Monday, November 23, 2020

Bulletin Article: November 22

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. When we gather next Sunday we will begin the Advent season and begin a new Church year. It is the purpose of Advent to prepare the way for the Lord’s coming at Christmas.

As we move into the Advent season and prepare for Christmas I wish to highlight the following events:

-On December 2nd we will celebrate the Solemnity of the Dedication of our Church with Mass taking place at 6pm.

-On December 5th we will celebrate a Rorate Caeli Mass at 6:30am. This Mass is in Latin and completes before sunrise and is done by candlelight.

-On December 5th following the 5pm Mass we will light our outside lights and gather in front of the school for hot chocolate and hot cider while we enjoy a few hymns on the Eve of Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas might even make an appearance.

-On December 8th we observe the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception with the vigil Mass at 7pm (Spanish) and Masses of the day at 6:30am (Latin), 8:30am, 12:15pm, and 7pm. 

-Our Spanish speaking community will observe the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 11th with Mass taking place at 7pm. 

-On December 19th from 9-12pm Sister Maria Juan will present our Advent Day of Recollection on being watchful and conversion. This retreat will take place in the church and we will live stream it to our parish YouTube page.

-Christmas Masses will be 4pm and 6pm for the vigil and 12am, 8am (Latin), 10am, and 12pm (Spanish) for Christmas Day.

-Masses for the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God will be celebrated with a vigil Mass at 7pm and then Masses at 10am, 12pm (Spanish), and 7pm (Latin) on January 1st.

-The evening of January 2 our parish will celebrate an Epiphany Dinner which will be distributed from 5pm-7pm. More information will follow on this event in the near future.

Our parish will not hold a Advent Penance Service this year. Our parish offers confession each Wednesday at 6pm and Saturday at 9am. During this season of Advent I will also hear confessions beginning 30 minutes prior to a Sunday obligation Mass and ending 5 minutes to the start of Mass. Therefore confessions will also be heard Saturday at 4:30pm and Sunday at 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am, and 1:30pm. You can also always schedule a confession by appointment.

Finally, our bishop has updated his mandates concerning the celebration of Mass in the Diocese of Knoxville. Beginning next Sunday we will resume singing at Mass. Those who wish to receive communion on the tongue will now be able to do so once Mass ends. During Mass in the Extraordinary Form communion will be given on the tongue during Mass. After each communicant the priest will clean his hands prior to distributing when doing so on the tongue.

In Christ,

Fr. Dustin Collins

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Last Sunday after Pentecost Homily

Today is the Last Sunday after Pentecost and when we gather next week we will be in the season of Advent and we will be moving towards the coming of Christ as Word made Flesh, not only as the Christ Child, but also at the end of time.

As we reflect upon this past year we can think of a lot that we have had to endure. The expectations of life as we know it have changed a lot due to COVID-19, but at the end of the day Christ remains unchanged. Sadly, people put faith in other realities then that of our Blessed Lord. They allow the ways of this world to tug at them until they become lost from the path which leads to Heaven or with the abundance of stress found in everyday life they begin to lose the virtue of hope.

False Christs and false prophets are all around us. They attempt to move us away from this o’ so important path which leads to Heaven. One of the ways in which this becomes manifest is through the reality of division. As Christ said elsewhere in Sacred Scripture: “And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

This verse is important because Satan does nothing more then attempt to divide. We thus loose faith in the Church established by God because we have instead trusted in earthly voices. No matter the earthly voice let us our faith not falter, but instead may it always stand firm. No matter the trial and tribulation which lies ahead we must continue to trust in God and place our trust in Him and not the ways of this world.

As this liturgical year comes to its end, so to will a new one spring forth in its place. Thus too from every hardship, trial, and tribulation must we set our sight upon His Cross and Resurrection. From these realities the virtue of hope is always being made manifest as we orient our sight upon Him. Instead of embracing the cross and resurrection we so often rebuke these realities to give into the allures of worldly pleasures and the voice of false prophets. Again let us not be led astray and into despair, but as we transition into a new Church year may we come to be a people who manifest the virtues of faith and hope.

If faith and hope are to be made manifest and we are to turn away from these worldly allures let us remain open to the grace that God constantly pours out upon us and let us make full use of the sacramental life of the Church which means receiving Holy Communion in the state of grace and making use of the sacrament of confession. These realities open us up to true love itself and set our heart on fire for Christ which counteracts the worldly prince who does nothing more then turn us inwardly upon ourself.

Truly, the year that lies ahead will be a year of grace if we allow God to be at work in our life instead of trusting in the voices of false prophets and worldly allure which do nothing more then attempt to rip us away from Christ and His Church. As we close out this year and enter into a new one may our faith never falter and may we live out the virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

Christ the King Year A Homily

As we come to celebrate this Solemnity of Christ the King let us be reminded that there are two kingdoms, that of Heaven and that of earth. It is Christ who is the King of Heaven and Satan who is known as the worldly prince. As we come to the end of this liturgical year it is a fact to state that we have been through a lot, but with the knowledge that Christ is our King everything that we might be called to embrace should not be too much for us to withstand.

