Friday, December 18, 2015

The Rosary - A Powerful Prayer and A Prayer of Spiritual Power

We should all know about the power of the rosary.  In fact, images of the rosary abound almost as frequently as images of the crucifix.  This powerful prayer has been the mainstay of many saints...and sinners.  All of us fit somewhere in those two categories.  We should strive to make the rosary a part of our spiritual repertoire.
   At St. Anthony's we have installed a new rack for rosaries.  The rosaries that are there are for anyone to use.  Also, if you would like to have your own rosary, please take one to keep. We can easily replace the rosaries with new ones.  In your prayer, please pray that more men and women will respond to God's invitation to dedicate their lives to ministry in the church.
  Thank you to Pat Fontana who made this rack.  As you enter the church, the rack is to your left, under the memorial to our donors.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Two Other Movies

As long as we are speaking about movies, here are two that are supposed to come to Watertown

The Risen - February 19, 2016
I am not really endorsing this movie since I do not know yet too much about it, but I think that it is worthy of mentioning until I find out something different.

God's Not Dead 2
I saw the original God's Not Dead and found it very thought provoking and interesting.  In fact, I recommend it.  Hopefully, God's Not Dead 2 will be as worthwhile.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Mother Teresa - The Movie - The Letters

Who wants to see "The Letters," the just released movie about Mother Theresa?

It is NOT scheduled to come to Watertown, according to Regal Group Watertown general manager, Keith Barron. 

However, it will eventually be available on dvd and/or perhaps on an online video service such as Netflix.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reaching Out To Those In Need

Hardly a day goes by without someone coming to the rectory door looking for assistance.  As you know, most of the assistance that we give to people is given through the Watertown Urban Mission, a great organization specifically missioned to help those in need.  Part of its work consists in providing all kinds of assistance.  The food that the parishes donate at Thanksgiving and at other times of the year is given to the Watertown Urban Mission.  However, I do keep a little bit of it to assist those families who may fall through the cracks and, for whatever the reason, may need food before Urban Mission is able to help.  The Mission has some very clear policies and procedures that it follows.  These policies are ultimately for the common good.  But, every now and then, there is a special need.
   The people of St. Anthony's have the custom of bringing food each first Sunday of the Month.  Beginning with December, instead of putting the food by the Mary shrine, I am asking that the food be placed in the area of the baptismal font.  Placing the food there will make it easier to transport later to Urban Mission.

The Light Is On For You

Advent - Season of Hope and Expectation

The best preparation for Christmas is Advent Prayer.  All of our preparations for Christmas are very important, but none can compare with our spiritual preparation.  The issue of The Word Among Us available at the doors of the churches is a wonderful aide to help us on our Advent journey.  The book contains the important scripture readings from each day at daily Mass during Advent.  For each reading there is an appropriate commentary geared to put us into the true Christmas spirit of Advent.
    Another great preparation would be to go to the news section of our parish website ( or and click on the link labeled Advent Reflections.  These reflections are written by Bishop Robert Barron and are guaranteed to put us into the right spirit of the season.
    Our celebration of Advent, indeed our preparation for Christmas, will be as good as we make it.  Come, Let Us Adore Him!

Hymnals - Breaking Bread

Both St. Patrick's and St. Anthony's are now experiencing new hymnals.  At St. Patrick's we have switched from The Heritage Missal to Breaking Bread.  The format is very much the same.  So, the transition is not as dramatic as it is for St. Anthony's.  At St. Anthony's, we have also switched from two books (Missalette and Music Issue) to Breaking Bread.  Something had to change at St. Anthony's because the printing company was no longer going to produce the smaller print Missalette and Music Issue.  All of their publications would be the easier to read larger print.  Also, Breaking Bread was chosen because it would contain everything that we needed and would need to be changed only once a year.  However, the racks in the pews were not the right size.  Also, some of the plastic racks had begun to break.  So, we have removed them.  The new ones should be here before Christmas, and we hope to have them installed in time for Christmas.  The new ones will be wood.  When they come, we may need some volunteers to help install them.  Stay tuned!

