Reflection from RJ
Our Gospel for this Sunday is about the parable of the Dishonest Steward who was reported for squandering his master’s property. He may have mismanaged the estate through incompetence or negligence, or he may have stolen from what was entrusted to him. Regardless, the result was the same: instead of increasing his master’s wealth, he reduced it.
Towards the end of the Gospel, Jesus gives us a general principle: a person who is trustworthy of small matters is also trustworthy of great ones. This applies in all aspects of life. A person who proves trustworthy in ssmall matters can be entrusted with greater responsibilities.
As God’s stewards, a good point to remember is that “the world and all that is in it belongs to God.” His creation is entrusted to our care. It is a gift given by God and we have to use it well to to show our love to God and our fellow neighbor. When we lord it over for our pleasure, we exploit God's love and eventually exploit individuals and families.
In the next pharagraphs, let us reflect together what Jesus teaches about stewardship and what He is asking us to do.
First, we are stewards of creation. We are called to use all the gifts we find in creation. However, we have to do this in a way that respects the common good and honors God’s creation. More importantly, we have to respect and protect human life. A good steward has the duty to defend the sanctity of human life at all times.
Second, we are stewards of vocation. I think it is important to remember that each vocation is important – clergy, lay person, married, single, young, and adult. We all play a unique role in helping the Church grow. Every contribution counts to fulfill God’s mission in the world.
Third, we are stewards of ‘our religion.’ A good steward has a living faith and places God first in every aspect of his life. In doing so, he becomes defined by whom he believes and follows. I think there is no greater reward than to be defined as true disciples of Christ. A German theologian once said that "[we] have to cultivate a living faith, and to have a daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that we can even stake our lives on what we believe a thousand times."
To end my reflection, I would like to focus our attention to Mary. The parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel is a special community because it is entrusted under the care and guidance of our Blessed Mother. Mary is known as the ideal steward. She lived her life in a spirit of fidelity and service to God. She was called and gifted by God. Her response was a generous and prudent "yes". “[Mary’s] stewardship consisted on her maternal service and devotion to Jesus from infancy to adulthood, up to agonizing hours of Jesus’ death.”
We always look up to Mary’s clear example of Christian stewardship. May her saying “yes” to God’s will draw us closer to God and to His Church.
Happy Sunday to you all!
Welcome Father Chris
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am very excited to begin my service as pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel and I look forward to working with everyone in the parish – from the religious education program to the school, to all the many, many ministries we have. It will take me some time to familiarize myself with everything and to start placing names with faces, but it is an exciting time for me as I begin here.
I am coming to OLGC after spending the past four years as pastor of St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Burlington, NJ. St. Katharine Drexel Parish was my first assignment as a pastor and I learned a lot. I met so many good faith filled people who helped me grow as a priest and a pastor.
Some of you might remember me from my time as a transitional deacon back in the 2010-2011 school year. While in seminary, we generally spend one year as a deacon before we are ordained priests. I spent the summer before my last year in seminary here at OLGC and then during my deacon year in the seminary I came to OLGC on the weekends. During this time I got to know a number of OLGC parishioners and I became very good friends with Fr. Damian and continue that friendship to this day.
A little bit about myself – I grew up close by in Marlton, NJ. St. Joan of Arc is my home parish and my parents still live in Marlton. I had one brother, Brian, who passed away earlier this year in February. Some of you might remember that my brother Brian had Down Syndrome and he was always with us and tended to be the life of the party.
I graduated from Cherokee High School back in 1994 – played basketball as a freshman and baseball all four years of high school. I graduated from La Salle University back in 1998 in accounting and then worked for about 7 years or so as an accountant and an auditor.
After thinking about the priesthood for many years, I finally got the nerve up to enter the seminary in August of 2005 and I spent 6 years at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. As I mentioned my assignment during my deacon year was here at OLGC.
Bishop David O’Connell ordained me a priest in June of 2011 and my first assignment as a priest was St. James in Red Bank, NJ. After three years at St. James, I spent one year close by to here at St. Charles Borromeo in Cinnaminson before being made pastor of St. Katharine Drexel in Burlington. I have had many experiences in my assignments and these experiences have helped me learn quite a bit and I pray that continues here at OLGC.
I’m not the only new face you will be seeing here at OLGC this summer. We will have a seminarian staying with us for the upcoming year. His name is RJ Ballicillo. He is originally from the Philippines and he just finished his third year of theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. An interesting note about RJ is that he has a brother; Fr. Roy, who is a priest in our diocese currently serving at St. Mary of the Lakes Parish in Medford , NJ. You will get to know RJ better as the year goes on and I know you will all make him feel right at home as he spends this year with us.
Again, it’s exciting to be with you all and I look forward to serving OLGC the best I can.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
After a month of goodbyes it’s time for the last farewell. Many many heartfelt thanks for all your letters, cards, and gifts; I’m very grateful for your words of appreciation and encouragement.
I have tried to spend my years here sharing my heart and my dreams as they have been touched by the Gospel and sustained by God’s grace and your kindness. You have kindly shared your heart with me too, and that experience has changed me forever.
I’ll leave you with a favorite poem by W. B. Yeats, Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven.
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Wishing you Love and Joy,
Fr. Damian McElroy
Respect Life Homily
Deacon Tom Kolon shared a wonderful and informative Catholic perspective on Respect Life, encompassing current events and statistics that spanned from end of life through the very beginning in the womb. You can re-watch his homily on the live streaming or may click here for a written copy to share. Additionally, he shared his reflective homily from Pentecost Sunday.
New monthly collection - Baby Items Needed
1st Way of Burlington Co. will be collecting a variety of items for those moms that have chosen life for their babies. There will be a play pen set up in the vestibule of the church to collect the donations. This collection will take place on the 1st Sunday of every month - the next collection will be on October 5 / 6. We especially need Enfamil formula, baby food - stages 1 and 2, diapers especially size 5 and 6, wipes, shampoos, and newborn clothing. Thank you for helping those whom have chosen Life!!!
Do you know a Caregiver?
Jesus gave us a new commandment: “love one another as I have loved you..." (Jn 13:34). On the night before the Last Supper Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, a lesson for them and for us in caring for and loving each other. Caregivers put this commandment into action every hour of every day. The demand on the caregiver for loving patience and dedication is extreme. St. Francis de Sales suggests that, "the measure of love is to love without measure. May God continue to bless all caregivers in their daily challenges and strengthen their capacity to care for their loved one – “with love without measure.”
How does the caregiver do all that is necessary and still find time for their personal well being - spiritual, emotional, and physical health?
When requested, a parishioner will visit the caregiver and their loved one, bringing Holy Communion, prayer, and spiritual support, as well as news of parish life, and perhaps a little laughter.
For more information please call Jim Cassidy or Jane McCorkell : 856-235-2374
"Do whatever He tells you" - John 2:5