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Stay, watch, remain, pray

1932412_10152279350617438_613759620_nWe are almost there, these final days leading to Easter triumph and resurrection. But first we must walk the Via Crucis with Jesus, suffering and dying. How will you walk with Jesus this week?

Perhaps the better question is this, how will we each stay with Jesus this week? The comic to the left is cute and funny enough, but then again, it is not funny at all. How do we fail to stay awake? How do we continually find ways to distract ourselves? How do we avoid what must be done?

As for me, I can name many ways in which I do not watch and pray, far too many to enumerate for you today. Yet, Jesus continues to ask me to stay, to watch, to pray, remain in faithful vigil. So once again, I make my meek attempts.

May your steps this week be blessed with the grace attentiveness to and hope in Christ.

Seeing the Light in Lent

burning candleHow is your Lenten journey going? Mine has been up and down, but today I was given the gift of a little revelation along my Lenten path. The Holy Spirit illuminated a shadow on my heart, the light of which caused me to not take a familiar and well-worn, but circular path to nowhere, but to take the turn, however slight, in another direction.

This makes me wonder what would happen if I slowed down more, asked more questions, sought more silence, listened more attentively, and then acted in accordance with all that. This tells me that I need not wonder, but to slow down, ask more questions, seek more silence, listen more attentively, and then act in accordance with what is revealed to me by the Spirit.

How old am I? Slowly learning, learning slowly, but still on the path. Thanks for being here with me. Thanks be to God. May we carry one another in prayer on this journey, at Lent and always.

I’m back, it is Laetare Monday

rejoiceIt has been a long winter, hasn’t it? And a long Lent, or so it seems to me. The weather was a real challenge this year; recent milder winters had lulled me into a cheery complacency about what snow and cold truly meant in upstate New York. And I say that knowing that those in the the mid-Atlantic states further south had it much worse! Hard to think about rejoicing, right?

Add to that, starting in October, and never (gratefully) with anything life-threatening, but I have been in the near constant care of doctors for one thing or another. I get it, I’m 56, and I have not always taken care of my corpus very well, but much like the winter, this all came as a startling and repeatedly disturbing challenge. Let it suffice to say that I think that I may finally be turning the corner into, God willing, some better health. That’s why I am calling this Laetare Monday!

Our Lenten journey is meant to be one of the kind of serious prayer and introspection that leads to change. This is not the navel gazing of my earlier years, when a faux seriousness pervaded my being, but was not very deep or authentic; I was young, Continue reading

One week into Lent…

We may be one week into Lent, but this submission from Shannon O’Donnell, written originally for the start of Lent, still holds true. How is your Lenten journey thus far?

Image courtesy of Mary Brack, at Me With My Head in The Clouds.

Image courtesy of Mary Brack, at Me With My Head in The Clouds.

For the first time or the twelfth or the sixty-third, we stand at the borderland of Lent. The bright promise of Easter and its celebrations of light, water, oil, and Eucharist lie ahead of us, out of sight, beyond the horizon. We stand, like so many of our ancestors, refugees with our stories and dreams, wondering about this journey.

We have known failure, disappointment, betrayal. We are marked by the violence done to us and by the harm we have done to others. We long to be better people, to love without reserve, to transform the world that we all might live in grace and peace.

The journey will not be easy or quick, but we will be together. With Christ in our midst, we will listen to him and to each other. We will make space to acknowledge our pain and fear, our sin. We will take on the task of reconciliation and peace because Christ will show us how. He is the great Reconciler and he calls, “Come, follow me.”

-Shannon O’Donnell

Shannon O’Donnell is a jail chaplin, a lay minister, and author from Seattle, Washington. She generously shares her gifts through periodic reflections on this and other blogs. Her book, Save the Bones, about her mother Marie,and Alzheimers was published last year. It is available at in both paperback and ebook editions at the link.

Lead us not into temptation

mediumTemptation. What does this word mean? For many of us it means things like avoiding the temptation to look at our phones compulsively, or to stay away from snacks. It might mean the feeling of wanting to buy something new, when we have a perfectly good whatever-it-is at home, but we want a new one. There are many sentences that begin with “I was so tempted to…” and end with something that does not seem very harmful. We pray, “lead us not into temptation,” but what do we mean when we say those words?

A long time ago, I was speaking to someone who was practicing the 12 Steps of AA. He said that rationalizing the dismantling of small boundaries was the road to ruin for him. Often he would be tempted to put himself in a situation that might not seem to be so bad, but one that he knew might be a trigger. And he might even do OK in that situation, not yielding to the magnetic force of his addiction. Then he would Continue reading

Lenten Journey

sign-for-lent-with-integrated-crossOn certain days in Lent I will cross post across all of the blogs that I manage, but on many days, I will only post on my personal blog, There Will Be Bread. And yes – today is one of those days! I am writing about what it means to give so much to God… very hard for all of us if we are honest.

So please feel free to read or subscribe, if you want to see what’s going on. And if you don’t, no worries – simply find whatever ways you can to bring you closer to God in this holy season!

And if you want to share your own Lenten thoughts on these pages,  please get in touch! All are welcome to read and to submit entries. (All submissions will be reviewed and possibly edited. Just get in touch – we will talk!)

Ash Wednesday and Hard Hearts

heart_stoneHere we are, another Ash Wednesday. This one comes so late, too. By this time last year Easter was clearly on the horizon, at the end of March. This year, we are just about to begin Lent.

Somehow, all I can think about is the dark of winter and Lent, and how light it will be starting next week. No, no, no… Something feels off about that.

It’s me that is off if I am honest; I don’t like change as much as I pretend to like it. Why can’t Lent always start in early or mid-February? My pretty, shiny stone heart likes it better that way! Insert pouting face here. I know that we got those ceramic hearts at mass this weekend… And I believe, as Fr. Jerry told us, that they are to remind us of God’s love, but my heart feels hard, resistant to change. Very. Resistant.

Oh Ash Wednesday, you are upon us. Today work was full of the usual “Ashes will be distributed at masses at 9, 12, and 6:30pm.” My goal is to avoid the church secretary’s tongue twister that offers the potential for mixing up ASHES and MASSES. If the “sh” ends up with the m, then the double s goes Continue reading

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