Something to be said of the Baltimore Catechism

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

A couple of years ago, I had a conversation with a young man who recently graduated from a prominent Catholic high school in the New York area.  In the course of the conversation, we spoke about our Diocese and its Bishop.  I was surprised to learn from him that he had no idea who the Bishop of Rockville Centre was, nor did he even know the name of our Diocese.  Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I asked him who was in charge of the Archdiocese of New York.  I figured that His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan is a very public figure and his name is often in the news, so at the very least the young man I was speaking with would have some recollection or knowledge about the chief shepherd for the Archdiocese.  Unfortunately, he had no idea about those matters or other teachings of the faith, like fast and abstinence during Lent just to name one, and it wasn’t that he had no interest.  It just seemed to appear that he did not know.

“Why did God make me?”  To know Him, love Him and serve Him in this life and to be happy with Him in the next life.”  Anyone reading this article that graduated high school before 1970, I am CERTAIN knows this question and answer by heart.  It was probably drilled into you by an army of Religious Sisters and Brothers.  This question and a myriad of others is a part of the compilation of the famed Baltimore Catechism which became the National Catechism for children in grades 1-12 across dioceses of the United States.  It was the first such catechism written for Catholics in North America.  It was a standard and a staple in Catholic Schools from 1885 to the late 1960’s.  One volume (number 4) was an advanced textbook with explanations of many little known questions pertaining to the Catholic faith designed to reward the questioning reader.  Four generations of Catholics were taught using this question and answer methodology of learning and large numbers of Catholics actually knew the faith!  So there is something to be said of The Baltimore Catechism.

I am not a product of the Baltimore Catechism, but as I grow older and perhaps a little wiser, I sometimes feel regret I did not learn about our faith this way, at least in part.  Most of my elementary school days in Religion were spent making collages, and simply being told God loves you.  I realize the first couple of decades after Vatican II the Church was “experimenting” in  new ways of trying to impart the faith but in conversations with Catholics many unfortunately do not know a lot about the faith. Some Bishops and Theologians now seem to realize that all these trendy and flashy programs have not worked.    After Vatican II,  the Church strived to move forward and make it more relevant and pertinent to contemporary culture.  In many ways that is good, but now her leaders and many of the faithful realize that maybe it’s time to get back to basics, and teach the current generation of young Catholics more tenets of the faith and why the Church believes and teaches what it does.

Here at St. Boniface we are going to change the Religion textbook series.  Currently we are using Pflaum Gospel Magazines which remind me more of a Scholastic Weekly Reader than a Religion textbook.  One of the main goals of the Religious Education Program here at St. Boniface is to produce informed and enlightened generations of Catholics prepared to know the faith, proclaim the faith and live the faith.

– Fr. Kevin

Fr. Kevin’s letter appears online here each week and in our Parish Bulletin

Pastoral Councils

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Canon Law provides for the formation of Parish Pastoral Councils in Canon 536 #1.  “In every parish of the diocese, a Pastoral Council shall be established…the pastor presides over the Pastoral Council and it is composed of members of the congregation…the Pastoral Council assists in promoting pastoral action in the parish.”  The Pastoral Council is a consultative body, pastoral in nature, because it strives to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit among God’s holy people in a particular parish.

In light of these guidelines set down by the Church, a new Pastoral Council has been formed here at St Boniface, Martyr Parish.  Just before Thanksgiving twelve new members were commissioned by me to serve on the Pastoral Council of St. Boniface Church.  I believe they represent a cross section of the parish with a variety of backgrounds, age and life experience; one thing they all share in common is that they are active and faith filled parishioners who not only support the parish but the pastor in the various spiritual, educational and social endeavors of our parish.

Specifically the Parish Pastoral Council’s purpose is to enhance the process of Pastoral Planning, developing and initiating new pastoral programs, evaluating the pastoral effectiveness of various programs and services.  It is not legislative in nature.  Ultimately the pastor is responsible for the final approval of Council recommendations concerning pastoral planning, programs and services for the parish, as well as for their implementation.

Meetings will be quarterly and our first meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 17 and the minutes of the meetings will be shared with the parish in the weekly bulletin.   I thank the following parishioners who so graciously agreed to share their time and talent in this important leadership ministry!