Shop for Christmas - Shop for the Parish

As you may know, the parish established a partnership with Amazon, the very popular online store.  If you access Amazon through the link on the parish homepage, you will be brought directly to Amazon.  After you logon, you will still have your regular shopping experience (including Amazon Prime) of Amazon PLUS 4% of your purchases will be given to the parish at no expense or cost to you.  This offer from Amazon is good throughout the year.  So,  please use this parish access to Amazon every time that you shop at Amazon.  Ask your friends and relatives to do the same.  This deal applies to anyone's purchases who entered Amazon through our parish website.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Stewardship and Stewardship Sunday

On this weekend, I will be speaking about stewardship and parish income. Our income in both parishes has significantly decreased over the past three years.

  • I have displayed the revenue for the past five years.  
  • Envelope income is the money that people have contributed to the parishes in an envelope or electronically or in some way that we are able to recognize the amount and the donor (e.g. a person writes their envelope number on the check).
  • Plate income is money placed in the basket on Sunday without an envelope or any way of knowing the source of the income.  
  • The total column represents envelope and plate added together.
  • A parish’s disposable income is basically envelope and plate, the money that can be counted upon each week to operate the parish.  Parishes like homes and families must budget and plan based on knowing how much income is available.
  • Extraordinary donations are always appreciated and often now fund what should be paid for from envelope and plate.  However, just as no family or business will budget based on unexpected income, so too a parish can budget responsibly only based on envelope and plate.
  • It is clear that income to both parishes has diminished over the past five years.  Some of the decrease can certainly be attributed to the passing away of generous parishioners or due to others who have moved.  I have no scientific method of determining the other causes for the decrease.
  • The downward trend must stop and be replaced with an increase in income.
  • If the downward trend is not reversed, then changes in the operation of the parishes will be required.  What would be affected if there is not an increase in income?  Here is what your donations currently fund:
    • Pastoral salaries
    • Catechetical programs
    • Subsidies to Immaculate Heart Central
    • Pastoral care
    • Reduction in energy use e.g. air conditioning and heating
    • Who knows what else
  • What must happen:
    • Envelope and electronic donors must look at their current giving and prayerfully determine whether a greater gift can be given weekly to the parish.  A simple question: When was the last time your income increased? When was the last time you increased your giving to the parish?
    • Envelope users should commit to making up their weekly donations when they are away and attend Mass at another parish.
    • Those currently not using envelopes should use envelopes.  There are two major reasons to use envelopes.  First, envelope use is a visible commitment to support the parish.  Second, envelope use prompts donors to give more.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

All Souls

In the Month of November, we remember our beloved deceased praying that they be joined in heaven with God. November 2 is the celebration of All the Faithful Departed or All Souls.  There are envelopes in your packets.  Whatever donation you put in these envelopes will be used to celebrate Masses for the Faith Departed during the year.  Likewise, any names that you write on these envelopes will be remembered during the Masses celebrated in November.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Bishop's Fund Progress - October 30, 2015

Bishop’s Fund
SP - Goal $36,341; achieved $33,674 (93%)

SA - Goal $21,811; achieved $14,857 (68%)

Thank you very much!!!

2016 - Holy Year of Mercy

On December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of hte Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Francis will begin the Jubilee Year of Mercy with the opening of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. More information will be in future blogs and bulletin articles.

Shop for Yourself…Your Friends….Your Parish

I know that this may sound like a "shameless commerce division advertising,” but here goes.
Through a special arrangement with, the parish can earn 4% commission on all your sales made at That’s right 4%. The process is simple:
go to either or
On the page you will see the Amazon logo. Just click on it. Your familiar Amazon website will appear. Shop as much as you want. Because you have entered through our website, 4% of your purchase price will be deposited with the parish. You do not have to do anything for this to happen. All promotions, coupons, gift cards, and/or Prime are still in effect just as if you had entered Amazon without going through the parish website.
So, shop for yourself, shop for your friends and family, and, at the same time, give to the parish.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Feed Your Mind

We are never too old to learn.  That statement also applies to our Catholic faith, our customs, our beliefs, and our practices.  An easy way to gain greater perspective on our faith is to pick up one of the cd's available for sale in church.  I have listened to most of them and can personally attest to their value.  You have noticed that some of them have been highlighted in the parish bulletin.  Those notices are meant to help present these topics that come to us from Lighthouse Catholic Media.  Check out the titles.  Some more than others may appeal to you.  Just pop the cd in your cd player and enjoy.  A great place to listen would be in your car as you motor around town or on a trip.  Take advantage of this great opportunity.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bishop’s Fund Progress

We continue to make progress in achieving our goals for the 2015 Bishop’s Fund Appeal. Here are the results as of October 9, 2015:

