• Church of the Immaculate Conception

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    Saturday 5pm (confessions at 4pm)
    Sunday 8am and 11am
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  • My Catholic Social Media Motto from Blessed John XXIII

    "In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, freedom; in all things, charity" - St. Augustine, as quoted by Blessed John XXIII in his first enclyclical, Ad Petri Cathedram ( To the Chair of Peter)
  • Live Your Faith – Get Engaged, Get Active, Get Involved

    Visit the New York State Catholic Conference, and the USCCB Conscience page for more information on political and social issues.
  • My other blogs…

    Personal reflections on faith and life at There Will Be Bread.

    And the blog from my home parish, The Parish Blog of St. Edward the Confessor.

My Podcast Debut at Dating God

Brother Dan Horan, OFM  is a Franciscan friar, scholar, theologian, writer and so much more.  When I tell people that they will hear about this young man, I’m not kidding – he will have a voice that we will hear in our church for years to come.

Dan has a fine Catholic blog called Dating God; this blog is a treasure of theological, spiritual writings along with a hearty respect for how the Catholic church stands in the modern world, all seen through a very Franciscan lens. In any event, Dan also has a podcast, which if you are not familiar, is similar to an internet based radio program. The podcast also shares the name, Dating God and can be found at iTunes as well as a link that I am about to add.

It was a great honor to have Dan come to interview me about my passion for Catholic social media. He spent a lot of time here and I imagined that much of the interview would end up “on the cutting room floor.”

Imagine then, my shock and surprise when I tuned in to today’s podcast and encountered a rather long interview between Brother Dan and me! I don’t know what I did to merit the star treatment, but I am humbled and privileged to have been his guest.

Should you have any interest in listening, please feel free to tune in by clicking this link to the Dating God Podcast.

Thank you Brother Dan and thank God for our online and for our very real communities!  (That’s Dan setting up our interview!)

About that not going to church thing…

The other day at Monday Musing, I mentioned that I did not go to church for a long time. A couple of people have asked me about this. Here is a little opening insight to how and why I changed, published over at my personal blog, There Will Be Bread.

I hope that you are not shocked or scandalized; I hope that my story, one of many tiny threads that God uses to weave our lives, will point out that there is always hope!

Have a great day everyone!

Social Justice In Today’s World – An Amazing God Event

“Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God, the things that are God’s.”

SOCIAL JUSTICE IN TODAY’S WORLD

Fr. Bob Longobucco and Fred Boehrer, PhD

September 29, 2011

7pm – The Flicker Room

Church of the Immaculate Conception

 

Fr. Bob is pastor of St. Helen’s Church in Niskayuna and sacramental minister of Our Lady of Fatima, in Niskayuna. He is on the diocesan Amazing God team. He was formerly the chaplain at the University of Albany.

Dr. Fred Boehrer is an adjunct professor of Peace Studies at Siena College.  He and his wife Diana Conroy are the founders of Emmaus House of Hospitality, a Catholic Worker house that was opened in 1996 in Albany, NY. The Emmaus House is a temporary home for women and families who are homeless. They provide health care for people without insurance, distribute groceries, grow organic vegetables in vacant lots, help with immigration issues, visit jails and a host of other public vigils. They do not receive a salary but exist in voluntary poverty, practice nonviolence and offer works of mercy. They receive no government assistance.

Come hear Fr. Bob and Fred talk about a variety of social justice issues along with a variety of volunteers from different resources. Hear about what is being done and find ways that you too can contribute and make a difference.

There is no admission fee, but we will be collecting the following items for the Emmaus House. Please help if you can!

  • Laundry detergent
  • Dish detergent
  • Toilet Paper
  • Bars of  unscented soap (Ivory)
  • Toothpaste and tooth brushes
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Non-perishable groceries

Monday Musing

The readings and the Gospel from yesterday, the 26th Sunday in Ordinary time gave me a lot to think about. I had been thinking about them since I first read them, a week ago. (I often look ahead to the next Sunday on Monday.)

If you are reading this blog, there is a better than average chance that you are, like me, a church-goer. We are here week in and week out and in many cases, day in and day out. I have attended daily mass regularly many times in my life; that’s kind of how I ended up with this job, but that’s another story.

You may not know this about me, but I also did not go to church for many years. 18 years to be exact. That too is another story, but let it suffice to say that I stopped going to church in 1972 and did not return until 1990. And my return was not a planned (by me anyway!) action. In fact, far from it.

So when I hear this Gospel I can’t help but see myself at another time in my life and I was most definitely the one saying no – no vineyard work for me! And yet, here I am.

The beauty of the parables is that they speak to us in mystery to reveal truth. So I said no and then I “showed up for work.” That does not make me better – anything but. It just means I realized that not only was the vineyard there, but that I was welcome.

In Ezekiel, we hear hear the first line about fairness. Did that make you think of last Sunday’s Gospel? It did that for me! In any case, none of it seems fair and we are always reminded that God’s ways are quite different than our ways.