Bobby Dey

Renni Dey

Maura Lynch

Debbie Mink

Jeffrey Mink

Gina Pisciotta

Martha Pusey

William Schiller

William Swift

Ben Szemerenyi

Scott Whitting

Belinda Zeitlin

– Fr. Kevin

Fr. Kevin’s letter appears here weekly online and in our Parish Bulletin

Christmas Past

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Christmas Day was just two weeks ago, and now with the Solemnity of the Epiphany celebrated this weekend and The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord tomorrow the Church brings this season of joy and gladness to a close. Christmas requires much preparation and attention, especially with purchasing gifts, cooking and baking many of our favorite foods and decorating our homes for these special days. It is probably fair to say that most people are breathing a sigh of relief about getting back to our ordinary routines.

Christmas here at St. Boniface went well. We welcomed thousands of people to our Church for the six Christmas Masses that were celebrated here, and our Church was full for all Masses, in fact, the 4:00 PM Christmas Vigil had record crowds with over 1200 in attendance at that Mass alone.

Preparations for the big day began weeks in advance. Thanks to the graciousness and generosity of many hard working and dedicated parishioners our Church and its grounds looked splendid for the Christmas Season. Many visitors remarked at how beautiful the Church and grounds looked and how faith filled and welcoming our parishioners are! Priests come and go in parishes, but it is the parishioners who make a faith community so vibrant and alive and St. Boniface, Martyr is a prime example of such a community!

Know I appreciate and value all you are and all you do for St. Boniface. A special THANK YOU to all who were a part of making Christmas so special, especially the Pastoral Staff,

Maintenance Staff, lectors, altar servers, Extraordinary Ministers, musicians, cantors, ushers, collection counters and Altar Guild and many other volunteers who contributed to making Christmas so beautiful. Thanks also to you, the parishioners, for your generous financial support, not only at Christmas but the whole year long! Equally, I am grateful for how joyfully and freely you share your time and talent with the parish during the course of the year. Father Azubuike and I are also very appreciative for the gifts, cards, and homemade candies and cookies that you left at the rectory; we are grateful for your generosity and kindness!

On behalf of Father Azubuike and the Pastoral Staff, a Happy and Holy New Year to you and your families and May God continue the good work He has begun in you!

On another note, congratulations to Loretta Zanier, the recipient of the 2016 St. Agnes Medal, awarded by the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Loretta has coordinated the Baptism program here for many years and works tirelessly and enthusiastically in welcoming parents who are expecting a child and prepares them for the sacrament of Baptism. Congratulations, and thank you, Loretta!

– Fr. Kevin

Fr. Kevin Dillon’s letter appears online here weekly and in the St. Boniface Parish Bulletin

Don’t Quit

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

With Christmas Day as far away as it can ever be people begin to look forward to the New Year.

The month of January is named after the Roman god, Janus, and he is often depicted looking forward and looking backward.  New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day this year is on a weekend, and a long weekend at that!  Since the actual day is a Sunday, business and schools close Monday in observance of the holiday.   With the arrival of New Year’s Day, there is certain let down that all the festivities of this special time of year are over and now we enter into the routine of January which can be cold and dreary.

The beginning of January, however, is the perfect time to reflect and ponder over the happenings of the previous year, and look forward to new beginnings and some changes for the coming year.  Ask yourself what was one positive experience you had last year?  What did you learn from it?  If you could do anything differently, what would it be and why?  Were there missed opportunities for growth or change?  Did we place any limits on ourselves because of lack of confidence or courage?

You can’t.  You will never.  Just give up and call it a day.  You aren’t good enough.  These phrases were told to some pretty successful people throughout history, everyone from musicians, to actors and actresses to authors and television personalities.  Among them are composers like Beethoven, whose teachers told him he was hopeless.  Stephen King who had 30 rejections until he finally had his first book published and Lucille Ball who was considered a “B” list movie star and failed many times before she became a successful actress on the hit television series,

I Love Lucy.  Lucky for us, they ignored the doubters and naysayers and became legendary giants in their own right for all they accomplished.  Want to know who isn’t famous?  Their belittlers who said they couldn’t.

