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Pastor’s Corner

The 2018 Parish Outdoor Summer Fun Gathering…  a whole lot more than your average PICNIC!!

One exciting item to share with everyone ….

We’ll be having a parish get-together on Thursday, August 23rd, in the evening.  It will be starting about 5 o’clock and going until whenever.  (Picnics are basically just about eating, but this get-together will be more.  So, don’t use the word picnic.)

The two central events will be the Bocce Ball Championship and the Hot Wings Cook-Off.  However, that’s not everything ….

For the kiddies, we want to set up a Gaga Pit.  (If you’re not sure what that is, well, come and find out what the younger generation is up to.)  We’ll also have a bouncy-bounce (a.k.a., a moonwalk) set up for them. Oh, and of course, there’s the playground …. with the spaces painted so they can play 4-Square.

For the older set, we’ll have Horseshoes in the one corner, and Cornhole out in the open.  And after the Bocce Championship is decided, those courts will be open, too, for anyone to play.  Additionally, there will be sets of cards available on the tables for the Texas Hold ‘Em (or Euchre or Hearts) crowd.  And we’ll have a DJ there, spinning a few tunes throughout the evening.

As for food, there will be burgers and dogs, soda and water.  (BYOB if you wish, but responsibly, please!) And if anyone feels so inclined to bring along other goodies, please do so.

The objective is just to have fun and spend some time together.  Late August is a quiet patch of the year, where most folks are done with vacations, school hasn’t yet started, and we’re in the dog days of summer.  It’s a time to laugh, play, talk, eat, and then laff some more. So, here’s to hoping that many parishioners will show up!

In the Redeemer —

Father George



Wednesday, August 1, is the Feast Day of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Founder of the Religious Order: “The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer”.  St. Alphonsus Liguori and his first companions began the Redemptorists in response to the needs of those on the periphery of the Church and society, “the most abandoned, especially the poor.” Starting with the rural residents of 18th century Scala, Naples, the Redemptorists have continually sought to bring the joy of the gospel to all with whom they minister. The priests and brothers of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer seek to build communities of conversion wherein people can encounter the plentiful redemption offered through Christ. While preaching Christ, the Redemptorists rely on and encourage devotion to Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help.

The Redemptorists serve the Church in over 80 different countries; and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in words, deeds, and through “the silent witness of brotherly presence” (C 10). They share the gospel with all people, but “preference for situations where there is pastoral need, that is, for evangelization in the strict sense together with the choice in favor of the poor is the very reason why the Congregation exists in the Church and is the badge of its fidelity to the vocation it has received” (C 5).  The Redemptorist mission calls for different types of apostolic work in different settings and the Redemptorist Constitutions remind the missionaries that they cannot allow themselves to settle down in surroundings and structures in which their work would no longer be missionary (C 15).  In this spirit, the Congregation has taken on many apostolates during its history.

In the days of St. Alphonsus Liguori, the Redemptorists were primarily preachers of parish missions and retreats. In America in the 19th century and the era of St. John Neumann, the Redemptorists entered into parish ministry for immigrants. Today you can find Redemptorists preaching parish missions, revivals and retreats, welcoming pilgrims and hearing confessions at shrines, working as parish priests in inner city and rural parishes, running retreat houses, serving as spiritual directors, hospital and prison chaplains and publishing articles, books and magazines. All Redemptorists are missionaries. Even when they are aged and infirm they contribute to the mission of the congregation and the Church through their prayers, witness and offering of self for the sake of God’s kingdom.

Fr. Bob

I’m certain many remember me writing about the demise of about 10 trees during the past three years.  Particularly hard hit has been the memorial garden, with the large pines. However, much of the removal was necessary and unavoidable.

Again, it’s been said that the best time to plant a tree is either 20 years ago or today.  Inside this bulletin you will find an insert—and I mention it here to make sure that no one overlooks it.  (Perhaps you’ve been keeping an eye out for this information?)

The trees will be planted in three main locations: near the front of the church and the edge of the grotto area; around the rectory, and in the memorial garden area.

