (Please listen to Fr. Pat’s homily from last Sunday available on the parish web site.) Last year the people of Michigan were confronted with the same problem and the attempt to enshrine abortion into the Michigan State Constitution was successful.

You will find an insert in today’s bulletin concerning this most crucial issue.  Please read the frequently asked questions on this issue and share the information with others.  Yard signs urging people to vote NO on this issue are available.  Keep praying so we can preserve the lives of the vulnerable, especially the unborn.

Fr. Joe Labak