Monday, October 14, 2013

The world watched with incomprehension as the story unfolded of the killing of children in an Amish schoolhouse in the little town of Nickel Mines in Lancaster County. Unseen by most was an act of grace the secular media could never understand: down the path leading to the home where the widow of the killer still quivered in shock, Amish women brought food, gifts, and consolation — not revenge. “You too lost a loved one,” they said as they went out with grace and compassion to the woman whose husband had murdered their children.

The gospel narrative at Mass today puts us in touch with ten lepers. As we meet them, we are struck by the very language of their introduction: they stood in place, calling out from a distance. They were locked , frozen, immobile, standing in place. The first direction Jesus offers them? “Go.” Leave the place that has captured you in your pain and fear and hurt. Move beyond yourself, get outside of yourself, look beyond yourself. Go to someone else.

Each of us has pains and hurts and fears. We may be tempted to stay in place, locked in place when the memories of hurt come forth. It may be easier to stay put in life and vow never to be hurt again, the memory of hurts and fears becoming prison walls. To us Jesus offers the same challenge: “Go.” Look around: there’s a great big world filled with people in need. Go to them. Don’t stay locked inside, fixed in place and captured by self-centered ideas and memories. Go beyond yourself and get outside your hurts. Be a vehicle of grace and compassion for others who are hurting and in pain. Be whom God created you to be.
October 13, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish was blessed to welcome back Christopher West, noted author and speaker, who shared with our parish and neighborhood friends the joy-filled and hope-filled message of the Theology of the Body. Against the loud voices of the secular culture, which conspire to devalue life and the human body, we were reminded of the positive value of the human person and of human sexuality. Thank you to all who came out for this wonderful presentation.
October 12, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

Father Anthony Swamy is the new Parochial Vicar at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish

Father Anthony Swamy is the new Parochial Vicar at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish. Coming here to serve us and join us in ministry is his first time in the United States. So, it seemed most appropriate before all else to teach him to cook! Before coming to our parish he was a college president in India. His PhD is in folklore.
October 8, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

About 300 people heard the dedicatory recital of the new organ at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton church this afternoon. World-renowned concert organist Felix Hell certainly gave the instrument a workout, showing us all the full range of the organ's capabilities. People traveled from Buffalo, NY and Richmond VA to hear the concert, and several came from the Philadelphia area. What a thrilling concert.
October 6, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King
Next Sunday at 4 PM, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Mechanicsburg is thrilled to welcome world-renowned concert organist Felix Hell as he presents the dedicatory recital of the new organ in our church. This concert event is featured in a full-page advertisement in the current edition of "The American Organist," the magazine of the American Guild of Organists (page 44). Not only technically proficient, Felix Hell is an excellent entertainer as well. This will prove to be an exciting concert for persons of any musical taste.

A native of Germany, Felix studied organ at Hochschule für Kirchenmusik in Heidelberg, and in the US at the Juilliard School, at the Curtiss Institute, and at the Peabody Conservatory.

Here is his program for the event (these are some pretty big pieces). "Back in the day" when I was giving recitals, I played the 4th piece a lot (Franck's 3rd organ chorale). It's a workout, exciting to play and to hear! (Of course, today, when I have lots less time to practice, I can barely read the music). So, next Sunday, don't miss [must.resist.typing.this:] the concert from Hell ...

1. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)
Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major "St. Anne", BWV 552

2. Johann Pachelbel (1653 - 1706)
Choral Partita on "Christus, der ist mein Leben"

3. Charles Marie-Widor (1844 - 1937)
Symphony No. 9 "Gothique", op. 70
II. Andante sostenuto

4. Cesar Franck (1822 - 1890)
Choral No. 3 in A Minor


5. Franz Liszt (1811 - 1886)
Fantasy and Fugue on "Ad Nos Ad Salutarem Undam"
October 2, 2013Rev. Msgr. William J. King

Amos 6:1-7; Luke 16:19-31 — Today’s Bible readings at Mass bring to mind that there are 2 ways to put a nail into a wall: a series of hits with a light hammer, or a single smash with a sledgehammer. Today, the Bible gives us the sledgehammer. There are people suffering everywhere in the world today: desperately poor and starving, profoundly hurting, gut-wrenchingly terrified. To have caused that and repented is forgivable. To live well but blindly in the face of it, to live comfortably and do nothing to address it, is not. Hell laughs at the comfortable and complacent in this life, and awaits them in the next.
September 29, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

One cannot come away from reading Ezra chapter 6 (one of the Bible readings for Mass today in the Catholic calendar) without palpably feeling the joy of the people seeing the Temple being rebuilt in Jerusalem after a bitter defeat and lengthy exile. A huge sacrifice of many animals accompanied the joyful celebration of the Temple's dedication. May we Christians have the same grateful joy at the one perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God, which opens us – body and soul – to be built up as a living Temple of the Holy Spirit, and by grace makes us part of the communion of saints, the largest body of grateful and joy-filled people ever!