If we are honest with ourselves, we too have probably been told we can’t, or we’re not good enough and unfortunately most of us have bought into this non-sense! Perhaps we have regrets about this, but it is never too late to change or start anew!  In the first few days of this New Year take the time to reflect and ponder over your dreams and expectations for 2017.   It’s human nature to give up, especially after failure but that is giving up too easily.  If failure is embraced in the right fashion, it can serve as a learning experience for us.   One of the traits of Christians is perseverance, or a stick to it mentality.  Perseverance often leads to endurance and that  makes us stronger. Think about the persistent widow in the Gospel.  The Scriptures are filled with people who persevered and relied on GOD’S GRACE.  Often persistence and endurance bear fruit; we just need to be patient, and maybe God is telling us something as well.  After all, the only limits we really have are the ones place on ourselves.


– Fr. Kevin

Fr. Kevin’s letter appears here weekly and in the St. Boniface Martyr Parish Bulletin


We Need a Little Christmas!

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Many of us are familiar with the Broadway tune We Need A Little Christmas from the production of the play and television movie Mame.  There is a scene in which “Auntie Mame” breaks out into the upbeat and happy song to remind her nephew Patrick and two household servants of how the great feast of Christmas can change everything and everyone into someone and something better.  Virtually all people will agree that our lives and our world can be better.  With just over a week remaining until the big day, Christmas, itself, preparations are in high gear.  People are shopping for that special gift for that special someone, while others are either attending parties or planning their own special Christmas celebrations, and still others are generously tipping their hairstylists, housekeepers, and personal trainers etc. to thank and show appreciation to them for what they DO all year long.  People are usually in very festive, optimistic and cheerful moods despite the hustle and bustle of this joyous season

Indeed, at the very least we NEED A LITTLE CHRISTMAS; in fact, WE NEED A LOT OF CHRISTMAS, not just on December 25 or the days immediately preceding or following this Holy Day and Holiday, but ALL YEAR LONG!  Kindness, compassion, gentleness, generosity, cheerfulness should not be traits and dispositions that people, especially Christians exhibit and live for a season.

All people of goodwill should attempt to live these attributes the whole year through and Christians above all, should lead the way and be shining lights and examples for everyone!

While it is important to KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS, it is equally, and quite possibly more important to BE CHRIST AT CHRISTMAS and ALL YEAR LONG.  At the Last Supper, Jesus reminds His Apostles and us “to love one another.”  During the late 1960’s and into the 1970’s a popular folk song was sung at Sunday masses, They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love.”   With life so busy and complex these days we often feel pressured to worry about ourselves, and while sometimes we must do that, there are plenty of times where we can assist others with our time, talents and treasure.  The good people of St. Boniface, Martyr in the many ministries and societies of this magnificent parish strive to do that all year long.  So, when the last sip of eggnog is finished, the presents have all been unwrapped, the Christmas music has stopped and the decorations put away for another year keep striving to BE CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS ALL YEAR LONG!

Be assured of a special remembrance in ALL my masses, at Christmas time and the whole year long and a BLESSED AND HOLY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

– Fr. Kevin

Fr. Kevin Dillon’s letter appears here weekly online and in print in our Parish Bulletin.

Merry Christmas!

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Go ahead and just say it, particularly if you are certain that you are addressing another Christian.  We live in a world of growing secularism where God, organized Religion and the Catholic Church are pushed off it to the corners with hopes of being just seen and not heard.  This trend did not start overnight; it has been creeping in slowly during the last several decades.  Even the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony has few religious Christmas songs during the hour long television event.  In days gone by, many Christmas television programs were aired with a good deal of both religious and secular Christmas music.  As a child and even teenager, I can remember my parents watching Christmas shows featuring Perry Como singing Adeste Fidelis and Andy Williams singing the Ave Maria and Ring Christmas Bells with the lyrics saying, Ring Christmas Bells Loudly Proclaim the birthday of Jesus is near!”    Even the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has shortened the grand finale of the show, the traditional Nativity scene, in order to make more time for Santa and the Rockettes.   We must ask ourselves, what happened?  Secularization is what happened, and a desire to be politically correct.

While we never want to offend anyone, I find it puzzling to hear fellow Christians, many of whom are Catholic to be wishing each other a Happy Holiday, or have a great holiday season.  Something is very wrong with this, as we are keeping the main celebration and focus of this special time of year obscured!

