Sunday, June 30, 2019

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - June 30, 2019

Ordinary Time

The Easter Season concluded three weeks ago with the feast of Pentecost. Since then we celebrated our two credal feasts of Holy Trinity and Corpus Christ. This Sunday, we resume Sundays numbered according to the weeks of the liturgical year, so that today is the “13th Sunday of the year”: Ordinary time consists of the Sundays of the year counted independently of the four liturgical seasons (Advent & Christmas, Lent & Easter).

Though many hear “ordinary” as “nothing special,” it can also mean “counted,” in the sense of “ordinal.” The counting marks progress: With the coming of Sunday one more week has been consecrated to Christ. We bring our joys and hopes, griefs and fears from the past week with us into Sunday Mass and reckon them as shared with Christ in his death and resurrection. The coming of Sunday means we increased our communion with Christ by one more week.

The counting of the Sundays also reminds that we, too, are works in progress. We do not live like the angels all in one moment, but over the course of a lifetime. God shapes us over time. Life is a journey and requires of us a certain degree of patience and endurance.

Finally, the counting of Sundays is also a kind of conquest. Our Lord sent his apostles on a mission to make disciples of all nations. That mission extends in space, biblically moving from God’s city of Jerusalem to the capital of the world, Rome. But the mission also moves in time from Pentecost to Judgment Day. One more Sunday is one more week of conquest, proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus Christ through every moment entrusted to us.

- Farewell, Fr. Michael Ruffalo! I’ll miss your eloquence and humor, among your other virtues.

- Welcome, seminarian Jacob Gruber! As you and the Church discern your calling to the priesthood, I pray that the year we share with you may inspire all of us to answer our Lord’s call ever more perfectly.
                                                                                                       —Fr. Dave

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ - June 23, 2019

A Leadership Update from Archangel Gabriel School President Dr. Christine Assetta
Regarding Nominations for School Advisory Council

Archangel Gabriel School Principal Mrs. Militzer and I are appreciative of the warm welcome we are receiving from the Archangel Gabriel School community as well as the parishioners from Rockenro Catholic grouping of Holy Trinity, St. John of God, and St. Malachy. As an instructional leadership team, we feel blessed to work together to achieve a common goal. We are both committed to establishing AGS as an educational institution that focuses on Catholic values and academic excellence. Through our efforts and the direct involvement of our AGS and Rockenro community, we strive to create an exemplary model of a Pre-K-8 Catholic School in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

As we move forward in establishing Archangel Gabriel School, it has been a high priority for us to promote parental involvement in identifying and achieving goals for success. We also invite our Rockenro parishioners to consider becoming involved in the planning process through participation in the School Advisory Council.

The School Advisory Council, which meets at least six times throughout the year, provides assistance to the Archangel Gabriel President, Principal, and Pastor for the good of the community.  Membership on the local/regional Catholic School Advisory Council gives one the opportunity to participate significantly in an important aspect of the Church's ministry. The Council is established by the Pastor(s), with the assistance of the President and the Principal. The Councils, as governed by their bylaws, are consultative and in those areas defined in the diocesan policy.  In view of the many demands on the Catholic school President and Principal, assistance from a group of people who are committed to the Catholic school and are willing to work for the good of the school and parish is paramount.

Ex-officio members of the Advisory Council shall be the Pastor(s), President, and Principal. In order to better understand the role of the Advisory Council, please review the vision and mission statement listed below.

The Archangel Catholic School Advisory Board will guide and advise the Pastor, President, and Principal in all aspects of school life to promote an exceptional and unique Catholic School experience for all students.

The School Advisory Board will advise the Pastor, President, and Principal in ways that foster and continue Catholic values and spiritual growth for the students, faculty, and staff, further improve the school’s fiscal health, and continue to provide a truly exceptional academic experience for all students.
If you are interested in being considered to participate on School Advisory Council, you may nominate yourself or another person who would be an asset to the council. Please email me with the nomination and include your/the nominated individual’s name/email/phone number by Monday, July 1. Also include a brief explanation (several sentences) explaining why you or the individual that you nominated would add value to the Advisory Council. The pastoral and AGS leadership team will review the nominations and select approximately 20 people to participate.

May God Bless Us,                                                  
Christine Assetta, Ed.D.
Archangel Gabriel School President

The Most Holy Trinity - June 16, 2019


Over the coming weeks, I’ll be assembling many data. Some of the data will be qualitative, an effort to get to the heart of what it feels like to be a member of one of our parishes or worship regularly at one of our churches.  Some of the data will be quantitative, as in the table below.

Holy Trinity
Parish and Church
St. John of God Parish*
(St. Mary Help of
Christians Church)
St. Malachy
Parish and Church
Seating capacity
# of weekend Masses
Reported average weekend attendance 2017-18
On-site parking
2017 Baptisms
2017 Confirmations
2017 Marriages
2017 Funerals
    *St. John of God Parish has a second church, Mother of Sorrows, not currently in regular use.