Not only are things not fair, we are also reminded, very much so in the second reading, about the essence of who Jesus Christ is! God as man, man as God – very astounding material and more so for the Philippians who first heard St. Paul’s words!

In hearing those words we must also realize that St. Paul is asking us, from a very deep place it seems, to “complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing.”

Jesus is humanity and divinity united and we are asked to be united and to be one in Him. This is no small task.

Today my prayer is to be at one with God’s people, to put others first, to serve and to do good. I pretty much start out each day, each week really, with such lofty goals.

Then I fall down.

What about you? Did anything in Sunday’s liturgy get your attention?

  • Readings?
  • Gospel?
  • Music?
  • Something else?

What’s on my mind…

I published something to my personal blog after attending a Scripture study class at my home parish of St. Edward the Confessor; feel free to have a look if you wish! So much of what we learn about God is counterintuitive, which can be very hard! What do you think?

 

Parish Picnic Today

It is Sunday September 18 and our parish picnic will begin in one hour! Come join the fun… Photos and updates to follow!  Here are some photos from last year:

Our Lady of Sorrows

One of Brother Mickey McGrath’s images in our church.

Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. I came across this video of a portion of contemporary composer Francis Poulenc’s Stabat Mater and offer it to you today.

Here We Are Lord!

Welcome to the blog! It seems very fitting that I write my first post after experiencing the great Ministry Day that we had here at Immaculate Conception on Saturday. If you were there, you know what I mean and if you weren’t it is never too late to get started.

We gathered in the Church and opened with song and prayer.  Our opening hymn was Dan Schutte’sHere I Am, Lord.” Our reading was from 1 Samuel 3:1-9 when we hear about Samuel answering the Lord’s call. God calls to each one of us with a persistent love, asking us to serve Him. We do this best by serving one another – that is our call to action through ministry.

We then heard an inspiring talk from Father Gary Gelfenbien, pastor of St. James in Chatham. Fr. Gary spoke to us about the call to service with humor and with great passion. It seems to me that both are required to live the Eucharistic life, a life of service and ministry for God’s people. I don’t know about you, but I often feel like I could use a boost for both of those things! Saturday’s event was one of those great boost moments however!

Why are we here?  Do we come to church to find God? How and where do we find God? Many of us have been taught about what I think of as the “Great Up There.” I think that makes for an interesting acronym… G U T. I often want to look for God “up there,” but God is really everywhere and often right here. When I feel my stomach fluttering about this thing or that, be it fear, elation, anxiety, I know that I need to remind myself that God is right here in me. This certainly gives us something to consider each time we approach the Lord’s Table. I know that it gives me something to consider anyway!

We long to be a holy people and for many of us, holiness meant time spent on our knees in prayer and supplication, fasting on some days, meatless on others, the Rosary recited and more. In my family, hardly the most pious Catholic household of the 1960′s, we had no shortage of novenas to pray. I remember that my mom always stuck holy cards in photo frames; I loved looking at them. They often had a prayer on the back and I knew that if I said that prayer enough times, I would get a plenary indulgence. Now at the age of 8, I can’t say I really grasped what this meant, but boy did I say those prayers. I understood enough about life, death, hell, purgatory and holiness to know what was what… In an 8 year old sort of way.

Now I don’t mean to make light – prayer and supplication is important. However, holiness is often a much more messy affair, at least in my experience. Holiness for me used to mean anonymous church attendance in the back pews, grateful that the unfriendly parish I was in left me alone.  Phew! Dodged a bullet, no one asked me to do anything!

What I have learned and continue to learn is this however – service is at the heart of holiness. Now prayer for others is service, make no mistake! So those rosaries and the time spent at Adoration matter.  But, what else can we do?

On our ministry day, we were sent to breakout sessions on particular topics based on the Seven Elements of Parish Life. These seven elements are:

  • Worship
  • Stewardship
  • Word
  • Leadership
  • Service
  • Evangelization
  • Community

After our breakouts, we returned to the parish hall for lunch and a report from each group. It was clear – the Holy Spirit was alive and active among us in a powerful way. Each group had so many responses that we each could only present quick talking points.

There is so much more to say, but I will close here today. In closing special and warm thanks are extended here to Fr. Jerry, our pastor, to Fr. Gary, our speaker and to our Pastoral Council. Thanks are also extended to our community who were present. It was so edifying to see parishioners who have been there for decades along with someone who joined the parish a few weeks ago.

It is a privilege to be among you all and I thank God for the privilege of service here at Immaculate Conception!

If you have thoughts, questions, ideas or anything else about this blog, please stop by or call me at the Rectory, or just send me an email at icchurch400@gmail.com!  I will be writing more about what we hope to accomplish here very soon.

(Here is a video from the recent World Youth Day closing mass, with Pope Benedict XVI, you’ll recognize the song.)

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