Posted September 8th, 2017
If Jesus has been clear about anything in his teaching, it is the call to love, to forgiveness, to mercy and to compassion. The Church’s foundational belief in the unconditional mercy of God has been the consistent theme of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, as well. “It is not easy to entrust oneself to God’s mercy, because it is an abyss beyond our comprehension. But we must! … “Oh, I am a great sinner!” All the better! Go to Jesus: He likes you to tell him these things!” He forgets; He has a very special capacity for forgetting. He forgets, He kisses you, He embraces you and He simply says to you: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more “
It is this gift of love and mercy showered upon us by our Heavenly Father that not only frees us from our sin and restores us to a life of grace, but it is the reason we must be the same with others. In our second reading, Saint Paul makes it clear that “the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” This is part of the great and most important commandment of the law: We can only love God to the degree that we are able to love our neighbor. This is no easy sentiment or fleeting emotion but the greatest virtue of all. “Love does no evil to the neighbor.” Saint Paul has spoken about this call to love in concrete terms that leaves no doubt as to what is expected of us. Love is kind; it is patient; it bears all things and forgives all things; it is never boastful or proud or self-seeking. Love requires of every Christian the ability to put the other’s interests above our own. Even Jesus reminded his disciples: What good is there in loving those who love you, even the pagans do that! We are called to love our enemies, those who are difficult and unkind and mean spirited and ungrateful.
Jesus challenges us to work at healing divisions. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.” This is the work of every Christian. It is our responsibility in faith to speak with love, to seek reconciliation, to heal what is broken, to shower another with mercy and tenderness so that the human heart can receive tenderness and the bonds of love among us can be restored. But so often our response is to get angry, to speak badly of another, to desire harm, to seek to get even, to push another aside in disdain. These are contradictions to those who want to live as Christians. Even when our best efforts fail, Jesus says that we must pray with a desire that God’s power and grace will accomplish what we unable to do. “If two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my Heavenly Father.” The mercy and love of God given to us in Jesus Christ is the gift that we must seek not only for ourselves but for all our brothers and sisters, especially those with whom we struggle.
Posted September 8th, 2017
We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean and south Florida as they face the threat of Hurricane Irma. We are keeping them in our prayers that God will keep them safe. We pray for all those who are working so hard to offer assistance – our police, national guard, firefighters, Emts, rescue workers and so many helping their neighbor. May God bless them. Let us keep everyone in prayer.
Posted August 29th, 2017
Saint Paul Cathedral is known for its majestic building. The beautiful and awesome Gothic architecture; the colorful and detailed stained glass windows, the stunning statues, crucifix and stations of the cross, the marble altars and reliefs, and the list goes on and on. Many who come to us are overwhelmed by the beauty of what they see and behold. But the true beauty of our parish family was on display this past Sunday (August 27) in all its glory. We celebrated our fourth annual parish picnic. Nearly 400 people gathered on the lawn of the Cathedral on a picture perfect day. Our parish family is diverse: old and young, many families with children, persons with disabilities, white, black, Asian, Latino, people of every ethnic origin and nationality, young adults and the elderly, single and married, even some in consecrated life. The differences are stunning to behold but the unity that joins us together is awe-inspiring. The Cathedral parish is joined together as one faith family marked by an incredible spirit of welcome and hospitality, full of people who generously give of their time, talent and treasure for the good of others and the glory of God. What stood our so boldy that day for me was the real, authentic spirit of joy that was so evident that it outshined the external beauty of the Cathedral standing behind us. We have smiles everywhere, children running around joyfully, conversations and friendships that were genuine and inspiring, and all kinds of people caring for others, true servants after the heart of Jesus himself. That is the true beauty of Saint Paul Cathedral parish – the people who bring our parish family to live. There are so many and all of us work together in building up the unity of the Body of Christ. What joins us as one is our genuine love of God, our faith in Jesus Christ, our love for the Church and the sacramental life that gives us strength, and a sincere commitment to bring that faith into the public square and share our joy with others. As the pastor and rector of Saint Paul Cathedral parish now for the past five years, I was filled with the greatest pride as I walked the picnic grounds last Sunday. I keep thinking this is what being a parish family is all about! What a beautiful sight to behold indeed.
