Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19: 20-21
May 29, 2022
Dear Parishioners, I was reading in the newspaper about the recent photo of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, a region known as “Sagittarius A.” The article described how scientists from around the world worked together to capture this amazing first-of-its-kind photo with eight telescopes. They explained that this black hole is the size of 4 million suns and is 27,000 light-years away. Just one light-year is equal to 5,878,625,370,000 miles. The farther away the better because it is so powerful that not only does light not escape from its clutches but that time begins to slow down the closer one gets to it. In theory, scientists even claim that time and space somehow switch places inside this supermassive black hole. Talk about boggling the mind! You want to know something else that’s mind-boggling? The Creator of the universe who is beyond time and space chose to create us, redeem us, and most importantly—love us. We who are less than a speck in the grand and seemingly infinite expanse of the cosmos. And yet, we were made “little less than the angels” (Ps 8:6). Our Lord’s ascension this Sunday is a continuation of the great Easter promise of resurrection and new life for those who believe. We don’t deserve any of it, but this “speck” is truly grateful and will never take it for granted. Peace. Father Tim
May 22, 2022
There are some important events happening, or that have happened, this week depending on when you read this bulletin. St. Ignatius parish in Tarpon Springs will have a retirement dinner on Friday, May 20th for their pastor Msgr. Joe Pellegrino. He served as their pastor for 30 years! In fact, I joined him as a newly ordained deacon when he first arrived at the parish in 1992. Msgr. Pellegrino is known among the clergy as a skilled administrator and a consummate pastor. He has mentored numerous seminarians and newly ordained priests over the years. I was just one of many. He will no doubt be greatly missed by his parishioners, and I wish him well in retirement.
I will not be able to attend Msgr. Pellegrino’s retirement dinner because that same evening we have the 8th grade class Graduation Mass for St. Cecelia School at Light of Christ parish followed by a reception. It is that time of year again and, as you know, St. Brendan parish is part of an inter-parochial (i.e., four-parish) system that feeds into and supports St. Cecelia School. Our percentage of children in the school is small due to our parish demographics, but the school is one of our larger Catholic campuses and boasts of winning twice the National Blue Ribbon Award. I will be able to join Msgr. Pellegrino at his last Mass as pastor at St. Ignatius parish on June 26th. A number of priests will come to con- celebrate the Mass with him on that special day.
Then on Saturday, May 21st we have the priesthood ordinations at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg. Two young men, Deacon Donald Amodeo and Deacon Zachary Brasseur, will be ordained to the priesthood for our diocese. Showing my age, I don’t really know Deacon Brasseur but I do remember his mother when she used to be part of the faculty at St. Petersburg Catholic High School years ago. However, I do know Deacon Amodeo because he was assigned to me for a summer at St. Raphael parish when he was just a budding seminarian. There are not many greater challenges in life than surviving a summer with me. That accomplishment alone should probably prove the authenticity of his vocational call.
Lots of things to give thanks for this week. As the responsorial psalm states this Sunday, “O God, let all the nations praise you!” Indeed, let us all remember to daily praise our God and to bless the name of the Lord.
