Fr. George's 2021 Blogs

12/26/2021 Blog

All the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God.

How beautiful upon the mountains

are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,

announcing peace, bearing good news,

announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,

“Your God is King!” Isaiah 52.7

One of my favorite passages in Scriptures is often proclaimed at funerals, “On this mountain, the Lord of Hosts will provide for all peoples…” It points to a future time when the “veil that veils all peoples” will be removed as well as tears and reproach. In a world where we literally are veiling our faces, I am struck by the poignant irony of the phrase from Isaiah 25:6-9.

Isaiah 52 speaks in the present tense since it reflects a later time after the exile when everything is restored. It is by no means an accident that this passage is proclaimed Christmas morning when we announce a new day and the triumph of our God ‘as King’.

As we reflected on Christ the King, our Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace, (Foretold in Isaiah 9.5) comes to us not in the form of a Mighty Warrior but as a Newborn Child, vulnerable to an often harsh world. As we are now called to revel in the Savior who looks toward us to nourish and protect each other as one. May we continue to walk together and bring glad tidings, peace and salvation to a world yearning to behold a new beginning.

God bless you all this special Christmas where we have had our challenges but also abundant blessings. Our hearts go out to all who have suffered loss and we pray that the Lord’s love will bring you some peace and healing in the New Year.

Thank you all for all that you do and especially ‘all that you are about’. Corpus Christi has been about faith, hope and charity and will continue to do so with your prayers and support.

God bless you!

Fr. George

12/19/2021 Blog

Blessed are you who believed

that what was spoken to you by the Lord

would be fulfilled.”

Luke 1.45

Our Gospel in Year C of the Fourth Week of Advent is the loving, powerful encounter of Mary and Elizabeth. After saying “Yes” to Gabriel, Mary traveled ‘in haste’ to be with her kinswoman in an action of unselfishness and service. I have often thought that she was also motivated as we are at times by the desire to be with someone who understands what she has undergone as well.

We are less than a week away from encountering the Birth of Christ as well and will attempt to be there for each other the best we can. This appears like we will have to follow more guidelines and restrictions than we had hope but nothing takes us away from the communal aspect of sharing what we believe with people who are on our journey as well.

Advent is a time of patient waiting for what awaits us as we move further in our relationship with God who entered into this world to be truly one with us. In these difficult times, it may take more trust than ever before but together we are called to truly believe for ever more. Salvation is best experienced when we anticipate the fulfillment of our beliefs and the awareness of the blessings we behold.

When I think about the blessings I have been privileged to behold, I can’t help but think of the goodness of our people and their sharing of many gifts. I am so grateful for your amazing support of me and our parish family as well as our extended community. In addition to the incredible generosity for people who are in need of gifts, food and supplies, I have seen the amazing care and compassion that you generate for others in whatever situation or place they may be on their journey.

Thank you. God bless you!

Fr. George

12/12/2021 Blog

“Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

“Deliver us, Lord; we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

The two prayers above are different translations of “the Embolism” (not the most pleasant term) which is said or song by the priest after the Lord’s Prayer and before the doxology. It has been described as “‘like a marginal gloss’ amplifying and elaborating on the many implications of the prayer” we have professed together. The shorter version was from the Sacramentary which was replaced by the New Roman Missal. The slight differences in translation evoke different emotions but I feel that both accounts figure into what Advent is truly all about for us. Our yearning to be close to the Lord is predicated by a desire to be delivered from evil and freed from sin while also being lifted from anxiety or distress. Ultimately we are looking for peace as we “await the blessed hope” of Christ’s coming.

‘To wait in joyful hope’ probably better reflects Gaudete Sunday beginning the Third Week of Advent as we celebrate the the lighting of the pink or rose colored candle. Apart from the purple, more penitential candles, this color symbolizes joy and the ‘joyful hope’ we are asked to re-capture again in our lives. This day receives its name from the Latin translation of Paul in his Letter to the Philippians (4:4, 5): “Gaudete in Domino semper!” which in English is “Rejoice in the Lord always!”

The challenge of truly celebrating Gaudete Sunday, particularly in the midst of the pandemic, is that we are still distressed and anxious over so many things, much of which appears out of our control. Still, I am struck that the second translation of the ‘Embolism’ especially takes on a communal tone, reminding us that we are not alone in our concerns. We are a people searching for the Lord’s coming while at the same time being brought together by the common desire for salvation. Let us continue to support one another and, with renewed hope for the future, “Rejoice!”

This Sunday also marks the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I was blessed for many years to help pastor a Spanish-speaking community who embraced this celebration with all their hearts. It was a yearly reminder that despite all the fears, frustrations, and anxieties surrounding many of their situations, a people could continue to celebrate and truly rejoice because of their faith. This faith poured itself into maintaining hope and always magnifying love. May our Lady inspire all of us this Advent to trust in her Son.

God bless you. ¡Dios te bendiga!

Fr. George


There are many ways in which we can be freed from our sins and anxieties but none are more beautiful or sacred than the Sacraments of Reconciliation and/or the Anointing of the Sick.