Posted August 29th, 2017
Our hearts and thoughts are closely joined to our brothers and sisters in the path of the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. As the hurricane hit first at the beautiful town of Corpus Christi it seemed like a call from God to stir us into action. Corpus Christi is the Latin for “Body of Christ.” As Saint Paul wrote many years ago, “when one of the members of the body suffers, all the members suffer.” In this terrible tragedy where so many have lost their homes and all they possess, when some have died and others are injured, the hearts of all the members of the Body of Christ share in the pain of their loss. But as Christians we are stirred to action. Tragedy brings out the best in others; it always does. We have seen the bravery of our police officers, firefighters, those on search and rescue patrols, emergency medical personnel, national guard, those serving in our shelters, the Red Cross, and so many other regular people who are doing all they can to help. It speaks to the goodness that lies in every human heart; the care and compassion that we have for our neighbors, especially those in need. In a country where politics has caused such sad divisions, where some people choose to tear down the fabric of our society by their hatred for others, by violence and destruction of property, how important to see manifested in these days such beauty, goodness and kindness. No one cares if you are a Democrat or Republican, no one is asking whether you are an illegal immigrant – what matters is that each person is seen as a beloved child of God; every life is sacred and precious; and those who are working to help their neighbors in need care little for differences. Every human life matters. We are all Americans who suddenly are confronting the fragility of human life and the most precious blessings that we have: our blessed nation and the freedom we possess as Americans; the cherished gifts of family and friends, the beauty of the gift of life, the faith in God that gives us strength and peace, and the reality of God’s love that surrounds at every moment of life in good times and in bad. Nothing else matters in the end. May we learn to treasure the priorities in life and not wait for another tragedy to strike to build up the bonds of unity and love with everyone in our country – brothers and sisters all in Jesus Christ – members of the Body of Christ (Corpus Christi). God bless those confronting this hurricane; God keep them safe and bring them through harm’s way; God fill them with hope for the future and give them strength.
Posted August 17th, 2017
Our hearts break with sorrow as we witness the events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia this past Saturday. We mourn the tragic loss of one innocent life and we are deeply saddened that 19 others have been wounded and hurt by the senseless act of violence spurned by a rally of hate. Anger and hatred always beget violence. Freedom of speech does not give anyone the right to malign, denigrate and murder other people who may not share your world view. There is no place in our country for hatred, for discrimination, for prejudice, and for seeing and treating others as inferior. The Catholic Church has long denounced any form of racism as an absolute evil and a great sin. As Christians we must fight vigorously against any ideology or vision of life that espouses hatred for others and embraces violence as an acceptable solution. As Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, stated this week: “We stand against the evil of racism, white supremacy and neo-nazism. We stand with our sisters and brothers united in the sacrifice of Jesus, by which love’s victory over every form of evil is assured.” We must affirm our belief in the sanctity and dignity of every human life; that each person is made in the image and likeness of our God. We are brothers and sisters who stand together in solidarity and we must renounce vigorously anyone who tries to convince us that a certain group of people are superior to others. St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta spoke often of the call to see the face of Jesus in each and every person that we meet. What a different kind of nation we would belong to if that were true. We must stand in solidarity – regardless of race, creed, ethnic background or political party – and affirm the goodness and beauty that is reflected in every human person, that divine spark of God himself that lies in every human heart. We saw that so clearly in the response of so many other people who have come out in force to reaffirm our foundational values that each and every person is worthy of respect regardless of our differences. And as Cardinal DiNardo reminded us let us lift us this tragedy to God, the divine healer. “At Mass, let us offer a special prayer of gratitude for the brave souls who sought to protect us from the violent ideology displayed yesterday. Let us especially remember those who lost their lives. Let us unite ourselves in the spirit of hope offered by the clergy, people of faith, and all people of good will who peacefully defended their city and country.” Each of us bears the responsibility to stand up and proclaim loudly and forcefully: “No to racism; No to hatred; No to bigotry. Not here; Not now; Not ever.”
