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Fr. Tony Schuerger’s Homily, Sunday March 3, 11:30AM Mass

For all those who were unable to attend, we are pleased to make available the audio file with the Sunday Homily.

The homily was preached by pastor Fr. Tony Schuerger’s homily during the 11:30AM Mass, which was the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  To listen to the homily, first click here to access the MP3 audio file, then click on the play button.  (The play button is shaped like a triangle.)

Our thanks to Stan Kozak for the audio engineering support!

 

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Rediscover Sunday at St. Malachi!

On January 5 St. Malachi Parish officially launched the new Sunday Morning at St. Malachi.  Over 140 parishioners celebrated with breakfast and a sing-a-long led by two very talented young musicians.  Breakfast was served and a good time was had by all.

What’s new on Sunday Mornings at St. Malachi is the Mass schedule with Masses at 9:00AM and 11:30AM, with an enrichment/formation/socialization time in-between at 10:15 AM.   The Mass is the source and summit of our Catholic lives and we have two options.  Attend 9AM Mass and have enrichment afterward, or if you prefer, come at 10:15 for enrichment and celebrate Mass at 11:30.

The in-between schedule will feature a variety of programs and options.   This upcoming Sunday, January 19th, at the 10:15 – 11:15 in-between time, we will feature a speaker from The Metanoia Project.  The Metanoia Project provides a shelter for the homeless at St. Malachi on weekend nights during the winter.   Come and learn about this this program and how it is changing lives.

For those who prefer Saturday Vigil Mass, the 4:30PM Saturday Mass is unchanged and all are welcome.   Mass is no longer celebrated on Sunday at 12:30.

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Womens Retreat this May

Women’s Retreat in May  – Women, you are invited to a retreat Friday evening May 30 through Saturday evening May 31 2014 at Our Lady of the Pines in Freemont, OH. We are hoping to deepen our relationship with God and build women’s community through group reflection and some quiet time. Women from St. Malachi’s, St. Patrick’s, St. Wendelin’s, and St. Colman’s, as well as other friends are being invited. The cost is $95. Brochures with registrations are at the doors of the Church or you can print them from www.StMalachi.org.

To view the brochure or print the registration form click here!

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Rediscovering Sunday Morning at St. Malachi

As we begin a new year, St. Malachi has chosen to do something relatively bold for a Catholic parish: change the Sunday Mass schedule without “having” to do so (for example, because of the loss of a priest on the staff or massive loss of parishioners). Significantly, too, this choice was made after long consideration and broad consultation of the whole parish.

There was one very practical reason for changing the Mass schedule, which was to enable the  PSR program to be established in its own time slot; until this change, PSR classes were held during the 9:30 Mass. A bit of history will help with understanding how this came to be. From 1975 to 2009, the St. Malachi campus hosted two (canonical) parishes: St. Malachi Parish and the Community of St. Malachi. For many years, the grade school PSR program (under the name Christian Formation) was a ministry of the Community of St. Malachi. The Community of St. Malachi celebrated Sunday Mass at 11:00 AM, so there was no conflict for the Community of St. Malachi to operate its Christian Formation program on Sunday morning before its community Mass. Since the largest group of families with school-aged children belonged to the Community of St. Malachi, this made sense: children could receive religious education and then attend Mass with their families. Grade school-aged children whose families belonged to St. Malachi Parish were invited and welcomed to attend the grade school Christian Formation program, realizing that the program was held at the same time as the St. Malachi Parish 9:30 AM Mass (and so those families would have to attend a different Sunday Mass). In November, 2009, St. Malachi Parish and the Community of St. Malachi merged to form the new (i.e. in canonical terms) St. Malachi Parish. At the time of the merger, it was decided that it would be best to keep the Mass schedule as it was and also to continue the religious education program in the same, familiar schedule. Since then, it has become more and more evident that the parish is, at the very least, sending a mixed message by holding PSR classes during Mass times. With the change in Mass schedule, PSR has its own time (10:15-11:15 AM Sunday mornings) and there is no conflict with teachers, children and families attending Mass together.

As important as this practical reason is for changing the Sunday Mass schedule, there is an even more important reason, which is, essentially, spiritual and which is captured by the name we have given to this initiative: Rediscovering Sunday Morning at St. Malachi.