May 15, 2022
Father Tim's weekly message: Dear Parishioners, Let it go, let it go When I’ll rise like the break of dawn Let it go, let it go The perfect girl is gone Here I stand in the light of day Let the storm rage on The cold never bothered me anyway * Last Friday evening on May 6th I saw the students of St. Cecelia School perform in a musical theater production of Frozen, Jr. Of course, those words above are part of the lyrics from the show’s popular song Let it Go. It was amazing to see that when the song was sung again at the show’s finale that many of the kids in the seats, especially little girls, were singing along with the performers. They all seemed to know the words to the song by heart. It was like an anthem for little girls everywhere. The performances were great. It is always remarkable to me on how anyone, particularly grade school children, can memorize so many lines, and then act, sing, dance, and make it all look so easy. God never gave me that gift. I even found myself grooving to the music too, including to Let it Go. Yes, enjoy the song. It’s got a catchy hook for a chorus, as songwriters would say. But I also hope that little girls will realize that it is a song of rebellion. Elsa (main character) is very sad, scared, and repressed. In our modern day, she would be directed to get some serious mental-health counselling. But in her mythical world, she instead reacts in a very unhealthy manner by running far away and creating her own ice castle of isolation. The irony of the song is that she sings of being liberated while actually imprisoning herself from everyone, especially her sister, Anna, who truly loves her. Running away from others will not solve our problems. The good news is that the story ends happily ever after, but not without first some intervention. Sacrificial love saved the town of Arendelle, the life of Elsa’s sister, and even Elsa herself. But that sacrificial love could never have happened if they stayed in isolation. In our Gospel this Sunday, we are reminded of that truth when Jesus gave us a new commandment: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” No person is an island. Peace. Father Tim
May 8, 2022
Last Sunday at the 11:00 AM Mass we celebrated the First Communion of Claire Adele Hyc and Gregory Cash Ward. I just want to take this opportunity to congratulate them and their families again on the occasion of their very special day. Both set of parents, of course, were quite proud of their own child. That’s only right. Parents are a primary example and influence to their children in the practice of the faith. These two children have obviously had a good spiritual upbringing, thanks to mom and dad. May Claire and Gregory continue to grow in God’s grace.
Speaking of parents, this Sunday, May 8th is the beloved holiday of Mother’s Day. There is an old Spanish proverb that says “An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest.” I appreciate the blunt truth of that saying. It puts us priests in our proper place. But more to the point, it reminds us of the importance of the Christian home where “children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called ‘the domestic church,’ a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1666). So, may we give thanks and pray for our dear mothers, both living and deceased, for the home, upbringing, and love they gave to us.
Happy Mother’s Day!
May 1, 2022
Last week some of you were wondering what happened to my pastor’s message. A few of you were even concerned that something might be wrong with me. Let me assure you that there are lots of things “wrong” with me, but that was not why I was absent from last week’s bulletin. It is nice to know that you notice my absence though and, for reasons beyond me, look forward to my ramblings. The truth is that I took a couple of days away after Easter, and our bulletins must be prepared early in order to be printed and here for the weekends. In other words, Sheila, our bulletin editor, had to fill in the space for an absentee pastor playing hooky.
I accompanied a priest friend to the St. Augustine and Jacksonville area for those two days. We stayed overnight at the cathedral rectory and walked around the old part of the city of St. Augustine that first afternoon and evening. History abounds in that city, founded in 1565. I believe it is also the oldest continuously existing city in the U.S. Catholicism is intertwined in its history because of the Spanish explorers, and a huge cross marks the place where the first Mass in the U.S. was supposed to have been said in 1565. Historians point out, however, that the first Mass was likely said earlier on our side of the State when Hernando de Soto first sailed into Tampa Bay in 1539. Some Dominican priests came with de Soto on that voyage. One of those missionary friars, Fr. Luis de Cancer, was martyred in 1549 by the Tocobaga Indians in the northern end of Tampa Bay. A beautiful stained-glass depiction and a historical plaque honor him at Espiritu Santo Catholic Church in Safety Harbor. The argument is that Mass likely happened here many times between 1539 and 1549, but apparently we have no official artifacts from that period, written or otherwise, that document it. In other words, no historical proof. Whereas St. Augustine has actual documentation of their first Mass. That’s 1 for the Diocese of St. Augustine and 0 for the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida Catholic History. But not to worry, we have a priest historian in our diocese who is actually working on the canonization of Fr. Luis de Cancer and perhaps in that process will find some evidence needed to finally move the honor to our Diocese. I wouldn’t count on it, though.
The first Mass or last Mass really doesn’t matter because ultimately it is still Christ—He who is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. That is the great truth that matters most and that endures for all time.
St. Brendan's Catholic Church of Clearwater, FL, located on Island Estates, is a loving, vibrant Catholic Church seeking for each and every member a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.