Posted June 4th, 2017
Our hearts go out to the victims of the senseless acts of terrorism and violence that have taken place in London over these past few weeks. There is no other description for what took place than the face of evil broke into our lives once again. We stand in solidarity with all those whose lives have been so brutally taken, along with their families and loved ones, and with all victims of terrorism throughout the world. We must pray fervently for God’s grace and peace to fill the hearts of his people and that the power of God’s love will do what seems to be impossible for us. We pray that the Almighty One himself will bring healing, reconciliation, harmony and concord to all God’s people and to put an end to hatred, violence and the tragic extremism in the name of religion that has brought so much destruction to so many people. Radical fundamentalist extremism has twisted the truth and does not reflect the wisdom of a religion that is founded on God’s law and his love – truths that we have been given by God himself. Those who twist the truth and change the laws of God for their own evil purposes will be judged accordingly at the throne of the King.
In the face of so much evil and hatred, we can become paralyzed and wonder what can we possibly do. The first response is clear: we must turn to God more and more often in these days. We take to heart the message of Our Lady at Fatima who pleaded with us to offer our trials and difficulties for the conversion of sinners. We can be beacons of mercy and kindness, helping the light to dispel the darkness in our own corner of the world. Let us remember the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln who in the darkness of the Civil War was asked by someone fighting against slavery if he thought God was on their side. President Lincoln said very thoughtfully, “It isn’t a matter of whether God is on our side; the only thing that matters is if we are on God’s side.” We stand in the confidence of our faith that God has defeated death, darkness, sin and death once and for all in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Savior. Now it is for us to stand on God’s side and be those who seek each day to bring the truth of God’s Holy Word, the light of his love, and the power of divine grace into the hearts of all people around us and into the world. We do that by standing with God, by praying fervently, by living rightly and justly as we have been taught by Jesus himself.
Posted May 10th, 2017
Tuesday was an incredible and inspiring day as the Cathedral hosted the relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio). The Cathedral was jam packed for the 12:05 pm Mass celebrated by Bishop Zubik and the lines of people coming to venerate the relics stretched down the aisle, out the center door, along Fifth Avenue and up Craig Street all afternoon and evening. I have never witnessed anything quite like it in my time as pastor of the Cathedral. It was a beautiful and touching sight to see so many people coming to offer their prayers and intentions, and seeking blessing through the intercession of this saint, canonized by St. Pope John Paul II in 2002. There was deep and sincere faith among the pilgrims, a joy of being able to draw close to a man who had suffered greatly but manifested the tenderness and mercy of God in every dimension of his life. Padre Pio was a holy man of God, given the stigmata, and he had miraculous powers of healing and knowledge, spending hours of time in the confessional dispensing the mercy and love of God to penitents seeking grace. Padre Pio’s father actually emigrated to New Castle, PA in the face of serious economic crisis in Italy so he could provide for his family. Padre Pio is a source of inspiration to so many. His own sufferings led him to be an instrument of compassion and mercy to so many. Venerating his relics will bring great grace and strength to those who came in humility and prayer but will also be a source of grace to our entire Cathedral parish family. We take to heart his words: “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry,” have trust and faith in God’s love. St. Padre Pio pray for us.
Click on the following link to listen to Bishop Zubik’s Homily from the Mass in Honor of Padre Pio recorded on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, as well as Fr. Kris Stubna’s Homily from May 11th, 2017: https://dioceseofpittsburgh.sharefile.com/share?#/view/8743375c596741c4
Posted May 6th, 2017
Join us for our weekly Novena to our Mother of Perpetual Help on Wednesdays beginning at 7:00 pm with prayers and benediction. Bring your needs to Our Blessed Mother who always hears our prayers.