But the quantitative data will be more comprehensive: Trajectories in sacramental statistics, religious education, finances, and demography. The purpose of all the data will be to facilitate our collective discernment concerning our three parishes, and especially whether with a consolidation to one parish we might better fulfill our common mission.
For parishes, the mission of Christ and his Church is the provision of sacraments, the care of souls, and the stewardship of God’s gifts—that is, people, clergy, talent, money, and property. It’s not so much a matter of the interests of a single community as it is a matter of what serves Christ and his Church. We need to be prepared to work toward the common good, perhaps sacrificing our preferred Mass schedule, staffing arrangements, or fiscal priorities.
Discernment concerning parish consolidation is not the same as closing churches.  Perhaps next year or later we will ask this question, too: Can we sustain all our churches and still fulfill our mission?  But at least for this year, the closing of churches is not up for discussion.By the time you read this, the Jeremy McLellan comedy night at Holy Trinity may be “sold out.” (Tickets were free, but you know what I mean.)  If by chance you have tickets but have changed your plans to use them, please let the Holy Trinity Parish office know, so we can reassign them to folks who want to come.  Thank you!
On June 23 St. John of God Parish hosts the third in our blood drive series. Call 412-209-7622 to make an appointment to donate blood.
Fr. Dave

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Pentecost Sunday - June 9, 2019

I call your attention to this teaching from the bishops at the Second Vatican Council:

Christ, the one Mediator, established and continually sustains here on earth His holy Church, the community of faith, hope and charity, as an entity with visible delineation through which He communicated truth and grace to all. But, the society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, are not to be considered as two realities, nor are the visible assembly and the spiritual community, nor the earthly Church and the Church enriched with heavenly things; rather they form one complex reality which coalesces from a divine and a human element. For this reason, by no weak analogy, it is compared to the mystery of the incarnate Word. As the assumed nature inseparably united to Him, serves the divine Word as a living organ of salvation, so, in a similar
way, does the visible social structure of the Church serve the Spirit of Christ, who vivifies it, in the building up of the body.
                                                                                                                —Lumen gentium 8

In other words: When God became man in Jesus, Jesus’ humanity served his divinity by becoming
the instrument through which God saved the world. Analogously, the Holy Spirit animates the
Church, so that the institution of the Church serves the Holy Spirit as the instrument by which the
Spirit joins us to the Body of Christ.

In the United States, our language and thought are formed by Protestant and often more generally
anti-institutional sentiments. These sentiments can incline us to scorn “the institutional Church.” But
following the analogy, that’s like scorning the humanity of Jesus: It sets us against the Holy Spirit
and his work for our salvation.

Pentecost, fifty days after Easter, marks the holiday when Jesus’ apostles received the gift of the
Holy Spirit. It’s an opportunity for us who follow Jesus to be renewed in his Spirit, and so share more
deeply life in the Church, and be rededicated to our mission.

􀀿Beginning this coming Friday, June 14, the daily Mass schedule changes:
We add a Mass every Friday at 8:30 a.m. at St. Malachy Church;
We remove the Mass every Friday at 8:15 a.m. at Holy Trinity Church.
(We’ll still occasionally have an 8:15 Friday Mass at Holy Trinity, but only when it’s required by the
adoration team or for a school Mass. Plan to check the weekly parish calendar if you’re interested.)

􀀿Next Sunday, June 16, is the feast of the Holy Trinity. It’s the patronal feast for Holy Trinity Parish, the
farewell Sunday for Brendan Barker, director of music at Holy Trinity, and the beginning of our Sundays
saying good-bye also to Fr. Michael Ruffalo, whom the Bishop has reassigned from RocKenRo to the new
shrines of Pittsburgh. Please be sure to express your appreciation for Brendan or Fr. Ruffalo as
opportunity affords you.
                                                                                                                  —Fr. Dave

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Seventh Sunday of Easter - June 2, 2019

“Trigger Warning”

In the 16th century, the Catholic Church was afflicted by extensive episcopal corruption, angry schism in the English and Protestant Reformations, and political entanglements like the Spanish Inquisition.  The Holy Spirit raised up Saint Philip Neri, a priest in Rome, and gave him the gifts of faith, love, good humor, and a lively sense of the ridiculous.  St. Philip’s legendary humor burst the prideful bubbles of pompous clergymen.  When Christians were inclined to take themselves too seriously, indulging in self-congratulatory “reverence” or hand-wringing anxiety about the decline of the Church, Philip’s wry piety helped them find new hope in Christ.

I am delighted to have Holy Trinity Church bring comedian Jeremy McLellan to Pittsburgh on June 21. Here’s the official ad blurb:

Jeremy McLellan is a rising star in the standup comedy world. He was just honored as a "New Face of Comedy" at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal and won the 2015 and 2016 Charleston Standup Comedy Competition and was named Best Local Comic in the Charleston City Paper.
A devout Christian with a passion for social justice, Jeremy is a staple at interfaith events around the world. He recently completed sold-out tours in the United States, UK, and Pakistan.

But let me be clear: Jeremy will be joking about the bumbling and petty selfishness of clergy and laity alike.  If finding humor in the affairs of Catholics offends you, you should probably stay away. But if you’ve got some of the spirit of St. Philip Neri in you, then join me to hear Jeremy McLellan on Friday, June 21, at 7:30.  Tickets are free at:

X Our elementary schools celebrate their baccalaureate Masses for departing 8th graders on Monday, June 3, at 6:00 p.m. (St. Malachy School at St. Malachy Church) and Tuesday, June 4, at 6:30 p.m. (Holy Trinity School at Holy Trinity Church).
X   Holy Trinity Parish hosts a blood drive on June 2.  Call 412-209-7622 for an appointment.
                                                                                                                             —Fr. Dave