In 1998, Pope John Paul II wrote an Apostolic Letter called The Day of the Lord (Dies Domini), reflecting on the meaning of Sunday, the Lord’s Day, and how central it is in the life of the church. Although not short, the document itself is worth reading. [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_05071998_dies-domini_en.html]

In the letter, Pope John Paul notes how the custom of Sunday as the Lord’s Day, a day of Sabbath rest has been caught up by a somewhat different concept, the concept of “the weekend:”

Until quite recently, it was easier in traditionally Christian countries to keep Sunday holy because it was an almost universal practice and because, even in the organization of civil society, Sunday rest was considered a fixed part of the work schedule. … The custom of the “weekend” has become more widespread, a weekly period of respite, spent perhaps far from home and often involving participation in cultural, political or sporting activities which are usually held on free days. (#4)

The Pope notes that there is nothing wrong with “the weekend” in itself:

This social and cultural phenomenon is by no means without its positive aspects if, while respecting true values, it can contribute to people’s development and to the advancement of the life of society as a whole. All of this responds not only to the need for rest, but also to the need for celebration which is inherent in our humanity. (#4)

But he goes on to say: Unfortunately, when Sunday loses its fundamental meaning and becomes merely part of a “weekend”, it can happen that people stay locked within a horizon so limited that they can no longer see “the heavens”. Hence, though ready to celebrate, they are really incapable of doing so. (#4)

As worthwhile as “the weekend” is in itself, Pope John Paul notes that it is inadequate by itself to fully capture the meaning and value of Sunday as the Lord’s Day. He calls followers of Christ to recognize and keep Sunday holy:

The disciples of Christ, however, are asked to avoid any confusion between the celebration of Sunday, which should truly be a way of keeping the Lord’s Day holy, and the “weekend”, understood as a time of simple rest and relaxation. This will require a genuine spiritual maturity, which will enable Christians to “be what they are”, in full accordance with the gift of faith, always ready to give an account of the hope which is in them (cf. 1 Pt 3:15). In this way, they will be led to a deeper understanding of Sunday, with the result that, even in difficult situations, they will be able to live it in complete docility to the Holy Spirit. (#4)

He goes on to note something that we have become very accustomed to in the United States, in our Cleveland diocese and (without trying to judge anyone) at St. Malachi:

because of the sociological pressures already noted, and perhaps because the motivation of faith is weak, the percentage of those attending the Sunday liturgy is strikingly low. In the minds of many of the faithful, not only the sense of the centrality of the Eucharist but even the sense of the duty to give thanks to the Lord and to pray to him with others in the community of the Church, seems to be diminishing. (#5)

Whether one thinks in terms of “the weekend” or of “the Lord’s Day” has practical effects. For example, Catholics who think in terms of “the weekend” tend to try to “fit” going to Mass into the rest of the weekend schedule. Unfortunately, for many people, if going to Mass doesn’t “fit” into what else is planned for “the weekend,” going to Mass is put aside. However, Catholics who think in terms of “the Lord’s Day” will approach the weekend schedule in the opposite way: celebrating Mass is the first priority and then all the other weekend activities are “fit” into the rest of the weekend schedule.

Rediscovering Sunday Morning at St. Malachi is an effort to encourage our whole parish to think in terms of “the Lord’s Day” and to renew our spirits both through the celebration of the Eucharist and coming together as a community of faith-filled people. As Pope John Paul wrote in The Day of the Lord:

Sharing in the Eucharist is the heart of Sunday, but the duty to keep Sunday holy cannot be reduced to this. In fact, the Lord’s Day is lived well if it is marked from beginning to end by grateful and active remembrance of God’s saving work. This commits each of Christ’s disciples to shape the other moments of the day — those outside the liturgical context: family life, social relationships, moments of relaxation — in such a way that the peace and joy of the Risen Lord will emerge in the ordinary events of life. For example, the relaxed gathering of parents and children can be an opportunity not only to listen to one another but also to share a few formative and more reflective moments. (#52)

Pope John Paul II’s comment about “shaping the other moments of the day” is why we have created this time between the two Sunday Masses for our people to gather “outside the liturgical context.” The hope is that we can gather in such a way that “the peace and joy of the Risen Lord will emerge” especially by the chance to “listen to one another” and also share a few formative and more reflective moments” in the various programs and opportunities that are offered each Sunday.