It is the celebration of God made man…the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ!  One year a well-meaning parishioner in one of my former assignments said to me after Christmas Eve mass, “Have great holiday Father!”  I responded thanks so much, and it is okay to say Merry Christmas to me; I am a Catholic priest you know but that goes to illustrate just how conditioned we have become to this phenomenon.

Most if not all Christians, whether churched or unchurched will have no problem with it, and if you know for certain the recipient of your greeting is Jewish, then do not be afraid to wish them a Happy Chanukah.  I have wished many of our Jewish brothers and sister this greeting and they smile and return it with and Merry Christmas to you!  I suppose if you are absolutely certain someone is something other than an individual from the Judeo-Christian tradition then it is acceptable to wish them a Happy Holiday.

We need to keep Christ in Christmas, and the belief of God in the public sector.  Just perhaps it will raise our consciousness and hopefully get others to think about Jesus Christ and a sense of spirituality and respect for Religion which is sorely lacking of late in this country.

Other ways to promote and remind people of the reason for the season is to send religious Christmas cards and most certainly every Catholic home should have a Nativity Set proudly displayed either inside the home or outside.  Better yet, display two, one inside and one outside.  So go ahead say it and do it,  MERRY CHRISTMAS and KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS!

Fr. Kevin Dillon’s letter appears here weekly and in print in our Parish Bulletin

All Things Possible with God


Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

As many of you know, I attended St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary in Uniondale.  Pius was the high school Seminary for our Diocese.  The faculty was composed of several priests, a religious sister and a good number of lay men and women.  The priests were very supportive and certainly served as good role models for young men who were considering a vocation to the priesthood.  Sadly, due to declining enrollment and few priestly vocations from the school, Bishop McGann closed it in the early 1980’s.

I remember once speaking to one of my favorite teachers, Fr. Brendan Riordan about the life of a priest and how I was concerned about being able to give a homily at mass.  Fr. Riordan gently said,

“Don’t worry; God will take care of that for you.”  Then he said, “It’s a wonderful life and Our Lord will be with you every step of the way.   Now as a priest I realize what he meant, especially with regard to preaching and that is reliance on the Holy Spirit.  In and of himself, the priest can accomplish very little; it is Our Lord who does the inspiring and the priest simply cooperates with that.

Many biblical passages clearly indicate that there is no Biblical basis for self-esteem, self-love, self-reliance, self-confidence, self-image or any of the other isms advocated by the worldly system of psychology.  The Bible’s answer for many of our emotional problems is to turn away from self to Christ and His all sufficient word.  Some examples of this include “I can do all things in Christ, who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) and Jesus, said “With humans it is impossible, but not for God.  For God all things are possible!”  (Mk. 10:27) Christmas is exactly three weeks away, and many people find this time of year busy and hectic to say the least.

Our scripture readings for Sundays and the weekdays of Advent are indicative of a good number of people who were filled with hopeful enthusiasm and optimism regarding God’s active presence in their lives.  Mary, the Mother of God     is a prime example when she was asked to be the Theotokos, or God-bearer.  Although a bit unsure and perhaps somewhat anxious, Our Lady cooperates with God’s plan for salvation and responds to the angel Gabriel, “Let it be done unto me, according to Your Word.”  In other words, Mary directs it back to God and helps fulfill God’s plan of redemption for humanity.

Saint John the Baptist and his mother Elizabeth also acknowledge that it is God who is in charge, not them.  Elizabeth, despite her old age, has complete and utter confidence that with God, all things are possible, and her son, St. John the Baptist reminds us that it is He who must increase and us who must decrease.  Even John’s dad, Zechariah, who in the beginning refuses to believe ultimately, realizes that it is God who is at work, when he writes his new son’s name on the tablet, “His name shall be called John.”  Customarily, Zechariah’s son should have been named after his father, but Zechariah now realizes that God has a hand in this.

Take some time during these busy days to recognize God’s active presence in your life.  Perhaps attend daily mass one or two days a week, attend Handle’s Messiah concert this Sunday at 4pm followed by our Tree Lighting and Christmas Around the World Celebration or our Advent Mission Christmas in Story, Song Word and Art this Tuesday, December 6 at 7:30pm in Church, or avail yourself of the sacrament of Reconciliation to help you prepare for the great feast of the Incarnation.

