Browsing Pastor's Notes

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

You may have noticed that kneelers have been placed near the Sanctuary for the reception of Holy Communion. First, Holy Mother Church has deemed it perfectly acceptable to receive Communion in the hand, and it can (& should) be done with great faith and reverence. For most of us, this is what we are most familiar with here in the USA. But it is precisely this familiarity that has sparked the placement of the kneelers. Our Sunday Gospels of late are coming from John, chapter 6, known as the Bread of Life Discourse. In it, Jesus challenges the people by telling them they must receive His Flesh & Blood if they are to have eternal life. In our everyday familiarity, it is possible to forget that the Eucharist, is not a what, but a Who – Jesus Christ Truly, Really, Sacramentally Present. Exercising the option to kneel for the reception of Holy Communion declares unequivocally to ourselves and to the world, “I believe Christ is present in the Eucharist, and I am a servant of Christ the King!” Like so much in our rich Catholic Faith, we pray with our bodies! Kneeling shows great reverence for Jesus Christ in the Host. We are about to receive the King of the Universe under the form of bread! Kneeling to receive is another way to experience and express our Faith tangibly in our bodies. The reception of Holy Communion while kneeling is an ancient practice, and very much the normal practice in many parts of the world and the Church universal. So now, while hearing the Bread of Life Discourse, you have this option. And whether you select this option or not, I pray you will deeply & reverently remember Who you are encountering and receiving in the Eucharist.

Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) Inquiry Info Session on Wednesday, August 18 at 6p in the Parish Office conference room. Maybe you don’t know what the Catholic Church believes, RCIA is a great introduction. Participating in RCIA is not a commitment to join, but an opportunity to learn & listen, to pray & discern. Quintera Quinn entered Full Communion at Easter after participating in RCIA. Here is what she has to say:

It's been wonderful to go through the process of becoming Catholic, and joining Holy Family as a parishioner has been great as well. Throughout this experience, I have learned so much about Catholicism, and I feel motivated and inspired to keep learning.

It's been a difficult journey, though. After growing up as a lifelong Non-denominational Christian, I felt a pull towards Catholicism that I can't really explain. So, I'd been wanting to become Catholic since at least 2017, and I started to attend Catholic churches around that time. I was unable to go through RCIA due to the fact that I lived overseas for two years, and there wasn't a Catholic church in my small city. For a while, my only exposure to Mass was through occasional trips and online services. When I would visit home during vacations, I would be sure to come to Holy Family for Mass, and Father Gries always remembered who I was. I also met a kind woman at Mass who gave me my first rosary and taught me some introductory things about Catholicism. I appreciated how kind the people at Holy Family were to me, and it motivated me to continue pursuing the faith despite having obstacles.

Upon returning to the US in March 2020, I made a vow to attend the next RCIA and become Catholic, and the experience has been great. The meetings were fun and informative. The other members were friendly and we all had a good time. Father Gries was so knowledgeable and was always able to answer our questions and give us new things to consider. I felt like I learned so much. People in the church would see that I was preparing to be baptized and partake in the sacraments, and they went out of their way to welcome me and cheer me on. It made me feel like I had another family, and it made me feel valued and included. I'm very happy that I was able to finish this process and join Holy Family, and I look forward to all that is to come.

My advice to others would be to be persistent and keep your eye on God. He will walk with you and guide you through, even if it takes some time. Thanks to Him and to the kind folks at Holy Family, I'm now part of this parish, and I'm so blessed to be here.


Holy Family, Centered on the Bread of Life, Pray for us.

~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries


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