Typical Liturgy Schedule (see current bulletin for any changes)

 Saturday (vigil) 4:00 p.m. Mass at Sts. Peter & Paul Church, Strasburg
  8:00 p.m. Mass at St. Mary Church, Hague
Sunday 8:45 a.m. Mass at Sts. Peter & Paul Church, Strasburg
  11:00 a.m. Mass at St. Michael Church, Rural Linton
Monday No Mass
 Tuesday 4:00 p.m. Mass at Sts. Peter & Paul Church, Strasburg
Wednesday 8:00 a.m. Mass at Sts. Peter & Paul Church, Strasburg
Thursday 8:00 a.m. Mass at Sts. Peter & Paul Church, Strasburg
  9:15 a.m. Mass at the Strasburg Care Center Chapel
 Friday 10:00 a.m. Mass at St. Mary Church, Hague

Religious Education Begins at Home

As I walk around Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Strasburg, I often ponder a stained glass window that portrays Mary as a child with her mother, Anne.  The young Mary is standing by her mother’s side with hands folded in prayer, looking up at her mother.  Her mother, in turn, is pointing toward heaven.  The suggestion is that Anne is teaching her daughter to pray.  Imagine if she’d never learned to pray.  Imagine Mary never developed a deep relationship with the Lord which allowed her to say, without hesitation, “May it be done to me according to your word,” when Gabriel told her she was to be the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:38).  History would be very different.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “The Son of God who became Son of the Virgin also learned to pray according to his human heart. He learns the formulas of prayer from his mother, who kept in her heart and meditated upon all the ‘great things’ done by the Almighty.  He learns to pray in the words and rhythms of the prayer of his people, in the synagogue at Nazareth and the Temple at Jerusalem” (CCC 2599).

I also recently came across an image of the Holy Family.  In this particular image Joseph is hard at work, sliding a block plane across a piece of timber that’s resting atop sawhorses.  A young Jesus is there, watching intently and holding a hammer.  Years later he would be recognized by others as “the carpenter” from Nazareth (Mark 6:3).  It is from Joseph, then, that Jesus learned a trade and perhaps the virtue of hard work.  It was under Joseph’s leadership, along with Mary, that Jesus was brought to the Temple where he learned to worship in the Jewish community.

We can see in the lives of Sts. Anne and Joachim, Sts. Mary and Joseph, and in the life of Jesus himself, the role family has in forming good, virtuous, and holy persons.  We can see that one set of holy parents learning the faith, living it, and passing it on can have repercussions that will last for generations.

All of this entered my mind as I thought about the beginning of a new year of religious education in our churches.  I’m sure all of our churches have “Sunday School,” “CCD,” or some form of classes for the young people in our congregations.  These are good and essential programs.  That said, I know from experience a student can be forced to go by their parents, year after year, and gain almost no benefit at all.  When Sunday worship isn’t important to parents, when prayer doesn’t happen in the home, and when God is never mentioned in conversations at home, why would a child care what a pastor or teacher has to say in a classroom? 

Again, the Catechism reminds us of the importance of faith in the family:  “Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children…. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church.  A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one’s life.   Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years…. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith.  Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God” (CCC 2226).

Pope Francis noted with sadness in a recent Wednesday Audience that “there are children who have not learned to make the Sign of the Cross!  But you, mother, father, teach your children to pray, to make the Sign of the Cross: this is a lovely task of mothers and fathers!”

Parents, I beg you to continue to learn, develop, and practice your Christian faith!  Your pastor is here to help not just your kids, but you also, to learn the faith so you may bring it home.  Your children, your grandchildren, and your great-grandchildren will be eternally grateful. 

So as we now begin this year of religious education for our youth, let’s follow the example of the great saints, and of our Lord Jesus, in sharing the faith first of all at home!  Amen.

-Fr. Jason

Vincent Kraft Funeral Liturgies

A funeral vigil for Vincent Kraft will be held at 7 p.m. on August 31st in Sts. Peter & Paul Church, Strasburg.  A funeral Mass and burial will take place on September 1st at 10:30 a.m., also at Sts. Peter & Paul Church, Strasburg.

When does human life begin?

This doesn't seem complicated to me. Where's the confusion?

-Fr. Jason

Eucharistic Adoration at Sts. Peter & Paul

I tell everyone, over and over, about the importance of having a prayer routine. It’s great to learn all kinds of facts about our faith and about how to live a good, morally upright life. But for our faith to actually transform our lives for the better, for it to really mean something to us, we need to spend time getting to know the one who’s at the center of it all: Almighty God! I know this from personal experience. It’s not enough to see our Catholic faith as only an intellectual exercise punctuated by weekend Mass. There must also be a real, personal relationship with God. In fact, much of Sacred Scripture depicts the relationship between Jesus and his Church as a marriage. Thus we, together as the Church, are described in a way as the “spouse” of Christ. How strong is a marriage where the two spouses never speak to one another or spend time together? Not strong at all! It’s important for us to get to know the Lord on a personal level, and that only happens through a regular and disciplined prayer routine.

To get into a real habit of prayer that sticks, we need to set aside a regular time and place which will be devoted to prayer. We need to make that appointment the first priority on our calendar or it will be pushed off of our busy agendas. It’s often said that if we’re too busy to pray, we’re too busy! Lastly, we will also need to have a plan for what to do during that time.

So, I want to try an experiment. Beginning this week, to help you all (and myself) make the time to pray, I will be offering Eucharistic Adoration on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. in Sts. Peter & Paul Church. Bring your Bible, some favorite spiritual book, or just yourself, and join me for quiet time in the presence of Our Lord. Confession, the Rosary, and Mass will continue on Wednesday and Thursday at the usual times. Start your day with Jesus!

-Fr. Jason

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Articles by Fr. Jason

Post date
Religious Education Begins at Home Saturday, August 29, 2015
22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B Saturday, August 29, 2015
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B Monday, August 24, 2015
20th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B Sunday, August 16, 2015
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Saturday, August 15, 2015
Vincent Kraft Funeral Liturgies Thursday, August 13, 2015
When does human life begin? Wednesday, August 12, 2015
19th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B Saturday, August 8, 2015
18th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B Sunday, August 2, 2015
17th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B Saturday, July 25, 2015
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