If you sponsor a tree, then we will see to it that a plaque is placed nearby, saying “In Memory of N” or something similar.  I’m hoping to sponsor a tree, too, in memory of my grandparents, but I believe that registered parishioners should get first dibs.

So, please talk about it—with your spouse, children, and other family members. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask me. Thank you!

Here’s to making Saint Clement’s more beautiful for generations to come!

In the Redeemer —

Father George

The following quote has been taped to the wall above my desk for the past two years.  I cannot remember where it came from, but obviously, I thought it worth saving:  “The memory of Christ—when it is lived—tends inevitably to generate a presence in society, above any planned result.”  —Msgr. Guissani

When I first read that, I immediately thought of-

G.K. Chesterton:

“It’s not that Christianity has been tried and found lacking, rather that it has hardly been tried at all.”  

Ah, so they’re saying the same thing!  However, I believe this good Monsignor is saying a little bit more.

Four phrases hitched together make this statement extraordinary.

“When it is lived.”  Chesterton accented “trying.”  Eh, the same difference.

“Tends inevitably.”  Here we begin to move in a different direction.  What, we might ask, is going to eventually happen?

“Generate a presence in society.”  Here we’re more likely talking about the Church, not a sole individual.  Chesterton’s expression focuses easily on the solitary person; this phrase lends itself to all of us as the Body of Christ, as ekklesia.

“Above any planned result.”

How often are ministries undertaken with the hope of certain, predictable outcomes?  But what is wondrous is how so many other things can occur, far beyond human wisdom. God takes our mustard seed and grows it in a large bush.

Where is this memory of Christ first encountered, lived out, as church?  In the sacraments, particularly with the Eucharist at Mass. How do we receive Him?  How do we adore Him?

In the Redeemer—

Father George

A Catholic priest once told the following joke: “I was walking thru our parish school, near the preschool, when a group of three-year-olds came marching out of their classroom for lunchtime.  One little boy stopped and gave me an odd look.
He said, “Why do you dress funny?”  He pointed at the whole of me: black shoes, black pants, and clerical shirt.

I told him that I was a priest, and this is how people know I’m a priest, by how I dress.  He still looked puzzled.  He then pointed toward my neck.

“Does it hurt?  Do you have a boo-boo?”

Now I was the one puzzled until I realized that he was pointing at my white collar.  I suspected it looked like a band-aid to him.  I laughed and took out that little plastic insert and handed it to him.  The little boy noticed that one side was smooth and the other side was bumpy.  On the backside of the plastic insert, there are raised letters, saying who made it.

“Do you know what those words say?” I asked.  I had a hunch that he wasn’t old enough to read, but then again, you never know.

“Yes, I do,” he said, confidently.  Peering intently at the letters on the insert, he said, “Kills ticks and fleas up to six months!”

* * * * * * *
For the record, Father Tut, Father Bob, and I do not have ticks or fleas.  We’re just old and crusty, each in his own particular way.

Hope everyone’s having a great summer so far!

In the Redeemer —
Father George

If you run into Father Tuttle this week, make sure you wish him a Happy Birthday!

Seventy-nine years and still going strong! In Psalm 90, we read: “our span is seventy years or eighty for those who are strong.”  Wish him much strength during the coming year!

On another note, I’m shutting down the Adoration Chapel this week and having it converted into another confessional.  Please allow me to explain why ….

In the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 125, it is stated: “The tabernacle should be the only one … and be locked in such a way that the danger of profanation is prevented to the greatest extent possible.”  In Canon Law (C. 938.1) it is stated: “The Most Holy Eucharist is to be reserved habitually in only one tabernacle of a church or oratory.”

Adoration Chapel may have worked well years ago.  However, the Adoration Chapel should have someone in it 24/7/365 for it to work correctly.  I do not foresee enough persons in this parish making this particular devotion function properly like it does at St Mary’s in Annapolis.  In a word, the Adoration Chapel is working as a secondary tabernacle, and that is unacceptable.

In contrast, the First Friday overnight Adoration has been going well during the past 18 months.  I invite everyone to participate in this form of Adoration since it is done properly. And if that does not fit into your schedule, please keep in mind that one can worship just as well when the Blessed Sacrament is reserved inside the tabernacle.  Thank you.

