Father Carey’s Pastor’s Corner
(Week of 09/26/2021)

My Dear Friends,

It seems hard to believe that this coming week brings an end to September and next Friday will be the beginning of the month of October. As we draw near then to the feast of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4th), we will have our annual Blessing of Animals at Assumption Academy on Friday, October 1st as well at our church on Saturday morning at 10 AM. For Saturday’s parish celebration, we will simply gather outside in the Piazza for a short ceremony of prayers and blessing. We welcome all of God’s creatures to be blessed in honor of St. Francis so that we can, through his intercession, offer thanks to God for the gift of their companionship and for their continued health and protection from above.

Likewise on Saturday (Oct. 2nd), several students from Villanova University will be at Our Lady of the Assumption, along with OLA volunteers, to participate in our Annual Villanova Day of Service. Every Fall, these dedicated volunteers come to offer their services to clean and “spruce up” our parish church, buildings and grounds. All parishioners are invited to participate from 9 AM to 12Noon. We thank all involved for giving of their time and dedication at this busy time of year and I hope that you will all notice a difference on our property and grounds because of their generous hard work.

This Sunday at the 10 AM Mass we will celebrate the Rite of Acceptance with our Level 3 PREP children. These are our young parishioners who are preparing to receive their sacraments of Penance and First Holy Communion. Please keep them in your prayers at this time in their journey of faith.

Looking ahead, we will have our annual Designer Bag Bingo at the Italian American Club on Saturday, October 9th. Doors will be open at 5:30 PM and Bingo starts at 7 PM. In addition to Bingo, beautiful gift baskets will be raffled off along with a 50/50 and a “new” Jewelry Trunk in which everyone is a winner! Advance RSVP is required by Monday, October 4th. You may visit the OLA website to register for your seat at this event at: www.olastrafford.org/designerbingo or simply call Marge DiGiacomo at 610-688-3453. We hope that you will come out to enjoy an evening of fun which benefits our parish and I thank the Ladies of OLA for once again putting together this special event.

This weekend we celebrate the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time and we continue to read from the Gospel of Mark. You may recall that last week we heard Jesus chastise his disciples for their argument about who among them was the greatest. Jesus taught them that the greatest among them will be those who serve the least ones.

In today’s Gospel, the disciple John questions Jesus about an unknown exorcist who was driving out demons in Jesus’ name. John’s question might have been motivated by jealousy. Previously in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus healed a boy whom the disciples had been unable to heal. John’s question is further
evidence that the disciples have not yet grasped Jesus’ words to them. They continue to compare them-selves to others who seem to have greater healing powers, and they do not want to share the power of Jesus’ name with others.

Today, the demon possession described in the Gospels might be seen as a form of mental illness, but the need for healing these syndromes was as real then as it is now. Exorcism was a common practice in first-century Palestine. Some people had the power to heal the symptoms of possession. One of the strategies used was to invoke the name of a person or figure who was believed to have the power to heal.

The disciples observed that the unknown exorcist invoked Jesus’ name and was successful in his healing efforts. This unknown healer recognized the power of Jesus’ name, yet he was not a follower of Jesus. In his reply to his disciples, Jesus acknowledges that deeds of faith can precede the words of faith. He also teaches that the disciples should not be reluctant to share Jesus’ healing powers with others.

Later in this Gospel, Jesus teaches us not to create obstacles for those who are just beginning to have faith but to encourage even the smallest signs of faith when we see them in another person. It would be wrong, even sinful, to put obstacles before people who are on the road to faith in Jesus.

May God continue to bless all of you and your families during these beautiful days of Fall and I thank you all once more for all you do in regards to your time, talent and treasure to keep our parish healthy and strong. Until next week!

Love and Prayers,
Father Carey