Fr. George (I) will be available in the Confessional this Sunday, December 12th from 9.30 until 10.30 am Thursday (12/16) from 4.00 pm -5.30 pm, Friday (12/17) from 9.30-10.30 (subject to change if there is a funeral) and Saturday (12/18) from 2.00-3.30 pm. Additional times will be posted in next Sunday’s bulletin.

12/5/2021 Blog

Brothers and sisters:

I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, 

because of your partnership for the gospel 

from the first day until now.

I am confident of this,

that the one who began a good work in you

will continue to complete it 

until the day of Christ Jesus.

Phillipians 1.4-6

The Letter of St. Paul to the Phillipians is filled with rich language expressing a pastor’s love and appreciation for his people. I cannot help but echo these words as I am continually impressed by the commitment of our people to live out the Gospel message. I have been blessed by the many women and men who give of themselves so unselfishly and do so much on behalf of our community.

The recent discernment of the Pastoral Council was a wonderful way for me to learn more about the parish’s history as well as the stories of those who are willingly going to be taking a lead in our future. I am confident our new members will be a great reflection of Corpus Christi’s tradition of service and compassion while further growing and developing these same traits. 

As we continue looking towards the future please join me in praying for the development of our Youth Ministry Team. The goal of which is to reach out and respond to the  gifts, talents and concerns of our younger generations. I invite anyone interested in helping pioneer this Ministry to join the meeting Monday, December 6th at 6:15 pm.  

This week holds many meetings for me and it is with a feeling of pride and appreciation that I anticipate going about them. In addition to the youth ministry meeting Tuesday I will have the joy of attending the Pastoral Care Team meeting as well. I am truly fortunate to be serving aside so many of Gods trusted servants. Let us continue to do the good work and like St. John the Baptist in the Gospel, point the way of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God Bless!

Fr. George

11/28/2021 Blog

I will raise up for David a just shoot.

The days are coming, says the Lord,

when I will fulfill the promise

I made to the house of Israel and Judah.

In those days, in that time,

I will raise up for David a just shoot ;

he shall do what is right and just in the land.

In those days Judah shall be safe

and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;

this is what they shall call her:

“The Lord our justice.”

Jeremiah 33:14-16

The anxiety and frustration we have all shared for over 20 months in search of safety and security mirror well the state of affairs that the Prophet Jeremiah addresses. As the first liturgical reading of the Advent season, the stage is set to acknowledge our sufferings but to not give up hope. Peace and fulfillment are still promised to us and we can look forward to this as “we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.

The Our Father is interrupted in our liturgy for the priest to proclaim those words which follow, “Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil graciously grant peace in our days, that by the help of your mercy, we may always free from sin and safe from all distress as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” I repeated myself on purpose because these words bear repeating. We remember as we begin a new liturgical year that our hopes and dreams, fears and anticipations do not change radically in time. Still, each year we can remind ourselves that we are not alone and we need not be afraid. We have a God who truly desires us; saves us and heals us. We have a God that we do not always understand or allow to be manifested in our lives.

We too live in a distressing time but we are gifted with love, tenderness and mercy. May the compassion of our Lord Jesus instill within us that same compassion for others. May we also extend this to ourselves by forgiving ourselves for the times we have fallen short.

The Advent season is about renewal and preparation. As a couple prepare for the birth of their child by making changes in their lives, so too we have this Advent season to prepare for our Savior, not as a Knight in shining armor but as a little child whom we are called to embrace.

God Bless!

Fr. George

11/21/2021 Blog

We have a wonderful group of youth that will be attending the National Catholic Youth Conference this year from November 18-20. I've had the joy of attending NCYC several times myself and even as an adult, I felt it changed my life and it certainly made me more committed to the power and importance of Youth Ministry. In lieu of a typical blog this week I thought I would share Bryce Kuo's college application essay in which he outlines his NCYC experiences.

God Bless!

Fr. George

Bryce Kuo’s College Application Essay

An event in my life that sparked a period of growth was my trip to the National Catholic Youth Conference in 2019. As a 15 year old kid, I had not yet explored my faith to a great extent, rarely attended church, and often had a negative outlook on many life aspects. So I did not know what to expect along this journey. NCYC is a trip that many teens and adults take to Indianapolis to come together as Catholics, especially ones that want to expand in their faith. 

I woke up early on a cold November morning to depart for Indianapolis. My mom and I were both excited to go on this trip that I originally saw as just a few days off from school. When we arrived, I instantly saw a sea of people walking around the airport in matching t-shirts and hats. I was surprised to see this as I had no idea there were so many people that have the same religious views as me in this country. I again felt this feeling that night when we arrived in Lucas Oil Stadium and I saw more than twenty thousand people fill the seats. 

Throughout this trip I was able to become closer with those in my church, have a great experience with my mom, and most importantly grow in my relationship with God. We heard from powerful speakers that showed us not only how important it is to participate in religion, but also how lucky we are as Americans to be presented with so many opportunities. 

The story that resonated with me most was the one about the Rwandan genocide, and how the speaker felt during this experience. I remember her describing it as terrifying and she said there was a large number of people hiding in a small bathroom for over a day praying that they wouldn't be found. This was a wake up call for me as it showed me how lucky I am to have the things I have. 