St. Patrick's
Dollar Goal: $36,341
Participation Goal: 165
Amount Received or Pledged: $26,122 (72%)
Number of Participants: 84

St. Anthony's
Dollar Goal: $21,800
Participation Goal: 190
Amount Received or Pledged: $12,121 (56%)
Number of Participants: 98

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Unique Opportunity has a unique opportunity for our parishes.  Before going to to shop, stop at our parish website and click on the amazon logo.  The result will be that 4% of everything you purchase will be donated back to the parishes.  I know that it sounds too good to be true, but it is true.  You can use your Amazon Prime; apply any credits that you may have.  It's the same as shopping on  The only difference is that a percentage of the sale comes back to the parish.  Clicking on the link below will produce the same result.

Vocations - Not Just for Priests, Deacons, and Religious

One of our diocesan priorities is to "create a culture of vocations."  When we hear the word vocation, we think of priests, deacons, and religious.  However, truly the term is much broader because each one of us is called by God to live the good life that he has given us.  A vocation is not a job.  Rather, a vocation is how we live life including the vocations of marriage and single life which are true vocations.
   Our diocesan priority is meant to help create this understanding that our vocation in life is our way of living God's gift of life.
   The bishop has called for a Vocation Committee is every parish or group of parishes.  A parish vocation committee raises the awareness that every baptized person is called to live our his or her vocation in life.  Using resources provided by the diocese, the committee will be empowered to encourage parishioners to listen, ray and seek the signs which reveal God's will and purpose in each of their lives.  If interested, please contact Msgr. Aucoin, Deacon Kevin or Sr. Jackie.
    There will be training for people throughout the area who are volunteering to work on their Vocation Committee.  Thus, those who wish to participate on this committee will be well trained to promote vocations within their parishes.
    The training will be at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse on October 13 at 6:30 pm.

This link has more information.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Are You Going To Die?

I know that's a silly question.  We know that the answer is yes, but we don't like the question, nor do we care for the response.  However, death is part of life; death is the gateway to the fulfillment of life in our Christian perspective.
    Death is so special that we mark the event with ceremonies.  After birth, we celebrate entrance into life with Christ and His Church through Baptism.  A baptism is a moment for great celebration both humanly and spiritually.
    The other great celebration is a Catholic funeral.  Various rites such as the wake, the funeral, and the burial all have specified rituals that magnificently mark the person's life and the person's relationship with Christ.  For a Catholic, none of these rituals should be bypassed or neglected.  The  Christian dignity of the human person must be recognized until the end and even after.  
     Unfortunately, I see so often that the children of good Catholic parents are neglecting funeral arrangements for their parents for the sake of convenience or expediency even to the point of no funeral, no wake, burials with no one present or lack of proper disposal of ashes.
     We should always make clear our funeral wishes through pre-arrangement with a funeral director and/or written directives given to the funeral director and a trusted family member.  
     To assist with those arrangements, I will be offering a session on how to prepare your Catholic funeral.  The same program will be given twice: once at St. Anthony's and once at St. Patrick's.  This presentation will highlight the elements of a Catholic funeral and give you the tools and details that you need to prepare your funeral in its entirety.  Don't leave this important event for someone else to arrange.  This program is open to all.  So, please feel free to invite others to come with you.
     The sessions will be:

Tuesday, October 13, St. Patrick's Chapel at 4 pm
Tuesday, October 27, Msgr. Secchi Hall at 6:30 pm

Friday, September 4, 2015

Dedicate the Sanctuary Candle

The red Sanctuary Lamp by the tabernacle burns to remind us of the sacramental presence of Jesus Christ. 
It is a mark of honor to remind the faithful of the presence of Christ, and is a profession of their love and affection.  
If you wish to have the Sanctuary Lamp burning in memory of a loved one, to honor a special occasion, or a special intention make arrangements with the Parish Office by calling 782-6086. The sanctuary candle in either St. Anthony's of St. Patrick's church can be memorialized.  The cost of the candle is $15.00. It will burn for one week. The memorial will be published in the Bulletin.

