Built of Living Stones

01-31-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“The anniversary of a church’s dedication is celebrated with the rank of a solemnity.” – Roman Pontifical, Rite of Dedication of a Church, 27.

Each year, Holy Mother Church invites us to recall the day our church buildings were consecrated and dedicated to divine worship. So many of you made the building of this marvelous place possible through significant prayer and sacrifice only six years ago. The twelve consecration candles surrounding the inside of the church will be lighted for our Masses. These symbolize the twelve gates of the new and heavenly Jerusalem – the Church as the Mystical Body and spotless bride of Christ. The crosses below them are where the Bishop anointed the walls with the sacred chrism oil, as you and I are anointed at Confirmation.



01-31-2021Year of St. Joseph

St. Francis de Sales wrote: Truly, I doubt not that the angels, wondering and adoring, came thronging in countless multitudes to that poor workshop to admire the humility of him who guarded that dear and divine child, and labored at his carpenter’s trade to support the son and mother who were committed to his care.

To think about: Angels are always all around us. When you attend Mass or make a visit to church, the church is full of angels adoring Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Spend some time pondering that next time you are in the church.

Savior of the Savior

01-24-2021Year of St. Joseph

One of the titles of St. Joseph is "Savior of the Savior." That title is almost shocking; it refers to the very real protection St. Joseph lovingly and faithfully rendered to Jesus from the earliest moments of his life in the womb, including making the long journey to Egypt to protect Jesus from Herod’s soldiers.

To think about: Can you think of some ways that you can imitate Joseph by ‘protecting’ Jesus? For example, only use the name of Jesus in prayer. Talk about that at home this week.

Good Saint Joseph

01-24-2021Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

First, just a liturgical note that next week our parish will celebrate the anniversary of the dedication of our parish church at all Masses in place of the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time. This annual celebration is a great solemnity for a parish and allows us to renew our local mission as disciples of Jesus Christ.

By now, you hopefully have heard that the Pope has proclaimed the Year of Saint Joseph. Here are a few questions and answers from a Catholic News Agency article you might find helpful in understanding what this means and how to take advantage of it. Saint Joseph, pray for us! – Fr. Wilson ———

Pope Francis announced a Year of St. Joseph from December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021. The Pope said he was establishing the year so that “every member of the faithful, following his example, may strengthen their life of faith daily in the complete fulfillment of God’s will.”

Why did the Pope declare a year of St. Joseph?

Pope Francis noted that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the Saint’s proclamation as Patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX on Dec. 8, 1870. Pope Francis said the coronavirus pandemic has heightened his desire to reflect on St. Joseph, as so many people during the pandemic have made hidden sacrifices to protect others, just as St. Joseph quietly protected and cared for Mary and Jesus.

“Each of us can discover in Joseph -- the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence -- an intercessor, a support, and a guide in times of trouble,” the pope wrote. He also said he wanted to highlight St. Joseph’s role as a father who served his family with charity and humility, adding, “Our world today needs fathers.”

What special graces are available during this year?


The Antidote for What Ails Us

01-17-2021Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Recent events in our nation’s capital have been difficult for everyone to comprehend. I’m sharing a few words with you from Steve Bollman, founder of That Man Is You (TMIY). His observation, “There won’t be a political solution to a spiritual problem,” I think zeros in on our true problem. We have a spiritual sickness. The cure is the same as it always has been – saints. The antidote for what ails us is for you and me, disciples of Jesus Christ and true members of His Body, to become holy – to become real saints. Let us begin by praying and truly endeavoring to die to ourselves and to conform our lives to the life of Jesus Christ. – Fr. Wilson


“…As I watched the events unfold, I clearly remembered words I spoke 15 years ago when TMIY was first founded: ‘There won't be a political solution to a spiritual problem.’ Those words are more true today – especially in our current political environment – than they were 15 years ago.