We were also able to join together in more private groups for many other speakers talking about mental health in teens, family relationships, and suicide. They spoke about all of these issues and how God can help guide us through hard times. These lessons helped me to understand how people in this world have many different obstacles that are both big and small, and also helped me to be able to empathize with peoples issues. 

After returning home from the trip, I had a new outlook on life. I was new to my school, La Salle Institute, which happened to be affiliated with the Catholic church through the teachings of St. John Baptist De La Salle. I have pushed myself to do new sports such as football and track. I have also become more involved in my religious community by becoming a Eucharistic minister and getting confirmed. Overall this experience was one that changed the course of my life for the better and I look forward to attending my second NCYC trip in November.

11/14/2021 Blog

Have you ever felt like there wasn’t enough time and you are running out of whatever there is left of it? Scripture this week speaks of the end-time in not only the Gospel reference to the coming of the Son of Man but the apocalyptic vision of the Prophet Daniel in our first reading. At first glance there may be a feeling of doom and gloom but in the midst is the message of salvation:

But the wise shall shine brightly

Like the splendor of the firmament

And those who lead many to justice

Shall be like the stars forever. Daniel 12.3

I have felt a bit overwhelmed emotionally with all that has been going on in our parish but at the center of it all is the light of Christ. On our recent bulletin cover, we shared the artwork of Genevieve Gallagher who titled her rendition of Corpus Christi Church as “A Shining Star on the Hill.” This rings so true especially in recent weeks when we have gathered together to celebrate many aspects of our parish life.

I am still thinking about our All Souls Liturgy which truly shed light on those loved ones that continue to shine upon us. We know it is not just their memory that illuminates us but their continued presence in our lives. They bring a certain balance to our perspective and we are never alone nor are we without heavenly guidance. The losses in our lives are never truly lost even if they fall behind a cloud.

This week we honored Veterans and as much as the celebration was for all that have served our country, I know many of us could not help but find ourselves fixated on those veterans that may have been lost in the line of duty. Along with all the men and women we recall on this day, we recognize how spiritually significant it is for us to never forget. We remember with pride and gratitude as well as with love and compassion.

Wednesday we brought together teens, young adults, and others to discuss how we might be of service here at the parish and throughout our community. As we look to discover new ways for our youth to shine, may we continue to recognize their gifts, talents and beautiful spirit. The goal of youth ministry is not just to better a portion of our community, it is to enhance our entire parish family.

In the coming weeks, we will be discerning new members of our Pastoral Council and are excited that we will once more move forward, guided by the stars of our 75 year history and drawn to bring into service those who will be sharing our journey for the next 75.

I want to thank the parish leadership of Corpus Christi who has been working so hard and with so much faithful devotion these last few months. So much has been accomplished because of their dedication and so much more will be accomplished because of their inspiration. May God continue to bring us together as brothers and sisters, Disciples of Christ.

God Bless!

Fr. George

11/7/2021 Blog

This weekend’s Gospel reintroduces the ‘widow’s mite’, the thought-provoking story in which Jesus contrasts the hypocrisy of so-called ‘generous givers’ with the woman on the edge of society who gave not out of her surplus but out of her need. Like the widow who supported Naaman, the prophet, the woman gives all that she has. The prophet rewards the actions of the poor mother and it is implied that the widow that Jesus notices will be blessed for her actions as well.

We are reminded that all are called in a special way to give of ourselves as we enter into National Vocations Week. Pope Francis during his Address to Seminarians and Novices, July 6, 2013, stated “Becoming a priest or a man or woman religious is not primarily our own decision.... Rather it is the response to a call and to a call of love.”  Throughout this week we acknowledge the contributions of women and men who respond to this call but also remember that this call is not just open to a select few. We are all called to live out our vocations in unique and special ways. In the coming weeks, we will be rediscovering opportunities for all of us to serve as well as acknowledge all those who have served us in their own unique call.

Last week we came together in celebration of All Saints and All Souls. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of these liturgies and the special commemorations that touched our hearts and souls. It was particularly touching for me to journey once more with those who have suffered loss and also share in the consolation of a caring and supporting community. This week, we will have several opportunities to come together once more. 

On Wednesday evening, we are inviting anyone interested in supporting our youth ministry efforts to join together as we work toward developing a team of teens, young adults, and adults who will work to address the youth needs as well as the larger concerns of our community.  We will be gathering at 6 pm for pizza and discussion on how we might better help our young discover their gifts and talents while at the same time engage them more fully in the parish. Our goal is to develop a team which will compliment what we are doing in our faith formation program with a variety of options to recognize the different interests of our youth.

At our Thursday evening liturgy, we will be remembering all Veterans, especially those who have gone before us. This will allow us to pray together as we remember the service of others, those who have passed on from this life and particularly those who left us in active service, sacrificing themselves for our safety, wellbeing and freedom.  Along with other commemorations within the extended community that day we ask you to please join us that evening.

The week will conclude with Corpus Christi hosting a special Diocesan “Good News and Cold Brews” event for young adults on Friday evening. Two young professors leading St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, Dr. Anthony Coleman and Dr. Marco Stango, will lead a question and answer session based on a wide variety of theological and philosophical questions.  The evening will include food, drinks, and socialization. I will help host and am encouraging all members in their 20’s and 30’s to join us. There is a wide variety of singles and couples at this event. For more information, check out the news and events page on the Diocesan website,

While this week is full of activities it is important to take time to reflect on God’s call to you. How does he want to use you to fulfil his mission and how does he want you to live out your own personal vocation?

