4th Sunday of Advent/Christmas Eve Mass Obligation

Photograph of Father Peter PatrickThis is an unusual year for the Liturgical Calendar.  Christmas falls on a Monday, so Christmas Eve is on Sunday.  That means we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent with our usual Masses:  the Saturday December 23rd Mass of Anticipation at 4:30 pm and Sunday morning Masses December 24th at 8:30 am and 11:00am.  That same day, we celebrate Christmas Vigil Masses at 4:30 pm and Midnight Mass at 12:00 am.  It will be a full day!  It’s now that we need to remind ourselves of the 3rd Commandment:  “Remember to keep holy the LORD’S Day.”  Also the 1st precept of the Church; “You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.  We must “sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord” (Sunday), as well as the principal feast days, known as Catholic holy days of obligation.  This requires attending Mass, “and … resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.”

On Monday, the Mass of Christmas Day will be celebrated at 10:00 am.  We need good planning on that weekend.  I know it will be tempting to skip the morning Mass on December 24, but I encourage you to celebrate the Liturgical Year in all its fullness.  The readings and liturgical prayers for the 4th Sunday of Advent are important to set up the full joy of Christmas.  We should see this day not as a burden, but as an opportunity to spend a really holy day with the Lord, whose Paschal Mystery begins with the Incarnation.  The long-expected Messiah finally comes into the world to announce the Good News that God will redeem the world.

Have a blessed Advent Season!

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Peter Patrick

 

 

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WELCOME BACK, FATHER PETER PATRICK! (Part 2)

On June 21, 2017 Father Peter Patrick Kimani, a native of Nairobi, Kenya, returned as Shared Associate Pastor at St. Robert and Holy Family Parishes after serving as Associate Pastor at All Saints and St. Martin de Porres Parishes. This continues our reprint of an article that appeared in the Catholic Herald on June 22, 2017. We thought it would be a good re-introduction to Father! Thank you to Jerry Topczewski and the Catholic Herald staff!

Would soccer have been the sport back home in Kenya?

Yes, growing up, I played soccer. I played volleyball when I was in the seminary in Uganda, but mostly it is soccer.

What is the best advice that someone has given you about your priesthood?

I would say that the best advice is that you don’t get your joy or happiness in people or things or places, but it’s something which comes from you. Every time I am preaching, I tell people that happiness is an inside job. When I am preparing people for marriage, the question I ask couples is: “Do you think that you will be happy in the marriage?” Happiness is an inside job. If you are totally expecting your spouse to make you happy, then you are going to have a checklist, and if he or she doesn’t do this or that, you aren’t going to be happy. But, if you realize that happiness comes from inside, you are going to have a happy marriage.

My first two months in my assignment in the central city, it was tough to adjust, but I said, “Look here. I have been preaching to people to be happy, and that happiness is an inside job. I have to practice what I preach.” That is the best advice, and it has made me who I am, and what is behind my ministry.

Do you have a favorite prayer that you turn to, that you find that happiness deriving from?

My prayer is focused on the rosary. The day I am so busy that I haven’t prayed the rosary, I feel there is something I am missing. That is the time I pray for myself and my parents and all those people who have requested it. Of course, Mass itself. I celebrate Mass every day, and those are the moments that I pray for all of the people who have requested that I pray for them.

Do you have a saint that you consider a patron or that you have a devotion to?

St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, and also, St. John Vianney, in his own humbleness and in his hearing of
confessions. It’s something I tell people. They are healed from their confession. Every time I hear confession, I want to be better and that will make me a saint. And that reminds me of John Vianney.

What’s something that people might not know about you?

I like to be quiet. People say I am so hyper, but on my day off , I like to be quiet. But people think that I am so
hyper. I like the quietness.

What about a favorite meal?

Rice and beans.

Is that a piece of home for you?

Yes, it is my favorite food, all the time. All the parishes I go to, people know that. Simple meal, but I like it.