Masses Celebrated for Our Loved Ones

  There is a time-honored tradition of having Masses offered for our beloved dead, for our special intentions, and for the needs of the living.  Over the past few years, I have noticed that fewer people are asking for Masses to be celebrated for the deceased on the occasion of a funeral.  When you go to a wake, I encourage you to go with a Mass card indicating your desire to be spiritually with the family at this moment of separation in their lives.
     This practice is not new. The Catechism asserts, "From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic Sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God" (No. 1032). Actually! "This "beginning" has toots even in the Old Testament. Judas Maccabees offered prayers and sacrifices for the Jewish soldiers who had died wearing pagan amulets, which were forbidden by the Law; II Maccabees reads, "Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out" (12:43) and "Thus, [Judas Maccabees] made atonement for the deed mat they might be freed from sin" (12:46).
     In the early history of the Church, we also see evidence of prayers for the dead. Inscriptions uncovered on tombs in the Roman catacombs of the second century evidence this practice. For example. the epitaph on the tomb of Abercius (d. 180) Bishop of Hieropolis in Phrygia begs for prayers for the repose of his soul' Tertullian in 211 attested to observing the anniversary of death with prayers. Moreover, the Canons of Hippolytus (c. 235) explicitly mention the offering of prayers for the dead during the Mass.
the testimony of the Church Fathers beautifully support this belief: St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386), in one of his many catechetical discourses, explained how at Mass both the living and dead are remembered, and how the Eucharistic Sacrifice of our Lord is of benefit to sinners, living and dead. St. Ambrose (d. 397) preached, "We have loved them during life; let us not abandon them in death, until we have conducted them by our prayers into the house of the Lord." St. John Chrysostom (d. 407) stated, "Let us help end commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their {ether's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have disc and to offer our prayers for them." Finally, Pope St. Gregory (d. 604) said, "Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers. for them. "
One may wonder, " What if the person's soul has already been purified and gone to heaven?"' We on earth know neither the judgment of God nor the divine time frame; so, there is always goodness in remembering our departed and commending them to God through prayer and sacrifice. However, if indeed the departed soul has been purified and now rests in God's presence in heaven/ then those prayers and sacrifices offered benefit the other souls in purgatory through the love and mercy of God.
Therefore, we find not only the origins of this practice dating to the early Church but we also clearly recognize its importance. When we face the death of someone, even " person who is not Catholic. to have a Mass offered for the repose of his soul and to offer our prayers are more beneficial and comforting than any other sympathy card or bouquet of flowers. Most importantly, we should always remember our own dearly departed loved ones in the Holy Mass and through our own prayers and sacrifices to help in their gaining eternal rest.

Ministry to the Homebound

We must never forget our parishioners who are now homebound and are no longer able to come to church for regular worship.  We want to stay in touch with them so that they can receive Holy Communion and the sacrament of Penance as desired.
   Already, we have dedicated parishioners who regularly bring Holy Communion to Samaritan Medical Center, Samaritan Keep Home, the Summit, and Angels' Inn.  We, along with you, are most grateful for this precious ministry that they exercise on behalf of the parish.
     Many more are at home.  We know that some are visited by Eucharistic ministers, but we do not necessarily know who they are.  It is very important that there be some kind of central listing of who the homebound are and who is now bringing them Holy Communion.  Likewise, we want to reach out to those homebound who are not being visited for the Sacraments.  We are grateful to the individual Eucharistic Ministers who are taking care of the homebound, but we need to know who they are so that they can continue to be seen if you go on vacation or are away for any extended period of time.
     Father Christy is taking charge of this ministry.  If you are now bringing holy communion to someone, please let him know.  If you know a homebound person who is not being visited, please let him know.  Again, we want to make sure that no one is forgotten!

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

Every Thursday afternoon and evening we have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Patrick's Church.  This time honored tradition of the church allows us to spend quality time in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  You are free to come and go as you wish during the adoration times from 12:30 to 8 pm.
    Some people are willing to make a commitment to spend an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  We need to have more volunteers willing to make that commitment.  There should always be at least two people in church during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  Please consider volunteering your time.  Carol Dulmage is the contact person for this prayer ministry.  As the picture says: "The best time you will spend on earth."


An issue discussed at both parishes was the ability of people to hear in the church.  There are some very good systems available that will allow people with hearing difficulties to hear better in church.  The item is basically a headset that a user would pick up coming into church and would put on just like any other headset.  For those who already have a hearing aid there is a simple loop that would go around the neck and interact with the existing hearing aid.  The advantage for the user would be the ability to hear directly everything that flows through the sound system without echo or other extraneous noise.  Some people may not like to admit that hearing is difficult.  However, admitting to the reality would allow the person to participate more fully in the celebration of the Eucharist.

