Father Eric Banecker’s Weekly Message – October 17, 2021

Dear friends in Christ,

Our parish continues to come back to life after the long winter of the pandemic. Our parish school, PREP program, IHM Center for Literacy, and Star Harbor Senior Center are all operational, even as they implement sound practices to prevent the spread of covid-19. Some of our parish groups are meeting in person again, including our Fides et Ratio monthly reading group. Our beautiful choir and all our liturgical musicians and ministers continue to enhance our worship experience each week. Thank you to all who do so much to make our parish the vibrant, active community it is. May Christ, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be the source of all our efforts, and may bringing others into that same communion of love be the goal of all we do!

As we approach the season of falling leaves and (hopefully not too much) falling snow, our parish is in need of a few volunteers who can help with keeping our property clean and safe for parishioners and visitors. Please see the message inside the bulletin this week for more information.

Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, November 2nd, which is All Souls’ Day, the day we set aside each year to pray for all the faithful departed, which is one of the spiritual works of mercy. In addition to our usual 7am Mass, we will have a second Mass at 7pm. I’ve sent letters to family members of those whose funerals were here at St. Francis de Sales this year, but if you have someone else you would like remembered who has died in the past year, please contact Jean Jordan, our parish secretary, so we can add the name to the prayer of the faithful.

Enclosed in this bulletin is a special message and budget report about last fiscal year, which concluded June 30, 2021. Please take a look and let me know if you have any questions.

 

May God be Blessed!

-Father Eric Banecker

Father Eric Banecker’s Weekly Message

Dear friends in Christ, 

 

As our bulletin editor and parish historian has reminded us in recent articles, September 19th marks the 100th anniversary of the ordination to the episcopacy of Bishop Michael J. Crane, the second pastor of the parish and the man who oversaw the construction of our historic church. I consider this providential as I am officially installed as pastor on this auspicious anniversary. 

 

The awesome work of this parish does not begin with me or with Bishop Crane. It begins with the great high priest and true Shepherd of our souls. May he, the Lord Jesus Christ, be the center of all we do each day, as we entrust ourselves to him anew, through the intercession of Mary, his Immaculate mother. 

 

I am grateful to Archbishop Perez for appointing me to this ministry as your pastor, as well as to Monsignor Kutys who is representing the Archbishop this weekend. Thanks to all who the parishioners who support me in so many ways, especially those who have helped to prepare the Installation Mass and celebration. Special thanks to my family who have provided our post-Mass entertainment and refreshments as a gift to the parish. 

 

May God be Blessed!

 

-Father Eric Banecker

Father Eric Banecker’s Weekly Message

Dear friends in Christ,

 

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68). With these words, pronounced at the end of the longest chapter in any of the Gospels, Simon Peter declares his continual loyalty to Christ, one based on human ties of friendship and affection, but above all on the supernatural virtue of faith that Jesus recognized in him when he said, in another context, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father” (Mt 16:18).

 

Where do you and I go with our wounds, our problems, our anxieties and fears? The dreadful situation in Afghanistan, the seemingly never-ending effects of covid-19 on our society, and a noticeable rise in anger, distrust, and malaise can get us all down from time to time. The world knows what we should do with our problems: we should buy more things we don’t need with money we don’t have; we should live for the moment and deal with consequences later; we should distract ourselves with social media.

 

But if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that none of the solutions the world offers are any good. In fact, they only make us more unsettled. They cannot satisfy us because only God can satisfy the deepest yearnings of the human heart. And so, we must return to the Lord with Saint Peter: “Lord, to who shall we go?” Indeed, many of Jesus’ disciples left him precisely at the moment when he announced to them that they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood if they wanted to have eternal life. Our Lord’s teachings were just too much for many of his disciples (Jn 6:54). His proclamation to “take up [one’s] cross” and follow him must not have been pleasant to hear, either (Mt 16:24). Yet the road to happiness is to follow Christ, who alone has the words of eternal life.

 

May God be Blessed!

 

-Father Eric Banecker

Father Eric Banecker’s Weekly Message

Dear friends in Christ, 

 

The readings for this Sunday speak of Divine election, in two interrelated ways. Saint Paul reminds the Ephesians that – as Christians – we are chosen and elected by God to share in the life of his Son by grace. It is always good to remind ourselves that we are not Catholic Christians because of genetic or cultural reasons, but because we have been claimed by the Trinity in Baptism, adopted as his own beloved children. What a gift to meditate on in these summer months!

 

The second kind of Divine election is God’s free choice to choose certain members of his people to share in his mission and ministry. We find this in the Old Testament calls of the prophets, such as Amos, related in the first reading. Amos was not a professional religious figure, but a dresser of sycamore trees. Yet God called him to announce a message of repentance to the northern kingdom of Israel. Indeed, God does not choose the qualified; he qualifies the chosen!

 

It is important to us to reflect on how this Divine election continues to this day. We can encourage those who are “seeking” in terms of faith to find a home in the Catholic Church. We can also do our part to encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life. I am convinced that there are young men in our parish, for instance, who would make excellent priests. Christ calls who he wills, but it is for us to offer our encouragement, support, and prayers if we encounter someone who might have a religious vocation. In this way, we will help to ensure that the Gospel continues to reach to the ends of the earth!

 

Finally, this week I celebrated my first anniversary since arriving here at St. Francis de Sales Parish. It has been quite a year – and it has really been enjoyable. I’m grateful to all of you for your love for God and your support of our parish. 

 

May God be Blessed!

 

-Father Eric Banecker