— Fr. Kevin

Fr. Kevin Dillon’s letter appears here weekly online and in the St. Boniface Martyr Parish Bulletin.

Make a Joyful Sound Unto the Lord

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

“Sing, Sing a Song” was a popular soft rock tune performed by the Carpenters in the early 1970’s.  The lyrics are quite simple and extol and praise the values of singing, and encourage all to sing whether they have good voices or not.  Since Vatican II, the Church has introduced the value of congregational singing and many Catholics seem to enjoy worshipping God through song.  That is wonderful because like St. Augustine says, “he [she] who sings, prays twice!”  Singing, is indeed, a beautiful way to worship God.

Singing together is not only a form of prayer, but also has several emotional and psychological benefits as well.  According to a recent article in Time magazine, singing changes the brain.  According to the article when people sing musical vibrations move through the person and that alters people’s physical and emotional landscape.  Simply put, it makes us feel better.  Think about small children.  Most of us have either been sung to by a loving mother or other caring adult at some point in our youth to soothe and calm us when we were upset or frightened about something.  If this was not the case for you, perhaps you have seen this being done by someone else to a child and how usually the child stops crying or fussing.  Singing or being sung to has great power to change our emotions from sad and negative to happy and hopefully calmer.  Researchers have been hard at work  trying to explain why it has such a calming, soothing, peaceful effects, yet, has equally energizing and life giving effects on us.

What researchers are concluding is that singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes our nerves and simultaneously elevates our spirits.  This for us is a win, win situation in our stress filled and busy world, and for us as Christians it is a spiritual endeavor as well because like the Psalm says, Sing a New Song to the Lord, (Psalm 96) or Break into Song and Sing Praise (Psalm 98).  The virtues of singing are found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures as well as the New Testament.  Mary’s Magnificat is ultimately a song of praise!

Group singing for those who have done it, is the most exhilarating and transformative of all because it takes something incredibly intimate and personal, a sound that begins inside of the person and ultimately shares it with a room full of people and then comes back as something even more exhilarating and thrilling then when it first started and that is called harmony.  Research further shows that even if someone’s voice is only mediocre, the health benefits are worth their weight in gold because our bodies produce lower amounts of cortisol and our heart rates are raised.

Here at St. Boniface, we are blessed with a talented and competent Music Ministry under the direction of Jeffery Schneider.  Our cantors and musicians are here to lead us in song and encourage us to sing.  I am sure they will agree with me that they are NOT here to perform but assist us in giving glory and praise to our God, Jesus Christ.  So don’t be afraid; SING OUT LOUD AND MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE UNTO THE LORD!

Fr. Kevin’s letter appears each week in print and online in the St. Boniface Martyr Parish Bulletin.

It Isn’t Just for Non-Catholics

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

All living beings experience growth and change whether they like it or not.  The Church is no exception.  Even though most people think of the Church as an institution, it is comprised of human beings.  Her members should constantly strive to grow in greater holiness and sanctity despite their sinful nature.  When we overcome or diminish some of our vices and sinful behaviors we draw a little closer to Christ and perfect ourselves in His image and likeness and this helps to strengthen the Body of Christ here on earth.

Another way the Body of Christ continues to grow and become stronger is by attracting new members.   It is often by our good example that leads other people to want to join the Catholic Church.  When someone expresses a desire to join the Church we have a program that does just that!  It is called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults or R.C.I.A. for short.  Here at St. Boniface Martyr we currently have five candidates enrolled in the program who are preparing for full initiation into the Catholic Church at Easter.  They meet bi-weekly on Tuesday evenings to pray and learn more about the tenets of Catholicism. It is a time for them to discern and decide whether they want to make the commitment for full initiation into the Catholic Church.  They are supported and encouraged by each other and the coordinator of R.C.I.A., Martha Pusey.  Currently we have five individuals preparing to become Catholic and with God’s help and grace they will be received into the Church at Easter 2017.