God Bless!

Fr. George

10/31/2021 Blog

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,

“Which is the first of all the commandments?”

Jesus replied, “The first is this:

Hear, O Israel!

The Lord our God is Lord alone!

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul,

with all your mind,

and with all your strength.

The second is this:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

There is no other commandment greater than these.”

This Sunday is, of course, Halloween and it strikes me that of all the celebrations we have each year, this one really is affected by neighbors. For many it will be the first time since the pandemic, that children and families will go house-to-house. This year we are more sensitive than ever that some people are not yet ready or are unable to share in the rituals out of health concerns. As in all things, we will continue to ‘muddle through somehow’ and my hope and prayer that the children have ways to truly enjoy the day, even if it means not dressing up for school.

In recent years there has been a push to change the observance of Halloween to the last Saturday of October for the same reason many appreciate it falling on a Sunday this year. I personally do not like the idea of further separating Halloween from All Saints Day, and in turn, All Souls Day. “All Hallows’ Eve” or Halloween as it became known, began as a Christian Feast to remember all those who have gone before us including the saints (hallows), martyrs and all the faithfully departed. Different cultures celebrate the three days of the Eve of All Saints Day, the day itself and All Souls Day differently, while some cultures, like our own, put a spotlight on a Halloween that is more secular and commercial. It’s a blessing not to lose sight of the purpose of these celebrations while still seeing the benefit of the joy and excitement that spring from some of the practices and rituals of our popular culture.

My hope and prayer is that this week will inspire us all to feel the closeness of a community of neighbors that see us as a true family. In addition to our All Saints Liturgy on Monday evening, we will be coming together on Tuesday evening recognizing that this family extends beyond our world and includes those who have entered into eternal life. They are still a part of us and that connection is brought to light in our All Souls Day Celebration. We will especially be remembering those lost during the past year who have touched the lives of our parish and the members who continue to mourn their loved ones.

The All Souls Liturgy is particularly powerful for the priest and ministers who have walked with families in the course of the last year. I am humbled to be your pastor and know that as everyone is remembered, I will have only truly been a part of half the services. Still, all of us are called into compassion and understanding. All of us know the extremity of grief as well as the healing power of consolation. Let us come together for each other as well as for those who have gone before us.

Many of those who have left a particular legacy for our parish will continue to inspire us in the future. Next week I will be discussing our future plans for youth ministry as well as announcing the process of discerning new members for the Pastoral Council. How appropriate as we contemplate the roles people have played in the past to look toward the future with new generations of neighbors, friends and family.

God bless you!

Fr. George

10/24/2021 Blog

They departed in tears,

but I will console them and guide them;

I will lead them to brooks of water,

on a level road, so that none shall stumble.

For I am a father to Israel,

Ephraim is my first-born.

Jerimiah 31.9

This week’s Gospel proclaims the story of Bartimaeus, the blind man who encountered Jesus ‘on the way’ and cried out for sight. Jesus heals him, sending him on his way, while Bartimaeus, whose sight is restored, actually follows Jesus and joins the way of Jesus, becoming a disciple. The Gospel is complimented by our first reading from the prophet Jeremiah who speaks of the remnant of Israel now returning home after her long exile. I can’t help but think that the Scriptures remind me of what it has been like for us to be moving past the darkest days of the pandemic and trying to find our way home to church. We are not out of the woods yet and we need to be careful but there at least appears to be a level path.

With so much activity and excitement over the many events of the past months, I thought it would be good timing to revisit the parish survey in which so many took part. This survey has been an asset in allowing us to reflect and modify our reopening procedures based on the parish’s needs. For various reasons, people are coming back slowly and we understand that fully. Better communication can help us understand where we are and where we are going. Please understand that I am addressing the below questions with broad strokes and my responses do not explicitly entail all we are doing. Additionally, due to the ever changing coronavirus we may be adjusting our policies in the future to meet our short or long term needs.

In our surveys, 10 questions surfaced multiple times as being on the forefront of peoples concerns. I will answer the six questions below as a cluster even as some of them have been already answered by what is currently taking place. There are four additional frequently asked questions that I will answer following these:

What guidelines does Corpus Christi follow for our Covid-19 response?

What does Corpus Christi plan to continue doing based on survey responses?

How often is a thorough disinfecting of the pews/chairs and touchpoints done?

Are there any new mask guidance?

Will we be contacted if someone tests positive for Covid-19 after attending the same Mass?

Who can sit in mask required seating?