Nevertheless, instead of placing our trust in the healing mercy of God and the Kingdom which is to come we so often allow ourself to dwell in the here and the now. We must be reminded that we are not called to follow after this worldly prince, but instead to chase after the Kingdom of Heaven. No matter how much we strive for this world to be a reflection of Heaven it will always fall short, but we are still called to be sent forth as disciples of the Lord to spread the Good News of the faith. In doing so we live in service of the Kingdom of Heaven and not the kingdom of this world.

As disciples of the Lord we must never allow the voice of faith to be silenced. Throughout the world’s history there are those who have tried to silence this voice, but they have always failed. They failed because the faith is truth itself and because Christians were so convinced of this reality that they were willing to lay down their life in defense of this truth. I would hope and pray that we will not have to face the plight of martyrdom, but we do have to head into the world to allow the flame of faith to shine brightly.

When we fail to live for Christ and His Heavenly Kingdom we are allowing the prince of lies to overcome us to believe that we are to live for the here and now. To live for the here and now is to live for the amassment of earthly pleasures without ever having to embrace the cross which leads us to an encounter with Truth. We have just passed through another election year, I for one am happy that we only have to go through this process every four years and not more often. So often it seems that we place the political process over our trust in God. This be true not only in politics, but even with COVID-19 that we have had to deal with for this past year. Instead of worrying about something that is out of our control and stressing over what is on our television screen we should place our trust in God.

With all that seems grim around us let us be a people of hope. It is a fact that our liturgical year comes to a close, but it is also a reality that a new year will begin. The same holds true with everything that is taking place around us. From the cross and resurrection of our Blessed Lord always springs forth a great hope if only we would be open and listen to God. After all we must remember that Christ is the Good Shepherd who tends His flock. In other words He provides for all of our needs. We can see this made manifest through the grace that is constantly being poured upon us and through the gift that is the sacraments especially the Most Holy Eucharist and the sacrament of confession.

With that I invite you to make use of the new confession opportunities during the Advent season. I will hear confessions 30 minutes prior to each Sunday obligation Mass which means I will hear confessions at 4:30pm, 7:30am next week, 9:30am, 11:30am, and 1:30pm next week. I will remain in the confessional until the line is finished or until 5 minutes before the start of Mass, whichever comes first.

As we come to the end of this liturgical year and soon embark upon a new one may we be filled with hope concerning what lies ahead. May we always serve Christ our King and the Kingdom of Heaven for this Kingdom is a kingdom which will never pass away.

Long live Christ the King!

Monday, November 16, 2020

Bulletin Article: November 15

I thank all those who participated in our Parish Stewardship Weekend which was held a few weeks ago. There were a total of 75 households which responded out of our 1,486 registered families. This is a response rate of 5% from our parish. Of those responses $230,000 was committed to our parish for this year. Of those responses 5 committed to increasing their prayer for the good of the parish. 10 of the respondents desired information on specific ministries. Next year I would like to expand our response rate and goal to getting it a close to 100% as is possible.

The Diocese of Knoxville promotes a program known as #iGiveCatholic which coincides with Giving Tuesday which is December 1st. This year our parish will use any funds given to properly fix the guttering on the school which will prevent building damage and allow us to improve the look of the front of the school. One can give beginning November 16th all the way up to December 1st. For more information please look up the #iGiveCatholic website and look up our parish’s page under the Diocese of Knoxville.

Finally, I remind you of our Parish Open Forum which will be held on Monday from 6:30pm-7:30pm.

In Christ,

Fr. Dustin Collins

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Resumed 6th Sunday after Epiphany Homily

We are in such a rush to see results that having patience is often difficult and yet through patience we see so much become manifest. Our Gospel comes to document three of these realities for us. Firstly, we are told about the mustard seed which seems to be small in size and yet through the passing of time wields a tree. Secondly, we are told about the leaven which when left to sit begins to grow. Finally, we are told about parables which do not always have an obvious meaning, but instead challenge us to think more deeply about a given issue. Nevertheless, we can see the need to have patience and to work at something because without patience we will never dare to wait and see the fruit which will give rise.

 The spiritual life is something that cannot be progressed in if we are not willing to have patience and allow time to pass by. If one wants to pray they so often fail to have patience and to work at this relationship. Instead of working at it with a spirt of patience they instead grow upset when they don’t get what they want or don’t find the pleasure that lies behind it for which they had at first hoped. If we find ourself in this realm of spiritual dryness we must endure and realize the true fruit which springs forth from prayer. This is the same as the true fruit that springs forth from the passing of time which leads a seed towards becoming a tree, leaven growing, and parables which bring forth recollection and thought.

Very soon we will be entering into the season of Advent which will help prepare for the Lord’s coming among us as God made Flesh. As we enter into this sacred season it is important that we enter into this season with a spirit of true faith and hope. We must remain patient and invest ourself fully into the life of the Church for through doing so we will grow close to God even if it feels as if that is not the case.