Did you know, however, that R.C.I.A. IS NOT JUST FOR PEOPLE INTERESTED IN BEING CATHOLIC!  The Rite of Christian Initiation compels all of us who have been Christians since Baptism to look critically at our roots as Church, and to renew ourselves in light of our tradition.  R.C.I.A. is really given to us for Church renewal.  It gives those of us who were baptized as infants the opportunity to reassess,

reexamine and renew our faith and God’s part in that faith.  It is a continuous process that begins and climaxes only for individuals, but never really ends as far as the parish community is concerned.

The initiation of adults is for the life of the whole Church, not just the participants.  The presence of the catechumens journeying towards conversion in our parish, model for us the deeper conversion to which we are all called.  Conversion, after all, is NOT a once in a life time thing.  We all experience God’s call to turn around, change our lives and improve our relationship with Him every day.

Prior to my arrival here at St. Boniface, there was no formal R.C.I.A. classes or moderator.  We are now blessed to have Martha Pusey as Coordinator and Chip Sassa and Randa and Jeff Barrington as Facilitators.  All of them share their faith and help guide our R.C.I.A. catechumens and candidates for full communion into the Catholic Church.  Next Easter we will welcome Shaun Banks, Lauren Miglietta, Victoria Danis and Martha Meneses for reception into the Catholic Church.  We also have one more, Jeff Brooks who continues to discern and reflect upon becoming a fully initiated Catholic.  Please pray for all of our candidates and catechumens and for our leaders.

If you know anyone who might be interested in becoming Catholic, please call the Parish Office and someone from the R.C.I.A. team will contact them.  Perhaps there are some people in the parish who might consider becoming involved in the program.  It simply requires you to share your own faith journey with those who are discerning joining the Catholic Church.  Classes meet every other Tuesday evening at 7:30 PM in the Parish Center.  If you are interested in helping with this ministry, please call the Parish Center for more information.

— Fr. Kevin

Faithful Citizenship

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Most will agree that this election season has been anything but normal; although some might say it is politics as usual with all the name calling and accusations that candidates for political office have engaged in during the past year.  This kind of rhetoric can discourage the average person and even turn off the individual from exercising his/her moral obligation to VOTE.

In the document Faithful Citizenship, the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops reminds Catholics that voting is indeed, an important and moral obligation.  The Bishops say, “In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue and participation in political life is a moral obligation.  As Catholics, we should be guided by our moral convictions, than by attachment to any particular political party or special interest group.  Even those who cannot vote should raise their voices on matters that affect their lives and the common good.”

Long after this election is over, the two candidates representing each of the major political parties of our nation will still be very rich and famous.  After all, even the loser will be able to say “I ran for President of the United States!”  Not many people in our Nation’s history can say that.  The majority of people will be able to say, “We won.”  The other group will have four more years to say, “That’s why I didn’t vote for ___________.

Just remember, we live in a different America than they do.  We have to live, work, eat and play with each other in our America.  None of us get to fly on private jets to leave our community’s problems; we do not get twenty four hour security protection, and truth be told most of us probably are very happy about that and would not trade our private lives in for such things.   Collectively, as ordinary and  private citizens we are what makes this country great  and to take it a step further, as Catholics we make this terrific country even better with our extensive health care, education and social services programs that welcomes everyone, NOT JUST CATHOLICS!

No candidate for political office will stop crime in our communities; he/she will not stop someone from stealing your identity and neither will stop violence and drugs from affecting our neighborhoods.  They will not teach your children right from wrong, but YOU CAN!  They will not come to your home and help your child with math, but YOU CAN!  Neither one will coach your son’s/daughter’s soccer team but YOU CAN!  Neither will volunteer at their local parish’s food bank or Religious Education program but YOU CAN!

The Bishops remind us, “Our nation faces political challenges that demand urgent moral choices.  We are a nation at war with all of its human costs; a country often divided by race and ethnicity, a nation of immigrants struggling with immigration.  We are an affluent society where too many people live in poverty and where basic human dignities are often ignored and private or individual rights over shadow the common good.”    We as a united people with sound values, morals, and ethics can shape and make this country whatever we want.  VOTE on Tuesday, November 8 for whomever you want taking into account Catholic Social Teaching, but remember we are the ones that shape our communities and parishes, NOT them.

For more information the document Faithful Citizenship & how to vote as an informed Catholic go to:

— Fr. Kevin

Fr. Kevin’s letter appears each week in print and online in the St. Boniface Martyr Parish Bulletin.