Our starting point is to follow state guidelines for all large indoor gatherings as well as any guidelines shared with us by the Diocese of Albany. There is some flexibility due to religious exemptions but we suggest following the same social distancing and mask wearing that has been encouraged, especially around those at risk. We ask that all children and anyone not vaccinated to please wear a mask at all times. We ask everyone regardless of vaccination status to please wear their masks while circulating close to others in the church. Once seated, we are not stopping anyone from taking their masks off but you are welcome to keep a mask on anywhere at any time in the church. We have designated a section of seating in the church in which masks are required to be worn throughout Mass. This section is for anyone regardless of vaccination status that may feel more comfortable wearing a mask and being around others wearing theirs. We are continuing to clean and disinfect between services and would appreciate more volunteers to help with this effort. We are especially attentive when we know the space will be used immediately following a gathering, such as for baptisms before or after a liturgy. We are no longer completing contact tracing forms so no one will be notified individually by us if someone alerts us to testing positive. We will communicate any large outbreaks on our social media, including flock-notes. Please get tested if you do show any symptoms and notify us for our prayers and support. We are asking everyone to please be respectful of each other and be as careful as possible for everyone’s health and well-being. If you are sick or not feeling well please stay home.

Can we have shorter Mass or Mass outside? There were discussions about outdoor liturgies but the logistics are difficult, especially due to the nature of our grounds. We will be open to this in the future. I am aware that people feel safer within indoor crowds for shorter periods of time and I will be sensitive to that when possible.

Is there a safer way to share in the Chalice? I believe the Church will be exploring possibilities in the future but for now there is not a safer way. The problem with sharing the chalice is that multiple people are handling the vessel while also placing their mouths along the rim. For this same reason we will continue people to not receive Holy Communion on their tongue except by the priest or deacon in the designated area. Hand to mouth contact is problematic and is continually seen as being a major source of the coronavirus spread.

Can we sing? Yes, we can! We understand that singing loud and strong is equally problematic when not wearing a mask so please use your judgement and discretion. Don’t be tone-deaf to the concerns of others!

Is Livestreaming staying? Yes! Honestly, some responded that they were afraid continued livestreaming would discourage people from returning to church. We understand this is an issue but we also know that this is a wonderful way to continue to reach out to those who are not joining us for whatever reason. Some people heading to warmer climates have said they will attend Mass in person but will check out the recordings as a way of keeping connected. Listening to your needs, we have begun using YouTube as a way of being more accessible as well as keep a file of past recordings. We are livestreaming the 4 pm liturgy so that it can be viewed by those who usually attended the Vigil or would like to watch later that evening. The 11 am Sunday liturgy is also livestreamed so that more people can join us live. We would love more volunteers to help with livestreaming so please reach out if you would like to assist with this!

Please contact the office if you have questions and concerns that you would like us to share. I would like to thank everyone who has shared their insights, especially those who have guided us through the darkest days. We have found new ways to see ourselves while always striving to meet people wherever they are, on their way. Like Bartimaeus, let us see things more clearly and move toward following the way of Jesus. God bless you.

10/17/2021 Blog

Returning Monday from my special weekend away to be with family for a wedding, I was struck that what became a sentimental journey was filled with an abundance of blessings for me. On my way to the event in Virginia, I stayed one night at my former seminary in Baltimore. It was not only a way to connect with my past but I was able to spend quality time with three current seminarians from Albany, including Joseph who was assigned to our rectory with Anthony and Daniel. You will not be surprised that when people heard I was from the Diocese of Albany, they asked, “Do you know Father Charles?!” They spoke with great admiration for him and commented how blessed I was to serve Corpus Christi parish because Father Charles spoke so highly of you!

Father Charles reputation in the seminary is rooted in the generosity of his spirit. He was constantly giving of himself for the community and was known for the service he provided, often on behalf of social justice and the concerns of a larger, often global community. Our readings today speak of what it means to be a true servant leader. In response to James and John lobbying for special recognition, Jesus sits the Apostles down and speaks to them frankly. His wake-up is a reminder to us today. While they as well as all of us are all used to leaders who make their authority felt and exert power over others, Jesus challenges us with these words:

Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;

Whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.

For the Son of Man did not come to be served

but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10.43-45)

When I think of the blessings I have received since I first entered the seminary over 32 years ago, I am filled with gratitude. I hope and pray that Father Charles, Father Matt and all those currently in formation will be as graced by the experiences they received at Corpus Christi in their future endeavors. I know they have witnessed role models rooted in servant leadership and will share their own gifts and talents with love and humility.

The Diocesan Appeal makes it possible for us as Disciples of Jesus Christ to serve The People of God on a scale a single parish could not possibly do on its own. By coming together through our caring and faith, each one of us becomes the heart, the hands and the eyes of our Most Blessed Lord, reaching out to those in need of love, compassion and spiritual nourishment.

This weekend begins the Annual Diocesan Appeal which makes it possible to accomplish great things in the Church’s name. Ultimately, we are about the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ and are called as disciples to reach out beyond ourselves. Our communal efforts will allow us to support the great efforts of the Diocese, including the support of vocations. Will you join me? I keep reflecting on how much has been given me and I remember the scriptural passage: “Of those to whom much has been given, much will be required in return.” (Luke 12.48) This is my opportunity to return some of the blessings I have received.

I want to thank you all so much for the privilege of serving you at Corpus Christi. I am hoping to express my gratitude more properly in the future for all those who made the 75th Anniversary Celebration possible. It reminds us what we can do together and the reason why we come together. It reminds us that we truly are sharers in God’s grace.

God bless you!