(If you’d like to view or subscribe to the Catholic Herald, visit them on-line here: http://catholicherald.org/)

 

WELCOME BACK, FATHER PETER PATRICK! (Part 1)

On June 21, 2017 Father Peter Patrick Kimani, a native of Nairobi, Kenya, returned as Shared Associate Pastor at St. Robert and Holy Family Parishes after serving as Associate Pastor at All Saints and St. Martin de Porres Parishes. This article appeared in the Catholic Herald on June 22, 2017, and we thought it would be a good re-introduction to repeat it here. Thank you to Jerry Topczewski and the Catholic Herald staff!

What was life like growing up in Kenya for you?

I was born in Nairobi, which is the capitol city of Kenya. I come from a family of five, and I am “the forgotten child,” the middle child. Looking at my baptismal certificate, I can tell that my parents were devout Catholics because I was baptized exactly two months after I was born. My parents used to walk a long distance for Mass. They didn’t have a parish that was just nearby. We had a worshipping center and the priest came once a month for Mass.

Your travel to Milwaukee for the first time was not easy.

I missed my connection. The next flight was six hours later. I had no way of communicating. When I arrived, I was able to change some money and I took a taxi to the seminary. But it was summer, so no one was there. After a while, Fr. Bill Stanfield arrived. He was the Vice Rector at the time, and he let me in. My baggage took another week to arrive.

Where do you find the most joy in your priesthood?

My joy is the time I am with the people and when I am preaching. The time that I am visiting the people in the hospital and at home, and also helping at the schools, going into the classrooms and talking to the kids.

How is liturgy different here, versus liturgy that you were used to at home?

Back at home, everybody participated in liturgy and that’s what I see when I go to All Saints and Martin de Porres. Everybody participates. When I am singing and moving and dancing, that is my nature. It is what I grew up doing. I know that worshiping is using the energy of your body to praise God.

After your ordination Mass, you and a group of religious sisters from Africa, danced around the Cathedral.

Yes, that is how we do it. It is part of me, and when we have an ordination, it is a blessing to the family, to the Universal Church, and people are in a mode of celebration. When I went home for my Mass of Thanksgiving, the people lifted me up because of that joy of having a priest now within their own parish, and it is kind of, the way Africans do it. The way that we Kenyans do it.

What do you do when you have some free time?

I like watching movies. I also like running. This morning I ran 10 miles. Yesterday I joined St. Robert’s teachers for a volleyball league. (Later this week) I am joining a friend of mine for soccer.

 

(To be continued next week. Watch for a surprising answer to one of Jerry’s questions!)

 

Thank You All

_JAM4985-3 copyChange is inevitable, whether in acceptable time or unacceptable time; we all have to struggle with that. Life is always changing and everything, whether good or bad, will eventually come to an end. As you already know my current assignment here at Holy Family and St. Robert will end at the end of this month of May, 2016. I was not prepared for this; to my knowledge; I thought it was ending summer of 2017. Nothing in this life remains the same; only God is unchanging and constant in His love, at all times.

Although I was not able to do much within those two years I have been here, I am so grateful for getting opportunity to serve you in different ways. It has been a blessing to me being my first assignment as a priest; it means a lot. Archbishop Jerome Listecki has assigned me to the Central City parishes. I will be a shared associate for three parishes: All Saints; St. Martin De Porres, and St. Michael. Please, I do ask for your prayers as I begin my new assignment.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your love, prayers, and support. It is hard to leave, but as I said in the beginning of this note, change is inevitable and all of us have to adjust to it. Just remember what I said over and over. “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good,” even at this time of my transition. God bless and I will miss you all.

Fr. Peter Patrick Kimani

Changes At St. Robert – From Our Pastor, Father Dennis

Portrait of Father Dennis DirkxYou have heard that Fr. Peter Patrick will be leaving us in June. The Archbishop has assigned him as shared associate pastor to St. Martin de Porres, All Saints and St. Michael Parishes. The Archbishop has also assigned Fr. David Zampino Sr. to replace Fr. Peter Patrick. Fr. David is formerly an Episcopalian priest who has been accepted into the Catholic Church and was ordained a Catholic priest by Archbishop Listecki with the dispensation granted to him by Pope Francis. He comes to us as a married man with a family. Fr. David will begin his assignment to St. Robert of Newminster and Holy Family Parishes on June 21st. We are grateful to the Archbishop for sending us a shared associate pastor, especially given the shortage the diocese faces. I welcome him to our parishes and I look forward to working with him in serving you, our parishioners. We are also publishing a question-and-answer document with more information regarding married priests.