“God has made it abundantly clear to me that He expects us to follow the same path Don Bosco followed. Although Don Bosco lived during incredibly tumultuous times, …God clearly told him: ‘I only want you to speak the truth of the Gospel and help poor boys that are in need.’ …


With a Father's Heart

01-17-2021Year of St. Joseph

Pope Francis proclaimed the Year of St. Joseph in an apostolic letter titled Patris Corde, which means “With a Father’s Heart.” Pope Frances writes: “With a Father’s Heart: that is how Joseph loved Jesus, whom all four Gospels refer to as ‘the son of Joseph’… We know that Joseph was a lowly carpenter (cf. Mt 13:55), betrothed to Mary (cf. Mt 1:18; Lk 1:27). He was a ‘just man’ (Mt 1:19), ever ready to carry out God’s will as revealed to him in the Law (cf. Lk 2:22.27.39) and through four dreams (cf. Mt 1:20; 2:13.19.22). After a long and tiring journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, he beheld the birth of the Messiah in a stable, since ‘there was no place for them’ elsewhere (cf. Lk 2:7). He witnessed the adoration of the shepherds (cf. Lk 2:8-20) and the Magi (cf. Mt 2:1-12), who represented respectively the people of Israel and the pagan peoples.”

The Glory of Baptism

01-10-2021Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we celebrate Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan, let us reflect on the glorious teaching of Christ through His Church about this all-important Sacrament. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church, and made sharers in her mission. “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the world.”

1223 … Jesus begins his public life after having himself baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan. After his resurrection, Christ gives this mission to his apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20).


Your Light Has Come

01-03-2021Pastor's LetterFather Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Christmas continues with our celebration of the Epiphany of Our Lord. Our churches and chapels are decked out in holiday splendor, all for the birth of this singular Child who would change – and has changed – everything.

I would be remiss if I didn’t offer my deepest gratitude to each and every person who helped make our somewhat-modified Christmas celebrations so outstanding and spiritually enriching. Thank you to all our musicians in both English and Spanish languages, who helped make our music so spiritually uplifting. Hours and hours of practicing go in to bring us such beautiful music. Thank you to our St. Joseph Altar Guild, working diligently behind the scenes to keep our churches spotless and ready for worship. Likewise, we are grateful for all our Mass coordinators, who are our volunteers who set up for Masses. Many thanks to our lectors who proclaim the word of God, our extraordinary ministers who help the priests and deacons distribute Holy Communion, our ushers, and those who clean and prepare behind the scenes so well that you and I never know the amount of work it takes. What looks so effortless is far from it! And thank you to the best altar servers a priest could ask for!


J. M. J.

12-27-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Nativity/Birth of Our Lord is a feast day so powerful to experience and equally important to ponder that merely one day’s celebration is not sufficient. Instead, we celebrate what is called the Octave of Christmas. “Octave” means “eight” and refers to the eight full days from Christmas Day through January 1, the feast of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Masses for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God are: Vigil, Dec 31 at 5:30pm (English) & 7:00pm (Spanish); and Jan 1 at 11:00am (English). These celebrations allow us to thank God for the past year (or maybe to thank Him that the year is passed!) and ask for His blessings for 2021, along with the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary.

This weekend we celebrate Holy Family Sunday. Yearly, we are blessed to ponder the example of the family life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the shining model for all Christian families. If you are called to the vocation of Christian family life, then use this celebration to ask the Holy Family to bless and guide you in your vocation. Are you a husband and a father? Then, strive to be the best one ever. Why settle for less? Are you a wife and mother? Then, endeavor to be the best one who ever lived. Again, why settle for less? Are you a child? (Including teens on this one!) Be a light to your family, helping to show them the way as did the Child Jesus, who eventually became the “Teen Jesus.” We cannot settle for being anything less than a saint, because only saints go to heaven. Praise God for His mercy, grace, and forgiveness to help us when we fall to start again and again on the path to the holiness of life. Be a light wherever God has placed you.


O Come, Let Us Adore Him!

12-20-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Well, Christmas is just about here. You’ve no doubt seen our “elves” already at work, just beginning the transformation of our St. Mary’s church and campus into a place of Christmas splendor. After the 4th Sunday of Advent has ended, they will finish with a joyful flourish!

I realize that it is an understatement to say that it’s been quite a year. No one could have dreamed of the way things went. In the midst of all of the uncertainty, fear, sorrow, loss, and pain, we still have a secret to the joy that cannot be taken away. It’s an open secret available to anyone who will open their hearts even just a little to the incredible event that we celebrate. The long-awaited fulfillment of God’s promise to truly save us. Not merely giving us what we want on our Christmas lists or taking away aches and pains, but to be saved. Your Savior has come.