Rediscovering Sunday Morning at St. Malachi is an invitation and, perhaps, a challenge to think about how we can use our time with a focus on Sunday as “The Lord’s Day” rather than as the last day of the weekend. As Pope John Paul II entreated:

Sunday is a day which is at the very heart of the Christian life. … today I would strongly urge everyone to rediscover Sunday: Do not be afraid to give your time to Christ! Yes, let us open our time to Christ, that he may cast light upon it and give it direction. He is the One who knows the secret of time and the secret of eternity, and he gives us “his day” as an ever new gift of his love. The rediscovery of this day is a grace which we must implore, not only so that we may live the demands of faith to the full, but also so that we may respond concretely to the deepest human yearnings. Time given to Christ is never time lost, but is rather time gained, so that our relationships and indeed our whole life may become more profoundly human. (#7)

The invitation of Rediscovering Sunday Morning at St. Malachi is to invite everyone to “open our time to Christ” a little more fully each week, remaining for a time after Mass or coming earlier before Mass, so that we may be enriched and thus enabled to enrich others from the fruits of what we have received. The opportunities for coming together, for learning, for sharing, for communion can strengthen us to be able to “live the demands of faith to the full” in the realities of daily life, enabling us to better “respond concretely to the deepest human yearnings” so that “our whole life may become more profoundly human.”

 

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All-Parish Breakfast/Songfest, 10:15AM Sunday Jan 5, 2014

St. Malachi Parish is beginning the new year — and the new Mass Schedule — with a Breakfast and Songfest from 10:15AM – 11:20AM on Sunday, January 5.

Don’t miss this first experience of the new “Sundays at St. Malachi” which features two Sunday Masses – 9AM and 11:30AM — with Parish educational programs, meetings and other activities in-between.  Coffee and refreshments will also be a regular feature of this “in-between” time.

The Vigil Mass on Saturday at 4:30 remains unchanged, and there will continue to be a Coffee Hour after 11:30 Sunday Mass.

Read the letter from Fr. Tony and Parish Council President Jeannie Cleary-Burns for more details of our Mass schedule change.

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday, January 5 at 10:15AM!

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“I’m blessed”

At lunchtime on the second and fourth Saturday of each month, St. Malachi Center hosts a men’s sharing and support group named Soup and God for the men of the neighborhood. There are usually about 12-15 people gathered around the table, sometimes more, sometimes fewer. Lunch is always a draw, as is the DVD showing on the TV before lunch is served.

 Soup and God began after a tragic event: one of the “guys” – a regular on the street for many years finally got off the street and into his own apartment. Shortly after he got into “his own place,” people did see him much anymore. Several months later, he jumped off the roof of the building where he lived. What had happened is that when he got into housing, he also lost his community – his friends on the street – and, ultimately, became isolated. The isolation proved to be too much one day and so he took his own life.

 The St. Malachi Center staff recognized the need the men had for community and peer support. Formerly homeless men needed a healthy opportunity to connect with friends and find support; homeless men needed the modeling and encouragement of men who had been able to meet the challenge of getting off the street and into a home (often for the first time in decades). Thus, Soup and God was born.

 The format is simple: lunch, going over the ground rules (“to keep it safe for everyone”), self-introductions, sharing around the table in answer to two simple questions: As I come here today, I feel …. and One good thing I did for myself this past week …. This is followed by an inspirational story or reflection, followed by discussion. Some men use their real names, others use their street names. No one is required to speak, but most do.

 As one might expect, as I come here today, I feel …. gets a variety of responses: happy, good, okay, hungry, tired, cold, down, peaceful, frustrated, hopeful, blessed.

 Blessed. Not a response most people would expect from a guy living on the streets. Not a response most expect from someone struggling with addiction (and not very successfully). Not a response expected of someone who has no job – and no prospects of getting one. Not a response of a man who spends most of his day walking from one place to another to get cleaned up, to get something to eat (hopefully more than once in a day), to get some fresh socks or underwear or a sweater, to get out of the cold for a little while (until you get told to move along), to get some medical attention, to get back to the shelter or find a place to stay for the night until it starts all over again tomorrow, with no end in sight.