In the Redeemer —

Father George

An exotic restaurant in southern California was named “Eddie and the Dragon,” and it served upscale clientele.

One evening, a beggar approached the back door, and he said to the woman who appeared to be in charge, “Ma’am, I haven’t had nothin’ to eat in days!  Could you spare me some food?”

“Get out of here,” yelled the woman.  “We don’t feed beggars or bums!”

The man turned and left.  But a few minutes later he returned to the back door.

“What now?!” asked the irritated woman.

The beggar, looking up at the name of the restaurant on the sign over the door, pointed toward it and said, “I wonder if I could talk with Eddie this time?”

* * * * * * *

A small story with a point to ponder.  Could this be me? Could this be you?

Hopefully not, and may the Good God find us with magnanimous, generous hearts.

In the Redeemer —

Father George


When I have a break in my daily schedule, I enjoy a long walk in the woods.  There are several paths around the area, but my favorite is Springs Run Trail, just over the ridge on the north side of Saint Clement’s.  For me, a most enjoyable thing is watching the birds, and I’ve noticed there are many Blue Jays up here! On rare occasions, you can even see a flock of Jays!

When I was a kid, I remember several Jays flying around our house, and they’d boldly fly onto our back porch if there were a peanut to be had.  So, once in a while we’d place a few peanuts out back and, once discovered, the Jays would swoop down. Piggies for peanuts! If they could grab a small one, they’d throw their head back to make room for another.  Why take only one at a time!?

Once, just to be ornery, we put a line of peanuts on the outside railing.  However, we tacked down the peanut closed to the door with a big hat pin. Only one Blue Jay showed up that day, but he decided to quickly hoard them all—lest another Jay come along.  He wanted the whole schlemiel! Starting the furthest away, he zipped back and forth until he came to the last nut ….

Oh, how he struggled to pick it up!  “Dagnabbit, it won’t move!  How is it stuck?!”  He tried and tried, and then he tried some more.  He was ranting and raving, cursing this bad-luck peanut.  But, finally he gave up and flew away in a huff. Meanwhile, we were in the doorway and laughing at his expense.

Perhaps we laugh because other creatures remind us of ourselves?  We chuckle at what our dogs and cats do. We giggle because a parrot says something.  Even a wild creature like a Blue Jay can make us roar with laughter. Hmmm, I wonder if any of them, in their own way, sit back (or up in a tree) and laugh at us because we remind them of themselves?

In the Redeemer —

Father George

A century ago, Joyce Kilmer published a poem which most of us are familiar with or, well, at least many know the first stanza.  It begins: “I think that I shall never see // A poem lovely as a tree.”  (No, I didn’t miss an “as.”  That’s how it was actually composed.)

Since my arrival in Saratoga three years ago, we’ve taken down approximately ten trees around the property!  That’s a shame, but there was a very good reason to do so in each instance.  For example, our gardener Ray got to calling the largest pines in our Stations Grotto the “widowmaker.”  A very majestic tree, but potentially deadly with the next windstorm!  Like us, even though many trees can easily outlive us, they grow sick and die.

It has been said that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago or today.  We don’t have a time machine, so 1998 is out of the question.  However, we can do something here in 2018 so that when 2038 rolls around, the property will look gorgeous!  What I’m doing with this Pastor’s corner is metaphorically planting a seed (an acorn perhaps?) in all your minds:  if we’ve taken down ten, then let’s see about putting up at least twenty!  Are you with me?

However, the tree-planting season is quickly coming to a close.  The next window of opportunity will be in mid-autumn.  I’m planning to write more shortly (in an insert), but in the meantime, think about how you and your family may wish to donate a tree to Saint Clement’s and keep this corner of Saratoga Springs awash in greens and other splendid colors!

Oh, and I suspect that you may know the ending to Joyce Kilmer’s poem:

“Poems are made by fools like me // But only God can make a tree.”  So, if I may add a verse:  “Ten have fallen but twenty will rise // To newly grace Saratoga’s skies.”

In the Redeemer —
Father George