Previous month:
July 2018
Next month:
September 2018

August 2018

Saint Fiacre

FiacreSaint Fiacre, patron of gardeners and healers grew medicinal herbs and prayed for healing the afflicted.

Many plants and herbs are still grown for their restorative and medicinal properties and even the peace and beauty of a home garden can bring healing and peace to the weary soul.

Amid the  curious and amusing anecdotes about Fiacre's life, his piety, probity and reputation as a healer shines forth. 


The Passion of St. John the Baptist
John the Baptist by August Rodin

We can see how lust, greed for power and approval, the need to save face and other vices tempted King Herod who condemned St. John the Baptist to the chopping block. If John was the conscience of the king, the king chose to silence him rather than listen and mend his ways. 

Modern day events are uncomfortably similar. 

As the school year begins and we welcome our teachers back to school today, let us prepare in earnest to help our children form their consciences clearly and not let worldly concerns muffle the voice of the prophet within them.




Saint Monica

St. Monica is one example of the power of persistent prayer. Her husband reportedly converted to Christianity on his deathbed and we know, of course, about the conversion of her famous son Augustine. I like this statue of her, because even though the opening prayer at this morning's mass invoked her many tears, it doesn't show her crying or sorrowful, but determined and resolute. According to Augustine's account, Monica was privileged with at least one experience of mystical prayer. Persistent prayer can be its own reward.


St. Rose of Lima and the Golden Mean

Golden MeanAristotle's definition of virtue was the Golden Mean between two extremes of vice. Courage, for example, is neither the extreme vice of cowardice nor the extreme vice of foolhardiness. 

Examining the lives of the saints gives us an opportunity to look at the heroic virtues in their lives and emulate them. 

It's a challenge to walk the path of virtue between utter disdain for the passing things of this world and abject attachment to them. St. Rose's life helps us discern if we are on a virtuous path or have strayed into the woods. 

Queenship of Mary


Piero della Francesa's Mother of Mercy highlights not only Mary's Queenship, but her protective role over each of us as mother.

Pope Benedict XVI once remarked that her queenship is intimately related to Jesus' kingship by love. Neither Jesus nor Mary are royalty as the world would have it. Jesus reigns from his Cross as King. Mary at his side protecting and guiding the Church and its children.


Very Good News From USCCB

I missed the recent statement of the USCCB before I had already preached two homilies this weekend, but will add this by the later masses today.

Here is a portion of the statement released by Cardinal DiNardo, President of the USCCB:

The Executive Committee has established three goals: (1) an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick; (2) an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and (3) advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints. These goals will be pursued according to three criteria: proper independence, sufficient authority, and substantial leadership by laity.

Read the complete statement here: President of U.S. Bishops' Conference Announces Effort That Will Involve Laity, Experts, and the Vatican as U.S. Bishops Resolve to Address "Moral Catastrophe"

Statement of Bishop O'Connell For Sunday Masses

As Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, I share with our faithful and clergy of the Diocese the revulsion, disgust and anger you feel at all the recent revelations of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy in past decades.  Our Diocese has not been spared its own experience of similar past abuses for which, as Bishop, I could never adequately apologize to those affected, to those who have been so profoundly harmed.  Although measures at future prevention have been put in place and all reports of the sexual abuse of minors by anyone in the Church are turned over to prosecutors, that is little consolation to those who have been harmed by the Church and its clergy.  I offer my deepest, heartfelt apologies to them and to all the faithful and clergy whose faith has been shaken again.  I pray daily for victims and survivors and for all of you, that “nothing will separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus, Our Lord (Romans 8: 39).”  

Bishop O’Connell

Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Those


Today's gospel reading reminds us that we can never tire of forgiveness, since we ourselves are beneficiaries of God's great mercy through the sufferings of His Son. Instead of spending mental energy on calculating how to get even with those who have harmed us, we can surrender the right ot get even in the spirit of what can be eventually become a more thoroughgoing forgiveness.




Tizian_041A copy of this painting by Titian was gifted to the Basilica of the Assumption in Washington, D.C. by Popes Pius XII and John XXIII.

Today our prayer can be one of gratitude to Jesus Christ for his saving power of the cross and resurrection, veneration of Mary as the best of us and reassurance that where she goes, so shall we, and hope and joy in expectation of our own bodily glory in heaven with Mary and all the saints.



Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus


Reconciliation can often happen when former adversaries unite against a common foe. Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus put aside personal animosity when they realized they were not only facing a common foe, the Roman emperor, but also united by a common Savior, Jesus Christ.

When we understand our common foe to be sin and death and our shared salvation to be Jesus Christ, the differences which divide us can seem minimal.

St. Dominic and St. Francis

St. Dominic was said to have dreamed about meeting a beggar on the road who together with himself would do great things for the Church. The next day, Dominic met St. Francis, the beggar - an important encounter between the founders of two important religious communities which would challenge the Church and change it for the better.

Dominic and Francis

The Transfiguration

TransfigurationArtists have must choose between realistic depictions of the Transfiguration or an iconic one.  This icon depicts the essence of the revelation without attempting to represent what the disciples might have experienced with their eyes with atmospheric effects.

Beach Gridlock Sunday

Thank you to all the faithful who fought traffic to get to mass this morning. The traffic began earlier than normal and made arriving for the 10:30 AM quite difficult. Even with cancelling our 12 noon mass and our early summer baptisms, one family had to cancel due to traffic.

Perhaps we should develop an early warning system based on how far the traffic is backed up on Rumson Road, Ridge Road and Ward Avenue?

Hopefully this evening's masses will be easier to reach.


St John Vianney


Honored by France on the bicentennial of his birth with this postage stamp, John Vianney has been a model of patience, purity of heart and self-sacrificing love since his story began to be told. Even during his lifetime, he became renowned for his preaching and his charism as a confessor.


Jeremiah or Jonah

When we set out as disciples, we never know whether we'll meet with success like Jonah or opposition, like Jeremiah.

















It isn't always something connected with us, sometimes it's simply due to people's hardness of hearts. It's not always the packaging of the message, nor the tailoring of the information to the target audience, sometimes it's a stiff-necked situation. Nor should we think Jonah a more successful, effective prophet than Jeremiah.

Our witness to Christ is our responsibility. The results are up to Him. Frustrating, perhaps in the short run, but consoling in the long run.