 And yet, there it is: “I’m blessed.” Blessed for many reasons:

            … I woke up this morning

            … I’m here today

            … I didn’t drink or use yesterday (or today either) (at least so far)

            … I got a new coat

            … I found out I’m going to get a place in two weeks

            … I worked yesterday

            … I talked to my family (mother, son, daughter, brother, sister) the other day

            … I didn’t get in trouble with anyone – no fights, no police; I wasn’t robbed

            … I’m having a good day

The blessings named are simple, straightforward – and real. The fact that they are items that a great many people take for granted does not make them any less real, any less of a blessing.

 Scripture says, we are to be “giving thanks always and for everything.” (Ephesians 5: 20) Another saying simply says, “God is good – all the time.” Even on the worst day, I’m blessed; the challenge might be to see it.

 Why not do a simple exercise: every day, take a few minutes to list what you are grateful for today. I suspect that, even on the worst days, you should be able to find at least 5 or 6; on most days at least 10 or 12. Try it for a week. You may be surprised how easy it becomes to notice all kinds of things that, before, you might have simply taken for granted.

 As I come here today, I feel … blessed.

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Rediscovering Sunday Morning At St. Malachi

Dear fellow St. Malachi Parishioners and Friends,

After a year of prayerful work and considering many possibilities, we, your Parish Council and pastor, have come to consensus.  We are excited and hopeful about this new proposal of “Rediscovering Sunday Morning at St. Malachi.”

In keeping with our parish mission, St. Malachi has a rich tradition of serving God’s people, especially the poor.  We also need to nourish our own parishioners. “Rediscovering Sunday Mornings at St. Malachi” is an attempt to do just that.  The vision which took shape in our Parish Council deliberations went far beyond a simple change of Mass schedule to find a way to serve our people better, offering opportunities to enhance our Sunday faith experience by providing enough time between Masses for PSR, spiritual formation and faith sharing, community-building and other possible activities. We believe that this new approach to Sunday mornings can be of real value to our parish community, especially since many of us travel considerable distances to get to St. Malachi, and weekday evening events at the parish can present difficulties for families.

The initial proposal presented at the Annual Parish Meeting and by a letter sent to all parishioners indicated that 82% of respondents favored continuing to develop this plan further. We propose:

A one-year trial change to the Sunday morning Mass schedule at St. Malachi Parish with enough time between Masses for faith sharing and enrichment programs, PSR, and other parish events, to begin January 5, 2014.

The new Sunday schedule:

  • 2 Sunday Masses:  8:45am, Mass with Cantor and 11:30am, Mass with Choir
  • 1 Coffee Hour, running continuously after the 8:45am Mass to 11:15am
  • Parish programs and PSR  from10:15am – 11:15am
  • Saturday 4:30pm Mass will not change.

Enclosed is a sample plan for Sunday morning programs and activities, a Question and Answer page on the why of the details of the changes, and a response sheet. This proposed trial year represents a work in progress. We will depend on your input and suggestions at the 2014 Annual Meeting, and again at the end of the trial year.

Please complete the response form.  We will not go forward without broad parishioner support. We see this plan as an opportunity to try a new and exciting possibility for our parish. We await your feedback.

May God bless us all!

On behalf of your Parish Pastoral Council,

 

Rev. Anthony J. Schuerger                                                                 Jeannie Cleary-Burns

Pastor                                                                                                  Council Chairperson

Click here to view the  Proposal Q and A

Click here to view the proposed Sunday Activities

Click here to view the Response Form

 

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Samaritan Ministry: Addiction Awareness Workshop

The Samaritan Ministry of St. Malachi Parish will offer a FREE one-day workshop on ADDICTION AWARENESS in St. Malachi Center (behind the church), West 25th & Detroit, on Saturday, November 23, 2013, from 9 AM to 4 PM.  PB&J sandwiches, snacks and beverages will be provided.  Donations welcome.

Relevant topics will include: addiction/alcoholism as a brain disease; effects of drinking/using on others; treatment options; 12-Step programs of recovery; prevention; resources in the community

For information/to register: Judy Stowe (440/250-9959) judystowe@gmail.com or St. Malachi Rectory (216/861-5343).

Click here to view the brochure.