Fr. George

10/10/2021 Blog

As I write these words, early in the week before my departure for a family wedding, I am both exhausted and elated following our tremendous 75th anniversary celebration! The weekend was so much more than I could ever have hoped and truly the prayers of so many people were fulfilled. We had a wonderful turnout representing all generations that are part of Corpus Christi family. I cannot begin to thank everyone who was involved in all the aspects of the events we shared! So much hard work went in to every aspect and I am truly thankful to everyone!

This weekend’s Gospel focuses on the young man questioning what is required for everlasting life. The person is acting like a student who wants to know what he or she needs to do to receive a certain grade or perhaps just pass the course. Jesus disappoints the man with an answer that deflates him. The man, though young, has many possessions or perhaps symbolically he has many distractions or preoccupations and is reluctant to change his focus. He goes away saddened, some translations say that he goes away empty. We can all relate to the occasional feeling of emptiness and in this person case, it is poignant particularly because he would have previously considered his life full.

I am struck that it is a young person questioning Jesus could be seen as a sincere spiritual seeker. He might have been thrown by what he perceives as the cost of discipleship but my hunch is that he would have returned. Whatever stage of life we may currently be on, there are moments in which we feel called to do something more. Perhaps some of us are being asked to return to a ministry or try something new. Please consider ways in which you might answer. In the coming weeks, we will be focusing our attention on rebuilding both the Pastoral Council and developing a Youth Ministry Team. I will be sharing more information with you as we move forward.

As many of us look for ways to continue the momentum of last weekend’s celebration, I am astonished at how much of an impact the legacy of past leadership has had an effect on us. Let us continue to walk in the footsteps of those who have gone before and answer the call to discipleship in new and creative ways. Thank you for allowing me to serve at such an exciting moment in Corpus Christi’s ongoing history.

God bless you.

Fr. George

10/3/2021 Blog

After much preparation and prayer, the 75th anniversary of the founding of Corpus Christi Church has finally arrived! This is truly a once in a generation celebration marking three quarters of a century of service to our community. Our very name connects us with the Body of Christ which we have always striven to embody as our response to the baptismal call which we all share. Rooted in the Eucharist the sacramental life of our parish family continues to inspire us to embrace true discipleship.

I first searched out this weekend’s readings months ago, hoping they would connect with the celebratory atmosphere we anticipated. At first, I was disappointed that the Gospel focused on the sensitive issue of divorce which has affected all our families. Ultimately the message is about seeing the power of family to manifest an outward sign of God’s love in a creative way. As a parish family, we have endured our suffering at times but through it all we continue to come together as one. What an amazing opportunity for as people start returning to church to take the time to invite old friends and new to become a part of our community. This is a time for reconciliation and new beginnings.

After 75 years, we’ve still only just begun. Our special day has arrived but our journey is not done. I cannot begin to thank the many members who have stepped forward and, as I write this, are putting together the final touches for what will truly be a memorable weekend filled with special liturgies and community activities. We have it all; or at least we could have it all, if you join us in person, online or in prayer.

I am amazed at the life of a parish community that has been able to accomplish so much in the midst of the pandemic. When I first arrived, leadership was attempting to navigate a gradual reopening and has continued to provide a safe and inviting environment. We were blessed to welcome Fr. Charles Onyeneke home, host Fr. Matt Duclos’s Mass of Thanksgiving and Reception, install your new pastor, and so much more. Parishioners welcomed seminarians into their hearts and encouraged everyone to discover their own vocations. How blessed I have been to witness all this in your midst. How grateful I am for the leadership team that began to envision so much of this alongside Fr. Rick Lesser.

In the coming weeks, we will be addressing the surveys which so many of you thoughtfully spent time reflecting on what you are grateful for and what ways we could do better. People are proposing exciting new opportunities to widen our nets and bring people together. We are looking to rebuild our Pastoral Council and invite people of all ages to help us form a Youth Ministry Team.

In this week’s Gospel Jesus brings forth a little child with the words, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” 75 years ago when Corpus Christi was in its infancy, no one would have anticipated how far we would grow. We are blessed by a legacy of women and men who, for four generations, have kept the Kingdom of God alive in our presence.

God bless you. God bless the Corpus Christi church family.

Fr. George

9/26/2021 Blog

When I arrived at Corpus Christi at the beginning of Lent, the scope of months to follow was overwhelming. In addition to the liturgical season, which would culminate with Easter, we were still dealing with the pandemic without widespread availability of vaccines and major events were on the horizon. From the start I have been amazed by the parish leadership which has embraced each challenging endeavor step by step as we journeyed forward. From First Communion and Confirmation to Fr. Matt’s Ordination and First Mass, my installation as pastor, and countless other aspects of church life, we have been blessed by faith filled and hardworking parishioners leading the way forward.

The first reading this weekend from the Book of Numbers describes the time when the Spirit of God was bestowed upon not just Moses but 70 elders and more in order to provide for the needs and future of the people. We are blessed at Corpus Christi to be led by dozens of people of all generations who are inspiring us to live out our faith and move forward. This is part of the 75 year tradition that we will be celebrating next weekend. I encourage all of you to join us, not just for one day, but for the sake of the next generation and all to follow.

