Stonewood, West Virginia

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Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church

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GIVE WITHOUT COUNTING THE COST

January 3, 2020  •   Douglas Sousa, STL

For Sunday, January 12, 2020
The Baptism of the Lord

O Come Let Us Adore Him

Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Acts 10:34-38
Matthew 3:13-17

In graduate school, I had the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The thought of walking in the footsteps of Jesus excited me. Along with walking the Stations of the Cross and standing on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, I looked forward to renewing my baptismal vows at the Jordan River. I imagined myself wading into the water as Jesus had, professing my faith and recommitting myself to following him.

However, when we arrived at Qasr al-Yahud, the place where tradition tells us John baptized Jesus, I was surprised by what I saw. It was not at all the beautiful place I had imagined. The water was brown and mucky. Where I expected to see white sand, there were rocks and reeds. There was no way I was getting in that water. So, as other pilgrims waded in, I stood on dry land renewing my baptismal vows from a safe, comfortable distance.

Later that night, while riding back to the hotel, a thought struck me. When Jesus came to earth, there was nothing glamorous about it. Our sinful humanity was no more appealing to the Son of God than the brown water of the Jordan River was to me. Yet, out of love for us, Jesus took on our human nature with all its weakness and suffering. He was willing to touch lepers, be seen with sinners, and suffer an agonizing death. If my baptismal vows were to mean anything, then I would have to be willing to move from the safe, comfortable dry land into the muddy waters.

In the many years that have followed, I’ve thought about my experience at the Jordan River. I think about it when I’m tempted not to make eye contact with a homeless person. I think about it when I want to drive past a beggar at an intersection. I think about it when my parish asks for volunteers and I tell myself I don’t have time to spare. Often, I still prefer to stay at a safe distance on dry land than to get wet and dirty.

This Sunday, we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Though sinless, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism of John the Baptist. He entered the waters of the Jordan River so that we could be baptized not just with water but with the Holy Spirit. Jesus humbled himself throughout his life on earth to bring us all the gifts of God’s love. The first gift is baptism, which opens us up to faith, to the Holy Spirit, and to all the other sacraments that follow.

Our baptism is a commitment we make to share Jesus’ concern for the lost and the broken. As Isaiah tells us in Sunday’s first reading, Jesus came “to open the eyes of the blind, to bring prisoners out of confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” If Jesus is willing to stoop down and live a life of service for the poor, we must be willing to do the same or we cannot call ourselves his followers.

We are all searching for God. If He has seemed distant and hard to find, it could be that we are looking in the wrong places. Perhaps we are looking on the mountaintops when we should be looking in the ghettos. Perhaps we are reading books when we should be feeding bellies. Until we are ready to get ourselves dirty, to risk our safety, and to give without counting the cost, God will remain elusive to us. However, if we can follow Jesus into the wet and murky places of our world, it could just be that we will be surprised by his marvelous light shining out from where we least expect it.

Douglas Sousa, S.T. L

 

PRAYER

Christ Jesus,
though God, you humbled yourself,
taking on our human nature,
with all its weakness and pain,
to heal us and raise us up.
Baptized in your Spirit,
may we have the courage
to imitate your humility and love,
bringing hope to the hopeless
and bread to the hungry.
May we give without counting the cost,
going wherever you send us,
refusing to play it safe
or keep our distance
when others need us.
We ask this in your name.
Amen.



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January

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  • Jan 19 2020  8:00 am - Mass
  • Jan 19 2020  10:00 am - Mass
  • Jan 21 2020  6:00 pm - Daily Mass

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If anyone has old or broken rosaries, please bring them and leave them in the back of the church. We will fix them and send them overseas with the Sisters of the Infant Jesus missionaries. 

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To be considered an active, participating member of the parish, and thus eligible for sacraments, sponsor eligibility, and parish family discount at St. Mary’s and Notre Dame, OLPH takes into account a family or individual ministry involvement, and Mass attendance. Your collection envelopes, or online giving receipt, are the only way we can determine your attendance. If you are new to the parish, please stop by, call the office for registration forms or complete the online form on this site. 

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If anyone, youth or adult, is interested in becoming an altar server, please contact [email protected], and arrangements will be made to get you trained. We are great need of adult servers. Why not serve in the ministry? You are here at Mass anyway, what better way to participate in the Mass than as an altar server.

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U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops File Amicus Brief with U.S. Supreme Court Urging New Trial of Death Row Inmate Based on Evidence of Actual Innocence

WASHINGTON— On January 17, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB) filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in support of James M. Dailey, an inmate on Florida’s death row, urging a new trial in his case due to persuasive evidence of actual innocence. The amicus brief explains the Catholic Church’s longstanding opposition to the death penalty. The Church teaches that capital punishment violates respect for life and human dignity. The injustice is especially acute in the instance of an innocent person sentenced to death. The amicus brief also argues that the execution of an innocent person violates the Constitution of the United States.  

The amicus brief reviews the facts of Mr. Dailey’s case and concludes that the evidence of his actual innocence is persuasive, but that he was not able to present it at a new trial for procedural reasons. The brief declares that there is no legal or procedural reason that could morally justify the execution of an innocent person.  

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U.S. Bishops’ Migration Committee Chair Welcomes Court Injunction that Halts Implementation of Executive Order on Refugee Resettlement

WASHINGTON—A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction in HIAS Inc., et al v. Trump, halting implementation of Executive Order 13888 which had given state and local officials the power to veto initial resettlement of refugees into their jurisdictions. Unless it is overturned by the judge or a higher court, this injunction lasts until the end of the case. The injunction orders that the resettlement program’s operational rules be returned to how they were before the Executive Order was issued on September 26, 2019. In other words, while the federal immigration officials will diligently engage with state and local officials, as always, to assure local concerns are taken into account, the program will return to federal officials having the final responsibility of deciding where refugees will be resettled.

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

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National Prayer Vigil for Life In Nation’s Capital, January 23-24

WASHINGTON—The National Prayer Vigil for Life will be held from Thursday, January 23 to Friday, January 24, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Over 20,000 pilgrims from around the nation are expected to gather there and pray for an end to abortion before the annual March for Life on the National Mall. The Vigil marks the 47th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions legalizing abortion through nine months of pregnancy. Since those decisions, over 60 million abortions have been performed legally in the United States.

The principal celebrant and homilist at the opening Mass for the National Prayer Vigil for Life on January 23 will be Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, who is chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Many of the nation’s bishops and priests will concelebrate the Mass with Archbishop Naumann in the basilica’s Great Upper Church. The principal celebrant and homilist for the closing Mass for the National Prayer Vigil for Life on January 24 will be Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D. of the Military Services, USA, who is secretary for the USCCB. After the conclusion of the Mass on Friday, the participants make their way down to the national mall for the annual March for Life.

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Mass Times

Saturdays: 5:00 PM
Sundays: 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM
Monday: No Mass
Tuesday: 6:00 PM (Chapel)
Wednesday: 9:00 AM (Chapel)
Thursday: 6:00 PM (Chapel)
Friday: 9:00 AM (Chapel)

PLEASE NOTE:
Consult "Events Calendar" for services on Holy Days of Obligation.

ALSO,
If we have a funeral, it will take precedence over daily Mass. We invite you to attend the funeral Mass.

NOTICE:
If Harrison County schools are delayed or closed weekly Mass is canceled.

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Main Church Office:
Mon - Wed - Thu: 9AM - 3PM

Note: Chapel is only open on weekdays

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