Married Priests:  Questions and Answers

1.  We were always taught that married men could not be ordained Catholic priests. How is it possible that we could ordain a married man as a Catholic priest?

Celibacy is a discipline of the Catholic Church practiced universally in the West. Although it is highly valued, Pope Paul VI stated that celibacy “is not, of course, required by the nature of the priesthood itself. This is clear from the practice of the early church and the traditions of the Eastern rite churches.”

Much has been said about practical reasons for celibacy, such as giving the parish priest more time to dedicate to the children of God, etc. When all is said and done, however, we must understand it as a powerful sign of the presence of the kingdom of God. It is not essential to the priesthood, but it is a radical witness to the reign of Christ in the world.

In the West the church eventually adopted the practice of celibacy as a universal discipline. The East, however, never did. Even today, Eastern rite priests may marry before ordination. This historical situation opened the doors to the possibility of a married clergy in the West under certain circumstances – most notably for those whose lifelong traditions allow for a married clergy. This includes certain Protestant traditions.

2. When did the Catholic Church begin this practice of ordaining married clergymen from other churches after they became Catholic?

In his 1967 encyclical, “Of the Celibacy of the Priest,” Pope Paul VI called for a study of the circumstances of married ministers of churches or other Christian communities separated from the Catholic Church and of the possibility of admitting those who desire full communion to the Catholic priesthood and to continue to exercise ministry.

Pope Pius XII had already granted special permission for some married Lutheran clergy to be ordained to the Catholic priesthood shortly after the Second World War.

In a 1980 statement, Pope John Paul II allowed an exception for married Episcopal clergy who wanted to become Catholic priests. That exception has since been extended to married men ordained in other non-Catholic, Christian denominations.

3. Does this mean that the Catholic Church will begin ordaining married men on a regular basis?

No. The ordination of a married man remains an exception and one that is granted only in very specific cases involving men who had already been called to ministry in another church or Christian denomination and later came into full communion in the Catholic Church.

4. Is this practice of married priests wide-spread in the United States?

There are approximately 100 active priests in the United States who are married. Without exception they came to Catholicism from other churches. They formerly served the Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, or Methodist churches as ordained ministers. At some point they felt the call to communion with the Catholic Church and entered a process of transition. They and their families entered into full communion with the church, and the former Protestant ministers petitioned Rome for permission to be ordained as Catholic priests. They are now active in priestly ministry throughout the country.

5. If they were already ministers in their own denominations, why does the Catholic Church ordain them?

The Catholic Church does not recognize ordination in other churches as valid.

6. If these men were trained to be ministers in another denomination, how can we be assured that what they teach and preach is truly Catholic?

Men seeking to be ordained under these provisions undergo a theological evaluation. Their knowledge of seven subjects is evaluated by a team of experts. The areas tested are: Ascetical Theology, Canon Law, Church History, Dogmatic Theology, Liturgical and Sacramental Theology, Moral Theology, and Sacred Scripture.

Based on this evaluation, a prescribed plan of studies is assigned on a case-by-case basis.

After the syllabus is completed the candidate is required to pass one written and one oral exam in each of the seven subjects noted above.

7. Is it up to the diocesan bishop to make the final decision to admit the man to Holy Orders?

The diocesan bishop is required to present the case to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican. A dossier of at least 13 required documents is submitted, including a petition for a dispensation from the impediment of marriage that stands in the way of the ordination. The actual dispensation can only be granted by the pope.

8. Does this mean that the Catholic Church will now allow priests to marry or that priests who left ministry to marry will be able to return?

No. There is historical evidence and contemporary practice that demonstrates that married men have been ordained. However, there is no tradition in the Church of allowing someone to marry after ordination. In fact, should one of the married priests become widowed, he is not permitted to marry again. Also, in keeping with long tradition, a married priest is not eligible to be ordained a bishop.