September 24, 2013 

Rev. Msgr. William J. King
"The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" Boy, did the secular media get it wrong! By picking out a few words here and there, the secular media has painted a caricature of Pope Francis' interview with Jesuit journalists. For a link to what he really said, go to the Vatican's news site at and follow the links. The trouble is, the secular media is the boy who cried wolf, but most of the populace still gobbles it up as though it were true.
September 20, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

Syrian Christians flee enclave

The story below is from the British Newspaper, The Tablet. The under-reported side of the civil war in Syria is that it is, in large measure, a war of persecution against Christians. The majority of Christians in Syria are members of the Melkite Catholic Church. The Church in Syria has been decimated, with martyrs dying for their refusal to deny Jesus Christ, and many others fleeing. This side of the story is seldom heard.

Syrian Christians flee enclave
13 September 2013

Almost all the Christians living in the ancient Syrian village of Maaloula, which has been under siege by rebels for more than a week, have fled, according to a senior church leader.

The Damascus-based Greek Melkite Patriarch Gregory Laham III told Vatican Radio that witnesses told him that when the rebels moved into Maaloula they threatened some Christians with death unless they converted to Islam.

The Patriarch on Wednesday celebrated funeral Masses for three Greek Catholics who were shot in Maaloula, where Aramaic, the langauge of Christ, is still spoken and studied.

Some Christians who fled wrote to the United States Congress to alert them of the horror of the attack. They said that members of the Islamist Al-Nusra Front, looted "monasteries and churches, removing sacred images as they went on, ordering residents to abandon their religion, to convert to Islam to save their life".

"I saw people wearing Al-Nusra headbands who started shooting at crosses," one resident said to the AFP news agency. One insurgent "put a pistol to the head of my neighbour and forced him to convert to Islam by obliging him to repeat ‘there is no God but [Allah].' Afterwards they joked, ‘He's one of ours now.'"

Septemebr 17, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King
Upstairs, downstairs... This morning at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish the upstairs was filled with aromas of delicious goodies being prepared for our Apple Festival THIS SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, from 10am to 7pm. The kitchen crew was hard at work. Downstairs in the Rectory Conference Room the parish staff gathered for our weekly time of prayer and planning. On Tuesdays we gather to pray mid-day prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, then discuss issues facing the parish and plan for upcoming seasons and events. Today we welcomed the purchasing agent for Harrisburg Catholic Administrative Services as he told us about discounts available through purchasing agreements with various vendors and suppliers, then moved on to look ahead in the parish calendar at what's coming up in the weeks and months ahead. Listening to him, we immediately saved about $700 in upcoming purchases, with more savings to come. All in all, not a bad morning.
September 15, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

More of the Lord's work going on this weekend. After a Trinity High School board meeting last Thursday evening, followed by a CCD teachers' meeting at the parish, I drove 2 hours down to DC, to stay overnight in the priests' faculty residence at Catholic University. After teaching at the university for three hours on Friday morning, it was back to the parish for afternoon some meetings before heading out to Altoona Friday evening for the birthday of a good friend. Back to the parish on Saturday morning to finish the weekend homily and make some home visits. Confessions, Mass, and an appointment Saturday evening, and this morning three Masses, then the installation of officers for our parish Knights of Columbus council (photo below), an appointment with a Messiah College student, and then a "pastoral visit" to the Eagle Scout project which is adding a beautiful prayer path to our parish campus (see the progress in the second photo below). This afternoon, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in the church, then down to York to visit a brother priest who is hospitalized, and lastly a drive up to Wilkes-Barre this afternoon for dinner with a friend who was Dean of the Law School I attended. Tomorrow morning, while in Wilkes-Barre, I'll visit the graves of my parents before heading back to the parish for some afternoon meetings. Then the week will start up again.

September 15, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King
The Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish co-ed softball team made it into the playoffs (first place in season play in the local ecumenical softball league). Yay! That's probably because I didn't play with them.

September 14, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King
Tonight: the welcome meeting of the Newman Club on campus at Messiah College, followed by a drop-in to one of the several parish Bible Study groups (this one doing a 20-week series on the Acts of the Apostles). At the Newman Club meeting, Messiah alum Father Anthony Dill encouraged the students to learn from and be encouraged by the diversity of Christian belief on campus. One of the students remarked how wonderful it was to be on a campus where everyone not only is Christian but takes their faith seriously. Amen.
September 11, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King