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Pope Francis Interviews

In recent weeks, two interviews with Pope Francis have been published and have received wide publicity. On September 19, sixteen journals around the world simultaneously published in several languages a 10,000-word interview with Pope Francis titled A Big Heart Open to God organized by the Italian Jesuit journal Civiltá Cattolica. The interview published in the September 30, 2013 issue of America and is available online here.  On October 1, La Repubblica, Italy’s largest daily paper, published an interview of Pope Francis by Eugenio Scalfari, the founder of La Repubblica titled The Pope: How the Church will Change. The interview is available in English translation here.

Each interview is, of course, different – different interviewers, different questions. They also happened in very different ways. According to Fr. Matt Malone S.J. of America magazine, the interview published by the Jesuit journal, Civiltá Cattolica, had its beginnings with a conversation among the America staff shortly after the papal election. Civiltá Cattolica became interested in the idea, which ultimately led to interest by other Jesuit journals around the world. The various editors submitted questions to the staff of Civiltá Cattolica. Fr. Antonio Spadaro S.J., of Civiltá Cattolica, conducted the interview in August. After transcribing and editing the interview, he personally reviewed it with the Pope, who approved it for publication.

The interview published in La Repubblica had a completely different origin. Eugenio Scalfari, the founder of La Repubblica and Pope Francis had publicly exchanged letters with during the summer in the pages of La Repubblica regarding the Pope’s encyclical on faith. (Mr. Scalfari was raised a Catholic but has become one of the best-known non-believers (atheists) in Italy.) In his response to Mr. Scalfari’s published editorial of July 7 and his further reflections/questions published August 7, Pope Francis wrote, “I feel comfortable in listening to your questions and together with you, will try to find a way to perhaps walk along a path together.”  As La Repubblica reports, Pope Francis personally called Mr. Scalfari and set up the interview at the Vatican. It is unclear whether the Holy Father had the opportunity to review the text before it was published.

The “target audience” and focus of the two interviews are also rather different: the Civiltá Cattolica interview was prepared by Jesuits and so the questions were more church/religion oriented and directed to a largely Catholic audience; the La Repubblica interview was published in a daily newspaper and directed to a more general audience, many of whom (being Italian) were raised Catholic.

Both interviews have received widespread attention from the news media (and, I suspect, from social media as well). Typically, the stories focused on the rarity of a papal interview, some mention about the range of topics discussed and short quotations – “sound bites” – highlighting statements that seemed different or unexpected or striking. However, none of the news stories or media coverage about the interviews can substitute for reading each interview (hence the hyperlink included above for each interview).

There are, of course, many approaches to reading: for news, for information, for explanation, for advocacy, for analysis, for commentary, for insight, for inspiration, for entertainment. While it may be possible to read the interviews with Pope Francis in any or all of these ways, it might be most helpful – and fruitful — to read them reflectively and prayerfully.

In his Civiltá Cattolica interview, Pope Francis says, “Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside of itself and go to those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent.” It would seem that, for Pope Francis, the interviews may be one of the “new roads;” it certainly is an example of “stepping outside” of what has been considered “normal” papal activity. Later in the same interview, he says, “we need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing…” and so, the interviews are, for Pope Francis, most of all a way to proclaim the Gospel that reaches people throughout Italy and around the world – and, perhaps most importantly in his view, to many of “those who have quit or are indifferent.”

Precisely because Pope Francis seems to have envisioned the interviews as an opportunity to proclaim the Good News, taking the time to read each interview slowly, with time to reflect on his responses and even to pray over something that is particularly meaningful may allow his message to speak to both mind and heart … and life.

 

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St. Malachi Parish Picnic – Sunday Sept 8, 2013 – 10AM

All are invited to the annual St. Malachi Parish Picnic on Sunday, September 8.  The picnic begins with Mass at 10:00AM and is followed by food and fun.  Hot dogs, burgers and beverages are provided — please bring a SIDE DISH to share.  The picnic is at Morgan’s Hollow Picnic Area at the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks.  The Mass at the Picnic is the only Mass on Sunday — there will be no 9:30, 11:00 or 12:30 Mass at the church.

The Metropark and picnic site is located near I-77 and Grant Ave. intersection which is less than 10 minutes from St. Malachi.  Directions are available at the Cleveland Metroparks website:  http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/Morgans-Hollow-Reserved-Picnic-Area.aspx.

We hope to see you!

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