Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Sep 21, 2023

THE HOUSE OF GOD:  Did you know?  Our church is thoroughly cleaned and made to look beautiful each week by volunteers from our parish community.  These good people do an amazing job of cleaning and preparing this sacred place for our worship each week.  The cleaning is done by four groups of volunteers that each take one week of the month to clean.  This is a beautiful way to give back to God for all that He does for us.  I am very grateful to all who volunteer to clean the church each week.  We are always in need of more volunteers for this important and holy work so if you would like to volunteer, please call the parish office.  The cleaning is usually done on Friday mornings after the 8 AM Mass.  Give it some prayer and thought and see if you would like to be on of “God’s house cleaners.”

Spiritual Direction is the act of walking along side another person spiritually to increase their awareness of God in their life so as to deepen their relationship with God.  Spiritual directors spend 1-3 years in a program studying theology, the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, and the process of directing souls toward God.  A typical direction session is an hour once or twice a month where the directee speaks to the director about what is on their heart and what God is saying thru that.  If you would like to find out more about this free ministry, contact Theresa Piatt at 330-416-9905.  

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.

Last weekend there were yard signs available at the doors of the church urging people to vote “NO” on Issue One in November.  We received 200 signs from Medina Country Right to Life. I am very grateful to all who took signs to display in their yards.  As I have said before, this is a very important issue that needs to be defeated for the protection of innocent children, born and unborn, in the State of Ohio.

36th Annual Life Chain: will be held on Sunday, October 1, 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM.  Meet at the corner of High Street and Great Oaks Trail.  Be a strong, peaceful witness to the sanctity of human life in Prayer, Song, and Silence.  Bring your family and friends.  Signs will be provided.

Next Sunday we begin the Month of the Holy Rosary and Respect Life Month.  The two go very much hand in hand as we can use the Rosary as a very powerful weapon against the evils of abortion.  Abortion not only destroys the life of an innocent unborn child, but it also has a terrible effect on the life of the mother, the father, and other members of the family including the very society in which we live.  In this coming month of October let us renew and deepen our devotion to Mary and the praying of the Holy Rosary for a greater respect for human life from the moment of conception to natural death.  Only God can give life and only God can take it away.  This is how God made us and He knows for sure what is best for us.  So often people try to take control of what belongs only to God and by doing so makes everything so much worse.  Let us pray and trust in God.


Our bodies speak a language.  Imagine the different ways you might express yourself silently while playing a game of charades – the gestures you’d use, the facial expressions you’d make in order to communicate, for example: Anger…or Sadness…or Fear…or Disgust…or Delight…or Trepidation…etc.?  Or, what do the hands of a man and woman being held together during an evening walk communicate?  What does a handshake at the end of a business meeting communicate?  What does the kiss at the end of a wedding mass communicate?  Our bodies make visible invisible realities.  Our bodies speak!

In the liturgy, the Church proscribes different body language for us throughout the mass, different ritual gestures and movements and postures, all intended to communicate something both outwardly, as a declaration of faith, and also inwardly, that is to oneself.  We stand at the beginning of mass, why?  Not because it’s expedient, but because it’s fitting, in the same way the bailiff announces, as the judge enters the courtroom, “All rise.”  Christ, the principle celebrant of the liturgy is processing in, and we arise to greet him.  Why do we sit during the liturgy of the Word?  Not because our legs need a break, but because the posture of sitting communicates an active receptivity, an attentive listening. 

Over the many, many centuries of the Church’s life, the body language employed for the reception of communion has evolved to more eloquently and accurately speak and communicate the mystery that is unfolding before our eyes.  The most ancient practice of distributing Holy Communion was, with all probability, to give Communion to the faithful in the palm of the hand. The history of the liturgy, however, makes clear that rather early on a process took place to change this practice.  From the time of the Fathers of the Church, a tendency was born and consolidated whereby distribution of Holy Communion in the hand became more and more restricted in favor of distributing Holy Communion directly on the tongue. The motivation for this practice is two-fold: first, to avoid, as much as possible, the dropping of Eucharistic particles, each of which IS the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus; and second, to increase among the faithful devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.  In other words, to communicate vis-a-vis body language and ritual gesture and posture the Faith of the Church in the real presence of Christ in the sacramental species. 

The norm of the Church in the U.S. is that Holy Communion may be distributed to the faithful standing or, if the individual desires, kneeling, and either on the tongue or upon the palm of the hand.  More on this in the coming weeks.  For now, let us reflect attentively upon what the body language of each of those gesture is communicating. 

Fr. Joe Labak