God bless you all!

Fr. George

9/19/2021 Blog

This weekend, we celebrate Catechetical Sunday with special recognition and blessings for our catechists. A catechist is often compared to a teacher or a coach but the fundamental understanding of catechesis is much more than what is even compiled in our Catechism . Are you confused? So am I. That is why I ‘googled’ in search of a clearer understanding and found one originating in Malta. Not our Malta, but the European country which is an island located between Sicily and the North African Coast.

“The aim of catechesis is not simply to give information to interlocutors about the Catholic faith. Catechesis seeks to do much more than this, with its ultimate aim being that of putting the human being in communion with Christ. This is achieved through the six tasks of catechesis which need to be deeply embedded in human experiences. The six tasks through which catechesis seeks to achieve its endeavours include: knowledge of the faith, liturgical education, moral formation, formation in prayer and methods of prayer, education for community life and missionary initiation.”

Catechesis also describes a type of learning which is developed in a question and answer method which is why the word ‘interlocutors’ is well-used as it means “a person who takes part in a dialogue or conversation”. The Abstract quoted above was written by Carl-Mario Sultana in a journal published at the University of Malta. It is the clearest, most comprehensive understanding of catechesis that I have ever encountered.

Speaking of ‘encountered’, this weekend we are reminded how important it is for us to encounter Christ. This is the call for all of us, not just those in formal faith formation. We all share in the same endeavor and strive to truly be in communion with Christ while at the same time coming together as a community that embodies what it means to live up to our name, Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ. The six common tasks listed above are only obtainable when we work and pray together.

I would personally like to thank Eileen Earle and Jeanie Lea for bringing together women and men of all ages to walk with those attending our faith formation sessions and for the opportunities to enhance their faith and help them begin the tasks of discipleship. I especially thank the current catechists of this parish as well those who may have retired from this role but have been part of an amazing legacy of service. Along with the parents, grandparents, godparents, and other family members, may our youth discover themselves and their relationship to Jesus through this important ministry.

Next week, I will share more information about our upcoming 75th anniversary which embodies a rich history of catechesis. In the catechetical method of question and answer, I will begin to address the questions you asked in our surveys. I am excited to be with you at this extraordinary time.

God bless you all!

Fr. George

9/12/2021 Blog

The Lord God opens my ear that I may hear;

and I have not rebelled,

have not turned back.

Isaiah 50.4c-5

Our first reading this weekend opens with the words of “The Suffering Servant of the Lord” who will lay down his life for our salvation and the mission for which he is called. This beautifully connects with our Gospel this weekend which starts with Peter’s beautiful confession that he has begun to see Jesus as the Christ, the savior for whom all have searched.

Jesus rebukes Peter, not because he is wrong, but he is limited in his understanding that the messiah must suffer and die for God’s mission, the restoration of humanity and the healing of a world torn apart. In our difficult times, we are more attuned to the suffering of this world but at the same time we are a people of faith who recognize the grace which surrounds us and calls us forth. Our impulse may be to rebel or turn away but the voice of God calls us back. Our ears are opened so that we can hear.

In the coming weeks, we will be sharing with you the results of a survey which asked you to provide your thoughts, questions, and concerns. We wanted to open our ears to hear from you how you feel we have been doing as a community. As part of this process, we wanted to elicit your ideas as we move forward, negotiating further waves of the pandemic but ultimately seeing the light at the end of an eighteen month tunnel. Yes, there is an end in sight but it is still beyond us and we want to do what we can in the meantime to address your needs. This is an exciting time for us while we still walk with caution and concern, especially for those a risk. Thank you for your continued patience and support.

In recent weeks, I have received some anonymous messages which were echoed somewhat in some of the surveys. I am disheartened to learn that my liturgical style has turned off several people who have left the parish. This is not something I can address unless they, or those messaging me in their name, come forward and address this with me. I am sure that people differ greatly on their opinion of me which was evident in the surveys as well.

Let me express my regret if I have turned anyone away. I have struggled throughout my ministry with a nervous laugh and an attempt to be relatable. I am not a joke teller but I do try to use humor as a way of connecting with people. My personal stories are meant for me to share a bit of myself but also to encourage you to see our Lord as a part of your personal stories as well. I will try to tone it down, especially when I feel the situation calls for it, but please know I am doing the best I can and trying to reach out to an incredibly diverse community. I am open to discussing this with anyone who wishes to do so and hope that those that have left will eventually find their way back.

On a positive note, I want to thank the many staff, volunteers, ministers and dedicated parish leaders who have been doing so much to help us continue the work of our Lord Jesus Christ and the life of the parish. I am so blessed to be with you, especially during such significant and poignant times in our history. Please look for more information on upcoming events and other news which will continue to bring us together and closer to our baptismal call.

God bless you.

Fr. George

8/29/2021 Blog

I’m taking a little time off this week to visit some friends and family and it is so gratifying that I am leaving the parish in good hands.  Father Charles Onyeneke is taking a little time off to visit some friends and family as well:  YOU!  Welcome Father Charles back home as he house-sits the rectory and spends some time with all his friends that make up the Corpus Christi family. 