Let me know what you think about getting such a system.  The cost would be about $1,200 per church.  If you would like to donate to provide a system, that would be greatly appreciated.

Liturgy Committees

The Liturgy Committees from both parishes met during this past week.  The members of both committees are very enthusiastic and want to make sure that our liturgies and prayer experiences in our parishes can be faith-filled moments for all at St. Patrick's and St. Anthony's.  I look forward to working with both committees.

Over the next few weeks, before we meet in October, I will be reviewing what needs to be done for the year and work with individual committee members to accomplish all that needs to happen.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Bingo! St. Anthony's

ImagesIt’s great to yell out Bingo! because that means some money.  However, to provide that opportunity to people and to bring money to the parish, we need people to volunteer to work on bingo.  Please consider giving your time and talent to this weekly project (Friday evenings except during July andAugust).  With five bingo teams. you would have to work 3 to 3.5 hours once every five weeks.  If you are willing to give that amount of time once every five weeks, then you would help St. Anthony’s earn about $35,000 per year.  What a great opportunity to serve the parish and the bingo players in the area.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Worship Materials at St. Anthony's

For the past few years at St. Anthony’s, we have used the Seasonal Missals and an annual Music Issue.  The publisher has informed us that only the large print edition will be available beginning in 2016.  the large print edition is truly much easier to read.  However, the down side to that for us is that our racks are not large enough to hold this new edition. The publisher also has other formats available including a missal called Breaking Bread.  This publication has all of the Sunday readings and music currently in the publications that we use.  However, they will all be in one book that will be used for the whole year. So, after thinking about all the options open to us and knowing that the current racks will not accommodate what is available to us, I decided to opt for Breaking Bread.  The change will occur on the first Sunday of Advent.  In the mean time, I will discuss with the liturgy committee various options for placing the missals in the pews.  Breaking Bread will also replace the Heritage Missal currently in use at St. Patrick's.

Annual Bishop's Fund Appeal - 2015

Each year we have the opportunity to appreciate and to understand the ministry that is done at the diocesan level for the benefit of all parishes.  Sometimes, as a parish, we think that we can do everything ourselves.  However, the ministries supported by the Bishop’s Fund at the diocesan level really support and provide assistance to what is accomplished at the parish level.  As the graphic below says: we are “United in One Family."

Each year, each parish has two goals: a financial goal and a participation goal.

St. Patrick

  • Financial Goal - $36,341
  • Participation Goal - 165 donors

St. Anthony

  • Financial Goal - $21,811
  • Participation Goal - 190 donors 

 2015 BFA Poster

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Reality of Finances

We never like speaking about money, but we, likewise, know that money is needed in life to make things happen. Parish life is no different. We have included on the webpage our latest financial reports for 2014-2015 for St. Patrick’s, St. Anthony’s, and Glenwood Cemetery. I thank you for your generosity in supporting your parishes and ministries. A close look at the financial reports will show the reality that our ordinary income is not meeting our ordinary expenses. I will report more on that in the future when I have had a chance to review carefully our financial status. In the meantime, I thank your for your ongoing financial support of the parishes.

Click here to view the financial reports.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Confessions of a New Pastor

Well, I am not exactly a “new pastor,” but I am new at St. Patrick’s and St. Anthony’s. Well, on second thought, I am more recycled than new. Whatever my classification, I am glad to be back with you here in Jefferson County.
When I went to Potsdam five years ago, I thought that I would be retiring there when I reached age 75. It seems that the Holy Spirit and his associates had other plans. Since my last posting in Jefferson County (Alexandria Bay which I left in 2006), the area has continued to change. What one can see with the naked eye has undergone many transformations.
What has not changed in our constant need to evangelize. The numbers of practising Catholics has continued to dwindle. There are probably as many reasons or excuses as there are people. We cannot cure the reason or excuse that people may have. What we can do is continue to promote, live, publicize, invigorate the message of Jesus and his Church, a message that brings life and eternal life. Looking for the meaning of life in any other program or place is a total waste of time. Why would anyone look for life apart from the author of human and divine life.
We are losing our sons, our daughters, and their children. We, all of us without exceptions need to reach out to them. Start with your own family, your friends. Being firm in our faith may not be politically correct for some. However, being firm in our faith is both spiritually and humanly essential.