Gaudete Sunday

12-13-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We continue to pray for a swift and safe end to all the problems caused by the pandemic. In the meantime, please remember who we are: we are always and everywhere – whether online in comments and social media or out and about in the community – disciples of Jesus Christ. Therefore, let each action and word be not your own, but His. If someone has a conversation with you or me about any topic, will they come away from the conversation knowing we are a faithful disciple?

There are, as you likely know, a few vaccines preparing to roll out. Some people have wrongly suggested that certain vaccines coming available were made with tissue taken from aborted fetuses. Here is the “official word” on the morality of the current vaccines:

“To clear any confusion or concerns regarding COVID vaccines and future production, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has released the following memo from Greg Schleppenbach, associate director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities:

“Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine involved the use of cell lines that originated in fetal tissue taken from the body of an aborted baby at any level of design, development, or production.


Confirmation November 17, 2020

12-06-2020Pastor's Letter

See the St. Mary HOC confirmations here.

Making a New Start

11-29-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

Happy New Year! At least, happy new liturgical year! As always, the first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the Church’s new liturgical cycle. The good Lord knows that we need a new beginning! Most of the Gospels for this liturgical year will come from St. Mark – Cycle B. We begin each new year not by looking back at Christ’s first coming at Christmas, but by looking forward to His glorious Second Coming. As disciples, we are to keep the future in mind as we go about the present. 


Parish Necrology for Nov 1 2019 - Nov 1 2020

11-22-2020Pastor's Letter

View the Parish Necrology here.

Additions Old and New

11-15-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When driving near Old St. Mary’s, take a look at the beautiful new addition on the York St. side of the property between Old St. Mary’s and the rectory: a beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Grace. The statue itself is not new. Many years ago it graced the grounds of a convent on Magnolia St. housing Dominican Sisters, who taught at St. Mary’s. The statue is a donation from April Bransome-Gorton in memory of her parents, Dr. and Mrs. E. D. Bransome. We are extremely grateful to the Bransome-Gorton families for this lovely piece of St. Mary’s history.

Other, new additions will (hopefully) have arrived by the time you read this – the last four stained-glass windows! Once they are installed, I will have a special writeup explaining the detailed symbolism in each window. We are so grateful to our donors, whose overwhelming generosity made these exquisite pieces of art possible for all people to enjoy.

Please note that the usual 5:30pm daily Mass on Tuesday, November 17, is canceled. The Bishop will be here that evening at 7:00pm to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on our youth who missed it this spring because of the shutdown. Please pray for these wonderful young men and women, asking their Confirmation Saints to intercede and help them come to great holiness.


Grant Them Eternal Rest

11-08-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We arrive at Commitment Weekend for our Bicentennial Campaign. For those who did not have an opportunity to pledge and would like to, we will leave just a bit of time after the homily this weekend to fill out a pledge card. Remember that half of every dollar comes back to our parish for some much-needed projects. We have already begun receiving distributions from those who have already donated. With these funds, we have begun the security fence around our school and have begun the initial work on the flat-roof sections of Old Saint Mary’s church. The other half of donations go to support and serve important projects and people in the Diocese. Click the banner on our parish website for more information, where you can also donate. Thank you to all who have given it!


Our One Goal - To Be Holy

11-01-2020Pastor's Letter

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

How blessed we are to celebrate All Saints Day this Sunday! It is truly a day for all the Saints, both known and unknown.

Mon, Nov 2, is All Souls Day and begins our solemn month of praying for our Faithful Departed that they may be cleansed from their sins through the saving Cross of Christ. Masses for All Souls: 11:00am at Calvary Cemetery (the church in case of inclement weather), 5:30pm, and 7:00pm (Spanish). The Book of the Faithful Departed will be available near the main doors of the church throughout November to write the names of your loved ones. Regarding the envelopes for All Souls: You are invited to record the names of your departed loved ones on the envelope. These will be placed on the altar and remembered at Masses throughout the month of November.