Father Charles has become one of my favorite people not only because of his joy but because of his compassion and grace.  He is a man I respect greatly and he credits this community for inspiring his formation and nurturing the priest he has become.  Enjoy your time with him this weekend.  I’m not gone long, in fact I’m back Wednesday.  I hope and pray he hasn’t changed the locks and lets me back in. 

God bless you all and God bless Fr. Charles!

Fr. George

8/15/21 Blog

The Solemnity of the Assumption falls on a Sunday this year which allows us to celebrate this Holy Day as part of our weekend liturgies when the community normally gathers. The readings allow us to image her as both the Queen of Heaven and as truly one of us who humbly reaches out to Elizabeth in her time of need. While the intimacy of the two women reminds us of the bond of sisterhood both share pronouncements that are stirring and prophetic. As the children stir in their womb, so are we stirred out of our complacency to be true followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, supported by a mother’s love, consolation and inspiration.

We have all grown up with understanding that Jesus goes ‘up’ to heaven at the time of the Ascension as does the Blessed Mother at the time of the Assumption. In both cases, I have shared a wonderful insight given to me that we should use the language of ‘going out’ to the heavens rather than ‘up’. Not only is this technically correct in a world where the earth is round; it holds linguistic significance. As Jesus and Mary go out, so too does the Holy Spirit come ‘in’ to our lives to always be present to us. Truly, however, we know that the Blessed Mother is always close to us especially when we reach out to her.

The image of the Apostles going ‘out’ to preach the Good News is a powerful connection for all of us as it describes the experience of discipleship that we are all called to share. For instance, the seminarians left the seminary to go out into the parishes. We were blessed to have them in our lives and now it is time to send them out ‘in’ to the next stages in their journey.

Going forth from my previous communities and entering ‘in’ to the parish family of Corpus Christi has truly been a blessing for me. Never has this been more evident than at my recent installation as your pastor. I could not get over how much people put ‘in’ to the celebration and how much we received ‘out’ of it. I cannot begin to thank everyone enough.

Weeks of preparation went ‘in’ to the planning of the liturgy and the beautiful music that graced us that night. Time and attention went ‘in’ to every detail, including the reception that followed. I was going to use this space to publicly thank people but as it was a truly group effort I feel uncomfortable that I might leave someone out. Please know how much you are in my thoughts and prayers and I can’t thank you enough.

The installation, as well as the Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated by Fr. Matt Duclos, not only provided the seminarians an opportunity to be of service, they were blessed to witness the gifts and talents of so many that come together as a parish

family. I know that Anthony Ono and Daniel Vallejo will always cherish the time they spent with you. Alongside Joseph Tuan Pham who served at St. Edward the Confessor but lived with us and spent a great deal of time working with them and Thiago Mesquita who we were blessed to share his first Mass in America with, they go out from our midst and enter back in the seminary refreshed and revitalized. Thank you all for that and I thank them for appreciating all that you do and, especially, all that you are as a parish family.

In her stirring Magnificat, Mary proclaims the greatness of the Lord. How great it is for us to recognize her Son in our midst among our brothers and sisters.

God bless you!

Fr. George

8/8/21 Blog

I am writing these words the morning after the Diocese of Albany celebrated a Concert for Vocations at our Cathedral and a day before our Bishop will be joining us at Corpus Christi for my formal installation as your pastor. The Tuesday night event, and the Holy Hour which preceded the program, gave me time to reflect on my journey with you that has only just begun.

Thanks in a large part because I have worked closely with our seminarians this summer, I was amazed at the performances brought forth at the concert, shedding light on gifts and talents of people I have only known for a short while. I connected this with the amazing abilities of the people of this parish which I am only beginning to truly discover. Beyond any such talents, I am mostly struck by the heart of what makes us a community: kind and loving folks who strive to walk in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This weekend’s readings share with us the story of Elijah at a pivotal moment in his ministry when he is too tired to go forward. God provides the rest and nourishment he needs to proceed and profess the Word of God. The Gospel meets the distrust of Jesus’ family and native place with the new reality that he is truly the New Moses here to lead us from whatever enslaves us to a new place which is promised to us.

While this past Friday was the actual Feast of the Transfiguration on the church calendar, we used these readings as a vigil of sorts at the liturgy at the installation. It is interesting that both Elijah and Moses are revealed alongside Jesus, in this miraculous event, to reveal how our Savior has come to fulfill the messages of the prophets and the law. As all three are transfigured in the sight of Peter, James and Andrew, I am also struck that it is these Apostles who are transformed as well.

I will more properly express my gratitude next week for all the work and loving care that went in to the installation ceremony. Although it hasn’t occurred yet as I write these words, I am already feeling the blessings. May we be a parish that continues to be transformed by the Sacraments and community which illuminates the figure of Jesus Christ in our lives. We know that we will continue to face challenging times, particularly if the pandemic takes a turn for the worse, but we also know that the true challenge is to stay attentive to the graces that surround us. We will continue to see the light of Jesus to nourish us with all that we need to continue our journey.

Allow me to end this week with the closing line of this weekend’s second reading from the Second Letter of Peter:

You will do well to be attentive to it,

as to a lamp shining in a dark place,

until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

2 Peter 1.17b-19

God bless you all!

Fr. George